Eight Years' Wanderings in Ceylon by Samuel White Baker




















































 -   The more
bloodthirsty and barbarous the tyrant, the more was he dreaded by
the awe-stricken and trembling population.  The - Page 40
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The More Bloodthirsty And Barbarous The Tyrant, The More Was He Dreaded By The Awe-Stricken And Trembling Population.

The power of such a weapon of annihilation as the command of the waters may be easily conceived as it invested a king with almost divine authority in the eyes of his subjects.

Now there is little doubt that the existence of precious gems at Newera Ellia may have been accidentally discovered in digging the numerous water-courses in the vicinity; there is, however, no doubt that at some former period the east end of the plain, called the "Vale of Rubies," constituted the royal "diggings." That the king of Kandy did not reside at Newera Ellia there is little wonder, as a monarch delighting in a temperature of 85 Fahrenheit would have regarded the climate of a mean temperature of 60 Fahrenheit as we should that of Nova Zembla.

We may take it for granted, therefore, that when the king came to Newera Ellia his visit had some object, and we presume that he came to look at the condition of his water-courses and to superintend the digging for precious stones; in the same manner that Ceylon governors of past years visited Arippo during the pearlfishing.

The "diggings" of the kings of Kandy must have been conducted on a most extensive scale. Not only has the Vale of Rubies been regularly turned up for many acres, but all the numerous plains in the vicinity are full of pits, some of very large size and of a depth varying from three to seventeen feet.

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