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not instantly paid. This threat, which is sometimes put in execution, reduces the debtor, if it be in his power, to immediate compliance with the demand: as by their law, if any man causes the loss of another man's life, his own is the forfeit. An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth,' is a proverbial expression continually in their mouths. This is, on other occasions, a very common mode of revenge among them ; and a Ceylonese has often been known to contrive to kill himself in the company of his enemy that the latter might suffer for it.
“ This dreadful spirit of revenge, so inconsistent with the usually mild and humane sentiments of the Ceylonese, and much more congenial to the bloody temper of a Malay, still continues to be fostered by the sacred customs of the Candians. Among the Cinglese, however, it has been greatly mitigated by their intercourse with Europeans. The desperate mode of obtaining revenge which I have just described has been given up, from having been disappointed of its object; as, in all those parts under our dominion, the European modes of investigating and punishing crimes are enforced. A case of this nature occurred at Caltura in 1799. A Cinglese peasant happening to have a suit or controversy with another, watched an opportunity of going to bathe in company with him, and drowned himself, with the view of having his adversary put to death. The latter was upon this taken up, and sent to Columbo, to take his trial for making away with the deceased, upon the principle of having been the last seen in his company. There was, however, nothing more than presumptive proof against the culprit, and he was of course acquitted. This decision, however, did not by any means tally with the sentiments of the Cinglese, who are as much inclined to continue their ancient barbarous practice as their brethren the Candians, although they are deprived of the power." -(pp. 70-72.)
The warlike habits of the Candians make them look with contempt on the Cinglese, who are almost entirely unacquainted with the management of arms. They have the habit and character of mountaineers--warlike, hardy, enterprising, and obstinate. They have, at various times, proved themselves very formidable enemies to the Dutch; and, in that kind of desultory warfare, which is the only one their rugged country will admit of, have cut off large parties of the troops of both these nations. The King of Candia, as we have before mentioned, possesses only the middle of the island, which nature and his Candian Majesty has rendered as inaccessible as possible. It is traversible only by narrow wood-paths, known to nobody but the natives, strictly watched in peace and war, and where the best troops in the world might be shot in any quantities by the Candian marksmen, without the least possibility of resisting their enemies : because there would not be the smallest possibility of finding them. The King of Candia is of course despotic ; and the history of his life and reign presents the some monotonous ostentation, and baby-like caprice, which characterise Oriental governments. In public audiences he
appears like a great fool, squatting on his hams; far surpassing gingerbread in splendour; and, after asking some such idiotical question as whether Europe is in Asia or Africa, retires with a flourish of trumpets very much out of tune. For his private amusement, he rides on the nose of an elephant, plays with his jewels, sprinkles his courtiers with rose-water, and feeds his gold and silver fish. If his tea is not sweet enough, he impales his footman ; and smites off the heads of half-a-dozen of his noblemen, if he has a pain in his own.
-ώσπερ γαρ (says Aristotle) τελεωθεν βελτιστον των ζωων ανθρωπος εστι, ουτω και χωρισθεν νομου και δικης χειριστον παντων. Polit.
The only exportable articles of any importance which Ceylon produces, are pearls, cinnamon, and elephants. Mr. Percival has presented us with an extremely interesting account of the pearl fishery, held in Condatchy Bite, near the island of Manaar, in the straits which separate Ceylon from the main sea.
“There is perhaps no spectacle which the island of Ceylon affords more striking to an European, than the bay of Condachty, during the season of the pearl fishery. This desert and barren spot is at that time converted into a scene which exceeds in novelty and variety almost anything I ever witnessed. Several thousands of people of different colours, countries, castes, and occupations, continually passing and repassing in a busy crowd ; the vast numbers of small tents and huts erected on the shore, with the bazaar or market-place before each; the multitudes of boats returning in the afternoon from the pearl banks, some of them laden with riches; the anxious expecting countenances of the boat-owners, while the boats are approaching the shore, and the eagerness and avidity with which they run to them when arrived, in hopes of a rich cargo; the vast numbers of jewellers, brokers, merchants, of all colours and all descriptions, both natives and foreigners, who are occupied in some way or other with the pearls, some separating and assorting them, others weighing and ascertaining their number and value, while others are hawking them about, or drilling and boring them for future use; all these circumstances tend to impress the mind with the value and importance of that object which can of itself create this scene.
