23 FEBRUARY 1884, Page 23

Ceylon in 1883. By John Ferguson. (Sampson Low and Co.)—

This is a thoroughly business-like book. Mr. Ferguson spends no more time than is necessary in dealing with the past of the island. It is his business to describe it as it is, and to describe it from ttie filminess point of view. Ceylon has of late suffered a check to its prosperity. This seems to be an age of plant diseases, and as the phylloxera has attacked the vineyards of Europe, so has a destructive fungus, called the Henuleia vastatrix, laid waste the coffee planta- tions of Ceylon. But Mr. Ferguson does not despair of its future. The climate is exceptionally equable, and free from the violent dis- turbances that some regions are affected with, and it favours the

growth of many valuable products. Tea may be well and profitably grown there, and for tea there is a practically unlimited demand in the English markets, as Ceylon would have the advantage over China in position. Then there is bark., an export which is steadily rising in importance. Here, again, Peru still keeps the lion's share of the trade, and Ceylon has got to possess itself of the market. Altogether, this is, we should say, a useful book. Some interesting information about elephants and other matters, not utilitarian, are given in appendices.