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Robert E. Gross 

A Memorial to the Founder 
of the 

Business Administration Library 
Los Angeles 



























Gross Collection 
Bus. Adm. Lib. 




Gloomy character of the policy of 

Portugal in Ceylon ... 3 
" War, trade, and religion " . . 3 
Tbeir historj' as -written by them- 
selves ...... 4 

A.D. 1505. — Their first visit to Cejion 5 

They did not go for cinnamon Senate) 5 
Political contlition of Ceylon at the 

time 5 

Active commerce of the iloors . . G 

Chiefs of the Wanny .... 6 

List of the petty principalities {note) 6 

Low character of the Singhalese kings 7 

Dependent on India for rice . . 7 
A. u. ] 505. — Almeyda accidentally 

visits Galle 7 

His reception by the pretended king 8 
A.D. 1517. — Portuguese come to Co- 
lombo 8 

Importance of Ceylon to their trade , 8 
They commence to build a fort . 9 
The Moors excite the king to resist- 
ance 9 

A.D. 1520. — Fort of Colombo con- 
structed 10 

Portuguese besieged in it . . .10 
The beginning of a protracted war . 10 
Effects of this war on the Singha- 
lese 10 

Impotence of the kings of Cotta . 1 1 

The Kandyans organise resistance . 11 

The Singhalese become soldiers . 12 

And learn to manufacture arms (note) 12 
Genealojv of the kings of Cevlon (note) 13 

The king killed by Maya Diinnai . 13 

A.D. 1534. — Bhuwaneka Bahu VIL . 13 

Cotta besieged by Maya Dunnai . 14 
A.D. 1538. — War renewed . . .14 
A.D. 1541. — King's son christened at 

Lisbon 14 

Franciscan Order established in 

Cevlon 15 

A. D. 1542. — The king accidentally 

shot 15 

The young king avows Christianity 16 
Renewed war and cruelties of the 

Portuguese 16 

Coast towards Galle laid waste . . 16 

Raja Singha, son to Maya Dunnai . 17 

A.D. 1563. — He besieges Colombo . 17 
Cotta abandoned . . . .17 
Increase of proseh-tism . . .17 
The king of Kandv (1547) invites 

the Roman Catholic priests . . 18 

But attacks and expels them . . 18 

A.n. 1581. — Raja Singha I. crowned IS 
Takes possession of Kandj', and the 

king flies 19 

Donna Catharina, daughter of the 

fugitive king . . . . .19 
A.D. 1586. — Raja Singha II. besieges 

Colombo 19 

Cruelties of the siege . (note) 19 
Destruction of the temple at Dondera 

Head 20 

The siege raised, and death of Raja 

Singha 11 21 

The Portuguese take Kandy . .21 

Their general Kunappoo revolts . 21 
Anil becomes king as " Wimala 

Dharma" 22 

Lopez de Souza and his army de- 
stroyed 23 

A.D. 1594. — The atrocities of Azavedo 23 
A.D. 1597. — The King of Cotta dies, 

leaving the King of Portugal heir 

to his cro\vii 24 

Dignified conduct of the Singhalese 

chiefs 25 

Nature and extent of the Portuguese 

possessions 26 

Their establishments and trade . . 26 

Error corrected in llibeyro . (note) 27 
Colombo as it then existed. — Galle 

and the other forts . . . .28 

Sketch of the historv of Jaffna . . 28 

Made tributarv in l"544 . . 29 

A 3 




A.D. 1560. — Constantine of Braganza 

takes it 29 

And destroys the " Sacred Tooth " . 29 
Story of the false dalada . . .30 
A.D. 1G04. — Jaflha again attacked . 30 
A.D. 1617. — City sacked and finally 

annexed by Portugal . . .30 
The Dutch appear in Cejdon . .31 



A.D. 1580. —Philip II. becomes King 

of Portugal . . . . . 32 
And Holland declares its independ- 
ence 32 

Histories of Baldasus and Yalentyn 

(^note) 32 

Rise of the Dutch mercantile marine 33 
A.D. 1594. — The Dutch excluded from 

Lisbon ...... 34 

And thus driven to send ships to India 34 
A.D. 1595. — Houtman sails round the 

Cape 34 

Dutch East India Company formed 

(jiote) 34 
A.D. 1602. — First Dutch ship touches 

Ceylon 35 

Spilberg lands at Batticaloa . . 35 
Traces of cinnamon at Batticaloa (jiote) 35 
Titles of the King of Kandj' . . 35 
Spilberg received at Kandy . . 35 
A.D. 1603.— Sibalt de Weert killed . 37 
A.D. 1604.— Death of Wimala Dharma 37 
Senerat becomes king . . .37 
Truce between Spain and Holland . 38 
Marcellus de Boschouwer at Kandy . 38 
His singular advancement . , 38 
War renewed wnth Portuguese . . 39 
A.D. 1615. — Boschouwer sent to Hol- 
land 39 

A. D. 1620. — Danish ships sent to 

Ceylon 39 

A.D. 1630. — Destruction of Constan- 
tine de Saa 40 

A.D. 1632.— Death of King Senerat . 41 
Raja Singha II. king . . .41 
Portuguese take Kandy, but are 

routed 42 

A.D. 1638. — Admiral Westerwold's 

treaty 42 

A.D. 1639. — Trincomalie and Batti- 
caloa taken 43 

A.D. 1640. — Xegombo, INIatura, and 

Galle taken 43 

Commodore Koster murdered (note) 43 
Raja Singha II. Ailse to the Dutch . 44 
A truce for ten years with Portugal . 44 
Intriguing policy of Raja Singha II. 44 
Patient endurance of the Dutch . 44 
Their descreditablc policy . . .44 
A.T). 1G55. — The truce ends, and Co- 
lombo taken 45 

A.D. 1656. — Dutch quarrel with Raja 

Singha 45 

Alleged breach of the Westerwold 

treaty 45 

A.D. 1658. — Manaar and Jaffna taken 

by the Dutch . . . ,46 

Dutch now masters of Ceylon . . 46 
Dutch and Portuguese policy con- 
trasted . . . . " . .47 
Honour sacrificed to trade . . .47 
Similar policy of the English East 

India Company . . (note) 47 

Despotic acts of Raja Singha II. . 48 
He imprisons the Dutch ambassadors 

(note) 48 

Dutch presents to the king (note) 48 
Raja Singha's passion for hawking 

(^note) 48 
His forcible detention of foreigners 

(note) 48 

A.D. 1664.— Rebellion at Kandy (note) 49 

The Dutch policj^ in Ceylon — peace . 50 

Their trade 50 

Mode of procuring cinnamon . . 51 

The cinnamon of Negombo the finest 51 
Cinnamon trade not profitable . .51 

Elephants and their export . . 52 
Areca nuts. — Persecution of the 

Moors 52 

Duties assessed according to religion 54 

Other exports 55 

Coftee, its cultivation discouraged . 55 

Salt monopoly 56 

Taxes, on land and other articles . 56 

Pearls doubtful if profitable . . 56 
Power of native chiefs under the 

Dutch 56,57 

Dutch did little for the natives . . 57 
Religion and education subservient to 

policy 58 

Agriculture neglected . . .58 
Dutch ofiicials ill paid and discon- 
tented 58 

Ceylon, in reality a military tenure . 59 
Ceylon did not pay its own expenses 59 
Treason of Governor Vuyst, 1626 . 60 
Rebellion under Governor Yersluvs . 60 
A.D. 1672.— The French visit Cejdon 60 
French ambassador's suite flogged . 60 
A.D. 1687.— Death of Raja Singha II, 61 
Character of his successor . .61 
A.D. 1739. — The Singhalese line ex- 
tinct 61 

A.D. 1766.— The Dutch take Kandy . 61 

Governors ImholY and Fakk . . 61 

Arrival of the English in Ceylon . 62 



First Englishman in Ceylon R. Fitch 63 
Sir John Mandeville never in Ceylon 

(note) 63 
England slow to enter the Indian 

trade 64 

Portugal claimed its monopoly . . 64 

Declaration of Queen Elizabeth 1590 64 
Dutch exclude strangers from Cej'lon 

(note) 64 

The first English ship seen in Ceylon 64 

Travellers during the Dutch period . 65 

Wolf, ravernier,Tliunberg, and SirT. 

Herbert .... (note) 65 



English look to Ceylon in 1G64 . . 65 
Passion of Raja Singha II. to detain 

strangers 65 

Coincidence of the captivity of the 
Theban in Palladius and Knox 

{note) 65, 66 
English embassy in 17G3 . . .66 
Hugh Boyd's embassy in 1782 . . GG 
Trincomalie taken by the English and 

French 67 

England attacks the Dutch in Ceylon, 


Trincomalie taken .... 
Colombo and the rest of the island 

taken, 1796 

Disgraceful conduct of the Dutch Go- 
vernor .... {note) 
Policy of Portugal and Holland con- 

Remains of Portuguese language and 

names .... (note) 

Fate of the Dutch inhabitants of 


Ceylon governed from Madras . 
The result a rebellion 
Ceylon governed from home 
Mr. North the first Governor . 
His private letters . . (note) 

His policy 

Difficulty of reconstructing the Courts 

of Law 

Events at the Court of Kandv . 
Storj' of the Adigar Pilame Talawe 
His treachery and intrigues 
Questionable policy of Mr. North 
Mr. North's defence of his own policy 
Travels of Lord Valentia and Mr, 
Cordiner . . . {note) 

Designs of the Adigar disclosed 
The embassy of 18U0 planned . 
Mr. North's self-delusive defence 
Failure of the embassy and its object 
M. Joinville's account of it 









Disastrous results of this policy . 81 
Disturbances excited by the Adigar 81 
The Duke of Wellington at Trinco- 
malie as Colonel Wellesley {note) 81 
Violence to British subjects . .81 
Kandy taken by the British . . 81 
Treaties with the new king and the 
Adigar . . . . . .82 

The massacre of 1803 . . . 83 

Disturbances which followed . . 84 
Insurrections in the low country . 84 
VVonderful march of Captain John- 
ston, 1804 .... {note) 85 

Pleasures of the Governor . . .86 
Mr. North's secret communications 

with Kandy 86 

Character of his administration . 86 

The war of 1815, and its causes . 87 

Savage character of the king . . 87 
Death of Pilame' Tah'i we' ... 87 
Eheylapola made Adigar . . .87 
Awful murder of his familj' . . 88 
The king of Kandy mutilates British 

subjects 88 

Kandy taken by the British in 1815 . 89 
The king deposed and banished to 

Vellore 90 

Kandy ceded to the British Crown . 90 
Rebellion of 1817, and its causes . 90 
Discontent of the chiefs and priests 90 
Outbreak of rebellion . . .91 

Sufferings of the Kandyan people . 92 
Low country Singhalese loyal . . 92 
Fresh convention, 1818 . . .92 
Reform of the Civil Government of 

Kandy 92 

Frequent attempts at rebellion since . 93 
Kandyan country opened by roads . 94 
The Kaduganawa Pass surmounted . 95 
Civil administration since 1820 . . 95 
Coffee cultivation in Kandy, and its 
effect 96 





Beauty of its scenery . . .99 

Probably the ancient Tarshish . . lUO 

Double canoes 103 

Mentioned by Pliny . . . .104 

The Fort . . . . . .105 

Error of the Portuguese and Dutch 

in confounding Galle and gallus 

{note) 105 
The Queen's House .... 105 

Its gardens 105 

The people of many nations at Galle . 105 
Antiquity of the mode of dressing 

the ha'ir 106 

General effeminacy .... 107 

The country 107 

Dress of Singhalese females . . 107 
Moorish dealers in gems . . . 108 
Tortoise-shell . . . (no<e) 108 

Carved ebony 108 

The trade of the port — chiefly limited 

to the products of the coco-nut palm 109 
Local prosperity depends on shipping 109 
The Suria trees and their cater- 
pillars 110 

The Native town . . . .111 
The gardens . . . . .111 
The jak tree described by Pliny («ofe) 111 
Helix hemastoma . . . .112 

Belligam 112 

S>iniMa oi ihz Kustia Riiju . . .113 
Matura .... {note) 113 

A 4 



Z)o«<fera and its temples . . .113 
Tangalle and Hambangtofte . .Ill 

Fire flies 115 

A dinner at Galle . . (note) 115 
Mosquitoes the "plague of Egypt" 

(note) 115 
The harbour of Galle . . . IIC 

Theory of the tides around Cevlon 




Galle and Colombo mail . . .120 
The roads of Cejion . . . .121 
Beauty of the Galle road . . .122 
View of Adam's Peak . . . 122 
Houses of the villagers . . . 123 
The Chalias and their origin . . 123 
The coco- nut palm .... 124 
Its prodigious numbers at Galle . 124 
Its " hundred uses " . . . . 125 
Won't grow out of sound of the hu- 
man voice 125 

Extent of coco-nut cultivation (note) 125 

Coco de nier 126 

Curry spoken of by Ibn Batuta (note) 126 
Hiccode . . . . . .127 

" Coir," origin of the word (note) 127 

Amblangodde, coral .... 127 

Cosgodde, anecdote . . . .128 

Bentntte, oysters .... 129 

The Fisher caste .... 129 

The fish-tax 130 

Adam's Peak ..... 132 
Worship of the sun .... 132 
A'arious traditions .... 133 

the Footstep of St. Thomas (note) 133 

of Buddha. . . (note) 133 

of Adam (Mahometan) . . 134 

The Gnostics authors o ' last . ,135 
The first Mahometan pilgrims . . 136 
The route to the summit . . . 137 
The Iron Chains . . . .138 
Elephants visit the summit (note) 139 

The Footstep 140 

The View 141 

The descent to Caltura by water . 142 

Caltura 142 

Pantura ...... 143 

Canals ...... 143 

Morottii 143 

Mount Lavinia 144 

Gal/tisse — the temple . . . 145 

Approach to Colombo . . . 146 

The Galle Face 146 

Queen's House '147 

Note on the fish-tax . . . 148, 149 



Town, modern .... 
The " Jovis Extremum " of Ptolemy 
Origin of the name " Colombo " 
The Colombo Lake or " Gobb " . 
Country houses in the suburbs . 


Annoyances from reptiles . . .153 
Destruction of books by insects -. 154 

The fish insect 154 

The plague of flies .... 155 
Various races inhabiting Colombo . 156 
The Dutch descendants . . .156 
Caste, and its malignant influence . 157 
European society at Colombo . . 158 
Expense of living .... 159 
Curious efiects of the Pinguicula vul- 
garis .... (note) 159 
Fruit at Colombo . . . .160 
Shops in the Native Town . .160 
Interior of a Native house. . . 160 
The soap-nut and the marking- 
nut .... (note) 160 
Houses of the chiefs . . • . 161 
Dinner with Maha-Moodliar . . 161 
The Cinnamon Gardens . . .161 
Decline of the trade in cinnamon . 161 
Its present state .... 163 
Dangerous harbour and roadstead . 165 
Elie house and gardens . . . 166 




The governor and his councils . 

Sources of public revenue . (note) 

The pearl fishery 

The monopoly of salt and arrack 

Unwise tax upon rice 

Its demoralizing effects . (note) 

Tolls on bridges and ferries 

Expenditure on establishments (note) 

The Civil Service and its efficiency 

Causes of its former decline (note) 

Reforms of the Earl of Derby . 

The Maldive ambassador . 

The weather at Colombo, in March 

The superstition of '' the evil eye " 

Cruelty to animals 

Turtle sold alive piece-meal 

Ancient temple of Kalamj 

Sita-wacca and Ruanwelle (note) 

The road from Colombo to Kandy 

The bullocks of Cej'lon 

" Tavalams " . . . . 

Camels tried to be domesticated (note) 

Veangodde ..... 

Don Solomon Dias 

Ambepusse ..... 

White monke3^s . . (note) 

The Kandyan peasantry . 

A juggler'. . . ' . 

Diodorus Siculus' account of the Sin- 
ghalese jugglers . . (note) 

The Kaduganawa Pass 

The Kodiyas — their inhuman degra- 

The Cagots of the Pyrenees 

Entrance to Kandv .... 












General aspect of Kandy . 

Its antiquities 

Its ancient history .... 
The public buildings and Temple of 

the Tooth 

The streets and native houses . 

The palace 

The temples ..... 
Status of the Buddhist priesthood . 
The Pera-hara . . . (note) 198 
The Sacred Tooth and its story . .198 
Fraud practised on the king of Pegu 200 
The Tooth, and its shrine . . .202 
The lake and scenery of Kandy . 203 
Visit of a leopard .... 203 

Snakes 203 

Scorpions 204 

Wine grown at Kandv. a.d. 1602 

(no<e) 206 
Costume of the chiefs . . . 206 
Peradenia ...... 207 

Cultivation of sugar .... 207 

The Botanic Garden .... 209 

Unreasoning complaints against 209, 210 
Duties of a botanic officer . . .211 
Story of the Tooth . . (no^e) 213 



The bridge of Peradenia . . . 222 
Torrents of the Mahawelli-ganga . 222 
Country from Kandy to Garapola . 222 
Character of the Kandyans . . 223 
Their affection for kindred . . 224 

Gampula and its antiquities . . 224 
Huge spiders — the Mygale . . 225 
Origin of coffee-planting in Ceylon . 226 
Introduced by the Arabs . . . 226 
Discouraged bv the Dutch . . 227 
Coffee found at Kandy in 1815 . . 227 
Cultivated by the natives . . . 227 
Systematic culture introduced by Sir 

Edward Barnes .... 228 
Encouraging circumstances in 1826 . 228 
Increased consumption of coffee in 

Europe .... {nnte) 228 
Failure of the supply from the West 

Indies 228 

Rapid success of the experiment . 229 
Kapid sale of crown lands . (iwte) 230 
Imprudence of the early planters . 231 
Attractions of a forest life . . . 231 
The mania at its height in 1845 . 231 
The crisis of 1846 . . . .232 

Sacrifice of estates .... 232 

Gradual recovery of the enterprise . 232 
Subsequent improvements in culture 233 
Difficulties of the speculation . . 233 
Difficulty of obtaining labour . . 233 
Dangers from winds, vermin, and 
insects ...... 234 

Ravages of the " coffee bug " . . 234 

Rats 234 

Future prospect of the planter . . 235 
Present extent under cultivation . 235 
Valuable tables of Mr. Ferguson . 235 
The future and probable extension . 236 
The anxieties of absent planters . 236 
Old Gampola ferry .... 237 
Table of coffee estates . . . 238 
Note on the coffee bug . . . 244 



Road from Gampola to Pusilawa . 249 

Gamboge trees, &c 249 

Patenas 249 

Sounds heard clear!}' on the hills . 250 
Mode of felling forests . . . 250 
Pusilawa ...... 250 

The estate of Mr. Worms . . 250 
Beauty of a coffee plantation . .251 
Tea grown at Pusilawa . . . 251 
Objects of natural history . . 252 
Habits of animals at various hours 

of the day 252 

The early buttei-flies and birds . 253 
Songsters and bees .... 253 
Noon and the effects of heat on the 

animals 254 

Evening and its characteristics . 255 

Night 257 

Rangbodde ...... 257 

General Eraser's estate . . . 258 
Gregarious spiders .... 258 

Effects of cold on the Singhalese . 259 
The Caffre corps .... 259 

One of them killed by an ele- 
phant 259 

Neiiera-elUa and its discovery . . 200 
Its climate and vegetation . . 261 
Effects on health . , . .262 
The benefits to invalids . . . 563 
Farming at Neuera-cllia . . 264 

Gem-finding 264 

OotWi,— its fertility .... 265 

its jtroductions. — coffee estates 266-268 

Badulla, — town described . . . 266 

The hot well 268 

Outcasts and degraded races . . 268 
Magnificent view at the pass of 
Ella 268 






Vast numbers in Ceylon . . . 271 
Derivation of the word " elephant " 

(^note) 271 
Mischief done by them to crops . 272 

Ivor}' scarce iu Ceylon . . . --3 
Confectures as to the absence of tusks 274 



Elephant a harmless animal 

Alleged antipathies to other animals 

Fights one with another , 

His foot his chief weapon . 

Use of the tusks in a wild state doubt- 

Anecdote of sagacity at Kandy . 

DilTerence between African and In- 
dian species . . . . . 

iS'ative ideas of perfection in an ele- 

Blotches on the skin . . . . 

White elephants not unkno^vn in Cey- 

CHAP. 11. 







Water, but not heat, essential to ele^ 
phants .... 

Sight limited 

Smell acute 

Caution .... 

Hearing, good . 

Cries of the elephant . 


Booming noise . 

Height, exaggerated . 

Facility of stealthy motion 

Ancient delusion as to the joints of 
the leg 

Its exposure by Sir Thomas Browne . 

Its perpetuation by poets and others 

Position of the elephant in sleep 

An elephant killed on its feet 

Mode of lying down . . . . 

Its gait a shuffle .... 

Power of climbing mountains . 

Facilitated by the joint of the knee . 

Mode of descending declivities . 

A " herd " is a family. 

Attachment to their young 

Suckled indiflerently"by the females . 

A " rogue " elephant .... 

Their cunning and vice 

Injuries done by them 

Tlie leader of a herd a tusker 

Bathing and nocturnal gambols, de- 
scription of a scene by Major Skinner 

Method of swimming 

Internal anatomy imperfectly known 




Faculty of storing water . . .311 
Peculiarity of the stomach , 312-316 

The food of the elephant . . . 317 
Sagacity in search of it . . 317,318 
Unexplained dread of fences . 318, 319 
His spirit of curiositv and inquisitive- 

ness . . " . . . .320 

Estimate of sagacity .... 320 
Singular conduct of a herd during 

thunder 321 



Vast numbers shot in Ceylon . . 323 
Fatal spots at which to aim . . 324 
Revolting details of elephant killing 

in Africa . . . (_note) 324 

Attitudes when surprised . . . 328 
Peculiar movements when reposing . 328 
Habits when attacked . . . 329 
Sagacity of native trackers . . 330 
Courage and agility in escape . . 331 
Worthlessness of the carcass . . 332 
Singular recovery from a wound(Mo<e) 333 



Method of capture by noosing . . 335 
Panickeas — their courage and address 336 
Their sagacity iu following the ele- 
phant ...... 337 

Mode of capture by the noose . . 338 

Mode of taming 339 

Method of leading the elephants to 

the coast 340 

Process of embarking thera at Ma- 

naar 341 

Method of capturing a whole herd . 341 
The " keddah " in Bengal described . 342 
Process of enclosing a herd . . 348 
Process of capture in Ccj'lon . . 343 
An elephant corral and its construc- 
tion 344 

An elephant hunt in Ceylon. 1847 . 344 
The town and district of Kornegalle 345 
The rock of Aetagalla . . .345 
Forced labour of the corral in former 
times ...... 347 

Now given voluntarily . . . 348 
Form of the enclosure . . . 349 
Method of securing a wild herd . 350 
Scene when driving them into the 

corral 351 

A failure 352 

An elephant drove by night . . 353 
Singular scene in the corral . . 354 
Excitement of the tame elephants . 354 






A night scene 355 

^Morning in the corral . . . 356 
Preparations for securing the cap- 
tives 357 

The " cooroowe," or noosers . . 357 
The tame decoys .... 357 
First captive tied up . . . . 358 
Singular conduct of the wikl ele- 
phants 359 

Furious attempts of the herd to 

escape 360 

Courageous conduct of the natives . 360 
Variety of disposition exhibited by 
the herd ...... 363 

Extraordinary contortions of the cap- 
tives ...... 363 

Water withdraTvn from the stomach . 365 
Instinct of the decoj's . . . 365 
Conduct of the noosers . . . 367 
The young ones and their actions . 368 
Noosing a " rogue," and his death . 369 
Instinct of flies in search cf carrion 

(note) 370 

Strange scene 3/1 

A second herd captured . . . 372 
Their treatment of a solitarj' ele- 
phant 373 

A magnificent female elephant . . 373 
Her extraordinary attitudes . . 373 
Taking the captives out of the corral 376 
Their subsequent treatment and train- 
ing 376 

Grandeur of the scene . . . 376 
Story of young pet elephant . . 377 



Alleged superiority of the Indian to 

the African elephant — not true . 378 
Ditto of Ceylon elephant to Indian . 379 
Process of training in Ceylon . . 382 
Allowed to bathe . . . .383 
Difference of disposition . . . 384 
Sudden death of " broken heart " . 385 
First employment treading clay . 386 
Drawing a waggon .... 386 
Dragging timber .... 387 
Sagacity in labour .... 387 
Mode of raising stones . . . 387 
Strength in throwing down trees 

exaggerated 388 

Piling timber 389 

Not uniform in habits of work . . 389 
Lazy if not watched .... 390 
Obedience to keeper from affection 

not fear 390 

Change of keeper — storj- of child 390-391 
Ear for sounds and music . . . 391 
Hurra! .... (jiote) 391 

Docility 392 

Working elephants, delicate . . 393 
Deaths in government stud . . 39-t 

Diseases 395 

Question of the value of labour of an 

elephant ..... 395 

Food in captivity, and cost . . 395 
Breed in captivity .... 397 

Age 398 

No dead elephants found . . . 399 

Sindbad's story 400 

Passage from xElian . . . .401 





The ancient province of Pihiti . . 407 
Little known to Europeans . . 407 
Coco-nut plantations on the coast . 409 
Difliculty of travellers regarding pro- 
visions 410 

Their dependence on game . .411 

Water 411 

Method of purifying it by a nut . 411 

Roads and forest-paths . . .412 
Solitude of the forest . . . . 413 
Scarcity of animals in its depths . 413 
Mode of crossing rivers . . . 413 
Arrangement of a day's march . . 414 

CHAP. n. 


Scenery of the Mahawclli-ganga . 415 
Chalybeate streams .... 410 

Gonnegamme and the 5Iaha-oya . 416 
Singhalese torches .... 417 
The Cinnamon River . . . 417 

The Ooma-oj'a 417 

Elephants swimming . . .418 

Elfccts of rain on the rivers . .418 
Paiigrayamme . . . . .418 

liintenne and its antiquities . 419-420 
Tlie "Maagrammum" of Ptolemy . 420 
Its ancient dagoba .... 421 

The town 421 

The Mahawelli-ganga . . . 422 
Exploration of its capabilities for na- 
vigation ...... 423 

Effects of its diversion into the Vergel 424 
Mr. Brookes's ascent of the river . 424 
Possibility of rendering it navigable 426 
The residence of a chief . . . 427 

His family 428 

Polyamlry and its origin . . . 428 
Its "prevalence in India . . . 429 
And among the ancient Britons (^note) 429 
The ruined tank of llorra-bora . . 430 



Possibility of restoring the ruined 

tanks 432 

Its national importance . . . 432 
Unrivalled magnitude of the ancient 

■works for irrigation in Ceylon . 433 
Why necessaiy in the north and not 

iri the south of the island . . 433 
Causes of the destruction of the an- 
cient tanks 434 

Difficulties of restoring them . . 434 
Sentiments of the native population 435 
Facilities afforded by the tank at 
Horra-bora 436 



The Yeddah country. . . .437 
Origin of the tribe .... 438 
A remnant of the aborigines of Cey- 
lon 438 

Historical evidences .... 438 
Smilar races in India . («o/e) 438 

Yeddahs described bv Palladius a.d. 

400 ..'... 438 
Yeddahs are " archers "... 439 
Their food 439 

I. The Rock Veddahs . . .440 

Their organisation and habits . 440 
Their language .... 440 
Their marriage rites . . .441 
Ko religion .... 441 

Their devil-worship . . . 441 
Ko burial of the dead . . . 442 
Legend as to their high caste • 442 

II. The Village Veddahs . . .443 

Their customs .... 443 

III. The Coast Veddahs . . .444 
Numbers of the Veddahs in Cey- 
lon 444 

Their general character . . 444 
Attempts of Government to re- 
claim them .... 445 
Success as regards the Rock Yed- 
dahs 446 

Settlement of Yillage Yeddahs . 447 
Settlement of Coast Veddahs . 448 
General results .... 448 
A Yeddah dance . . . 449 

Mode of kindling fire . . . 451 
Country between Bintenne and 

Batticaloa .... 452 
The road from Badulla . . 452 



Singular features of the east coast . 454 

Scenery of the rivers .... 455 

The island of Poe'.iantivo . . . 456 

The great sand formation . . . 456 

Coco-nut plantations of Batf'caloa . 456 

Extraordinary size of the nuts . . 457 

The Moors of Batticaloa . . . 458 

Damask manufacture of Arrapatoo . 458 

Singular law of succession . . . 458 
Its Indian origin .... 459 
Feudal sj'stem in Ceylon . . . 459 
The " village system "... 460 
The " honour of the White Cloth " .461 
Cliena cultivation .... 463 
The Fort of Batticaloa . . . 465 
Its history and present state . . 465 

Kingfishers 466 

Capture of a crocodile . . . 467 
The " Musical Fish "... 468 
Similar sounds in other seas . . 469 
Organs of hearing in fishes . . 469 
Sounds uttered by the Tritonia arbo- 

rescens ...... 470 

The salt-marshes . . . 472, 473 
Eraoor and the "Elephant-catchers" 472 
The Natoor IJiver .... 473 

Scenerv of Yenloos Bay . . . 473 

Shells" 474 

The palace of the Yanichee . . 474 
The salt lake of Panetjen-Keray . 474 
The Yergel River .... 475 
Its dangerous inundations . . . 475 
Arnetivoe, " the Island of Elephants" 47G 
Night-scene at Topoor . . . 477 

Cottiar 478 

Former historv of the place and its 

trade . " 478 

Knox's tamarind tree . . . 478 
Extraordinary oysters . . . 479 
Bay of Trincomalie .... 479 
Note. — Tritonia arborescens . . 480 



The bay and harbour of Trincomalie 
The fortifications .... 

Legend of " the Saamy Rock " . 
The " temple of a thousand columns" 
Destroj-ed by the Portuguese . 
Curious ceremony .... 

Francina Van Reede . . . . 

French attempts on Trincomalie 
The importance of the position . 
Its present neglect . . . . 

Surrounding country depopulated 
The town and bazaars 
Trincomalie as the capital of Ceylon . 
Reasons for its adoption . 
Tamblegam Lake .... 

Its pearls ...... 

Elephants and monkeys . 
A tiger .... 

The ebonv forests 
Life of the foresters . 
Nillavelli and the salt works 
Hot springs of Kanncd 
Iron-sand .... 

Climbing fish 

The lake of Kokelai . 

The mirage 

Night travelling in the forest 

The iri'eat taidi of Fudivil 






Singular scene 503 

Tlie embankment and sluices . 504, 505 
Extraordinary view .... 506 
Wild animals ..... 506 
Obscure origin of the tank . . 507 
The IVanny and its history . . 508 
An attack by ants .... 512 
Singular tameness of game . . 512 
Houses of the Tamil peasantry. . 513 
Adventure with a crocodile . . 514 
The fort of il[/(;e/efii;oe . . .515 
Crocodiles 516 



The "Eleph.nnt Pass" . . .517 
Pass Beschuter . . . {note) 517 
Geologic formation of Jaffna . . 518 
The palmyra palm . . . .519 

INIarriage of the palnnra and the 

banyan 520 

Tamil poem on the palmyra . .521 
Fallacy of Kumpliius . (note) 521 

Economic uses of the palmyra . . 522 
Animals frequenting the tree . . 523 
Method of collecting the juice . . 52-1 
IManufocture of palmyra sugar . . 52-1 

The ripe fruit 525 

" Poonatoo " 525 

The " kelingoo " . . . . 525 
Timber of the palmyra . . . 526 
The leaves and their uses . . . 527 

"Olas" 527 

Coco-nut plantations of Jaffna . . 528 

Mode of culture 528 

Destruction by beetles . , . 530 
Other fruit trees of Jaffna . . .531 
Ingenious system of cultivation . 531 

Cattle and their peculiarities . . 531 
Wells and irrigation .... 533 

Tobacco 634 

Point Pedro ..... 535 
The tamarind tree of Ealdanis . . 535 


Costume of the Tamil females . . 536 
The extraordinary well of Potoor . 536 
Jaffna — the suburbs . . . 636, 537 
Cultivation of the vine . . . 538 
The Tamils — their origin in Cej'lon . 539 
Their rise and former power (note) 539 
Their subjugation by Portugal . . 540 
The town and fort of Jaffna . . 541 
Arts and employments of the people. 542 

Oil crushing 542 

The vices of the Tamils . . . 544 
Their superstitions .... 645 
An extraordinary murder . . . 545 
Comparative state of crime in Ceylon 547 

Adam's bp.idge and the islands. — 
the pearl fishery. 
Kayts, Hammaniel, and Donna Clara 
Delft, "the Island of the Sun " . 
The breed of horses in Delft 
The use of the " lasso " 
Pamisei-am — the great temple 
The Pan m bam Passage 
Adam's liridge . 
The legend of its formation 
The coral groves 
Manaar .... 
Its ancient importance 
Choya root 
Chank shells 

The " tripang," or bkho de mar 
The Dugong .... 
Origin of the fable of the Mermaid 
The baobab trees at Manaar 
The pearl fishery 
The beach at Aripo . 
Enormous accumulations of shells 
Disappearances of the pearl oyster 
Investigations of Dr. Kelaart . 
The pearl divers and their customs 
Exaggerated stories of their powers 
Shark charmers .... 
Return to Colombo . 

. 550, 








S3'mptoms of rebellion and the causes 5C9 
Author's visits to the north in con- 
sequence 670 

The village of the Gahalayas . .571 
Scenery around Matelle . . . 572 
Matelle and its antiquity . . . 272 
Ornamental arts of its inhabitants . 572 
The Alu Wihara . . . .573 
Country to Nalande .... 574 

Mistakes relative to bridges in Ceylon 574 
The Sea of Prakrama . . ' . 675 
Dambool — the rock .... 575 
The temple .... 576, 577 
'Jhe parricide king .... 579 
Sicjiri — the rock fortress . . . 579 
The ruins ... . . 580 

Devil-dancers 581 

Extraordinary view .... 581 
Curious custom of antiquity . (note) 582 
Distances measured by sounds . . 682 
Singhalese names for davs of the 
■week ..." (note) 582 




Cottawelle 583 

Topari or PoUanarrua . . . 583 
Extreme beaut}' of the site . . 583 
Importance of the city, anciently . 584 

Its vicissitudes 584 

Its extent and buildings . . . 584 
The ruins unknown to the Portuguese 

and Dutch 586 

Their discovery in 1817 . . . 586 

The palace 587 

The " seven storied -house " . . 588 
The great stone tablet . . .588 
The "round-house ■' .... 589 
The Dalada Malagawa , . .590 
The Eankot Dagoba . . . .591 
The Jayta-wana-rama . . 592, 593 
Singular mode of lighting the statue 694 
The^Kiri Dagoba . . . .594 
The Gal-wahira . . . 595, 596 

Its colossal statues .... 597 
Great extent of the ruins . . . 597 
A colony of parroquets . . . 599 



The artificial lake of Minery . . 600 

Its beauty 600 

A temple to its founder . . . 601 

Abundance of wild animals . . 601 

The Rittagalla Jlountain . . . 602 

The great tank of Kalaweva . . 602 

Its prodigious dimensions . . . 602 

The ruins of Vigita-poora . . . 603 

An abominable tree .... 603 

Colossal statue 604 

The sacred mountain of Mihintala . 605 

Its liistorical associations . . . 605 

Its ancient names . . (jiote) 006 

Enormous flights of stone steps . 607 

The Et-wihara Dagoba , . .607 
The Ambustella Dagoba . . . 608 
INIagnificent view .... 609 
The road from Mihintala to Anaraja- 

poora 609 

The ancient tanks .... 609 
Plan of the city . . . .610 

Ancient history of Anarajapoora . 611 
The ruins of the Brazen Palace . 612 

Other antiquities .... 612 
The Sacred Bo-tree .... 613 
The oldest historical tree in the world 614 

Proofs of this 615 

The singular veneration shown to it . 616 
Its present condition .... 618 
Finely carved stone slab . . . 619 
The tomb of Elala . . . .619 
The Mirisiwettje Dagoba . . 620 

The Ruanwelle' Dagoba . . .620 
Dimensions of the dagobas {note) 621 

Other monuments .... 621 
The Abhaj'agiri Dagoba . . . 621 
Its extraordinary size . . . 621 
The Thuparama Dagoba . . . 622 
The Dalada Jlaligawa . . .622 
The Jayta-wana-rama Dagoba . . 623 
Its imment>e cubical contents . . 623 
Wild animals near the ruins . . 624 
Fable of the jackal . . (jwte) %ib 
The Giants' Tank .... 626 
Its present condition and histoiy . 626 
The country on the west coast . . 626 
Koodramalie ..... 627 
Putlam and its baobab-tree . . 627 
Calpentyn and its " Gobb " . . 628 

Sea-snakes there and at the Basses 

{note) 628 

Chilaw 629 

Euins of Dambedenia and Yapahoo 

{note) 629 

Xegombo 630 

Evidences of the identity of the Bo- 
tree .... {note) 631 



A Map of Ceylon By ARitowsMiTH 

A Portuguese Map of Cej-lon in a.d. 1G58 . From Ribeyro 
Tlie Coffee Districts of Ceylon . . . .By Arrowsmith 


to face 1 

. 5 

to face 231 


Plan of the Temple, &e. on Adam's Peak 

" Gobbs " on the West Coast . 

Section of a Well made by an Elephant 

Ground Plan and Fence of a Corral . 

" Gobbs " on the East Coast 

Plan of the City of Pollanarrua 

Plan of the Dalada Malagawa at Topare 

Temple in Ava 

Plan of the Ruins at Anarajapoora . 
Diagram of the Dagobas at Anarajapoora 


Mr. W. Ferguson 
Arrowsjiitii . 

Arrowsmith . 
Mr. W. G. Hall 
Mr. W. G. Hall 
le's Ava, Sec. , 
Major Skinner 
Major Skinner 



Elephants captured in a Corral 

Portuguese Discovery Ship 

Portrait of Raja Singha II. 

General Macdowall and Piliime Talaw^ 

Double Canoe of Galle 

A Singhalese, with his Hair Combs . 

Coco de Mer 

Summit of Adam's Peak . 

Portico of the old Queen's House, Colombo 

View of Colombo .... 

Elie House 

Portrait of Don Solomon Dias . 
The Rest-house at Ambepusse . 
The Kaduganawa Pass 

Rodiya Girls 

Temple of the Sacred Tooth, at Kandy 

The Sacred Tooth . 

Shrine of the Sacred Tooth 

View of Kandy .... 

Group of Kandyan Chiefs 

The old Gampola Ferry 

General Eraser's Coffee Estate . 

View of BaduUa .... 

Brain of the Elephant 

By Mr. J. Wolf . 

La Place 
From Knox . 


By Mrs. Brunker 
Mrs. Brunker 

Mr. Fairholme 
Mr. a. Nicholl 
Mr. Fairholme 
Mr. a. Nicholl 
From a Photograph 
By Mr. A. Nicholl 
Mr. a. Nicholl 
Prince Soltykoff 
IMr. a. Nicholl 
From Colonel Forbes 
By Mr. A. Nicholl 
Mr. Fairhuljie 
From a Photograph 
By Mr. Fairholme 
Mr. Fairholme 
Mr. Fairholme 
Professor Harrison 

. 3 
. 49 
. 80 
. 103 
. 106 
. 126 
. 140 
. 147 
. 150 
. 166 
. 182 
. 183 
. 186 
. 190 
. 195 
. 201 
. 202 
. 204 
. 206 
. 237 
. 258 
. 266 
. 288 


Clavicle of the Horse and tlie Elephant 

lOlephant descending a Declivity 

Elephant's Stomach . 

Tracheaj of an Elephant . 

A Captive Elephant . 

Contortions of a Captive . 

Rage of a Captive Elephant 

Conduct of tame Elephants 

Elephant on Greek and Komau Coins 

Medal of Numidia 

Modern Hendoo 

Cerlthhim palustre ; said to be the Musical Shell 

of Batticaloa ... 
Trincomalie .... 
A Coco-nut Oil Mill . 
Paumbam Passage . 
Female Dugong 
Baobab Trees at JIanaar . 
The Alu Wihara ... 
liock of Dambool 

Entrance to the Temple of Dambool 
Rock of Sigiri .... 
Devil-dancers .... 
The Palace at Pollanarrua 
The Sat-mohal-prasada . 
The Round House at Pollanarrua 
The Rankot Dagoba ... 
The Jayta-wana-rama Temple 
Temple in Ava .... 
The Gal-wihara at Pollanarrua 
Colossal Statue .... 
Ascent to Mihintala . 
The Ambustella Dagoba, Mihintala 
Ruins of the Brazen Palace 
The sacred Bo-tree . 
Carved Stone at Anarajapoora . 
Jayta-wana-rama Dagoba at Anarajapoora 


. By SiK CiiARLEs Bell . 

. 299 


. 301 

Sir Everard Home 

. 313 

Professor Harrison 

. 315 

Mr. J. Wolf . 

. 359 

Mr. J. Wolf . 

. 360 

Mr. J. Wolf . 

. 363 

Mr. J. Wolf . 

. 375 


. 378 


. 382 

. 382 

. 468 

Mr. Fairiiolme 

. 482 

Mr. a. Nicholl 

. 542 

M. H. Sylvat . 

. 552 

Mr. J. Wolf . 

. 557 

Mr. Fairholme 

. 559 

Mr. a. Nicholl 

. 573 

Mr. Ivnighton 

. 575 

Mr. a. Nicholl 

. 577 

Mr. a. Nicholl 

. 579 

Mr. a. Nicholl 

. 581 

Mr. a. Nicholl 

. 587 

Mr. a. Nicholl 

. 588 

Mr. a. Nicholl 

. 589 

Mr. a. Nicholl 

. 591 

Mr. a. Nicholl 

. 593 

. YuLEs's Ava, &c. . 

. 594 

. By Mr. A. Nicholl 

. 596 

Mr. a. Nicholl 

. 604 

Mr. a. Nicholl 

. 607 

Mr. a. Nicholl 

. 608 

Mr. a. Nicholl 

. 612 

Mr. a. Nicholl 

. 614 

Mr. a. Nicholl 

. bl9 

Mr. a. Nicholl 

, C2.1 



I -nivn i'uh^ Jan' 15'^ 1857 bv John Arrows Scho Squ 

PAllT VI. 





There is no page in the story of European coloni- 
sation more gloomy and repulsive than tliat which re- 
counts the proceedings of the Portuguese in Ceylon. 
Astonished at the magnitude of their enterprises, and 
the glory of their discoveries and conquests in India, the 
rapidity and success^ of which secured for Portugal an 
unprecedented renown, we are ill-prepared to hear of the 
rapacity, bigotry, and cruelty which characterised every 
stage of tlieir progress in the East. They appeared in 
the Indian Seas in the threefold character of merchants, 
missionaries, and pirates. Their ostensible motto was, 
"amity, commerce, and rehgion."^ Theii^ expeditions 
consisted of soldiers as weU as adventurers, and included 
friars and a chaplain-major. Their instructions were, " to 
begin by preaching, but, that faihng, to proceed to the 
decision of the sword." ^ At once aggressive and timid, 
they combined the profession of arms with that of trade ; 
and thus their factories became fortresses, from under 

A. p. 


' The annexed sketch of a Portu- 
guese Discovery Ship of the fifteenth 
ceutury is copied from a dra^^^ng in 
La Place's Circumnavi<jation cle VAr- 
icmise, torn. i. p. 54. 

^ Faiiia t Souza, Asia PoHiigucsa, 
Jisbon, 1G66 — 75 : translated by Ste- 
vens, London, 1G95, vol. i. pt. i. ch. 
V. p. 54. De Cgtjto says : " Os Reys 
Portugal sempre per tenderani nesta 
conquista do Oiiente unir tanto os 
dous poderes espiritual e temporal, 
que em nenlium tempo se exercitasse 
hum sem o outro." — Dec. vi. lib. iv. 
ch. vii. p. 323. 

^ Ibid., -p. 53. 


B 2 


[Part V 



wliose guns their formidable galleons carried war and de- 
solation against all weaker commercial rivals. The re- 
markable fact is, that the picture of then- pohcy has been 
di-awn by friendly hands, and the most faithfid records of 
then- mis-government are contained in the decades of their 
own liistorians. The atrocities attributed to the Portu- 
guese in the Tohfut-ul-mujahideen'^, might be ascribed to 
the resentment of its Mahometan author, on witnessing 
the havoc inflicted on his co-rehgionists in wars under- 
taken by Em'opeans, in order to annihilate the commerce 
of the Moors in Hindustan ; but no similar suspicion can 
attach to the narratives of ]\L\ffeus"-, De Barros and De 
CouTO^, Castanheda*, Faria t Souza^ and Eibeyro*^, 
each descriptive of actions that consign thek authors to 

^ Tlie Tohfid-id-mujahideen, ■\vi-it- 
ten by Sheikh Zeen-ud-deen, gives 
an account of the proceedings of 
the Portuguese against tlie Ma- 
hometans from the year 1498 to 
1583 A.D. 

^ Maffei, Historia Lidicarum, A.D. 
1570, va-itten imder royal authority. 

^ Da Asia dos Feitos que os Por- 
tuf/uczcs Jizeram no descuhrimento e 
conqaida das terras e mares do Ori- 
ente. Por Joio de Bakkos e DioGO 
DE CotrTO. Lisboa, 1778 — 88. De 
Barros, who is preeminently the his- 
torian of Portuguese India, never 
A-isited the East, but held at Lisbon 
the office of Custodian of the Records 
of India, "Feitor da Caisa da India," 
in ■^•liich capacity he had access to all 
official documents and despatches, 
from the contents of which he com- 
piled liis great work, of ^yhich he lived 
to publish only the first three De- 
cades, the foui'lh being posthumous. 
He died in 1570 ; so tluxt he was co- 
temporary with Albuquerque, whose 
achievements he celebrates, and to 
whom, as CEAWFrRD observes in his 
Dictionary of the Indian Islands, he 
stood " in the same relation that Orme 
the historian of India does to the 
English conqueror Clive." His un- 
finished labours were taken up by 
numerous Portuguese authors; but 

his ablest continuator was Diego de 
Corxo, (or more properly DiOGO DO 
Corio,) who died at Goa, in 1616, 
He brings down the naiTative of Do 
Barros to the viceroyalty of the 
Coimt Admiral Don Francisco de 
Gama, a.d. 1596. 

* Fernando Lopes de Castan- 
HEDA, Historia do Desciibrimento e 
Conquista da India pelos PoHugueses. 
Coimbra, 1551 — 61. It has been 
translated into English by Litchfield, 
London, 1582. 

s Manuel de Farta t SorzA, 
Asia Portuc/uesa, cS-c. Lisbon, 1666. 
This was a posthumous publication, 
■wi'itteu in Spanish, but inferior, both 
in authenticity and ability, to the 
works of De Barros and I)e Couto. 
It has been ti-anslated into English by 
Captain John Stevens ; 3 vols., Lon- 
don, 1695. 

^ RiisEYRO, Ilist. de Vlsle de Ceilan. 
It is doubtfid if this work was ever 
publislied in the Original Portuguese, 
in which it was wi-itten and " pre- 
sented to the King of Portugal in 
1685." But from it the French ver- 
sion was prepared by the Abbe Le 
Grand, and pnnted at Trevoux in 
1701. There is an English transla- 
tion by Lee, Colombo, 1847. To the 
above list may be added the Historia 
de la India Oriental, wTitten in 

Chap. T.] 


The Portuguese were nearly twenty years in India a.d 

before they took steps to obtain a footing in Cey- 


Spanish by San Romano t Riva- 
DENEYRA, aBenedictine of Valladolid, 
A.D. 1G03, which describes the pro- 
ceedinp's of the Portuguese iu ludia 

dowTi to the death of John III., A.D. 

Note to 2nd Edition. — Since the 
publication of the first edition, I have 

PORIUGUKSli; ilAP OF CEYLON, i.D, 1635. 

1. Columbo. 

2. Cotta. 

3. Calilure. 

4. Alicam. 

5. Callc. 

fi. Beligam. 

7. Mature. 

8. Tanavare. 

9. Grevavas. 

10. Balave. 

1 1 . Batecalou. 

12. Capello de Frade. 

13. Mannhas do Sal. 

14. Trinqiiimali?. 

1.*). Terra dos Bedas. 

16. Ovany. 

17. Poiita das Petras. 

18. Jafaii.ipatao. 

10. Ilhade Cardiva. 
2(1. Ilha das Cabras. 

21. Ilha dos Forcados. 

22. llliad;is Vacas. 

23. Uio .Salg.-ido. 

24. Ilha df Manaar. 

25. Mantota. 

2K. Praya de Aripo. 

27. Scrra de Grudumale. 

28. Patalam. 

29. Ilha de Cardiga. 

30. Chilao. 

31. Ni'giimbo. 

32. Verg.inpenin. 

33. RIalvana. 

34. Grubebe. 
3.^ Ruiinella. 

36. Manicavare. 

37. Ceitavacca. 

38. Safregam. 

39. Dinavaca. 

40. Uva. 

41. Candia. 

42. Matalc^. 

43. Serra de Balanc. 

44. Praya de Moroto. 

45. Belelote. 

46. Curaca. 

47. Mapolcgama. 

48. Ence.idados Arcos. 

49. Panatvire. 

50. Acumona. 

51. Pieco de Adam. 
62. Vilacem. 

53. Pasdun Corla. 

54. Reygam Corla. 

55. Salpiti Corla. 

56. Qiiatro Corlas. 

57. Sete Corlas. 

58. Cotiar. 

ascertained that the work of Ribeyro 
(or, as he writes his name, Rireiro) 
has been printed in tlie original Por- 
tuguese, by the Acadeniia Real daa 

Sciencias. It forms the fifth vol. of 
a series entitled, CoUcc(;do do Noticias 
para a Ilistoria e Geocjrajia das Na^ocs 
U!tra)narina,s, que vivem nos Dominios 

B 3 


[Part VI. 



lon.^ Vasco de Gama, after rounding the Cape, anchored 
at Calicut a.d. 1498, and Lorenzo de Ahiieyda visited 
Galle A.D. 1505 ; but it was not till a.d. 1517, that Lopez 
Soarez, the third viceroy of the Indies, bethought himself 
of sending an expedition to form a permanent trading 
settlement at Colombo^ ; and so httle importance did the 
Portuguese attach to the acquisition, that within a very 
few years, an order (which was not acted upon) was 
issued from Goa to abandon the fort, as not worth tlic 
cost of retention.^ 

Portugiiezas ou Ihes suo visinhas ; and 
was published at Lisbon in 18^3(3, from 
the identical MS. presented by the 
author to King Pedro II. lu this, 
ElBEYRO entitles his work, Fatalidade 
Historica da llha de CeiJdo ; and the 
editor, after alluding in strong terms ■ 
to the discreditable neglect in which 
it had so long been permitted to re- 
main in Portugal, points out that its 
French translator, Le Grand, had 
not only committed gross errors, but 
had omitted whole chapters from the 
2nd and 3rd Books, and altered the. 
sense of numerous passages, o^sving to 
his imperfect acquaintance -n-ith the 
Portuguese language. Ilibep-o illus- 
ti-ated his narrative by a map of 
Ceylon, which is a remarkable evi- 
dence of the veiy slight knowledge of 
geogi'aphy possessed by his countiy- 
men in the seventeenth century. A 
fac simile of it is given above. 

' De Bakros, dec. iii. lib. ii. ch. 2. 
vol. iii. pt. i. p. 119. 

^ This fact is not without signi- 
ficance in relation to the claim of 
Ceylon to a " natural monopoly " of 
the finest qualities of cinnamon. Its 
existence as a production of the 
island had been made known to 
Europe by Di Conti, seventy years 
before ; and lux I^atuta asserts that 
Malabar had been supplied -w-ith cin- 
namon from Ceylon at a still earlier 
period. It may therefore be in- 
ferred, that there can have been no- 
thing very remarkable in the quality 
or repute of the spice at the beginning 
of the sixteenth centuiy; else the 

Portuguese, who had been mainly 
attracted to the East by the fame ot 
its spices, would have made their 
earliest visit to the coimtiy which 
afterwards acquired its renown by 
producing the rarest of them. 

" canella 
Com que Ceilao he rica, illustre, e bella." 
Camoens, canto ix. st. 14. 

On the contrary, their first in- 
quiries were for jwpper, and their 
chief resort was to the Dekkan, 
north of Cape Comorin, which was 
celebrated for producing it. (Toh- 
fut-id-3Ii(jahideen, ch. iv. s. i. p. 77.) 
It was not till 1516 that Barbosa 
proclaimed the superiority of Ceylon 
cinnamon over all others, and there 
is reason to believe, whatever doubt 
there may be as to its early introduc- 
tion into the island, that its high re- 
putation is comparatively modern, 
and attiibutable to the attention 
bestowed upon its preparation for 
market by the Portuguese, and 
afterwards in its cultivation by the 
Dutch. De Barros, however, goes 
so far as to describe Ceylon as the 
Mother of Cinnamon, " canella de 
que ella he madre como dissemos." 
— Dec. iii. lib. ii. ch. i, 

' Faria y Souza, vol. i. ch. ix. p. 
281. Valexty^t says the order was 
actually earned into force, and the 
fort of Colombo demolished by the 
Portuguese in 1.524, but shortly after- 
wards reconstructed. {0ml en niemo 
Oost-Indien, 8fc., vol. v. pt. i. ch. vii. 
p. 91.) 


The political condition of Ceylon at the time was tie- a.d. 
plorable. The seaports on all parts of the coast were 
virtually in the hands of the Moors ; the north was in 
the possession of the Malabars, whose seat of government 
was at Jaffha-patam ; and the great central region (since 
known as the Wanny), and Neuerakalawa, were formed 
into petty fiefs, each governed by a Wanniya, calhng 
himself a vassal, but wtually uncontrolled by any para- 
mount authority. In the south, the nominal sovereign, 
Dharma Prakrama Bahu IX., had his capital at Cotta, 
near Colombo, whilst minor kings held mimic coiurts 
at Badulla, Gampola, Peradenia, Kandy, and Mahagam, 
and caused repeated commotions by their intrigues and 
insurrections. They ceased to busy themselves with the 
endowment of temples, and the construction of works for 
irrigation, so that already in the foiu-teenth century, 
Ceylon had become dependent upon India for supphes of 
food, and annually imported rice from the Dekkan.^ 

The first appearance of the Portuguese flag in the 
waters of Ceylon, in the year 1505, was the result of an 
accident. The profitable trade previously conducted by 
the Moors, in carrying the spices of Malacca and Sumatra 
to Cambay and Bassora, having been efiectually cut off by 
tlie Portuguese cruisers, the Moorish ships were compelled 
to take a wide course through the Maldives, and pass 
south of Ceylon, to escape capture. Don Francisco de 
Almeyda, the Viceroy of India, despatched his son, Lo- 
renzo, with a fleet from Goa to intercept the Moors on 
their route, and wandering over unknown seas, he was 
unexpectedly carried by the current to the harbour of 
GaUe'^; where he found Moorish ships loading with cin- 

^ Barthema, Itinerario, kc, p. 

2 De Barros, dec. i. lib. i. cli. v. ; 
Faria y Soxjza, vol. i. pt. i. ch. x. ; 
RiBEYRO, b. i. cb. Y. ; De Copto, 
dec. V. lib. i. ch. iii. De Barros and 
San Romano describe this as "the 

discovery of Ceylon," — an expression 
which must have been merely con- 
ventional, as in addition to all earlier 
ti'avellers, Ceylon had been described 
by a Portiio;uese, Thome Lopez, in 
a.d. 1502. See Ramusio, vol. i. p. 333. 

B 4 


[Part VI. 





namon and elephants. Their owners, alarmed for their 
own safety, attempted to deceive liim by the assertion 
that Galle was the residence of Dharma Praki\ama IX., 
the king of Ceylon, under whose protection they pro- 
fessed to be trading ; and by whom, they further assured 
liim, they were authorised to propose a treaty of peace 
and commerce with the Portuguese, and to comphment 
their Commander, by a royal gift of foiu" hundi^ed bahars 
of cinnamon. They even conducted Payo de Souza, the 
Heutenant of Almeyda, to an inter\'iew with a native who 
personated the Singhalese monarch, and who promised 
him permission to erect a factory at Colombo. Don Lo- 
renzo, though aware of the deception, found it prudent to 
dissemble ; and again put to sea after erecting a stone- 
cross at Point de Galle, to record the event of his ar- 

Twelve years elapsed before the Portuguese again 
visited Ceylon. In the interim, their ascendancy in India 
had been secured by the captm^e of Ormuz, the fortifica- 
tion of Goa, the erection of forts at various places in 
Malabar, and the conquest of the spice country of Ma- 
lacca. Midway between thek extreme settlements, the 
harbours of Ceylon rendered the island a place of im- 
portance^ ; and at length, in 1517, Lopo Soarez de 
Albergaria appeared in person before Colombo, with a 
flotilla of seventeen sail, and with materials and work- 
men for the erection of a factory in conformity with 
the promise alleged to have been made by the king 
to Don Lorenzo de Almeyda, in 1505, and afterwards 

^ Dk Baeeos, dec. i. lib. x. ch. v. 
Aol. i. pt. ii. p. 425 ; De Corio, dec. 
V. lib. i. cb. T. vol. ii. pt. i. p. 58 ; San 
Romano, lib. i. cb. xviii. p. lOG. 
Camoens, in a passage in tbe Lu- 
siacl, implies tbat tbe Portuguese 
came provided witb tbese columns, 
"padraos," to be erected in com- 
memoration of tbeir expected dis- 

" Hum padrao nesta tprra alevant &mos 
Que para assipna ar lusa rs taes 
Trazia alguns," &c. Canto v, st. 78. 

"^ Tbe importance of Ceylon, both 
for tbe facility and security of Por- 
tuguese commerce in India, bas been 
ably discussed by Ratnal in bis 
Histoirc des Estahlissementset du Com- 
merce des Euroi)cens dans Ics Indcs, 
V. i. cb. XV. vol. i. p. 160. 

Chap. I.] 


repeated by letter to the Viceroy Alfonzo de Albii- a.p. 
querque.^ But the apprehensions of the Singhalese court ^ 
were aroused by the discovery that seven hundred 
soldiers were carried in the merchant ships of the Vice- 
roy, and that the proposed factory was to be mounted 
with cannon. In justification of this proceeding, Soarez 
pleaded the open hostihty of the Moors, and the inse- 
curity of the new traders when exposed to their vio- 
lence ; — but the arguments by which he succeeded in 
removing the king's scruples were proffers of the mihtary 
services upon which the latter might rely, in case of 
assault from his aspiring relatives, and assurances of the 
riches to be derived from the trade which the Portumiese 


proposed to estabhsh. Dazzled by such promises and 
prospects, the king gave a reluctant assent, and the first 
European stronghold in Ceylon began to rise on the rocky 
beach at Colombo.^ 

The Moors, instinctively ahve to the dangers which 
threatened their trade, soon succeeded in re-kindhng the 
alarms of the king at the consequences of his precipitancy. 
He made another attempt to draw back from his recent 
engagements ; he encouraged the Moors to resistance, and 
the Portuguese were closely besieged for several months. 
But the effort was ineffectual ; the garrison was reheved 
by the arrival of succoiu: from India, and the only re- 
sult of the demonstration was to render the Singhalese 
king more helplessly dependent upon the power of the 
Viceroy. He submitted to acknowledge himself a vas- 
sal of Portugal, and to pay an annual tribute of cinnamon, 
rubies, sapphires, and elephants, and with this important 
convention inscribed on plates of gold, Lopo Soarez took 
his departure from Ceylon, leaving Juan de Silveu'a in 
command of the new settlement.^ 

' Faria t Soxtza^ vol, i. pt. iii. 2 ; 
De Barros, dec. lii. lib. ii. ch. ii. 
vol. iii. pt. i. p. 118. 

^ Be Barros, dec. iii. lib. ii. ch. 

ii. vol. iii. pt. ii. p. 121 ; Bald^tjs, 
ch. xl. 

' De Barros, dec. iii. vol. iii. p. 
132 J De Couto, dec. v. vol. iii. p. 


A.D. Owing to the difficulty of finding lime or even suitable 
1^17. stone on the spot, the first entrenchment of the Portu- 
guese consisted of earth-work and stockades ; and it was 
1520. not till A.D. 1520, that Lopo de Brito was despatched 
with 400 soldiers, besides masons and carpenters, with 
orders to transport the shells of the pearl-oyster, which 
still form vast mounds along the sea-shore of Aripo, and 
to bm^n them for cement to complete the fortifications of 
Colombo.^ The Moors availed themselves of this undis- 
guised attempt to convert a factory into a fortress, as an 
aro-ument to rouse the indication of the Sino-halese ; and 
an army of 20,000 men was collected, which for upwards 
of five months held the Portuguese in utmost peril within 
the area of theh' entrenchments^, till the besiegers, 
alarmed by the arrival of reinforcements from India, 
suddenly dispersed, and left the garrison at hberty to 
complete their fortifications. 

But hostihties w^ere merely suspended, not abandoned, 
and a war now commenced which endured almost with- 
out intermission diuring the entu'e period the Portuguese 
held possession of the maritime provinces ; a war wliich, 
as De Couto observes, rendered Ceylon to Portugal 
what Carthage had proved to Eome — a som^e of un- 
ceasing and anxious expenditm^e, " gradually consuming 
her Indian revenues, wasting her forces and her artillery, 
and causing a greater outlay for tlie government of 
that single island than for all her other conquests in the 
East." 3 

445. Camoexs, iu tlie Lusiad, cele- i 2 Sax Roitaxo, lib. ii. cli. xxvi. 
brates this incident of the trihtrtc of | p. ,349 

Cinnamon as the crowning triumph 
which .signalised the planting of the 
" Lusitanian standard on the towera 
of Colombo." 

" Dell.T dara tributo a Lusit.ina 
Bandeira, qiiando excolsa e gloriosa 
Veiicendo se ergiuni na torre erguid<i 
Em Colurabo,dos proprios tao temida." 
Canto X. ft. 51. 

^ De Bareos, dec. iii. lib. iv. ch. ^-i. 
vol. iii. pt. i. p. 445 ; Faria y Souza, 

3 De Corxo, dec. v. pt. i. ch. v. 
RoDRiGTJES DE Saa, in his narrative 
of the rebellion in Ceylon, in which 
his father perished in 16.30^ records a 
similar opinion : — ^' ^'arios y estraiios 
casossuccedidos en vma couqiiista, que 
siendo a los Estados de la India como 
otro Cartago a Roma en la hoiTibel 
y prolixo de la guen-a, iguald sin 

vol. i. pt. iii. ch. iv. p. 238 ; PaBETRO, duda a los mas fonnidables de Eu 
book i. ch. V. ; Sax Romaxo, lib. ii. ; I'opa; porque ha cieuto y vemte siete 
ch. xxvi. p. 348. ' ^"•'s que dura con igual obstinaciou 

ClIAP. I.] 




The king, Dharma Prakrama IX., the first with a.d. 
whom the Portuguese came in contact, is correctly de- 
scribed by EiBEYEO, as a weak and irresolute prince, 
who lacked the courage to refuse any request.^ The 
same may be said of his brother, Wijayo Bahu VII., 
and of Bhuwaneka VII., son and successor of the latter. ^ a.d. 
Though nominally the paramount sovereign of Ceylon, 
such was the minute subdivision of the island into petty 
fiefs, that the territory under the direct government of 
the king was not only insignificant in extent, but from 
its position, insusceptible of defence. On one side 
Cotta, his capital, lay almost within range of the Portu- 
guese guns ; and on all others he was overawed by his 
own vassals, who, from their strongholds in the hills, 
threatened him with revolt and invasion. The kings 
of Cotta thus exposed to demands from arrogant 
strangers which they were powerless to resist, and 
alarmed by the resentment of their own people, called 
forth by their concessions, were compelled, for security, 
to draw closer the ill-omened alliance with Portugal, in 
order to protect themselves from the indignation of their 
nominal subjects. 

The first to organise an armed resistance to the en- 
croachments of the new settlers, were the mountaineers 
of Kandy and the surrounding regions. From the 
earliest ages the inhabitants of these lofty ranges have 
been distingiushed by their patriotism and ardent re- 
sistance to every foreign invader. The same impatient 
spirit, which had stimulated their forefathers fifteen 
hundred years before, to avenge the first aggressions 
of the Malabars, now animated their descendants to 
repel the intrusion of European adventurers, wliose 
mingled arrogance and duphcity served to inflame a 

(le Zingalas y Portuguesas, pug- 
nando, estos por el Imperio y la ex- 
ftltacion de nuestra santa Fe Cato- 
lica; y afiuellos por la libertad de 

los cueTpos." — EoDRiGUES BE Saa, 
liitbclion de Ceyhin, lS'y'., p. 2. 
' RiuEYRO, book i. chap. v. 



[Part VI. 

A.D. resistance which no blandishments could divert and no 
1527. reverses allay, and which served to keep ahve an interne- 
cine war, never relaxed nor suspended till the Portuguese 
were expelled from Ceylon, one hundred and fifty years 
after their first landing. 

The efiects of this long-sustained struggle left strongly 
marked impressions upon the national character of the 
Kandyans. It not only called forth their patriotism and 
daring, but taught them the profession of arms, and, as 
an illustration of the maxim of Scipio, that a continual 
war against a single people teaches the aggressors in 
time to strengthen themselves by adopting the tactics 
of their enemies, De Couto instances the remarkable 
fact, that whereas on the arrival of Almeyda, in 1505, 
the Singhalese were ignorant of the use of gunpowder, 
and there was not a single firelock in the island, they 
soon excelled the Portuguese in the manufiicture of 
muskets, and before the war was concluded, they 
coidd bring twenty thousand stand of arms into the 

' The astonisliment of the natives 
at the first discharge of a cannon by 
the Portuguese at Colombo, is forci- 
bly described in the Rajamli : " ma- 
king a noise like thimder when it 
breaks upon Jimgara Parwata — and 
a ball from one of them, after flying 
some leagues, will break a castle of 
marble." (p. 278.) The passage in De 
Couto is as follows : — " neste tempo 
nem huma so espingarda havia em 
toda a Ilha ; e depois que nos entra- 
mos nella, com o continuo uso da 
guen-a que Ihe fizemos, se fizeram 
tao destros como hoje estam ; e a 
fundirem a melhor, e mais formosa 
artilheria do mimdo, e a fazeram as 
mais fonnosas espingardas, e me- 
Ihores que as nossas, do que hoje ha 
na Ilha de vantagem de vinte mil." 
— Dec. \. lib. i. ch. v. 

Faria y SouzA mentions that the 
Singhalese at the close of the Poi'- 
tuguese dominion " made the best 
firelocks of all the East." (Vol. ii. 

pt. iv. ch. xix. p. 510.) See also 
KoDRlGTJES DE Saa, Rehelion, SiC, ch. 
i. p. 29. LiNscnoTEN, the Dutch tra- 
veller, who visited Ceylon in 1805, 
says, " the natural bom people or 
Chimjahts, make the fairest barrels 
for pieces that may be foimd in any 
place, which shine as bright as if 
they were silvei-." Lond. 1598. And 
Ptraed, the French traveller, who 
landed at Galle after having been 
wi'ecked on the Maldives, in 1605, 
expresses unqualified admiration of 
the Singhalese workmanship on me- 
tals ; and especially in the fabrication 
and ornamenting of arms, which he 
says were esteemed the finest in In- 
dia, and even superior to those of 
France. " le n'eusse iamais pens6 
q'ils eussent esttS si excellens a bien 
faire des arquebuses et autres amies 
ouurag^es et fa^ onntSes, qui sont plus 
belles que celles que I'on fait icy." — 
Pyrakd de Laval, Voyages, Sfc, 
Paris, 1679, ch. x. tom. ii. p. 88. 

Chap. L] 





The original leader of the insurgent Singhalese was 
Maaya Dunna.i\ youngest son of Wijayo Baliu ^HLI., 
and grandson of the king by whom the Portuguese had 
been originally suffered to estabhsh themselves at Co- 
lombo. This prince, exasperated by the degrading 
policy of his family towards the Eiu^opeans, and alarmed 
by an attempt of his father to set aside his brothers and 
himself from the succession in favour of children by 
a second marriage, levied war against the king, procured 
his assassination, and succeeded in placing the heir ap- 
parent, Bhuwaneka Bahu VIL^, on the throne ; reser\dng ^ ^ 
the fief of Sitawacca for himself, and that of Eayagam 1534 
for his second brother. 

The new king, however, outvied his predecessor in 

^ Called by the Portuguese his- 
torians Madune ; — his sou and suc- 
cessor, Raja Singha I., is the Raju of 
De Ban-OS and De Couto. I have 
prepared the genealogical table which 

is subjoined with a \'iew to facilitate 
reference to the complicated alliances 
of the sovereigns of Ceylon at this 

I. Dh.irma Prakrama Bahu IX. 
1505. Died 1527. 

Raja Siiigha. 

II. WiJAVo Bahu VII. 1527. R.ijgam Banda. 
Murdered by his sons, 1531. Dead. 

In. BmnvANiKA Bahu Vll. 1.534. 
Killed aciidentally, 1542. 

A daughter, m.Tribiila H.iiida. 

Don Juan Dhar.mapala, 1542. 
A Christian. His aiithcirity 
was confined to Colombo, 
his grand-uncles having 
possession of the re.<!t of his 
dominions. He died, a.d. 
I.WI ; and by will lift the 
King of Portugal heir to his 

Ray.-igam Banda. Maaya Dinnai, DewaU .jaKumara. 
murdered by his Son by a2nd mar- 
son, Raja Singha. riagc. 

2 so. s, d. A daughter, V. Raja Singha I. 1.581, d. 159 '. 
Died. , > I 

deposed by 

\'l. WiMALA Dharma. 1592. King 
of Randy, m. Donna Catharina. 

VI!. Senerat. 1GU4. Brotlier of 
Lite king, m. Donna Catha- 
rina, his widow. 

VIII. Raja Singha II. 1C3.".. 



X. Sni W'IRA Prakiiama. 17117. 
Son. At his death, in \1M\, 
the Singhalese line extinct. 

XI. Sri Wijava R\ja Singha. 
1739. A Malabar. 

XII. KiRii Sri. 1747. Brother- 

XIII. Hajaohi Kaja Singha. 17">1. 

.\1V. Sri WiKRtMA Raja Singha. 
I79S, nephew. Deposed by 
the Knglish, 1H15. 

2 A.D. 15:34, " This king is 
Bnuonya liao of l)e Couto, and 

the I Kef/aha Pa))(lar o{T\\howo. 

Boe \ ' 



[Part YI. 







faithlessness to his country and his rehgion, and in 
subserviency to the rising power of the Portuguese ; and 
before two years, Maaya Dunnai, assisted by the Moors, 
" the greatest enemies of the Portuguese in India," ^ and 
supported by two tliousand troops sent by tlie Zamorin 
of CaUcut, invested Cotta, which, after a siege of three 
months, was reheved by the timely arrival of Portu- 
guese reinforcements from India.^ In 1538 he renewed 
the war with the co-operation of Paichi Marcar, a power- 
ful Moor of Cochin^; but the forces sent by the latter 
having been intercepted and destroyed by the Portu- 
guese fleet, Maaya Dunnai again found it prudent to 
temporise. The death of his brother, the chief oi 
Eayagam, and the acquisition of his territory, having 
greatly enhanced his strength, he renewed his sohcita- 
tions to the Zamorin and Paichi Marcar, and again laid 
siege to Cotta in 1540.^ Again the viceroy of India 
was forced to interpose, and a thu\l time Maaya Dunnai 
was obliged to sue for peace, which he purchased by a 
treacherous surrender of Paichi Marcar, and the chiefs 
of his Moorish allies, whose heads raised on spears he 
presented to the Portuguese general.^ 

The king of Cotta, Bhuwaneka VIL, was now so 
utterly estranged from the sympathies of his own coun- 
trymen, and so entirely at the mercy of his foreign allies, 
that he appealed to the Portuguese to ensure the suc- 
cession to his grandchild, the only male representative 
of his family. To give solemnity to their acquiescence, 
he adopted the strange expedient of despatching to Eu- 
rope a statue of the boy cast in gold, together with a 

^ Farta y Sou/a, vol. i. pt. iv. ch. 
8. San IIomano, lib. iv. cli. xx. p. 734. 

2 ])r Couto, dec. V. lib. i. cli. \'i. ; 
ib. lib. ii. ch. iv. ; Faeia y Souza, 
vol. i. pt. iv. ch. xvii. 

3 A.D, 1538, Fakia y Sottza, vol. 
i. pt. iv. ch. viii. ; De Couto, dec. v, 
lib. ii. ch. iv.-v. 

* De Couto, dec. v. lib. i. ch. x. ; 
lib. V. ch. vi. 

5 De Couto, dec. v. lib. ii. ch. 
viii. ; Faeia y SorzA, vol. ii. pt. i. 
ch. ii. Ttjrnottr says he was christ- 
ened in effigy at Lisbon {Ejntomc, 
8fc., p. 49), but De Cono, with more 
probability, says the ceremony was a 
coronation. (Dec. v. lib. vii. ch. iv. ; 
dec. \\. lib. iv. ch. \'ii.) 

Chap. I.] 



crown ornamented with jewels ; — his ambassadors were a.d. 
received with signal honours by John III., and the form '^ ' 
of a coronation in effigy was performed at Lisbon in a.d. 

1541 \ the name of Do7i Juan being conferred on the 
young prince in addition to his previous patronymic of 
Dharmapala^ Bahu. 

In return for this condescension, the king of Portugal, 
true to the pohcy of extending religion conterminously 
with his dominions ^, exacted a further concession from 
the Singhalese sovereign. A party of Franciscans were 
directed to accompany the ambassadors on their return 
from Lisbon to Ceylon ; hcence was claimed to preach 
the gospel of Christ in aU parts of the island, and the 
first Christian communities were organised at various 
parts of the coast between Colombo and GaUe.^ 

Fresh outbursts of hostihty and rebellion ensued on 
this attempt to overturn the national faith. Maaya 
Dunnai and his followers again took up arms, and in 

1542 the pusillanimous king, whilst preparing to en- 15^2. 
counter him, was accidentaUy shot by a Portuguese 
gentleman on the banks of the Kalany-ganga.^ His 
memory in the annals of the Singhalese occupies a place 
similar to that of Count Juhan in the chronicles of 
Spain, as a traitor alike to his country and his God ; 

and the circumstances of his death are pointed to as a 
judgment to mark the indignation of heaven at the 
calamities which he entailed on his country.^ 

On his death, the young prince, his grandson, nomi- 
nally succeeded to the throne ; but throughout the 
eiitke period of his rule, his dominions can scarcely be 

^ Valentyn, Oud en Nietm Oost- 
Imlien, 8)-c., ch. vii. p. 92. 

' Called Drama liolla JDao by De 


^ Be Cotjto, dec. vi. lib. ii. ch. vii.; 
Faria y Souza. vol. ii. pt. ii. ch. vi. 
p. 121. 

* For an account of the proceed- 
ings of the Portuofuese missions, see 
Sir J. Emerson Tennent's Christi- 
anity in Cmjlmi, ch i. Ue Cotjto 

says, the first Roman Catholic con- 
verts were made a.d. 1542, at Pan- 
tiu-a, Macu (Malwane ?) Berbenn, 
Galle, and Belligam. — Bee. vi. lib. 
iv. ch. vii. 

^ Be Couto, dec. vi. lib. ix. ch. 
xvi. torn. iii. pt. iii. p. 339 — .341. 

^ Rajamli, p. 290—293 ; Faria y 
Souza, vol. ii. pt. iii. p. 364 ; Bal- 
PiEUS, ch. xl. 



[rART VI. 



said to have extended beyond the fortifications of Co- 
lombo. To conciliate his protectors, he eventiiaUy ab- 
jured the Buddhist rehgion and professed himself a 
convert to Clmstianity ; many nobles of his court being 
baptized on the occasion, and, according to the Eajavali, 
the loAver castes, as well as the higher, hastened to 
profess Christianity, " for the sake of the Portuguese 
gold." 1 

His accession served to re\ the animosity and 
energies of Maaya Dunnai and the national party, whilst 
his helplessness placed the Portuguese in the position of 
prmcipals rather than aiixiharies in the long war which 
ensued. In this new relation, reheved from even the 
former semblance of restraint, their rapacitj^ betrayed 
itself by wanton excesses. They put to the tortm^e the 
subjects of the king they professed to succour, in order 
to extort the disclosure of the bmied treasures of his 
family ; and after the first conflict ^A^th Maaya Dunnai, in 
which the Portuguese were victorious, they not only 
exacted the full charges of the expedition from their 
young ally, but in Adolation of their compact, appropri- 
ated to themselves the entire of the plunder of Sita- 
wacca, " the wants of India," as Farli t Souza observes, 
" not permitting the performance of promises." ^ 

For many years the maritime proA^nces were devas- 
tated by civil war in its most revolting form. Cotta 
was so frequently threatened as to be kept in a state of 
almost incessant siege. Every town on the coast where 
the Portuguese had formed trading estabhshments, Pan- 

^ Rajavali, p. 291. Hence the fre- 
quent occuiTence at the present day 
of Poi-tuguese names, in addition 
to the Singhalese patron^nnics in 
families of the highest rank in the 
maritime provinces. They were as- 
sumed at baptism three centuries 
back, and are still retained even 
where the bearers have abandoned 

2 Fakia y Souza, vol. ii. pt. ii. ch. 
ix. p. 159 ; De Couxo, dec. vi. lib. ix. 

ch. xviii. torn. iii. pt. ii. p. 350 ; 
RajavaU, p. 292. liestitution was 
made at a later period, Jolin III. 
having ordered the restoration of all 
the plunder ; and this order came to 
Ceylon, says Faria y SorzA, in the 
same ship which can-ied the poet 
Camoens, A.D. 1553, " to try if he 
could advance by his sword that for- 
time which he had failed to A\-in by 
his pen." (Vol. iii. p. 1G9.) 


tiira, Caltura, Barberin, Galle, and Belligam were ravaged a.d. 
by the partisans of Maaya Dunnai, their chnrches and 
buildings destroyed, and their Christian inliabitants butch- 
ered by the Singhalese.^ 

In these sanguinary forays, the renown of Maaya 
Dunnai himself was echpsed by that of his youngest 
son ; who, beginning his military career whilst yet a 
child, had accompanied the army of liis father in an 
expechtion against one of the refractory chieftains of the 
south, on which occasion the boy won the title of Eaja 
Singha, " the Lion King." - 

This fiery leader had the audacity to besiege Colombo 
in 1563 ; and afterwards attacked Cotta mth such 1503". 
vigour and perseverance, that the Portuguese officer, 
Ataide, alarmed at the failure of provisions during a 
protracted defence, caused the flesh of those killed in 
tlie assault to be salted as a resource aojainst famine.^ 
Warned by this critical emergency of the impossibility 
of mamtaining Cotta as a fortress, it was judged expe- 
dient, in 1564, to dismantle it*, and the humiliated 15(34. 
king thenceforth resided witliin the walls of Colombo ; 
where, says Faria y Souza, " he was no less tor- 
mented by the covetousness of the Portuguese Com- 
mander than he had been before by the t}T.'anny of 
Eaja Singha."^ 

During this wretched struggle, it was the pohcy of 
Portugal to induce the minor chiefs of Ceylon to detach 
themselves from the national party, by inflaming their 
apprehensions, and exciting theu' jealousy of the ascend- 
ancy and pretensions of Maaya Dunnai and his son ; and 
tlie more firmly to consohdate an aUiance, the strongest 
inducements Avere held out to them to profess Christia- 

^ A.D. 1555. Faria t Souza, vol. | ^ Faria t Souza, vol. ii. pt. iii. ch. 
ii. pt. ii. ch. xii. p. 181 ; De Couto, ii. p. 249. 

dec. vi. lib. x. ch. xii. torn. iii. p. * De Couto, dec. viii. lib. vii. ch. 

479. I vii. torn. i. pt. i. p. 57. 

* Rajavali, p. 29 ; Ribetro, b. i. I '- I'ortm/ucse Asia, vol. ii. pt. iii. 

ch. V. I ch. ii. p. 248. 




[Part VI. 





iiity ; but too feeble to contribute any effectual aid to their 
new allies, their treason and apostacy di'ew down on 
them the indignation of then- rightful sovereign, and 
served only to furnish pretexts for their overthrow and 
liis further aggrandisement. 

It was thus that the territory of Kandy was seized by 
Eaja Singha, in 1582. Jaya-weii^a, its king, in 1547, 
invited the Eoman Cathohc fathers to liis dominions, 
permitted a church to be erected at his capital, and 
intimated a wish, Avliich was promptly comphed ^\'ith, 
that a niihtary party should be stationed at Kandy, 
with the double object of extending the faith and 
protecting the sovereign from the resentment of his 
own people, should he openly embrace Cliristianity.^ 
An officer, with one hundi'ed and twenty men, was 
despatched on this service, in 1548, and landed at 
Batticaloa, whence his party crossed the island westward 
to Kandy ; but a sudden change in the king's mtentions 
led hhn to place an ambush to cut off the mihtant mis- 
sion, which, mth difficulty, effected its escape to Colombo.- 

So intent were the Portuguese upon the extension of 
the faith that, mitaught by this act of treachery, they 
subjected themselves to a still more disastrous repetition 
of it in A.D. 1550, when Kumara Banda, the son of Jaya- 
weira^, renewed the apphcation of his father for spmtual 
and mihtary assistance. A force despatched at liis re- 
quest was permitted to march to "withui three miles of 
Kandy, when they were smTOunded by the followers of 
the prince, and lost upwards of seven hundred men (of 
whom one-half were Em^opeans) in a headlong retreat to 
the coast. '^ 

' The soldiers were despatched, 
according to De Cono, at once to 
'confirm liim in "the faith and in his 
possessions," " 'pera invenar e assistar 
com aquclle Rey ate (S scf/urarem na 
Fe c no rcynoy De CorTO, dec. vi. 
liv. iv. cli. vii. p. •'^24. 

2 De Couto, dec. vi. lib. iii. cli. 
vii. viii. vol iii. pt. i. p. 320. 

^ He resided, according to the 
Majavali, at Coral Taddea, and is 
called by the Portuguese wiiters, 
Caralea Pandur. De Coxjto, dec. 
vi. lib. viii. ch. iv. torn. iii. pt. ii. 
p. loo. c. xi. p. 105. 

'^ De Couto, dec. vi. lib. viii. ch, 
■vii. vol. iii. pt. ii. p. 178 ; Fakia y 
SotrzA, vol. li. pt. ii. ch. viii. p. 148. 

Chap. I.] 



Meanwhile Eaja Singha who, though tlie youngest of 
his family, succeeded to tlie territories of his father on the 
death of Maaya Dunnai in 1571, proceeded to develope 
his designs for concentrating in his person supreme 
authority over the other petty kingdoms of Ceylon. He 
put to death every troublesome asphant of the royal 
line\ and directed his arms against every chief who had 
been hostile or neutral during liis struggles witli the 
king of Cotta. In the course of a very few years he 
made himself virtually master of the interior, and drove 
into exile the king of Kandy, wlio, with his queen and 
children, fled for safety to the Portuguese fort at Manaar, 
where he and his daughter became Cliristians, and 
were baptized, she as Donna Catharina, and lie inider 
the name of Don Phihp, in honour of Philip XL, wlio 
had just acquired the crown of Portugal with that of 
Spain. On her father's decease. Donna Catharina was 
left a ward of the Portuguese, and through their instru- 
mentality was afterwards made queen of her ancestral 

Unable, from tlie extent of the mihtary operations in 
which he was engaged, to retain possession of the Kandyan 
countiy, Eaja Singha adopted the precaution of disarm- 
ing the Kandyans, and was thus enabled to concentrate 
his attention on preparations for the siege of Colombo, 
which he at leno;th invested with a formidable force. To 
this memorable assault he brought, according to the 
account of the Portuguese, fifty thousand fighting men, 
and an equal number of pioneers and camp foUowers, 
Avith upwards of two thousand elephants and mnumerable 
baggage oxen.'*^ He even collected a naval force with 
which to threaten the fleet of the Viceroy. He took 
up his position before the fort in August, a.d. 1586, and 



^ A.D. 1581. The Portuguese 
assert, that Kaja Siuo-]ia I., to clear 
his owai way to tlie tlirone, murdered 
not ouly his brothers, but his aged 
liither, Maaya Dunnai. De Couto 

dec. X. ch. xiii. vol. vi. pt. ii. p. 215; 
Farta y Souza, vol. iii. pt. i. ch. iv. 
^ Faeja y Souza, vol. iii. pt. i. ch. 
vi. ; De Couto, dec. x. ch. ix. vol. vi. 
pt. ii. p. 419. 



[Part VI. 



continued to harass it by repeated assaidts till the end 
of May in the following year. The barbarities practised 
by the garrison are related A^dthout emotion by the Por- 
tuQ-uese historians of the sieo-e— the tortures inflicted on 
the h\ing, and the orgies perpetrated over the remains 
of the dead^ — and as the entire country beyond the 
walls of Colombo was in possession of the enemy, 
Portuguese galleons were despatched to destroy the 
\-illages along the southern coast. The expedition, ac- 
cording to the complacent narrative of De Couto, 
achieved its mission with circmnstances of signal atrocity, 
especially towards the women and theu^ httle ones, 
whose hands and arms tlie soldiers hacked off m then* 
eagerness to secure then- pendants and bangles ; and 
returned to Colombo m triumph, with their spoils and 

In a second expedition these outrages were repeated 
on a still greater scale. Thome de Sousa d'AiTonches, 
in February, 1587, sacked and burned the villages of 
Cosgodde, Madampe, and Gindm^a, surprised and ra- 
vaged Galle, Belhgam, and Matura, and utterly de- 
stroyed the great temple of Tanaveram or Dondera, 
then the most sumptuous in Ceylon, built on vaulted 
arches on a promontory overlooking the sea, with 
towers elaborately carved and covered with plates of 
gilded brass. De Sousa gave it up to the plunder of 
his soldiers ; overthrew more than a thousand statues 
and idols of stone and bronze, and slaughtered cows 
Avithin its precincts in order indehbly to defile the 
sacred places. Carrying away quantities of ivory, pre- 
cious ornaments, jeAvehy, and gems, he committed the 

1 De CorTO relates, that an ai-achy 
of singular bravery, who on a former 
occasion had killed Avith liis OAvn 
hand twenty-nine Singhalese las- 
carins, having been brought prisoner 
into Colombo, a Portuguese soldier 
cut open his heart and drank the 
blood out of his hands, "hum delles 
chamado Maroto, a quern devia deter 

bem escandalizado, Ihe deo huma 
cutUada sobre o cora^ao, que abrio 
todo, e por tres vezes Ihe tomou o 
sangue com os maos, e bebeo por for- 
tai' a sede do odio que Ihe tinlia." 
— Dec. X. ch. v. vol. vi. pt. ii. p. 562. 
2 Rajavali, p. SOSj Faria t bouzA, 
vol. iii. pt. i. ch. vi. 


ruins of the pagoda and the surrounding buildings to a.d. 
the flames.1 ^^^^• 

Kaja Singha, stunned by the intelligence of these 
disasters, disheartened by tiie utter faihu'e of his re- 
peated assaidts on Colombo, and alarmed by the inteUi- 
gence of the arrival of large reinforcements to the 
garrison from Goa, suddenly abandoned the siege, and 
drew off his forces to the interior. 

He survived his discomfiture at Colombo but a very 
few years, and died at Sita-wacca, in 1592, at an ex- 
tremely advanced age.^ Authority and success seem 
equally to have deserted him towards the close of liis 
career ; the Portuguese taking advantage of his involve- 
ments and anxieties during the siege, contrived to 
excite a formidable diversion by rousing the Kandyans 
to revolt ; and Kunappoo Bandar of Peradenia, a 
Singhalese of royal blood who had embraced Christi- 
anit}^, taldng at his baptism the name of Don Juan^, 
was despatched with an armed force to prepare the 
way for enthroning Donna Catharina, the daughter 
of the late fugitive Idng Jaya-weira, who had been 
educated at Manaar. The expedition was signally suc- 
cessfid ; the Kandyans not only asserted their own in- 
dependence, but descending to the territories of Eaja 
Singha, laid waste his country to the walls of his palace 
at Sita-wacca.* Don Juan, intoxicated by his victories, 
and indignant that the Portuguese, whilst continuing him 
in his mihtary command, shoidd have conferred the 
sovereignty of the interior on Don Pliihp, a rival on 
whom they intended also to bestow the hand of Queen 
Catharina, turned his arms against his allies, and drove 
the Portuguese from Kandy, removed Don Phdip by 
poison, and conducted on his own account hostihties 

' De Couto, dec. x. ch. xv. vol. vi. 
pt. ii. p. 6()o. 

^ The Portuguese say Raja Singha 
was upwards of 120 years old when 
he died ; but this is an obvious exag- 

^ Rajavali, p. 310 : Eibetro, b. i. 
ch. V. Valentyn says he was chris- 
tened Don Juan, to compliment Don 
John of Austria, the hero of Lepanto. 

* ElBEYEO, ch. \ . 

c 3 



[Part VI. 



against Eaja Singlia.^ A few j^ears were wasted in desul- 
tory warfare in the Kandyan highlands, and then fol- 
lowed a decisive action at Kukul-bittra-welle, near the 
pass of Kadaganauwa^, in which Eaja Singha was unsuc- 
cessful, and died in 1592, refusmg sm^gical assistance for 
a wound, and murmiuing at the departiu^e in his old age 
of that good fortune which liad signalised his career in his 

Thus left undisputed master of the interior of Kandy, 
Don Juan seized on the supreme power, and assumed the 
Kandyan crown under the title of Wimala Dharma. To 
secure the support of the priesthood, he abjured Christi- 
anity, and, availing himself of the faith of the nation in 
the dalada, " the sacred tooth of Buddha," as a palla- 
chum, the possession of which Avas inseparable from 
royalty, he produced the tooth whicli is still preserved in 
the temple at Kandy as the original one ; and, notA\"itli- 
standing the destruction of the latter at Goa in 1560*, he 
had no difficulty in persuading the Kandyans that the 
counterfeit was the genuine rehc, which he assured them 
had been removed from Cotta on the arrival of the Portu- 
guese, and preserved at Delgammoa in Saffragam. 

The Portuguese attempted to depose Don Juan, and 
despatched a force to the mountains under the command 
of Pedro Lopez de Souza, to escort the young Queen 
Catharina to the capital, and to restore the croA\m to its 
legitimate possessor. Don Pedi^o succeeded in expelhng 
tlie usurper ; but, after a very short interval, Wimala 
Dharma retm^ned, effectually detached the Kandyan forces 
from their aUiance, utterly routed the Portuguese gar- 

1 The events of this period are 
given with particidarily in the De- 
seripiion of C'ej/Ion, by PuiLiP Ral- 
D^rs, "Minister of the word of God 
in Ceylon ; " printed at Amsterdam, 
10)72, and of which an Enjzlish trans- 
lation Avill be found in CiimcniLL's 
Collection, vol. iii. p. 501. 

^ Rajavali, p. 312. 

^ " Since my eleventh year, no king 
has made way against me till now ; 
but my might is diminished ; this 
king is more powerful than me." — 
Ilajavali, p. SPj. 

■* For an account of the Sacred 
Tooth and its destruction, see Vol. 11. 
p. 29. 199. 

Chap. I.] 



rison, slew tlieir leader, possessed himself of the person of 
the queen, and seized the Kandyan throne, of which he 
held undisturbed possession till his decease, twelve years 
afterwards. •*■ 

Wimala Dharma thus succeeded to the rank and posi- 
tion of Eaja Singha as the paramount sovereign of the 
whole island, and chief of the national party opposed to 
the Portuguese. The latter, resenting at once his treason 
and then- own defeat, resorted to \dolent measures of 
retaliation, and a war of extermination ensued, unsm'- 
passed in atrocity and bloodshed.^ Jerome Azavedo, a 
soldier less distinguished by his prowess than infamous 
for his cruelties, was despatched to Ceylon in 1594, to 
avenge the indignities endm^ed by his fcUow-countrjmien 
at the hands of the Kandyan usurper, Faiia y Souza, in 
a review of the career of this commander, wliicli ended in 
a dmigeon at Lisbon, says his reverses were a judgment 
from the Almighty for his barbarities in Ceylon. In 
the height of liis success there, he beheaded mothers, after 
forcing them to cast their babes betwixt mill-stones. 
Punning on the name of the tribe of Gallas or Cliahas, 
and its resemblance to the Portuguese word for cocks, 
gallos, " he caused his soldiers to take up children on the 
points of tlieir spears, and bade them hark how the young 
cocks crow l"" "He caused many men to be cast off the 
bridge at Malwane for the troops to see the crocodiles 
devour them, and these creatures grew so used to the 
food, that at a whistle they would lift then' heads above 
the water." ^ 





^ Baldjstjs, p. 608. Ribetko 
tells a story of a Singhalese mood- 
liar (■wlioiu Baldjeus calls Janiore) 
■who joiued Lopo de Souza in this 
expedition, brinping' a large force to 
his aid ; but wliom Don Juan con- 
trived to get rid of, by addressing to 
him lictitious letters \vitli allusions to 
a pretended plot to betray tlie I'ortu- 
guese. De Souza, without giving the 
moodliar an opportunity for explana- 

tion, passed his sword through his 
heart. — IIibeyro, ch. vii. p. 47. 

'^ Yalentyn, who describes the 
savage conduct of the Portuguese 
during tliis war {Oud en Kieuw Oost- 
Indien, ch. vi. p. ^'2^, says his infor- 
mation was chietly obtained from the 
reports of the Singhalese, wlio had a 
"vivid recollection of these hon-ors. 

^ Faiua t Souza, IStevens' Traiu- 
latimi, vol. iii. pt. iii. ch. xv. p. 279. 

c 4 



[Part VI. 


An internecine war now raged for years in Ceylon, the 

1594. pQ^.^^^g^iege in successive forays penetrating to Kandy, and 

even to Oovah and Saffragam, burning towns, uprooting 

fruit trees, diiving away cattle, and making captives to be 

enslaved in the lowlands. 

These conflicts were, however, of uncertain success. 
On some occasions the invaders, overpowered by the 
energy of the Kandyans, were defeated and put to flight, 
foUowed by the exasperated mountaineers to the gates of 
Colombo.^ The frontier which separates the maritime 
districts from the liiU country, was the scene of sanguinary 
conflicts, and at length the low-country Singhalese, roused 
to desperation by the miseries di^awn down on them in 
never-ending hostihties, and by the atrocities peipetrated 
by the Portuguese soldiery 2, manifested a determined 
resistance to the common oppressors, who, alarmed in 
turn for their own safety, mutinously resisted the orders 
of their officers, and the Viceroy at Goa was appealed to 
to arrest the disorganisation and utter ruin of the new 

In the midst of these scenes of blood and disaster, 

1 Faeia t Socza, vol. iii. pt. iii. 
cli. Aaii. ix. xii. &c. 

'^ "We had not gi-own odious to 
the Ching-alas (Singhalese), had we 
not provoked them by our infamous 
proceeding's. Not only the poor sol- 
diers went out to rob, but those Por- 
tuguese who Avere lords of villaoes 
added rapes and adulteries, which 
obliged the people to seek the com- 
pany of beasts in the mountains rather 
than be subject to the more beastly 
villanies of men." — Faria t Soijza, 
vol. iii. pt. iii. eh. iii. p. 203. A thrill 
of horror has l)een imparted to all who 
liave read the story of tlu; atrocities 
peqietratcd on the wife of Eheylapola, 
the minister of the king of Kandy, 
who, on the occasion of her husband's 
revolt in 1815, compelled her to kill 
her own cliildren by pounding them 
in a rice-mortar. Put it ought to be 
known that this inhuman practice 
was taught to the Kandyans by the 

Portuguese; according to the truth- 
fid Robert Knox, Simon CoiTea, 
" when he got any victory over the 
Chingulays, he did exercise gi'eat 
cruelty. Pie would make the women 
beat their o\^'n children in their mor- 
tars wherein they iised to beat their 
corn." — I\Js'ox, Hist. Relat., pt. iv. 
ch. xiii. p. 177. 

It is a cmious illusti-ation of the 
conviction left on the minds of the 
Kandyans of the cruelty of Em-opeans, 
that in 1664, when Eaja Singha 
wished to inflict the utmost possible 
punishment on one of his ministers, he 
sent him to Colombo to be executed, 
thinking that the Dutch, like the 
Portuguese, were ingenious in the in- 
vention of tortures. They, however, 
restored him to liberty. — ^'aleniyx, 
ch. xiv. p. 199 ; ch. xV. p. 249. 

^ I)e Couto, dec. xi. ch. xxxiii. 
torn. vii. p. 178 ; Faeia y Souza, 
vol. iii. pt. i. ch. ix. p. 73. 


died the last legitimate emperor of Ceylon, Don Juan a.d. 
Dharmapala. He expired at Colombo in May, 1597, ^ * 
bequeathing his domuiions by will to Phihp II. By this 
deed the Portuguese acquired their title to the sove- 
reignty of the island \ Avitli the exception of Jaffna, the 
nominal king of which they still recognised, and Kandy, 
to the throne of which they had themselves asserted the 
right of Donna Catharina the Queen. 

Eibeyro gives a remarkable account of the mutual 
arrangement mider which the Singhalese chiefs now took 
the oath of allegiance to the new dpiasty. It was at 
first proposed that the laws of Portugal shoidd be 
introduced for all races ahke, reserving to the native 
chiefs their ranks and privileges ; but after an interval 
asked for dehberation by the deputies, they retin-ned a 
i-eply to the effect that, being by birth and education 
Singhalese, and earnestly attached to tliek own rehgion 
and customs, it would be difficult, if not perilous, to 
require them to abandon them on the instant for others 
which Avere utterly unkno^wn to them. Such changes, 
they said, were often the precm^sors of revolutions, 
that swept away both institutions, the new as weU as 
the old, to the injury ahke of the j^eople and the king. 
On all other points they were ready to recognise 
Philip n. as theu^ legitimate sovereign ; and so long as 
his majesty and liis ministers respected the rights and 
usages of the nation, they woidd meet with the same 
loyalty and fidehty which the Singhalese had been ac- 
customed to show to their own princes. On tliese con- 
ditions they were ready to take the oath, the officers of 
the Idng being at the same time prepared to swear in 
the name of their master to respect and maintain the 
ancient privileges and laws of Ceylon. 

The covenant was concluded and proclaimed, together 
vnth a solemn declaration that the priests and rehiiious . 
orders were to have full hberty to preach Christianity, 

^ De Couto, dec. xii. ch. v. torn. viii. p. 39 ; RibeyrO; bk. i. ch. ix. 


A-D- neither parents restraining tlieir cliildren, nor children 
opposing the conformity of their parents, and that all 
offences against rehgion were to be punishable by the 
legal authorities. 

The territory now under the direct government of 
the Portuguese embraced the maritime circuit of the 
island, with the exception of the peninsula of Jaffna, 
and a portion of the country to the south of it (which 
was not annexed till 1G17), and extended inland to 
the base of the lofty zone which encircles the kingdom 
of Kandy. 

It was from their strongholds in these mountains, 
protected on all sides by naturally fortified passes, that 
the Kandyans, who had become the scourge and terror 
of the Portuguese, were enabled to direct their forays 
into the lowlands. To watch them, and to protect their 
own territory in the plains, the Portuguese were obhged 
to keep up two camps, one at Manicavare in the Four 
Corles, and a second at Saffragam, on the confines of 
Oovah. To garrison these and their forts at various 
points on the coast they were compelled to maintain 
an army of upwards of 20,000 men, of whom less than 
one thousand were Europeans. 

Tlie value of the trade carried on under such ck- 
cumstances was incommensurate with the expenditm'e 
essential for its protection^; the products of the island 
were collected, it may almost be said, sword in hand, 
and shipped under the guns of the fortresses. Still 
tranquilhty was so far preserved throughout tlie dis- 
tricts bordering on the coast from Matura to Chilaw, 
that the low country husbandmen pursued their ordi- 
nary avocations, and the patriarchal village system still 
regulated the organisation of agriculture. Tlie mihtary 
forces were recruited by the feudal service of the pea- 
santry ; and the revenues in the same form in which they 
had been raised by the kings of Cotta, were collected 

^ Valentyn, Oud en JVicmo Oost-Indien, Sfc, cli. xv. p. 282. 

ClIAP. I.] 



by the captain-general of Colombo, who governed Avith 
the local title of "King of Malwane."^ Trade was pro- 
hibited to all other nations, and even to the native 
Singhalese. Besides the royal monopolies of cinnamon, 
pepper, and musk, the chief articles of export were 
cardamoms, sapan-wood, areca-nuts^, ebony, elephants, 
ivory, gems, and pearls, and along with these there were 
annually shipped small quantities of tobacco, silk, and 

In quest of these commodities, vessels came to Co- 
lombo and GaUe from Persia, Arabia, the Eed Sea, 
China, Bengal, and Europe ; and according to Eibeyro, 
the sin^plus of cinnamon beyond that required by these 
traders was annually burned, lest any accumulation 
might occasion tlie price to be reduced, or the ChaUas 
to relax their toil in searching the forests for the spice.^ 
The taxes were paid in Idnd. Trade was altogether 
conducted by barter, and money was almost unused 
in the island, except in the seaports and their immediate 

Colombo, as the seat of government and commerce, 
became a place of importance ; and its paUsades and 
earthworks^ were replaced by fortifications of stone 
mounting upwards of two hundred guns. Convents, 
churches, monasteries, and hospitals were erected within 
the walls, and at tlie period of its capture by the Dutch, 
in 1656, upwards of 900 noble famihes were residing 
within the town, besides 1500 famihes of those con- 



^ A Toi-y minute detail of the mi- 
litaiy and revenue systeni of tlie Por- 
tuguese will be found in the First 
Book of RiBETKO, ch. X. xi. 

^ A passage in Ribeyho's account 
of the productions of Ceylon litis 
puzzled both his translators and 
readers, as it describes the island as 
detspatching '' tons les ans, plus de 
iiiille bateaux, chacun de soixante 
tonneaux, (Fioi certain aab/c, dont on 
fait un tres-grand debit dans toutes 
lea Tndes." — ch. iii. Lee naively says 

that "he cannot discover what this 
sand is." But as Le Grand made his 
French translation from the Portu- 
guese ]MS. of the author, it is probable 
that by a clerical error the word arena 
may have been substituted for areca, 
the restoration of which solves the 

3 RiisEYiio, b. i. ch. X. 

^ " Les murailles n'ont 6i6 long- 
tenis que de taipa siiit/clfa," &c. — III- 
isEYEO, pt. i. ch. xii. p. 80. 


A.D. nected with the Coiu-ts of Justice, merchants, and 

1597. . 1 


The vahie of Galle consisted chiefly in the facihties 
which its harbour afforded for commercial operations, 
and the Portuguese did not think it necessary to increase 
its natm^al strength by any considerable mihtary defences. 
Caltura and Negombo were maintained chiefly as stations 
for the collection of cinnamon, and the ports on the op- 
posite side of the island, Batticaloa and TrincomaHe, were 
neither occupied nor fortified till shortly before the ex- 
pulsion of the Portuguese from Ceylon. 
A.D. It was not till the year 1617, that they took forcible 
1G17. possession of Jaffna, and having deposed the last sovereign 
of the Malabar dynasty, assumed the dii'ect government 
of the country. Jaffna had long been coveted by them, 
less from any capabihties wdiich it presented for extend- 
ing their commerce than for the security it gave to their 
settlements in the richer districts of the south ; and ap- 
parently for the opportunity which it presented of dis- 
playing their missionary zeal in a region insusceptible of 
political resistance. Their first attempts to reduce this 
part of the island had been made in 1544, when an ex- 
pedition, fitted out to plunder the Hindu temples on the 
south coast of the Dekkan, summoned the chief of the 
Peninsula either to submit and become tributary to 
Portugal, or to prepare to encounter the marauding 
fleet. He chose the former alternative, and agreed to 
pay 4000 ducats yearl}^^ In the same year such num- 
bers of the inhabitants of Manaar embraced Christianity 
at the hands of the Eoman Cathohc missionaries under 
the direction of St. Prancis Xavier, that the Eaja of 
JafFnapatam sought to exterminate apostacy by the 
slaughter of six hundred of the new converts. The 
heresy, however, reached his own palace ; his eldest 
son embraced the new faith, and was put to death in 

• Faria t Souza, vol. ii. pt. i. ch. xiii. p. 83. 

Chap. I.] JAFFNA TAKEX. "29 

consequence ; and tlie second fled to Goa to escape liis ^•^• 
father's resentment. 

John III. directed the Viceroy of India "to take a 
slow and secure but severe revenge " for these excesses.^ 
In 1560, the Viceroy of India, Don Constantine de Bra- 
ganza, fitted out another armament against Jaffna on the 
double plea that the persecution of the Christians had 
been rencAved at Manaar and that the rei";niii<]!; sovereig^n 
had usm^ped the rights of his elder brother the fugitive 
at Goa. De Couto has devoted the Seventh Decade of 
his History of India, to a pompous description of this 
sacred war, in which the bishop of Cochin accompanied 
the fleet along with the Viceroy, erected an altar on 
the shore, and in the presence of the invading army in- 
augurated the assaidt on the city by the celebration of a 
mass, the announcement of a plenary indulgence for all 
who shoidd fight, and of a general absolution for all 
who might fall in the cause of the Cross.^ The assault 
was successful but disastrous ; many fidalgos were slain 
by the cannon of the enemy, the city was taken, the 
palace consumed, and the king in his extremity, being 
forced to make terms with the conquerors, was per- 
mitted to retain his sovereignty on condition of his 
disclosing the place of concealment of the treasm'es taken 
from Kandy and Cotta by Tribula Banda, son-in-laAV of 
Bhuwaneka VII. and father of Don Juan Dharma 
Pala.^ He was to pay in addition a sum of 80,000 
cruzadoes * and surrender the island of Manaar to the 
Portuguese, who fortlnvith occupied and fortified it. 

Amongst the incidents of the victory De Couto 
dwells on the seizure, by the Viceroy, of the dalada, the 
"celebrated tooth of Buddha," which had been carried 

■■ Bald^us, in CnTTucniLL's Vo?/- 
ages, vol. iii. p. 647. 

* De Couto, dec. vii. lib. iy. cli. ii. 
vol. iv. pt. ii. p. 309. 

^ De Couto, dec. vii. lib. iii. cli. v. 
vol. iv. pt. i. p. 210. 

■* A "cnizado," so called because 
bearing a cross on the reverse, was 
worth two shillings and uiuepeuce. 


A.D. to Jaffna clurinGf the commotions in the Buddhist states. 
The Portuguese insist that it was the tooth of an ape \ 
and worshipped in honour of Hanuman. It was mounted 
in gold, and liad been deposited for security in one of the 
pagodas. On the inteUigence of its capture by Don Con- 
stantine, the King of Pegu sent an embassy to Goa to 
tender as a ransom three or even four hundred thousand 
cruzadoes, mth offers of liis alhance and services in many 
capacities, and an engagement to pro\ision the Portu- 
guese fort at Malacca as often as it should be reqidi'ed 
of him.- The fidalgos and commanders were unanimous 
in theu' wish, to accept the offer as a means of reple- 
iiisliing the exhausted treasury of Lidia. But the arch- 
bishop, Don Gaspar, was of a different mind. He firmly 
resisted the offer, as an encouragement to idolatry, and 
was supported in his opposition by the mquisitors and 
clergy. The Viceroy, in consequence, rejected the pro- 
posal of the infidel king, the tooth was placed in a 
mortar by the archbishop, in presence of the coiu-t, and 
reduced to powder and bm'ned, its ashes bemg scattered 
over the sea." ^ " All men," says Faria y Souza, " then 
applauded the act ; but not long after, two teeth being set 
up instead of that one, they as loudly condemned and 
railed at it^^ 

In 1591 and IGOl, fresh expeditions were sent out 
from Goa, to punish the King of Jaffna for assisting 
the Singhalese chiefs in their opposition to the Portu- 
guese, but on each occasion a ready submission on the 
part of the weaker power sufficed to avert the threatened 
danger.^ The determination, however, had been akeady 

^ De Couto, dec. v. lib. ix. cli. ii. cli. ii. p. 251. A detailed account of 

vol. iv. pt. ii. p. 316. ] the destruction of the Sacred Tooth, 

^ De CorTO, dec. vii. lib. ix. ch. as narrated by De Corio, ■will be 

xvii. vol. iv. pt. ii. p. 428 ; Faria x j found appended to the account of 

SorzA, vol. ii. pt. ii. ch. xt i. p. Kandv in the present work, "N'ol. II. 

209. Pt. vfi. ch. V. 

2 De Couto, dec. vii. lib. ix. ch. ^ Fauta y SorzA, vol. iii. pt. i. ch, 

xvii. viii. p. 65 ; pt. ii. ch. v. p. 125. 

^ Faria t Souza, vol. ii. pt. iii. 

Chap. I.] 



taken to assert the claim of Portugal to the Jaffna ter- 
ritories, and the consummation was only postponed as a 
matter of convenience.^ In 1617, under the vice-royalty 
of Constantine de Saa y Noroiia, an expedition was 
directed against Jaffna ; the city was captured with 
circumstances of singular barbarity. The king was 
carried captive to Goa, and there executed ; his nephew, 
the last of the Malabar princes, having resigned his claim 
to tlie crown, and entered a convent of Franciscans, his 
inheritance was formally incorporated with the dominions 
of Portugal.^ True to tlieir hereditary instincts, the 
Malabars, in 1622, fitted out an expedition to recover 
their ancient possession of Jaffna and the Peninsula ; but 
the vigour of the Portuguese governor, Ohveira, defeated 
the attempt.^ 

But a new and formidable rival now appeared to 
contend with Portugal for the possession of Ceylon. The 
Dutch had obtained a footing at the Kandyan court, and 
formed an alliance with the king, ahke disastrous to the 
missionary zeal and the commercial enterprise of the Por- 
tuguese, who, after a struggle of nearly fifty years' 
duration, were finally expelled from the island, which 
their kings had magniloquently declared that " they 
icould rather lose all India than imperil.'" * 



' Faria t Souza, Tol. iii. pt. iii. 
cli. xii. p. 259, 

2 Ibid, ch. xvi. p. 289, &c. 

^ Baldjjtjs, cb. xvii. p. 0.30. 

* Van Goeiis, the Dutch governor 
of Ceylon in 1(5G3, says that he had 
seen amongst the Portuguese records 

at Colombo, the royal ordei'S to the 
viceroys of India, containing this 
expression : " Dot men liever, gehccl 
India zoitcle ktten verloren (/(tan, dan 
Ceylon in pryhel van verlies brenyen.^' 
— Valentyn, Olid en Niemo Oost-In~ 
dien, ^-c, ch. xiii. p. 174. 



[Part VI. 

CHAP. 11. 



About the same time — a.d. 1580, — that Phihp II. 
acqiin-ed the kingdom of Portugal in addition to his here- 
ditary possessions, the United Provinces of the Nether- 
hmds, exasperated to revolt by his unendurable tyranny, 
consummated their revolt by abjuring tlieu' allegiance to 
the Spanish Crown. ^ 

During their struggles for independence, the Dutch 
organised with surprising rapidity not only a mercantile 
marine, but also a navy of surpassing gallantry for its 
protection ; and engaging with energy in a branch of 

^ The principal autliorities for tlie 
liistory of the Dutch administration 
in Ceylon are the Heschri/vim/ der 
Oostindischen Landsaapcii, Mcdahar, 
Coromandel, Ceylon, t^'-c.,byBALDJEtrs, 
an English version of which will be 
found in CHTTRCniLL's Collection, 
vol. iii. p. 500 ; under the title of A 
tnie and exact Description of 3Iala- 
har, Coromandel, and also of the is- 
land of Ceylon, Sfc, by Philip Bal- 
BJEirs, Minister of the Word of God 
in Ceylon, Amsterdam, 1672 ; and 
Valentyn's Beschryviny van Oifd en 
Niemo Oost-Indien, o vols. fol. Dor- 
drecht and Amsterdam, 1726. The 
gT(uit work of Valentyn lias never, I 
believe, been published in any other 
languafre than Dutch, in which it 
was written ; so that it is compara- 
tively unknown in Europe, and is 
aptly described by Pinkerton as " a 
treasure locked up in a chest, of 
which few have the key." Sir 
Alexandee Johxston, when Chief 

Justice of Ceylon, caused a very 
incorrect and imperfect translation 
to be made of the jiarf which refers 
to that island ; but it still remains 
in MS. amongst the collections of 
the Royal Asiatic Society. Of the 
volumes which relate to continental 
India and the Eastern Archipelago, 
I am not competent to judge ; but 
the portion which treats of Ceylon 
seems to be scarcely worthy of the 
high reputation of the work. The 
official documents of which it ia 
mainly composed are of imquestion- 
able value, although it ia more than 
doubtful that their statistics are fal- 
sified to conceal the frauds of the 
Dutch officials (see Lord Valentia's 
Travels, vol. i. ch. vi. p. 310). As 
to the general information supplied 
by YalentvTi himself, it is both meagre 
and incorrect. Some of tlie mate- 
rials of ]iis later chapters are taken 
from Knox's narrative of his own 


commerce peculiarly suited to their position, tlieii' mer- a.d. 
chant ships successfully competed, as the carriers of 
Eiu^ope, with those of the Hanse Towns and Italy. In 
this department the Dutch maintained an intimate inter- 
course with Portugal, and their vessels resorted to Lisbon 
in search of the rich productions of India, wliich they 
transported to aU the countries of tlie North. ^ For some 
years a lucrative and prosperous trade, mutually advanta- 
geous to both countries, was permitted to flourish, unin- 
terrupted even by the rupture between the Low Countries 
and Spain ; the Portuguese as an independent people 
having no other interest in the quarrel between Philip II. 
and his Dutch subjects, than that which arose from the 
accident of the two penhisular kingdoms being rided by 
the same sovereign. 

At length in 1694, Phihp, impatient to strike a blow 
at the commerce of the Dutch, and regardless of the con- 
sequent injury to the trade of the Portuguese which the 
contemplated prohibition involved, forbade liis new sub- 
jects to hold intercourse with his enemies, laid an 
embargo on the Dutch ships in the Tagus, imprisoned 
their supercargoes and masters, and, professing to treat 
them as heretics, subjected them to the disciphne of the 

It admits of no question that this despotic effort to 
annihilate the commerce of HoUand, acted as an imme- 
diate stimulus to its expansion ; and suggested to the 
Dutch those enterprising expeditions to India, whicli led 
to the acquirement of large territory, the establishment of 
their own trade and the subversion of the Portuguese 
monopoly in the East.^ 

Within a year from the issue of the tyrannous veto to 

^ Raynal, Commerce des Indes, 
8jC., liv. ii. ch. i. voL i. p. 805. 

"^ Jleoteil des Voiac/es de la Cum- 
pagnie des Indes Orientales, i^-c, vol. i. 
p. "105. 

^ " II sembloit que ces tirannios 


devoient miner le pais et fairo perir 
la nation : mais au-coutraire ellfs ont 
cause le saint et la prosperite de I'un 
et de I'autrc!" — Recueil, ^'c, vol. i. 
p. 9 ; Valentyn, ch. XV. p. 282. 


A.D. trade Avitli Portugal, the Dutch had despatched theu^ first 
^^ convoy to India.^ A " Company for distant Lands " was 
speedily organised, and, in 1595, Cornehus Houtman, 
who shortly before had been released from a prison, con- 
ducted the first fleet of free merchantmen round the Cape 
of Good Hope.^ 

As the Dutch acquired a practical knowledge of the 
route, other expeditions followed in rapid succession. 
Java, the Moluccas, and China were first explored as 
being the most chstant, and least hkely to bring them into 
premature conflict with tlie Portuguese ; and at length on 
the 30th May, 1602, the first Dutch ship seen in Cej^on, 
" La Brebis," commanded by Admiral Spilberg, cast 
anchor in tlie Port of Batticaloa.^ So imperfectly were 
the Dutch informed regarding the island, tliat they ex- 
pected to find cinnamon as abundant on the east coast 
as at Colombo, and announced that its pmxhase was the 
object of their \dsit.^ 

Wimala Dharma, the successful usurper and the hus- 
band of Donna Catharina, was, at that time, tlie sovereign 
of Kandy, where he had assumed the style of Emperor of 
Ceylon, in order to mark liis supremacy over tlie subor- 
dinate princes, who took the title of kings in their several 
localities.^ One of these, the petty prince of Batticaloa, 

^ It is a curious evidence of tlie ' JRectteil, ^-c, vol. ii. p. 417. 

prudence of the Dutch in taking this ] * Yalexttx, ch. xv. p. 223, 224, 

bold step in defiance of the inhihi- says that in 1075 cinnamon was still 

tions of Charles V. and Philip II., by found near Batticaloa, and must have 

which the rest of Europe was for- \ been exported thence prior to the 

mally excluded from any share in the | an-ival of the Dutch. The latter 

trade with India, that in formiug' ; point admits of doubt, but Mr. 

then- first navigation company for the ' Thwaites, of the I\ Botanical, they suppressed tlie name of | (larden at Peradenia, writes to me 

India, and called it " Zr; Compaj/nie 
des Pais Loi?dams.'" — "Het Maat- 
schappy van verre Ian des." It is 
also observable that, to avoid if pos- 
sible any conflict with the Spanish 
cruisers, their earliest attempts to 
reach India were directed to the 
Arctic Ocean, in the hope to find a 
north-eastern passage to China. 

