9th January 2000

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A 'new' history of Ceylon

The Christian Literature Society releases a new History of Ceylon written by L.E. Blaze, Principal, Kingswood College, Kandy for use in schools.

"The work denotes much careful study and careful compilation and withal makes an interesting study which cannot fail to command itself to the young scholars for whom it is intended," a write-up in the Ceylon Independent says. "It is well printed and strongly bound and should find a ready sale in a country, the history of which is but little known beyond a small circle of students."

In Blaze's words, the object of "this little book is to tell in simple language the story of Ceylon - of its fame in early times, and of the people who, so far as we know, then lived in it; of its conquest by the Sinhalese, the Portuguese, and the Dutch, in turn; and of how it came to be, as it is now, under British rule. It is necessary that we should have some knowledge of these matters, for Ceylon is the land in which we live, and to nearly all of us it is our native country. No one can be a lover of his country who does not know something of its peoples, and how they came into it".

Disorderly houses

A newspaper columnist poses the question as to why the law in respect of keeping disorderly houses (an offence punishable by fine and imprisonment) is not set in motion against those who "flagrantly offend in this respect". He refers to "a notorious establishment in Slave Island opposite the Maddena Mills almost next door to the church and within easy distance of some of the principal residences in Slave Island". He adds: "Growing bold by impunity this house has of late been the scene of a continuous series of disturbances which subject the respectable residents in the vicinity to the greatest annoyance."

The War

News of the Boer war continues to dominate newspaper columns. By January 15, the total number of applications to join the Ceylon contingent was 152. Meanwhile, A H Rutherfield, Captain & Adjutant C.V advertises for fifteen to twenty horses for the Ceylon contingent suitable for Mounted Infantry work.

They had to be "not less than five years old, between 14.1 and 15.1, sound and free from vice".

The horses are to be produced before the Government Veterinary Surgeon, Walles Yard, Colpetty between 1 and 8 a.m.

Another name

The name of S.C. Obeysekera comes up for submission to the Governor for appointment as the representative of the low-country Sinhalese in the Legislative Council.

A meeting is being planned for January 27 at Henaratgoda Gansabhawa, Gampaha to be presided over by Mudliyar J Abeykoon to support his candidature. The notice of the meeting appears under the name of D J A Jayawardena, honorary secretary of the special committee.

Tramway trouble

The tramcar service, inaugurated for the benefit of Colombo city residents is one year old on January 12, 1900. It is managed by the Tramway Company. Those who travel in the tramcars without paying the fare are liable to be prosecuted.

A case reported in the Ceylon Independent on January 11, 1900 refers to four persons who were charged before the Police Magistrate with "travelling without paying the fare thereby attempting to defraud the Tramway Company".

They are found guilty and imposed fines varying from Rs 2.50 to Rs 10.

A theft

Selected cases heard in the different courts at Hulftsdorp are reported in a column which appear regularly in the newspapers. Here is a typical report:

Thepanis, a Sinhalese man was charged before Police Magistrate with the theft of a buggy cart and bull, property of Walter Raymond, the Cemetery Keeper.

He was convicted and sentenced to 6 months rigorous imprisonment.

-Media man

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