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Full text of "An account of an embassy to the Kingdom of Ava in the year 1795"

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(IN THE VAMOFS DBPARTMEFTTS^ 
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LITERATURE, S€IENC£,& THE ARTS 

voL.n:, 

BIRMAN EMPIRE.YOL.II. 



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EMBASSY 






THE KINGDOM OF AVA 



M.DCC.XCV. 
BY LIEUT.-COL. MICHAEL SYMES, 

or THE LXXYI. KXGIUEMT. 

WITH ADDITIONS 
BY HENRY GLASSFORD BELL, ESQ. 

AUTHOR OP " THE LIFE OF MART QUEEN OF SCOTS, " &C, 

A NEW EDITION. 

IN TWO VOLUMES. 

VOL. II. 



EDINBURGH: 

PRINTED FOR CONSTABLE AND CO.; AND 

HURST, CHANCE AND CO., LONDON. 

1831. 



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CONTENTS OF VOL. IL 



CHAPTER 1. 

Embark on board the Royal Barge— Leave Pagahtn 
—Singular Caves— Birman Hermits— Pass Sirray- ' 
kioum— Goerroutoh— Country Populous^ Sh waye* 
dong — Keonzeec — Toucheec— Laepac, or pidkled 
tea-i^Kiouptaun, or Line of Rocks— Tanound^n 
— Tirroup-mew, or Chinese Town— The Keen- . 
duem, a large River— Cassay Boatmen — Yauda- 
boo — Manufactory of Earthen Ware— Summei- 
kioum—- Manufactory of Saltpetre, and Gimpow- . . 
der—Gnameaghee— Tobacco Plantations — Sand- ' 
aht, or Elephant Village— Meahmoo — Yapadain 
—The Shawbunder returns— Kiouptaloun — Peri- 
odical Risings of the River— Ancient Ava — De- 
scription of it — Temple of Shoegunga Praw-*— 
Beautiful situation of Chagain— Appearance of ' 
Ummerapoora, the Capital— Tounzemahn—-Spaci- ' 
^us Lake— Residence of the British Deputation, ' 
and Reception on our Landing . 1 

CHAPTER II. 

Place of Residence described — Deputation firoitk " 
Chijia Provincial— Not Imperial— Rhoom, a Build- 
ing sometimes attached to private houses— Reason 
of it — Munificence of the Birman Government- 
Letter from General Erskine— Opened by the Bir- 
man Minister — Apology— Appearance of the adja- 
cent Counticy — Parched for want of rain — Caswa^ 
vot. n. a 



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COKtEKTS. 

rAOB 

Fanners — Women Industriou*— Row the Bo at i ■ 
Fond of Singing— 'Chinese Mwdc discordant and 
troublesome — Indolence of the Chinese — King re^ 
turns to the Capital — Eclipse of the Moon— Rea- 
son of dpla^— -JPride of the ,CoM^|b— Itp Punctilious- 
ness— Leber irom the (jrovemor-genenil Translat- 
ed—Present a Memorial — Embassies usually con- 
sist of three Members— Visit from the Junior 
Deputies from Chin a . - Whimsica l Ceremony- R^ 
turn the Visit — Subject of Conversation • • • 17 

CHAPJJSiRHL 

Reliffipa of tl»^ Bimxx^^T^&rjMf^ 
of^e Metr9polis-T-lA^€9rs— T^e Roy^.Est^^ 
ment--Clounql pf. State— -Officers--T^ono}lrs Apt 
I^er^^'y — ^^4jgl^^ of l(Umk7~I>i)sss.rr'^eseip- 
blj»nce .to tt\e,(!7hines9— Mar^age9r-^Fu9f$ral»— Po- 
pu}ati9n— -Revenue .^^ • • •.. • ... •SS 

CHAPTER IV. 

MiUtary Eaiabllshnient — Infantjy — Cassay Cuvairy 
^ Artificer B — War-boatB^Gunpowder long known 
— Weapons ^ — Food — Climate — Soil — Prciduce 
Mineralii^ Precious Stones —Coranierce— Currency 
-^Weights^ — Measures^ Character of the Natives 
— Not jeAlou!} of their Women^Fcrocious In War * 
— Beggars unkrtown^ A itimats^Dl vision of Time 
-Music — 'Language — Extent of the Empire— 

, Bivfin ,.......*, p ,..» d5 

CHAPTER V. 

Permission Granted to make Astronomical Obaenra- 
ti6ns—]!^essi^e from the King — River rises — Pre- 
set of Wheat-~Bee»— 'Honey — Bengal Painter 
employed at Court— Mode of Catching Wild Ele- 
phants — King solicitous to introduce the Art of 
Glass-making — Attentions from Viceroys to Fo- 
reign Ministers — ^Letters arrive from Bengal — Our 
Ptople healthy — Chinese the reverse-^T^e Caua6 
'—Ceremony Afraiigec^Proce8non«--Jdiaiuuar of 

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qjJAPTEE VL 

Pres^ eiiJ<Ba^i)y ttfe Pi^ucfpal OjflBfrers— Cf itt- 

. jriat'VaTue— Mitter of Form — ^yisit ttie'Engy Xee- 

lu«n-^Cotiduct bribe 'Aibnc (Mcera more resptel^ 

lul — Spleadour of the Court — Engy Teekien— 

Ceremony at IXafJUPtlog— CbobwEs, or trihutary 
Princes — Mecdaw Pmw-^ A Princes of High Dig- 
uUy— Her Court ^Venemble Pen»h— ^urioafty 
— Politeness — Visit to the Priocess of Prome— tft 
Bas&^tn— >Of Tottgho— And of Peg^m— Recep- 
tidn At t^ieir respective Courts — View tbt* FiedU 
gaut Trtk, or Royiil Library — Noises renewed by 
the Cbittcse — EtTecta of Despoti&tn^PHde of tSio 
Mlnistets—InstirmounmbJe Difficulty in «. Point <jf 
Efiquetto — ^Politcnpfts of the Govepior of Baitiod 
— Vi^it to the S^rcdaw Poundages Praw, or Afdh 
Priest— Magnificent Kioum^-^Hvjmctoua Rcl^i- 
oufi B^iidiuf^ — Knebnng Kioum — A beautiTOl 
Buihling — To what purpose apptied-— A Kioum of 
Extraordinary Splendour^^^isit the Arraean Gaud-^ 
uta — Enthustasiie Adoration of the Multitude^ 
Chout^dH} or Fla^c of Accotuuiodatiou for Stjran-> 
gel's— Partake of Refreshment^ — Return'-^DescTip- 
tiori Of Ihe Fort of Ummerapoom . . , • « ^114 

CtlAPTER Vtt 

ReMonr'td lidj^for ^-iirospehnis l^imfnitfoA df HtSs 
Eimias«y-rMeet Mth strenuous Oppdiitfbn— On 
whit -0rouiKls^«rVessel ahrkes at Rangoon from 
^Maoritius — News from Europe unpieasant^-^Iti- 
dustriously propagated — Mr Wood visits th« 
Woongees— Polite 'ReoeptfoD^i^llemarkable Ciiw 
cumst^nce— Require to, know his Majesty's Plea- 
sQi^^Day ai^ptrflitedlbr the D^Rf^ry <ff PMseihb: 
fnlbr tte BlhMUilCtiil^^^^Ctfi^^ 

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PACK 

— ^An^aiKox>f the 'Binnan <!oiijrt-^IUMdii» W : 
remonstrate — Uncivil Treatment-*-Mr Wood prOf* 
sei&ts a Written and Solemn Declaration— *F«iw , 
ment caused by it — Favourable Condueion-^-^A . 
Day appointed for our Reception by the King«- 
Liberal Return of presents— Different Articles— 
Proceed to the • Palace*— Introductioi^— >Hall of 
Audience— The King—->Hitt Dress— Person— -Man- 
ner — Receive Official Papers in the Rhooni^-*£or- 
mality in conveying the King's Letter — Return . 145 

CHAPTER Vin. 

Substance of Official Papers — Prepare to depart-— 
Chinese Deputies — Take leave preparatory to their 
Return — Binnan Books^Sold clandestinely to 
Strangsrs — A Man imprisoned — Liberal conduct 
of the Court — Siamese Painter — Birman Festival 
— The Court of the Queen attended by all the 
Women of Rank — ^Illuminations— Unceremonious 
visit to the Engy Teekien — Embaik on board our 
Boats— Delay— -I^etter from the Principal Woon- 
gee to the Governor- General of India— 111 treat- 
ment sufferod by one of our People — Insolence of 
the Followers of the Prince of, Tongho — Leave 
Ummerapoora— Visit Chagaing — Description of 
the Fort — Oderua, or Pot Village — Kieock, the 
great Manufactory of Birman Idols — Temple of 
Commodoo Praw Fireworks— Rockets of extra- 
, . ordinary Magnitude — Chagaing— An Emporium 
' of Cotton— ^Ancient Ava — Temple of Logatherpoo 
Praw — Stupendous Idol — Sandaht, or Elephant 
Town — Keenduem River — Nioundoh— Pegahm— 
Civilly of the Mioudogee, or Deputy Governor— ; 
Ride to view the Ruins — Curious Temple — Art 
of turning Arches lost by the Birmans— Reach the 
Town of Sillah Mew 169t 

CHAPTER IX. 

Arrive at Sembewghewn — Politeness of the May- 
woon of Arracan — Yanangheoum— Wells of P«-. 



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X 



_ TAUE 

trricam^FMoHigo— Meeiid«7-.FriaiA7 mm^ 
tioo of the Maywoon of P^gue^Kayn, or Mom^ 
tii not r n fl t r in g e Cuttom— Notions of Relieoa 
—Pttloo—Froiiie^ Visit tho Site of an Anoenl 
Cityw-Peeiiii^iee— MayahouA— Prcrjudice of Bir- 
mao Boatmen— Disagreeable circumstance— Weat- 
cm RiTcr—Dteoobew— Enter the Rangoon branch 
of tba Irrawaddy — MoBquitoes-* BieeC O^ila&i 
Tbomaa— AniTe at Bangoon ••••'•• M 

CHAPTER X. 



Xapetial Order R^stend at tfaa '. 

tlons on our Comnwrea and Cbnncsioa ^ 

BviBatt Empire— Recove a Visit fram the May- 
iPDon— Account of a Canian Village — Birman 
Game of Chess— Instance of a Trial by Ordeal- 
Letter from the Maywoon to the Governor- Gene> 
Ml — Take leavfr— Embark on board Iha Pfnahoaia 
— 'Vqyago to Bengal— Coadaiiaa •• ... 918 



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EMBASSY 

TO 

AVA. 

CHAPTER I. 

BMBARK ON BOARD THE ROYAL BAR6B — LEAVE 

PAGAHM— ^SINGULAR CAVES — BIRMAN HER- 

' MITS— PASS SIRRAYKIOUM — GNERROUT0H-— 

. COUNTRY POPULOUS SHWAYEDONG — iKEON- 

' ZEEC — TOUCHEEC — ^LiEPAC, OR PICKLED TEA 

, ' — KIOUPTAUN, OR LINE OF ROCKS TANOUN- 

DAIN — TIRROUP-MEW, OR CHINESE TOWN— 
, THE KEENDUEM, A LARGE RIVER— i^JASSAY 
BOATMEN — ^YAUDABOO — MANUFACTORY OF 
EARTHEN WARE — ^ SUMMEIKIOUM — MANU- 
FACTORY OF SALTPETRE, AND GUNPOWDER 
— ONAMEAGHEE — TOBACCO PLANTATIONS—* 
SANDAHT, OR ELEPHANT VILLAGE — MEAH- 
MOO — YAPADAIN — THE SHAWBUNDER RE- 
TURNS KIOUPTALOUN PERIODICAL RIS-( 

INGS OF THE RIVER — ANCIENT AVA— *DEr\ 
SCRIPTION OF IT — TEMPLE OF SHOEGUNGA, 
PBAW — BEAUTIFUL SITUATION OF CHAGAIN* 
—APPEARANCE OF UMMERAPOORA, THE CA- 
PITAL— TOUNZEMAHN- — SPACIOUS LAKE — 
RESIDENCE OF THE BRITISH DEPUTATION,' 
AND RECEPTION ON OUR LANDING. ' 

VOL. II. A . ^ 



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Z EMBASSY TO AVA* 

At niiM o*cloek in the raormng of the 11th «f 
July, I took possoBsioii of iA» roval haaegt with 
ca:«inonioii8 formalitjr, accompantfd hy tfie Wooiw 
dodc and Baba-Sheen. The pktfonm on the ouU 
aide c<mtained space for tidrty-two rowen, sixtecs 
on each side ; but on this occasion the oars were 
not £E»tenedy as it w^ meant to be drawn by war^ 
boots. The inside was dirided into three small 
apartments, handso^idy fitted np ; die roof and 
sides were lined with white cotton, and the floor 
covered with carpets snd ^e mptts. I proceeded 
in this bar^e till one o'clock, and then returned to 
toy own boat, which was a much more convenien4 
though less dignified conveyance. 

After leaving Neoundah, the eastern bank ef 
the river rises to a perpendicular height, eighty or 
one hundred feet above the river. In the side of 
the cliff, rfither niore than half way up, we saw 
some apertures resembling doorways^ and were 
^Id that they were entrances into caves tHach 
had formerly ]l)ee^ inhabited by hermits, who, de- 
sirous of withdrawmg from the world, had exctk- 
vated these abodes with their own hands, and 
dwelt in them for the remainder of tiieir Hves, 
preserving no farther intercourse with their fellow- 
crei^tures than what was Necessary to reeeif^ their 
Ipo^j which was lowered doWn to them by a rope, 
^e Birmaiis 4o not inflict on themselves disgust- 
^ tortures after the manner of the Hindoos ; but 
thiey deem it meritorious to mortify the flesh, by 
the voliihtlay penance of abstemiousness and s^- 
denial. Solitary seclusion has, at some period or 
^her, been accounted praiseworthy in most oonn* 
tries. During the reigU of monkish super^it^, 
\t prevailed very commonly throu^^Mmt E^iropD. 



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SlffBAM¥ TO A^A* f 

Our Jagmdnry tutot «e not whiiily vnfoittde^ 
31ie Honut i^ Wailnrorth is aaid lo b^^ve lia4 it« 
enpn ton a £Msfe. j^xmat, hoii^Tflry Uurng^ 
bigoted, are not ^UK>m79 ai^ ave in genoal bleMh 
ad indi a diqpoaitioa loo dMnrfbl to r^iia from 
the "worid iik hopeUes deifHmdency, or sullen diat 



. Oui^ioani^tiuB My was alow, and wf p^icaiy-^ 
adiittla tk« difBnred fip^n^ wliat has ahread^r been 
daHirybod* Tha islands fwmad by the river n^ere 
lott^> and succeeded eacb other with such sioall 
aatamis; that the fall Inreadth of the riv^, from 
IWBik to baai^ selda ro could be sewu Wejud^rad 
it to be in most places three miles wide. Our 
koalajkeptmaar the eastern shore, ai}4 passed, o^ 
Mut #ds, die- towns 4)£ Sinaykioum «ui Gi^er* 
«fDtttQb» During, die latter paort of the day, tho 
voanti^ laemad fotile, and um soil ridier than m 
die ndlgbbguihood of Pagahm* The number <^ 
■ialnbitaataand cattle denoted a considerable poi- 
ptdaddn* In the evening we brou^i to near 
fiSiwayedong, a small but neat town, containing 
jdbout S60 bouses raided in a regular stre^ £ad( 
dwdling had a small gard^i, Ceaced with a faamr 
boo xaiyai^. Two monasteries and a few small 
tenq^ea <^ not claim particular notice; but the 
tali and indenspreading trees that overshadowed 
than were objects of pleasing contemplation. 
.. One die next day, July 12th, we continued our 
jaqriMy, aamstimea going £iist, at othere slow and 
Wiik difficidtyy as die wind frivoured us, the 
readras^of the river winding so much tbat we had 
k on ^ quarters* Keozee, on the eastern side, 
^ <iaa the ^aoa ol most conse^ence, and was orna- 
mented with several neat tMuples* At half-past 

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4 «*tfBASSY TO AVA* 

ive in the eveiring I went on ishtwe, fOid fiytmd'llfe 
idjacent cotintry (fivided into fieldfl, ti^fdij Iftt fc 
jniiper season, are cultivated.- The^rettrttW^fk 
tobacco plantation, that fatd procHice'd ^ ^rop i^ 
^ former year, were ye^ lying* on thte ^onnff. 
Detached hifes appeared to the easttrard. * W« 
brought to, and spent the ni^ht neai* a sniiil^Til-* 
lage called TVmdieac, to llie north of Y^^ay. 
Here the inhabitants get their lirelihood by 6eflin^ 
Jjaepac, cfr pickled tea-leaf, of which the Bii*inW:A 
are extremely ibnd. l^e plant, I wias inform:^, 
grows at a place called Palong-miou, a cfefrlct ib 
Sbe nbrth-east of Ummerapoora. It i» rery in- 
ferior to the tea produced m China, and is eetdoiA 
toed but as a pickle. 

f On the following ^y we kept close to th6 
feastem 6hore, and the l«readth of the rivei' beiriip 
iii most places fronf three to five mifeff, it Was not 
eksy minutely to distinguish objects on the trestf- 
5*11 bank. "Hie country, as we advance irtnth^ 
^creased in population, and improved in agrfct^ 
ture. llie land every where indicated a defifcien*- 
by of ndn, being parched, and broken into dee^ 
Ssstu-es, owing to me want of moisture. We un- 
derstood that the season had been remaikably dry. 
Jtain, however, was shonJy expected. The tiver, 
notwithstanding the feilure of the monsoon, con^ 
tinned to rise. We passed, on the easterh "SidfeF, 
Kiouptaun, or the Line of Hocks, Tanonndain, a 
respectable town, with several otftfer towns find 
villages. In the evening we brought to tit aA 
island opposite Tirroup-mew, or Chinese City^ 
There is a small Strict that ^ears the same nau#^ 
called so in commemoration of a victory gained 
here over an army of Chinese thut invaded the 

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EMBASSY TO A VA. ' 6 

BimAi •a^ilw mm» ceatoite ^fo, «l tk# ptrM 
whenPjgthmw—thflgetof govq m i m t nt ; whanoB 
It appeals, tint tha Chinete hare limg cMisidend 
this kkgdom as a cUsiraUe confaeat, and liac«« 
Biade^ moie than one frnitleaa attempt to acoon- 
pBsh its sabjectiop. 

The next day wo ttoppod five miles above Ti»- 
roiq^mewy where the Koendnem mingles its wn- 
ten with those of the Invwaddy. Uns gieat ri- 
Tar cones from the noith-west, and dtrktes the 
coontry of Cassay from ihk% of Ava. The Bir^ 
mana say, that it has its fmvce m a lake tfarae 
monUis J4Hiniey. to the northward. It is n«fi- 
fpiUe, as fiNT as the Binnan ternkoiies eactend,' for 
▼cssels of burthen. An mtelUgent'man belonging 
leDrBviehanan's host informed him that the most 
dUslaat town in the possession of the Birmans OA 
ik» Keenduem, was named Nakioong, and the int 
iBhsMi town* was called Thangdai The en- 
tmnce of the Keendnem seemed somewhat loss 
than e mile wide. The Irrawaddy* immediately 
fdbove the jnnetiont became moeh nanower ; bnt I 
isMigine « stream was concealed, and that what 
ai^Maned te be the limits of the river was the beak 
of an isloi^ f(H«ed by SAother branch. 

In the mmt who* rowed the warvboats that ao^ 
companied the baige from Unmmrspoerat I had 
ramarked featnrsa difiMng mnck §wk the other 

* Shsan, or Shtn, it s very compfc h enthfe term gireq 
te dBAfUit nsdons, Mme independent, oihsn the eubjectrt 
of the gieeter states. Thus, the Binnaas frequently mew 
tion the Mekp-Shaan, or Shaan subject to we Birmans ;^ 
the Yoodrtt-Shaan, subject to the ^amese^.the Cassa^'- 
fibsto, to the Cassayen. 