^ Raynal, Commerce des I/ides, 
J^-c, liv. ii. ch. i. vol. i. p. 308. 

that in 1857 he foimd cinnamon 
gT0-«-iug in that locality, and under 
circumstances which led him to doubt 
whether it had not at some fonner 
period been systematically cidtivated 

* The sty^le adopted was " Emperor 
of Ceylon, — King of Cotta, Kandy, 
Sitavacca and Jaflhapatam — Prince 
of Oovah, Bintenue, and Trincomalie 
— Grand Duke of Matelle and 31a- 

Chap. II.] 



though nominally tributary to Portugal, was attached by a.d. 
loyal sympathies to the cause of his native sovereign, 
between whom and the Portuguese hostilities were still 
actively carried on. 

Suspecting the Dutch to be Portuguese in disguise, the 
chief of Batticaloa accorded to the strangers a jealous and 
reluctant reception ^ ; but, after detaining Spilberg a month, 
on pretence of dehvering cinnamon, he eventually facihta- 
ted his journey to Kandy, to enable him to present to the 
king in person his credentials from the Prince of Orange, 
which contained the offer of an aUiance offensive and 

The king received him with a guard of honour of a 
thousand men, who bore arms and standards that had 
been captured from the Portuguese, and his cortege on 
the occasion was swelled by numbers of Portuguese 
prisoners, many of them deprived of their ears, "to 
denote that they had been permitted to enter the royal 
service."^ Spilberg, besides the banner of the United 
Provinces, caused a standard-bearer to lay at the feet of 
the kins; tlie flao; of Portuo;al with the blazon reversed. 

Wimala Dharma, accustomed to be importuned for cin- 
namon, and eager to discourage the trade in that article, 
anticipated the expected demand by an offer of a small 
quantity at an extravagant cost ; but on being assured in 
reply that the object of the mission was to seek not com- 
merce but an aUiance, and to offer his majesty the assist- 
ance of Holland against his enemies, the king folded the 
admiral in his arms, raised him from the ground in the 
ardour of his embrace, and accepted the proposal with 

naar, ^Marquis of Toonipane and Yat- 
teneura — Earl of Cottiar and Batti- 
caloa — Count of Matura and Gall(!, 
Lord of the ports of Colombo, Chi- 
law and Madanipe, and Master of 
the Fisheries of Pearl." The places 
enunierfitedwere occasionally varied. 
Valentyn, ch. xiv. p. 200. 

' Recueil, ^-c, torn. ii. '' Relation 
du Voyage de George Spilberg en 

qualittS d'Aniiral aux Tndes Orien- 
tales," p. 417 ; Valentyij^, Outl en 
Nieuw Oost-Indien, vol. v. pt. i. ch. 
viii. p. 101. 

"^ " D'etre ami de ses amis et 
ennemi de ses ennemis." — SriLBERG, 
Relation, S;c., p. 42"». 

* Spilberg, Rekifim, ^-c, vol. ii. 
p. 428 ; Valentvn, vol. v. p. i. ch. 
viii. p. 104. 

D 2 



[Pabt YI. 



alacrity. As to cinnamon, lie said all in his dominions 
was at the service of the Prince of Orange without pur- 
chase, liis only regret being that the quantity was small, 
as he had ordered the destruction of the trees, to put an 
end to the Portus-uese trade. 


The king detained Spilberg at Kandy till the approach 
of the monsoon warned him to retmii to liis ship : and 
ha^'ing presented him to Donna Catharina and her chil- 
dren, and given unsohcited permission to the Dutch to 
erect a fort in any part of liis domains, he added that, if 
necessary, the queen and her cliildren would assist to 
coUect the materials for its construction.^ 

The admiral, at the request of the king, left beliind 
him his secretary, with two musicians of his band, and 
retmiied to Batticaloa loaded wdth honom's and gifts."^ 
Here he captm^ed, and presented to Wimala Dharnia, a 
Portuguese galhot, laden with spices and manned by a 
crew of forty men ; thus testifs'ing at once his obhgations 
to the Kaudyans, and the hostihty with which he regarded 
their enemies. 

Pursuant to the agreement with the Dutch envoy, one 
of Spilberg's officers, Sibalt de Weert, left Batticaloa in 
160.3, mtli three ships, to cruise against the Portuguese, 
and undertake the siege of Galle ; but the prizes which he 
took he set at hberty, contrary to the expectations of 
the emperor, who reqimed one moiety to be given up 
to himself. An altercation ensued, in which the Dutch 
commander, excited by wine, repudiated his engage- 
ment to bombard Galle, and forgot himself so far as to 
make an insulting allusion to the empress. Wimala 
Dharma resented it by directing his mstant arrest ; but 

^ "Ziet, ilc, ni\Ti keizerin, Piins, 
Prinszes, zullen de steenen, kalk, en 
andre bouwstoffen, zoo de Heeren 
alg-emeeue Staaten en den Prins een 
vesting in niTO lande begeeren te 
boiiwen, op onze scliouderen dragen." 
— Valextyx, cb. viii. p. 105 ; see also 
Spilberg, lieJation, Sfc, vol. ii. p. 4'')8. 

* One luxuiy bigbly praised by 
tbe admiral in his nan-ative was tlie 
icine, made from grapes grown at 
Kandy, which he pronounces ex- 
cellent. — Spilbekg, Relation, i^-c, 
vol. ii. p. 451. 

Chap. II.] 



the attendants of the king, exceeding their orders, clove 
his head in the ante-room, and massacred his boat's crew 
on the beach. ^ The emperor returned to Kandy, and 
anticipating a breach with the Dutch, sent a pithy mes- 
sage to the ships of De Weert. " lie who drinks wine^ 
comes to mischief. God is just If you seek peace^ let 
it he peace; if war, war be it."^ The Government of 
the Netherlands was too prudent to make even the mur- 
der of their officer the ground of a ruptm^e with Kandy ; 
no formal notice was taken of the event, and the decease 
of the emperor, in the following year, did away with the 
pretext for war. 

On the death of Wimala Dharma, in 1604, Donna 
Catharina, as Queen in her own right, assumed the 
sovereignty of Ceylon, her sons being childi-en. But 
a contest ensued between the Prince of Oovah and a 
brother of the late king^, then a priest in a temple at 
Adam's Peak, relative to the guardianship of the minors, 
which ended in the murder of the prince and the mar- 
riage of the widowed empress with the assassin, who, on 
his coronation in 1G04, assumed the title of Senaratena, 
or Senerat. 

For a brief interval Ceylon enjoyed comparative tran- 
quillity ; and although Donna Catharina dechned to enter 
into any formal treaty of peace with the Portuguese, she 
formed an aUiance offensive and defensive wdth the Dutch 
in 1609. The opportunity for this convention arose out 



^ Valenttx and ]?.\ld.t:us exte- 
nuate the conduct of Wimala Dhar- 
ma, by saying that the order which 
he gave, was to " bind that dog," 
ino'a isto can! But " ?«ro-rt" is not 
Portuguese ; — and it is possible that 
the king's order was atar, " to bind," 
which may have been mistaken by 
tlie bystanders for mcdar, " to kill." 
Valentyn, ch. ix. p. 108, ch. xii. 
p. 141. Bald^us, ch. vii. p. Gil. 
Pteard, the French traveller, who 
visited Ceylon shortly after, says the 
Portuguese avowed to him that De 

"Weert was killed at their instigation ; 
but this seems imtnie. — Voi/a</c, iSr., 
I'aris, 1(379, pt. ii. ch. ii. p. 90. 

^ The emperor, from his early 
education at Goa, spoke a little Por- 
tuguese. His words on the occasion 
were " Que bcbem Vinho tino he bon. 
Deos ha faze justicia. Se quesieres 
pas, pas; se yuerra, ffuerra.'^ — Bal- 
M<:rs, ch. vii. p. G12 ; Valextyx, ch, 
ix. 109. 

* Called by the Dutch historians, 
'' Cenewierat." 

D 3 


A.D. of the concliL^ioii of a truce for twelve years between tlie 
Low Countries and Spain \ one of the articles of which 
recognised the right of Holland to share in the commerce 
with Lidia. But as this armistice did not extend to the 
hostilities still active in the East between the Dutch and 
the Portuguese, the States-General, prompt to avail them- 
selves of the interval to re-estabhsh then* influence in 
Ceylon, despatched Marcellus de Boschouwer with over- 
tures to Kandy. He was also the bearer of a letter from 
Prince Maurice of Nassau addressed to the emperor, 
tendering the friendship of the United Provinces, and 
offering, in the event of a renewal of Portuguese ag- 
gression by land or sea, to assist his majesty with ships, 
forces, and munitions of war.^ The result was a treaty, 
by which the Singhalese sovereign, in return for the 
promised mihtary aid, gave permission to tlie Dutch 
to erect a fort at Cottiar, on the southern side of the 
bay of Trincomahe, and secm^ed to them a monopoly of 
the trade in cinnamon, gems, and pearls. So eager was 
he to matm^e the aUiance, that he prevailed upon Bos- 
chouwer to remain behind at Kandy, in the double 
capacity of representative of Holland and ad\'iser of the 
emperor, who created him Prince of ]\Iigone^ and Ana- 
raj apoora, Knight of the Sun, and President of his ]\Iih- 
tary Council, and High Admii'al of the Fleet.* 

Immediately on the erection of the new fort at 
Cottiar by the Dutch in 1612, it was sm^prised and 
destroyed by a Portuguese force, which was secretly 
marched across the island ; and Senerat, in turn, made 
preparations for a simultaneous attack on the forts of 
Galle and Colombo ; with the resolution to give no 
quarter to any subject of Portugal, save women and 

^ Davtes, History of noUand, vol. 
iii. p. 436. 

^ Bald^us, cli. ix. p. G14. 

* Mig-one was llie Mangel Corle, 
iiortli ol' the Deddroo ova. 

* Yalentyn, ch. ix.'p. 112; Bal- 
DJEUs, ch. xi. p. 017. 


children.^ The i:>lan was, however, disconcerted by the -\-t>- 
• ' . 1 r 1 7 

Portuguese taldng the field, and compeUing an engage- ^ 

nient in the Seven Corles, in which the Kandyans were 

worsted, and his new principahty of Migone wi'ested from 


At the same time, tlie eldest son of Donna Catharina 
A\^as taken off by poison, administered by his stepfather 
the Emperor, and the broken-hearted mother died 
within a few months of this calamity. Disasters quickly 
followed : the Portuguese troops on two occasions 
marched to within a few miles of Kandy, and were A\dth 
difficulty repulsed, and in 1615 Boschouwer was de- 
spatched to Holland by Senerat to solicit reinforcements, 
pursuant to the recent convention. But, at the moment 
of his arrival, he found the people of Holland impressed 
with dishke to the character of the Kandyans^, and dis- 
inchned to active proceedings in Ceylon ; whilst the 
States General, dissatisfied with the conduct and demea- 
nour of the envoy, who approached them not as a subject 
of Holland but as a prince and ambassador from the 
sovereign of Kandy, dechned to send the required forces. 
Boschouwer, thus repulsed, addressed himself to the 
Danes, who were eager to obtain a footing in India, and 
persuaded Christian IV. to fit out a squadron of five a.d. 
ships, with which he sailed from Copenhagen, in 1618. l^^^- 
Boschouwer died upon the voyage, and, on the arrival of 
the Danish commander at Cottiar in 1620, Senerat repu- a.d. 
diatcd the acts of his deceased agent, dechned to receive l^-*^- 
the proffered assistance, and the vessels were sent back to 

The Portuguese availed themselves of the perplexity 
of the Emperor, occasioned by these occurrences, to 

' Balb^us, cli. xi. p. 618 ; Ya- 
LKNTYX, ch. X. p. 112. 

^ Valenttn, eh. xii. p. 142. 

* Valentyn, ch. X. p. 11(5, ch. xii. 
p. 142; Bald-EITS, cli. xvii. p. 029. 
" Being in want of refreshments, 

thej put into Tranqnebar, on the 
Coroniaiidel coat^t ; and this circum- 
stance gave rise to the first settlement 
of the Danish cohiny, which has 
continued there ever since." — Per- 
cival's Ccyhn, Sfc, p. 28. 

D 4 



[Part VI. 







renew tlieir solicitations for a truce, which they suc- 
ceeded in obtaining, in 1624 ; but, in \dolation of its 
conditions, they commenced, in 1627, to fortify Batti- 
caloa, having previously, in 1622, erected a fort at Trin- 

The Emperor, alarmed by these proceedings, appa- 
rently deserted by his Dutch alhes, and seemg his king- 
dom encircled on all sides by Portuguese garrisons^, 
made a vigorous and successful effort to rouse the native 
Singhalese, and organise a national movement for the 
expulsion of the perfidious Europeans. The flame of 
war was simultaneously kindled at opposite points of 
the island ; the most influential moodhars of the low 
country entered earnestly into the conspkacy with the 
Kandyans, and the people of Colombo, exasperated by 
the treatment which they had experienced at the hands 
of the common enemy, expressed their readiness to 
revolt. The Governor, Don Constantine de Saa y 
Norofia, akeady stung by sarcastic despatches from 
the Viceroy of Goa, which insinuated inactivity and 
indifference to the interests of Portugal, was induced, 
by delusive representations from the chiefs of the high 
country, to concentrate all liis forces for an expedition 
against Oovah, where he was falsely assured that the 
popidation were prepared to join his standard agamst 
their native dynasty. 

In August, 1630, he advanced with fifteen hundred 
Europeans, about the same number of half-castes, and 
eight or ten thousand low-country Singhalese, and was 
allowed ^\dthout resistance to enter by the mountain 
passes and penetrate to the city of Badulla, which he 
plundered and burned. But on his retmii his Singha- 
lese troops, at a point previously arranged with the 
Kandyans, deserted in a body to the enemy, and the 
Portuguese, thus caught in the toils, were mercilessly 

^ EiBETHO, lib. ii. ch. i. p. 189. 
^ The Portuguese had now eight 
fortified places around the coast : 

JafTiia, Manaar, Npfrombo, Colombo, 
Cultura, Galle, Bolligam, liatticaloa, 
aud Trincomalie. 

Chap. II.] 



slaujxhtered, and the head of their commander carried on 
a drmn, and presented to Raja Singha, the son of the 
emperor, who was bathing in a neiglibouring brook. ^ The 
Kandyans, flushed by their signal victory, followed it up 
by an immediate march on Colombo, which was only saved 
from their hands by the timely arrival of assistance from 

" There was no native of Portugal in the island," 
says EiBEYRO, " who Avas unmoved to tears on hearing 
of the fate of the general ; and the memory af Don 
Constantine de Saa will be venerated by posterity so 
long as men shall honour valour and worth, and the day 
of his death was the beginning of sorrows to my fellow- 
countrymen in Ceylon." ^ Both nations were, however, 
temporarily exhausted by the effort of the war, and 
a truce was agreed to, at the sohcitation of the em- 
peror^, who even agreed to pay a tribute of two 
elephants yearly, conformably to the former treaty with 
the Kings of Cotta. 

Senerat died shortly after^, leaving his son, Eaja Singha 
IL, heir to his Kandyan dominions ; the young king's 
brothers being at the same time invested with the princi- 
pahties of Matelle and Govah. 





' Valentyn, ell. xi. p. 116, ch. xii. 
p. 142. The ItaJavaU says this mas- 
sacre took place at the foot of the 
mountain of Welle-wawey, in the field 
called Kat-daneyia-wello, p. 32.3. 
Knox says that Constantine de Saa, 
rather than fall by the enemy, "called 
his black boy to give him water to 
drink, and snatching the knife from 
his side, stabbed himself." — Relation, 
hfc, pt. iv. ch. xiii. p. 177. 

* Fakia t Soijza, pt. ii. ch. Aiii. p. 
377. The Portuguese were so unpre- 
pared for this assault, that during the 
siege Faria y Sotjza says that they 
ate the dead, and mothers their own 
children. — Ch. ii. p. .390. Bald.tsu.s, 
ch. vii. p. 631, mentions that amongst 
the forces sent at this time to the 
relief of Colombo were a company of 

Caflres. This is probably their first 
appearance in Ceylon. 

^ RiBEYEo, lib. ii. ch. ii. p. 207. 
The filial affection of Don Kodrigues 
de Saa, son to the ill-fated Don Con- 
stantine, hiis left a touching vindica- 
tion of his memory in a narrative of 
the expedition entitled " Rebelion de 
Ceijhm y los Pro(/)-essos dc su con- 
quista en el gohierno de Condanfino 
de Saa y Koroha. Escrihela sii Ili/o 
JiHin Itodrif/ues de Saa y Menezes 
y dedicala a la Viryen Xuestra Scnora 
Madre de 3Iisercco)-dias." Lisbon, 

* Faria r Souza, pt. xiv. ch. ii. 
p. 401. 

^ TuRXOUR, Upitotne, ^-c, p. 52, 
says that Senerat died in 10.35 ; but 
Bakheus and Valentyn fix the date 
in 1032. 



[Part VI. 

A. P. 






It was ill the reign of this gloomy tyrant, that the Portu- 
guese were eventually driven from Ceylon, and his Dutch 
aUies installed in all tliek conquests. With thek wonted 
bad faith, the Portuguese seized the opportunity of the 
emperor's death to renew their forays into the pos- 
sessions of his successor, and Eaja Singlia, forced to the 
conclusion that their presence in the island was in- 
compatible with the hope of any permanent peace, ad- 
dressed himself to the Dutch at Batavia, and sohcited 
tlieir active co-operation for the utter expulsion of the 

The invitation was promptly accepted, and Commodore 
Koster w^as despatched to Ceylon in 1638, to concert 
the plan of a campaign preparatory to the arrival of the 
Admiral with the squadron designed for service against 
the Portusfuese forts. In the meantime, the Portuguese 
Governor of Colombo, alarmed by the intelhgence of this 
new alhance, and eager to defeat it, dkected a sudden 
attack upon Kandy, which his troops entered and burned ; 
but on retiring they were surrounded in the mountains, 
at Gonnarua, and with the exception of a few prisoners, 
the entke army was exterminated, and the skuUs built in 
a pyramid by the Kandyans.^ 

At length, in May 1638, Admiral Westerwold appeared 
with his promised fleet in the waters of Ceylon, and 
the conflict was commenced between the Dutch and 
the Portuguese, which terminated twenty years after in 
the rethement of the latter from the island. The 
story of this conflict has been told by two historians 
who from opposite sides were eye-mtnesses, of the strife ; 
— by Eibeyro, who served as a soldier in the armies 

' The letters of Raja Singlia II., 
enumerjitiug the repeated acts of 
aggi'ession and breaches of treaties 
by the Portuguese, A\'ill be seen in 
I3ali).eus, ch. xix. p. G32, 630. 

- RajavctU, p. 324 ; Bald^etis, ch. 
XX. p. 041 ; Valentyn, ch. xi, p. 
118 ; ch. xii. p. 142 ; llibeyro ascribes 

the iinincdiate cause of this ill-starred 
expedition to an act of pei-fidy and 
meanness on the part of the Portu- 
guese Governor of Colombo, which 
led to a personal altercation with 
Eaja Singha 11. It is amusingly 
told in the 4th chap, of his 2nd book, 
p. 220. 

Chap. II.] 



of Portugal, and by Balda3iis, who at a later period 
served as a chaplain to the forces of Holland ^ ; but httle 
interest comparatively attaches to the narrative of the 
strategy of the two European rivals, except so far as it 
involves the fortunes, or developes the character, of the 

In 1638 the fort of Batticaloa was taken by Westerwold 
from the Portuguese after a very brief resistance, and a 
fresh treaty with the Emperor of Kandy was forthwith 
concluded under its walls, by which the contracting parties 
bound themselves to carry on the war, the Dutch finding 
ammunition and forces, the emperor defraying all other 
charges, and both sharing the spoil.^ 

In 1639 Trincomahe was occupied and garrisoned by 
the Dutch, but they afterwards retired from the city. In 
1640 they were equally successful at Negombo, Matura, 
and Galle ^ ; and Colombo, which was invested by the 
army of Eaja Singha, might have been captured with 
facility, but the Kandyan sovereign, apparently alarmed 
by the rising power of the Dutch, not only permitted the 
fortress to be retained by the Portuguese, but afforded 
them the opportunity of recapturing Negombo^ in 1640. 

This pohcy paralysed the proceedings of the Dutch ; 
further operations were suspended ; and at length, on the 


^ Ribeyi'o Landed in Ceylon in 1G40 
in the suite of the Count d'Aveiras, 
and remained till the capture of (Co- 
lombo in 1058. Jialdajus arrived in 
1656, and remained till 1665. Ya- 
LENTYN, ch. xvii. p. 413. Another 
writer who was present at tlie final 
struggle between the Dutch and Por- 
tuguese, JoiiAN Jacob Saars, has 
given, in his Ost-ImUanische Fimf- 
zelin Jahruje Kric(fs-dk'nst, or Fifteen 
Years' 3Iilitanj Service, hetween'\(j^ 
and 1659, Nui-emburg, 1662, an ac- 
count of the campaign in wliich Co- 
lombo was captured, p. 122 — 128. 

^ See a copy of the treaty in Bal- 
D^rs, ch. xxii. p. 641. 

' Galle was reduced by Commo- 
dore Koster, wlio acted as envoy to 
the Coiu-t of Kandv. But the Dutch 

were singularly unfortimate in the 
selection of agents on tliese occa- 
sions. Koster, a rude sailor, insulted 
Raja Singha II., as De "NVeert had 
previously outraged Wimala Dhanna ; 
he was dismissed without the usual 
diplomatic courtesies, and murdered 
on his return to Batticaloa. — liAL- 
D.EUS, ch. xlii. p, 710} Valexiyx, 
ch. xii. p. 143. 

+ KiBEYKO, pt. ii. ch. viii. p. 102. 
The expressions of Yalentyn are 
ver^' cm'ious on the point of the du- 
plicity of Baja Singha: — " toen al 
cousidcrerende dat 't beter was van 
twee natien gecaresseerd, als van een 
stoute wydberoemde overheerd te 
werden, liet by de Poilugeesen weer 
adem scheppen." — Ch. xii. p. 143. 




[Part VI. 





arrival of intelligence in India, that Portugal had finally 
emancipated herself from the dominion of the Kings of 
Spain, and had expelled Philip IV. to enthrone John of 
Braganza in his stead ; peaceful overtures were made to 
the States General, and in 1646, an armistice was arranged 
between Portugal and Holland for ten years from 1640, 
the two countries retaining their respective conquests in 

During the pause, the emperor, whose confidence in the 
Dutch had by no means been confirmed by personal inter- 
course with their authorities, hopeless of ever liberating his 
country from both combatants, and seeing his best chance 
of safety in their mutual rivalry, not only persevered in 
infesting the territories of each by desultory attacks, but 
contrived with success to embroil them in hostihties by 
passing through the possessions of the one to attack the 
subjects of the other. Conformably to these tactics, he 
marched through the Portuguese territory to reach the fort 
of Negombo, made prisoners of the garrison, and sent the 
heads of their officers rolled in siU^ to the Dutch com- 
mandant at Galle.^ 

The patient endurance of these and similar outrages 
is one of the remarkable features of the pohcy of the 
Dutch. They contented themselves with supphcations 
to be permitted to trade in cinnamon, and with offers to 
smTender some of the strong places in their keeping on 
being reimbursed the costs of the war ; acquitting tlie 
emperor of dehberate bad faith and imputing his ahenated 
feelings to the machinations of their rivals, who were 
irritated at the Westerwold treaty. Thus by blandish- 
ments and presents ^, the Dutch governor succeeded 

' Holland had previously regained 
Negombo from the Portuguese in 
16-y:. EiBETiio,pt.ii. ch. xiv. p. 123; 
Valenxyn, ch. xii. p. 143. 

^ Valentyn, ch. xii. p. 121, 142. 

^ In tlie jnidst of this sullen cor- 
respondence, the Dutch Governor 
alludes to the arrival at Galle of " a 
Persian horse ivorthi/ to he bestrode Inj 
a king" and asks pemxissiou to for- 

ward it to Kandy together with a 
saddle from Holland. (Valentyn, 
ch. xi. p. 125.) lied cloth, gold and 
silver lace, Spanish wine, and Dutch 
liqueiu's, were also employed to heal 
the breaches between Kandy and 
Holland. (Valextyn, ch. xi. p. 125, 
ch. xii. p. 136.) One injunction of 
Raja Singha, however, the Dutch 
firmly resisted ; they declined either 

Chap. II.] 



in allaying irritation, recovered the prisoners of war, and a.d. 
retained possession of the two important stations of 
Negombo and Galle, on the confines of the cinnamon 
coimtiy, till the expiration of the truce with Portugal in ^.d. 
1650, and the declaration of war by the Netherlands two 1650, 
years afterwards. 

At that moment the Portuguese in Colombo were in a 
state of mutiny against the Governor Mascarenhas Ho- 
mem ; and Eaja Singha, no doubt influenced by this 
circumstance, signified his readiness to take the field 
along with the Dutch. Some time was spent in skirmishes 
whilst the latter were waiting for reinforcements from 
Batavia; but at length in October 1655, on the arrival of 
the Director-General Gerard Hulst, an advance was made 
from Galle which led to the surrender of Caltura \ and 
Colombo, which was forthwith invested, capitulated on 
the 12th May, 1656.2 

No sooner was the victory achieved, than hostihties 
broke out between the Kandyans and their new allies ; 
the Dutch persisting in retaining their conquests, which 
Eaja Singha contended they were bound to dehver over 
to him, by the terms of the Westerwold treaty.^ In 
an attempt to wrest Colombo from them, the emperor 



to recognise or address him by the 
title of " God."— 75«/., p. 1.3G, ch. 
xiii. p. 178. The Kandyans lite- 
rally attach the idea of divinity to 
royalty ; tliey style the King, Knniara 
Devyo, which means " the Prince 
Go(V The palace had the same de- 
corations as a temple, including the 
emblem of the sacred goose (see ante, 
Vol. I. I't. IV. ch. vii. p. 148), and the 
homage to the sovereign was called 
pinkama, ''worship." See Knox, pt. 
ii. ch. ii. p. 38. Nor were the Dutch 
themselves consistent in their resist- 
ance to this profanity ; for in 1665 
they received in Colombo a fanatic 
who, under the name of " the Un- 
knoion God,'''' was engaged in foment- 
ing revolt against llaja Singha. — 
Valentyn, Oud en Nieuw Oost- 
Indien, ch. xv. p. 261. 

^ BALD^5:rs, ch. xxiii. p. 047 ; Va- 
LEXTYN, ch. xii. p. 14.% 146. 

* Copious details of the long siege 
of Colombo are given by Baldjei'S, 
ch. xxiv. to xxix. 

* RALD.iitrs, ch. XXV. p. 633, 650. 
This alleged breach of the treaty i3 
constantly refeiTed to by all the 
recent historians of Cejdon, but 
certainly, on looking to the letter of 
the Westenvold convention as it is 
given in BALBasirs, ch. xxii. p. 641, 
there is nothing in the text which 
binds the Dutch to give up the 
captured fortresses to the King of 
Kandy. That such was tlie expecta- 
tion of Raja Singha scarcely admits 
of a doubt, but in all probability the 
treaty was so worded by the J hitch, 
as to bear the construction which 
they afterwards gave it. 



Ar>; was defeated \ but being enabled to occupy the sur- 
^'^^' rounding districts with his army, he cut off supphes 
from the fortress, and renewed friendly relations A\dtli 
the Portuguese.^ These occurrences necessarily retarded 
A.p. the further progress of the Dutch, but in 1658 they 
were enabled, by means of their fleet, to possess them- 
selves of the island of Manaar, and marching through 
the country of the Wanny ^, they invested the fort of 
Jaffnapatam, which capitulated on terms ; the garrison 
being transported to Europe, and the ecclesiastics to 

Thus \'irtual masters of the whole seaborde and low- 
lands of Ceylon, their European rivals extruded, and 
their dangerous ally at Kandy enclosed witliin the zone 
of his own impenetrable mountains, the Dutch applied 
themselves dehberately to extract the utmost possible 
amount of profit from their \'ictoiy. Their career 
throughout the period of their dominion in the island, 
exhibits a marked contrast to that of the Portuguese ; it 
was characterised by no lust for conquest, and unstained 
by acts of remorseless cruelty to the Singhalese.^ 

The fimatical zeal of the Eoman Catholic sovereims 
for the propagation of the faith, was replaced by the 
earnest toil of the Dutch traders to entrench their tradinsr 
monopohes ; and the almost cliivakous energy with 

1 Valextyn, cli. xii. p. 146. 

^ EiBEYHO says that Raja Singlia, 
to mark his quan-el with the Dutch, 
invited the Portuguese who remained 
in the island to establish themselves 
within his dominions, and they 
availed themselves of tliis encom-age- 
ment to such an extent, that up- 
wards of seven hundred families 
settled at Ruanwelle with their 
priests and secular clergy, — Liv. iii. 
eh. ii. p. •j-'A. 

^, who accompanied the 
Dutch aiTuy to the assault on Jaffna, 
gives a personal nan-ative of this in- 
teresting march. (Ch. xliv. p. 716.) 

* "V\Tien the English took Colombo 
in 1706, they foimd a rack and wheel, 
and other implements of torture ; 
but these, it was explained, had been 
used only for criminals and slaves. 
(Percival's Ceylon, p. 124.) Wolf, 
in his account of liis residence in 
Ceylon, says, that " criminals were 
not broken on the wheel by the 
Dutch as in Germany ; but instead 
of that, the practice was to break 
their thighs with an iron club. The 
generality of criminals were hanged 
on gallows, but sometimes they were 
put into a sack and thi'o-\vn into the 
sea." — Life, ^-c, p. 272. 



wliich the soldiers of Portugal resented and resisted 
the attacks of the native princes, was exchanged for 
tlie subdued humbleness with which the merchants of 
Holland endured the insults and outrages perpetrated 
by the tyrants of Kandy upon their envoys and officers. 
The maintenance of peace was so essential to the ex- 
tension of commerce, that no provocation, however 
gross, was sufficient to rouse them to retahation, pro- 
vided the offence was individual or local, and did not 
interrupt the routine of business at their factories on the 
coast. ^ 

The unworthiness of such a policy was perceptible 
even to the instincts of the barl^arians with whom they 
had to deal ; and Eaja Singha 11. , by the arrogance and 
contempt of his demeanour and intercourse, attested the 
scorn with which he endured the presence of the faithless 
intruders, whom he was powerless to expel. 

He disregarded all engagements, violated all treaties, 
laid waste the Dutch territory, and put their subjects 



^ Valentyn, ch. xvii. p. 177. In 
the instructions wliich Hen- Von 
Cioens left for his successor on retir- 
ing from the Government of Ceylon 
in IGGl, the leading injunction was 
to humour Raja Singha to the ut- 
most, to do him all honour, and rather 
to endm'e offences committed by him 
than to resort to retaliation ; at the 
same time to watch and distrust him. 
" Men moet ook in alle manieren 
betragten om Raga Singha geen 
redenen van misnoegen te geven ; 
maar veel liever hem caresseeren 
hem veel eerbied bewyzon, en liever 
wat ongelyk van hem lyden dan hem 
diit aandoen ; dog ondertusschen hem 
ook nergeus in betrouwen en op hem 
wel naeuwletten." (Ch. ix. p. 148.) 
See also Roggenwein's Voyage, 
Harris's Coll., vol. i. p. 290. 

It is to be regretted that the post- 
ponement of national honour to com- 
mercial advantiiges was not confined 
to the subjects of Holland in the 

East, and the observance of the same 
humiliating policy is to be foimd, on 
a still gi'eater scale, in the early inter- 
com-se of the British East India 
Company with the Emperor of Delhi. 
There is nothing in the records of 
the Dutch more disgTacefid tlian 
these official documents of the En- 
glish in India, at the beginning of 
the last century, wlio, in the name of 
" (jod," laid at the feet of the Great 
Mogul " the supplication of the Go- 
vernor of lienijat, tchose forehead is 
hisfoofiifool;" setting out that "the 
Enylifhmen tradiny to Benyal are 
his Majesty's slaves, always intent on 
doiny his commands, and having' 
readily obeyed his most sacred orders, 
have thereby found favour'''' — and they 
" craA"e as his servants a finnan for 
trade and protection to follow their 
business without molestation." — Let~ 
ter of Governor Rit^sdl, loth Septem- 



[Part VI. 



to the sword; yet, in spite of these atrocities, they 
addressed him with adulation \ whilst he rephed with 
studied contumely; and they persisted in sending liim 
embassies and presents, although he repelled their ad- 
vances, and imprisoned, and even executed, their am- 

^ " The Dutch knowing his proud 
spirit, make their advantage of it by 
flattering him with their ambassadors, 
telling him that they are his majes- 
ties humble subjects and servants, 
and that it is out of their loyalty to 
him that they build forts and keep 
watches roimd about his coimtiy to 
prevent foreign nations and enemies 
from coming ; and that as they are 
thus employed in his majesties ser- 
vice, so it is for sustenance which 
they want that occasioned their 
coming up into his majesties country. 
And thus by flattering him and as- 
cribing to him high and honorable 
titles, which are things he greatly 
delights in, sometimes they prevail 
to have the countiy and he to have 
the honor." — Ivxox, pt. ii. ch. ii. p. 39. 
See also pt. iv. ch. xiii. p. 179. 

2 Yalexttx, ch. xiii. p. 178, ch. 
xiv. p. 200, ch. XV. p. 283. The 
presents usually selected included 
some rather curious articles. Besides 
horses and their caparison of velvet 
and gold, the Dutch sent, in 1679, 
ten hawks, each attended by a 
Malabai' slave, six civets can-ied 
in cages, six game-cocks from 
Tuttocoiyn, two Persian sheep, a 
stem of sandal wood, and a case of 
wine. The escort which delivered 
these with great pomp at Ruanwelle, 
were so beaten by the king's messen- 
gers who received them, that they 
barely escaped with their lives. 
(\^ALENTYX, ch. XV. p. 302.) Two 
yeare before, the Dutch Governor j sent a present of a lion to Raja 
Singha, with some canting compli- 
ment on 80 suitable an ofiering ; but j 
the king refused the gift, and put 
the messenger under restraint. The j 
officer, maddened by his long de- I 
tention, attempted to approach the | 
king to entreat his dismissal; but I 

the guards were ordered to detain 
him where he stood, and he waa 
compelled to remain for three days 
upon the spot, " and what became of 
him aftei'tt'ards," says Valexttx, 
"we never leai-ned." (Ch. xv. p. 2-K3.) 
He was still alive at Kandy when 
Knox fled in 1697. Raja Singha 
had a passion for hawking, and 
turned the subser\ieucy of the 
Hollanders to account in gratifying 
his taste. I have a curious MS. 
letter written by him in Portuguese 
from Badidla, 6th August, 1652, 
and addressed To the Governor 
Jacob Von Kittenstein, residing in 
my Fortress of Galle as my loyal 
vassal. It alludes to the amval of 
presents which he had not yet deigned 
to look at, and continues thus : " I 
brought up a hawk with gi-eat love 
and tenderness, and taking him vrith. 
me one day to the chase I gave him 
vnng, and he disappeai-ed for ever. 
I think it reasonable that I shoidd 
wi'ite to you about these things that 
are to my taste, and when you are 
informed of them you are bomid to 
give effect to my wishes. If it 
should be, therefore, in your power 
to procm-e for me some good hawks, 
as well as other birds of prey that 
hunt well, and other mattera per- 
taining to the chase, please to send 
them as presents to me." Another 
of the king's wealmesses, was an 
extraordinaiy style of dress quite 
peculiar to himself, including mos- 
quito drawers, and a cap with a 
quantity of feathers. These caps 
were amongst the presents sent by 
the Dutch, and so decorated, ^'a- 
LENTTX says, that he looked rather 
like a buffoon than a king : " en zoo 
wonderlyk van kleederen en toetake- 
ling in z^Ti leveu, dat hy veel beter 
een ouden Portuguees met zyn 

Chap. H.] 



When, after twenty years of captivity, Knox made a.d. 
his escape from Kancly in 1679, Eaja Singha held in de- l^^*^- 
tention or imprisonment upwards of fifty subjects of the 
Netherlands ; including five with the rank of ambas- 
sador, besides a number of French and English, whose 
hberation Sir Edward Winter had in vain soUcited by a 
mission from Madras fifteen years before.^ 

Unable, from his defective mihtary resources, to direct 
any decisive measures against his enemies in the low 
country, the fury of the tyi'ant expended itself in savage 
excesses against his own subjects in the hills, — putting 
to death with remorseless cruelty the famihes and con- 
nections of all whom he suspected of disaffection or of 
intercoiurse with the Dutch.^ At length, the hniit of 
endurance being passed, the Kandyans attempted a a.d. 
revolt in 1GG4. Having forced the emperor to fly to ■^'^^"*' 
the mountains, they proclaimed his son, a boy of twelve 
years old, his successor. But the child fled in terror to 

miskiten-of inuggen-broek, en een 
liof-nar, met zyn muts vol plujTiien 


clan wel een keizer geleek." — Cb. 
XV. p. 200, ch. iii. p. 45. It is an- 
other coincidence (if anything were 
wanting) to attest tlie 'truthfulness 
of Knox's Relation of Ceylon, that 
the portrait which he gives of the 
VOL. n. 

king includes the feathered cap 
spoken of by the Dutch Governor. 

1 Knox's Relation, ^-c, pt. iv. ch. 
xiii. p. 180. In 1680, two English 
sailors reached Colombo, who twenty-- 
two years befoi-e had been seized at 
Calpentyn, where they had landed 
for fresh water. — Valenttn, ch. xv. 
p. 302. 

* " Ilis cruelty appears both in 
the tortiu'es and painful deaths he 
inflicts, and in tlie extent of his 
punishments, viz., upon whole 
families for the miscarriage of one 
of them. And this is done by cut- 
ting and pulling away their tlesh by 
pincers, burning tliem with hot irons ; 
sometimes be commands to hang 
their two bands about their necks, 
and to make them eat their oa^ti 
flesh, and mothers to eat of their 
own chikh-en ; and so to lead them 
througli the city in public view, 
to terrify all, unto the place of execu- 
tion, the dogs following to eat them. 
For the dogs are so accustomed to 
it that they, seeing a prisoner led 
away, ft)llow after." — Knox, pt. ii. 
ch. ii. p. 39. 



[Part VI. 



his fatlier ; and the rebels, unprepared for such a result, 
dispersed in confusion. Eaja Singha, to prevent a re- 
currence of the treason, caused his son to be poisoned \ 
and for some years after this abortive rebellion, the 
Dutch in the low country were comparatively free 
from his assaults and excesses. 

Diuring the period which followed then- capture of 
Colombo, — a period neither of war nor of absolute 
peace, but involving the expenditure of the one without 
purchasing the security of the other, — the mihtary pohcy 
of the Dutch had been purely precautionary and de- 
fensive. Ceylon was guarded as the gem of the country, 
" een kostelyk juweel van compagnies,'" ^ every maritime 
position was strengthened, and fortifications were either 
constructed or enlarged at Matura, Galle, Colombo, Ne- 
gombo, Chilaw, and Jafiiia. Batticaloa and Trincomahe 
were abandoned, not only from the want of troops to 
protect the east coast of the island, but from the equally 
prudential consideration that cinnamon was only to be 
had on the Avest. There every preparation was made for 
defence ; ammunition was largely stored, each garrison 
was provisioned for a year, and, in addition to the com- 
mand of the sea, the inland waters were rendered 
navigable at various points on the west coast between 
Bentotte and JSTegombo, and boats were placed on the 
Kalany Ganga to maintain a communication by the river 
from the confines of the Kandj^an kingdom. 

Thus prepared for any sudden attack, trade at Galle 
and Colombo was carried on with confidence ; and, in 
addition to shipments to Europe, vessels from all parts 
of the East, from Mocha, Persia, India, and the Moluccas, 
were laden with the produce of Ceylon ; but only at 
the government stores ; trade in private hands, either in 
exports or imports, being rigidly prohibited.^ 

1 Knox, pt. ii. ch. vi. p. 08 ; A"a- 

LENTYN, cil. xiv. p. 108. 

2 Valentyn, ch. xii. p. 148. 

^ Towards the close of the Dutch 
Government in Ceylon, tliis mono- 
poly of ti-ade was partially opened, 

Chap. II.] 



The kings of Cotta, in order to procure supplies of a.d. 
cinnamon for the Portuguese, had organised the great ^^^^^• 
estabhshment of the Mahahadde^ under which the tribe 
of Chahas were bound, in consideration of their location 
in villages, and the protection of their lands, to go into 
the forest to cut and deliver at certain prices a given 
quantity of cinnamon, properly peeled and ready for 
exportation.' This system remained unaltered so long 
as Portugal was master of the country ; and the Dutch, 
on obtaining possession of the ports, not only continued 
the collection in the hills by special permission of the 
Emperor of Kandy, but sought earnestly to encourage 
tlie growth of the spice in the lowlands surrounding 
their fortresses from Matura to Chilaw. In the latter 
chstrict especially, the quality proved to be so fine, tliat 
in 1663, the cinnamon of Negombo was esteemed " the 
very best in the universe^ as well as the most abundant."'^ 
But the woods in which it was found were exposed to 
perpetual incursions from the Kandyans, and the obstruc- 
tion of the Chalias and peelers was a favomite device of 
the emperors to annoy and harass the Dutch. Hence 
the cost of maintaining an army to guard the cinnamon 
country was so great as to render it doubtfid whether 
the trade so conducted was worth the expense of its 
protection. Towards the close 'of their career, the 
company were compelled to form enclosed plantations 
of their own, within range of their fortresses ; and here, 
so jealous and despotic was their pohcy, that the peeling 

and foreign ships were allowed to 
import rice and a few other imini- 
piirtiint articles. 

* The term Ilahihaddc, ''the 
fiTcat trade or industry," which was 
first applied in the time of the Portii- 
fj-iiese, IS expressive of the high value 
which they attached to the ohject. 
The " Captain of the Mahahaihle,'"' 
a title invented hy them, was origi- 
nally a high caste Headman placed 
over the whole department, the 

officers and component body of 
which were low caste. The code of 
instructions mider which the whole 
was managed in the time of the 
Dutch, will be foimd in "\'.\lkntyx, 
ch. XV. p. 31G. 

^ " iVlwaar de allerbcste cancel 
pToeid van den geheelen bekenden 
aardbodem ; oolc en zeer gToote quiin- 
titeit." — Memoir of Van Crocus. 
Valentyn, ch. xiii. p. 100. 

E 2 


A.D. of cinnamon, tlie selling or exporting of a single stick, 
except by the servants of the government, or even the 
wilful injury of a cinnamon plant, were crimes punishable 
■with death. ^ 

Elephants. — ^Next to cinnamon, elephants were, in the 
estimation of the Dutch, the most important of their 
exports. The chief hunting grounds were the Wanny in 
the north, and the forests around Matiura, in the south 
of the island. Those captured in the latter were shipped 
at Galle for the east coast of India, and those taken in 
the Wanny were embarked at Manaar for the west. 
But the trade in these animals does not appear to have 
been ever productive of any considerable gain, and latterly 
it involved an annual loss." 

Areca Nuts. — A thkd article of export which the 
Dutcli guarded witli marked attention was the fruit of 
the Areca pahu, tlie nuts of which were shipped in large 
quantities to India, to be used by the natives in conjunc- 
tion with the leaf of the betel vine ; and the story of the 
trade in this commodity is singularly illustrative of the 
pohcy adopted by the Dutch to crush their commercial 
rivals. On the capture of Ceylon a large portion of 
the active trade of the island was in the hands of 
the energetic Moors, who not only maintamed a brisk 
intercourse by sea with the ports on the opposite coast, 
but also, by \irtue of tlieir neutrahty, were enabled to 

1 By tlie Dutcli laws every tree were under obligation to produce 

of ciunamon which gi-ew by chance ! annually thirty-four elephants, of 

in the gi-ound of an individual be- which foiu' were to have tusks — 

came " immediately the property of Ibid., ch. xii. p. 133 : find at a later 

the state, and was put imder the i period, A. D. 1707, one of the insti'uc- 

law of the Chalias, who may enter ; tions of the Dissaves was to bribe the 

the garden to peel it. If the pro- j people of the emperor secretly to 

prietor destroys the tree or otherwise , drive down tusked elephants across 

disposes of it, the punishment is, I | the Kandyan fi-ontiers towards the 

believe, capital." — Private letter of i company's hunting gxoimds. (Ibid., 

Mr. North to the Earl of 3Iorninq- j ch. xv. p. 310.) The total number 

ton, 22nd Oct. 1798 ; WeUesley MSS. ' exported in 1740 was about 100 ele- 

Brit. jNIus. No. 13,8(35, p. 57. t phants. (See the Iteport of Baron 

'^ Valenttn, ch. XV. p. 272. This ' Imhoff in the Appendix to Lee's 

was owing chiefly to the scarcity of Riher/ro, p. 170 ; Buknand's Memoir, 

ivory. The headmen of Matura ' Asiat. Journ., vol. xii. p. 5.) 

Chap. II.] 



penetrate to tlie dominions of tlie emperor, carrying a.d. 
up commodities from the low coimtiy for the supply 1^64. 
of the Kandyans. The Portuguese offered no opposition 
to this proceeding, and when freed from apprehension 
of the Moors as military aUies of the enemy, they were 
utterly indifferent to their operations as dealers. Not 
so the Dutch, with whom commerce was more an object 
tlian conquest ; and not content with having secured 
to themselves a rigid monopoly of all the great branches 
of trade, they evinced a narrow-minded impatience of 
the humble industry carried on by the enterprising 

Among the principal articles protected, were the 
nuts of the areca, which, at the time when the Dutch 
took possession of Galle, the Moors were in the habit 
of collecting in the interior of the island, to be ex- 
changed on the coast for cotton cloths, to be sold 
at a profit to the Kandyans and Singhalese. This 
traffic the Dutch resolved to stop, not from any design 
to profit by it themselves, but with the determination, 
even with the anticipation of a loss, to extinguish the 
commerce of the Moors, whose name is seldom in- 
troduced into thefr official documents without epithets 
of abhorrence.^ 

^ Ryklof Van Goens, tlie Gover- 
nor of Ceylon, in the Memoir whicli 
he left in 1G75 for the guidance of 
his successor, describes the ]\Ioors a,s 
a detested race, the offspring of 
Malabar outcasts converted to Islam 
by the Mahometans of ]3assora and 
Mocha, and vrhose appearance in the 
Ceylon seas was first as pirates, and 
then as pedlars. (Valknttn, ch. 
XV. p. 140.) Every expedient was 
adopted to crush them; their trade 
was discouraged — tliey were forbid- 
den to hold land in the coimtiy (Ibid., 
ch. xii. p. 148), and prohibited from 
establishing thenisehes in the forti- 
fied towns (Ibid., ch. xiii. p. IGG), 
a small number only been per- 
mitted to reside at Colombo as 

tailors. (Ibid., ch. xiii. p. 174.) The 
celebration of their worship was in- 
terdicted (Ibid., p. 128) ; they were 
subjected to a poll tax ; they were 
obliged once a year to sue out a 
licence for pennission to live in the 
villages (Ibid., p. 174) ; and, at death, 
one third of their property was for- 
feited to the Go^•ernme^t. (Ibid., p. 
174.) But all these devices of 
tyi-anny were misuccessful ; the en- 
durance and enterprise of the Moois 
were not to be exhausted, .and at 
length the Dutch were compelled to 
admit that every effort to " extirpate 
these weeds," " onkruiil te zuiveren,'' 
had only tended to increase their 
numbers and energy. — Valeistyx, 
ch. xvi. p. 409. 

E 3 



[Part VI. 



To effect their object the Dutch conceived the plan of 
purchasing arrack, on Government account, sending it to 
Sui^at and Coromandel, and there exchanging it for cloth 
with which to under-scU the Moors. ^ But the scheme 
was not successful, and they adopted the bolder com'se 
of taking; the arecas into their own hands as a Govern- 
ment monopoly, and prohibiting the import of cloths 
by the Moors except on condition that they disposed of 
them wholesale to the bm'ghers, by whom alone they 
were to be afterwards retailed to the natives.^ Further 
to ensure their discom^agement, the Government resorted 
to the singular expedient of imposing differential 
custom duties upon goods according to the religion of 
the importer. The tax on cloth entered by Mahometans 
was raised to double that imposed upon cloth imported 
by Christians, and other articles which Christians 
imported free, were taxed five per cent, if brought in 
by Moors.^ But, notwithstanding every device, this 
patient and intelhgent class persevered in their pursuit, 
and continue to the present day, as they did tlirough- 
out the entu'e period of the Dutch ascendency, to en- 
gross a large share of the internal trade of the island ; 
bringing down to the coast the produce of the hills in 
exchange for manufactm^ed articles, introduced from 
the Indian continent. At first, the areca monopoly, 
under the management of the Government, u^as com- 
paratively unprofitable, but by degrees it became lucra- 
tive, and, in 1CG4, it was described as "extremely 
productive." ^ 

The other productions which constituted the exports 
of the island were sapan-wood ^, to Persia ; and clioya- 
roots ^, a substitute for madder, collected at Manaar and 

^ Valextyn, ell. xii. p. 134. 
^ lJ)id., eh. xiii. p. 173. 
3 11)1(1, ch. xiii. p. 174. 
* Ihid., ch. xiv. p. 105. 
^ Casidpinia Sappan. This dye- 
wood was chiefly obtained in the 

woods around Colombo and Galle ; 
but in 1G(j4, so recklessly had the 
trees been cut, tliat there was none 
to be procured at the latter place. — 
Yalenttn, ch. xiv. p. 194. 
^ Oldenlandia umbellata, Lin. 

CliAP. II.] 



other places on the north-west coast of the island, for a.d. 
transmission to Siu'at.^ IQG4:. 

Cinnamon-oil, pepper and cardamoms were sent to 
Amsterdam ; timber and arrack to Batavia ; and jaggery 
(the black sugar extracted from the Palmyra and 
Kitool palm trees) to Malabar and Coromandel.'-^ The 
cultivation of mdigo was imsuccessfLilly attempted 
in the Seven Corles, in 1646 ^ ; and some years later 
silk was tried, but with no satisfactory result, at Jaff- 

Very few of the articles which form at the present 
day the staple exports of Ceylon appear in the com- 
mercial reports of the Dutch Governors. As to coffee, 
although the plant had existed from time immemorial 
on the island (having probably been introduced from 
Mocha by the Arabs), the natives were ignorant of the 
value of its berries, and only used its leaves to flavour 
their ciu-ries, and its flowers to decorate their temples. 
It Avas not till nearly a century after the arrival of 
the Dutch that one of their Governors attempted to 
cultivate it as a commercial speculation ; but, at the 
point when success was demonstrable, the project 
was discountenanced by the Government of Holland, 
with a view to sustain the monopoly of Java ; — as the 
growth of pepper had been discouraged some years 
before, to avoid interference with its collection in Ma- 
labar.^ Cotton grew well in the Wanny, but as the 

^ Choya has long since ceased to 
he collected in Ceylon. It is too 
bulky an article to be carried pro- 
fitably to Europe, and there is no 
pui-pose to wliicli it is applicable that 
cannot be more cheaply accomplished 
bv madder. (Bancroft on Permanent 
Colours, vol. ii. p. 282.) The Dutch 
required the delivery of a given 
quantity of choya as a ti-ibute from 
the of the coast. 

* Valentyn, ch. xiii. p. 174. 

^ Ihid., ch. xii. p. 134. 

* In 1664, VALEifTYif, ch. xiii. p. 
173, ch. xiv. p. 194. 

^ See the liepoii of Governor 
Schreuder, Appendix to Lee's Ri- 
beyro, p. 192-3. M. Btirxaxd, iu 
his 3Ie>noir, says, " Coffee succeeded 
very well in the western parts of the 
island. It was superior in quality to 
the coffee of Java, and approached 
near to that of Arabia, whence the 
first coffee plants came." — Asiat, 
Journ, vol. xii. p. 444. 

E 4 



[Part YI. 



people did not know how to spin it, the crop w^as 

In adchtion to their ordinary trading operations, the 
Dutch had certain monopohes which served to reahse 
a revenue. They farmed the collection of salt at the 
leways and lagoons on both sides of the island; the 
fishery of chank shells ^ Avas conducted for them at a 
profit in the Gulf of Manaar ; but the pearl-fishery at 
Aripo, though perseveringly tended, was seldom produc- 
tive of remunerative results.^ Gems being prociurable 
only within the territories of the Kandyan emperor, 
contributed nothing to the trade or resom^ces of Hol- 
land. Besides these sources of income, there were 
taxes suited to the habits of the native population : a 
poll tax payable in articles of various kinds, such as 
iron ore and jaggery ; a land tax assessed on produce ; a 
tithe on coco-nut gardens ; a hcence for fishermen's 
boats, besides a fish tax on the capture ; the proceeds 
of ferries ; and an infinity of minor items collected by 
the native headmen and theii subordinates. 

The intervention of the latter officers was indispens- 
able in a state of things under which no European could 
five secm^ely beyond the hmits of the garrisoned towns. 
The pohcy of concihating the native chiefs was there- 
fore transmitted by each Governor to his successor, with 
injmictions to encoiurage and caress the headmen ; they 
were to be " nom^ished with hopes," and their attach- 
ment secured by gratifying their ambition for titles 

1 Valextyn, cli. xiii. p. 173; Bxje- 
nand's Mem., Asiat. Journ., vol. xii. 
p. 445. 

There is a very succinct but veiy 
unfavourable account of the Dutch 
system of trade and finance as it 
e'xisted in Ceylon, given by Lord 
Valentia in his Travels, vol. i. ch. 
vi. p. 309. It may be regarded 
as prettv' coii-ect, as the infonnation 
conveyed in it was furnished by Mr. 
Noi-tli, the British Governor, in 1804 ; 
■who had previously examined the 
Dutch records witli close attention. 

2 Turhinella rapa. 

^ " It is a matter for reflection," 
says Baron Imhoff in 1740, ''whe- 
ther the Company derives any ad- 
vantage whatever from the fisheiy of 
pearls, and whether tlie whole affair 
is not rather (/lifter than ;/olcl." — Ap- 
pemlix to Lee's Hibci/ro, p. 247. 
Valextyn tries to account for this 
by saying, that the pearls of the 
Gulf of Manaar were inferior both in 
lustre and whiteness to those of 
Ormus and Bahrein. — Oticl en Nieuio 
Ood-Lulien, ch. ii. p. 34. 

ClIAP. II.] 



and rank.^ Tlie "Instructions" extant in 1661, cle- a.d. 
fining the functions and the powers of the Dissave of 
the western province, inchide every fiuiction of Go- 
vernment, and show the absolute dependency of the 
Dutch on the personal influence of these exalted chiefs. 
To them was entrusted the charge of the thombo, or 
registry of crown lands, their sale and management ; 
the assessment and le\y of taxes ; the superintendence 
of education ; the decision of civil cases, the arrest and 
punishment of criminals ; and, in short, the detailed 
executive of the Civil government in peace, and the 
commissariat and clothing of the army in time of war.^ 

Throughout all the records wliich the Dutch have left 
us of their policy in Ceylon, it is painfully observable 
that no disinterested concern is manifested, and no 
measures directed for the elevation and happiness of the 
native population ^ ; and even where care is sho^vn to 
have been bestowed upon the spread of education and 
rehgion, motives are apparent, either latent or avowed, 
which detract from the grace and generosity of the act. 
Thus schools were freely estabhshed, but the avowed 
object was to wean the young Singhalese from their 
allegiance to the emperor, and the better to impress 
them with the power and ascendency of Holland.^ 
Churches were built because the extension of the Pro- 
testant faith was likely to counteract the influence of 
the Portuguese Eoman CathoHcs ^ and the spread of 

' Vaientyn, ch. XV. p. 151. 

^ See the Code of Instructions for 
the Dissaves, a.d. 1661. Valentyn, 
ch. xi. p. 151. A succinct accoimt 
of the native headmen and their 
functions, civil and military, will be 
foimd in Cordinek's Ceylon, ch. i. 
p. 18. 

* Aji able memoir, on the policy 
of the Dutch in Ceylon, will be 
found in the Asiatic Journal iov 1821, 
p. 444, written by M. BiiRNAJfD, a 
Swiss who had been member of the 
last Land-raad or Provincial Coun- 
cil, and who remained in the island 

after the Dutch had been expelled 
by the English. The gTeat featiu-e 
of their rule, he says, was the " utter 
neglect of the country and its inter- 
ests, owing to the selfishness, ego- 
tism, folly, and want of energy, of 
the general government." — Vol. xi. 
p. 442. 

* Valentyn, ch. xii. p. 130. 
Dutch soldiers Avere allowed to 
many Singhalese women, but only 
on the condition of their wives be- 
coming Christians. — Ibid., ch. xiv. 
p. 195. 

^ Ilid, p. 175. 



[rART yi. 



Christianity to discourage the Moors and Mahometan 

In the promotion of agricultm-e tlie interests of the 
Government were identified Avith tliose of the peasants, 
and the time was eagerly expected, but never arrived, 
when the necessity would cease for the importation of 
rice for the troops from Batavia and the coast of 
Canara.^ But notwithstanding these partial efforts for 
the advancement of the people, successive governors 
were obhged to admit the fact of habitual oppression, 
by the headmen and officials ^ ; and to record their con- 
viction that as the condition of the Singhalese was 
no better under the Dutch than it had been under 
the Portuguese, so would they one day tiu-n on them, 
as they had before shaken themselves fi^ee of their pre- 

ISTor was the discontent confined to the Singhalese 
alone ; disappointment was felt in Holland at the failure 
of those brilliant estimates wliich had been formed of 
the wealth to be drawn from Ceylon ; the hopes of the 
emigrants who had rushed to the island were crushed 
by the reahty ; and the Company's officers and servants 
were loud in their complaints of the impossibihty of 
subsisting on their salaries and perquisites. The former 
were absurdly small, the permission to trade formed the 
great supplementary inducement, and as trade was un- 
productive, discontent was ine\dtable.^ To this the 
condition of the Governors formed an exception ; for 
although then- nominal income was but 30/. per month ^ 
besides rations and allowances, j'-et, according to Va- 
lentyn, such were the secret opportunities for personal 

^ Yaleuttn, ch. xii. p. 134. For 

a narrative of the exertions made by 
the Dutch for the extension of educa- 
tion and relig-ion, see Sir J. Emersox 
Tenni:>'t's Ilistonj of Christiauiti/ in 
Ceylon, ch. xi. p. 37. A detailed 
account of the churches and schools 
vnW. be found in the seventeenth 
chapter of Valextyx, p. 40!). 

2 VALENTYIf, ch. xii. p. 148. 

' Il)i(l., ch. xiii. p. 176. 

* This account will be found in 
the Report o/" IlivXDiuc Adrian Van 
Uheede, 1077j Valenitn, ch. xv. 
p. 27.'}. 

^ Yalextyx, c. XV. p. 252. 

® Bertolacci, p. 56. 

Chap. IL] 



gain, that in tAvo or three years they became rich ; a 
circumstance observable also in tlie case of the com- 
mandants of Jaffna and Galle, provided they maintained 
a good private understanding with the governors of Co- 
lombo, and knew how to take and give.^ 

In fact, from the commencement to the conclusion of 
the Dutch dominion in Ceylon, theii' possession of the 
island was a militaiy tenure, not a ciAdl colonisation in 
the ordinary sense of the term. Strategetically its oc- 
cupation was of infinite moment for the defence of their 
factories on the continent of India ; and for the interests 
of their commerce, its position (intermediate between 
Java and Malabar) rendered it of value as an entrepot. 
But all attempts to make it productive as a settlement 
Avere neutrahsed by the cost of its defence and es- 
tabhshments. For a series of years, previous to its final 
abandonment, the excess of expenditure over income from 
aU sources, involved an annual deficiency in the revenue ^ ; 
and Baron Imhoff, in 1740, contrasting the renown of 
the conquest, and the magnitude of the anticipations with 
which it had been heralded, Avith the httleness of the 



' The passage in Yalentyn is so 
curious that I give it in the original. 

"De oubekende en geheime voor- 
(leelen zyn niet wel na te rekenen, 
hoewel't zeker is, dat zy in twee of 
drie jaaren schat-ryk zja, hoedanig 
het mede (hoewel met eenig onder- 
scheid, en na dat zy zich in de gimst 
van den Landvoogd weten te hoiiden 
en met een ryp oordeel to geven en 
to nemen) met de Commandeurs van 
Galle en Jalihapatam gelegen is." — 
Oud en Kieuiv Oost-Indien, 4't., ch. 
i. p. 2(5. 

^ An exposure of this result is 
given in the official JRepoH of Van 
Rheede, A.D. 1(507, which is printed 
in extenso by Valentyn, Oud en 
Nienw Oost-Indien, ch. xv. p. 247. 

Mr. Lee has appended to his 
Translation of Ribeyro a Table pre- 
pared from the records in the cham- 
ber of Archives at Amsterdam which 
shows that between the years 1739 
and 1701 the annual deficit for the 

administi'ation, after deducting the 
necessaiy expenses from the profits 
of trade .and the income from taxes, 
was 172,942 florins, equal to 14,410/. 
sterling. (Appendix, p. 201.) See 
also the Memoir of M. BrRNAND, 
Asiat. Journ., vol. xi. p. 442. But it 
must be borne in mind that the ciWl 
servants of the Dutch had no interest 
in the collection and disposal of the 
revenues, and that their pecidation 
and corniption were matters of noto- 
riety. To such an excess was this 
carried that it became necessary to 
vitiate the public docmnents for the 
concealment of frauds. Hence Lord 
Yalentia, in accoimting for the 
little value attaching to the Dutch 
Records, says, "they cannot be relied 
on ; they appear to have falsified all 
the accounts of Cejion to deceive 
their masters at home, a measure 
necessaiy to cover their o^vn pecu- 
lations." — Travels, vol. i. ch. vi. p. 



[Part VI. 


A.D. ascertained result, compared Ceylon to one of the costly 
l^^4- tulips of Holland, which bore a fabulous nominal price, 
■without any intrinsic value. ^ 

To such lengths did misgovermnent prevail, that Hol- 
land was at last threatened with the loss of the "jewel" 
altogether, by the treason of her own officers, and the 
rebeUion of the Singhalese. Vuyst, the governor of 
Ceylon, in 1626 aspked to become sovereign of the island, 
and visited with forfeitiu"e, torture, and death every chief 
who opposed him. For this he was broken on the wheel 
at Bata\da, and his body bmiied and scattered on the 
sea.^ Versluys, who was sent to supersede him, was 
removed for extortion and cruelty ; and m the midst of 
the discontent and anarchy wliich ensued, a change in 
the reigning dynasty at Kandy gave encom^agement to 
the lowlanders to attempt theii* own dehverance by 

The forced tranquilhty of Eaja Singha H., after the 
A.p. ominous insurrection of his own subjects in 1664, 
1G72. remained unbroken till 1672, when on the outbreak of 
war between Louis XIV. and the United Provinces, a 
French squadron made its appearance at Trincomahe, 
commanded by Admiral De la Haye. They were eagerly 
Avelcomed by the emperor as unexpected alhes, hkely to 
aid him in the expulsion of the pestilent Hollanders. 
The French took instant possession of Trincomahe, 
and the Dutch in then* panic abandoned the forts of 
Cottiar and Batticaloa, but the inabihty of the former 
to mamtain their position in Ceylon, and then- sudden 
disappearance, sufficed to allay the apprehensions of the 

^ Appendix to Lee's Ribeyro, p. 

^ NaiTative of RoGGE\VErN's Voy- 
age, Harris's Coll., vol. i. p. 288. 

3 Valenttn, cli. XV. p. 25(5. On this 
occasion the French Admiral De la 
Haye sent M. Nauclars de LaneroUe 
as ambassador to Kandv. But this 

gentleman ha^sing violated the im- 
perial etiquette b}^ approaching the 
palace on horseback, and manifested 
disrespectful impatience on being 
kept too long waiting for an audience, 
Kaja Singha ordered hi)n and his 
sui'tc to bejloyyed ; a sentence which 
was executed on all but the envoy, 

Chap. II.] 







Eaja Singlia II. died in 1687 ^ ; his son, Wimala a.d. 
Dliarma II., and liis grandson Koondasala, followed ^^^'^ 
as successors to the throne ; but being indifferent to 
everything except the revival of Buddliism, which had 
fallen into decay during the prevalence of war, they 
gladly accorded peace to the Dutch, who in return placed 
sliips at their disposal to bring from Arracan priests of 
sufficiently high rank to restore the upasampada order 
in Ceylon.^ 

On the decease of Koondasala in 1739, the royal 
Singhalese Hne became extinct, and a Malabar prince^, 
brother of the late queen, was accepted as emperor 
under the title of Sri Wijayo Eaja or Hangm^anketta. 
Two other sovereigns of the same foreign Hneage fol- 
lowed, and during then" reigns the utmost encouragement 
was given to the lowlanders to combine with the 
Kandyans for the dehverance of their country from the 
despotism of Holland.* 

The alliance was, however, powerless from the decay 
of the native forces, and the want of munitions of war ; 
the Dutch, by an exertion of unwonted vigour, conducted 
an army to Kandy ^, wdiich they held for some months ; 
and a protracted struggle terminated in 1766, under the a.d. 
judicious management of M. Falck, by a treaty which ^"'^^ 
secured to the Dutch a considerable accession of terri- 
tory, and the adjustment of more favourable conditions 
for the conduct of the Company's trade. 

The story of the dominion of Holland in Ceylon is 

■nliom lie detained in captivity for a 
number of j-ears. — Valextyn, ch. xv. 
p. 202. 

^ Tttrnottr, in his Epitome, fixes 
the date of his death 1685, but the 
Dutch, who were not likely to be 
mistaken, record, with minute par- 
ticularity, that it occurred on the Otli 
December, 1687. — Valentyn, ch, xv. 
p. .343. 

^ Valenttn, ch. XV. p. 344. 

^ Although the new dynasty are 

spoken of imder the generic name 
of Malabars, it is necessary to ob- 
serve that tliey were not of the Tamil 
race, who had been the ancient in- 
vaders and enemies of Ceylon, but 
TeliK/us, of the royal family of Ma- 
diu-a, with whom the Singhalese 
kings hfid iuterman-ied. 

* Bertolacci, p. 2S; Memoir of 
M. Bitrnand, Asiat, Journ. vol. xi. 
p. 442. 

^ a.d. 1763. 


A.D. not altogether unrelieved by passages indicative of more 
1/6G. generous impulses, but these were so transient and so 
uniformly succeeded by reversions to the former pusil- 
lanimous sj^stem, that the general character of their 
administration is unredeemed from the charge of mean- 
ness and tyranny. The presence of such Governors as 
ImliofF and Falck were but episodes in the wearisome 
tale of extortion and selfishness; and when at length 
towards the close of the last century the British troops 
made their appearance before Colombo, after occupying 
the other strongholds in the island, the siQTender of the 
fortress without a struggle for its defence may be 
regarded as an e\ddence that the Dutch had become as 
indifferent to its retention as the Singhalese were rejoiced 
at its capture. 




The first Englishman who ever visited Ceylon landed 
at Colombo on the 5th March, 1589. This was Ealph 
Fitch \ one of those pioneers of commerce, who, excited 
by the successes of the Portuguese in Asia, longed to 
secure for Great Britain a participation in the gorgeous 
trade of the East. Twenty years prior to the granting 
of the royal charter, that gave its first organisation to 
the germ which afterwards expanded to the imperial 
dimensions of the East India Company, foiu^ adventurous 
merchants, — Leedes, Newberry, Storey, and Fitch, — 
were commissioned by the Turkey Company to visit 
India and ascertain what openings for British enterprise 
existed there. They traversed Syiia, descended the 
Tigris to Bassora, and thence took shipping to Ormus 
and Hindustan. One entered the service of the Empe- 
ror Akbar, another died in the Punjab, a third be- 
came a monk at Goa, and the fourth, after wandering 
to Siam and Malacca, halted at Ceylon on his return and 
was probably the first of his nation who ever beheld the 



^ PmcnAR, in his Pih/n'ms, calls 
bim Ralph Fitz (vol. ii. p. 110). 

* Fitch's account of his voyage 
■will be found in Hakluyt, vol. ii. p. 
263. Raja Singba I. was then in the 
midst of hostilities against the Ptu'- 
tuguese, and Fitch describes the 
energy of his character and tlie 
strength of his army " witli their 
pieces which be muskets." — Mill's 
Ilisf. of British India, b. i. ch. i. p. 
ID. I take no account of Sir John 
Mandeville, " the author/' as Cooley 

says, "of the most unblushing volume 
of lies ever olJ'ered to the world," 
who professed to have visited Cey- 
lon between V-''-j2, wlien he set out 
for St. Albans, and 1806, when he 
retiu'ned to Liege, where he died. 
He professes to have visited India 
and China, but his book bears inter- 
nal CA iilence that he had never wan- 
dered further east than Jerusalem. 
Ilis pretended description of Ceylon 
is bonowed from Marco Polo and 
Odoric of Portenau. 



[Pakt VI. 

A.D. Altliougli the passage by the Cape of Good Hope 
1766. \^^^ been in use for more than two hundred years, no 
vessel bearing the flag of England had yet been seen 
on the Indian Ocean. Portugal, in virtue of her prio- 
rity of discovery and under pretext of a Bull granted by 
Martin V.^, claimed the exclusive na\dgation of those 
seas, — a right which she asserted by force of arms^, and 
in which the other powers of Europe at that time were 
not sufficiently interested to contest it with her ; and it 
w^as not till after the return of Drake from his circum- 
navigation of the globe in 1579, that Queen Elizabeth 
proclaimed the right of her own subjects to na\'igate 
the Indian seas on an equahty with those of Spain. ^ In 
pm'suance of this bold declaration, the first vessels that 
ever sailed direct from England to India w^ere de- 
spatched in 1591, not, however, to trade with the natives, 
facilities for which had not yet been ascertained, but 
to " cruize upon the Portuguese." ^ The expedition 
Avas unfortunate, the adnural perished, and Lancaster, 
the sm'vi\dng officer, on his way home from Malacca 
touched at Ceylon, and " ankered at a place called 
Punta del Galle^ about the 3rd of December, 1592."^ 
Thus the " EdAvard Bonaventure " was the first British 
ship, as Ealph Fitch had been the first British subject, 
that had visited Ceylon. 

Nearly two centuries elapsed after the appearance 
of the English on the continent of India before their 

^ Tlie Bull of Martin Y. was re- 
newed by tlie succeedinf^ Popes 
Nicholas and Sextus. — Puilcilas, vol. 
i. p. 6. 

^ Mill's Hist. Brit. India, b. i. 
ch. i. p. 6. 

3 INIacpherson's Annah of Com- 
merce, vol. ii. p. IGO. Long after 
the power of the Portngiiese bad de- 
clined, the Dutch, as their succes- 
sors, maintained the same indefen- 
sible doctrine of the monopoly of 
Indian trade ; and in Ceylon, next 
to the duty enjoined on successive 

governors to seciu-e peace with the 
King of Kandy, was the iuj miction 
to exclude all other European na- 
tions from the trade of the island, 
" xceeren van allc andere J^iirojnanen 
van Cei/hn." — VALENTrN", eh. xv. 
p. .343. It was only at the conclusion 
of the war %A'ith Holland in 1 784 that 
Great Britain insisted on a formal 
declaration of the free navigation of 
the Indian seas. 

4 Haeris, vol. i. p. 875. PrijvojsT, 
IIi,s-t. Gen. (Ics Voy.. t. i. p. '5.57. 

* IIakltjyt, vol. ii. p. 107. 

Chvp. III.] 



attention was turned to tlie acquisition of Ceylon.^ 
Tlie vast seaborde of Hindustan afforded so wide a 
field for enterprise that it was unnecessary to contend 
witli two European states for the trade of an island off 
its coast. Fully occupied in the estabhshment of their 
successive settlements at Surat, Madras, Bombay, and 
Bengal, and with the quarrels regarding them, which 
arose with the Portuguese, the Dutch, and French, as 
well as in tlieir conflicts with the native princes, the 
attention of the Enghsli was not directed to Ceylon till 
late in the eighteenth century, when the seizure of the 
Dutch possessions became essential to the protection of 
their own, as well as for the humiUation of the only 
formidable rival who then competed with Great Britain 
for the commerce of the Indian seas. 

The only intercourse which the Enghsh had pre- 
viously attempted with the Singhalese Emperor, arose 
out of the unaccountable passion of Eaja Singha II. for 
the detention of " white men " as prisoners in his do- 
minions.''^ Hence Sir Edward AYinter was led, in 1664, 



' From the necessities of tlieir 
positio7i, the Dutch saw nothing of 
the interior of Ceylon themselves, 
and discouraged the travellers of 
other nations from visiting or de- 
scribing it. Hence accounts of the 
island during their presence there 
are rave. The most curious is con- 
tained in the Life of Jo. Christian 
Wolf, who was one of their ofhcials 
at Jaffiia. Taveruicr, tlie French 
traveller, touched at (lalle inlG48; 
and Thunberg, the Swedish natura- 
list, landed on the island in 1777, but 
his journeys extended no further 
than from Matiu-a to Colombo, and 
his information is confined to the 
collection of gems at the one place 
and the preparation of cinnamon at 
the other. (TnuNitEiiG, Voyaj/es, vol. 
iv.) Amongst the iVnv ICnglish tra- 
vellers who visited Ceylon during the 
Dutch period, was Sir Thoiuas Her- 
bert, a cadet of the Pembroke family, 
who has given an erudite accomit of 

VOL. H. 

the island in his Travels into Africa, 
the Great Asia, and some parts of 
the Oriental Indies and Isles adjacent, 
Loud. MDCXXXiv. He, however, re- 
cords it as " the tradition of this place 
that JNIelec Perimal, king of that island 
(Ceylon), was one of the Magi tliat 
offered gold, frankincense, and myrrh 
unto oui- Blessed Saviour; and also 
that at his return he made kno^\^l 
the history of God's incarnation, and 
made many proselytes, of which some 
to this very day retain the faith." 
'' Candace's Emmch," he says, "bap- 
tized by Philip, preached Clirist in 
Taprobane, if Dorotheus, Bishop of 
Tyre, who lived in the days of the 
gi-eat Constantino, had good authority 
for reporting it." Sir Thomas men- 
tions that " infamous ape's tooth 
which Constantino, a late Coan 
\iceroy, foreil)ly took away, and upon 
their proffering a ransom burned it 
to ashes," p. .'MS. 

^ Knox himself, one of these de- 




[Part VI. 


to make an attempt, though an inefTectual one, by means 
of a special mission to the king, to effect the dehverauce 
of tlie Enghsh seamen hekl in captivit}^ in Kandy.^ 

The first e\'idence of any deske to obtain a footing 
in Ceylon is to be traced to the act of the governor 
of Madi-as, who, in 1763, sent an envoy to Kandy 
to propose to the king Kirti Sri an amicable treaty. 
The overture was favourably received ; but, owing to 
the subsequent indifference of the Enghsh Government, 
no steps were taken to mature an alhance.'' 
A. p. Twenty years later when war was levied against Hol- 
^''^•2. land by Great Britain in 1782, and Trincomalie occu- 
pied by a British force under Sir Hector Munro ^ ; Hugh 
Boyd was commissioned b}^ Lord Macartney to proceed 
to the court of Kandy, and sohcit the active co-opera- 
tion of Eajadhi Eaja Singlia against the Dutch. But 
the recollection was still fresh in the minds of the 

temis from 1659 to 1679, states his 
inability to assign any adequate mo- 
tive in explanation of this strange 
propensity of Eaja Singha. His 
English captives all appear to have 
been kidnapped sailors, whom sliip- 
■wi-eclis or other disasters had forced 
to land on his shores (Hist. Relation, 
pt. iv. ch. xiv.). Besides Kxox's o-wn 
companions, there were at the same 
time sixteen other Englishmen con- 
fined at Kandy, the crew of a mer- 
chantman, which had been wrecked 
on the Maldives in 1656 (lb. ch. iv.) ; 
Valentin! states that in 1672, two 
Englishmen made their escape to 
Colombo after twenty-two years' 
detention at Kandy, having been 
seized at Calpent^Ti when landing 
fi'om a ship in search of fresh water. 
(^^VLEXTTX, ch. XV. p. 802.) We have 
no evidence of this seiziu-e and de- 
tention of strangers being a national 
ciLStom of the Singhalese kings, but 
it is curious tliat in the tract of Pal- 
ladius De Moritius Brachmfmoruvi, 
erroneously ascribed to St. Ambrose 
(see ante, Vol. I. Pt. v. ch. i. p. 589), 
theTheban scholar who describes Cey- 
lon, says that he was seized and de- 
tained there by the king, for no other 

reason than that he had dai-ed to set 
foot upon the island: lot; roXfuJTag 

Ivnox says that it was the practice of 
Raja Singha II. to feed his European 
prisoners with rice and provisions 
sent daily for their use (pt. iv. ch. 
ii.) ; and in the same way the Tlieban 
throughout the six years of his forced 
residence in Taprobane received 
regularly a supply of gi-aia at the 
expense of the Iring, KaTaaxt^'^k oi'v 
Trn^ avTolg i^ai-iav v—rjoirtjaa Ttp 
noTOKOTTiit irapacoOf'iQ (I'g (pynalnr. 
(PsErDO-CALLISTHEXES, iii. ch. ix.) 
De Foe has availed himself of this 
habit of the Singhalese to seize the 
persons of foreigners, to introduce an 
incident in his story of the Adccntures 
and Piracies of Captain Sinc/leton, ch. 
xvii. The same propensity ha.s been 
exhibited at times by the people of 
Japan and other portions of the East. 

' Valextyx, ch. xiv. p. 200. The 
Dutch liistoriiui calls him Lord 

^ Lord Valentia's Travels, vol. i. 
ch. vi. p. 278. 

^ Mill, Hid. Brit. India, book v. 
ch. V. vol. iv. p. 225. Peecival's 
Ceylon, ^-c, p. 50. 





Kandyans of the slight endured in 17Go, and the Em- a.d. 
peror dechned to negotiate witli the East India Company, ^782 
or to enter into any treaty, except with the King of 
Great Britain du^ect.^ Mr, Boyd, on his return to 
Trincomahe, had the mortification to discover that, 
during his absence, the fort had been surprised by a 
French fleet under Admiral Suflrein, and the British 
garrison transported to Madras. Trincomahe on the 
occurrence of peace in the year following, was restored 
to the Dutch. 

At length, in 1795, Holland, after being overrun and 
revolutionised by the armies of tlie French Eepublic, 
found herself helplessly involved in the great war 
which then agitated Europe — and the time at last 
arrived when Ceylon was to be absorbed into the Eastern 
dominions of the British Crown. 

This consummation was facihtated by the renewal 
of hostihties between the Dutch and the court of 
Kandy, the sovereign being now as willing to avail 
himself of the aid of the English to expel the forces of 
Holland, as his predecessor, one hundred and fifty years 
before, had been eager to accept the assistance of the 
Dutch to rid his coimtry of the Portuguese. 

On the 1st August, 1795, an expedition fitted out by 
Lord Hobart, the governor of Madras, and commanded 
by Colonel James Stuart, landed at Trincomahe, which 
capitulated, after a siege of three weeks ; Jaffna sur- 
rendered within the following month, and Calpentyn 
was occupied on the 5th November. A Singhalese 
envoy ^, with the high rank of Adigar, was now de- 
spatched to Madras by king Eajadhi Eaja Smglia, to 
negotiate a treaty between Grcjit Britain and Kandy ; 
but before his return, Colonel Stuart, early in 1790, 

' An interosting- account of Mr. 
Boyd's Enil)a.'t.-*y to Kaudy will be 
found in his MiscvUcinconn Works, 
vol. ii. p. 107, and in the voliunc of 

the Asiatic Anmnil Rcqider for 

"^ iNIigasthene, Dissave of tlie Seven 
C'oi-les, who died in 1800. 

r 2 



[Pakt YI. 



took possession of Negombo, and summoned the 
garrison of Colombo, which, on the 16tli February, 
marched out without strikino' a blow. Van Ano'elbeck, 
the governor, had previously signed a convention by 
which Caltura, Point de Galle, Matura, and all the other 
fortified places, were simultaneously ceded to Great 

By this capitulation Ceylon, with all its fortresses, 
ammunition and artillery, its archives, and tire contents 
of its treasury and stores, was ceded to the victorious 
Enghsh. Private property was declared in\4olable, the 
fluids of charitable foundations were held sacred, the 
garrison marched out with the honours of war, piled 
arms on the esplanade, and returned again to their 
barracks. Night closed on the descending standard of 
Holland, and at sunrise, the British flag waved on tlie 
walls of Colombo.^ 

1 Anmial Register, 1796, p. 194. 
Ibid. Appendix, p. 75. 

^ Pekctval, -who served hi this cam- 
paign, gives a remarkable picture in 
his Account of the Island of Ceylon, 
of the degi-aded state to which the 
Dutch military establishments were 
reduced at this crisis. The march of 
the British from Negombo to Colombo 
was entirely unimpeded, although it 
lay through thick woods and jungle, 
from behind which an enemy might 
have been destroyed whilst tlie as- 
sailants were unseen. The English 
were allowed to cross tlie Kalany 
river at ^lutwal without molestation, 
upon rafts of bamboo ; a batteiy 
erected at (xrand Pass was abandoned 
by the Dutch, who fled on the appear- 
ance of the British. A few shots were 
aimed at them as tliey approached Co- 
lombo, but the firing party were re- 
pulsed, and fled witliin the fortifica- 
tions, whence, without waiting to be 
attacked, they instantly sent to pro- 
pose tenns of suiTender. Van An- 
gelbeck, the go-\-enior, afterwards 
confessed, such was the demoralisa- 
tion and mutiny of the garrison, that 
he lived in peqietual dread of assas- 

sination, and although eager to defend 
the fortress to the last, he was unable 
to prevail on his officers to encoimter 
the enemy. This state of things 
Percival ascribes to the thirst for 
gain and private emolument, which 
had OA'ercome eveiy other feeling, 
and produced a total extinction of 
every sentiment of public spirit and 
national honour. "\Yhen the English 
entered the gates the Dutch " were 
found by us in a state of the most in- 
famous disorder and drunkenness, in 
no disciplhie, no obedience, no ^irit. 
The soldiers then awoke to a sense 
of their degi'adation, but it was too 
late ; they accused Van Angelbeck 
of beti-aying them, vented loud 
reproaches against their comman- 
ders, and recklessly insulted the 
British as they filed into tlie for- 
tress, even spitting on them as they 
passed." — Percival, p. 118, loO, 

The Dutch tell a difiercnt stoiy. 
They openly assert the treason of 
Van iVngelbeck, and imply that as 
the Stadtholder in 1705 had tlirown 
himself on the protection of the En- 
glish, the Governor of Ceylon had 


Chap. III.] 



The dominion of the Netherlands in Ceylon was a.d. 
nearly equal in duration with that of Portugal, about l*^^^- 
one hundred and forty years ; but the poHcies of the 
two countries have left a very different impress on 
the character and institutions of the people amongst 
whom they lived. The most important bequest left by 
the utihtarian genius of Holland is the code of Eoman 
Dutch law, which still prevails in the supreme courts 
of justice, whilst the fanatical propagandism of the 
Portuixuese has reared for itself a monument in tlie 
abiding and expanding influence of the Poman Catholic 
faitli. This flourishes in every hamlet and province 
where it Avas implanted by the Franciscans, whilst the 
doctrines of the reformed chm-ch of Holland, never 
preached beyond the walls of the fortresses, are already 

coutrived the surrender of the island 
to gratify his new allies. M. ThoMbe, 
an oflicer who had seiTed in Batavia, 
published in 1811 his Voyaye aux 
Indcs OricidaJes, m the second vo- 
lume of which he has inserted an 
apolog}' for the capture of Colombo, 
from data supplied to him by indi\'i- 
duals at .lava, wlio had served during 
tlie brief assault. He specifies vigo- 
rous and earnest preparations for the 
siege for months before it actually 
took plac-e, which were ostensildy 
continued up to the approach of the 
English. But he rec-alls many sus- 
picious acts of the GoAernor prior to 
and during the advance of the British 
(vol. ii. p. 180; &c.). At length on 
tlieir approach to Colombo, and the 
appearance of the English squadron in 
the roads, tlie Governor's conduct be- 
came unequivocal. lie held frequent 
conferences with Major Apnew, an 
English envoy, who landed from a 
frigatf! in theofhng; and immediately 
after his departure, the Swiss regi- 
}nent of De Meurou announced their 
intention to transfer their services to 
the British. Van Angelbeck then 
commenced to conceal his plate and 
valuables; and awaited the enemy 
with a composure that, coupled with 

a multitude of minor circiunstances, 
awoke the gamson to conscious- 
ness that they had been betrayed: 
" Le 16 Fevrier toutes les troupes, 
pensant avec raison qu'elles etaieut 
trahies, voulurent se rdvolter et plu- 
sieurs coups de fusils etaient diriges 
siu" la nuiison du Gouverneur Van 
Angelbeck." — Vt)l. ii. p. 214. Under 
these circumstances the doomed for- 
tress suiTcndered ; and such was the 
indifiniatiou of the soldiers, that 
nothing but the presence of the 
English saved the Grovernor from 
their vengeance. 

It is certainly a remarkable cir- 
cumstance that Van Angelljeck 
should have remained in Ceylon 
after tlie capture of Colombo. He 
lived there some years, and ac- 
cording to M. TuoMBE, he even- 
tually committed suicide under the 
influence of remorse for his treason. 
The English have made no mention 
of the latter fact, but CoRnrxiui 
describes his funeral by torchliglit 
in September 17'.)',), v,\\on " the body 
was deposited in the family vault by 
the side of that of his wife, wliose 
skeleton was seen tlirougli a glass in 
tlie cover of the cothn." — Cordinek, 
p. 30. 

F 3 



[Part VI, 

A.I), almost forgotten tlirougliout the island, with the excep- 
1796. i[qi^ of an exphing community at Colombo. Ah'eady 
the language of the Dutch, which they sought to extend 
by penal enactments \ has ceased to be spoken even by 
their dii^ect descendants, whilst a corrupted Portuguese is 
to the present day the vernacular of the middle classes in 
eveiy town of importance.^ As the practical and sordid 
government of the Netherlands only recognised the in- 
terests of the native popidation in so far as they were 
essential to uphold theii^ trading monopolies, their me- 
mory was recalled by no agreeable associations ; whilst 
the Portuguese, who, in spite of their cruelties, were 
identified mth the people by the bond of a common 
faith ^, excited a feeling of admiration by the boldness 
of thek conllicts with the Kandyans, and the cliivalrous 
though ineflectual defence of thek beleaguered for- 
tresses. The Dutch and then- proceedings have almost 
ceased to be remembered by the lowland Singlialese ; 
but the chiefs of the south and west perpetuate with 

' In order tliat the children of the 
Singhalese mig-ht be taught Dutch 
by their attendants, the heads of all 
slaves who could not speak it were 
ordered to be shaved, and a fine for 
neglect was imposed upon their mas- 
ters. Thus, as avowed in the procla- 
mation, it was hoped "to destroy the 
language of the Portuguese, in order 
that the najue of our enemies may 
perish, and o.ur own flourish in its 
stead." — Yalexttx, ch. xvii. p. 414. 

^ Even amongst the English, the 
number of Portuguese tenns in daily 
use is remarkable. The gi-ounds 
attached to a house are its " com- 
pound," cunipiiilw ; a wardrobe is 
called an " almirah," almarinho ; a 
tradesman is shown a " muster," 
mostra, or pattern ; the official regis- 
ter of lands is the tomho ; and ele- 
])hants are captured in a " coiTal," 
or curral, "an enclosed field." 

3 The difterent effects of the Dutch 
and Portuguese policA' in nuitters of 
religion is veiy forcibly put in an 

able miimte by Colonel de Meuron, 
a Swiss who commanded a regiment 
of mercenaries in the pay of Holland, 
and who, on the expidsion of the 
Dutch, entered the senice of the Bii- 
tish East India Company : " When the 
Portuguese established themselves in 
Ceylon," he says, "commerce was not 
theii' only object ;*they wished to con- 
vert the natives to Christianity. Per- 
sons of the highest rank became spon- 
sors when Singhalese families were to 
be baptized, and gave their names to 
the convei*ts. This is the origin of the 
numerous Portuguese names amongst 
the Singhalese. The Dutch occupied 
themselves less with conversion, but 
employed the more speedy means of 
making nominal Christians by giving 
certain offices to men of that religion 
only. But the insti'uction given to 
these official converts was too super- 
ficial to root out their prejudices in 
favour of the idolatrv of their ances- 
tors."— 7fW/f*% JZ-S'.S'., Brit. Mus., 
No. 13,864, p. 96. 


pride the honoriiic title of Don^ accorded to them by a.d. 
their first European conquerors, and still prefix to then' I'^G. 
ancient patronymics the sonorous Christian names of the 

On tlie surrender of Colombo, such of the civil in- 
habitants of the place as had means to estabhsh them- 
selves elsewhere took their departure from Ceylon ; 
persons with capital transferred themselves to Batavia ; 
the clergy, and the judicial officers, continued in their 
position (the latter for a given time to decide pending 
suits), whilst the bulk of those employed in the public 
departments retained their occupations and emolu- 
ments. Their uidustry and abihties secured to them a 
continuance in the career to which they had attached 
themselves. Under the British dominion they became 
writers and practitioners in the Courts of Law ; and in 
every pubhc office in the colony, at the present time, 
the establishment of clei'ks is composed almost exclusively 
of biu'ghers and gentlemen Avho trace then' ancestry to 

Ceylon having thus become an English possession by 
right of conquest, its future administration was a ques- 
tion of embarrassment. Mr. Pitt and Lord Melville 
were anxious to retain it under the direct control of 
the crown ; but it had been formally ceded to the East 
India Company after being captured by thek forces, 
and the Court of Directors were naturally eager to 
retain the government and patronage of so valuable an 
acquisition. Besides it was still doubtful whether, in the 
event of a general peace, the island miglit not be wholly 

^ Wolf, ill his autobiogTaphy, says | liim to "rise Don So and so!" By this 

the title of " Don " was soUl Ly tlic contrivance the Portupiiesc got an 

Portuguese for a " few hundred dol- enormous sum, as every one that 

lars," on the receipt of wliich, " the | coukl scrape tog-ether the amount 

Governor took a tliin silver i)late, on ' required, got himself ennobled. The 

which the name of the individual was .Dutch fifterwards made still somer 

written with the title of Z>o>/ prefixed, work of it, and sold the title of Don 

and bound it with his own hand on for iifty, twentv-five,and even so low 

the forc^head of the individual, he | as ten dollars." — Life and Adventures, 

kneeling at the same time ; and ordered «Jjc. , p. 255. 

r 4 


A.D. or ill part restored to the Batavian Eepublic'; and in the 
1797. meantime its management was confided to the Governor 
and Council of Madras. 

ISTo arrangement could have proved more imfortunate. 
Mr. Andrews, a Madras civilian, who, in response to the 
overtures of the king of Kandy, in 1796, Avas sent to" 
negotiate a treaty of aUiance, was entrusted, in addition 
to his mission as ambassador, w^ith extraordinaiy powers 
as superintendent of the Ceylon revenues, a capacity 
in which he was empowered to re\ase and re-adjust 
the financial system of the new colony. He was a rash 
and indolent man, utterly uninformed as to tlie character 
and customs of the Singhalese, and seemingly uncon- 
scious that great changes amongst a rude and semi- 
civihsed people can only be effected, if suddenly, by 
force — if gradually, by persuasion and kindness. Igno- 
rant of any fiscal arrangements, except those wliich pre- 
vailed in the Madras Presidency, Mr. Andrews, by a rude 
exertion of power, swept away the prcAdously existing 
imposts and agencies for their collection in Ceylon ; and 
substituted, in all its severity, the revenue system of the 
Carnatic, introducing simultaneously a host of Malabar 
subordinates to enforce it. The service tenm^es by 
whicli the people held their otherAvise untaxed lands 
were abolished, and a proportion of the estimated pro- 
duce demanded in substitution, together with a tax upon 
their coco-nut gardens. The customs duties, and 
other sources of income, were farmed out to Moors, 
Parsees,, and Chetties from the coast; and the Mood- 
liars and native officers who had formerly managed 
matters involving taxation, were superseded by Malabar 
dubashes, men aptly described " as enemies to the 
rehgion of the Singlialese, strangers to their habits, 
and animated by no impidse but extortion." ^ Unhap- 

' Ceylon was not finally incorpo- 
rated witli the British possessions till 
the Peace of Amiens. 27th March, 

- Letter of the lion. F. North to 
the Earl of Movningtou, 27tli Octo- 
ber, 1798. ( irel/e.^li'>/ M6'S., Brit. 
Mus., No. 13/385, p. 52.) 

CuAP. m.] 



pily, under tlie iDclief that tlieir functions were but A.r>. 
temporary, and tliat Ceylon would shortly be given l'^-^^- 
back to the Dutch \ Mr. Andrews and his European 
colleagues exerted no adequate influence to control the 
excesses of these men, and the atrocities and cruel- 
ties perpetrated by them were such as almost defy 
belief.-^ The result may be anticipated ; the Singha- 
lese population were exasperated beyond endurance, 
their chiefs and headmen, insulted by the superces- 
sion of their authoiity, and outraged by the rapacity 
of low caste dubashes, encouraged the resistance of 
the people ; the Dutch civilians inspu'ed them with 
the assurance of assistance from the French ^ ; and 
under these combined influences the population, in 
1797, rose hi violent revolt, and occupied intrenched 
positions on the line leading from the low country 
towards the Kandyan hills. The moment was in every 
respect critical ; three mihtary governors of Colombo 
had died within the five months that the English had 
been in possession of the island ^ ; a force of Sepoys 
was sent against the rebels, se\ere conflicts ensued, but 
it was not till after considerable loss on both sides that 
the insurgents were subdued. In the meantime. Colonel 
de Meuron ^ was despatched by Lord Hobart from Ma- 
dras, and placed at the head of a commission directed 
to inquire into the causes of discontent, and the means 
of allaying it. 

This calamity in Ceylon had the instant effect of 
deciding the pohcy of Mr. Pitt, and of the Government 
at home, as to the future disposal of the island. It was 

' During- the ahortive negotiations 
of the Earl of Mahnesbury "witli the 
French Directory for peace in 1707, 
the restoration of Ceylon to the 
Batavian Republic was one of tlie 
conditions required and refused. — 
MALMEsnriiT's Diary, S,t., vol. iii. 

^ Facts regarding- the ]iroceedln<>:s 
of the INIadras ofhcials will be found 
in a passage in the Tnivvh of Lord 

Valentia, vol. i. ch. vi. p. (Jlo. The 
stat(>nient bears intenifil evidence of 
having been supplied by Mr. North. 

^ Minute of Lord Hobart, 15th 
March, 1708. 

" Percival's Cci/Ion, ^-c, p. 1.^2; 
Burnand's Meinoire, A.siaf. Journ., 
vol. xi. p. 444. 

» See Note 2, p. G8. 


A.D. resolved to administer the colony direct from the crown, 
1798. r^inl in October, 1798, the Honourable Frederick Xorth, 
afterwards Earl of Guildford, landed as the first British 
governor. His appointment, and that of all the civil 
officers, were made by the king ; but in the conduct of 
affairs, he was placed under the orders of the Governor- 
General of India ^, an arrangement which endured tdl 
Ceylon was incorporated with the British dominions by 
the treaty of Amiens, in 1802. 

]\ir. North arrived in time to carry into effect 
the recommendations of De Meuron, that the Car- 
natic revenue system should be forthA\dtli suspended, 
and the Malabar dubashes sent back to the continent ; 
that the native Moodliars should be reinstated in their 
offices and dignities ; the obnoxious taxes abohshed, and 
till a preferable arrangement could be introduced by 
degrees, that the Dutch system should be resorted to 
for the moment. " I have no scruple," said Mr. Xortli, 
in liis first executive minute, " in declaring that as it was 
established and administered imder the Dutch and their 
predecessors, no system could be imagined more dii'ectly 
hostile to property, to the industrial improvement, and 
fehcity of the people. But the mveteracy of habit pro- 
hibits aU but gradual change, and the experience of what 
has passed since our conquest of the island must have 
convinced every one, that abrupt and total revolutions 
in laws and ci\al pohty are not the means by which an 
enlightened government can improve the understanding, 
stinmlate the industry, and encourage the prosperity of 

^ In describing the administi-ation | throw a light altogether new over the 

of Mr. North, I have had the advan- } leading events of the period, espe- 

tage of access to a collection of his ciiilly upon the excesses and coiTup- 

private letters addressed, during the I tious of the Madras officials, and the 

period of his government, to the I more than questionable negotiations 

Marquis of AVellesley, and deposited, 
after the death of the latter, by his 
representatives in the British Mu- 
seum, where they form Nos. 13,864, 
5, G, 7 in the Catalogue of Additional 
MSS. These important docimients 

between ^Ir. North and the prime 
nunisterof the King of Kandy, which 
were the prelude to the lamentable 
massacre of the British troops in 

Chap. III.] 



a people long accustomed to poverty, and slothful sub- 
mission to vexatious and undefined authority." ^ 

The Augean task of reforming such a state of fiscal 
affairs was rendered infinitely more difficult by the 
intrigues, inefficiency, and corruption of the Madi'as 
civil servants, the majority of whom he was compelled 
to get rid of by suspension, dismissal, and forced resigna- 

Another source of annoyance was the lapse of the 
period allowed by the capitulation of Colombo for the 
dm-ation of the Dutch tribunals, whilst there still re- 
mained suits to be decided ; and although the island was 
thus left without any legal courts, the Dutch officials, 
who were still subjects of Holland, and looked forward 
to an early restoration of her authority, firmly refused to 
take the oath of allegiance, and accept judicial appoint- 
ments under the British crown. This embarrassment 
Mr. North met by obtaining legal assistance from Bengal, 
and organising circuits round the island for the admini- 
stration of justice.^ 

The attention of the governor was now attracted to 
the strange occurrences wliich were passing at Kandy. 
The king, Rajadhi Eaja Singha, was deposed, and died in 
1798, two years after the arrival of the British \ and, 
leaving no issue, the Adigar or prime minister, Pihimc 



* Mr. North to the Earl of Morx- 
INGTON (afterwards Marquis of Wel- 
LESLEY), NoA'. 1798. ( Welleslei/ MSS., 
Brit. Miia., No. 13.865, p. 212.) 

'^ Mr. North writes to the Earl of 
Momington, of " the infamous faction 
of Madras civilians," and his letters 
contain the details of tlie plunder of 
the Government to the extent of 
60,000 pagodas by one gentleman 
who had charge of the Pearl Fishery ; 
and of another, under Avhose corrupt 
judicial uumagement in the Eastern 
Province, '' more than 4000 inhabi- 
tants fi'om the single district of the 
Wanny had been driven away since 
our occupation of the island." — Wel- 
lesley 3£tiS., No. 13,866, p. 173 ; No. 

13,867, p, 28. See also Mr. North's 
Letter to the Secret Committee, 5th 
October, 1799 {Ihid, p. 35). 

* Mr. North to tlie Earl of Morn- 
INGTOX, 27th October, 1798 (Wel- 
leshji MSS:, No. 13,866, p. 52 ; 3rd 
November). Ibid., p. 161 ; 30th Oc- 
tober, 1799, No. 13,867, p. 60. The 
first head of the judicial establish- 
ment was Sir Ednuuid Carrington, 
a friend and fellow-student t)f Sir 
William Jones. 

^ TuRKOFR, in his Upifomc, gives 
no particulars of his fate ; but Mr. 
North, writing to Lord Morning-ton 
the same year in which ho died, 
1798, says " the deposition of tlie late 
king, and the elevation of the boy 



[Part VI. 

A.D. Talawe, in virtue of a Kandyan usage, proceeded to nomi- 

1798. nate, as his successor, a nephew of tlie queen, a boy 

eighteen years old, who ascended the throne as Wikrema 

Eaja Singha ; the last in the long hst of kings who reigned 

over Ceylon. 

Although the late king had died without ratifying 
the treaty negotiated in 1796, the most amicable rela- 
tions subsisted between his successor and the English, 
and Mr. North was preparing to do honour to the new 
sovereign by an embassy of unusual magnificence, when 
communications of a most confidential nature were 
opened with him by the Adigar. In the course of nu- 
merous interviews with the governor, and his secretary, 
Piltime Talawe avowed unreservedly his hatred of the 
reigning Malabar family, his desire to procure the 
death or dethronement of the king, and his ambition to 
restore in his own person a national dynasty to the 
Idngclom!^ Mi'. North, while he disclaimed participa- 
tion in projects so treasonable, discerned in the designs 
of the Adigar an opportunity for establishing a mih- 
tary protectorate at Kancly with a subsidised British 
force, on the model of the mediatised provinces of India ; 
and it must be regretted that in the too eager pursint 
of this object, Mi\ North not only forbore to denoimce 
the treason of the minister, but lent himself to intrigues 
inconsistent with the dignity and honour of his high 

^•"- In the development of the Governor's plans the Adigar 
was encouraged to disclose his designs for the nun of the 
young king, whom it was liis intention to stimulate to 
acts of atrocity such as would make him at once odious 
to his own nation and hostile to the Enghsh, thus pro- 
voking a war in which the Adigar was to profit by his 
overthrow.^ Mr. North did not consider it unbecom- 

wlio now reipiis, was the work of 
Pilanio, first minister, — a g^reat friend 
of ours." — Letter, 27tli Oct., 1798, 
Wellesley 3ISS., No. 13,8G6, p. 55. 

^ Pilame Talawe boast ihI his de- 
scent from the royal line of Ceylon. 

"^ There are two works which may 
be regarded as containing Mr. North's 

Chap. IIT.] 



ing his liigh position to discuss with him the terms of a.d. 
a compromise m a matter so revolting ; and stii)ulating 1799 
only for the personal safely and nominal rank of the 
king, he came to an agreement by wliich the Kandyan 
sovereign was to be reduced to a nonentity, and the 
Adigar to be virtually invested with regal authority. 
It was even contemplated that the king should be in- 
duced to retire altogether from tlie capital, to take up 
his residence at Jaffna within the Britisli dominions, and 
that Pilame Talawe was to become regent of the king- 
dom, within wliich a British force was to be maintained 
at the cost of the Kandyan people.^ 

The project was to be carried into execution by 
means of an embassy, wliich was forthwith to be de- 
spatched, ostensibly to negotiate a treaty with the king, 
but it was privately arranged that the ambassador was 
to be the General commanding in the island ; and the 
intended subsidiary force was to be introduced under the 
name and guise of his " escort." 

It is impossible to read without pain the letters in 
which Mr. j^orth communicates confidentially, for the 
information and approval of the Governor-General of 
India, the progress of this discreditable intrigue. He 
labours to persuade himself that in taking a disingenuous 
course he was adopting the only line open to him at 

.apology for his sliave in these trans- 
fictions, and liis defence of his gene- 
ral adniinisti-ation. Mscoiint Va- 
LKNTIA, in 1804, spent three weeks in 
Ceylon as tlie guest of tlie Governor, 
and in the Travels which he after- 
wards published, he has embodied an 
elaborate re\-iewof Mr. North's policy. 
But beijig, as he says, confined by in- 
disposition, the particulars which he 
supplies concerning the island were 
" derived from the most authentic 
sources'^ — and, in ftict, on comparing 
his statement with the private letters 
of Mr. North to the Marquis of 
WoUesley, we find that they exliibit 
internal evidence of being, in part at 
least, tlie work of one hand ( Travels, 

vol. i. p. 277-270). About the same 
time, the Kev. J. Cordinek, wlio had 
been chapl.iin in the island from 1799 
to 1804, wrote his Description of 
Cei/Ion, and in pt. ii. ch. i. vol. ii. 
p. 155, he gives a narrative of the 
Kandyan campaigii in 1803, and the 
causes which led to it ; and this, too, 
evidently eniiiuatod from tlie same 
source as the account given by Lord 
Viilentia. IJeading these two' mani- 
festoes by the light of Mr. North's 
confidential correspondence with the 
Governor-General, the events they 
record assume an aspect gi-eatly to be 

^ Lord Valenxia, ch. vi. p. 282. 



[Part VI. 



once to save the life of the king of Kandy\ and to pro- 
mote tlie pohtical interest of Great Britain. 

The reception of an " armed British force in tlie 
central capital " he regards as so " highly essential to 
British interests, that he will not endanger the success 
of the negotiation by any over-strictness in the terms 
on whicli it is to be obtained."^ His principal object 
now is, he says, to collect siicli a military force in the 
island, as would enable him to despatch to Kandy " a 
body of troops capable of effectuating all the objects of 
the intended treaty, and of subduing by its own strength 
any opposition which it may experience." ^ " As to 
the king's dignity," he adds, " I shall never conspire to 
take it away, but if he loses it I shall give myself as 
httle concern as when he usurped it — and shoidd the 
Adigar succeed witliout any concurrence of mine in 
dethroning liim, I suppose you would make no objection 
to having the said Adigar as a vassal." It is obvious 
that the sentiments thus privately expressed to the 
Marquis of Wellesley are at variance with the simul- 
taneous declarations of Mr. North to the Adigar, as stated 
on his authority by Lord Valentia.* 

In 1800 the programme already sketched out was 
agreed on, and the Adigar took his departure for Kandy, 
to obtain the formal assent of the king to the entrance 
of so unprecedented a body of troops in tlie suite of an 
ambassador.^ He was to be asked to allow 1000 men 

^ " I am certain tliat if the troops 
are not sent, and if tliey are not put 
into possession of the capital, the poor 
king would be deposed, if not mur- 
dered, or that he would be di-iven 
into ago-ression against us, which I 
hope will excuse me in your eyes and 
in those of the world for not being so 
delicate as I othei'^\-ise should about 
forcing his inclination or abridging 
his power." — ^Ir. Notith to the Earl 
of MoRXiXGTON, 4th Feb. 1800. — 
Wellesley MSS., No. 13,807, p. 75. 

2 Mr.' North to the Earl of Mobn- 

rxGTON, 2oth Dec. 1799. — Wellesley 
3ISS., No, 18,867, p. 65. 

3 Ibid. 

* See Lord Valextia's Travels, 
ch. vi. p. 294. 

^ Writing to Lord Mornington, 
3rd February, 1800, Mr. North avows 
that one object he had in view for 
despatching the Adigar on this errand 
was fu test his inflitence over the king. 
" If he has it," he continues, '^lown 
I shall have little scruple in taking 
this the only measure which can pre- 
serve the king's life and prevent a 

Chap. III.] 



to " escort " General MacDowall, but Mr. North intimates a.d. 
tliat tliere would in reality be 1,800, and that tliey might 1800. 
eventually be raised to 2,500.^ 

Still anxious for self-justification on the plea that the 
presence of the Englisli army would save the life of the 
king, Mr. North persuaded himself that the step he had 
resolved on was the only one to avert an invasion of tlie 
British territory by the Kandyans. So frank had tlie 
Adigar been in discussing this step, as an expedient to 
precipitate hostilities, that he had asked, " What would 
be considered as a sufficient aggression ? and with how 
many men he Avas to invade the low country, to compel 
the British governor to take up arms ? I therefore can- 
not but think," says Mr. Nortli, " that a very minute 
attention to diplomatic forms would be sacrificing the 
reahty of justice for the sake of its appearance ; and as the 
troops will only interfere for securing the government 
establislied by the existing power, I do not imagine that 
the most rigid pubhcist could find fault with wliat I am 
about to do. It is, however, impossible that I should 
not feel anxious and uneasy in conducting so singular a 

a " 2 

The influence of the Adigar was sufficiently powerful 
to overcome the scruples of the king, and permission 
was granted for the advance of the ambassador with his 
formidable escort.^ But the scheme so elaborately con- 

civil war, as well as an aggi-ession 
against us, into which it is the in- 
tention of this Lord Smuhrland to 
hurry his poor master, that ho may 
overturn him." — WcUesIey MSS., No. 
13,8G7, p. 72. 

' Ijord Valentia, cli. vi. p. 28G. 

^ Mr. North to the Earl of Morn- 
INGTON, 7th Feb. 1800(7/;/V/.,p. 70). 

^ This was announced to the Mar- 
quis of Wellesley in the following- 
terms by Mr. North, 16th INIarch, 
1800 : — " The decision is made, and 
General MacDowall set out with his 
escort on Wednesday last. The 
Adigar, liofjorum hwf/e turpinxiinm! 

is to meet him at Sitavaca. Only 
fancy if one of our ministers were to 
behave so about King George, and 
oblige the Abbd Sieves to stipulate 
for his life ! I hope that I have not 
done wrong, but I am not yet cer- 
tain whether I have acted like a good 
politician or like a great nincom- 
poop."— Welh-slc;/ MSS., No. 1;},8G7. , 
The march of this embassy has been 
described with gi'eat minuteness by 
Percival, p. 37(3, and by Cordiner, 
vol. ii. ch. vi. p. 287. There is also 
an interesting account of it in tlie 
MSS. of M. JoTXViLT.E, who accom- 
panied the expedition in tlie capacity 



[Part VI. 

A.D. coctetl, and launched witli so mucli enterprise, was 
1800. doomed to an early failure. The alarm of the king was 
at length excited by the nobles ; a large portion of the 
Enghsh troops was ordered to remain at the frontier, 
the march of the others was impeded by leading them 
through impracticable passes, where the heavy guns were 
left behind, and on his arrival at Kandy, the Greneral was 
received with only a small part of his intended '• army." 
Here the patience of the embassy was exhausted by 
long delays, the reception of a subsidised Britisli force 
was firmly declined, even the negotiation of a treaty 
was indefinitely postponed, and the General returned to 
Colombo with his diminished escort, unsuccessful and 

But the abortive attempt was speedily productive of 
disastrous results. Mr. JSTorth had sown the teeth (jf 

of Naturalist and Draughtsman ; and I cliaracteristic sketch of the Amhassa- 
in it he has introduced the followino- dor and the Adi<?ar. 

General MacDowaU. 2. ril&me TaKuve. 3. The Mooilliar Intoi prefer. 


the dragon, and they germinated mto an early and fear- a.d. 
ful harvest of blood. ^^^^' 

The Adigar, foiled in his endeavours to reduce liis 
sovereign to a pageant, turned to his remaining device 
of provoking a war by aggression on British territory 
and subjects. Nearly two years were spent in efforts to 
this end ; first his agents excited insurrections, which 
were speedily quelled, at ISTegombo and Manaar ^, and 
next he himself sought alternately to embroil the governor 
by secret charges against the king, and to infuriate the 
king by insinuations against the governor.^ Overtures 
for a treaty were made from Kandy, but on conditions so 
inadmissible as to ensure their rejection. At length, 
in April 1802, armed parties began to disturb the a.d. 
frontier ; and a rich tavalam or caravan of Moors, British 1802. 
s^ibjects, returning from Kandy to Putlam, were forcibly 
deprived of their property by officers of the king. 

This was the " sufficient aggression " which the Adigar 
had so long meditated. Compensation was evaded, 
war ensued, and in February, 1803, a British force of a.d. 
3000 men under General MacDowall took possession of ^^^ 
Kandy, which they found evacuated by the inliabitants. 

The Idng fled to Hanguran-ketty, after firing the palace 
and temples ; and the Enghsh general, in concert with 
the perfidious Adigar, placed Mootoo Saamy, a compliant 
member of the royal family, on the throne. The first 
act of the new sovereign was to reahse the desired pohcy 

^ Mr. North to tlie Earl of Moii- 
NINGTON, 15th Jimo, 1800 ( Wellesley 
3ISS., p. 125). The pretext was the 
imposition of a tax ou the wear- 
ing of jewels. Mr. Nokth says, he 
*' had evidence on oath that the 
Adigar had at the same time attempt- 
ed to organise a revolt at Colombo, 
with assiu-ances of co-opcratiou from 

* Amongst other im-piitations by 
which he alarmed the king, was the 


insinuation tliat the 5000 British 
troops assembled at Trincomalie 
in 1801, under the command of 
Colonel Wellesley, afteiTvards Dulce 
of Wellington, and intended for the 
reduction of Ratavia, were in reality 
designed for the invasion of Kandy. 
— Mr. North to tlu; M. of AVellks- 
LEY, l.'ldi .Tune, 1801. This force 
was subsoqnentlv conducted to Egypt 
by Sir David Baird. 


A.D. of ]\Ii\ Xortli, by accepting a subsidiary force, and con- 
ceding extensive territory to the British Crown. The 
Adigar, who, in the midst of the tm^moil, contrived to 
retam his influence with all parties, entered into a separate 
convention with the general, by which the grand object 
of his ambition was at last to be realised : — The fugitive 
king was to be dehvered up to the English, the king de 
facto was to be relegcited with a suitable appanage to 
Jaffna, and " the illustrious Lord Pilame Talawe," with 
the title of Grand Prmce (Ootoon Kumarayen\ was to 
wield the supreme authority at Kandy. On the faith of 
tliis convention with an undisgiused traitor, the British 
general retired to Colombo on an ominous anniversary, 
the 1st April, 1803; leaving behind him 300 Enghsh 
and 700 Malays as the subsidised British contingent. 

But it was soon ascertained that the new king wq,^ 
despised by his own countrymen ; he had undergone 
public punishment at a former period for convicted fi'aud, 
" he met with no adlierents, and remained in the palace 
surrounded only by domestics, and supported by no other 
power than the British army," ^ who were speedily deci- 
mated by disease. 

The Adigar, apparently hm-ried beyond his usual (hs- 
cretion by the rapid success of his treason, saw but 
another step between him and the throne. Of the two 
kings, one was an outlaw, the other an imbedWe faineant ; 
the British troops were prostrated by sickness, and the 
moment appeared propitious to grasp the crown he had 
so long coveted. He formed the bold design to seize the 
person of the Enghsh governor ; to exterminate the 
attenuated Enghsh garrison ; to desti^oy the rival sove- 
reigns, and found a new dj^nasty in Kandy. The first 
plot was defeated by an accident '^, but the massacre of 
the f jrces was fearfully reahsed. 

The hospitals at the moment were surcharged with 

^ Lord Yalentia, ch. vi. vol. i. I ^ jhe person of Mr. Xorth was 
p. 298 ; CoKDiXKR, vol. ii. p. 188. | to have been seized during an inter- 




sick, and the available strength of the British was reduced 
to a handful of European convalescents and about four 
hundred Malays and gun-lascars, under an incompetent 
and inexperienced commandant, Major Davie. 

On the morning of the 24th June, Kandy was sur- 
rounded by thousands of armed natives ; who assailed 
the British garrison from the hills which overhang the 
ancient palace ; numbers were killed, and the residue, 
exhausted and helpless, were compelled to capitulate. 
The Adigar guaranteed their safety and that of the 
royal pi^otege, Mootoo Saamy, with wliom they were 
permitted to march about three miles, to the banks of 
the Mahawelli-ganga, on their way to Trincomahe. 
But they were detained for two days, unable to pass the 
river, which was swollen by the recent rains ; and here 
they were forced to surrender the person of the prince, 
who was instantly slain. Major Davie was led back to 
Kandy, his soldiers were persuaded to give up then' 
arms, the Malays were made prisoners, and the British 
officers and men, led two by two into a hollow out of 
sight of their comrades, were felled by blows from behind, 
inflicted by the Caffres, and despatched by the knives of 
the Kandyans. 

