Eight Years' Wanderings in Ceylon by Samuel White Baker


It was impossible to have visited Newera Ellia, and to have
benefited in such a wonderful manner by the climate - Page 9
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It Was Impossible To Have Visited Newera Ellia, And To Have Benefited In Such A Wonderful Manner By The Climate, Without Contemplating With Astonishment Its Poverty-Stricken And Neglected State.

At that time it was the most miserable place conceivable.

There was a total absence of all ideas of comfort or arrangement. The houses were for the most part built of such unsubstantial materials as stick and mud plastered over with mortar - pretty enough in exterior, but rotten in ten or twelve years. The only really good residence was a fine stone building erected by Sir Edward Barnes when governor of Ceylon. To him alone indeed are we indebted for the existence of a sanitarium. It was he who opened the road, not only to Newera Ellia, but for thirty-six miles farther on the same line to Badulla. At his own expense he built a substantial mansion at a cost, as it is said, of eight thousand pounds, and with provident care for the health of the European troops, he erected barracks and officers' quarters for the invalids.

Under his government Newera Ellia was rapidly becoming a place of importance, but unfortunately at the expiration of his term the place became neglected. His successor took no interest in the plans of his predecessor; and from that period, each successive governor being influenced by an increasing spirit of parsimony, Newera Ellia has remained "in statu quo," not even having been visited by the present governor.

In a small colony like Ceylon it is astonishing how the movements and opinions of the governor influence the public mind.

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