“The bay of Condachty is the most central rendezvous for the boats employed in the fishery. The banks where it is carried on extend several miles along the coast from Manaar southward off Appio, Condatchy, and Pomparipo. The principal bank is opposite to Condatchy, and lies out at sea about twenty miles. The first step previous to the commencement of the fishery, is to have the different oyster banks surveyed, the state of the oysters ascertained, and a report made on the subject to government. If it has been found that the quantity is sufficient, and that they are arrived at a proper degree of maturity, the particular banks to be fished that year are put up for sale to the highest bidder, and are usually purchased by a black merchant. This, however, is not always the course pursued; government sometimes judges it more advantageous to fish the banks on its own account, and to dispose of the pearls afterwards to the merchants. When this plan is adopted, boats are hired for the season on account of government, from different quarters. The price varies considerably according to circumstances, but it is usually from five to eight hundred pagodas for each boat. There are, however, no stated prices, and the best bargain possible is made for each boat separately. The Dutch generally followed this last system ; the banks were fished on govern ment account, and the pearls disposed of in different parts of India or sent to Europe. When this plan was pursued, the Governor and Council of Ceylon claimed a certain percentage on the value of the pearls ; or, if the fishing of the banks was disposed of by public sale, they bargained for a stipulated sum to themselves over and above what was paid on account of government. The pretence on which they founded their claims for this perquisite, was their trouble in surveying and valuing the banks.”—(pp. 59–61.)
The banks are divided into six or seven portions, in order to give the oysters time to grow, which are supposed to attain their maturity in about seven years. The period allowed to the merchant to complete his fishery is about six weeks, during which period all the boats go out and return together, and are subject to very rigorous laws. The dexterity of the divers is very striking ; they are as adroit in the use of their feet as their hands; and can pick up the smallest object under water with their toes. Their descent is aided by a great stone, which they slip from their feet when they arrive at the bottom, where they can remain about two minutes. There are instances, however, of divers who have so much of the aquatic in their nature, as to remain under water for five or six minutes. Their great enemy is the ground shark; for the rule of eat and be eaten, which Dr. Darwin called the great law of nature, obtains in as much force fathoms deep beneath the waves as above them. This animal is as fond of the legs of Hindoos as Hindoos are of the pearls of oysters; and as one appetite appears to him much more natural, and less capricious than the other, he never fails to indulge it. Where fortune has so much to do with peril and profit, of course there is no deficiency of conjurors, who, by divers enigmatical grimaces, endeavour to ostracise this submarine invader. If they are successful, they are well paid in pearls ; and when a shark indulges himself with the leg of a Hindoo, there is a witch who lives at Colang, on the Malabar coast, who always bears the blame.
A common mode of theft practised by the common people engaged in the pearl fishery, is by swallowing the pearls. Whenever any one is suspected of having swallowed these precious pills of Cleopatra, the police apothecaries are instantly sent for ; a brisk cathartic is immediately despatched after the truant pearl, with the strictest orders to apprehend it in whatever corner of the viscera it may be found lurking. Oyster lotteries are carried on here to a great extent. They consist
in purchasing a quantity of the oysters unopened, and running the chance of either finding or not finding pearls in them. The European gentlemen and officers who attend the pearl fishery through duty or curiosity are particularly fond of these lotteries, and frequently make purchases of this sort. The whole of this account is very well written, and has afforded us a great degree of amusement. By what curious links and fantastic relations are mankind connected gether! At the distance of half the globe, a Hindoo gains his support by groping at the bottom of the sea for the morbid concretion of a shell-fish, to decorate the throat of a London alderman's wife. It is said that the great Linnæus had discovered the secret of infecting oysters with this perligenous disease; what is become of the secret we do not know, as the only interest we take in oysters is of a much more vulgar, though perhaps a more humane nature.