A3 



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6 SMBAMY TO AVA* 

boiitinaiy «&d « fltfftiMSs of emmtemxao& lAim ri" 
eradbkd m»re tke Ben§iil ttoi ^e BimiAn «ii»- 
xscter of iw^ Ob in^iry, I lettmed tiMt ^«y 
mwte CiaaafBTB, or liie soito «f €aM«ifWi, wio 
•bad Imob brov^ht^afpay iram tketr natifis eotmtarf> . 
at times when the Birmans qanied tbeir f)f<edatory 
4aeurBioii8 acrofls the Kee&duonk Eastern imrad- 
•«n, who^ do not intend to occupy the tetMmim 
ikey effemsoy nB«aQy adc^t the pG^y of conveys 
ittg away^ the udiabitaBts, pai^ieolarly «iHldMB, 
-whom they establish wilhm then" own dommaeiis, 
jMid thus acqave addttiottd strengA by angmemt^ 
mg the nfeunber of their sidijeots. Thb has been 
a praetice of Asiattc waitee from time iminNno^ 
did* The last contest of ^ En^^ii^ with Hyder 
AUy depopulated the Camatie. Cbaldoen, witii 
^eyattain a certain age^ maybe traa^knted with 
aafety, and will assimilate, to any soil ; but afl;^ 
aniviag at the years of maturity^ the most lement 
Ifoatment will hardly reconcile the human mind to 
CQCBcive detention in a foreign country* The spot 
where a person has passed ^ tendor years of liii^ 
the lo^ remembered and mipresslvie interval bo* 
tireen ia^raey and manhood, be it where it may) 
is ever dear ta him. I slwidd wifiingly hare eon^ 
Versed with the Cassay boot people rejecting 
their jiatimiy bat my sitaation fwbad mouther to 
gia^y my owa amosity^ or. sanction the m^ukies 
of others^ 

At ten o'clock we reached the town of Yanda- 
boo, remarkable £»r its manufaetories of ettthen 
ware ; and in the coorse of the day we passed 
many towns and villages, on estch side agreeably 
shaded by trees, particularly by the palmyra ao^ 
the tamarind. Ear]y in the evening we brought 



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XMBAMMY TO JLVA* V 

te ia ft creek idbtck l€iMb «p to a kift «Mm 
naraed S«BnMt-4t0«in. Afttr diaiiar Dr S^dwHtn 
•ad myself .toftk a ivsik akng the BMrgBn of dn 
iSieekt wUck oaaaed «§ to ibe t«w» by aH^ide 
drewt. We fimad the horaes, tiMHi§^ musMPoiM, 
DMBu, and t«ry imgokrly boih* The gronds in 
the iMigidMimiiood. weie mabMiked lor tbo 6idt»- 
▼atiOB of rice* Hie ooil Bppmnd to be food, b«t 
the iidiabite^o expreeeed ibe itfino«l auDoly on 
Ihe^ snbjeot of imuk Not a dvop had yet hHwa 
henf akhoagfa, in dm oonuBon ootueo of mooom, 
^e iMonseon flho«U. hove coiainenced three wedn 
osiiien The pom* peof^ were carelidlyhoflboiid- 
iug tkeat liee straw forihe wa^ppoit of dieir cattle, 
kige herds of which were endoaTowrmg to {Hck 
iqi arafaaieteBce from the pardied Uades of gmi^ 
Bk Mdr that wear ^ote^ed wkh daat instead of 
▼erdurew Hie- appeaianee of these awnialB her 
•poke coscessive poWrty^ if jsrt acfeaid fimane^ 

At Svanmn^onm there is the geeateat mamiu 
fiMStovy-of sid tpetre aiKl gunpowder ilk the king- 
doKL Hice also is prepared the gan powde r thnt 
Is recj^ured for the royal inagaainee> & ia thr aokb 
eeoDpation of ih» inhafcitanta. Neither sal^paire 
nor gtmpowder are ««&ved to be eaqierted under 
any plea ; nor ean 4he stnalkst qtiantity be aoM 
w^^owt a speeial.hneBse hom some mmi inpowec; 

£arly in the morning we left the neighbomrhood 
of gunpowder and sfdtpetre. Tem^dee an<^ viikiges 
lined die banks eo Sickly that it would he tedifiMis 
to enimierste them. At nine o'clock we stopped 
at Gnamea^ee, eekbrsted for pnodncing the beat ' 
tobaccos m the Bimttn empire. Maay brick kihia 
were on fire» pceparmg materials for ho^diag tenH 
lde% of wlikh thero aypawad to be already a anffi^ 



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8 EMBASSY TO AVA. 

deiit wamSber. IWsdbig our ymratjf we p«md 
nsmermis islands. Some of tilem were ciiltivase4» 
and had hoii8es» iidmbitaats, and tieee* Towmb 
evening the wind suddenly rose to a stmrm. Mr 
Wood and myself reached Sandaht, or El^hanl 
Village. Dr Buchanan's boat could net nuke hoed 
against wind and stream, and dropped an aaehof^ 
Ferc^viag his situation, I despatdied one of the 
war-boats to his aid, when 4ie uosted efforts of 
both crews soon broiiqifat him<in safeSy to ^ fleet. 
iSandaht is a small town, ninch, together with the 
lands adjacent, is oooe^ied ei^i^ by the el^ 
pbmt-^ceepefs b c l o aguig t<[> ik» leyal studies. Hw 
Jong is the m^ proprietor of dl tiie elef^ia^s hi 
his dmnmioBB ; and the priTikge to ride on, or 
ice<^ (me of these aaimys, is an himem* granted 
only to men of the yery fint rank and conseqnenoa 
His JKoman mi^ty is smd to possess 6060^ In 
India, female ^phanto aie praed beyond melei^ 
on aeeeimt of their being more tractable ; but in 
Ava it is the rsforae. Pennies are never used oA 
state oeeaotons, and seldom for ordmary riding, 
which causes the othor seoc to be of mudi higher 
TsAne. It saroly haptens however that either one 
or the other is te be purrhnoed ; Ihe king^s eoLtskeb- 
stve ri^t, and the Hndted use that is nude- of 
th«n» prevent thnr beoemmgan artide of common 



We ^ out at an early hour next mornings 
Meahnoo, on the we^em ude, appeared from t^ 
water to be a large town, shaded 1^ groves of 
palmyra trees. It is remarkable for a iminn&ctorf 
^ coeise dieqnered cotton cloth, suchas is w<Hm by 
dM tower ckss of people. Yiqwdun,atown<»mf 
eastern side, was <hstingitt^ed by several temptosi 



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«flt« hifliteiM mtamteey. • Ahmt tmtbfiei o'dlMk 

lm,4iMl reUfffiNi «D Avo, «|<ftiit n^t.iM. H^ ImmI 
liftrelMv trtth great «sqwcUitioii, ImiriBg fewiM HI 
llCPtirt, aad mwie bis report. The |iWMMil 'viflH wm 
li flpontMiemis act iA «iT%tf« H» p otww t tid ft 
Arndl jbgiiifife,' €^ poi'0MMil esttM) in 'tbe^neiglibiMU' 
liM>d^ tvihere lie fasd^psMd tonie f<efiNMktB«nti> 
Itf^rrhftil hei«^e6«ed I woiid^op topflRidte. I 
«mift)4M ^tk hin desire, «tid aocMnpamd bin «i 
« bdw«r fisiniNfd k « chimp of banibooft on llie 
iMlnk^tteiivvr, «id iiiad€»r fiom tine em ]^f aft 
iiiftificiid awning of gnHa^ iiM« we femd « pn»»- 
iteioii of frttoy n^, Iwtter, and presennes, ik 
lilslip lAjd o«l 011^ oarpets. A eom^mf of duMd- 
lAg fl»l« ass^ mttlida&s frooi a iiaiglibMRiiif village 
4SlH6iiiiiMd OS wiiB ^icif Bitt^A^ and -graoaa.' ' ' I ra^ 
«iaiii«d«#8lMni^ ikin»mymm mtmh tm^ wiA ci"- 
v3it^ tttd^A pttnru«d lay ^myage* We paaaed 
Ik ^m' pi^g¥i!0ft' liewittl po^^waus fillaigea fAaasttttf- 
Ii^«li«lfl^, itod ItdiNtifd whh w^ eneleaed gw- 
ienflr ftnd ori^Mtrda of piantaHif guftva, asid ofiM: 
fmlNJk-iea. At nigiit we tom^ to^ «t Kiempttf- 
Kmbf, wh^re a iai^ tenpie, svrroimded by scrvmd 
iMHt^'boMmg^, *m» ^e ofily «l9«ct that tii«fit«d 

"^ ')^&e dscy w^ got iind«r w«yal the «iMtoinv]r 
lioiir, and made I^Bt slew progrees, tlie wind he9^ 
ii^'a»>i%llr tiMit llie ^i^|t»re saik of ttie fifcnnati- 
^lAt9'e#«ild MM lEeep ftilU Oisn aad polea wenfe 
l^^d'Wlib l4g^Mri T^ iiT», wldch, ^ug4» k 
kitd UM^yet riseti to i«9 utmost peiiodkal faeigh«, 
iKd ^6Ar«lPfl«fW>ed iti taikis '^iM «^ ^e w«l^«- 
^Cio^^i^s, otrd iiMiidBted tbe low ^omids n ^nc ew t 
m^^l^^ Af<^^n-oa«f tlM consent lay in ^tiie 



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10 XMBA3ST TO ATAf 

ikuMe of tke «trMim» in order to, 9rfim€ ^ iii- 
fliMBce we frequently navigated throngh fiekte, i» 
wlridi the tall gran and reeds i^peared abovb Iho 
■arface of the water^ and the treea had theiriteaia 
innnerBed beoealfa die flood. The aweUing of ito 
Irrawaddy k not influenced hy the qaant^ of raia 
which falls in ^ TaUeya, bothy the tonvtfls tiM 
msh down fron the nwuntaida* Notwithataddiaf 
< the dronght in ^e champaign cootry had hum 
greater this year dum nsaal, the rifer was owottetf 
to its regidar h^ght, whidi, I was imforaiedi it 
rarely M short of, OT CKoaeM. Indeed, dw pa^ 
of ^ country ie seldom Tsfreahed by copious nMM| 
but, like Dgfply depends oq tiie orwiinving of tit 
rifor to fertiiifle the soil. Hie Lrawad iys dnriif 
the BMNMoon monthi, rises and aohaidea thtfae 'or 
kmt times. As our distaaeO fr^ Umwroiapoogo 
, dimiiiislMd, towns aad villages cm eaeh side vecoN 
red at ahOkt intemds, that it was in vam to infubi 
the name of eiadi dtstmct Msemhiage of hmam 
Each, herworeir, had its name, and W9s for lioaMMl 
fMon inhabited by <Hie pitfticolar daM of peopI% 
profassing some separate trade, or followinf somo 
peculiar ooelipation. We were shown a. todk 
areded to ^ ntemoTy of a penon of high dirtina.^ 
lion, who had been acddmiti^y drowned near thai 
plaee fifitoea years before. It was an ohlong-bridt 
wflding^ one story hi|^ wida dght or nine doom 
opening towttds the river. Many beasttifol teift» 
pies aad Iriowms would hafo en§^igsd ouaattn^ 
tion, had we not already seen sndi numbam^ and 
been assured that ^ we had viewed fo^ for^Aoil 
of those which wo shoidd liave an opportsnsty of 
beholding at 1^ capind. Wo bfoog^t toialoia 
Iha evenings at tha lowar hnding place of ' 

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XMBAMT TO Air A. . 1| 

«nili 1910041m ^ of Atbp and tlie BMtMpolMoC 
«ti tKe Krauui empire. 

:Iq iho mmamg I took a has^viewof Aiuigw% 
0r-Am» It ii divided into aa upper and lower 
j%, bolb of which are fintified. The lower, wlAch 
iBikamaA fOEfemaye^ I judged to be about iwt 
miles IQ ^renmferenee. It is protected by a wall 
4ar^feet hig^ at the foot of which there is a 
4e9^ md hamd fosse. The commnnici^oii be^ 
tW0ni the fort and the country is over a mound of 
«lr^ anm»g' the ditch, that supporto a causeway. 
AA^Bbaiduiaient of earth in theinstde sustains ihe 
IwU* The upper ot aaialier fort, which may be 
failed ihe cita^, and does not exceed a n)ile in 
j^uenit, was mwh stronger, and more compact than 
IjbeWer; but neither the upper nor ^ lowe* 
kad • ^^^ on the side of the xirpt. The wiUla 
tee now ni(»dderbg into deqqr ; "iyy clings to the 
•ides; aadhnshes, suffered to grow at tlw bottom^ 
twidorro iifly tfae^^undation, and have aheaiify caused 
kiipe «lMwmsmi^diffi»n«At foes of ^ fort. The 
mtK^dals of the houses, connsting chieiy of wood^ 
•ha^ on lAie first order for ramonng, been trans^ 
ported to the new city of Ummeiapocra. But 
^ ground, miless where k is covered with bushes^ 
Mr noyc gram, stBl retains traces of former build-f 
ilttgB and Areels. The lines of the royal pahMse^ 
•f the Lotoo, or grand council haH,.the apaitmentii 
l#lhe wecsen, ami the spot* on which the piasath, 
in^erial spire, had stood, were pob^d out to us 
hy omr guide. Clumps of bambods, a lew plantun 
frees, and tall thorny occupy the greater part of 
Umb arear of this lately flourishing eapkal. We ob;* 
^erfMl twot dw^ii^-housea of brick and mortar, 
llw^roiifrofwtidihadirifettin. These, omrgmdil 

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1$ .]|MBMfY TO.A/VA*^ 

v^df InuI belonged^ to^ CelaiB, or fo^eifiiere. On 
entering one, we found it inhabited ooJy by heXt% 
wbicb detr ia our faced, whilst oui* sense of ssaell- 
lag was offended by their filth, and by the i^oiaon^ 
^Udew that hui^ upon the walls. Numerous tmii 
pies, on which the Birmans never lay aacrile^iui 
hands, were dilapidating by time. It is impossibly 
to draw a more strikuag picture of desolation aa4 
ruin. 

' Among the religious buildings within &e foit} 
one named Shoegunga Praw, noways disting^iahe4 
for size or splendour, was, in former times, held 
peculiarly sacred, and is still reverenced above th^ 
rest. At the present day, when an officer of ranl^ 
is about to enter on a ^eat public trust, or a ne^ 
commander is appointed to the army, the oath of 
allegiance is administered in this templ6fwithgrea| 
solemnity— 4i br(sach of which is coosid^ed tb^ 
most heinous crime that a Birman can be guih^ 
of, and is invariably punished by the severest tor-^ 
tiires. How Shoegunga ob tuned this diatinctioi; 
I was not able to learn. We were informed ths^ 
a temple of much greater magnitude, named Lo^. 
gatherpoo Praw, stood a short distance to thc^ 
westward of the fort, in which was a colossal figurqf 
of Gandma, formed out of a solid block of marble^ 
This, temple and imjige we had a better <^portu^ 
»ity of viewing oa our return. , 

Leaving Ava in ohm* rear, the river bends ag^ 
to the northward, when the q>posite city of Cha-» 
gain, and the spires, the tun*ets, and the lofty Pi** 
9iSatb.of Ummerapoora, create an unexpected plea* 
6iu:e,, afid ^hibit a fine contrast to the gloomy an4 
deserted w.alls of A,v^ Chagain, on the nortl^ 
«d^, once too the. seat of unpwial reisjdfince;-^ isf 



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1MB ASSY TO AVJk' 13 

BitButed partly at llie foet, and partly on the Bi46, 
of a ragged b^l that ia lN:<^en inlo eeparate emi- 
nencesy aad mi the summit of each staads a spiral 
temple. Theqe tauples, nfiiog irregularly one 
,^hoye another to the top of the mouBtain, form a 
beatitifiil assemblage of objects, the effect of whic^ 
ia increased by their beiog Carefully whitewadied 
and kept la repair. As we sailed near i^ oppo^ 
aite shore» the smi shone full upon the hil)> ami its 
reflected rays displayed the scenery to the highest 
^rantage ; in addition to this, the swollen state 
4>f ^ riyef g«i^ to the waters the semblance of a 
Fast lake» intenpevsed with ii^ands, in which the 
#9imdatidBa ctf Ummerapoora seemed to be im- 
meroed.. Niunberfeaa boajts were passing up and 
ioimh and dMt houses on the western, or rather 
•outbem shove, appeared, irom their uninterrupted 
aoeoesaian) to be a eoatiniied town, or the suburba 
laf aeityv 

At twelret a'eloek we came to the mouth of the 
channel that eemmnnikatea with the lake of Toun* 
semdin, through which it reeeixes its waters fitmi 
Ibe rirer. The sitoatioii <^ Ummerapoora has aX* 
veady beoi deaccibed. The soulJiem fftce of the 
ftirt is waohed, during ihe rainy season, by the 
wavee of the lake, and the houses of the city and 
ew b wrbe extend i^ng the bank as £ar as the ex* 
tteta/t pdnt of k^id. Across the lake, and oppo* 
■te to the Ibvt, Btanda the anudl village of Tounze* 
aahn, near idbtck, in a tall grove of mango, pat* 
mysa, and cocoa-nut trees, a dwelling waa pre- 
pved for the Briti^ deputation. On entering the 
kke, the number of beats that were moored, aa 
in a Inrboviv to avoid tlie mfinence of ^e sweep* 

VOL, uu. n^ 



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H[4f SM&ASftT TO AVA. 

Ing flood — ^tbe singolaritf of iheir co fli U Ufe l fa l^*^ 
the height of the waters, which threaten tarndtt- 
tion to the whole city-^and the amphitbeettre ^ 
lofty hills that nearly surrounded us, ahogeth^ 
presented a novel scene, exceedingly interesting to 
^ stranger. We rowed towards Uie grove, wUkt 
the greater part of the fleet went to the opposite 
«ide. On reaching the hank, I perceived m war- 
i>oat helon^ng to die Maywoon of Begu)^ Who, I 
understood, was at the grove waiting our anival. 
I was received^ on landing, hy Balnii-Sheto, and 
'«ome inferior officers. They accompanied iockt to 
the house, which was situated ahout SOO yards 
fi'om the hrink of the lake, overshadowed hy lofty 
trees, that completdy defined it from the meri- 
dian sun. When we came to the entrafioe of the 
irirando, or balcony, ^e Maywoon of Pegue, the 
governor of Bambo, a province bor^ring on (^in% 
and the Woondock before mentioned, welcomed 
xne to the capital. Being seated on carpets spread 
along the floor, the conversal»>n turned t>n g^eral 
topics, and particularly on European geography, a 
subject on which liie governor cf Bamoo appeared 
very desirous of information. After eonie time^ 
the Woondock, addressing himself to me^ said, 
that his Birman majesty had been diisent a few 
months, at a country residence named Meengoongy 
wliere he was erecting a magnificMit teni^ to 
their diviiuty Gandma, but was expected to retuxm 
eoon to Ummerapoora ; that, in iht mean time» 
instructions had been given to his ministers to fti>* 
^de every thing requisite for the aceonomoda^oa^ 
of the English gentlemen, and that Baba^^^ieea 
w^ commanded to reside hear us, in op^ to ^np* 
ply our wants, and to communicate our wishes. 



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EMBASSY TO AVA* 16 

TaAoalbe Majrw^on oC P^^pie tdded^ tbat tbs 
two* inferior SereeSy or pcoyindal under 8ecret»- 
^69} wbo had accompanied ns from Rangoon, wefe 
,lik«wi|i9 directed to attend to our orders, and, b#« 
mg persons to whom we were accustomed, would 
prohablj be more agreeable to us than entire 
•trangers. 

Inese po&te and bospitable attentions were re- 
ceired and acknowledge by me wi^ real satis^- 
tion ; nor waa it at all diminished by the freedom 
with which the Woondock informed me, that it 
was contrary to the etiquette cf( the Birman court, 
for a public minister from a foieign nation to go 
abroad before his first imdience^ He therefore 
.b<^^ I would not cross the lake in person, or 
jraier any of my people to do so, until the cere- 
|9oniak weie p«st; but aa our customs differed 
from theirs, and the European^ habituated them-' 
aelves, to take toercise, I was at full liberty to 
walk or jide into the country, w over the plains 
that lay bet^^en our di^elling and the hills, as far 
as I thought proper ; recommending to me, at the 
jame time, n6t to go to any great distance, as it 
would be ocmsidered by the common people in the 
^f^i of a derogation from my own consequence. 
I thanked him for his counsel, which was delivered 
with many expressions of dvitity, and readily ac* 
quiesced in what he assured me was an established 



This usage of debarring a public minister from 
entering the capital previous to his first formal pre- 
sentation^ I understood, was neither recent nor un- 
Qommon* It has long been the known practice of 
the Birman and Siamese govemments. Monsieur 



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16 SMBA88T TO AVA. 

Xoubere makes mention of it in his Aeoonfit of 
an Embassy to Siam, sent from ^e conrt of Louis 
the Fonrteentii. It is founded on that cantbns 
policy which governs all nations eastward of India 
in their intercourse with foreign states. 



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.XHBA^ST TO, A¥A. 17 



CHAPTER n. 

