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the grand floating sentinels of the British
Channel; and in conjunction with the Buoys,
are the great protection against shipwreck
along our perilous coast. Experience shows
that it is much better these things should be
thus managed by a regular system laid down
by a competent Board, than by any individual


ROBERT KNOX was the captain of an English
ship which was wrecked in 1659, upon the
coast of Ceylon. The other survivors of the
wreck perished in the forest- about which
they wandered many days naked and hungry.
The captain fell in with some people of the
nation, who took him to Kandy. There he
was kept a prisoner for about twenty years,
forbidden to attempt departure by the penalty
of death; but otherwise permitted unrestrained
intercourse with the inhabitants.
He at length escaped, and found his way
home to England, where he soon published a
very interesting account of his life in Ceylon.
During his flight from Kandy, which is in the
centre of the country, to the northern coast-
a very ticklish enterprise- he passed the ruins
of the ancient capital of Ceylon.

This ancient capital, Anurajapoora by
name (which means the city of Anuraja, its
founder), once the chief town of a luxuriant
kingdom, and evidently of considerable extent,
lies buried in the northern portion of
the island. At the time when it was in
its most flourishing condition, it has been
estimated that Ceylon contained five millions
of inhabitants. It does not now contain one-third
of that number, but Ceylon is an island
that has seen better days; Eastern wealth of
matter has long yielded before the rivalry of
Western wealth of mind. Ceylon was one of
the good things of the world more than one
thousand years ago. The island then carried
on an important trade with China and Siam;
it was connected with those countries by
religious ties; and it was through Ceylon that
the productions of the far East made their
way to the Red Sea and the Persian Gulf. Its
agriculture was then in a thriving condition;
for the mountains, even now, are covered to
their summits with terraces on which rice
grew for the sustenance of men who have
become dust- and which have become rice,
and food, and men, and dust again, through
many a long succession of ages. The kings of
Ceylon, too, had conquered Southern India.

A few of the larger monuments and more
massive structures of Anurajapoora still remain
standing and exposed; but, generally
speaking, the various ruins have become so
overgrown with vegetation, that they resemble
natural hills, covered with a forest, rather
than the remains of works of art. "Here
and there," writes Robert Knox, in the ac-
count of his flight, "Here and there by the
side of this little river, is a world of hewn
stone pillars, which I suppose were formerly
buildings; and in three or four places are the
ruins of bridges built of stone, some remains
of them yet standing upon stone pillars. They
told me that ninety kings reigned here successively,
where, by the ruins that still remain,
it appears they spared not pains and labour
to build temples and high monuments to the
honour of their gods, as if they had been made
only to hew rocks and great stones, and lay
them up in heaps; these kings are now
happy spirits, having merited it by these their

In 1815, the British became the rulers of
the whole island; and early in 1846, I turned
my face in that direction- having seen all the
lions of Kandy- and, with several attendants
carrying all the necessary comforts for a journey
in the East, succeeded in getting over the sixty
miles. The road was but a "trace;" that is, trees
were felled in the forest, where the road was
to be, and thrown on one side; the brooks
and rivers were unspanned by bridges, and the
sides of the hills no smoother than they had
been made by nature. Here and there some
big tree stretched across the "trace;" not
having been able to combat the storms, when
deprived of the support of its neighbours on
that side, it had fallen. Tropical trees of a
very large size are so accustomed to grow in a
tangle, mutually propping one another, that
they take weak hold of the ground with their
roots, and need no very heavy storm to blow
them down, when they are left lone and lorn.
Such trees my horse could, now and then, leap
over, but more frequently we had to force a
way through the jungle round the base of an
obstructive monster. Forcing the jungle is
no joke when the wiry plants cling to each
other, and co-operate against an interloper;
the brushwood being so dense, that one
cannot see live feet into the forest on either

However, I reached Anurajapoora, famous
now as the head quarters of miasma, foul
damps, feverish winds, and ague exhalations,
formerly the abode of hundreds of thousands
of men, sunning themselves, generation after
generation, in the presence of a series of kings,
who held court in pomp and splendour where
there is now nothing but jungle.

On reaching the site of the ancient city,
I immediately went to the top of a small
hill, formerly a majestic pile of building.
Thence I .surveyed the district. Here and
there all around rose various mounds, for the
most part covered with thick jungle to the
summit, and varying in height from fifty to
three hundred feet. All these were ruins of
large domed buildings, erected to enclose some
relic. Pillars surround these mounds; some
elegant shafts, and others massive columns,
which originally supported spacious verandahs,
by which each mass was surrounded. These
buildings were almost all alike in form and in
the purpose they had served. They had been
originally bell-shaped, and designed for the