The principal woods of cinnamon lie in the neighbourhood of Columbo. They reach to within half a mile of the fort, and fill the whole surrounding prospect. The grand garden near the town is so extensive as to occupy a track of country from ten to fifteen miles in length
“Nature has here concentrated both the beauty and the riches of the island. Nothing can be more delightful to the eye than the prospect which stretches around Columbo. The low cinnamon trees which cover the plain allow the view to reach the groves of evergreens interspersed with tall clumps, and bounded everywhere with extensive ranges of cocoa-nut and other large trees. The whole is diversified with small lakes and green marshes, skirted all round with rice and pasture fields. In one part, the intertwining cinnamon trees appear completely to clothe the face of the plain : in another, the openings made by the intersecting footpaths just serve to show that the thick underwood has been penetrated. One large road, which goes out at the west gate of the fort, and returns by the gate on the south, makes a winding circuit of seven miles among the woods. It is here that the officers and gentlemen belonging to the garrison of Columbo take their morning ride, and enjoy one of the finest scenes in nature.”(pp. 336, 337.)
As this spice constitutes the wealth of Ceylon, great pains are taken to ascertain its qualities and propagate its choicest kinds. The prime sort is obtained from the Laurus Cinnamomum. The leaf resembles the laurel in shape, but is not of so deep a green. When chewed it has the smell and taste of cloves. There are several different species of cinnamon-tree on the island; but four sorts only are cultivated and barked. The picture which we have just quoted from Mr. Percival of a morning ride in a cinnamon wood is so enchanting, that we are extremely sorry the addition of aromatic odours cannot with veracity be made to it. The cinnamon has, unfortunately, no smell at all but to the nostrils of the poet. Mr. Percival gives us a very interesting account of the process of making up cinnamon for the market, in which we are sorry our limits will not permit us to
follow him, The different qualities of the cinnamon bundles can only be estimated by the taste; an office which devolves upon the medical men of the settlement, who are employed for several days together in chewing cinnamon, the acrid juice of which excoriates the mouth, and puts them to the most dreadful tortures.
The island of Ceylon is completely divided into two parts by a very high range of mountains, on the two sides of which the climate and the seasons are entirely different. These mountains also terminate completely the effect of the monsoons, which set in periodically from opposite sides of them. On the west side, the rains prevail in the months of May, June, and July, the season when they are felt on the Malabar coast. This monsoon is usually extremely violent during its continuance. The northern parts of the island are very little affected. In the months of October and November, when the opposite monsoon sets in on the Coromandel coast, the north of the island is attacked ; and scarcely any impression reaches the southern parts. The heat during the day is nearly the same throughout the year : the rainy season renders the nights much cooler. The climate, upon the whole, is much more temperate than on the continent of India. The temperate and healthy climate of Ceylon is, however, confined to the sea-coast. In the interior of the country, the obstructions which the thick woods oppose to the free circulation of air, render the heat almost insupportable, and generate a low and malignant fever, known to Europeans by the name of the Jungle fever. The chief harbours of Ceylon are Trincomalee, Point de Galle, and, at certain seasons of the year, Columbo. The former of these, from its nature and situation, is that which stamps Ceylon one of our most valuable acquisitions in the East Indies. As soon as the monsoons commence, every vessel caught by them in any other part of the Bay of Bengal is obliged to put to sea immediately, in order to avoid destruction. At these seasons, Trincomalee alone, of all the parts on this side of the peninsula, is capable of affording to vessels a safe retreat ;
which a vessel froin Madras may reach in two days. These circumstances render the value of Trincomalee much greater than that of the whole island, the revenue of which will certainly be hardly sufficient to defray the expense of the establishments kept up there. The agriculture of Ceylon is, in fact, in such an imperfect state, and the natives have so little availed themselves of its natural fertility, that great part of the provisions necessary for its support are imported from Bengal.
Ceylon produces the elephant, the buffalo, tiger, elk, wild-hog, rabbit, hare, flying-fox, and musk-rat. Many articles are rendered entirely useless by the smell of musk, which this latter animal communicates in merely running over them. Mr Percival asserts (and the fact has been confirmed to us by the most respectable authority), that if it even pass over a bottle of wine, however well corked and sealed up, the wine becomes so strongly tainted with musk, that it cannot be used ; and a whole cask may be rendered useless in the same manner, Among the great variety of birds, we were struck with Mr. Percival's