PL4ei OF EI9IBBNCB DS8CRIBBD — BBPUTATf 0^ 

VROIC CHINA PROVIKCIAL NOT IMPBRIAL-*- 

RBOOH, A BmLDING SOMBTIMES ATTACH BD 

TO PRIVATB HOU8B8 REASON OP IT — MU- 

BIPICBNCB OP THB BIRMAN 60VBRNMXNT 
— LBTTBR PROM OBNERAI. BRSKINB— ^PKHBD 
BT TUB BIRMAN MINISTBR*— APOLOOY-^AP-* 
PBABAMCB OP THB ADJACENT COUNTRY— 
PARCHED POR WANT OP RAIN— CA8IAT PAR-* 
MBRS-*-WOMRN INDUSTRIOUS — ROW THB 
BOATS-* POND OP SINGINdh-^HINESB MUSIC ^ 
DISCORDANT AND TROUBLESOME^- INDOLENCB 
OP THB CHINBSB— *KINd RJSTURNS TO THB 

CAPITAL BCLIPffil OP THE MOON — REASON 

OP DELAY — ^PRIDB OP THB COURT — ITS PUNO» 

TILIOUSNE8S ^LBTTim PROM THE GOVERNOR** 

OBNBRAL TRANSLATBIV— PRESENT A MEMO* 
RIAL— EMBASSIES USUALLY COl^SISTOPTHRBB 
MEMBERS— VISIT PROM THE- JUNIOR DEPU* 
TIES PROM CHINA ^WHIMSlCAL CEREMONY- 
RETURN THB VISIT—- SUBJECT OP CONVBRSA* 
TION* 

As soon as my Tinton to^ thdr kmre, I msde 

B surrey of <rar new habilvkdon. It was a spacious 

b2 



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18 SMBASSY TO AV^A 

house of one stoiy, raised from the ground some- 
what more than two feet, and hotter covered than 
Binnan houses usually are. It consisted of two 
good sized rooms, and a large yirando, or halcony. 
The partitions and walls were made of cane mats, 
with latticed windows in the sides. The shape of 
the roof was such as distinguishes the houses of 
the nohles. It was altogether a comfortable habi- 
tation, and well adapted to the climate. Mr Wood 
'liad a smaller house erected beluAd mine, send pti- 
ndlel to it; and Dr BtDchanan anodic ftt right an- 
gles. Small sepaiftte huts were constructed for 
the guard, and for out attendants. ^ The whole Was 
«nirounded by a strong bamboo paling, wMch in- 
dosed a* court-yard. There were two entrances 
by gates, one in front of my house, the other bick- 
wards. At each of these^ on the eutside of the 
^ing, was a shed, m whidi a Birmaxt guard %a8 
posted, to [M'otect us from thieres, keep off the 
populace, and, probably, to watch and re|>ort our 
jnoT^^nents. 

On the skirts of the same grove, in a Hne with 
0ur dwelling, similar houses were erected for three 
-Chinese d^uties, who had arrived at Uinmera- 
poon about two months before us. These per- 
sonages were represented as composing a rOyal 
musion from the imperial city of Pekin ; but cir- 
CMmstanoes early led me to suspect that their real 
character did not rne higher than that of a pro- 
vincial 'deputaition from Man<^egee, or Yunan, the 
south-west province of China, which borders on 
the kingdom of Ava — a conjecture that was af- 
terww-ds confirmed. They had accompiahied the 
govenior of Bamoo, whkh is the frontier provineci,' 
to the capital ; and I understood that their bust- 



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ftMHASSY Td AVA. t9 

•Iftii tr«8 to ndfust some mercantOe c<mcbnid r^- 
JatiAg to the jee, or m^ut, where the commodities 
of the two empires are brought and bartered, tt 
was not at all improbabie» that the mission had 
tieen «aliction«d by the atrthority of , the Emperor 
'^f Cl^Ba, especially as the principal member of it 
'was a native of Pekin, and had lately come from 
'^nce. But the false pride of the Birman comt 
•viggested the puerile * expedient of repr^entin^ 
ift to tis as an imperial embassy ; a distinction to 
'Which, I was privately informed from an authentic 
'wMiroe, it possessed no pretensions whatever. The 
'iaemhetBf however, were treated apparently witk 
iSuich personal respect and attention. 
^ The building denominated Ehoom has already 
'lieen described as the official hall of jastice, where 
ibe members of provincial governments, and all 
mtmicipal officers, are accostomed to assemble for 
tlie transaction of public business. Every man of 
l%fa rank in Ae Birman empire is a magistrate^ 
a^ has a place of this description and name con- 
%«Mms to his dwelling ; but always on the outside 
at the enclosure of his court-yard, and hot sur- 
iroimded by any fence or railing, in order to mani- 
fest publicity, and show that it is the seat of ma- 
jesty and justice, to which all mankind may have 
free access. An imperial mandate to a govemori 

* The Chinese seem to have been actuated by. a policy 
equally absurd, when they informed Sir George Staunton, 
alike titte of th« formal introduction of Lord Macartney^ 
that < Ambaiwwdorg ftiom Fegue' were present; and thai 
< Siam, Ava, and Pegue were tributary to Chiiub * Sucb 
unworthy deceptions not .being expected, could hardly be 
guarded against. The courts of Ava and Pekin appeaiv 
to Tflsemble eadi other in many points ; but in none more 
than in their vanity, which often roanifSMts itiftlf in atnatt** 
ner not lees ridiculous than eontemptible. 

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80 >:mbassy to ava. 

Of ttOL Older from a goyonor to a petty ■ MOM gti » 
or chief of a small town or di«trict» is inyanabty 
opened and read aload in tins sanctiEed halL The 
Binnan goremmentr in the administration of puhUc 
affairs, suffers no such thing as privacy or con* 
ceahnent* The rhoom is likewise an appenda^i 
of dignity, as it denotes him to whose habitatioii 
it is annexed to be a person of rank and conea- 
quence* A building of this sort was erected with- 
in a few yards of the front gate of our indosure^ 

For two days after our landing, the boatmen 
and servants were employed in transpcnlmg our 
baggage from the boat^ to the house, and our time 
was chiefly ti^en up in arranging the domesUc eo9r 
nomy of our n^w residence, in which we found a 
liberal provision of all such necessaries as the na^ 
tives themselves require. My rooms were carp^- 
ed, but the chairs, tables, &c. were my own. BUce^ 
gee (clarified butter), firewood, and pots for dsea* 
sing victuals, were supplied to our people in abua* 
dance. A few stalls, or petty abc^pe, wese eetft- 
blifihed in the grove, to afibrd the smaller in|^ie» 
dients of cookery, such aa greens, spices, eait^ 
tamarinds, &c Here also toWtcco and beetle leaf 
were sold ; and to enable our attendants to pur* 
chase such articles, one hundred tackal, about 12L 
Sterling, were distributed amongst them. Thi« 
wai| an act of munificence which I with great dif- 
ficulty avoided the obligation of, in my own pern 
son ; but no remonstrance could prevail on the: 
^ Bimian ofiicer to dispense wi^ it in the instance 
of opr domestics. ^ 

The delinquent refugees, of whom mention haa. 
been made in a former part of this work, as hav- 
ing been surrendered^ by order of the Gov^nor- 



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j^JaenA, t& ^6 jnstice (^tteeireoimiiy, IM reM^ 

^tt&'^Binnaii pxiad thm escorted \htm imd brdtiglit 
iiletcer ^ff^cted to te« ft^kn Gonlral Einkine, ^ 
Biiglisli eetimi«Bid«r at ChitttgoBg; This Idtler thil 
tti^an nrinisfter, M it wais all^g^, thnmgh mift^ 
tt^^ Imt mor^ probaMy by design, eaxu^ to b^ 
ifpttfed, and prdented « translation from an Ann^ 
hfetti iflteipretcfh The circanwtancei was r^porti^ 
to lAtt Idn^, <#ko ordered ti^t the letter skotdd b« 
safely deposited in the Lotoo, and given to me (h1 
fttf aitita]* Thid royal i&jmictioM wwe ptmctu- 
1^ obeyed. An offioer, in his dress of ceremony; 
t^ilgi^ St of<et. A proposal was first made, 1l)at 
f slnydd g6ihyi»eiri;o ^rfaoom, solicit its resUMra^ 
. tion, Iteeeire it as aft act of graee, taddd homage 
toth^ Miigi bj^ hcrn^g wkh mf ftcB towaitls th^ 
jf^Qstde. ' ¥tim ^m I Entirely dissetited, as the 
i^tftise of eomplamt 'wm with me, imd coti6deno« 
BiS ih ^me measmre been violated by their br^hk^ 
^Ig^Di^ 11^. I do not imagine diat the proposi^ 
timi Mri^nated ftom any authority, as it was im<^ 
likediately given tkp, and the lett^, in a mik wrap^ 
^er, was #9nnaHy presented to me oif a tray, by 
like oficef who conveyed it a<^oss the like4 
* Being now comfortably Io%ed, we had leisiii% 
lo tako tL view of the drcnmjacent comiiry, and 
^la^s^rve the objects that immediately snrroittKled ns^ 
Behind the grove ki which we lived was a smooth 
Extensive ]^in^ intcfrseeted by the embankmetftsi 
Y)r Whs^ ih the past year, bad been fiehlb of ricer, 
%iit which promised,^ this season, to be an unpro^ 
dnctrn^ waste, owing to the tincommon droi^ht^ 
Notwithstsifiding the spot we were on was elevat<<> 
. «d rery^ftlle above-ili^ p»esMft]evel of^ier'laktti 

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VZ XBCBAMY TO AVA. 

whieh hid now Dawly renehed il^iitniofll hm^f^ 
yet the grouiMl watf pardied np» and divided intt 
ebasms from imit of vaominxe* Dark and rnggsd 
BMraataina, aboat eight miles dittant, botmcUd th^ 
prospect to the south-west. Seveial small Tillagae 
were scattered over the plain, and oa^ ekirta of 
the grove, inh^ited, as we were infonaed, by 
niative Canayers, or the desceadeito of Cassayarvt 
who had heea carried into captivity by the Binnan 
invaders during th^ir predatcnry expeditions aoroM 
the Keendnem. 

The Seiee who aocofiiq^amed me said, that th^ 
people, whom he called Mannip<H:eans, from Miae 
nipore, the capital of Cassay, wer^ i& ganeiaL be- 
come reconciled to their state of s^rvitiide^ owing 
to their having beoi broogfat away voy youi^ fra^i 
their own €o«ntry« The superior indnatry ami 
skill which they poieisess ov^ the Binnans In dif- 
iBrettI branches of haHdicralW supplied them with A' 
eomftniable sabnstenoe. Those in onr nei^^bonf^ 
hood were farmers and gardeners, who ^nli^vati^ 
pulse, greens, onions, and such vegetables an Bir- 
mans use. These articles they transport at a^ 
early hour across the lake to the city, wheie tha^ 
retail them in the market, and bring home the pii9* 
duce at night. This business is naostly perform* 
ed by females. One man, commonly a peraon im 
years, accompanies each boat, in which, standii^ 
erect, he m^ as ste^nnan, whilst the w»mei^ 
usually from ten to fourteen m number, «tting 
with thor legs acr08S,r9w short oar% iQ/f use pad* 
dies, according to the siae of the vessel When 
tbej set out in a mommg, thc^y proceed in silence ; 
but retofluag at nig^t, they join in joound chorus, 
mid Ume the a|p^ of their oani to t^ ban of 



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tuhABir to AVA. SS 

4Mr fldiig. We were seiwifajded eveiy eteniii^ 
'ftom dink tyi ten o'de<^ by soeeeeMre parties ef 
"^em joyens femalefiy whose strains, ' '^loiigii tnt- 
polisM', were always melodkias and pleaslDi^. 
"He Birmans, beth men and women, are fond of 
Paging winlst at work« It figlitens th^ kdioar. 
** SffOg sweetens toS, how rnde soever the soond. " 
VJEifortonately our nrasic was not confined to these 
^jMssmg chantresses. Tlvere were etfaer po^fwmers, 
less agreeable, nearer to as. Dor neighbours, tile 
depnties from China, nnhickily for the repose of 
ikosefrom Britain, happened to be amatenrs in 
^bimr way, and had amongst their dependants a se- 
lect band of mnsicians, snch a^ 1 certaonly had 
ine^tet heard equalled. It is impossible to describe 
vie hotribte noises tnat issued from gongs, drams, 
4(ymbals, an inslarameiiit with two strings, which may 
tie calfod a fiddle, and somethkig like a clarionet^ 
Ihat sent forlli a sonnd metre gratiag to llie ear 
Ihan ttU the rest. This was tiiehr constant noctnr- 
ttal itoosement, which never esided befotis mid^ 
idght, and was not once remitted 191 the princi- 
pal personage of the embassy became so indispos- 
jed IMit he coidd endnre it no longer. Whilst he 
Mngerbd, we enjoyed tranquillity ; b«t aft^ his de- 
^easd^e eoHcert reeomnfenced, and continued, to 
tour gfea^ annoyance, till they quitted tiie grove to 
Wma to their n&^we country. 
> The opposite habits of c^Smnt na^Mms wereheve 
alrildngly evinced in tiie dissimilarky between the 
manners of the English, and tliose of the Chinese^ 
* The latter never left the precinets of dieir habita- 
tion, or manifested a desire to leave it, except to' 
Ml %i easy diairs, and smoke tbekf long pipes in 
tfae^^Q0<4')^ tbe eveaiBg* oQt tht mvgin of the lalie^ 



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M ^^MAmY to ava. 

t/bimX two Of tteee hvadred yards in fronl ^ 
house. T)ie English gentl^^oen accustomed th^H- 
m^yea either to walk or ride three or four mileft hfL 
the morning heiore IneakfiBsty and tbe^ame dia- 
taqcain the afternoon*— a drcumstance tksA ^d K0t 
escape the notice of the Binnaas. My ^istomary 
Tonte was in a southern diveoticm, OYet pathways 
thi^ led through rice fields, in my return making a 
circuit along the gre^n border of the lake. AV 
ihongh there was sot the least cause to apprehend 
i^ither injury (nf insolence, I was always attended m 
my excursions by six (x eight s^ddiers, and by 99 
loany of n»y palate servants, armed with sabres^ 
who seemed to att^'aot no kess notice than myseli 
When I met any of the natives, particularly wor 
men, they squatted down in ^ posture of respect 
As soon as the noveky of my fq^>eanmce had a 
little worn o£P, I waa told that they were atill wsai* 
om to know why a person consisting hia own 
amuaemeat, and ma^er of Hs oiim tiaae, dio^ 
walk so foat ; hut on being informed that I waa 
** a Colar, " €as straio^r, and that it wos the cu»* 
torn of ray country, they were) reconciled to this, 
as well as to every other act that ^kl not cmncida 
with their own prejudices and usage. 

In a few days the return of tm king waa aa* 
nounced by the discharge of roekets> and by the 
general bustle that so important an eT!ent. ca use d 
among 1^ classes of pe<^e. We saw nothii^ of 
the display ; which we understood, on ^ua oe* 
casion, was not at aU pompous. 

The period of our arrival occurred at a juncture 
that supplied the Binnan ciwrt with a plau^la 
excuse for postponmg the constd^toion of public^ 
bHsiness, and denying my formal recepticai, aawall 

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ps.tfae d^T«i^ of fii/^ l^f^ firwa llie GavoiniNr^ 
general, tp the Ku^ It mf^ bappei^ed, tha^ m tba 
ei:ii»uuig ^n^nth t^^re wa9 t^ be 9a eclipse of th^ 
9iQ(Hi» an <i|)ffat¥>n of i^ture whicli tlvay ascribe t^ 
the ioterfereuce of a^ inaUgaxi^t dem<>n. On aucb 
9a pccasioi^ affiura qF st^ a^cl allimpo^t£H[Lt mattecf 
of busipeas, tbat will a4mit of procrastiiukt^oii, air# 
put oS to the following month. The astiologei^ , 
were ai^i^mbled to. po^ult on the first , forttt9Mtt# 
day aft^ ^ li^e of l^at inauspicious motm, whcm 
they dis^yered tbat tbe seventeenth of t^e moat^ 
Tou^Uen, co]Te^pK>Q4i^ ^i^ ^be 30|;h of Ayigaat, 
was tbe earliest that would occur ; and tba^ ^day wai| 
^cc^dic^ly appointed ^x tb^ pubitic reception of 
^e Englii^ embap^y. 

Cauti<m and poUcy b^> pfrbaps, «« gre^t % 
share with the BifmaiMB ^ sd^p^^tioa, ini tbua rch 
tarding the oeremony of our introduction* It wan 
t^ them a novel iocident* Tbey were^ de«iroa« t^ 
pen^br^te thoroughly kta i^e^ qbj^ctn we bad in 
view, before any part ^ tbe i|iil))ect came inta 
ioTtpjai discussion. They iwgbt probably also wish 
to have an opportunity tp judge of our national 
charactm*, and to determine^ frpm^ our conduct^ ii^ 
"Sfbat manner to regulate their own. If Bfv^ were^ 
their motives, they were consistent wi^h that sar^ 
g^ity which I found invariably displayed by tb% 
9i^nan,gpvernm^t» ix\ all its resolutions and acta 
*pf a public nature, 

' But the prevailing characteristic ^ tbe Birmaa 
<&o\^t is pride. Like the ^vereign of China, bifi^ 
m^^ty of Ava ^knowledges no e^al. Ind^ei^ 
it i<^ tb^ ^xf^i principle of all nations eastward o| 
Bei^igali tok cous^er foreign nunistem as suppbfi^tfk 

vo^. m P . ' 



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M ^ EMEASSY TO AYA. 

jcome to 9olich pnrteetkm, taot w inptmrnpiArm 
y^o may demand redress; rather as ▼astab 4o 
redder Iidmage, ihut as penons vested inth Jtifri 
tfaority to treat on eqoaft terms. Of tlds syat im I 
was eaify apprised, and fek no dni^pouilzBeDt aft 
liearing of a general ramomr current among the 
higher ranks of BhiMais» liiat a deputy Ittd ar* 
rived fix>m the £i^;tish goTemment^ heamig tribifte 
^ their king. R^orts iof lliis nature were b0, 
oliierwke regarded, than as an admonitioB to w 
gidate my actions w^ seruptdons drcomspectian*. 
Amon^^st o^er regulations of this pnnetUiouii 
eovt, I was giren to understand, that it was not 
custonnuy for the king to receive any letter in a 
formal manner without being previously apprised 
of its contents. T%is created some diffietdty m 
Inspect to the letter from '^e Groveraor-genend^ 
widdi was at lengdi «isn»mnted by an a^ v e e meak 
on my part to admit of a copy bedng made in my 
presence ; but it was stipidibed by them, <lMt-k 
^urald be transcribed in ilie rhoom adjacent to ny 
house, and not in my private resid^dice. In tbia 
proposal I acquiesced; and accordingly a formal 
deputation, consisting of seven or eight officers of 
itate, was directed to proceed to the rhoom, indi^ 
.tiiey were to open the letter^^ and see it prq>eriy 
^tanscribed. Hiese personages came wim mudi 
parade, apparelled in tiieur robes of cer^iony. O^ 
ittM&ig, they walked directiy to tiie rhoom, and^ 
^ftving taken tiidr sei^ sent a Teiresogee, or in** 
^or <^icer, along witii Baba-Sheen, to request I 
would come, and bring witii me tiie Govenlor^^eM 
nerii's letter. I obeyed this summcms, accompa^ 
idedby tile other gentlmden, and oar usual attend 
aiHs. On enterbg the rhoom, I was civiHy <te- 



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iMBAatT TO inr A. 9T 

M*0«lr as lk# ocotnoii WM a -a^rfeBiii one^ ftj» mtke 
obeitance towanfe the piamtb, or ^ire of the royiA 
p«kce» which wao move than two miles diatant ■*» 
oMonvy that I eomplied with hy miaiiig my 
right hand to ny heed, and fluddng a alight inelir 
Batio» <tf my hody, after the manner of the Mai* 
bomedan SaJaam. Being aealed, I delivered t^ 
letter^ which wae ii'iittfe in £ng^h and in F^f 
aWy to the Wooidoek, or ai^rior oftcen It 
was im m e diately opened by a aecretary; and. an 
AameBJan ]ateipieter» named Muckateee, who 
apeke and wrote Engliah fluently, wae ordered to 
nakea copy in Engiwh, whilst a Mnssulman mooA* 
shea made another in Persian* When the writinr 
was finidied, I dehyaned a pap^, which I desired 
might i>e laid before his Majesty's coundl, de* 
dantoay^ in general terms, of the friendly wishes 
and views of Ae GnoveiiMW^-generel in deputing me 
to the Biiman eonrt, and eipreming my desire to 
mahahan, a oenfidentiai intercourse wi^ such per- 
sons ns his Mijeaty, or his council, should think 
pi!^»er to anthoriae. 

The bii^ess being oonduded, I resumed to my 
house, and recMved a coremoiuous visit from the 
Binnan officenH among whom there were some 
perseneges of high distinction.* A Woondodc^ but 
not the one that met me at Pagahm, presided. The 
■nster of the elephants, the oU governor of Peen* 
keing, two Seredogees, or secretaiies of state^ 
and some o^hest officers* whose names and stations 
1 did not learn, were present. Their robes, which 
were very graceful, were made either pf velvet or 
fliiwered satin, wi^ wide bodies, and loose sleeves. 
They weie all inveated widi the chain of nobility^ 



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k8 liMl^ABSY TO AVA. 

%fiid w<^e 'cftpft doiVCTed tfith Mgfrt' gttJ^iil iwnMV. 
^Thred of higher rank than the^ rest, had a Wrecrth 
^ goM teayes encircKng the bottom of tiheir caps, 
^ftot Bnlike the strawbeny learns In a dtitial «or6i 
Tiet. Their attendants, who were numerous, car- 
lAtd a Vtirfety of utensils, sucji as their beette box. 
Vater flaggon, drinking cup, and spitting pot ; crt 
which lattei", from their filthy Jiracttce tK thewiiig 
beetli^ they stood in constant need. I regafed 
them with tea, attd English rtopberiy jate bpniftd 
tm bisctdts. Although they praieled, I dd ii0t 
think they much telished our preserrfe ; they ctt^ 
sparingly, iand refreshed themselved with copious 
l)owls oiF tea, unadulterated eiAer by cream «r 
sugar. 

