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stores of all kinds are provided by European store-keepers. The town and suburbs are increasing in all directions, houses are advertised to let, which did not exist at the time we refer to, an Engineer's and Builder's yard are now in full work, several steam engines are employed peeling Coffee, and crushing Oil ; and a Railroad is talked of pretty confidently. It would be impossible to enumerate the signs of advancement which indicate the progress of Ceylon during so short a period of time. But what has been the cause of this wonderful change, and how is it that the Ceylon soil and climate were not sooner discovered to be capable of producing our valuable staple? The change dates from the equalization of the duty of Ceylon Coffee, which induced enterprising persons then on the Island to commence its cultivation ; and their success induced others to follow their example in such numbers as almost to change the face of the country.”
Of the remaining publications which appear at the head of these remarks, there need not be mueh said. They will all be found interesting, especially some of the earlier volumes in the calendar, which contain valuable papers contributed by the ablest pens in the island.
The progress of Ceylon during the past twenty years should possess a more than ordinary interest in the eyes of an Indian community. There is or was so much of similarity between the then position of the Cinnamon Isle and the territories of the East India Company, that we may be excused for pointing to the improvements effected in the former as indicative of what may be hoped for in the latter. Ceylon has not a foot of Railway, yet there are better wheel roads in its mountain districts than many of the most populous provinces of British India can boast of. With a very limited European community, and its upper classes of natives far inferior in intelligence and property to those of continental India, the little island has yet an open Legislative Council with six independent members, whose protest when in a minority has on more than one occasion, induced the Secretary of State to disallow unpopular ordinances. With an external commerce not a tithe of that of Calcutta, the merchants of Colombo can yet boast of wharfage accommodation and means of shipment unknown in the capital of all India. All this may well form matter for comparison and consideration to our Indian readers.
The appointment in 1829 of Royal Commissioners to enquire into and report on the improvements needed in the Government of Ceylon forms an era of some considerable importance in the history of that Island. However distasteful that enquiry may have been to the then Governor, Sir Edward Barnes and his subordinates their opposition availed but little : the Report of the Commissioners was a voluminous and masterly production, and formed the groundwork of great and valuablemodifications in the existing system of Government.
The rule of Sir Edward Barnes, one of the Duke's. Waterloo, men, was a pure despotism, though it must be confessed he usually exercised his absolutism for the good of the Island, and it may be doubted if any Governor completed so many useful public works. The noble road from Colombo to Kandy, twenty-two miles in length, carried over formidable mountain ranges into the heart of the Central Provinces, forms of itself a lasting monument of the genius of Sir Edward.
The Colony was governed by laws enacted nominally by “ the Governor in Council,” but in reality by the Governor himself. The Council was composed of such men as the Honorable John Rodney and the Honorable Robert Boyd, both pensioners of the Tories, and ready and willing to pass any measure placed before them.
Ceylon Society, at the period to which we are referring, was constituted very differently from that of Calcutta, where the Civil Service reigned all supreme, looking down with the utmost contempt on Military men, and associating only with the members of the then five great Houses formed by connections of Civilians. In Ceylon it was otherwise. The Governor, himself a Military man, gave full preeminence to the officers of the four European regiments and the Ceylon Rifles (two thousand strong) as well as the numerous Staff of the Island, so that the Civil Servants although enjoying much higher pay were in the minority, whilst the merchants were quite in the background, and scarcely tolerated in genteel society!
There were at that time scarcely half a dozen mercantile firms in Colombo, only one or two in Galle, and none in the interior, which in spite of the new Military road to Kandy was then an unknown land, except to a few officers and Civilians who held appointments in that part of the island.
The Civil Service was an entirely exclusive body as in India. There was however, the uncovenanted or Burgher class of officials similar to the Indo-Britons of this Presidency. These were very poorly paid, were treated almost as menials, and did not dream of aspiring to any posts of trust or importance, with the exception of one or two offices about the Supreme Court, such as Registrar, Fiscal, &c.
In the Department of Justice there was the Chief and Puisne Judge, a King's Advocate and his Deputy, all British born. The Advocates and Proctors were all of the Burgher class, and in those days no one contemplated the possibility of a Staples
being a District Judge, a Stewart a Queen's Advocate, nor a host of Ceylonese Barristers contending for the rights of the subject against the Crown. Such a bold idea would most assuredly have driven the despotic Sir Edward Barnes to seek refuge in deportation as the mildest fitting punishment for any one so presumptuous as to form it.
The style of living and the scale of expenditure were at that carly time on a very different footing to those of the present day. Very few carriages were kept even in Colombo, and the officers, who resided mostly in Slave Island, were content to walk into the Fort or to the parade ground. Europeans might have lived comfortably on two hundred pounds a year, for provisions and house-rent were both moderate, the export trade of Colombo being very limited, and the few ships which arrived yearly for cargoes of cinnamon and coir having no influence on the prices of every-day commodities.
At the time of which we are writing there was but one European shop in Colombo-that kept by “old Sandy Fraser"-who afterwards realised a large fortune by coffee speculation. The ladies of the community were mostly dependent for their fancy articles on the “ Tambies” who perambulated the place with their tin boxes of sundry wares. Seybo Dore, Hadjie Markar, and other well known Pettah shopkeepers were then mere “ Box-wallahs," whilst within the Fort there were Oorloff, Kursins and one or two others of that class. Most of the merchants in those days resided within the Fort, as did also several of the Civilians.
