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British dependency, the present use of the island for purposes of Imperial trade and defence, and what steps have been taken to turn to the best account this most valuable possession of our Colonial Empire.

England's first connection with Ceylon dates from 1782, when she was at war with both France and Holland, to whom Ceylon then belonged. India possesses no secure port south of Bombay on her west and Calcutta on her east coast, and the fine land-locked harbour of Trincomalee on the north-east shore of Ceylon became an important objective for the English and French Admirals, who were at the time contending for the mastery of the Indian Ocean. Admiral Hughes, the English naval commander in the East Indies, was the first to seize Trincomalee; but, being unable to garrison the harbour, it was wrested from him during the absence of his fleet at Madras by the French Admiral Suffren, who retained possession of the place till the end of the war, when in 1783. the peace of Versailles gave it back to Holland. In 1795, when Holland elected to throw in her lot with the French Revolutionary Government, Trincomalee was again seized by the British, and forthwith annexed, with the other Dutch possessions in Ceylon, to the Madras Presidency. 1801 Ceylon was constituted a Crown Colony, being removed from Indian jurisdiction, and was retained by Great Britain at the peace of 1815 as part of her share of the spoils of the long maritime



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war throughout which she had been the leading belligerent Power. The subjugation of the interior districts of Ceylon was not effected till 1816, when the last of the Kandyan kings was defeated, and the whole island brought under British rule.

It was remarked in Chapter I. that the British people were traders first and fighters afterwards. The rapid rise of the commercial port of Colombo, and the corresponding decline of Trincomalee as a naval base and port of call, bear testimony to the truth of this statement. Thirty years ago Colombo was an open roadstead; to-day it contains one of the largest artificial harbours in the world. More than 7,000 vessels were reported as having entered and cleared the harbour in 1904. Colombo's development is due to natural trade causes, which have created a demand for the gigantic harbour works, constructed at great cost and labour by the Government of Ceylon. When it is asked why Trincomalee, with its fine natural harbour, should have been abandoned for Colombo, which had no antecedent advantages as a seaport, the answer is clear. Trincomalee is situated on the north-east of Ceylon, 200 miles off the beaten track of vessels coming either from Australia or through the Straits of Malacca; while Colombo is on the south-west coast of the island, right in the centre of the great trade routes which converge on the Suez Canal. By calling at Trincomalee instead of Colombo thirty-six to forty-eight hours would be lost by trading - vessels, which naturally make Colombo

their port of call for coal and supplies. Colombo, moreover, is close to the principal industrial and agricultural centres of Ceylon, and has for this reason become the outlet for its export trade, as well as the most convenient harbour for receiving

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in return those imports upon which the exporting resources of the island depend for their develop


If it is true that trade follows the flag, the converse of this proposition is equally applicable. When Colombo was substituted for Trincomalee

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