Leonard Woolf as a Judge in Ceylon

Prabath de Silva

“I welcome the publication of this second and revised edition of Prabhath de Silva’s book on the judicial work of Leonard Woolf, who tried many civil and criminal court cases when serving as a member of the Ceylon Civil Service at Hambantota from 1908 to 1911.  De Silva has taken pains to collect extensive evidence from many sources, including Woolf’s official diary, his autobiography, manuscripts found in the record room of Hambantota District Court, and his famous novel, The Village in the Jungle.  These sources are woven together to provide a vivid account of Woolf’s approach to law and justice.  In this new edition, de Silva has expanded his use of foreign and local secondary sources in order to place Woolf’s judicial work in a wider context.  De Silva’s analysis shows that Woolf’s distinctive personality affected the way he approached the cases he heard.  At the same time, the book also has wider implications for understanding colonial justice and the ideological foundations of British rule in Ceylon.”  Foreword by Dr.John D. Rogers:

a21 Woolf with Hambantota kachcheri staff Mudaliyars, Muhandiram and Engelbrecht

“Prabhath de Silva has provided a gem of a study – taking us back to an era when Ceylon’s Civil Servants were erudite and scholarly. Delving into district archives he has unearthed material on Leonard Woolf as judge and man in the Hambantota District of Ceylon (1908-1911). Linking this data to Woolf’s own self-reflections, de Silva places the man in his context in an outlying backwoods region. His critical commentary on the workings of the British judicial system within such a setting is leavened by an awareness of the severity of kingly justice under the rulers of the pre-colonial era and the force of class distinction in Hambantota in Woolf’s time. This book is a fascinating read.” ... Michael Roberts
prabath Prabath de Silva

leonard-woolf-cover-to-mail-for-web-site

Prabhath de Silva: Leonard Woolf as a Judge in Ceylon: A British Civil Servant as a Judge in the Hambantota District of Colonial Sri Lanka (1904-1911) 2016, Neptune  Publications (Pvt) Ltd  Pelawatte, Battaramulla, Sri Lanka …. 170 pp, ..ISBN :978-955-0028-69-6 beinga 2nd edn [First edition 1996 ……….Hard cover with jacket .Price: Sri Lanka (Rs.860), overseas inclusive of postage : US $ 15, GBP 12

TABLE of CONTENTS

I.       Introduction …………………………………………3-14

II.     Nervous Tremor and Justice ……………………15-22

II>    Humour and Severity ……………………………23-32

IV.    Judicial Work in General ……………………….33-51

V.     Engelbrecht: The Boer Prisoner of War…….. 5259

VI.   Among the Case Records of Hambantota ….  60-71

ViI.    Police, Village Headmen and Crime……… . 72-77

VIII.  ‘The Village in the Jungle’…………………….78-126

IX.     Conclusion ……………………………………   127-140

Appendix   …………………………………………. ..  141-150

Notes         ……………………………………………. 151-164

Bibliography ……………………………………….. 165-170

woolf-page-23 Woolf in Jaffna in 1906

woolf-page-11Leonard and Virginia Woolf in 1912

woolf-page-83 Women fetching water from a tank of a village in Hambantota in Woolf’s time

woolf-page-87 Hambantota Bay and harbour in Woolf’s time

a22 Henry Engelbrecht in 1910… Engelbrecht was Boer POW who stayed on

ALSO SEE 

SCENES from Woolf’s Time in British ceylon … or Thereabout

54-boer-pows-assembled-for-worship Boer POW at upcountry ‘detention centre’

boer-pows-and-british-cricket Boer POW at cricket61-planting-fraternity-watch-cktBritish  Planting fraternity watching cricket 

09-colombo-municipal-councillors The Colombo Municipal Councillors-In Wright’s Twentieth Century Impressions of Ceylon 1907orient-club-1907-screened Some leading members of the Orient Club –– Wright’s Twentieth Century Impressions of Ceylon 1907 .. Note that this elite Ceylonese institution adhered to a counter colour bar: no “Whites” were admitted as members

1 Comment

Filed under accountability, British colonialism, cultural transmission, governance, heritage, historical interpretation, landscape wondrous, legal issues, life stories, literary achievements, modernity & modernization, politIcal discourse, power politics, social justice, sri lankan society, unusual people, world affairs

One response to “Leonard Woolf as a Judge in Ceylon

  1. NelumGamage

    Appears to be a ‘must’ for any library..
    Thanks.

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