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Ἐν δὲ λέγωσιν ὡς οὐ δίκαιον τοὺς σφετέρους ἀποίκους ὑμᾶς, δέχεσθαι,
μαθέτωσαν, ὡς πᾶσα ἀποικία εὖ μὲν πάσχουσα τιμᾷ τὴν μητροπόλιν,
ἀδικουμένη δὲ ἀλλοτριοῦται· οὐ γὰρ ἐπὶ τῷ δοῦλοι, ἀλλ ̓ ἐπὶ τῷ ὁμοῖοι τοῖς
λειπομένοις εἶναι ἐκπέμπονται.

Speech of the Corcyrean Ambassadors at Athens. Thucydides, Book I. Cap. 34.
Embassies from regions far remote,

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IN presenting to the English reader a detailed account of an island, which, though uniting in itself no slight share of earthly advantages, is but little known, to the majority of the public, I am compelled to trench on his patience, while I explain the state in which I found its history, and to enter upon topics somewhat personal perhaps, yet topics that from their distastefulness to myself I should have been induced to omit, were it not for the appeal made to me by more than one of the press to enter more fully upon them, with a view to the more perfect elucidation of the subject.

The collection of materials for the history of Ceylon, was commenced towards the close of 1846. The whole of 1847 was further spent in collation and arrangement; and the greater part of 1848, has been devoted to the task of revision, and carrying it through the press. There are various modes of carrying on such a work, but I find by experience, that they are all resolvable into the same effect-collation and arrangement, printing and revision. Unless due importance be attached to the latter branch, a work is sure to be valueless the moment it appears; and I have it on the highest authority, that from inattention to this particular, a recent work of considerable merit, in some respects, was known to be worthless on the day of publication. I am pretty well acquainted with the modes pursued by writers engaged in works analogous to some of the topics contained in my book; to some, I repeat; for my book is, I believe, unique in the comprehensiveness of its scope and purpose, and I certainly do not intend to follow their example. My ambition is to do a little, and that little, as far as possible, well; rather than, with breathless haste, to aim at bringing out a number of volumes, which, from the nature of things, could not fail to mislead. I, at all events, will not introduce the system of the Minories into colonial literature. I have no desire to institute invidious comparisons between other works and my own, but for the sake of the

great subject I have at heart, I could wish both the public and the press would exercise greater discrimination, and look more narrowly into what they are called on to approve. In the work before me, nothing has been taken for granted, but that I beforehand positively knew. Again, I have not, to save trouble, recorded information which I knew to be false or incorrect, because I thought the great majority of my readers would never inquire into its veracity, but I have endeavoured to set myself up as the severest critic, not only of the work itself, but of the agency employed in its execution. I have no wish to underrate the advantages of combination for carrying out a mighty undertaking. It is, perhaps, indispensable in the field of natural science; it is alike useful for the general purposes of life. The greatest political engine of modern times is its most successful embodiment. But there are certain conditions deemed essential to its right application. When, however, you turn to the till lately untrodden fields of commercial statistics and colonial research, you are still more disposed to examine the agency through which a given object is proposed to be consummated. You scrutinize the means to the end. If you find them in every case ridiculously disproportionate, and you should hear a man's contributors themselves avow their dislike for the task they had undertaken, you must deplore that a writer, even though you may accord with his notions of political economy, should lend his name to the propagation of incorrect data, and thereby, erroneous conclusions. Again, in the field of colonial research, where you see a writer, who, if he can be said to hold any principles, worthy of the name, holds such as would be scouted by the intelligent mind, who is incapable of handling anything beyond the surface, employing copyists, unfit for anything beyond ordinary penmanship; certainly incapable of testing, comparing, fusing, recasting, and the various processes to which such materials should be subjected; and you find such a writer merely putting them into shape, and at rushing into print, you can scarcely restrain your indignation, at such inconceivable charlatanry. You are of opinion, that if a man borrow never so little from others, he should at least make such information his own, by the intelligence with which he groups, the philosophy with which he handles, and the critical manner with which he reviews it. To you a colony per month appears the most outrageous form of scissors and paste, alike removed from the regions of calm and philosophical in


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