The History of Ceylon, from the Earliest Period to the Year MDCCCXV
This 1817 book by 'A. M. Philalethes' traces the history of Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) from the classical period to 1815, providing details of the religion, laws and manners of the people. An appendix contains an account, originally published in 1681, by Robert Knox (1641-1720) of his nearly twenty-year captivity on the island. The identity of the pseudonymous 'Philalethes' is not certain: he may have been Robert Fellowes (1770-1847), who, however, never visited Ceylon, or the Revd G. Bissett, who did. The book, which includes topographical notes and a collection of moral maxims and ancient proverbs, begins with classical accounts of the Island of Ceylon by Ptolemy, among others, and moves from this 'imperfect acquaintance with this remote region' to Knox's 'lively picture of the state of the country and manners of the people' which, according to 'Philalethes', was among the most important possessions of Great Britain.