' About this time the Chinese mintster, who hte 
Idready been mentioned as labourih^ tindei' severe 
indisposition, sent ine a polit6 message, e^re^s- 
iug his regret that he had it not in Ms po^vise 
to visit me in person ; but that Ins tW6 coDlMiguto 
Would wait on me whenever I should be at leisure 
to receive them. I returned my acknoidedgmeltts^ 
and i^pointed the follbwing diay. 
' It is customary among nations eitotwai^ of Beti* 
Jfal, when a public deputation is sebt id a fbreign 
court, to nominate three members, who constitute 
a coimcil. Although the president or chief of the^ 
ts invested with all the power, and controls the 
proceedings of the rest, yet the distinction between 
them is not so wide as to preclude the' jimiOni 
from a high degree of consequence being attached 
lo their stations ; and in case of the deniise of the 
principal, the senior survivor eiecutes afl dipfo-; 
matic functions, thus widely guarding ag^st any 



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BM3ASST TO AVAr 9^ 

imp^dineiH wiUel» a cnniftlj^y mf^ throw in tb*. 
Wfty of negodatioii. 

The two junior member^ pf the Chinese depn- 
tation came at the aptp^nnted hour, accompanied 
by BOYen or eight attendants. There is no per- 
sonage on earth so soleinn and ceremonious as a 
Chinese c^cer of state. His c^^ty m preserved 
hy profound 8iIenoe« ^nIe8s when occasion rondo's 
it necessary to eiMijcise the Acuity of q>eeeh» 
which is always sTew, monotonous, and dull. Even 
gentlemen, in the ^miliarity of private life, seldom 
depart from their gravity, or relas; into a smile* 
On entering a room where there is company^ good 
breeding is evinced by a modest but pertinaceou^ 
refusal to sit down till the master of the house is 
first seated, which would be an equal polation of 
dec<»wn on his part. This custom, I was told, 
somtetimes produces a very ludicrous scene, and 
the guests are not unfrequently db%ed to be 
dragged to their chairs, and placed in them ahnost 
by compulsion. My house being about to under- 
go some alteration, I had catised a suite of tents, 
which I had brought with me, to be pitched for 
our temporary accommodation. In these I made 
furangements to receive my visitors, who were 
exact to their time. On entering the door of 1^ 
marquee, they both made an abrupt stop, and re- 
sisted aU solicitation to advance to chairs, that 
had been prepared for them, until I should first be 
seated. In this dilemma Dr Buchanan, who had 
visited China, advised me what was to be done. 
I immediately seized on the foremost, whilst the 
Doctor himself grappled with the second. Thus 
we soon fixed them in their seats^ both parties^ 



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S<^ «iltAS*Y to AVA. 

Arfing the itruggk, irepeatltig Chin Chin, dhltt 
Chin, the Chinese term of salutation, llie coh- 
yersation was not at all lively or interesting ; for, 
&ough I sat between them, our words had to make 
a wide circuit befor^s they reached each other'« 
esomprehension. I spoke in the language of Hin- 
dostan to a Mussulman who Understood Birman, 
he delivered it to a Birman who spoke Chinese, 
this Birman gave it to the first official domestic, 
Who repeated it to his master in the Chinese tongue. 
Our wines, port, claret, and madeira, idl excellent 
bf their kind, were seiTed up. These, however, 
Were too cold for Chinese palates. My visitants 
did not seem to relish them ; but when cherry- 
brandy was introduced, their approbation was ma- 
nifested by the satisfaction with which each of them 
Swallowed a large glass full of the liquor. They 
tasted our tea, and, before they departed, politely 
presented me with some fans, two or three pieces 
of silk, two small boxes of tea, and three bottles 
of shouchou, a very fiery spirit distilled 6"om rice, 
6f which the Chinese are extremely fond. I re- 
turned the visit on the following day, and was re- 
ceived with as much pomp and ostentation as cir- 
cumstances would admit. In front of the house a 
silk ensign waved, on which was embroidered the 
imperial dragon of China, and at their gate were 
suspended whips and chains, importing the power 
which the owner possessed to inflict corporal 
punishment. The two junior members met me at the 
threshold of the'r habitation, apologized for the 
unavoidable absence of the chief personage, and 
introduced me into a hall, the walls of which were 
Concealed by screens of silk, and the chairs covered 
with loose |»ece8 of satin. This interview was 

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TbAHABtrr TO AVA. M 

tendered ihcnre interesting thdn the fonn^, hf i 
jBpontdneotis question on the part of ihe seMoih 
Chinese, to Ichow whether I heard of the safift ai^ 
iival of Lord Macartney in England. His. Lordfebiji 
haying left China only the preceding year, it trai 
Hot possiMe to have had accounts of his reaching 
England, and thfe issue of his Lordship's negOciA- 
thins XTSs at that that time wholly unknown. Con- 
Bfeqiiently, being unacquainted both with the ob^- 
je^is and event 6f that splendid inission, I felt my^ 
«elf rather on delicate ground in regard to the in- 
quiries which I, on my part, wished to make. Ih 
order to draw some conclusion from their dis- 
course, I encouraged them to pursue the topic, by 
asking how his Lordship's heahh had bom^ tl^ 
vicissitudes of climate ? They replied, that thejr 
only knew of the embassy from report, and seam- 
ed reluctant to enter into particulars, with which, 
it is probable, they were entirely unacquahited. I 
did not, therefore, press the subject ferther ; but I 
was not suffered to remain long m doubt what their 
sentiments were, Chinese vanity Scarcely yieldb 
to that of the Birmans. Heire was an opportunity^, 
hy exaggeration and misrepresentation, of indul^^ 
their own pride at the e^ense of the English mi- 
iion, which, in the accounts circulated by them ^ 
Uinmerapoora respecting the embassy to China, 
they did not neglect. They treated us with teh 
and sweetmeats, and smoked their long pipes \iHlli 
unrelaxed solemnity. I repaid their civffities by 
giving them some broad doth and brandy, and 
took my leave. " ' 

The alterations in my own dwelHng, which I 
had suggested, were quickly carried into effecf; 
and| by and order from the Lotoo, or grand cotut- 

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99 XMBAlftT TO AVA. 

oU m snail additional buildings of a equare form, 
and raised from tho ground^ was erected withiir 
the enclosure of our court> for the reception of tiie 
presents intended for his majesty. I was given to 
understand that this building was meant as a com- 
pliment to what they thought proper to term a- 
mong themselres, ** tribute from the King of £ng^ 
land ; *' but as no sudi arrogant assumption was 
0¥er publicly professed, I coidd not take notice of 
mare rumour. It was, howev^, privately iliti- 
mated to me^ that keeping our tents pitched, would 
be cmisidered by the court in the light of a reflect 
tion upon its hospitality ; and an inference wcnJ^ 
he drawn from it, that we were discontented with 
our habitation; I immediately ordered tiie Huir- 
quees to be struck, nothing being frother from my 
intention than to give umbrage, or express dia- 
8atisfiu;tion, for which indeed, in the presmt i&r 
atance, there was certainly no ground. 

Hie intenral tiius elapsed between tiie tiine «f 
our arrival at Ummerapoora, and of our fonnal 
introducti9u at court, arorded us leisure to acquire 
some ijisigfat into the ontoms, rehgious tenets^ and 
moral economy of the Birman nation. Instead, 
therefore, of filling up the chasm by an unimport- 
ant journal, in which the acts ot one day differed 
t^ut little from those of the preceding, I shall de- 
dicate a few |iages to a more general account of 
the country, and endeavour, as far as our own dr- 
cumscribe4 observation, and the information of o- 
thers, enabled us, to illustrate the character of thip 
people from their manners and th^ir state of so- 
ciety, fr«m the progress Tihich the arts had made, 
and from the Q»ges of the inhabitants^ in common 



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CMBASSY TO AVA. tS 



CHAPTER m. 

* 9triltSiyK)t!0)T OF tHB MEfKOFOLn^LAWireftS 

* U*-!- Hfi Ht>TAL feSTABXtStf ArKNT-^OMTNOlL O* 

' WtAlfA — OPFlCER«-^HOI^m7III» WOT ttfiRlBDI- 

^AIlY-i-IWSlGmA or RAHK*— Dlt»88^ft»»«tt^ 

' BLAJ^Cfi TO THE CmKESB — MAtllllAOEft— i-tt7^ 

' kBitAi.s-^K>pirLATfd9r.^iifiveirtm. 

AFttett trhw fias been writwn, tbefe (6m to litHe 
li&<^8Bity to infotti my reieid^M, thuf Iil6 BintMM 
iur<^ Hindoos : h6t vot^^s 6f Bl!Bllttll^ bnt sectariiM 
0f Bbodb, wbkh latter is ttdiAHMd'^f HkidooBof 
tffl (Ascriptions to be the riinth Atavar> • «r de^ 
Bcent of th^ Deit jr in his capacity dF pteiwrer. H« 
ie^Mined the doctrines leoBtahied in tk€ Vedto, 
fthd severely teftsttred ^e saciriice of eattle, or 
depriving any being" bf 1^. H€( is called 1^ am-' 
tebl" bf hapjpfiness. His ftece of residence was 
Ai^^Otet^d at Q«y^ in Bengal, by die fflnstrioik 
Amnra, f renowned amount men, *^ whti caused 
Bn iihage of the supreme BeodH to be made, ai^ 

* ^ix' iRniHftm Jon€s on ^€ 6<Mls ol* G reec e Itatvi 'and 
India. 

f 4See tte traiMkttioti «f -a Shakscrit inscfi^oa on a 
stone found in the temple of Bbbdh, at Gaya, by Ml^ 
WiUuns. Asiat. ReftetUrai. Vol. I. - 



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$4 C:MfiASSY TO A^A* 

he wonifalpped it. Reyerence be tutto ibeein dbr 
fMm of Bdodh ; reverence be unto tbee, hoopd oi 
the earth ; reverence \>e unto ^lee, an IncaraabMr 
of the Deity ; and, Etemal One, reverence be ont^' 
thee, O God, in the form of Mercy. ** 

Gotma, or Gontiim, acccmling to the HukUkw 
of India, or Gauchna, among the inhabitaBtB of Atf ' 
more eastern parts, is liid * to favre been apidleww 
pher, and is by the Birmane believed to have flovrid^ 
ed about 23Gdf years «go< He tangly ift thf 
Indian sdiook^ the heterodcur rel%ion and phileso^ 
phy of Boodh. The ima^e tJial; re]»«eenit8 BooA 
is called Gaiidra% of Goutaat) whuk n nom a 
cenimonly reednred appella^m <^ Boodh Uaiari£: 
This image is the primary object ^f wovship in aH 
coontries sitssted between B^[^ and Chan*. Th« 
sectaries of Boodh contend with those of Brahma 
for the hiMiomr c^ antHjuity, and are ceitaudyt fiv 
more nmaeKras* The Cingalese in Ceyka ai9 
Boodhists of the pm-est source, and the Bhmattl 
afikaowledge to have originally received their re* 
ligioa frcHB ^bat island, t It waa broi^t, say dit 
Rhahaans, first from Zehoo (Ceylon) to Airacan^ 
and thmiee was introduced into Ava, uid probably 
into China ; for the Birmans assert with confid^ieil 
that the Chinese are Boodhists. 

Tins is a curious subject of iavestigatieii, and- 
the eonemreat testimony of circumstances, added 
to the opinions of the most mtelligent writers, seem 
to leave little doubt of the fact. It cannot, how* 

* Sir WiUiam Jonet on the Gods of Gr«Me^. Italy 
«iid India, 

f Tlus agrees with the accoaat of the Siamese compu- 
tation given by Kaempfer. 

I The BirmaDs call Ceylon £eboe» 



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SMBASST TO ATA. 9$ 

r» 1>« demoDBtnKted beyond the possibiKty of 
^k^ntey till we shall have acquired a mare perfect 
knowledge of Chinese letters, and a readier access 
to their r^iodtories of learning. Little can at 
present be added to the lights cast on die subject 
hy the kte Sir William Jones, in his Discourse de- 
iiv<ered ia the Asiatic Society on the Chinese. 
Thai great man has expressed his conyiction in 
positive terms, diat ^ Boodh was nnqnestionably 
Iho Foe of QkknBy** and that he was also the god 
of Japan, and the Wocto of the Goths — an opi* 
nioa wiudi corresponds with, and is perhaps gnft^ 
ed QB» the intomadoftof the learned and Idborions 
Kismpier, * corrobormted afterwards by his own 
reaeaKhee* On whatever groonds ^e 'latter tnfer- 
eiiee rests> it will not tend to weaken the belief 
of his first position, when I observe that the Chinese 
depntiesi on the occasion of onrintrodnction to th^ 
Seiedaw or high priest of the Birman empire, pros- 
tmled ^hemaelves before him, and aftertuwds ador* 
ed an image of Grandma with more reKgions fer<* 
war than mere politeness, or acquiescence in the 
cnst^ms of another nation, would have exeited. 
The Bonze* also of China, like ^e Rhahaans of 
A^a» wear yellow as the sac^otal colour, and in 
many of their customs and ceremonleB thare may 
W tnioad a striking nmilitode. 

• Spsidung of the Buds, or Sedu, of the JapuMBe^ 
Kasnipfcr tays, ' I have strong iieatont to belieYe^ both 

* (\tom the affinity of the nain«, and the very nature of tbia 

* f^igion, that its author and founder is the very same per- 

* son wtett the Bralnins call Budha, and believe to be 

* the essential spirit of Wishna, or their deity, who made 

* Me tthitif sfpearanee in the world under this name. The 
< Peguers call hira Samana Khataman. ' .Hist Japanj 
Book IV. ch. 6. Tfmktnt 

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M EMBASSY TO AVA* 

. Whatever may be the antiquity of the worship 
' of Boodlt) the wide extent of its receptiou^ caooot 
be doubted. The most authentic writer * on the 
eastern peninfsula calls the image of Gaudma, af 
worshipped by the Siamese, Somona-codom. Be^ 
ing unacquainted with the language of Siam, \diicl^ 
from so short a residence as four months^ it waf 
impossible he could have acquired, he confounds 
twp distinct words, Somona, and Codpm, signify^ 
ing Codqm, or Gaudn^ in his incarnate state- The 
difference between the letters C and G may easily 
have arisen from the mode of pronunciation in dif- 
ferent countries. Even in the Birman manner o{ 
Uttering the word, the distinction between these let*- 
terv is not very clear- The Boodh of the Indians and 
the Bitmans is pronounced, by the Siamese, Pooth, 
or Pood ; by the vulgar. Poo ; which, without any 
viol^ce to probability, might be conveited by th^ 
Chinese into Foe. * The Tamulip termination en^ w 
Mr Chambers remarks, creates a striking resem- 
blance between Pooden ^nd the Woden of the Goths, 
51 very person who haa conversed with the natives of 
India, knows that Boodh is the Dies Mercorii, the 
Wedaeaday^ pr Woden s day» of aU Hindoos* 

Treating on the iatroduction of Boodh into Chinai the 
*ime author says, * About the year of Christ 518, on^ 

* Darma, a great saint, ttnd twenty-third successor Ott^tll« 

* holy see of Seaka (Budha), came over into China from 

* Seitenseku, as the Japanese writers explain it, that is, 
*. from that part of the world whi^ lies westward with re* 
^ card to Japan, and laid, properly speaking, the first firm 

* ^uudation of the Budsdoism ia thaX mighty eflopiffe^ *• 
Book XV. ch. 6. 

• Louhere. 

f M. Gentil asserts, that the Chinese admit, by. their 
own accounts, that Foe, their object of worship, WM ori'* 
finaUy brought from India. 



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EMBASSY TO AVA. ^t 

Cbronology, lioweTter, idiich mmst fdwsys be ac- 
cepted as a sorer gaide to tmth, than inferences 
drawn from the resemblance of words, and etymo* 
lo^cal reasoning, does not, to my mind, sufficient- 
ly establish that Boodh and Wodeii were llie same. 
The period of the ninth incarnation of Vishnu was 
long antecedent to the existence of the deified 
bero of Scan^naria. Sir WilHam Jones deter- 
mines the period when Boodh appeared on the 
eardi to be 1014 years before 1^ Inrth of Christ. 
Odin, or Woden, flourished at a period not rery 
distant from our Saviour, and was, according to 
aome, a cotemporary of Ppmpey and of Julius 
Caesar. The author of the Northern Antiquities 
places him 70 years a^^ ^ Clmstiaii era. Eren 
the Binnan Gandma, conformably to their account, 
must hare lived above 500 years before Woden. 
So immense a space can hardly be supposed to 
havcbeai overlooked ; but if the suppontion re- 
fers, not to the wairiOT of die North, but to the 
original deity O^, the attributes of the latter are 
as widely opposed to those of Boodh, who was 
hims^ only an incarnation of Yishnu, as ^e dates 
are incongruous. The deity, whose doctrines were 
introduced into Scandinafia, was a god of terroY, 
:jaid his votaries carried desolation and the sword 
throughout whole regions ; but the Ninth Avatar* 
brought the peacefid olive, and came into the 
world for the sole purpose of preventkig sanguin- 
ary acts. These apparent inconsistencies will na- 
taraUy lead us to hesitate in acknowledging Boodh 

• Se« the aceount of the Ninth Avatar, by the Ber. 
Mr Manrica, in hii Hiitory of HindottMi» Vol II« 

VOL. II. I> 2 



I . 



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3$ XICBASST TO ATA. 

and Woden to be the eame peraon. Thtk 4mi- 
trinee are opposite, and their enm axe widely i«- 
mote. 

Had that distwgiuBhed genioB, * tvhoae learn- 
ing so lately illummed the East, been longer ^par- 
ed for the instruction and delist of mankind, he 
would probaUy have elucidated this obecmity, and 
have removed the dusky veil that still hangs, orer 
the religious legends jof antiquity. The sidlyjeetv f 
as it now stands, affords an ample field for indiilg-. 
ing in pleasing theories, and £Bncidil speculatioofl ; 
and as the probability increases of being able ta 
trace all forms of divine worship to one sacred and. 
primeval source, the inquiry, in proportioB» be- 
comes more interesting, and awakens a $ra2n of 
serious ideas in a reflecting mind. . 

It would be as ulisatisfactory as tediosQi to at- 
tempt leading my reader through the mazes of 
mytnological foble, and extravagant allegory, in 
which l£e Hindoo religion, both Braqiinicaj Bfid 
Boodhic, IB enveloped and obscured. It may be 
sufficient to observe, that the Birmans believe in 
the Metempsychosis, and that, after having un- 
dergone a certain number of transmigrations, th«ir 
souk will at Mst either be received into their 
Olympus on the mountain MerOf ^ <^^ ^^ sent to 

* I need hardly observe^ that I mean 1^ William 
Jones. 

f Genei^ Vallaticey, so justly celebrated for Ins kDour-* 
ledge of the antiquities of his countnr* has «xpi«ssed hii 
perfect conTiction that the Hindoos We been is Biltaia 
and in Ireland. See Major Ou8eley*s Oriental CoUee- 
tions, Vol. II. Much attehtioa la certain^ due tosotii 
respectable authority. 

^ Meru properly denotes the pole, and, acc0tding>totb« 
learned Captain Wilford, iA is the celestial ngith ftik of 



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1^ 



BllBAirr TO AVA. St 

MiAr tonnentB in m pteoe of diTine pttnUunenti. 
Macf they liold to be the fint attribute of the 
diymity : « RoTerence be to thee, O (jod, in the 
form of Mercy ! ** and they worship God by ex- 
tendii^ mercy unto all his creatmrea. ' 

The laws of ^ Birmans, Uke their religion, 
are Himloo ; in fact, there is no separating their 
kwB frmn their reli^on. Divine anUiority reveal- 
ed to Menu the sacred principles in a hnndred 
thofwand slocas, or verses. Menu promulgated 
the code. Nuriiereus commentaries* on Menu 
wero cowposed by the Munis, or old phil08<^herBy 
whose treatises constitute the Dherma Sai^ or 
bo^ of law. 

