James De Alwis
James De Alwis (born 1823) was a lawyer, writer, poet and a prominent colonial era legislator from Ceylon. He was an unofficial member of the Legislative Council. He is remembered for his writings that included several works on Buddhism.
Educated at the prestigious Colombo Academy as one of its first students, he was part of the Macaulay of Ceylon along with Frederick Nell and his brother Louis, C.A.Lorensz, John Prins, Charle Ferdinands and Dandris de Silva Gunaratna inspired by the Young England movement.
Qualified as a Procter, he went on to become an Advocate and served as the a District Judge and Police Magistrate. During his legal practice his clients included Mudliyar Jeronis de Soysa (father of Sir Charles Henry de Soysa), Arunasalam Ponnambalam Mudliyar (father of Sir Ponnambalam Ramanathan) and S. Edirimanasingham, Mudaliyar of the Governor’s Gate (grand uncle of Sir Ponnambalam Ramanathan)
Later he was appointed as an unofficial member of the Legislative Council of Ceylon; however he resigned together with George Wall, C.A Lorenz, W. Thompson, John Capper and John Eaton on November 15, 1864 on a point of principle regarding the fiscal policy of the Government and its strict disregard to respect the procedures of the Legislative Council.
- Buddhism, 1862
- The Attanagalu Vansa (A History of the Temple of Attanagalla), 1866
- Buddhist Nirvána, 1868 (A review of Max Müller's Dhammapada)