GOLD IN CEYLON.
of holes, which allows the smaller portions of the washings to fall
into a reservoir together with the gold: we may remark that all the
"stuff" is first pounded and beaten as much as possible to small
fragments to separate any portion of gold which may be amongst its
interstices. The residue is a fine black sand, in which the gold is
seen in small spangles. This sand on being dried is gently blown away
and the gold left, the value of the sand being according to Bradley
worth four shillings an ounce in the state, it is in before the useless
particles are blown off. The new diggers were also preparing a dam
accross the river to raise the water to a level with the top of their "
Tom" which was to be supported two or three feet above the ground. They
were also constructing a hose of tarred canvass of about ioo feet long,
to bring the water to the "Tom," the object being to obtain a
continuous and gentle stream of water pouring on the mass of " stuff"
supplied to the " Tom." We hear that Bradley was complaining bitterly
of the extortions of the natives already, his coolies asking a rupee a
day—fowls were at is. 6d.— whilst for a few bits of plank to make his "
Tom," he had to pay 15 shillings—the beginning of the end, if gold is
actually to be found in Ceylon.
We are told that in the vicinity of the place where Bradley and his
friends are, the natives exhibit the utmost apathy, looking on without
the slightest in-terest in their proceedings beyond what they can make
out of them. They are now well supplied with provisions including
wines, hams, flour, beef, etc.. and appear determined to enjoy
the real life of a digger. Bradley says he has lost three fortunes
already, and is so perfectly persuaded of the richness of the locality
that he can afford to pay £2 a day for a cooly to dig for him,! and
with the profits set up a "Public" and make a rapid fortune. Allowing
for a few little eccentricities inherent to a sailor, they all appear
intelligent men, and appear to be fully aware of what they are about.
We however suspect the first thunderstorm in the hills will rather
astonish them, when they see the short work a fresh in the Maha Oya,
will make of the dam they have constructed.
As Bradley and his companions are for the nonce public characters, we
must tell one or two anecdotes which are quite refreshing:
One of the Mudaliyars gave the party a dinner over the river, and on
their return the next day, the other Mudaliyar asked Bradley what time
got home. ' Got home !' said he, * why really I don't know—for I left
my watch on the piano.'
their way over on a raft, the whole of them' got upset in the stream,
but ' happy go lucky ' they would insist on dining in their wet
clothes. On their return they took to the water again, but being unable
to find the opposite shore, they returned to the bank and lay down to
sleep, wet as they were in the sand. It is easy to see if they indulge
in such pranks as those that a month must end their career in such a
climate as the one they are located in, where independently of the
notorious uuhealthiness of the place, the heat is described as being
almost unbearable. We understand that a day or two ago some six or
seven other seamen of ships in the roadstead left Colombo for the new
diggings, and some three or four have followed today."
idea which occurs to us on reading the above is, that with an
excellent road to Ambepussa and a coach daily passing down, it may
ultimately be found preferable to perform the rough washing at the
diggings; and to send the gold-impregnated sand here, for the more
perfect separation of the ore by chemical appliances. The notice of the
apathy of the natives in the face of gold digging operations must be
received aim gratio. It would be difficult for the natives to please the Times Editor.
If they look on, they are apathetic; if they charge the market-price
for their fowls, they are extortionate; and if they rushed to dig, we
have no doubt they would get abused for their cupidity. Government,
however, has taken care that the natives shall be deprived of all
encouragement, at least, to dig for the enrichment of themselves or the
country. From another account in the Times we quote as follows;—