The J^rmanif genenJly call their code Derma 
Sath, or Sastra ; it is one among the many com- 
mentaries on Menu. I was so fortnm^ as to 
procure a translation of the most remarkable pas- 
sages, which were rendered into Latin by Padre 
Vincentius Sangermano, and, to my great gnrpriee, 
I found it to correspond closely with a Perri^u 
▼«raion of the Arracan code, which is now in my 
possession. From ^e inquiries to which this dr- 
cnmstance gave rise, I leamied that the laws, as 
well as the reli^on of the Birmans, had found 
their w^y into the Ava country from Arracan, and 
came originally from Ceyloil. f The Binnan sya- 

tfae Hindoos, roimd which they place the garden of Iiidr% 
•ad describe it m the seat of delights. 
• * Thft code of Oentoo laws, translated by Mr Halhedy 
I am iafovBMd, is a compilation from the different com- 
meBtaiies on Menu, who was *« the grandson of Bramah, 
^a ftrst of> created beings, ** and whose work, as translat- 
ed by Sir William Jones, is the ground of all Hindoo ju* 
rispnideaoe. 
f As an iocoutettable proof that the Pirmans acknow- 

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40 BMBAMY TO AVA* 

tern of ^rnqnudence i$ r^lete with aonnd ia<^-. 
tf, and, in my <^jmoii, is distingiiiahed abore my 
otiieT Hindoo comncovtaiy for penB|>ieaity m^ 
good sense. It provides specifically for almost 
every species of crime that can be committed, and 
adds a copious chaptw of precedents and- deci- 
sions, to goide ^e inexperienced, in cases whv^ 
there is doubt and difficnlty. Trial by ordeal and 
imprecation are the <mly absurd passages in the 
hook ; bat on the subject of women it 1% to aA 
European^ offensively indecent. Like the immorr 
tilMenn, it tells the prince and the magistntt^ 
their duty, in language austere^ maidy, aqd eussr-r 
getic ; and the exhortation at the clpise is a^ once 
noble and pious. The following extract! will 
serve as a specimen : 

* A country may be said to resemble milk, in 

* which oppression is like to W9i^. Whcm wa- 
^ t^ is mingled with milk, its sweetness imm^ 

* diately vanishes. In the same manner, oppresr 

* sion destroys a £Eur and flourishing cpuntr^^. Hi^ 

* royal Surkaab* will only inhabit the d^^res^ 

* stream ; so a prince g«u never jmisper in a dis- 

* tracted empire. By drinking pure milk^ the 
^ body is strwgthened, and the p^hite Is grati^ed ; 

* but when mingled with water, pleasure uq longer 

Mgetlie superior antiquity of the angaSme, aiMl4b«ie. 
c^on of their religion and laws from tiiat quarter, the 
King of Ata has sent, within these few years, at separate 
times, two messengers, persons of learning and req>eeta« 
Irility, to Ceylon, to procure the original books oa widch 
their tmets are founded; and, in one instance, the Bir« 
man minister made an offidid app]icati(m to the Gover* 
nor^genera) of India, to protect and assist ihe person 
charged with the commisdon. 

• Bittern, Suitaab is a Person term, uitd by tiie 
wshomedan translator. 



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KMBAlSSY TO AVA. 4] 

' is fbund, and liie qnings of heallli gradually de- 

* cline. 

* A wise prince resembles a sharp sword, which 

< at a single stroke cuts through a pillar with such 
' keenness that the fabric still remains unshaken. 

* With equal keenness, his discernment will pene- 

* trate advice. 

' A wise prince is dear to his people, as the 
' physician is to the sick man ; as light to those 

* that are in darkness ; as unexpected sight to the 

* eyes of the blind ; as is the full moon on a 

* wmtry night, and milk to the infiant from the 

* breast of its mother. * 

The commentator then proceeds to denounce 
tremendous judgments against an oppressire prince 
and a corrupt judge, llie latter is thus curiously 
menaced: 

* The pumshment of his crimes, who judges ini- 
' quitously, and decides fairly, shall be greater 

* than though he had slain one lllousand women, 
' one hundred priests, or one thousand horses. ' 

The book eimdudes as foBows : 

* Thus have ^e learned spoken, and thus have 

* the wise decreed, that fitigation may cease aAionK 

< men, and contention be bani^ed the' land ; ana 

* let all magistrates and judgecr expound the laws 

* as ihey are herein written ; and to the exigent of 

< their understanding, and according to the dic^ 
' tates of their conscience, pronoimce judgment 
' agMeaUy to the tenor of this book. Let the 

* weifore of their country, aiid the benefit of their 
' fellow-creatures, be their continual study, and 
' the sole object of their attention. Let them 

< ever be mindful of the supreme dignity of the 

D 2 

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42 ' EMBASSY TO AVA. 

' Roiilah ^ and the Bramkis, and pay tti^n tiiat 

' reverence which is due to their sacred c^arac- 

' ters. Let them observe becoming ifespect to- 

' wards all men, and they shall shield the weak 

9 from oppression, support the hdpless, *and, in 

* particular cases, mitigate the severity of mveng- 
' ing justice. 

* It shall be the duty of a prince, and the ma- 

< g^trates of a prince, wisely to regidate the inter* 

* nal policy of the empire, to assist and befriend 

* the peasants, merchants, froiners, and lliose who 

< fr>llow trades, that they may daUy increase in 
*■ worldly wealth and happiness ; they shall pMH 

* mote all w<H*ks of charity, encourage the opn- 

< lent to relieve the poor, and liberally contribute 

* to pious and laudaUe purposes ; and idiatseever 
' good works shall be promoted by their infineufoe 
' ind example, whatsoever shall be fpLven in d»- 

* rity, and whatsoev^ benefit shall accrue to man-^ 
^ kind frt>m thek endeavours, it ^all all be pre« 

* served in the records of heaven, one^sixlh part 

* of which, thou^ Ae deeds be the deeds <^ o- 

* thers, yet shall it be ascribed unto them ; and at 

* the last day, at the sc^mn and awful hour of 

* judgment, the recording spirit diaO produce 

* them, inscribed on the adamantine tablet of hu- 

< man actions. But, on the cither hand, if liie 

* prosperity of the nation be neglected, if justice 

* be suffered to lie dormant, if tumults arise and 
^ robberies are committed, if rapine and foul as-> 

< sassination stalk along the plains, all crimes that 

* shall be thus p^petrated through theu* remiss- 

* ness, one-sixth part shall be brought to their ac- 

• The Arracan name for Rhahaan, 

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BMBA8BT TO AVA. 4S 

5 ewtut, and ^1 with w^igbty vengeance on their 
* heads ; the dreadful consequences of which sur*- 
the power of tongue to utter, or of pen to 



Laws, thus dictated hy religion, are, I believe, 
in giMieral, conscientiously administered. ,The 
crkninal jurisprudence of the Birmans is lenient in 
fNurdcular cases, but rigorous in others. Whoever 
la found guilty of an undue assumption of power, 
ipr of any crime that indicates a treasonable intent, 
18 punished by the severest tortures. The first 
«fHQQmiasion of theft does not incur the penalty of 
lieath, unless the amount stolen be above 800 kiat, 
or tackal, about 100^, or attended with circum^ 
alaaces of atrocity, such as murder or mutilation. 
In the fonofer case, the culprit has a round marie 
imprinted on each cheek by gunpowder and punc- 
taalioii, and on his Iveast the word Thief, with die 
wrtade stolen ; io^ the second offence he is depriv- 
ed of an arm ; but the third inevitably produces 
capital punishment. Decapitation is the mode by 
•rhich criminals sufiSsr, in the performance of which 
^ Birman axecntioners are exceedingly skilful. 

The city of Ununerapoora is divided into four 
distinct subordinate jurisdictions, in each of which 
a Maywoon presides. This officer, who in the 
pnmnces is a viceroy, in the metropolis resembles ' 
a mayor, and holds a civil and criminal court of 
justice. In capital cases he transmits the evidence 
in writing, willi his opinion, to the Lotoo, or grand 
fibamW of consultation, where the council of state 
assemUes. The. council, after dose examinatioB 
into the documents, reports upon them to the 
king, who either pai'dons the offender, or orders 
execution of the sentence* - The Maywo<m is ob^ 



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44 SMBASSY TO AVA* 

Hged to attend in penMm» ^d see the pmuBhineiit 
carried into effect. 

Civil suits may be transferred from the courts 
of the Maywoons to the Lotoo. This removaly 
^weyer, is Attended with a heavy expense. There 
are regular established lavByers, who conduct causes, 
and plead. Eight only are licensed to plead in llie 
Lotoo. They are called Ameendozaan. Tlie 
usual fee is five tackal, equal to sixteen shilHnga ; 
but the govemm^it has large profits on all suits 
that are brought into court. 

There is no country of the East in which the 
royal establishment is arranged with more minute 
attention than in the Birman court. It is splendid 
without being wasteful, and numerous without con- 
cision. The most distinguished members, when I 
was at the capital, were, the Sovereign, his prin* 
cipaL Queen, entitled Nand<^ Praw, by whom he 
has not any sons ; his second wife, Myadc Nan- 
dob, by whom he has two sons ; the Engy Tee- 
kien,* or Prince Royal, and P^e Teekien, or Ihince 
of Prome. The princes of Tongho, Bassien^ and 
Pagahm, are by £B,vourite concubines. Meedah 
Praw is a princess of high dignity, and mollier of 
the chief queen. The prince royal is married, and 
has a son and two daughters, all young. The son 
takes precedence of his uncles, the crown descend- 
ing to the male heirs in a direct line. These were 
the principal personages of the Birman royal fii- 
mily. 

Next in rank to the princes of the blood royal, 
are the Woongees, f or cbief ministers of state. 

• Often callftd Engy Praw. 

t Woon signifies Burden ; the compound word imptm, 
Bearer of the Great Burden. 



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EMBAB8Y TO AVA. 45 

The established number is four, but th^ |4ace of 
one haii long been vacant. These form the greiU 
i^^ling council of the nation ; they sit in the Lotoo, 
or imperial hall of consultation, every day, except 
on the Bhrman sabbath, from twelve till three or 
four o'clock, or later, as there happens to be bu- • 
fiiness. They issue mandates to the Maywoons, or 
yiceroys of the different provinces ; they control 
every idepartment of the state, and, in feet, govern 
the empire, subject always to the pleasure of the 
long, whose will is absolute, and power uhd^ned* 

To assist in the administration of afi&drs, four 
ofi^cers^ called Woondocks, are associated with the 
Woongees, but of far inferior auUiority. T|^ey sit 
in the Lotoo in a deliberative capacity, having no 
vote. They give their opinions, and may record 
^ir dissent from any measure that is proposed ; 
but the Woongees decide. The Woondocks, how- 
ever, are frequently employed to carry into execn- 
tiipn business of great public importance. 
/ FoD^ Attawoons, or ministers of the interior, 
possess a grept degree of influence that sometimes 
counteracts with success the views and wishes ojf 
the Woongees. These the kmg selects to be his 
privy counsellors^ from their talei^, and the opi-t 
i(4on he entertains of their integrity. They have 
access to him at all times-<-a privUege which the 
principal Woongee does not enjoy. 

Tliere are foxit chief secretaries, called Sere- 
4ogees, who have numerous writers or inferior Se- 
rees under them. 

Four Nachaangee sit in the Lotoo^ take notes, 
and report whatever is transacted. 

Four Sandohgaan regulate all ceremonials, in- 
IrodHce atrangen of nu& into the royal presence. 



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4C XMBAS8T TO AVA. 

and are ^ bearers of messages from the oooikeil 
of state to the king. 

There are nine Sandozains, or readers, whose 
business it is to read all official writings, petitionsy 
&<% Eyery docnment, in which the public is con- 
cerned, or that is brought before the council in the 
Lotoo, is read aloud. 

The four Maywoons already mentioned are re- 
stricted to the magisterial superintendance of their 
respective quarters of the city. They have nothing 
ferther to do with ihe Lotoo, than to obey the com- 
mands they receive from thence. 

The Assaywoon, or paymastet-gen^^, is also 
an officer of high importance. The place is at 
present held by (me of the Woongees, who is call- 
ed Assay Woongee. 

There are several other officers of distinction, 
who bear no ostensible share in the administration 
of public affairs, such as the Daywoon, or king's 
armour-bearer; the Chaingeewoon, or master of 
the elephants ; also the Woons of the queen ■ 
household, and that of the prince royal. Each of 
tibe junior princes has a distinct establishment. 

In the Birman government there are no heredi- 
tary dignities or employments; all honours and 
offices, on the demise of the possessor, revert to 
the crown. 

The tsaloe, or chain, is the badge of the order 
of nobility, of which there are diflPerent degrees^ 
distinguished by the number of strings or smafi 
drains that compose the ornament. These strings 
are fastened by bosses where they unite. Three 
of open chain-woric is the lowest rank. Three 
of neatly twisted wire is the next ; then of six, of 
nine, and of twelve. No suliject is ever honowed 



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fiMBASSY TO AVA. 47 

with a higher degree than twelve ; the kir^ alone 
wean twenty-four. 

It has ah^ady been noticed* that aknost every 
article of use, as wdl as ornament, particnlailyiii 
their dress, indicates llie rank of the owner. The 
ahi^ of the beetle^box, which b carried by an at- 
tendant after a Biiman of distinction iidierever he 
goes, his ear-rings, cap of ceremony, horse ^irnitm^ 
even the metal of which his spitting-pot and drink- 
ing-cup are made, (which, if of gold, denote hiin 
to be a man of high considen^on), iSi are indica- 
tive of the gradatiyns of society ; and wo be onto 
him that assumes the insignia d a degree which ia 
not his legitimate right ! 

The court dress of the Birman nobility is very, 
becoming. It consists of a long robe, either of 
flowered satin or velvet, reaching to the ankles, 
with an open collar and loose sleeves. Over this 
there is a scarf, or flowing mantl^ that haoga from 
floe dioulders ; and on their heads they wear high 
caps made of velvet, either plain, cxr of nlk em^ 
broidered with flowers of gold, according to the 
rank of the wearbr. Ear-rings we a, part of male 
dress. Persons of condition use tub^ iS gold about 
three inches long, and as thick as a large quill, 
which expands at one end like the month of a speak- 
ing trumpet. Others wear a heavy mass of gold 
b^ten into a plate, and rolled up. This hunp of 
metal forms a large orifice in the lobe of the ear, 
said drags it down by the weight to the extent 
■emetimes of two indies. The women likewise 
have their distinguishing pe^phemalia. Their hair 
Is tied in a bunch at the top of the head, and bound 
round with a fillet, the embroidery and ornaments 
of which express their respective ranks. A short 

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4b embassy to ava. 

shift reaches to the pit of the stomach, is dram^ 
tight by striogs, and supports the breasts. Orer 
tl^ b a loose jacket with close sleeves. Round 
their waist diey roll a long piece of silk, or cloth^ 
which, reaching to their feet, and sometimes trail- 
ing on the ground, encircles them twice, and is 
itkeii tucked in. When women of condition go 
abroad, they put on a silk sash, resembling a long 
shawl, which crosses their bosom, and is thrown 
oyer the shoulders, gracefully flowing on each side. 
The lowest class of females often wear only a single 
garment, in the fcHin of a sheet, whidi, wrapped 
round die body, and tucked in under the arm, 
crosses their breasts, -which it scarcely conceals, 
and descends to their ankles. Thus, when they 
walk, the bottom of the cloth, where it overlaps, 
is necessarily opened by the protrusion of the leg, 
and diBplavs to a side view as high as the middle 
of the tiiign. Such an exposure, in the opinion of 
an European, bears an indecent iq>pearance, al« 
iJiougfa it excites no such idea in the people them- 
selves. There is an icfle and disgusting story re- 
lated by some writers, respecting the ori^ of this 
fhshion, which, being wholly unfounded, does not 
deserve repetition. It has been the established 
national mode of dress from time immemorial. And 
every woman, when walking, must show great part 
of her leg, as what may be called their petticoat is 
idways open in front, instead of being closed by a 
seam. 

Women, in frdl dres?, stain the palms of their 
hands and their nails of » red colour, for which 
Aey use a vegetable juice, and strew on their bo- 
soms powder of sandal wood,' or of a bark called 
Suni^eka, with which some mb their faces. Both 

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SMbAdST to AVA* 

inen And women tinge the edges of their eyelids 
and their teeth with black. This latter operation 
gires to their months a very unseemly appearance 
in the eyes of an EnropeAn, which is not diminish** 
ed by their being constantly filled with beetle leaf. 
Men of rank wear, in conunon dress, a tight coat, 
with long sleeves made of mnslin, or of extremely 
fine nankeen, which is mannfkctnred in the conn- 
try ; also a dlk Wrapper that encircles the waist. 
The woiking class are usually naked to die middle ; 
but in the cold season, a mantle or rest of Euro- 
pean broad cloth is highly prized. 

The Birmans, in their features, bear a nearer re- 
semblance to the Chinese than to the natives of 
Hindostan. The Women, especially in the north- 
em part of the empire, are fairer than IBndoo 
females, but not so delicately formed; they are, 
howeyer, well made, and in general inclined to 
corpulence. Their hair is black, coarse, and long. 
The men are not tall in stature, but active and 
athletic They hare a very youthful appearance, 
from the custom of plucking their beards instead 
of using the razor. They tattoo their thighs and 
arms into various fantastic shapes and %ure8, 
m^iich they believe operate as a charm against the 
Weapons of their enemies. Neither the men nor 
the women are so cleanly in their persons as ^ 
Hindoos of India, among whom diurnal ablution 
is a reli^ous as well as a moral duty. Girls are 
fartght, at an early age, to turn their arms in such 
Ik manner as to make them appear distorted. 
When the arm is extended the elbow is inverted, 
the inside of the joint being protruded, and ^e 
external part ben^g inwards. 

VOL. II. * V 



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M SMBA88T TO AVA« 

K tntegeB among th^ Bimiaoff ore nol ccnte nc le d 
vntil the parlies attun the i^ of pnbot^. The 
coBlrfM^t is purely dMy the ecele^astical jmiBdic- 
ti<m having notlung to do with it. The law pro« 
hibits polygamy, and reeogmse^ bat one wife, wha 
is dedominated Mica; concubinage, howeTer, is 
admitted to an unlinvUed Extent. A man mayre- 
pudiate his wife nnder particolar circamstanees^ 
bnt die process is att^ded with a heavy expense. 
Concubines, living in ikte same boose with the le-' 
gitimate wife, are, by hWi ob%ed to perform me^' 
nial services for her ; aatct when she goes abroad^ 
they attend her, bearing her waler-fla^on, beetle* 
box, fan, ftc When a husband dies, hia conei^ 
bines, if bound in servitude to him, beeome ^tm 
property of the surviving widow, indess he shaU^ 
have emancipated €bem by a spec^ act previoua 
to his decease. When a young man is desisous toi 
espouse a gail, lus mother, iur nearest fesiale rehu 
^n, first makes the proppsd In pivat^. If ;dia 
suit be wett received, a party of Ins friends pnn 
eeed to the house of the parents of the maideuy 
with whom ^ey adjust the dotal pord<m« On the 
morning of the Kbridal day the bnd^;room seads: 
to the lady three loongees, or lower garments^ 
three tubbecks, or sashes, and three pieces of whiter 
Biuslia ; such jewc^ also ear-jings and bracetetSi 
as lus circumstances will admit. A feast, is pro- 
fMuned by the parents of the bride, and formal; 
writings are executed. The new-married qQiq»l» 
eat out of the same dish ; the bridegroom presents; 
tk^ bride with some l«pack» or picked te% wUcb 
aha acc^ts, and returns the compliment. Thnp^ 
ends the ceremony, without any of that subse* 



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1 



^y and ker £MRale Mends, wkk which the Soma* 
4aian dmnsek oppose the pmikges of an ardent 
Ituid^irooin. 

Whm % man dleaLinte^ate, thiee^rarths of hia^ 
property go to his chililren bom in we^ock, but 
not in equal propc^ions ; and one-^omrtfa to the 
widow^ who is the guardiui both of the property 
and the children, ni^ 1^ latter attain the age of 
natnrky. A Binnaa fdneral is solemnbsed widi 
ttlltclLretigionB pwade> and external dcononatration 
of §rie^ The eorpee is canied on a bier^ on men's 
afa^ild^:«; the prooession mov^ slowly; there-' 
latieBB attend in momrning ; and women» hiied for 
iheroeeaaioa, precede the body, and thmt a dii|p»* 
Jice air* The ^mane bom thdr dead, nnlesa the 
jdeoeaaed is a^MEqMr-^in which ease he is e^er 
Wiedr or cast into ikB river, as the GeremcHiy of 
tan^. is ^ery expensive. The bi^ is {daeed «i 
aiEUMNral|niaBi3c.«reig^t &^ high, made ^ bik- 
let^ of ^sd wood laid across, with intervals ta 
admit ^ dtcnlalion of «r, and increase the flaaa* 
The Khahaana walk round the pile^ recitiag 
pwyota to Gbwdma, mitil the fire i?eaAes the bodyy 
whea ^ whole is quicikly reduced to ashes. The 
bones at^ a ftar waw i s gatherod and d^^ted in a 
gnve* Persons of h%b distmction, sndi as the 
Seredaw, m chief ecclesiastic of a proyinee, a 
Mayivoon, a Wocmgee, or a member of the rayal 
Imi^, aia embalmed, and their remalna pieai^nfied 
ox weeks or two moal^ after decease before they 
are eommiittfid to the fiuaeml pile. During tfan 
period the body is kid in slate in soma kioiutt or 

* 899 Maraden'f Aeooimt of Sunia«ra» page S5Q. 

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Mt BMBAttY 90 AVAi 

fMligMNM iHOMfaig; bat at t^c«|»it«l k kfkM^d in 

• BMved aaloon, beantiMly onuaneadod with gilid- 
mg, and cxehurvaly apjwo^iated to tluit pMmapnr- 
poae. I waa t^d that hcmey ia the pii»dpal iBr 
ffnd&n^ made ate gf to pveaorfe the hody itma 
fntralaetiCNi. 

