The splendid book titled: “Travel Diary of Isaac Augustin Rumf The Dutch Governor of Ceylon (1716-1723)” translated from the medieval Dutch language edited with an introduction and indices by Prof. KD Paranavitana published by the Department of National Archives Sri Lanka under the Netherlands-Sri Lanka Mutual Cultural Heritage Programme was launched at the auditorium of the National Archives on July 5 in the presence of an august gathering with Ambassador for Netherlands in Sri Lanka Joanne Doornewaard as the Guest of Honour under the patronage of Minister of Education Akila Viraj Kariyasawam.
The translator Prof. Paranavitana should receive an encomium as there are several national archives of Sri Lanka publications accredited to him. They are the translation of the Memoir of the Governor Daniel Overbeek to Julius Stein van Gollenesse 1743 published in 2009, the translation of the Memoir Commandeur Librecht Hooreman to Jacob de Jong 1748 published in the same year and the Dutch and English Dictionary written by Simon Kat in 2014.
Prof. Paranavitana also deserves a special word of appreciation as this translation of the Dutch Governor’s diary emerges as the second publication after 100 years. Earlier such a publication was done by Sophia Anthonisz Colombo in 1914 titled “Gerrit de Heere’s Diary of occurrences during the Governor of Ceylon from Colombo to Jaffna July 9 to September 3 in 1697”.
The special novel feature that is found in this is that it contains the original Dutch language version published from pages 147 to 351 and 20 facsimile colour plates on the Dutch forts he visited and the projects initiated. The translator has taken all pains to meticulously prepare the indices on personal names, place names, sea crafts and add a useful bibliography to this invaluable book.
The diary provides an in situ comprehensive graphic description on the Governor’s tenure of office.
On page 39 of this book this reviewer could trace the name of Don Phillip Dhanaike, the earliest ascendant of Galle, a well-known family of the Dhananayake’s, grand father of Wijeyananda Dahanayake former Prime Minister of Ceylon. Dr. Wijeyananda Dahanayake requested this reviewer to go with two of his letters. The first letter was addressed to the then Surveyor General and the other to the Director of National Archives to trace more particulars on his grandfather which was then proved futile.
Thus it has been revealed thanks to Prof. Paranavitana that Don Philip Dhanaike Appo was a schoolmaster of the School of Akuressa where his father Dhanaike Maddoemarale (Maddumarala) was schoolmaster for 32 years. His brother served for eight years. After the departure of his brother Don Phillip served for 12 years.
The span of school services is 52 years by the family of Dhanayakes at Akuressa and is indeed a landmark by a Sinhalese family. Curiously the photograph of the oriental scholar Diyonisus Sepala Pandita Dahanayake, father of famed W was traced by the family only from the library of Wijeyananda Viharaya of Weliwatte Dangedera, Galle as its main dayaka of the Dayakasabhawa.
This travelogue eminently edited by Prof. Paranavitana would fill a void that hitherto existed on the era of Governor Isaac Augustin Rumpf (1716-1723). The Director of the National Archives Dr. Saroja Wettasinghe has shouldered the onerous task to release of this publication in the national interest. Dr. Wettasinghe’s enthusiasm has infused a new lease of life by the release of several National Archives publications.
Title: Travel Diary of Isaac Augustin Rumpf
The Dutch Governor of Ceylon (1716 – 1723)
Translated and edited with an introduction and indices by KD Paranavitana
Publisher: The Department of National Archives, Sri Lanka under the Netherlands – Sri Lanka Mutual Cultural Heritage Programme