One soldier alone escaped from the carnage and sur- 
vived to tell the fate of his companions.^ An officer '^ 
who commanded at Fort MacDowall, about eighteen 
miles eastward of Kandy, spiked his gun, abandoned his 



idew wbicli the Adigar solicited at 
Dambedenia, in the Seven Corles, 
but the attempt was rendered abor- 
tive by the unforeseen ariival of an 
officer with a detachment of ^300 
Malays, who came to pay their re- 
spects to the Grovemor. — Coedinee, 
vol. ii. p. 201. 

^ Tliis was Coi-poral Barnsley, 
whose singular stoiy will be found in 
the Historical Sketch of the Canquest 
o/" Ce>/lon hy the British, written by 
Henky Makshall, Deputy Inspec- 
tor-General of Hospitals, a book 
which contains by far the best ac- 

count of the militaiy operations of 
tlie British from 1803 to 1804. Dr. 
Davy, in his work on the Interior of 
Ceylon (ch. x. p. 313), has given a 
number of cmious particulars of 
these occuiTences, gleaned by per- 
sonal inquiry from the Kandyans — 
from which it would appear that the 
actual massacre was tlie worlc of the 
king, and not of the Adigar. Cordi- 
nek's Narrative of tlie same events 
will be found in his 2nd vol. cli. iii. 
p. 203. 

^ Captain Madge. 



[Part VI. 



sick, and with difficulty succeeded iii bringing off liis 
men to Trincomalie — another held his position at 
Dambedeuia till brought ofT by a rehef from Colombo ; 
but ^vithin the briefest possible space, not one British 
soldier was left -within the dominions of Kandy.^ 

Years were allowed to elapse before any adequate re- 
tribution was inflicted on the authors of this massacre. 
CoRDiXEE, who was at Colombo when the intelhgence 
arrived, describes the effect as " imiversal consterna- 
tion ; it was like a burst of thunder portended by a 
dark and gloomy sky and foUowed by an awful and 
overpowering calm." ^ The first impidse of the Enghsh 
was for general and indiscriminate vengeance on the 
Kandyan people ; but death and disease had so reduced 
the British force, that even this was impracticable for 
want of troops, and the few that remained serviceable 
had soon ample occupation in defenduig thek own 
territory from the dangers with which it was tlu^eatened 
from Kandy. 

The bloody triumph he had achieved seemed to 
have suddenly hiflamed the savage king with a sense 
of his own strength and a consciousness of the im- 
pregnabihty of his natural defences. By a strenuous 
exertion of his authority and influence over the low- 
couutiy Singhalese, he succeeded in exciting a spirit of 
revolt, and in a very few weeks there was not a point 
throughout the entire circuit of the island, fi'om Ham- 
bangtotte and Tangalle to Jaffna and Trincomahe, at 
wliich the native population were not preparing to take 
up arms for the expulsion of the British ; whilst the 
Kandyans themselves, descending in hordes from the 
hills, made simultaneous attacks upon Matura on the 
south, Chilaw and Putlam on the west, Moeletivoe and 

* Major Davie was detained in 
captivity at Kandy till 1810, when 
he died without ha'viug any opportu- 
nity to communicate with his countiy, 

or to leave a defence of his memory 
from the serious imputations that 
rest upon it. 

* CoEDETEE, ch. iii. vol. ii. p. 210. 


Jaffna on the north, and Batticaloa and Cottiar on the a.d. 
eastern coa&t. The king in person led an army to hay ■^^^''^• 
siecje to Colombo, and advanced to Hanf^welle within 
eighteen miles of the Fort ; but he was driven back by the 
garrison, who recovered from his discomfited followers 
a number of the ajuns and muskets which liad belomjed to 
the ill-fated force of Major Davie. Equally foiled at all 
other points, the king went up into his mountain fast- 
nesses, leaving the Enghsh in the low country so ex- 
hausted by the campaign that the last available soldiers 
^vere withdrawn fi-om Colombo and the duty of the 
garrison entrusted to pensioners and invalids.^ 

Mr. North applied to the Governor-General of India 
for at least 3000 troops ^, to enable him to take ven- 
geance on the Kandyans ; but the renewal of hostihties 
between England and France in 1803 rendered it impos- 
sible to send such reinforcements to Ceylon as woidd 
have enabled the Governor to take effectual measm^es 
for the recapture of Kandy^; — and for the two following 
years he was forced to confine his operations to the 
chastisement of the Singhalese districts which had 

^ CoKDiNEE, vol. ii. ch. iii. p. 236. his perilous coiu-se, brought off his 

2 Mr. North to the Marquis of ' men to Trincomalie on the 20th 
Welltcslet, 29th July, 1804 ( Wei- , October, 1804, with only the loss of 
Icslfy 3ISS.f p. 204). I 10 British soldiers, and 6 woimded. 

3 One efibrt was contemplated in This heroic adventure came oppor- 
1804 for an assault upon Kandy by tmiely to retrieve the character of 
a simiiltaneous advance of British the British army from the disgrace 
troops from six difiereut points of into which it had sunk in the mmds 
the coast, all concentrating at the of the Kandyans. Forbes was in- 
capital. Orders were issued to some fonued by one of the chiefs who had 
of the intended commanders, but on harassed Captain Johnston's retreat, 
fiu'ther inquiry the attempt was that an impression left on the natives 
found impracticable, and abandoned, was that he " must have been in 
Amongst others. Captain Johnston alliance with supernatural powers, as 
had been directed to march from his judgment and energy, superior 
Batticaloa, and make his appearance as they were, were insufficient to ac- 
at Kandy on a given day — and this count for his escape through one con- 
order, by some strange accident, it loas tinued ambush." — Forbes's Eleven 
omitted to counter mancl. Captain Years in Ceylon, yol. i. p. 41. Cap- 
Johnston, in consequence, advanced tain .Johnston has left an account of 
with about 300 men, of whom 82 were his Expedition to Kandij, London, 
Europeans, on the 20th September — j 1810, which is one of the most 
fought his way to Kandy, which he , thrilling military naiTatives on re- 
occupied for three days, and retracing 1 cord. 

G 3 


A-D- displayed disaffection, and to laying waste the out- 
1803. ipj-,g territories of Kandy, burning the villages and 
temples, and destroying the harvests and fruit trees. 
The private correspondence of IMr. Xorth at this period 
with the Governor-General of India e\dnces the inten- 
sity of his anxiety for peace. Messages were sent 
secretly to the king, through the high priest of Kandy, 
to entreat him to ask for pardon, as all the Governor 
required was not treasm'e or territories, " but satis- 
faction for the horrid crime he had pei'petrated ; " but 
the only reply was a refusal on the ground that the 
butchery had been committed ■without his orders by 
the Adigar, from whom he had since withdrawn his con- 
fidence.^ A sullen peace ensued from the exliaustion 
of the enemy ; and the long-deferred retribution for the 
atrocities of 1803 was not exacted till 1815, when a 
renewal of similar aggressions and cruelties by tlie 
Kandyan sovereign led to the final and effectual over- 
tlirow of his authority. 

The administration of Mr. North, although dimmed 
by these diplomatic errors and the sanguinary results 
by which they were followed, was characterised by signal 
success in the organisation of the ci\il government ; the 
promotion of rehgion, education, and commerce ; the 
establishment of comts of justice ; the reform of the 
revenue ; and the advancement of native agricultiu^e and 
industry. The three mihtary governors who succeeded 
him between 1805 and 1820"^, devoted to the civil im- 
provement of tlie colony all the attention compatible 
with the madequate income of the settlement, and the 
vigilance and precautions indispensable for its protection 
from foreign, as well as internal enemies. 

Dming this interval, the career of the Kandyan king 

' Mr. North to the Marquis of 
"Welleslet, ITtli .Tanuarv, 1804 
( Wellesley MSS., p. 287). CoRDiyER 
states (ch. iii. vol. ii. p. 259), that 
these advances for peace were "made 
by the Kandyans," but the letter 
quoted above shows that they ema- 
nated from the Governor. 

"^ 1805, Lieutenant-General the 
liight Honom-able Sir Thomas Mait- 
land, G.C.B. 1811, Major-General 
Wilson, Lieutenant-Governor, 1812, 
General Sir Robert Brownrigg, 
Bart., G.C.B. 

CiiAP. ITT.] THE TYRA^'T. 87 

presents a picture of tyrannous atrocity unsurpassed, a.d. 
if it be even paralleled, in its savage excesses, by any 1^^^- 
recorded example of human depra\dty. Distracted be- 
tween the sense of possessing regal power and the con- 
sciousness of inabihty to wield it, he was at once tyran- 
nous and timid, suspicious and revengeful. Insmi^ec- 
tions were excited by liis cruelties, and the chiefs who 
remained loyal became odious from possessing the 
influence to suppress them. The forced labour of the 
people was expended on works of caprice and inutihty ^ ; 
and the courtiers who ventured to remonstrate were dis- 
missed and exiled to their estates. At length, the often- 
baffled traitor, Pilame Talawe, was detected in an at- 
tempt to assassinate the king, and beheaded in 1812, a.d. 
and his nephew, Eheylapola, raised to the office of ■'^^•^^• 

But Eheylapola inlierited with the power all the 
ambitious duplicity of his predecessor ; and avaihng a.d. 
himself of the universal horror with which the king 
was regarded, he secretly sohcited the connivance of the 
Governor, Sir Eobert Browm^igg, to the organisation of 
a general revolt. The conspiracy was discovered and 
extinguished with indiscriminate bloodshed ; whilst the 
discomfited Adigar was forced to fly to Colombo, and 
supphcate the protection of the British.^ And now fol- 
lowed an awful tragedy, which cannot be more vividly de- 
scribed than in the language of Davy, who collected the 
particulars from eye-witnesses of the scene. "Hurried 
along by the flood of his revenge, the tyrant, lost to every 
tender feehng, resolved to punish Eheylapola who had 
escaped, through liis family, who still remained in his 
power : he sentenced his wife and children, and his 
brother and his w^ife, to death ; the brother and chiklren 
to be beheaded, and the females to be drowned. In front 
of the queen's palace, and between the Nata and Maha 

^ The ornamental lake at Kandy was formed about the year 1809, by 
order of the king. 2 i„ ]\jj,y^ jgi^ 

G 4 


^•^- Vishnu Dewales, as if to shock and insult the o-ods as 

-1 q-I 4 , , C3 

■ well as the sex, the wife of Eheylapola and his children 
were brought from prison, where they had been in charge 
of female gaolers, and dehvered over to their execu- 
tioners. The lady, ^\ith great resolution, maintamed hers 
and her children's innocence and her lord's ; at the same 
time, submitting to the king's pleasure, and offering up 
her own and her offsprings' hves, with the fervent hope 
that her husband would be benefited by the sacrifice. 
Havino; uttered these sentiments aloud, she desii^ed her 
eldest child to submit to his fate; the poor boy, who 
was eleven years old, clung to his mother terrified and 
crying ; her second son, of nine years, heroically stepped 
forward : and bade his brother not to be afi^aid — he 
would show him the way to die ! By the blow of a sword 
the head of this noble child was severed from his body ; 
streaming with blood, and hardly inanimate, it was 
thrown into a rice mortar, the pestle was put into the 
mother's hands, and she was ordered to pound it, or 
be disgracefully tortured. To avoid the infamy, the 
■wi^etched woman did hft up the pestle and let it fall. 
One by one the heaxls of her chikken were cut off; and 
one by one the poor mother . . . but the circumstance 
is too dreadful to be dwelt on. One of the children 
was an infont, and it was plucked from its mother's 
breast to be beheaded : when the head was severed from 
the body, the milk it had just drawn ran out mmgled 
with its blood. During this tragical scene, the crowd 
who had assembled to mtness it wept and sobbed aloud, 
unable to suppress their feehngs of grief and horror. 
Pahhapane Dissave was so affected that he fainted, and 
was expelled his office for showing such sensibility. 
During two days, the Avhole of Kandy, with the ex- 
ception of the tyrant's court, was as one house of moimi- 
ing and lamentation, and so deep was the grief that not 
a fire, it is said, was kindled, no food was dressed, and 
a general fast was held. After the execution of her 
children, the sufferings of the mother were speedily re- 


lieved. Slie and her sister-in-law were led to the little a-»- 

■y 1814 

tank in the immediate neighbourhood of Kandy, called 
Bogambara, and di"owned." ^ 

This awful occurrence in all its hideous particulars, 
I have had verified by individuals still h\ing, who were 
spectators of a scene that, after the lapse of forty years, 
is still spoken of with a shudder. 

But the limit of human endurance had been passed : 
revolt became rife throughout the kingdom : promiscuous 
executions followed, and the terrified nation anxiously 
watched for the approach of a British force to rescue 
them from the monster on the throne. At length, the 
insensate savage ventured to challenge tlie descent of 
the vengeance that awaited him. A party of native 
merchants, British subjects, who had gone up to Kandy 
to trade, were seized and mutilated by the tyrant ; they 
were deprived of their ears, their noses, and hands, and 
those who survived were driven towards Colombo, ^\i^h 
the severed members tied to their necks. ^ 

An avenging army was instantly on its march. War 
was declared in January 1815^, and within a few weeks a.t>. 
the Kandyan capital was once more in possession of ^^^^• 
the Enghsh^, and the despot a captive at Colombo, 
whence he was eventually transferred to the Indian 

' Davy, cli. x. p. 321. 1 had already been violated by the ir- 

^ It cannot extenuate so wanton | ruptious and depredations of Kan- 
an atrocity to mention that in the [ dyan forces across the border. ''War," 
Mahmmnso, the exploit is rel.ated [ it announced, " was not directed 
mth complacency of Mogallana, wlio, | ag'ainst the people but their tyrant, 
on the deposition of his pamcidal who had become an object of abhor- 
brother, Kaasyapa, A.D. 495, ''cut off rence to mankind," and protection 
the ears and noses of the late king's ' was offered to every Kandyan sub- 
ministers before driving them into ject who was prepared to welcome 
exile." — Mahawanso, ch. xxxix. j their deliverers. 

3 The declaration of war sets out i ^ 14th February, 1815. '^ From 
that it was undertaken in compliance this day we date the extinction of 
with " the prayers of more than one Singhalese independence — an inde- 
half the Kandyan kingdom," and with i pendence wliich had continued with- 
the sympathies of the rest, for tlie | out material interruption for 2,357 

vindication of Britisli subjects out- 
raged by the king, and the secmity 
of his majesty's possessions, which 

vears." — ICnighton, ch. x^di. p. 



[Part VI. 

A.D. fortress of Vellore.^ The proclamation of tlie Viceroy 
l8lo. j-gcalled tlie massacre of 1803 as one of the many 
causes of the war, and on the 2nd Marcli, 1815, a solemn 
convention of the cliiefs assembled in the audience 
hall of the palace of Kandy, at which a treaty was con- 
cluded formally deposing the Idng and vesting his 
dominions in the Britisli Crown ; on condition that 
the national rehgion should be maintained and pro- 
tected, justice impartially adnmiistered to the people, and 
the chiefs guaranteed in their ancient pri\ileges and 
powers. Elieylapola, who had cherished the expectation 
that the crown would have descended to his own head, 
bore the disappointment with dignity, declined the offers 
of high office, and retired with the declaration that his 
ambition was satisfied by being recognised as " the Friend 
of the British Government." 

Happy as this consummation appeared, the tranquillity 
which ensued was but transient ; before two years the same 
people who had invited the Enghsli as deliverers rose in re- 
behion to expel them as intruders. Xor is this anomaly, 
strange as it may seem, without explanation. With 
the mass of the population the king was less odious than 
the chiefs who were " the real tyrants of the country ; " ^ 
and as these were stiU to be maintained in aU their 
dangerous powers, the people, even whilst the cannon 
were thundering salutes in honom- of the \'ictoiy, exlii- 



^ A curious account of the capture 
of tlie king, and his demeanour after 
his deposition^ is contained in a pam- 
phlet published in 1815, under the 
title of "^ Narrative of Events 
which have recenthj occurred in Cey- 
lon, -nritten by a Gentleman on the 
spot; London, Egerton, 1815." From 
the identity of tlie materials with 
those in the xxvth ch. of the History 
of Ceylon, by Piulalethes, the two 
statements appear to have been 
wi-itten by the same person, and evi- 
dently by one who was present in 
Colombo whilst the occuiTeuces he 

describes were in progi'ess. One re- 
mark which the king made is worth 
recording: " Your English governors," 
he said, " have one advantage over 
us kings of Kandy — the}' have coim- 
cillors near them who never allow 
them to do anj-thing in a passion ; 
but, unfortunately for us, the of- 
fender is dead before our resent- 
ment has subsided."— P. 180. The 
king died at ^'eUore, 30th Januar\-, 

2 Sawyer's 3IS. Notes mi the Con- 
quest of Kandy ; Marshall, p. 70. 




bitecl a sullen indifference to the change.^ The remote- 
ness of Britain rendered its abstract authority unhi- 
telligible, and the Kandyans were unable to reahse the 
myth for which they had exchanged a visible king. 
The chiefs themselves soon discovered that thek rank 
failed to command its accustomed homage and obedience ; 
the nice distinctions of caste were unappreciable by 
the Enghsh soldiers, and its prejudices and pecuharities 
were unconsciously subjected to incessant violations.^ 
Two years of the experiment were sufficient to ripen 
the universal disappointment into an appetite for change.^ 
So impatient had all classes become, that uniformity 
of feehng supphed the place of organisation ^ ; and 
without combination or concert, nearly the whole king- 
dom rose simultaneously in arms in the autumn of 
1817. An aspirant to the cro^vn was duly adopted and 
obeyed ; the dissave of Oovah, who had been sent to 
tranquillise the disturbed districts, placed hunself at the 
head of the insurgents, and Eheylapola, the ardent 
" friend of the British Government," was seized and 
expatriated for fomenting the rebellion.^ A guerilla 
war ensued, in wliich regidar troops, traversing damp 
forests by jungle tracks and mountain passes, were less 
distressed by the enemy than by exposiure, privations, 
and disease. For more than ten months discomfiture 
seemed imminent, and so universal was the conspiracy 
of the inliabitants, that not a Kandyan leader of any 





^ MAESHALL,who was present during 
the conference in Kandy, says, " they 
did not leave their ordinary occupa- 
tions even to look at the troops which 
were assembled in review order in 
the gi'eat square before the Audience 
Hall. Apparently, they regarded 
the transfer of the Government from 
an Oriental to a European d^Tiasty 
with perfect unconcern." — P. "lG.3. 

* Davy, ch. x. p. 320 ; Marshall, 
p. 174. 

3 The Kandyans used to inquire 
when the English meant to leave the 

maritime provdnces. ''You have 
deposed the king," said one, "and 
nothing more is required, you may 
leave us now." " They showed no 
dislike to us individually, but as a 
nation, they abliorrcd us ; they made 
no complaint of oppression or misride, 
simply wishing that we shoidd leave 
the country." — Marshall^ p. 175. 

4 Marshall, p. 179. 

^ Eheylapola was transpoi-ted to 
the IMam-itius, where he died in exile 
in 1829. 


A.D. consequence Avas taken, and not a district was either 
1817. pacified or subdued.^ So great Avas the apprehension 
of the Government, and such the horrors of the species 
of warfare in whicli they were involved, tliat the 
expediency had abeady been discussed of abandoning 
the contest and A\dthdrawing the British forces to the 
coast ^, when towards the close of 1818, the Kandyans, 
harassed by the destruction of their villages and cattle, 
rendered destitute by the devastation of theu^ country, 
and disheartened by the loss of upwards of ten thousand 
persons, either fallen in the field or destroyed by famine 
and fever ^, beo-an to throw out sio-nals of submission. 
The rebelhous chiefs were captured ; the pretender fled ; 
the great palladium, " the sacred tooth " of Buddlia, 
which had been stolen and paraded to arouse the fana- 
tical enthusiasm of the people, was recovered and 
restored to its depository in Kandy ; and before the close 
of the year, the whole country returned to tranquillity 
and order. 

The rebellion of 1817 was the last great occasion on 
which the Enghsh forces were arrayed in hostihty against 
the natives of any portion of Ceylon. Amongst the 
Singhalese of the maritime districts, there has never 
prevailed any long-sustained feeling of discontent with 
the British rule, and the insurrectionary disturbances 
around the coast, which followed the massacre of 1803, 
were excited by the influence, and carried on by the 
direct instrumentality, of the Adigar and the King of 
Kandy. But a very few years' experience of the bene- 
ficence of Enghsh government sufficed to eradicate any 
tendency to disafiection, and in oiu' subsequent struggles 
with the people of the liill country, the inhabitants of 
the lowlands exhibited neither sympathy nor co-operation 
witli the enemy. 

Tlie case was, however, diflerent witli the Kandyan 

» Davy, ch. x. p. 327. | 3 Davy, cli. x. p. .331. 

2 Mausuall, p. 191. I 

Chap. III.] 



cliiefs, and the measures essential to conciliate the mass 
of the population were calculated to increase the irrita- 
tion of their feudal masters. 

The relation of clans-men to a Kandj^an chief liad 
always been one of stohd bondage ; their lands, their 
labour, and ahnost their lives, they held dependent on 
liis vnW ; and their priests, although the doctrines of the 
Buddhist faith repudiate distinctions of caste, taught 
them to yield a superstitious homage to the exaltation 
of rank.^ Sir Eobert Brownrigg, on the suppression 
of the revolt, availed himself of the rupture of the 
previous treaty by the chiefs to commence the emanci- 
pation of the people from their thraldom, by hmiting 
the appHcation of compulsory labour to the construction 
of works of public utihty ; imposing a tithe on cultivated 
lands, in hen of personal services ; transferring the ad- 
ministration of justice from the native headmen to 
European civihans, reserving to the governor the ap- 
pointment of the headmen employed in collecting re- 
venue ; and substituting official salaries, instead of local 
assessment, for the remuneration of the chiefs. This 
was the commencement of a policy, afterwards consist- 
ently developed by furtlier changes, all tending to 
narrow the range of feudal power, and expand the 
influence and protection of law. The resentment pro- 
voked by these salutary measures, led to frequent dis- 
plays of impotent disloyalty : treasonable plots were 



^ See the Repoi-t of the Committee 
of the House of Commons on the 
Affairs of Ceylou in 1850. Eyidence 
of Sir J. Emeesox Tennent, No. 
2,786, 2,787, &c. As the priests of 
Buddha had been from the first op- 
posed to the substitution of British 
rule for a native sovereignty, and as 
they were the main instigators and 
abettors of the Last rebellion, Sir 
Robert Brownrigg took this oppor- 
tunity to alter very materially the 
terms of the obligations contracted 
in 1815, as regards the Buddhist 

worship. ''Bv the Convention of 
1815, the religaon of Buddha is de- 
clai'ed inviolable, and its rites and 
places of worship were to be main- 
tained and profected." But by the 
proclamation issued in 1818, the only 
engagement undertaken by the En- 
glish Government was, that " the 
priests as well as tlie ceremonies of 
the Buddhist religion, shall receive 
the respect whicli in former times was 
shown to them;" but by the same 
document equal protection was " to 
be given to all other religions." 



[Part VI. 




concocted by the cliiefs, and rebellion again threatened 
to disturb the ancient Kandyan kingdom. But civil 
authority had become consolidated and supreme ; the 
pretenders and consph'ators were in every mstance ar- 
rested and punished, and the island was saved the 
calamity of renewed civil war.' 

One event, in the meantime, had for ever altered the 
aspect of Kandyan warfare. The indomitable mountains 
which encircled their dominions, had long inspired the 
kings of Kandy mth an audacious confidence in their 
own security.^ From the summits of these towering 
bulwarks they had been accustomed to look down with 
scorn and defiance on theu^ enemies in the lowlands. 
The power that crouched behind them was regarded 
by the Europeans on the coast with a feehng of mystery 
and alarm ; and mindftd of the many calamities that had 
overtaken those who had made the attempt, the under- 
taking to scale them, should it ever become unavoidable, 
was regarded Avith gloomy apprehension. The captor of 
Kandy in 1815 conceived the bold idea of giving perma- 
nence to his conquest, by breaching this gigantic rampart, 
and forming a highway from the lofty fastness in the hills 
to the level plains below. The reahsation of the project 
was impeded by the outburst of rebelhon in 1817 ; but 
no sooner was it quelled than Sir Edward Barnes, who 
succeeded Sir Eobert Brownrigg as Governor in 1820, 
apphed with energy all the resources of the Govern- 

^ Such was the impatience of the 
Kandyan chiefs and the Buddhist 
priests to restore the Kandyan mon- 
archy, that, in addition to the fomii- 
dable rebellion of 1817, a pretender 
agitated Welasse in 1820 ; a Budd- 
hist priest made a similar attempt at 
Matelle in 1823 ; a plot was dis- 
covered at Bintenne in 1821 ; aiTests 
for treason took place in 1830 ; and in 
1835 six chiefs of the highest rank 
were tried for a conspiracy to levj 
war against the king, and seduce the 
army from its allegiance in support 
of a native aspirant to the crown. 

In 1843, Chandrayotte, a priest, was 
convicted of high treason at BaduUa, 
and in 1818, the most fomiidable 
rising of the Kandyans since 1817 
was crushed and defeated by the 
promptness and ■vigour of Viscount 

2 "lie (Raja Singha) hath no 
foi-ts or castles, but nature hath sup- 
plied the want of them. For his 
whole coimtiy standing upon such 
high hills, and these so difficult to 
pass, is all an impregnable fort."' — 
Knox, Hchitiun, c$c., pt. ii. ch. vi. p. 


ment, and succeeded in carrying a military road, iinsur- a.d. 
passed in excellence, into the heart of the Kandyan coun- l^^^- 
try, reaching an altitude of more than six thousand feet 
above the sea. Eocks were pierced, precipices scarped, 
and torrents bridged, to effect the passage ; and the 
Kandyans, when the task was accomplished, recalled 
the warning of ancient prophecy, and felt that now the 
conquest of their country was complete.^ 

When the English landed in Ceylon in 1796, there 
was not in the whole island a single practicable road, 
and troops, on their toilsome marches between the 
fortresses on the coast, dragged their cannon through 
deep sands along the shore.^ Before Sir Edward 
Barnes resigned his government, every town of import- 
ance was approached by a carriage road ; and the long 
desired highway from sea to sea, to connect Colombo 
and Trincomalie, was commenced. Civil organisation 
has since been matm^ed with equal success, domestic 
slavery has been abohshed, rehgious disquahfications 
removed, compulsory labour abandoned, a charter of 
justice promulgated, a legislative council estabhshed, 
trading monopolies extinguished, commerce encouraged 
in its utmost freedom, and the mountain forests felled 
to make way for plantations of coffee, whose exuberant 
produce is already more than sufficient for the consump- 
tion of the British empii'c. 

By the Singhalese of the maritime pro\dnces, long a.d. 
familiar with the energy and enterprise of Europeans, 1^^^- 
these results are regarded with satisfaction. But the 
Kandyans, brought into more recent contact with civi- 
hsation, look on with uneasy surprise at the effect it is 
producing. The silence of their mountain solitudes 
has been broken by the din of industry, and the seclu- 
sion of their villages invaded by bands of hired 
labourers from the IncUan coast. Their ancient habits 
have been interrupted and their prejudices startled ; 

^ See tlie description of this road I " Cohdinee, ch. i. p. 15. 
and its passes^ Vol, II. Pt. vn. ch. iv. | 


A.D. and a generation may pass away before the people 
1850. jjecome familiar or theii' headmen reconciled to the 
change. But the blessings of peaceful order, the mild 
influence of education, and the gradual influx of wealth, 
will not fail to produce their accustomed results ; and 
the mountaineers of Ceylon will, at no distant day, 
share with the lowlanders in the consciousness of 
repose and prosperity under the protection of the 
British Crown. 



VOL. 11. H 




We landed at Galle on Saturday the 29tli of No- 
vember 1845. No traveller ft-esh from Europe will 
ever part with the impression left by his first gaze upon 
tropical scenery, as it is displayed in the bay and the 
wooded hills that encircle it ; for, although Galle is 
sui-passed both in grandeur and beauty by places after- 
wards seen in the island, still the feehng of admiration 
and wonder called forth by its loveUness remains vivid 
and unimpaired. K, as is frequently the case, the 
sliip approaches the land at daybreak, the \"iew recalls, 
but in an intensified degree, the emotions excited in 
childhood by the slow rising of the curtain in a dark- 
ened theatre to disclose some magical triumph of the 
painter's fancy, in aU tlie luxury of colouring and all 
the glory of light. The sea, blue as sapphke, breaks 
upoii the fortified rocks which form the entrance to the 
harbour ; the headlands are briglit Avith verdure ; and 
the yellow strand is shaded by pahn-trees that inchne 
towards the sea, and bend their crowns above the water. 
The shore is gemmed with flowers, the hills behind are 
draped with forests of perennial green ; and far in the 
distance rises the zone of purple hills, above wliich towers 
the sacred mountain of Adam's Peak, with its summit en- 
veloped in clouds. 

But the interest of the place is not confined to tlio 
mere lovehness of its scenery. Galle is by far the most 
venerable emporium of foreign trade, now existing in 
the universe ; it was the resort of merchant sliips at the 
earhest dawn of commerce ^ and it is destined to be the 

^ For more copious details of the 1 Vol. I. Pt. v. ch. ii. p. 5Go. A con- 
early commerce of Galle, see ante, \ densed Aiew of the trade of Ceylon 

u 2 



centre to which will hereafter converge all the rays of 
navigation, intersecting the Indian Ocean, and connecting 
the races of Europe and Asia. 

In modern times, Galle was the mart of Portugal, 
and afterwards of Holland ; and long before the flags of 
either nation had appeared in its waters, it Avas one of the 
entrepots whence the Moorish traders of Malabar drew 
the productions of the remoter East, with which they 
supplied the Genoese and Venetians, who distributed 
them over the countries of the West.^ Galle was the 
" Kalali " at which the Arabians in the reiofn of Haroun 


Abaschid met the junks of the Chinese^, and brought 
back gems, silks, and spices from Serendib to Bassora.^ 
The Sabasans, centuries before, included Ceylon in the 
rich trade wliich they prosecuted with India, and Galle 
was probably the furthest point eastward ever reached by 
the Persians *, by the Greeks of the Lower Empire, by the 
Eomans'', and by the Egyptian mariners of Berenice, luider 
the Ptolemies.'' But an interest, deeper still, attaches to 
this portion of Ceylon, inasmuch as it seems more than 
probable that tlte long-sought localitg of Tarshish ntag be 
found to be identical ivith that of Point de Galle. 

in tlie early ages, and its importance 
as the gTeat empoi-iuni between the 
Eastern and Western AA^orld, will be 
foimd in the Essay of IIeerex, De 
Ceylone Insula per vic/inti fere scc- 
cula comnumi Terrarum 3Iarumque 
Audndiitni Einporio : Gottui(/en, IS'Sl . 

1 T)k Barhos, Asia, ^x:, toni. i. 
pt. ii. p. 4:^8 ; Baebosa in Ramiisio, 
vol. i. p. 313; VAUTnEMA, Itinerario, 
^•c., p. xxA-ii. 

'-* Fa IIiax, Foe-Koue Ki, ch. xl. 
p. 357 ; Ediusi, Trad. Jaubert. toiu. 
1. p. 73. 

^ Reinaud, T'oi/af/es Arahes. et 
Persans, SiC., torn. i. p. xxxix. Ixii. 

^ Hobertson in his Disquisition 
on India, thinks the Persians took 
no part in this trade, but Cosnias 
Indi'-o-pleustcs found them esta- 
blished in Ceylon early in the sixth 
centmy. Christ. Topoyr. !Mont- 
faucon, CoU. vol. ii. p. 178 ; and Ilamza 
of Ispahan says, Cosroes-Xushirvan, 

who reig-ned at that period, conquered 
the cities of Ceylon. Annul, p. 43. 

^ Pliny expressly says that he 
learned from the embassy sent to 
the Emperor Claudius from Ceylon, 
that the gi-eat port of the island 
fronted the soidh, " ex iis cogiiitum 
portum contra meridiem ; " lib. vi. ch. 
xxiv. ; a description Avhich applies 
only to the harbour of CJalle. 

•^ Periplus Mar. Erijthr., Ilrnsox, 
vol. i. p. 3o ; "S'lXCEXT, C'onnnerce of 
India, c^V., vol. ii. p. 22: "Ceylan fiit 
dopuis mi temps immemorial I'entre- 
pot oil les I'heniciens, les peuples de 
i'Arabie meridionale, les Grecs, les 
Komains, et les Arabes devenus 
Musulmans venaient s'approvisionner 
des denrees de I'lnde, de rArchipol 
d'Asie, de la Chine et de colles non 
moins riches que le sol y fait naitre." 
— DrLATJRlER, Asiat. Jour., tom. 
xlix. p. 174. 

Chap. I.] 



A careful perusal of the Scripture narrative suggests 
the conclusion, that there were two places at least to 
which the Phoenicians traded, each of which bore the 
name of Tarshish : one to the north-west, whence they 
brought tin, iron, and lead ; and another to the east, 
which supplied them with ivory and gold. Bochart was 
not the first who rejected the idea of the latter being 
situated at the mouth of tlie Guadalquiver ; and intimated 
that it must be sought for in the direction of India ; but 
he was the first who conjectured tliat Opliir was Koudra- 
malie, on the north-west of Ceylon, and that the Eastern 
Tarshish must have been somewhere in the vicinity of 
Cape Comorin.^ His general inference was correct and 
irresistible from the tenor of tlie sacred writings ; but 
from want of topographical knowledge, Bochart was in 
error as to tlie actual locahties. Gold is not to be found 
at Koucbamalie ^ ; and Comorin being neither an island 
nor a place of trade, does not correspond to the require- 
ments of Tarshish. Subsequent investigation has served 
to estabhsh the claim of Malacca to be the golden land of 
Solomon^, and Tarshish, which lay in the track between 
the Arabian Gulf and Ophir, is recognisable in the great 
emporium of Ceylon. 

The ships intended for the voyage were built by 
Solomon at " Ezion-geber on the shores of the Eed Sea,"^ 
the rowers ^ coasted along the shores of Arabia and the 
Persian Gulf", headed by an east wind.'' Tarshish, the 

' BociTAiiT, Geogr. Sao: Phaleg. 
lib. ii. cL. 27, "forte ad promonto- 
riuni Cor)'." Ibid., Canaan, lib. i. ch. 

2 No inference bearing on this in- 
qniry is to be drawn from the cir- 
cumstance that tlie Tamil names for 
Cejdon are " Ham " which signifies 
fiohl, and '' Ila-nadu " the island of 
Ham, which the Portuguese cor- 
rupted into " Ilanare." (De Couto, 
dec. V. ch. V. tom. i. pt. li. p. 40.) 
It was called Ham in conformitv 
■with a legend, which says that the 
island was formed by tliree peaks, 
from the mythical mountain of the 
golden Meru, whirli were flung into 

the sea in a conflict between Sesha, 
the great sei-pent which encompasses 
the earth, and ^'asu Deva, the god 
of the A\ands. See Casie Chiity's 
Gazetteer, vol. i. p. 59. 

^ Malacca is the Aurea Chersone- 
sus of the later Greek Geogi'aphers, 
and "ophir^' in the language of the 
Malays, is the generic term for any 
"gold mine." — 1 Kings x. 11, and 
2 Chron. ix. 21. 

* 1 Kings ix. 20. 

^ Ezekiel xxvii. 20, 

° By Sheba in Arabia Felix and 
Dedan at tlie entrance of the Persian 
Gulf. — Ezekiel xxxviii. l.'>. 

■^ Ezekiel xxvii. 20 : Psl. xlviii. 7. 

11 3 


port for which they were bound, would appear to have been 
situated in an isknd^ governed by kings 2, and carrying 
on an extensive foreign trade.^ The voyage occupied 
three years in going and returning from the Eed Sea *, 
and the cargoes brought home to Ezion-geber consisted 
of gold and silver, ivory, apes, and peacocks.^ Gold 
could have been shipped at Galle from the vessels which 
brought it from Ophir*^, " silver si)read into plates," 
which is particularised by Jeremiah '^ as an export of 
Tarshish, is one of the substances on which the sacred 
books of the Singhalese are even now inscribed ; iimry 
is found in Ceylon, and must have been both abundant 
and full grown there before the discovery of gunpowder 
led to the wanton destruction of elephants ; apes are in- 
digenous to the island, and peafowl are found there in 
numbers. It is very remarkable too, that the terms by 
which these articles are designated in the Hebrew Scrip- 
tures, are identical with the Tamil names, by wdiich some 
of them are caUed in Ceylon to the present day : thus 
tukeyim^ which is rendered " peacocks " in one version, 
may be recognised in toJcei^ the modern name for these 
birds ; " kapi " apes is the same in both languages, and 
the Sanskrit " ihha " ivory, is identical with the Tamil 
" ibam" ^ 

Thus by geographical position, by indigenous pro- 
ductions, and by the fact of its having been from time 
immemorial the resort of merchant ships from Egypt, 

' Isaiali xxiii. 1, 3, G. It must be 
observed, however, that the early 
geogi'aphers did not autficionth^ dis- 
criminate between ii prtii/isiila and an 
island: T\Te itself was termed an t's- 
lci/i(I by them. 

^ Psl. Ixxii. 10; Isaiah associates 
Tarsliisli with " Tul and I.ud that 
draw the. hoiv,'^ Ixvi. 10; a character- 
istic which is maintained by the 
Veddahs (tlio remnant of the abori- 
ginal inhabitants) to the present day. 

^ Isaiah xxiii. 2 ; Ezeliiel xxvii. 
10,25. ^ 

* 1 Kings x. 22. It is curious 

that in the Garsluisp Naiiieh, a Per- tmi, vol. i. p. xix., etc. 

sian poem of the tenth century, which 
professes to describe an expedition 
from Jerusalem for tlie conquest of 
Ceylon, the time occupied in the out- 
ward voyage was cujlitvai Diontha, 
being one half the " three y<^ars " 
occupied by the ships of Solomon in 
going to and returning from Tarshish. 

5 Ihld. 

^ 1 Kings X. 11. 

"^ .lerem. x. 9. 

^ Note on the Tamil Lanepiar/e, by 
the llev. Mr. IIoi.singtox. Further 
information on this ^joint will be 
found in the Notice to the third edi- 

Chap. I.] 



Arabia, and Persia on the one side, and India, Java, and 
China on the other, Galle seems to present a combination 
of every particular essential to determine the problem so 
long undecided in bibhcal dialectics, and thus to present 
data for inferring its identity with the Tarsliish of the 
sacred liistorians, the great eastern mart so long fre- 
quented by the ships of Tyre and Judea.^ 

Every object that meets the eye on entering the bay is 
new and strano;e. Amonfifst the vessels at anchor lie the 
dows of the Ai^abs, the petamars of Malabar, the dlioneys 
of Coromandel, and the grotesque seaboats of the Maldive 
and Laccadive islanders. But the most remarkable of all 
are the double canoes of the Singhalese, wliich dart with 
surprising velocity amongst the shipping, managed by 
half-clad natives, who offer for sale beautiful but un- 
famihar fruits, and fishes of extraordinary colours and 
fantastic forms. 

These canoes are dissimilar in build, some consisting of 
two trees lashed together, but the most common and by 


far the most graceful are hollowed out of a single stem 
from eighteen to thirty feet long, and about two feet in 
depth, exclusive of the wash-board, which adds about a 

' Tlie articles brought by tlie 
navies of Hiram and Holomon to 
Ezion-geber, wt;ro carried across the 
isthmus of Suez to Rliiuocohira, the 

II 4 

modem El-Ari.sli, and tlience trans- 
ferred into Mediterranean vessels to 
be can-ied to Joppa , (Jaffa) and 
Tyre. — Robeetson's Lidia, sec. 1. 



foot to the heiglit. This is sewed to the gunwale by coir 
yarn, so that no ii^on or anj^ other metal enters into the 
construction of a canoe. But then- characteristic pe- 
cuharity is the balance-log, of very buoyant wood, up- 
wards of twenty feet in length, carried at the extremity 
of two elastic outriggers each eighteen feet long. By tliis 
arrangement not oidy is the boat steadied, but mast, yard 
and sail are bound securely together.-^ 

The outrigger must of necessity be always kept to 
Avdndward, and as it woidd not be possible to remove 
it fi'om side to side, the canoe is so constructed as to 
proceed with either end foremost, thus elucidating an 
observation made by Phny eighteen hmidred years ago, 
that the ships which navigated the seas to the west of 
Taprobane had 'proics at either end, to avoid the necessity 
of tacking;.^ 

These peculiar craft venture twenty miles to sea in 
a strong wind ; they sail upwards of ten miles an hom% 
and notliing can be more pictiu*esque than the sight at 
daybreak, of the numerous fleets of fishing boats, which 
cruise along the coast wlulst the morning is still misty 
and cool, and hasten to shore after sum-ise with their cap- 
tiu-es, consisting not only of ordinary fish, whose scales 
are flaked with silver or " bedi'opped with gold," but also 
including those of unusual shapes, displajing the brightest 
colours of the rainbow. 

Passinfj the oiim old Portuijuese batteries ^ and 

^ It is reDiarkable tliat this form 
of canoe is found only where the 
INlalavs have extended themselves 
throughont Poh-nesia and the coral 
islands of the Pacific ; and it seems 
so pecidiar to that race that it is to 
be traced in Madagascar and the 
Comoros, where a ^lalayan colony 
was settled at some remote period of 
antiquity. The outrigger is unknown 
amongst the Arabs, and is little seen 
on the coast of India. 

^ "Ob id navihus ictrinque j)rorcs 
ne per angiistias alvei circumagi sit 

necesse." — PLijrr, Kat. Hist., lib. xi. 
ch. xxiv. Strabo mentions the same 
fact ; lib. xv. ch. xv. 

^ The most conspicuous outwork 
bears the name of the " Portuguese 
battery," but the Portuguese, not 
anticipating the approach of an 
enemy fi'om sea, never effectually 
fortified Galle, except on the land 
side ; and the batteries which now 
command the harbour were con- 
sti-ucted by the Dutch in 1003. — \x- 
LEXTY]S', ch. xiv. p. 177. 

ClIAP. I.] 



landing at the pier constructed to replace the one 
erected by the Dutch for embarking their cinnamon^, 
we passed under the gateway of the fortress, and as- 
cended by a steep and shady street to the Queen's House, 
the official residence of the Governor, which Sir Colin 
Campbell had placed at our disposal.- The mansion, 
like all those built by the Dutch in Ceylon, is adapted 
to the lieat, and other pecuharities of the clunate ; witli 
spacious rooms, latticed windoAvs, tiled floors, and lofty 
roofs, imperfectly concealed by ceihngs, which are gene- 
rally left unclosed lest the white ants should destroy 
the timbers undetected. The neglected garden, Avitli 
its decaj^ng terraces and ruined "lustliof," contains 
Indian fruit trees and plants almost retm-ned to tlieir 
primitive wildness. Oranges, custard apples, bread-fruits, 
bilimbis, and bananas are mingled with the crimson 
hibiscus and innumerable other flowering shrubs, whose 
brandies were covered with exquisite cHmbing plants, 
chtoria3 and convolvuh ; and beneath their moist shade 
grew innumerable balsams in all tlieii' endless varieties of 

The groups collected about the landing place, and 
lounging in the streets and bazaars of Galle, exhibit the 
most picturesque combinations of costumes and races ; 
Europeans in their white morning undress, shaded by 
japanned umbrellas ; Moors, Malabars, and Malays, Chi- 
nese, Caffi'es, Parsees, and Chetties from the Coromandel 
coast, the latter with their singular head-dresses and pro- 
digious earrings, Buddhist priests in yellow robes, and 

^ The landing wharf, with its 
covered way, is described by \x- 
n.ENTYN as the fayoiirite pri)nienade 
in 16G3. It was called the JFambai/H, 
th. i. p. 22. 

^ Above the entrance of this build- 
ing', there is a stone let into the wall 
bearing- the date a.d. 1687, under 
the carved figure of a cock. If it 
was a mistake of the Dutch to be- 
lieve that the name of Galle was de- 

rived, not from the Singlialese word 
f/alla, "a rock," but from (/alius, they 
inherited the misconception from the 
I*ortuguese, one of whose geu(n'als, 
Azevedo, Faria y Souza describes as 
hoisting the children of the Chulia 
or Galla caste on the spears of his 
soldiers, and shouting, " How these 
young cocks ((/alios) crow!" — Porfu- 
(/ueseAsia, iSc, vol. iii. ch. xiv. p. 277. 
"(See ante, Vol. II. Ft. vi. ch. i. p. 2:3.) 



Moodliars, Molianclirams, and other native chiefs, in their 
rich official uniforms, ^vitli jeweUed buttons, embroidered 
belts, and swords of ceremony. 

One peculiar custom of the Singhalese in this district 
not only attracts the eye of every stranger by its smgu- 
larity, but presents the most remarkable instance, with 
which I am acquamted, of the unchanging habits of an 
eastern race. Seventeen hundred years ago, Ptolemy, 
speakhig of the people of Taprobane, alluded to the 
length of then- hak ; and Agathemerus, who, if not a 
contemporary, lived immediately after Ptolemy, describes 
with minuteness their mode of dressing it. " The men," 
he says, " who inhabit Ceylon, aUow then' hair an un- 
hmited growth, and hind it on the crown of their heads^ 
after the manner of women.'" ^ Agathemerus had doubtless 
been told of the custom by some Grecian 
seamen returning from Galle, for this 
fashion of di"essin2; the hau' is confined 
to the south-west coast of the island, 
and prevails neither in the interior nor 
amongst the people of the north and 
east. So closely do the low-country 
Singhalese follow the manners of women 
in their toilet that their back-hair is first 
rolled into a coil, called a konde ; this is 
fixed at the top of the head by a large tor- 
toise-shell comb, whilst the hair is dra"v\Ti 
back from the forehead, a I'imperatrice, 
and secm^ed by another chcular comb. 


^ " Toi'C KaToiKovvraq avTi]v tivcpaQ 
fiaWoig yvi'dininc nt'a^tladai rdf K-f- 
<pa\ac" — AfiATnEirERUS, Geor/r., lib. 
i. cli. vi ; IIuDSOX, vol. ii. p. 45. It 
is strange that among the multitude 
of ancient writei-s who have treated 
of Ceylon, Agathemeiiis and Ptolemy 
should be tlie only two who have told 
of this peculiarity of the low-countiy 
Singhalese. I have found it noticed 

nowhere else except in the Ejntomc 
of Geor/raphj/, compiled in the fifth 
centuiy by Closes of Chorene, who 
evidently copied it from Agathe- 
menis, " viri regionis istius capillis 
muliebribus sua capita redimiunt." — 
Mosis Chokenexsis, Hist. Annenife 
et Epit. Geoyr.y edit. "WTiiston, 1720; 
p. 307. .^riin,4t^m.'*tA^Aye'4,*^.^ 'yi-fK-Zftf 4'C . 

Chap. I.] INHABITANTS. 107 

Albyrouni is doubtless correct, when he says that the 
practice of the Indian natives, before the birth of Ma- 
homet, to wear their hair unshorn, was an intuitive 
precaution against the excessive heat of the sun \ but 
that the fashion in Ceylon should have assumed an essen- 
tially feminine form, and have preserved it tlirough 
so many centuries, presents one of the most remarkable 
evidences with which I am acquainted, of the enduring 
tenacity of oriental habit. 

With their delicate features and slender hmbs, their 
frequent want of beards ''^, tlieu' use of earrings and their 
practice of wearing a cloth round the waist called a com- 
boy ^^ which has all the appearance of a petticoat, the men 
have an air of effeminacy very striking to the eye of a 

The Singhalese women dress with less grace than 
simplicity, their principal garment being a white mushn 
jacket, which loosely covers the figure, and a comboy or 
waist cloth, similar to that worn by the men. But 
their aim is the display of then- jewelry, necklaces, 
bangles and rings, the gems of which are often of in- 
trinsic value, though defective both in cutting and 
mounting. The children are beautiful, their liak" 

^ " Ce qui convient an corps c'est ! ^ For the origin of this word, see 

une temperature a pen pres con- : the chapter on the intercourse of the 

stante ; et rien n'est phis propre a Chinese with Ceylon, Voh I. p. 588. 

procluire cet effet, qu'une espece So tenaciously do the Siniiliiilese 

d'envelope naturelle qu'on est libre cliny to ancienthahits,tliat even when 

de rendre plus on moins puissante." a man has pai-tiallj adopted European 

■ — Reinatjd, 3Iem, sitr Flnde, p. 288. i costumes, he willstill wear a comboy 

'^ Their slender limbs and the over his ti'ousers. 

absence of beards among the Singha- I "* It is said that the Spaniards gave 

lese is noticed in the stoiy of .Jam- the name of "Amazon" to the river of 

bulus as recorded by Diodoeijs, lib. South America, from finding on it a 

ii. ch. xxxvi. The Chinese in the tribe of Indians of delicate confiuii- 

seventh centuiy, accustomed to the ration, the men of which parted their 

flat features of the JNIogul races, were hair in front, and winding it round 

surprised at the pronunent noses of their head, secured it with a comb 

the Singhalese; and IIiotjen Thsang made from the horny fibres of a palm 

describes the natives of Ceylon, as tree, and surmounted by feathers. — 

having the " beak of a bird with the ^ Wallace's Travels on 'the Amazon, 

body of a man," — un corps (Vhomme p. 277, 498; Kidder smd Fletcheii's 

et un bee cToiseau ; tom. ii. p. 140. I Brazil, Thilad. 1857, p. 468, 507. 



wa\T and sliining, and as they wear no covering of 
any kind till four or five years old, a group of these 
httle creatures at play suggests the idea of living 

Galle has a large population of Moors, who are mostly 
lapidaries, or dealers in gems ^, and one of the earliest 
visits received by a stranger on his arrival, is from 
these persevering jewellers, -sdth whom it requires both 
experience and judgment to negotiate ^^'ith safety. It 
ought to be borne in mind, that it is the custom among 
Oriental races for the buyer, and not the seller, to place 
the value on any article he requires. An Eastern in the 
bazaar, makes an offer for what he wants, and waits for 
the owner to take or refuse it. Long contact with Em^o- 
peans has so far modified tliis practice in Ceylon, that a 
buyer expects the seller to name a price for his com- 
modities ; and when a traveller adduces, as an evidence 
of fi\aud or rapacity, that a dealer may have asked double 
what he has eventually accepted, it would be well to 
remember, that it is contrary to custom for the OAvner to 
be the appraiser, and that '•'caveat emptor'''' is the rule 
amono'st Orientals, from whom the Eomans borrowed the 

Tortoise-shell is another article in Avhicli the workmen 
of Galle have emploj^ed themselves since the tune of 
the Eomans^, and of which they still make bracelets, 
hair pins, and ornaments of great taste and beauty. 
But the principal handicrafts-men are cabinet-makers, 
carpenters, and carvers in Calamander-wood, ebony, and 
ivory. Their skill in this work is quite remarkable, 
considering the simplicity of their implements and tools ; 
but owing to their deficiency in design, and the want of 

^ Au account of the pursuits of 
those people -will be found ante, Vol. 
I. Pt. V. eh. iv. p. 005. 

2 "Ubi enim judicium emptorisest 
ibi fraus venditoris qufc potest esse ? " 
— Cicero De Of., iii. 14. 

2 SxRABO, ii. i. 14. Ceylon for- 
merly exported tortoise-shell, but the 
demand has become so gi-eat for 
home mauuiiicture, that it is now 
imported from Penang and the Mal- 
dive Islands. 

CilAF. I.] 



proper models, their unaided productions are by no 
means in accordance with European tastes.^ 

The share of the commerce of Ceylon which at present 
belongs to the port of Galle is small compared Avith that 
of Colombo. The latter, from its nearer vicinity to the 
coffee estates and the cinnamon districts, exports the 
largest proportion of these, as well as of other articles, 
from the interior and the north, whilst the chief trade 
of GaUe consists in the productions of the coco-nut tree 
with which the southern province is so densely covered 
that the country in every direction for some distance 
from the sea, appears a continuous forest of palms.-^ 
The oil expressed from the nut ; coir and cordage 
manufactured from its fibre ; and arrack distilled from 
the sap of the tree, are shipped in large quantities for 
Europe and India. 

But the local prosperity of Galle is mainly dependent 
on the merchant vessels and steam packets which make 
it their rendezvous ; and on the travellers from all parts 
of the East who are carried there in consequence. These 
are sufficient to support its numerous hotels, lodging 
houses, and bazaars ; but private residents complain, and 
with justice, of the increase of prices, and the excessive 
cost of living, which has been entailed upon them in con- 

The Dutch carried to their Eastern settlements two 
of then* home propensities, which distinguish and em- 
bellish the towns of the Low Countries ; tlicy indulged 
in the excavation of canals, and they jilanted long lines 
of trees to diffuse shade over the sultry passages in 
their Indian fortresses. For the latter piurpose they 

^ At Galle and elsewhere, I found 
the cabinet-maliers and carvers using- 
as a substitute for sand-pajier to 
polish their work, the rough leaves 
of a species of fig-tree, called by them 
sewana meiliya, and of a creeper 
known as the korossa-mael. I am 
unable to identify thcui scientifieallv. 

* It is a curious illustration of the 
innumerable uses of the coco-nut 
palm, tliat some years ago a shi]i from 
the Maldive Islands touched at ( Jalle, 
which was entirely built, rigged, pro- 
visioned, and laden with tlie produce 
of that tree. — Pekciy-vl, p. :52G. 


employed the Siiriya {Hibiscus j^opidneus), ^vliose broad 
umbrageous leaves and delicate yellow flowers impart 
a delicious coolness, and give to the streets of Galle 
and Colombo the fresh and enhvening aspect of walks 
in a garden. 

Li the towns, however, the suriya is productive of one 
serious inconvenience. It is the resort of a hairy greenish 
caterpillar ^, longitudinally striped, which frequents it in 
great numbers, and at a certain stage of its growth 
descends by a silken thread to the ground and hurries 
away, probably in search of a suitable spot in which to 
]Dass through its metamorphosis. Should it happen to 
alight, as it often does, upon some lounger below, and 
find its way to his unprotected skin, it inflicts, if molested, 
a sting as pungent, but far more lasting, than that of a 
nettle or a star-fish. 

Attention being thus directed to the quarter whence 
the assailant has lowered himself doAvn, the catei-pillars 
above will be found in clusters, sometimes amounting 
to hundreds chnging to the branches and the bark, with 
a few stragghng over the leaves or suspended from 
them by fines. These pests are so annojdng to children 
as weU as destructive to the fofiage, that it is often 
necessary to singe them ofi" the trees by a flambeau 
raised on the extremity of a pole ; and as they faU to 
the ground they are eagerly devom^ed by the crows and 
domestic fowls.'*^ 

With the exception of the old chm'ch built by tlie 
Netherlands East India Company, the town of Galle 

' The species of motli viiih. which 
it is identified has not yet been de- 
tennined, but it most probably be- 
longs to a section of Boisduval's 
genus Bomb^'x near Cuethocanipa 

^ Another catei-piUar wliich feeds 
on the jasniine-fldwering Carissa, 
stingrs with such fiirv that I have 

■with fleshy spines on the upper sm-- 
face, each of which seems to be 
charged with the venom that occa- 
sions this acute suffering. Tlie moth 
which this cat ei-pilhir produces, Kecpi-a 
lepida, Cramer; Limacodes f/raciosa, 
"VVestw., lias darlc brown ■s\-ings, the 
primaiT traversed by a broad green 
band. It is common in the Western 

known a gentleman to shod tears side of Oylon. The larvoe of tlie 
while the pain was at its height. It genus AdoUa are also hairy, and sting 
is short and broad, of a pale gi-een, | with virulence. 

CUAP. I.] 



contains no remarkable buildings, and the streets at 
the present day differ little in their aspect from that 
which they presented during the presence of the Dutch. 
The houses are spacious, but seldom liigher than a 
single story, and each has, along the entire hue of the 
front, a deep verandah supported on pillars to create 
shade for the rooms within. 

At the close of the day we drove with the principal 
government officer, Mr. Cripps, through the native 
town, which extends beyond the walls of the fort, and 
thence through some native villages along the margin 
of the bay, in the direction of Matura, the road being 
one continuous avenue of coco-nut trees. The enjoy- 
ment of the scene was indescribable ; the cool shade of 
the palm groves, the fresh verdure of the grass, the 
bright tint of the flowers that tmned over every tree, 
the rich copper hue of the soil, and the occasional 
ghmpse of the sea through the openings in the dense 
wood ; all combined to form a landscape unsurpassed in 
novelty and beauty. 

The subm^bs consist chiefly of native huts, interspersed 
here and there with the decaying villas of the old Dutch 
burghers, distinguished by quaint doorways and fantastic 
entrances to the compounds and gardens. Tlie latter 
contained abundance of fruit-trees, oranges, limes, pap- 
paws, bread-fruits, and plantains, and a plentiful under- 
growth of pine-apples, yams, and sweet potatoes. Of 
these by far the most remarkable tree is the jak, with 
broad glossy leaves and enormous yellow fruit, not grow- 
ing on the branches, but supported by powerful stalks 
from the trunk of the tree.^ 

I was struck with the extraordinary numbers of the 

^ Tlie jak, AHocarjms intcf/rifolia, 
would seem to be the tree which 
Pliny says the Indians called Pala 
and arima, putting- forlli fruit from 
its bark, one of which was sufficient 
to funiish a meal for four persons. 

'' fructum cortice mittit ut imo qua- 
ternos satiet." — xii. 12. Sprengvl 
and IJauliin supposed Pliny to mean 
the plantain ; but the description 
quoted applies to the j ak. 


beautiful striped shells of the Helix hcemastoma, on the 
stems of the coco-nut palms on the road as we drove 
towards Matura, and stopping frequently to collect them, 
I was led to observe that each separate garden seemed 
to possess a variety almost peculiar to itself ; in one the 
mouth of every individual shell was red, in another 
separated from the first only by a wall, black, and in 
others (but less frequently) pure white ; whilst the 
varieties of external colouring were equaUy local ; in 
one enclosure they were nearly all red, and in an adjoiii- 
ino; one all brown. ^ 

The southern coast, from Galle to Ilambangtotte 
(which I visited at a later period), is one of the most 
interesting and remarkable portions of Ceylon. Its 
inhabitants are the most purely Singhalese section of 
the population. It formed an important part of the 
ancient division of Eohuna, whicli was colonised at an 
early period by the foUowers of Wijayo^, and then' 
descendants were so far removed from Anarajapoora 
and the north, that they liad neither intercourse nor 
commixture with the Malabars. Their temples were 
asylums for the studious and learned, and to the present 
day, some of the priests of Matura and Mulgu-igalle 
are accomphshed scholars in Sanskrit and Pali, and 
possess rich collections of Buddhist manuscripts and 

The sceneiy of the coast as far as Dondera, is singu- 
larly lovely, the cmTcnts having scooped the hue of the 
shore into coves and bays of exqmsite beauty, separated 
by precipitous headlands covered with forests and crowned 
by groves of coco-nut palms. 

Close by Belhgam the road passes a rock, a niche 

^ Dakwin, in liis Naturalist^ s [ coloiu'ed, a tint not common any- 

past ur,'i;>-o of East Falkland Island ; black heads and feet were common." 
"roimd Mount Osborne about lialf — Ch. ix. p. 192. 

of some of the herds were mouse- ' ^ Seertw^e^Vol.I. Pt. i. ch. iii. p. 337 

Chap. I.] DONDEEA. 113 

in wliicli contains the statue of the " Kustia Baja" an 
Indian prmce, in whose honoiu: it was erected, because, 
accordino; to the legend, he was the first to teach the 
Singhalese tlie culture of the coco-nut/ 

Every building throughout tliis favourite district is 
a memorial of the Dutch. The rest-houses on the road- 
side, the villas in the suburbs, and the fortifications of the 
towns were erected by them ; and Matura, with its Httle 
star-fort of coral, remains as perfect at the present day, 
as when it was a seat of the spice trade, and a sanitary 
retreat for the garrison of Galle.'-^ 

Dondera Head, the Sunium of Ceylon, and the 
southern extremity of the island, is covered with the 
ruins of a temple, which was once one of the most cele- 
brated in Ceylon. The headland itself has been the 
resort of devotees and pilgrims, from the most remote 
ages ; — Ptolemy describes it as Dagana^ " sacred to the 
Moon," and the Buddliists constructed there one of 
their earhest dagobas, the restoration of wliich was the 
care of successive sovereigns.^ But the most important 
temple was a shrine which m veiy early times had been 
erected by the Hindus in honour of Yishnu. It was in 
the height of its splendour, when, in 1587, the place 
was devastated in the course of the maraudino- ex- 
pedition by which De Souza d'Arronches sought to 
create a diversion, dming the siege of Colombo by Eaja 
Singha H.^ The historians of the period state that at 
tliat time Dondera was the most renowned place of 
pilgrimage in Ceylon ; Adam's Peak scarcely excepted. 

^ See ante, Vol. I. Pt. w. cli. xi. 
p. 437. The legend will be foimd iu 
Power's Ceylon MisccUamj, vol. i. p. 
250, Cotta, 1842. An engraving of 
the statue is given in the Asiatic Me- 
searches, vol. vi. p. 432. 

2 Matiu-a was fortified in a.d. 
15.50, by King Dhanua-pala, with 
the aid of the Portuguese (Y\- 
lENTTN, Ond en Nieuw Oost-Indien, 
ch. vi. p. 8) ; but the fort still exist- 


ing was erected by the Dutch in A.u. 
1645.— JJjV/., ch. xi. p. 130. 

^ Query. — Does Ptolemy's name 
Dayana refer to the da(/oba? The 
latter was repaired, a.d. ()8(3, by Iving 
Dapoolu, who hold his court at 
Mahagam, to the east of Dondera 
(Hajavali, p. 248) ; and again, A.D. 
1180, by Prakrania Bahu I. — Forbks' 
ElevenYears in Ceylon, \o\. ii. p. 178, 

* See ante, Vol. II. Pt. vi. ch. i. 


The temple, they say, was so vast, that from the sea it 
had the appearance of a city. The pagoda was raised on 
vaidted arches, richly decorated, and roofed with plates 
of gilded copper. It was encompassed by a quadrangular 
cloister, opening under verandahs, upon a terrace and 
gardens with odoriferous shrubs and trees, whose flowers 
were gathered by the priests for processions. De Souza 
entered the gates without resistance ; and liis soldiers 
tore down the statues, which were more than a thousand 
in number. The temple and its buildings were over- 
thrown, its arches and its colonnades were demolished, 
and its gates and towers levelled T\dth the ground. 
The plunder was immense, in ivory, gems, jewels, sandal- 
wood, and ornaments of gold. As the last mdignity 
that could be offered to the sacred place, cows were 
slaughtered in the comls, and the cars of the idol, with 
other combustible materials, being fired, the shrine was 
reduced to ashes. -^ A stone doorway exquisitely carved, 
and a small building, whose extraorchnary strength 
resisted the violence of the destroyers, are all that now 
remain standins; ; but the inbound for a considerable 
distance is strewn ^vith ruins, conspicuous among which 
are numbers of finely cut columns of granite. The 
dagoba which stood on the crown of the hill, is a mound 
of shapeless debris. 

Still farther to the east are the towns of Tangalle 
and Hambangtotte, in the vicinity of which he the vast 
marshes or leways, whence the island derives its principal 
supplies of salt. 

The fire-flies and glow-worms were kindhng their 
emerald lamps as we retm^ned after sunset, from our 
evenhig drive, to the fort of Galle. We had our 
first Singhalese dinner at the Queen's House, T\dth 
seir-fish and poultry (for which latter the adjoining 
district of Matm'a is fiimous), followed by a dessert 

1 Fakia y SovzA,Po7f tiff uese Asia, I De Cono, Asia, Si-c, dec. x. ch. xv 
^■c, \o\. iii. pt. i. cli. vi. p. 5.3 ; | vol. \i. pt. ii. p. G4i<. 

Chap. I.] 



ill wliicli rambiitans \ custard apples 2, and country 
almonds ^, were the most agreeable novelties. The 
only di^awbacks to enjoyment were the heat and 
the mosquitoes ; and from either it was hopeless 
to escape. Next to the torture and apprehension 
it inflicts, the most annoying pecuharities of the 
mosquito are the booming hum of its approach, its 
cunning, its audacity, and the perseverance with which 
it renews its attacks however ft-equently repulsed ; and 
these characteristics are so remarkable as fully to justify 
the conjectm^e that the mosquito, and not the ordinary 
fly, constituted the plague inflicted upon Pharaoh and 
the Egyptians.^ 

^ This delicious fi-uit, which is a 
species of Neplielium, takes its name 
from the Malay word ramhut, " the 
hair of the head," which describes 
the villose coverinfif that envelopes it. 
^ Anana reticulata. 
^ From the Terminalia Catappa ; 
called Kath-hadam in Bengal. The 
tree is exotic ; and was probably in- 
troduced into Ceylon from Java. — 
See Buchanan's 6'urvei/ of Behur, 
vol. i. p. 233. 

^ The precise species of insect by 
means of which the Almighty sig- 
nalised the plague of flies, remains 
uncertain, as the Hebrew term aroh 
or orov, which has been rendered in 
one place, " Divers sorts of flies," 
Ps. cv. 31 ; and in another, "swarms 
of flies," Exod. viii. 21, &c., means 
merely " an assemblage," a " mixtm-e," 
or a ** swann," and the expletive '' of 
files " is an interpolation of the trans- 
lators. This, however, serves to 
show that the fly implied was one 
easily recognisal^le by its habit of 
sxoarming; and the further fact that 
it hites, or rather stings, is elicited 
from the expression of the Psalmist, 
Ps. Ixxviii. 4-5, that the insects by 
which the Egy]3tians were tonnented 
" devoured thorn/' so that here are 
two peculiarities inapplicable to the 
domestic fly, but strongly character- 
istic of gnats and mosquitoes. 

Bruce thought that the fly of the 
fourth plague was the ^'zimb" of 
Abyssinia which he so gi-aphically 
describes; and Wkstwood, in an 
ingenious passage in his Entomolo- 
f/ist's Te.ii-book, p. 17, combats the 
strange idea of one of the bishops, 
that it was a cockroach ! and argues 
in favour of the mosquito. Tliis view 
he sustains by a reference to the 
liabits of the creature, the swarms iu 
which it in\-ades a locality, and the 
audacity with which it enters the 
houses ; and he accounts for the 
exemption of " the land of Goshen 
iu which the Israelites dwelt," by 
the fact of its being sandy pasture 
above the level of the river ; whilst 
the mosquitoes were produced freely 
in the rest of Eg;<t-pt, the soil of which 
was submerged bv the rising of the 

In all the passages in the Old 
Testament in which flies are alluded 
to, otherwise than in connection with 
the Egyptian infliction, the word 
used in the Hebrew is zevov, whicli 
the Septuagint renders by the ordi- 
nary generic term for flies In general, 
i)rh(, " musca " (Eccles. x. 1, Isaiah 
vii. 10); but in every instance in 
wliich mention is made of the miracle 
of Moses, the Septuagint says that 
the fly produced was the Kvyo/trla, 
the " dog-flv." What insect was 



The great problem Avliich must occupy the attention of 
those interested in the futm'e destiny of Point de Galle, 
involves the means of rendering the harbour sufficiently 
commodious and secure for the reception of the great and 
increasing number of steam-vessels, wliich now make it 
their resort. The masfnitude of the interests concerned 
expands the question to imperial dimensions ; and if 
Galle is to become the great civil arsenal of the East ; 
the rendezvous for the packets and passenger ships 
from India, Australia, and China ; as well as for the 
merchantment wliich touch there for telegraphic orders 
by wliich their further com^se is to be guided ; the 
enlargement of the area of the harboiu% as well as 
its protection from the swell of the monsoon, must 
be speedily secured by the construction of the necessary 
works. And, in the consideration of this, the further 
question arises of the comparative advantages of Trinco- 
mahe, and the practicability of adapting the umivalled 
bay of the latter to all the requirements of commerce by 
a system of railways connecting the eastern and western 
coasts of Ceylon. 

Elsewhere I have alluded very briefly to the pheno- 
mena of the tides aromid the island ^, and I have given 
the particulars of the " estabhshment " at a few of the 
ports most fi^equented by seamen. In noticing this sub- 
ject in connection with Galle, there are two pecuharities 
which cannot fail to excite attention ; the very shght 
variation in altitude between liioh and low water at all 

meant by tliis name it is not now easy 
to determine, but .-Elian intimates 
that the dog-fly both inflicts a woimd 
and emits a booming sound, in both 
of which particulars it accords with 
the mosquito (lib. iv. 51) ; and Piiilo- 
JuD^us, in his Vita Jloais, lib. i. ch. 
xxiii.^ descanting on the plague of 
flies, and using the tenii of the 
Septuagint, Kvi'ofivlcr, describes it as 
combining the characteristic of "the 
most impudent of all animals, the Hy 
and the dog, exhibiting the courac'e 

and the cmmingof both, and fastening 
on its victim with the noise and 
rapidit}' of an arrow" — /ifr<i poi'O'v 
KciHuTrtp fffXoQ. This seems to identify 
the dog-fly of the Septuagint -n-ith 
the description of the Psalmist, Ps. 
lxx^•iii. 4o, and to vindicate the con- 
jectm'o that the tormenting mosquito, 
and not the harmless house-fly, was 
commissioned by the Lord to himible 
the obstinacy of the Ein-ptian tvi-ant. 
1 Vol. I. Pt. I. ch.i.^p. 52. 

Chap. T.] niENOMEXA OF THE TIDES. 117 

points round the coast, and the discrepant hours at 
which the former occurs on the east and west coasts 
respectively. The difFicuhies which arose in my own 
mind on the subject, and the doubts I entertained as to 
the accuracy of the ordinary authorities, have been so 
satisfactorily removed by a communication from Ad- 
miral Fitzroy, tliat I regret my inability to incorporate 
at length the valuable information with which he has 
supphed me. 

His opinion is, that Ceylon as a prolongation of the 
great Indian peninsula, projects so far into the Indian 
Ocean as to oppose an effectual barrier to the fi'ee and 
simultaneous action of its waters, under the attraction of 
the moon. Hence they may be considered as broken 
into two independent sections or zones, each with a time 
pecuhar to itself, and a tide-wave moving from east to 
west ; — and each more or less influenced by superadded 
phenomena, differing essentially according to the local 
features of the respective shores. Thus the most easterly 
tide impinges on the coast of Ceylon, reacliing Batticaloa 
about fom^ o'clock in the afternoon, Trincomalie about 
two hours later, and thence passing towards Coromandel 
and Madras. Whilst this wave is pm^suing its course, 
the moon has been already acting on the opposite 
side of India, and forming another tide-wave akeady 
in motion towards the coast of Arabia and Africa ; con- 
sequently withdrawing the waters, and depressing their 
level in the Gulf of Manaar. But before they can be 
much reduced on the west they are overtaken by the 
wave from the east, which arrests theu' further fall, and 
hmits the change of level to something less than thirty 

Again on the moon ceasing to influence the western 
section of the sea, the tendency of the tide-wave when 
released from her attraction is to return towards, and 
(because of acquired momentum) even heyofid^ its former 
position of equilibrium, while receding towards the coast 
of Malabar and Ceylon. Hence a continuance of oscilla- 

1 3 


tion, of advance aucl retrogression, must be presumed 
until the earth's attraction and the effects of friction shall 
have quite checked the movement.^ Thus the periods 
within which the principal tide-waves succeed one another, 
and the oscillations to which they give rise, originate de- 
rivative tide-waves of form and character so pecuhar as 
to call for a more attentive mvestiojation than has hitherto 
been devoted to them.^ 

It must not, however, be forgotten, that the tidal 
phenomena which affect the Hmited zones of waters, on 
either side of the Indian peninsula (waters, which, if 
left to themselves, would have a tendency, when un- 
affected by the attraction of the moon, to be restored 
to a condition of normal equilibrium), receive still 
further comphcation from the marginal efflux of the 
tide-wave of the great Indian Ocean. This tide-wave 
itself is not free, but modified in its turn by impingement 
against the African continent, and by the deportment 
of that continuous swell, " immensely broad and exces- 
sively flat,"^ which sweeps comparatively unchecked 
round the world between the parallels of 40° and 60° 
south. In our present limited knowledge of facts, we are 
not in a position to determine what changes of level or of 
" stream " (not necessarily co-existent phenomena) may 
result from these various sources of distm-bance. 

In the harbour of Galle, the daily period of high-Avater 
is so materially modified by the phase of the monsoon, 
and the strength and direction of the currents, as weU as 
of the off and on shore ^vinds, that the very moderate 
ascent and depression of level (somewhat less than two 
feet) produced by luni-solar influences, have Iiitherto 
attracted but httle attention from any except the more 
scientific seamen, who may liave made sustained observa- 
tions in order to eliminate these accidental variations 

^ A'ide Appendix to the Voyoge of I "^ Babbage, Ninth Bridgcwatei' 
the Beayle,\o\,\\. ])s '177. 7/-eof/'w, Appendix, p. 218. 

I 2 IIekschel, Outlines, ^-c, p. 497. 

Chap. I.l 



from tlie general results, and establish a correct theory of 
the movement of the waters in the Indian Ocean. It is 
now nearly a quarter of a century, since Dr. Whewell 
laid the foundation of the inquiry and endeavoured to 
ehcit the co-operation of practical men in its solution ; 
and though much has been done to accumulate facts, still 
observations have not yet been made in sufficient number 
to lead to an inference as to the probable truth of any 
hypothesis based upon those akeady recorded.^ 

^ That the question is not unworthy 
of the attention of intelligent officers 
in Ceylon, hampered as the coast- 
canying trade of the island is by tliose 
singular sand-barriers, to which I 
have referred in a former passage 
(see Vol. I. Pt. I. ch. i. p. 45), is 
shown by a recent report, an extract 
from which has fallen into my hands 
while this volume is passing through 
the press. Lieut. Tx\.yloe, of the 
Indian Navy, in remarking on similar 
accumulations of sand which obstruct 
tlie navigation at Cochin, observes, 
" that a minute knowledge both of 
the set of the tides and of the pre- 
vailing ocean currents, as also of the 
heaviest swell of the south-west 
monsoon, is indispensable to a right 

judgment " in regard to any projected 
improvements at the former port, 
lie enters into a minute examination 
of the question, supporting his view 
by reference to facts respecting the 
tides on the west side of India. 
That the materials derived from other 
authority than his owti were meagre 
and inadequate, woidd be seen by a 
perusal of his Report ; nor can much 
be done to assist in arri^-ing at more 
mature conclusions, mitil the autho- 
rities recognise the importance of the 
inquiry, or enterprising officers, with 
adequate means at their disposal, go 
to the very moderate expense of 
fitting up self-registering tide-gauges 
at points along the coast. 

I 4 


CHAP. n. 


At sunrise on tlie 30tli November, as the morning gun 
was firing, we passed under the fort-gate, and crossed 
the drawbridge of Galle, en route for Colombo ; ha\ing 
secm^ed for our party the two primitive vehicles which 
carry the govermnent mails, and which then performed 
the jom^ney in less than twelve hom^s^ ; crossing the 
broad estuaries of three rivers in ferry boats, the Gindiu-a, 
the Bentotte, and the Kalu-ganga ; besides an arm of the 

When the British took possession of Ceylon, and for 
many years afterwards, no road deserving the name 
was in existence, to unite these important positions.^ 
Travellers were borne along the shore in palankins, by 
paths under the trees ; troops on the march dragged 
their guns with infinite toil over the sand ; and stores, 
supphes and ammunition were carried on men's shoulders 
through the jungle. Since then, not only has a highway 
unsurpassed in construction been completed to Colombo, 
but continued through the mountains to the central 
capital at Kandy, and thence higher still to Neuera-eUia, 
at an elevation of six thousand feet above the sea. 
Nor is tliis aU : every town of importance in the island 

1 Since then all these rivers have starting on a tour round the island ; 
been bridged. one himch-ed and sLxty palankin 

2 Percival, p. 145. An idea of ! bearers, four hundred coolies to cany 
the toil of travelling this road in the j the baggage, two elephants, six 
year 1<S00 may be collected from the horses, and fifty lascars to take care 
iauniber of attendants which the Go- of the tents. — Cokdixer, ch. vi. p. 
veruor was forced to take on his 1G8. 
journey from Colombo to Galle when 

Chap. II.] KOADS. 121 

is now connected with the two principle cities, by roads 
either wholly or partially macadamised. One continiioiLS 
hue, seven hundred and sixty-nine miles in length, 
has been formed round the entire circuit of the coast, 
adapted for carriages where it approaches the principal 
places, and nearly everywhere available for horsemen 
and wayfarers. Of upwards of three hundred miles 
of roads in all directions, nearly two-thirds may be 
considered as open and traversable at all seasons, but 
the others, during the rains whicli accompany the 
monsoons, are impassable from want of drainage and 

No portion of British India can bear comparison ^\dtli 
Ceylon, either in the extent or the excellence of its 
means of communication ; and for this enviable pre- 
eminence the colony is mainly indebted to the genius 
of one eminent man, and the energy and perseverance 
of another. Sir Edward Barnes, on assuming the govern- 
ment in 1820, had tlie penetration to perceive that 
the sums annually wasted on hill-forts and garrisons 
in the midst of wild forests, might, with judicious expen- 
diture, be made to open the whole country by mihtary 
roads, at once securing and em^iching it. Before the 
close of his administration, he had the happiness of 
witnessing the reahsation of his pohcy ; and of leaving 
every radius of the diverging hues, which he had planned, 
either wholly or partially completed. One officer who 
had been associated "vvith the enterprise from its origin, 
and with every stage of its progress, remained beliind 
him to consummate his plans. That officer was Major 
Skinner, the present Commissioner of Eoads in Ceylon. 
To him more than to any hving man, the colony 
is indebted for its present prosperity ; and m after 
years, when the interior shall have attained the full 
development of its productive resources, and derived 
all the advantages of facile communications with tlie 
coast, the name of this meritorious public servant will be 



gratefully honoured, in close association with that of his 
illustrioiis chief. ^ 

In its pecuhar style of beauty, notliing in the world 
can exceed in lovehness the road from Point de Galle 
to Colombo ; it is hterally an avenue of palms, nearly 
seventy miles long, with a rich under-gi'owth of tropical 
trees, many of them crimson with flowers, and over- 
run with orchids and climbing plants'-^, wliose tendrils 
descend in luxuriant festoons. Bkds of gaudy plu- 
mage dart amidst the branches, gay butterflies hover 
over the shady fohage, and insects of metallic lustre 
ghtter on the leaves. Bright-green hzards dash over 
the banks and ascend the trees, and the hideous but 
harmless iguano^, half familiar with man, moves slowly 
across the high-road out of the way of the traveller's 
carriage, and hisses as it retreats to allow him to pass. 
Where a view of the landscape can be caught through 
an opening in the thick woods, it is equally grand and 
impressive on every side. On one hand is seen the range 
of purple hills, which form the mountain-zone of Kandy, 
and stretch far as the eye can reach, till they are 
crowned by the mysterious summit of Adam's Peak. 

" Olha em Ceilao, que o monte se alevanta 
Tauto que as nuvens passa, ou a \'ista engana : 
Os naturaes o tern por cousa santa, 
Por a petba em que esta a p^gada humana." * 

To the left ghtters the blue sea, studded ^vith rocky 
islets, over which, even dming sunny calms, the 
swell from the Lidian Ocean rolls volumes of snowy 

* Since the above was wi-itten, lier 
Majesty's Secretary of State for the 
Colonies, on the recommendation of 
the governor, Sir Ileniy G. Ward, 
has confeiTed on Major Skinner an 
appropriate recog-nition of his gi'eat 
ser\'ices by raising him to the rank of 
a Member of Coimcil, with the im- 
portant appointment of Auditor- 
General of the colony ; an office for 
which his previous experience in- 
vested him with paramoimt qualifica- 

^ One of the most wonderful of 
these, the (7/0/7' superba, is abundant 
near Galle, and such is the splendour 
of its red and amber flowers, that 
even the most listless stranger cannot 
resist the temptation to stop and 

2 3£(mitor dracccna, Gray. For an 
account of this large lizard, see Vol. 
I. Pt. II. ch. iii. p. 182. 

^ Camoens, Ltmud, canto x. st. 

Chap. II.] 



foam. The beach is carpeted with verdure down the 
line of the yellow sand ; and occasionally the level sweeps 
of the coast are diversified by bold headlands which ad- 
vance abruptly till they overhang the Avaves, and form 
sheltering bays for the boats of the fishermen, which, 
all day long, are in motion within sight of the shore. 

Arboured in the shades of these luxuriant groves, 
nestle the white cottages of the natives, each with its 
garden of coco- nuts and plantains, and in the subiurbs 
of the numerous villages, some of the more ambitious 
dweUings, built on the model of the old Dutch villas, 
are situated in tiny compounds \ enclosed by dwarf 
walls and hues of arecas. 

In this particular, the taste of the low-country Sin- 
ghalese, who like to place their houses in open and airy 
situations, contrasts with that of the Kandyans, who are 
fond of seclusion, and build their villages in glens and 
recesses where their existence would be unsuspected, 
were it not indicated by the coco-nut palms wliich are 
planted beside them. 

Towards GaUe, the majority of this rural population are 
of the Chaha caste ^, whose members, though low in con- 
ventional rank, are amongst the most useful of the Singha- 
lese population. They appear to have arrived originally 
from the coast of India, as embroiderers and weavers, 
and to have settled at Barberyn in the thirteenth century. 

* From campinho, a little field 

* Ptolemy gives to the inhabitants 
of Taprobane the name of Saloe, 
^aXai, and to the island itself Salice, 
2«At(c?/ (lib. vii. iv.), which Wilford 
says is a derivative from the Sanskrit 
Sala. (^Essay on the Sacred Isles of 
the West, As. Hes., vol. x. p. 124.) 
An ancient name of Adam's Peak is 
Salmala, or the " Mountain of Sala." 
Fra Bartolemeo traces the origin 
of all these names to the Salej/ns, an 
Indian tribe, called in the I'liranas 
" Salavas," and it is a curious coin- 
cidence, that the Chalia caste, who 

still inhabit the district suiTOunding 
Ciallo, and extending- thence to Ne- 
gombo, claim to call themselves Salias, 
and say that their ancestors camo 
originally fi'om Hindustan. The 
legend is set out at lengtJi in an his- 
torical sketch of the Chalias, MTitten 
by AcRiAiSr Rajapvksa, a chief of the 
caste, and embodied in a memoir 
" On the Rellf/inn and Habits of the 
People of Ceylon,'" by iSL JoiNVlLLi:. 
As. Res., vol. vii. p. 399. 

The most satisfactory account of 
this singular race that I have seen, is 
in the Asiatic Joi'rnal for 1830, vol. 
xl. p. 200. 



At a miicli later period they betook themselves to the 
trade of peehng emuamou ; an art of which they soon 
secured the virtual monopoly. The Portuguese, ahve 
to the importance of the duties in which this hardy class 
w^as engaged, of penetrating the hills in search of the 
coveted spice, induced the kings of Cotta to institute a 
regular organisation of the caste, and to assign certain 
villages for their residence, at various points along the 
coast from ISTegombo to Matura. The Dutch, though 
treating the Chahas with the most heartless severity, 
preserved the system as they inherited it from their 
predecessors ^ ; and to the present day, they thrive on the 
southern coast, engaging in every branch of uidustry that 
gives acti\ity and prosperity to the district. 

There is no quarter of the world in which the coco- 
nut flourishes in such rich luxmiance as in this corner 
of Ceylon. Here it enjoys a rare combination of eveiy 
advantasfe essential to its growth, — a loose and friable 
soil, a free and genial au% unobstructed solar heat, and 
an atmosphere damp with the spray and moisture from 
the sea, towards which the crown of the tree is always 
more or less inchned."^ 

Of late years, its cultivation has been vastly increased. 
Some idea may be formed of its importance, ft'om the fact 
that, at the time when the English took possession of 
Colombo, it was estimated that the single district lying 
between Dondera Head and Calpentyn contained ten 
minions of coco-nut trees ^; and such has been the in- 

' Valexttn, Oud en Nimto Oost- 
Indien, ^-c, ch. xii. p. 135 j ch. xv. p. 

"^ A writer in the Journal of the 
Indian Archipehir/o for 1850 obsenes, 
that this tendency to bend above the 
sea, causing its fruit to drop into the 
water, appe-''rs to account for its ex- 
tension to the numerous islands and 
atolls " to which the nut is iioated 
by the winds and tide." — Vol. iv. p. 
103. A curious illusti-ation of the 
passion of the coco-nut for the sea is 
mentioned by Dampiek, in connec- 

tion with the little island of Pulo- 
Mega, off the coast of Smuatra, which 
he says, " is not a mile roimd, and so 
low that the tide flows over it. It 
is of a sandy soil, and full of 
coco-nut trees, not-^-ithstanding that 
at everj' spiiug-tide the salt-water 
goes clear over the island.'' — Voi/ar/e, 
i^-c, vol. i. p. 474, quoted by Craav- 
FUBD, in his Dictionary of the Indian 

^ Bektolacci, pt. iv. p. .324. The 
Ceylon Observer of the 25th Decem- 
ber 1858, contains the follo^ang 

Chap. II.] 



crease since, that the total number in the island cannot 
be less than twenty millions. 

All that has ever been told of the bread fruit or any 
other plant contributing to the welfare of man, is as 
nothing compared with the blessings conferred on 
Ceylon by this inestimable palm. The Singhalese, in 
the warmth of their affection for then' favourite tree, avow 
their behef that it pines when beyond the reach of the 
human voice ^ ; and recount with animation the " hun- 
dred uses " for which its products are made available.^ 

summary of the extent of coco-nut 
cultivation in the island :— " In the 
quinquennial period ending 1841, the 
average export of coco-nut oil did not 
gi-eatly exceed 400,000 gallons, the 
value being under 20,000/. In 1857, 
the export rose to the enormous figm-e 
of 1,767,413 gallons, valued at 
212,184/. At 40 nuts to a gallon of 
oil, the above export represents no 
fewer than 70,69G,.520 coco-nuts. 
We should think that at least as much 
oil is consumed in the colony as is 
sent out of it. If so, we (jet 141,393,040 
nuts, convea-ted into 3,534,826 gallons 
of oil, besides poonack or oil-cake, 
which is valuable as food for animals 
and as manure. Smj that there are 
20,000,000 of coco-nut trees in Ceylon, 
oil woidd seem to be made from the 
product of one-sixth of them, say 
3,500,000. We should think that 
not less than 5,000,000 more of the 
trees are devoted to ' Toddy ' draw- 
ing, the liquor being drunk fermented, 
distilled into arrack or converted into 
sugar. We should then have 
11, .500,000 of trees, yielding 
460,000,000 of nuts to meet the food 
requirements of the people, besides 
the quantity exported in their uatiu'al 
state or as copperah." 

' That the coco-nut prows more 
luximantly in the vicinity of human 
dwellings is certain ; but then it liuds 
a soil artificially enriched tliere : and 
it is equally certain that the tree is 
never found wild in the; jungles ; but 
this may be owing to the destruction 
of the young plants by elephants, 

which are fond of the tender leaves. 
The same reason serves to account for 
its rarity in the Kandyan country, 
which cannot be ascribed solely to 
remoteness from the sea, since the 
coco-nut palm grows a hmadred 
leagues from the coast in Venezuela, 
and it is even said to have been seen 
at Timbuctoo. 

^ The list is, of course, extended to 
the full himdred ; but to eke out this 
complement requires some ingenious 
subdivision. Thus, the trunk fur- 
nishes fourteen appliances for build- 
ing, fiu-nitm-e, firewood, ships, fences, 
and farming implements ; the leaves, 
twenty-seven for thatch, matting, 
fodder-baskets, and minor utensils ; 
the weh sustaining the footstalks 
serves for strainers and flambeaux ; 
the hlossotn, for preserves and pickles ; 
the fruit-sap, for spirits, sugar, and 
vinegar ; the nut and its Juices, for 
food and for drinking, for oil, curries, 
cakes, and cosmetics ; the shell, for 
cups, lamps, spoons, bottles, and 
tooth-powder ; and the ^bre wJiich 
surromids it, for beds, cushions, and 
carpets, brushes, nets, ropes, cordage, 
and cables. — See ante. Vol. I. Pt. i. 
ch. iii. p. 110. One pre-eminent use 
of the coco-nut palm is omitted in all 
these popular enumerations : it acts 
as a conductor injjrutectinf/ their houses 
from li(/htninfj. As many as 500 of 
th(>se trees were struck in a single 
j^nfoo near Putlam during a succession 
of thunder-storms in April 1859. — 
Colombo Observer. 



There is hardly one of these multifarious uses that may 
not be seen in active illustration dm^ing the diive 
between Galle and Colombo. Houses ai^e timbered 
Avith its wood, and roofed with its plaited fronds, which, 
under the name of cajans^ are hkewise employed for con- 
structing partitions and fences. The fi'uit, m aU its 
varieties of form and colour \ is ripened aroimd the 
native dweUings, and the women may be seen at their 
doors rasping its wliite flesh to powder, in order to ex- 
tract fi'om it the milky emulsion which constitutes the 
essential excellence of a Singhalese cmiy.^ In pits by 

^ Thougli xmfamiliar to the eye of 
a sti-anger, the Siughalese distinguish 
five varieties of the nut. One, bright 
orange in the colour of the outer 
husk, known as the "King coco- 
nut," is generally planted near the 
temples : it contains a fluid so deli- 
cate that a draught of it is offered bv 
the priests to "s-isitors of distinctioia 
as an honour. The other four vaiy 
from light yellow to dark gi-een, anci 
are also distinguished by shape and 
size. The wonderful double coco- 
nut fi-om the Seychelles, Lodoicea 
SeycheUarum, has been introduced 
into Ceylon, but I am not aware that 
it has yet fi-uited there. In size it 
exceeds the ordinary coco-nut many 
fold, with the added peculiarity 
of presenting a double form. One 
specimen which I obtained in Ceylon 
exhibits a triple fomiation. In 
the subjoined sketch an orange is 
introduced to exhibit the exti-aordi- 
naiy size of these singidar coco-nuts, 
even after being deprived of the out- 
ward husk. 

Di-ifted by the waves from some 
imknown shore, this mysterious fruit 

was at one time believed to gi'ow be- 
neath the sea, and was thence called 
the Coco de Mer. Medicinal Airtues 
were then ascribed to it, and so much 
as 4000 florins were offered by the 
Emperor Eodolf II. for a single 
specimen (Malthe Betx, vol. iv. p. 
420). It is to this singidar plant 
that Camoens alludes in the Liisiad : — 

" Nas illias de Maldiva nascp a planta 
No profundo das aguas, soberana, 
Ciijo pomo contra o veneno urgente 
lie tido por antidoto excellente." 

Canto X. St. 136. 

^ In a note to Vol. I. Pt. rv. ch. ii. 
p. 436, I have shown the eiTor of the 
belief prevalent amongst Em-opeans, 
that the use of ciuit was introduced 
by the Portuguese, and that the word 
itself is derived fi-om that language. 
In addition to the evidence there 
stated, it may be mentioned that Ibx 
Battjta, two hundred years before 
the Portuguese had appeared in the 
Indian Seas, describes the natives of 
Ceylon eating ciutv, which he calls 
in Arabic couchmi, oft' the leaves of 
the plantains, precisely as they do at 
the present day : " lis apportaient 
aussi des feuilles de baii- 
anier sur lesquelles ils 
pla^aient le riz quiforme 
leiu- nourritiu'e. lis re- 
pandaient sur ce riz du 
coiichdn, qui sert d'assai- 
sonuement ♦ * * ♦ qxu 
est compost? de poulets, 
de viande, de poissou, et 
de legumes." 

coco DE KER 

CiiAP. n.] 



the roadside the liiisks of the nut are steeped to con- 
vert the fibre into coir \ by decomposing the interstitial 
pith; — its flesh is dried in the sun preparatory to ex- 
pressing the oil '^ ; vessels are attached to collect the juice 
of the unexpanded flowers to be converted into sugar, 
'and from early morn the toddy drawers are to be seen 
ascending the trees in quest of the sap draAvn from the 
spathes of the unopened flowers to be distilled into arrack, 
the only pernicious purpose to which the gifts of the 
bounteous tree are perverted. 

The most precious inheritance of a Singhalese is his 
ancestral garden of coco-nuts ; the attempt to impose a 
tax on them in 1797, roused the populace to rebeUion ; 
and it is curiously illustrative of the minute subdivision of 
property in Ceylon, that in a case which was decided in 
the district court of GaUe, within a very recent period, 
the subject in dispute was a claim to the 2,520th jjart 
of ten coco-nut trees ! 

At Hiccode^, twelve miles from Galle, where our 
horses were changed, the Moodhar and his suite, in full 
costume, were waiting to offer us early coffee ; and at 
the rest-house '* of Amblangodde, seven miles farther on, 
we were gratified with a present of freshly gathered 
oranges and pines. As we approached the latter ^dllage, 
a rock-snake, python reticidcitus, the first we had seen, a 
beautiful specimen at least ten feet long, was disturbed 
by our approach as he basked on a sunny bank, and 
gracefully uncoiling his folds he passed across the fence 
into the neighbouring enclosure. 

* Tlie term coir is a con-uption of 
the Maldive term Icanbai; by ■which 
Aboufelda gays the natives of those 
isLands designated the cords made 
from the coco-nut, with which 
they sewed together the pLaiiks of 
their shipping. The best coir is made 
from the nnripe nuts. Cm/er is also 
ilio Tamil name for " rope " of any 

* The coco-nut when thus dried is 
called copera, from the Tamil term 

^ Spelled Hiccadowe. 

^ The choultries erected for the 
accommodation of travellers in Cey- 
lon are styled red-honu^s, and ailbrd 
all the essential requirements for re- 
freshment and sleep on a very mode- 
rate scale, and for a proportionately 
moderate cost. They are always 
under the control of the chief civil 
oflicer of the district, who sanctions 
the tai'iff of charu:cs. 


On liftinc^ the sand from the sea-shore, at the back 
of the rest-house, I was surprised to find amongst it 
numerous fragments of red coral, similar to that brought 
by the fishermen of Xaples from the straits of Messina. 
The Mahawanso alludes to the finding of such coral in 
the Gulf of Manaar m the second century ^, but it has 
never in modern times been sought for systematically. 
The ordinary white coral is found in such quantities on 
this part of the coast that an active trade exists in 
shipping it to Colombo and Galle, where, when calcined, 
it serves as the only species of lime used for builduigs of 
all kinds. 

Durmg the com^se of the memorable siege of 
Colombo, by Eaja Singha L, in 1587, the Portuguese, 
hoping to efiect a diversion, directed numerous expedi- 
tions against the unprotected villages on this part of 
the coast, destroyuig the gardens, firing the dwelhngs, 
and carrying away the peasantry to be sent into slavery 
in India. Faria y Souza relates a touchmg hicident 
which occurred on this occasion at Cosgodde, a hamlet 
a few miles south of Bentotte : — " Among the pri- 
soners taken at Cosgore^ was a bride ; and as the ships 
were ready to weigh anchor, there ran suddenly mto 
that in which she was, a young man, and embracing 
her, and she him, they said many words not under- 
stood. By the help of an interpreter, it was known 
that that man was the bridegroom, who being abroad 
when the bride was taken, he came to be a slave with 
her rather than five without her. And she said that 
since he, by that demonstration of love, had made her 
happier than all the Chingala women (for they were 
of those people), she esteemed her slavery rather a 
blessing than a misfortune. Souza de AiTonches, 

1 Mahawanso, cli. xxviii. p. 108. I prodigieuse de corail, et en plusieiirs 

The Portup-iiese were aware of the endi-oits, ce corail noir est plus es- 

existeiice of red coral on the coast : time que le rouge." — Ribeyho, lib. i. 

" Quand la mer est gi-osse, elle en I eh. xxii. p. 172. 

pousse siir les bords uue quantite I 

CiiAi>. II.] THE FISH-TAX. 129 

hearing hereof, resolved not to part them, and taking 
hold of both their hands, said, ' God forbid two such 
lovers, for my private interest, should be made unhappy. 
I freely give you your hberties.' Then he ordered them 
to be set ashore ; but they two, seeing his unexpected 
bounty, requited it by despising their hberties, and re- 
})hed, ' they only desired to be his, and die in his service.' 
They hved afterwards in Colombo, where the man, on 
sundry occasions, faithfully served the Portuguese." ^ 

The rest-house at Bentotte is one of the coolest and 
most agreeable in Ceylon. It is situated within a little 
park, deeply shaded by lofty tamarind-trees on the 
point of the beach where the river forms its junction 
with the sea. Its attractions were enhanced by a break- 
fast for whicli we were indebted to the hospitable at- 
tention of the civil officer, Mr. T. L. Gibson, whose table 
was covered with all the luxuries of the province ; fruits 
in great variety, ciniies, fish fresh from the sea, and 
the dehcacy for which Bentotte has a local renown, 
oysters taken off the rocks in the adjoining estuary^, 
Avhich, though small and somewhat bitter, were welcome 
from their cool associations. 

After leaving Bentotte, as the coast approaches Co- 
lombo the numbers of the fishing-boats perceptibly in- 
crease, and the kannve^, or fisher caste, form tlie most 
numerous section of the village population. Like other 
castes, they are divided into classes*, distinguished by 
the implements they employ, and the department of the 

' Asia Porftfff. Steven's trans. 
vol. iii. pt. i. cli. vi. p. 53. 

2 CosMAS Indico-pleustes, de- 
scribing a place on the west coast of 
Ceylon, which he calls Marallo, 
says it produced Kox>^iovc, which 
TnEVENOT translates " oysters ; " in 
which case INIarallo might be 
conjecturod to bo Bentotte. But 
the shell in question was most 
probably the chank (tKi-hlnclId rajxi), 
and Mai-allo, Mantotte, oil' which it is 


found in great numbers. Thevenot, 
vol. i. p. 21. 

^ The parawos, a section of the 
fisher caste, in the north and north- 
west of the island, are of Tamil de- 
scent, and came originally fi-om Tut- 

•» For an account of caste as it 
manifests itself in Ceylon, its intro- 
duction, and influence, see Yo\. I. 
rt. IT. eh. i. p. 425. 


craft to wliich they addict themselves. Thus there are 
the Madell Kardwe and the Baroodell, who cast nets ; 
the Dajidu, who carry the rod ; tlie Kisbai, who catcli 
turtle ; the Oroo^ who fish in boats ; and the Gode 
kawoolo, who fish from the rocks ; with others of infe- 
rior rank. The conventional distinction socially respected 
between these different classes is as marked and impe- 
rative as between different castes ; so much so tliat 
intermarriages are not permitted except between indi- 
viduals of the five first named divisions. Their means 
of h\ing, however, are not restricted to fishing alone ; 
many engage in agriculture and trade, and numbers 
are employed in everything connected with the building 
and management of boats, catamarans, and coasting 
vessels. To the fisher caste also belong the carpenters 
and cabinet-makers inhabiting the villages and towns 
on the southern coast, from Matura to Colombo, who 
produce tlie carved ebony furniture, so highly prized by 

So abundant was the capture of fish along the shores 
of Ceylon, that tlie Portuguese, when in possession of 
the island, converted it into a source of revenue by 
levying a tax of one-fourth on the quantity caught. This 
was collected by special officers who in return for the 
payment, undertook to protect the fishermen, to assist 
them in cases of emergency and in times of distress, 
to regulate all the affairs of the caste, and to fix the 
periods of fishing. The Dutcli perpetuated the fish- 
tax in the form in whicli it had been levied by the 
Portuguese, but the British on gaining possession of 
the island sought to commute it by substituting a hcence 
for the boat. The change, liowevcr, proved most dis- 
tasteful to the men for Avliose benefit it was designed ; 
they disliked the direct payment in money, and preferred 
their ancient system of payment in kind. They grew 
indolent and indifferent, and tlie market ceased to be 
supphed, owing to tlie reluctance of the fishermen to 
take out a licence for their boats. The prejudices of 

Chap. II.] 



the native in favour of liis ancestral custom having 
been found insurmountable, the experiment, attempted ^ 
in three instances, was in each unsuccessful ; and the 
fish-tax with all its inquisitorial and vexatious incidents, 
was restored amidst the acclamations of the fishermen. 

Notwithstanding these repeated disappointments, the 
tax was eventually reduced from a fourth to a siMh 
in 1834, from a sixth to a tenth in 1837, and finaUy 
abohshed in 1840. But it is a singular fact, illustrative 
of the unclianging liabits of an Eastern people, that 
every diminution of the duty, instead of leading to 
an increase of the trade, or adding to the Colonial Ex- 
chequer, had in each successive instance the dkectly 
contrary effect ; — the fishermen having no longer then' 
accustomed stimulus to exertion, the number of fishing- 
boats became annually reduced, the quantity of fish 
taken diminished, and the price rose to more than 
double what it had been dming the existence of the 
fish-tax.^ But though abandoned by the government, 
the tax was not allowed to be altogether abohshed ; 
those of the fishers who were Eoman Cathohcs ^ trans- 

' In 1812, 1820, and 1827. 

^ A note in elucidation of a result 
80 contraiy to the principles of poli- 
tical economy, will be found, Note A, 
in the appendix to this chapter. 

^ I have elsewhere alluded to the 
singular fact, that the fisher caste 
have been in every country in India 
the earliest converts to the Iioman 
Catholic Church ; — so much so as to 
render it worthy of inquiry whether 
it be only a coincidence or the result 
of some permanent and predisposing 
cause. The Para was of Cape Corao- 
rin were the earliest converts of St. 
Francis Xavier. It was by the 
^' fisher caste " of Manaar that he 
was invited to Ceylon in 1544 a.d. ; 
and notwithstanding the martyrdom 
inflicted on his converts by the Haja 
of Jalliia, and the continued persecu- 

tion of the Dutch, that district is to 
the present day one of the .strong- 
holds of the Eoman Catholic Cluirch 
in Ceylon, and the tishennen alojig 
the whole of the south-western 
coast as far south as liarberpi, .are 
in the proportion of one half Roman 
Catholics. Is it that there is an 
habitual tendency to veneration of 
the Supreme Being amongst those 
" who go down to the sea in ships, and 
see his power in the great deep ? " Is 
it that being a low caste themselves, 
the fishers of India and Ceylon 
acquire a higher status by espousing 
Christianity ? or hfive they some 
sympathy -with a religion whose first 
apostles and teacliers were the fisher- 
men of (ialilee ?" — Sir J. Emeksox 
Tknxknt's Ilistonj of CJiristiaiiifi/ in 
Ceylon, ch. i. p. 20. 


ferred the payment, not only unaltered in form, but 
in some instances increased in amount, to the Eoman 
Cathohc Church, and the privilege of its collection is 
to the present day farmed out by the clergy, and 
yearly put up to auction at the several churches along 
the coast. 

Approaching Caltura from Barber}^!, the country 
becomes less level, and from openings in the woods 
magnificent views are obtained of Adam's Peak\ and 
the hills which surround it, which here make their 
closest approach to the sea. The veneration with 
which this majestic mountain has been regarded for 
ages, took its rise in all probabihty amongst the abori- 
gines of Ceylon, whom the sublimities of nature, awak- 
ing the instinct of worship, impelled to do homage to 
the mountains and the sun. ^ Under the influence of 
such feelings the aspect of tliis solitary alp, towering 
above the loftiest ran2;es of the hills, and often shrouded 
in storms and thunder-clouds, was calculated to convert 
awe into adoration. 

In a later aoje the relimous interest became concen- 
trated on a single spot to commemorate some indivi- 
dual identified with the national faith, and thus the 
hollow in the lofty rock that crowns the summit, was 
said by the Brahmans to be the footstep of Siva ^, by the 

' This uaine was given by the 
Portiio-uese, who called the mountain 
the '■'■ Pico (h Adam.'''' 

^ Ptolemy places the Solis Portus 
on the east of Ceylon, and " Dagana, 
Liuije sacra," on the south ; and 
Pliny, lib. vi. ch. xxiv., says, the 
.imbassador to Claudius described 

the names of the Peak, he says, 
" this, without any change, is Ilam- 
al-eel, Ham the sun." But Ilani- 
al-eel is merely an European corrup- 
tion of the Singhalese name Saman- 
hela. Bryant seems to have found 
it in Valentyn, Oud en Niemv Ood- 
liulien, eh. xvi. p. 378, who quotes 

the island of the sun, " solis insula/' | from De Cottto, but the latter spells 

as lying to the Avest of it. Jacob 
Bryant, in his Kcw System of 3Iy- 
tlwloi/]/, Cfinib. 17()7, traces the vene- 
ration for Adam's Peak to the 

it Ilamanelle, which does not harmo- 
nise with ]?riant's conjecture. 

3 Hari)y"s BmWmm, cS'r., p. 212. 
]Marst)en, in his notes to ]\Iarco I'olo, 

worship of Amun (the sun), in i p. 671, quotes a passage fi-om a 
Egypt, and availing himself of the I Malay version of the Ramayana, in 
word "llamalel," said to be one of which the mountain of Serendib is 

CnAr. ir.] 



Buddliists of Buddha', by the Climese, of Foe^, by the 
Gnostics, of leu^, by the Mahometans, of Adam*, whilst 
the Portuguese authorities were divided between the con- 
flicting claims of St. Thomas^, and the Eunuch of Candace, 
Queen of Ethiopia. 

The pliases of this local superstition can be traced 
wit] I curious accuracy through its successive transmit- 
ters. In the Buddliist annals, the sojourn of Buddlia 
in Ceylon, and tlie impression of the " sri-pada" his 
sacred foot-mark left on departing, are recorded in that 
portion of the Alahawanso which was written by Malui- 
naama prior to B.C. 301^, and tlie story is repeated in 
the other sacred books of the Singhalese. Tlie Rdja- 

spoken of as containing tlie footstep 
of iidani ; but this is au interpola- 
tion of the Mahometan translator, 
and the lianuiyana makes no mention 
of Adam. The Hindus describe 
Adam's Peak by the term Sivan- 
garrhanam, " the ascent to heaven." 

^ AEaliaivanso, ch. i. p. 7. ch. xv. 
p. 92, ch. xxxii. p. 197. Rajaratna- 
cari, p. 9. See also the Sadharma- 

^ Fa IIian, Foe-Kove Kl, ch. 
xxxviii. p. .3.'i2. 

3 Pidis iSophifi, MS. IJrit. Mus. 
No. 5114, fol. 148. Trans. Schwartze, 
p. 221. 

Voycujcs Arahes, iS,-c., t. i. p. 5. 

^ " Hand absimile videtur, in eo 
vestio'io coli Eunachum Candaces 
yEthiopum Iveginte quem Dorotheas 
Tj'ri Episcopus in Taprobana Christi 
Evangelium promulgasse testatur." 
Maffei, Ilistor. Lulic, lib. iii. p. 01. 
But De Couto pleads more earnestly 
in favour of St Thomas, " nos parece 
que podera ser do bemaventurado 
Apostolo S. Thome," because it 
appears that in the time of the 
Portuguese, there was a stone in a 
quany at Colombo deeply impressed 
■with the VKtrk of ihe knees of this 
saint, and closely resembling a simi- 
lar indentation on a rock at Melia- 
pore, and believed to be equally the 
physical result of his devotions. The 

I'ock at INIeliapore is described by 
Andrea Corsali in his letter to 
Julian de Medicis, 5th January, 1515 : 
what stone at Colombo De Couto 
means, it is not easy to conjecture, as 
no such relic is to be found tliere at 
present ; but possibly he may allude 
to the alleged existence of a foot- 
step at Kalany, which however is 
supposed to be covered by the waters 
of the river. De Couto fortifies hi.s 
own theory by a2)peals to the many 
similar phenomena in Christendom, 
such as the hollows worn in the steps 
of the Santa Casa of Jerusalem on 
the spot covered by the church of the 
Ascension at the ]Mount of Olives, 
and on the rock on wliich the thrte 
disciples reclined in the garden of 
Gethsemane. De Couto, Asia, ^'-c, 
dec. V. lib. y'\. ch. ii. 

'^ In the work edited by Wagex- 
FELDT in 1887, professing to be the 
l'ha?niciau Ilistoiy of Sanclioniathon 
in the Greek version of I'hilo, allu- 
sion is made to the footstep of Dauth 
(Buddha) still extant in Ceylon, ''^c 

Kcil lYrof trrrii' Iv role opou-." — SaN- 

CHONiATnox, lib. vii. ch. 12, p. 1(52. 

Moses of Chorene disposes of the 
pretensions of all other claimants, 
by pronouncing it to be the footstep 
of tlie devil, " ibidem Safance lapsum 
narrant." — Hist. Armenicc et Epitome 
Geoijr., p. .807. 

K 3 



Tarangini states tliat in tlie first centiiiy of the 
Christian era, a king of Kashmir, about tlie year 24, 
resorted to Ceylon to adore the rehc on Adam's Peak.^ 
The Chinese traveller, Fa Hian, who visited Ceylon 
A. D. 413, says that two foot-marks of Foe were then 
venerated in the island, one on the sacred mountain, 
and the second towards the north of the island.^ On 
the continent of India both Fa Hian and Iliouen Thsang 
examined many other sri-padas ^ ; and Wang Ta-youen * 
adheres to the story of their Buddhist origin, although 
later Chinese writers, probably from intercourse with 
Mahometans, borrow the idea that it was the foot- 
print of Pwan-koo, " the first man," in their system of 
mytliology.^ In the twelftli century, the patriot King 
Prakrama Bahu I. " made a journey on foot to worship 
the shi'ine on Samanhela, and caused a temple to be 
erected on its summit,"^ and the mountain was visited 
by the King Kirti Nissanga, for the same devout pur- 
pose, in A. D. 1201^, and by Prakrama III. a.d. 12G7.^ 
Nor was the faith of the Singhalese in its sanctity shaken 
even by the temporary apostasy and persecution of the 
tyrant Eaja Singha I., who, at the close of the sixteenth 
centmy, abjured Buddhism, adopted the worship of 
Brahma, and installed some Aandee fakirs in the dese- 
crated shrine upon the Pcak.^ 

Strange to say, the origin of the Mahometan tradition 
as to its being the footstep of Adam, is to be traced to 

^ llaja-Tarmujini, book iii. si. 71 

'^ No second original ft)otstcp of 
Biuldha is now preserved in Ceylon, 
altliongli models of the gi-eat one are 
shown at the Aln AVihara, at Cotta, 
and at other temples on tlie island ; hut 
a sri-pada is said in the sacred book 
to be concealed by the waters of the 
Ivalany-ganga. Keinaud conjectures, 
from the great distance at whicli Fa 
llian places it to the north, tliat the 
second one alluded to by liim must 
have been situated in Madura. — 
Notes to Fa Hian, p. 342, 

' Foe-Koue Ki, ch. xxxviii. p. 
382. For accoimts of other sacred 
footsteps in Eehar, see Trans. Roy. 
Asiat. Soc, vol. i. p. 523 j and in 
Siam, Ibid., vol. iii. p. 57. 

^ Taou-e Che leo, or "Account of 
Island Foreigners," A.B. 1350. 

'•> Po-woiihi/aou-lan, or the "Philo- 
sophical Examiner," written during 
th(> Mvng Dvnasty, about the year 

1400, A.D. 

" llaJdvaJi, p. 254. 

^ JIahtiicanso, ch. Ixxix. 

^ Ibid., ch. Ixxxiii. 

' TuKNOUli's Ejntome, Sj-c, p. 51. 

Chap. II.] 



a Christian source. In framing their theological system, 
the Gnostics, who, even during the hfetime of tlie 
Apostles, corrupted Christianity by an admixture of the 
mysticism of Plato' ; assigned a position of singular pre- 
eminence to Adam, who, as "/(?«, the primal man^' next 
to the " Noos " and " Logos,'' was made to rank as the 
third emanation from the Deity. Amongst the details of 
their worsliip they cultivated the veneration for monu- 
mental rehcs ; and in the precious manuscript of tlie 
fourth century, which contains the Coptic version of the 
discourse on '■'■Faithful Wisdom"^ attributed by Ter- 
tulhan to the great gnostic heresiarch Valentinus, there 
occurs the earhest recorded mention of the sacred 
footprint of Adam. The Saviour is there represented 
as informing the Vu^gin Mary that he has appointed the 
spirit Kalapataraoth as guardian over the footstep 
(bkemmut) " impressed by the foot of leii, and placed 
him in charge of the books of leu, written by Enoch in 
paradise." ^ 

The Gnostics in then' subsequent dispersion under the 
persecution of the emperors, appear to have communi- 
cated to the Arabs this mystical veneration for Adam * 
as the great protoplast of the human race ; and in the 
rehgious code of Mahomet, Adam, as the pure creation 
of the Lord's breath, takes precedence as the Eicel' id- 
enbiya, " the greatest of all patriarchs and prophets," 

^ Gibbon, Decline and Fall, cli. 
XV. xxi. xlvii. 

2 'H Ui<TT,) ^of!ia. 3ISS. Brit. 
3Ius. No. 5114. A Latin translation 
by Schwartze, of this unique manu- 
script (probably one of the most 
ancient in existence) was published 
at Ijerlin, 1851, under the title of 
Pistis Sophia. The passage adverted 
to above is as follows : " Et posui 
KaXaTTarapavctiO apyovrrt saper skon- 
viut in quo est pes leu, et iste circum- 
dat nttoi'ag omneset I'niapixtvac. Ilium 
posui custodientem libros Jen/' &c., 
p. 221. In previous passages leu is 
described as " primus homo." 

3 Schwartze has left the Coptic 
word " skemmut " untranslated, out 
DuLVruiER, in the Journal Asiatiqiie 
for September, 184G, p. 170, rentiers 
it the " footstep," trace. 

* Adam was not the only scriptu- 
ral character whose footsteps were 
venerated by the Mahometans. Ibn 
Batuta, early in the 14th century, 
saw at Damascus " the Jlosque of 
the Foot, on which there is a stone, 
having upon it the print of the foot of 
Moses." — Ibn Batuta, ch. v. p. 30, 
Lee's Trand. 

K 4 



and the Kalife y-Ekher, " tlie first of God's vicegerents 
upon earth." ^ The Mahometans beheve that on his 
expulsion from Paradise, Adam passed many years in 
expiatory exile upon a mountain in India ^ before his 
re-imion witli Eve on Mount Arafath, which overhangs 
Mecca. As the Koran ^, in the passages in which is 
recorded the fall of Adam, makes no mention of the spot 
at Avhich he took up his abode on earth, it may be infer- 
red that in the age of Mahomet, his followers had not 
adopted Ceylon as the locality of the sacred footstep * ; 
but when the Arab seamen, returning from India, 
brought home accounts of the mysterious rehc on the 
summit of Al-rahouiv'^ as they termed Adam's Peak, it 
appears to have fixed in the minds of their country- 
men the precise locality of Adam's penitence. The most 
ancient Arabian records of travel that have come down 
to us mention the scene with solemnity^ ; but it was not 
tiU the tenth century that Ceylon became the estabhshed 
resort of Mahometan pilgrims, and Ibn Batuta, about the 
year 1340, relates that at Shiraz he visited the tomb of 
the Imam Abu-Abd-AUah, who first taught the way to 

' D'Onssoisr, vol. i. p. G8. 

"^ Fabricitts, Codex Psendqnyra- 
phm, vol. ii. p. 20. 

^ Sale's Al-koran, cli. ii. p. 5 j cli. 
vii. p. 117. 

* 1 et Mr. DtJNCAN, in a paper in 
the Asiatic Researches^ containing 
" Historical Re^narks on the Coast of 
Malabar,'''' mentions a native chro- 
nicle in which it is stated, that a 
Pandyan who was " vontcmporary with 
Mahonief" was converted to Ishnn by 
a party of dervishes on their pilgrim- 
age to Adam's Peak, vol. v. p. !). 

* Itohuna or IJohana was tlio an- 
cient division of the island in which 
Galle is situated, and from wliich 
Adam's Peak is seen. Hence the 
name Al liahoun, given by them to 
the mountain. 

'' S()LEYM\x and AnoTJ-ZEYD. See 
Keinaud, Voyayes Arahes et Pcrsaiis 
dans le ix. Siecle, vol. i. p. 5. Ta- 

BAEi, ''the Li\'y of Arabia," who 
lived in the ninth century, describes 
the descent of Adam on Serendib. See 
Sir W. Ouseley's Travels,vo\. i. p. 35. 
■^ " C'est lui qui enseigna le chemin 
de la montagne de Serendib dans I'lle 
de Ceylan." — Ibn Batuta, torn. ii. 
p. 79. GiLDEMEiSTER, in the com- 
mentaiy prefixed to his Seripfores 
Arahi, says Abu Abdallah ben kluilif, 
" doctor inter Cutios clarissinuis," 
died anno lie]. 3,31, 14th Sept., 
942 A.n. (p. o4). Ibn Batuta tells 
a marvellous tale of tliis Imam and a 
party of thirty fahirs, his first com- 
panions, wlio being in want of provi- 
sions in the forest at the foot of 
Adam's Peak, killed and ate a young 
elepliant, the Imam refusing to partake 
of tlie imclean food. In the niglit 
tlie herd surprised and destroyed 
the fakirs, but the leader, raising 
the Imam on his back bv means of his 

Chap. II.] 