Of the p^pukAoa %ji the Bamaii donkuona 1 
conld only fomi m eondoaion from the uifai iiati e n . 
I raceivad of the muidier of citieay tewsa, aid 
viUa^M in the en^ne. .Theie, I wm asBueed by 

• pesMtt niio nig^ be ai^peaed to hnmw^ >aad bed 
BQ motive for deceiTing me> amomit te.^ght tboa- 
aand^Bot inchiding the naoairt addidoa of Amcan. 
If thia be tiae» ^i^ich X h»re no raawmto donbt^ 
and we ai^pote each tofwn^ cm an mren^ to eaiir 
4ain three himdxed honwa, and each honae m 
penotts^ 4ie veanlt wiU detenmne the p^olatiili 
at fourteen millioiia four hmdrad thowandl W(vm 
af the inhahitaatB lire inaolitavy habitetioiia.; th^ 
meB%idim themadhwa intoamall aooietie«4 and 
4heir ^wellinga, tlma eoDaotedy compote theicRnai^ 
MK Tillagea: if, therel!MriB» we lecken their mun* 
beiay inclndiog Ainieany at •eFoitectt milliona^ the 
eaki^latien may not be widely evpnoiwoiia-**! ha« 
aiere it rather falk ahoiBt of, thin exceeds the tmlhr 
^^fter all, however, it ia mer^ ooigeotare, aal have 
ao better data hr my guidance thn wiiat I haia 
jeiated. 

With re g tfd to the revmweof ^ Biiuanalal^ 
I oonliBM myaelf to be without 1^ meaaa of |aaa^• 
ing even a rongh estimate of the amomit. Ao- 
mrdiag to tl^ tacred law, in the chipttr which 
of the dntiea of a moaanh» Dhamineit,* 

* Set Appcadiz. 

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BMBAflf Y TO AV4* 5$ 

w ft lo^ of 1^ |»*odae% is the p£9p<tf^«n wluch 
]» to be exaeted as the anlherized <kie. of the g9- 
▼erament; and <Hie tenth is the amount of the 
king's doty on all foreign goods imported mto his 
dominions. Th^ revenue arising from the eustoms 
on impmts, and frtmi int^nal produce, is mostty 
-taken in kind ; a small part of whidi is oonverted 
into cash, ^e rest is djatribnted, as received, m 
Hen of sdaries, to the vanoos d^>eadaats of Uie 
Aoifft. Princes of the blood, high officers of state, ~ 
«nd provincial gbvemorS) receive grants of pro* 
▼iaces, dties, villages^ and farms, to si^port their 
dignity, and as a remuneration of their servicee. 
The rraits of these assignments they collect for 
their own ben^t. Money,- exc^ on pressing 
emergency, is.neyer disbursed from the royal cof- 
fers. ' To cme man the fees of an office are allot- 
ted; to another a station where certain imposts 
are collected ; a third has land ; eadi in proporticm 
to the importance of his respective employment. 
By these donations, they are not only bound in 
their own personal servitude, but likewise in that 
of tdl their dependants ; they are called slaves of ' 
the king, and in turn their vassals are denominated 
davcs to them. The condition of these grants in- 
<Me also MTOOM of war, as well as i^e duties of 
office. Thus ike Bkinaa government eidbibits al- 
most a faithfid picture of Europe in the daikmr 
ages, whoi, on Uie decline of the Roman empire, 
the princi^es of feudal dependence were esta* 
blished by barbarians from the north. 

Although it seems difficult, and perhaps impos- 
sible, under such a sysiidm, to ascertain, in any 
standard Currency, the amount of the royal reve- 
e2 



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54 SMBASST TO AVA. 

five, yel the ridiai wUch the Birmui oMmatdi k 
fliid to poflseflB are immense — a sappotition thait 
may readily be admitted^ when it ia considered 
that a very raoall share of what enters his exche- 
quer returns into drcalation. The bearding of 
money is a finromite maxim of Oriental state po- 
licy. An Eastern potentate cannot be brought to 
eompr^iend ^t the diiiision of property among 
his snljects is a surer source of wealth to himselfy 
and of secm^ to his duxme, than 1^ poss o ss iott 
of I^ydian treasures, locked up in yanhs, and con- 
cealed in secret recesses, conteivod by soidid anh 
rice and foolish cunning. 



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BMBASSY TO AVA. S5 



CHAPTER IV. 

MILITARY ESTABLISHMENT — INFANTRY— ^CA 8- 

SAY CAVALRY — ARTIFICERS WAR-BOATS-J. 

GUNPOWDER LONG KNOWN-* WEAPONS*— FOOD 

— CLIMATE— SOIL PRODUCE MINERALS—^ 

PRECIOUS STONES — COMMERCE — CURRENCY 
— WEIGHTS — MEASURES — CHARACTER OF 
THE NATIVES — NOT JEALOUS OP THEIR WO^ 
MEN — FEROCIOUS IN WAR — BEGGARS UNi 
KNOWN — ANIMALS — DIVISION OF TIME — MU-r 
SIC— LANGUAG£-*£XTENT OF THE EMPIRES- 
RIVERS. 

The Bimnais may be twined a natum of soldiers^ 
ev&rf man in the kingdom being liable to be called 
upon for his military seryiees ; and war is deemeq 
the most honourable occupation. The regular 
military establidmient of the Birmans is, neverthe- 
less, very inconsiderable ; not exceeding the num- 
bers of which the royal guard is composed, and 
such as are necessary to preserve ^ police of the 
capital. When an armyis to be raised, a mandate 
issues from the golden pialace, to all viceroys of 
provinces, and miougees of dbtricts, requiring a 
certain number of men to be at a general rendez- 
vous on an appointed day, under command some- 
times of the viceroy hinraelf, but oftener that of 

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56 BMBASST TO AVA. 

an iDfuvv officer/ IW leyy k proporticHied to 
tiie population of the praviiicey or diatrict, estima- 
ted from the nomher of registered houses that if 
contains. The prorindal comt determines the 
bmrden which eadi honse is to hear ; commonly 
eyery two, three, or fonr hooses, are to furnish 
among them one recmit, or to pay 300 tackal in 
money, about 40^ or 45^ This recndt is supplied 
with arms, ammunition, and, I believe, with a cer- 
tain daily allowance of grain from gorenmieBl^ 
but is net entitled to pay. The families of these 
G<«8cripts are carefully retamed in the district 
which they inhabit, as hostages ibr the good con^ 
duct of their relation. In case oi desertioa or 
treachay, the innoc^t wife, children, and parents 
of the guilty perscm, are dragged to execution with- 
out the least remorse or pity.. Even cowardice sub- 
JMte tfae-JMBiiy of ibe driinfuent to capital punish- 
vma^ This bailiawMs law, wUdi is ngoravsly 
enforced, must have a powerful effect in securing 
ihe allegiance of the troqM, and of impelling them 
to vigcffous exertion ; and it is, peihi^ tibe oaiy 
sure mode of ixM^iting to enterprises of danger^ 
men who are not actuated by any innate Mose ^ 
honour, and who do not feel any national jNride. 

Infantry and ^avidry compose the r^^ular guards 
of the king. The former are armed with musketa 
and sabres; the latter are provided with a spear a- 
bout seven or eight feet long, which they manage 
on horseback with great dexterity, seldom requir- 
ing or making use of any other weiqixm. The in- 
fieuitry are not tmiformly clothed. I heard various 
accounts of their numbers ; 700 do constant duty 
within the precincts, and at the several gates oi 
the palace. I tliink that, on i\\e day of my public 



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lacejUfcgBt I Bum 9b(MA ^OOQ, and hue u» doubt 
tbal all the triM^ in die city were paraded on that 
wxBUon* Iwae told tbat there w^ie only 300 caval- 
ry in UmoMiapooray but thak 2000 were Icaltered, 
in amall detachments, througfaont the neig^bourp 
lag diatiiets* All the ttoapem in the king« ser<« 
vice are satires of Caaaayy who ave mnch h^ter 
kHraemen than theBiimain, Mr WommI, who saw 

BaadynwevdiiledthoQe whom he had met with in A»- 
atfD. ThifT ode like all Odenlals, with shoart stir- 
fnpa md » loaae rein. Their saddle is hard and 
higfe^ asd two laige cironlar flaps of strong leather 
iMOf dofim on eadi aide» painted or gUded, accords 
ing to the^uaUty of the rider. Their dress is not 
iuibeeomulg«. l^y wear 9i$ighteoat»withakirt8 
seacUng £mu to the middle of the thigh ; and 
fm their head a tarh«i of cloth, r^led bird and 
fdake<l, n^iich forma a high ciHie, that bends backf 
ward in a graceful manner. The faiHies of Ate 
areamaU» Uit very hardy and actiYo* Contrary 
10 the practice el other Eastern eoimtries, they cas* 
trate their hctrses, and are thus enabled to mainr 
lain them with little taouUe and expense, and can 
also.twn A number loose in a field, together, with^ 
Otttaay risk of their iiguiittg one ano^er* Hones 
we freqvenlly exported in timber ships bonnd for 
Madras, and other parts ci the ^oast, where they 
«re dispoaedof to c<maiderdble advantage. 

The government of Ara is extremely attentive 
to provide, |n times of peaces lor the contingencies 
of war. The royal magazines, I was told, could 
fuinish 20^000 firelodcs, which, if they resembled 
the specimoM I saw, cannot be very foi mid a Me . 
These huve been impofted, at different periods in* 



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56 BMBAMT TO AVA. 

to tile country, by ships tridiiig to B»»gogp mod 
other parts of the esipire, aad are eitber df Frendi 
mannfactiire, or ccmdemned muskets from the £&" 
glish arseBals in I&dia. The Binaam are yeiy 
fond of their arms, of whieh they take great care. 
Their gunsmiths, who are all natiyes of Cassa^y 
keep them in repur ; birt they are in general so bad 
as to be out of the power of art to roader tfeeM 
senripeable. I saw a tolerably good fowling pieoe^ 
whidi they said was entirely the work of a Caaaaf 
artificer. This, however, was allowed to be an 
extraordmary eSoirt of genius. The ponoA who 
showed it me, presented me, at the same iamOf 
with a bamboo, which threw out a diiert tpmr 
of iron by means of a ^ning. . It waa ezecirted by 
the makar of the gun, and seemed to be fbfand 
after a model of an English walking stick, ^lat 
contained a concealed spike. TheimilatiimefTiacad 
mndi ing^mity, akhong^ ibe workmanship waa 
coarse, and the inm baitty polidied. 

By far the moat re^>ectaUe part of the Birmn 
military force b ^ir estabhalnBeBt of war-baata. 
Eyery town of note in iht yicinity of the riyer, is 
obiged to furnish a certun number of men, and one 
or more boats, in proportion to the magnitude of the 
place. I wasii^ormed, thi^ the kmg can command^ 
at a yery short nc^ce, 500 of these yessels. Thery 
a^ constructed out of the solid tnmk of the teak 
tree, which is excayated partly by fire and par^ 
by cutting. The largest are ftda eighty to one 
hundred feet l<»g, but the breadth seldom ^xeedi 
eight feet, and eyen this apace is produced by ai^ 
t^daUy extending the sides afW the trtn^ baa beoi 
hollowed. They carry fimn fifty to sixty rowers, 
who use short oars that work on a spin^ Thf 



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■MiN^SflY TO AYA. 59 

pralfiii MiA, an^bMaftoit 8W^bce, ob which, when 
^y )go to ^^wr> a {^ece oi et^nance is numnted, 
a six, a aaae, or Brea a twelve pounder. The 
g^nn-caniage is seenred by lashings to strong bolts 
on ead^ tedde^ and swivels are. frequently ^d on 
the dHTatBre of ^e stem. 

Each row^ is provided, with a sword and a lance, 
whkb^are plaoed by hk «vde whilst he plies the 
oan. Bettdee the. boatmen, tbere are usually 
^kty sddiors en board, who are armed tvith mus- 
kets. Thus prepared, they^ go in fleets to meet 
llie foe, and, when in sight, draw up in a line, 
prasenting their paows to the raemy. Thrar at- 
tack is extremely impetuous ; they advance with 
great vapi^ry apd sing a war-song, at once to en- 
eo«age their people, daunt thar adveraaries, and 
regdate ^ rtrokes of their oars* Tliey generally 
eoidevnKa to grajpfkle, and when that is efiected, 
the aetm becmnea very severe, as these people 
fure endued with great courage, strength, and ae- 
twity; la limes of peaee, thjy are fond of exer- 
dsmg in their boats, and I have ctften been enter- 
tained with the dexterity they display in the 
aaanagement of them. The^ vessels b^i^ low in 
the. water, thdr grei^teat danger is that of berag 
ran down by a laig«* boat stirring on their broad- 
aide-^ mii^ortune which the steersman is taught 
to dreadf and to avoid above all others. It is 
euxpisii^ to see the &eiUty with wMch they steer, 
and ekide each other in thor mock combata. The 
rowers are also , piactised to mw badkwards, and 
impel th». vessel widi ibf st«m foremost, lliis ia 
the mode of . ratceat, by means o£ which the ar- 
tillery still bears upou Uiair c^jponent. The largest 
of the warrb<»at&4o. not draw more than three feet 



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60 EMBASSY TO ATA. 

water. When a person i^ rank Id on board, diero 
10 a sort of moving tilt or canopy, for his particnlar 
accommodation, placed sometimes m the centre^ 
and sometimes on the prow. The sides of the 
boat are eitiuBr gih sis fisff as ihe water^s edge, or 
plain, according to the rank of the person it cairies* 
GMed boats are only permitted to princes of the 
blood, or to persons holding the highest stolons, 
such as a Maywoon of a province, and a minister 
of stiite. 

It is by no means improbabte, that the use of 
gunpowder was weM known in India bef^H:e its ef- 
fects were discov^isd in the west ; yet there is not 
any reason to beliere, that the natives of Ava applied 
it to the pmpose of musketry, till £nr^)eans hi- 
stmcted them in the art. Accenting to Indlm 
accounts, cannon were fabricated in 1^ East long 
bef<«« the era of European conqneM. Tl^ir ar- 
tillery, however, was not capable of being trans^ 
ported with iac^ty, or at all used in tliHd field. 
Tbey were made of iron bars beaten into a cylin- 
drical ftmn, mdely pat togethei^, but of great 
strength, and enormous weight, from Which, when ' 
raised oh a rampart or tower, they iteew hnge 
stones to annoy the eneikf. The musket was 
first introduced into the Pegue and Ava countries 
by the Fbrtugnaie, and is an Implement of war 
wbkh the inhkbitants tmwisely prefer to their own 
native we^ons, the spear and sabre— a par- 
^ality that is highly prejudicial to themselves, for 
nothing can be less formidable than such fEre-arms 
m they possess, or have the means of procuring. 
The proper indigenous weapons of Ihe country are 
the spear, the javelin, which is thrown from the 
hand^ the cross-bow, and the sabre. Tlie fatter is 



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E|IBAS0¥ TO AVA. Of 

tmd hy the Birmaas not only as an iiaEf^ement of 
vp$ac9 but 18 likewise q>(ilied to vwioos piiipoMs as 
an mstmoient of mnnwal labonr. With this the 
peasant fells trees, shapes timbers) cuts bamboos, 
or defends himself against an enemy and wild 
beasts. He ne^er ^yels wiMiout it, and generally, 
when on a journey, carries a shield on his left arn^ 
They encumber thems^ves with less baggage than 
p^iiaps any othnr people ; and are satisfied with 
a scanty portion ef the hardest fiii^ 

In their food, die Birmaas, companed with the 
Indians, are gross and undeaaly. Although their 
religion fcnrbids the slaugfaEter of animals in generaV 
yet they apply the int^diction only .to those that 
ave domesticated* All game is eagerly sought 
after, and in many places it is publicly sold. Hep- 
tiles alBO» such as liaards» g«anas> and snakes,: 
c<mstiti^ a p^rt of the suhMStence of the lower 
classes. Dunqg our voyage up the river, the 
boatmen^ after we had broi^;!^ to, used fre^pMnU 
ly to hunt for cameHons and liaards among the 
tl^ckets. They are extremely fond of vegetaUea.r 
At those places wheie garden gseens* trere not tO' 
be procured, they gath^ed wild sorrel, and some- 
times substituted die tender leaves of trees. These, - 
Boiled with rice, and moistened with a little oil, 
or seasoned with gnapee, or pickled spmXy com- 
pose ameal with which a Binnan peasant or beat* 
man is satisfied. The higher mnks, however, live 
with more ddicaey> akhoui^ their hat k never 
very sumptuous. 

The cUmate of evevy part of the Birman em- 
pire which I have vin^ad, bone tesfknony to its 
salubrity, by the best possible crileriim, the ap- 

VOL. li. V 



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62 EM1A88T TO AVA. 

pesnoiee aad vigoor of tlie natives. Tlie anmxm ' 
gre regcilflr, and ^ extremes of heat and cold are ' 
seldom expoienced ; at least, the dtimtion of liiat 
iatoise heat which immediatdy jn^eeedes the eomi- 
tneneemeBt of the ramy seiison is bo short, that it 
ineommodes hat for a yery Mttle time. Dining 
oiv lesid^Kse in the cenntiy, we lost only one 
man hy disease. Ano^r* met an aeddental 
death; in wandering tfarough tiie wtK>ds he became 
the prey of a tiger. 

' The soil ef the sovthem prorinces of the Bir- 
man en^Hre is renuffkably fertile, and produces as 
Ittxmriant 4»^ps of rice i|s are to be found in the - 
finest parts of BeagaL Farther northward tl^ 
coqntry becomes kregnlar and monntaimms; hat 
the plains and yaUeys, partieidarly near the ri yer, 
are exeeec&igly frmlfnl. Tlray y^sld good wheat, ' 
and the yarious kinds of small grain winch grow * 
in Hindostan; aalikewisB legiime% and most of 
the oacoleM yegetablea of Indian Sngar caaei^ 
tobaceo ol a aapwior quality, indygo, eottcm, and 
the ^fe w nt tropieal froits, m peifectioa, In^ all 
indigemms prodvcts of this fityoored land. 

- Bemdes the teak tree, whidi grows m many 
parts (^ the ^naan emjnre, as well to tibe north ' 
of Ummerapoora, as in the sonthsm coontry, ihem 
is almost eyery description of timber that is known ' 
in India. Dr Bof^anan, m one of his aAemoon 
excorsions, perceived a large log of fir, whidi, has ' 
attendant informed hinxs had bo^ washed down ' 
by the torrents from a moontainoos past of the 
conntiy, four days journey northward of the capi- 
tal, where it grows in abundance, and of comider'- ' 

* T}iis unfortupate man^belonged to the Svalione. > 

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BMBAJ66T TO AVA. 63 

i^ble msgnitude.; The natives cail it T»nyo. Hiey 
textract Uie turpeiitine, which they toni to iise, btKt 
consider the wood of little Tslue, on account of its 
softness. If they could be prevailed^ upon to 
transport it to Rangoon, it might prove a bene- 
ficial material to tbe navigation of India. Top- 
gallant masts and yards made of teak are lliought 
to be too heavy. £ur<^an and American spars are , 
often bought ixxt these purposes at a very exorH- 
tant price — an inconvenience whidbt the fir of Ava, 
if conveyed to the mai^et, would probably obviate. 

The kingd<Mn of Ava abounds in minerals. 
Six days* journey from, Bamoo, near the frontiers 
of China, there are mines <^ gold and silver, called 
Badouem. There are also mines of gold, silver, rnbiesy 
and sapphires at present open on a mountein near the 
Keenduem, Woobolootaun ; but the most valuable^ 
and those which produce the finest jewels, are in 
the vicinity of the capital, nearly oppodte to 
Keoum-meoum. Precious stones are found in 
several oth^r parts of the empire. The inferior 
minerals, such as contain iron, tin, lead, antimony^ 
arsenic, sulphur, &c. are met with in great abun- 
dance. Amber, of a consistence imusually pure 
and pellucid, is dug up jn large quantities near the 
river. Gold, likewise, is discovered in the sandy 
beds of streams which descend from the mountaina. 
Between the Keenduem and the Irrawaddy, to 
the northward, there is a small river called Shoe 
Lien Kioup, or the Stream of Golden Sand. 

Diamonds and emeralds are not produced in any 
part of the Ava empire ; but it affords amethysts, 
garnets, very beautiful chrysolites, jasper, load- 
Btpne, and marble* The quarries of the latter are 
only a few miles from Ummerapopra. It is equal 



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64 EMBASSY TO AVA. 

in qualitjr to th6 finest nrorble of Italy, and admits 
ef a polish l^at renders it almost transparent. 
•Blocks of any size that it is possible to transport 
might be procured, but the side is prohibited ; nor 
is it allowed to be carried away without a special 
'ffl'der. Images of Grandma heing diiefiy composed 
of this material, it is on .that account held sacred. 
Birmans may not purchase the marble in mass, 
but are sufficed and indeed encouraged to buy 
figures of the deity ready made. Exportation of 
•their gods out of the kingdom is strictly forbidden. 
The city of Chagaln is tiie principal manufactory of 
tiiese marble divinities. 

