by the Dutch, but which fact they had concealed from the British.
Bennett gives the following statements and opinion:—
In Ptolemy's account of the island, plumbago is included with iron and
copper as indigenous; and in the year 1681 Knox mentions the former as
a native mineral; it is further recorded, that in 1755, a Cornish
gentleman, of the name of Thomas discovered the presence of tin ore in
the island, and, subsequently, found as fine a specimen of it as he
had ever seen in his native country, that Mr. Ive (the author) had also
found there veins of black crystal intermixed with spar and iron, and
black lead and copper ores."
these statements, Dr. Davy thus opposes his opinion in rather an
unqualified manner. " Wherever I have been amongst the mountains, I
have sought more particularly for tin and copper, but in vain, having
never observed the least traces of either, or of lead. It has been
asserted in some publications that gold and mercury occur native in
Ceylon. The result of the inquiries I have made, satisfy me the
assertion is unfounded, and that neither metal in any state has yet
been met with in the island."
as Dr. Davy was altogether not more than three years and a half at
Ceylon, (during nearly one-half of which period the Kandyans were in
rebellion, and he himself physician to the forces), one would suppose
that, even with his known ardour and scientific acquirements, an area-
of 24,000 square miles was rather too large for so minute an
investigation of its geology, as would warrant the doctor's assumption
that the statements of his predecessors (in authorship upon Ceylon) are
groundless; and should further investigation and consequent development
of its mineralogical resourc.es
nullify Dr. Davy's opinion altogether by the production of gold,
silver, lead, tin, copper, and mercury, how deservedly will the tables
have been turned.
late Mr. Reckerman, Fiscal of Colombo, informed me that coal had been
discovered in the island by the Dutch; but from there being such an
abundance of wood and charcoal, the only fuel used by the native cooks,
no notice whatever was taken of the discovery. That mineral is now
become an object of such great and general importance, as to be worthy
of the most particular research for the purpose of supplying fuel to
steam vessels, touching at Ceylon, on their voyages to and from the
colony that discovery has ever produced.
is therefore to be anticipated, that malgre prejudiced opinions to the
contrary, mineralogists may yet be induced to turn their attention to
the development of the geology of this magnificent country; for there
can be little doubt that it will increase the present number of its
known mineral productions, if it do not include both gold and silver.
Dr. Gardener's opinion in 1847 was as follow: —
With regard to the existence of metallic veins in the mountains of
Ceylon, almost nothing is known. Traces of tin have lately been said
to have been met with; and it is not at all unlikely that it may
hereafter be met with in greater abundance, as it is principally in the
metamorphic rocks that metallic veins are found to exist; and mostly in
mountainous countries for their immediate neighbourhood. As their
existence, however, cannot be predicted, further knowledge concerning
them will only be obtained by actual examination of those parts of the
island most likely to possess them."
1849 Dr. Gygax reported professionally on the district of Saffragam,
stating that he had discovered ores of tin, nickel, cobalt, iron, with
anthracite, and we believe expressing his conviction that gold would be
found, but we are not able at this moment to refer to his report.
Report of Dr. Gygax on the Geology of Saffragam. (From the Colombo Observer, March
20th, 1854.) We have now had an opportunity of perusing the reports
made to Lord forrington's Government by Dr. Rudolph Gygax, who was
employed in 1847-8