At tlie present day, the Buddliists are the guardians 
of the sri-pada, but around the object of common ado- 
ration the devotees of all races meet, not in furious 
contention like the Latins and Greeks at the Holy 
Sepulchre in Jerusalem, but in pious appreciation of the 
one solitary object on which they can unite in peaceful 

The route taken to the mountain from the western 
side of the island, is generally from Colombo to Eatna- 
poora by land, and thence by jungle paths to the Peak ; 
and on the return, visitors usually descend the Kaluganga 
in boats to Caltura. The distance from the sea to the 
summit is about sixty-five miles, for two-thirds of which 
the road hes across the lowlands of the coast, traversinjx 
rice lands and coco-nut groves, and passing by numerous 
villages with their gardens of jak-trees, arec.^is, and plan- 
tains.^ After leaving Eatnapoora, the traveller proceeds 
by bridle-roads to climb the labp'inth of hills which 
cluster round the base of the sacred mountain. These 
form what is called the " wilderness of the Peak," and 
are covered with forests frequented by elephants, wild 
boars, and leopards. There the track winds under over- 
arching trees, whose shade excludes the sun ; across 
brawling rivers ; through ravines so deep, that nothing 
but the sky is seen above, and thence the road reascends 
to heights from wdiich views of surpassmg grandeur arc 
obtained over the hills and plains below. In these moist 
regions the tormenting land-leeches swarm on the damp 
grass, and almost defy every precaution, however vigilant, 
against insidious attacks.^ 

Ambelams and rest-houses for travellers have been 
piously erected at various })oints along the weary journey, 
where the green sward presents a suitable locality, and 

trunk can-ied him safely to a village 
on the hanks of a river called Khai- 
zoran, or the river of "hamhoos." — 
Tom. ii. p. 81. 

' Lassen says that the early Chris- 
tian travellers believed that Adam 

lived on the plantain, and clothed 
himself with its broad leaves. — Jii- 
dische Altcrthumskuude, vol. i. p. 2(51 . 
* For a detailed account of tho 
land-leech of Ceylon, see anfe, Vol. T. 
Pt. II. ch. vii. p. 311. 



temples in solitary spots invite the devotion of pilgrims. 
In one of these, at Palabaddiila, a model is preserved, 
exliibiting in brass a fac-simile of the golden cover 
which once protected the sacred footstep, and which 
Valentyx says was shown to some subjects of Holland 
wlio ascended the Peak in 1654 \ but it has long since 

The country rises so rapidly, that between Gillemale 
and the Peak, the entire ascent, upwards of 7000 feet, is 
made in less than nine miles. As the path ascends it 
skirts round scarped acclivities, so steep that a stone 
allowed to drop is heard bounding from rock to rock 
long after it has been hidden from sight by the trees that 
clothe the face of the precipice below.'-^ 

During the greater part of this upward journey, the 
summit of the mountain, the object of so much sohci- 
tude and toil, is seldom visible, being hidden by the 
overhanging chiTs ; but, at last, on reaching a httle 
patch of table-land at Diebetne, with its ruinous rest- 
house, the majestic cone is discerned towering in un- 
surpassed sublimity, but "vvith an intervening space of 
three miles of such acchvity that the Singhalese have 
conferred on it the appropriate name of aukanagaou^ 
hterally, " the sky league." Here descending into one 
of the many ravines, and crossing an enormous mass 
of rounded rock overflowed by perpetual streams, the 
ascent recommences by passages so steep as to be ac- 
cessible only by means of steps hewn in the smooth 
stone. On approaching the highest altitude, vegetation 
suddenly ceases ; and, at last, on reaching the base of 
the stupendous cone which forms the pinnacle of the 

^ Oud en Kieino Oost-Indien, cli. 
xvi. p. 370. 

- 1)e Couto, in confirmation of the 
pious conjecture that tlie footstep on 
the summit was that of St. Thomas, 
asserts that all the trees on the Peak, 
and for half a leafjue on all sides 

aroimd it, hotel their crou'ns in the di- 
rection of the relic ; a homage which 
could only be offered to the footstep 
of an Apostle : " todas por todas as 
partes fazem com suas copas hum 
inclinacao pera a sen-a," &c. — Asia, 
^•c, dec. V. lib. vi. ch. ii. 

Chap. II.] 



peak, furtlier progress is effected by tlie aid of chains 
securely riveted in the Hving rock.' As the pillar-hke 
crag rounds away at either side, the eye, if turned down- 
wards, peers into a chasm of unseen depth ; and so dizzy 
is the elevation, that the guides discourage a pause, 
lest a sudden gust of wind should sweep the adventurous 
chmber from his giddy footing, into the unfathomable 
gulfs below.^ An iron ladder, let into the face of a 
perpenchcular chff upwards of forty feet in height 
lands the pilgrim on the tiny terrace which forms the 
apex of the mountain ; and in the centre of this, on 
the crown of a mass of gneiss and hornblende, the sacred 
footstep is discovered under a pagoda-like canopy, sup- 
ported on slender columns, and open on all sides to the 

^ The iron chains at Adam's Pealc 
are relies of so gTeat antiquity, that 
in the legends of the Mahometans 
they are associated with the name of 
Alexander the Great. Ibn Batuta, 
in his account of his ascent of the 
Peak in the fom-teenth centmy, speaks 
of coming " to a place called the 
* Seven Caves,' and after this to the 
' Ridge of Alexander/ at which place 
is the entrance to the mountain. The 
mountain of Serendil) is one of the 
highest in the world ; we saw it from 
sea, at the distance of nine days. 
"When we ascended it, we saw the 
clouds passing between us and its 
foot. On it is a gi-eat number of 
trees, the leaves of which never fall. 
There are also flowers of various 
colours, with the red rose (lihoduden- 
dron ?). There are two roads on the 
mountain leading to the Footprint ; 
the one is known as 'the way of 
Baba,' the other as 'the way of Mama,' 
by which they mean Adam and E\e. 
At the foot of the mountain there is 
a minaret named after Alexander, 
and a fomitain of water. The ancients 
have cut something like steps, upon 
which one may ascend, and ha\e 
fixed in iron pins, to which cliains are 
appended, and upon these those who 
ascend take hold. Of these chains 

there are ten in number, the last of 
whicli is tenned ' the chaiu of wit- 
ness,' because when one has arrived 
at this and loolcs down, the frightful 
notion seizes him that he will fall.'" — • 
Lee's Translation, eh. xx. p. 18'.). 

AsiiEEF, a Persian writer of the 
fifteenth centmy, in a poem, quoted 
by Sir William Ouseley, in which he 
celebrates the exploits of Alexander 
the Great, ^^Zaff'cr Namah Sckanderi,^' 
introduces an episode, in whicli the 
conqueror and his companion Bolinus 
(by whom is supposed to be meant 
Apollonius of Tyan.a) devise means 
whereby they nuxy ascend the momi- 
tain of Serendib, " lixmg thereto 
chains with rings and rivets made of 
iron and brass, the remains of which 
exist even at this day, so that travel- 
lers, by their assistance, are enabled 
to climb the moimtain and obtain 
glory by finding the sepulchre of 
Adam, on whom be the blessing of 
God." — Travels, vol. i. p. 57. 

^ Incredible as it may seem, ele- 
phants make their way to this fright- 
ful elevation; ajid Major Skiimer 
assures me that on one occai^ion, in 
1840, the unmistakeable traces of one 
were found on tlie neck of the fearful 
rock which sustains the sacred Foot- 



The indentation in the rock is a natural hollow arti- 
ficially enlarged, exliibitiug the rude outline of a foot 

about five feet long, and of proportionate breadth ; but 
it is a test of credulity, too gross even for fanaticism 
to believe that the footstep is either human or divine. 
The worship addressed to it consists of offerings, cliietiy 
flowers of the rhododendron, presented with genuflex- 
ions, invocations, and shouts of Saadoo !^ The cere- 
mony concludes by the striking of an ancient bell ^, and 

^ Amen ! 

"^ Bells are mentioned in Ceylon in 
the second centmy B.C. (see ante, 
Vol. I. Pt. IV. cb. V. p. 458), so that 
it is unnecessary to conjecture that 
the original bell on Adam's Peak 
may haye l)een a gift from the deyout 
Buddhists of China. The custom of 
sticking it has prevailed from time 
immemorial, and was described by 
the Portuguese, " los passageros dan 
golpes." — EoDEiorES De Saa, Behel- 
lion de Ceylon, Lisbon, 1681, p. 17. 
For the subjoined plan of the sum- 
mit,madein 1841, 1 am indebted to Mr. 
Ferguson, of the Sunojor-General's 
Department, Colombo. He makes 
the area of the ten-ace G4 feet by 45. 

a. a. a. Level spare. 

b. The Pagoda. 

c. Belfry. 

d.d.ri. WaW h feet high. 

e. Shed fiT offerings. 

/. House of tlie prie t. 

g. g. The rock. 

i'. The Foot-print. 

o. Opening towards R;itn.npoora. 

n. Opening towards K;inily. 

>n. Opening Co the well. 

5 10 fo ^ 40 


a draught from the sacred spring, whicli runs witliin a few 
feet of the summit. 

The panorama from the summit of Adam's Peak is, 
pei'haps, the grandest in the world, as no other mountain, 
ahhough surpassing it in aUitude, presents the same unob- 
structed view over land and sea.^ Around it^to the north 
and east, the traveller looks down on the zone of lofty hills 
that encircle the Kandyan kingdom, whilst to the westward 
the eye is carried far over undulating plains, threaded by 
rivers hke cords of silver, till in the purple distance the 
glitter of the sunbeams on the sea marks the hue of the 
Indian Ocean. ^ 

The descent of the Kalu-ganga from Eatnapoora to 
Caltura is effected with great ease in the boats which 
bring down rice and areca nuts to the coast, and the 
scenery includes everything that is characteristic of the 
western lowlands ; temples, reached by ghauts, rising from 
the edge of the river ; and villages surrounded by groves 
of tamarind and jak-trees, talipats, coco-nuts, and kitools. 
Along the banks, the yellow stemmed bamboo waves its 
feathery leaves, and on approaching the sea the screw jiines 
and mangroves grow in dense clusters, and over-arch the 
margin of the stream. 

Caltura has always been regarded as one of the sani- 
taria of Ceylon, and as it faces the sea breeze from the 
south-west, the freshness of its position, combined with 
the beauty and grandeur of the surrounding scenery, ren- 
dered it the favourite resort of the Dutch, and afterwards 
of the British. A fort, built on a green eminence, com- 
manded the entrance of the river, but this is now dis- 
mantled, and forms a residence for one of the civil officers. 
Game is abundant ; and within a very fcAV miles tlie in- 

' " Adam's Peak is not liifrlier tlian 
the mountains wliirh travollers ascend 
in Switzerland ; Ijut nowlnu'e in that 

" Tlie first Englishman who as- 
cended Adam's Peak was Lient. Mal- 
cohn, of the 1st Cevlon Hejjinicnt, 

land cati the ei/o mmmrc ihc hfif/ht hi/ wlio readied tlie suniniit on the :27tli 

compai'isou with a surroioidiiH/ plain 
nearly on the level of the sea."- 
IIoFFMKiSTEK, Tmveh, i)-c., p. 181. 

April, 1827. — Asiatic Journ., \o\. i. 
p. 442. 


land lake of Bolgodde is the resort of prodigious numbers 
of wild fowl, wliicli breed in the luxuriant woods that 
encircle it. Caltm^a was one of the most promising lo- 
calities in which the cultivation of the sugar-cane was 
attempted, but hitherto the success of the experiment 
has not beeji such as to render it commercially remu- 

From the great extent of the coco-nut groves which 
surround it, Caltura is one of the principal places for the 
distillation of arrack. The trees, during the process of 
drawing the toddy, are frequented by the great bats 
(ptero]ms\ called by the Europeans, " fl}ing foxes." ^ 
They are attracted in numbers by the fermenting juice, 
and drink from the earthen chahces which are suspended 
to collect it. A friend of mine, who was at Caltura in 
1852, had his attention fi^equently drawn to the unusual 
noises occasioned in some of the topes by the revels of 
these creatures. It assumed at the beginning the appear- 
ance of an ordinary quarrel, but grew by degrees so 
" fast and fniious," as to become manifestly a drunken 
riot. The natives are well aware of this propensity of 
the bats, and attributed these demonstrations to their 

At Pantura, after being ferried across the arm of the 
lake, which here debouches on the sea, we found the 
carriages of the governor, which his excellency had been 
good enough to send to convey us to Colombo. The road 
lay along a broad embankment of sand, which runs for 
several miles between the sea and the lake of Pantura, 
one of those estuaries described by the Ai'ab navigators 
under the name of the " gohhs of Serendib," into which, 
when the south-west monsoon was roUing a surf upon the 
coast, their seamen were accust(~)med to withdraw tlieir 
frail vessels and spend " two montlis or more in the shade 
of forests and gardens, and in the enjoyment of a tem- 

' See Vol. I. rt. II. cli. i. p. 135. 

Chap. II.] 



perate coolness." ^ The Dutch took advantage of this 

cahn sheet of water to facihtate the 

system of canals by which they opened 

a continuous hne of navigation from 

CaltLu-a to Negombo. The works still 

exist, but their utility, however it may 

have been appreciated two centuries ago, 

when the country was as yet unopened 

by roads, is less demonstrable at the 

present day, when metalled highways 

have been constructed in their immediate 


At Morottu, a few miles from Pan- 
tura, the reijion of cultivated cinnamon 
begins ; and thence to Colombo, for a 
distance of eight or ten miles, the road 
passes between almost continuous gar- 
dens of this renowned lam'el, once 
guarded among the treasures of the 
Indies, but now comparatively neglected 
for the homely, but more profitable, coco- 
nut palm. The village of Morottu, wliich contains a popu- 
lation of 12,000, is chiefly inhabited by carpenters of the 
fisher caste, who devote themselves to the making of furni- 
ture from the jak-tree, the wood of which, thougli yellow 
when first cut, acquires in time the dark tint and^markings 
of mahogany. 

Another source of the prosperity of this thriving com- 
munity is the recent adoption of barrels instead of gunny- 
bags for the export of coffee. The making of these, as well 
as of casks for the shipment of coco-nut oil, has afforded a 
new source of industrial employment and wealth. One 
eminent native of the viUage, Jeronis de Soyza, has built, 



1 Ibn Wahab, in the Voijai/cs 
Arahcs et Persons, torn. i. p. 129; 
Albyrofxt, in REiNArn's Frni/mcns 
Arabes, cji'c., p. 119. For ca fiiil ac- 

count of these "gobbs," as thev exist 
in Ceylon, see the present work, \o\. 
I. Pt. I. ch. i. p. 44. 


adjoining to it, a dwelling-liouse, whicli may be re- 
garded as the model of a Singhalese mansion, with its 
gardens and oriental grounds. The entire district has 
benefited by the generosity of this pubhc-spirited man, and 
m recognition of his patriotism in opening roads and 
promoting tlie welfare of the inhabitants, he has recently 
liad conferred upon him the rank of Moodliar of the Go- 
vernor's Gate. 

On a rocky headland, which projects mto the sea a few 
miles from Morottu, are the remains of what was once 
the marine palace of the governors of Ceylon ; an edifice 
in every way worthy of the great man by whom it Avas 
erected — Sir Edward Barnes. But in one of those pa- 
roxysms of economy which are sometimes not less success- 
ful than the ambition of the Sultan in the fable, in provichng 
haunts for those bkds that philosophise amidst ruins, 
the edifice at Mount Lavinia had scarcely been com- 
pleted at an expense whicli has been estimated at 30,000/., 
when it was ordered to be dismantled, and the build- 
ings were disposed of for less than the cost of the window 

At Galkisse the traveller has the opportunity of seeing 
a temple which may serve as an example of modern. 
Buddhist buildings of this class in Ceylon. It is situ- 
ated on a gentle eminence close by the high road, sur- 
rounded by groves of u'on wood ^, murutas '^, champacs ^, 
and other trees, offerings of whose flowers form so re- 
markable a featm'e in the worship of the Singhalese. Tlie 
modest pansela in which the priests and their attendants 
reside"* is built in the hoUow, and the ascent to the 
Wihara above it is by steps excavated in the hill. Tlie 
latter is protected by a low Avail decorated Avith mytho- 
logical spnbols, and the ethfice itself is of the Inimblest 
dimensions, Avitli AAdiitened Avails and a projecting tiled 

* Messua nagaha. I * For an account of a Buddhist 

2 Lnfierstramia rcgina. \ temple and its buildintrs, see ante, 

3 MkhtUa chuntpaca. i Vol. I. Pt. m. cb. i\. p. 349. 


roof. Ill an inner apartment dimly lighted by lamps 
where the air is heavy ^vith the perfume of the yellow 
champac flowers, are tlie jnlamas or statues of the god. 
One huge recumbent figure, twenty feet in length, repre- 
sents Buddlia, in that state of bhssful repose which consti- 
tutes the elysium of his devotees ; a second shows him 
seated under the sacred bo-tree in Uruwela ; and a third 
erect, and with the right hand raised and the two fore- 
fingers extended (as is the custom of the popes in confer- 
ring their benediction), exliibits him in the act of exhort- 
ing his earhest disciples. One quadrangular apartment 
which surrounds the enclosed adytus is hghted by windows, 
so as to exhibit a series of paintings on the inner wall, 
illustrative of the narratives contained in the jatakas\ or 
legends of the successive births of Buddha ; the whole exe- 
cuted in the barbarous and conventional style which fi'om 
time immemorial has marked this pecuhar school of eccle- 
siastical art.^ 

As usual, within the outer enclosure there is a small 
BQndu dewale (which in this instance is dedicated to the 
worship of the Kattragam dexiyo), and near to it grows 
one of the sacred bo-trees, that, hke every other in Ceylon, 
is said to have been raised from a seed of the patriarchal 
tree planted by Mahindo, at Anarajapoora, more than two 
thousand years ago.^ The whole estabhshment is on the 
most unpretending scale* ; for nine months of the year the 
priests visit the houses of the villagers in search of alms, 
and during the other three, when the violence of the rains 
prevents their perambulations, theu' food is brought to 
them m the pansela; or else they reside with some of 

^ For an accoimt of the Pansiya- 
pauas-jataka-pota, ^vitll the 550 births 
of Buddha, see ante, Vol. I. Pt. iv. 
ch. X. p. 514. 

^ On the subject of the early paint- 
ings of the Singhalese temples, see 
ante, Vol. I. Pt. iv. ch. vii. p. 472. 

* B.C. 289. For an account of its 


planting, see Vol. I. Pt. rn. ch. iii, 
p. .341 ; and for a description of the 
tree, as it exists at the present day, 
Vol. II. Pt. X. ch. ii. 

^ In a Buddhist temple, as in the 
original temple of the Jews, ''all the 
vessels thereof are of brass." — Exod. 
xxvii. 19. 



their wealthier parishioners, who pro\dde them once a 
year with a set of yellow robes. -^ 

Towards sunset we had evidences of our approach to 
the capital by the increased number of vehicles on the 
road : bidlock bandies covered with cajans met us ; 
coohes, heavily laden with burdens of fish fresh from 
the sea, hurried towards the great town, native gentle- 
men, di'iving fast-trotting oxen in little hackery cars, 
hastened home from it^ ; and as we passed through 
the long hne of villas, each in its compound of ilowers, 
which forms the beautifiil subm-b of Colpetty, the Eu- 
ropean popidation of the Fort were pouring forth to enjoy 
theh' evening promenade, on horseback and in carriages, 
each horse attended by a Malabar groom in picturesque 
costume. Our way lay across the Galle-face^, an open 
plain to the south of the fortifications, which at this hoiu' 
is the favoimte lounge of the inhabitants ; the band of the 
regiments of the garrison adding to its afternoon attrac- 
tions. When we crossed it the sward was already green 
after the shower of the north-west monsoon, and the 
tendrils of the goat's-foot convolvulus, with which the 
surface is closely matted, were beginning to be covered 
with buds. A month afterwards we were amazed to see 
it crimsoned by myriads of the full-blown flowers, which 
had expanded in the interim and covered it as closely as 
if it had been powdered with carmine. It reahsed the 
beauty of the scene which Darwin describes on the 
La Plata, where the tracts around Maldonado are so 
thickly overrun by verbena melindres as to appear a gaudy 

Crossing the drawbridge and entering the Fort of Co- 

^ Tlie ceremonies connected witli 
the robes of the priesthood are de- 
scribed, Vol. I. Pt. IV. ch. iv. p. 452. 

^ The hackery is a lig-ht convey- 
ance, with or without sprinj^s. in which 
a well -trained bidlock will draw two 

persons at tlie rate of eight miles an 

^ Cialle-faceor Galle-faati (Dnich), 
the fuasy or front, of the fortification 
facing the direction of Galle. 

* Naturalist's Toi/ar/e, 4'C-) ch. iii. 



lombo by the old Dutch gate beneath the Midclelburg 
bastion, we drove along the mam street, shaded by rows 
of luximant liibiscus ; and were received by Sir Cohn Camp- 
bell imder the hospitable portico of the old Government 





pMWLU„^r,,_., , 






h 2 




In a report -wliich I framed in 1846, on the finances and revenue 
of Ceylon, I adverted to the characteristic incident alluded to 
at p. 131, in connection with the fish-tax, to illustrate the 
caution which it behoves us to exercise in relying on European 
tlieories when dealing with the habits and customs of an Oi'iental 
people, whose energies seldom respond to encouragement, and 
whose apathy prevents the realisation of our most familiar 
maxims of political economy. In the instance above alluded to, 
the abolition of the fish-tax had failed to supply a motive for 
increased activity on the part of the fishermen ; it secured no 
advantage to the public, whose supply of fish diminished, v:hilst 
the Bost ivas more than doubled; and it failed to benefit the 
revenue, since the receipts from the tax fell off nearly one-third. 
In proof of this I showed, that on an average of four years from 

1830 to 1833, whilst the tax was one-fourth per cent., the 
average amount of duty was 7389/. From 1834 to 1837, when 
it was reduced to one-sixth, the average was 6694/., and from 

1831 to 1840, whilst the duty was but a tenth, the receipts fell 
off to 4821/. 

My report, when laid before Parliament in 1847, was accom- 
panied by the comment of a Committee, to whom it had been 
referred by Earl Grey, consisting of Sir Benjamin Hawes, the 
Eight Honourable H. Tufnell, Mr. J. Shaw Lefevre, and Mr. 
Bird. On this passage they remarked that my inference was 
" an obvious mistake," the amounts of revenue as given above, 
" pro\dng not that there is an3'thing peculiar in the Ceylon 
fishermen ; but that their trade follows the usual course of all 
other trades, since with a duty of 25 per cent., the value of the 
fish taken was - _ > _ _ £29,556 

With a duty of 16 1 per cent. do. - - - 40,164 

do. 10 "do. _ . - . 48,210 

The "obvious error" is, however, in the criticism, and not in 
my statement, which is strictly correct. Had " the usual course 
of all other trades" followed the several reductions of the fish -tax, 
the result would have been an increased demand, creating an in- 

Chap. II.] THE FISH-TAX. 149 

creased supply ; the price would have fallen to the consumer at 
least in proportion to the fall of the duty ; and the revenue 
would have benefited by the greater quantity brought to sale. But 
the Committee overlooked the several passages in which I had 
stated that the very reverse had occurred in each particular, and 
that the price of the article had doubled after the i-eduction of 
the tax. 

In 1833, under the old system, the duty of 25 per cent, 
yielded an income of 7389/. on a gross value of 29,556/., which 
at one penny -per pound showed a quantity equal to 7,093,440 
pounds weight of fish as the ordinary supjjly under the fish-tax. 
But in 1837, when the duty was reduced to I6f per cent., the 
price rose 50 per cent., so that the duty then received f6694/.) 
represented a gross value of 40,164/., which at three halfpence 
per pound, theii the price in the market, shows that the quantity 
caught had fallen to 6,426,240 pounds. Again, in the last 
stage, in which the tax was reduced to 10 per cent, in 1840, the 
price had risen to two pence and upwards, and the duty there- 
fore (4821/.) represents, on a gross value of 48,210/., only 
5,785,200 pounds of fish taken. In other words, had not the 
price risen after the fii'st reduction of the tax in 1833, the sum 
expended by the public in 1837 ought to have given 9,639,360 
pounds instead of 6,426,240 pounds, and in 1840, 11,570,400 
pounds instead of 5,785,200 pounds. {See Parliamentary 
Papers 1848, Report on the Finance and Commerce of Cei/lon, 
p. 15,51.) 

In the early part of the last century, a tax on the fishermen at 
Lisbon produced a considerable annual sum to the Portuguese 
ti'easury ; and it is a cm-ious coincidence that the effect of its 
abolition was in every respect similar to that produced by the 
repeal of the fish-tax in Ceylon. The Eegency issued a decree 
in November, 1830, abolishing all dues on fishing. It came into 
operation in 1833, and continued in force for ten years. By this 
measure a tax equivalent to 30 per cent, was taken off fish, but so 
far from increasing, the supply diminished, and the price rose in 
consequence. A duty of 6 per cent, was restored in 1843, together 
with the former regulations established for protecting and aiding 
the fishermen ; and I ascertained at Lisbon, that since the last 
change the improvement in the market has been striking, the 
supply has become regular and abundant, and the price has fallen 
in consequence. 

L 3 



[Part VII. 




Colombo, as a to^vii, presents little to attract a stranger. 
It possesses neitlier the romance of antiquity nor the in- 
terest of novelty. The rocky headland near Avhich it 
stands, was the " Cape of Jupiter," the " Jovis Ex- 
tremum" of Ptolemy \ remarkable only as one of the 
great landmarks by whicli the early navigators in their 
coasting voyages dii^ected their course towards the " Pro- 
montory of Birds, "^ which marked the entrance to the 
harbour of Galle. 

The modern fortifications are Dutch ; said to have 
been constructed after a plan of Cohorn, and so designed 
as to turn to the utmost advantao;e the natural strenccth 
of the position, lying as it does between the lake at one 
side, and the rocks, which form the harbour, on the 
other. The works include " foiu- bastions on the land 
side, with counter-scarps and ravehns, and seven bat- 
teries towards the sea, adapted to the rock line of the 
coast." ^ The modern buildings within the Fort are a 
clumsy apphcation of European architecture to tropical 
requirements ; outside the walls are the modest dwell- 
ings of the Dutch and Portuguese Eur-Asians, and tlie 
houses of the Singhalese, Tamils, Moors, and Malays, con- 
structed of white-washed mud, and either covered witli 
red tiles or tliatched with tlie plaited fronds of the coco- 
nut palm. 

The only ancient quarter is the pettah or "Black 
town," inhabited by the native races, and extending 

* Aioc uKpov. The coincidence of 
Colombo with the Jovis Extremum 
of Ptolemy has been already com- 
mented on^see Vol. I. Ft. v. ch. i. p.53o. 

^ "Opvuoi' uKpov, '^ Avium Promon- 
torium," Ptol. 

^ From the App. to Pridham's 
Ceyhn, p. 873. 

I- 4 

152 COLOMBO. [Part VII. 

to the banks of tlie Kalany-ganga. Hence from its 
contiguity to the river, the city obtained the early name 
of Kalan-totta, the " Kalany Ferry," by which it is men- 
tioned in the Rajavali. To the Singhalese, always 
uninterested in sliipping, the roadstead, and the head- 
land which protects it, were matters of indifference ; 
but in the twelfth and tliii-teenth centuries, the Moors 
appear to have taken possession of the beach and 
harbom\ and converted the name to Kalambu, under 
w^hich it is described by Ibn Battta about the year 
A.D. 1340, "as the finest and largest city in Serendib."^ 
They built the tomb of one of their Santons on the 
rocks at the Galle-baak^, and its desecration by the 
Portuguese when they erected then- fortified factory 
near the spot in 1517^, served to exasperate the 
akeady jealous Mahometans. The designation of the 
city had then been further changed to Kolamba or 
Cohwihu, and the Portuguese, probably pleased to dis- 
cover that the name of their new settlement so nearly 
approached that of Columbus^, rendered the resem- 
blance still more close by writing it Colombo, whence is 
derived the name borne by the fortress at the present 

The houses in the Pettah were formerly clustered 
close under the fortifications ; but on the outbreak of 
hostihties vv^th the Enoiisli in 1795, the last Dutch 

' " Urbs quain Ibn Batuta maximam invenit Kalambu iiomen liuc- 
iisque sel•^•avit." — GiLDEitEiSTEE, 
Script. Arab. p. 54. 

^ Galle-baak or Galle-6rtrtA-p« 
(Dutch), the "beacon"' on the "rocks" 
close by the present lig'ht-hoiise. 

Query. Did the stone with the 

^ This explanation is more simple 
than that of Valentj-n and the Dutch 
waiters, who imagined that Colombo 
was dem"ed from Col-amba, the leaf 
of the mango-tree, " (lennamd Col 
Amhu oft Mangaas-blad afnamen." 
— Oud en Xieuw Oost-Iiidien, ch. xv. 
p. 275. But this fanciful derivation 

Cufic inscri})±ion of the tenth centuiy, ; is imsoimd, as the place bears no re- 
whicli in ls27 fonned a door-step in semblance to a leaf, and tlie mango 
the Pettah at Colombo, form any por- I tree wa.s then unknown in the locality, 
tion of the Moorisli buildings at the Perhaps a better derivation tlian 
Galle-baak ? See IVtoiii. Roy. A.nat. i either is that in the tSichith Saiu/ara, 
Sac., vol. i. p. 545. (tILDEMETSTEK, where one of the meanings of the 
Script. Arab., p. 50. word Kolamba is said to be a " liar- 

■* Knox, part i. p. P>. I bonr." — De Alwis, p. 4. 

Chap. III.] DWELLINGS. 153 

governor caused a space to be cleared between the 
cemetery and the walls, and this wise precaution was 
afterwards maintained by the British commanders.^ 

With the exception of the mihtaiy officers, wdiose duties 
require their presence within the fort, the English in ge- 
neral have fixed their residences either in the emdi-ons, in 
villas overlooking the bay ; in the cinnamon gardens ; or 
under the cool shade of the coco-nut groves by the shore 
in the hamlet of Colpetty. Tlie site of this beautifid 
suburb is on the sandy embankment which forms the 
natural bund of the lake of Colombo, one of the " gobbs 
of Serendib," formed by an ancient arm of the Kalany- 
ganga, which at one period must have had its opening 
to the sea, at the point now occupied by the Galle- 
face.^ Outside the waUs, every building of import- 
ance is modern, as the Dutch, o^ving to the precarious 
nature of their relations mth the people of Kandy, were 
carefid not to erect their dwelhngs beyond the guns of 
the fortress. In the suburbs the better houses seldom 
rise to a second story, but the area wdiicli each of them 
covers is large. Their broad verandahs are supported 
on columns ; their apartments are lofty, and cooled by 
Indian punkahs ; then' floors are tiled, and the doors and 
window^s formed of Venetian jalousies^, opening to the 
ground for the sake of freshness and au\ The only 
inconvenience arising from the latter arrangement is 
the rather too free entrance afforded to reptiles, snakes*, 

^ ToMBE, Voyage aux Indes, t. ii. 
p. 184. 

" The Galle-face has still such at- 
tractions for the marine ciiistacea 
that it is infested by myriads of the 
little crabs {ocijpodc), which employ 
themselves in hollowing out deep 
burrows seriously injurious to the 
safety of the horsemen who make it 
their promenade. From these holes the 
crabs emerge each with an armful of 
sand, scatter it in a circle by a jerk, 
look round on all sides, and InuTy 
down for another burthen. 

^ On the arrival of flie English, in 

1796, they foimd the Dutch houses 
at Colombo suilocatingly hot, in con- 
sequence of the windows being all 
closed with (/lass. Cokdixer, p. 32. 
The substitution of lattice-work was 
a recent improvement. 

* Tlie Ceylon boa (python reticu- 
J(diis) is fomid of great size in the 
cinnamon gardens. A specimen was 
brought to me nineteen feet long, 
which some coolies had secured by 
fastening it to a bamboo, in which 
condition they carried it into the 
Fort. It had swallowed one of the 
small meminna deer. 

154 COLOMBO. [Part VII. 

lizards and scorpions, which occasionally resort to the 
rooms, and take up their abode in the ceilings ; — 
wliilst the monkeys, in their mischievous cmiosity, lift 
the tiles to discover what they conceal.^ Spiders of 
enormous size haunt the vdne cellars and other dark- 
ened store-rooms, and ants in myriads beset every crevice 
and corner in the exercise of then* useful vocation as 
domestic scavengers. 

But the chief inconvenience of a mansion in Ceylon, 
both on the coast and in tlie mountains, is the preva- 
lence of damp, and the difficulty of protecting articles 
hable to uijury from tliis source. Books, papers, and 
manuscripts rapidly decay ; especially dming the south- 
west monsoon, when the atmosphere is laden vidth mois- 
ture. Unless great precautions are taken, the binding 
fades and yields, the leaves grow mouldy and stained, 
and letter-paper, in an incredibly short time, becomes 
so spotted and spongy as to be unfit for use. After 
a very few seasons of neglect, a book falls to pieces, and 
its decomposition attracts hordes of minute insects, that 
swarm to assist in the work of destruction. The con- 
cealment of these tiny creatm-es during daylight ren- 
ders it difficult to watch their proceedings, or to 
discriminate the precise species most actively engaged; 
but there is every reason to beheve that the larvae 
of the death-watch and numerous acari are amongst 
those most active. As nature seldom peoples a region 
supphed with abundance of suitable food, mthout, at 
the same time, taking measures of precaution against 
the disproportionate increase of indi\'iduals ; so have 
these vegetable depredators been provided with foes 
who pursue and feed greedily upon them. These ai'e 
of widely difierent genera ; but mstead of tlieir ser- 
vices being gratefully recognised, they are popularly 
branded as accomphces in the work of destruction. One 

^ A malicious device of the natives, i searcli for which the monkeys will 
in order to annoy a neighbour, is to so displace the tiles as to let in the 
scatter rice over hia roof, in the j rain. 

Chap. III.] 



of these ill-used creatures is a tiny, tail-less scorpion 
(chelifer), and another is the pretty little silvery creature 
(lepisma), called by Europeans the " fish insect." ^ 

The latter, wliich is a famihar genus, comprises several 
species, of which only two have as yet been described ^ ; 
one, of large size, is most graceful in its movements, and 
singularly beautiful in appearance, o"\ving to the white- 
ness of the pearly scales from which its name is derived. 
These, contrasted with the dark hue of the other parts, 
and its tri-partite tail, attract the eye as the insect darts 
rapidly along. Like the chehfer, it shuns the hght, hiding 
in chinks till sunset, but is actively engaged throughout 
the night feasting on the acari and soft-bodied insects 
which assail books and papers. 

The close proximity of the lake to Colombo is produc- 
tive of other inconveniences ; the nightly serenade of 
frogs (some of which are of gigantic dimensions), the 
tormenting profusion of mosquitoes, and the incredible 
swarms of more ignoble flies, cause a nuisance sometimes 
intolerable. So multitudinous are these insects at certain 
seasons, that in some of the mansions on Slave Island and 
its vicinity, the flies invade the apartments in such num- 
bers as hterally to extinguisli the hghts. On the occasion 
of dinner parties in these situations it is the custom to 
hght fires on the lawn to draw away the flies from the 

^ Of the first of these, three species 
have been noticed in Ceylon, all with 
the common char.icteristics of Ijeing 
nocturnal, very active, veiy minute, 
of a pale chesnut colom*, and each 
armed with a crab-like claw. They 

Chelifer Lihrortim, Temp. 
„ OhloH(/ns, Temp. 
„ AcaroUles, Hermann. 

Dr. Templeton appears to have 
been puzzled to account for the ap- 
pearance of the latter species in Cey- 
lon so far from its native country, 
but it has most certainlj' been intro- 
duced from Europe, in Dutch or Por- 
tuguese books. 

2 Lepisma nivco-fusciata, Temple- 

ton, and L. niger, Temp. It was 
called " Lepisma" by Fabricius, from 
its fish-like scales. It has six legs, 
filiform anteimoe, and tlic abdomen 
terminated by three elongated sette, 
two of wliich are placed nearly at 
right angles to the central one. 
LiNXiEUS states that the European 
species, with which book collectors 
are familiar, was first brought in 
sugar ships from America. Hence, 
possibly, these are more common in 
seaport towns in the South of En- 
gland and elsewhere, and it is almost 
certain that, like the chelifer, one of 
the species foimd on book-shelves in 
Ceylon has been brought thither from 



[Part VII. 

reception rooms, which are kept darkened and mth 
closed -windows till the arrival of the guests. 

Great pams have been taken ^vith the gardens of these 
bungalows : the rarest and most beautiful flowering plants 
of the island have been planted around them, along with 
fruit trees of every variety ; and exotics from the Eastern 
Archipelago, Austraha, and India have been introduced 
in such numbers as to justify the exclamation of Prince 
Soltykoff that Colombo was " un jardin botanique siu* mie 
echelle gigantesque." ^ 

Of the various races which inhabit Colombo, the 
bidk of the Singhalese are handicraftsmen^ and ser- 
vants ; the Parsees are exclusively merchants ; the Moors 
retail dealers ; the Malays soldiers and valets ; the Ta- 
mils labourers and coohes ; and the Caffres excavators 
and pioneers. The majority of the Portuguese de- 
scendants consist of impoverished artisans and domes- 
tics, and some few of them are successfully engaged in 
trades and professions. But the Dutch Burghers, and 
the offspring of the Enghsh by intermarriages with 
the natives, form essentially the middle class in all the 
towns in Ceylon. They have risen to eminence at the 
Bar, and occupied the highest positions on the Bench. 
They are largely engaged in mercantile pm^suits, and 
as -writers and clerks they fill places of trust in every 
administrative estabhshment fi^om the department of the 
Colonial Secretary to the humblest pohce court. It is 
not possible to speak too highly of the services of this 
meritorious bodj^ of men, by whom the whole machinery 
of government is put into action under the orders of the 
civil officers. They may faufy be described in the lan- 

^ Prince Solttkoff, Voyage dims 
rinde, p. 30. 

* It is a curious trait, not unfi-e- 
quent amongst the Singhalese of a 
rank above artisans, to encourage the 
growth of a nail on one of their 
fingers ; which denotes by its extra- 

ordinaiy length that the individual is 
not addicted to labour. A similar 
practice is observable amongst certain 
classes in China and tlie Pliilippines. 
In Borneo the nail selected is that of 
the right thumb. 

Chap. III.j 



guage of Sir Eobert Peel as the " brazen wheels of the 
executive which keep the golden hands in motion." 

Amongst the pm^e Singhalese, the ascendency of caste 
still exercises a baneful influence over the intellectual 
as well as the material prosperity of the nation. Its 
origin has been elsewhere alluded to ^ as directly trace- 
able to the Brahmanical conquerors of Ceylon under 
Wijayo, by whom the system was introduced from the 
continent of India. It was unknown amongst the abori- 
gines of the island, and although condemned by the 
precepts of Buddlia-, and the example of his ^niesthood, 
so attractive were the distinctions of civil rank which it 
conferred, that in later times, in spite of rehgious in- 
junction, and in defiance of the efforts of every Euro- 
pean government, Portuguese, Dutch, and British, to 
discountenance and extinguish it, no appreciable pro- 
gress has yet been made towards its modification or 

A reluctant conformity is exhibited on the part of 
high-caste persons placed ofiicially under the orders of 
low-caste headmen ; but tlieu^ obedience is constrained, 
with no efibrt to conceal impatience ; and in the relations 
of private life the impassable barrier is still maintained. 
There is no familiar intercourse between individuals 
of incongruous castes, no friendly domestic meetings, 
and no association even in the formal festivities of wed- 

^ See Part iv. cli. i. p. 425. 

^ A paper by TuKNOTJH in the Asiat. 
Soc. Journ. Bene/., vol. ii. p. 093, con- 
tains a ti'anslation of the discourse 
in which Biitldha exposes and de- 
nounces the folly and evils of caste. 
It is taken from the Ayc/dnna Suttan 
in the liuihunikmja section of the 
PittdJias ; and enforces the eligibility 
of all castes, however low, to the 
office of the priesthood, which com- 
mands the homage of the highest. 
The same doctrine is repeated in the 
Madhura Suttan ; and the Waaala 
Suttan contains the stanza, beginning 

with " Majachcha wasalo hoti/' &c., 
which runs thus, 

" A man does noc become low caste by birth. 
Nor by birth does one become high caste ; 
High caste is tlie result of high actions — 
And by actions does a man degrade himself to 
caste that is low."' 

Still Buddhism, even when in the 
zenith of its power, had not the in- 
fluence, or perhaps the inclination, 
to extinguish these distinctions ; and 
caste continued to be tolerated under 
the Singhalese kings as a social insti- 
tution. In other Buddhist countries 
Bunnah, Siam, and Thibet, caste 
does not exist in any similar form. 

158 COLOMBO. [Part VII. 

dings, or tlie solemnities that do honour to the dead. 
The social segregation is carried to such an extreme, 
that members of the several classes into wliich each 
caste is subdivided, ^vith a distinctive rank for each, 
refuse to associate together ; and a Yellale of the first 
class would shrink from the communication with a Vellale 
of a lower order, with as much sensitiveness as he would 
avoid contact Avith a washer or a Clialia. 

Doubtless in time education and civihsation will 
manifest then' power ; but in opposition to their pro- 
gress no obstacle has yet been interposed so powerful 
as caste. It interferes with the disciphne of schools, it 
mars the harmonising efforts of Christianity, it dis- 
countenances social improvement, and deprives the 
civil authority of its most efficient agents, who, how- 
ever endowed with the essentials of useftihiess, would 
be paralysed in their functions by the disqualification 
of conventional rank. The only great measure Hkely to 
be productive of effect in equahsing the pretensions of 
caste is the estabhshment of trial by jury, on which all 
are entitled to serve on a footing of perfect equahty. 
But the inference from past experiments of the govern- 
ment, suggests the propriety of abstaining from direct 
interference, and leaving the abatement of the evil to the 
operation of time and the gTadual growth of intelh- 

Of a thing so fluctuating as Em*opean society in 
a colony, it almost partakes of injustice to place on re- 
cord any expression of opinion, the result of hmited 
experience. It is unhappily the tendency of smaU 
sections of society to decompose, when separated from 
the great vital mass, as pools stagnate and putrify when 
cut off from the in\dgorating flow of the sea. But the 
process is variable, both in its agents and its manifesta- 
tions. What seems repulsive in colonial society to-day, 
may become attractive to-morrow, by a few timely depar- 
tures ; and on the other hand, experience has mihappily 
demonstrated that one ungenial arrival may be sufficient 

Chap. III.] 



to convert peace into pandemonium.^ Nothing can be 
more charming than the accounts which have reached 
us of the social harmony of the fn-st British community, 
after the capture of the island ^ ; but at that period, the 
purity of Enghsh feehng was still untainted, and the 
unity of Christian fellowship had not yet been rent in 
sunder by ecclesiastical jarring. It is to be hoped that 
some future narrator will find a moment more propi- 
tious than I did to dehneate the aspect of society at 

The high cost of li\dng has been a subject of com- 
plaint ever since our occupation of the island, and the 
grievance is as severely felt at the present day as when 
Percival lamented it in 1803. The scarcity of pasture, 
and the injiury to which cattle are exposed from leeches, 
render meat scarce and dear ; milk is difficult to pro- 
cure^, fresh butter is almost unknown, and poultry ex- 

^ "Frequent scarifications render 
most colonial skins so impenetrably 
thick, that the utmost vituperation 
makes hardly any impression. Re- 
course therefore is had to something 
shai-per than Billingsg-ate. It is a 
general custom in colonies, when 
your antagonist ^vithstands abuse, to 
hurt him seriously if you can, and 
even to do him a mortal injury ; either 
in order to carry your point or to 
pimish him for having carried his. 
In every walk of colonial life, eveiy 
body strikes at his opponent's heart. 
If a governor or high officer refuses 
to comply with, the wish of some 
leading parties, they instantly try to 
ruin him by getting him recalled with 
disgrace. If two officials disagree, 
one of them is veiy likely to be ti-ipped 
up and desti'oyed by the other. If an 
official or a colonist otieuds the official 
body, the latter hunt him into jail or 
out of the colony. If two settlers 
disagi'ee about a road or a water- 
course, they will attack each other's 
credit at the bank, rake up ugly old 
stories, get two newspapers to be the 
instruments of their bitter animosity, 
and perhaps ruin each other in despe- 

rate litigation. Disagreement and 
rivaliy are more tiger-like in a colony 
than disagTeement and rivaliy at 
home." — Wakefield on Colonization. 
Letter xxix., p. 188. 

^ Coedinek's Ceylon, Sec, p. 76. 

^ Linnaeus has described the pecu- 
liar eflects produced on the milk of 
the reindeer and the cow by the leaves 
of the Piiifiuicida vnh/aris, a small 
plant common in marshes in Britain, 
In many parts of the coast of Ceylon 
there is a thorny fruited plant, with 
dark orange-coloured roots and prim- 
rose-like flowers, which has equally 
wonderful effects on milk and on 
watei-, though of a different nature. 
It is known to the Singhalese as the 
bakatoo (Pedalium miire.r), and if 
bits of the stem, leaves, and roots be 
mixed for a few seconds in milk or 
water, the liquid turns thick and 
mucilaginous, so much so, thfit water 
in this state can be raised by the 
hand se^^eral feet out of a basin 
and ^^'ill fall back witliout noise ; and 
this without imparting any colour, 
taste, or snu'll to the fluid, which 
returns to its natural state in about ten 
or fifteen minutes afterwards. The 



[Part VII. 

pensive.^ The wages of servants are increased, owing 
to the necessity of importing rice fi'om the coast of 
India, and the cost of keeping horses at Colombo (as- 
cribable to the same cause) is nearly double the outlay 
required at Madi^as. Fruit alone is abundant ; a pine- 
apple of two or three pounds' weight costs but a penny ; 
and freshly-gathered oranges sell at a similarly cheap 
rate. Excellent stores within the Fort supply articles 
imported from Europe ; and those who bring outfits from 
England, generally find they could have obtained the 
same articles on the spot, if not more economically, at 
least more judiciously chosen, as regards adaptation to 
the chmate. Besides, the Moors in the Pettah have shops 
wliich are certainly amongst the "wonders of Serendib," 
from the habits of their owners and the multiform variety 
of their contents. Here everything is procurable that 
industry can collect from the looms of Asia and the ma- 
nufactories of Em'ope ; but the stocks have accumulated 
so long, that an antiquary estimating the date by the 
fashion, might fix the period of then' importation in the 
early times of the Dutch.^ 

The domestic economy of the great body of the Sin- 
halese, who mhabit Colombo and the other toA^^ls of the 
island, is of the simplest and most inexpensive character. 
In a chmate, whose chief requirement is protection fr'om 
heat, their dwellings are as httle encumbered with fur- 
niture as their persons with di'ess ; and the coolness of 
the earthen floor renders it preferable to a bed. Two 

Singhalese take adyantage of this 
peculiarity of the hakatoo to thic-ken 
the milk sent roirnd for sale to Euro- 

^ The Malabar poultiy is common 
at Colombo ; in wliich the colour of 
the bones and skin is a disagreeable 
black. In other respects they are 

^ " The ^Moormen shopkeepers 
have such unpronounceable names, 

that by common consent their En- 
glish customers designate them by the 
numbers of their shojis. In this way 
one, a small portion of whose name 
consists of Meera Lebbe Hema I^ebbe 
Tamby Ahamadoc Lebbe Mareair, is 
cut down to ' Number Forty-eight,' 
while his rival in trade is similarly 
symbolized as 'Number Forty-two.' " 
— Household Words, \o\, viii. p. 19. 

Chaf. in.] 



articles furnish the basis of their cookery, — rice and 
the flesh of the coco-nut ; — appas ^ (cakes made of the 
former) supply their morning repast, with a scanty al- 
lowance of coffee ; and curries, in all their endless variety, 
furnish their afternoon meal. The use of metal of any 
kind scarcely enters into their arrangements ; their 
houses are framed without iron, tlieu' implements 
fashioned in wood, and their cooking utensils are clay. 
The broad leaves of the plantain serve as a substitute 
for plates ; and in fiu'ther illustration of their vegetable 
economy, the nuts of the penela tree^ fui'iiish them 
with a substitute for soap, and possess all its detergent 

But the residences of the headmen are of a very dif- 
ferent class, and exliibit European taste engrafted on Sin- 
ghalese customs. A dinner at Avhich my family were 
received by the Maha Moodhar de Sarem, the Chief of 
highest rank in the maritime pro\dnces, was one of the 
most refined entertainments at which it was our good 
fortune to be present in Ceylon ; the furniture of his 
reception-rooms was of ebony richly carved, and his plate, 
chiefly made by native artists, was a model of superior 
chasing on silver. The repast, besides pastry and dessert, 
consisted of upwards of forty dishes ; and, amongst other 
triumphs of the native cuisine, were some singular, but by 
no means inelegant, chefs-d'oeuvre^- — brinjals boiled, and 
stuffed with savoury meats, but exhibiting ripe and un- 
dressed fruit, growing on the same branch, and bread-fruit, 
baked and seasoned ivith the green leaves and flowers, fresh 
and iminjured by the fire. 

The present aspect of the " cinnamon gardens," which 

1 Called "hoppers" by the En- 

^ Scqmuhis emaryinatus, AVahl. It 
is generally preferred by the horse- 
keepers, who say that soap renders 
dark horses grey. 

* Anotlier useful seed in Ceylon is 
the marking-nut, the produce of the 


Kiri-hadidla tree (Semccarpas Ana- 
cardiion, Linn.), between tlie kernel 
and the peric-ai-p of whii-h is con- 
tained a senii-iiuid varnish, as black 
and as durable as the nitrate of silver. 
It is plentiful iu the bazaars of Co- 



[Part VIT. 

surround Colombo on the land-side, exhibits the effects 
of a quarter of a century of neglect, and produces a feel- 
ing of disappointment and melancholy. The beauti- 
ful shrubs which furnish the renowned spice have been 
allowed to grow wild, and in some places are scarcely 
visible, owing to undergrowth of jungle, and the thick 
envelopment of chmbing plants, bignonias, ipomoeas, 
the quadrangular vine, and the marvellous pitcher-plant, 
{Nepenthes distillatoria), whose eccentric organisation is 
still a scientific enigma. One most interesting flower, 
which encumbers the cinnamon trees, is a night-blowing 
convolvulus, the moon-flower of Europeans, called by the 
natives ala?iga^, which never blooms in the day, but 
opens its exquisite petals when darkness comes on, and 
attracts the eye through the gloom, by its pure and snowy 

Less than a century has elapsed since these famous 
gardens were formed by the Dutch, and already they are 
relapsing into Avilderness. Every recent writer on Ceylon 
has dwelt on their beauty and luxuriance, but hencefor- 
ward it will remain to speak only of their decay. Tlie 
history of the cinnamon laurel has been exhausted by 
Nees Von Esenbach and his brother ; who, in the erudite 
disquisition^ which they contributed to the Amoenitates 
Botanical, condensed all the learning of ancients and 
moderns regarding this celebrated tree.^ 

^ Colonyction speciosum, Choisy 
(Ipoman honanox, L.). It is the 
Munda-valli of Van Rlieede, Ilortus 
Malahar., vol. ii. tab. 50. 

* l)e Cinnamonio Di'spufntio, by C. 
G. and T. ¥. L. Nees von Esenbach. 
Bonne, 182.3. 

^ llelative to the prrowth and cul- 
tivation of cinnamon and the method 
pursued by the chalias for " peeling- " 
and preparinp- it for market, little 
could be added to tlie copious details 
of Valentyx, during the time of the 
Dutch, and of Pekcival (chap. xvi. 
p. 340), and Ooedinek (chap. xiii. p. 

405), imder the early government 
of the British. A very able and 
acciu'ate essay on the same subject 
was conti-ibuted in 1817, to the 
Annals of I*hilosoj>/i;/, vol. Iviii., by 
Henry Marshall, P\R.S.E., who 
served on the medical staff in Cey- 
lon, and communicated the results 
of personal observation and inquiry. 
Iliere is an interesting paper in the 
Journal of the Roi/al Asiatic Society 
(London), for 1840, " On the Cinna- 
mon Trade of Ceylon, its proyress 
and present state, bv JoHN Cappek, 

Chap. III.] CINNAMOX. 163 

The trade in its products was at its height^ when 
Esenbach wrote ; but opinion was ah'eady arraying itself 
against the rigidly exclusive system under whicli it was 
conducted. This was looked on as the more unjustifiable, 
owing to the popular behef that the monopoly was one 
created by nature ; and that prohibitions became vexa- 
tious where competition was impossible. Accordingly, 
in 1832, the odious monopoly was abandoned ; the Go- 
vernment ceased to be the sole exporters of cinnamon, 
and thenceforward the merchants of Colombo and Galle 
were permitted to take a share in the trade, on payinn- 
to the crown an export duty of tliree shillings a pound, 
which was afterwards reduced to one. But the revolu- 
tion came too late to benefit those for whose advanta^-e 
it was designed. The delusion of a "natural monopoly" 
of the spice was demonstrated by the fact, that not alone 
India, Java, and China, but also Guiana, Martinique, 
and Mauritius were found capable of producing it ; and 
such was the stimulus to rivahy engendered by exor- 
bitant prices, that supplies from these quarters were, 
akeady supplanting the cinnamon of Ceylon in the mar- 
kets of the world. Cassia, a still more formidable com- 
jTctitor, was arriving in Europe in large quantities ; and 
thus the great experiment of free trade in this precious 
article led at first to disappointment and loss ; the prices 
undergoing a dechne as the quantity exported was sud- 
denly increased. 

The adoption of the first step inevitably necessitated 
a second. The merchants felt, and with justice, that 
the struggle was unequal so long as the Government, 
with its great estates and large capital, was their op- 
posing competitor ; and hence, in 1840, the final ex- 
pedient was adopted by the crown of divesting itself 
altogether of its property in the plantations. Tlie 
cinnamon gardens were offered for sale ; and Ekellc 

^ The extent of the trade may be 
inferred from the fact, that the five 
])rini'ipal cinnaiuun gardens around 

Neg-onibo, Colombo, Barberm, Galle, 
and Matura, were each from fifteen 
to twentv miles in circinnferenee. 

M 2 

164 COLOMBO. . [r.vRT VII. 

Kaderani and Morottu passed at once into private 
hands. But so depressing was the prospect, that Ma- 
randlian, from its vicinity to the capital, was felt to be 
more profitable as a speculation for building villas than 
for cultivating cinnamon. It was disposed of in lots ; 
but not before neglect and decay had so depreciated 
its value that the price for which it sold was almost 

One only source of income from cinnamon still re- 
mained in the hands of the Government — the one shil- 
ling duty on its export. But even this, as it was equi- 
valent to 100 per cent, on the value, became in a very 
few years intolerable ; and such was the peril which 
menaced the trade on my arrival in Ceylon, in 1845, 
that one of my earhest acts was to recommend to Her 
Majesty's Government an instant reduction of the tax, 
preparatory to its early and total abolition^ — a measure 
which was afterwards consummated by Viscount Tor- 

But, like every previous reform, in relation to this 
ill-fated article, the rehef came too late to be effectual. 
Had no export duty upon cinnamon been imposed when 
the monopoly of the growth was surrendered, in 1833, 
it may admit of a doubt whether Java would have 
been enabled to compete with the produce of Ceylon ; 
which, in fineness and quality, was unsui-passed ; but 
the time for the trial was past ; the European con- 
sumers had become satisfied with the cheaper substi- 
tute of cassia, and Singhalese cinnamon could no longer 
be cultivated with advantage as of old. Under these 
circumstances, less care has been given of late years to 
the production of the finest quahties for the European 
market, and the coarser and less valuable shoots have 
been cut and peeled in larger pro}:)ortion than formerly. 
Hence the gross quantity exported has been increasing, 

' 8ir J. Emerson Tennext's Re- [ Cci/lon. Presented to Parliainont 
port on the Finances and t'ommerce of \ 1848, pp. 70; 78. 

Chap. III.] 



although the general character has deteriorated, and 
the price has proportionally dechned. Excellence has 
ceased to be appreciated as of old ; the cheaper sub- 
stitute is received with sufficient favour, and the an- 
cient staple of Ceylon is threatened with the loss of 
emolument, as it has akeady parted with its old re- 
nown. ^ 

The adoption of Colombo, as the site for the Capital 
and the seat of Government, is altogether anomalous. 
The locality presents no single advantage to recommend 
it. Compared with other parts of the island, the country 
surrounding it is unproductive, the coast is low and un- 
sheltered, and the port is less a harbour than a roadstead. 
None but ho;ht native craft venture close to the wharves 
and the fort, and ships waiting for cargo are forced to an- 
chor in the offing where disasters have frequently occui'red 
during the violence of the monsoons. 

It was the vicmity of the cinnamon country, and the 
accidental residence of the Singhalese sovereign at Cotta, 
that induced the Portuguese in the sixteenth century 
to estabhsh themselves at this point, and the decision 
becam.e irreversible when the Dutch had completed their 

* The export of cinnamon from 
Ceylon in 1857 was nearly double 
that of 1841, but tbe gi-oss value, in- 
stead of bearing the same ratio, ex- 
hibits a relative decrease oincarli/ me 
third. One explanation of this is 
referable to the fact of the shipment 
of coarse cinnamon ia greatly in- 
creased proportion to fine, and the 

consequent reduction of the average 
price of the whole. Hence the phe- 
nomenon, that whilst fine cinnamon 
was formerly displaced by cassia, 
cassia is being now driven out of the 
market by the- coarser qualities and 
reduced prices of cinnamon ! This 
curious result will be discerned from 
the followino' return : — 




Quantity imported 

Average price in 

Quantity exported from 

Average price in 

from Ceylon. 


the United Kingdom. 


«. d. 

s. d. 


452,039 lbs. 

5 1 per lb. 

1,262,164 lbs. 

lOr per lb. 


408,211 „ 

2 9 „ 

950,255 „ 

6t „ 

lo} „ 

1 U » 


733,781 „ 

2 10 „ 

753.915 „ 


784,284 „ 

1 3^ „ 

454,925 „ 


877,547 „ 

1 6 „ 

615,703 „ 

lU „ 
11 J 


887,959 „ 

I 6 „ 

766,691 „ 

M 3 



[Part VII. 

fortifications and siUTounded tliem on all sides with 
valuable plantations of the spice. Xow that cmnamon 
has become secondary in importance ; and the great cen- 
tral mountains adapted for the cultiu^e of coffee may be 
rendered equally accessible from the harboiu^s of Galle 
or Trincomalie ; the question ^dll at no distant day de- 
mand solution, whether the vastly increased commerce 
of Ceylon can be adequately accommodated at Colombo ; 
and whether the interests of the island may not necessi- - 
tate the transfer of the capital to some more suitable and 
commodious seaport. 

The most picturesque spots in the environs of the town 
he to the north of the fort on the angle between it and 
the embouchm'e of the river Kalany ; and here, after a 
visit of a few weeks to the Governor, we took up om* 
residence at Ehe House, a mansion built by ^Ir. Anstru- 
ther, my predecessor in office. It stands on the ridge of 
a projecting headland, commandhig a Avide prospect over 
the Gulf of Manaar ; and in the midst of a garden con- 
taining the rarest and most beautifid trees of the tropics, 
tamarinds, j ambus, nutmegs, guavas, mangoes, and oranges, 
the graceful casuarinas of Austraha, and the beautiful 
traveller's palm ^ of Madagascar. 


' Itavenahl spcciosa. 




The day after my arrival in Colombo, I took tlie oatlis 
as a member of tlie executive council, the body which 
acts as the cabinet of the Governor ; consisting of the 
Queen's Advocate, the three principal officers of the co- 
lony \ and (when the head of the administration is a 
civilian) the General in command of the forces. 

In a Crown colony such as Ceylon (the official term 
for possessions obtained by conquest or cession), the 
powers of the Governor constitute a " paternal despo- 
tism," modified only by the distant authority of the 
Queen. The functions of his councils are consultative, 
but the adoption or rejection of their recommendations 
rests exclusively with himself. The Executive Coimcil 
is the body, by whose advice his measures are originally 
framed preparatory to their submission to the Legis- 
lative Council, by whom they are finally discussed with 
all the forms of parhamentary debate. But, although 
the latter assembly, in addition to official members, 
contains representative men, selected by tlie Crown 
with becoming regard to the various races and interests 
in the island'-^, still the paramount authority of the 

1 The Colonial Secretary, the Trea- 
surer, and Auditor-General. 

^ The Lefi;islative Council of Cey- 
lon, in addition to tlie members of 
the executive, includes the two prin- 
cipal civil officers of the W^estorn and 
Central Provinces, the Sm-veyor- 
Geueral; and the Collector of Cus- 

toms. Three unofficial members are 
nominated from the planting and 
commercial interests, and thi*ee may 
bo held to represent the pnncipal 
native races — Mr. Ijorenz, the Eur- 
Asians ; Mr. Diaz, the Singhalese ; 
and Mr. S, Ederemeuesiugam; the 

-M -i 



[Part VII. 

Governor can over-rule their deliberations, and their 
labours may be nullified by the interposition of his 

The most important duties of the Legislative Council 
are necessarily those which involve the expenditure of 
an annual revenue, wliich of late years has exceeded 
half a million sterhng. So far as that income is drawn 
from land and its produce, although much that was 
unjust and vexatious in the mode of its collection has 
been modified or removed since the estabhshment of the 
British authority, the system in its main features is still 
identifiable ivith that which was organised by the Portu- 
guese and perpetuated by the Dutch. ^ 

By the policy of both these nations, one legitimate 
source of income was stifled ; since by ignoring foreign 
trade they deprived themselves of customs' duties ^ and 
port charges which, owing to the judicious reforms of 
Viscount Torrington in 1847, yield at the present day 
nearly one-third of the whole receipts of the colony. 

The rents and proceeds from the sales of land cleared 
for coffee cultivation and other purposes, form another 
resource altogether unknoAvn to the Dutch, and even to 

^ Tlie results of an examination 
into tlie various sources of revenue in 
Ceylon, and their influence upon the 
industry and trade of the island, will 

be found in the Repoti of Sir J. 
Emerson Tenijent, on the Finances 
and Commerce of Ceylon, presented to 
Pai-liament in 1848. 

* The following table exhibits the several soiu'ces of Ceylon Revenue for 
the year ending 31st December, 1857 : — 

Customs' port and harbour dues 
Land sales and rents _ _ . 

Pearl fisheiy - _ _ . 

Chanks - _ _ _ _ 

Salt _ 

Distillation and sale of arrack and spirits 
Tax on rice, fine grain, and gardens - 
Tolls at bridges and ferries - - - 

Stamps _ _ _ > . 

Postage _ _ _ _ - 

Taxes on carnages and carriers 
Royalties and miscellaneous receipts - 
Police tax - - - _ - 

Sale of stores, stoppages, and reimbursements 






































Chap. IV.] TAXATIOX. 1G9 

the British before 1812, when the rule was relaxed which 
forbade the tenure of land by Europeans. 

Monopohes are to the present day a prominent feature of 
the Ceylon revenue. The fishery of pearls and chanks has 
been from time immemorial in the hands of the sovereign, 
as well as the right to collect salt ; and to these in later 
times has been added the privilege of distiUing arrack from 
the juice of the coco-nut palm. 

Odious as the name of monopoly sounds, its reahty 
could scarcely be less offensive than in the instances in 
which it prevails in Ceylon. The supposed injustice of 
keeping guard over the pearl hanks has been the tlieme 
of a pohtical romance ^ and adduced as an illustration 
of the wrouijf assumed to be inflicted on those whom it 
apparently excludes from legitimate labour. But tlie 
employment it affords does not extend beyond a few 
weeks at uncertain periods, and generally with intervals 
of many years interposed. Besides, when a pearl fishery 
is proclaimed, although every indi\ddual is enabled to 
participate to the extent of his capital, so indifferent 
are the Singhalese, that few ever engage in it, and the 
divers and boatmen employed come chiefly from the op- 
posite coast of India. Tiie monopoly of salt as it prevails 
in Ceylon is common to every country of the East, and 
seems the only expedient by which oriental sovereigns 
have ever succeeded in obtaining a minimum of taxation 
from classes incapable of bearing in any other shape an 
equitable share of the public biuthens ; — and the restric- 
tions on distillation^ if properly administered, are suscep- 
tible of being used as an effectual check on the ruinous 
abuse of arrack. 

But a tax more objectionable than these ancient 
monopolies, is the hea\"y impost laid by the Ceylon 
government, not only on the import of lice and grain, 
but on its home cultivation. The duty on foreign 

^ Cinnamon and Pearh, by INIiss Majrtikeait ; Illustrations of rolitical 
Econo)ny, vol. vii. p. 149. 



[Part VII. 

riee^ Avas originally instituted as an encouragement to na- 
tive agriculture, but with strange inconsistency the tax 

^ In an island so peculiarly cir- 
cumstanced as Ceylon, owing to its 
dependence on Lidia for supplies of 
inimigTant labour, the policy seems 
almost suicidal of raising revenue by 
a duty of Jifti/ per cent, on the im- 
portation of food. But when it is 
borne in mind that for upwards of 
three centimes since Bartliema and 
Barbosa visited Ceylon in the IGth 
century, there has been a sustained 
complaint of the deficiency of home 
cultivation, and the dependency of 
the popidation on foreigTi coimtries 
for rice ; the error is glaring and in- 
defensible of so loading native agri- 
cidtm'e with vexatious taxes as to 
discourage and A'ii'tually check its 
extension. In a case so peculiar and 
anomalous, it might be questionable 
whether in any general scheme of a 
land-tax for the whole colony, it 
might not be judicious to encourage 
the gTOwth of corn by exemjjfing from 
its operation such lands as had been 
brought under culti^•ation for rice, 
or at least by subjecting them to the 
pa^inent of only a modified amount ; 
but in sti-ong conti-ast to such a 
policy, the lands employed in the 
production of rice are not only the 
only ones which have been made sub- 
servient to the purpose of revenue, 
but a special legal provision made 
public in 1824, for exempting from 
assessment the produce of all other 
lands thi-oughout the island which 
might be brought into cidtivation for 
cotiee, cotton, or pepper, pertinaciously 
re-enacts the assessment upon the cul- 
tivation of grain ! 

The mode of collecting the tax 
on rice is even more mischievous 
than the impost itself. With some 
slight modifications in different dis- 
tricts, it is this : " "When the crop is 
sufficiently advanced to enable an 
estimate to be formed of its possible 
produce, the Government Assessors 
proceed to calculate its probable 
A alue, and a return is made to tlie 
Government Agent of the amount 
liable upon every field. The farm of 

the tax of each disti-ict is then sold 
by public auction ; and as the haiTest 
approaches the cidtivator is obliged 
to give five days' notice to the pur- 
chaser of his intention to cut ; two 
days' notice if he finds it necessary 
to postpone ; if the crop be not 
thi-eshed immediately the renter is 
entitled to a fm-ther notice of the 
day fixed for that pm-pose ; and for 
any omission or in-egadarity he has 
a remedy, by suing for a penalty in 
the District Coui-t. 

" It would be difficult to de"vise a 
system more pregnant with op- 
pression, extortion, and demoralisa- 
tion than the one here detailed. The 
cidtivator is handed over helplessly 
to two successive sets of inquisitorial 
officers, the assessoi*s and the renters ; 
whose acts are so imcontroUed that 
abuses are inevitable, and the inter- 
coiu'sa of the two pai-ties is charac- 
terised by rigour and extortion on 
the one side, and cimning and sub- 
terfuges of every description on the 
other. Eveiy artifice and disin- 
genuous device is put in practice to 
deceive the headmen and assessora 
as to the extent and fertility'' of the 
laud and the actual value of the 
crop ; and they, in return, resort to 
the most inquisitorial and vexatious 
interference, either to protect the in- 
terest of the Govemmeut, or pri- 
vately to fm-ther theii* own. Betn'een 
these demoralising influences, the 
cliaracter and industiy of the rimal 
population are deteriorated and 
destroyed. The extension of cid- 
tiA-ation by reclaiming a poilion 
of waste land only exposes the ha- 
rassed proprietor to fi-esli Aisits fi-om 
the headmen, and a new valuation by 
the Govei-nment ^Vssessor, and wliere 
annoyance is not the leading object, 
recourse is had to corruption, in 
order to keep doAATi the valuation. 

" ]3ut no sooner has the cidtivator 
got rid of the assessor than he falls 
into the hands of tlie renter, who, 
under tlie authority with which the 
law invests him,tind8 himself possessed 




on tlie latter has been enforced with such rigour as effect- 
ually to check cultivation. The evils of this anomalous 
system are so obvious that it is difficult to justify the 
pohcy which has so long postponed the apphcation of a 

Another questionable means of raising a revenue is the 
toU on bridges and ferries ; a tax which, however justifia- 
ble so far as the proceeds are apphcable to the improve- 
ment of communication, is not defensible as a means of 
profit to the discourageni'ent of traffic. From tlie love of 
htigation which characterises the Singhalese, the duty on 
stamps has been singularly productive, and these, ^vith 
sundry receipts from a variety of minor subjects, postage, 
carriage duties, royalties, hcenses for arms and other items 
of less im|)ortance, are the soiu*ces of colonial income.^ 
In addition to these, certain sums are enumerated in 
the pubhc accounts as apparent receipts which are in 
reality reimbursements for previous expenditure incurred 
in advances for the use of the mihtary and pubhc depart- 
ments. But exclusive of these, the reahsed income of 

of unusual powers of vexation and 
annoyance. He may be designedly 
out of the way when the cultivator 
sends notice of his intention to cut ; 
and if the latter, to save his hai"vest 
from perishing on the stalk, ventures 
to reap it in his absence, the penal- 
ties of the law are instantly enforced 
against him. Under the pressiu'e of 
this fonnidable control, the agi-icultu- 
ral proprietor, rather than lose his 
time or his crop in dancing attend- 
ance on the renter, or submitting to 
the midtiform amioyances of his 
subordinates, is driven to purchase 
forbearance by additional payments ; 
and it is undei-stood that 
the share of the tax which eventually 
reaches the Treasury does not form 
one-half of the amount which is thus 
extorted by oppressive dexices from 
the helpless proprietor's." 

Tlie same process which is here de- 
scribed for the collection of the tax 

upon rice lands in the vallej's is re- 
sorted to for realising that upon 
diy gi-ain in the uplands and liills ; 
and it is a striking confirmation of 
the discouragement to the extension 
of agricidture, which is inseparable 
from a system so vexatious cond so 
oppressive, that by a return of tlie 
produce of the paddi tax and that on 
dry "Tain for tlie years prior to 1840, 
diu-ing which the cultivation of every 
other description of produce had been 
making extensive advances, it was 
shown that the production of com 
had been for some time stixtionaiy 
in Ceylon ; and the increase has been 
very inconsiderable since. See Sir 
J. Emerson Tennent's Repori, <§f., 
1847, p. 08. 

1 Tliere is a tax on immovable 
property in to\\ais amounting to up- 
wards of 5,000/. per annum, but it is 
applicable only to the mainteuauce of 
local police. 

172 COLOMBO. [Part VIT. 

Ceylon is upwards of 500,000/. per annum, and is annually 

As to e.rpenditure^ one half of this sum is absorbed by 
the salaries and contingent expenses, and the pensions of 
the ci\al departments.^ This amount is sufficient to cover 
the costs for the collection of revenue, the adndnistration of 
justice, the preservation of peace and health, the mainte- 
nance of pubhc worsliip, and the extension of education, un- 
biassed by sectarian influences. The balance of the colonial 
income is more than sufficient for the construction of roads, 
the erection of pubhc buildings, the repair of fortifications, 
and the pay and allowances of the mihtary employed in 
the island. 

The civil service of the colony, properly so called, was 
organised on the model of the great institution by which 
India had so long been governed, and all the superior 
offices comprised within its functions are reserved ex- 
clusively for the members of the privileged body."- But 
the result was unsatisfactory, chiefly owing to the ck- 

^ In 1857, the proportions were as follows : — 

£ s. d. 
Civil estaLlisliments ; including that of the 

Governor and principal officer - - 119,740 17 OJ 
Judicial ; Chief Justice, Puisne Judges, 

Queen's Advocate, &c. - _ - 39,731 11 
Ecclesiastical; Episcopal and Presb^-terian 

Chiu-ches - - - -' - 9,921 10 

Educational ----- 8,0o4 10 

^ledical ----- 8,0:34 3 

Police ----- 9,504 4 

J'toTcr/s Establishment - - - 8,4.")3 9 

Pensions ----- 25,380 8 2 

£228,820 4 8i 

' The advocates of Administrative tion was wi-itten in 1847 : " Taken as 

Eeforni, when their laboiu\s shall have a whole, the machinery of the exe- 

been successfully closed at home, wiU cutive (lovennment is at once cum- 

fiud an inviting field for exertion in brous and embaiTassed, complicated in 

reconstructing the system on which its processes, and slow and imsatis- 

rolonial business is conducted in factoi-y in its perfonnance. It is in 

Ceylon. So far as I am aware, no reality a relic of the old Dutch sys- 

change of any importance has been tern, patched and altered by succes- 

etiected since the following descrip- sive governments to meet emergen- 

ClIAP. IV.] 



cumscribecl area Avitbin Avhich the experiment was 
tried. Like the miniature oak which the Chinese can 
raise in a flower-pot, the dwarfed plant liad every cha- 
racteristic of the great tree, except its strength and 

cies ; but requiring, at tlie present 
day, fundamental changes to adapt it 
to the transition through which the 
colony is passing. 

" The gTand eiTor appears to be 
this, — that as the business of each 
department increased beyond its 
strength, the difficulty was met, not 
by simplifying the system, but by 
adding clerk after clerk to the estab- 
lishment, to try to grapple with the 
details ; forgetful that tlie same ar- 
rangement which may have been 
found effectual at some early period 
in conti'olling a small annual expen- 
diture, can only lead to confusion and 
insecurity, when applied to the 
disbm-sement of half a million per 

'' Two defects in the present sys- 
tem are so palpable as to be sufficient 
in themselves to account in a gi-eat 
degTee both for its imperfection and 
expense. In the first place, all the 
payments in the colony, from the 
salary of the Governor to the wages 
of a pioneer, are issued monthly, in- 
stead of quarterly, from the Treasmy, 
on monthly applications for the same 
sums from the various heads of de- 
partments sustained by monthly 
vouchers and accounts, and autho- 
rised by monthly wan-ants elaborately 
prepared, and signed foniially by the 
Governor. It is impossible to con- 
ceive the multiplication of fonns, 
documents, and securities, to which 
this monthly excitement gives rise ; 
and as eveiy instrument has to be 
prepared in triplicate and sometimes 
in quadruplicate, as these monthly 
applications ascend in the same mo- 
notonous succession to the Audit 
Office and the Treasury through the 
local department, the Government 
Agent, tlie Colonial Secretary, and 
the Governor, it is easy to imagine 

the multitude of writers and clerks 
who become indispensable in eveiy 
department for the mere copj-ing, 
comparing, and recording these super- 
fluous documents. On the occasion 
of a visit which I made to the 
pro\ince of Oovah, I found all the 
clerks in the Badulla cutchery en- 
gaged, without pause, in making 
ei(/ht thousand copies of pay lists in 
qiuadruplicate, in order to close the 
road accoimts of an officer who had 
just died. 

" As to the contingent expense of 
the various departments, the system 
is even more cumbrous and annoying. 
For every one of these, even the 
most trivial in amount, the respon- 
sible officer must apply fonnally for 
the previous and special authority of 
the Governor, conveyed through the 
Colonial Secretary. The practice has 
now become so oppressive in the 
quantity of details which are brought 
under the Secretaiy's notice, tliat it 
is absurd to require that officer to 
devote time to such matters to the 
prejudice of grave and important 
business. Within the last twelve 
montlis I have had despatches from 
the remotest parts of the island, 
asking pennission to expend 1-s. for a 
gallon of oil, or 2.s. ChL for the repair 
of a table. I have had applications, 
requiring formal and recorded an- 
swers, for a flat rider for the assistant 
agent at an out-station, and for two 
skeins of tliread to sew the records of 
a district court ; and within the last 
few montlis I had a correspondence, 
extending to 1.3 despatches, in regard 
to a pewter inkstand for a police- 
office, which coidd not be got at the 
Commissariat Store, and had to be 
bought by private contract at tlie 
bazaar." — Sir J. Emkrsox Texxext's 
BepoH, 4'-c., p. 80. 

174 COLOMBO. [Part YII. 

Ceylon lias trained but few civil servants of distin- 
guished ability ; and the failm^e has been aggravated by 
the pernicious system of promotion by mere seniority. 
Exertion was felt to be ineffectual when advancement 
was guaranteed to mediocrity, without an effort ; and 
aspiring abihty was chilled by the consciousness that no 
services, however zealous, were sufficient to achieve dis- 
tinction when opposed to the claims of ante-dated incom- 
petence. On more than on occasion, when offices had 
faUen vacant requiring talents of a higher order than 
those developed by routine, the Governor was unable to 
recommend the advancement of any one of the indivi- 
duals tlien serving in the island; and the duty devolved 
on tlie Secretary of State of nominating persons duly 
qualified from home. 

Impressed with the necessity for a remedy, the Earl 
of Derby, in 1845, directed merit instead of seniority 
to be the basis of promotion ; and in order to extend 
the area of selection, he increased the number of the 
civil servants to upwards of seventy. The experiment 
is still in progress ; but coupled with the higher test of 
prehminary quahfication which has since been requu'ed 
from candidates for office, there is no reason to doubt 
its ultimate success ; especially since the recent revision 
of salaries has to some extent removed a just cause 
of complaint on the part of the civil ser\dce, as to the 
inadequacy of their emoluments, still singidarly dispro- 
portionate to those awarded to corresponding function- 
aries in India. 

Once in each year, shortly after the setting in of the 
south-west monsoon, a fleet of small vessels arrives at 
Galle from the Maldive Islands, the commander of which 
is invested for the occasion with the dignity of ambas- 
sador. He is the bearer of presents and a letter from the 
Sultan to the Governor of Ceylon, soliciting the continued 
protection of England, and giving assurances in return of 
his llighness's anxiety to aflbrd eveiy succour to vessels 
in the event of shipwreck. 

Chap. IV.] 



Tliis custom lias continued from time immemorial ; at 
least from the remote period when the Chinese, in right 
of their supremacy over Ceylon \ claimed the sovereignty 
of the Maldives.^ The Portuguese asserted a similar right, 
and erected a fort in an island on one of the atolls.^ Un- 
faltering in their adherence to their ancestral pursuits, the 
commodities which the islanders produce at the present 
day consist of precisely the same articles which they ex- 
ported a thousand years ago, when, according to the 
Persian author of the Modjmel'alte-varyke (a History of 
the kings of India, written in the year of the Hejira 417), 
one group of the Maldives was called Diva-Kouzah, 
from the abundance of cowries ; and another Diva-Kan- 
bar, from the coco-nut coir, wdiich the islanders spun 
into cordage.* 

The boats, in addition to these, are laden wdth dried 
fish and tortoise-shell. The white cowries {Cyprcea mo- 
7ieta\ which they bring, are sent to Afiica, where they 
still take the place of coin, and along with them the 
Maldives supply quantities of the great shell, the Cassis 
riifa, which is exported to Italy for the manufacture of 

The Maldive ambassador is received by the Governor 
with every mark of respect ; he is preceded by a guard 

' See ante, Vol. I. Pt. v. cli. iii. p. 

^ De Baekos, Asia, S,-c., dec. iii. 
torn. iii. pt. ii. ch. i. p. 3. 

^ Ih., torn. i. pt. ii. p. 42.3 ; torn. iii. 
pt. i. p. 306. — Pyrard de Laval, 
Voyage, Sec, p. 170. — Yalenttx, 
Otul en Nieuw Oost-Indien, ch. xii. 
p. 161. 

* The 3foclJmeI is a Persian version 
of an Arabic ti-anshition from San- 
skrit, written in the year 1026 a.d. 
by Abul-IIassan, of Djordjan, near 
the Caspian. The only portion of it 
which has been rendered into a Eu- 
ropean lanfruaoe is tlie chapter from 
wliicli the following extract is taken, 
contained in the Frai/mens Arahca et 
Persons of Keinaud : — " Ces iles se 

di-visent en denx classes, snivant la 
nature de leur principal prodnit. Les 
unes sont nommees JJica-Kouzah, 
c'est-{\-dire iles des cauris, a cause 
des caiiris qu'on r.ama.'sse siir les 
branches des cocotiers plantes dans 
la mer. Les autres portent le nom de 
JJi'ra-Kanbar, du mot kanhar (coir), 
qui designe le fil que Ton tresse avec 
les fibres du cocotier et avec lequel 
on coud les navires." — Frarpn. Arab, 
et Pers. pp. 0.3 — 124. See also Du- 
latjeier", Journ. Asiat. vol. xlix. p. 
171. De B.uiROS describes the mode 
of fishing for cowries at tlie Maldives 
in the time of the Portuguese as 
identical with that narrated in the 
Modjniel. — Asia, ii)'-c., torn. iii. pt. i. p. 



[Part VII. 

of lionoiu", and introduced with his interpreters ; his pre- 
sents are accepted and reciprocated by suitable equiva- 
lents (one of which is a piece of scarlet cloth for the 
Sultan) ; and on the conclusion of the ceremonial he re- 
embarks with his little fleet, and proceeds on his voyage 
to the Coromandel coast. 

To avoid the hot season in the low country, official re- 
sidences have been provided at Kandy for the Governor 
and the Colonial Secretary ; and early in March, 1846, 
we left Colombo for the hills. ^ Already the luxuriant 
verdm-e of the plains, which the south-west monsoon had 
so recently caUed forth, was converted to yellow stubble ; 
the lake was evaporated to partial diyness, and the 
motionless leaves of the trees were powdered with red 
dust from the cleft and arid earth. 

In driving through the native town to Grand Pass, 
on the way to the bridge of boats, which there connects 
the opposite banks of the Kalany-ganga, many of the 
houses will be seen to have an earthen vase, painted 
white, placed in a conspicuous position on the roof 
These are evidences of the prevalence in Ceylon of 
that most ancient of all superstitions, the belief in the 
evil eye, which exists in every country in the universe, 
from China to Peru. The Greeks of the present day 
entertain the same horror of the ;<a«o yarx as their an- 
cestors did of the ^da-xavog o^^SuXulos, and the mal occhio 
of modern Italy is the traditional fascinatlo of the Eo- 
mans. The Malabars and Hindus, hke the Arabians 
and Turks, apologise for the profusion of jewels with 
which they decorate their childi'en, on the plea that 

^ It is to be hoped that the journey 
fi-om Colombo to Kandy, still per- 
formed on the noble road made by 
Sir lOdward Barnes, will shortly l)e 
facilitated by the railway now in pro- 
cess of formation, under the direction 
of Mr. DoYXE. and wliich, if its con- 
struction can be comi)leted througli- 
out the entire distance for a moderate 
surti; will be a signal advantage to 

tlie coffee districts. Butthe line that 
I would gladly have seen adopted is 
one which, skirting the Kandyan 
zone, with a bi'anch to commimicate 
with tlie coffee regions, woidd have 
opened a communication from sea to 
sea, from Colombo to Trincomalie, 
thus extending tlie advantages of so 
gi-aud a wurk to the native races as 
well as, the Eiu'opean communities. 


they are intended to draw aside the evil eye ; the Ma- 
hometans suspend objects from the ceiUngs of their 
apartments for the same purpose ; and tlie object of 
the Singhalese in placing these whitened chatties on 
their gables, is to divert the mysterious influence fi^om 
their dwelhngs.^ 

It is chiefly from the country north of the Kalany 
that supplies of provisions are brought to the bazaars 
of Colombo ; and however scrupulously the disciples of 
Buddha may observe his injunction to abstain from 
taking hfe, a stranger in travelhng this road is shocked 
at the callous indifierence to the infliction of pain 
which characterises their treatment of animals mtended 
for market. Pigs are suspended from a pole, passed 
between the fore and hind legs, and e\ance by incessant 
cries the torture which they endure from the cords ; 
fowls are brought from long distances hanging by their 
feet ; and ducks are carried by the head, tlieu* necks 
bent over the bearers' fingers to stifle their noise. 

But the most repulsive exliibition of all, is the mode 
in which the flesh of the tiu-tle is sold piece-meal 
whilst it is still aUve, by the families of the Tamil 
fishermen at Jafiiia. The creatures are to be seen 
m the market-place undergoing this frightful mutila- 
tion ; the plastron and its integuments having been 
previously removed, and the animal thrown on its back, 
so as to display all the motions of the heart, viscera, 
and lungs. A broad knife, from twelve to eighteen 
inches in length, is first inserted at the left side, and 
the women, who are generally the operatoi's, introduce 
one hand to scoop out the blood, Avhich oozes slowly. 
The blade is next passed round, till the lower shell 

^ Amongst the Tamils at Jaffna 
tlie same belief preyails as among-st 
the Irish and Scotch, that their cattle 
are liable to uijury from the blight 
of an evil eye, thus recalling the 
exclamation of Virgil's Shepherd, 
"Nescio quia teneros oculus mihi 
fascinat agnos ! " Queiy. Is there 


any mysterious connection between 
the proliibition to corct contained in 
the tentli commandment, and the 
hovvor o{ t\m cvi/ <i/i<, so often alluded 
to in the Old and New Testaments, 
especially I'roverbs xxviii. 22, and 
Mark vii'. 22 ? 

178 COLOaiBO TO KAXDY. [Part VII. 

is detaclied and placed to one side, and the internal 
organs exposed in fidl action. Each customer, as he 
apphes, is served with any part selected, which is cut 
off as ordered, and sold by weight. Each of the fins 
is thus successively removed, with portions of the fat 
and flesh, the turtle sho^\'ing, by its contortions, that 
each act of severance is productive of agony. In this 
state it Hes for hours, writliing in the sun, the heart ^ 
and head being usually the last pieces selected, and till 
the latter is cut off the snappmg of the mouth, and the 
openuig and closing of the eyes, show that hfe is still 
inlierent, even when the shell has been nearly divested 
of its contents. 

The woods on the right bank of tlie river, in passing 
the picturesque Bridge of Boats, conceal the remains of 
Kalany and its temple, a place so ancient that it confers 
its own name on the river which flows by its ruins. 
The Mahaicanso refers to it as contemporary with 
Buddlia^, and connects its history ^vith the partial sub- 
mersion of the western shore of Ceylon, in the reign of 
Devenipiatissa, a.d. 164. The original dagoba was 
built five hundi'ed years before the Cluistian era, and 
enlaro;ed three centuries later. But the one wliicli is 
now stanchng was constructed between the years 1240 
and 12G7, and rebuilt about a.d. 1301.^ 

Kalany is remarkable as the only Buddhist tem- 
ple of importance in the \'icinity of Colombo. So 
inveterate was the religious intolerance of the Dutcli, 
that they abohslied every idolatrous estabhshment within 
the range of their guns, and not content Avith this, 
they proliibited, in 1602, the celebration of the Buddliist 
Avorship at Kalany, and ordered the priests to withdraw 
from the temple.'^ At tlie present day, so sacred is 
the spot, that it is the resort of pilgrims from distant 

I Aristotle -was aware of the fact i p. 96; ch. xxii. p. 1-30 ; eh. Ixxx. p. 
that the tiu-tle will live after the I 20. Upham. 
removal of the heai-t. — Do Vita et i ^ Rajnvnli, pp. 2o7 — 2-59. 
M'irfe, ch. ii. 1 * Sir J. Emerson Teitn'ent's Hi^. 

' Mahaivaiiso, oh. ii. p. !• : oh. xv. of Christ iaiiif;/ in Cti/hn, ch. ii. p. 55. 

Chap. IV.] 



places, who uimually pay their devotions before the 
great statue during the festival in July, when the cere- 
monies are solemnised by torchlight.^ 

For some miles the road crosses the marshy plains 
that He between the river and the sea, on an embank- 
ment, whose sides are shaded by long hnes of teak, a tree 
which it has been attempted to naturahse in the island. 
So long as it runs within a moderate distance of the 
sea, the groves of coco-nut trees continue to surround 
every hamlet ; but on turning more inland, these gra- 
dually disappear, and are succeeded by the graceful 
arecas, mixed with the kitool or jaggery palm."^ But 
what most excites the wonder of a stranger, are the 
flowering trees whicli adorn tlie landscape : the niurutu ^, 
with its profusion of lilac blossoms, and the gorgeous 
imbvd*, whose crimson petals thickly strew the ground, 
when making way for the oblong pods that contain the 
silky cotton, for which the tree is prized. 

In the numerous streams whicli are passed on tliis 
route, the Singhalese are to be seen at all hours of the 
day, indulging in their passion for the bath, in which they 
imitate the Hindus ; and such is the disciphne to which 
their skins are subjected, that it is not unusual to have 

' About thirty miles further east- 
ward, on a tributary of the Kalany, 
are situated the remains of the old 
city of Sita-wacca, one of the most 
ancient in Ceylon, if we are to 
accept the tradition that it owes its 
appellation to Sita, the Helen of the 
Ramayana. Whilst the Portuguese 
were at war in defence of their ally 
the King of Cotta, Sita-wa<"ca was 
the stronghold of their daring oppo- 
nents, Maaya Dunnai and Raja Sin- 
gha ; and it was eventually destroyed 
by their relentless general Azavedo, 
at the close of the 16th century. 
The vestiges of the palace and temple 
are still traceable ; they are con- 
structed of he'WTi gi'anite, and in one 
place a deep moat is crossed by a 
bridge composed of five slabs four- 
teen feet long and more than pro- 

portionate thickness. A sticking ac- 
count of the ruins, as they appeared 
in the year 1675, will be found in 
Valentvx's Oiul <'» Xieiiic Oost- 
Indien, pp. 207—220. The little 
fort of Kuanwelle (Ranff-Welli, the 
"Golden sand"), which was once 
so important on the frontier of the 
kings of Kandy, stands on an emi- 
nence above the Kalany, a few miles 
east of Sita-wacca. It is now the 
residence of the civil officer in charge 
of the district. The country aroimd 
it is magnificent, commanding noble 
views of the mountains near Adam's 
Peak and the cataracts which descend 
from them. 

^ C'an/ota urens. 

^ Lfi(/erstra'iiiia RcfiinfP. 

* Roinho.r Mahihariciis. 



[Part VII. 

tliem rubbed witli a porous stone, in the same way that 
the mahouts scrub the hide of the elephant, previous 
to anointing them with oil, — not the precious spikenard 
of antiquity, but the more homely produce of the coco- 
nut palm. 

The number of bullock-carts encountered between 
Colombo and Kandy, laden Avith coffee from the interior, 
or carrying up rice and stores for the supply of the 
plantations in the hill-country, is quite sm^prismg. 
The oxen thus employed on this smgle road, are esti- 
mated at upwards of twenty thousand. The bandy to 
which they are yoked is a barbarous two-wheeled wag- 
gon, with a covering of plaited coco-nut leaves, in which 
a pair of strong bullocks will draw from five to ten 
hmidred weight, according to the nature of the country ; 
and with this they mil perform a joiu-ney of twenty 
miles a day on a level. 

A few of the large humped cattle of India are an- 
nually imported for draught ; but the vast majority of 
those in use are small and dark-coloured, with a grace- 
ful "head and neck, and elevated hump, a deep silky dew- 
lap, and limbs as slender as a deer. They have neither 
the strength nor weight requisite for this service ; and 
yet the enth-e coffee crop of Ceylon, amounting annually 
to upwards of half a milhon hundred weight, is year 
after year brought down from the mountains to the 
coast by these indefatigable little creatures, Avhich, on 
returning, carry up proportionally hea\y loads of 
rice and implements for the estates.^ There are two 
varieties of the native bullock ; one a somewhat coarser 
animal, of a deep red colom% the other, the high-bred 
black one I have just described. So rare was a 
white one of this species, under the native kings, that 
the Kandyans were compelled to set them apart for 
the royal herd.^ 

J A pair of these little bullocks 
cany up about twenty bushels of 
rice to the hills, and bring- clown from 

fifty to sixty bushels of coffee to Co- 

^ Wolf says that, in the year 1763, 


Although bullocks may be said to be the only animals 
of cbaught and burden in Ceylon (horses being rarely 
used except in spring carriages), no attempt has been 
made to improve the breed, or even to Ijetter the con- 
dition and treatment of those in use. Their food is in- 
different, pasture in all parts of the island being rare, 
and cattle are seldom housed under any \dcissitudes of 

The labom* to which they are best adapted, and in 
which, before the opening of roads, these cattle were 
formerly employed, is in traversing the jungle paths of 
the interior, carrying light loads as pack-oxen in what 
is called a " tavalam" — a term which, substituting bul- 
locks for camels, is equivalent to a " caravan." ^ The 
class of persons engaged in this traffic in Ceylon resem- 
ble in their occupations the " Banjarees " of Hindustan, 
who bring down to the coast corn, cotton, and oil, and 
take back cloths and iron and copper utensils to the 
interior. In the unopened parts of the island, and 
especially in the eastern pro\dnces, this primitive prac- 
tice still continues ; and when traveUing in these districts 
we have often encountered long files of pack-bullocks 
toihng along the mountain paths, their bells tinkhng 
musically as they moved ; or halting during the noonday 
heat beside some stream in the forests, their burdens 
piled in heaps near the chivers, who had lighted their 
cooking fires, whilst the bullocks were permitted to batlie 
and browse. 

The persons engaged in this wandering trade are 
chiefly Moors, and the busmess carried on by them 
consists in bringing up salt from the government depots 

lie saw in Ceylon two white oxen, 
each of which measured upwards of 
ein^ht feet high. They were sent as 
a present from the King of Atchin. — 
Life and Advcnttircs, p. 172. 

* Attempts have been made to do- 
mesticate the camel in Ceylon ; but, 
I am told, they died of ulcers in tlio 
feet, attril}ut('(l to tlie too <ircid moh- 

ture of the roads at certain seasons. 
Tliis explanation seems insufficient if 
taken in connection with the fact of 
the camel living in perfect healtli in 
climates equally, if not more, exposed 
to rain. I apprehend that sufficient 
justice was not done to the experi- 

N 3 




on the coast to be bartered mtli the Kaiidyans in the 
hills for " native coffee," wliicli is grown in small qnan- 
tities round everj^ house, but without systematic culti- 
vation. Tliis they cany down to the maritime towns, 
and the proceeds are invested in cotton cloths and brass 
utensils, dried fish, and other commodities, ^\ith wdiicli the 
tavalams supply the secluded villages of the interior. 

The mode of hfe both of the conductors of these 
caravans and of the Singhalese drivers of bandies, is a 
succession of travel and adventure resembhng that of 
the mule-diivers of Spain. Like tlie " arrieros " of 
Andalusia, they move by night, or in tlie dusk, and rest 
diu^ing the day in the cool sliade of the trees, passing 
their time in games of chance, to which they are pas- 
sionately devoted, and resuming thek journey at nisht-ftill. 
At Yeangodde, twenty-five miles from Colombo, the 
residence of Don Solomon Dias Bandarnayeke, one of 

the Moodhars of the Go- 
vernor's Gate, affords the 
most agreeable example 
of the dwelling of a low- 
country headman, witli 
its broad verandahs, spa- 
cious rooms, and exten- 
sive offices, shuded by 
palm-groves and fruit 
trees. The chief himself, 
now upM'ards of eiglity 
j'ears ^ of age, is a noble 
specimen of the native 
race, and in his official 
costume, decorated Avith 
tlie gold chains and 
medals by which his services have been recognised by tlie 
Britisli Government, his tall and venerable figure makes 
a striking picture. 


* Don Solomon died in 1850, wliilst the first edition of this work was 
in press. 

Chap. IV.] 



On the occasion of our visit, we were recei\ed Ijy 
liim with tlie honours of the wliite cloth, the approach 
to his house being covered with long pieces of cotton to 
the porch. Tom-tom beaters and musicians ^ w^ere 
stationed along tlie avenue, groups of boys exliibited 
national dances, and beat time by clashing together 
sticks of hard w^ood, and after them a band of devil 
dancers from an adjacent temple, with masks and gro- 
tesque dresses, went through a performance wliich, in 
contortion and enthusiasm, resembled the fury of the 

Half way between Colombo and Kandy is the pictu- 
resque rest-house of Ambepusse, one of those treache- 
rously beautifid spots which have acquh^ed a bad reno"vvn 
from the attractions of the scenery and the pestilent fevers 
by which the locality is infested. 


After leaving the village, the road crosses the spurs of 
the hills which descend from the mountain zone, and 
the aspect of the country gradually changes from mari- 
time plains to the ruder and less cultivated Kandyan 
highlands. Instead of broad inundated paddi-fields, 
rice is grown in the moist crannies of the hills, and diy 
graui is cultivated on their slopes. The majestic crowns 

1 Two of these musicians, who 
phiyed on a rude pipe like a flageolet, 
had the faculty of keeping up a sus- 
tained and monotonous note for many 

minutes without intermission, hv in- 
haling through the nostrils whilst 
they blew with the lips. 

N 4 


of the Talipat palm begin to appear near the villages, 
and graceful bamboos wave their feathery plumes in every 

The forests become so dense that troops of monkeys 
venture in sight, and flocks of plumb-headed paroquets 
romp and scream amongst the branches.^ Buddhist 
temples appear in secluded spots, and picturesque 
maduas for preaching hana^ built with pagoda-hke roofs 
rising tier above tier. Shaven priests in yellow robes, 
and carrying ivory fans, plod on their errand of poverty, 
to collect food in the \aQages. The houses, instead of 
groves of coco-nuts, are surrounded by a fence of coffee- 
bushes, ^vith their pohshed green leaves and wreaths of 
jasmine-hke flowers, and everything indicates the change 
from the low-country and its habits to the hills and their 
hardier peasantry. 

As this was one of the idle seasons of the year, 
during which labour is suspended, whilst waiting for 
the rains of the monsoon, ere recommencing^ the sowing; 
of rice, the Kandyans were lounging about theii' \illages 
or gathered in groups by the roadside, engaged in 
listless and sedentary amusements. In one place a 
crowd was collected to watch the feats of a juggler, 
who, to our siu*prise, commenced his performances by 
jumping up on to a pole, and placing his feet upon 
a cross bar six feet from the ground. On tliis he 
coursed along the road by prodigious leaps, and re- 
tmiiing to the audience, steadied himself on his 

^ A white monkey, taken between 
Ainbepusse and Kornegalle, where 
they are said to be numerous, was 
brouglit to me to Colombo. Except 
in colom', it liad all the characteristics 
of Preshytes cepluthptents. So sti'iking 
was its whiteness that it might have 
been conjectm-ed to be an albino, but 
for the circumstance that its eyes and 
face were black. I never saw another 
specimen ; but the natives say they 
are not uncommon, and Kxox, who 
alludes to the fact, adds, that they 
Are " milk-white both in l)odv and 

face ; but of this sort there is not such 
plenty."— Pt. i. ch. vi. p. 25. The 
Eev. R. Spexce Hardy mentions, in 
his learned work on JEastern Muna- 
chism, that on the occasion of his visit 
to the gri'eat temple of Dambool, he 
encoimtered a troop of white monkeys 
on the rock in which it is situated 
— which were doubtless a variety of 
the Wanderoo. {Eastern MonacMsm, 
ch. xix. p. 204.) Pliny was aware 
of the fact that white monkeys are 
occasionally found in India. {Nat. 
Hid. lil). viii. cli. xxxii.) 

Chap. IV.] NATIVE JUGGLER. 18,5 

perch, and then opened his exhibition. Tliis consisted of 
endless efforts of legerdemain : catching pebbles tlirown 
up to him by his confederate below, which, upon open- 
ing his closed hand, flew away as birds ; breaking an 
egg-shell, and allowing a small serpent to escape from it 
and keeping a series of brass balls in motion by strik- 
ing them with his elbows, as well as his hands. 
Balancing on his nose a small stick with an inverted 
cup at top, from which twelve perforated balls were 
suspended by silken cords, he placed twelve ivory rods 
in his mouth, and so guided them by his hps and 
tongue, as to insert the end of each in a corresponding 
aperture in the ball, till the whole twelve were sus- 
tained by the rods, and the central support taken away. 
This and endless other tricks he performed, balancing 
himself all the ichile on the single pole on which he stood. 
He took a ball of granite, six or seven inches in 
diameter, and probably fourteen pounds' weiglit, and 
standing with his arms extended in hne, he rolled it 
from the wrist of one hand across his shoulders to the 
wrist of the other backwards and forwards repeatedly, 
apparently less by raising his arms than by a vigorous 
effort of the muscles of his back ; then seizing it in both 
hands, he flung it repeatedly twenty feet high, and 
watching it in its descent till within a few inches of his 
skull, he bent forward his head, and caught the ball 
each time between liis shoulders ; then bounding alons^ 
the road, still mounted on his pole, he closed his perfor- 
mance amidst the smiles of the audience.^ 

^ The artists on these occasions performers in the island, described by 

are always Tamils; and it may be .J ambidus, says, the flexibility of tlu>ir 

regarded as a fm-ther evidence of limbs was such, that thoy stH'med to 

the eiTor already adverted to {ante, \ consist of muscle rather' than bone : 

Vol. I. Pt. V. ch. i. p. 532) in sup- j '\'d ^i oared tov awi^arog txtn' tTrl Troauf 

posing- that the stoiy of Jambulus, ! KciinrToniva koI Trakiv aTzoKaQtarn^iva 

as told by Diodorus, relates to Ceylon j Trapa-n-Xj^aiwi: toXq vivpio^fm. The pas- 

— that the Singhalese have never i sage is fm-ther remarkable, as it evi- 

been noted for their skill in jugglei-y ! dently describes an exhibition of 

and legerdemain, although these arts j vcnfrilorjuism, and is proljably th(> 

are brought to high perfection in i earliest mention of that art " upon 

Hindustan and other countries around record. Sudi appears to have been 

them. DiODORU.s, in speaking of the | their skill, that Jambulus was im- 



[Part VII. 

• The last thirty miles of this wonderM road passes 
through scenery \vhich combines the grandeur ^f Alps 
with the splen- 
dour of tropical 
vegetation. It is 
an Oriental Sini- 
plon, chmbing 
hills, crossing tor- 
rents ; and following the A\^nd- ''^^ 
ings of ravines, till it reaches its Jj^ 
extreme altitude at the pass 
of Kaduganawa, one of those 
romantic glens which the for- 
mer kings of Kandy jealously 
guarded as an entrance from 
the low country. 

Some prophet had fore- 
told that tlie " Kandyan 
kingdom would perish 
when a bullock should 
be driven 
through a cer- 
tain hill, and 
a horseman- 
ride through 
a rock." Sk 
Edw. Barnes 
carried a tun- 

pressed with the l)elief that they had 
earli two tongues, and were enabled 
to conduct two distinct discourses si- 
multaneously : 'Ifiov £e ri KOI TTtpi ri])' 
yXw-riiv aiiToix ^X'"'? '"'' A*^'' *'"'''*''<'^L" 
avTolc (Tvyytyunnjfih'ov, to S t5 tTTi- 
voiag (liCKoTi\vovfifv(n'' c'nTrv\ov fxiv 
yap avToi'Q ^X*"' '"')*' y^'J"'"''"'' *''■' To- 
(To)', rd d' tvfor'ipM -rrpoatiaipeiv, {uari 
?i7r\f}i' nvri'/v yimnQai fi^xP^ '''''? p'?*/C 
* * * * rh Se iravTbJv TrapacoKoTaroi; 
iifia vpoQ Svo tHiv h'TvyxavovTiov \n\- 
\ilv tvriXwr, aTTOKpivofifvovQ ri Kai raiq 
viroKfin'ivatQ Trfpirrrc'irrKTiv «iVfi'a>c ti/u- 

Chap. IV.] 



nel under the liill, and the Kandy mail drives through an 
arcliway in the rock.^ 

A Uttle beyond the top of the pass, where tlie road 
begins to descend towards the Mahawelh-ganga, a colony 
of the degraded tribe, the Eodiyas, have estabhshed one 
of their hamlets or kuppiyames^ meaning literally a " col- 
lection of huts ; " for, as one of the incidents of their 
mfamy, they were not permitted to call their places of 
residence, villages. The condition of the Pariahs, the 
Niadis, Porleahs, and other debased races in India, pre- 
sents nothing more dreadful than the unresisting degra- 
dation of this abhorred community. 

Their expulsion from the pale of society took ]:)lace in 
an age so remote, that even the traditions as to its cause 
are confused or forgotten.^ One legend describes them 
as a branch of the Veddahs, condemned to never-endinsf 
degradation for having supphed a king's table with hu- 
man flesh instead of venison^; but a difference in their 
height and figure suggests the more probable idea that 
they may have been immigrants from the coast of India, 
of the Chandala blood ^^5 a people so degraded, that water 
over which their shadows had passed was held to be 
defiled till purified by sunlight. 

The language of the Eodiyas, mingled w^ith corrupted 
Singhalese, contains unintelligible words inchcative of a 
foreign descent. They are found only in the Kandyan 
districts ; at SafTragam, Doombera, and Wallepane and a 
few other places in the interior ; their numbers do not 
probably exceed a thousand, and are said to be decreasing. 

XovvTOQ' rfj fxlv yap tTifXf 7rr^;^( Tzpixj 
Tovtva,r)j c iiWy TraXo' ofioiiog Kpixjrh' 
ETfpov (^laXfyKTl'ni. — Pior*. SiC. lib. ii 
^ jNIore than ten years were occu- 
pied in the construction of the Kandv 
road, which was bejiun in 1H20, and 
not thoroughly completed till ]8.'}1. 
A column, erected on the face of the 
cliff, commemorates tlie services of 
the officer under wliose immetliate 
care tl>e road was formed, and whose 
premature death was accelerated liy 
exposure durino- its prop:ress. The 
pedestal hears the inscription : 


During the government of Sir Kiluard Barnes. 

K.c.B. Ac. 

Commaiuiing Royal Engineers. Ceylon, 

whose science and skill planned and executed 

this Koad, 

and other works of puhlic utility. 

Died at Colombo, 2Kth March, If 29. 

l?y subscription this Monument was erected 

to liis memory by his friends and admirers. 

^ The liajavnli mentions Ilodivas 
204 B.C. (p. 188); and the Maha- 
u-ciiiso, A.D. 589 (ch. xlii.) 

^ Knox, pt. iii. ch. ii. p. 70. 

■* The 31(1 ha ira /ISO mentions a vil- 
lage of outcasts in Ceylon, A.D. 487, 
of Hindu origin (cli. x. p. GO). 


Under the Kandyan kings their humiUation was utter 
and complete. The designation Eodiya, or rodda^ means, 
hterally, "fihh." They were not permitted to cross a 
ferry, to draw water at a well, to enter a village, to till 
land, or learn a trade, as no recognised caste could deal 
or hold intercom^se with a Eodiya. Formerly they were 
not allowed to build houses with two walls or a double 
roof, but hovels in which a hurdle leaned against a 
single wall and rested on the ground.^ They were 
forced to subsist on alms or such gifts as they miglit 
receive for protecting the fields from ^\dld beasts or biu"y- 
ing the carcases of dead cattle ; but they were not 
allowed to come within a fenced field even to beg. 
They converted the hides of animals into ropes, and 
prepared monkey-skins for covering tom-toms and drums, 
which they bartered for food and other necessaries. They 
were prohibited from wearing a cloth on their heads, and 
neither men nor women were aUowed to cover their 
boches above the waist or below the knee. If be- 
nighted they dare not he down in a shed appropriated 
to other travellers, but hid themselves in caves or de- 
serted watch-huts. They could not enter a cornet of 
justice, and if Avronged had to utter their complaints 
from a distance. Though nominally Buddhists (but 
conjointly demon-worshippers), they were not allowed 
to go into a temple, and could only pray " standing afar 

Although they were permitted to have a headman, 
who was styled then' hollo-icalhia, lus nomhiation was stig- 
matised by requirmg the sanction of the common jailor, 
who was likewise the sole medium of communication be- 
tween the Eodiyas and the rest of the human race. So 
vile and valueless were they in the eyes of the community, 
that, under the Kandyan ride, when it was represented 
to the king that the Eodiyas had so multii)hed as to be 
a nuisance to the villagers, an order was given to reduce 
their numbers by shooting a certain proportion in each 

Valkxtyx, Otitf cii Xici/ir ()o.<t-Iii(l!en, lutrotl. p. 7. 


kuppiyame.^ The most dreaded of all punisliments 
under the Kandyan dynasty was to hand over the lady 
of a high caste offender to the Eodiyas ; and the mode 
of her adoption Avas by the Eodiya taking betel from 
his own mouth and placing it in hers, after which till 
death her degradation was indehble.^ 

Under the rule of the British, which recognises no 
distinction of caste, the status of the Eodiyas has been 
nominally, and even materially, improved. Their disqua- 
hfication for labour no longer exists ; but after centuries 
of mendicancy and idleness they evince no inchnation 
for work. Thek pursuits and habits are still the same, 
but their bearing is a shade less servile, and they pay a 
profounder homage to a high than a low caste Kandyan, 
and manifest some desire to shake oiT the o])probrious 
epithet of Eodiyas. Their houses are better built, and 
contain a few articles of furniture, and in some places 
they have acquired patches of land and possess cattle. 
Even the cattle share the odium of their owners, and to 
distinguish them from the herds of the Kandyans, their 
masters are obhged to suspend a coco-nut shell from 
their necks by a leathern cord.^ 

Socially their hereditary stigma remains unaltered ; 
their contact is still shunned by the Kandyans as 
pollution, and instinctively the Eodiyas crouch to their 
own degradation. In carrying a burden they still load 
the pingo (yoke) at one end only, instead of both, hke 
other natives. They fall on their knees with uphfted 
hands to address a man of the lowest recognised caste ; 
and they sliout on the approach of a traveller, to warn 
him to stop till they can get off the road and allow him 
to pass without the risk of too close a proximity to 
their persons. 

^ From a MS. Memorandum mi the 
Hodit/as by Mr. Mitford, C.C.S., 
Davy relates that shortly after the 
British o;ot possession of Kandy, some 
police Vidahns, who were ordered to 
ari'est eertain Rodiyas for murder, 

refused to pollute themselves by lay- | 1853, p. 240. 

ing hands on them, but offered to 
shoot then doicn from a distance. 
(Ch. iv. p. 131.) 

2 Rev. R. Spexce Hardy, 77ie 
Friend, vol. ii. p. 15. 

^ Casie Cuitty, Ceylon MisvcU. 



[i'akt vir. 

Their habits are lilthy, and their appetites oiiiiiivo- 
rous. Carrion is as accej)table to them as the flesli of 
monkeys, squirrels, the civet-cat, mongoos, and tor- 
toises ^ ; and they hover near ceremonies and feasts 
in hope of obtaining the fragments. The men are 
employed occasionally on the coffee estates, and in 
making roads, but they are generally stigmatised as 
imbecile, and shunned as reputed thieves. The charac- 
ter of the women is still more disreputable ; they wander 
as jugglers, and at feasts perform dances, during which 
they keep two polished brass plates rotating, one on the 
top of each fore-fingei'. 

The Rodiyas who have established tliemselves in the 
vihage of Kaduganawa, are remarkable for tlie beauty and 
fine figures of the females, which are displayed to ad- 
vantage by tlie Hghtness of their conventional costume. 

' Casik C'hitty in Ceijhn MisccIL, p. 288. 


As if to demonstrate tliat witliiii the lowest depths of 
degradation tliere may exist a lower still, there are two 
races of outcasts in Ceylon, who are abliorred and 
avoided even by the Eodiyas. These are the Ambette- 
yos, or barbers, and the Hanomoreyos, or betel-box 
makers, of Oovah, who are looked on as so vile that no 
human being would touch rice that had been cooked in 
their liouses ; and the Eodiyas, on the occasion of festi- 
vals, tie up tlieir dogs to prevent them prowling in 
search of food to the dwellings of these wretclies. 

In contemplating the position and treatment of the 
Eodiyas of Ceylon, one is struck with its similarity to 
that of the Cagots and Caqueux, " the Pariahs of the 
West," who, from time immemorial, have been held in 
abhorrence in the valleys of the Pyrenees, and the 
plains of Bretagne, Poitou, and Guienne. The origin 
of either race is alike obscure, and it remains uncertain 
whether the Cagots were extruded from human spn- 
pathy and association as the descendants of Gothic or 
Moorish oppressors ; or whether they w^ere shunned from 
rehgious hatred, as the offspring of Arians, Jews, or 
Mahometans. Por more than a thousand years, there 
are records of their social proscription, with every ac- 
companiment of infamy and abhorrence. Their persons 
were believed to be contaminating, and their smell an 
abomination. Like the Eodiyas, they were compelled to 
stand aside on the highway to allow travellers to pass ; 
they were pimished for coming between the wind and a 
free citizen ; they durst not draw water from a public 
fountain, or touch the parapet of a bridge with their un- 
covered hand. To protect the earth from the pollution of 
their feet, they were forced to wear shoes, and to enable 
all comers to avoid them, the law oixlered them to cany 
a red mark {pied d'oye) upon then* shoulders. They 
were forbidden to touch an article of food in the market- 
place before it had been sold and deUvered to them. 
Their dwellings were huts and hovels in spots avoided by 
the rest of mankind ; and though permitted to embrace 



[Part VII. 

Christianity, tliey liad to enter stooping through a sepa- 
rate porch into the chiu^ches, to touch the holy Avater 
in a separate henitiei\ to pray in a separate recess, and 
after death their dishonoiued remains were inteiTed in a 
separate cemetery ; in one of which, as if to taunt them 
with the perpetual remembrance that death was their 
only escape from an existence in which enjopuent was 
unknown, a column still remains with the inscription, 
" absit gloriari, nisi in cruce Domini." 

But the most curious coincidence between the case of 
the Eodiyas and that of the outcasts of France was, that 
both tribes were doomed to the revoltuig emplopnent of 
skinning dead cattle, and steeping hemp to be made into 
ropes and cordage. Hence the Caqueux were known 
as the rope-makers ('' cordiers ") of Basse-Bretagne, and 
their villages were called " corderies," whilst the Cagots 
were almost universally carpenters ; — the two trades 
being ahke infamous at an early period, because those 
who pm^sued the one were expected. to furnish gibbets 
and instruments of torture, whilst the other provided the 
halters for the executioner. ^ 

From the Eodiya village at Kaduganawa, there is a 
gentle descent, for eight or nine miles, towards the 
banks of the Mahawelh-ganga ; a bend of which flows 
around Kandy, surrounding the city, as the Singhalese 
say, "hke a necklace of pearls."^ The road still 
passes through rich and romantic scenery ; moimtains 
forest-clad to their summits ; valleys brightened by fer- 
tihsmg streams, and villages and hamlets embosomed 

^ Michel, in his Ilidon/ of the 
Outcast Haces of France and Spain, 
thus accounts for this popidar pre- 
judice : " Les Caqueux de la I^retapie 
ne pouvaient exercer d'autre etat que 
celui de conker ; mais il 6tait infanie 
conime je suppose que celui de char- 
peutier I'etait dans le sud-ouest de 
la France ; et cela appareranieut par 
la meme raison — car si les charpen- 
tiers dressaicnt les gribets et les auti-es 

instruments de supplice, les cordiei-s 
fournissaient les harts destines a niet- 
ti"e un tenne a la vie des criniinels 
condaninesa etre pendus." — Jllstoire 
(Jes Races Maiulitcs de la France et de 
VEsjiaifne, ch. v. torn. i. p. 310, &c. 

^ " ^Vnd, moreover, by the side of 
the !Mahawelli-j>anfra, which is like 
a neckhiee of pearls round the neck of 
a queen of Ceylon, the King-," &c. — 
Rajaratnacari, p. 130. 


amidst trees. A bridge of satin-wood crosses the river 
at Peradenia, and a drive of a few miles tlirougli a 
continuous line of cottages and bazaars, leads to the 
entrance of the Demesne, in which stands the Pavilion, 
the stately residence of the Governor at the central 

VOL. 11. 



[Part VII. 