• An extensive trade is carried on between the 
•capita} of the Birman dominions and Yunan in 
China. The principal article of export from Ara 
is cotton, of which I was informed there are two 
kinds, one of a brown colour, of which nankeens 
«re made, the, other white, Jike the cotton of India. 
{ did not see any of the former. This commodity 
is transported up the Irrawaddy in large l)oats, as 
far as Bamoo, where it is bartered at the common 
jee or mart, with Chinese merchants, and convey- 
ed by the latter, piutly by land, and partly by 
Water, into the Chinese dominions. Amber, ivory, 
predous stones, beetle nut, and the edible nests 
hnmght from the eastern archipelago, are also 
artides of commerce. In return, the Birmans pro- 
cure raw and wrought silks, velvets, gold leaf, 
preserves, paper, and some utensils of hardware. 

The commerce between the capital and the 
southern parts of the empire is facilitated by the 
noble river that waters the country. Its principal 
objects are the necess^es of life. Several thou- 
nn4 boats are amutatiy employed in transporting 

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EMBASSY TO AVA« - G5 

rice ^m tbe lower provinces, to supply Ummera- 
poora, and^the nortbem districts. Salt and gnapee 
may likewise be, reckcmed under the same head. 
Articles of foreign importation are mostly convey- 
ed up the Irrawaddy ; a few are introduced by 
way of Arracan, and carried over the mountains 
on the heads of coolies, or labourers. European 
broadcloth, a small quantity of hardware, coarse 
Bengal muslins, Cossembuzar silk handk^chiefii, 
China ware, which will not admit of land carriage 
and glass, are the principal commodities. Cocoa 
nuts also, brought from the Nicobar Islands, where 
they are of imconmion excellence, are looked up^ 
on as a delicacy, and bear a high price*. Mer- 
chants carry dovm silver, lac, precious stones, and 
some other articles to no great amoimt. A con- 
siderable sum of mpney is annually laid out at the 
capital in the purchase of marble statues of Gau4- 
ma, which are all fabricated in the district of Char. 
gain, opposite Awa-haung, or ancient Ava. They 
are not permitted to be made at any other place. 

The Birmans, like the Chinese, have no coin. 
Silver in bullion, and lead, are the current monies 
of the country ; weight and purity are, of course,! 
the standard of value, and in the ascertainmait <^ 
both the natives are exceedingly scrupulous and 
expert. What foreigners call a tackai, properly 
kiat, is the most general piece of silver in circulation; 
it weighs ten pennyweights ten grains and three- 
fourths. Its subdivisions are, the tubbee, two of 
whiqh make one moo ; two moo one math ; four 
math one tackai, and one hundred tackai compose 
one viss. Money scales and weights are all fa- 
bricated at the capital, where they are stamped 
F 2 



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66 EMBASSY TO AVA. 

find afterwards circnhited throtigliout the empiie ; 
the use of any othere is prohibited. 

Rice is sold by a measure called Tayndating, or 
basket ; the weight is sixteen viss, about fifty-six 
pounds. There are many subdivisions of mea- 
surement. The average price of rice at the capi- 
tal is one teckal, rather more than half-a-crown, for 
a basket and a half. At Rangoon and Martaban, 
one tackal will purchase £our or five baskets. 

The bankers, called by foreigners Pymon, are 
likewise workers in silver, and assayers of metal. 
This is a class of people very numerous, and in- 
dispensably necessary, as no stranger can under- 
take either to pay or receive money without hav- 
ing it first examined. Every merchant has a bank- 
er* of this description, with whom he lodges all 
his cash, and who, for receiving and paying, gets 
m established commission of one per cent.; in 
consideration of which, he is responsible for the 
quality of what goes through his hands ; and in 
BO instance did I ever hear of a breach of trust 
committed by one of these bankers. The quan- 
tity of alloy varies in the silver current in different 
parts of the empu'e. At Rangoon it is adulte- 
rated twenty-five per cent; at Ummerapoora, 
pure, or wh^t is called flowered silver, is most 
common. In this latter all royal dues are paid. 
The several modifications are as follows ; 

Rouni, or pure silver. 

Rounika, 5 per cent, of alloy. 

Rounizee, 10 per cent. 

Rouassee, 20 per cent. 

Moowadzoo, 25 per cent. 

Woombo, 30 per cent. 
Any person may have his silver either pmified 

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EMBASSY TO A VA. 67 

or depreciated to whateyer standard he ehooses. 
The nearest silversmith will he glad to perform the 
work, free from charge for his lahour, as the 
hringer by thie c^ration mtist lose a tnHe, which 
the artist gains. The small quantity of metal that 
adheres to the erucihle is his profit. I was in- 
formed, that tlie silTersmijth can sell these cruci- 
bles afterwards to refiners for forty tackals a thou- 
sand, and that an adequajie gain accrues to die 
purchaser from the metal extracted from the pot 
after it is broken. 

Ilie Birman measures of length are, the Paul- 
gaut, or inch, eighteen of which compose the 
luun, or cubit. 

The Saundamig, or royal cubit, * equal to twen- 
ty-two inches. 

The Dha, or Bamboo, which consists of seven 
royal cubits ; lOOO dha make one Birman league, 
or Dian, nearly equal to two British miles and 
two furlongs. The league is also subdivided into 
tenths, nnie Birmans keep llieir accounts in de- 
cimals, after the manner f |f the Chinese. 

It has already been noticed, that the genend 
disposition of the Birmans is strikingly contrasted 
with that of the natives of India, from whom they 
are separated oidy by a narrow range of moun- 
tains, in many places admitting of an easy inter- 
course. Notwithstanding the small extent of thfi| 
barrier, the physical dif^rence between die na- 
tions could scarcely be greater, had they been si- 
tuated at the opposite extremities of the globe. 
The Birmans are a lively, inquisitive race, active, 

* This culnt vtoiea accordiog to (he will of the mo- 
narch. 



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68 EMBASSY TO AVA. 

irascible, and impatient. The character of the^, 
Bengal neighboui*s is too well known as the re- 
verse, to need any delineation. The unworthy 
passion ofjealousy, which prompts most nations of 
the East to immure their women within the walls 
of an haram, and surround them with guards, 
seems to have scarcely any influence, over the 
n^nds of this extraordinary and more liberal peo- 
ple. Birman wives and daughters are not con- 
cealed from the sight of men, and are suffered to 
have as free intercourse with each other as the 
rules of European society admit* But, in other 
respects, women have just reason to complain of 
their treatment. They are considered as not be-' 
longing to the same scale of the creation as men, 
and even the law stamps a degrading distinction 
betwe^x the sexes. The evidence of a woman is 
not received as of equal weight wit^ that of a 
man ; and a woman is not suffered to ascend the 
steps of a court of justice, but is obliged to deli-, 
ver her testimony on the outside of the roof. The 
custom of selling their women to strangers, which 
has before been adverted to, is confined to the 
lowest classes of society, and is perhaps oftener 
the consequence of heavy pecuniary embarrass- 
ment, thfin an act of inclination. It is not, how- 
ever, considered as shameful, nor is the female 
dishonoured. Partly, perhaps, from this cause, 
land partly from their habits of education, women 
surrender themselves the victims of this barbarous 
custom with apparent resignation. It is also said, 
that they are very seldom unfaithful to their foreign 
masters ; indeed they are often essentially useful, 
particularly to lliose who trade, by keepii^ their 
accounts and transacting their business. But when 



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EMBASSY TO AVA. 69 

a man depitrts ft'oin tlie cotmtry, he is not stiffered 
to cany nis temporary wife alotig tdth him. Oh 
that point the law is exceediligly rigorous. Every 
ship, h^ore she receives her clearance, is dili- 
gently searched by the officers of the custom- 
house. Even if their vigilance were !to he eluded, 
the Wom^eui would he quickly missed, and it would 
be 8o6n discovet^ed in i^at vessel she had gone ; 
nor could that ship ever return to a Birman poit 
but under penalty of cdnfiscation of the property, 
and the infliction of a heavy fine and imprison- 
inent on the master. Female children also, bom 
bf a BhiUan mother, are not suffered to he taken 
away. Men are perinitted to emigrate ; but they 
think that the exj^atriation of women i^ould im- 
poverish the state; by diTwininhfag the sources of 
its poputation. 

One vice is tk£rually the parent of another. The 
Birmans, being exempt from" that of jealotisy, do 
not resort to the diabolical practice of emasculat- 
ing male children, to educate them as spies over 
their womeh. Chastity, they know, is more safely 
guarded by principles of honour and attachment 
llian by moats or casttes. When AiHcan was 
c^onquered by the Birmans, several eunuchs* were 
made prisoners, belonging to the pnnce o( the 
country, who had adopted that degenerate custom 
of iVfahomedan growth. These people are tnaintain- 
ed by the Birman monarch rather as memorials of 
his conquest, than for any services they are requir- 
ed to perform. lufidelity is not a clWacteristic of 
Birman wives. In general they have too much 
employment to leave leisure for the corruption of 
their minds. A woman of the highest rank sel- 
dom sits in idleness at home. Her female ser- 



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70 SMBA8ST TO AVA. 

▼ants, like those of Gredaa daoies of aatiqoky, 
ply * the Taiioiis labours of the loom/ whilst the 
mistress superintends and directs their industry* 
On the occasion of the formal visit to the moth^ 
of the present Queen, we obsenred in one of the 
galleries of her palace, three or four looms at work» 
wrought by the damsels of her household. Weav- 
ing is chiefly a female occupation. Most Birman 
families make sXL the cotton and silk cloth that is 
required for their domestic consumption. 

The Birmans, in some points of their disposi* 
lion, display the ferocity of Wharians^ and in p- 
thers, all the humanity and tenderness of a polisli- 
ed life. They i^ct llie most savage vengeance 
on their enemies. As invaders, desolaticm marks 
their tract, for they spare neitlier aex nor agew 
But at home they assume a different character. 
There they mmifest benevolence, by extending aid 
to l^e infirm, the aged, and the uck. Filial piety 
is inculcated as a sacred [Miecept, and its duties are 
religiously observed. A common beggar is no- 
where to be seen. Every individual is certain of 
receiving sustenance, which, if he cannot procure 
it by his own labour, is provided for him by o- 
thers. 

During the several excursions which we made 
into the country, we did not perceive any of the 
feathered tribe that were peculiar to this part of 
the world, or that were not to be met with in India, 
the ornithology of which is ak^y well known. 
The Henza, the symbol of the Birman nation, as 
the eagle was of the Roman empire, is a species of 
wild fowl, called in India the Braminy goose ; but 
the natives of Ava do not deify the bird. Of the 
beasts of Ava, the only one that I saw, with ^hich 



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BMBASST TO AVA. 71 

Iim un^Mqittiiiited, was the ichneumon, or the rat 
of Fliaradi, called by the nfttives OnnbaiL It is 
ft singular drcomstance, that there should not be 
such an animal as the jackal in the Ava dominions^ 
considering iiiat they are so numerous in the ad- 
j<»nBg country. Pegne abounds in elephants; for 
though they are to be met witJi in other part^ of 
tile empire, that seems to be their favourite abode. 
One of Ins Birman majesty's titles is, Lord of tiie 
White Elephant, and <^ sdl the Elephants in the 
Worid. 
' The BIrmans ^&nde ^tmr time as felkmns : 
' The space in which tile finger can be raised and 
depressed is ddled charazi. Ten chairazi make 
mie piaan ; six piaan one bizana (about a minute). 
Hie dvff of twenty-four hours, . commencing at 
noon, is divided Into eight portions, or yettee, of 
three hours eadi, tiras denominated. 

Moon Yettee, or hoon. 

Loung Yettee, 3 P. M. 

Lay Yettee, 6 P. M. 

Gneah Yettee, 9 P. M. 

Gneah Gnek Yettbe, midnight. 

Gneah Laghee Loung Yettee, 3 in the 
nfimung* 

Mioh Lhig Yetted, 6 A. M. 

Gneah Tftk Yetteft, 9 A. M. 
These divisiond of time are ascertained by a ma- 
chine resembling tiie hour-g^ass, and sometimes by 
a perfontted pan placed in a tub of water.. They 
aim ta^ttoiced By a str^e on an obloAg drum^ . 
mko^ it always kept near the dwellmg of the 
cMef magistrate of the city, town, or village. It 
i^' commonly itised on a high bamboo s^^e, with 
a itNif vf ^mats t« protect it from the weather. 

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72 



EMBASSY TO AVA. 



The edifice at the royal pahice (or the reeepttAn 
of this instniment is of masonry^ ^nd very lafty*, 
whence the soand is said to be distinetly conveyed 
to the remotest extremes of the city. 

The Birman year is divided into twelve mon&y 
which, strictly speaking, cannot be called synodi- 
cal, although they comprehend the same numbei" 
of days. A revohition of the moon, in passing 
from one conjunction with the smi to another, is 
performed in 29 days 12 honrs and 44 minutes ; 
but the Birman lunations consist of 29 and 30 
days, alternate, which causes a difference between 
the Newtmiian and Birman hmar account of 8 
hours aad 48 minutes. The Birman months are 
as follow: 

IfayiL 
Tagoo contains • * 29 



Kayoung 


30 


Nay Young 


29 


Wazoo 


30 


Wagoung 


29 


ToozeUen 


30 


SandaingGuite 


29 


Tazoung Moang *• 


SO 


Gnadoh - 


29 


Peeazoo - - 


SO 


Taboodway 


29 


Taboung 


m 



354 
la (oAsF tp complete a solar leWutioai, they" 
intCTCi^ate in every third year a mcm^of 30 days^ 
which is called Toodea Wazoow In this thu-d 
year the months of Tagoo and Nay Young have 
'each 30 ^ays jui^ead of 29. They Uk^ws^ sup- 



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lMjA»iY TO AVA. 73 

either be the Blt^ Taboung pt th^ lattTxaiw. 
By theae mesm, the munberof days m &e ^ 
•war yearo is thm eempiited. 

Three lunar years, of 354 (%» each 1062 

XnteixjalarymoBith in the third year so 

Two intercalary days in Tagoo and Nay 

Young - . • 2 

Suppressed, or passed over «t the e»d of 

the year " • - 1 

Anwconiputationcon:eroondfl,intbeninnberof 
days, with three yeari. Evayfowrth year, how- 
ever, will occasion Oie diffarence of » day on ac 
a>unt of o«r bissextile or leap year. Of this the 
Bmnans are fuUy sensible, as well as of many o- 
ther defects in their manner of reckoning. To 
remedy the confusion likely to ensue from such 
erroneous calculations, their style or mode has fre- 
quently been altered by arbiti^ry authority. His 
present Birmsii majesty, however, is so desirous 
to ascertain and establish, by accurate fables, a 
Ijennanent and unvarying measurement of time, 
th^ be made an application to the late Govemw- 
general of India to send to bis capital a Bramin 
well versed in astronomy, to assist Oie deliberations 
of his council of professors, among whom his ma^ 
josty always {besides in person ; and be is said to 
be no iacim^derable p^eAcient in Uie science of 
astronomy. 

Iliemaimfir in which the Bimifm mmk is sub- 
divided, I imagine, is peculiar to their nation. In- 

VOL* II. o 3 



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74 EMBASSY TO AVA. 

Stead of reckoning the days progresinTely from t^e 
jcommencement to the close of the month, they ad- 
yance no farther limn the full moon, from whidi 
they recede by retrogressire enumeration until the 
month is finished. 

Thus, the new moon is called 

Lahzan terndt gnay, or first day of the in- 
creasing moon. 
Lahzan gneiait gnay, second day, &c 
Lahzan lonngrait gnay, third day, &c 
Latesan layrdit gnay, fourth day, &c. 
' Lahzan narait gnay, fifth day, &c. 
Lahzan kionkrait gnay, sixth day, &c 
Lahzan koonrait gnay, seventh day, &c^ 
Lahzan sheaseddsonrait gnay, eighth day, he 
Lahzan kandt gnay, ninth day, &c 
Lahzan sayndt gnay, tenlii day, &c. 
Lahzan say-teirait gnay, eleventh day, he, 
Lahzan say-gnerndt gnay, twelfth day, 8w^ 
Lahzan say sonngrait gnay, thirteenth day, &c. 
Lahzan tassay sayrait gnay, fourteenth day, &c. 
Lah bee, fifteenth day, &c. 
Lah bee-goo terrait gnay, or the first day of 
the decreasing moon. 
He serenteenth, eighteenth, he* correspond 
with the second and third of the increasing mooB, 
snbstitnting Lah Bee-goo fen- Lahzan. The k^ 
day of the noonth, whether of twenty-nine or 
thirty days, is called Lah gnay. 

The Birman month is divided into four weeks 
of seven days each. The days are distinguished 
Dj the following names* 

Tamaing nuaye, Sunday, the first day of the 

IMrman week. 
Takun lah, . Monday. 



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BMBAS8Y TO AVA. 75 

Aiiig gRk, . Tuesday. 

Boodt-hoo, . Wednesday. 

KealH9id>beday, Thursday. 

Zoup keahy . Friday. 

•iSuimay, . . Saturday. 
The ei^th day of the increasing moon, the 
fifteenth or fall n^on, the eighth of the decreasing 
mocHi, and the last day of the moon, are religi- 
ondy . c^)senred by Birmans as sacred festivals. 
• On these fiebdcnnanal holidays no public business 
is transacted in the Rhoom; mercantile dealings 
are susp^ded ; handicraft is forbidden ; aUd the 
strictly tttous take no sustenance between the rising 
and Hoe setting of the sun ; but this latter instance 
of self-denial is not very common, and, asrl, un- 
derstood, is rarely practised, except in the nietro- 
polis, idiere the appearance of sanctity is some- 
times assumed as a ladder by which the crafty 
attempt to dimb to promotion. The soyeareign 
himself is a great favourer of the austenties of the 
Birman religion ; and his chief mini^ier, or Woon- 
gee, has for many years on a Birman sabbath ab- 
stained from food so long as the sun con^ues 
above the horizon. 

The Bimums are extremely fond bo^ of poetry 
and musk ; they caU the former Yeddoo. When 
repeated by a scholar, it flows soft and measured 
.to the ear. It is sometimes in successive, and often 
in alternate rhimes. A line is called Tageoung ; 
a stanza, Tubbouk. They have epic as well as 
reHgious poems of high celebrity; and they are 
fond of reciting in heroicnumbers the ex{doits of 
their kings and generals^ I was ii^rmed, that 
the {H'owess of Alompra is recorded in verses not 
unworthy of a monarch. 



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7d BMBAS9Y TO AVA. 

MosiQ is a science wkidk is held in owHudanble 
estimation througfaont the Birman empise, and is 
cultivated al the present day more generally than 
in India, notwithstanding it is there tenned, as hy 
the ancient Greeks, tlra language of the gods. 
The royal library of Ummenqpoora is said to con« 
tain many valuable treatises on the art. Gome of 
the profesMonal musidans dispb&y considerable skill 
and execution^ and the softer airs are pleasing 
even to an ear unaecostomed to such mdody* 
The prindpal instnunents are a SooBiy or hatpi 
made of light wood, hollowed and ▼ a niished » ib 
shape so mewhat fike a canoe witk a dedu At 
^ extremity a piece of hard wood is neatly tet» 
ened, which tapers to die end, and rising cwei 
over the body of the harp* l^om tiiis cnr?mt«ro 
Uie strings, usually made of wire, are extended 
to a bridge on the belly of ^ instruuisat. ThOTa 
are two sounding holes, eoe on each side of the 
bridge. The size of ^e Sown nries from two 
to five feet in length. 

The Tur raaenibles our violin ;. it has only three 
etdnga, and m played on with a bow. I at iist 
imagined it had been of European inftrodactiea, 
and brought to Pegue by te PMnguese ; but I 
was assurod it was an original iostnoment of ite 
county. 

The Pnlkway, is a comnoa flagelel 

The Kyezoup, is a collection of cymbals, which ' 
are suspended in a bamboo frame. These eyra- 
bab, varying in size, produce modidated giada* 
tions of sounds. Theore vera eighteen in the Ky»* 
zoup that I saw. 

The PMola, or guitar, is a aniou» inslnmient. 



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EMBASSY TO AVA. T7 

It iBttie ei^ust form of a^ crocodile in miniatiue '^ 
like body of which is hollow, with sounding' holai 
on the back. Three strings of wire extend from 
t^ shonlder to the tail, and are snpported on 
biridges at each extremity. The strings are tnned 
by means of pegs in the tail, to which they are 
listened. It is played 'on by the finger, and is 
generally nsed to accompany the voice. ^ 

llie Bomidaw is a collection of drums, ' oblong 
m form, and varying in size, which are suspended 
perpen<fica}arly in a wooden frame by leather 
^ongs. Hie whole madiiue is about five feet in 
diameter, and four feet high. The performer 
stands in the centre, and beats on liie drums with 
a small stick. This instrument is always intro- 
duced when there is a full band, and is much used 
in processions, being carried by two men, whilst 
1^ p^Tfrnmer i^uffles along in the inside, playing 
at he goes. ' 

.The Heem «fe the pipe of Pfen, formed of seve- 
ral reeds neatly joined together, and sounded by a 
common moutb-piece. When played with skill, it 
produces a very plaintive melody. 
♦ These are the principd instruments of music 
in use among the Birmans. Dr Buchanan pur- 
chased a complete concert set for fifty-four tackal, 
^idiich is about ^iVe or six guineas. Melody has 
charms for afi mankind. Among the boatmen that 
towed my barge, I doubt whether there was one 
who did not possess an instrument of some sort. 
He wh© could procure no better, had what we call 
a, Jew's harp, with which he delighted to begidle 
li|Jf an hour of a cool evening, after a day of hard 
labour under a burning, sun* 
G 2 



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W E»lBA8(iV TO AVA. 