The rule of Sir Edward Barnes was brought to a close in the year 1831, and with him ended for a time Military Government in Ceylon. Since the first days of British supremacy in Ceylon, to this date, the rule had been to appoint none but Military men as Governors. A Civil ruler was unknown in the Island, and the only change accorded to the impatient Colonists was to allow them a gallant Scotchman in lieu of one from the south of the Tweed, or to interpolate the long array of Lieut. Generals with an occasional Major-General, and in some instances with an aristocratic Honorable.
The departure of Sir Edward Barnes, in October of 1831, was preceded by a magnificent entertainment given to himself and Lady by the Kandyan Adikars and other chiefs who held him in the highest regard. His memory is still cherished amongst them, and it was not long since when a son of their old Governor visited the Island, that they expressed the utmost desire to see and pay him their respects : whilst the ferrymen at the various rivers refused to take any tolls from him.*
* A pretty strong proof that "despotism" suited them at all events.
Sir Robert Wilmot Horton, formerly Under Secretary of State for the Colonies, was the first Civilian appointed Governor of Ceylon. · He arrived in the Island in October, 1831, and was destined to carry out many important changes, the results of the Commissioners' Report. The opening of the Civil Service was one of these innovations, and this was carried out to an extent that had scarcely been anticipated. Many obtained appointments who under the old system could never have hoped for them. Sir Robert was a Whig and for those days, a really liberal man. He possessed considerable ability, was a powerful writer, and no doubt was sincerely desirous of benefiting the Island.
Finding no newspaper in the Colony, and that the sole publication of news was by means of occasional scraps of European intelligence in a corner of the weekly official “Gazette," Sir Robert established the “ Colombo Journal,” contributing freely to its columns himself, especially a series of able political Essays under the signature of “ Philalethes." His literary labors were assisted by several of the Civil Servants, in a spirit of freedom and liberality scarcely to have been expected in such an official organ. Many of the contributors were very severe upon the conduct of the Home Government, who instantly ordered Sir Robert to prevent its publication at the Government Press. This suppression led to the establishment in 1834 of the “ Colombo Observer” by the mercantile body, with the aid of Government types and of the Governor's ready pen, but in no way fettered in its opinions. At first this paper was edited by one or two of the merchants, but subsequently it was confided to the care of the present proprietor.
Besides the opening of the Ceylon Civil Service a considerable enlargement of its body took place at this time. A number of District Judges were appointed throughout the island at salaries varying from £300 to £1,000 a year, in the chief towns. At first these appointments were mostly bestowed on the officers of the local corps, to whom the salary in addition to their regimental pay was very welcome, but by degrees these have been weeded out, and the Judicial duty is now performed by men regularly trained to the work, either as Police Magistrates, Commissioners of the Courts of Request, or as Proctors in the Courts. Under the new Charter, the Judges had the assistance nominally of assessors in all Civil cases, but with the power of setting aside their opinions. It may well be doubted if any advantage arose from this system, unless perhaps in Colombo.
The first Meeting of the new Legislative Council took place early in 1834. This was to have consisted of eight civil or ex-officio members, and six non-officials, selected by the Governor, from the mercantile and native bodies. These latter, however, were not appointed by Sir Robert, until ordered by the Home Authorities, upon the merchants of Colombo petitioning the Crown; and he then so managed matters as to disgust the public, and the merchants declining to accept seats, he appointed men more suited to his views, for although liberal in his way, he was self-opinionated and wilful, and would act only as pleased himself.
For a long time the Council, thus filled up, proved of comparatively small service to the Island. In later days, however, the unofficial members have gained a weight and influence not to be disregarded, and as all the finances of the Colony must be submitted to the Legislative Council, an opportunity is afforded to the public of scrutinising in full the propositions of the Executive. There can be no question of the great good effected by this open Council, and it may truly be said, that two Governors were recalled in succession through the instrumentality of the "nonofficials” of the Legislative Council.
Sir Robert Horton would perhaps have been a better Governor had he been a richer man. But he was poor, and to satisfy some of his European creditors, he borrowed money in the Island through a native broker, one Mootoo Sawmy of Pearl Fishing notoriety. The money was almost entirely lent by the chief Civil Servants, who thus held Sir Robert in their power, and the pressure they managed to place upon him fully accounts for the obstructive policy he pursued in delaying the appointment of non-official members of the Legislative Council, whose admission was regarded with jealousy by the Civilians. The part he was thus made to play caused his downfal. Mootoo Sawmy became insolvent, and his affairs passing under the scrutiny of his credi. tors, many of whom were merchants, they were not long in discovering the secret of Sir Robert's indebtedness to his own Civilians. It was not likely that the men who had been so thwarted and mortified by their Governor, would fail to turn this knowledge to account. They did so. They represented the whole case to the Secretary of State, and the Governor's friends not being at that time in office, he was “permitted to resign.”
Sir Robert was succeeded by another Civilian. The Right Honorable J. A. Stewart Mackenzie, who, though liberal in the extreme, and commencing his administration well by giving the merchants the choice of a member of Council, contrived like his predecessor to become involved with the members of that body to an extent which led to his recall in 1841. This break-down of two successive Civil Governors threw the Home Authorities back once more upon the pet service, the Army, and Ceylon again enjoyed the privilege of a Lieutenant General and K. C. B. in the venerable, good tempered, harmless Sir Colin Campbell..