TTaxdy presents no arcliitectural monument mtli any 
pretension to antiquity. Its singularly seciu"e position, 
in a peninsula formed b}^ a sweep of the great river 
and surrounded by a double circumvallation of moun- 
tains, may, at a very early period, liave rendered it a 
stronghold of tlie princes of Maya ; but the first mention 
of it as a city is at tlie beginning of the fourteenth 
century \ when a temple was built there to contain the 
dalada and other rehcs. From possessing these it be- 
came an important seat of the Buddhist hierarchy, and 
eventually the residence of branches of tlie royal family. 
But it was not till the close of the sixteenth century 
tliat it was adopted as the capital of the island, after 
the destruction of Cotta and the defeat of Eaja Siugha 
n., by Winiala Dliarma, a.d. 1592. The town at that 
time probabh' occupied in part the valley afterwards 
submerged by the construction of the Kandy Lake, 
whicli was formed by the last kino-, in 1807. Dmins; 
the wars with the Portuguese and tlie Dutch, Kandy 
was so repeatedly burned and otherwise destroyed that 
scarcely any i)art of the ancient buildings, except the 
temples and the royal residence, was remaining when 
the English obtained possession of the city in 1815.- 

' 111 the ]»'i>>ii of r<uulita I'rak- 
rama Balm III., between 12G7 and 
1801 A.I). — Mdhairanso, cli. Ix.vxiii. ; 
Rajdratnocdri. p. 104. 

- Tlie Portuguese captured Kandy 
in A.r». 1592, and they bunied it in 
A.D. 1627 (RiiiEVRO, pt. ii. ch. i. 

p. 192) ; and again in A.D. 1G."37 
(Faeia y SorzA, pt. iv. ch. ^-iii. p. 
375). The Dutch occupied it after 
its destruction by its own inhabitants 
in A.D. 1704 ; — and it Wiiij partijxlly 
biinit by the king on the approach of 
the Eno-lish in a^d. 1803. 

Chap. V.] 



The palace, a wing of Avliicli is still uccupiud by the 
chief civil officer of the province, is popularly beheved 
to be much older than it really is. It was built by 
Wimala Dharma, about the year IGOO, and Spilberg, 
the Dutch admiral, who \4sited Kandy in 1602, says 
that the king employed the services of his Portuguese 
prisoners in its erection ; — a circumstance which may 
serve to account for the European character which 
pervades the architecture of some portions still remain- 
ing ^ ; such as the towei' adjoining the Malagawa temple, 
in which the sacred tooth is deposited. 


As to the streets and the dwelhngs of the natives, they 
were wretched at all times ; the barbarous etiquette 
of the Kandj^an kings reserving the luxury of "win- 
dows, whitened walls, and tiles for the members of the 
royal family, and prohibiting then* use to subjects.^ 
One quarter of the to^vn, leachng from the Lake to the 
Maliawelli-'|>'anga, contained houses of this privileged 
construction ; and Boyd, on the occasion of his embassy 

* " Don Juan a ftiit batir uii 
niagnifiqiie palais a Candy, et plu- 
sionrs tours et pagodes a quoi il a 
eniploit! k's Portugais qti'il avait fait 
prisonniers." — SriLBERO, Voya()c, 
torn. ii. p. 443. There is no I'eason 
to believe that any vestige now re- 

mains of tlie original lemph' built for 
the reception of the Tooth by Pan- 
dita Prak^una Bsihu III., a.d. 17(37. 
— 3I(i/i(iir(, ch. Ixxxiv. 

2 ^'ALI•;^■TYN, 0ml en KicKW Ovd- 
Itidicu, ch. iii, p. 4G. 

o 2 

106 KAXin' AND I'KRADHNIA. [Past VII. 

ill 178!^, found the principal street so broad, that it 
afforded space for elephant-fights, which were held 
there to aimise the king. To avoid mischief from 
tlie enraged animals, the houses were approached by 
flights of steps, which gave them the appearance of two 
stories, although they consisted of but one.^ The 
British, on tlieu^ entrance into the city in 1815, were 
astonished at the misery of the place - ; — but the 
wretched buildings have since been replaced by others 
more indicative of the unproved civihsation and increas- 
ing prosperity of the inhabitants. 

The Palace originally covered a considerable area, 
but its builchngs were mean, its passages intricate and 
dark, and its chambers gloomy, confined, and filthy in 
the extreme. Of the rooms which still remain, the 
principal have been altered and adapted to European 
tastes, but their style of decoration, and the frequent 
recurrence of the sacred goose amongst the ornaments 
on the walls, bespeak their Biiddhistical origin. Ex- 
ternally, the fa9ade is rather imposing ; the space 
wliich it occupies is screened by a crenellated wall, 
connecting it with the temple and its octagonal tower. 
In front is a moat, which has been recently levelled, 
but was formerly filled with water ; -^ this was crossed 
by a bridge, that led to the grand gate ; it was flanked 
by elephants sculptured in granite, and communicated 
with the palace by a broad flight of stone steps. 

The only existing structm^e which seems worthy 
of its original destination, is the Audience Hall, at 
present used as the district comt-house ; a spacious 
apartment supported on richly carved columns of teak- 
wood, the bracketed capitals being admirable specimens of 
florid Hindu architecture. Pubhc receptions were held 
by night ^, when the hall was lighted with wax, the co- 
lonnades on each side crowded with crouching comtiers ; 

' Boyd's Emhasn)/ to Kanrly. I ^ Asiat. Journ., vol. i. p. 44. 
Miscell. Works, vol. ii. p. 200. ) ' Davy's Cei/lon, p. 176. 

Chap. V.] THE DALADA. 197 

and ill a dim, and studiously darkened alcove, the king, 
reclining on a throne, Avas approaclied by his ministers, 
"on all fours, with their foces close to the floor, and 
almost hterally licldng the dust." ^ 

The temples of Kandy, both Buddliist and Hindu, 
are dilapidated edifices, apparently perishing from 
unarrested decay. They are situated in enclosed 
court-yards, and, under the shade of the groves that 
surround them, crumble the neglected monuments of the 
later sovereigns of Kandy.- All the Buddhist priests in 
Ceylon belong ostensibly to one or other of the two great 
estabhshments at Kandy, the Asgiri and Malwatte. In 
doctrines and disciphne they are identical, but they 
differ somewhat in territorial authority, the ecclesiastical 
jurisdiction of the Asgiri behig understood to extend 
over the northern parts of the island, and that of the 
Malwatte chiefly over the temples to the soutli. With 
the extinction of the national dynasty, the status and 
influence of the priesthood have undergone a rapid de- 
chne; — not that their ]:)ossessions have diminished, 
nor that the protection of the chiefs has been less gene- 
rous than before ; but in tlie eyes and estimation of the 
people they have endured a diminution of dignity from 
the loss of the royal ]:>resence, in wdiich it was their 
privilege to bask. Even their ritual pomp and cere- 
monials no longer command the same homage from the 
populace, and the great animal jn-ocession of the Pera- 
hara, witli its torchlights, its solemn music, and capari- 

1 Botd's Embdssi/, iSv. Miscall. 
Works, vol. ii. p. 214. 

- After burning' tlio bocli(>8 of the 
deceased king-s, their ji.slies were 
carried l)y a man in a l)lack mask, 
to the Miihawclli-gansia, where h(> 

opposite bank, whence he fled to tlie 
forest and was presumed to be never 
more seen. The canoe was allowed to 
drift away ; the horses and elephants 
that accompanied the procession were 
set at libertv in the woods ; and the 

embarked in a canoe. At the deejiest i females who strewed rice over the 
part of the river he clove the vase coffin, were transported across the 

with a sword, scattered the avshes on river and forbidden e\<n- to return. — 
the stream, and plunging headlong TIavv's Cciilnn, p. I(ii\ 

after them, dived and rose near the ' 

o 3 



[Part VII. 

soiled elephants, is spiritless and uniniprossive, if con- 
trasted witli occasions within memory, wlien it was 
hallowed by the divine presence of a king,^ 

At the present day nothing can be less oljtrusive 
than the Buddliist worship, or less ostentations than 
the demeanonr of its priesthood. One is only re- 
minded of their vicinity when, at snnset or in tlie 
early morning, the silence is broken by the noise of 
tom-toms and the plaintive notes of tlie Ante, mingled 
Avith the discordant blare of the chank shells, which 
are sounded as an accompaniment to the melancholy 
chaunting of their choir. 

But the most remarkable object at Kandy is un- 
questionably the dalada, asserted to be the " sacred 
tooth " of Briddha, which for so many centuries lias 
commanded the imreasonino; homage of milhons of de- 
votees. An allusion has been elsewhere made to tlie 
traditional history of this relic ^, its rescue from the 
flames after the cremation of the mortal remains of 
Gotania Buddlia at Kusinara, B.C. 543, and its pre- 
servation for eight hundred years at Dantapura in 
Kalinga, whence it was brought to Ceylon in the foiu'th 
century after Christ.^ It was afterwards cajitm-ed by 
the Malabars about the year 1315, and again carried 
to India, but recovered by the prowess of Prakrama 
Bahu III. During tlie troublous times which followed, 
the original tooth was hidden in difTerent parts of the 
island, at Kandy, at Delgamoa in Saffragam, and at 

' An account of the Pera-hara, 
and the historical event which it 
commemorates, will be fomid in 
T7ie Friend, published at Colombo 
in 1830, vol. iii. p. 41. A descrip- 
tion of tlie procession as it was 
celebrated two centuries ap-o, is con- 
tained in the trutliful narrative of 
Kxox, pt. iii. ch. iv. p. 7S. 

2 See Vol. I. rt. Tii. cli. ix. p. 888. 

^ A.D. ^)\\, 3Iah(iW(niso, ch. xxxvii. 
p. 241 ; Itajarali, p. 240. ^ axajio, 
who AVi'ote his portion of tlie Maha- 
iranso, between a.d. 451) and 477, 

quotes as liis authority for tlie his- 
tory of tlie tooth, a work which is 
extant to the present day, called the 
I)(i/(if!ii-irri)iso, or ('hroniclc of the 
DalmJa, and from it and other 
sources TuRXorR drew the matei-ials 
for a memoir, which he communi- 
cated in 18.'»7 to the Asiatic Societv 
of Benp-al, ou " Tlie Tooth-relic of 
Ceiflon,'''' Asiat. Sac. Jonni. lieuf/., 
vol. \\. p. 8o(i. Forbes puljlished a 
paper on tlie history of tlie tooth, 
in the Cei/lon Cdh-itdnr for 18:5.5. 


Kotmalie ; but ut lust in 1560 it was discovered by tlie 
Portuguese \ taken to Goa by Don Constantine de Bra- 
ganza, and bimied by tlie Archbishop in the presence of 
tlie Viceroy of IncUa and his couit. 

The fate of this renowned rehc is so remarkable, and 
its destruction is related >vith so much particularity 
by the Portuguese annahsts of the period, and their 
European contemporaries, that no historical doubt can 
be entertained, even were internal evidence wanting, 
that the tooth now exhibited at Kandy is a spurious 
and modern substitute for the original, destroj^ed in 

The story as told by De Couto ^ is curiously illustra- 
tive of the genius and ftuth of the Buddhist races. No 
sooner was it ascertained that the relic had been seized 
by Don Constantine, than the sovereign of Pegu, 
who had previously despatched annual embassies to 
offer homage at its shrine, sent in anxious haste to 
redeem it by an exchange of treasure and pohtical services. 
The fidalgos of Goa were eager to replenish their ex- 
hausted treasury on the generous terms which he offered ; 
but the piety of the Eoman Catliolic prelates was trium- 
phant, the idolatrous object was consumed, and its ashes 
scattered on the sea.^ 

But a very few years elapsed before the delusion was 

^ For the particulars of the siege 
and captTire of Jaffna in L'jOO, see 
Vol. II. Pt. Ti. ch. i. p. 28. 

^ The account of the capture and 
subsequent fate of the Daluda is so 
important an incident in the religious 
annals of Ceylon, and at tlie same 
time has so significant a beanng- on 
the veneration still paid to the sup- 
posed relic at Kandy, that I have 
thought it necessary to translate the 
passage as it is given by De Cor to, 

mode of its destruction: " Assentado 
isto, mandou o "N'iso-Rey ao Thesou- 
reiro que trouxesse o dente : e o 
entregou ao Arcebispo, que alii 
presentes todos o lan^ou em hum 
almofariz, e com sua propria mao o 
pizou, c desfez em p6z, e os deitou 
em hum brazeiro, que pera isso 
mandou trazer, e as ciuzas, e carvoes 
mandou lan9ar no meio do rio a vista 
de todos, que assomaram as va- 
randiis, e janellas que cahiam sobre 

in his Ilifitori/ of the CouqKcst <if Indid i o mar." — ])k Couto, Dec. A'ii. lib. ix 

/;// the Portuf/ucse. It will be foimd i ch. xvii. ; see also RoDRlGUES nK 

in the Appendix to this chapter. \ Saa, ReheUon, i^-c. p. 18 — '09 ; \ x- 

'^ The narrative of De Couto is ' lentyx, ch. xvi. p. .•J8.3. 
circumstantial and minnto as to the I 

o 4 


revived, and not only a duplicate, but a triplicate of tlie 
desecrated relic were regarded with undiminished ado 
ration both in Pegu and Ceylon. The story of the 
resuscitated imposture is related by De Couto. The 
Idng of Pegu, in 1566, ha\'ing been told by the astro- 
logers that he was to wed, a Singhalese princess, sent 
to demand her in marriao;e : ■ but the reio-uino; sove- 

D ' CO 

reign, Don Juan Dharma Pala, ha\'ing unfortunately 
no child, the prophecy was on the point of discomfiture ; 
when liis chamberlain, a nobleman of the blood royal, 
suo-o-ested the substitution of liis o"\vii dauo-hter, and 
added impiety to fraud by feigning to the Peguan 
envoys that he still held in secret the genuine dalada, 
falsely supposed to have been destroyed by the Chris- 
tians at Goa. The device was successfid, the supposi- 
titious princess was received in Pegu with all the nuptial 
honours of royalty ; and ambassadors were despatched 
to Ceylon, to obtain possession of the sacred tooth, 
which Avas forthwith transferred to Arracan. 

The king of Kandy, Wiki'ama Bahu, on learning the 
deception which had been perpetrated by his cousin of 
Cotta, apprised the Peguan sovereign of the impostm-e 
Avliich had been practised upon him ; and to redress it he 
offered him his own daughter in marriage, and proposed 
as her dowry to send the veritable tooth, afhrming that 
both the one recently obtamed from Colombo, and the 
other formerly pulverised at Goa, were counterfeit, his 
alone being the genuine rehc of Buddha.^ But the 
prince of Pegu was too devout to confess himself a 
dupe ; " he gave ear to the ambassadors," says Faria y 
Souza, " but not to their information, and thus had Don 
Constantine de Braganza sold the tooth, as he was 

* The Singhalese never seem to I "and obtained from the kinjr (of Cey- 

have been sci-iipulous about multi 
ph-infj Buddha's teeth. For ^Marco 
Polo says tlie Great Khan Khubla 
sent to demand one in tlie year 1281, 

Ion) two large back teeth, together 
with some of his hair and a handsome 
vessel of porphyry." — ^Iaijco Polo. 
Trarch, S^-c, b. iii. eh. xxiii. p. 071. 

Chap. V.] 



advised, there had not been two set up to be adored by 
so many people." ^ 

The incidents of tliis narrative are too minute, and 
their credibility is estabhshed by too many contemporary 
and concurrent authorities ^, to admit of any doubt that 
the authenticity of tlie tooth now preserved in the Mala- 
gawa at Kandy is no higher than its antiquity, and that 
the supposed relic is a clumsy substitute, manufactured by 
Wikrama Bahu in 1566, to replace the original dalada 
destroyed by the Portuguese in 1560.^ The dimensions 
and form of the present dalada are fatal to any belief in 
its identity with the one originally worshipped, whicli 
was probably human *, whereas 
the object now shown is a piece 
of discoloured ivoiy, about two 
inches in length, and less than 
one in diameter, resembling the 
tooth of a crocodile rather than 
that of a man. 


* Faeia t Sotjza, vol. ii. pt. iii. 
ch. ii. p. 251 ; De Couto, Dec. viii. 
vol. V. pt. i. ch. xii., xiii. p. 74. 

^ The fact of the destruction of 
the tooth iu 1561 by Don Constan- 
tine de Braganza is confirmed by the 
aiitliority of Rodrigtjes de Saa t 
Menezes, who in 1678 wTote his 
" Rebelion de Cei/lan^^ to commemorate 
the exploits and death of his father 
Constantine de Saa y Norona, who 
perished in the expedition to re- 
duce the Kandyans at BaduUa, a.d. 
1680. — Rehelion, ilfc., ch. i. p. 18: ch, 
vii. p. 09. The stoiy, wliich must 
have created a sensation throughout 
India, is related by Sir Thomas Her- 
bert, whose travels were published in 
16.34, and by Francois Pyrard de 
Laval, who visited Ceylon about 
1608 A.D. Vojiaf/e, Sf-c, torn. ii. ch. x. 
p. 89. Valentyn records the fate 
of the tooth, and says it had been 
kept near Adam's Peak till 1554. 
Olid en Nieitw Oost-lndien, ch. xvi. 
p. 382. In the Narrative of the 
Mission sent hi/ the Governor- General 

of India to the Court of Ava in 1855, 
by Captain Yide, tlie envoy and his 
suite pointed out to him near the 
palace at Amarapoora " a square edi- 
fice, representing the depository of 
the tooth of Gotama, wiiicli, in an- 
cient times, was preserved within 
the royal precincts," p. 1.3G. In 
descending the river to Rangoon on 
the retui'n of the ^lission, they were 
shown fit Xyoimgoo, the Zeegoong 
pagoda, which " enshrines a facsimile 
of one of Gotama's teeth." — Pp. 33, 

^ The powers of tlie tootli as a 
national palladium, and tlie exemp- 
tion of Ceylon from foreign domina- 
tion, so long as it possessed the relic 
and tlie sacred tree at Anarajapoora, 
arc propounded in the Eajaratnaeari, 
Upiiam's version, ch. i. p. 2. 

•' Faria y Souza says it was said 
to be the tooth of an ape, but this 
arises from confounding IJuddha and 
Ilanuman the Sacred Monkey, vol. ii. 
pt. ii. ch. xvi. p. 207. 



[Part VII. 

Its popular acceptance, notwithstanding this anomalous 
shape, may probably be accounted for by the familiarity 
of the Kandyans, under their later kings, with the forms 
of some of the Hindu deities, amongst whom Vishnu and 
Kah are occasionally depicted with similarly projecting 

The apartment in which it is deposited is in the 
inmost recess of the Wihara, a small chamber without 
windows, in wliich the air is stiflingly hot, and heavy 
with the perfume of flowers. The frames of the doors 
are inlaid with carved ivory, and on a massive silver 
table stands the bell-shaped carandua, the shrine, which 
encloses the relic, encrusted with gems, and festooned 
with jewelled chains. The outer case contains a munber 

"'"iiWIH.liMi X"" '^-^'^ ^ I' I '/I 


of others, similarly wrought, but diminishing in size, till 
on removing the inner one a golden lotus is disclosed, 
ill ihe centre of which reposes the mysterious tooth. 

* See Moor's Hhulu Pantheon, pi. xxviii. L. 

Chap. V.] IL\NDY. 203 

The antiquity of these caranduas is doubtful, but 
their fasliiou and form appear to be identical with 
those described in the Rajaratnacari as having been 
made for the rehc by successive sovereigns between 12G7 
and 1464 A. D.^ 

Nothing can be more pictm-esque than the situation 
and aspect of Kaiidy, on the l^aiiks of a miniature lake, 
overhung on all sides hy lulls, which command charm- 
ing views of the city, with its temples, and monuments 
below. In the lake, a tiny island is covered by a pic- 
turesque building, now a powder magazine, but in former 
tunes a harem of the king. A road, which bears the 
name of " Lady Horton's Walk,'' winds round one 
of those hills ; and on the eastern side, which is 
steep and almost precipitous, it looks dow^i into the 
valley of Doombera, through which the Mahawelli- 
ganga rolls over a channel of rocks, presenting a scene 
which nothing in the tropics can exceed in majestic 

In a park at the foot of this acclivity is the pavilion 
of the governor, one of the most agreeable edifices in 
India, not less for the beauty of its architecture than 
for its judicious adaptation to the climate. The walls 
and columns are covered with chunam, pre})ared from 
calcined shells, wliich in whiteness and polish ri\-als 
the purity of marble. The high ground immediately 
behind is included in the demesne, and so successfully 
have the elegancies of landscape gardening been com- 
bined with the wildness of nature, that dining my last 
residence at Kandy a leopard from the forest above 
came down nightly, to drink at the fountain in the 

My own official residence, from its vicinity to the 
same jungle, was occasionally entered by equally unex- 
pected visitors. Serpents are numerous on the hills, and 
as the house stood on a terrace formed out of one of its 
steepest sides, the cobi-a de ca])ello and the green cara- 

' lidjonitiKK-dri, pp. 103, 113. 



[Part VTI. 

Chap. V.J SNAKES. 205 

Avellii frequently glided through the rooms on their 
way towards the grounds. During the residence of 
one of my predecessors in office, an invaUd, Avho lay 
for some days on a sofa in the verandah, imagined 
more than once that she felt sometliing move under the 
])illow ; and on rising to have it examhied, a snake was 
discovered with a brood of young, wliich from theu- 
being born ahve were most probably venomous. A lady 
residing in the old palace adjoining, going to open her 
piano was about to remove what she thought to be an 
ebony walking-stick that lay upon it, but was startled on 
finding that she had laid hold of a snake. 

One day when the carriage had come to the door, and 
I was about to hand a lady in, a rat-snake uncoiled itself 
on the cushion, and ghded leisurely down the steps. 
These creatures, however, are perfectly harmless, and are 
encouraged by the horse-keepers to take up their abode 
about the offices and stable-yard, wliicli they keep fi"ee 
of vermin. In colour they are brown, with a tmge of 
iridescent blue. 

Another less formidable intruder was the great black 
scorpion \ as large as a little cray-fish, which sometimes 
when disturbed in the dayhght made its way across the 
floor with its venomed tail arched forward, prepared to 
encounter any assailant. Its habits are crepuscular, 
lurking by day under stones and in ruined waUs and 
cellars, and issuing at dusk in search of orthopterous 
larva3 and succulent insects. Exaggerated aj^prehen- 
sions prevail as to the effi3Cts of its wound, which is 
neither dangerous nor very painful, l)ut after occasioning 
some inflammation, yields to the free use of hartshorn 
and coohng lotions.^ 

A small yellow scorpion^ is common in aU parts of 
the island, flat, narrow, and about two inches in length. 

^ Buthns Afer, Linn. 

"^ Dr. Davy says, that in Ceylon 
tlie poison of the scorpion is very 
little if at all more active than that 
of tho 1)P0 or wasp. He adds, that 
ill tw(i or three instances, when he 

tried the sting of the lar<;e black 
scorpion on fowls, it appeared to 
have no effect. (Daw's Ceuhn, p. 
101.) ^ 

^ Scorpio linearis, Temp. 





It frequents the sleeping apartments and wardrobes, and 
conceals itself in the folds of loose dresses. It is regarded 
as noxious, but I beheve unjustly, as I never heard of 
any inji^uy arising from its sting. 

The temperatm-e of Kandy is beheved to have in- 
creased in warmth since the surfaces of the surrounduig 
mountains have been diied by the felhng of the trees, to 
convert the forests into plantations of coffee ^ ; — and it is 
certamly remarkable tliat althougli grapes TvdLl not ripen 
there now, as the vine requires a winter repose"^, wine 
from grapes grown on the spot was produced in the time 
of the Dutch. Spilberg, Avho drank of it m 1602, 
describes its quahty as excellent ; and Valentyn at a later 
})eriod speaks of it in similar terms.^ 


The costumes of the groups of Kandj'ans who, on oc- 
casions of ceremony, present themselves to the governor 

' For an analysis of the climate 
of Kaudv, see ante, Vol. I. Pt. i. cb. ii. 
p. 70. 

"^ See Vol. I. rt. I. ch. iii. p. 89, 
and Vol. II. p. 589. 

^ " Tout ce que Ton recueille dans 
les autres pais, soit buile, fronient, 
vin, y pent croitre et produire 
encore mienx qii'ailleurs. Xom y 

avo/is bu de ires bom viim (hi cru iht 
pais." — Si'iLBEiiG, torn ii. p. 4.52. 
Valextyx says, the wine of Kandy 
was equal to any in Portuofal : " en 
die in zieh zelve zoo proed was, als 
eenig-e wyn in Portugal gewasschen." 
— Oud en Nteuw Oost-Indien, ch. viii. 
p. 104. 

Chai'. v.] botanic gardens. '-^07 

at the Pavilion, or lounge in front of tlie chief civil 
officer's cutcherry, are even more curious tlian those of 
the lo^v-conntry Singlialese at Galle and Colombo. The 
priests of Buddlia, moody and abstracted, draw their 
yellow robes around them, and walk with downcast 
eyes, their ears appearing unnaturally large, from their 
heads being closely shaven. The coralles and other 
petty headmen are distinguished only by a flattened 
cap of white calico, but the great chiefs, the Eate- 
inahatmeyas \ and the nearly extinct rank of Dissave, 
wear a singularly ungraceful dress of stiffened Avhite 
muslin, with gigot sleeves, a goffred Vandyck, and their 
waist girt by an embroidered belt. Each is accompanied 
by an attendant bearing an umbrella of state, or an 
ornamented fan of the talipat-leaf inlaid with talc, as 
an emblem of his dignity. 

From Kandy to the Eoyal Botanic Garden at Pe- 
radenia, the road for nearly four miles passes through a 
continuous suburb, in wdiich almost every house is sm- 
rounded by a httle garden of coco-nut palms, bread-fruit, 
and coffee-trees. The Rajaratnacari records that in the 
year 1371 "the king, Wikrama Bahu III., ascended the 
throne, and kept his court at Pira-deniya, situated near 
the river Maliawelh-<2;anfi'a," ^ but no traces now remain 
of the buildings of that period. 

A large tract by the banks of the river has been con- 
verted into a sugar plantation, originally stocked with 
canes from Mauritius ; but the experiment has not 
been attended with the anticipated success, the produce 
barely sufficing for the supply of the central pro\TLnce. 
The mediocrity of the soil, and the necessity of frequently 
changing the plants, coii])led with a superabundance of 
merely watery fluid in the canes, and disproportionate 
jdeld of saccharine, have liitherto contributed to dis- 
courage the extension of the enterprise. The same mi- 
satistactory result has unfortunatel}^ characterised all 
similar attempts in other parts of the island. 

' Literally, " c-ountiy gentlemen. " * Rajaratnacari, \i. 111. 


The cultivation of sugar was introduced by the Dutch, 
and has been attempted by the EngHsh ^ at various 
places in the vicinity of JSTegombo, Caltura, and Galle. 
Of these almost the only estates on which the effort 
has been energetically persevered in, are a few in 
the southern province, one especiaUy on the Matura 
river ; but the series of previous disappointments deadens 
the hope of any very decided ultimate success. 

The entrance to the Peradenia Garden is through a 
noble avenue of India-rubber trees (Ficus elastica)^ 
and the first object that arrests the admkation of a 
stranger on entering is a group of palms, which is, I 
apprehend, unsm^passed both in variety and grandeur. 
It includes nearly aU those indigenous to the island, — 
the towering tahpat, the palmyra, the slender areca, 
and the kitool, with its formidable thorny congener, 
the Caryota horrida, and numerous others less remark- 
able. Amongst the exotic species are the date-palm, the 
Livistona chinensis^ some species of Calamus^ and the 
wonderful Coco-de-mer of the Seychelles.^ Close beside 
these are marvellous specimens of the symmetrical 
traveller's tree of Madagascar ^, upwards of fifty feet 
liigh, surrounded by Yucca? and Scitaminice. Nothing 
in Ceylon so forcibly impresses a traveller with the 
glory of tropical vegetation, as this luxuriant and un- 
rivalled display. 

The garden, covering an area of nearly one hundi'ed 
and fifty acres, overlooks the noble river that en- 
circles it on three sides ; and, surrounding the cultivated 
parterres, the tall natural woods afford a favourable 
opportunity for exliibiting some of the wonders of the 
Ceylon flora, — orchideaj, festoons of floweiing creepers 
[ipomceas and Mgnonias), the guilancl'uia bondiic, with 

^ Sir Echviird I'arnes, witli his j ' See ante, Vol. II. Vt. vii. c-li. ii. 

fliaracteristic vigilance, fomied one 
of tlie first su<>'ar plantations at 
A'eang-odde, Ijetween Colombo and 

p. 170. 

^ Ravenala sjyeciosa. 


its silicioiis seeds, the powerful jungle-rope {Bauhinia 
scandens), and the extraorduiary chmber^ whose strong 
stays, resembhng in form and dimensions the chain- 
cable of a man of war, lash together the tall trees of the 

The nm^series, the spice ground, the orchards and 
experimental garden, are all in high vigour ; and since 
the formation of this admu-able institution, about thuty^ 
years ago, the benefits which it has conferred on the 
colony have more than reahsed the anticipations of its 
founders. European and other exotic plants have been 
largely introduced ; the valuable products of the eastern 
Ai'chipelago, cloves, nutmegs, vanilla, and otlier spices, 
have been acclimatised ; foreign fruits without number, 
mangoes, durians, lichees, loquats, granadillas, and the 
avocado pear, have been propagated, and their culti- 
vation extended throughout the island ; and the tea 
shrub, the chocolate, arrow-root, tapioca. West Indian 
ginger, and many others have been domesticated. The 
present able and accomplished director has already com- 
menced the pubhcation of a Singhalese Flora, the com- 
pletion of which will place the savans of Europe m pos- 
session of accurate information as to the botany of the 
island. But in any allusion to the gardens of Peradenia, 
the name and services of Dr. Gardner, to whose memory 
a modest monument has been enected in tlie grounds, 
will always be associated with agreeable recollections 
of one whose genius was as remarkable in acquiring 
as his gentle manners were successful in popularising 
science in Ceylon. 

At times there has been the murmur of ill-informed 
utilitarianism against the expenditure bestowed upon 

' Baidnnia racemosa ? 

^ The first botanic garden in 
Ceylon was established by Mv. North, 
in 1799, at Ortafula, on tlie banks 
of the Kalany, at Colombo, and 
M. Joinville was named its curator. 
In 1810 it was transferred to a por- 
tion of Slave Island, which thence 


acquired the name of ''Kew," and in 
1813 it was again removed to Caltiira, 
where Moon, the author of the first 
Englisli Catalogue of Ceylon Plants, 
was superintendent, and under him 
tlie present gardens were eventujilly 
laid out at Peradenia. 


the botanic garden of Peradenia. But the object of 
such institutions, and the functions of their cmators, 
are still unperfectly appreciated even in the locahties 
to whose welfare they are most conducive ; OTvdng chiefly 
to an ignorant impatience for results which in their 
veiy nature must be prospective. The fact is over- 
looked, that such fomidations are designed not for in- 
dividual benefit, but for the collective advantage of 
communities by the gradual apphcation of science to 
material development. 

Objects at fii'st despised and insignificant, become 
sources of colonial wealth under the auspices of the bo- 
tanist ; and, on the other hand, productions upon which 
the prosperity of a region may be dependent, are liable 
to destruction and decay in the absence of his experience 
and counsels.^ It is wise pohcy in the government of 
a country, and most of aU of a new and unexplored 
one, to encoirrage the cidtivation of science for its 
own sake, confident that its labours, if not remunerative 
at the moment, will prove infallibly productive in the 

The colonial botanist, in addition to the care and 
nomenclatm'e of plants, useful, rare, and ornamental, and 

^ Witness the wholesale destruc- practical information, however accu- 

tion of the forests of India for im- rate and extensive, is useless beyond 

mediate profit ; the expenditiue on im- their own sphere. On my return to 

remunerative cultivation ; the waste I England, I was no less stiaick with 

of money and labour in useless drain- the fact (which as a juror was 

ing and planting ; the neglect of in- prominently brought before me) 

valuable products, and the substitu- that, for want of a little botanical 

tion of those that are worthless ; all knowledge on the pai-t of the ex- 

ascribable to the want of scientific hibitors, large collections of veget- 

knowledge and guidance. Dr. Hooker able produce, sent to the Great 

remai-ks (preface to the Flora of Neio ■ Exhibition, were rendered all but 

Zealand) : " During a residence of valueless." In these instances, had 

some years in om- colonies and foreign the scientific names been attached, it 

possessions, I have observed that the woidd have been easy to have given 

inhabitants are invariably anxious to such a popular and accurate accoimt 

acquia-e the names of the plants of the articles in question, that they 

around them ; they regret not ha^'ing might have been recognised by any 

leanit the rudiments of botany in one acquainted with the rudiments of 

their youth, and are most desirous botany, and thus dii-ect benefit would 

that their children slioidd be in- have accriied to the colonies produc- 

structed in them, feeliug that their ing them. 

Chap. V.j 



the collection of fruits and products of aU kinds, for an 
oeconomic museum of botany, should take upon himself 
the selection of a Ubrary and the formation of a hortw^ 
siccus for consultation and reference. These duties, to- 
gether with his foreign correspondence and exchanges, 
the reception of scientific strangers, the journeys of him- 
self and his assistants to explore the country and collect 
botanical specimens, and occasional pubhcations to excite 
and sustain popular interest in liis pursuits, ought to con- 
stitute the functions of a botanical officer, and no colony 
can fail to reap the benefit of such labom^s if judiciously 

But the dissatisfaction which has occasionally mani- 
fested itself in Ceylon, arises not alone from a want of 
due appreciation of tlie legitimate duties of a superin- 
tendent, but also from an unreasonable expectation of 
services not legitimately within his province. A know- 
ledge of agriculture, horticultm^e, forestry, pliarmacy, 
and toxicology have each been demanded, as well as the 
philosophy of climates, tlie geologic nature of rocks and 
soils, the chemistry of manures, and the oeconomic iiabits 
of animals, birds, and insects ; and it is within my own 
knowledge that from the coffee planters, there have been 
remonstrances to the local government as to the propriety 
of applpng pubhc funds for the maintenance of an insti- 
tution from which, in regard to their own estates, they 
had failed individually to obtain assistance in connection 
with these and similar subjects.^ A man of generous 
education may, no doubt, be more or less famihar with 
such studies, but even if a scientific botanist felt cUffident 
in propounding opinions or ofTermg dii'ections in re- 
lation to them, his peculiar attaimnents must be of sio;nal 
advantage in mothfying the views or facihtating tlie ope- 
rations of others. So charming is the sphere of liis 
duties, tliat those who cannot estimate then- importance 

* In some colonies, by a still more 
imreasonable requirement, the cu- 
rator of the botanic garden has been 

expected to grow vegetables for the 
table of the governor, his officers, and 

p 2 


except by tlie value of their ostensible results, are liable 
to ignore their latent utihty in the contemplation of their 
ornamental attractions. But observation and experience 
cannot fail to dissipate false expectations ; and looking 
to the present transitional aspect of Ceylon, and the 
future which is already dawning for the island, my con- 
\'iction is strong that no estabhshment in the colony is so 
essential to its interest as the Eoyal Botanic Gardens 




Translated from the Poi-tiigiiese of Diego de Couto, Asia, ^-c. 
Decade vii. lib. ix. ch. 2, &c. 

After describing the siege and reduction of Jaffna, in 1560, 
by the viceroy Don Constantine de Braganza, in the 2nd 
chapter of the vii. decade, book ix., the narrative proceeds as 

follows : — 


"Amongst the spoils of the principal temple they brought 
to the viceroy a tooth mounted in gold, which was generally 
said to be the tooth of an ape, but which these idolaters regarded 
as the most sacred of all objects of adoration. The Viceroy 
was immediately made aware that its value was inestimable, as 
the natives would be sure to offer vast sums to redeem it. 
They believed it to be the tooth of their great saint Buddha. 
This Buddha, so runs their legend, after visiting Ceylon, tra- 
velled over Pegu and the adjacent countries, converting the 
heathen and working miracles; and, death approaching, he 
wrenched this tooth from its socket, and sent it to Cejdon as the 
greatest of relics. So highly was it venerated, by the Singhalese 
and by all the people of Pegu, that they esteemed it above all 
other treasures." * * ♦ # * 


How the Kmg of Pegu sent to offer a sum of gold to the Viceroy 
Don Constantine for the ape^s tooth, which was taken atJaf- 
na-jpatam, and of the decision of the divines thereupon, and 
how it luas resolved to destroy it by fire. 

" Martin Alfonso de Mello happened to be in Pegu with his 
ship on business, when the Viceroy, Don Constantine, returned 
(to Goa) from Jaffna-patam, and the king, hearing that the 
* tooth' which was so profoundly revered by all Buddhists had 
been carried off, summoned Martin Alfonso to his presence, and 
besought him, on his return to India, to entreat the Viceroy to 
surrender it, offering to give in exchange whatever might be 

V 3 


demanded for it. And those who know the Peguaus, and the 
devotion with which they regard this relic of the devil, affirmed 
that the king would have given three or even four hundred 
thousand cruzadoes to obtain possession of it. By advice of 
jNIartin Alfonso, the king despatched ambassadors to accompany 
him to the Viceroy on this affair, and empowered them to signify 
his readiness to ratify any agreement to which they might assent 
on his behalf. 

"Martin Alfonso, on reaching Goa, in April 1561, apprised 
the Viceroy of the arrival of the envoys, who, after their recep- 
tion, opened the business for which they were accredited, making 
a request for the tooth on behalf of their sovereign ; offering in 
return any terms that might be required, with a proposal for a 
perpetual alliance with Portugal, and an undertaking to provi- 
sion the fortress of Malacca at all times when called upon ; toge- 
ther with many other conditions and promises. The Viceroy 
promised an early reply, and, in the meantime, communicated 
with his veteran captains and fidalgos, all of whom were in 
favour of accepting an offer which would recruit the exhausted 
treasury ; and so eager were they, that the question seemed to be 

" But the matter having reached the ear of the Archbishop, 
Don Gfaspar, he repaired instantly to the Viceroy, and warned 
him that he was not to permit this tooth to be ransomed for all 
the treasures of the universe ; since it would be dishonouring to 
the Lord, and would afford an opportunity to these idolaters to 
pay to that bone the worship which belonged to God alone. The 
Archbishop wrote memorials on the subject, and preached against 
it from the pulpit, in the presence of the Viceroy and his court, 
so that Don Constantino, who as a conscientious Catholic 
feared God and obeyed the Church, hesitated to proceed with 
the affair, or to take any step that was not unanimously 
approved. He thereupon convened an assembly of the Arch- 
bishop, the prelates, and heads of the religious orders, together 
with the captains and senior fidalgos, and other officers of 
the Government : he laid the matter before them, the large 
offers of money that had been made for the tooth, and the 
pressing wants of the service, all of which could be provided 
for out of so great a ransom. After mature deliberation, a reso- 
lution was come to that it was not competent to part with the 
tooth, since its surrender would be an incitement to idolatry, 
and an insult to the Almighty; crimes which could not be 
contemplated, though the state, or even the world itself, might 


be imperilled. Of this opinion were the prelates, the inqui- 
sitors, the vicar-general of the Dominicans, Fra Manuel de 
Serra of the same order, the prior of Goa, the Father Custodian 
of the Franciscans, Padre Antonio de Quadros of the Company 
of Jesus, the Provincial of India, and others of the Society of the 

"This resolution having been come to and committed to 
writing, to which all attached their signatures (and a copy of 
which is now in our possession in the Eecord Office), the Viceroy 
called on the treasurer to produce the tooth. He handed it to 
the Archbishop, who, in their presence, placed it in a mortar, 
and with his own hand reducing it to powder, cast the pieces into 
a brazier, which stood ready for the purpose ; after which, the 
ashes and the charcoal together were cast into the river, in sight 
of all, they crowding to the verandahs and windows which looked 
upon the water. 

" Many protested against this measure of the Viceroy, since 
there was nothing to prevent the Buddhists from making other 
idols ; and out of a piece of bone they could shape another tooth 
in resemblance of the one they had lost, and extend to it the same 
worship: whilst the gold that had been rejected would have re- 
paired the pressing necessities of the state. In Portugal itself 
much astonishment was expressed that these proceedings should 
have been assented to. 

"To commemorate the event, and to illustrate the spirit which 
had dictated an act approved by the Fathers of the Company, 
and signalised by zeal for Christianity and the glory of Grod, a 
device was designed as follows : — On an escutcheon was a 
representation of the Viceroy and the Archbishop surrounded 
by the prelates, monks, and divines who had been present 
on the occasion, and in the midst was the burning brazier, 
together with Buddhists offering purses of money. Above the 
letter c, being the initial of Don Constantine, was repeated five 
times thus — 

c c c c c 

and below it the five words — 

CoTistantinus coeli cupidine 
crumenas cvemavit, 

the interpretation being that ' Constantine devoted to heaven, 
rejected the treasures of earth.'" 

p 4 




Hoiv the King of Pegu sent to the King of Ceylon to demand 
his Daughter in mamage. 

* * * "At the birth of Brama, king of Pegu, the astro- 
logers who cast his nativity, predicted that he should marry a 
daughter of the king of Ceylon, who was to have such and 
such marks and features, and certain proportions of limbs and 
figm-e. Brama, desirous to fulfil the prediction, sent am- 
bassadors to Don Juan (the king of Cotta), whom he addressed 
as the sole inheritor of the royal blood and the only legitimate 
sovereign of the island : and sought his daughter in marriage, 
accompanying the demand by a ship-load of rich presents, con- 
sisting of things unknown in Ceylon, besides woven cloth and 
precious stones. The envoys arrived about the time that the 
king had abandoned Cotta to take up his residence within the 
Fort of Colombo (a.d. 1564). He received the ambassadors 
with much distinction, and learning the purpose of their coming, 
he concealed from them the fact that the astrologers were in 
error, as he was childless. He had, however, brought up in his 
palace a daughter of his great chamberlain, a prince of the 
blood royal, who had embraced Christianity through the instru- 
mentality of the governor Francisco Barreto, whose name he 
assumed ; and such was the influence of this man, in addition to 
the claim of relationship, that in all things the king was directed 
by his counsels. This girl the king treated with every honour 
as his own child : on the arrival of the envoys she had a place 
assigned to her at the royal table, and was addressed as his 
daughter, and under that designation he sought to render her 
wife to the king of Pegu. The opposition which he appre- 
hended was from the captain-general of Colombo and the 
Franciscans, who, although the girl was a Buddhist, might 
nevertheless regard her as a lamb within their fold, whom they 
could any day induce to become a Christian, and they were, 
therefore, likely to interfere to prevent her leaving the island. 

Chap. V.] 



Discussing these considerations with the great chamberlain, 
who was a man of resoiu'ces and tact, the latter pointed out 
to the king, who relied on his judgment in all things, that 
although forced to abandon Cotta and reduced to poverty, he 
might, through this alliance, open up a rich commerce with Pegu, 
and he accordingly assented that the girl should be despatched 
to the king, provided she was conveyed away secretly and with- 
out the knowledge of the Portuguese at Colombo. 

" But the chamberlain did more ; in concert with the king, 
he caused to be made out of a stag's horn a fac-siraile of the 
ape's tooth carried off by Don Constantine, and mounting it 
in gold, he enclosed it in a costly shrine richly decorated with 
gems. Conversing one day with the Peguan ambassador and 
the Buddhist priests (talapoens) in his suite, who were about 
to set out to worship and make offerings at the sacred footprint 
on Adam's Peak, the chamberlain, who was a Buddhist at 
heart, disclosed to them in confidence that Don Juan, the 
Singhalese king, was still in possession of the genuine tooth of 
Buddha^ that which was seized by Don Constantine being a 
counterfeit, and that he, the great chamberlain, kept it con- 
cealed in his house, the king of Ceylon having become a Chris- 
tian. The ambassador and the talapoens evinced their delight 
on this intelligence, and besought him to permit them to see it ; 
he consented reluctantly, and first obliging them to disguise 
themselves, he conducted them by night to his residence, and 
there exhibited the tooth in its shrine, resting on an altar, 
surrounded by perfumes and lights. At the sight they pro- 
strated themselves on the ground, and spent the greater part of 
the night in ceremonies and superstitious devotion ; afterwards, 
addressing the great chamberlain, they entreated him to send 
the relic to the king of Pegu, at the same time wath the 
princess ; undertaking that as a part of the splendour and pomp 
of the marriage, Brama would send him a million of gold, and 
year by year despatch to Ceylon a present of a ship laden with 
rice and. such other articles as might be required. All this 
was negotiated privately, the king and the great chamberlain 
alone being in the secret. 

' De Cottto, who originally de- 
scribes it as the tooth of Jkiddha, 
calls it in this passage, " Dente do 
seu idolo Quijay ; " and in another 
place "do Qin'ar," probably a corrupt 

spelling-- of the Bunnese word for a 
Buddha " Phra," or possibly a modi- 
fication of tlie Cliinese name for 
Gotama, ^^ Kiu-fan.'^ 


" When the time arrived for the young lady to take her de- 
partm-e, it was so cunningly arranged, that neither the captain 
of Colombo, Diego de Mello, nor the priesthood, suspected any- 
thing. Andrea Bayam Moodliar accompanied her as ambas- 
sador from the sovereign of Ceylon, and after a prosperous 
voyage, they landed at a port to the south of Cosmi', and 
announced their success and the arrival of the queen to the 
delight of the king and his nobles. * * * rpj^g 

son and heir of the king received her as she disembarked 
* * * the king met her at the gates of the palace 
which w^as assigned to her as a residence, gorgeously furnished 
in chamber, ante-chamber, and ward-=-room with all that became 
the consort of so rich and powerful a monarch, who conferred 
upon her immense revenues to defray the charges of her house- 
hold. For days he devoted himself to her society, conducted 
her to the royal residence, and with great solemnity required 
the people to swear allegiance to her as their queen. The 
eunuchs who waited on her, imparted these particulars to 
Antonio Toscano, vdth whom they were intimate, and who 
communicated them to me. 

" But as in these countries no secret is long preserved which 
is in any one's keeping, king Brama came at length to discover 
that his wife was the daughter, not of the king, but of his 
chamberlain ; for it seems that Andrea Bayam, the Singhalese 
ambassador, who, as the proverb says, could not keep his tongue 
within his teeth, divulged it to some Chinese at Pegu, who 
acquainted the king. He, however, was little moved by the 
discovery, especially as the talapoens and ambassadors gave 
him an account of the ape's tooth, and of the veneration with 
which it was preserved, and of the arrangement which they had 
concerted with the person in charge of it. This excited the 
desire of Brama, who regarded it as the tooth of his idol '^, and 
reverenced it above everything in life ; even as we esteem the 
tooth of St. Apollonia (though I shall not say much of the 
tooth of that sainted lady) ; more highly than the nail which 
fastened our Saviour to the cross ; the thorns which encircled 
his most sacred head ; or the spear which pierced his blessed side, 
which remained so long in the hands of the Turks, without such 

^ Probably Casmin, on a branch of tlie Irawaddi, 
2 ''Dente do sen idolo Qxiiai/," 

Chap. V.] STORY OF THE TOOTH. 219 

an effort on the part of the monarchs of Christendom to rescue 
them as king Brama made to gain possession of this tooth of 
Satan, or rather of a stag. He immediately despatched the 
same ambassadors and talapoens in quest of it, and sent extra- 
ordinary presents by them to the king of Ceylon, with promises 
of others still more costly. The ambassadors reached Colombo, 
negotiated secretly with Don Juan, who placed the tooth with 
its shrine in their hands with much solemnity and secrecy, and 
Avith it they took their departure in the same vessel in which 
they had arrived." 


Of the magnificence and splendour witlt tvhich this tooth luas 
received in Pegu. 

" In a few days they drew near to Cosmi, a port of Pegu, whence 
the news spread quickly, the priesthood (talapoens) assembled, 
and the people crowded devoutly to offer adoration to the tooth. 
For its landing they collected vast numbers of rafts elaborately 
and richly ornamented, and when they came to carry the 
accursed tooth on shore it rested on gold and silver and other 
costly rarities. Intelligence was instantly sent to Brama to 
Pegu, who despatched all his nobles to assist at its reception, 
and he superintended in person the preparation of a place in 
which the relic was to be deposited. In the arrangements for 
this he displayed to the utmost all the resom-ces and wealth at 
his command. In this state the tooth made the ascent of the 
river, which was covered with rich boats encircling the structure, 
imder which rested the shrine, so illuminated that it vied with the 
brightness of day. 

" The king, when all was prepared, seated himself in a boat 
decorated with gilding and brocaded silks ; he set out two days 
in advance to meet the procession, and on coming in sight of it 
he retired into the cabin of his galley, bathed, sprinkled himself 
with perfumes, assumed his most costly dress, and on touching 


the raft which bore the tooth he prostrated himself before it 
with all the gestures of profound adoration, and on his knees 
approaching the altar on which rested the shrine, he received 
the tooth from those who had charge of it, and raising it aloft, 
placed it on his head many times with adjurations of solemnity 
and awe ; then restoring it to its place, he accompanied it on its 
way to the city. As it passed along, the river was perfumed 
with the odours which ascended from the barges, and as it 
reached the shore the talapoens and nobles of the king and 
all the chief men advancing into the water took the shrine upon 
their shoulders and bore it to the palace, accompanied by an 
impenetrable multitude of spectators. The grandees taking ofif- 
their costly robes, spread them on the way in order that those 
who carried that abominable relic might walk upon them. 

" The Portuguese who happened to be present were asto- 
nished on witnessing this barbarous pomp ; and Antonio Toscano, 
who I have stated elsewhere w^as of the party, has related to me 
such extraordinary particulars of the majesty and grandeur with 
wdiich the tooth was received, that I confess I cannot command 
suitable language to describe them. In fact, everything that all 
the emperors and kings of the universe combined could con- 
tribute to such a solemnity, each eager to display his power to 
the utmost, all this was realised by the acts of this barbarian 

" The tooth was at last deposited in the centre of the court- 
yard of the palace, under a costly tabernacle, upon which the 
monarch and all his grandees presented their offerings, declaring 
their lineage, all which was recorded by scribes nominated for 
that duty. Here it remained two months, till the wihare 
(yarela), wiiich they set about erecting could be constructed, 
and on which such expenditure w\as lavished as to cause an 
insurrection in the kingdom. 

" To end the stor}', I shall here tell of what occurred in the 
following year, between the king of Kaudy and Brama, king 
of Pegu, respecting these proceedings of Don Juan, king of 
Ceylon. These matters which Don Juan had transacted so 
secretly touching the marriage of his pretended daughter with 
the king of Pegu, as well as the affair of the tooth, soon 
reached the ear of the king of Kandy, who learning the 
immense amount of treasure which Brama had given for it, was 
influenced with envy, (for he was a connection of Don Juan, 
having married his sister, or as some said his daughter,) and 

Chap. V.] STORY OF THE TOOTH. 221 

immediately despatched an envoy to Pegu, whom the king 
received with distinction. He opened the object of his mission, 
and disclosed, on the part of his master, that the lady whom 
Don Juan had passed off as his own child, was in reality the 
daughter of the great chamberlain, and that the tooth, which 
had been received with so much pomp and adoration, had been 
fabricated out of the horn of a deer ; but he added that the king 
of Kandy, anxious to ally himself with the sovereign of Pegu, 
had commissioned him to offer in marriage a princess who was 
in reality his own offspring, and not supposititious : besides 
which he gave him to understand that the Kandyan monarch 
was the possessor and depositary of the genuine tooth of Buddha, 
neither the one which Don Constantine had seized at Jaffna- 
patam, nor yet that which was held by the king of Pegu, being 
the true one, — a fact which he was prepared to substantiate by 
documents and ancient olas. 

" Brama listened to his statement and pondered it in his 
mind; but seeing that the princess had already received the 
oaths of fidelity as queen, and that the tooth had been wel- 
comed with so much solemnity, and deposited in a mhare, 
specially built for it, he resolved to hush up the affair ; to avoid 
confessing himself a dupe, (for kings must no more admit 
themselves to be in error in their dealings with us, than we in 
our dealings with them). Accordingly, he gave as his reply, 
that he was sensible of the honour designed for him by the 
proffered alliance with the royal family of Kandy, and likewise 
by the offer of the tooth ; that he returned his thanks to the 
king, and as a mark of consideration would send back by his 
ambassadors a ship laden with presents. He caused two vessels 
to be prepared for sea, with cargoes of rice and rich cloths, one 
for Don Juan, and the other for the king of Kandy ; and in that 
for Don Juan, he embarked all the Portuguese subjects whom 
he had held in captivit}^, and amongst them Antonio Toscano, 
who has told me these things many times. These ships having 
arrived at Ceylon, the one which was for the Kandyan port had 
her cables cut and was stranded before she could discharge her 
cargo, so that all was lost and the ambassador drowned ; some 
said that this was done by order of the Singhalese king, Don 
Juan, and if so, it was probably a stratagem of the great cham- 
berlain, for the king himself had no genius for plots. Thus 
things remained as they were, nothing farther having been at- 
tempted or done." 




The great road from Kandy to the Sanitarium of 
Neuera-ellia, a distance of nearly fifty miles, is carried to 
the height of six thousand feet above the sea, and passes, 
for the greater part of the ascent, tlirough the mountain 
districts, wliich have recently been enriched by the for- 
mation of plantations of coffee. For the first twelve 
miles it runs within a short distance of the MahaweUi- 
ganga, crossing it by the bridge of Peradenia, wdiicli 
here spans the river with a single arch of more than two 
hundred feet, and its crown nearly seventy feet above 
the stream. Such is the volume and ^dolence of the 
torrent that rushes through this narrow channel durms; 
the deluge of the monsoons, that in 1834 the waters 
rose sixty feet above the ordinaiy level, hmiying along 
the trunks of forest trees, and the carcases of buffaloes, 
elephants, and deer. 

The drive from Kand}" to Gampola is calculated to 
convey a favom^able impression of the wealth and com- 
fort of the peasantry. The road is fined with bazaars for 
the sale of Em-opean as well as native commodities ; and 
it winds between farm-houses and granaries, and fields 
rich in cattle for the labour of the rice-lands. 

But the dwelhngs visible from the highway are prin- 
cipahy occupied by low-country Singlialese, Avho have 
resorted to the hills as dealers ; the genius of the Kan- 
dyans being morbidly opposed to traflic of all kinds, 
and to intercourse with strangers. In conformity with 
this feelinfT, the ^^llaQ:es are concealed in olens and 
woods, and, wherever it is practicable, the houses are 
built in nooks and hoUows, where they would escape 

CuAr. VI.] 



observation, were it not tliat tlieir position is betrayed 
by the croAvns of the few coco-nut pahns A\dth which 
they are ordinarily surrounded, or the deUcate green hue 
of the terraces for the cuhivation of rice. 

Coupled with this love of retirement and impatience 
of intrusion, one of the main features m the general 
character of the Kandyans is their feudal subserviency 
to the conventional authority of their chiefs, and the 
unreasonable devotion mth which they worship rank. 
Although all real power for oppression or coercion 
has been abohshed under the mild rule of the British, 
this form of traditionary subjection remams unaltered, 
and apparently indehble in the national instincts of the 

In intelhgence and acuteness they are inferior to the 
people of the low country, whose faculties have been 
sharpened as well by longer intercourse with Euro- 
peans, as by educational training ; but it is doubtful 
whether in moral and social qualities, the Kandyans, 
with all then- \ices, are not superior to the Singhalese.^ 
Tyranny has made both races cowardly, and cowardice 
false, till such is the prevalence of prevarication, that 
shame has ceased to operate ; judges estimate the truth 
of e\ddence by probabihty ; and during my o\vn tenure 
of office, a chief, with the native title of Bancia, equiva- 
lent to the rank of a " prince," petitioned for the re- 
mission of his punishment for perjuiy, on the groimd 

^ A sketcli of the national clia- 
racter of tlie Singhalese will be found 
in Sir J. Emekson Tennext's His- 
tory of Cliristianity in Co/Ion, ch. vi. 
p. 249. De Qfincet, iii an article 
on Ceylon, in Blackwoocr s Magazine 
for November, 1848, ^yllic•ll has since 
been embodied in the collected edi- 
tion of his works, has described the 
Kandyans as ''a desperate variety 
of the tiger-man, agile and fierce, 
but smooth, insinuating, and full of 
subtlety as a snake." As compared 
with the low-coimtry Singhalese, 

whom he paints as soft and passive, 
the Kandyan is represented as " a 
ferocious little bloody coward, full of 
mischief as a monkey, grinning with 
desperation, and laughinglike a hye- 
na." — I)e Quikcet, Works, vol. xii. 
p. 14. The extreme exaggeration and 
inaccuracy of these passages are ac- 
counted for by the personal inexpe- 
rience of the author, De Quincey 
having applied to the nonual con- 
dition of a race, epitliets merited by 
rare barbarities, such as tlie massacre 
of Major Davie's companions. 



tliat such a crime was notoriously venial amongst his 

Amidst so many vices, one redeeming virtue which 
elevates the people of Ceylon, especially the highlanders 
of Kandy, above the corresponding classes in India, is 
the strons; affection which binds too-ether those of the 
same family, and the reverence and tender regard Avith 
wdiich old age is honoured and watched over by youth. 
Diu:ing the rebelhon of 1817, instances occurred of sons 
and brothers who voluntarily dehvered themselves up 
to the British in broken-hearted despair on learning 
the fate of their kindred ; and one of the ceremonies 
which leads pilgrims to the siunmit of Adam's Peak, is 
the desire to renew the vows of attachment between 
relatives and friends, and to solemnise, by a reverential 
salutation at the sacred shrine, the love of the young for 
their parents.^ 

Gampola, the ancient Ganga-srl-jwora, " the stately 
city by the river," was the last of the native capitals 
of Ceylon before the exphing dynasty removed to 
Cotta about the year 1410. It was built in the 
middle of the fourteenth century, and it was liere that 
Ibn Batuta shortly afterwards \dsited the king by 
whom it Avas founded^; whose palace he says was situ- 
ated near a bend of the river called " the estuary of 
rubies." It was at this spot that his successor, in 
1405, was defeated by the Chinese general Ching Ho, 
and carried captive to Nankin.^ No ruins or an- 

1 Dr. Datt, after descnbing the 
religious ceremonial at the Sacred 
Footstep, says, " an interesting scene 
followed, wives affection ately saluted 
their husbands, children their parents, 
and friends one another. A {ztcv- 
headed -woman first made her salaam 
to a venerable old man ; — she was 
moved to tears, and almost kissed his 
feet. He raised her aftectionately, 
and several middh'-aired men then 
saluted the patriarchal pair. These 
were salaamed in return by the 
vovmger men, who had first paid their 
respects to the old people, and lastly 

those of neai'ly the same standing 
saluted each other and exchanged 
betel leaves. The intention of these 
salutations was of a moral ]dnd ; to 
confirm the ties of friendship, to 
streng-then family kindness, and re- 
move animosities." — Davy, pt. ii. 
ch. ii. p. 345. 

^ BiirwAXEKA Bahu IV., about 
A.T). 1347, Rajaratnacari, p. iii. ; Ibx 
Batuta, Lee's Transl. 4to., ch. xx. 
p. 186. 

3 For an account of this event sec 
Vol. I. Pt. V. ch. iii. p. 598. 

Chap. VI.] GMIPOLA. 225 

tiquities remain to mark the site of ancient edifices, 
and the city, hke the generahty of those in the East, 
where domestic buildings were formed of such humble 
materials as wood and earth, has long since crumbled 
into dust. 

But Gampola has a higher modern interest, inasmuch 
as it was one of the first places in Ceylon at wliich the 
systematic culture of coffee was attempted^; and it is at 
the present day one of the most important locahties in 
the district, as the point at which the great roads converge 
which connect the rich districts of Pusilawa, Dimboohi, 
Kotmahe, and Ambogammoa vnth Kandy and Colombo. 

The rest-house of Gampola is one of the most fre- 
quented m Ceylon ; and whilst halting here a servant 
showed me liis hand swollen and intiamed with the 
appearance of a puncture between the thumb and fore- 
finger, caused, as he stated, by a "tarantula," as the huge 
spider Mygale fasciata is vulgarly and erroneously called 
in Ceylon. It bit him, he said, in the wine cellar, when 
Hfting a bottle in the dark ; but it is more than probable 
that he liad mistaken the bite of a centipede or the nip 
from the chel^ of a scorpion for that of a spider ; for 
although it is certain that the mandibles of the latter are 
furnished with a poisonous venom, I have never heard of 
any well-authenticated instance of mjmy resulting from 
its attacks. In fact, from the position and dkection of 
the jaws the creature would most hkely have to tmii 
over in some awkward way in order to inflict a wound, 
and even then its jaws could scarcely embrace an object 
of such size as the finger or hand of a man. 

The largest specimens I have seen of the mygale were 
at Gampola and its \dciiiity, and one taken in the go down 
of this rest-house nearly covered with its legs an ordinarj^- 
sized breakfast plate. 

This hideous creature does not weave a broad web or 
net hke other spiders, but nevertheless it forms a comfort- 

' The first plantatiou was opened at G.ampola by !Mr. George Birch. 


able mansion in the wall of a neglected building, the 
hollow of a tree, or the eaves of an overhanging stone. 
This it hnes throughout with a tapestry of silk of a 
tubular form ; and a textm^e so exquisitely fine and 
closely woven, that no moistm^e can penetrate it. 
The extremity of the tube is carried out to the entrance, 
where it expands into a httle platform, stayed by braces 
to the nearest objects that afford a firm hold. In par- 
ticidar situations, where the entrance is exposed to the 
w^ind, the mygale, on the approach of the monsoon, ex- 
tends the strong tissue above it so as to serve as an 
awning to prevent the access of rain. 

The construction of this silken dweUing is exclusively 
designed for the domestic luxury of the spider ; it serves 
no purpose in trapping or seciu-ing prey, and no ex- 
ternal distm'bance of the web tempts the creatm^e to sally 
out to surprise an intruder, as the epemi and its con- 
geners would. 

As to the stories told of the mygale catching and 
kiUing birds, I am satisfied, both from mquiry and ob- 
servation, that at least in Ceylon they are destitute of 
truth, and that (unless in the possible case of acute 
sufiering from hunger) this creature shuns all descriptions 
of food except soft insects and annehdes. A lady at 
Marandan, near Colombo, told me that she had, on one 
occasion, seen a little house-lizard {gecko) seized and de- 
voured by one of these ugly spiders. 

The soil and situation of Gampola have proved un- 
favourable for the growth of coffee ; but there is hardly 
one of the mafmificent hills seen from it that has not 
been taken possession of by European settlers within a 
very recent period. Although the coffee plant, the 
kdwdh of the Arabs, wliich is a native of Africa, was 
knowm in Yemen at an early period, it is doulDtfiil 
Avhether there, or in any other country in the world, 
its use as a stimulant had been discovered before the 
beginning of the fifteenth centmy. The Arabs intro- 
duced it early into India, and before the arrival of the 
Portuguese or Dutch, the tree had been grown in 

Chap. VI.] 



Ceylon ; but tlie preparation of a beverage from its 
berries was totally unknown to the Singhalese ^, who 
only employed its tender leaves for their curries, and 
its dehcate jasmine-hke flowers for ornamenting, their 
temples and shrines. 

The Dutch carried the coffee tree to Batavia in 1690 ^, 
and about the same time they began its cidtivation in 
Ceylon. But as their operations were confined to the 
low lands around Negombo and Galle, the locality 
proved unsuitable, both in temperature and soil. The 
natives, too, were unfavourably disposed to the innova- 
tion ; and although the quahty of the coffee is said to 
have been excellent ^, it was found that it coidd not be 
raised to advantage in comparison with that of Java, 
where the experiment proved eminently successful. At 
length, in 1739, the effort was suspended ^ ; but the 
culture, although neglected by the government, was not 
abandoned by the Singhalese, who, having learned the 
commercial value of the article, continued to grow it in 
small quantities, and after the British obtained possession 
of Ceylon, the Moors, who collected it in the villages, 
brought it into Colombo and Galle, to be bartered for 
cutlery, cotton, and trinkets.^ 

On the occupation of Kandy, after its cession in 1815, 
the Enghsh found the coffee tree growing in the vicinity 
of the temples ; and gardens had been formed of it by 

* Chbistian "VVolf, Life and Ad- 
ventures, p. 117. 

^ Crawfurd, in his Dictionary of 
the Indian Inland, s.ays, a single 
plant of coffee gi-o-mi in a garden at 
Batavia, about a.d. 1G90, was sent 
by the Governor-General to Holland, 
as a present to the Governor of the 
Dutch East India Company. It was 
planted in the Botanic Gardens at 
Amsterdam, where it flourished, bore 
fruit, and the fruit produced yomig- 
pliints. Some of the latter were sent 
to the Colony of Surinam, where 
coffee began to be cultivated as aia 
article of trade, a.d. 1718, and from 

thence the first coffee plants were 
taken to the Eng'lish and French 
West India Islands. From Java the 
cidtivation of coff'ee has been extend- 
ed to Sumatra, Celebes, Bali, and 
several of the Philippine Islands. 

3 See 3Iemoir, by M. Bijrnand, 
Asiatic Journal, vol. xii. p. 444. 

* ITemoir of Goveraor Schreu- 
DER, Appendix to Lee's Riheijro, p. 

* Bertolacci gives the export of 
coffee from Cevlon, in 

180G, 189 i candies, about 94,500 lbs. 
1810, 435' „ 217,500 lbs. 

1813, 432^^ ^, 216,500 lbs. 

Q 2 



the king on the banks of the Mahawelli-ganga, and close 
to his pahice at Hangiiran-ketti. 

So soon as Sir Edward Barnes had made such progress 
with the great central liigh road as to open a commu- 
nication with the liill country, it was obvious to his clear 
and energetic mind that so grand a work would be a 
reproach instead of a trophy, were its uses to be hmited 
to mere mihtary exigencies, without conducing to the 
material prosperity of the island. Hence, even before 
its final completion, liis measures were taken to emulate 
in Ceylon the industrial enterprise of India. The pre- 
paration of indigo was attempted, but unsuccessfuUy, near 
Veangodde ; that of sugar was encom'aged on the alluvial 
lands of the interior ; and, taught by experience the inap- 
titude of the lowlands for the profitable cidtivation of 
coffee \ Sh- Edward formed the first upland plantation 
about 1825, on his own estate at Gangaroowa, adjoining 
the gardens of Peradenia. 

The moment was rendered propitious by a concur- 
rence of favourable circumstances ; the use of coffee had 
been largely increased in the United Kingdom by the 
remission of one half the import duty in 1825, — a mea- 
sure under the impetus of which the consumption nearly 
doubled itself wdthin three years ^, and w^ent on aug- 
menting till it outstripped the powers of production in 
the West Lidies, and raised the value of coffee to such a 
pitch that the produce of India and Ceylon came into 
rapid demand at highly remunerative prices.^ 

Coupled with these fiscal facihties, another important 
change w^as in progress, which vastly enlarged tlie 

^ The first attempts by Britisli 
specidators to cultivate coffee in 
Ceylon, were made on the banks of 
the Gindnra, about sixteen miles 
from Galle. The failure was so 
signal, that the plants were taken up 
to put down sug-ar cane, and these 
in tuni made way for coco-nut palms. 
— Lewis' Coffee rUmtiny in Ceylon. 
Colombo, 1855, p. 5. 

^ Consumption of Coffee in the 
United Eongdom, 

1824 7,903,040 lbs. 

1825 10,76(i,112 „ 

1826 12,724,139 „ 

1827 14,974,373 „ 

3 Porter's Progress of the Nation, 
p. 373, 549. 

ClIAP. VI.] 



demand for coffee, not only in Great Britain, but over a 
great part of Western Europe ; and especially in Belgium 
and France ; — tliis was the annually diminisliing con- 
sumption of wine concurrently with an increasing con- 
sumption of coffee ^ and tea. In England coffee had come 
to be a necessary of hfe for the poor, as well as a luxmy 
to tlie opulent classes. 

Almost before the first crops of Ceylon could be ship- 
ped, the industry of her most formidable rivals in Jamaica, 
Dominica, and Guiana was paralysed by the conduct of 
the slaves subsequent to emancipation ; and the pro- 
duction of these islands beo-an to dechne at the moment 
when Ceylon was entering on her new career.^ It was 
under these cu'cumstances that an experiment Avas 
inaugurated in the Kandyan highlands, which, within 
less than a quarter of a century, has effected an indus- 
trial revolution in the island, converting Ceylon from 
a sluggish mihtary cantonment into an enterprising Bri- 
tish colony, and transferring the supply of one of the first 
requisites of society from the western to the eastern 

The example of the Governor was speedily followed ; 
plantations were opened at Gampola and elsewhere. 

* Enqucte Legislative, snr Vlmpot 
des Boissons. Paris, 1851, RappoH, 
p. 35. So gi'eat has been tlie change 
of manners and habits in tlie United 
Kingdom, even ANathinthe last twenty 
years, that had the population in 
1854, taking it at 27,000,000, dnmk 
coffee, tea, and cocoa in the same pro- 
portion as the population of 1835-G 

(the latter being about 24,.S50,000), 
the increase in the consumption of 
these articles wouhl have been only 
8,125,000 lbs., whereas it has actuaUi/ 
been 42,918,215 lbs. In 1801 the 
individual consumption of coffee in 
Great Britain was one ounce per 
annum for each person, in 1831 it had 
risen to 1 lb. 5i oz. 

The Imports of Coffee into the United Kingdom. 


From the West Indies. 

Exports from Ceylon. 


29,419,598 lbs. 

15,577,888 „ 
5,259,449 „ 
4,054,028 „ 

1,792,448 lbs. 

6,756,848 „ 
19,475,904 „ 
67,453,680 „ 

ci 3 


and the first attempt, tliougli begun in a comparatively 
low altitude, sufficed to demonstrate the superiority of the 
hill country over the low land for cidtivation, both in the 
quahty and the abundance of the produce. 

At this crisis the fate of the experiment was decided, 
by the adoption, in 1835, of a measure wliich Sir Edward 
Barnes had urged on the home government in 1826 ; 
the duty was equahsed upon East and West India coffee 
imported into the United Kingdom, at the moment when 
the faihng supply of the latter turned attention eagerly 
and anxiously towards Ceylon. In the very next year 
nearly four thousand acres of mountain forest were 
felled and planted, and in an incredibly short time the 
sale of crown lands exceeded forty thousand acres per 
annum. ^ 

The mountain ranges on all sides of Kandy became 
rapidly covered with plantations ; the great valleys of 
Doombera, Ambogammoa ^ , Kotmalie, and Pusilawa 
were occupied by emulous speculators ; they settled in 
the steep passes ascending to jSTeuera-eUia ; they pene- 
trated to BaduUa and Oovah, and coffee trees quickly 
bloomed on solitary hills around the veiy base of Adam's 

The fii'st ardent adventurers pioneered the way through 

' The sales of crown lands between 
1837 and 1845 were as follows : 

1837 . . . 3,061 acres. 

1838 . . . 10,401 „ 

1839 , . .- 0,570 „ 

1840 . . . 42,841 „ 

1841 . . . 78,085 „ 

1842 . . . 48,533 „ 

1843 . . . 58,330 „ 

1844 . . . 20,415 „ 

1845 . . . 19,062 „ 
Much of this land was boii<rlit on 

speculation, and not with a view to 
immediate cultivation. 

- Of tliese districts, one of the first 
towards which the rush of enteii^rise 

the Kalany river, which is navigable 
for a oTeat distance above Colombo, 
promised the utmost amoimt of suc- 
cess to the experiment. A new road 
was constructed to connect it with 
the capital, and thousands of acres 
of crown lands wore eag-erly bought 
up for future speculation. But in 
no quarter of the island has dis- 
appointment been so gi-eat as in these 
favourite valleys. The quality of 
the soil proved deceptive, a liU'ge 
proportion of the estates opened were 
allowed to return to their original 
wildness, and at the present moment, 
although the number of plantations 

was directed was the beautiful region is still large, the average produce of 
of Ambogammoa, the altitiule of j the district is the lowest in Ceylon, 
whitli; combined with its vicinity to | 


pathless woods, and lived for months in log-hnts, whilst 
felhng the forest and making their prehminary nm'series 
preparatory to planting ; but within a few years the 
tracks by which they came were converted into high- 
ways, and their cabins replaced by bungalows, which, 
though rough, were picturesque and replete with Euro- 
pean comforts. The new hfe in tlie jungle was fuU of 
excitement and romance, the wild elephants and leopards 
retreated before the axe of the forester ; the elk supphed 
their table ^\dth venison, and jungle fowl and game were 
within call and abundant. 

The coffee mania was at its chmax in 1845, The Go- 
vernor and the Council, the IVIihtary, the Judges, the 
Clergy, and one half the Civil Servants penetrated the 
hills, and became purchasers of crown lands. The East 
India Company's officers crowded to Ceylon to invest 
their savings, and capitahsts from England arrived by 
every packet. As a class, the body of emigrants was more 
than ordinarily aristocratic, and if not akeady opulent, 
were in haste to be rich. So dazzling was the prospect 
that expenditure was unlimited ; and its profusion was 
only equalled by the ignorance and inexperience of those 
to whom it was entrusted. Five miUions sterhng are said 
to have been sunk within less than as many years ; but 
this estimate is probably exaggerated. The rush for land 
was only paralleled by the movement towards the mines 
of Cahfornia and Austraha, but with this painful difference, 
that the enthusiasts in Ceylon, instead of thronging to 
disinter, were hurrying to bury their gold. 

In the midst of these visions of riches, a crash suddenly 
came which awoke \ictims to the reality of ruin. The 
financial explosion of 1845 in Great Britain speedily ex- 
tended its destructive influence to Ceylon ; remittances 
ceased, prices fell, credit failed, and the first announce- 
ment on the subsidence of turmoil, was the doom of pro- 
tection, and the withdrawal of the distinctive duty, whicli 
had so long screened British plantations from competition 
with the coffee of Java and Brazil. 

u 4 



The consternation thus produced in Ceylon was pro- 
portionate to the extravagance of the hopes that were 
bhisted ; estates were forced into the market, and madly 
sold off for a twentieth part of the outlay incurred in 
forming them.^ Others that could not even be sacrificed, 
were deserted and allowed to return to jungle. For 
nearly three years the enterj^rise appeared paralysed ; 
the ruined disappeared, and the timid retreated ; but 
those who combining judgment with capital persevered, 
succeeded eventually, not alone in restoring energy to the 
enterprise, but in imparting to it the prudence and ex- 
perience gleaned from former disasters. 

The crisis, had it not been precipitated by the cala- 
mities of 1845, must inevitably have ensued from the 
indiscretions of the previous period ; and the healthy 
condition in which coffee-planting appears at the present 
day in Ceylon, results fi"om the correction of the errors 
then committed. It is no exaggeration to say, that there 
is not a single well-established principle which now 
guides the management of estates, and the conduct of 
then- proprietors, that was not preceded by a directly 
opposite pohcy prior to 1845. Observation has since dis- 
cerned the true tests of soil and aspect ; former delusions 
as to high altitudes have been exploded ; unprofitable 
districts avoided, unproductive estates abandoned ; and 
in Heu of the behef that a coffee-bush, once rooted, 
would continue ever after to bear crops without manure, 
and to flourish in defiance of weeds and neglect, every 

^ A writer in the Calcutta Review, 
for March, 1857, cites numerous 
instances in which Aahiahle estates 
\rere sold in the panic for nominal 
sums : two estates in Badulla whicli 
had cost 10,000/. were sold for 350/. ; 
tlie IIindu<ralla plantation, which 
cost 10,000/., produced 500/. Mr. 
Atistix, in an ahle paper attached 
to Lees' Translation of Hihei/ro^ says 
''an estate that was sold in 1843 
for 15,000/. was knocked doA\Ti last 
month (1847) for 40/. only." — p. 

220. Mr. EiGG, in the Jotirnal of the 
Indian Archipehir/o for 1852, p. 130, 
describes the loss in Ceylon between 
1841 and 1847 as nincfij per cent, of 
the gross amount preA'iously invested 
in coffee plantinj,'-, but this is an ex- 
cessive estimate. Mr. FEEorsoN's 
calcidation is probably nearer the 
truth, that in addition lo the money 
wasted by extravagant management, 
the extent of abandoned estates was 
equal to one tenth of those originally 
opened. — See Colombo Observer, 1857. 


estate is now tended like a garden, and the soil enriched 
artificially in proportion to the produce it bears. Expen- 
diture has been reduced within the bounds of discretion ; 
an acre of forest-land can be brought under crop in 
1857 for one tenth what it cost in 1844 ; and although 
the extravagant prices, and still more extravagant expec- 
tations, of that period, have been dissipated, coffee-plant- 
ing at the present day, under carefid supervision, promises 
to be as sound an investment as moderate enterprise can 
hope for. 

But whatever may be the ascertained advantages of 
Ceylon in point of soil, temperature, and moisture ; and 
however bountiful may be the jield of the plants, the 
speculation must always be estimated in connection 
with the cost and vicissitudes with which it is un- 
happily associated. Anxiety must be inseparable- from 
an undertaking exclusively dependent on immigrant 
labom* ; and hable to be affected at the most critical 
moment by its capricious fluctuations. JSTo temptation 
of wages, and no prospect of advantage, has liitherto 
availed to overcome the repugnance of the Singhalese 
and Kandyans to engage in any work on estates, except 
the first process of felhng the forests. Eveiy subsequent 
operation must be carried on by coolies from Malabar and 
the Coromandel coast, whose arrival is uncertain, and 
whose departiu-e being influenced by causes arising in 
India, may be precipitated by the most unforeseen oc- 
currences.' These labourers have to be remunerated 
at high rates in the silver currency of India, the value 
of which fluctuates with the exchanges ; and fed on rice 
imported for their exclusive consumption, burtliened 
with all the charges of freight, duty, and carriage to 
the hills. The crop, when saved on the estate, has either 
to encounter the risks incident to transport by hand, 
through mountains as yet un-opened by roads ; or the 

1 In 1858 the nunibor of Tamil I 9G,000. The nuiiiber takiu<j their 
labourers arriving in Ceylon was | depai-tiu-e from the island was 50,000. 



chances of deterioration to which it is exposed in bullock- 
carts during long journeys to the coast. 

Evils stni more formidable from natural causes beset 
the trees during theh growth : eddpng winds in the 
mountain valleys loosen the plants, and injure tlie bark ; 
Avild cats, monkeys, and squirrels prey upon the ripen- 
ing berries ; caterpillars devour the leaves, and at 
intervals, a plague of insects, known to planters as the 
coffee-hug^ but in reahty a species of coccus^, estabhsh 
themselves on the young shoots and buds, and cover 
them ^\\i\\ a noisome incrustation of scales, enclosing 
their larva?, fi'om the pernicious influence of wliich the 
fruit shrivels and drops off.'^ 

At other seasons, the golunda rats^, when the seeds 
of the nilloo (strobilanthes), on which they feed, are ex- 
hausted^, invade the plantations in swarms, gnaw off 
the young branches, and divest the tree of buds and 
bloom. As many as a thousand of these vermin have 
been killed in a day on a single estate, and the Malabar 
coohes esteem them a luxury, and eat them roasted or 
fried in coco-nut oil. 

Still, in defiance of all risks and discouragement, the 
rapid extension of the cultivation of coffee in Ceylon is the 
most irrefragable test of the suitabihty of the island for 
its growth and the profit at which it may be conducted. 
By far the most valuable statistical record on this subject, 
is a document prepared by J\ir. A. M. Fekgusox, from 
data collected by the Planters' Association, exhibiting in 
detail the number of estates in 1857, the proportion of 
acres under bearing, the amount of theh produce, and the 

1 Lecamum Coffea-, "Walker. 

2 The liistorv of these insects is 
so remarkable, that I have appended 
as a note to this chapter an account 
of them prepared chiefly from a re- 
port di-awn up by the late Dr. 
Gardnek, shortly after attention had 

been attracted to the ravages oc- 
casioned by their visitations in the 
coffee estates of the interior. 

^ Gohoula ElUotti, Gray. See 
Kela art's Fauna Zei/la/i., p. 67. 

* See atite, ^'ol. I. Pt. i. ch. iii. p. 


labour required on each during crop-time.^ The general 
result is, that on 404 estates (irrespective of large tracts 
of unfelled forest, reserved for future extension), the area 
jdelding coffee was 63,771 acres, and that planted, but not 
yet bearing, 17,179. The number of Malabar coohes cm- 
ployed, estimating them at two to each acre in crop-time, 
was 129,200, and the produce on an average of the two 
previous years, 347,100 cwt. of coffee.^ 

This is, of course, exclusive of the quantity grown by 
the natives around their villages and detached dwelhngs, 
of which in the same year 100,000 cwt. were exported, 
besides the quantity retained for home consumption. Esti- 
mating the area, therefore, by the produce, and taking 
the latter at the average of 5^ cwt. to each acre, it would 
appear that not less than 130,000 acres of land were 
yielding coffee in 1857, of which 50,000 at least were 
held by natives of Ceylon. 

As to the future prospect of the colony, Mr. Ferguson 
calculates that suitable lands yet to be brought under 
cultivation may add treble to the present acreage, and 
the produce, by improved processes, may be increased 
at least twenty-five per cent. Should prices in Europe 
continue such as to encourage enterprise in Ceylon, and 
no unforeseen occurrences obstruct the influx of inuni- 
grant labour from India, ]\Ii\ Ferguson looks forward 
to the day when a quarter of a miUion of cultivated 
acres, together with the native crops, may furnish two 
million cwt. of coffee as the annual production of the 

However large this estimate may seem, it must be 
borne in mind that tlie actual expansion of the trade 
has hitherto justified every previous conjecture as to 
the capabihties of the colony : within twenty years, the 

^ This table is so valuable as an , showing the locality of each estate, 
historic record, that I have appended [ ^ Tliis, it will be observed, is at 
it to the present chapter, together ' the rate of but 5| cwt. per acre. 
with a map, by Mr. iiiTOWsmith^ I ^ Colombo Observer, 1857, 


value of the coffee exported lias risen from 107,000/. 
in 1837 to 1,296,736/. in 1857 ; and whatever uncer- 
tainty may be felt for the future, as to the probable 
consumption of a production so immensely augmented, 
it must be borne in mind that already markets are 
opening in which the demand seems susceptible of al- 
most infinite extension. France, last year, received 
more than one-third of the coffee sent from Ceylon ; 
a very considerable quantity is shipped annually to 
Holland (a portion of it probably in transit to Belgium 
and Germany) ; Australia is an increasing consumer ; 
the United States take a yearly supply ; Singhalese 
coffee has been sent to South America ; Calcutta and 
Madras received it from Colombo, and even the Arabian 
and Persian races have, in recent years, been transferring 
their taste from the berry of Mocha, to that of Malabar 
and Ceylon. 

Where circumstances enable the proprietor to be re- 
sident on his own estate, and to superintend its opera- 
tions and control its expenditure in person, few colonial 
pursuits present attractions superior to these exhibited 
by Ceylon, either as to actual enjoyment or reasonable 
returns for investment. But where the capitahst is 
helplessly reliant on the honour and services of a re- 
presentative on his distant possessions ; under circum- 
stances in which few have the resolution to resist 
stimulants and the usual devices for diversifying mono- 
tony and overcoming the ennui attendant on isolation 
and sohtude ; property of this kind is accompanied by 
inextricable risks and anxieties ; and the owner will be 
often tempted to ascribe to bad faith or neglect, the 
disappointments, outlay, and losses which are in reahty 
attributable to ordinary vicissitudes rather than to the 
infidelity of agents. 

Amongst the many public works by which Sir Henry 
G. Ward has signahsed his government of Ceylon, one of 
the most important is the suspension-bridge which he has 
succeeded in tlu'owing across the Mahawelh-ganga at 

Chap. VI.] 



Gampola ; it completes the communication between tlie 
central capital and the coffee districts of the Southern 
Zone, and is an object of the highest value to the planting 
interests. But the early settlers in these liills will long 
remember with interest, the ancient ferry, the passage of 
which was frequently attended with danger ; when the 
river, swollen by sudden rains in the mountains, swept 
past in a torrent, sometimes raised thirty feet above the 
customaiy level. 





{From the " Ceylon 




Names of Districts. 













Average Cultivation 
on Estates. 


















Ambogammoa . 









Badulla . . 













































Hantanke . . 








Carried forward 






Chap. VI.] 



Observer;' Uth July, 1857.) 


o. . 

= •5 

Names of Estates to which the foregoing Statistics apply. 





Coodoogalle, Peak, Kirimittic, Allagalla, Oolankanda, Dckinde, 
Moragaha, Wyrley Grove, Amanapoora, Kadaganava, Gangarooa, 
Ingrogalla (?) ( ? ). 



Iiuboolpittia, Hyndford, Wattewellc, Mount Jean, Ineliyra, Trafal- 
gar, Agrawatte, Wadiacadoola, Deckoya, Gangawatte, Teniitlc- 
stowe, "Woodstock, Galbodde, Koorookoodia, Atlierton, Barcaple, 
Gilston, Hcnawella, Mookalana, Hangran-Oya, Dahanaike. 



Way vclhena, Ootoombye, Gourakellc.Passera Polligollc, Kottugod- 
de,Oodoowcrra, Gongaltcnne,Glon Alpin,Baddeganinie or Spring 
Valley, Cannavarella, Nahavella, Weweise, Debedde, Dickbedde, 
Kahagalle, Happotella, Unugalla, Redipanne, Elizabeth, Cooi'oon- 

dokelle (?)(?)(?). 



Kellcwattc, Bogahapatne, Niagara, Union, Hudson, Stoncycliff, 



Wattcgodde, Scalpa, Louisa, Eatmalkelle, Radella, Palaradclla, 



Kooroondawatte, Paragalle, Hillside, Barnagalla, Raxawa, Madool- 
hena, Malgolla, Natakanda, Allakolla, Dorset, Windsor Forest, 
Pcnylan, Kellie, Kelvin, Kattaram, Hormusjie, Mirootc, Oora- 



Rajewelle No. 1, Rajcwelle No. 2, Mahabcria, Ambecotta, Ganga- 
watte, Deegalla, Teldenia, Kondissally, Palikellc. 



Doonomadalawa, Farieland, Hendrick's, Hantenne, Primrosehill, 
Peradenia, Govinda, Mount Pleasant, Dodangwclla, Richmond, 
Shrub's Hill, Ilindogalla, Amblamana, Gallaha, Ingrogalla, 
Ooragalle, Horagalle, Kitoolmoola, Oodoowella, Malia Oya, 
Dunally, Galoya. 




Names of Districts. 






D. . 
O •« 








2 ° 
> " 











Brought forward 


































Kadcgakava . 


















Kornegalle . 


















Knuckles . . 









Matelle, East 








Carried forward 
















Names of Estates to which the following Statistics apply. 


Charlemont, Medegamma No. 1, Medegamma No. 2, Bowlana, 
Maousakella, Bclwood, Galantenne, Dcltotte, Great Valley, Little 
Valley, Bopitia, Pattiagamma, Naranghena, Waloya, Lool-Con- 
dura, Codugalla, Kalloogalpatne. 

Gonavey, Hope, Mooloya, Nathoongodde, Yakabendakelly, Rickcl- 
legascadde, Wevatenne, Hangurankette, Pookeloya, Gallela, 

Galgawatte, Happoowiddc, Nilocanda, Kittoolgalla, Hunugalla, 
Halgolla, Horagalla, IMahatenna, Dotallagalla, Elkadua, Algool- 
tenne, Waygalla, Ilunasgeria, Patampahi, Udogodde, Gavatenue, 

De Soysa's, Mahabelongalla, Solomon's, Churcliill, Franklands, 
Alpittykanda, Providence Mount, Prospect, Cottagalla, Kallagalla, 
Wackittiatcnne, Gona-Adica, Gadadessa, Hunegalla, Ambelawa, 
Sinipitia, Ashbourne, Bokanda, Villakande, Kehelwatte. 

Relugas, Hoolankanda, Deyanilla, Galhcria, Nillomally, Hununa- 
galla, Maousakelle, Madoolkelley, Ilatella, Wattikelley, Mai- 
wattey, Ratnatenne, Lagallakanda. 

Handrookanda, Bulatvellekanda, Kattuwella, Moorootikanda, Dod- 
angtalawa, Goongannua, Paragodde, Ambacoombra, Oodahena, 
Morrakanda, Katookitool, Dunira, Rockhill,Greenwood, Galgcdera, 
Boldegalla, Tallatenne, Hatbowe, Doolwella, Belloongodde. 

Bowhill,Kadianlcna, Baharundra, Kataboola, Kooroowakka, Oonoo- 
cotooa, Telesangalla, Y.allebende, Hennwelle, Oonoogalpatne, 
Hai-angolla, Tyspane, Bellevue, Queensberry, Doombcgastalawa, 
Habogastalawa, Dnonuwille, Kolapatna, Gigiranoya, GongoUa 
Fettercairn, Cattoogalla. 

AUakoUa, Kandekettia, Lcangolla, Madakelle, Katooloya, Kootoo- 
atenne, Tunisgalla, Dalookoya, Bellses, Barabraella, Battagalla, 
Middleton, Moraga, Goomera, Lebanon, Gouragalla. 

Nagalla, Gammadua, Kensington, Mitchell's, Callaualla, Opalgalla, 
Ellagalla, Cattaratenne, Dankandc, Midland Attgodde, Bambra- 
galla No. 1, Cabroosa Ella, Bambragalla No. 2, Oodelamana, 
Nicholoya, Poengalhi, Cabragalla, Petikanda, Sylva Kandc, 
Kinrara, Damboolagalla, Kandenewcra, Maousagalla, WiriapoUe, 
Godapolla No. 1, Godapolla No. 2. 




Nam( s of Districts. 





c » 

" 2 













> w 










Brought forwai-d 
















Maturatte . 



















Nllambe . . 









Pdsilawa . . 









Ea1!GB0DDE . 









Rangalla . . 









Saffragasi . 









Waliapake . 









Yacdessa . , 








Totals & Averages 














Names of Estates to which the following Statistics apply. 







Kent, Amboka, Seli<;amraa, Beradowella, Vicarton, Borders, Etta- 
polla, Berksliirc, Wiltshire, Hampshire, iladua, Madewelle, An- 
coombra, Ballacadua, Gorala Elhi, Lagahaella, 



Goodwood, Gonapatna, Mormon Hill, AUakollawewa, Smiths's 
Maduren, Newera, Manapitia, Seaton, Alma, Bartholomcuz. 



Nugatenne, Gallakclla, CaliforTiia, Ellen Maria, Alea Vittene, 
Dodangalla, Woodside, Watte Kelle, Hangrogamme. 



Wattcgodde, Haaloya, Wariagalla, Nilambc, Vcdchettia, Colgrain, 
Nawagalla, Galloway, Knowe, Goorookelle. 



Moneragalla, Rothschild, Gouracoddc, AVaygahapittiya, Niapana, 
Harmony, Katookelle,Yattepiangalla, Doragalla, Dowategas, Pea- 
cock, Kalloogalla, Moragalla, Melfort, Blackfbrcst, Delta, Glenlock 
Wliyddon, Hallebodde, Kattookitool, Kandalawa, Stcllenberg, 
Newmarket, Proprasse, Caragastalawa, MeegoUa, Peak, and Peak 



Condagalla, Labookelle, Pallagalla, Eangbodde, Bluepills, Ram- 

bodde, Weddcmulla, Poojagodde, Wavcndon, Eyrie, Willisfords's, 
Sabonadiere's, Tavalamtennc, Poondelloya, Harrow, Eton, Robert- 
son's, Neitner's, Mecriscotoakelle. 



Cotaganga, Girindc Ellc, Lovegrove, Gallebodde, Ranwella, Batta- 
galla, Rangallc No. 1, Rangalle No. 2. 



Massena, Patigalla, Hatarebage, Fpringwood, Evarton, Barra, 



Alnwick, St. Margaret's, Tulloes, Kirklees, ( ? )• 



Horagalla, Yacdesse, Dotola, Nagastcnue, Burn, Galamudina, 
Bennetsfield, Stenshells. 






(Lecanium Cofece, ^Talker.) 

The following notice of the Coccus, known in Ceylon as the 
" coffee-bug," and of the singularly destructive effects produced 
by it on the plants, has been prepared chiefly from a memoir 
presented to the Ceylon Grovernment by the late Dr. Gardner, 
in which he traces the history of the insect from its first 
appearance in the coffee districts, until it had established itself 
more or less permanently in all the estates in full cultivation 
throughout the island. 

The first thing that attracts attention on looking at a coffee 
tree which has for some time been infested by this coccus, is the 
number of brownish wart-like bodies that stud the young shoots 
and occasionally the margins on the underside of the leaves. 
Each of these warts or scales is a transformed female, containing 
a large number of eggs which are hatched within it. 

\Mien the young ones come out from their nest, they run 
about over the plant looking very much like diminutive wood- 
lice, and at this period there is no apparent distinction between 
male and female. Shortly after being hatched the males 
seek the underside of the leaves, while the females prefer the 
young shoots as a place of abode. If the under sm'face of a 
leaf be examined, it will be found to be studded, particularly 
on its basal half, with minute yellowish-white specks of an 
oblong form. These are the larvas of the males undergoing 
transformation into pupag, beneath their own skins ; some of 
these specks are always in a more advanced state than the others, 
the full-grown ones being whitish and scarcely a line long. 
Some of this size are translucent, the insect having escaped; 
the darker ones have it still within, of an oblong form, 
with the rudiment of a wdng on each side attached to the lower 
part of the thorax and closely applied to the sides ; the legs 
are six in number, the four hind ones being directed backwards, 
the anterior forwards (a peculiarity not occurring in other 
insects); the two antennie are also inclined backwards, and 
from the tail protrude three short bristles, the middle one 
thinner and longer than the rest. 

When the transformation is complete, the mature in- 


sect makes its way from beneath the pellucid case ', all its 
orofans havincj then attained their full size : the head is sub- 
globular, with two rather prominent black eyes, and two 
antennae, each with eleven joints, hairy throughout, and a 
tuft of rather longer hairs at the apices; the legs are also 
hairy, the wings are horizontal, of an obovate oblong shape, 
membranous, and extending a little farther than the bristles of 
the tail. They have only two nerves, neither of which reaches 
so far as the tips ; one of them runs close to the costal margin, 
and is much thicker than the other, which branches off from 
its base and skirts along the inner margin ; behind the wings is 
attached a pair of minute halteres of peculiar form. The pos- 
session of wings woukl appear to be the cause why the ftdl- 
grown male is more rarely seen on the coffee bushes than the 

The female, like the male, attaches herself to the surface of 
the plant, the place selected being usually the young shoots ; 
but she is also to be met with on the margins of the undersides 
of the leaves (on the upper surface neither the male nor female 
ever attach themselves) ; but, unlike the male, which derives no 
nourishment from the juices of the tree (the mouth being 
obsolete in the perfect state), she punctures the cuticle with a 
proboscis (a very short three-jointed proviuscis), springing as it 
were from the breast, but capable of being greatly porrectcd, 
and inserted in the cuticle of the plant, and through this she 
abstracts her nutriment. In the early pupa state the female 
is easily distinguishable from the male, by being more ellip- 
tical and much more convex. As she increases in size the 
skin distends and she becomes smooth and dry ; the rings of 
the body become effaced; and losing entirely the form of an 
insect, she presents, for some time, a yellowish pustidar shajje, 
but ultimately assumes a roundish conical form, of a dark brown 

^ 'Mr. Westwooi), wlio obsen-ed ; Coccus infest common pl<ants about 

the operation in one species, states gardens, sncli as the Nerium Olcan- 

that they escape backwards, the der, riunieria Acuminata, anil 

wings being extended flatly over the ; others with milky juices: anotlier 

head. ' subgenus (Cerophistes?), the female 

- There are many other species of , of which produces a protecting waxy 

the Coccus tribe in Ceylon, some material, infests the Gendurassa 

(Pseiidococcus ?) never appearing as ' "S'ulgaris, the Furcrtea Gigantea, the 

a scale, the female wrapping herself ; Jak tree, Mango, and other coni- 

up in a white cottony exudation ; s mon trees, 
many species nearly allied to the true 1 

R 3 



Until she has nearly reached her full size, she still possesses 
the power of locomotion, and her six legs are easily distinguish- 
able in the under surface of her corpulent body; but at no 
period of her existence has she wings. It is about the time of her 
obtaining full size that impregnation takes place (Reaumur has 
described the singular manner in which this occurs, Mem., torn. 
iv.), after which the scale becomes somewhat more conical, as- 
sumes a darker colour, and at length is permanently fixed to the 
surface of the plant, by means of a cottony substance interposed 
between it and the vegetable cuticle to which it adheres. The 
scale, when full grown, exactly resembles in miniature the hat of 
a Cornish miner, there being a narrow rim at the base, which 
gives increased surface of attachment. It is about ^ inch in 
diameter, by about yV deep, and it appears perfectly smooth to 
the naked eye, but it is in reality studded over with a multitude 
of very minute warts, giving it a dotted appearance ; it is entirely 
destitute of hairs, except the margin, which is ciliated. The 
number of eggs contained in one of the scales is enormous, 
amounting in a single one to 691. The esrsrs are of an oblong 
shape, of a pale flesh colour, and perfectly smooth. A few 
small yellowish maggots are sometimes found with the eggs ; 
these are the larvee ^ of insects, the eggs of which have been 
deposited in the female while the scale was soft. They escape 
when mature by cutting a small round hole in the dorsum of the 

It is not till after this pest has been on an estate for two or 
three years that it shows itself to an alarming extent. During 
the first year, a few only of the ripe scales are seen scattered 
over the bushes, generally on the younger shoots ; but that 
year's crop does not suffer much, and the appearance of the 
tree is little altered. The second year, however, brings a 
change for the worse ; if the young shoots and the underside of 
the leaves be now examined, the scales will be found to have 
become much more numerous, and with them appear a multitude 
of white specks, which are the young scales in a more or less 
forward state. The clusters of berries now assume a black 
sooty look, and a great number of them fall off before coming 

1 Of the parasitic Clialcididino, 
many genera of which are Avell 
knoAAni to deposit their eggs in the 
soft Coccus, viz. : Encystus, Cocco- 
phagus, Pteromulus, Mesosehi, Ago- 

nioneurus ; besides Aphidius, a 
minutely sized genus of Ichneu- 
monidtB. ]\rost, if not all, these 
s-enera ai-e Singhalese. 


to maturity ; the general health of the tree also begins to fail, 
and it acquires a blighted appearance. A loss of crop is this 
year sustained, but to no great extent. 

The third year brings about a more serious change, the whole 
plant acquires a black hue, appearing as if soot had been thro\vn 
over it in great quantities ; this is caused by the growth of a 
parasitic fungus ^ over the shoots and the upper surface of the 
leaves, forming a fibrous coating, somewhat resembling velvet 
or felt. This never makes its appearance till the insect has been 
a long time on the bush, and it j)robably owes its existence 
there to an unhealthy condition of the juices of the leaf, con- 
sequent on the irritation produced by the coccus, since it 
never visits the upper surface of the leaf until it has fully 
established itself on the lower. At this period the young 
shoots have an exceedingly disgusting look from the dense mass 
of yellow pustular bodies forming on them, the leaves get 
shrivelled, and the trees become conspicuous in the row. The 
black ants are assiduous in their visits to them. Two-thirds 
of the crop is lost, and on many trees not a single berry forms. 

As far as it is possible to ascertain, the coffee bushes were 
not affected before 1843, when Captain Robertson first observed 
the pest on his estate at Lapalla Galla, whence it spread east- 
Avard through other estates, and finally reached all the other 
estates in the island. It or a very closely allied species has been 
observed in the Botanic Garden at Peradenia, on the Citrus 
acida, Fsidium 'pomiferum,, Myrtus Zeylanica, Rosa Indica, 
Careya arborea, Vitex Negiindo, and other plants. The coffee 
coccus has generally been first observed in moist hollow jjlaces 
sheltered from the wind ; and thence it has spread itself even over 
the driest and most exposed parts of the island, and in some 
estates, after attaining a maximum, it has gradually declined, 
but has shown a liability to reappear, especially in low sheltered 
situations, and it is believed to prevail most extensively in wet 
seasons. It is easily transmitted from one estate to another, 
while in its earlier stages, on the clothes of human beings, and 
in various other ways, which will readily suggest themselves. 
Dr. Gardner, after careful consideration and minute examination 
of estates, arrived at the conclusion, that all remedies suggested 

^ Racodium f Species of this genus ! bushes. It appears like a dense in- 
are not confined to the coffee plant I terlaced mesh of fibres, each made 
alone in Ceylon, but follow the up of a single series of minute oblong 
"bugs" in their attacks on other ! vesicles applied end to end. 

R 4 


up to that time had utterly failed, and that none at once cheap 
and effectual was likely to be discovered. He seems also to 
have been of opinion that the insect was not under human 
control ; and that even if it should disappear, it would only be 
when it should have worn itself out as other blights have been 
known to do in some mysterious way. \Miether this may 
prove to be the case or not, is still very uncertain, but every- 
thing observed by Dr. Gardner tended to indicate the per- 
manency of the pest. 


CHiVP. yn. 


From tlie right bank of the MahaweUi-ganga at Gampola, 
the road which up to that point keeps the level of the 
river, begins at once to ascend ; and thence to Pusilawa, 
it winds among the mountains in the most picturesque 
contortions ; sometimes hidden in recesses, into which 
it retires in search of a passage across a rocky stream, 
and again emerging to clamber over the opposing hills. 
For the greater part of the way it is carried along the 
face of steep acclivities with the scarped cliff on one 
hand, and on the other a precipitous bank ; and in the 
depths below the Gallatta river is seen, ghding beneath 
over-arched woods, or foaming amongst reefs and fallen 

The vegetation is as varied as the scenery; — strange 
trees attract the eye in the forests : the goraka ^, with 
stem and branches yellow from the exudation of gam- 
boge, the imhul blazinsf \\\\h crimson blossoms, and the 
datura covered with its snowy flower bells. Tlie banks 
of the streams glow with the rosy oleander, and the 
damp ground adjoining them is feathered Avith tree- 
ferns^, which here attain a height of fifteen to twenty 

The sides of the mountains here exliibit that strange 
pecuharity to which I liave before alluded ^ of smooth 
verdant slopes known as patenas, occurring ca})ri- 
ciously in the midst of forest land ; covered with rank 
lemon-grass, and avoided by all trees except the stunted 

^ Garcinia cumlmiia. I ^ See ante, Vol. I. cli. i. p. 24. 

* Alsojihila yujuntca. \ 



cahatta and the amusada-nelli ^, whose thick and pungent 
bark supphes tannui to the Kandyans. 

In these high ahitiides the air is so undisturbed, and 
tlie silence so profound, that individual sounds, the hum 
of insects, the voice of bh'ds, or the shrill call of the 
squirrels, are caught mth surprising clearness. Standing 
at sunset on one of the mountains at Ambogammoa, one 
can hear distinctly the evening guns fired at Colombo and 
Kandy, the one thirty and the other twenty miles distant 
in opposite directions. 

At the time of my first visit in 1846, these mountains 
exhibited a scene of wonderful activity and interest ; 
the .woodman's axe resounded in all du^ectious, and the 
white smoke ascended in clouds from the slopes where 
the felled trees '^, after, being mthered and dried by the 
scorching sun, were fired to get rid of the fallen timber 
and clear the ground for the reception of the young 
coffee plants. 

At Pusilawa our home on many occasions Avas the 
hospitable bungalow of j\Ii\ Worms and his brother, 
the proprietors of one of the finest plantations in the 
island. Then' estate, which now consists, besides un- 
felled forest, of upwards of one thousand acres of cofiee 
trees in full bearing, was commenced by themselves in 
1841, Avhen the new enterprise was still in its infancy. 
Theu' practical knowledge of plantmg was therefore 
acquii'ed during its experimental stages ; and no capi- 
tahsts in the colony have contributed more to its advance- 
ment by judgment and moderation in times of excite- 
ment, and firmness and perseverance in periods of diffi- 
culty. Hereafter, when the great project to whicli 
they have devoted their lives, shall have attained its 
full development, Cejion, in the plenitude of commercial 
success, will remember Avith gratitude tlie names of 

^ Carey a arhorea and EmhUca 

'^ For a description of the ciirions 
process adopted by the Kaudyaus for 

prostrating a whole forest simulta- 
neously, see ante, Vol. I. Pt. i. ch. iii. 
p. lOoI 

CiiAr. YII.] 



men like these, who were the earliest pioneers of its 

It is difficult to imagine a scene of greater natural 
grandeur than that in the midst of which their estates 
have been formed. The valley of Pusilawa ^ is over- 
hung on its south-eastern side by a chain of wooded 
hills, the last of Avhich, known as Moonera-galla, or the 
" Peacock rock," rises upwards of 4000 feet above the 
level of the sea, and commands a prospect of indescribable 
beauty and magnificence ; embracing far and wide 
mountains, forests, rivers, cataracts, and plains. Tlie 
plantations of the Messrs. Worms extend to the very 
crown of Moonera-galla, and the undulating sides of tlie 
hills, which fifteen years ago were concealed by the trees 
of the Black Forest, are now fenced mth roses and 
covered in all directions witli luxuriant coffee bushes. 

A plantation of coffee is at every season an object of 
beauty and interest. The leaves are bright and polished 
hke those of a laurel, but of a much darker green ; the 
flowers, of the purest white, grow in tufts along the top 
of the branches, and bloom so suddenly, that at morn- 
ing the trees look as if snow had fallen on them in 
wreaths during the night. Their jasmine-hke perfume 
is powerful enough to be oppressive, but they last only 
for a day, and the bunches of crimson berries which 
succeed resemble cherries in their brilliancy and size. 
Within the pulp, concealed in a parchment-hke sheath, 
hes the double seed, which by a variety of processes 
is freed fi'om its integuments, and converted into coffee. 

On this fine estate an attempt has been made to 
grow tea : the plants thrive surprisingly, and when 
I saw them they were covered with bloom. But 
the experiment was defeated by the impossibihty of 

^ Piisilawa is said to mean the 
"valley of flowers." Another con- 
jecture is, that the name is derived 
from the great climbing plant, the 
pus-wad (Entada Piirsetha), whose 

gigantic pods five feet long excite 
astonishment in passing through tlie 
forest. See ante, Vol. I. I't. i. ch. 
iii. p. lOG. 


finding sldlled labour to dry and manipulate tlie leaves. 
Should it ever be thought expedient to cultivate tea in 
addition to cofiee in Ceylon, the adaptation of the soil 
and climate has thus been estabhslied, and it only remains 
to introduce artisans from China to conduct the subse- 
quent processes. 

It Avill readily be inferred that if the hfe of a success- 
ful planter in these mountains be fraught with anxieties, 
these are compensated by enjoyment. One can imagine 
the satisfaction with which he must contemplate the rich 
prospects that his own energies have created, peophng 
the sohtudes Avith industry, and teacliing the desert to 
blossom hke the rose. 

Pusilawa and the surrounding valleys and forests 
have furnished large collections of objects, illustrative 
of the zoology of the island ; but this is a som^ce of en- 
jopiient of which the successors of the present genera- 
tion will be deprived, by the felling of the forests and 
the destruction of the jungle, which now afford protec- 
tion to multitudes of animals, birds, reptiles, and insects. 
Their numbers are already dechning in this particular 
spot ; but still, such is tlieir ]:)rofusion in the forests and 
throughout the region surrounding the coffee estates, 
that opportunities exist for observing their instincts 
under most inviting ckcumstances, and even the apa- 
thetic become interested in watching then- habits. 
These are so striking that they impress themselves on 
every sense, and stand out clear and iUustrative in our 
recollections of the day and its progress. It is not alone 
that their crowded associations almost overpower the 
memory, it is not that they form at all times the in- 
cidents and life of the landscape — imparting vivacity 
to the foliage, and rendering the air harmonious with 
their motion and tlieir music ; but there is a degree of 
order in their arrangements, and almost of system in 
their hours of appearing and retiring, tliat serves, when 
experience has rendered them famihar, to identify each 
period of the day Avith its accustomed visitants, and 


assigns to morning, noon, and twilight tlieir peculiar 

With the first ghmmering of dawn the bats and nocturnal 
birds retire to their accustomed haunts, in wliich to hide 
them from " day's garish eye ; " the jackal and tlie 
leopard steal back from their nightly chase ; the elephants 
return timidly into the shade of the forest, from the 
water pools in which they had been luxuriating during 
the darkness ; and the deep-toned bark of the elk re- 
sounds through the glens as he retires into the security 
of the forest. Day breaks, and its earhest blush shows 
the mists tumbling in turbulent heaps through the 
deep valleys. The sun bursts upwards with a speed 
beyond that which marks his progress in the cloudy 
atmosphere of Europe, and the whole horizon glows with 
ruddy lustre : 

" Not, as in northern climes, obscurely bright, 
But one unclouded blaze of living- light." 

At no other moment does the verdure of the mountain 
w^oods appear so vivid ; eacli spray dripping with co[)ious 
dew, and a pendant brilliant twinkhng at every leaf ; the 
grassy glade is hoar with the condensed damps of night, 
and the threads of the gossamer sparlde like strings of 
opal in the sunbeams. 

The earliest members of the animated world that catch 
the eye as they move abroad, are the Uesperidce ; the 
first butterflies, that, with abrupt gesture, pay their 
morning visit to the flowers. To them succeed the 
Theclce, distinguished by the blue metallic lustre of their 
wings ; and the Polyomniati, the minutest and most deli- 
cate of the diurnal lepidoptera. The other species make 
their appearances with imerring certainty at successive 
stages of the morning ; the Theclce are followed by tlie 
Vanessce^ and these by the gaudy Papilios, till, as day 
advances, the broad-leaved plants and flowering shrubs 
are covered by a dancing cloud of butterflies of every 
shape and hue. The bees luuTy abroad in all directions. 


and the golden beetles clamber lazil}- over the still damp 

The earhest bird upon the wing is the crow^, which 
leaves his perch almost Avith the first peep of dawn, caw- 
iiig and flopping his wings in the sky. The parroqiiets 
follow in vast companies, chattering and screaming in 
exuberant excitement. Xext the cranes and waders, 
wliicli fly inland to their breeding places at sunset, 
rise from the branches on which they had passed the 
night, wa\ing theu" wdngs to disencumber them of the 
dew; and, stretching theh' awkward legs beliind, they 
soar away in the direction of the rivers and the far 

The songster that first pours forth his salutation to 
the morning is the dial-bird [Copsychus saularis), and 
the yellow oriole, whose mellow flute-hke voice is heard 
far through the stillness of the dawn. The jungle cock, 
unseen in the dense cover, shouts his reveille ; not AA-ith 
the shriU clarion of his European type, but in a rich 
melodious call, that ascends from the depths of the 
valley. As hght increases, the grass warbler ^ and may- 
nah ^ add their notes ; and the bronze-winged pigeons 
make the woods murmur w^ith their plaintive cry, wdiich 
resembles the distant lowing of cattle. The swifts and 
swallows sally forth as soon as there is sufficient warmth 
to tempt the minor insects abroad ; the bulbul hghts on 
the forest trees, and the Kttle gem-like sun- birds * (the 
humming-birds of the East) quiver on their fulgent wings 
above the opening flowers. 

At length the ferAdd morn approaches, the sun mounts 
high, and all animated nature begins to peld to the 
oppression of his beams. The green enamelled di'agon- 
flies still flash above every pool in pursmt of their tiny 
prey ; but almost every other winged insect instinc- 
tively seeks the shade of the foliage. The hawks and 

* Corpus culminatm. I ' Hettprornis crktatclla. 

2 Cisticoki cursitam. \ * Nvctarima Ztyhmk-a. 


falcons now sweep through the sky to mark the smaller 
birds which may be abroad in search of seeds and larvte. 
The squirrels dart from bough to bough uttering tlieir 
shrill, quick cry ; and the cicada on the stem of the palm- 
tree raises the deafening sound whose tone and volubihty 
have won for him the expressive title of the " Knife- 

It is during the first five hours of daylight that nature 
seems hterally to teem with life and motion, the air 
melodious with the voice of birds, the woods resounding 
with the simmering hum of insects, and the earth replete 
with every form of Hving nature. But as the sun ascends 
to the meridian the scene is singularly changed, and 
nothing is more striking than the almost painful still- 
ness that succeeds the vivacity of the early morning. 
Every animal disappears, escaping under the thick cover 
of the woods ; the birds retire into the shade ; the 
butterflies, if they flutter for a moment in the blazing 
sun, hurry back into the damp shelter of the trees as 
though their filmy bodies had been parched by the brief 
exposure ; and, at last, silence reigns so profound that 
the ticking of a watch is sensibly heard, and even the 
pulsations of the heart become audible. The buffalo 
now steals to the tanks and watercourses, concealing all 
but his gloomy head and shining horns in the mud 
and sedges ; the elephant fans himself languidly with 
leaves to drive away the flies that perplex him ; and the 
deer cower in groups under the over-arching jungle. 
Eusthng from under the dry leaves the bright green 
lizard springs up the rough stems of the trees, and pauses 
between each dart to look inqumngly around. The 
woodpecker makes the forest re-echo with the restless 
blows of his beak on the decajdng bark, and the tortoise 
drops awkwardly into the still water which reflects the 
bright plumage of the kingfisher, as he keeps his lonely 
watch above it. 

So long as the sun is about the meridian, every living 
creature seems to fly Ids beams and hnger in the closest 


shade. Man himself, as if baffled in all devices to escape 
tlie exhausting glare, suspends his toil ; and the traveller 
abroad since dawn reposes till the mid-day heat has passed. 
The cattle pant in then- stifling sheds, and the dogs lie 
prone upon the ground, their legs extended far in front 
and behind, as if to brmg the utmost portion of their body 
into contact with the cool earth. 

As day dechnes natm^e recovers from her languor and 
exhaustion, the insects again flutter across the open 
glades, the bhds ventm^e once more upon the wing, 
and the larger animals saunter from under cover, and 
move away in the direction of the ponds and pasture. 
The traveller recommences his suspended journey, and 
the husbandman, impatient to employ the last hom's of 
fading night, hastens to resume the interrupted labours 
of the morning. The bfrds which had made distant 
excursions to their feeding;-o;rouuds are now seen return- 
iug to their homes ; the crows assemble round some 
pond to dabble in the water, and readjust their plumes 
before rething for the night ; the parroquets settle with 
deafening uproar on the crowns of the palm-trees near 
thefr nests ; and the pehcaus and sea-bfrds, with weary 
"sving, retrace then* way to their breeding-place near 
some sohtary watercourse or ruined tank. The sun at 

" Sinks, as a flaming-o 
Drops into her nest at uiglitfoU ; " 

twihght succeeds, and the crepuscular buxls and ani- 
mals awaken from their mid-day torpor and prepare 
to enjoy their nightly revels. The hawk-moths now 
take the place of the gaj^er butterflies, which with- 
draw with tlie departm-e of Hght ; innumerable beetles 
make short and uncertain flights in the deepening 
shade, and in pursuit of them and the otlier insects 
that frequent the dusk, the night-jar \ with expanded 

^ C(ipri))uthiiis Aifinticus, 

Chap. VII.] DAY I.V TIIK .TUXGLi:. 257 

jaw.s, takes low and rapid circles above the plains and 

Darkness at last descends, and every object fades in 
niglit and gloom ; l)ut still the murmnr of innumerable 
insects arises from the glowing earth. The fruit-eating 
bats launch themselves from the high branches on which 
they have hung suspended during the day, and cluster 
round the mango-trees and tamarinds ; and across the 
grey sky the owl flits in ]:)ursuit of the night moths on a 
wing so soft and downy that the air scarcely betraj's its 

The palm-cat now descends from the crest of the 
coco-nut w^here she had lurked during the day, and 
the glossy genette emerging from some hollow tree, 
steals along the branches to surprise the slumbering 
birds. Meanwhile, among the grass already damp witli 
dew, the glow-worm lights her emerald lamp \ and from 
the shrubs and bushes issue showers of fire-flies, whose 
pale green flashes sparkle in the midnight darkness 
till day returns and morning '• \)i\\es their ineffectual 

Still ascending towards Neuera-eUia, the road from 
Pusilawa winds through the valley skirting the bases 
of the hills till it reaches an apparently insurmountable 
barrier of mountains in the glen of Eangbodde. Here 
the accUvities that bound the ravine are overcome by 
a series of terraced windings cut out of the almost pre- 
cipitous hill, and so narrow is tlie gorge, that the road 
enters between two cataracts that descend on either 
side of the pass. Some of the finest coffee in the island 
is produced at Eangbodde, and the estate of General 
Fraser presents a suitable illustration of the splendid 
scenery amidst which these ])lantations have been 

^ The o^low-worm of Ceylon, tlie i without a proportionate increase of 
female of the Latiipj/ris, attains a .size | splendour. It feeds principally on 
far exceeding anything I have heard i ."^nails, making its way into the shells 
of elsewhere. I have seen it near j and devouring tlie .soft parts. 
Pusilawa three inches in IcngUi. liut | 






s ".M- 



Ill tlie damp sliade near these water-falls the delicate 
spectre butterfly^ is seen in unusual numbers, its broad 
and hniber wings undulating as if unequal to sustain its 
Aveight, and over the streams the brilhant green dragon- 
fly^ dashes from place to place, on wings that flash like 
shced emeralds set in gold. 

