Eight Years' Wanderings in Ceylon by Samuel White Baker

 -   In addition to this, the unhealthiness of the climate
is so great that I am convinced no European constitution could - Page 50
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In Addition To This, The Unhealthiness Of The Climate Is So Great That I Am Convinced No European Constitution Could Withstand It.

Even the natives are decimated at certain seasons by the most virulent fevers and dysentery.

These diseases generally prevail to the greatest extent during the dry season. This district is particularly subject to severe droughts; months pass away without a drop of rain or a cloud upon the sky. Every pool and tank is dried up; the rivers forsake their banks, and a trifling stream trickles over the sandy bed. Thus all the rotten wood, dead leaves and putrid vegetation brought down by the torrent during the wet season are left upon the dried bed to infect the air with miasma.

This deadly climate would be an insurmountable obstacle to the success of estates. Even could managers be found to brave the danger, one season of sickness and death among the coolies would give the estate a name which would deprive it of all future supplies of labor.

Indigo is indigenous to Ceylon, but it is of an inferior quality, and an experiment made in its cultivation was a total failure.

In fact, nothing will permanently succeed in Ceylon soil without abundance of manure, with the exception of cinnamon and cocoa-nuts. Even the native gardens will not produce a tolerable sample of the common sweet potato without manure, a positive proof of the general poverty of the soil.

Nevertheless, Ceylon has had a character for fertility. Bennett, in his work entitled "Ceylon and its Capabilities," describes the island in the most florid terms, as "the most important and valuable of all the insular possessions of the imperial crown." Again he speaks of "its fertile soil, and indigenous vegetable productions," etc., etc.

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