Pusilawa is a favourite haunt of a curious species of 
long-legged spider^, that congregates in groups of from 
flfty to a hundred, in hollow trees and in holes in the 
banks by the roadside, and to a casual observer would 
seem bunches of horse-hair. This appearance is pro- 
duced by the long and slender legs of these creatures, 
which are a shining black, whilst their bodies, so small 
as to be mere specks, are concealed beneath them. The 
same spider is found in the low country near Galle, but 
there it shows no tendency to become gregarious. Can 

Ilestia Jasonia. 

' Phalanr/iiim him/natvm. 

Cnvi-. Vir.] RAXGBODDK PASS. 259 

it be that they tlms assemble in groiqxs in the hills lor 
the sake of accumulated warnitli at the cool altitude ot 
■lOUU feet ? 

The lowland Sina:halese have a horror of the cold in 
these elevated situations, and still more of the rain, to 
avoid the pattering of which on their skins they would 
at any time crouch under water in a stream or a tank. 
It is difficult to tempt them to the hills, and even tlic 
Malabar coolies shrink with apprehension from the 
chills of Neuera-eUia. To provide labour for these 
moimtain roads the Government retain in their ])ay a 
body of Caffres as pioneers, the remnant of a force 
which was originally incorporated Ijy the Portuguese, 
Avho introduced them from their African settlements at 
Mozambique. The Dutch succeeded in kee])ing up it- 
t^trength by an inuiiigration from the Cape, and tlu; 
British maintained it by purchasing slaves from the 
Portuguese at Goa. At present the Caifres show no 
inclination to resort to the island, and this valuable 
force is threatened with extinction in consequence. 

On the occasion of my first ascent, the lianglxxUle 
pass was rendered dangerous by the presence of a 
'' rogue " elephant which infested it. He concealed 
himself by day in the dense forests on either side of the 
road, making his way during the darkness to the river 
below ; and we saw, as we passed, marks on the trunks 
of the trees where he had rubbed off the mud, after re- 
turning from his midnight bath. On the morning when 
I crossed the mountain, a ])oor Caffre, one of the ])ioneer 
corps, proceeding to his labour, came suddenly upon tliis 
savage at a turning in the road, when the elei)liant, 
alarmed by the intrusion, lifted him with its trunk and 
beat out his brains against the bank. 

After a slow and toilsome journey to an elevation (d" 
more than 6000 feet\ a sight is obtained of the ])laii) of 

Tho rpst-lionsp on tho plain ,it XciuM-a-ollia is (i:>:>2 feet jibovc tlic .-t-a. 


Neuera-ellia. The first visit of Europeans to tliis lofty 
plateau was made by some English officers, who, in 1826, 
penetrated so far in pursuit of elephants.^ Struck witli 
its freshness and beauty, the}^ reported their discovery to 
the Governor, and Sir Edward Barnes, alive to its impor- 
tance as a sanitary retreat for the troops, took possession 
of it instantly, and commenced the building of barracks, 
and of a bungalow for his own accommodation. lie 
directed the formation of a road ; and within two years 
Neuera-ellia was opened (in 1829) as a convalescent 
station. In the estimation of the European and the 
invalid it is the Elysium of Ceylon. At this elevation, 
and encircled by mountains (which on the northern side 
rise 2000 feet higher still), in the midst of a grassy plain, 
watered by crystal streams, and surrounded by hills 
covered with luxuriant vegetation, stands the httle 
hamlet ; the smoke ciuling above the thatch of its 
white cottages in the midst of gardens of roses and mi- 
gnonette ; and even of some European fruit-trees, that 
charm with their foliage, though they rarely bring their 
fruit to maturity. It is difficult to imagine a higher 
enjoyment than to mount almost between sunrise and 
sunset from the sultry calm of Colombo to the cool and 
delicious breezes of this mountain plateau ; to leave the 
flamino; noon and the sufFocatino' nin-hts of the coast, and 
after a jom^ney of less than a hundred miles along 
admu^able roads, and through scenery unsurpassed in its 
loveliness and grandeur, to rest in an Enghsh cottage, 
with a blazing wood fire, to sleep under blankets, and 
awake in the morning to find thin ice on the water and 
hoar-frost encrusting the herbage. 

The temperature of Neuera-ellia, according to Davy, 
ranges from 30° to 81°, with a mean daily variance of 

' Xeiiera-ellia was of course pre- 
viously known by the natives. It 
liad been tlu; retreat of one of the 

and from the cirounistance of its 
having tlins become an imperial resi- 
dence, " nmvara," it obtained itspre- 

Kiindyan kings, who Hed tliitlier from sent appeUation Xmvara-elUa, the 
the I'ortugnese about the vear KilO, ' " roval citv of liii'ht." 

Chap. VIT.] 



11°), but tliu latter is higlier than is sliown by recent 
experiment, tlie average at noon being now ascertained 
to be about 62°, and the highest observation of the 
unexposed tliermometer 70°. 

At this elevation there is a perpetual breeze, but of 
the two winds, the residents, in spite of the greater 
moisture and more frequent showers, prefer the south- 
west, to the dry and parching breeze from the north and 
east. The quantity of rain, of course, varies in a series 
of years ; but it is by no means so great as in the lower 
range of the hills, and does not much exceed the ordinary 
average on the western coast. ^ During the transitional 
periods of the monsoons the fall is less equable, and the 
intervals of suspension longer ; on the other hand, rain 
has been known about this period to descend ^vithout 
intermission for fourteen days. Except dming these 
violent outbursts there is scarcely a day wlien outdoor 
exercise is not practicable. Even at noon the clouds 
which collect I'ound the summit of these lofty hills serve 
to ward off the sun, and outdoor hfe is as enjoyable 
as summer at home. Here the troops never change 
woollen for other clothing^, and Em-opean visitors are 
glad to recall associations of England by producing 
their winter muffling and surtouts. 

In the early part of the year, from Decembcj- to 
March, the mornings are bracing and frosty, and one is 
tempted to take the chill off the water on stepping into 
the accustomed bath before breakfast. The noon-day 
warmth adds a zest to the evening hre, and the nights 
are so biilliant that a book may be read by moonlight. 

' Tlie quantity of rain falling: at 
Neuera-ellia has perceptibly decreased 
of late years, probably owin<r to the 
extensive clearing of the surrounding 
forests, to prepare them for coifee 

'^ It may seem to modify tlie popu- 
lar opinion as to great changes of 
temperature being in themselves 
prejudicial to healthy that the medical 

oflicers in charge of troops atNeuera- 
ellia have remarked tliat, notwitli- 
standing the sudden variation, from 
the heat of the sun which is some- 
times oppressive in the aftenioou, to 
chill br(>e/.es and hoar frost at niglit, 
the men never siifler from this cause 
alone ; without some incautious act 
on the part of those exposed. 



May or June ushers in tlie boisterous monsoon, ^vitli its 
thunder and torrents, the solemnity of which is increased 
by storms of wind such as are unknown in the Vnv 
country. From July to November, when the monsoon 
again changes, the plain presents the same characteristics 
of chmate and verdure; flowers spring up after the rains, 
and day after day invahds enjoy their healthfid drive 
round the base of the hills that encircle the valley, and 
excursionists make their pilgrimages to the top of Peduru- 
talla-galla\ an elevation of 8280 feet, from which there is 
a view of surpassing magnificence over the lower range 
of mountains and the plains beneath, threaded by tlie 
silvery line of the rivers, and stretcliing aAvay till it meets 
tlie sea on tlie far horizon. 

In these imigorating heights the newly arrived visitor, 
escaping in a single night from the sultry languor of the 
low country is surprised by the unexpected importunities 
of his recovered appetite, and seizes with a relish dishes 
he would have dechned with averted face the day before. 
In a temperature resembhng that of an English autumn, 
the skin moist, but no longer sodden, the chest expanding 
in a hghter atmosphere, and the enhvened circulation 
imparting an unaccustomed glow and colom" to the 
sinface ; he addresses hunself with vigour to pedestrian 
excursions among the surrounding hills. Here a slight 
ililliculty of breathing surprises a stranger — arising 
from the high rarefaction of the an- — but it soon 
passes off. 

To those dehcate constitutions which, without the 
presence of actual disease, are nevertheless debihtated 
IVom long exposm-e to tropical heat, the change pro- 
(hiced by the lofty climate of Neuera-elha is still more 
remarkable ; muscular tenuity disappears, the limbs re- 
cover their elasticity and roundness, the sphits rise 

' Geuerally ciillod ** Pedro-talla- i serve as a substitute for the "■ tulla" 

galla." It takes this name from pro- | or strips of leaves; and they gi'ow 

ducincr some plants suitable for the ainonijst the rocks " t/al/<i," near its 

weaviim lA' jnduru, " mat,s," — these | summit. 

Chap. VH.] NEUERA-ELLIA. '263 

Avitli the renewal of strength, tlie pallor of the features 
disappears, and after a few weeks of outdoor excitement 
the visitor returns to the coast with a complexion as 
clear as if freshly imported from Europe. 

But whilst thus adapted to the preservation of health, 
and to the stage of weakness consequent on the suljsi- 
dence of disease, Neuera-ellia, as a sanatarium, is httle 
to be relied on for the rehef of active ailments, especially 
such as are incident to the island. Deran2:ements of 
the liver and internal orojans are hkely to be aii'fjra- 
vated there by congestion, and the diminution of that 
quietude which is essential to the work of reparation ; 
and in affections of the luno's there is an increase of 


uneasmess in the chest from breathing such highly rarefied 

Only one class of sufferers seem to derive a relief 
at once rapid and effectual, — those Avith cutaneous 
abrasions or ulcerations by leech-bites. These "w^oiuids in 
the low country are sluggish and slow to heal, but in 
the tonic air of the mountain they quickly close, to the 
surprise of the patient, and almost without the inter- 
vention of surgical skill. 

But however hmited its sanative effects, the blessina: 
with which Providence has endowed the island, in placing 
such a climate within reach of the sultry coast, has never 
been duly estimated by Europeans, nor availed of as 
a i)reventive against the approaches of disease. By the 
mihtary, especially, its value has been inadequately ap- 
preciated as a propliylactic. Soldiers are only allowed 
to visit it after becoming pronounced invalids : when 
health miglit have been preserved comparatively unim- 
paired, had they been sent there as a precaution, on 
the earhest symptom of that exhaustion and debility 
which ordinarily prelude a.ctual seiziure. After the at- 
tack has subsided the influence of the plain on conva- 
lescents is something magical ; and in cases of fever no 
effort should l)e spared to enable the patient to reach 
it. Instances have occun'cd in wliich it might be appre- 

b 4 



lieucled that the sufferer would die upon the road, when 
he has ralhed and recovered after reaching Neuera-elha, 
as if the breezes of tlie mountain were the ehxir of 
St. Leon. 

As preventive of illness, therefore, the advantages of 
Neuera-elha cannot be too highly lauded. To the hj'^jo- 
chondiiac and the valetudinarian, 

" TMien nature, being oppress'd, commands the mind 
To siiifer with the body," 

the valley is a paradise ; to the languid and exhausted 
dweller on the coast a visit to this elevated region acts 
like the touch of his mother earth, strengthening him 
to wrestle with the heats below ; and children after 
rejoicing in the bracing breezes descend as rosy and bright 
as on their first arrival from England. 

European vegetables have been grown after infinite 
pains and attention at Neuera-elha, and attempts have 
been made to cultivate Enghsh grain ^ ; but the result 
has been unsatisfactory, — the seed was destroyed by the 
nuiltitude of larvaa and other depredators in a soil that 
had never before been disturbed ; and although the 
experiment may eventually prove successful, the labour 
and cost in the intermediate stages must for some time 
to come discourage the enterprise as a remunerative 

As the plain is entirely formed of debris from the 
hills, it has been largely productive of precious stones 
embedded in the alluvial deposit, and is stiU covered 
Avith pits sunk by the gem-finders. One of the amuse- 
ments of visitors is jewel-hunting, and they ai^e frequently 
requited by the discovery of small rubies, sa})phu'es, and 

From Neuera-ellia to Badulla the road makes a descent 
of more than 3000 feet within forty miles, and com- 

1 An accoimt of these expeinments 
and their results will be found in Mr. 
Bakbr's Eii/M Years' Wanderings in 

Ceylon, 8vo. Longmans, 1855, oh. ii. 
p. 14, &c. 

Chap. VII.] 



mands at every point splendid \de\vs over the hills and 
undulating plains of Oovali. This fertile region was 
formed into a principality by King Senerat, who, at his 
decease in 1G35, bequeathed it to his step-son ; and it 
was here that the Portuguese commander, Don Constan- 
tine de Sa y Xorofia, being tempted to invade the high 
country, in 1G30, was led into an ambuscade, and mer- 
cilessly slaughtered by the Kandyans. This gloomy epi- 
sode in the history of the Europeans in Ceylon forms the 
subject of a touching narrative Avritten by his son Itodri- 
gues de Sa y Menezes to vindicate the memory of his 
father^, who alone of all the Portuguese governors of the 
island appears to have been kindly remembered for some 
endearing qualities in his disposition. 

The general aspect of the pro\dnce presents grassy 
plains, which afford better pasturage for cattle than 
any other in the island ; and fertile rice-lands, in the 
management of Avliich the people of Oovah are pre- 
eminent, from their skill in leading streams from great 
distances for purposes of irrigation.^ Cattle are abundant, 
and especially buffaloes, which are universally employed 
for tillage ; and amongst the objects of cultivation to 
which the climate is adapted are Indian corn, millet, 
yams, potatoes, and cassava. Large quantities of ma- 
terials are grown for the preparation of curry ; turme- 
ric, capsicums, onions and garUc, as well as cardamoms 
and pepper. Vegetable oils are expressed from numerous 
plants ; indigo, madder, sapan-wood and arnotto furnisli 
dyes ; and the hills, long before European planters had 
estabhshed themselves around Kandy, were celebrated 
for yielding the linest native coffee in Ceylon. At the 

' Rchelion de Ccyhm, cS'r. Usbon, 
A.n. 1(581. For an account of this 
ill-fated expedition, see ante, Vol. 11. 
rt. IV. ch. ii. p. 40. 

■^ The sources of these streams 
ai'e chiefly in the hills surrounding 
!Neuera-ellia ; '■'■ therefore," says Mr. 
V>\\\VM,m\\\9, Eujlit Years" ll^ander- 

iii(/s in Cei/Ioii, " the king in possession 
of Xeuera-ellia had the niostconiplcle 
coniniixnd over his subjects in Oovah, 
as he could either give or Avitlihold 
the supply at pleasure by allowing 
its free exit or altering its course.'' 
Ch. iii. p. 49. 



present inoment there are upwards of three thousand 
acres in bearuig, and the ascertained portion of forest 
land suitable for plantations is not less than thkty thousand 

The chmate is one of the most salubrious in Ceylon ; 
and owing to this sino-ular combination of capabilities 
there can be httle doubt that, with the extension of roads 
and enlarged means of communication with the capitals 
and the coast, Oovali, as it is already one of the richest 
districts in the island, is destined at no distant date to be 
one of the most prosperous and frequented. 

BaduUa, the capital of the principality, lies in a 
valley, on one side of which rises the mountain of 
Xamoone-koole, whose summit is nearly 7000 feet liigh. 
No scene in nature can be more peaceftd and lovely, 

but tlie valley has been so often desolated by war, that 
nothing remains of the ancient city except its gloomy 
temples and the vestiges of a ruined dagoba. The 
British liave couvei-led an ancicu! rcsidrnce of the 

Chap. VII.] BADULLA. 267 

prince of OomxIi into a fort, defended by earth-works ; 
and the modern town, in the activity of its bazaars and 
tlie comfort and order of its dweUings, generally sm'- 
roundcd by gardens of coco-nuts, coffee, and tobacco, 
attests the growing prosperity and contentment of tlie 

About four hundred yards from the Fort is tlie tepid 
spring, called by the natives " the smoke-mouthed well," 
which is held in equal veneration by Buddliists, Hin- 
dus, and Mahometans. The Hindus believe tliat twcj 
chank shells, still preserved in an adjacent dewale which 
is dependent on the great temple of Kattragam, were 
obtained from two cobra de capellos, wliicli rose with 
them from tlie depths of tliis well ; and the Maliometans 
liave a tradition that a devout Santon, on his pilgrimage 
to Adam's Peak, died, and was buried near the spring. 
It is remarkable, too, that in the mountains of Ooda- 
Kinda, in western Oovah, there is a small connmuiity 
known as the " Padua-guriiwas,'" who profess Islam, but 
conform to Kandyan customs ; and it seems to be 
doubtfid whether they are Mahometan converts, or the 
descendants of a tribe from the continent of India. 

I have mentioned elsewhere \ the existence in Oovah 
of a race of out-castes, the Ambatteyos, so degraded, 
that even the Eodiyas prevent their dogs from eating 
the fragments of food cooked by them. It is further 
illustrative of the development of caste in Ceylon, that, 
in the neighbourhood of Badulla, there is a class known 
as Pareyos, or " strangers," and sometimes as Weediye- 
ettos, or " people of the high road," who are beheved to 
be the offspring of some Portuguese captives, made 
slaves after the massacre of Constantiue de Sa y 
Noroiia. They were permitted to intermariy with women 
of rank who had been expelled from Kandy for crimes ; 
but these, as a less punishment than consigning them to 
the Piodiyas, were degraded to the condition of roval 

> 8ce and: \nl. II. Pi. vii. di. iv. p. I'.tl. 


serfs, and condemned to menial services in the rice-lands 
and granaries. 

Perhaps there is not a scene in the world Avliich com- 
bines snbliniity and beauty in a more extraordinary 
degree tlian that which is presented at the Pass of Ella, 
Avhere, through an opening in the chain of mountains, 
the road from Badidla descends rapidly to the lowlands, 
over wliich it is carried for upwards of seventy miles, 
to Hambangtotte, on the south coast of the island. The 
ride to Ella passes for ten or twelve miles along the 
base of hills thickly wooded, except in those spots where 
the forest has been cleared for planting coffee. The 
\dew is therefore obstructed, and at one point appears 
to terminate in an impassable glen; but on reaching 
this the traveller is amazed at discovering a ravine 
through wliich a torrent has forced its way, disclosing a 
passage to the plains below, over which, for more than 
sixty miles, the prospect extends, unbroken by a single 
eminence, till, far in the distance, the eye discerns a hne 
of light, which marks where the simbeams are flashmg 
on the waters of the Indian ocean. 






During my residence at Kandy, I had twice tlie 
oi)portunity of witnessing the operation on a grand 
scale of capturing wild elephants, intended to be trained 
for the public service in tlie estabhshment of the Civil 
Engineer ; — and in the course of my frequent journeys 
through the interior of the island, I succeeded in 
collecting so many particulars relative to tlie habits of 
these interesting animals in a state of natm-e, as have en- 
abled me not only to add to the information previously 
possessed, but to correct many fallacies popularly re- 
ceived regarding their instincts and disposition. These 
I am anxious to place on record before proceeding to 
describe the scenes of which I was a spectator, dming 
the progress of the elephant hunts in the district of the 
Seven Corles, at wliicli I was present in 1846, and again 
in 1847. 

With the exception of the narrow but densely inha- 
bited belt of cultivated land, wliicli extends along the 
seaborde of the island from Chilaw on the western 
coast to Tangalle on the east, there is no part of Ceylon 
in which elephants may not be said to abound ; even 
close to the environs of tlie most populous locahties of 
the interior. They frequent both the open plains and 
tlie deep forests ; and their footsteps are to be seen 
wherever food and shade, vegetation and water \ allure 

' M. Ad. Pictet has availpcl him- 
self of the love of the elepliant for 
water, to foimd on it a solution of the 
long-contested question as to the 

etymolopv of the word "elephant,"' 
— a term which, whilst it has passed 
into almost every dialect of the 
West, is scarcely to be traced iu 



[Part VIII. 

them, alike on the summits of the loftiest momitaiiis, and 
on tlie borders of the tanks and lowland streams. 

From time immemorial the natives have been taunlit 
to capture and tame them, and the export of elephants 
from Ceylon to India has been going on without inter- 
ruption from the period of the first Punic War.^ In later 
times aU elephants were the property of the Kandyan 
crown ; and thek capture or slaughter without the royal 
permission w^as classed amongst the gravest offences in 
the Kandyan code. 

In recent years there is reason to beheve that their 
numbers have become considerably reduced. They have 
entkely disappeared from districts in which they were 

any language of Asia. The Greek 
iXiniac, to whicli "we are immediately 
indebted for it, did not onginally 
mean the animal, but, as early as the 
time of Homer, applied only to its 
tusks, and signified ivori/. Bochart 
has sought for a Semitic origin, and 
seizing on the Arabic Jil, and pre- 
fixing the article al, obtains al/il, alvin 
to iXi-t ; but to this the objection lies 
that it excludes the other two syl- 
lables ovToc. Eejecting this, Bo- 
chart himself resorts to the Hebrew 
eleph, an ''ox" — and this conjecture 
derives a certain degree of coun- 
tenance from the fact that the Eo- 
mans, wheu they obtained theii' first 
sight of the elephant in the army of 
Pyrrhus, in Lncania, called it the Lxra 
bos. But the av-og is still imac- 
coimted for; and Pott has sought to 
remove the difficulty by inti-oducing 
the^\i-abic hutdi, Indian, thns making 
cleph-hindi, " ho^ Indiciis.'' The con- 
version of hiiidi into cuto is an 
obstacle, but here the example of 
" tamarind " conies to aid ; tamar 
hindi, the " Indian date/' which in 
mediajval Greek forms rcqiapivn. A 
theoiy of Benary, that t \«(/)ac might 
be compounded of the Arabic «/, and 
ibha, a Sanskrit name for tlie ele- 
phant, is expos(>d to still greater cty- 
mological exception. Pictet's solu- 
tion is, that in the Sanskrit epics the 
King of Elephants, who has the dis- 
tinction of carrving the god Indra, is 

called airavata or airavana, a modi- 
fication of airavanta, "son of the 
ocean," which again comes from irn- 
vat, " aboimding in water." "Xous 
aimons done ainsi, comme correlatif 
du grec £'\t^ai'ro,ime ancienne forme, 
(iirdvcoda on dildvanta, aftaiblie plus 
tard en dirdrata ou dirdvana .... 
On connait la predilection de I'ele- 
phant poiu" le voisinage des fleuves, 
et son amour pom- I'eau, dont I'abon- 
dance est necessairea son bien-etre." 
This Sanskrit name, Pictet supposes, 
may have been earned to the West 
by the Phoenicians, who were tlie 
purveyors of ivory from India ; and, 
from the Greek, the Latins derived 
elejjJta^, which passed into the modern 
languages of Italy, Germany, and 
France. But it is curious that the 
Spaniards acquired fi'oni the Moors 
their Arabic term for ivory, marjil, 
and tlie Portuguese ma>^'m ; and that 
the Scandinavians, probably from 
their early expeditions to the Medi- 
terranean, adopted JiU as their name 
for the elephant itself, and Jil-hrin 
for ivory ; in Danish, Jih-ben. (See 
Journ. Asiat. 184^3, t. xliii. p. 13.">.) 
The Spaniards of South America call 
the palm whicli produces the vege- 
table ivory (Phi/fe/ejj/tas macrocarpa) 
Pahna de marjil, and the nut itself, 
marjil vegetal. 

' ^Eliax, de Nat. Anim. lib. xvi. 
c. 18; Cosmas Lid/ropl. p. 128. 

CuAr. I.] 



formerly numerous ^ ; smaller lierds have been taken in 
the periodical captures for the pubhc service, and hunters 
returning fi'om the chase report them to be more scarce. 
In consequence of this diminution the peasantry in 
some parts of the island have even suspended the an- 
cient practice of keeping watchers and fires by night 
to drive away the elephants fi'om thek growing crops.^ 
The opening of roads and the clearing of the mountain 
forests of Kandy for the cultivation of coffee, have 
forced the animals to retu-e to the low country ; where 
again they have been followed by large parties of Eu- 
ropean sportsmen ; and the Singhalese themselves, being 
more freely provided with arms than in former times, 
have assisted in swelhng the annual slaughter. 

Had the motive which incites to the destruction of 
the elephant in Africa and India prevailed in Ceylon, 
and had the elephants there been pro\ided with tusks, 
they Avould long since have been annihilated for the 
sake of their ivory.^ But it is a cm^ious fact that, 

^ Le Britx, wlio visited Ceylon 
A.D. 1705, says tliat in the distiict 
round Colombo, where elephants are 
now never seen, they were then so 
abundant, that 160 had been taken 
in a single con'al. ( Voyage, ^-c, torn. 
ii. ch. Ixiii. p. 331.) 

^ In some parts of Bengal, where 
elephants were formerly troublesome 
(especially near the wilds of Ram- 
gar), the natives got rid of them by 
mixing a preparation of the poison- 
ous nepal root called dahra in balls 
of gi-ain, and other materials, of which 
the animal is fond. In Cuttack, above 
fifty years ago, mineral poison was 
laid for them in the same way, and 
the carcases of eighty were foimd 
which had been killed by it. {Asiat. 
Res., XV. 183.) 

^ The annual importation of ivory 
into Creat Britain alone, for the 
last few years, has been about one 
million pounds ; which, taking the 
average weight of a tusk at sixty 
pounds, would requii-e the slaughter 


of 8,333 male elephants. 

But of this quantity the importa- 
tion from Ceylon has generally aver- 
aged only five or six himdred weight; 
which, making allowance for the 
lightness of the tusks, woidd not in- 
volve the destruction of more than 
seven or eight in each year. At the 
same time, this does not fixirly repre- 
sent the annual number of tuskers 
shot in Ceylon, not only because a 
portion of the ivory finds its way to 
China and to other places, but be- 
cause the chiefs and Buddliist priests 
haA'e a passion for collecting tusks, 
and the finest and largest are to be 
fomid omamenting tlieir temples and 
private dwellings. The Chinese pro- 
fess that for their exqiusite carvings 
the ivoiT of Ceylon excels all otlier, 
both in density of texture and in de- 
licacy of tint ; but in tlu^ European 
market, the ivoiy of jVfrica, from its 
more distinct gi-aining and otlier 
causes, obtains a higher price. 



[Part VIII. 

wliilst in Africa botli sexes have tusks, vnili some slight 
disproportion in the size of those of the females ; and 
whilst in India the females are pro\aded with them, 
though of much less cUmensions than the males ; not 
one elephant in a hundred is found with tusks in Ceylon, 
and the few that possess them are exclusively males. 
Nearly all, however, have those stunted processes which 
are called tushes, about ten or twelve inches in length 
and one or two in diameter, — these I have observed 
them to use in snapping off small branches and chmbing 
plants ; and hence tushes are seldom seen without a 
groove worn into them near their extremities.^ 

Amongst other surmises more ingenious than sound, 
the general absence of tusks in the elephant of Ceylon 
has been associated mth the profusion of rivers and 
streams in the island ; whilst it has been thrown out as 
a possibility that in Afiica, where water is comparatively 
scarce, the animal is equipped with these implements 
in order to assist it in digging wells in the sand 
and in raising the juicy roots of the mimosas and 
succulent plants for the sake of their moisture. In sup- 
port of this liy[3othesis, it has been observed, that whilst 
the tusks of the Ceylon species, which are never re- 
quired for such uses, are slender, graceful and curved, 
seldom exceeding fifty or sixty pounds' weight, those 
of the African species are straight and tliick, weighing 
occasionally one hundred and fifty, and even three 
hundred pounds.^ 

^ The old fallacy is still renewed, 
that the elephant sheds his tusks. 
yELiAN says he drops them once in 
ten years (lib. xiv. c. 5) ; and Pliny 
repeats the story, adding that, when 
dropped, the elephants hide them un- 
der gi-ound (lib. viii.) whence, Shaw 
says, in his Zooloc/i/, "they are fre- 
quently fomid in the woods," and ex- 
ported from jVfrica (vol. i. p. 21.3) ; 
and Sir W. Jardixf,, in the Kafu- 
rulisfs Library (vol. ix. p. 110), says, 
" the tusks are shed about the twelfth 

or thirteenth year." This is eiTO- 
neous : after losing the first pair, or, 
as they are called, the ''milk tusks," 
which drop in consequence of the ab- 
sorption of their roots, when the ani- 
mal is extremely yoimg, the second 
pair acquire their full size, and be- 
come the " penniuient tusks," which 
are never shed. 

~ Notwithstanding the inferiority 
in weight of the Ceylon tusks, as com- 
pared with those of the elephant of 
India, it would, I think, be precipi- 

Chap. I.] 



But it is manifestly inconsistent with tlie idea that 
tusks were given to the elephant to assist him in digging 
for his food, to find that the females are less bountiiiiUy 
supplied with them than the males, wliilst the necessity 
for their use extends equally to both sexes. The same 
argument would serve to demonstrate the fallacy of the 
coiijecture, that the tusks of the elephant were given to 
him as weapons of offence, for if such were the case the 
vast majority in Ceylon, males as well as females, woidd 
be left helpless in presence of an assailant. But although 
in their conflicts with one another, those which are pro- 
vided with tusks may occasionally push with them clumsily 
at their opponents ; it is a misapprehension to imagine 
that tusks are designed specially to serve " in warding off 
th.e attacks of the wily tiger and the furious rhinoceros, 
often securing the victory by one blow which transfixes 
the assailant to the earth." ^ 

So harmless and peaceftd is the hfe of the elephant, that 

tate to draw the infereuce tliat the 
size of the former was imifonuly aud 
naturally less than that of the latter. 
The truth, I believe to be, that if 
permitted to grow to maturity, the 
tusks of the one woidd, in all proba- 
bility, equal those of the other ; but, 
so eager is the search for ivoiy in 
Ceylon, that a tusker, when once 
obsei"^'ed in a herd, is followed up 
with such perseveiing impatience, that 
he is almost invariably shot before 
attaining his fidl gTowth. General 
3)i Lima, when returning from the 
governorship of the Portuguese set- 
tlements at Mozambique, told me, 
in 1848, that he had beeu requested 
to procure two tusks of the largest 
size and straightest possible shape, 
which were to be formed into a cross 
to surmoimt the high altar of the ca- 
theelral at Goa : he succeeded in his 
commission, and sent two, one of 
which was 180 pounds, and the other 
170 pounds' weight, with the slightest 
possible curve. In a periodiciil, en- 
titled 77ie Ffii'nd, published in Cey- 
lon, it is stated in the vohune for 1837 
that the officers belonging to the ships 

Q.uoiTah and Alburhak, engaged in 
the Niger Expedition, were shown 
by a native king two tusks, each two 
feet and a half in circmnferonce at 
the base, eight feet long, and weigh- 
ing upwards of 200 pounds. (Vol. i. 
p. 225.) BEODEiap, in his Zoolot/ical 
Jtecreatiotis, p. 256, says a tusk of 
350 pounds' weight was sold at Am- 
sterdam, but he does not quote his 

^ 3Ienaf/eries, ^-c, published by 
the Society for the Difiusion of I'se- 
fiil Knowledge, vol. i. p. 08 : " The 
Elephant," ch. iii. It will be seen 
that I have quoted repeatedly from 
this volume, because it is the most 
compendious and careful compila- 
tion with which I am acquainted of 
the information previously existing 
regarding the elephant. The au- 
thor incorporates no specidations of 
his ovra, but has most diligently and 
agi'eeably arranged all the facts col- 
lected by his predecessors. The stoiy 
of antipathy between the elephant 
and rhinoceros is probably borrowed 
from /Elian, ile Aar., lib. xvii. 
c. 44. 


nature appears to liave left liim unprovided with any 
weapon of offence : liis trunk is too delicate an organ to 
be rudely employed in a conflict ^\'itli other animals, 
and although on an emergency he may push or gore 
Avith his tusks (to which the French have hastily given 
tlie term " defenses'")^ their almost vertical position, 
added to the difficidty of raising his head above the 
level of his shoulder, is inconsistent with the idea of 
their being designed for attack, since it is impossible 
for the elephant to strike an effectual blow, or to wield 
his tusks as the deer and the buffalo can direct their 
horns. Nor is it easy to conceive under what ckcum- 
stances an elephant could have a hostile encounter 
with either a rhinoceros or a tiger, with whose pm"- 
suits in a state of nature his o^vm can in no way 

Towards man elephants evince shyness, arising from 
their love of solitude and dishke of intrusion ; any 
alarm they exhibit at his appearance, may be reason- 
ably traced to the slaughter which has reduced their 
numbers ; and as some e^ddence of this, it has always 
been observed that an elephant exliibits greater unpa- 
tience of the presence of a white man than of a native. 
Were his instincts to carry him fiu'ther, or were he 
influenced by any feehng of animosity or hostihty, it 
must be apparent that, as against the prodigious 
numbers which inhabit the forests of Ceylon, man would 
wage an unequal contest, and that of the two one or 
other must long since have been reduced to a helpless 

Official testimony is not wanting in confirmation of 
this view ; — in the retmiis of 108 coroners' inquests held 
in Ceylon, during five years, from 1849 to 1855 inclusive, 
in cases of death occasioned by wild animals ; 16 are 
recorded as having been caused by elephants, 15 by 
buffaloes, 6 by crocochles, 2 by boars, 1 by a bear, and 
68 by serpents ; (the great majority of the last class of 
sufferers being women and cliildren, who had been 


bitten diu-ing the iiiglit). Little more than three fatal 
accidents annually on the average of five years, is cer- 
tainly a small proportion amongst a population estimated 
at a million and a half, in an island abounding with 
elephants, with which encounters are daily stimulated 
by the love of sport or the hope of gain. Were the 
elephants instinctively vdcious or even highly irritable 
in their temperament, the destruction of human life 
under the circumstances must have been infinitely greater. 
It must also be taken into account, that some of the 
accidents recorded may have occurred in the rutting 
season, when elephants are subject to fits of temporary 
fury, known in India by the term must^ in Ceylon miidda, 
— a paroxysm which speedily passes away, but during 
the fury of wliich it is dangerous even for the mahout 
to approach those ordinarily the tamest and most gentle. 

But, then, the elephant is said to " entertain an ex- 
traordinary dishke to all quadrupeds ; that dogs run- 
ning near him produce annoyance ; that he is alarmed 
if a hare start fi'om her form ; " and from Phny to 
BufFon every naturahst has recorded his supposed aver- 
sion to swine. ^ These alleged antipathies are in a great 
degree, if not entirely, imaginary. The habits of the 
elephant are essentially harmless, his Avants lead to no 
rivalry with other animals, and the food to which he is 
most attached is found in such abundance that he ob- 
tains it without an efibrt. In the quiet sohtudes of 
Ceylon, elephants may constantly be seen browsing 
peacefully in the immediate \dcinity of and in close 
contact with other animals. I have seen groups of deer 
and wild buffaloes rechning in the sandy bed of a river 
in the dry season, and elephants plucking the branches 
close beside them. They show no impatience in the 
company of the elk, the bear, and the wild hog ; and on 
the other hand, I have never discovered an instance in 
which these animals have evinced any apprehension of 

^ Menageries, ^-c, " The Elephaut/ ' ch. iii. 
T 3 



[Part VIII. 

them. The elephant's natmiil timidity, however, is such 
that he becomes alarmed on the appearance in the jungle 
of any animal with wliich he is not famihar; he is 
said to be afraid of the horse, but from my o^vn ex- 
perience I should say it is the horse that is alarmed 
at the aspect of the elephant ; in the same way, from 
some unaccountable impulse, the horse has an antipathy 
to the camel, and e^^nces extreme impatience, both of 
the sight and the smell of that animal.^ Wlien enraged, 
an elephant will not hesitate to charge a rider on 
horseback ; but it is against the man, not against the 
horse, that his fiuy is du"ected ; and no instance has been 
ever known of liis wantonly assailing a horse. 

A horse, wliich belonged to the late Major Eogers^, 
had run away from his groom, and was found some 
considerable time afterwards grazing quietly vriih a 
herd of elephants. Pigs are constantly to be seen feed- 
ing about the stables of the tame elephants, wliich 
manifest no repugnance to them. As to the smaller 
animals, the elephant undoubted^ evinces uneasiness at 
the presence of a dog, but tliis is referable to the same 
cause as his impatience of a horse, namely, that neitlier 
is habitually seen hj him in the forest ; but it would 
be idle to suppose that this feehng could amount to 
hostility against a creatm^e incapable of inflicting on 
him the shghtest injury.^ The truth I apprehend to be 
that, when they meet, the impudence and impertinences 

^ This peculiarity was noticed by 
the ancients, and is recorded by He- 
rodotus : " Kc't[lT)\0V 'ilTTTOQ (poQliTttl, Kai 

oi'K rti'£;(frai ovn ri)i' IShjv avriic ophov 
ovri T)iv 6t^u)v ci(j<pp(avo^itvoQ^^ (Herod. 
ch. 80). Camels have long been 
bred by the Grand Duke of Tuscany, 
at his establishment near Pisa, and 
even therethe same instinctive dis- 
like to them is manifested by the 
horse which it is necessary to train 
and accustom to their presence in 
order to avoid accidents. Mr. 

Brodeeip mentions, that, "when the 
precaution of such training has not 
been adopted, the sudden and dan- 
gerous teiTor with which a horse is 
seized in coming unexpectedly upon 
one of them is excessive." — Note- 
booh of a XafurdUst, ch. iv. p. 113. 

^ ^lajor Rogers was mauy years 
the chief (i\\\\ officer of Government 
in tlie district of Oovah, where he was 
killed by lightning, 1845. 

^ To account for the impatience 
manifested by the elephant at the 

Chap. I.] 



of tlie dog are offensive to the gravity of the elephant, 
and incompatible "svdtli his love of sohtude and ease. 
Or may it be assumed as an e\^dence of the sagacity 
of the elephant, that the only two animals to which 
he manifests an antipathy, are the two Avhicli he lias 
seen in the company of his enemy, man? 

Major Skinner, whose official duties in tracing roads 
involved the necessity of Ms being in the jungle for 
months together, always found that, by niglit or by day, 
the barldng of a dog which accompanied him, was suffi- 
cient to put a whole herd to flight. On the whole, 
therefore, I am of opinion that the elephant hves on terms 
of amity with every quadruped in the forest, that he 
neither regards them as his foes, nor provokes their 
hostihty by his acts ; and that, with the exception of 
man, his greatest enemy is a fly ! 

These statements of the supposed animosity of the 
elephant to minor animals, originated ^vith iEhan and 
Phny, who had probably an opportunity of seeing, what 
may at any time be observed, that when a captive ele- 
phant is picketed beside a post, the domestic animals, 
goats, sheep, and cattle, will annoy and kritate him by 
their audacity in making free with his provender ; but 
this is an evidence in itself of the little instinctive dread 
wliich such comparatively puny creatures enteitain of 
one so powerfid and yet so gentle. 

Amongst elephants themselves, jealousy and other causes 
of irritation frequently occasion contentions between indi- 
viduals of the same herd ; but on such occasions it is 
their habit to strike with their tnmks and to bear down 
their opponents with their heads. It is doubtless correct, 
that an elephant, when prostrated by the force and 
fury of an antagonist of his own species, is often 

presence of a dog, it has been sug- 
gested that he is .al.armed lest tlic lat- 
ter slioidd attack /i/.s fed, a portion 
of his body of which the elephant is 
peculiarly careful. A tame elephant 

has been observed to regard with in- 
difierence a spear directed towards 
his head, but to sliriuk timidly from 
the same weapon when pointed at liis 

T 4 



[Part VIII. 

wouuded by the downward pressure of the tusks, whicli, 
iu any other position, it would be ahiiost impossible to 
use offensively. 

Mi\ Mercer, wdio in 1846 was the prmcipal ci\il officer 
of Govermnent at Badulla, sent me a jagged fragment 
of an elephant's tusk, about five inches in diameter, and 
weighing between twenty and thirty pounds, wliich had 
been brought to him by some natives, who, being at- 
tracted by a noise in the jungle, mtnessed a combat 
between a tusker and one without tusks, and saw the 
latter "svith liis trunk seize one of the tusks of his an- 
tagonist and wrench from it the portion in question, 
wdiich measured two feet in length. 

Here the trunk was shown to be the more powerful 
offensive weapon of the two ; but I apprehend that the 
cliief rehance of the elephant for defence is on his 
ponderous weight, the pressure of his foot being suf- 
ficient to crush any minor assailant after being pros- 
trated by means of his trunk. Besides, in usmg his 
feet for this pm^ose, he derives a wonderfid facihty 
fi'om the peculiar formation of the knee-joint in his 
huid leg, w^hich, enabhng him to swing Ms hind feet 
forward close to the ground, assists him- to toss the 
body alternately from foot to foot, till he deprives it of 

A sportsman who had undergone this operation, 
having been seized by a wounded elephant but rescued 
from his fury, described to me Ms sufferings as he 
was thus flung back and forward between the hind and 
fore feet of the ammal, wdiicli ineffectuaUy attempted 

' In the Thii-d Book of Maccabees, 

wliich is not printed iu oiu" Apociy- 
plui, but appears iu the Series in the 
Greek Septuagiut, the author, in de- 
scribing the persecution of the Jews 
by Ptolemy Pliilopater, u. c. 210, 
states that the king swore vehemently 
that he would send them into the 
other world, " foully trampled to 

death by the knees and feet of ele- 
phants" (^irsfji-.petv it(; iiSijV tv yovaat 
Kai TToal ^tjpiwv yKicTfiivovQ, 3 Mac. 
y. 42). ^-EiJAJf makes the remark, 
that elephants on such occasions use 
their k/iees as well as their feet to 
crush their victims. - — Mi^t, Ajiim. 
viii. 10. 


to trample liiin at each concussion, but aljandoned bini 
without inflicting serious injury. 

Knox, in describing the execution of criminals by the 
state elephants of the former kings of Kandy, says, " they 
will ran their teeth (tusks) through the body, and then tear 
it in pieces and throw it hmb from limb ; " but a Kandyan 
chief, who was witness to such scenes, has assured 
me that the elephant never once apphed his tusks, 
but, placing his foot on the prostrate victim, plucked 
off his hmbs in succession by a sudden movement of 
his trunk. If the tusks were designed to be employed 
offensively, some alertness would naturally be exliibited 
in using them ; but in numerous instances where sports- 
men have fallen into the power of a wounded elephant, 
they have escaped through the failure of the enraged 
animal to strike them with its tusks, even when stretched 
upon the ground.^ 

Placed as the elephant is in Ceylon, in the midst of 
the most luxuriant profusion of his favourite food, in 
close proximity at aU times to abundant supphes of water, 
and with no enemies against whom to protect himself, 
it is difficult to conjecture any probable utihty wliicli he 
could derive from such appendages. The absence of 
tusks is unaccompanied by any inconvenience to those 
in whom they are wanting ; and as regards the few who 
possess them, the only instance in which I am aware of 
then- being employed in relation to the CEConomy of 
the animal, is to assist in ripping open the stem of the 
jaggery palms and young palmyras to extract the fari- 
naceous core ; and in sphtting the juicy shaft of the 
plantain. Wliilst the tuskless elephant crushes the 
latter under foot, thereby soihng it and wasting its 
moisture ; the other, by opening it with the point 
of his tusk, performs the operation with dehcacy and 

1 The Ilastisilpey a Singhalese work | which it is not desu'able to possess, 
which treats of the " Science of Ele- " the elephant which will fifrlit with 
phants," enumerates amongst those | a stone or a stick in his trunk." 



[Part VIII. 

apparent ease. These, however, are trivial and ahnost 
accidental advantages : on the other hand, owing to irre- 
gularities in their growth, the tusks are sometimes an 
impediment in feedmg' ; and in more than one instance 
in the Government studs, tusks w^hich had so grown as 
to approach and cross one another at the extremities, 
have had to be removed by the saw, the contraction of 
space between them so impeding the free action of the 
trunk as to prevent the animal from conveying branches 
to his mouth. ^ 

It is true that in capti\dty, and after a due course of 
training, the elephant discovers a new use for his tusks 
when employed in moving stones and pihng timber ; so 
much so that a powerfid one will raise and carry on 
them a log of half a ton weight or more. One even- 
ing, whilst riding in the vicinity of Kandy, towards 
the scene of the massacre of Major Davie's party in 
1803, my horse evinced some excitement at a noise 
which approached us in the thick jungle, and which 
consisted of a repetition of the ejaculation urmph! urmph! 
in a hoarse and dissatisfied tone. A turn m the forest 
explained the mystery, by bringing me face to face with 
a tame elephant, unaccompanied by any attendant. He 

^ Among otlier eccentric forms, an 
elephant was seen in 1844, in the dis- 
ti'ict of Biutenne, neai- Friar's-Hood 
Moimtain, one of whose tusks was so 
bent that it took what sailors term a 
'' round turn," and then resumed its 
cuiTcd direction as before. In the 
Museum of the College of Sui-geons, 
London, there is a specimen, No. 2757, 
of a spiral tusk. 

2 Since the foregoing remarks were 
wi-ittcn relative to the midefined use 
of tusks to the elephant, I have seen 
a specidation on the same subject in 
Dr. Holland's Conditidion of the 
Animal Creation^ as e.rpn'ssed in 
structural Appendai/cs : " but tlie con- 
jecture of the author leaves the pro- 
blem scarcely less obscure tlian be- 
fore. Struck with the mere supple- 
mental presence of the tusks, the 

absence of all apparent use serving to 
distinguish them fi'om the essential 
oi-gans of the creatm-e, Dr. IIoLLAifD 
concludes that their production is a 
process incident, but not ancillaiy, to 
other important ends, especially con- 
nected with the vital fmictions of the 
trimk and the marvellous motive 
powers inherent to it ; his conjec- 
ture is, that they are " a species of 
safety v.alve of the animal ceconomy," 
— and that " they owe their develop- 
ment to the prtnlominance of the 
senses of touch and smell, conjointly 
with the muscular motions of which 
the exercise of these is accompanied." 
'' Had there been no proboscis," he 
thinks, ''there would have been 
no supplementary appendages, — the 
former creates the latter." — P. 246, 

CuAr. I.] 



was labouring painfully to carry a heavy beam of timber, 
Avliicli lie balanced across his tusks, but the pathway 
being narrow, he was forced to bend his head to one 
side to permit it to pass endways ; and the exertion and 
inconvenience combined led him to utter the dissatis- 
fied sounds wliich disturbed the composure of my horse. 
On seeing us halt, the elephant raised his head, re- 
connoitred us for a moment, then flung down the timber 
and forced himself backwards among the brushwood 
so as to leave a passage, of which he expected us to 
avail ourselves. My horse still hesitated : the elephant 
observed it, and impatiently thrust himself still deeper into 
the jungle, repeating his cry of urmph ! but in a voice 
evidently meant to encourage us to come on. Still 
the horse trembled ; and anxious to observe the in- 
stinct of the two sagacious creatures, I forbore any in- 
terference : agam the elephant wedged himself further 
in amongst the trees, and waited impatiently for us to 
pass him ; and after the horse had done so trembhngly 
and timidly, I saw the wise creature stoop and take up 
his heavy bitrthen, trim and balance it on his tusks, and 
resume his route, hoarsely snorting, as before, his discon- 
tented remonstrance. 

Between the African elephant and that of Ceylon, with 
the exception of the strildng pecuharity of the absence of 
tusks in the latter, the distinctions are less apparent to a 
casual observer than to a scientific naturahst. In the Cey- 
lon species the forehead is higher and more hollow, the 
cars are smaller, and, in a section of the teeth, the arindinir 
ridges, instead of being lozenge-shaped, are transverse bars 
of uniform breadth. ' 

' The Dutch naturalists liave re- 
cently annoimced the discoveiy of 
some peculiarities in the elephant of 
Sumatra, which serve to distinguish 
it from that of India and Africa; and, 
as they allege, to entitle it to the rank 
of a separate species to which they 

have given the name of E. Suma- 
trensis. The supposed diilerences are 
said to consist in the respective num- 
ber of vertebra) and ribs, and some 
variation in the ridges of tlie grinders. 
— Crawfubd, Diet, of Indian Islands, 
p. 13G. 


The Indian elephant is stated by Cuvier to have four 
nails on the hind foot, whilst the African variety has but 
three ; but amongst the perfections of a high-bred elephant 
of Ceylon, is always enumerated the possession of ticenty 
nails, whilst those of a secondary class have but eighteen 
in all. 

So conversant are the natives with the structure 
and '• points " of the elephant, that they divide them 
readily into castes, and describe with particularity 
their distmctive excellences and defects. In the Has- 
tisilpe, a Singhalese work which treats of their manage- 
ment, the marks of inferior breeding are said to be 
" eyes restless like those of a crow, the hair of the head 
of mixed shades ; the face wi^inkled and small ; the 
tongue cm-ved and black ; the nails short and green ; 
the ears small ; the neck thm, the skin fi^eckled ; the 
tail without a tuft, and the forequarter lean and low ; " 
wliilst the perfection of form and beauty is supposed to 
consist in the " softness of the skin, the red colour of 
the mouth and tongue, the forehead expanded and hol- 
low, the ears large and rectangidar, the trunk broad at 
the root and blotched with pink m fi^ont ; the eyes 
bright and Idndly, the cheeks large, the neck full, the 
back level, the chest square, the fore legs short and 
convex in front, the hhid quarter plump, and five naiLs 
on each foot, all smooth, pohshed, and round. ^ An 
elephant with these perfections," says the author of the 
Ilastisilpe, " will impart glory and magnificence to the 
kino- ; but he cannot be discovered amonsst thousands, 
yea, there shall never be found an elephant clothed at 
once with all the excellences herein described." Tlie 
" points" of an elephant are to be studied witli the greatest 
advantage in those attached to the temples, which are 
always of the liighest caste, and exhibit the most perfect 

* A native of rank infonued me, I will sometimes touch the gromid, hut 
that " the tail of ahigh-caate elephant I such are very rare." 


The colour of the animars skin in a state of nature is 
generally of a hghter brown than that of those in capti\ity ; 
a distinction which arises, in all probabihty, not so much 
from the wild elephant's propensity to cover himself with 
mud and dust, as from the superior care wliich is taken 
in repeatedly bathing the tame ones, and in rubbing their 
sldns with a soft stone, a lump of burnt clay, or the 
coarse husk of a coco-nut. This kind of attention, 
together with the occasional application of oil to tlie 
skhi, gives rise to the deeper black wliich their hides 

Amongst the native Singhalese, however, a singular 
preference is e\dnced for elephants which exhibit those 
flesh-coloured blotches which occasionally mottle the skin 
of an elephant, chiefly about the head and extremities. 
The front of the trunk, the tips of the ears, the forehead, 
and occasionally the legs, are thus diversified with stains 
of a yellowish tint, inchning to pink. These are not 
natural ; nor are they hereditary, for they are seldom 
exliibited by the younger individuals in a herd, but ap- 
pear to be the result of some eruptive affection, the iiii- 
tation of which has induced the animal in his uneasiness 
to rub himself against the rough bark of trees, and thus 
to destroy the outer cuticle.^ 

To a European these spots appear blemishes, and the 
taste which leads the natives to admu^e them is probably 
akin to tlie feehng which has at all times rendered a 
ichite elephant an object of wonder to Asiatics. The 
rarity of the latter is accounted for by regarding this 
pecuhar appearance as the result of albinism ; and not- 
withstanding the exaggeration of Oriental historians, who 
compare the fairness of such creatures to the Avliiteness of 
snow, even in its utmost perfection, I apprehend that the 
tint of a white elephant is httle else than a flesh-colour, 
rendered somewhat more conspicuous by the blanching of 

^ Tins is confinned by the fact that 
the scar of the ankle wound, oc- 
casioned by the rope on the logs of 

those which have been captured by 
noosing, presents precisely the same 
tint in the healed parts. 




the skin, and the lightness of the colourless haks by wliicli 
it is sparsely covered. A white elephant is mentioned in 
the Maliawanso as forming part of the retinue attached to 
the Temple of the Tooth at Anarajapoora, hi the fifth 
century after Christ ^ ; but it commanded no rehgious 
veneration, and hke those of the kings of Siam, it was 
tended merely as an emblem of royalty '-^ ; the sovereign 
of Ceylon being addressed as the " Lord of Elephants." ^ 
In 1633 a white elephant was exliibited m Holland^; 
but as this was some years before the Dutch had es- 
tablished themselves firmly in Ceylon, it was probably 
brought from some other of then- eastern possessions. 

^ Mahmvanso, cli. xxxA-iii. p. 254, 
A.D. 433. 

^ Pallegoix, Siam, 8,-c., vol. i. p. 

^ Mahmvanso, cli. xviii. p. 111. 
The Hindu sovereioiis of Orissa, in 
the middle ages, bore the style of 

Gaja-pati, " powerful in elephants." 
— Asicct. Res. xv. 253. 

^ Aemaxdi, Hist. Ilih'f. des Ele- 
phants, lib. ii. c. X. p. 380. Horace 
mentions a white elephant as having 
been exhibited at Home : " Sive ele- 
phas albus vulgi couverteret ora." 
—Hoe. Ep. n. 106. 


CHAP. 11. 


Although found generally in warm and sunny cli- 
mates, it is a mistake to suppose that the elephant is 
partial either to heat or to light. In Ceylon, the 
mountain tops, and not the sultry valleys, are his fa- 
vourite resort. In Oovah, where the elevated plains 
are often crisp with the morning frost, and on Pedi^o- 
taUa-galla, at tlie heiglit of upwards of eight thousand 
feet, they are found in herds, whilst the hunter may 
search for them without success in the jungles of the 
low country. No altitude, in fact, seems too lofty or 
too chill for the elephant, provided it affords the luxury 
of water in abundance ; and, contrary to the general 
opinion that the elephant dehghts in sunshine, he seems 
at all times impatient of its glare, and spends the day 
in the thickest depth of the forests, devoting the night to 
excursions, and to the luxury of the bath, in wdiich he 
also indulges occasionally by day. This partiality for 
shade is doubtless ascribable to his love of coolness 
and solitude ; but it is not altogether unconnected with 
the position of his eye, and tlie circumscribed use which 
his peculiar mode of hfe permits him to make of his 
faculty of sight. 

All the elephant hunters and natives to whom I have 
spoken on the subject, conciu" in opinion that his range 
of vision is circumscribed, and that lie rehes more on his 
ear and his sense of smell, than on his sight, which is 
liable to be obstructed by the dense fohage ; besides 
which, from the formation of his neck, he is incapable 



[Part VIII. 

of directing the range of liis eye much above the level of 
his heacl.^ 

The elephant's small range of vision is sufficient to 
account for his excessive caution, his alarm at unusual 
noises, and the timidity and panic exhibited by him at 
trivial objects and incidents wliich, imperfectly discerned, 
excite his suspicions for his safety.^ In 1841 an officer^ 
was chased by an elephant which he had shghtly 
wounded ; and which seizing him in the dry bed of a 
river, had its fore-foot already raised to crush him ; but 
the animal's forehead being caught at the instant by the 
tendrils of a climbing plant which had suspended itself 
from the branches above, it suddenly tm-ned and fled ; 
lea\dng him badly hurt, but with no hmb broken. I have 
heard many similar instances, equally well attested, of this 
pecuharity in the elephant. 

^ After writing tlie above, I was 
pemiitted by the late Dr. H-i.KRisox, 
of Dublin, to see some accui-ate 
drawings of the brain of an elephant, 
which he had the opportunity of 
dissecting in 1847, and on looking to 

that of the base, I have found a re- 
marliable verification of the informa- 
tion which I collected in Cejdon. 

The small figm-e A is the ganglion 
of the fifth nerve, showing the small 
motor and lai'ge sensitive poi-tion. 

The olfactory lobes, from which 
the olfactoiy nerves proceed, are 
large, whilst the optic and 7ni(scular 
nerves of the orbit arc sinf/iilarli/ 
small for so vast an animal ; and one 
is immediately strucli by the prodi- 
gious size of the filth nerve, which 
supplies the proboscis with its ex- 
quisite sensibility, as well as by the 
gi'eat size of the motor portion of 

Olfactory lobes — large. 

Optic nerve — small. 

Third pair — small. 

Fourth pair — small. 

The two poTtions of the fifth pair, the sensitive 

portion very large, for the proboscis. 
Sixth pair — small. 
Seventh pair — portio dura, or raotor,very large 

for proboscis. 

the seventh, which supplies the same 
organ with its power of movement 
and action. 

* Menageries, Sfc, " Tlie Ele- 
phant," p. 27. 

* Major lIoGERS. An accoimt of 
this singular adventure will be foimd 
in the Cei/lon 3Iisccllani/ for 1842, 
vol. i. p. 221. 


On the other hand, their power of smell is so remark- 
able as almost to compensate for the deficiency of sight. 
The herd are not only apprised of the approach of dan- 
ger by this means, but when scattered in the forest, 
and dispersed out of range of sight, they are enabled by it 
to reassemble with rapidity and adopt precautions for 
their common safety. The same necessity involves a 
dehcate sense of hearuig, and the use of a variety of 
noises or calls, by means of which elephants succeed in 
communicating with each other upon all emergencies. 
" The sounds wliich they utter have been described by 
the African hunters as of three kinds : the first, which is 
very shrill, produced by blowing through the trunk, is 
indicative of pleasure ; the second, produced by tlie 
mouth, is expressive of want ; and the tliird, proceeding 
from the throat, is a terrific roar of anger or revenge."^ 
These words convey but an imperfect idea of the 
variety of noises made by the elephant in Ceylon ; and 
the shrill cry produced by blowing through his trunk, so 
far from being regarded as an indication of " pleasure," 
is the weU-known ciy of rage with which he rushes to 
encounter an assailant. Aristotle describes it as 
resembhng the hoarse sound of a "trumpet."^ The 
French stiU designate the proboscis of an elepliant by 
the same expression " trompe," (which we have unmean- 
ingly corrupted into trunks) and hence the scream of the 
elephant is known as "trumpeting" by tlie hunters in 
Ceylon. Then- cry when in pain, or when subjected 
to compulsion, is a grunt or a deep groan from tlie 
throat, with the proboscis curled upwards and the lips 
wide apart. 

Should the attention of an individual in the herd 

^ 3Iena(/en'cs, c^-c, ''The Ele- century, is interspersed with draw- 

phant," ch. iii. p. 68. 1 ings illustrative of the strange ani- 

2 Aristotle, Dc Anitn., lib. iv. ' mals of tlie East. Amongst tlieni 

c. 9. ^' dfiolou ffaXTTiyyi." See also are two elephants, whose trunks 

Pliny, lib. x. ch. cxiii. A manu- ars literally in the form of tnon- 

script in the British Museum, con- j'^'t^ 't''''* ' c.vpandod months. See 

taining the romance of ^'Alexander," I Wrighi's Archccoloi/ical Album, p. 

which is probably of the fifteenth I 170. 




[Part VIQ. 

be attracted by any unusual appearance in the forest, 
the intelhgence is rapidly communicated bj^ a low sup- 
pressed sound made by the hps, somewhat resembhng 
the twittering of a bird, and described by the hunters by 
the word '■'prut." 

But a very remarkable noise has been described to 
me by more than one inchvidual, who has come unex- 
pectedly upon a herd of elephants during the night, 
when their alarm Avas apparently too great to be satis- 
fied with the stealthy note of warning just described. 
On these occasions the sound produced resembled the 
hollow booming of an empty tun when struck with a 
wooden mallet or a muffled sledge. Major Macready, 
Mihtary Secretary in Ceylon in 1836, who heard it 
by night amongst the wild elephants in the great forest 
of Bmtenne, describes it as " a sort of banging noise 
like a cooper hammering a cask ; " and Major Skixner 
is of opinion that it must be produced by the elephant 
striking his sides rapidly and forcibly with his trunk. 
Mr. Cripps informs me that he has more than once seen 
an elephant, when sm^prised or alarmed, produce this 
sound by striking the ground forcibly with the point of 
the trunk, and this movement was mstantly succeeded 
by raising the trunk, and pointing it in the dh'cction 
whence the alarm proceeded, as if to ascertain by the 
sense of smell, the nature of the threatened danger. As 
this strange sound is generally mingled Avith the beUoAv- 
ing and ordinary trumpeting of the herd, it is in all pro- 
babihty a device resorted to, not alone for warning their 
companions of some approaching peril, but also for the 
additional purpose of terrifying unseen intruders.^ 

Extravagant estimates aie recorded of the height of 
the elephant. In an age when popular fallacies in 
relation to him Avere as yet uncorrected in Europe by 

^ Pallegoix, in his Description du 
Roymime Thai mi Siam, advei-ts to a 
.sound produced by the elephant 
■\\iien •Nvearv : " quand il est fatigiiej 

il frappelti terrc avec m tronipe et en 
tire un son senHdable a celui du cor." 
—Tom. i. p. 151. 


the actual inspection of the hving animal, he was sup- 
posed to grow to the height of twelve or fifteen feet. 
Even within the last century in popular works on 
natural history, the elephant, w^hen full grown, was said 
to measure from seventeen to twenty feet from the 
ground to the shoulder.* At a still later period, so 
imperfectly had the facts been collated, that the elephant 
of Ceylon was beheved " to excel that of Africa in 
size and strength." ^ But so far fi^om equalling the 
size of the African species, that of Ceylon seldom 
exceeds the height of nine feet, even in the Hambang- 
totte country, where the hunters agree that the largest 
specimens are to be found, and the ordinary herds do 
not average more than eight feet. Wolf, in his account 
of the Ceylon elephant^, says, he saAV one taken near 
Jaffna wliich measured twelve feet and one inch high. 
But the truth is, that the general bulk of the elephant 
so far exceeds that of the animals which w^e are accus- 
tomed to see daily, that the imagination magnifies his 
unusual dimensions ; and I have seldom or ever met 
with an inexperienced spectator who did. not uncon- 
sciously over-estimate the size of an elephant shown 
to him, whether in captivity or in a state of nature. 
Major Denham would have guessed some which he saw 
in Africa to be sixteen feet in height, but the largest 
when killed w^as found to measure nine feet six.^ 

For a creature of his extraordinary weight, it is 
astonishing how noiselessly and stealthily the elephant 
can make his escape from a pursuer. When suddenly 
disturbed in the jungle, he will burst away A\ith a rush 
that seems to bear down all before him ; but the noise 
sinks into absolute stillness so suddenly, that a novice 
might well be led to suppose that the fugitive had only 

^ Natural History of Animals. 
B}' Sir John Hill, M.D. London, 
1748-52, p. 5G.5. 

2 Shaw's Zoolony. Lond. 1800, 
vol. i. p. 210; AiiMANDi, 7//*;;. Milit. 
firs FJephiins, liv. i. cli. i. p. 2. 

^ Wolf's Life and Adventures, Src, 
p. 104. 

•* The fossil remains of the Indian 
elephant have been discovered at Ja- 
l)alpiir, showino- a height of fifteen 
feet. — Joiini. Asia'. ,Si>r. livmi. \\. 



[Part VIII. 

halted within a few yards of him, when ftu-ther search 
would disclose that he has stolen silently away, making 
scarcely a sound in his escape ; and, stranger still, leaving 
the fohage almost midistm-bed by his passage. 

The most venerable delusion respecting the elephant, 
and that which held its gromid with unequalled tenacity, 
is the ancient fallacy which is explamed by Sk" Tho:mas 
Browne in his Pseudodoxia Epidemica, that " it hath no 
joynts, and this absurdity is seconded by another, that 
being unable to lye downe it sleepeth against a tree, 
wliich the hunters observing doe saw almost asunder, 
whereon the beast relying, by the fall of the tree faUs 
also down it-selfe and is able to rise no more."^ Sir 
Thomas is disposed to think that " the huit and ground 
of this opinion might be the grosse • and somewhat 
cylindrical! composure of the legs of the elephant, and 
the equahty and lesse perceptible disposure of the 
joynts, especially in the forelegs of this animal, they 
appearing when he standeth, hke pillars of flesh ; " but 
he overlooks the fact that Plixy has ascribed the same 
peculiarity to the Scandina\'ian beast somewhat re- 
sembling a horse, wliich he calls a " machhs," ^ and that 
C^SAR in describing the wild animals in the Hercynian 
forests, enumerates the alee, "in colour and configura- 
tion approaching the goat, but surpassing it in size, its 
head destitute of horns and its limbs of joints, whence 
it can neither he down to rest, nor rise if by any acci- 
dent it should fall, but using the trees for a resting- 
place, the hunters by loosening their roots bring the 
alee to the ground, so soon as it is tempted to lean on 

' Vul(/ar Errors, book iii. chap. 1. 

^ Machlis (said to be derived 
from a, priv., and kXIiho, cido, quod 
non cubat). "^foreover in the 
island of Scandinavia there is a beast 
called Maehlis, tliat hath neither 
ioAnit in the houf^h, nor pastemes in 
his hind legs, and therefore he never 
lieth down, but sleepeth leaning to a 

tree, wherefore the hunters that lie 
in wait for these beasts cut downe 
the trees while they are asleepe, and 
so take them ; othei-wise they should 
never be taken, they are so swift of 
foot that it is wonderful." — Puny, 
Xatur. Hist. Transl. Philemon Hol- 
land, book viii. eh. xv. p. 200. 




them." 1 Tliis fallacy, as Sir Thomas Bkowne says, is 
" not the daughter of latter times, but an old and grey- 
headed errour, even in the days of Aristotle," who deals 
with the story as he received it from Ctesias, by whom 
it appears to have been embodied in liis lost work 
on India. But although Aristotle generally receives 
the credit of ha\dng exposed and demohshed the fallacy 
of Ctesias, it wiH be seen by a reference to his treatise 
On the Progressive Motions of Animals^ that in reahty 
he approached the question with some hesitation, and 
has not only left it doubtfid m one passage whether 
the elephant has joints in his knee, although he demon- 
strates that it has joints in the shoulders ^ ; but in 
another he has distinctly affirmed that on account of his 
weight the elephant cannot bend his fore legs together, 
but only one at a time, and rechnes to sleep on that par- 
ticular side.^ 

' '' Sirnt item quse appellantur 
Alces. Ilaruni est consimilis capreis 
figau-a, et varietas pellinm ; sed inag- 
nitudiiie paiilo antecedunt, mutilfe- 
que simt coniibus, et crura sine nodis 
articulisque hahent ; iieque quietis 
causa procimibimt ; neque, si quo af- 
flictse casu couciderunt, erif^-ere sese 
aut sublevare possimt. His sunt 
arbores pro cubilibus ; ad eas sese 
applicant, atque ita, paulum m,odo 
reclinatpe, quietem capiimt, quaruui 
ex vestifpis cimi est animadversmu a 
venatoribus, quo se rociperc consue- 
verint, omnes eo loco, aut a radicibus 
subruimt aut accidimt arbores tan- 
tum, ut sumiiui species earuni stan- 
tiuui relinquatur. Hue cum se con- 
suetudine reclinaverint, infirmas ar- 
bores pondere atiligunt, atque mm 
ipsfe concidunt." — Cjesar, l)e Bdlo 
Gull. lib. vi. cb. xxvii. 

The same fiction was extended by 
the early Arabian travellers to the 
rhinoceros, and in the MS. of the 
voyages of the "Two Mahomedans," 
it is stated that the rhinoceros of Su- 
matra " n'a point d'articidation au 
genou ni a la main." — Relations des 
Voyages, <^c. Paris, 1845, vol. i. p. 29. 

^ "T\Tien an animal moves pro- 
gressively an hypothenuse is pro- 
duced, which is equal in power to 
the magnitude that is quiescent, and 
to that which is intermediate. But 
since the members are equal, it is 
necessaiy that the member which is 
quiescent should be inflected either 
in the knee or in the incurvation, if 
the animal that toalks is without knees. 
It is possible, however, for the leg to 
be moved, when not inflected, in the 
same maimer as infants creep ; and 
there is an ancient report of this kind 
about elephants, which is not true, 
for such animals as tlu\ee, are moved 
in conseqiiente of an in/leefion taking 
place either in their shoulders or /u)^s." 
— ^Vkistotle, De Ingrcssu Anim., 
ch. ix. Taylor's Transl. 

3 Aristotle, De Animal., lib. ii. 
ch. i. It is cmious that Taylor, in 
his translation of this passage, was so 
strongly imbued with the " grey- 
headed eiTOur," that in order to eluci- 
date the somewhat obscure meaning' 
of Aristotle, ho has actually inter- 
polated the text with the exploded 
fallacy of Ctesias, and after the word 
reclining to sleep, has inserted the 

u 3 



[Part VIII. 

So great was the authority of Aristotle, that ^liax, 
who "SMTOtc two centuries later aucl borrowed many of 
liis facts from the works of his predecessor, perpetuates 
tliis error ; and, after describing the exjDloits of the 
trained elephants exhibited at Eome, adds the expression 
of his smprise, that an animal without joints (ava^Qpoi/) 
should yet be able to dance. ^ The fiction was too agree- 
able to be readily abandoned by the poets of the Lower 
Empire and the romancers of the middle ages ; and 
Phile, a contemporary of Petrarch and Da:n'TE, who, in 
the early part of the fourteenth centmy, addressed his 
didactic poem on the elephant to the Emperor Andi'oni- 
cus n., untaught by the exposition of Aristotle, still 
clmig to the old delusion, 

" UoSeg Si tovt(^ Qavjxa km aa^ig r'tpac, 
Ovc, ov KaQairip rdXXa tu>v ^wwv y^vtj, 
'EluiOi Kivslv t'l dvdpOpujv KkaapuTOiv' 
Kai yap ffri€apo1g ffvvrtO'evrsg dcTTtoic, 
Kai rrj TrXa^ap^ twv ffi<jvr)ujv KaraaTaati, 
Kai rrj TTpoQ apOpa rwp (TKiXiov UTroiCjOifff/, 
'Nvv elg Tovovg ayovai^ %'vv tig viptaiic. 
Tag 7ravroda~ag iK^pofidg rov 9)]piov, 

Spaxvr'ipovg oprag ^k ruv oina^iiov 
'Ava/xipiXeKTiog olca rovg tpLTrpoaQiovg' 
TovTOig (\e(pag iv-aOilg axnrip arvXoig 
'Op6o(Trdcr]i' dKafnrrog virvdjmov p,'ivti" 

T. lOG, &C. 

SoLiNUS introduced the same fable into liis Polyhistor ; 
and DicuiL, the Irish commentator of the ninth century, 
who had an opportunity of seeing the elephant which 
Haroun Ali'aschid sent as a present to Charlemagne ^ in 
the year 802, corrects the error, and attributes its 
perpetuation to the circumstance that the joints in the 

words " leaning against some toatt or 
tree,'^ which are not to be found in 
the original. 

^ " 'Lwov li dvapOpov cvviivai Kai 
pvQiiov Kai fieXovg, Kai (pvXdTTttv axijfia 

(^vatuyg Iwpa ravra clfia Kai i'ci6rt]Q 
Ka(f iKnaroi' iicTrXtjKriKtjJ^ — ^LIAX, 
De Kat. Anim., lib. ii. cap. xi. 

2'Egixhard, Vita Karoli, c. xvi. 
and Annalcs Francorum, a.d. 810. 

Chap. II.] 



elephant's leg are not veiy apparent, except when he lies 

It is a strong illustration of the \4tahty of error, that 
the delusion thus exposed by Dicuil in the ninth centiu-y, 
was renewed by ]\L\tthew Paris in the thu'teenth ; and 
stranger still, that Matthew not only saw but made a 
draW'Uig of the elephant presented to King Henry III. by 
the King of France in 1255, in which he nevertheless re- 
presents the legs as mthout joints.^ 

In the numerous mediaeval treatises on natural history, 
known under the title of Bestiaries, this delusion re- 
garding the elephant is often repeated ; and it is given 
at length in a metrical version of the Physiologus of 
Theobaldus, amongst the AiTindel Manuscripts in the 
British Museum.^ 

With the Proven9al song writers, the helplessness of 

^ '^ Sed idem Julius, unimi de ele- 
phantibus mentiens, falso loquitur; 
dicens elephantem nunquam jacere; 
dum illc sicutbos certissinie jacet, ut 
popidi communiter regni Francorum 
elephantem, in tempore Imperatoris 
Karoli viderunt. Sed, forsitan, ideo 
hoc de elephante ficte sestimando 
scriptum est, eo quod genua et suf- 
fragines sui nisi quando jacet, non 
palam apparent." — Dicuiltjs, De 
3Iensura Orbis Terrce, c. vii. 

'^ Cotton MSS. Nero. D. 1. fol. 
168, b. 

s Arumhl MSS. No. 292, fol. 4, 
&c. It has been printed in the 
Reliquice AntiqiKS, vol. i. p. 208, by 
Mr. Wright, to whom I am indebted 
for the following- rendering of the 
passage refen-ed to : — 

in water ge sal stonden 

in water to mid side 

(Sat wanne hire harde tide 

?)at ge ne fiille niSer nogt 

(Sat it most in hire (Sogt 

for ho ne haven no liS 

(Sat he mugon risen wiJS, etc. 

" They will stJind in the water, 
in water up to the miciillo of the side, 
that when it comes to them liard, 
tlicj- may not fall down : 
that is most in their thought, 
for they have no joint 
to enable them to rise again. 

H'W he resteth him this animal, 

when he walketh abroad, 

hearken how it is here told. 

Kor he is all unwieldy, 

forsooth he seeks out a tree, 

that is strong and steadfast, 

and le.ins confidently against it, 

when he is weary of walkuig. 

The hunter has observed this, 

who seeks to ensnare him, 

where his usual dwelling is, 

to do his will ; 

saws this tree and props it 

in the manner that he best may, 

covers it well that he (the elephant) may not be 

on his guard. 
Then he makes thereby a seat, 
himself sits alone and watches 
whether his trap takes effect. 
Then comelh this unwieldy elephant, 
and leans him on his side, 
rests against the tree in the shadow, 
and so both fall together. 
If nobody be by when he falls, 
he roars ruefully and calls for help, 
roars ruefully in his manner, 
hopes he shall through help rise. 
Then conieth there one (elephant) in haste, 
hopes he shall cause him to stand up; 
labours and tries all his might, 
but he cannot succeed a bit. 
He knows then no other remedy, 
but roars with his brother, 
many and large (elephants) come there in search, 
thiukiug to make him get up, 
but for the help of them all 
he may not get up. 
Then they all roar one roar, 
like the blast of a horn or the sound of bell ; 
for their roaring 
a young one cometh running, 
sloops immediately to him, 
puts his snout under him, 
and ^i.-ks the help of them all ; 
this ill pliaut they raise on his legs : 
ami thus fails this hunter's trick, 
in the manner that 1 have told vou." 

U 4 



[Part VJII. 

tlie fallen elephant was a favourite simile, and amongst 
others Eichard de Barbezieux, in the latter half of the 
twelfth century, sung ^, 

^' Atressi cum 1' olifans 
Que quan cliai no s' pot levar." 

As elephants were but rarely seen in Europe prior to the 
seventeenth century, there were but few opportunities of 
correcting the popular fallacy by ocular demonstration. 
Hence Shakspeare still beheved that, 

" The elepliant hath joints ; hut none for courtesy : 
His legs are for necessity, not flexiu'e : " '^ 

and Donne sang of 

" Nature's great masterpiece, an Elephant ; 
The only hannless gi'eat thing : 
Yet Nature hath given him no knee to bend : 
Himself he up props, on himself relies ; 
Still sleeping stands." ^ 

Sir Thomas Browne, whilst he argues against the de- 
lusion, does not fail to record his suspicion, that " although 
the opinion at present be reasonably well suppressed, yet 
from the strings of tradition and fruitful recurrence of 
erroiu:, it was not improbable it might revive in the next 
generation;"^ — an anticipation which has proved singu- 
larly correct ; for the heralds still continued to explain 
that the elephant is the emblem of watchfulness, " nee 
jacet in somno"^ and poets almost of our own times paint 
the scene when 

• One of the most venerable au- 
thorities by whom the fallacy vf&s 
transmitted to modem times was 
PiriLiP de TnATJN, who wi-ote, about 
the year 1121 a.d., his Liore des 
Creatures, dedicated to Adelaide of 
Louvaine, Queen of Hemy I. of 
England. In the copy of it printed 
by the Historical Society of Science 
in 1841, and edited by Mr. Weight, 
the following passage occurs : — 

" Et Ysidres nus dit ki le elefant desrrit, 
Es jambes par nature nen ad que une jointure, 

II ne pot pas gesir quant il se volt dormir, 
Ke si cucliet estait par sei iicn leverait ; 
Pur <;eo li slot apuior, t'l lui del cuciier, 
U a arhre u ^ mur, iilnnc dort aseur. 
E le gpnt de la terro, ki li volent conquere, 
I,i mur enfunderunt, u le arbre enciserunt ; 
Quant li elefant vendrat, ki s'i apuierat. 
La arbre u le mur carrat, e il tribucherat ; 
Issi faiterement le parnent cele gent." — P. 100. 

^ Troilns and Cressida, act ii. sc. 
3. A.D, 1609. 

3 Progress of the Said, a.d. 16.33. 

* Sir T. Beoavne, Vtdyar Errors, 
A.D. 1646. 

'•> liANDAL Home's Academy of 
Armory, A.D. 1678. Home only 

CuAf. II.] 



" Peaceful, 'beneath primeval trees, that cast 
Their ample shade on Niger's yellow stream, 
Or where the Ganges rolls his sacred waves, 
Leans the huge Elephant."' 

It is not difficult to see whence this antiquated dehi- 
sion took its origin ; nor is it, as Su' Thomas Browne 
imagined, to be traced exclusively "to the grosse and 
cyhndricall structure " of the animal's legs. The fact 
is, that the elephant, returning in the early morning 
from his nocturnal revels in the reservoirs and water- 
courses, is accustomed to rub his muddy sides against 
a tree, and sometimes aijainst a rock if more convenient. 
In my rides through the northern forests, the natives 
of Ceylon have often pointed out that elephants of 
considerable size must have preceded me, from the 
height at which their marks had been left on the trees, 
against which they had been rubbing. Not unfrequently 
the animals themselves, overcome with drowsiness fi'om 
the night's gambolling, are found dosing and resting 
against the trees they had so visited, and in the same 
manner they have been discovered by sportsmen asleep, 
and leaning against a rock. 

It is scarcely necessary to explain that the position is 
accidental, and tliat it is taken by the elephant not from 
any difficulty in lying at length on the ground, but rather 
from the coincidence that the structure of his legs 
affords such support in a standing position, that re- 
chning scarcely adds to his enjoyment of repose ; and 
elephants in a state of capti\ity have been known 
for months together to sleep without lying down.^ So 

pei"petuated the error of Guillim, 
who wi-ote his Display of Ile- 
rahh-y in a.d. 1610; wherein he 
explains that the elephant is "so 
proud of his strength that he never 
bows himself to any {neither indeed 
can he), and when he is once down he 
cannot rise up again. " — Sec. ni. ch. 
xiii. p. 147. 

1 rnoMSON's Seasons, a.d. 1728. 

^ So little is the elephant inclined 
to lie down in captivity, and even 

after hard lahoiu", that the keepers 
are generally disposed to suspect ill- 
ness when he betakes himself to this 
posture. PiULE, in liis poem De 
Animaliiim Proprietate, attributes 
the propensity of tlie elepliant to 
sleep on his legs, to the ditHcidty he 
experiences in rising to his feet : 

'Of)6oTraSr]v ^t koI Kafiiv^it navvvx^oc^ 
"Or' ovK dvaoTrjaai fiiv ivxip<^€ ^fXfi. 

But this is a misapprehension. 


distinctive is this formation, and so self-sustaining the 
configuration of the hmbs, that an elephant shot in 
the brain, by Major Eogers in 1836, was killed so 
instantaneously that it died hterally on its knees, and 
remained resting on them. About the year 1826, 
Captain Dawson, tlie engineer of the great road to 
Kandy, over the Kadaganava pass, shot an elephant 
at HangweUe on the banks of the Kalany Ganga ; it 
remained on its feet, but so motionless, that after dis- 
charging a few more balls, he was induced to go close 
to it, and found it dead. 

The real peculiarity in the elephant in lying down is, 
that he extends his hind legs backwards as a man does 
when he kneels, instead of brinoino- them under him 
Hke the horse or any other quadruped. The wise pur- 
pose of this arrangement must be obvious to any one 
who observes the struggle with which the horse gets 
up from the ground, and the \T.olent efforts which 
he makes to raise himself erect. Such an exertion in 
the case of the elephant, and the force requisite to 
apply a similar movement to raise his weight (equal to 
four or five tons) would be attended with a dangerous 
strain upon the muscles, and hence the simple arrange- 
ment, which by enabhng him to draw the hind feet 
gradually under him, assists him to rise almost without 
a perceptible effort. 

-The same construction renders his gait not a "gallop," 
as it has been somewhat loosely described ^, which would 
be too \dolent a motion for so vast a body ; but a shuffle, 
that he can increase at pleasure to a pace as rapid as 

1 Moiagcries, Sic " The Elephant," 
ch. i. 

Sir Chaeles Bell, in his essay- 
on Tlie Hand and its Mechanism, 
which forms one of the " Bridgewater 
Treatises," has exhibited the reasons 

other animals whoso strnctiu-e is de- 
signed to facilitate agility and speed. 
In them the various bones of the 
shoulder and fore limbs, especially the 
clavicle and humerus, are set at such 
an angle, that tlie shock in descending 

deducible from organisation, which i ismodified, and the joints and sockets 
show the incapacity of the elephant ' protected from the injuiy occasioned 
to sj^riny or leap like the horse and 1 by concussion. But in the elephant, 

Chap. II.] 



that of a man at full speed, but which he cannot maintain 
for any considerable distance. 

It is to the structure of the knee-joint that the elephant 
is indebted for his singular facility in ascenchng and 
descending steep accli\ities, chmbing rocks and travers- 
ing precipitous ledges, wdiere even a mule dare not 
venture ; and this again leads to the correction of 
another generally received error, that his legs are 
" formed more for strength than flexibihty, and fitted to 
bear an enormous weight upon a level surface, without 
the necessity of ascenchng or descending great accli- 
vities." ^ The same authority assumes that, although the 
elephant is found in the neighbourhood of mountainous 
ranges, and will even ascend rocky passes, such a service 
is a violation of his natural habits. 

Of the elephant of Africa I am not quahfied to speak, 
nor of the nature of the ground which he most frequents ; 
but certainly the facts in connection with the elephant 
of India are all irreconcilable with the tlieory men- 
tioned above. In Bengal, in the Nilgherries, in Nepaul, 

where the weight of the body is 
immense, the bones of the leg, in 
order to present solidity and strength 
to sustain it, are built in one firm 
and pei-pendicidar colunui; instead 
of being placed somewhat obliquely 
at their points of contact. Thus 

whilst the force of the weight in 
descending is broken and distributed 
by this arrangement in the case of 
the horse ; it woidd be so concen- 
trated in the elephant as to endan- 
ger every joint from the toe to the 

^ Menaf/crics, i)v., " The Elephant," i-li. ii. 


in Burmali, in Siam, and Ceylon, the districts in wliicli 
the elephants most abound, are all hilly and mountainous. 
In the latter, especially, there is not a range so elevated 
as to be inaccessible to them. On the very summit of 
Adam's Peak, at an altitude of 7,420 feet, and on a 
pinnacle which the pilgrims chmb with difficulty, by 
means of steps he^\"n in the rock, Major Skinner, in 1840, 
found the spoor of an elephant. 

Prior to 1840, and before coffee-plantations had been 
extensively opened in the Kandyan ranges, there was 
not a mountain or a lofty feature of land in Ceylon 
which they had not traversed, in then- periodical migra- 
tions in search of water ; and the sagacity wliich they 
display in " laying out roads " is almost incredible. 
They generally keep along the backbone of a chain of 
hills, avoiding steep gradients ; and one curious obser- 
vation was not lost upon the government surveyors, 
that in crossing the valleys from ridge to ridge, through 
forests so dense as altogether to obstruct a distant view, 
the elephants invariably select the line of march which 
communicates most judiciously with the opposite point, 
by means of the safest forcV So siure-footed are they, 
that there are few places where man can go that an 
elephant cannot follow, provided there be space to admit 
his bulk, and sohdity to sustain his we'ght. 

This faculty is almost entirely derived fi^om the 
unusual position, as compared Avith other quach'upeds, 
of the knee jomt of the hind leg ; arising from the 
superior length of the thigh-bone, and the shortness of 
the metatarsus : the heel being almost where it projects 
in man, instead of being hfted up as a " hock." It is 
this which enables him, in descending decUvities, to de- 
press and adjust the weight of his hinder portions, which 

' Dr. Hooker, in describing tlie 1 " the elephant's path is an excellent 

ascent of the Himalayas, says, the 
natives in making their paths despise 
all zigzags, and nm in straight lines 
up the steepest hUl faces; whilst 

specimen of engineering — the oppo- 
site of the native track, — for it wands 
j udiciously. ' ' — Himalayan Journal, 
vol. i. eh. iv. 

Chap. II.] 



would otherwise overbalance and force him headlong.^ 
It is by the same arrangement that he is enabled, on un- 
even ground, to hft Ms feet, which are tender and sen- 
sitive, witli dehcacy, and plant them with such precision 
as to ensure his own safety as well as that of objects 
which it is expedient to avoid touching. 

A herd of elephants is a family. It is not a group 

^ Since the above passage was 
written, I have seen in the Journal 
of the Asiatic Society of Binyal, 

vol. xiii. pt. ii. p. 916, a paper upon 
this subject, illustrated by the sub- 
joined diagTam. 


The writer says, "an elephant de- 
scending a bank of too acute an 
angle to admit of his walking down 
it direct, (which, wei-e he to attempt, 
his huge body, soon disarranging the 
centre of gravity, would certainly 
topple over,) proceeds thus. His 
first manoeuvre is to kneel do^^Ti close 
to the edge of the decli^-ity, placing 
his chest to the gi-oimd : one fore-leg 
is then cautiously passed a shoit way 
down the slope ; and if there is no 
natural protection to afford a firm 
footing, he speedily forms one by 
stamping into the soil if moist, or 
kicking out a footing if dry. This 
point gained, the other fore-leg is 
Drought down in the sauie way ; and 

perfoi-ms the same work, a little in 
advance of the first ; which is thu3 
at liberty to move lower stUl. Then, 
first one and then the second of the 
hind legs is carefidly drawn over the 
side, and the hind-feet in tiu^i occupy 
the resting-places previously used and 
left by the fore ones. The course, 
howevei", in sucli precipitous gi-ound 
is not straight from top to bottom, but 
slopes along the face of the bank, 
descending till the animal gains the 
level below. This an elephant has 
done, at an angle of 45 degi-ees, car- 
rying a hoivdah, its occupant, his at- 
tendant, and sporting apparatus ; and 
in a much less time than it tallies to 
describe the operation," 


whom accident or attacliment may have induced to 
associate together ; and similarity of features and caste 
attest that among the various individuals which com- 
pose it, there is a common hneage and relationship. In 
a herd of twenty-one elephants, captured in 1844, the 
trunks of each individual presented the same pecidiar 
formation, — long, and ahnost of one uniform breadth 
throughout, instead of tapering gradually fi'om the root 
to the nostril. In another instance, the eyes of tliirty- 
five taken in one kraal were of the same colour in each. 
The same slope of the back, the same form of the fore- 
head, is to be detected in the majority of the same 

In the forest several herds will browse in close con- 
tiguity, and in their expeditions in search of water they 
may form a body of possibly one or two hundred ; but 
on the shglitest disturbance each distinct herd hastens to 
re-form within its own particular ckcle, and to take mea- 
siu-es on its own behalf for retreat or defence. 

The natives of any place which may chance to 
be frequented by elephants, observe tliat the num- 
bers of the same herd fluctuate very slightly ; and 
hunters in pursuit of them, who may chance to have 
shot one or more, always reckon with certainty the 
precise number of those remaining, although a con- 
siderable interval may intervene before they again 
encounter them. The proportion of males is gene- 
rally small, and some herds have been seen com- 
posed exclusively of females ; possibly in consequence 
of the males having been shot. A herd usually consists 
of from ten to twenty individuals, tliough occasionally 
they exceed the latter number ; and in tlieu^ frequent 
migrations and nightly resort to tanks and water- 
coiu'ses, aUiances are formed between members of asso- 
ciated herds, which serve to introduce new blood into the 

In illustration of the attachment of the elephant 
to its young, the authority of Knox has been 




quoted, that " the shes are ahke tender of any 
one's young ones as of then: own." ^ Theh^ affection 
in this particidar is undoubted, but I question whether 
it exceeds that of other animals ; and even the trait 
thus adduced of tlieir indiscriminate kindness to all 
the young of the herd, — a fact to which I have myself 
been an eye-witness, — so far from being an evidence 
of the strength of parental attachment individually, is, 
perhaps, somewhat inconsistent with the existence of 
such a passion to any extraordinaiy degree.'-^ Li fact, 
some individuals, who have had extensive facilities for 
observation, doubt whether the fondness of the female 
elephants for their offspring is so great as that of many 
other animals ; as instances are not wanting in Ceylon, 
in which, when pursued by the hunters, the herd has 
abandoned the young ones in theu" flight, notwithstand- 
ing the cries of the latter for help. 

In an interesting paper on the habits of the Indian 

^ A con-espondent of Buffon, M. 
Marcellus Bles, Seigneiu- de Moer- 
gestal, who resided eleven years in 
Ceylon in the time of the Dutch, 
says in one of his conmiunications, 
that in herds of forty or fifty, en- 
closed in a single corral, there were 
frequently very young calves; and 
that " on ne pouvoit pas reconnaitre 
qu'elles ^toient les mores de chacun 
de ces petites elephans, car tous ces 
jeimes animaux paroissent faire 
manse commune ; ils tetent indis- 
tinctement celles des femelles de 
toute la troupe que ont du lait, soit 
qu'elles aient elles-memes im petit en 
propre, soit qu'elles u'en aient point." 
— BuFFON, Supj)!. a rilid. des Anim., 
vol. vi. p. 2o. 

* WniTE, in his Xatural Ilistonj of 
Sclhornc, philosophising on the fact 
which had fallen under his own 
notice of this indiscriminate suckling 
of the young of one aninuil by the 
parent of another, is disposed to 
ascribe it to a selfish feeling; the 
pleasure and relief of having its dis- 
tended teats dra^^^l bv this interven- 

tion. He notices the circumstance 
of a leveret having been thus nm-sed 
by a cat, whose kittens had been re- 
cently dro"svnied ; and observers, that 
'' this strange affection probably was 
occasioned by that desiderium, those 
tender maternal feeUngs, which the 
loss of her kittens had awakened in 
her breast ; and by the complacency 
and ease she derived to herself from 
prociu'ing lier teats to be drawn, 
which were too much distended with 
milk ; till from habit she became as 
mufli delighted with this foundling 
as if it had been her real offspring. 
This incident is no bad solution of 
that strange circumstance Avhich 
grave historians, as well as the })oets, 
assert of exposed children being 
sometimes nurtured by female wWii 
beasts that probably had lost their 
young. For it is not one whit more 
marvellous that Romulus and Ixemus 
in their infant state should be nursed 
by a she wolf than that a poor little 
suckling leveret should be fostered 
and cherished by a bloody Grimalkin." 
— White's Sefhome, lett. xx. 



[Part VIII. 

elepliant, published by Mr. Coese, in the Philosophical 
Transactions for 1793, he says: "if a wild elephant 
happens to be separated from its young for only two 
days, though giving suck, she never after recognises or 
acknowledges it," although the young one evidently knew 
its dam, and by its plaintive cries and submissive ap- 
proaches sohcited her assistance. 

An elephant, if by any accident he becomes hope- 
lessly separated from his own herd, is not permitted 
to attach himself to any other. He may browse in the 
\T.cinity, or frequent the same place to di"ink and to 
bathe ; but the intercomrse is only on a distant and 
conventional footing, and no famiharity or intimate 
association is under any circumstances permitted. To 
such a height is tliis exclusiveness carried, that even 
amidst the terror and stupefaction of an elephant 
corral, when an individual, detached from his own 
party in the melee and confusion, has been driven 
mto the enclosm^e with an unbroken herd, I have seen 
him repulsed in every attempt to take refuge among 
them, and driven off by heaw blows with thefr trimks 
as often as he attempted to insinuate himself within 
the circle wliich they had formed for common security. 
There can be no reasonable doubt that tliis jealous and 
exclusive pohcy not only contributes to produce, but 
mainly serves to perpetuate, the class of sohtaiy elephants 
which are known by the term goondahs, in India, and 
from their vicious propensities and predatoiy habits are 
called Hora^ or Rogues^ in Ceylon.^ 

^ Tlie term " rogue " is scarcely 
sufficiently accoimted for by sup- 
posing it to be the English equivalent 
for the Singhalese word Ilora. In a 
very curious book, the Life and Ad- 
ventures of Jonx Christopher 
Wolf, late jyn'ncipal Serrefari/ of 
State at Jaffnapatam in C\-yhm, the 
author says, wlien a male elephant in 
a quarrel about the females " is beat 
out of the iield and obliged to go 
without a consort, he becomes furious 

and mad, killing eveiy living creature 
be it man or beast : and in this state 
is called rcmkedor, an object of greater 
teiTor to a traveller than a hundred 
wild ones." — P. 142. In another pas- 
sage, p. 104, he is called 7'unkedor, 
and I have seen it spelt elsewhere 
ronqucdue. WoLF was a native of 
Mecklenburg ; who arrived in Ceylon 
about 1750, a. b., as Chaplain in one 
of the Dutch East Indiamen, and 
being talien into the government 

CiiAP. IL] 



These are believed by tlie Singhalese to be either 
individuals, who by accident have lost their former 
associates and become morose and savage from rage 
and solitude ; or else that being naturally vicious they 
have become daring from the jnelding habits of their 
milder companions, and eventually separated themselves 
from the rest of the herd which had refused to associate 
with them. Another conjectirre" is, that being almost 
universally males, the death or capture of particular 
females may have detached them from their foraier 
companions in search of fresh alliances.' It is also 
beheved that a tame elephant escaping from captivity, 
unable to rejoin its former herd, and excluded from 
any other, becomes a " rogue" from necessity. In 
Ceylon it is generally beheved that the rogues are all 
males (but of this I am not certain), and so sullen is 
then' disposition that although two may be in the same 
vicinity, there is no known instance of their associating, 
or of a rogue being seen in company wdth another 

They spend their nights in marauchng chiefly about 
the dwellings of men, destroying thek plantations, 
tramphng down their gardens, and committing serious 
ravages in rice grounds and young coco-nut planta- 

emplojTTient lie served for twenty 
years at Jaifiia, first as Secretaiy to 
the Goveraor, and afterwards in an 
office tlie duties of which he describes 
to be the examination and sifjnature 
of the " wi'itings wliich served to com- 
mence a suit in any of tlie Courts of 
j ustice." His book embodies a truth- 
fid and generally accurate account of 
the northern portion of the island, witli 
which alone he was conversant, and 
his narrative gives a curious insight 
into the policy of the Dutch Govern- 
ment, and the condition of the natives 
under their doniinion. Wolf does 
not g;ive " i-a/ikedor'" as a term pe- 
culiar to that section of the islaitd ; 
but both thei-e and elsewhere, it is 
obsolete at the present d.ay, unless 

it be open to conjecture that the 
modern term "rogue" is a modifica- 
tion of runfjuedue. 

' BucnAXAX, in his Survej/ oj 
Bhaffidpore, p. 50.3, says, that solitaiy 
males of tlie wild buffalo, " when 
driven from the herd by sti-onger 
competitors for female society, are 
reckoned very dangerous to meet 
with ; for they are apt to wreak their 
vengeance on whatever they meet, 
and are said to kill annually three or 
four people"' TiTyTN-JsroNE relates 
the same of the solitary hippopot- 
amus, which becomes soured in 
temp(>r, and wantonly attacks the 
passing canoes. — Traveh in Soidh 
Africa, p. 231. 


306 - THE ELEPHANT. [Part VIII. 

tions. Hence fi'om their closer contact with man and 
his dwellings, these outcasts become disabused of many 
of the terrors which render the ordinary elephant 
timid and needlessly cautious : they break through 
fences without fear ; and even in the dayhght a 
rogue has been known near Ambogammoa to watch a 
field of labourers at work in reaping rice, and boldly 
to walk in amongst them, seize a sheaf from the heap, 
and reth*e leisurely to the jungle. By day they seek 
conceahnent, but are to be met with prowluig about the 
by-roads and jungle paths, where travellers are exposed 
to the utmost risk from their savage assaults. It is 
probable that this hostility to man is the result of the 
enmity engendered by those measures which the 
natives, who have a constant dread of their visits, 
adopt for the protection of their growing crops. In 
some districts, especially in the low country of Badulla, 
the villagers occasionally enclose their cottages with 
rude walls of earth and branches to protect them fi'om 
nightly assaults. In places mfested by them, the 
visits of Eiu^opean sportsmen to the vicinity of their 
haunts are eagerly encomiiged by the natives, who 
think themselves happy in lending their ser\dces to 
track the ordinary herds in consideration of the 
benefit conferred on the village communities, by the 
destruction of a rogue. In 1847 one of these formid- 
able creatures frequented for some months the Eang- 
bodde Pass on the great mountain road leading to the 
sanatarium, at Neuera-eUia ; and one morning, at day- 
break, I rode up to the spot where he had lolled one of 
the corps of Caffre pioneers but a few moments before, 
by seizing liim with his trunk and beating him to death 
against the bank. 

To retm-n to the herd : one member of it, generally 
the largest and most powerful, is by common consent 
implicitly followed as leader. A tusker, if there be 
one in the party, is generally observed to be the 
commander ; but a female, if of superior energy, is 


as readily obeyed as a male. In fact, in the pro- 
motion of a leader there is no reason to doubt 
that supremacy is almost unconsciously assumed by 
those endowed with, vigour and courage rather 
than fi'om the accidental possession of greater bodily 
strength ; and the devotion and loyalty which the 
herd e\dnce to their leader is something very re- 
markable. Tliis is more readily seen in the case of 
a tusker than any other, because in a herd he is 
generally the object of the keenest pursuit by the 
hunters. On such occasions the elephants do their 
utmost to protect him from danger : when driven 
to extremity they place the leader in the centre and 
crowd so eagerly in front of him that the sportsmen 
have to shoot a number which they might otherwise 
have spared. In one instance a tusker, wdiich was badly 
wounded by Major Eogers, w^as promptly smTounded by 
his companions, w^ho supported him between theii" shoul- 
ders, and actually succeeded in covermg his retreat to 
the forest. 

Those who have hved much m the jungle in Ceylon, 
and who have had constant opportunities of w^atching the 
habits of wild elephants, have witnessed instances of the 
submission of herds to their leaders, that create a 
singular interest as to the means adopted by the latter to 
communicate with distinctness, orders which are observed 
with the most imphcit obedience by their followers. 
The narrative of an adventm^e in the great central forest 
toward the north of the island, w^liich has been commu- 
nicated to me by Major Skixner, who was engaged for 
some time in survepng and opening roads through the 
thickly-wooded districts there, will serve better tlian any 
abstract description to convey an idea of the conduct of a 
herd on such occasions : — 

" The case you refer to struck me as exhibiting some- 
thing more than oi'dinaiy brute instinct, and approached 
nearer to reasoning powers than any other instance I 
can now remember. I cannot do justice to the scene, 

X 2 


althougli it appeared to me at the time to be so remark- 
able that it left a deep impression in my mind. 

" In the height of the dry season in Xenera-Iva-lawa, 
you know the streams are all dided up, and the tanks 
nearly so. All animals are then sorely pressed for water, 
and they congregate in the vicinity of those tanks in 
which there may remain ever so httle of the precious 

" Dming one of those seasons I was encamped on the 
bund or embankment of a very small tank, the water 
in which was so dried that its surface could not have 
exceeded an area of 500 square yards. It was the only 
pond within many miles, and I knew that of necessity a 
very large herd of elephants, Avhich had been in the 
neighbourhood all day, must resort to it at night. 

" On the lower side of the tank, and in a hue ^vitli the 
embankment, was a tliick forest, in which the elephants 
sheltered themselves during the day. On the upper 
side and all around the tank there was a considerable 
margin of open ground. It was one of those beautiful, 
bright, clear, moonhght nights, when objects could be 
seen almost as distinctly as by day, and I determined 
to avail myself of the opportunity to observe the move- 
ments of the herd, which had akeady manifested some 
uneasiness at our presence. The locahty was very fa- 
vourable for my purpose, and an enormous tree project- 
ing over the tank afforded me a secure lodgment in its 
branches. Having ordered the fires of my camp to be 
extinguished at an early hom% and all my followers to 
retire to rest, I took up my post of observation on the 
overhanging bough ; but I had to remain for upwards of 
two hoiu's before anything was to be seen or heard of 
the elephants, although I knew they were within 500 
yards of me. At length, about the distance of 300 yards 
from the water, an unusually large elephant issued from 
the dense cover, and advanced cautiously across the 
open ground to within 100 yards of the tank, where he 
stood perfectly motionless. So quiet had the elephants 


become (although they had been roaring and breaking 
the jungle tlu^oughout the day and evening), that not 
a movement was now to be heard. The huge vidette 
remained in his position, still as a rock, for a few minutes, 
and then made three successive stealthy advances of 
several yards (halting for some minutes between each, 
with ears bent forward to catch the shghtest sound), 
and in tliis way he moved slowly up to the water's edge. 
Still he did not venture to quench liis thirst, for though 
his fore feet were partially in the tank and his vast 
body was reflected clear in the w^ater, he remained for 
some minutes hsteiiing in perfect stillness. Not a mo- 
tion could be perceived in himself or his shadow. He 
returned cautiously and slowly to the position he 
had at first taken up on emerging from the forest. 
Here in a httle wliile he was joined by five others, 
Avith which he again proceeded as cautiously, but less 
slowly than before, to mthin a few yards of the tank, 
and then posted his patrols. He then re-entered the 
forest and collected around him the whole herd, 
which must have amounted to between 80 and 100 
mdividuals, — led them across the open ground with 
the most extraordinary composure and quietness, till 
he joined the advanced guard, when he left them for a 
moment and repeated liis former reconnoissance at the 
edge of the tank. After which, and having apparently 
satisfied lumself that aU was safe, he retiu^ned and ob- 
viously gave the order to advance, for in a moment the 
whole herd rushed into the water wdth a dejjjree of 
unreserved confidence, so opposite to the caution and 
timidity which had marked their previous movements, 
that nothing will ever persuade me that there was not 
rational and preconcerted co-operation throughout the 
whole party, and a degree of responsible authority exer- 
cised by the patriarch leader. 

" Wlien the poor animals had gained possession of the 
tank (the leader being the last to enter), they seemed to 
abandon themselves to enjoyment without restraint or 

X 3 



[Part YIIT. 

appreliension of danger. Sucli a mass of animal life I 
had never before seen huddled together in so narrow a 
space. It seemed to me as though they would have 
nearly drunk the tank dry. I ^vatched them "svith great 
interest until they had satisfied themselves as well in 
batliing as in di'inking, when I tried how small a noise 
would apprise them of the proximity of unwelcome 
neighbours. I had but to break a httle twig, and the 
sohd mass instantly took to flight like a herd of fright- 
ened deer, each of the smaller calves being apparently 
shouldered and carried alono; between two of the older 
ones." ^ 

In drinking, the elephant, hke the camel, although 
preferring water piure, shows no decided aversion to it 
when discolom'ed ^vith mud'^; and the eagerness w4th 
which he precipitates himself into the tanks and 
streams attests his exquisite enjoyment of the fresh 
coolness, which to him is the chief attraction. In 
crossing deep rivers, although his rotundity and buoy- 
ancy enable him to smm with a less immersion than 
other quadrupeds, he generaUy prefers to sink till no 
part of his huge body is visible except the tip of his 
trunk, tlu'ough which he breathes, movuig beneath tlie 
surface, and only now and then raising his head to look 
that he is keeping the proper direction.^ Li the dry 
season the scanty streams which, diuing the rains, are 
sufficient to convert the rivers of the low country into 
torrents, frequently entirely disappear, lea\dng merely 
broad expanses of dry sand, which they have swept down 
with them from the hills. In this the elephants contri\e 

' Letter from ^lajor Skixxer. 

^ This pecviliarity was known in 
the middle ages, and PniLE, wi-iting- 
in the foui'teenth centiuy, says, that 
such is his preference for muddy 
water that the elephant stirs it before 
he drinks. 
'''Ylwp Si Trivti avyxvQiv Trplv liv rrivoi 

To yap ^ifii'tt' <Jiicplt.iojt; haTTTUti, — 
Phile de Elejih., 1. 144. 

^ A tame elepliant, when taken by 
his keepers to be bathed, and to have 
his skin washed and rubbed, lies 
down on his side, pressing his head 
to tlie bottom under water, with only 
the top of his trunk protruded, to 

CiiAr. II.] 



to sink wells for their own use by scooping out tlie sand 
to the depth of four or five feet, and leaving a hollow 
for the percolation of the spring. But as the weight of 
the elephant would force in the side if left perpendicular, 
one approach is always formed wdth such a gradient that 
the water can be reached with his trunk without his dis- 
turbing' the surroundino- sand. 

I have reason to beUeve, although the fact has not been 
authoritatively stated by naturahsts, that the stomach 
of the elephant will be found to include a section analo- 
gous to that possessed by some of the ruminants, calcu- 
lated to contain a supply of water as a provision against 
emergencies. The fact of his being enabled to retahi 
a quantity of water and discharge it at pleasure has 
been known to every one observant of the habits of the 
animal ; but the proboscis has ahvays been supposed to 
be " his water-reservok," ^ and the theory of an internal 
receptacle has not been chscussed. The truth is that the 
anatomy of the elephant is even yet but imperfectly 
understood^, and, although some pecuharities of his 

^ Beodeeip's Zoological Recrea- 
tions, p. 259. 

2 For observing the osteology of 
the elephant, materials are of course 
abundiUit in the indestiaictible re- 
mains of the animal : but the study 
of the intestines, and the dissection 
of the softer parts by comparative 
anatomists in Eiu-ope, have })een up 
to the present time beset by dilH- 
culties, not alone from the rarity of 
subjects, but even in cases where 
elephants have died in these coun- 
tries, decomposition inteq^oses, and 
before the thorough examination of 
80 vast a body can be satisfactorily 
completed, the great mass falls into 

The principal English authorities 

are An Anatomical Account of the 
Elephant accidentally harnt in 
Dublin, by A. MoLrNEUX, a.d. 
1G1)G ; which is probably a reprint of 
a letter on the same subject in the 
library of Trinity College, Dublin, 
addressed by A. Sloidin, to Sir Wil- 
liam Petty,' Lond. 1682. There are 
also some papers commimicated to Sir 
Hans Sloane, and aftenvards pub- 
lished in the Philosophical Trans- 
actions of the year 1710, by Dr. P. 
Blair, who had an opportunity of 
dissecting an elephant which died at 
Dmidee in 1708. The latter writer 
observes that, " notwithstanding the 
vast interest attaching to the ele- 
phant in all ages, yet has its body 
been hitherto very little subjected to 

X 4 



[Part VIII. 

stomach were observed at an early period, and even their 
configuration described, the function of the abnormal 
portion remained undetermined, and has been only re- 
cently conjectured. An elephant wliich belonged to 
Louis XIV. died at Versailles in 1681 at the as-e of seven- 
teen, and an accoimt of its dissection was pubhshed in the 
Memoires ])our servir a I'Histoire Naturelle, under the 
authority of the Academy of Sciences, in which the un- 
usual appendages of the stomach are pointed out with 
sufficient particularity, but no suggestion is made as to 
then- probable uses."^ 

A writer in the Quarterly Review for December 1850, 
says that " Camper and otlier comparative anatomists 
have shown that the left, or cardiac end of the stomach 
m the elephant is adapted, by several wide folds of 

anatomical iuquivies ; " and lie la- 
ments tliat tLe rapid decomposition 
of tLie carcase, and other causes, had 
iutei-posed obstacles to the scrutiny 
of the subject he was so fortunate as 
to find access to. 

In 1723 Dr. Wsr. Stxtckxey piib- 
lished Some Anatomical Ohserva- 
ti(»is made iqjon the Dissection of an 
Elephant ; but each of the above es- 
says is necessarily unsatisfactoiy, and 
little has since been done to supply 
their defects. One of the latest and 
most valuable contributions to the 
subject, is a paper read before the 
Iioyal Irish Academy, on the 18th 
of Feb., 1847, by Professor Hae- 
EisoK, vrho had the opportimity of 
dissecting an Indian elephant which 
died of acute fever ; but the examina- 
tion, so far as he has made it public, 
extends only to the cranium, the 
brain, and the proboscis, the laiynx, 
ti'achea, and oesophagus. An essen- 
tial ser\-ice would be rendered to 
science if some sportsman in Ceylon, 
or some of the officers coimected with 
the elephant establishment there, 
would talce the trouble to forward 
the carcase of a yoimg one to 
England in a state fit for dissection. 

Postscriptum. — I am happy to 
say that whilst the first edition of 

this work was passing through the 
press, a young elephant, carefully pre- 
sei-ved in spirits has been obtained in 
Ceylon, and forwarded to Prof. Owen, 
of the British Museum, by the joint 
exertions of M. Diabd and Major 
Skuhstee. An opportunity' has thus 
been afforded from whicli science will 
reap advantage, of devoting a patient 
attention to the internal structm-e of 
this interesting animal. 

^ The passage as quoted byBiTFFOX 
fi"om the Memoires is as follows : — 
" L'estomac avoit peu de diametre ; il 
en avoit moins que le colon, car son 
diametre u'etoit que de quatorze pon- 
ces dans la partie la plus large ; il 
avoit trois pieds et demi de longueur : 
I'orifice superieiu* etoit a-peu-pres 
aussi eloigne du pylore que du fond 
du gi-and cid-de-sac qui se temiinoit 
en une pointe composee de timiques 
beaucoup plus epaisses que celles du 
reste de l'estomac ; il y avoit au 
fond du grand cid-de-sac plusieurs 
feuiUets ^pais d'lme ligne, larges d'un 
pouce et demi, et dispost^s irr^guliere- 
ment ; le reste de parois interieures 
etoit perce de plusieurs petits ti'ous 
et par de plus gi-ands qui correspon- 
doient a des grains glandideux." — 
BrFFOX, Hist. Nut., vol. xi. p. 109. 

CiiAP. IL] 



liiiini:,' membrane, to serve as a receiver for water;" 
but this is scarcely correct, for although Camper has 
figured accurately the external form of the stomach, he 
disposes of the question of the interior functions with 
the simple remark that its folds " semblent en faire 
une espece de division particuhere." '^ In hke manner 
Sir EvERARD Home, in his Lectures on Comparative 
Anatomy, has not only described carefully the form 
of the elephant's stomach, and furnished a drawing 
of it even more accurate than Camper ; but he has 
equally omitted to assign any pm'pose to so strange a 
formation, contenting himself wdth observing that the 
structure is a pecuharity, and that one of the remarkable 
folds nearest the orifice of the diaphragm appears to act 
as a valve, so that the portion beyond may be considered 
as an appendage similar to that of the hog and the 
peccary. ^ 


^ " L'extreinit6 voisine dii cardia 
se termine par line poche tros con- 
siderable et doublee a rinterieuro dii 
qiiatorze valvid(!S orbiculaires que 
semblent en faire line espece de divi- 
sion particidiere." — Camper, De- 
scription Annfoniique cTwi Elephant 
Mule, p. .'57, tabl. ix. 

* " The elephant has another pe- 
culiarity in the internal structure of 
the stomach. It is loufi-er and nar- 
rower than that of most animals. 
The cuticular membrane of tlie oeso- 

phagus tenninates at the orifice of tlio 
stomach. At the cardiac end, which 
is very narrow and pointed at the 
extremity, the lining is thick and 
glandular, and is thrown into trans- 
verse folds, of which five are broad 
and nine narrow. That nearest the 
orifice of the ossophagiis is the broadest 
and appears to act t)ccasionalIy as a 
valve, so that the part beyond may 
be considered as an appendage similar 
to that of the peccary and the hog. 
The membrane of the cardiac portion 



[Part VIII. 

The appendage thus alhided to by Sk Everard 
Home is the " grand cul-de-sac," noticed by the Aca- 
demic des Sciences, and the " division particuhere," 
ligiu^ed by Camper. It is of sufficient dimensions 
to contain ten gallons of water, and by means of 
the valve above alluded to it can be shut off from the 
chamber devoted to the process of digestion. Professor 
OwEX is probably the first who, not from an autopsy, 
but from the mere inspection of the drawings of Camper 
and Home, ventured to assert, in lectures hitherto un- 
pubhshed, that the uses of this section of the elephant's 
stomach may be analogous to those ascertained to belong 
to a somewhat similar arrangement in the stomach of the 
camel, one cavity of which is exclusively employed as a 
reservou^ for water, and performs no function in the pre- 
paration of food. ^ 

Whilst Professor Owex was advancing this conjectm^e, 
another comparative anatomist, from the examination of 
another portion of the structure of the elephant, was 
led to a somewhat similar conclusion. Dr. Harrison 
of Dubhn had, in 1847, an opportunity of dissecting 
the body of an elephant which had suddenly died ; 
and in the course of his examination of the thoracic 
viscera, he observed that an unusually close connec- 
tion existed between the trachea and oesophagus, 
which he found to depend on a muscle unnoticed by 
any previous anatomist, connecting the back of the 
former with the forepart of the latter, along which the 
fibres descend and can be distinctly traced to the cardiac 
orifice of the stomach. Imperfectly acquainted with 
the habits and functions of the elephant in a state of 

is iiiiiformly smooth ; that of the 
pyloric is thicker and more vascidar." 
— Lectures on Comparative Anatomy, 
by Sir Eveeakd IIome, Bart. 4to. 
Lond. vol. i. p. 155. The figm-e of 
the elephant's stomach is given vol. ii. 
pliite xviii. 

1 A similar arrangement, \\'ith 

some modifications, has more recently 
been found in the lluma of the iVndes, 
which, like the camel, is used as a 
beast of burden in the Cordilleras of 
Chili and Peru ; but both these and 
the camel are ruminatits, whilst the 
elephant belongs to the Pachyder- 

Chap. II.] 



nature, Dr. Harrisox found it dilGcult to pronounce as 
to the use of tliis very peculiar structure ; but looking 
to the intimate connection between the mechanism con- 
cerned in the functions of respkation and deglutition, 

The Trachea drawn 
over, bringing into 
view its jiostcri >r 
surface at the bifur- 


Nerves . 



The Trachea. CEso- 
phugeal Muscle. 

Elastic Tissue con- 
necting Trachea 
Bronchi, Qisopha- 
piis, and Trachoa- 
to the Diaphragm. 

and seeing tliat the proboscis served in a double capacity 
as an instrument of voice and an organ for the pre- 
hension of food, he ventured (apparently Avithout ad- 
verting to the abnormal form of the stomach) to express 
the opinion that this muscle, \T.ewing its attachment to 
the trachea, might either have some influence in raising 
the diaphragm, and thereby assisting in expiration, " or 
that it might raise the cardiac orifice of the stomachy and 
so aid this organ to regurgitate a portion of its contents 
into the (Esophagus."^ 

Dr. Harrison, on the reflection that "we have no 
satisfactory evidence that the animal ever ruminates," 
thought it useless to speculate on the latter supposition 
as to the action of the newly discovered muscle, and 
rather inchned to the surmise that it was desi^-ned to 
assist the elephant in producing the remarkable sound 

' Proceed. Roy. Irish Acad., vol. iv. p. 133. 



[rAKT VII r. 

througli liis proboscis known as " trumpeting ;" but 
there is little room to doubt that of the two the re- 
jected hj^jothesis was the correct one. I have elsewhere 
described the occurrence to which I was myself a 
witness, of elephants mserting their proboscis in their 
mouths, and by the aid of the " trachea-oesophageal " 
muscle, described by Professor IL\rkisox, withdra^^dng 
gallons of water, which could only have been contained 
in the receptacle figured by Camper and Home, and of 
wliicli the true uses were discerned by the clear inteUect 
of Professor Owex. I was not, till very recently, aware 
that a similar observation as to the remarkable habit of 
the elephant, has been made by the author of the Ayeen 
Akbery, in his account of the Feel Kaneh, or elephant 
stables of the Emperor Akbar, in wliich he says, " an 
elephant frequently with his trunk, takes water out of 
liis stomach and sprinkles lumself with it, and it is 
not iu the least offensive." ^ Forbes, in his Oriental 
Memoks, quotes tliis passage of the Ayeen Akbery, but 
without a remark ; nor does any European writer with 
whose works I am acquainted appear to have been cog- 
nisant of the pecuharity in question. 

It is to be hoped that Professor Owex's dissection of 
the yoimg elephant, recently arrived, may serve to 
decide this highly interesting pomt.^ Shoidd scien- 
tific investigation hereafter more clearly estabhsh the 
fact that, in this particular, the structure of the 
elephant is assimilated to those of the llama and the 
camel, it will be regarded as more than a common 
coincidence, that an apparatus, so unique in its purpose 
and action, should thus have been conferred by the 

^ Ayeen Ahherif, tr.onsl. of Glad- 
AVix, vol. i. pt. i. p. 147. 

' One of the Indian names for the 
elepliant is duipa, wliich signifies 
"■ to drink t-s^-ice"' (Aii.vxDi, p. 513). 
Can this have reference to the pecu- 

liarity of the stomach for retaining a 
supply of water ? Or has it merely 
reference to the habit of the animal 
to fiU his trunk befoi-e transfemng 
the water to his mouth ? 

Chap. II.] 



Creator on the three ammals which in sultry chmates 
are, by tliis arrangement, enabled to traverse arid regions 
in the service of man.^ 

The food of the elephant is so abundant, that in eat- 
ing he never apjoears to be impatient or voracious, but 
rather to play with the leaves and branches on which 
he leisurely feeds. In riding by places where a herd 
has recently halted, I have sometimes seen the bark 
peeled curiously off the twigs, as though it had been 
done for amusement. In the same way in eating grass, 
the elephant selects a tussac which he draws from the 
ground by a dexterous twist of his trunk, and nothing 
can be more graceful than the ease with which, before 
convepng it to his mouth, he beats the earth from its 
roots by striking it gently upon his fore leg. A coco- 
nut he first rolls under foot, to detach the strong outer 
bark, then stripping off the thick layer of fibre within, 
he places the shell in his mouth, and swallows with 
evident rehsh the fresh hqiiid which flows as he crushes 
it between his grinders. 

The natives of the peninsida of Jaffna always look 
for the periodical appearance of the elephants, at the 
precise moment when the fruit of the palmyra palm 
begins to faU to the ground from then- ripeness. In 
hke manner in the eastern provinces, where the custom 
prevails of cultivating chena land, by clearing a patch 
of forest for the purpose of raising a single crop, after 
which the ground is abandoned, and reverts to jungle 
again, although a single elephant may not be seen in 
the neighbourhood during the early stages of the pro- 
cess, the Moormen, who are the principal cultivators 
of this class, will predict their appearance with almost 

^ The buffiilo and the Imnipecl 
cattle of India, which are used for 
draught and burden, have, I believe, 
a development of the organisation of 
the reticulum which enables the 
ruminants generally to endm-e thirst, 
and abstain from water, somewhat 

more marked than is found in the 
rest of their congeners ; but nothing- 
tliat approaches in singrnlarity of 
character to the distinct cavities of 
the stomach exhibited by the three 
animals above alluded to.' 


unerring confidence so soon as the grains shall have 
begun to ripen ; and although the crop comes to matu- 
rity at a different period in different districts, the herd 
are certain to be seen at each in succession, as soon as 
it is ready to be cut. In these weU-timed excursions, 
they resemble the bison of North America, which, by a 
similarly mysterious instinct, finds its way to those 
portions of the distant prames, where accidental fires 
have been followed by a gsowth of tender grass. Al- 
though the fences around these chenas are httle more 
than hues of reeds loosely fastened together, they are 
sufficient, with the presence of a single watcher, to 
prevent the entrance of the elephants, who wait 
patiently till the rice and coracan have been removed, 
and the watcher withdrawn ; and, then finding gaps in 
the fence, they may be seen gleaning among the leav- 
ings and the stubble ; and they take their departure 
when these are exhausted, apparently in the dh-ection 
of some other chena, which they have ascertained to be 
about to be cut. 

There is something still unexplained in the di^ead 
which an elephant always exhibits on approacliing a 
fence, and the reluctance which he displays to face the 
shghtest artificial obstruction to his passage. In the 
fine old tank of Tissa-weva, close by Anarajapoora, the 
natives cultivate grain, dming the dry season, around the 
margin where the ground has been left bare by the 
subsidence of the water. These httle patches of rice 
they enclose with small sticks an inch in diameter and 
five or six feet in height, such as would scarcely serve 
to keep out a wild hog if he attempted to force his way 
through. Passages of fi'om ten to twenty feet wide are 
left between each field, to permit the "svild elephants 
which abound in the vicinity, to make their nocturnal 
visits to the water remaining in the tank. Night after 
night these open pathways arc fi'equented by immense 
herds, but the tempting corn is never touched, nor is a 

ClIAP. II.] 



single fence disturbed, altliougli the merest movement 
of a trmik would be sufficient to demolish the fragile 
structiu^e. Yet the same spots, as soon as the grain has 
been cut and carried home, are eagerly entered by the 
elephants, who resort to glean amongst the stubble. 

Sportsmen observe that the elephant, even when en- 
rao'ed by a wound, will hesitate to charge its assailant 
across an intervening hedge, but will hurry along it to 
seek for an opening. It is possible that, in the mind of 
the elephant, there may be some instinctive conscious- 
ness, that owing to his superior bulls:, he is exposed to 
danger from sources that might be perfectly harmless 
in the case of hghter animals, and hence his suspicion 
that every fence may conceal a snare or pitfall. Some 
similar apprehension is apparent in the deer, which shrinks 
from attempting a fence of ^^^re, although it will clear 
without hesitation a soHd wall of greater height. At the 
same time, the caution with which the elephant is sup- 
posed to approach insecm-e ground and places of doubtftil ^ 
sohdity, appears to me, so far as my own observation 
and experience extend, to be exaggerated, and the num- 
ber of temporary bridges which are annually broken 
down by elephants in all parts of Ceylon, is sufficient 
to show that, although in captivity, and when famihar 
with such structures, the tame ones may, and doubt- 
less do, exhibit all the wariness attributed to them ; yet, 
in a state of liberty, and whilst unaccustomed to such 
artificial apphances, their instincts are not sufficient to 
ensure their safety. Besides, the fact is adverted to 
elsewhere^, that the chiefs of the Wanny, dming the 
sovereignty of the Dutch, were accustomed to take in 
pitfalls the elephants which they rendered as tribute to 

1 "One of tlie strougest instincts 
wliich the elephant possesses, is this 
whieh impels him to experiment 
npon the solidity of eveiy surface 
wliieh he is refpiired to cross." 

—3Ienagenes, S,-c. " The Elephant," 
vol. i. pp. 17, 19, 6G. 

^ Wolf's Life and Adventures, 
p. 151. See p. 335, note. 



[Part VI IT. 

A fact illustrative at once of the caution and the spirit 
of curiosity -with Avhich an elephant regards an unac- 
customed object has been frequently told to me by 
the officers engaged in opening roads through the forest. 
On such occasions the wooden " tracing pegs " which 
they are obliged to diive into the ground to mark the 
levels taken during the day, will often be withdrawn by 
the elephants during the night, to such an extent as fre- 
quently to render it necessary to go over the work a 
second time, in order to replace them.^ 

As regards the general sagacity of the elephant, al- 
though it has not been over-rated in the instance of those 
whose powers have been largely developed in capti^dty, 
an undue estimate has been formed in relation to them 
whilst still untamed. The difference of instincts and 
habits renders it difficult to institute a just comparison 
between them and other animals. Cuvier^ is disposed to 
ascribe the exalted idea that prevails of their intellect 
to the feats which an elephant performs with that unique 
instrument, its trunk, combined with an imposing ex- 
pression of countenance : but he records his own con\T.c- 
tion that in sagacity it in no way excels the dog, and 
some other species of Carnivora. K there be a supe- 
riority, I am disposed to award it to the dog, not from 
any excess of natural capacity, but from the higher de- 
gree of development consequent on his more intimate 
domestication and association with man. 

One remarkable fact was called to my attention by a 

' The Colombo Observer for 
March I808, contains an offer of a 
reward of t«'enty-five giiineas for 
the destrnction of an ek'phant which 
infested the Rajawelli coti'ee planta- 
tion, in the vicinity of Kandy. His 
object seemed to be less the search 
for food, than the satisfying of his 
curiosity and the gratification of liis 
passion for mischief. Mr. Tttler, 
the proprietor, states that he fre- 
quented the jungle near the estate, 

whence it was his custom to sally 
forth at night for flie pleasure of 
pulling down buildings and trees, 
" and he seemed to have taken a spite 
at the pipes of the water-works, the 
pillars of which he several times 
broke do^^^l — his latest fancy was to 
wrench oll'tlie cocks." The elephant 
has since been shot. 

2 CiTviER, Ref/ne Animal. " Les 
Mammiferes," p. 280. 

Chap. 1 1.] HABITS WHEN WILD. 321 

gentleman who resided on a coffee plantation at Kaxava, 
one of the loftiest mountains of the Ambogammoa range. 
More than once during the terrific tlunider-bursts that 
precede the rains at the change of each monsoon, he ob- 
served that the elephants in the adjoining forests hastened 
from under cover of the trees and took up their station 
in the open ground, where I saw them on one occasion 
collected into a group ; and here, he said, it was their 
custom to remain till the hghtning had ceased, when they 
retired again into the jungle.^ 

When free in his native woods the elephant evinces 
rather simphcity than sagacity, and his intelligence seldom 
exhibits itself in cunning. The rich profusion m wliicli 
nature lias supplied his food, and anticipated his every 
w^ant, has made him independent of tliose devices by 
which carnivorous animals provide for their subsistence ; 
and, from the absence of all rivalry betw^een himself 
and the other denizens of the plains, he is never required 
to resort to artifice for self-protection. For these reasons, 
in his tranquil and harmless life, he may appear to casual 
observers to exhibit even less than ordinary abihty ; but 
when danger and apprehension call for the exertion of 
his powers, those who have witnessed their display are 
seldom inchned to undervalue his sagacity. 

Mr. Cripps has related to me an instance in which a 
recently captured elephant was either rendered senseless 
from car, or, as the native attendants asserted, feigned 
death in order to I'cgain its freedom. It was led from tlie 
corral as usual between two tame ones, and had akeady 
proceeded far on its way towards its destination ; when 
night closing in, and the torches being hghted, it hesitated 
to go on, and finally sank to the ground apparently life- 
less. Mr. Cripps ordered tlie fastenings to be removed 
from its legs, and when aU attempts to raise it had failed, 

^ The elephant is believed by the 
Singhalese to express his uneasiness 
by his voice, on the approach of 

rain : and the Tamils have a proverl), 
— " Listen to tlic elephant, rain is 

VOL. ir. Y 


SO convinced was lie that it was dead, tliat he ordered 
the ropes to be collected and the carcase to be aban- 
doned. ^\1iile this was beiiio- done he and a frentlemaii 
by whom he was accompanied leaned against the body- 
to rest. They had scarcely taken tlieu- departure and 
proceeded a few yards, when, to thek astonishment, the 
elephant rose with the utmost alacrity, and fled towards 
the jungle, screaming at the top of its voice, its cries 
being audible long after it had disappeared in the shades 
of the forest. 


CHAP. m. 


As the shooting of an elephant, whatever endurance and 
adroitness the sport may display in other respects, requires 
the smallest possible sldll as a marksman, the numbers 
which are annually slain in this way may be regarded as 
evidence of the midtitudes abounding in those parts of 
Ceylon to which they resort. One officer. Major Eogers, 
killed upwards of 1400 ; another, Captain Gallwey, has 
the credit of slajmig more than half that number ; Major 
Skinner, now the Commissioner of Eoads, almost as 
many ; and less persevering aspirants follow at humbler 

But notwithstanding tliis prodigious destruction, a re- 
ward of a few shilhngs per head offered by the Govern- 
ment for taking elephants was claimed for 3500 destroyed 
in part of the nortliern province alone, in less than three 
years prior to 1848 : and between 1851 and 185G, a 

^ To persons like myself, who are 
not addicted to yvhat is called " sport," 
the statement of these wholesale 
slaughters is calculated to excite 
eiu-prise and curiosity as to the 
nature of a passion that impels men 
to self-exposure and privation, in 
a pursuit which presents nothing 
but the monotonous recuiTence of 
scenes of blood and sufterino-. Mr. 
Baker, who has recently published, 
under the title of T7ic liijle and the 
Hound in Cci/hti, an account of his 
exploits in the forest, gives us the 
assurance that " all real i^poHsmen 
are tender-hearted men, tvho shun 
cruelty to an aninml, and are easily 

mox'ed by a talc of distress ; " and 
that although man is naturally blood- 
thirsty, and a Ijoast of prey by in- 
stinct, yet that the true sportsman is 
distinguished from the rest of the 
human race by his " lore of nature 
and of noble scenery. ^^ In support of 
this pretension to a gentler miture 
than the rest of numkind, the author 
proceeds to attest his o^^^l abhorrence 
of cruelty by narrating tlie sull'erings 
of an old hoimd, which, although 
" toothless," he cheered on to assail 
a boar at bay, but it recoiled " co- 
vered ^^'ith blood, cut nearly in half, 
^vHith a wound, fourteen inches in 
length, from the lower ptu-t of the 

Y 2 



. [Part VIII. 

similar reward was paid for 2000 in tlie soutliem pro- 
vince, between Galle and Hambangtotte. 

Altliougli there is little opportunity for the display 
of marksmanship in an elephant battue, there is one 
feature in the sport, as conducted in Ceylon, which 
contrasts favom^ably -with the slaughterhouse details 
chronicled with revoltino; minuteness in some recent 
accounts of elephant shooting in South Africa. The 
practice in Ceylon is to aim invariably at the head, and 
tlie sportsman finds his safety to consist in boldly facing 
the animal, advancmg to Avithin fifteen paces ; and 
lodging a bullet, either in the temple or in the hollow 
over the eye, or in a well-known spot immediately 
above the trunk, where the Aveaker structm^e of the 
skull affords an easy access to the brain.' Tlie region 

beUy, passing up tte flaiak, completely 
severing- the muscles of the hind leg, 
and extending- up the spine ; his hind 
leg having- the appearance of being 
nearly ofl'." In this state, forgetfid 
of the character he had so lately 
given of the ti-ue sportsman, as a 
lover of nature and a hater of cruelty, 
he encouraged ''the poor old dog," 
as he calls him, to resimie the fight 
with the boar, which lasted for an 
hour, when he managed to call the 
dogs oft", and perfectly exhausted, 
the mangled hound crawled out of 
the jmigle with several additional 
wounds, including a severe gash in 
his throat. " He fell from exhaustion, 
and we made a litter with two poles 
and a horsecloth to cany him home." 
— P. 314. If such were the habitual 
enjoyments of this class of sportsmen, 
their motivele.'^s massacres woidd 
admit of no manly justification. In 
compaiison with them one is disposed 
to regard almost with favour the 
exploits of a hunter like Major 
Rogers, who is said to have applied 
the value of the ivory obtained from 
his encountei-s towards tlie piirchase 
of his successive regimental commis- 
sions, and had, therefore, an object, 
however disproportionate, iu his 
slaughter of 1400 elephants. 

One gentleman in Ceylon, not 
less distinguished for his genuine 
kindness of heart, than for his mar- 
vellous success in sliootiug elephants, 
avowed to me that the eagerness with 
which he foimd himself impelled to 
pursue them had often excited siu'- 
prise in his own mind ; and although 
he had never read the theory of 
Lord Kames, or the specidations of 
Vicesimus Ivnox, he came to the 
conclusion that the passion thus ex- 
cited within him was a remnant of 
the himter's instinct, with which man 
was originally endowed to enable 
him, by the cliase, to support exist- 
ence in a state of nature, and which, 
though rendered dormant by civili- 
sation, had not been utterly eradi- 

This theory is at least more con- 
sistent and intelligible tlian the " love 
of nature ixnd scenery," sentimentally 
propoimded by the author quoted 

' The vidncvability of the elephant 
in this region of tlu; head was kno-mi 
to the ancients, and Pltxy, describing 
a combat of elephants in the amphi- 
theatre at Rome, says, that one was 
slain by a single blow, " pilimi sub 
ocido adactum, in vitalia capitis 
venerat." (Lib. viii. c. 7.) Is'ot- 


of the ear is also a fatal spot, and often resorted to, 
the places I have mentioned in the front of the head 
being only accessible when the animal is " charging." 
Professor Harrison, in his communication to the Eoyal 
Irish Academy in 1847, on the Anatomy of the Ele- 
phant, has rendered an intelligible explanation of tliis 
in the following passage descriptive of the cranium : 
— " it exhibits t^vo remarkable facts ; firsts the smaU 
space occupied by the brain ; and, secondly, the 
beautifid and curious structure of the bones • of the 
head. The two tables of all these bones, except the 
occipital, are separated by rows of large cells, some 
from four to five inches in length, others only small, 
irregular, and honey-comb-like : — these all commu- 
nicate with each other, and, tln^ough the frontal sinuses, 
with the cavity of the nose, and also with the tympanum 
or drum of each ear ; consequently, as in some bhxls, 
these cells are filled with air, and thus while the skull 
attains a great size in order to afford an extensive surftice 
for the attachment of muscles, and a mechanical support 
for the tusks, it is at the same time very hght and 
buoyant in proportion to its bulk ; a property the more 
valuable as the animal is fond of water and bathes in 
deep rivers." 

Generally speaking, a single ball, planted in the fore- 
head, ends the existence of the noble creature instan- 
taneously : and expert sportsmen have been known to Idll 
right and left, one with each barrel ; but occasionally 
an elephant will not fall before several shots have been 
lodo-ed in his head.^ 

witlistanding the comparative facility \ I tliink the temple the most certain, 
of access to the brain aftbrded at this ' but authority in Ceylon says the 
spot, an ordmary leaden bullet is not , ' fronter,' that is, aboVe the 'trunk, 
certain to penetrate, and frequently I Behind the ear is said to be deadly, 
becomes flattened. The hunters, to I but that is a shot which I never fired 
comiteract this, are accustomed to ! or saw fired that I remember. If the 
harden the ball, by the introduction 
of a small portion of type-metal along 
witli the lead. 

1 '* There is a wide difference of 
opinion as to the most deadly shot. 

ball go true to its mark, all shots (in 
the head) are certain ; but the bones 
on either side of the honey-combed 
passage to the brain are so thick 
that there is in all a 'glorious un- 

Y 3 



[Part VIII. 

Contrasted with this, one reads with a shudder the 
sickening details of the African huntsmen approaching 
behind the retiring animal, and of the torture inflicted by 
the shower of bullets which tear up its flesh and lacerate 
its flank and shoulders.^ 

The shooting of elephants in Ceylon has been de- 
scribed with tiresome iteration in the successive journals 
of sporting gentlemen, but one who turns to their pages 
for traits of the animal and his instincts is disappointed 
to find little beyond graphic sketches of the daring and 

certainty ' ■wliieli keeps a man on the 
qni vive till be sees the elephant 
down." — From a paper on J^Icphant 
Shoot in f/ in Cei/lon, by Major 
Macueadt, late Military Secretary 
at Colombo. 

^ In Mr. GoEDOisr Cummixg's ac- 
count of a Hunter s Life in South 
Africa, there is a narrative of his 
pursuit of a woimded elephant which 
he had lamed by lodging a ball in its 
shoulder-blade. It limped slowly 
towards a tree, against which it 
leaned itself m helpless agony, whilst 
its pursuer seated himself in front of 
it, in safety, to boil his coffee, and 
observe its sufferings. The story is 
continued as follows : — " Having ad- 
mired him for a considerable time, 
/ resolved to make exjjcritnents on 
vulnerable 2^oi>ds ; and approaching 
very near, I fired several bullets at 
different parts of his enormous 
skidl. He only acknowledged the 
shots by a salaam-like movement of 
his trunk, with the point of which 
he gently touched the woimds with 
a sti-iking and peculiar action. Sur- 
prised and shocked at finding that I 
was only prolonging the sufferings 
of the noble beast, which bore its 
trials witli such dignified composure, 
I resolved to finish the proceeding 
with all possible despatcli, and ac- 
cordingly opened fire upon him from 
the left side, aiming at the shoidder. 
I first fired sir shots with the two- 
gl'oo^'ed rifle, Avhich must have event- 
ually proved mortal. After which I 
fired six sliots at the same part with 
the Dutch si.x-poimder. Lart/c tears 

note trickled from his eyes, which he 
sloioly shut and opened, his colossal 
frame shivered conruhively, and fall- 
ing on his side, he expired.^' (Vol. 
ii. p. 10.) 

In another place after detailing 
the manner in which he assailed a 
poor animal — he says, " I was loading 
and firing as fast as coiUd be, some- 
times at the head, sometimes behind 
the shoidder, imtil my elephant's fore- 
quarter was a mass of gore ; not- 
withstanding which he continued to 
hold on, leaving the grass and branches 
of the forest scarlet in his wake. * 
* Having fired thirty-Jive rounds 
with my two-grooved rifle, I opened 
upon him with the Dutch six- 
poimder, and when forty bullets had 
perforated his hide, he began, for 
the first time, to evince signs of 
a dilapidated constitution." The 
■ disgusting description is closed thus : 
" Throughout the charge he repeated- 
ly cooled his person with large quan- 
tities of water, which he ejected from 
his ti'unk over his sides and back, 
and just as the pangs of death came 
over him, he stood ti'embling vio- 
lently beside a thorn tree, and kept 
pouring water into liis Ijloody mouth 
until he died, when he pitched heavily 
ftn'ward •nith the whole weight of 
his fore-quarters resting on tho 
points of his tusks. The strain was 
fair, and the tusks did not yield ; 
but the portion of his head in which 
the tusks were embedded, extending 
a long way above the eye, jdelded 
and burst vrith a muffled crash," — 
{lb., vol. ii. p. 4, 5.) 

Chap. III.] 



exploits of liis pursuers, most of wliom, liaviiig had no 
further opportunity of observation than is derived fi'om a 
casual encounter with the outraged animal, have ap- 
parently tried to exalt their own prowess by misrepresent- 
ing the ordinary character of the elephant, describing him 
as " savage, wary, and revengeful." ' 

These epithets may undoubtedly apply to the out- 
casts from the herd, the " Eogues " or hora allia, but so 
small is the proportion of these that there is not prob- 
ably one rogue to be found for every five hundred 
of those in herds; and it is a manifest error, arisino- 
from imperfect information, to extend this censure to 
them generally, or to suppose the elephant to be an 
animal " thirsting for blood, lying in wait in the jun^-le 
to rush on the unwary passer-by, and knomn(»- no 
greater pleasure than the act of crushing his victim to 
a shapeless mass beneath his feet." ^ The cruelties prac- 
tised by the hunters have no doubt taught these saga- 
cious creatures to be cautious and alert, but then- 
precautions are simply defensive ; and beyond the alarm 
and apprehension wliich they evince on the approach 
of man, they exhibit no indication of hostility or a tliirst 
for blood. 

An ordinary traveller seldom comes upon elephants 
unless after sunset or towards daybreak, as they go or 
retm^n from their nightly \'isits to the tanks : but 
when by accident a herd is disturbed by day, they 
e\ince, if unattacked, no disposition to become assail- 
ants; and if the attitude of defence which they in- 
stinctively assume prove sufficient to check the approach 
of the intruder, no fmtlier demonstration is to be ap- 

^ The Rifle and the Ilonnd in Cey- 
lon ; by S. W. Bakek, Esq., p. 8, 9. 
"Next to a rogue/' says Mr. Baker, 
" in ferocity, and even more perse- 
vering in the pursuit of her victim, 
is a female elephant." But he ap- 

pends the significant qualification, 
" when her young one has been killed r 
—Ibid., p. 13. 

^ The Rife and the Hound in Cey- 
lon ; by S. W. Bakee, Esq. 

T 4 


Even tlie hunters avIio go in search of them fnid them 
in positions and occupations altogether inconsistent with 
the idea of their being savage, wary, or revengeful. 
Then" demeanour when undisturbed is indicative of gen- 
tleness and timidity, and their actions bespeak lassitude 
and indolence induced not alone by heat, but probably 
ascribable in some degree to the fact that the night had 
been spent in watchfidness and amusement. A few are 
generally browsing listlessly on the trees and plants within 
reach, others fanning themselves with leafy branches and 
a few are asleep ; whilst the young run playfully among 
the herd, the emblems of mnocence, as the older ones are 
of peacefulness and gravity. 

Almost every elephant may be observed to exhibit 
some i^eculiar action of the hmbs when standing at 
rest ; some move the head monotonously in a circle, 
or from right to left ; some swdng their feet back and 
forward ; others flap their ears or sway themselves from 
side to side, or rise and sink by alternately bending 
and straightening the fore knees. As the opportunities 
of observing: tliis custom have been almost confined to 
elephants in captivity, it has been conjectured to 
arise from some morbid habit contracted during the 
length of a voyage by sea ^, or from an instinctive 
impulse to substitute a motion of this kind in lieu of 
theu" wonted exercise ; but this supposition is erroneous ; 
the propensity being equally displayed by those at 
liberty and those in captivity. When surprised by 
sportsmen in the depths of the jungle, individuals of 
a herd are always occupied in SAvinging their limbs 
in this manner ; and in the several corrals which I 
have seen, where whole herds have been captured, the 
elephants, in the midst of the utmost excitement, 
and even after the most vigorous charges, if they 
stood still for a moment in stupor and exhaustion, 

' Menageries, ^-c, " The Elephaut/' ch. i. p. 21. 


manifested their wonted habit, and swung their lunbs or 
swayed their bodies to and fro incessantly. So far 
from its being a substitute for exercise, those in tlie 
government emplopnent in Ceylon are observed to 
practise then- acquired motion, whatever it may be, 
with increased vigour when thoroughly fatigued after 
excessive work. Even the favourite practice of fanning 
themselves with a leafy branch seems less an enjoyment 
in itself than a resource when hstless and at rest. The 
term " fidgetty" seems to describe appropriately the tem- 
perament of the elephant. 

They evince the strongest love of retirement and a 
corresponding dishke to intrusion. The approach of 
a stranger is perceived less by the eye, the quickness of 
which is not remarkable (besides which its range is 
obscured by the foliage,) than by sensitive smell and 
singular acuteness of hearing ; and the whole herd is 
put in instant but noiseless motion towards some deeper 
and more secure retreat. The effectual manner in 
which an animal of the prodigious size of the elephant 
can conceal himself, and the motionless silence which 
he preserves, is quite surprising : whilst beaters pass 
and repass within a few yards of his hiding place, he will 
maintain his ground till the hunter, creeping almost 
close to his legs, sees his httle eye peering out through 
the leaves, when, finding himself discovered, he breaks 
away with a crash, leveUing the brushwood in his head- 
long career. 

If surprised in open ground, where stealthy retreat is 
impracticable, a herd will hesitate in indecision, and, 
after a few meaningless movements, stand huddled toge- 
ther in a group, whilst one or two, more adventm'ous 
than the rest, advance a few steps to reconnoitre. Ele- 
phants are generally observed to be bolder in open 
ground than in cover, but, if bold at all, far more dan- 
gerous in cover than in open ground. 

In searching for them, sportsmen often avail themselves 
of the expertness of the native trackers ; and notwitli- 

330 THE ELEPHANT. [Part ^^11. 

standing the demonstration of Combe that the brain of 
the timid Singhalese is deficient in the organ of destriic- 
tiveness\ he shows an instinct for hnnting, and exhibits 
in the pm'siiit of the elepliant a com^age and adroitness 
far surpassing in interest the mere handling of the rifle, 
wliich is the principal share of the proceeding that falls 
to his European companions. 

The beater on these occasions has the double task of 
finchng the game and carrying the guns ; and, in an 
animated communication to me, an experienced sportsman 
describes " this lio-lit and active creature, ^vitll his lono- 
glossy hair Iianging down his shoulders, every muscle 
quivering with excitement ; and his countenance lit up 
with intense animation, leaping from rock to rock, as nim- 
ble as a deer, tracking the gigantic game like a blood- 
hound, falhng behind as he comes up with it, and as the 
elephants, baflled and irritated, make the first stand, 
passing one rifle into your eager hand and holding the 
other ready whilst right and left each barrel performs its 
mission, and if fortune does not flag, and the second gun 
is as successful as tlie first, three or four huge carcases 
are piled one on another witlihi a space equal to the area 
of a dining-room." ^ 

It is curious that in these encounters the herd never 
rush forward in a body, as bufliiloes or bisons do, but 
only one elephant at a time moves in advance of the 
rest to confront, or, as it is called, to " charge," the 
assailants. I have heard of but one instance in which 
two so advanced as champions of their companions. 
Sometimes, indeed, the whole herd will follow a leader, 
and mancEuvre in his rear like a body of cavahy ; but so 
large a party are necessarily hable to panic ; and, one of 
them being turned in alarm, the entire body retreat with 
terrified precipitation. 

As regards boldness and courage, a strange variety of 

1 System ofPhroioIof/t/, by Geouge I - Private letter from Capt. Pliilip 
Combe, vol. i. p. 250. | Payiio Gallwey. 

Chap. III.] 



temperament is observable amongst elephants, but it may 
be affirmed that they are much more generally timid than 
courageous. One herd may be as difficidt to approach 
as deer, ghding away through the jungle so gently and 
quicldy that scarcely a trace marks their passage ; another, 
in apparent stupor, will huddle themselves together hke 
swine, and allow their assailant to come witliin a few 
yards before they break away in terror ; and a third will 
await his approacli without motion, and then advance 
with fury to tlie " charge." 

Li individuals the same chfferences are discernible : 
one flies on the first appearance of danger, whilst another, 
alone and unsupported, will ftice a whole host of enemies. 
When wounded and infuriated with pain, many of 
them become hterally savage^ ; but, so unaccustomed 
are they to act as assailants, and so awkward and 
mexpert in using their strength, tliat they rarely or ever 
succeed in killing a pursuer who falls into their power. 
Although the pressm^e of a foot, a blow with the trtuik, 
or a thrust with the tusk could scarcely fail to prove 
fatal, three-fourths of those who have fallen into 
their power have escaped without serious injury. 
So great is this cliance of impunity, that the 
sportsman prefers to approach within about fifteen 
paces of the advancing elephant, a space which gives 
time for a second fire should the first shot prove inef- 
fectual, and should both fail there is stiU opportunity for 

Amongst full grown timber, a skilful runner can 
escape an elephant by dodging round the trees, but in 
cleared land, and low brushwood, the thfficidty is much 
increased, as the small growth of iniderwood which 
obstructs the movements of man presents no obstacle 
to those of an elephant. On tlie other hand, on level 

' Some years ago au elephant 
whicli had been wounded b}' u native, 
near Hanibanf>totte, pursued the man 
into the town, followed him aloHg 

the street, trampled him to death in 
the bazaar before a crowd of terrilied 
spectators, and succeeded in making 
good ita retreat to the jungle. 


and open ground tlie chances are rather in fa\'our of the 
elephant, as his pace in fidl flight exceeds that of man, 
akhough it is far from equal to that of a horse, as has 
been erroneously asserted.^ 

The incessant slaughter of elephants by sportsmen 
in Ceylon, appears to be merely in subordination to the 
influence of the organ of destructiveness, since the 
carcase is never apphed to any useful purpose, but left 
to decompose and to defile the air of the forest. The 
flesh is occasionally tasted as a matter of curiosity ; 
as a steak it is coarse and tough ; but the tongue is 
as dehcate as that of an ox ; and the foot is said to 
make palatable soup. The Caffres attached to the 
pioneer corps in the Kandyan province were in the 
habit of securing the heart of any elephant shot in 
thek vicinity, and said it was their custom to eat it 
in Africa. The hide it has been found hnpracticable 
to tan in Ceylon, or to convert to any useful purpose, 
but the bones of those shot have of late years been 
collected and used for manuring coffee. The hak of 
the tail, which is extremely strong and horny, is mounted 
by the native goldsmith, and made into bracelets ; 
and the teeth are sawn by the Moormen at Galle (as 
they used to be by the Eomans during a scarcity of 
ivory) into plates, out of which they fashion numerous 
articles of ornament, knife-handles, card racks, and 

^ Shaw, in Lis Zoology, asserts I as a liorse am gallop. London, 
that an elephant can run as s-wiftly | 1800-0, vol. i. p. 216. 



Amongst extraordinary recoveries from desperate wounds I 
venture to record here an instance which occurred in Ceylon 
to a gentleman while engaged in the chase of elephants, and 
which, I apprehend, has few parallels in pathological experience. 
Lieutenant Gerard Fretz, of the Ce3don Rifle Kegiment, whilst 
shooting at an elephant in the vicinity of Fort ^NlacDonald, in 
Oovah, was wounded in the face by the bursting of his fowling- 
piece, on the 22nd January, 1828. He was then about thirty- 
two years of age. On raising him, it was found that part of 
the breech of the gun and about two inches of the barrel had 
been driven through the frontal sinus, at the junction of the 
nose and forehead. It had sunk almost perpendicularly till the 
iron plate called " the tail-pin," by which the barrel is made 
fast to the stock by a screw, had descended through the palate, 
carrying with it the screw, one extremity of which had forced 
itself into the right nostril, where it was discernible externally, 
whilst the headed end lay in contact with his tongue. To 
extract the jagged mass of iron thus sunk in the ethmoidal and 
sphenoidal cells was found hopelessly impracticable ; but, strange 
to tell, after the inflammation subsided, Mr. Fretz recovered 
rapidly, his general health was unimpaired, and he returned to 
his regiment with this singular appendage firmly embedded 
behind the bones of his face. He took his tiu-n of duty as 
usual, attained the command of his company, participated in all 
the enjoyments of the mess-room, and died eight years after- 
.ivards, on the 1st of April, 1836, not from any consequences of 
this fearful wound, but from fever and inflammation brought 
on by other causes. 

So little was he apparently inconvenienced by the presence 
of the strange body in his palate that he was accustomed with 
his finger partially to undo the screw, which but for its extreme 
length he might altogether have withdrawn. To enable this 
to be done, and possibly to assist by this means the extraction 
of the breech itself through the original orifice (which never 
entirely closed), an attempt was made in 1835 to take off a 


portiou of the screw with a file, but, after having cut it three 
parts through, the operation was interrupted, chiefly owing to 
the carelessness and indifference of Capt. Fretz, whose death 
occurred before the attempt could be resumed. The piece of 
iron, on being removed after his decease, was found to measure 
2 1 inches in length, and weighed two scruples more than two 
ounces and three quarters. A cast of the breach and screw 
now forms No. 2790 amongst the deposits in the Medical 
JMuseum of Chatham. 




So long as the elephants of Ceylon were merely 
requked in small numbers for the pageantry of the 
native princes, or the sacred processions of the Buddliist 
temples, their capture was effected either by the instru- 
mentality of female decoys, or by the artifices and 
agihty of the individuals and castes who devoted 
themselves to their pursuit and training. But after 
the arrival of the European conquerors of the island, 
and when it had become expedient to take advantage 
of the strength and intelhgence of these creatures in 
clearing forests and making roads and other works, 
estabhshments were organised on a great scale by the 
Portuguese and Dutch, and the supply of elephants 
kept up by periochcal battues conducted at the cost 
of the government, on a plan similar to that adopted 
on the continent of India, when herds varying in num- 
ber fi'om twenty to one hundred and upwards are 
driven into concealed enclosures and secured. 

In both these processes, success is entirely dependent 
on the skill with which the captors turn to advantage 
the terror and inexperience of the wild elephant, since 
all attempts would be futile to subdue or confine by 
ordinary force an animal of such strength and sagacity.^ 

' Tlie device of taking them by 
means of pitfalls, in addition to tlie 
difficidty of provjding- against that 
caution -vvith which the elephant 
always reconnoitres suspicious or 
insecm-e gi-ound, has the further 
disadvantage of exposing him to 
injmy from bruises and dislccitions 
in his ffdl. Still it wms the mode of 
captm-e employed by the Singhalese, 
and so late as 1750 AVolf relates 
that the native chiefs of the Wanuy, 
when captiuino; elephants for the 
Dutch, made "pits some fathoms deep 

in those places whither the clopliant 
is wont to go in search of food, across 
which were laid poles covered with 
branches and baited with the food of 
which he is fondest, making towards 
which he finds himself taken un- 
awai-es. Thereafter being subdued 
by fright and exhaustion, he was 
assisted to raise himself to the sur- 
face by means of hurdles and eartli, 
which he placed underfoot as they 
were thrown dovm to him, till he was 
enabled to step out on solid ground, 
when the noosers and decovs were 



[Part VIII. 

Kxox describes with circumstantiality the mode 
adopted at that time by the servants of the king to 
catch elephants for the royal stud. He says, "After 
discovering the retreat of such as have tusks, unto 
these they diive some she elephants, which they bring 
with them, for the purpose, which, when once the 
males have got a sight of, they wiU never leave, but 
follow them wheresoever they go, and the females 
are so used to it that they will do whatsoever, either 
by word or a beck, thek keepers bid them. And so 
they delude them along through towns and countries, 
and through the streets of the city, even to the very 
gates of the king's palace, where sometimes they seize 
upc^n them by snares, and sometimes by driving them 
into a Idnd of pound, they catch them." ^ 

In Nepaul and Burmah, and througliout the Chin- 
Indian Peninsula, when in pursuit of single elephants, 
either rogues detached from the herd, or indi\dduals 
who have been marked for the beauty of their ivory, 
the natives avail themselves of the aid of females in 
order to effect their approaches and secure an opportunity 
of casting a noose over the foot of the destined captive. 
All accounts concur in expressing high admiration of 
their courage and address ; but from Avhat has fallen 
under my own observation, added to the descriptions I 
have heard from other eye-witnesses, I am inchned 
to beheve that in such exploits the Moormen of 
Ceylon evince a daring and adroitness that far surpass 
all others. 

These professional elephant catchers, or as they 
are called, Panickeas, inhabit the Moorish villages in 

in readiness to tie liim up to the 
nearest tree." — See "Wolf's Life and 
Advcniurcs, p. 152. Shakspere ap- 
pears to have been acquainted with 
the plan of taking elephants in pit- 
falls : Decius, encouraging the con- 
spirators, reminds them of Cfesar's 
taste for anecdotes of animals, by 

which he would undertake to lure 
him to his fate : 

'' For he lov<?s to hear 
That unicorns may be betrayed with trees, 
Andbears with ghisses ; r/rp/ia/its with holes." 
JiLius Cksaii, Act ii. Scene I. 

^ Kxox's Historiml Rdcdion of 
Ceylon, A.D. 1G81; part i. cli. vi. p. 21. 


the north and north-east of the island, and from time 
immemorial have been engaged in taking elephants, 
which are afterwards trained by Arabs, chiefly for the 
use of the rajahs and native princes in the south of India, 
whose vakeels are periodically despatched to make pm^- 
chases in Ceylon. 

The abihty evinced by these men in tracing elephants 
through the woods has almost the certainty of instinct ; 
and hence their services are eagerly sought by the 
Eiu-opean sportsmen who go down into their countiy in 
search of game. So keen is their glance, that almost at 
the top of their speed, hke hounds running " breast 
high" they will follow the course of an elephant, over 
glades covered with stunted grass, where the eye of a 
stranger would fail to discover a trace of its passage, 
and on through forests strewn with dry leaves, Avhere 
it seems impossible to perceive a footstep. Here they 
are guided by a bent or broken twig, or by a leaf 
dropped from the animal's mouth, on which they can 
detect the pressure of a tooth. If at feult, they fetch a 
circuit hke a setter, till hghting on some fresh marks, 
then go a head again with renewed vigour. So dehcate 
is the sense of smell in the elephant, and so indispensable 
is it to go against the wind in approaching him, that 
the Panickeas, on those occasions, when the "wind is so 
still that its direction cannot be otherwise discerned, will 
suspend the film of a gossamer to determine it and shape 
their course accordingly. 

They are enabled by the inspection of the footmarks, 
when impressed in soft clay, to describe the size as well 
as the number of a herd before it is seen ; the height 
of an elephant at the shoulder being as nearly as possible 
twice the ckcumference of his fore foot.^ 

^ Previous to the death of the j 1851, Mr. Mitchell, the Secretary, 
female elephant in the Zoological i caused the measurements to be accu- 
Gardens, in the Regent's Park, in | rately made^ and found the statement 



[Part VIII. 

On overtaking the game their courage is as con- 
spicuous as their sagacity. If they liave confidence 
in the sportsman for whom they are finding, they will 
advance to the very heel of the elephant, slap him on 
the quarter, and then convert his timidity into anger, 
till he turns upon his tormentor and exposes his front to 
receive the bullet which is awaiting him.' 

So fearless and confident are they that two men, 
without aid or attendants, will boldly attempt to capture 
the largest sized elephant. Then" only weapon is a 
flexible rope made of elk's or buffalo's hide, with which 
it is their object to secure one of the hind legs. This 
they effect either by following in his footsteps when in 
motion or by stealing close up to him when at rest, and 
availing themselves of the propensity of the elephant at 
such moments to swing his feet backwards and forwards, 
they contrive to slip a noose over his hind leg. 

At other times this is achieved by spreading the 
noose on the ground partially concealed by roots and 

of the Singhalese hunters to be strictly 
correct, the height at the shoulders 
being precisely twice the circuui- 
ference of the fore foot. 

1 Major Skinnek, late the Chief 
Officer at the head of the Commission 
of Roads, in Ceylon, in writing to me, 
mentions an anecdote illustrative of 
the daring of the Panickeas. " I 
once saw," he says, " a very beautiful 
example of the confidence with which 
these fellows, from their knowledge 
of the elephants, meet their woi-st 
defiance. It was in Neuera-Kalawa ; 
I was bivouacking on the bank of a 
river, and had been kept out so late 
tliat I did not get to my tent until 
between 9 and 10 at night. On our 
return towards it we passed several 
single elephants making their way to 
the nearest water, but at length we 
came upon a large herd which had 
taken possession of the only road by 
which we could pass, and which no 

intimidation would induce to move 
off. I had some Panickeas with me ; 
they knew the herd, and counselled 
extreme caution. After trying eveiy 
device we could think of for a length 
of time, a little old jNIoorman of the 
party came to me and requested we 
should all retire to a distance. He 
then took a couple of chules (flam- 
beaux of di-ied wood, or coco-nut 
leaves), one in each hand, and waving 
them above his head till they fiamed 
out fiercely, he advanced at a de- 
liberate pace to within a few yards of 
the elephant who was acting as leader 
of the party, and who was gi'owling 
and trumpeting in his rage ; and 
flourished the flaming torches in his 
face. The effect was instantaneous ; 
the whole herd dashed away in a pa- 
nic, bellowing, screaming, and crash- 
ing through the imderwood, whilst 
we availed ourselves of the open path 
to make our way to our tents." 


leaves beneatli a tree on which one of the party is 
stationed, whose business it is to hft it suddenly by 
means of a cord, raising it on the elephant's leg at 
the moment when his companion has succeeded in 
provoking him to place his foot within its circle, 
the other end having been previously made fast to 
the stem of the tree. Should the noosing be effected 
in oj^en ground, and no tree of sufficient strength at 
hand round which to wind the rope, one of the Moors, 
allowing himself to be pm^sued by the enraged ele- 
phant, entices him towards the nearest grove ; where 
his companion, dexterously laj-ing hold of the rope as 
it trails along the ground, suddenly coils it round a 
suitable stem, and brings the fugitive to a stand still. 
On finding himself thus arrested, the natural impulse 
of the captive is to turn on the man who is engaged in 
making fast the rope, a movement which it is the duty 
of his colleague to prevent by running up close to the 
elephant's head and provoking him to confront him by 
irritating gesticulations and incessant shouts of dah! 
dah ! a monosyllable, the sound of which the elephant 
pecuharly dishkes. Meanwhile the first assailant, having 
secured one noose, comes up from behind with another, 
with which, amidst the vain rage and struggles of the 
victim, he entraps a fore leg, the rope being, as before, 
secured to another tree in front, and the whole four feet 
having been thus entangled, the capture is completed. 

A shelter is then run up with branches, to protect 
him from the sun, and the hunters proceed to build a 
wigwam for themselves in front of their prisoner, 
kindhng their fires for cooking, and making all the ne- 
cessary arrangements for remaining day and night on 
the spot to await the process of subduing and taming 
his rage. In my journeys through the forest I liave 
come unexpectedly on the halting place of adventu- 
rous hunters when thus engaged ; and on one occasion, 
about sunrise, in ascending the steep ridge from the 
bed of the Malwatte river, the foremost rider of our 

z 2 


party was suddenly di'iven back by a furious elephant, 
wliicli we found picketed by two Panickeas on the 
crest of the bank. In such a position, the elephant 
soon ceases to stru2:a'le ; and what with the exhaustion 
of rage and resistance, the terror of fire which he 
cbeads, and the constant annoyance of smoke wliich he 
detests, in a very short time, a few weeks at the most, 
his spirit becomes subdued ; and being plentifully sup- 
phed with plantains and fresh food, and indulged 
with water, in which he luxuriates, he grows so far 
reconciled to his keepers that they at length venture to 
remove him to their own village, or to the sea-side for 
shipment to India. 

No part of the hunter's performances exhibits greater 
skill and audacity tlian this first forced march of the 
recently captured elephant from the great central forests 
to the sea-coast. As he is still too morose to submit 
to be ridden, and it would be equally impossible to 
lead or to drive him by force, the ingenuity of the 
captors is displayed in alternately kritating and eluchng 
his attacks, but always so attracting his attention as to 
aUure him along in the du^ection in which they want him 
to go. Some assistance is derived from the rope by 
which the original captm^e was effected, and which, as 
it serves to make him safe at night, is never removed 
fi'om the leg till his taming is sufficiently advanced to 
permit of his being entrusted with partial hberty. 

In Ceylon the principal place for exporting these 
animals to India is Manaar, on the western coast, to 
which the Arabs from the continent resort, bringing 
horses to be baitered for elephants. In order to reach 
the sea open plains mvist be traversed, across which it re- 
quires the utmost courage, agihty, and patience of the 
Moor to coax their reluctant charge. At Manaar the 
elephants are usually detained till any wound on the 
leg caused by the rope has been healed, when the 
sliipment is effected in the most primitive manner, it 
beinf next to impossible to induce the still untamed 

Chap. IV.] .\N ELEPHANT CORRAL. 341 

creature to walk on board, and no mechanical contri- 
vances being provided to ship him. A dlioney, or native 
boat, of about forty tons burthen, is brought alongside 
the quay in front of the Old Dutch Fort, and being 
about tliree parts filled with the strong ril^bed leaves 
of the Palmyra pahn, it is lashed so that the gunwale 
may be as nearly as possible on a hue mth the level of 
the wharf. The elephant being placed with his back 
to the water is forced by goads to retreat till his hind 
legs go over the side of the quay, but the main contest 
commences when it is attempted to disengage his fore 
feet from the shore, and force him to entrust liimself on 
board. The scene becomes exciting from the screams 
and trumpeting of the elephants, the shouts of the Arabs, 
the calls of the Moors, and the rushing of the crowd. 
Meanwhile the huge creatiu^e strains every nerve to 
regain the land ; and the day is often consumed before 
his efforts are overcome, and he finds himself faMy 
afloat. The same dhoney wdll take from four to five 
elephants, who place themselves athwart it, and exhibit 
amusino; adroitness in accommodatincf their own move- 
ments to the rolling of the httle vessel ; and in this way 
they are ferried across the narrow strait which separates 
the continent of India from Ceylon.^ 

But the feat of ensnarino; and subduinor a sino-le 
elephant, courageous as it is, and demonstrative of the 
supremacy with which man melds his " dominion over 

^ In the Philosophical Transactions 
ft)r 1701, there is " An Account of the 
taking of Elephants in Ceylon, by 
JNIr. Strachax, a Physician who lived 
seventeen years there," in wliicli the 
author descrihes the manner in which 
they were shipped by the Dutch, at 
Matura, Galle, and Negi)nibo. A 
piece of strong sail-cloth having been 
WTapped round the elephant's chest 
and stomachy he wa.s forced into the 
sea between two tame ones, and there 
made fast to a boat, on which the 
tame ones returned to laud ; he swam | lOol 

z 3 

after the boat to the ship, where 
tackle was reeved to the sail-clotli, 
and he was hoisted on board. 

"But a better way ha*) been in- 
vented lately," he saysj "a large 
flat-bottomed vessel is prepared, 
covered with planks like a floor ; so 
that this floor is iilmost of a height 
Avitli the key. Then the sides of the 
key and the vessel are adonied with 
greeu branches, so that tlie elephant 
sees no water, till he is in the ship." 

Phil. Trans, vol. xxiii. No. 22~, p. 


every beast of the earth," falls far short of the daring 
exploit of capturing a whole herd ; when from thirty 
to one hundred wild elephants are entrapped in one vast 
decoy. The mode of effecting this, as it is practised in 
Ceylon, is no doubt imitated, but with considerable 
modifications, from the methods prevalent in various 
parts of Incha. It was introduced by the Portuguese, 
and continued by the Dutch, the latter of whom had 
two elephant hunts in each year, and conducted their 
operations on so large a scale, that the annual export, 
after supplpng the government estabhshments, was 
from one hundred to one hundred and fifty elephants, 
taken principally in the vicinity of Matura, in the 
southern province, and marched for shipment to 

The custom in Bengal is to construct a strong en- 
closure (called a keddah), in the heart of the forest, 
formed of the trunks of trees firmly secured by trans- 
verse beams and buttresses, and leaving the gate for the 
entrance of the elephants. A second enclosure, open- 
ing from the first, contains water (if possible a rivulet) ; 
and this, again, communicates with a third, which ter- 
minates in a funnel-shaped passage, too narrow to admit 
of an elephant turning, and within this the captives 
being dri^^en in fine, are secured ivith ropes from the 
outside, and led away in custody of tame ones trained for 
the purpose. 

The keddah being thus prepared, the first operation 
is to drive the elephants towards it, for which purpose 
vast bodies of men fetch a compass in the forest around 
the haunts of the herds, contracting it by degrees, till 
they complete the enclosure of a certain area, round 
Avhich tliey kindle fires, and cut footpaths through the 
jungle, to enable the watchers to communicate and 
combine. All this is performed in cautious silence 
and by slow approaches, to avoid alarming the herd. 

1 ValemyN; Oud en Kicuw Oost-Mlien, cli. xv. p. 272. 


A fresh circle nearer to the keddah is then formed in 
the same way, and into tliis the elephants are admitted 
from the first one, the hunters following from behind, 
and hghting new fires around the newly inclosed space. 
Day after day the process is repeated ; till the drove 
has been brought sufficiently close to make the final 
rush ; when the whole party close in from all sides, and 
with drums, guns, shouts, and flambeaux, force the 
terrified animals to enter the fatal enclosure, when the 
passage is barred behind them, and retreat rendered 

Their effbrts to escape are repressed by the crowd, 
who drive them back from the stockade with spears 
and flaming torches ; and at last compel them to pass on 
into the second enclosure. Here they are detained for 
a short time, their feverish exhaustion being reheved 
by free access to water ; and at last being tempted by 
food or otherwise induced to trust themselves in the 
narrow outlet ; they are one after another made fast by 
ropes, passed in through the pahsade, and picketed in 
the adjoining woods to enter on theu' com'se of syste- 
matic training. 

These arrangements vary in different districts of 
Bengal ; and the method adopted in Ceylon differs in 
many essential particulars from them all ; the Keddah, 
or, as it is there called, the corral or korahl ^ (from the 
Portuguese curral, a " cattle-pen ") consists of but one 
enclosure instead of three. A stream or wateriiig-[)]ace 
is not uniformly enclosed within it, because, although 
water is indispensable after the long thkst and ex- 
haustion of the captives, it has been found that a pond 
or rivulet within the corral itself adds to the difficulty 
of mastering them, and increases their reluctance to 
leave it ; besides which, the smaller ones are often smo- 
thered by the others in their eagerness to crowd into 

^ It is thus spelled by Wolf, in 
his Life and Adventures, p. l44. 
Corral is at the . present day a house- 

hold word in South America, and 
especially in La Plata, to desij^mate 
an enclosure for cattle, 

z 4 

344 THE ELErHA^s'T. [rARx VIII. 

the Avater. The funnel-shaped outlet is usually dis- 
pensed with, as the animals are hable to bruise and 
injure themselves against the narrow stockade, and 
should one of them die in it, as is too often the case in 
the midst of the struggle, the difficulty of removing so 
great a carcase is extreme. The noosing and secu- 
ring them, therefore, takes place in Ceylon witliin the 
area of the first enclosm-e into which they enter, and 
the dexterity and daring displayed in this portion of 
the work far surpasses that of merely attaching the rope 
tlu^ough the openings of the pahng, as in an Indian 

One result of this change in the system is manifested 
in the increased proportion of healthy elephants which 
are eventually secured and trained out of the number 
originally enclosed. The reason of this is obvious : 
under the old arrangements, months were consumed in 
the preparatory steps of surrounding and driving in the 
herds, which at last arrived so wasted by excitement and 
exhausted by privation that numbers died "vvithin the 
corral itself, and still more died during the process of 
training. But in later years the labour of months being 
reduced to weeks, the elephants are driven in fresh and 
fuU of \TLgour, so that comparatively few are lost either 
in the enclosure or the stables. A conception of the 
whole operation from commencement to end will be 
best conveyed by describing the progress of an elephant 
corral as I witnessed it in 1847 in the great forest on 
the banks of the Alligator Eiver, the Kimbul-oya, in 
the district of Kornegalle, about thirty miles north-west of 

Kornegalle, or Kiuunai-galle, was one of the ancient 
capitals of the island, and the residence of its kings 
from A.D. 1319 to 1347.^ The dwelhng-house of the 
principal civil officer in charge of the district now oc- 
cupies the site of the former palace, and the ground 

* See ante, Vol. I. Pt. III. cli. xii. p. 41o. 




is strewn with fragments of columns and carved stones, 
the remnants of the royal buildings. The modern town 
consists of the bungalows of the European officials, each 
surrounded with its own garden ; two or three streets 
inhabited by Dutch descendants and Moors ; and a 
native bazaar, with the ordinary array of rice and curry 
stuffs and cooking chattees of brass or burnt clay. 

But the charm of the village is the unusual beauty of 
its position. It rests witliin the shade of an enormous 
rock of gneiss upwards of 600 feet in height, nearly 
denuded of verdure, and so rounded and worn by time 
that it has acquired the form of a couchant elephant, 
from which it derives its name of Aetagalla, the Eock 
of the Tusker.^ But Aetagalla is only the last emi- 
nence in a range of similarly-formed rocky mountains, 
Avhich here terminate abruptly ; and, from the fantastic 
shapes into which theu^ gigantic outhnes have been 
wrought by the action of the atmosphere, are called by 
the names of the Tortoise Eock, the Eel Eock, and the 
Eock of the Tusked Elephant. So • impressed are the 
Singhalese by the aspect of these stupendous masses that 
in the ancient grants their lands are conveyed in perpe- 
tuity, or '■''SO long as the sun and the moon, so long as 
Aetasjalla and Anda2;alla shall endure."^ 

Kornegalle is the resort of Buddhists from the re- 
motest parts of the island, who come to visit an ancient 
temple on the summit of tlie great rock, to which access 
is had from the valley below by means of steep paths 
and steps hewn out of the soHd stone. Here the chief 
object of veneration is a copy of the sacred footstep 

* Another enomious mass of gneiss 
is called the Kununinia-galle, or the 
Beetle-rock, from its resemblance in 
shape to the back of that insect, and 
hence is said to have been derived 
the name of the town, Kuruna-yallc 
or Korne-galle, 

2 FoRUES quotes a Tamil convey- 
ance of land the pm-chascr of -wliich 
is to "possess and enjoy it as long as 

the sun and the moon, tlie earth and 
its vegetables, the mountains and the 
lliver Cauveiy exist." — Orietitdl Me- 
moirs, vol. ii. chap. ii. It will not fail 
to be observed, tluit the .«tanie figure 
was employed in Hebrew literature as 
a type of duration — " They sliall fear 
thee, so Imuj as the sun and moon en- 
dure ; througliout all generations." 
I'salm Ixxii. 5, 17. 


hollowed in the granite, similar to tliat "which confers 
sanctity on Adam's Peak, the towering apex of which, 
about forty miles distant, the pilgrims can discern from 

At times the heat at KornegaUe is extreme, in con- 
sequence of the perpetual glow diffused from these 
granite cliffs. The warmth they acqim^e duruig the 
blaze of noon becomes ahnost intolerable towards 
evening, and the sultiy night is too short to permit 
them to cool between the settino; and the rising; of the 
sun. The chstrict is also hable to occasional droughts 
when the watercourses ftiil, and the tanks are dried 
up ; one of these occurred about the period of my visit, 
and such was the suffering of the wild animals that 
numbers of alligators and bears made then- way into 
the to^vn to drink at the wells. But the soil is prolific 
in the extreme ; rice, cotton, and dry grain are culti- 
vated largely in the valley. Every cottage is sur- 
rounded by gardens of coco-nuts, arecas, jak-fruit and 
coffee ; the slopes, which they till, are covered with 
luxuriant vegetation, and, as far as the eye can reach 
on every side, there are dense forests intersected by 
streams, in the shade of which the deer and the elephant 

In 1847 arrangements were made for one of the 
great elephant hunts for the supply of the Ci\'il 
Engineer Department, and the spot fixed on by Mr. 
Morris, the Government officer who conducted the corral, 
was on the banks of the Kimbul river, about fifteen 
miles from KornegaUe. The country over which we rode 
to the scene of the capture showed traces of the recent 
di'ought, the fields lay to a great extent untiUed owing 
to the want of water, and the tanks, almost reduced to 
dryness, were covered with the leaves of the rose-coloured 

Our cavalcade was as oriental as the scenery through 
which it moved ; the Governor and the officers of his 
staff and household formed a long cortege, escorted by 


the native attendants, horse-keepers, and foot-runners. 
The ladies were borne in palankins, and the younger 
individuals of the party carried in chairs raised on 
poles, and covered with cool green awnings made of 
the fresh leaves of the tahpat pahn. 

After traversing the cultivated lands, the path led 
across open glades of park-hke verdure and beauty, and 
at last entered the great forest under the shade of 
ancient trees wreathed to their crowns with chmbinsj 
plants and festooned by natural garlands of convolvulus 
and orchids. Here silence reigned, disturbed only by the 
murmuring hum of glittering insects, or the shrill clamour 
of the plum-headed parroquet and the flute-like calls of 
the golden oriole. 

We crossed the broad sandy beds of two rivers over- 
arched by tall trees, the most conspicuous of which is 
the Kombook^ from the calcined bark of which the 
natives extract a species of hme to be used with their 
betel. And from the branches hung suspended over 
the water the gigantic pods of the huge puswel bean ^, 
the sheath of which measures six feet long by five or six 
inches broad. 

On ascending the steep bank of the second stream, 
we found ourselves in front of the residences which had 
been extemporised for our party in the hnmediate 
vicinity of the corral. These cool and enjoyable struc- 
tures were formed of branches and thatched with pahn 
leaves and fragrant lemon grass ; and in adchtion to a 
dining-room and suites of bedi'ooms fitted with tent 
furniture, they included kitchens, stables, and store- 
rooms, all run up by the nati\-es in the course of a few 

In former times, the work connected with the elephant 
hunts was performed by the " forced labour " of the 
natives, as part of that feudal service which under the 
name of Eaja-kariya was extorted from the Singlialese 

Pentaptera paniculata. » Entada inirscctha. 


during the ride of tlieir native sovereigns. The system 
was continued by the Portuguese and Dutch, and pre- 
vailed under the British Government till its abohtion 
by the Earl of Eipon in 1832. Under it fi'om fifteen 
hundred to two thousand men used to be occupied, 
superintended by their headmen, in constructing the 
con'al, collecting the elephants, maintaining the cordon 
of watch-fii^es and watcliers, and conducting all the 
laborious operations of the capture. Since the abohtion 
of Eaja-kariya, hoAvever, no difficulty has been found in 
obtaining the voluntary co-operation of the natives on 
these exciting occasions. The govermnent defrays the 
expense of that portion of the preparations which in- 
volves actual cost, — for the skiUed laboiu: expended in 
the erection of the corral and its appurtenances, and the 
providing of spears, ropes, arms, flutes, drums, gunpow- 
der, and other necessaries for the occasion. 

The period of the year selected is that which least 
interferes with the cultivation of the rice lands (in the 
interval between seed time and harvest), and the people 
themselves, in addition to the excitement and enjopnent 
of the sport, liave a personal interest in reducing tlie 
number of elephants, whicli inflict serious injury on 
their gardens and growing crops. For a similar reason 
the priests encourage the practice, because the elephants 
destroy the sacred Bo-tree, of the leaves of which they 
are passionately fond ; besides which it promotes the 
facihty of obtaining elephants for the processions of the 
temples : and the Eatc-mahat-mayas and headmen have 
a pride in exhibiting the number of retainers who follow 
them to the field, and the performances of the tame 
elepliants which they lend for the business of the corral. 
Vast numbers of the peasantry are thus voluntarily 
occupied for many weeks in putting up the stockades, 
cutting patlis through the jungle, and relieving the beaters 
who are engaged in surrounding and driving in tlie 

In selecting the scene for tlie hunt, a position is chosen 


which hes on some old and frequented route of the 
animals, in their periodical migrations in search of 
forage and water ; and the \'icinity of a stream is indis- 
pensable, not only for the supply of the elephants during 
the time spent in inducing them to approach the enclo- 
sure, but to enable them to bathe and cool themselves 
throughout the process of training after the capture. 

In constructing the corral itself, care is taken to 
avoid disturbino; the trees or the brushwood within the 
included space, and especially on the side by which the 
elephants are to approach, where it is essential to con- 
ceal the stockade as much as possible by the density of 
the foliage. The trees used in the structure are from 
ten to twelve inches in diameter ; and are sunk about 
three feet in the earth, so as to leave a length of from 
twelve to fifteen feet above ground ; with spaces between 
each stanchion sufficiently wide to permit a man to glide 
through. The uprights are made fast by transverse 
beams, to which they are lashed securely with ratans and 
flexible chmbing plants, or as they are called "jungle 
ropes," and the whole is steadied by means of forked 
supports, which grasp the tie beams, and prevent the 
work from being driven outward by the rush of the wild 


The space thus enclosed on the occasion I am now 
attempting to describe, was about 500 feet in length 


by half that width. At one end an entrance was left 
open, fitted with shding bars, so prepared as to be capable 
of being instantly shut ; — and from each angle of the 
end by which the elephants were to approach, two hnes 
of the same strong fencing were continued on either 
side, and cautiously concealed by the trees ; so that if, 
instead of entering by the open passage, the herd were 
to swerve to right or left, they would find themselves 
suddenly stopped and forced to retrace then- course to the 

The preparations were completed by placing a stage 
for the governor's party on a group of the nearest trees 
looking down into the enclosure, so that a \dew could 
be had of the entire proceeding, fi^om the entrance of 
the herd, to the leading out of the captive elephants. 

It is unnecessary to observe that the structure here de- 
scribed, ponderous as it is, would be entu'ely ineffectual 
to resist the shock, if assaulted by the full force of an en- 
raged elephant ; and accidents have sometimes happened 
by the breaking through of the herd ; but reliance is 
placed not so much on the resistance of the stockade as 
on the timidity of the captives ; and their unconscious- 
ness of their own strength, coupled with the daring of 
their captors and their devices for ensming submission. 

The corral being thus prepared, the beaters address 
themselves to drive in the elephants. For this purpose it 
is often necessary to fetch a circuit of many miles in order 
to surround a sufficient number, and the caution to be 
observed involves patience and delay ; as it is essential 
to avoid alarming the elephants, which might otherwise 
rush in the wrong direction. Their disposition being 
essentially peaceful, and their only impulse to browse 
in solitude and security ; they withdraw instinctively 
before the slightest intrusion, and advantage is taken 
of this timidity and love of retirement to cause only 
just such an amount of disturbance as will induce them 
to move slowly onwards in the direction which it is de- 
sired they should take. Several herds are by this means 


concentrated within such an area as will admit of their 
being completely encircled by the watchers ; and day 
after day, by slow degrees, they are moved gradually on- 
wards to the immediate confines of the corral. When 
their suspicions become awakened and they exhibit 
restlessness and alarm, bolder measures are resorted to 
for preventing their escape. Fires are kept burning at 
ten paces apart, night and day, along the cu'cumference 
of the area within which they are detained ; a corps of 
from two to three thousand beaters is completed, and 
pathways are carefully cleared through the jungle 
so as to open a communication along the entire line. 
The headmen keep up a constant patrol, to see that 
their followers are alert at their posts, since neglect 
at any one spot might permit the escape of the herd, 
and undo in a moment the \agilance of weeks. By this 
means any attempt of the elephants to break away is 
immediately checked, and on any point threatened a 
sufficient force can be instantly assembled to drive them 

At last the elephants are forced omvards so close to 
the enclosure, that the investing cordon is united at 
either end with the wings of the corral, the whole 
forming a circle of about two miles, within the area of 
which the herd is detained to await the signal for the 
final drive. 

Two months had been spent in these preparations, 
and they had been thus far completed, on the day 
when w^e arrived and took our places on the stage 
erected for us, overlooking the entrance to the corral. 
Close beneath us a group of tame elephants, sent by 
the temples and the chiefs to assist in securing the 
wild ones, were picketed in the shade, and lazily fan- 
ning themselves with leaves. Three distinct herds, 
whose united numbers w^ere variously represented at 
from forty to fifty elephants, were enclosed, and were 
at that moment concealed in the jimgie within a short 
distance of the stockade. Not a sound was permitted 




to be made, each person spoke to his neighbour in 
wliispers, and such was the silence observed by the 
muhitude of the watchers at their posts, that occasionally 
we could hear the rusthno; of the branches as some of 
the elephants stripped off thek leaves. 

Suddenly the signal was made, and the stillness of 
the forest was broken by the shouts of the guard, the 
rolhno; of the di'ums and tom-toms, and the discliaro;e 
of muskets ; and beoiinninf; at the most distant side of 
the area, the elephants were urged forward towards 
the entrance into the corral. 

The watchers along the hne kept silence only tiU the 
herd had passed them, and then joining the cry in their 
rear they ch'ove them onward with redoubled shouts 
and noises. The tumult increased as the terrified rout 
drew near, swelling now on one side now on the other, 
as the herd in their panic dashed from point to point in 
their endeavom^s to force the hne, but were instantly 
driven back by screams, guns, and drums. 

At length the breaking of the branches and the 
crackhng of the brushwood announced their close ap- 
proach, and the leader bm'sting from the jungle rushed 
wildly forward to within twenty yards of the entrance 
followed by the rest of the herd. Another moment 
and they would have plunged into the open gate, when 
suddenly they wheeled round, re-entered the jungle, 
and in spite of the hunters resumed their origmal 
position. The chief headman came forward and ac- 
counted for the freak by saying that a wild pig\ an 
animal wdiicli the elephants are said to dishke, had 
started out of the cover and run across the leader, who 
would otherwise have held on chrect for the corral ; and 
he mtimated that as the herd was now in the liiG;hest 

* Fire, the sound of a horn, and 
the gruntinfr of a boar are the three 
things which the Greeks, in the 
middle ages, believed the elephant 
specially to dislike ; 

ITiip Zi. iTTOHrai Kai Kpibv Kipaa<p6povj 
Kal rihv fioviwv ri/v fiotjv ri]V aOpoav. 

PmLE, Expositio de Elephante, 1. 177. 


state of excitement ; and it was at all times much more 
difficult to effect a successful capture by daylight than by 
night when the fires and flambeaux act with double effect, 
it was the wish of the hunters to defer their final effort 
till the evening, when the darkness would lend a power- 
ful aid to their exertions. 

After sunset the scene exhibited was of extraordinary 
interest ; the low fires, which had apparently only smoul- 
dered in the sunhght, assumed their ruddy glow amidst 
the dai'kness, and threw their tinge over the groups col- 
lected round them ; while the smoke rose in eddies 
through the rich fohage of the trees. The crowds of 
spectators maintained profound silence, and not a sound 
was perceptible beyond the hum of an insect. On a 
sudden the stillness was broken by the roll of a drum, 
followed by a discharge of musketry. This was the signal 
for the renewed assault, and the hunters entered the 
circle with shouts and clamour ; dry leaves and sticks 
were flung upon the watch-fires till they blazed aloft, and 
formed a line of flame on every side, except in the di- 
rection of the corral, which was studiously kept dark ; and 
thither the teriified elephants betook themselves followed 
by the yells and racket of their pursuers. 

They approached at a rapid pace, tramphng do^^m the 
brushwood and crushing the dry branches, the leader 
emerged in front of the corral, paused for an instant, 
stared wildly round, and then rushed headlong through 
the open gate followed by the rest of the herd. 

As if by magic the entire circuit of the corral, which 
to this moment had been kept in profound darkness, now 
blazed with a thousand hghts, every hunter on the instant 
that the elephants entered, rushing forward to the stockade 
with a torch kindled at the nearest watch-fire. 

The elephants first dashed to the very extremity of 
the enclosure, and being brought up by the powerful 
fence, retreated to regain the gate, but found it closed. 
Their terror Avas subhme : they hurried round the corral 
at a rapid pace, but saw it now girt by fire on every side ; 

VOL. n. A A 



[Part VTII. 

they attempted to force the stockade, but were driven 
back by the guards with spears and flambeaux ; and on 
Avhichever side they approached they were repulsed with 
shouts and discliarges of musketry. Collecting into one 
group, they would pause for a moment in apparent be- 
wilderment, then burst off in another direction as if it had 
suddenly occurred to them to try some point which they 
had before overlooked ; but again baflled, they slowly 
returned to their forlorn resting-place in the centre of 
the corral. 

The interest of this strange scene was not confined to 
the spectators ; it extended to the tame elephants which 
were stationed outside. At the first approach of the 
flying herd they evinced the utmost interest in the scene. 
Two in particular which were picketed near the front 
were intensely excited, and continued tossing their heads, 
pawing the ground, and starting as the noise drew near. 
At length when the grand rush into the corral took place, 
one of them fairly burst from her fastenings and started 
olF towards the herd, leveUing a tree of considerable size 
whicli obstructed her passage.^ 

' The otlier elephant, a fine tusker, 
which belonged to Dehigam Rate- 
Mahatmeya, continued in extreme 
excitement throughout all the sub- 
sequent operations of the capture, 
and at last, after attempting to 
break his way into the corral, shak- 
ing the bars with his forehead and 
tusks, he went otF in a state of frenzy 
into the jungle. The Aratchy went 

in search of him a few days after 
with a female decoy, and waiting his 
approach, he sprang fairly on the 
infm'iated beast, with a pair of sharp 
hooks in his hands, whicli he pressed 
into tender parts in front of tlie 
shoulder, and held him firmly till 
chains were passed over his legs, aiul 
he permitted himself to be led ciuictly 




Foe upwards of an liour tlie clepliants continued to tra- 
verse the corral and assail the pahsade with unabated 
energy, trumpeting and screaming with rage after each 
disappointment. Again and again they attempted to force 
the gate, as if aware, by experience, that it ought to 
afford an exit as it liad ah'eady served as an entrance, 
but they slirunk back stunned and bewildered. By de- 
grees their efforts became less and less frequent. Single 
ones rushed about here and there returning sullenly to 
their companions, and at last the whole lierd, stupified 
and exhausted, formed themselves into a single group, 
drawn up in a circle with the young in tlie centre, and 
stood motionless under the dark shade of the trees in tlie 
middle of the corral. 

Preparations were now made to keep watch diu'ing 
the night, the guard was reinforced around the enclosure, 
and wood heaped on the fires to keep up a high flame 
tiU sunrise. 

Three herds had been originally entrapped by tlie 
beaters outside ; but witli chai'acteristic instinct they had 
kept clear of each other, talving up different stations in 
tlie space invested by the watchers. Wlien the final drive 
took place one herd only had entered, the other two 
keeping behind ; and as the gate had to be instantly closed 
on the first division, the last were unavoidably shut out 
and remained still concealed in the jungle. To prevent 
their escape, the watches were ordered to their former 

A A 2 



[Part VIII. 

station?;, their fires were repleiiisliecl ; and all precautions 
being thus taken, we returned to pass the night in our 
bungalows by the river. 

As oiu" sleeping-place was not above two hundi^ed yards 
from the corral, we were frequently awakened during the 
early part of the night by the din of the multitude who 
were bivouacking in the forest, by the merriment round 
the watch-fires, and now and then by the shouts with 
which the guards repulsed some sudden charge of the 
elephants in attempts to force the stockade. But at day- 
break, on going down to the corral, we found all still and 
vio'ilant. The fires were allowed to die out as the sun 
rose, and the watchers who had been reheved were sleep- 
ing near the great fence, but the enclosure on all sides 
was surrounded by crowds of men and boys "vvith spears 
or white peeled wands about ten feet long, wliilst the 
elephants Avithin were huddled together in a compact 
group, no longer turbulent and restless, but exhausted 
and calm, and utterly subdued by apprehension and 
amazement, at all that had been passing around them. 

Nine only had been as yet entrapped ^, of wliich three 
were very large, and two httle creatures but a few months 
old. One of the larg;e ones was a " rog-ue," and beino; 
unassociated with the rest of the herd, although per- 
mitted to stand near them, he was not admitted to their 

Outside, preparations were making to conduct the 
tame elephants into the corral, in order to secure the 
captives. The nooses were in readiness ; and far 
apart from all stood a party of the out-caste Eodiyas, 
the only tribe who will touch a dead carcase, to whom. 

' In some of the elephant hunts 
conducted in the southern provinces 
of Ceylon by the earlier British 
Governors, as many as 170 and 200 
elephants have been secured in a 
single eoiTal, of which a portion only 
were taken out for the pu1)lic sem-ice, 
and the rest shot, the aim being to rid 

the neighbourhood of them, and thus 
protect the crops fi-om destruction. In 
the present instance, the object being 
to secure only as many as were re- 
qiured for the Government stud, it 
was not sought to entrap more than 
could conveniently be attended to 
and trained after capture. 

Chap. V.] THE CAPTIVES. 357 

therefore, the duty is assigned of preparing the fine flexible 
rope for noosing, which is made from the fresh hides of 
the deer and the buffalo. 

At lenoth, the bars which secured the entrance to the 
corral were cautiously withdrawn, and two trained ele- 
phants passed stealthily in, each ridden by his mahout, 
(or ponnekella, as he is termed m Ceylon,) and one attend- 
ant ; and, carrying a strong collar, formed by coils of rope 
made from coco-nut fibre, fi'om which hung on either 
side cords of elk's liide, prepared with a ready noose. 
Along with them, and concealed behind them, the 
headman of the " cooroowe" or noosers, crept hi, eager 
to secm^e the honour of taking the first elephant, a dis- 
tinction which this class jealously contests with the 
mahouts of the chiefs and the temples. He was a wiry 
httle man, nearly seventy years old, who had served in the 
same capacity under the Kandyan king, and wore two 
silver bangles, which had been conferred on liim in testi- 
mony of his prowess. He was accompanied by his son, 
named Kanghanie, equally renowned for his coiu'age and 

On tliis occasion ten tame elephants were in attend- 
ance ; two were the property of an adjoining temple 
(one of which had been caught only the year before, 
yet it was now ready to assist in captimng others), 
four belonged to the neighbouring chiefs, and the rest, 
including the two which now entered the corral, were 
part of the Government stud. Of the latter, one was 
of prodigious age, having been in the service of the 
Dutch and Enghsli Governments in succession for upwards 
of a centirry.^ The other, called by her keeper " Siri- 
beddi," was about fifty years old, and distinguished 
for her gentleness and docihty. The latter was a most 
accomphshed decoy, and evinced the utmost relish for 

' This elephant is since dead ; she 1 now in the Museum of the Natural 
grew infirm and diseased, and died at Historj' Society at Belfast. 
Colomho in 184S. Her skeleton is j 

A A .'? 


the sport. Having entered the corral noiselessly, she 
moved 8lo^YIy along with a sly composure and an 
assumed air of easy indifference ; sauntering leisurely in 
the direction of the captives, and halting now and then to 
pluck a bunch of grass or a few leaves as she passed. 
As she approached the herd, they put themselves in 
motion to meet her, and the leader, lia\'ing advanced in 
fi'ont and passed his trunk gently over her head, 
tiu^ned and paced slowly back to his dejected compa- 
nions. Skibeddi followed with the same listless step, and 
drew herself up close behind him, thus affording the 
nooser an opportunity to stoop under her and shp the 
noose over the hind foot of the wild one. The latter 
instantly perceived his danger, shook off the rope, and 
tiu'ued to attack the man. He woidd have suffered for his 
temerity, had not Suibeddi protected him by raising her 
trunk and driving the assailant into the midst of the 
herd, when the old man, being shghtly wounded, was 
helped out of the corral, and his son, Eanghanie, took liis 

The herd again collected in a cu^cle, with their 
heads towards the centre. The largest male was 
singled out, and two tame ones pushed boldly in, 
one on either side of him, till the tlrree stood nearly 
abreast. He made no resistance, but betraj^ed his un- 
easiness by shifting restlessly from foot to foot. Eang- 
hanie now crept up, and, hokhng the rope open with 
both hands (its other extremity being made fast to 
Siribeddi's collar, and watching the instant when the 
wild elephant hfted its hind-foot, he succeeded in pass- 
ing the noose over its leg, di^ew it close, and fled to the 
rear. The two tame elephants instantly fell back, Siri- 
beddi stretched the rope to its full length, and, whilst 
she dragged out the captive, her companion placed 
himself between her and the herd to prevent any inter- 

In order to secure him to a tree he liad to be drawn 
backwards some twenty or tlikty yards, making furious 

Chap. V.] 



resistance, bellowing in terror, plunging on all sides, and 
crushing the smaller timber, which bent hke reeds beneath 
his clumsy struggles. Siribeddi drew him steadily after 
her, and wound the rope round the proper tree, holding it 
all the time at its full tension, and stepping cautiously 
across it when, in order to give it a second turn, it was 
necessary to pass between the tree and the elepliaiit. 
With a coil round the stem, liowever, it was beyond her 
strength to haul the prisoner close up, which was, never- 
theless, necessary in order to make liim perfectly fast ; 

but the second tame one, percei\'ing the difficulty, re- 
turned from the herd, confronted the struggling prisoner, 
pushed him shoulder to shoulder, and head to head, and 
forced him backwards, whilst at every step Siribedch 
liauled in the slackened rope till she brouglit liim fairly 
up to the foot of the tree, where he was made fast by tlie 
cooroowe people. A second noose was then passed over 
the other hind-leg, and secured like tlie first, botli k\i>-s 
being afterwards hobbled together by ro])es madc^ from tlie 

A v 4 



[Part VIII. 

fibre of the kittool or jaggery palm, which, being nioi-e 
flexible than that of the coco-nut, occasions less formidable 

The two decoys then ranged themselves, as before, 
abreast of the prisoner on either side, thus enabhng Eang- 
hanie to stoop under them and noose the two fore-feet as 
he had akeady done the hind ; and these ropes being made 
fast to a tree in front, the capture was complete, and the 
tame elephants and keepers withdrew to repeat the opera- 
tion on another of the herd. As lono: as the tame ones 
stood beside him the poor animal remained comparatively 
cahn and almost passive under his sufferings, but the mo- 
ment they moved off, and he was left utterly alone, he 
made the most surprising efforts to set himself free and re- 

join his companions. lie felt the ropes with his trunk 
and tried to untie the numerous knots ; he di'ew back- 
wards to hberate his fore-legs, then leaned forward to extri- 
cate the hind ones, till every branch of the tall tree vibrated 
Avitli his struggles. He screamed in his anguish with his 
proboscis raised high in the air, then falling on his side he 
laid his head to tlie ground, first his cheek and then his 
brow, and pressed down his doubled-in trunk as tliough 
lie would force it into tlie earth ; tlien suddenlv risina; he 

Chap. V.] THE CAPTIVES. Sfil 

balanced himself on his forehead and his fore-Ws, holdinii; 
his hind-feet faudy off the ground. Tliis scene of distress 
continued some hom^s, with occasional pauses of ap- 
parent stupor, after wliich the struggle was from time 
to time renewed abruptly, and as if by some sudden im- 
pulse, but at last tlie vain strife subsided, and tlie poor 
animal stood perfectly motionless, the image of exliaustion 
and despair. 

MeauAvhile Eanghanie presented himself in front of the 
governor's stage to claim the accustomed largesse for tying 
the first elephant. He was rewarded by a shower of 
rupees, and retired to resume his perilous duties in the 

The rest of the lierd were now in a state of pitiable 
dejection, and pressed closely together as if under a sense 
of common misfortune. For the most part they stood at 
rest in a compact body, fretful and uneasy. At intervals 
one more impatient than the rest would move out a few 
steps to reconnoitre ; the others would folloAV at first 
slowly, then at a quicker pace, and at last the whole herd 
would rush off furiously to renew the often-baffled attempt 
to storm the stockade. 

There was a strange combination of the subhme and 
the ridiculous in these abortive onsets ; the appearance 
of prodigious power in their ponderous hmbs, coupled 
with the almost ludicrous shullie of their clumsy gait, 
and the fury of their apparently resistless charge, con- 
verted in an instant into timid retreat. They ruslied 
madly doAvn the enclosure, their backs arched, then- tails 
extended, their ears spread, and their trunks raised higli 
above their heads, trumpeting and uttering shrill screams, 
and when one step further would have dashed the oppos- 
ing fence into fragments, they stopped short on a few 
white rods being pointed at them through the ]^ahng ; 
and, on catching the derisive shouts of the crowd, they 
turned in utter discomfitm*e, and after an objectless cii'cle 
or two through the corral, they paced slowly back to 
tluMi- melancholy halting place in the shade. 



[Part VIH. 

The crowd, cliiefly comprised of young men and boys, 
exhibited astonisliing nerve and composure at such mo- 
ments, rushing up to the point towards Avhich the ele- 
phants charged, pointing their wands ^ at their trunks, and 
keeping up the continual cry of ichoop ! luhoop ! which 
invariably turned them to flight. 

The second victim singled out from the herd was 
secm:ed in the same manner as the first. It was a 
female. The tame ones forced themselves in on either 
side as before, cutting her off from her companions, whilst 
Eanghanie stooped under them and attached the fatal 
noose, and Siribeddi dragged her out amidst unavaihng 
struggles, when she was made fast by each leg to tlie 
nearest group of strong trees. Wlien the noose Avas 
placed upon her fore-foot, she seized it with her trunk, 
and succeeded in carrying it to her mouth, where she 
would speedily liave severed it had not a tame elephant 
interfered, and placing his foot on the rope pressed it 
downwards out of her jaws. The individuals who acted 
as leaders in the successive charges on the pahsades were 
always those selected by the noosers, and the operation 
of tying each, from the first approaches of the decoys, 
till tlie captive was left alone by the ti'ee, occupied 
on an average somewhat less than three quarters of an 

It is strange that in these encounters the A\dld elephants 
made no attempt to attack or dislodge the mahouts or 
the cooroowes, who rode on the tame ones. They moved 
in the veiy midst of the herd ; any one of whom could in 
a moment have pulled the riders from their seats, but no 
effort was made to molest them.^ 

' The fact of the elephant ex- 
hibiting timidit}', on havinpr a 
long rod pointed towards him, was 
known to the Konians ; and PLrxY, 
quoting from the annals of I'iso, 
relates, that in order to inculcate 
contempt for want of courage in the 
elephant, they were introduced into 
tlie circus during tlic triuuiph ol' 

Metellus, after the conquest of the 
Carthaginians in Sicily, and driven 
rouiKl the area hi/ workmen Jiahlin;/ 
bliinfed upearit, — " Ab operariis ha^ 
prrepilatas liabentibus, per circum 
totam actos." — Lib. viii. c. G. 

^ " In a corral, to be on a tame 
elephant, seems to insure perfect im- 
Huuiitv from (lie attacks of the wild 

Chap. V.] 



As one after another their leaders were entrapped and 
forced away from them, the remainder of tlie group 
evinced increased emotion and excitement ; but wliatever 
may have been their sympatliy for tiieir lost com[)anions, 
their alarm seemed to prevent them at first from fol- 
lowing them to the trees to which they had been tied. 
In passing them afterwards they sometimes stopped, 
mutuaUy entwined their trunks, lapped them round their 
hmbs and neck, and exhibited the most touching distress 
at their detention, but made no attempt to disturb the 
cords that bound them. 

The variety of disposition in tlie herd as evidenced 
by the difference of demeanour was very remarkable ; 

ones. I once saw the old chief Mol- 
legodde ride in amongst a henl of 
■wild (.'li^pliaiits, on a sniidl elephant ; 
so sniiill tliat tlie jVdigar's head was 
on a level with the back of the 

wild animals : I felt very nervous, 
but he rode riyht in among: them, 
and received not the sliglitest mo- 
lestation." — Letter ^rom Major 


some submitted with comparatively little resistance ; 
whilst others in their fury dashed themselves on the 
ground Avith a force sufficient to destroy any weaker 
animal. They vented theii^ rage upon every tree and 
plant witliin reach ; if small enough to be torn down, 
they levelled them with their trunks, and stripped them 
of then- leaves and branches, which they tossed wildly 
over their heads on all sides. Some in their struggles 
made no sound, whilst others bellowed and trumpeted 
fiu-iously, then uttered short convulsive screams, and at 
last, exhausted and hopeless, gave vent to their anguish 
in low and piteous moanings. Some, after a few \iolent 
efforts of this kind, lay motionless on the ground, with no 
other indication of suffering than the tears which suf- 
fused their eyes and flowed incessantly. Others in all 
the vigour of then" rage exhibited the most surprising 
contortions ; and to us who had been accustomed to 
associate with the umvieldy bidk of the elephant the idea 
that he must of necessity be stiff and inflexible, the atti- 
tudes into which they forced themselves were ahnost 
incredible. I saw one lie with the cheek pressed to the 
earth and the fore-legs stretched in front, whilst the body 
was tmsted round till the hind-legs extended at the 
opposite side. 

It was astonishing that their trunks was not wounded 
by the violence with which they flung them on aU sides. 
One twisted his proboscis into such fantastic shapes, that 
it resembled the writhings of a gigantic worm ; he coiled 
it and uncoiled it with restless rapichty, curhng it up hke 
a watch-spring, and suddenly unfolding it again to its full 
length. Another, which lay otherwise motionless in all 
the stupor of hopeless anguish, slowly beat the ground 
with the extremity of his trunk, as a man in despair beats 
his knee with his open palm. 

They displayed an amount of sensitiveness and de- 
hcacy of touch in the foot, wliich was very remarkable in 
a hmb of such clumsy dimensions and protected by so 
thick a covering. The noosers could always force them 

Chap. V.] THE CAPTIVES. 365 

to lift it from the ground by the gentlest touch of a leaf 
or twig, apparently applied so as to tickle ; but the ini- 
])Osition of the rope was instantaneously perceived, and if 
it could not be reached by the trunk the other foot w^as 
applied to feel its position, and if possible remove it before 
the noose could be drawn tight. 

One practice was incessant with almost the entire 
herd : in the interval of every struggle, they beat up 
the ground with their fore-feet, and taking up the dry 
earth in a coil of their trunks, they llimg it dexterously 
over every part of thek body. Even wdien lying down, 
the sand wdthin reach was thus collected and scattered 
over their hmbs : then inserting the extremity of their 
trunks in theu^ mouths, they withda^ew a quantity of 
water, which they discharged over theii' backs, repeating 
the operation again and again, till the dust was tho- 
roughly saturated. I was astonished at the quantity 
of water thus apphed, which was sufficient wdien the 
elephant, as was generally the case, had worked the 
spot where he lay into a hollow, to convert its surftice 
into a thin coating of mud. Seeing that the herd 
had been now twenty-four hours ^vithout access to water 
of any kind, surrounded by watch-fires, and exliausted 
by strugghng and terror, the supply of moisture he was 
capable of containing in the receptacle attached to his 
stomach must have been very considerable. 

The conduct of the tame elephants during all these 
proceedings was truly wonderful. They chsplayed the 
most perfect conception of every movement, both the 
object to be attained, and the means of accomphshing 
it. They evinced the utmost enjopnent in what was 
going on. There was no ill-humour, no mahgnity in 
the spirit displayed, in what was otherwise a heartless 
proceeding, but they set about it in a way that 
showed a thorough rehsh for it, as an agreeable pas- 
time. Their caution was as remarkable as their sa<ra- 
city ; there was no hurrying, no confusion, they never 
ran foul of the ropes, were never in the wav of those 


noosed ; and amidst the most violent struggles, when 
the tame ones had frequently to step across the cap- 
tives, they m no . instance trampled on them, or oc- 
casioned the shghtest accident or annoyance. So far 
from this, they saw intuitively a difficidty or a danger, 
and addressed themselves voluntarily to remove it. Li 
tying up one of the larger elephants he contrived, before 
he coidd be hauled close up to the tree, to walk once 
or twice round it, carrying the rope with liim ; the decoy, 
perceiving the advantage he had thus gained over the 
nooser, walked up of her own accord, and pushed him 
backwards "wdtli her head, till she made liim unwind 
himself again ; when the rope Avas hauled tight and 
made fast. More than once, when a A\ald one Avas 
extending his trunk, and would have intercepted the 
rope about to be placed over his leg, Suibeddi, by a 
sudden motion of her oAvn trunk, pushed his aside, 
and prevented him ; and on one occasion, when suc- 
cessive efforts had failed to put the noose over the leg 
of an elephant Avhich was already seciu-ed by one foot, 
but Avhich Avisely put the other to the ground as often 
as it was attempted to pass the noose under it, I saw 
the decoy watch her opportunity, and Avlien his foot was 
again raised, suddenly push in her own leg beneath 
it, and hold it up till the noose Avas attached and draAvn 

One could almost fancy there Avas a display of dry 
humour in the manner in Avhich the decoys thus played 
Avith the fears of the wild herd, and made hght of their 
efforts at resistance, Wlien reluctant they shoved 
them forward, AA'hen A-iolent they di'OA-e them back ; 
A\dien the Avild ones thrcAV themselves doAvn, the tame 
ones butted them A\atli head and shoidders, and forced 
them up again. And Avhen it Avas necessary to keep 
them doAvn, they knelt upon them, and prevented them 
fi'om rising, tiU the ropes Avere secured. 

At cA'ery moment of leisure they fanned themseh^es 
Avith a bunch of leaves, and the gracefid ease Avith 

Chap. V.] THE CAPTIVES. 367 

which an elephant uses liis trunk on such occasions is 
very striking. It is doubtless owing to the combina- 
tion of a circular with a horizontal movement in that 
flexible hmb ; but it is impossible to see an elephant 
fanning himself without being struck by the singular 
elegance of motion which it displays. They too in- 
dulged themselves in the luxury of dusting themselves 
with sand, by flinging it from their trunks ; but it was 
a curious instance of then' dehcate sagacity, that so 
long as the mahout was on their necks, they confined 
themselves to flinging it along theii' sides and stomach, 
as if aware, that to tliTow it over their heads and back 
would cause annoyance to their riders. 

One of the decoys which rendered good service, and 
was ob\'iously held in special awe by the wild herd, was 
a tusker belonging to Dehigame Eate-mahatmeya. It 
was not that he used his tusks for purposes of offence, 
but he was enabled to insinuate himself between two 
elephants by wedging them m where he could not force 
his head ; besides which, they assisted him to raise up 
the fallen and refractory with greater ease. In some 
instances where the intervention of the other deco3^s 
failed to reduce a wild one to order, the mere presence 
and approach of the tusker seemed to inspire fear, and 
insure submission, without more active intervention. 

I do not know whether it was the sm^prising quahties 
exhibited by the tame elephants that cast the courage 
and dexterity of the men into the shade, but even when 
supported by the presence, the sagacity, and co-operation 
of these wonderful creatures, the part sustained by the 
noosers can bear no comparison with the address and 
daring displayed by the iiicador and matador in a 
Spanish bull-fight. They certainly possessed great 
quickness of eye in watching the shghtest movement 
of an elephant, and great expertness in flinging the 
noose over its foot and attaching it firmly before the 
animal coidd tear it off" with its trunk ; but in all this 
they had the cover of the decoys to conceal tliem ; and 


their protection behind whicli to retreat. Apart from 
the services which from their prodigious strength the 
tame elephants are alone capable of rendering in drag- 
ging out and securing the captives, it is perfectly 
obvious that without their co-operation the utmost 
prowess and dexterity of the hunters would not avail 
them, to enter the corral unsupported, or to ensnare 
and lead out a single captive. 

Of the two tiny elephants which were entrapped, 
one was about ten months old, the other somewhat 
more. The smallest had a httle bolt head covered 
with woolly brown hair, and was the most amusing 
and interesting miniatui'e imaginable. Both kept con- 
stantly with the herd, trotting after them in every 
charge ; when the others stood at rest they ran in and 
out between the legs of the older ones ; not their own 
mothers alone, but every female in the group, caressing 
them in turn. 

The dam of the youngest was the second elephant 
singled out by the noosers, and as she was dragged 
along by the decoys, the httle creature kept by her side 
tiU she was drawn close to the fatal tree. The men at 
first were rather amused than otherwise by its anger ; 
but they found that it wx)uld not permit them to place 
the second noose upon its mother ; it ran between her 
and them, it tried to seize the rope, it pushed them 
and struck them with its httle trunk, till they were 
forced to drive it back to the herd. It retreated slowly, 
shouting all the way, and pausing at every step to look 
back. It then attached itself to the largest female 
remaining in the herd, and placed itself across her fore- 
legs, whilst she hung down her trunk over its side and 
soothed and caressed it. Here it contiiuied moanini? 
and lamenting, till the noosers had left oil securing the 
mother, when it instantly returned to her side ; but as 
it became troublesome again, attacldng every one who 
passed, it was at last secured by a rope to an adjoining 
tree, to which the other young one was also tied up. 
The second little one, equally with its playmate, exhi- 

Chap. V.] THE CAPTIVES. 360 

bited great aflection for its dam ; it went willingly 
with its captor as far as tlie tree to which she was 
fastened, when it stretched out its trunk and tried to rejoin 
her ; but finding itself forced along, it caught at every 
twig and branch it passed, and screamed with grief and 

These two httle creatures were the most vociferous 
of the whole herd, their shouts were incessant, they 
struggled to attack every one within reach ; and as 
their bodies were more lithe and pliant than those of 
greater growth, their contortions were quite wonderful. 
The most amusing thing was, that in the midst of all 
their agony and affliction, the httle fellows seized on 
every article of food that was thrown to them, and ate 
and roared simultaneously. 

Amongst the last of the elephants noosed was the 
rogue. Though far more savage than the others, he 
joined in none of their charges and assaults on the 
fences, as they uniformly drove him off and would not 
permit him to enter their circle. Wlien dragged past 
another of his companions in misfortune, who was lying 
exhausted on the ground, he flew upon him and at- 
tempted to fasten his teeth in his head ; this was the 
only instance of viciousness which occurred during the 
progress of the corral. When tied up and overpowered, 
he was at first noisy and violent, but soon lay down 
peacefully, a sign, according to the hunters, that his 
death was at hand. In this instance their prognostica- 
tion was correct. He continued for about twelve hours 
to cover himself with dust hke the others and to moisten 
it with water from his trunk, but at length he lay ex- 
hausted, and died so calmly, that having been moving 
but a few moments before, his death Avas only perceived 
by the myriads of black flies by which his body was 
almost instantly covered, although not one was \isible 
a moment before.^ The Eodiyas were called in to loose 

' The sui-prisiug faculty of viil- I a subject of much speculation, as to 
tures in discoveiing carrion, has been | whotlicr it be dependent on their 



[Part VIII. 

tlie ropes from tlie tree, and two tame elephants being 
harnessed to the dead body, it was dragged to a distance 
without the corraL 

When every wild elephant had been noosed and tied 
up, the scene presented was one truly oriental. From 
one to two thousand natives, many of them in gaudy 
dresses and armed with spears, crowded about the enclo- 
sures. Then- families had coUected to see the spectacle ; 
women, whose cliildren clung hke httle bronzed Cupids 
by their side ; and girls, many of them in the graceful 
costume of that part of the coinitry, a scarf, which, 
after having been brought round the waist, is thrown over 
the left shoulder, leaving the right arm and side free and 

At the foot of each tree was its captive elephant ; 

power of sight or of scent. It is not, 
however, more mysterious than the 
imening certainty and rapidity ■wdth 
whicli some of the minor animals, 
and more especially insects, in warm 
climates congregate around the ofl'al 
on which they feed. Circumstanced 
as they are, they must be guided 
towards their object mainly if not 
exclusively, by the sense of smell ; 
but that which excites astonishment 
is the small degree of odoiu" which 
seems to suffice for the pui-pose ; the 
subtlety and rapidity with which it 
tivaverses and impregnates the air ; and 
the keen and quick perception with 
which it is taken up by the organs of 
those creatm-es. The instance of the 
scavenger beetles has been already 
alluded to ; the promptitude with 
which they discern the existence of 
matter suited to their purposes, and 
the speed with which they hurry to it 
from all directions ; often from dis- 
tances as extraordinary, })roportion- 
ably, as those traAcrsed by the eye of 
the vulture. In the instance of the 
dying elephant referred to above, 
life was barely extinct when the flies, 
of which not one was visible but a 
moment before, arrived in clouds 
and Idackened the body by their 
nuiltitude ; scarcely an instant was 

allowed to elapse for the commence- 
ment of decomposition ; no odour of 
putrefaction could be discerned by 
us who stood close by ; yet some 
peculiai- smell of mortality, simul- 
taneously ^"ith parting breath, must 
have summoned them to the feast. 
Ants exhibit an instinct equally sm*- 
prising. I have sometimes covered 
up a particle of refined sugar with 
paper on the centre of a polished 
table ; and coimted the number of 
minutes which woidd elapse before it 
was fastened on by the small black 
ants of Ceylon, and a line formed to 
lower it safely to tlie floor. Here 
was a substance whicli, to our appre- 
hension at least, is altogether ino- 
dorous, and yet the quick sense of 
smell must have been the only 
conductor of the ants. It has been 
observed of those fishes which travel 
overland on the evaporation of the 
ponds in which they live, that they 
invariably march in the direction of 
the nearest water, and even when 
captured, and placed on the floor of 
a room, their efforts to escape are 
always made towards the same point. 
Is the sense of smell sufficient to 
account for this display of instinct in 
them ? or is it aideil by special organs 
in the case of the others ? 

Cii.vr. v.] THE CAPTIVES. 371 

some still struggling and writhing in feverish excite- 
ment, wliilst others, in exhaustion and despair, lay 
motionless, except that from time to time they heaped 
fresh dust upon their heads. The mellow notes of a 
Kandyan flute, which was played at a httle distance, 
had a striking effect upon one or more of them ; they 
turned their heads in the dfrection from which the 
music came, expanded their broad ears, and were evi- 
dently soothed with the plaintive sound. The two 
young ones alone still roared for freedom ; they stamped 
their feet, and blew clouds of dust over thefr shoulders, 
brandishing their httle trunks aloft, and attacking every 
one who came within their reach. 

At first the older ones, when secured, spurned every 
offer of food, trampled it under foot, and turned 
liaughtily away. A few, however, as they became more 
composed, could not resist the temptation of the juicy 
stems of the plantain, but rolhng them under foot, till 
they detached the layers, they raised them in their 
trunks, and commenced chewing them hstlessly. 

On the whole, whilst the sagacity, the composure, and 
docihty of the decoys were such as to excite lively 
astonishment, it was not possible to withhold the highest 
admiration from the calm and dioiiified demeanour of 
the captives. Their entire bearing was at variance with 
the representations made by some of the " sportsmen " 
who harass them, that they are treacherous, savage, 
and revengeful ; when tormented by the guns of their 
persecutors, they, no doubt, display their powers and 
sagacity in efforts to retaliate or escape ; but here their 
every movement was indicative of innocence and timidity. 
After a struggle, in which they evinced no disposition to 
violence or revenge, they submitted with the calmness of 
despair. Their attitudes were pitiable, their grief was 
most touching, and their low moaning went to the heart. 
It would not have been tolerable had they either been 
captured with unnecessaiy pain or reserved for ill treat- 
ment afterwards. 

B n 2 


It was now about two hours after noon, and the first 
elephants that had entered tlie corral having been 
disposed of, preparations were made to reopen the gate, 
and drive in the other two herds, over which the 
watchers were still keeping guard. Tlie area of the 
enclosure was cleared ; silence was again imposed on the 
crowds who surrounded the corral. The bars which 
secured the entrance were withdrawn, and every pre- 
caution repeated as before ; but as tlie space inside was 
now somewhat trodden down, especially near the en- 
trance, by the frequent charges of the last herd, and it 
was to be apprehended that the others might be earher 
alarmed and retrace their steps, before the barricades 
could be replaced, two tame ones were stationed inside 
to protect the men to whom that duty was assigned. 

All prehminaries being at length completed, the 
signal was given ; the beaters on the side most distant 
fi'om the corral closed in with tom-toms and discor- 
dant noises ; a hedge-fire of musketry was kept up in 
the rear of the terrified elef)hants ; thousands of voices 
urged them forward ; we heard the jungle crashing as 
they came on, and at last they advanced througli an 
opening amongst the trees, bearing down all before 
them like a cliarge of locomotives. They were led 
by a huge female, nearly nine feet high, after whom 
dashed one ]mlf precipitately through the narrow en- 
trance, but the rest turning suddenly towards the left, 
succeeded in forcing the cordon of guards and made 
good their escape to the forest. 

No sooner had the others passed tlie gate, than tlie 
two tame elephants stepped forward from either side, 
and before the herd could return from the further end 
of the enclosure, the bars were drawn, the entrance 
closed, and the men in charge glided outside the 

The elephants which had previously been made pri- 
soners within exhibited intense excitement as the fresh 
dm arose around them ; they started to their feet, and 

Chap. V.] THE CAPTIVES, 878 

stretclied their trunks in tlie direction whence they 
winded the scent of the flying herd ; and as the latter 
rushed headlong past, they renewed their struggles to get 
free and follow. 

It is not possible to imagine anything more exciting 
than the spectacle which the wild ones presented career- 
ing round the corral, uttering piercing screams, their 
heads erect and trunks aloft, the very emblems of rage 
and perplexity, of power and helplessness. 

Along with those which entered at the second drive 
was one that evidently belonged to another herd, and had 
been separated from them in the melee when the latter 
effected then' escape, and, as usual, his new companions in 
misfortune drove him off indignantly as often as he at- 
tempted to approach them. 

The demeanour of those taken in the second drive dif- 
fered materially from that of the preceding captives, who, 
having entered the corral in darkness, and fmding them- 
selves girt with fire and smoke, and beset by hideous 
sounds and sights on every side, were more speedily 
reduced by fear to stupor and submission — whereas 
the second herd not only passed into the enclosure by 
dayhght, but its area being trodden down in many 
places, they could discover the fences more clearlj", and 
were consequently more alarmed and enraged at their 
detention. They were thus as restless as the others had 
been comparatively calm, and so much more vigorous in 
their assaults that, on one occasion in particular, their 
courageous leader, undaunted by the multitude of white 
wands thrust towards her, was only dii\eii back from 
the stockade by a hunter hurhng a blazing flambeau 
at her head. Her attitude as she stood repulsed, but 
still irresolute, was a study for a painter. Her eye 
dilated, her ears expanded, her back arched hke a 
tiger, and her fore-foot in air, whilst she uttered those 
hideous screams which are imperfectly described by the 
term " trumpeting.'''' 

Although repeatedly passing by the unfortunate's from 

B u 3 


the former drove, the new herd seemed to take no 
friendly notice of them ; they hahed inquuingly for a 
minute, and then resumed then- career round the corral, 
and once or twice in theu* headlong flight they rushed 
madly over the bodies of the prostrate captives as they 
lay in their misery on the ground. 

It was evening before the new captives grew wearied 
with furious and repeated charges, and stood still in the 
centre of the corral coUected into one terrified and 
motionless group. The fires were then rehghted, the 
guard redoubled by the addition of the Avatchers, who 
were now reheved from duty m the forest, and the 
spectators retu'ed for the night. 

The business of the third day began by noosing and 
tying up the new captives, and the first sought out 
was their magnificent leader. Siribeclch, and the tame 
tusker having forced themselves on either side of her, 
a boy in the service of the Eate-Mahat-meya succeeded 
in attaching the rope to her hind foot. Siribeddi 
moved off, but feehng her strength insufiicient to di'ag 
the reluctant prize, she went down on her fore-knees, 
so as to add the full weight of her body to the pull. 
The tusker, seeing her difficulty, placed himself in front 
of the prisoner, and forced her backwards, step by 
step, till his companion brought her fafrly up to the 
tree, and wound tlie rope round the stem. Though 
overpowered by fear, she showed the fullest sense of 
the nature of the danger she had to apprehend. She 
kept her head turned towards the noosers, and tried 
to step in advance of the decoys, and in spite of 
all their efforts, she tore off the first noose from her 
fore-leg, and placing it under her foot, snapped it into 
fathom lengths. When finally seciu'cd, her writhings 
were extraordinary. She doubled in her head under 
her chest, till she lay as round as a hedge-liog, and 
rising again, stood on her fore-feet, and hfting her hind- 
feet off the groinid, she wrung them from side to side, till 
the great tree abow her quivered in every branch. 

Cii.vr. v.] 



Before proceeding to catch tlie others, we requested 
tliat the smaller trees and jungle, which partially ob- 
structed our view, might be broken away, being no 
longer essential to screen the entrance to the corral : five 
of the tame elephants were brought up for the pui-pose. 
They felt the strength of each tree with their trunks, 
then swajang it backwards and forwards, by pushing it 
with their foreheads, they watched the opportunity 
when it was in full motion to raise their fore-feet against 
the stem, and bear it down to the ground. Then tearing 
off the festoons of chmbing plants, and tramphng down 
the smaller branches and brushwood, they pitched them 
with their tusks, and piled them into heaps along the side 
of the fence. 

Amongst the last that was secured was the sohtary 
indi\'idual belonging to the fugitive herd. When they 
attempted to drag him backwards from the tree near 
which he was noosed, he laid hold of it with his trunk 
and lay down on his side immoveable. The temple 

tusker and another were ordered up to assist, and it 
required the combined efforts of the three elephants to 

n It 4 

376 THE ELEPHANT. [Part Vnt 

force him along. Wlieii dragged to tlie place at which 
he was to be tied up, he coiitiuiied the contest ^\iih 
desperation, and to prevent the second noose being placed 
on his foot, he sat down on his haunches, almost in the 
attitude of the "Florentine Boar," keeping his hind- 
feet beneath him, and defending his fore-feet with liis 
trunk, with which he flung back the rope as often as it 
was attempted to attach it. When oveipowered and 
made fast, his grief was most affecting ; his \'iolence sunk 
to utter prostration, and he lay on the ground, uttering 
choking cries, with tears trickhng down liis cheeks. 

The final operation Avas that of slackening the ropes 
and marching each captive down to the river between 
two tame ones. This was effected very simply. A 
decoy, with a strong coUar round his neck, stood on 
either side of the wild one, on which a similar collar 
was formed, by successive coils of coco-nut rope ; and 
then, by connecting the three collars together, the pri- 
soner was effectually made safe between his two guards. 
During this operation, it was ciuious to see how the 
tame elephant, from time to time, used its trunk to 
sliield the arm of its rider, and ward off the trunk of 
the prisoner, who resisted the placing the rope round 
his own neck. This being done, the nooses were removed 
from his feet, and he was marched off to the river, in 
wliich he was allowed to bathe ; a pri\alege of wliich all 
eagerly availed themselves. Each was then made fast to 
a tree in the forest, and keepers being assigned to him, 
with a retinue of leaf-cutters, he was plentifidly supphed 
with his favourite food, and left to the care and tuition of 
liis new masters. 

Eetm-ning from a spectacle such as I have attempted 
to describe, one cannot help feehng how immeasurably it 
exceeds in interest those royal battues where timid deer 
are driven in crowds to unresisting slaughter ; or those 
vaunted "wild sports" the amusement of which appears 
to be in proportion to the effusion of blood. Here the 
only display of cruelty was the imposition of restraint ; 
and though considerable mortality often occurs amonirst 

Chap. V.] THE CAPTIVES. 377 

the animals caught, the infliction of pain, so far from 
being an incident of the operation, was most cautiously 
avoided from its tendency to enrage, the poUcy of the 
captor being to concihate and soothe. The whole scene 
exhibits the most marvellous example of the voluntaiy 
alhance of sagacity and instinct in active co-operation 
with human inteUigence and courage ; and nothing in 
nature, not even the chase of the whale, can afford so 
vivid an illustration of the sovereignty of man over brute 
creation even when confronted with force in its most stu- 
pendous embodiment. 

Of the two young elephants which were taken in the 
corral, the least was sent down to my house at Colombo, 
Avhere he became a general favourite with the servants. 
He attached himself especially to the coachman, who had 
a httle shed erected for him near his own quarters at 
the stables. But his favourite resort was the Idtchen, 
where he received his daily allowance of milk and 
plantains and picked up several other dehcacies besides. 
He was innocent and playful in the extreme, and when 
walking in the grounds would trot up to me and twine 
his httle trunk round my arm and coax me to take him 
to the fruit trees. In the evening, the grass-cutters now 
and then indulged him by permitting him to carry home 
a load of fodder for the horses, on which occasions he 
assumed an air of gravity that was highly amusmg, 
showing that he was deeply impressed "wdth the import- 
ance of the service intrusted to him. Being sometimes 
permitted to enter the dining-room, and helped to fruit 
at dessert, he at last learned his way to the side-board ; 
and on more than one occasion having stolen in in the 
absence of the servants, he made a clear sweep of the 
wine-glasses and china in his endeavoiu*s to reach a 
basket of oranges. For these and similar pranks Ave were 
at last forced to put him away. He was sent to the 
Government stud, where he was affectionately received 
and adopted by Siribeddi, and he now takes his tui-n of 
public duty in the department of the Commissioner of 



rp.vRT yiii. 



The idea prevailed in ancient times, and obtains even at 
tlie present day, that the Indian elephant snrpasses that 
of Africa in sagacity and tractabihty, and consequently in 
capacity for training, so as to render its services available 
to man. There does not appear to me to be sufficient 
ground for this conclusion. 

It originated, in aU probabihty, in the first impression 
created by the accounts of the elephant brought back 
by the Greeks after the Indian expedition of Alexander, 
and above aU, by the descriptions of Aristotle, whose 
knowledge of the animal was derived exclusively fi'om 
the East. A long interval elapsed before the elephant 
of Africa, and its capabihties, became known in Em^ope. 
The first elephants brought to Greece by Antipater, were 
from India, as were also those introduced by Pyrrhus 
into Italy. Taught by this example, the Carthaginians 
undertook to employ Afiican elephants in war. Jugmtha 
led them against Metellus, and Juba against Caesar ; but 
from inexperienced and deficient training, they proved 
less effective than the elephants of India \ and the liis- 

^ AuMANDi, Hist. MiHt. cles Ele- 
2)hants, liv. i. ch. i. p. 2. It is 
an extraordinan' fact, noticed by 
Abmandi, that the elephants figured 
on the coins of Alexander, and the 
Seleucidae invariably exhibit the 
characteristics of the Indian type, 
whilst those on Ilonian medals can 
at once be pronounced African, from 
the peculiarities of the convex fore- 

head and expansive ears. — lliid. liv. 
i. c. i. p. 3. 

Chaf. yi.] 



torians of these times ascribed to inferiority of race, that 
which was but the result of insufficient education. 

It must, however, be remembered that the elephants 
which, at a later period, astonished the Eomans by their 
sagacity, and whose performances in the amphitheatre 
have been described by JEhan and Phny, were brought 
from Africa, and acquired their accomplishments from 
Eiu-opean instructors ^ ; a sufficient proof that under equally 
favourable auspices they are capable of developing similar 
docihty and powers with those of India. 

But it is one of the facts from wliich the inferiority 
of the Negro race has been inferred, that they alone, 
of all the nations amongst whom the elephant is found, 
have never manifested ability to domesticate it, and even 
as regards the more highly developed races who in- 
habited the vaUey of the Nile, it is observable that the 
elephant is nowhere to be found amongst the animals 
figured on the monuments of ancient Eg}q:)t, whilst they 
represent the cameleopard, the lion, and even the hippo- 
potamus. And although in later times the knowledge 
of the art of training appears to have existed under the 
Ptolemies, and on the southern shore of the Mediterra- 
nean ; it admits of no doubt that it was communicated 
by the more accomphshed natives of India who had 
settled there.^ 

Another favourite doctrine of the earher visitors to 
the East seems to me to be equally fallacious ; Pyrard, 
Berxier, Phillipe, Tiievexot, and other travellers in 
the sixteenth and seventeenth centmies, proclaimed the 

* tElian, lib. ii. ch. ii. 

* See Schlegel's Essay on the 
Elephant and the Sphjiix, Classical 
Journal, No. Ix. Although the 
trained elephant nowhere appe.ars 
upon the monuments of the Egj-p- 
tians, the animal wa.s not unknown 
to them, and ivory find elephants are 
figured on the walls of Thebes and 
Karnae amongst the spoils of Thotli- 
mes III., iiud the tribute paid to 

Eameses I. The Island of Ele- 
phantine, in the Nile, near .iVssouan 
(Syene) is styled in hierogl^iihic-al 
wi-iting " The Land of the Elephant ;" 
but as it is a mere rock, it probably 
owes its designation to its form. See 
Sir Gardner Wilkinson's Anc'ont 
E()}iptians, vol. i. pi. iv. ; vol. v. p. 170. 
The elephant as iigiired in the sculp- 
tures of Nineveh is uui\ersally as 
wild, not domesticated. 



[Part VIII. 

superiority of tlie elephant of Ceylon, in size, strength, 
and sagacity, above those of all other parts of India ^ ; 
and Taverxier in particular is supposed to have stated 
that if a Ceylon elephant be introduced amongst those 
bred in any other place, by an instinct of nature they 
do him homage by laying their trunks to the ground, 
and raising them reverentially. This passage has been so 
repeatedly quoted in Avorks on Ceylon that it has passed 
into an aphorism, and is always adduced as a testimony to 
the surpassing intelhgence of the elephants of that island ; 
althousfh a reference to the orierinal shows that Tavernier's 
observations are not only fanciful in themselves, but are 
restricted to the supposed excellence of the Ceylon animal 
in war'^; but the behef is pretty general that in other de- 
partments he is equally pre-eminent. I have had no op- 
portunity of testing by personal observation the justice of 
this assumption ; but from all that I have heard of the 
elephants of continental India, and seen of those of Cey- 
lon, I have reason to conclude that the difference, if not 

^ This is merely a reiteration of 
tlie statement of ^Elian, who as- 
cribes to the elephants of Taprobane 
a vast superiority in size, strength, 
and intelligence, above tliose of con- 
tinental India, — " Kai ol£e ye vrjatu/Tai 
tXecfui'reg tujv i)irtifno-iijv aXKi/iwrepoi 
re T7]v pojfirii' Kai [itiZ,nvi; iSelv eial Kcii 
^vfioaoiiOiTfpoi ce "KavTa ttcivtij Kpivoi}- 
To ch'.'^ — ^Elian, De jV(it.Amm.,\ih. 
xvi. cap. xviii. 

^LiAN also, in the same chapter, 
states the fact of the shipment of 
these elephants in large boats from 
Ceylon to the opposite continent of 
India, for sale to the king of Calingaj 
so that the export from Manaar, 
described in a fonner passage, has 
been going on apparently without 
interruption since the time of the 

- The expression of Taveknier is 
to the effect that as compared "vsnth 
all others, the elepliants of Ceylon 
are "plus cour.ageux it la yuerrey 
The passage is a curiosity : — 

" II faut remarquer ici une chose 
qu'ou am-a peut-etre de la peine a 
croire, mais qui est toutefois tres ve- 
ritable : c'est que lorsque quelque roi 
ou quelque seigneur a quelqu'mi de 
ces elephants de Ceyhan, et qu'on en 
ameue quelqu'autre des lieux ou les 
marchands vont les prendre, comme 
d'Achen, de Siam, d'Arakan,de Pegu, 
du royaume de ]3outan, d' Assam, des 
terres de Cochin et de la coste du 
Meliude, des que les elephants en 
voient mi de Ceylan, par un instinct 
de nature, ils lui font la reverence, 
portant le bout de leur tronipe a la 
terre et la relevant, II est vrai que 
les elepliants que les gi-ands seigneurs 
entretiennent, quand on les amene 
devant eux, pour voir s'ils sont en 
bon point, font trois fois une espece 
de r(5verence avec lour trompe, ce 
que fed vu souvcnt; mais ils sont 
styles {\ cela, et leurs maitres le leur 
enseignent de bonne hem-e." — Les 
Hix Voyaqcs de J. B. Taveknier, lib. 
iii. ch, "20. 

Chap. VI.] 



imaginary, is exceptional, and must have arisen in parti- 
cular and individual instances, from more judicious or ela- 
borate instruction. 

The earliest knowledge of the elephant in Europe and 
the West, was derived from the conspicuous position' 
assigned to it in the wars of the East : in India, from 
the remotest antiquity, it formed one of the most pic- 
turesque, if not the most effective, features in the 
armies of the native princes.^ It is more than proljable 
that the earhest attempts to take and train the ele- 
phant, were with a view to military uses, and that the 

^ Armandi. has, with infinite in- 
dustry, collected froni original sources 
a mass of ciuious informations rela- 
tive to the employment of elephants 
in ancient warfare, which he has 
published under the title of Ilistoire 
Milvtaire des Elcplumts clepuis les 
temps les pilus recuUs jusqiCu Vintro- 
duction des amies a feu. Paris. 184.3. 

The only mention of the elephant 
in Sacred Ilistoiy is in the account 
given in Maccabees of the invasion 
of Efiypt by Antiochus, who entered 
it 170 B.C., " with chariots and ele- 
phants, and horsemen, and a g:i-eat 
navy." — 1 Maccab. i. 17. Frequent 
allusions to the use of elephants in 
war occur in both books, and in 
chap. vi. .34, it is stated that "to 
provoke the elephants to fight they 
showed them the blood of gi-ape's 
and of mulberries." The term 
showed, " tt^H^ffj'," mig-ht be thought 
to imply tiiat the animals were 
enraged by the sight of the wine 
and its colour, but in the third 
Book of Maccabees, in the Greek 
Septuagint, various other passages 
show that wine, on such occa- 
sions, was administered to the 
elephants to render them furi- 
ous. Maccab. v. 2, 10, 4."5. Piiile 
mentions the same fact,2>e Elcphante, 
1. 145. 

There is a veiy curious account of 
the mode in which the Arab con- 
querors of Scinde, in the Htli and 
10th centuries, equipped llie elephant 

for war ; which being written with all 
the particularity of an eye-witness, 
bears the impress of truth and accu- 
racy. MASSorDi, who was bom in 
Bagdad at the close of the 9th cen- 
tuT}-, travelled in India in the year 
A.D. 913, and visited the Gulf of 
Cambay, the coast of Malabar, and 
the Island of Ceylon, and from a 
larger accoimt of his journeys he 
compiled a summary mider the title 
of " 3IoroiidJ-(d-dzeheb,^^ or the 
" Golden Meadows,'''' the MS. of 
which is now in the Bibliotheque 
Nationale. M. Reixatjd, in de- 
scribing this manuscript says, on its 
authority, *' The Prince of jNIansura, 
whose dominions lay south of the 
Indus, maintained eiglity elephants 
trained for war, each of wliicli bore 
in his trunk a bent cymeter (carthel ), 
witli which lie was taught to cut and 
thrust at all confronting him. The 
trunk itself was effectually protected 
by a coat of mail, and the rest of the 
body enveloped in a covering com- 
posed jointly of iron and horn. 
Other elephants were employed in 
drawing chariots, can-ying baggage, 
and grinding forage, mid the per- 
formance of all bespoke the utmost 
intelligence and docility." — Rei- 
'S\\:vi,Mem()ire sur Vlnde, anterieare- 
ment au Diiliex dif XI" siecle, (Fapres 
les ecrivuitis arahes, persa/is et ehinois. 
Paris, M.D.ccc.XLix. p. 2\o. See 
Sprenger's English Translation of 
Massoudi, vol. i. p. 383. 



[Part VIII. 

art was perpetuated in later times to gratify tlie pride of 
the eastern kings, and sustain the pomp of their proces- 
sions. An impression prevails even to the present day, 
that the process of training is tedious and difficult, and the 
reduction of a full-grown elephant to obedience, slow and 
reluctant in the extreme.^ In both particulars, however, 
the contrary is the truth. The training as it prevails in 
Ceylon is simple, and the conformity and obedience of the 
animal are developed with singular rapidity. For the first 
three days, or till they Avill eat freely, which they seldom 
do in less time than this, the newly-captured elephants are 
allowed to stand quiet, or, if practicable, a tame elephant 
is tied near to give the wild ones confidence. Where many 
elephants are being trained at once, it is customary to put 
every new captive between the stalls of half-tamed ones, 
when the former soon takes to its food. This stage being 
attained, training commences by placing tame elephants 
on either side. The cooroowe \idahn, or other head of 
the stables, stands in front of the wild elephants hold- 
ing a long stick mth a sharp iron point. Two men 
are then stationed on either side, assisted bj^ the tame ele- 
phants, and each holding a hendoo or crook^ towards the 
wild one's trunk, whilst one or two others rub their hands 
over his back, keeping up all the while a soothing and 

' Beodeeip, Zoolof/ical Hecrca- 
tions, p. 2()G. 

^ The iron goad witli -whicli the 
keeper directs the movements of the 
elephants, called a hendoo in Ceylon 
and hmokus in Bengal, appears to 
have retained the present shape from 

the remotest antiquity, and is figured 
in the medals of Caracalla in the 
identical form in wliich it is in use 
at the present day in India. 

The Greeks called it "Vjtt?/, and the 
Romans cusjiis. 



Modern Hendoo. 

Medal of Numidia. 


plaintive chaunt, interlarded witli endearing epithets, such 
as " ho ! my son," or " ho ! my father," or " my mother," 
as may be appUcable to the age and sex of tlie captive. 
The elephant is at first furious, and strikes in all directions 
with his trunk ; but the men in front receive all these 
blows on the points of their weapons, until the extremity 
of the trunk is so sore that the animal curls it up close, and 
seldom after attempts to use it. The fii'st dread of man's 
power being thus established, the process of taking him 
to bathe between two tame elephants is greatly facihtated, 
and by lengthening the neck tie, and drawing the feet 
together as close as possible, the process of lapng him 
down in the water is finally accomphshed by the keepers 
pressing the sharp point of their hendoos upon the back- 

For many days the roaring and resistance which 
attend the operation are considerable, and it often re- 
quires the sagacious interference of the tame elephants 
to control the refractory wild ones. It soon, however, 
becomes practicable to leave the latter alone, only taking 
them to and from the staU by the aid of a decoy. 
This step lasts, under ordinary treatment, for about 
three weeks, when an elephant may be taken alone with 
his legs hobbled, and a man walking backwards in front 
witli the point of the hendoo always presented to the 
elephant's head, and a keeper with an iron crook at 
each ear. On getting into the water the fear of being 
pricked on his tender back induces him to lie down 
directly on the crook being only lield over him in terrorem. 
Once this point lias been achieved, the further process 
of taming is dependent upon the disposition of the 

The greatest care is requisite, and daily medicines are 
applied to heal the fearful wounds on the legs wliich even 
the softest ropes occasion. This is the great difficulty of 
training ; for the Avounds fester grievously, and many, 
months and sometimes years will elapse before an elephant 


will allow his feet to be touched without indications of 
alarm and anger. 

The observation has been frequently made that the 
most vicious and troublesome elephants to tame, and 
the most worthless when tamed, are those distin- 
guished by a thin trunk and flabby pendulous ears. The 
period of tuition does not appear to be influenced by the 
size or strength of the animals : some of the smallest 
give the greatest amount of troul)le ; whereas, in the 
instance of the two largest that have been taken in 
Ceylon within the last thirty years, both were docile 
in a remarkable degree. One in particular, which was 
caught and trained by Mr. Cripps, when Government 
agent, in the Seven Corles, fed from the hand the first 
night it was secured, and in a very few days evinced 
pleasure on being patted on the hoad.^ There is 
none so obstinate, not even a rogue, that may not, 
when kindly and patiently treated, be conciliated and 

The males are generally more unmanageable than the 
females, and in both an inclination to lie down to rest 
is regarded as a favourable symptom of approach- 
ing tractabihty, some of the most resolute having 
been known to stand for months together, even during 
sleep. Those which are the most obstinate and violent 
at first are the soonest and most effectually subdued, 
and generally prove permanently docile anil submis- 
sive. But those which are sullen or morose, although 

^ Tliis was the largest elcpliant 
that has been tamed in Ceyh)u; he 
measured upwards of nine feet at the 
shoulders and belonged to the caste 
so highly prized by the temples. 
Though gentle after his first capture, 
his removal from the corral to tlie 
stables, tliougli oidy a distance of six 
miles, was a matter of the extremest 

the attendant decoys. lie, on one 
occasion, escaped, and was recaptured 
in the forest ; and lie afterwartls be- 
came so docile as to perfonn a variety 
of triclvs. lie was at l(>ngth ordered 
to be removed to Colombo ; but such 
was his terror on approaching the 
fort, tliat on coaxing him to enter 
the gate, he became paralyzed in the 

dithculty; liis extraordinary strength ! extraordinary way elsewhere alluded 
rendering him more than a match for I to, and died on the spot 

Chap. Vi.] 



they may provoke no cliastisement by tlieir viciousness 
are always slower iu being tamed, and are rarely to be 
trusted in after life.^ 

But whatever may be its natural gentleness and 
docihty, the temper of an elephant is seldom to be 
imphcitly rehed on in a state of captivity and coercion. 
The most amenable are subject to occasional fits ot 
stubbornness; and even after years of submission, irri- 
tabihty and resentment will unaccountably manifest 
themselves. It may be that the restraints and severer 
discipline of training have not been entirely forgotten ; 
or that incidents which in ordinary health would be 
productive of no demonstration whatever, may lead, in 
moments of temporary illness, to fretfulness and anger. 
The knowledge of tliis infirmity led to the popidar 
behef recorded by Phile, that the elephant had two 
hearts^ under the respective influences of which he 
evinced ferocity or gentleness ; subdued by the one to 
habitual tractabihty and obedience, but occasionally 

* The natives profess tliat the high 
caste elephants, such as are allotted 
to the temples, are of all others the 
most difficult to tame, and M. Bles, 
the Dutch correspondent of Buffox, 
mentions a caste of elephants which 
he had heard of, as being pecidiar to 
the Kandyan kingdom, that were not 
higher than a ]ieifer(gt'nisse), covered 
Avith hair, and insusceptible of being 
tamed. (Buffon, ISupp., vol. vi. p. 
2i).) Bishop IIeber, in the account 
of his journey from Bareilly towards 
tlie Himalayas, describes the Baja 
Gom-man Sing, " mounted on a little 
female elephant, hardly bigger than 
a Durham ox, and almost as shaggy 
as a poodle." — Joiirn. ch. xvii. It 
will be remembered that the elephant 
discovered in 1803 embedded in icy 
soil in Siberia, was covered with a 
coat of long hair, with a sort of wool 
at the roots ; and there arose the 
question whether that nortlicrn region 
had been ftirmerly inhabited by a race 


of elephants, so fortified by nature 
against cold ; or whether the in- 
dividual discovered had been bonie 
thither by currents from some more 
temperate latitudes. To the latter 
theory the presence of hair seemed a 
fixtal objection ; but so far as my o^wn 
observation goes, I believe the ele- 
phants are more or less proA^ided -vniXi 
hair. In some it is more developed 
than in others, and it is particidarly 
observable in the young, whicli wlicn 
captured are frequently covered with 
a woolly ileece, especially about the 
head and shoulders. In the older 
individuals in Ceylon, this is less 
apparent : and in captivity the hair 
appears to be altogether removed by 
the custom of the mahouts to rulj 
their sldn daily witli oil and a rough 
lump of burned clay. See a paper 
on the subject, Asiat. Jottrn. N. S. 
vol. xiv. p. 182, by Mi-. G. Fair- 



[Part VIIT. 

roused by the other to resume his former rage and 

As a general rule, the presence of the tame ones may 
be dispensed with after two months, and the captive may 
then be ridden by the driver alone ; and after three or 
four months lie may be entrusted with hibour, so far as 
regards docihty, but it is undesirable, and even involves the 
risk of hfe, to work the elepliant too soon ; as it has 
frequently happened that a valuable animal has lain down 
and died the first time it was tried in liarness, from wliat 
the natives beheve to be " broken heart," — certainly 
without any cause inferable from injury or pre\ious dis- 
ease.^ It is observable, that till a captured elepliant 
begins to rehsh his food, and grow fat upon it, he be- 
comes so fretted by work, that hi an incredibly short 
space of time it kiUs him. 

The first emplopiient to which an elephant is put is 
treading clay in a brick-field, or drawing a waggon in 
double harness with a tame companion. But the work 
in which the display of sagacity renders his labours of the 
highest value, is that which involves the use of heavy 
materials ; and hence in dragging and pihng timber, or 
moving stones ^ for the construction of retaining walls and 

^ " Ai;T/\(jt' ^f (paatv finroprJTai Kap^tac' 
Kai rrj fitv ilrai Gv^hkov to Orjpiov 
EiQ aKpaT)] K'n'r](nv rjpi^ia^iii'ov, 
Trj le irpomji'ic; /era BpcKTvrtjTOf; ^sj'oi'. 
Kai rfi i^tv avTiZv c'lKpociaOai tojv X()yojj' 
ODt' fiv TtQ 'Ip^oq li' TiBatyiinov \eyot, 


E(t; TUQ TToKaint; tKTpmrtv icaKoiiftyinr. 
Philt), E.rpositio de Elvphante, 
1. 126, &c. 
^ Captain Yule, in liis Narrative 
of his Emhasf!)/ to Ava in 1855, re- 
cords an illustration of this tendency 
of the elephant to sudden death ; one 
newly captured, the process of taming- 
which was exhibited to the British 
Envoy, " made vigorous resistance to 
the placing of a collar on its neck, 
and the people were proceeding to 
tighten it, when the elephant, which 
had lain down as if quite exhausted, 

reared suddenly on the hind quar- 
ters, and fell on its side — dead ! " — P. 

INIr. Strachan noticed the same 
liability of the elephants to sudden 
death from very slight causes ; " of 
the fall," he says, " at any time, 
though on plain ground, they either 
die immediately, or languish till they 
die ; their gi-eat weight occasioning 
them so much hurt by the fall." — 
Phil. Trans, a.d. 1701, vol. xxiii. p. 

* A coiTespondent infonns me that 
on tlie Malabar coast of India, the 
elephant, when employed in dragging 
stones, moves them Ijy meaiis of a 
rope, which he either draws witli his 
forehead, or manages by seizing it 
with his teeth. 


the approaches to bridges, his ser\dces in an unopened 
country are of the utmost importance. When roads are 
to be constructed along the face of steep dechvities, and 
the space is so contracted that risk is incurred either of 
the elephant faUing over the precipice or of rocks shpping 
dow^n from above, not only are the measures wliich he re- 
sorts to the most judicious and reasonable that could 
be devised, but if urged by his keeper to adopt any 
other, he manifests a reluctance which shows that he 
has balanced in his own mind the comparative ad- 
vantages of each. He appears on all occasions to com- 
prehend the purpose and object which he is expected to 
promote, and hence he voluntarily executes a variety 
of details without any guidance whatsoever from his 
keeper. This is one characteristic in which the elephant 
manifests a superiority over the horse ; although in 
strength in proportion to his weight he does not equal 
the latter. 

His minute motions when engrossed by such opera- 
tions, the activity of his eye, and the earnestness of his 
attitudes can only be comprehended by being seen. In 
moving timber and masses of rock the trunk is the 
instrument with which he mainly goes to work, but 
those which have tusks turn them to account ; to get 
a weighty stone out of a hollow he kneels down so as 
to apply the pressure of his head to move it upwards, 
then steadying it with one foot till he can raise himself, 
lie apphes a fold of his trunk to shift it to its place, and 
adjust it accurately in position : this done, he steps round 
to view it on either side, and readjust it with due pre- 
cision. He appears to gauge liis task by his eye, to 
form a judgment whether the weight be proportionate to 
his strength. If doubtful of his own power, he hesitates 
and halts, and if urged against his will, he roars and 
shows temper. 

In clearing an opening through forest land, the power 
of the African elephant, and the strength ascribed to 
liim by a recent traveller, as displayed in u[)rooting 

c c 2 



[Part VIIT. 

trees, has never been equalled or approached by any- 
thing I have seen of the elephant in Ceylon ' or heard 
of them in India. Of course much must depend on 
the natm^e of the timber and the moisture of the soil ; 
a strong tree on the verge of a swamp may be over- 
thrown with greater ease than a small and low one in 
parched and sohd ground. I have seen no "tree" de- 
serving the name, nothing but jungle and brushwood, 
thrown down by the mere movement of an elephant 
without some special exertion of force. But he is by 
no means fond of gratuitously tasldng liis strength ; 
and his food being so abundant that he obtains it "s\dth- 
out an effort, it is not altogether apparent, even were 
he able to do so, why he should assail " the largest trees 
in the forest," and encumber his own haunts with their 
broken stems ; especially as there is scarcely anytliing 
which an elephant more dishkes than to venture amongst 
fallen timber. 

A tree of twelve inches in diameter resisted success- 
fidly the most strenuous struggles of the largest ele- 
phant I saw led to it in a corral ; and when directed by 

^ '^ Here tlie trees were large and 
handsome, but not strong enough to 
resist the inconceivable strength of 
the mightj' monarch of these forests ; 
almost every tree had half its bran- 
ches broken short by them, and at 
every himdred yards I came upon 
entire trees, and these, the largest in 
the forest, uprooted clean out of the 
gi'oimd, and broken short across their 
sterns.''^ — A Hunter'' s Life in South 
Africa. By R. Goedon Cumiitxg, 
Tol. ii. p. 305. — " Spreading out from 
one another, they smash and destroy 
all the finast trees in the forest which 
happen to be in their course. . . . 
I have rode through forests where 
the ti'ees thus broken lay so thick 
across one another, that it was almost 
impossible to ride through the dis- 
trict."— 26/f/. p. .310. 

Mr. Gordon Cumming does not 
name the trees whicli he saw thus 
''uprooted" and "broken across," nor 

has he given any idea of their size 
and weight; but Major DENHAM,who 
observed like traces of the elephant 
in Africa, saw only small trees over- 
thro-^-n by them ; and jNIr. PKrN'GLE, 
who had an opportunity of observing 
similar practices of the animals in 
the neuti'al territory of the Eastern 
frontier of the Cape of Good Hope, 
describes their ravages as being con- 
tined to the mimosas, '' immense 
numbers of which had been torn out 
of the ground and placed in an in- 
verted position, in order to enable 
tlie animals to browse at their ease 
on the soft and juicy roots, which 
form a favourite part of their food. 
Many of the larger mimosas had re- 
sisted all their efforts ; and indeed it is 
onli/ after heavi/ rain, when the soil is 
soft and loose, that they ever suc- 
cessfulhf attempt this operatioti." — 
Piungle's Sketches of South Africa. 


their keepers to clear away growing timber, the removal 
of even a small tree, or a healthy young coco-nut palm, 
is a matter both of time and exertion to the tame ones. 
For this reason the services of an elephant are of much 
less value in clearing a forest than in dragging and pihng 
felled timber. But in the latter occupation in particular, 
he manifests an intelligence and dexterity which is sur- 
prising to a stranger, because the sameness of the opera- 
tion enables the animal to go on for hours disposing of log 
after log, almost without a hint or a direction from liis 
attendant. In this manner, two elephants employed in 
piling ebony and satinwood in the yards attached to the 
commissariat stores at Colombo, were so accustomed to 
the work, that they were enabled to accomphsh it with 
equal precision and with greater rapidity than if it had 
been done by dock-labourers. Wlien the pile attained a 
certain height, and they were no longer able by their 
conjoint efforts to raise one of the heavy logs of ebony to 
the summit, they had been taught to lean two pieces 
against the heap, up the inchned plane of which they 
gently rolled the remaining logs, and placed them trimly 
on the top. 

It has been asserted that in these occupations " ele- 
phants are to a surprising extent the creatm^es of habit," ^ 
that their movements are altogether mechanical, and that 
" they are annoyed by any deviation from theii' accus- 
tomed practice, and resent any constrained departure 
from the regularity of their course." So far as my own 
observation goes, this is incorrect ; and I am assm-ed by 
the officers in charge of them, that in regard to changing 
tlieir treatment, their hours, or their occupation, an ele- 
phant evinces no more consideration than a horse, but 
exhibits the same pHancy and facihty. 

At one point, however, the utihty of the elephant stops 
short. Such is the intelligence and earnestness he dis- 

^ Menageries, cjjr., " Tlio Elephant," vol. ii. ji. 2."3. 
c c 3 



[Pakt VIII. 

plays ill work, which he seems to conduct ahiiost without 
supervision, that it has been assumed^ that he would 
continue his labour, and accomphsh liis given task, as 
well in the absence of his keeper as during his presence. 
But here his innate love of ease displays itself, and if the 
eye of his attendant be withdi^a^vn, the moment he has 
fimshed the thing immediately in hand, he ^vill stroll 
away lazily, to browse or enjoy the luxury of fanning 
himself and blowing dust over his back. 

His obedience to his keeper is the result of affection, 
as well as of fear ; and although his attachment is so 
strong that an elephant in Ceylon has been known to 
remain out all night, without food, rather than retm^n, 
and leave belund him his mahout, who was lying intoxi- 
cated in the jungle ; he manifests little difficulty in peld- 
ing the same submission to a new driver in the event of a 
change of attendants. This is opposed to the popidar be- 
hef that " the elephant cherishes such an endming remem- 
brance of his old mahout, that he cannot easily be brought 
to obey a stranger."^ In the extensive estabhshments of 
the Ceylon Government, the keepers are changed Avithout 
hesitation, and the animals, when equally kindly treated, 
are in a very short time as tractable and obedient to their 
new driver as to the old, so soon as they have become 
familiarised with his voice.^ 

This is not, however, invariably the case ; and ]\Ir. 
Ceipps, who had remarkable opportunities for observing 
the habits of the elephant in Ceylon, mentioned to 
me an instance in which one of a singidarly stubborn 
disposition occasioned some inconvenience after the 
death of his keeper, by refushig to obey any other, 
till his attendants bethought them of a cliild about 
twelve years old, in a chstant \nllage, where the animal 
had been formerly picketed, and to whom he had 

' Menaqerics, ^-c, " The Elephant," 
c. vi. p. 1:38. 

2 Ihid, vol. i. p. 19. 

^ Enojchp. Brit., Mammalia^ art. 

Chap. VI.] 



manifested much attachment. The child was sent for ; 
and on its arrival the elephant, as anticipated, evinced 
extreme satisfaction, and was managed with ease, till by 
deo-rees he became reconciled to the presence of a new 

It has been said that the mahouts die young, owing 
to some supposed injury to the spinal column from the 
pecuhar motion of the elephant ; but such a remark does 
not apply to those in Ceylon, who are healthy, and as 
long lived as others. If the motion of the elephant be 
thus injurious, that of the camel must be still more so ; 
yet we never hear of early death ascribed to tlus cause 
by the Arabs. 

The voice of the keeper, with a very hmited vocabulary 
of articulate sounds, serves almost alone to guide the 
elephant in his domestic occupations.^ Sir Eveeard 
Home, from an examination of the muscular fibres in the 
drum of an elephant's ear, came to the conclusion, that 
notwithstanding the distinctness and power of his per- 
ception of sounds at a greater distance than other animals, 
he was insensible to then" harmonious modulation and 
destitute of a musical ear.^ But Professor Harrison, in a 

^ The principal sound by which 
the mahouts in Ceylou direct the 
motions of the elephants is a repeti- 
tion, with various modulations, of 
the words ur-7'e .' ur-re ! This is one 
of those interjections in which the 
soimd is so expressive of the sense 
that persons in charge of animals of 
almost eveiy description throughout 
the world appear to have adopted it 
with a concuiTence that is verv curi- 
ous. The camel drivers in Turkey, 
Palestine, and Egyi^t encourage them 
to speed by shouting ar-re ! ar-rc ! 
The Arabs in Algeria ciy eirich ! to 
their mules. The Moors seem to 
have carried the custom with them 
into Spain, where nudes are still 
driven with cries oiarre (whence the 
niideteers derive their Spanish ap- 

pellation of " arrieros"). In Franco 
the sportsman excites the hound by 
shouts of hare ! hare ! and the wag- 
goner there turns his horses by bis 
voice, and the use of the word hur- 
hardl In the North, " //«;vs was_a 
word used by the old Germans in 
urging their horses to speed ;" and 
to the present day, the herdsmen in 
Ireland, and parts of Scotland, drive 
their pigs with shouts of hurrish I 
hnrrish ! closely resembling that used 
by the mahouts in Ceylon. 

^ On the Difference hetween the 
Human 3Iemhrana Tipnpani and 
that of the Elephant. By Sir EvE- 
rardIIome, Bart, Philos. Trans. 
1823. Paper by Prof. Harrison, 
Proc. Ro} al Irish Academy, vol. iii. 
p. o8G. 

c c 4 



[Part YIII. 

paper read before theEoyal Irish Academy in 1847, has 
stated that on a careful examination of the head of an 
elephant which he had dissected, he could " see no evi- 
dence of the muscular structure of the membrana tyni- 
pani so accurately described by Sir Eyerakd Home," 
whose deduction is clearly inconsistent with the fact that 
the power of two elephants may be steadily combined by 
singing to them a measured chant, somewhat resembhng 
a sailor's capstan song ; and in labour of a particular 
kind, such as hauhng a stone with ropes, they will thus 
move conjointly a weight to which their divided strength 
would be unequal. ^ 

Nothing can more strongly exhibit the impulse of 
obedience in the elephant, than the patience with which, 
at the order of the keeper, he swaUows the nauseous 
medicines of the native elephant-doctors ; and it is im- 
possible to witness the fortitude with whicli (without 
shrinking) he submits to excruciating sm^gical opera- 
tions for the removal of tumours and ulcers to which 
he is subject, without conceiving a vivid impression of 
his gentleness and intelhgence. On such occasions one 
might almost imagine that comphance was induced by 
some perception of the object to be attained by tempo- 
rary endurance ; but this is inconsistent with the touch- 
ing incident which took place during the slaughter of 
the elephant at Exeter Change in 1826, when after re- 
ceiving ineffectually upwards of 120 balls in various 

' I have already noticed the strik- 
ing etiect produced in the captive 
elephants in the corral, by the har- 
monious notes of an i\'ory flute ; and 
on looking to the gi-aphic description 
which is given by yElian of the ex- 
ploits which he witnessed as per- 
formed by the elephants exhibited 
at liome, it is remarkable how very 
large a share of tlioir training appears 
to have been ascribed to the employ- 
ment of music. 

Phile, in the account which he 
has given of the elephant's fondness 

for music, would almost seem to 
have versified the prose naiTative of 
yEuAN, as he describes its excite- 
ment at the more animated portions, 
its step regulated to the time and 
movements of the harmony; the whole 
" siirprisiiif/ in a creature tvhose limbs 
are tcithoid Joi)ds 1 " 
'' \ktnr6v Ti m iMviii'iV('((<B(yMVop-/(lfi<>i\ ' 

— PiiiLK, Expos, de Eleph., 1. 210, 

For an accoimt of the ti-aining iuid 
performances of the elepliants at 
Rome, as narrated by ^'Elian, see the 
appendix to this chapter. 


parts of his body, he turned his face to his assailants on 
hearing the voice of his keeper, and knelt down at the 
accustomed word of command, so as to bring his fore- 
head within rauQ-e of the rifles.^ 


The working elephant is always a delicate animal, 
and requires Avatchfulness and care ; as a beast of 
bmxlen he is unsatisfactory ; for although in point of 
mere strength there is scarcely any weight which could 
be conveniently placed on him that he could not carr}% 
it is difficult to pack it without causing abrasions that 
afterwards ulcerate. His sldn is easily chafed by har- 
ness, especially in wet weather. Either during long 
droughts or too much moisture, his feet are hable to 
sores, which render him non-effective for months. Many 
attempts have been made to provide him with some pro- 
tection for the sole of the foot, but from his extreme 
weight and peculiar mode of planting the foot, they 
have all been unsuccessful. His eyes are also liable to 
frequent inflammation, and the skill of the native ele- 
phant-doctors, which has been renowned since the time 
of -3^han, is nowhere more strikingly displayed than in 
the successfid treatment of such attacks.^ In Ceylon, the 
murrain among cattle is of frequent occurrence and 
carries off great numbers of animals, wild as well as 
tame. In such visitations the elephants suffer severely, 
not only those at hberty in the forest, but those care- 
fully tended in the government stables. Out of a stud of 
about 40 attached to the department of the Commission 
of Eoads, the deaths between 1841 and 1849 were on an 
average four in each year, and this was nearly doubled 
in those years Avhen murrain prevailed. 

Of 240 elephants employed in the pubhc departments 
of the Ceylon Government which died in twenty-five 
years from 1831 to 185G, the length of time that each 

1 A shocking accoimt of the death I Evenj-l)ay Book, M;u'ch, 1830, p. 337, 
of this poor animal is given in Hone's | ^ ^Elian, lib. xiii. c. 7. 



[Part YIII. 

lived in captivity lias only been recorded in tlie instances 
of 138. Of these there died :— 

Duration of Captivity. 




Under 1 year ..... 




From 1 to 2 years 




9 'i 




» " j> ^ )} 




}f ^ }} ^ V 




» 5 „ „ 



)9 ^ V ' » 




}) ' » " r 




}} ^ V 9 f> 




;; " )} 10 )) 




„ 10 „ 11 „ 



„ 11 „ 12 „ 




„ 12 „ 13 „ 




„ 13 „ 14 „ 


V I'l » 15 „ 




„ 15 „ 16 „ 




„ Kj „ 17 ,} 




V 17 >; 18 „ 

„ 18 „ 19 „ 




„ 19 „ 20 „ 








Of the 72 who died in one year's ser\dtude, 35 ex- 
pu"ed within the first six months of their captivity. 
During training, many of them die in the unaccount- 
able manner akeady referred to, lying down suddenly 
and expiring, of what the natives designate a broken 

On being first subjected to work, the elephant is 
hable to severe and often fatal swellings of the jaws 
and abdomen.^ 

From these causes tliere died, between 1841 and 1849 . . 9 
Of eattle miuTain ......... 10 

Sore feet .......... 1 

Colds and inflammation ........ G 

Diarrhoea .......... 1 

Worms .......... 1 

^ The elephant which was dissect- 
ed by Dr. IIaurisox, of Dublin, in 
1847, died, after foiu' or iive days' 
illness, of a febrile attack, which Dr. 

II. says was " veiy like scarlatina (at 
that time a prevailin<i: disease) —liis 
skin in some cases became almost 
scai-let. ' ' — Private Letter. 

Chaf. YI.] conduct IX CAPTIVITY. 395 

Of diseased liver 1 

Injuries from a fall ......... 1 

General debility ......... 1 

Unknown • 3 

Of the whole, twenty-three were females, and eleven 

The ages of those that died could not be accurately 
stated, ov^ng to the circumstance of their having been 
captured in corral. Only two were tuskers. Towards 
keeping the stud in health, nothing has been found so 
conducive as regularly bathing the elephants, and giving 
them the opportunity to stand with their feet in water 
or in moistened earth. 

On the whole, there may be a question as to the 
prudence or economy of maintaining a stud of elephants 
for the purposes to which they are now assigned in 
Ceylon. In the rude and imopened parts of the country, 
where rivers are to be forded, and forests are only 
traversed by jungle paths, their labour is of value, 
in certain contingencies, in the conveyance of stores, 
and in the earher operations for the construction of 
fords and rough bridges of timber. But in more highly 
civihsecl districts, and wherever macadamised roads ad- 
mit of the employment of horses and oxen for draught, 
I apprehend that the services of elephants might, with 
advantage, be gradually reduced, if not altogether dis- 
pensed with. 

The love of the elephant for coolness and shade 
renders him at all times more or less impatient of work 
in the sun, and every moment of leisure he can snatch 
is employed in covering his back with dust, or fanning 
himself to diminish the annoyance of the insects and 
heat. From the tenderness of his skin and its lia- 
bihty to sores, the labour in which he can most ad- 
vantageously be employed is that of draught; but the 
reluctance of horses to meet or pass elephants renders 
it difficult to work the latter with safety on frequented 
roads. Besides, were the full load which an elephant 



[Part YIII. 

is capable of di-awing in proportion to his muscular 
strength, to be placed upon waggons of corresponding 
dimension, the injuiy to the roads woidd be such that the 
wear and tear of the highways and bridges woidd prove 
too costl)^ to be borne. On the other hand, by restrict- 
ing it to a somewhat more manageable quantity, and by 
limiting the weight, as at present, to about one ton and 
a half, it is doubtful whether an elephant performs so 
much more work than could be done by a horse or by 
bullocks, as to compensate for the greater cost of his 
feedino' and attendance. 

Add to this, that from accidents and other causes, 
from ulcerated abrasions of the skin, and illness of many 
Idnds, the elephant is so often invahded, that the actual 
cost of liis labom-, when at Avork, is very considerably 
enhanced. Exclusive of the salaries of higher officers 
attached to the government establishments, and other 
permanent charges, the expenses of an elephant, looking 
only to the wages of his attendants and the cost of his 
food and medicines, varies from three shillings to four 
shillings and sixpence per diem, according to his size 
and class. ^ Taking the average at three shilhngs and 

^ An ordinaiy-sized elephant en- 
grosses tlie iindi\'i(iecl attention of 
three men. One, as his mahout or 
superintendent, and tT\-o as leaf-cut- 
ters, who biing him branches and 
gi'ass for his daily supplies. One of 
larger growth woidd probably require 
a third leaf-cutter. The daih* con- 
sumption is two cwt. of gTeen food, 
with about half a bushel of gi-ain. 
When in the vicinity of towns and 
■villages, the attendants have no dif- 
ficulty in procuring an abundant 
supply of tlie brandies of the trees to 
which they are partial ; and in jour- 
neys through the forest and miopened 
countiy, the leaf-cutters are sulli- 
ciently expert in the knowledge of 
those particular plants with which 
the elephant is satisfied. Those that 
woiUd be likely to disagi'ee with 
him he uneiTingly rejects. His fa- 

vourites are the palms, especially the 
cluster of rich, imopened leaves, 
known as the " cabbage,'' of the coco- 
nut, and areca ; the yoimg trunks of 
the palmp-a and jaggery (Cari/ota 
weiis) are torn open in search of 
the farinaceous matter contained in 
the spongy pith. Next to these 
come the varieties of fig-trees, par- 
ticularly the sacred Bo (F. religiosa) 
which is found near every temple, and 
the na f/a/ui (Jlessua ferrca), with 
thick dark leaves and a scarlet fiower. 
The loaves of the .Tak-tree and bread 
fruit (Artocarpus infef/rifolia and A. 
iiicim), the wood apple {^Hf/lc Jlar- 
mclos), Palu (Mi»iiisoj).'i indica), and a 
number of others well knoT\Ta to their 
attendants, are all consumed in turn. 
The stems of the plantain, the stalks 
of the sugar-cane, and the featheiy 
tops of the bambooS; are irresistible 

Chap. VI.] 



nine-pence, and calculating that liarcUy any individual 
works more than four days out of seven, the charge for 
each day so employed would be equal to sLv shillings 
and sixpence. The keep of a powerful dray horse, 
working five days in the week, would not exceed half- 
a-crown, and two such would unquestionably do more 
work than any elephant under the present system. I 
do not know whether it be from a comparative calcu- 
lation of this kind that the strength of the elephant 
establishments in Ceylon has been gradually diminished 
of late years, but iu the department of tlie Commis- 
sioner of Eoads, the stud, which formerly numbered 
upwards of sixty elephants, has been reduced of late 
years to thirty-six, and is at present less than half that 

The fallacy of the supposed reluctance of the elephant 
to breed in capti\dty has been demonstrated by many 
recent authorities ; but with the exception of the buth 
of young elephants at Eome, as mentioned by ^lian, the 
only instances that I am aware of theu" actually produc- 
ing young under such circumstances, took place in Ceylon. 
Both parents had been for several years attached to the 
stud of the Commissioner of Roads, and in 1844 the 
female, whilst engaged in dragging a waggon, gave butli 
to a still-born calf. Some years before, an elephant, 
which had been captured by Mr. Cripps, di^opped a 
female calf, which he succeeded in rearing. As usual, 
the little one became the pet of the keepers ; but as it in- 
creased in growth, it exhibited the utmost violence when 

luxuries. Pine-apples, water melons, 
and fruits of every description, are 
voraciously devoured, and a coco-nut 
when foimd is first rolled under foot 
to detach it from the husk and fibre, 
and then raised in his trunk and 
crushed, almost without an eftbrt of 
his ponderous jaws. 

The gi'asses are not found in suf- 
ficient quantity to be an item of his 
daily fodder; the Mauiitius or the 

Guinea gi-ass is seized with avidity ; 
lemon <a'ass is rejected from its over- 
powering perfume, but rice in the 
straw, and every description of gi'ain, 
whether gi'owing or diy ; grain 
(Cicer arietimun), Indian corn, and 
millet are his natural food. Of such 
of these as can be found, it is the 
duty of the leaf-cutters, when in the 
jungle and on march; to provide a 
daily supply. 


tlnvartecl ; striking out with its hind feet, tlirowing itself 
headlong on the ground, and pressing its trunk against 
any opposing object. 

The ancient fable of the elephant attaining the age 
of two or tln*ee hundi'cd years is still prevalent amongst 
the Singhalese. But the Europeans and those in im- 
mediate charge of them entertain the opinion that the 
duration of hfe for about seventy years is common both 
to man and the elephant ; and that before the arrival of 
that period, the symptoms of debihty and decay ordi- 
narily begin to manifest themselves. Still instances are 
not ^vanting in Ceylon of trained decoys that have 
hved for more than double the reputed period in 
actual servitude. One employed by ]\ir. Cripps in the 
Seven Corles was represented by the Cooroowe people 
to have served the king of Kandy in the same capacity 
sixty years before ; and amongst the papers left by 
Colonel Eobertson (son to the liistorian of " Charles Y."), 
who held a command in Ceylon in 1799, shortly after 
the capture of the island by the British, I have found a 
memorandum shoAving that a decoy was then attached 
to the elephant estabhshment at Matura, which tlie re- 
cords proved to have served under the Dutch dming 
the enth'e period of their occupation (extending to up- 
wards of one hundred and forty years) ; and was said to 
have been found in the stables by the Dutch on the ex- 
pulsion of the Portuguese in a.d. 1656. 

It is perhaps from this popular behef of their ahnost 
inimitable age, that the natives generaUy assert that the 
body of a dead elephant is seldom or never to be dis- 
covered in the woods. And certain it is that fi'equenters 
of the forest with wdiom I have conversed, wdietlier 
European or Singhalese, are consistent in their assurances 
that they have never found the remains of an elephant 
that had died a natural death. One chief, the Wannyah 
of the Trincomahe district, told a friend of mine, that 
once after a severe murrain, which had swept the pro- 

Chap. VI.] 



vince, he found the carcases of elephants that had died of 
the disease. On the other hand, a European gentleman, 
who for thkty-six years without intermission has been 
hving in the jungle, ascending to the summit of moun- 
tains in the prosecution of the trigonometrical survey, 
and penetrating valleys in tracing roads and opening 
means of communication ; one, too, who has made the 
habits of the wild elephant a subject of constant observa- 
tion and study, — has often expressed to me his astonish- 
ment that after seeing many thousands of Mving elephants 
in all possible situations, he had never yet found a single 
skeleton of a dead one, except of those which had fallen 
by the rifle. ^ 

It has been suggested that the bones of the elephant 
may be so porous and spongy as to disappear in conse- 
quence of early decomposition ; but this remark would 
not apply to the grinders or to the tusks ; besides which, 
the inference is at variance with the fact, that not only 
the horns and teeth, but entire skeletons of deer, are 
frequently fomid in the districts inhabited by the ele- 

The natives, to account for tliis popular behef, declare 
that the herd bury those of their companions who 
happen to perish.^ It is curious that this belief was 
current also amongst the Greeks of the Lower Empire ; 
and Phile, who wrote at Constantinople early in the 
fourteenth century, not only describes the younger 

^ Tbis remark regarding the ele- 
phant of Ceylon does not appear to 
extend to that of iVfrica, as I observe 
that Beaver, in his African Me- 
moranda, says that " the skeletons of 
old ones that have died in the woods 
are frequently found." — African 
3Icnioran(/a relative to an atfeinpt to 
establish liriti^h Settlements at the 
Island of Bulama. Lon. 1815, p. 353. 

^ A corral was organised near 
Putlani in 184G, by Mr. Morris, the 
chief officer of the district. It was 
constructed across one of the paths 

which the elephants frequent in their 
frequent marches, and during the 
course of the proceedings two of the 
captured elephants died. Their car- 
cases were left of coiu-se within the 
enclosure, which was abandoned as 
soon as the captm-e was complete. 
The •wild elephants resimied their 
path through it, and a few days 
afterwards the headman reported to 
Mr. Mon-is that the bodies had been 
removed and carried outside the 
corral to a spot to which nothing but 
the elephants coiild have bome them. 



[rART ym. 

elephants as tending the woiuided, but as burying the 
dead : 

*' "Oroiv eTTKTTfi rr^g TeXzurrig b ^oovog 
KoJvoD riXryjg Siixuvav o ^ivog <^='^=<."^ 

The Singhalese have a further superstition in relation 
to the closing hfe of the elephant : they beheve that, on 
feehng the approach of dissolution, he repaks to a soli- 
tary valley, and there resigns himself to death. 

A native who accompanied Mr. Cripps, when hunting 
in the forests of Anarajapoora, intimated that he was 
then in the immediate \'icinity of the spot " to which the 
elephants came to die,'" but that it was so mysteriously 
concealed, that although every one beheved in its 
existence, no one had ever succeeded in penetrating 
to it. At the corral which I have described at 
Kornegalle, in 1847, Dehigame, one of the Kandyan 
chiefs, assured me it was the universal behef of his 
countrymen, that the elephants, when about to die, 
resorted to a valley in Saffragam, among the mountains 
to the east of Adam's Peak, which was reached by a 
narrow pass ^vith walls of rock on either side, and that 
there, by the side of a lake of clear water, they took 
their last repose.^ It was not mthout mterest that 
I afterwards recognised this tradition in the story of 
Sinbad of the Sea, who in his Seventh voyage, after 
convepng the presents of Haroun al Easchid to the 
King of Serendib, is wrecked on his return from Ceylon 
and sold as a slave to a master who employs him iu 

^ PniLE, Expositio de Elq)h., 1. 

2 The selection by animals of a 
place to die, is not confined to the 
elepliant. DARA\*rN says, that in 
South America " the gixanacos 
(llamas) appear to have favourite 
spots for l\'ing down to die ; on the 
banks of the Santa Cruz river, in 
certain circimiscribed spaces which 
were generally bushy trnd all near 

the water, the ground was actually 
white with their bones ; on one such 
spot I counted between ten and 
twenty heads." — Ned. Voy. ch. viii. 
The same has been remarked in the 
Eio Gallegos ; and at St. .Jago in 
the Cape de Verde Islands, Dakwin 
saw a retired corner similarly covered 
with the bones of the goat, as if it 
were " the burial-pTouud of all the 
ffoats in the islmid." 

Chap. VI.] 



shooting elephants for the sake of their ivory; till one 
day the tree on which he was stationed having been up- 
rooted by one of the herd, he fell senseless to the ground, 
and the great elephant approaching wound his trunk 
around him and carried him away, ceasing not to pro- 
ceed, until he had taken liim to a place where, his 
terror having subsided, he found himself amongst the 
bones of elephants, and knew that this was their burial 
place "^ It is cmious to find this legend of Ceylon in 
what has, not inaptly, been described as the "Ai^abian 
Odyssey " of Sinbad ; the original of which evidently 
embodies the romantic recitals of the sailors returning 
from the navigation of the Indian Seas, in the middle 
ages^, wliicli were current amongst the Mussulmans, and 
are reproduced in various forms throughout the tales of 
the Arabian Nights. 

^ Arabian Kiyhts' Entertainment, 
Lane's edition, vol. iii. p. 77. 

^ See a disquisition on tlie oripin 
of the stoiy of Sinbad, by M. 

REiNArD, in the inti-oduction pre- 
fixed to his translation of the Ara- 
bian Geogra2>h)j of Ahoidfeda, vol. i. 
p. Ixxvi. 


D D 

402 THE ELErHANT. [Part VIII. 


As Elian's work on tlie Nature of Animals has never, I believe, 
been republished in any English version, and the passage in 
relation to the training and performance of elephants is so per- 
tinent to the present inquiry, I venture to subjoin a translation 
of the nth Chapter of his 2nd Book. 

" Of the cleverness of the elephant I have spoken else- 
where, and Ukewise of the manner of hunting. I have men- 
tioned these things, a few out of the many which others 
have stated ; but for the present I purpose to speak of their 
musical feeling, their tractability, and facility in learning 
what it is difficult for even a human being to acquire, much 
less a beast, hitherto so wild : — such as to dance, as is done 
on the stage ; to walk with a measured gait ; to listen to the 
melody of the flute, and to perceive the difference of sounds, 
that, being pitched low lead to a slow movement, or high to a 
quick one : all this the elephant learns and understands, and is 
accurate withal, and makes no mistake. Thus has Nature 
formed him, not only the gi'eatest in size, but the most gentle and 
most easily taught. Now if I were going to write about the trac- 
tability and aptitude to learn amongst those of India, ^Ethiopia, 
and Libya, I should probably appear to be concocting a tale and 
acting the braggart, or to be telling a falsehood respecting the 
nature of the animal founded on a mere report, all which it be- 
hoves a philosopher, and most of all one who is an ardent lover 
of truth, not to do. But what I have seen myself, and what 
others have described as having occurred at Kome, this I have 
chosen to narrate, selecting a few facts out of many, to show 
the particular nature of those creatures. The elephant when 
tamed is an animal most gentle and most easily led to do 
whatever he is directed. And by way of showing honour to 
time, I will first narrate events of the oldest date. Coesar Ger- 
manicus, the nephew of Tiberiuis, exhibited once a public show, 
wherein there were many full-grown elephants, male and female. 

Chap. VI.] APPENDIX. 403 

and some of their breed born in this country. When their limb.? 
were beginning to become firm, a person familiar with such 
animals instructed them by a strange and surprising method of 
teaching ; using only gentleness and kindness, and adding to his 
mild lessons the bait of pleasant and varied food. By this means 
he led them by degrees to throw off all wildnes.% and, as it were, 
to desert to a state of civilisation, conducting themselves in a 
manner almost human. He taught them neither to be excited 
on hearing the pipe, nor to be disturbed by the beat of drum, 
but to be soothed by the sounds of the reed, and to endure un- 
musical noises and the clatter of feet from persons while march- 
ing ; and they were trained to feel no fear of a mass of men, nor 
to be enraged at the infliction of blows, not even when compelled 
to twist their limbs and to bend them like a stage-dancer, and 
this too, although endowed with strength and might. And there 
is in this a very noble addition to nature, not to conduct them- 
selves in a disorderly manner and disobediently towards the 
instructions given by man ; for after the dancing-master had 
made them expert, and they had learnt their lessons accurately, 
they did not belie the labour of his instruction whenever a 
necessity and opportunity called upon them to exhibit what they 
had been taught. For the whole troop came forward from this 
and that side of the theatre, and divided themselves into parties ; 
they advanced walking with a mincing gait and exhibiting in 
their whole body and persons the manners of a beau, clothed in 
the flowery dresses of dancers ; and on the ballet-master giving 
a signal Avith his voice, they fell into line and went round in a 
circle, and if it were requisite to deploy, they did so. They 
ornamented the floor of the stage by throwing flowers upon it, 
and this they did in moderation and sparingly, and straightway 
they beat a mea.sure with their feet and kept time together. 

" Now that Damon and Spintharus and Aristoxenus and 
Xenophilus and Philoxenus and others should know music ex- 
cellently well, and for their cleverness be ranked amongst the 
few, is indeed a thing of wonder, but not incredible, nor contrary 
at all to reason. For this reason that a man is a rational animal, 
and the recipient of mind and intelligence. But that a joint- 
less animal {avapdpov) should understand rhythm and melody, 
and preserve a gesture, and not deviate from a measured move- 
ment, and fulfil the requirements of those who laid down 
instructions, these are gifts of nature, I think, and a peculiarity 
in every way astounding. Added to these there were things 

D D 2 


enough to drive the spectator out of his senses ; when the strewn 
rushes and other materials for beds on the ground were placed 
on the sand of the theatre, and they received stuffed mattresses 
such as belonged to rich houses and variegated bed coverings, 
and goblets were placed there very expensive, and bowls of gold 
and silver, and in them a great quantity of water ; and tables 
were placed there of sweet-smelling wood and ivory very superb ; 
and upon them flesh meats and loaves enough to fill the stomachs 
of animals the most voracious. When the preparations were com- 
pleted and abundant, the banqueters came forward, six male and 
an equal number of female elephants ; the former had on a male 
dress, and the latter a female ; and on a signal being given they 
stretched forward their trunks in a subdued manner, and took 
their food in great moderation, and not one of them appeared to 
be gluttonous, greedy, or to snatch at a greater portion, as did 
the Persian mentioned by Xenophon. And when it was requi- 
site to drink, a bowl was placed by the side of each ; and inhaling 
with their trunks they took a draught very orderh^ ; and then 
they scattered the drink about in fun ; but not as in insult. 
Many other acts of a similar kind, both clever and astonishing, 
have persons described, relating to the peculiarities of these 
animals, and I saw them writing letters on Roman tablets with 
their trunks, neither looking awry nor turning aside. The hand, 
however, of the teacher was placed so as to be a guide in the 
formation of the letters ; and while it was writing the animal 
kept its eye fixed down in an accomplished and scholarlike 



D D 3 




Ox the adjonrnment of the Council in tlie sprino- of 
1848, I availed myself of the recess in order to acquire 
a personal knowledge of a part of the island which the 
urgency of piibhc affairs had previously prevented me 
from visiting. The journey that I contemplated, ex- 
tended round the unfrequented country Ipng to the 
north of the MahaweUi-ganga and the Kandyan zone, 
comprising that section of the island which formed, at 
a remote period, the division of the Singhalese Kino- 
dom, known as Pihiti, or the Eaja-ratta. It includes 
the ruins of two of the ancient capitals ; Anarajapoora 
and Pollanarrua ; and from the extent of its works for 
irrigation, and the number of its agricultural com- 
munities, it must have been, at an early period, the 
most productive as well as the most densely populated 
portion of Ceylon. This character it retained until the 
misery and devastation consequent on the incursions 
and domination of the Malabars reduced its cities to 
ruins, its villages to desolation, and its cultivated lands 
to wilderness and jungle. With the exception of those 
tracts which approach the coast, it is now one continuous 
forest, extending from sea to sea, concealing the ruins of 
stupendous monuments, and encircling the sites of pro- 
digious reservofrs ; some of them of dimensions so vast, 
that even in then- decay they form artificial lakes of miles 
in ckcumference. 

This singular region is so httle known to Europeans 
that in one of the most recent Maps of Ceylon \ it is left 

• Adas of the Socictij for the DiJJ'mivn of Useful Kiiotdedje. 

D D 4 


blank as an " Uiiexplored district ;" — yet it is by no 
means destitute of population. Scattered throughout its 
recesses, there exists a senii-ci\dlised race, whose members 
have httle or no intercourse with the inhabitants of the 
rest of the island, but dwell apart in these deep sohtudes, 
subsisting by the cultivation of rice, generally in the 
basins of deserted tanks, or on the marghis of the neglected 

One vast expanse to the north-east of the Kandyan 
mountains is known by the name of the Vedda-ratta, 
or country of the Yeddahs, a harmless and uncivihsed 
tribe, who hve in caves, or inhabit rude dwellings con- 
structed of bark and grass. For food they are dependent 
upon then- arrows, and they never leave the \'icinity of 
their solitary homes, except at certain periods of the 
year, when they visit the confines of the civilised country 
in order to barter honey and dried deer-flesh for arrow- 
heads and other articles, essential in their rude mode of 

The influence of the successive settlements planted 
in turn by Em^opeans, on the confines of tliis secluded 
district, has never penetrated far within its borders. 
Whilst the forts and the factories estabhshed by the 
Portuguese and the Dutch, at Batticaloa, Cottiar, and 
Trmcomahe on the eastern coast, and at Jafhia and 
Manaar on the west, enabled them to maintain a suffi- 
ciently secure position for the protection of their com- 
merce, no evidence remains of their having estabhshed, 
or sought to estabhsh, then* authority permanently in 
the interior of Neuera-kalawa or the Wanny. Even 
the English, tiU recently, devoted no attention to these 
outlying provinces ; but a highway has lately been cut 
due north and south through the central forests, 
from Jafliia to Kandy; one branch extending eastward 
to Trincomahe, and a second westward through Anarnja- 
poora to Putlam. Other roads are in progress, leachng 
to the interior from those points on the coast Avhere the 
Malabar Coohes disembark, on arriving from the con- 


tinent of Lidia, in quest of employment in the coffee 
plantations of the Central Province. In consequence of 
the opening of these, it is to be hoped that the annual 
current of immigration, instead of setting, as it has 
hitherto done, along the hot sands and inhospitable 
deserts of the western shore, may be tempted to pass 
by the central hne of communication, where the faci- 
hties for obtaining shade and water w^ill increase the 
comforts of theu" march ; and the sight of vast tracts of 
arable but now unoccupied land may eventually lead to 
the permanent settlement in the island of some portion of 
these migratory labourers. 

Another ckcumstance which wdll contribute to tlie 
improvement of the northern section of the island, is the 
attention recently dii'ected to the sea-borde as a suitable 
locahty for the cultivation of the coco-nut. Within the 
last twenty years, large plantations of these palms have 
been formed at Batticaloa on the east, at Jaffna on the 
north, and at Chilaw and Calpentyn on the west of the 
great central forests ; and it is reasonable to expect that 
the success of these will stimulate agriculture inland, 
settlers being encouraged by the known fertihty of the 
soil, and by the facihties for travel, provided by the roads 
already in existence and to be extended hereafter by 
means of those now in progress. 

I set out on my joiu-ney with the intention of crossing 
the island from west to east, from Colombo to Batti- 
caloa. To reach the latter ])lace, I did not avail myself 
of the convenient but circuitous high road by Neuera- 
ellia and Badulla ; but made arrangements for riding 
across the island in a dkcct line from Kandy, by way of 
Bintenne through the country of the Veddalis, in order 
to become acquainted with the actual state of these w^ild 
creatmres, and to enable myself to judge of the amount 
of success which had attended the recent attempts to 
introduce civihsation, and induce them to settle in vil- 
lages and engage in agricultiu'e. From Batticaloa, I 
[iroposed to turn northward to Trincomahe, and there, 


leaving tlic coast, to strike inland for the purpose of 
visiting the great tank of Padivil, one of the most stu- 
pendous in Ceylon. Thence I arranged to return east- 
ward to the sea at Moeletivoe ; to proceed to the penin- 
sula of Jaffna, and finally to reach the Gulf of Manaar in 
time to be received on board the Government steamship, 
when on her way to the annual inspection of the Pearl 
Banks, in the Bay of Condatchy ; and thus to return by 
sea to Colombo. 

The arrangement of provisions for such a journey, 
forms one of the leading difficulties in all expeditions 
through this region of Ceylon. From time immemorial, 
the natives of the central and northern provinces, and 
especially the inhabitants of the ancient Kandyan king- 
dom, have been averse to trade, and indisposed either 
to labour for hire, or to exchange the produce of their 
lands for money. In fact, till a very recent period, 
money Avas almost unknown in these parts of the island ; 
and the policy of the chiefs was inimical ahke to the 
active industry which is creative of property, and to the 
process of barter which would lead to the accumulation 
of wealth ; — either would have subverted the system of 
dependence, whereby the tillers of the soil were rendered 
subservient to thek cliiefs ; and both were, therefore, 
as far as possible discouraged amongst all who were 
amenable to their sway. In general, the soil is the ex- 
clusive property of the headmen, and those who cidti- 
vate it, in place of papng rent to its proprietors, receive 
fi^oni them payment in kind. Thus, throughout the 
hill country, the chiefs may be said to retain sole pos- 
session of nearly all tlie grain that is grown ; Avith it 
they remunerate their labom^ers, maintain their house- 
holds, and, by issuing food from their baronial gra- 
naries in times of famine, rivet more closely the 
dependency of their people. The ambition of a chief 
is not to amass property, but to acqime land : and 
land is prized not for produce, as represented by its 
value in money, but in proportion to the number of re- 


taiiiers and dependents it will feed. Hence the peasantry 
have seldom corn to dispose of : no Kandyan betakes him- 
self to dealing or to barter, and few \illages possess even 
the convenience of a bazaar. 

In setting out therefore on any lengthened expedition, 
it is indispensable that Europeans shoidd pro\dde them- 
selves with means for carrymg from town to town the 
sup23hes of rice and other articles necessary for their own 
consumption, and even the gram ^ and paddi required for 
the use of their horses. On the journey of Avliich I am 
spealdng, our tents were carried by elephants, beds, bag- 
gage canteens, and provisions by coohes, and our party at 
the first encampment, mcluding servants, horse-keepers, 
arid grass-cutters, mustered one hundred and fifty persons. 
We found that milk, eggs, and fowl, were to be procured 
at some of the villages on the route, and occasionally a 
sheep or a cow : and along the sea-coast we had frequently 
supphes of fish, but in the main we were dependent upon 
the guns of the party for pro\dding oiur table. Through- 
out, venison and game were to be had in abundance, espe- 
cially pea-fowl, jungle-cocks, flamingoes, and parrots, 
which last make excellent pies. Water, except in the 
vicinity of rivers, was scarce ; generally bad, near the 
sea, owing to the prevalence of salt marshes ; — and in the 
low-country, where streams are rare, and wells few, the 
only supply was derived from artificial tanks and tlieii* 
tributary streams and outlets, in which the sediment is 
liable to be stuTcd up at all times by cattle, and by deer 
and elephants which resort to them after sunset, or bathe 
in them dm^mg the night. To correct the impurity of the 
tank-water, when intended for their own use, the natives 
employ a horny seed, the produce of a species of strych- 
nus, about the size of a coffee-bean, called by the Tamils 
tettan-kotta, and by the Singhalese ingini? This they 
mib round the inside of the unglazed earthen chatty in 

* Gram is tlio jiea of the Ciccr I ^ Stiyclinus potatorum. 
arietinumy — paddi, rice in the husk. 


wliicli the muddy water is held, till about one half of 
the seed is ground off, which minghng with the water 
it forms a delicate mucilao'e. In the course of a few 


minutes the impure particles being seized by this, de- 
scend and form an apparently viscid sediment at the 
bottom, whilst the clearer fluid remains at the top, and 
although not altogether bright, it is sufficiently pm-e for 
ordinary purposes. 

The necessity of carrying supplies for two months for so 
large a company, through a country which, for the first 
three hundred miles after leaving Kandy, was altogether 
destitute of roads, rendered progress toilsome and slow. 
Our day's journey seldom exceeded fifteen miles, as the 
bearers and foot-runners coidd not accomphsh more, and 
even at this pace they requu'e an occasional halt of a day 
or two to recruit. 

For the first five or six miles after leaving Kandy, 
we had the advantage of a carriage-road, and for twenty 
more our route lay along a bridle-path, which had been 
formed some thkty years before, for the purpose of 
keeping up a military communication with the Fort of 
Badulla, but this has been abandoned ever since the 
opening of the highway across the mountains of Neuera- 
elha. On leaving this rugged road, we struck into the 
great Eastern Forest, through Avliich oiu- path lay for 
many days, till we began to approach the low marshy 
plains in the vicinity of Batticaloa. For the most part, 
we made our way, under cover of lofty trees, along tracks 
with which the natives were famihar, but which it would 
be hazardous for a stranger to attempt to follow Avithout 
the aid of an experienced guide. In fact, immediately 
after descending from the hills, the face of the country 
is so level, that no eminence arises for miles from wliich 
it would be possible for a traveller to discern any land- 
marks for his direction. Once or tmce in our journey, 
we had an opportunity of ascendmg detached rocks from 
which the level forest alone Avas visible, stretching aAvay 
to the verge of the horizon. On such occasions, the 


feeling experienced was ratlier nervous and uneasy; 
emergino; for an instant from beneath an ocean of foliafje 
in whose depths we were wandering, viewing its boundless 
green expanse extending on every side, "without inequahty, 
and apparently without end, — then descending again into 
the depths of the forest, and trusting to our senii-civihsed 
guides to pilot us in safety through the endless labp-uith 
of woods. 

There is something solemn and impressive in the 
majestic repose of these leafy solitudes, where the deep 
silence is unbroken, except by the hum of innumerable 
insects, whose noises, though far too fine and delicate to 
be individually audible, unite to form an aggregate of 
gentle sounds, that murmur softly on every side, and pro- 
duce an effect singularly soothmg and di'eamy. It is a 
popular, but erroneous behef, that these dense woods are 
the dweUings of numerous animals, which find food and 
shelter within their deep recesses ; and nothing more 
powerfidly excites sm^prise in a stranger's mind, than the 
comparative scarcity of hfe in the heart of these thick 
forests. Even birds are rarely seen in their depths, and 
other creatures begin to appear only when we come to the 
confines of the plains, and enter those pastm-e lands and 
park-like openings, which occur in the immediate vicuiity 
of the low country. 

The fact is that the density of the forest, though capable 
of affording cover to the wilder carnivora, is unftxvourable 
to the growth of any kind of herbage fitted for the sup- 
port of the graminivorous animals. Quadrupeds are 
therefore compelled to keep for the most part on the 
verge of the open country, and in the \dcinity of water, 
where the phytophagous tribes find abundance of food, 
and the carnivorous congregate attracted by the resort of 
the others. 

Generally, our horses were able to ford, or to swim 
over, such rivers as we were obhged to cross on our 
route ; but tlie more rapid and impetuous streams we 
passed in canoes or on rafts formed of sticks laid across 


two hollowed trunks of trees. Whenever it was prac- 
ticable, we halted for the night in the pansela of a temple ; 
and on the more frequented tracks, towards the coast, we 
had occasionally tlie shelter of the government rest-houses ; 
but in the majority of instances, we spent the night either 
under tents, or in booths which the natives rapidly con- 
structed of fresh branches, dexterously covered with leaves 
and grass. 

The servants and attendants were formed into two 
companies, of which one was always in advance, sent 
forward to make arrangements for our arrival at the 
next halting place, so that the set of tents in which we 
dined and slept passed us on our subsequent march and 
were ready for our reception at breakfast on the following 
morninG;. We were in the saddle before sunrise, and our 
arrival at the scene of our mid-day rest, which was gene- 
rally beside a river or a tank, was the signal for the light- 
ing of the cooking fires, the compounding of curries, the 
preparation of coffee, the roasting of game on wooden 
spits, and the other arrangements for a morning repast. 
By the time that we had fully enjoyed the luxmy of a 
bath, breakfast was ready to be eaten with the rehsli 
which morning; exercise alone can secure. When the 
heat of noon was past, we resumed oiu: route, to reach 
our next encampment after sunset, and there to dine and 
spend the night. Such traveUing was unaccompanied 
with privations or discomfort ; its freedom was indescri- 
bably exhilarating and enjoyable, and I shall ever look 
back to these journeys as the most agreeable of the many 
pleasant incidents that marked my residence in Ceylon. 


CHAP. 11. 




All preparations for our journey having been completed, 
the elephants with the heavy baggage were sent forward 
from Kandy on tlie 7th of February, and on the follow- 
ing evening we set out by the lower Badulla road, which 
for some distance follows the descent of tlie Maliawelli- 
ganga, afterwards turning due east, towards Bintenne, 
and the country of the Veddahs. JSTothing can be finer 
than the scenery along this portion of the river ; wliich 
falls 1500 feet between Kandy and Bintenne; making 
its way through the gorges of those wonderfid hills, 
wooded to their highest ascents, and so steep that, when 
standing by the water's edge, it strains the eye to look 
upward to then- summits. The great current is turbu- 
lent in the extreme ; it rolls down long dech\'ities and 
struggles between rocks of granite, with a loud roar 
that came up through tlie thick forest to the path by 
which we rode, so high above the river that its channel 
was hardly discernible in the valley below. Presently, 
as we journeyed along, we caught sight of it emer- 
ging from woody defiles, and spreading its waters into 
placid levels over deep beds of yellow sand, from the 
repeated occurrence of which it has acquired the name 
of the " great sandy river." Its banks are fringed 
with the graceful foliage of the bamboos, which here 
attain a height of fifty to sixty feet, their feathery 
crowns waving majestically, hke ostrich plumes, above 
the stream. 

The almost abandoned path by which we descended 


presented many objects of curious interest ; it was fre- 
quently crossed by rivulets from the mountains, one so 
densely charged mth calcareous matter that it had coated 
the rocks in its descent with a deposit, wliich lay so thick 
as almost to form an elevated channel for the stream ; 
others were impregnated with iron, and so highly coloured 
as to indicate its presence in great abundance in the liills 

For the first ten miles after leaving Kandy, the 
rivers are either bridged or fordable ; but, after sunset, 
we came to the Maha-oya, the first which presented 
neither of these facihties. As we rode down to its 
bank, a headman, the coralle of the district, appeared 
with his foUowers on the further side, and a httle raft 
pushed off towards us, constructed of branches laid 
across two hollowed trees. On this we placed ourselves 
and our saddles, and with our horses swimmmg behind 
us, reached the opposite bank, whence a ride of two 
miles to the top of the pass of Gonnegamme brought us 
to the native house, where oiu* servants were awaiting 
om^ arrival. It was a poor hovel, its wretchedness 
but ill concealed by the wliite cloths with which, ac- 
cording to the native fashion, the walls and ceilings 
were hung in honom^ of strangers. It afforded us, 
however, cover for the night, our servants sleepmg out- 
side in the open air, and before daybreak we were 
again in the saddle by torchhght en route for the^bank 
of the Ooma-oya \ wliich we hoped to reach in time for 

The low-country Smghalese make these torches, or 
" chules," as they are caUed, out of the dry leaves of the 
coco-nut palm, binding them into bundles six feet long, 
and three or foiu- inches in diameter, and these burn for 
about half an hour if dexterously carried. In the north, 
however, wdiere tlie coco-nut is rare, the inhabitants employ 
an mgenious substitute, and form a much superior torch 

1 Ganga, in Singaleso, meaus a gi-eat river; Oya, a smaller one; and 
EUa, a ri^1llet or stieam. 


generally out of a straight dried branch of the " welang 
tree " ^ of which the Veddahs make their arroAvs. Tliis 
is bruised into loose strips, some of which extend the 
whole length of the branch, so that the bundle does not 
require to be tied, and at the same time is rendered so 
flexible and elastic that it biu"ns fi-eely and steadily. On 
a journey, a " chule" of the latter description will last 
for two hours : they are used everywhere in the north 
by travellers and foot-runners to warn bears out of the 
path, and by the watchers to drive away wild boars 
and elephants from nocturnal visits to the rice lands. 
A party in motion before sunrise forms a picturesque 
object winding down a mountain pass by torchhght, 
and still more so when the flames of the chules are re- 
flected from the waters of an inland lake, as they skirt 
along its margin. 

Instead of arriving at the Ooma-oya for breakfast as 
we had expected, we found the road, which for a good 
part of the way runs in the bed of a torrent, so much 
injured by the rains and the flooded streams, that it was 
nearly sunset before we reached our destination. In 
descending from the hiUs we had to cross several tribu- 
taries of the MahaweUi-ganga, the passage of wliich, 
owing to the rocks, we found much more troublesome 
than that of rivers of the same size in the low country, 
^vdiere the quiet depth of water enables horses to swam 
with ease. But it is difficult to induce a horse to swim 
the rapid rivers in the hill country, and nearly impossible 
to ford them, broken up as they frequently are into 
pools and obstructed by rocks. We crossed one stream 
of great volume and tm^bulence, the Koorinda-oya, 
or " Cinnamon river," on a tree adroitly felled, so 
as to faU at right angles with the stream ; our horses 
scrambling over the rocks and through the eddies 
higher up. 

The Ooma-oya, which we reached at sunset, and near 
which we halted for the night, is the deepest and largest 

^ rierosj}ermum mberifolium, 


of those which flow into this portion of the Mahawelli- 
ganga. Our elephants were exceedingly reluctant to 
enter it, but their loads having been sent over on rafts, 
their drivers forced them to plunge in : and they swam 
across, burying eveiy portion of their bodies beneath 
the water, mth the exception of the tips of their 
trunks. Occasionally they raised their heads to observe 
their com^se, and then sank again, makuig du-ect for the 
opposite bank. 

During the night rain began to fall heavily, and 
appeared to threaten a long continuance. This was a 
serious embarrassment, as we had still two of the most 
dangerous rivers to cross before reaching Bintenne, and 
if we had delayed till these had become swelled by the 
flood, it appeared certain that they would be impassable, 
as our coohes and foot-runners Avould have found 
neither a boat nor a ford. Besides, as one party of our 
people in charge of the stores and provisions had not 
yet come up, we had reason to fear that some of the 
streams which we had crossed the day before were 
already swollen into torrents. It was clear, therefore, 
that if we did not get on at once to Bintenne, where 
provisions Avere abundant, we Avere hkely er^ long to 
find ourselves enclosed between impracticable rivers on 
either side, without food for ourselves, rice for our people, 
or corn for our cattle. Xo time Avas to be lost ; despite 
the rain Ave got again in motion, SAvam the Badulla 
river and the Logole-oya, Avhich Avere already rolhng 
in torrents ; and by sunset reached Pangragamme in 

This village consists of a fcAv mud houses built under 
tamarind trees of patriarchal age and prodigious size. 
As it is situated in a holloAV, these rude dwellings Avere 
rendered uncomfortable by the rains, the floors being 
turned to black mud, besides Avhich Avater oozed tlirou2rli 
the erass thatch in all directions. PanjT^ra£!;anime is 
inhabited chiefly, if not exclusively, by Moors, who 
have erected there a small mosque of the humblest 

Chap. II.] BINTENNE. 419 

pretensions. It is the point at wliicli the principal road 
turns off to Welasse. a district whose fertihty in ancient 
times procured for it the name Wel-laksya, or " tlie 
hundred thousand rice fields," which it bears to tlie 
present day ; but the miserable state of its cultivation ill 
sustains its title to that designation. To remain in such 
wretched quarters longer than was absolutely necessary 
was by no means desirable, and by daybreak we were 
again on horseback for Bintenne. 

On our arrival we found the large pansela, or dwell- 
ing of the priests attached to the great temple, hung 
with white cloth and prepared for our reception ; and 
our tent furniture having been arranged, we took up 
our residence for a day or two ; if not in agreeable 
quarters at least under shelter from the storm ; w^ith 
leisure to open our portmanteaus, which had been wetted 
in forchng the rivers, and to await more favourable 
weather for resuming our journey. The tents also were 
so soaked, that the elephants were unequal to their weight, 
and could not proceed until they had been dried in 
the sun. 

In the district through which we had been passing 
the population was thin and cultivation rare. Occasion- 
ally paddi-fields were to be seen near the Mahawelh- 
ganga, or terraced high up in the recesses between two 
hills where a stream afforded the means of irrigation ; 
and now and then we could descry, on the tops of some 
of the mountains, the temporary Chena villages, as 
they are called, of squatters, who settle there fi-oni time 
to time to burn down patches of the jungle and reap a 
single crop of dry rice or millet, after which the soil is 
left to fallow for a series of years before the operation 
can be repeated. But in the vicinity of Bintenne, the 
country is infinitely more rich and productive. Eice is 
cultivated on an extensive scale, and we found none of 
the usual difficulties in purchasing food for our people or 
fodder for our horses. 

The town of Bintenne is situated in a wide level plain, 

E E 2 



[Part IX. 

at an anp;lc wliere tlie river, after running clue east from 
Kancly for fifty miles, turns suddenly north to seek the 
sea at Trincomahe. The tracts around this spot are 
watered by a stream wliich joins the river, but is inter- 
cepted near the village of Horrabora, about three miles 
from Bintenne, and there serves to fill one of tliose stu- 
pendous tanks, the ruins of whicli occur so frequently 
throughout tlie north of Ceylon. If husbanded, the 
contents of tliis reservoir would be sufficient to UTigate 
a prodigious extent of rice land, but at present its 
embankment is broken, its contents are permitted to 
run to waste, and only a few fields are enriched by 
them ; but even these are capable of more than supply- 
ing the wants of the declining population of Bintenne and 
the surrounding district. 

In point of antiquity Binteime transcends even the 
historic renown of Anarajapoora. Long before the 
Wijayan invasion, it was one of the chief cities of the 
aborigines, and Gotama, on his first visit to Lanka, de- 
scended " in the agreeable Mahanaga garden, the assem- 
bhng place of the Yakkos ;" the site of which is still 
marked by the ruins of a dagoba, buih three liundred 
years before tlie Christian era, by the brother of King 
Devenipiatissa, in commemoration of that great event. ^ 
The city, which was then caUed Mahayangana, continued 
for many centuries to be one of the most important 
places in Ceylon. It was the birthplace of Sangatissa, 
the king who, in the year a.d, 234, placed a glass ])in- 
nacle on the spire of the Ruanwelle dagoba, at the capital 

^ 3Ia]iawanso, ch. i. p. 3. Accord- 
ing' to tlie 3I(th(twimso, Gotcama gave 
to the chief of the devos Sumano, ^' a 
handful of pure blue locks from 
the growino- hair of liis head," and 
this, together Avith the bone of liis 
thorax recovered from liis funeral 
pile, was enclosed in the origi- 
nal dagoba, built shortly after his 
decease. " Tlic younger brother of 
King Devenipiatissa (B.C. 307), dis- 
covering this marvellous dagoba, con- 
structed another, encasing it, thirty 

cubits in height ; the King Dutlia- 
gaminu (b.c. 104) constructed a 
dagoba, enclosing tliat one eiglity 
cubits in height ; and th as was the 
Mahayangana dagoba coniplcited." — 
Ihkl., ch. i. p. 4. Tlie existence of 
this dagoba and its contents, were 
alluded to as antiquities by Mahindo, 
in his conversations with Deveni- 
piatissa, previously to tlie final (estab- 
lishment of tlie lUiddliist religion in 
Ceylon.- — Ibid., ch. x\ ii. p. 104. 

CiiAi'. ir.] 



" to serve as a protection against lightning ; " ^ and 
Bintenne (not Maliagam, as is generally snpposed) was 
the Maagrammum of Ptolemy, which he describes as 
the " metropolis " of Taprobane, " beside the great river " 

The ruined dagoba stands close by the pansela in wliicli 
we were lodG:ed. It is a huo-e semicircular mound of 
brickwork, three hundred and sixty feet in circumference, 
and still one hundred feet high, but so much decayed 
at the top, that its original outline is no longer ascertain- 
able. Wlien Spilberg the Dutch admiral saw it, on liis 
way to Kandy in 1602 ", it was comparatively perfect, 
as white as marble, and sm-mounted by a " gilded 
pyramid." ^ There were at that time a number of other 
monuments, and a Buddhist monastery, the priests of 
which Spilberg describes as moving along the streets 
under the shade of large umbrellas borne by slaves. The 
temples were then remarkable for the richness of their 
decorations, but the only one remaining at the present 
day, is a low and mean edifice of whitened mud, en- 
closing a rude statue of Buddha, the exterior walls 
covered with barbarous mythological drawmgs. The 
village contains about thh-ty miserable houses, but it 
presents one feature, which I have seen in no other 
Kandyan hamlet, that the houses are built in a con- 
nected hue and under one continuous roof, instead 
of being, as in Kandyan villages generally, a mere 
cluster of detached clweUings, concealed in a tope of 
coco-nut and jak trees, and each constructed to secure 
seclusion and privacy. This improvement, if it be such, 
in Bintenne may [)robably have taken place when it ^vas 
a mihtary station after the rebellion of 1817 ; but still 
it is a smgular instance, and the only one I have seen, 
of the adoption by Kandyans of the European practice of 
building a street. 

1 Malutwanso, ch. xxxvi. p. 229. 
For a notice of this occurrence in the 
early history of Electricity, see (Dite, 
Voh I. rt. IV. ch. ix. p. 500. 

2 See ante, \o\. II. Pt. Ti. ch. ii. 
p. 35. 

^ Spilberg, Voiaqc, i^c, torn. ii. p. 
42G. ^ 

E E 3 



[rAKT IX. 

Even dLU'iiijT; the doniiiiion of the Dutch, Bintenne 
continued to be a place of dignity and importance; 
they spoke of it as the " finest city in the island, with a 
spacious palace belonging to the emperor." ^ It was in 
tliis palace, that Spilberg was received in 1602 by one 
of the queens of Kmg Senerat, at an interview, of which 
the admiral has left a lively description.^ The town 
now contains no memorials of its former greatness, 
except a few carved stones that mark the site of ancient 

By following a shady path for a few hundred yards 
from the temple, we come upon a splendid view of the 
MahaweUi-ganga and of the magnificent hill-country 
from which it here emerges on the fertile plains, across 
whose level it pursues its sohtary course to the sea. 
Immediately belihid are the Kandyan Mountains, and 
the ancient pass of Galle-pada-huUa, or the " path of 
one thousand steps," ^ which led towards Kandy from 
the now forgotten city of Meda-maha-neuera ; and to 
the left tower the lofty hills of Oovah, presenting one 
of the grandest imaginable examples of bold mountain 
scenery. At our feet rolled the great river, now swollen 
and turbulent from the recent rains ; its stream as broad 

^ Yalexttx, OkcI en Kicinv Oost- 
Indien, ch. ii. p. 40. 

^ Spilbeeg, Voidf/e, SiT., toI. ii. p. 
424. Spilberg speaks of tliis lady as 
a daughter of the late King AVimala 
Dhanua, " tille du feii Eoi tie Candy 
qui etoit une des feninies du rcg- 
iiaut." — Ibid., p. 42.5. If so, it must 
have been a former wife, as Senerat 
married his widow, the Queen Donna 
Catharina." — See ante,Yo\. II. Pt. Ti. 
ch. ii. p. 30. 

^ Tlio following description of this 
singular pass as it existed in 181.3, 
■will sei"\-e to give an idea of the 
strength of the " natm-al fortifica- 
tions" by which the kings of Kandy 
considered thcmsehes beyond the 
risk of iuA-asion from the low 
country. " Our first labour was an 

ascent up the Galle-pada-hulla Pass 
by a path which I cannot otheiTX'ise 
describe than by sapng that it was 
the most abrupt and precipitous that 
it has ever been my lot to see. Our 
horses were not merely useless but 
an encumbrance, from the extreme 
hazard to which they were exposed ; 
and it was only by the most laborious 
efforts tluit we could prosecute our 
jom-ney. After an ascent of about 
four miles, bringmg us to an eleva- 
tion of 4000 feet above the path we 
had left, we supposed our difficulties 
were ended ; but in this we were 
mistaken, and the road Avas of the 
same description, alternately ascend- 
ing and descending all the way to 
Kandy." — Ceowtuee's 3Imwnan/ 
Notices, S)C., 1813. 


as the Thames at London, and of sufficient depth at all 
times to be navigable for small vessels. Valentyn states 
that so late as the beginning of the last centmy, the 
kings of Kandy had establishments at Bintenne for 
building galleys and tsampans.^ The strongest feehng 
awakened at this remarkable spot is that of deep regret 
on seeing this prodigious agent of enrichment and 
civihsation roUing its idle waste of waters to the sea. 
It sweeps through luxuriant sohtudes, past wide ex- 
panses of rich but now unproductive land, and under 
the very shade of forests whose timber and cabinet 
woods alone woidd foi-m the wealth of an industrious 

At one time the possibihty of rendering this noble 
river navigable from the coast to the interior eno;ao;ed 
the attention of the government, and in 1832, Mr. 
Brooke, the Master attendant at Trincomahe, was di- 
rected by Sir Eobert Horton to explore its course, as- 
cending it from the sea in the direction of Kamhj ; in 
order to ascertain its probable value if employed for com- 
mercial purposes ; the size of boats for wliicli it was 
really available ; and how far its impediments were sus- 
ceptible of removal, so as to determine the extent to 
which it might be employed for the conveyance of troops 
and stores.'^ 

About forty miles before it enters the sea, the Maha- 
weUi-ganga separates into two distinct branches, — one, 
the Kooroogal-ganga, continuing a noitherly course till 
it falls into the bay of Trincomahe, west of Cottiar ; 
the other, the Vergel-aar, diverging almost at right angles 
at a point called Koorangemone, and reaching the coast 
by several mouths north and south of Arnetivoe, or the 
" Island of Elephants." The tradition of the natives 

^ "Ilier werden de beste galeyen 
eutsjampana des keysers geniaakt." 
— Olid en Nicuw Oost-Indien, ck. iii. 
p. 40. 

'^ An abstract of iMr. Bkooki;"s 

Eeport on the navigation of tlie 
Mahawelli-ganga was publislicd in 
the Joiotuil of (he Ji<>y. Oeot/r. Soe. 
for 1833, vol "iii. p. 223. 

E E 4 


is that at no very remote period, tlie Vergel-aar was a 
narrow watercourse, cut by the natives for irrigating 
thcK paddi-lields, but that, the soil being hght and 
yielding, it hollowed out and deepened its OAvn bed with 
such rapidity as almost to drain the original channel 
of the river below the point of junction ; the Yergel 
becoming, what it now is, one of the most tumultvious 
and dangerous torrents on the eastern side of Ceylon. 
B}^ the same operation the original channel of the Maha- 
welli-ganga was rendered so shallo"w as to be at all times 
unna\^gable, and even diy in many places, except during 
the freshes after the rains, Avlien it resumes its origmal 
depth and unportance. 

]\Ii\ Brooke, in setting out to ascend the Mahawelh- 
ganga from Trincomahe towards Kandy, proceeded by 
land to a place on the main stream called Kooroogal- 
gamma, thirty-two miles from the sea, up to which, 
ow^ng to the level nature of the country, the river 
being affected by the tides, the water is always more 
or less salt. To this point he caused the boats to be 
hauled up the stream ; but the channel was so diy that 
in many places the boatmen failed to find even the few 
inches of water requisite to float canoes, and were fre- 
quently obhged to drag them over long banks of dry 
sand. Between the sea and the junction with the Ver- 
gel, there was not a village nor a human dwelling, 
except the sohtary shed at a ferry near Kooroogal- 
gamma, across whicli the people from the interior carry 
their products to the bazaar of Trincomahe. Yet, such 
is the fertihty of* the adjacent country, that, were the 
river rendered navigable, large quantities of grain might 
be carried down its com'se, and find a ready market at 
numerous places on the coast. 

At the point where the main river empties its waters 
into the Yergel, the bed of the latter is so deep and 
nan^ow that the current rushes in with extreme impe- 
tuosity. The natives, in floating down timber to Trin- 
comahe, whilst the river is high after the rains, approach 


tlie separation of the two streams with apprehension ; 
since instances are frequent in which rafts have been 
carried into the Vergel and swept out to sea, those in 
charge being compelled to abandon tliem precipitately 
and swim to land. 

Mr. Brooke succeeded in ascending tlie river to Bintenne 
and Pangragamme, a distance of 120 miles from the bay 
of Trincomalie, and describes his voj^age as rendered ha- 
zardous by the rapids, in which it was difficult to steady 
the boats, whilst an upset would have been dangerous, 
omna; to the multitude of crocodiles with which the river 

After passing Koorangemone, where the two branches 
of the river diverge, villages became more frequent, but 
the inhabitants were poor and exhausted by fever, their 
houses being built over marshy ground and raised on 
piles, to obviate inconvenience from the periodical in- 
undation of the river after the rains. The popidation on 
the left or western bank were chiefly Moors who cul- 
tivate a little rice, whilst to the right extended the vast 
forests of Bintenne frequented by the uncivilised Veddah 

The river, as far up as Perriatorre, in the vicinity of 
the remarkable mountain called the Gunner's Quoin, 
varies from 100 to 140 yards in width, and after tliis 
point occasionally expands to upwards of 500. Its depth 
is from 4 to 7 feet, but rising to 25 or 30 during the 
rains. The chief obstructions for the first 80 miles are 
huge banks of sand piled up at the angles and sharp 
bends of the river, and occasionally collections of dead 
trees swept together by the floods, hang across the river, 
impeding the passage and helping to accumulate fresh 
heaps of sand and drift-wood. 

At Calinga, twenty-foiu" miles above Perriatorre, the 
MahaweUi-ganga loses its sandy character, and flows 
over rocks of granite. Here Mr. Brooke found the 
navigation extremely difficult, occasionally presenting ra- 
pids and falls of twelve feet and upwards, round which 


liis boats had to be dragged along the bank. These rocky 
obstructions extend for fourteen miles, after which the 
river recovers its former character and is easily navi- 
oable as far as Bintenne and Pans-raoamme ; but above 
this the reefs become so formidable that they effectually 
prevented further progress ; and here ]\ii\ Brooke ter- 
minated the portion of his journey practicable by boats, 
and explored the remainder of the channel to Kandy on 

The result of his expedition was satisfactoiy, in so 
far as it served to establish the fact that, by preventing 
the abstraction of the water now diverted into the 
Vergel, and by removing some sand banks and minor 
obstructions below the present junction, the MahaweUi- 
ganga miglit be easily rendered navigable for eighty 
miles from the bay of Trincomahe to Calinga, an impor- 
tant locahty in the centre of one of the most fertile and 
productive districts of Ceylon, where, however, in con- 
sequence of the absence of roads, or any other means 
of intercommunication, the soil can scarcely be said to 
be under cultivation, except in the immediate vicinity of 
the Moorish viUages, which are scattered over the district 
of Tamankadua. For thirty miles above Cahnga, the re- 
moval of the rocks and impediments woidd be difficult ; 
but even here a communication might be estabhshed for 
a moderate expenditure, and inland na\dgation rendered 
possible from the eastern coast, almost to the foot of the 
Kandyan hills, and the \Ticinity of the coffee plantations 
in the mountain zone. To the latter the conveyance 
of rice and stores from the low country would be a sig- 
nal advantage ; and the transport of coffee to a shipping 
port, at a reasonable charge, woidd reduce one of the 
most formidable difficulties ^vith which the planters have 
to struggle in their competition with other countries. 

To the Kandyan people the realisation of such a pro- 
ject would be productive of simultaneous advantage, by 
opening up a market for the agricultural productions 
of the interior, as well as an outlet for its mineral 


wealth. It would also afford an easy transport to the sea 
for the ebony, satm-wood, and other valuable timber, 
which now grow in neglected luxuriance and in 
almost exliaustless proflision throughout the forests in- 
tersected by the Mahawelh-ganga. It is a painful but 
convincing illustration of the evils consequent on the 
destitution of facilities for communication, that, notwith- 
standing the abundance of timber in the eastern province, 
it is cheaper, at Colombo, to import teak from Burmah, 
and jarrah wood from Australia, than to bring halmalille 
beams from the forests of Neuera-kalawa. Of the large 
quantities of cabinet woods exported from Trincomahe 
only a very small portion is carried down the river, 
and the trees which are sent by it have first to be cut 
into short lengths, as there is not sufficient water in 
the channel to float heavy logs. Were the obstnictions 
judiciously removed, and the water restored to the old 
channel below Kooroogalgammoa, the gain to Government 
from the exportation of timber alone woidd in a few 
years repay the outlay, not to speak of the permanent 
increase to the revenue which would necessarily arise, 
from the extension of the quantity of land brought into 
cultivation for rice. 

At one extremity of the town of Bintenne is the 
Wellawe, or residence of the local headman, a chief 
named Gonnigodde, who formerly held the high rank of 
"Dissave of Bintenne." Its buildings encircle a court- 
yard, round Avhich a covered verandali supported on 
pillars affords a commmiication with the several apart- 
ments. So little idea of domestic comfort or refinement 
have the Kandyans, even of this high rank, that the 
largest of these chambers are httle dingy dens from 
ten to twelve feet square, each lighted by a single 
window, or rather a hole, the area of which does not 
exceed a square foot. 

The old chief escorted us to visit the ladies of his 
family, who were introduced as we sat at table in the 
small entrance room. Ilis wife, a rather comely person, 


and his daughter, came in timidly, remained standing 
for a few moments, and then retired. They were di^essed 
in loose cloths, in the Kandyan fashion. Their feet 
w^ere bare, but their necks, arms, and ankles Avere 
loaded with gold chains and jewels, so dirty that it 
Avas difficult to estimate their value, or discover their 

In this instance tlie lady was the wife of one hus- 
band, but the revolting practice of polyandry prevails 
throughout the interior of Ceylon, chiefly amongst the 
Avealthier classes ; of whom, one woman has frequently 
three or four husbands, and sometimes as many as 
seven. The same custom was at one time universal 
throucfhout the island \ but the influence of the Por- 
tuo-uese and Dutch sufficed to discountenance and 
extinguish it in the maritime provinces. As a general 
rule the husbands are members of the same fomily, and 
most frequently brothers. According to the notion of 
the Singhalese, the practice originated in the feudal 
tunes, when, as is alleged, their lice lands Avould have 
gone to destruction, during the long absences enforced 
on the people by the duty of personal attendance on 
the king and the higher chiefs, had not some interested 
party been left to conduct theu" tillage. Hence the 
community of property led eventually to the community 
of wives. An aged chief of the Four Corles, Ai^anpulle 
Eatemahatmeya, who lived under three native kings, 
prior to the conquest of Kandy liy the British, informed 
me, in 1848, in reply to an inquiry addressed to him as 
to the origin of polyandry, that its prevalence was attri- 
butable to the services above alluded to, " when the peo- 
ple gave their attendance at the royal palace, and at 
the residences of the great headman, besides contributing 

1 The King of Cotta, "NVijayoBahu I witli his brother; and Raja Singhal. 
VII., who was reigiiing when the was born in polyandry. — Valextyn, 
rortuguese built their first fort at Oiul en Nietm Oost-Indim, eh. vi. p. 
Colombo, had one wife in common ' 05. 




labour on tlie lands of their lords, and accompanying 
them m theh^ distant journeys; durmg such intervals 
of prolonged absence their own fields would have re- 
mained uncidtivated and then- crops uncut, had they 
not resorted to tlie expedient of identifying tlieir 
representatives mth tlieir interests, by adopting their 
brotliers and nearest relatives as the partners of their 
wives and fortunes." In more recent times the custom 
has been extenuated on tlie plea, that it prevents the 
subdivision of estates, the children of these promiscuous 
marriages being the recognised lieu's of all the husbands, 
however numerous, of their mother. 

But the practice of polyandry is, I apprehend, mucli 
more ancient than the system thus indicated. In 
point of antiquity it can be sliown to have existed at a 
period long antecedent to the conquest of Wijayo, or 
the estabhshment of his feudal followers in Ceylon. It 
appears to have been encouraged amongst almost every 
race on the continent of India ; it receives a partial 
sanction in the institutes of Menu ; and it is adverted 
to without reproach in the epic of the Maha Barat \ the 
heroine of which, Draupadi, was the wife of five Pandu 
brothers. It has existed from time immemorial hi the 
valley of Kashmir ^, in Thibet, and in the Sivalik inoiui- 
tains : it is found in Sylhet and Kachar ^, anioug the 
Coorgs of Mysore and the Todas on the Nilgherry hills ; 
and to the present hour it serves to regulate the laws of 
inheritance amongst the Nairs in the southern extremity 
of the Dekkan.^ 

* The odious custom would appear 
to have been comnion in Britain at 
the period of CcBsar's invasion. 
" The Britons," he Stays, " uxores 
habeut deni duodeniquc inter se com- 
munes, ct iiKi.riiiw frcifres ctiin fratri- 
htis, et parentes cum liberis. Sed si 
qui sunt ex his nati, eorum habentm* 
liberi a quibus prinium A^irgines 
qupeque ducta) sunt." — De Jicllo 
Oallico, lib. v. cli. xiv. 

'^ Vigne's Kashmir, vol. i. p. ^7. 

' Journ. Asiat. Sue. Beny., vol. ix. 
p. 834. 

* Adat. Re'<., vol. v. p. 13. Cas- 
TANiiEDA, one of the Portuguese 
historians of India, ascribes tlie pre- 
valence of polyandry amongst the 
Nairs to the design of the sove- 
reigns, that being devoid of care and 
love for their children, tlieir attention 
might be the more exclusivelv given 


Altliougii polyandry is inferentially reprobated in the 
Rajavali and Mahaicanso ^, tlie Buddhist priesthood 
have never interposed to discourage it hi Ceylon. No 
infamy attaches to such unions, and the offspring are 
regarded as equally legitimate with those born in wed- 
lock : British courts of justice being bound to protect 
the rights of descent and hilieritance as regulated by 
the local customs of the Kandyans, have been hitherto 
constrained to recognise its existence, but within a 
very recent period a law has been introduced, under the 
influence of wdiich, if it can be enforced with the co- 
operation of the more highly educated natives of Kandy, 
it is to be hoped that this opprobrium will ere long 
cease to disgrace a possession of the British Cro^^^l. 

Ha^dng expressed a wish to visit the ruined tank of 
Horra-bora, the most interesting object in the district 
of Bintenne, tlie old cliief mounted his horse, and rode 
forward to show us the path through the forest. The 
road led for the entire distance across a succession of 
paddi fields, which Avere then under water from the 
previous rains ; but the sight of the ruin w^ ell repaid 
the inconvenience of the ride. It is a stupendous 
"svork, — a stream flo^^dng between two hills about 
three or four miles apart, has been intercepted by an 
artificial dam drawn across tlje valley at the point 
where they approach ; and the water thus confined is 
thrown back till it forms a lake eight or ten miles 
long by three or fom* wdde, exclusive of narrow 
branches running behind spm'S of the hills. The 
embankment is from fifty to seventy feet liigh, and 
about two hundi'ed feet broad at the base. But one 
of the most ingenious features in the work is the 
advantage wdiich has been taken in its construction 

to mai-tial service. — Coxquista da I one of the Canaries. — Narmt. cli. i. 

India, c^c, ch. xiv. p. 36. ^ Rajavali, p. 168 ; Mahaivanso, 

IIuMKOLDT foiiml tlie custom of po- | cli. xxxvi. p. 227, ch. xxxvii. p. 

Ijandry iu the island of Lancerota; , 250. 


of two vast masses of rock, whicli have been included 
in the retaining bund, the intervening spaces being 
filled up by earth-work, and faced "svith stone. In order 
to form the sluices, it is obvious that the simplest plan 
would have been to have placed them in the artificial 
portions of the bank ; but the builders, conscious of the 
comparatively unsubstantial nature of their own Avork, 
and apprehensive of the combined effect of the weight 
and rush of the water, foresaw that the immense force 
of its discharge w^ould speedily wear away any artificial 
conduits they could have constructed for its escape ; 
and they had the resolution to hollow out channels in 
the sohd rock ; through Avhich they opened two passages, 
each sixty feet deep, four feet broad at the bottom, and 
widening to fifteen or twenty at the top. The walls 
on either side still exhibit traces of the wedges by which 
the stone was riven to effect the openings. These pas- 
sages had formerly been furnished with sluices for regu- 
lating tlie quantity of water allowed to escape, and the 
hewn stones which retain these flood-gates he displaced, 
but unbroken in the bed of the channel. 

The tank is now comparatively neglected, and its re- 
taining Avail Avould e\idently have been long since Avorn 
aAvay by the force of the escaping Avater, had not this 
precaution of its builders effectually provided against 
its destruction. The basin abounds Avith crocodiles, 
some of Avhich were lying on the rocks as Ave rode up, 
and floundered into the lake on oiu" approach. The 
embankment A\^as overgroAvn not merely Avith jungle, 
but Avith forest trees, Avhose roots ha\"e contributed to 
giA'e it solidity. Amongst these are numbers of the 
curious Terminalia alata^ Avhose roots run above ground 
as thick as a man's Avrist ; the extremity of each, instead 
of terminating in a single fibre, expands into a round 
knob as large as a melon. The margin of the Avater 
shoAved the dead shells of the Unio, AAdiich abounds 
in the Ceylon tanks, and might become an article of 
food Avcre it not for the prejuchce of the natives. One 


species, the U. marginalis, produces small pearls. Palu- 
dince and Limncei swarm amongst the wet sedges, and 
a white Planorbis (P. indica ?) creeps up the stems 
of the bulrushes, and boldly launching itself on the 
still water, floats across it by means of its expanded 

The impression left on my mind by the inspection of 
this magnificent work, and confirmed by subsequent 
examination of many specimens of the ancient tanks 
throughout the northern di^dsions of the island, induced 
me in 1848 to submit to the Council at Colombo, a 
project for initiating by legislative authority, and under 
the control of government officers, measm-es for the 
gradual restoration of some of these important reservou's. 
The suggestion was adopted \ but occiu-rences which 
afterwards disturbed the tranquillity of the island, pre- 
vented the carrjing out of my plans, and the distinction 
Avas reserved for a subsequent governor, Su* Henry G. 
Ward, not only to promulgate an orchnance to facihtate 
the revival of the ancient customs regarding irrigation ^, 
but to contribute to the promotion of this great national 
object in the eastern and southern provinces, both by 
the encoiu*agement of the Government, and by the 
apphcation of funds at its disposal. 

The sentiments not less than the interests of the 
Singhalese people are deeply involved in this question. 
The stupendous ruins of their reservoirs are the proudest 
monuments wliich remain of the former greatness of 
their country, when the opulence which they engendered 
enabled the kings to lavish untold wealth upon edifices 
of rehgion, to subsidise mercenary armies, and to fit 
out expeditions for foreign conquest. Exce2:)ting the 

' In tlie Leorislative Council, Gtli 
November, 1848, the attention of 
the Home Government had been 
previou.'^ly directed to tlie subject of 
adopting preliminary measiu'es for 
restoring the cultivation of rice by 

repairin<r the ruined tanks. (See Sir 
.7. Emersox Tkxxext's Report on 
the Finance and Commerce of Cci/loti. 
ParUamentary Papers, 1848, p. 69.) 
- Ordinance, No. 9, 1850. 


exaggerated dimensions of Lake Moeris in Central Egypt, 
and the mysterious " basin of Al Aram," the bursting of 
whose embankment devastated the Arabian city of 
Mareb^, no simikr constructions formed by any race, 
whether ancient or modern, exceed in colossal magnitude 
the stupendous tanks of Ceylon. Tlie reservoir of Koh- 
rud at Ispahan, the artificial lake of Ajmeer, or the tank 
of Hyder, in Mysore, can no more be compared in extent 
or grandeur Avith Kala-weva or Padivil-colom than the 
conduits of Hezekiah^, the kanats of the Persians, or the 
subterranean water-courses of Peru^ can vie with the 
Ellahara canal, which probably connected tlie lake of 
Mineri and the "Sea of Prakrama" witli the Amban- 
ganga river. 

Eeasons have been elsewhere assigned*, why works 
of this natm^e were rendered indispensable by the 
pecuHarities of chmate, and the deficient supply of 
rain or river water for purposes of agriculture in the 
northern districts of Ceylon, whilst in the mountainous 
regions of the south, the deluge of the monsoons and 
the perennial freshness of the streams render the pea- 
santry independent of artificial irrigation. Hence every 
village to the north of the Kandyan zone was proAdded 
with one tank at least ; and by the provident munifi- 
cence of the native sovereigns, the face of the country 
became covered with a network of canals to convey 
streams to the rice lands. So long as these precious 
structures remained intact cultivation was continuous 
and famines unknown. But their preservation was de- 
pendent not only on the maintenance of the co-operative 
village system (a system whose existence was contingent 
on the duration of peace and tranqmllity), but on the 
supremacy of a domestic government sufficiently strong 

^ The Koran, ch. xxxiv. 

2 2 Kiugs, ch. XX. v. 20. 

3 Dakwin, Nat. Vol/., ch. xvi. p. 
358. ■ 

* Sec ante, Vol, I Pt. i. ch. ii, 

p. 73. 



to control the Avill and direct the action of these rural 
municipalities. This salutary authority was superseded, 
and eventually anniliilated by the Malabar invaders. 
They do not appear to have molested or wantonly de- 
stroyed the village tanks ; (in fact, the only recorded 
instance of the dehberate destruction of a tank was by 
the Portuguese in the sixteenth centmy^ ;) but the 
presence of an enemy paralysed the organisation under 
which alone they could be administered for the general 
advantage of the community, and the gradual decline 
of the peasantry involved the neglect, and eventually 
the ruin, of the reservoirs and canals. Between the 
seventh century and the twelfth, agricultm'e was so 
successful, that Ceylon produced ample supplies for the 
sustenance of her teeming population ^ ; but in the 
thirteenth and fom'teenth centuries, when the baneful 
domination of the Malabars had become intolerable, 
industry was stifled, and the remnant of the people 
became helplessly rehant on the continent of India for 
their annual supphes of food — a dependency wliich has 
continued unrelieved to the present time. 

The difficulties attendant on any attempt to bring 
back cidtivation by the repair of the tanks are too 
apparent to escape notice. The effort must be made 
by judicious degrees. The system to be restored was 
the growth of a thousand years of freedom which a 
brief interval of despotism sufficed to destroy ; and it 
would require the lapse of centuries to reproduce the 
population, and re-create the wealth in cattle and 

1 This event took place during the 
siege of Colombo by Raja Singha 

clesembarcaram e tomaram huma 
tranqiieira." — Asia, dee. x. ch. xv. ; 

II., A.D. 1587, when Thome de Faeiv y Souza, Poiiur/uese Asia, 

Souza d'AiTOuches was despatched, 
to make a diversion by ravaging the 
southern coast of Ceylon. De 
CorTO recounts, amongst other atro- 
cities then pei-peti'ated, tliat after 

vol. iii. p. 5-3. An accoimt of this 
infamous expedition of Souza D'-\i'- 
ronches will be foimd in another 
part of the present work, Vol. II. 
rt. VI. ch. i., and Vol. II. Pt. vii. ch. i. 

sacking the town of BeUegam, a j ^ " La population est agglomeree, et 

party was sent to a river which he la ten-e produit des gi-aius en abou- 

caUs the Meliseu, where they halted dance." — IIiouEX Thsaxg, Voyages, 

and destroi/ed the tank, " no qual I i^V., tom. i. p. 194. 


manual labour essential to realise again the ao-ricul- 
tural felicity which prevailed under the Singhalese 
dynasties. But the experiment is one worthy of the 
beneficent rule of the British Crown, under whose 
auspices the ancient organisation may be revived 
amongst the native Singhalese. The project has been 
broaclied of initiating the experiment by colonisation 
from the coast of India, or by the introduction of 
agriculturists from China ; but the suggestion is un- 
congenial of attempting the revival of agriculture 
through the instrumentality of Tamils, the very race 
to whose mahgnant influence it owes its decay ; and any 
project, to be satisfactory as well as successfid, should 
contemplate the benefit of the natives, and not that of 
strangers in Ceylon. 

The Singhalese within the last three hundred years 
have seen three European nations in succession take pos- 
session of their country and monopohse its productions 
for the enrichment of foreigners. The Portuguese and 
Dut'»h extorted its cinnamon and pearls, the British 
have covered its mountains with plantations of coffee, 
and its coasts with gardens of coco-nut palms ; but each 
has failed in turn to inaugurate a pohcy that would 
tend successfully to elevate native industry, or emanci- 
pate the people themselves from their dependence upon 
foreigners for food. Apathetic and impassive as they 
are in other particulars, the people are keenly sen- 
sitive to their wrongs in this respect. Tradition and 
their historical annals have famiharised them A\dth the 
names of those sovereigns whose reigns were signalised 
by the promotion of the one paramount interest of 
tlieir subjects, and whose memory is cherished Avith cor- 
responding devotion. Even the rule of usurpers was 
submitted to not merely with patience but with grati- 
tude, where it was characterised by generosity in 
the maintenance of the great works on which pro- 
sperity was so largely dependent. In the gloom of its 
dechne the native chronicles of the island do not fail to 

F F 2 


record tliat, " because the fertility of tlie land had de- 
creased, Idngs were no longer esteemed as before."^ 
Notliing is more natural than the disaffection of the 
Kandyans to a government under which this indiffer- 
ence to their interests is perpetuated, and notliing 
would so much endear to them tlie name and authority 
of Great Britain as an energetic and successfid effort 
to emulate the ancient Idngs in the encom"agement and 
protection bestowed on the agricultural industry of the 

The tank at Horra-bora presents singular facihties 
for commencing the attempt. From its superior state 
of preservation its repah^s might be effected at a com- 
paratively small cost, and the experiment derives pe- 
culiar encourasrement from the fact that the reservoir 
is siuTounded by a vast expanse of government land 
suitable for rice cultivation, and that it hes within a 
distance from Kandy and the coffee estates so incon- 
siderable as to offer no appreciable obstacle to the 
ready sale of almost any amount of produce derivable 
from it. 

' Rftjavali, p. 239. 


ciLVP. m. 


At Bintenne I had an opportunity of acquiring tlic 
information I was so desirous to collect regarding the 
progress and past success of the attempt made by 
Government to introduce ci\ihsation amongst the Ved- 
dahs. The district which they inhabit, about ninety 
miles in length by half that breadth, is situated in the 
south-eastern section of the island, and extends towards 
the sea, from the base of the Budulla and Oovali hill^'. 
Within a comparatively recent period, they ranged over 
a much more extended area ; and in the time of the 
Dutch, to whom they paid a tribute m elephants \ they 
were found in the Wanny, within a very short distance 
of the peninsula of Jaffna. 

It is incorrect to apply the term savages to harmless 
outcasts hke these, who neither in disposition nor m 
action exhibit such \dces as we are accustomed to 
associate with that epithet. The proofs are stated else- 
where^ which show the Veddahs to be a remnant of 
the Yakkos, the aboriginal inhabitants of Ceylon, who, 
after the conquest of the island by Wijaj^o and his 
followers, retired before the invaders into the wilds of 
the east and south ; whence they never emerged, but, 
on the contrary, withdrew still deeper into the jungle 
in order to avoid contact with civihsation. 

Here, for upwards of two thousand years, has this 

^ Valei^ttn, Oud en Nieuxv Oost- 
Lulien, Sfc, cli. ii. p. 8, 32 ; ch. iii. p 

r r 3 

* See ante, Vol. I. Pt. iii. cli. vii. 
p. 372 ; Ihkl., Vol. I. rt. V. cli. ii. p. 


remarkable fragment of an ancient race remained al- 
most unaltered as regards customs, language, and pur- 
suits ; and it exlubits, at the present day, a living por- 
traiture of the condition of the islanders as described 
in the Mahawanso before the Bengal conquerors had 
taught the natives the rudiments of agricidtiu'e, and 
" rendered Lanka habitable for men." ^ 

In relation to the mass of the Singhalese people, the 
Veddahs stand in a position similar to that of tlie 
scattered tribes, vestiges of the aborigines of Lidia, 
still lurking in the mountain forests of Hindustan, and 
which for ages have shrunk from intercourse with the 
Aryan races, who subjugated, and whose descendants 
still occupy, the Peninsida.'^ 

There is no lack of historical evidence to estabhsh 
the identity of the Veddahs with the Yakkos.^ The 
allusions of the Mahawanso and other native chro- 
nicles are confirmed by classical authorities*, as well 
as by the dkect testimony of the Chinese Buddliists, 
who wrote of Ceylon betAveen the fifth and seventh 
centuries^ ; and in the cm^ious tract De Moribus BracJi- 
manorum, wliich bears the name of Palladius, and 
appears to have been written about the year 400, 
the Veddahs are alluded to almost by name, and 
described in terms which apply to this extraordinary 
tribe even at the present day.^ 

^ 3IaJuiwmiso, cli. vii. p. 49. 
^ Such are tlie K^oolies in Guzerat, 
the Blieels in Malwa, the I'uttooas 

writers on the subject of the Veddahs 
and the endurance of a custom 
■\vhicli identifies them incontrovertihly 

Cuttack, and the Khoonds in | witli the aborigines of Ceylon. 

Gimdwana, tlie 15edas in Mysore, and j ^ Fa IIian, luir-Koue Ki, ch. 
the still more savage hordes anionjjst xxxviii. ; IIioven'^g, Pelerins 

the mountains (?ast of Bengal. — See ; Bouddh., tom. ii. p. 146 

Asiat. iSuc. Joio-n. Ben<j., vol. xxvi. 
p. 200. 

3 Lassen, I/idische AUerthims- 
hoi(l(\ vol. i. p. 200. 

^ Allusitm has been made else- 
where (^'ol. I. rt. V. ch. ii. p. 500) 
to the concurrent testimonv of Plinv, 

^ Tlu! traveller of Thebes, fi-om 
whom the author of the tract pro- 
fesses to have derived his information, 
describes the Veddahs in the follow- 
ing' terms : '* !<pOaffa tyyi's tiov kciXov- 
fiii'o)V flKTaSair, LOvog Se icttiv tKth'o 
travv (TfitKpoTaTOV Kai a^paviararov 

and a long chain of subsequent , \L"ivoic<jwt]\aloic:h'oiKovvTiro'lTirfCKai 

Cu.vr. Ill] 



The modern Veddahs live more or less by limiting 
and the use of t]ie bow, in drawing which they occa- 
sionally employ their feet as well as tlieir hands. ^ The 
"Eock Veddahs" and the "Village Veddahs" form tlie 
two grand divisions of the tribe, whose respective 
names serve to indicate, faintly, tlie difference in tlie 
amount of civilisation which is found to subsist amongst 
tlie members of this wild race. The Village Veddahs 
approach the confines of the European settlements on 
the eastern coast, where they cultivate some rude 
species of grain, and submit to dwell in huts of mud 
and bark. The Eock Veddahs^ remain concealed in 
the forests, subsisting on roots, fish, honey, and the 
produce of the chase ; lodgmg in caves, or under the 
shelter of overhanging rocks, and sometimes sleeping 
on stages, which tliey construct in the trees. ^ Li the 
choice of their food, both classes are almost omnivorous, 
no carrion or vermin being too repulsive for tliek 
appetite. They subsist upon roots, grain, and fruit, 
when they can procure them ; and upon birds, bats, 
crows, owls and kites, which they bring down with the 
bow ; but for some unexplained reason, they will not 
touch the bear, the elephant, or buffalo, altliougli the 

Kpriftvotaritv tTriaravTat Sid ti)v tou 
Tonov ffViTTpotjiijv, Ei'iri St kuI ol UtaaSif; 
c'lv'^poiirnpia, Ko\a€u, ijeyaXoKi-'jaXa, 
dicapra, Kai aTrXorptya." — Lib. iii. cll. 
viii. It is a remarkable coincidence 
that this name of liisncke, or Besmlce 
(which in mediiBval Greek is pro- 
noimced Vesadae) is applied by 
Ptolemy to a similar race inhabitinf^- 
Northern India. A forest tribe of 
IMysore, knowii by the name of 
Bedas or Vedas, formed part of the 
army of Tippoo Sahib. 

1 See ante, Vol. I. Pt. iv. ch. viii. 
p. 499. One meaning of the word 
V eddah, is " an Archer." De Alwis, 
Sidath Sangara, p. xvii. ; and the 
3fahaw((nso, speaking of one of the 
waiTiors of Dutngaimimu who came 

from the Yeddah coimtiy, says, the 
" exercise of the bow was the pro- 
fession of their caste," ch. xxiii. 

'^ The term " Rock Veddalis," 
(faUe-vedda, is probably a modern 
distinction ; but may not the tribe 
still represent the ancient " Gallas " 
who once inhabited the south of the 
island, and from whom it is just 
possible that the harbom- of Galle 
may have acquired its name, although 
other derivations are more plausible ? 

^ Humboldt mentions a race of 
South Anu!i-ican Indians, the Gua- 
raons in tlie Delta of the Orinoco, 
who construct their dwelings in 
trees, and generally on the top of the 
Mauritia I'alms, — Pcrsmi. Narrat., 
ch. XXV. 

r F 4 



[Pakt IX. 

latter are abundant in their liunting groimds. Tlie 
flesh of deer and other animals they diy on stages in 
the sun and store away in hollow trees for future use, 
closing the apertures Avith clay. They uivariably cook 
their meat with fire, and avow a preference for the 
iguana hzard and roasted monkeys above all other 

The EocJc Veddahs are di\dded mto small clans or 
famihes associated by relationship, who agree in par- 
titioning the forest among themselves for hunting 
grounds, the hmits of each family's possessions being- 
marked by streams, hills, rocks, or some well-known 
trees, and these conventional allotments are always 
honourably recognised and mutually preserved fi'om 
violation. Each party has a headman, the most ener- 
getic senior of the tribe, but who exercises no sort of 
authority beyond distributing at a particular season the 
honey captured by the various members of the clan. 
The produce of the chase they dry and collect for barter, 
carrying it to the borders of the inhabited country, 
whither the ubiquitous Moors resort, bringing cloths, 
axes, arrow-heads, and other articles to be exchanged 
for deer flesh, elephants' tusks, and bees' wax. In these 
transactions the wild Yeddahs are seldom seen by those 
with whom they come to deal.^ They deposit in the 
night the articles wliich they are disposed to part with, 
indicating by some mutually understood signals the 
description of those they expect in return ; and these 
being brought on the following day to the appointed 
place, disappear dming the ensuing night. Money to 
them is worthless, but coco-nuts, salt, hatchets, iron, 
arrow-heads, and dyed cloths, or cooking chattis, are 
valuables much in request. 

Their language, wliich is Hmited to a very few words. 

^ The concurrent testimonies on 
this curious custom of the Veddahs, 
from the fii-st centuiy to the present 

time, have been adverted to before. 
See mite, Vol. I. Pt. v. ch. ii. p. 568. 




is a dialect of Singhalese without any admixture from 
the Sanskrit or Pah ^ — a circumstance mdicative of thek 
repugnance to intercourse with strangers. But so de- 
graded are some of these wretched outcasts, that it has 
appeared doubtful in certain cases whether they possess 
any language whatever. One gentleman^ who resided 
long in thek vicinity has assm'ed me that not only is 
their dialect incomprehensible to a Singhalese, but that 
even thek commmiications with one another are made 
by signs, grimaces, and guttural sounds which bear little 
or no resemblance to distinct words or systematised 
language. They have no marriage rites ; although they 
acknowledge the marital obhgation and the duty of 
supporting their own famihes. Marriages, amongst 
them, are settled by the parents of the contracting 
parties ; the father of the bride presents his son-in-law 
with a bow ; his own father assigns him a right of chase 
in a portion of his hunting gTOund ; he presents the lady 
with a cloth and some rude ornaments ; and she foUows 
him into the forest as his wife. The community is too 
poor to afford polygamy. A gentleman who in a hunt- 
ing excursion had passed the night near a clan of Wild 
Veddahs, gave me a description of their mode of going 
to rest. The chief first stretched himself on the ground, 
after having placed his bow at hand and clutched his 
hatchet, which is always an object of much care and 
sohcitude. The children and younger members next 
lay do^\m around him in close contact for sake of the 
warmth — whilst the rest took up thek places in a 
circle at some chstance, as if to watch for the safety of 
the party during the night. 

They have no knowledge of a God, nor of a future 

^ The Dutch, in tlieir limited in- 
tercourse with tlie Yeddahs, found 
them sing'uhxrly disposed to silence 
and to intercourse by siirns, and 
Vaxentyn dwells on the paucity of 

words in theii- dialect. — Oitden Kiemo 
Oost-hulien, ch. xv. p. 208. 

* G. R. Mercer, Esq., of the Civil 
Service, who held office at Badidla. 



[rART IX. 

state ; no temples, no idols, no altars, prayers, or 
charms ; and, in short, no instinct of worship, except, it 
is reported, some addiction to ceremonies analogous to 
de\il worship, in order to avert storms and hghtnmg ; 
and when sick, they send for de\'il dancers to drive 
away the e^-il spirit, who is beheved to inflict the disease. 
The dance is executed in front of an offering of some- 
thing eatable, placed on a tripod of sticks, the dancer