Of &e wtkio^ F»U%^ yidkim lingifg. 
tnttts at the proMttt day ike lacred lext of Am^ 
Pegfie^ and Skuoa, a» well as oi ae^eral otker amm^ 
taries' eastward of the Gvangea; Mid of ibeur fl^xai- 
lioa £rom la^ to ^ heaks of the C^^ the K3e! 
of EthU^iay we have but voy impevfeet iBfoHm* 
^pA. Aa a Batian, they hATo long ago ceaaad t0 
exist. They aio said to hwFe posaasaed, m toner 
tinKH> a donodmon stretehiag itom the IiidM as 
iff as Siam, and to hwre heeii eeofuered by iho 
~ Ri^utras^ who changed the mme of thehr eowi*^ 
try from PliliethflA to lUpqiK^ca, In the oldbooiia 
of the Hindocw they anB eafled IWpHtras^ and it 
nay, I thinky be eondaded that ik»y wecie the IV 
Ubodiri 1^ die saae&tB* 

It has beea the epinioii of senio of the moat oh- 
lighteaed writers f on Ao la^;iMgea oi the Easl^ 
tfaAt the Pali, the sacred kngaage of tho paests. si 
Boodh, is nearly allied to ^ Shanserit of the Bl:ft» 
mins; and th^ ccortaiidy is miieh of that holy 

* In Captain Vniford*8 elaborate and teamed Bissert»- 
fSon on Egjpt and the K9e, from the andent book* of ll^ 
Hindoos, there is the foUowHhig passage t 

* The histor^j; of the Pallb cannot fail to be interestiBg,' 

* especially aa it will be found much connected with that 
^ of Europe ; and I hope soon to be supplied whh mate- 

* riab for a fiiU aocomt of tern. £ven their nuatnAli' 
f remains in India musk «iciie compaiikoB, friien 1re^«Dii»f 

* sider how great thejr once wer^ and from whi« hcjghlt 

< they fell, through the intolerant seal and superstition of 

* their neighbours. Their features are pecuIiar,^ and their 
f language different, but perhaps not radically, fhna that 

< of the other Hindoos. Their vilbigea ara fitiU ealkd 
« FallL*<~^«fa/. Besearch, Vol. Ulf 

f Ciqptain Wilford on £gypt and the Nile.— Loubere's 
Account of Siam.— Chambers on ^ Ruhis of Mavali- 
puranu— iff/afr Research. Vbl, It ^ 



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KMBAMy T« AVA* 7S 



' Ae kitroihieiiMi of the Hmdoo rtligimb Tkn 
cbaracter in cMmnmir i»e ^tnigiHml At* and 
P«lp«ekftro«]idNagari, domed from the squuti 
Pali, <N? idi^pkNK text. Il it Inmed of cifdes and 
stgmcitts of csiidfi0» wmwot^j dispofled and oea»^ 
Vbed ; whilti the F^ wUdi ie adely app£ed te 
^ pvpoaea of religion, le » sfuaie kMer, diieiy 
cenriatiag of lig^ aaglM. ' 

The Biraan UmgnagB eontabiB t hirty th i eo silli- 
ly aooBday te repMsent wbkh^ tbeor alphiibtt»* 
OHMiioidy eaUad Kagjre Kagn^ coasi^ of a» 
equal wwiber of disluact cfaandera, ezchiime oi 
varionB md^a asd eontnaetiaM, that Mippiy the 
place of long and ahort Trenpak, diphthonga, te. 
Theae are ffiplaiaed aad enwnefaled in aepente 
aaaies, ia Ae Bimaa SpeSiiif4>ookyeatitle4 Kayn* 
boimgie^ in which eroy poBwhle eaaibiBatioii is 
gifen and exoa^^ified. 

It aheold he dbacrred hate, llMt there is no m* 
in«8entation of the Towel corresponding widt our 
short a^ aa ham Ike frequent oeeurraice of that 
soufid in the middle and at the end^ef wordi> it. 
was fomd conToufli^ to omit it in writiRg; it ia 
neT^-thden to he pnmoimeed after every simple 
sound or consonant not suppHed with anotfaer 
yfmvrek, anfeaa it he fortiiddeB hy a wark of etivon 
placed orer the letter, or excluded by the junction 
of two or more ccmsonants, in the fbrm of a com* 
pound diaracter. These nngularities, I am in- 
fonned by Mr Wilkins^ are cowman ta all the al- 
phabets of the Hindoo ehuMk 

The ^rmana write from left to r^ht, and thong^ 
tbey leave no cUslin|uiahing tfBic^ between their 



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80 BMBABST TO AVA. 

woifls, ihef flutfk the ptnses <^ a senMnoe and^ie 
Ml Bt(^. Hieir letters are distiiict, aad ihek 
a»BU8oripts are in general yeiy beantiM. 

Hie cotnmon books of the Biniians, like ^bme 
of the Hindoos, pardcnlarly of such as inhill»t the 
MiBthem parts of India, nn composed of the pal- 
myra legif, on wineh the letters are ehgva^'ed with 
a stj^os ; bat the l^rmans far exeel ^ Bramini*- 
cal Hindoos in the neatness ci the «cecntion, and 
in <he OTnioiieBtal part of their volumes* In every 
'Kioum, or monastery, there is a library or r^osi^ 
tory of bo<4u, usoally kept in lacquered efaests*^^ 
Books in the IW text are sometimes oottposed- 
of . thin stripes of rbamboo, delicately plahed, and 
-runidied over in such a manner as to form a 
smooth and hard sorfsce i^osi a leaf of any di* 
mensions. This snribce is sfteawwdB gilded, and 
the sacred letters are tr|u^ npeii itdn black and 
shining japan. The margin is illnmped by ^»i*«atha 
and figms qf ^«)d, on aVed, green, or black 
ground. ' .' '. \ ; 

In the recitation of poetry, the langofl^e is ex-- 
oeedingly melodious. Ev^i the proie'of common • 
oonveraation appears to be measured ; and the con*' 
eluding word of each sentence is Iengt^»^ed by a' 
musidd cad^ce, that miiiks the period to the ear 
of a penon wholly unacqiminted with the mean- 
ing. • 
- It is difficult to ascertain with precision the 
^mct limits of the ^rman empire. Dr Buchan- 
{Hi, who accompanied me, sought for geograj^ied 
information with the most diligent inquiry. He. 
ptoonred^ but not w^hout considerable trouble and 
expense, sketches ^f ei^ery part of the Birraan 



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BMJrAaST T0 AVA. Bf 

umtmAmi mA be has tnummitttid Ae nstMMs 
\diidi he thus collected to the East India Cen- 
paof . ThoM akeltket, howeyer, being contained 
in TarioMs and detadwd pieoet, not Ibmii^ any 
oonnected body^ nor yet redoeed to n gradoated 
scale, can hardly, be brought into the rinpe of a 
rignkr mm^ withmA the nd <tf seiae foitfaer com- 
nwmcatMiM. They are neTertfaelesB doetunents of 
much intnniie Tail«e aiad isportaace. It is ther^' 
five to be hoped that, witii the aid of some addl- 
timial lig^rts, a vacunm on the terrcstnil globe wtf, 
ere long, be filled up, and a portbn of the earii 
delineated, which heretofove has been Tery itaper- 
feotly known. On a probable caknlalion from Dr 
Bttchaaon's papers of the tfxtenD of ^ pnsent 
Bifomt empire^ ii appears to iaehHb thei^ace be- 
tWieaii liie 9lh and d6di degrees of north latitude, 
and between ^ 9fid md ld7th degrees of longi- 
Mde east of Greearwid^ dbaut il05D geograpfeseaf 
miles m lengthy and 600 in bveadUL These aie 
the ascertainable limits, ttaken from the Birmen ae* 
eoBBfes; bat it is probfd>le t&at Aeir doannions 
stretch stiil farther to the nordi. It diooM, herw- 
•tar, be reaftarked, that 1^ breadth often varies, 
and ie in many places very inconsideffabie, on what 
» called Ae Eaitem Fenaosak. 

Dv Bosftanan, in the summary* or genavl out- 
line of the ^geograplncal materials which he C(d- 
Ibeted, thua expresses himself on liie sulrjeet of 
riveni I — It appears, ^ ihai the Arracan river is 
* not BO considerable as has bean sn^tpesed, but 

• Extracts from the Bengd Fdftical Letter, 1 1th of 
September 1797. 



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8^ KMBASSY TO AVA. 

< takm itB rise jn hills at no greet digtancc to th^ 
<Bor(iu 

* Hiat the river coming firom Thibet, which is 

< supposed to be that of Airacan, is in feet the 

* Keendnem^ or the great western twanch of the 

* Ava rirer. 

^ That what is supposed to be the western branch 
' of the Irrawaddyy is in fauct the eastern one, 

< which passes by Aya, aiMl nms to the north, 

< keeping west from the province of Ynnan, and 
\ leaving between it and that part of China a conn- 

* try subject to the Binnans. 

. ^ That the Lonkiang, which is supposed to be 

* the great branch of tibe Lrawaddy, has no com- 
^ mwiication with that rirer ; but on entering the 

* Birman dominions assmnes the name of Thalnayn, 

* or Thanlnayn, and fells into the sea at Martaban. 

< That the livea: of Pegne, which is sopposed to 

* come from China, rises amiong hills about 100 
' miles from the sea, and ^^ch form the boundary 

* between the Biman and Pegue kingdoms. 

: * That between the Pegne and Martaban rivers 
' there is a lake, from whidi two rivers proceed. 

* The one runs north to Old Ava, wkexe it joins 

< the Myoungnya^ or Little River of Ava, which 

< comes from mountains <m the frontiers of China ; 

< the other river runs south from the lake to the 
' sea, and is the Sitang river in the map. 

* That the rivers of China, which are supposed 

* to be the heads of the Pegue river, are those of 

* the river of Siam. . 

' That the rivers of Siam and Cambodia com- 

* municate by a very considerable branch, called 

* the Annan. * 



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BMBAS6Y TO AVA. 88 

ThiB disposition of the rivers gives an entire new 
face to the geography of India extra Grangem ; 
and from the diligence and ability with which Dr 
Buchanan collated the several accounts that he re- 
ceived, I am inclined 4o believe that his statement 
is nearly correct. 



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84 CIMBAS^T TO AVA 



CHAPTER y. 

PERMISSION GRANTED TO MAKE ASTRONOMI- 
CAL OBSERVATIONS MESSAGE FROM TUB 

KING — RIVER RISES — PRESENT OF WHEAT-— 
BEES — HONEY — BENGAL PAINTER EMPLOYED 
AT COURT — MOD*E OP CATCHING WILD ELE- 
PHANTS — KING SOLICITOUS TO INTRODUCE 

THE ART OF GLASS-MAKING ATTENTIONS 

FROM VICEROYS TO FOREIGN MINISTERS- 
LETTERS ARRIVE FROM BENGAL — OUR PEO- 
PLE HEALTHY CHINESE THE REVERSE 

THE CAUSE — CEREMONY ARRANGED — PRO- 
CESSION MANNER OF ENTRANCE-^INTRO- 

DUCTION INTO THE LOTOO, OR GRAND COUN- 
CIL HALL — DESCRIPTION OF THE COURT 

ITS MAGNIFICENCE KING NOT PRESENT-— 

QUESTIONS PROPOSED BANQUET— FORMALI- 
TIES OBSERVED IN RETURNING. 

The occurrences that took place in the interyal 
between our arrival and the 30th of August, the 
day appointed for onr formal introduction, were 
not of sufficient importance to' require a minute 
relation. We enjoyed whatever personal conve- 
nience the country could supply ; and I gladly em- 
braced every opportunity to evince the most im- 
plicit Confidence, which I am induced td think was 



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EMBASSY TO AVA. 85 

prodaetive ^ baieficbl coneequences. To my 
public duuracter, as will appear in the sequel, the 
coaduct of the Binnan court was punctilious and 
biHightyv even to insufferable arrogance; but my 
accommodation and security, as an individual, were 
attended to with all the urbansty that could be 
eaq>eetad from the most polished state of Europe. 
Geography is the foundation of all historical 
lomwled^e, without which history becomes little 
heU/BT than romance. Having hitherto fomud the 
most authentic geographical information that I 
€Mld obtain, respecting countries eastward of the 
Ga^gesy to be extmmely erroneous, I was on thait 
account more partiadarly desirous to determine 
the tarue situation of the capital of Ava, especially 
AS I had now a &younible opportunity of profiting 
by the assistance <^ a gentloaaan of high profe»- 
Monal talenta. It seemed expedient, howevery tt 
obtahi the sancti<m of the Birman govemment, be* 
fore I authorized Mr Wood to commence astrono* 
mkal observatioiis ; and, in reply to an applicatieii 
I made tln*ougfa the Maywoon of Pegue, I reeei¥«> 
ed the Bsost liberal acquiescence— a compliment 
that was afterwards enhanced by a gracious mea- 
sage from his Birman majesty, desiring to know, ' 
according to our calculation, the exact time when 
the expected eclipse of the moon was to take 
place, and, as it was partial, what portion of the 
lunar body would be in shade ? Mr Wood sa- 
tisfied him iif both particulars, and we were in^ 
formed that the king, on comparing Mr Wood's 
account with his own predictions (for he is said to 
be himself an adept in the science), discovered 
imly a slight differeCM:e in the segment of the moan 



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86 EMBASSY TO AVA. 

which was to he ohscured. Mr Wood's know'- 
iedge procured him considerable respect among the 
better informed natives, but it excited Ae terror 
of the vulgar. Being obliged at night to leare the 
grove and go out on the plain, in order to have a 
distinct view of the heavenly bodies, the peasaaits 
that inhabited the neighbouring viUages believed 
him to be a necromancer, and hb telesc^ie and 
lime-keeper instruments of magic In their won- 
der, they sometimes crowded about him so as to 
disturb his operations; but it was notlmig more 
than harmless curiosity. They wanted to discover by 
what means he held communication with the Natts, 
the supernatural and invisible agents of the air. 

The river, which had now risen to its utmost 
height, had encroached so much on the grove, aft 
to threaten a general inundation ; and we ' b^^an 
to think it not improbable that we should be oli£ig<t> 
ed some night hastily to change om* residence from 
the house to the boats. The cause of the swelling 
of the waters was not apparent, as there had not fal- 
len Willi us a sufficient quantity of rain to produce 
the smallest alteration in the body of the river. The 
Birmans, however, who knew tbe exact limit to 
whidi it would rise, laughed at our proposmg to 
make anangemmits for a sudden embsoiuition, and 
assured us that, within the memcny of man, the 
floods had never surpassed a certain boundary* 

Although, from the nature of the groimds in the 
neighbourhood of our dwelling, rice was the only 
grain that could be cultivated, we understood that 
on the other side of the lake^ near the city, there 
were exteosive fields of wheat, whid), from the 
samples brought to us, seemed to be equal in qua* 
lity to the finest growth of England. The market 

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EMBASSY TO AVA. 87 

prioe of Uiximerl4>oora ivbs «ie tadul, nearly hi^ 
a crown, for a taindanng, or basket weighing about 
^iCy-mx pounds ; but we had no occasion to pur- 
diase any, as the provision made by the commis- 
sary of government, and the {^resents from those 
who vished us, kept our store-iwom full. Every 
pefson who came brought somediing, either fruit, 
flowers, a plate of fine rice, of wheat, or some 
^Miher mark of respect. In return, I treated 
those of the higher wder with tea and sweetmeats. 
C^ the foimw they were extremely fond ;' and I 
can truly say, that from ten in ^be moimng until 
evening, ^e tea equipage was never unemployed 
j4n> okl man who acted a6 commissary, and lived 
in the dioom adjacent to our dwelHng, whose title 
wasKyewoon, thought all the females of his ft^ 
mily to see us. They produced sis their offering, 
^^esfa honeycombs 'hai:^;ing from InrancJiee of the 
bamhoa tree. . The honey was . dro]p^ing from the 
houghs into pans. I was told that the bees "were 
wild in the woods, ,and in such plenty, that wax 
feimed a 9l;if>le article of commerce. The natives 
have a n^^e of gaitibering the honey without de* 
stroying the insect. The si^diers of the guard 
<uid our domestics contianed to recdve two tackid, 
al^ stated periods, in additiim to their allowance of 
rite; and beeUeJeaf was to be had fresh from 
gardens belonging to the ad|Bcent villages. In 
oie of these plantations, \iiiich very much resemble- 
ed an EngKsh. hop-garden, I saw a man watering 
his plants by means of a wheel, which raised water 
out of a well from a considerable depth. The 
machine was constructed with much ingenuity. 

The reputation th0t my Bengal draughtsman 
1^ acquired by lua botarical drawings, performed 



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bMbasst to ava. 

lli9^ faii|>Mtioii of lihr DuclnuiBii) •httfTit^ 
come to tlie knowledge of lut BhrnnA nmjeetf , cnr, 
m tbe BiraMm phrase, haTing reached tlie Golden 
Ein^ the king was p^Med to desire a specimen 
•f hli skiH, and sent over a painting on glass, exe>* 
cntod hy a Siamese artist in his own serrice^ mg* 
nifying his royal wfll dial it shonki be copied vp- 
en paper, lliis picture, ^dnch was a tolerabto 
psfformatice, represented d» mode of caSthlng 
wikL elei^iants in the forests. It was ^ns de* 
scribed to me. The hunten, mounted on tame 
tlephaDfiB that are trained to ^ bnsiness, bylying 
flat on their backs, introduce ihemselfes nnnotieed 
ittte a wiM herd, and take an opportofdty to cast 
a rnaniDg noose in tin tract oi the one tiMMi is 
meaiiA to be secured. The other end ef the rope 
is fi»tened to the body ef the tame elephant, wM 
immediate throws die wild one down. A battle 
then ensues, in idiich the trained elephant, b^ig 
assisted by its associates, soon oTerpowers the in* 
hi^itairt of the woods, who is d eser te d by all the 
others. It is afterwwds borne away a prisoner, 
hat bound to two of its captors, whilst another 
meres on at its head^ and a fourA urges it behind. 
hk a few weeks, by proper discipline, the ammal 
becomes docile> and si^itB to its fttte. Those 
that are taken in the manner delineated in llie 
Plate,. I was teU, are for the most part females, 
Male eiephants are usually enticed by the blandii^ 
ments of ^ females, * trained for the puiposOi 

* For s mort aaple daicriptiMi qf ths aaiUMr of 
catehiug wild eleplianto in Tipura, near th« moiuitaitti tkat 
divide Bengal from tho Birman dominions^ see a Paper 
by John Cone Esq. (now John Corse Scott Esq. of iSn. 
ton), in tba thiid Volume of the AsblSe ResMrcbea The 



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EMBASSY TO AVA. ti» 

muc^-m eadumf or KdoMab, iiom vrbtede tl^> 
OMmot extncato themsehvs^ and are tsaaiiy necanA* 
My painter p^oimed the taBk so miiefa to hk 
mi^eflty • ntisfacticHi, that a leqnest was inado for 
his tether sendees, in ^Leciiting a dravnng of a 
eeiebrated image of Gitndma, in which I wiUin^y 
acqaiesoed* He was employed on it a week, sumI 
wiusn it was Bnisbed, his nu^ty condescended to 
oiqpress his apprdbation of the performance, which 
was^sertainly much sup^aor to any thing that his 
own painter conld. produce. 

Among the. articles of foreign trade winch had 
found th^ way into the Hrman country, nothing 
was held in higher estimation than the European 
glass-ware, imported into Rangoon from the Bri« 
tish settlements in India. The art of idtrificataoB 
has long beoi known and practised in mostcoontries 
ai the East. But no where they can make a pure 
tnmsparent sufastance, like that which is brought 
fvcun Europe. The Birman monarch, who is a great 
admirer of the manufecture, was particulariy desir- 
OHs to introdnee it into his dominions ; and sup^ 
poai|jg that erery Englishman nmst be vevsed in the 
loiowledge of making whatever comes from his owr 
country, he sent a message to request that I wrndd 
fuisaiah his artificers wi^such ii^struetions as nught 

ptBctloe of Pegue differs somewhat fh>m that ofthe Bengal 
hii]it«nr». 

The Editor of these volumes has had an opportunity^ 
through the kindness of Mr Scott of Sinton, of seeing se- 
veral valuable papers which are now in his possession, and 
whidi ^ere drawn up by him, upon this subject, as weU 
a»tip^A8ome other parts of the natnridMiistary of ele- ' 
pbaniv ; andr^ had his space permitted, would very gladly , 
have availed himself of the permission he obli^ngly receiv- 
e<i, to itiako some extracts from them for the present work, 
ir2 



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M EMBAMT TO AVA. 

eadhb iktmt lo fidbricato i^sm ^ a ymlliy cf«t ti>^ 
wiwt) vai nade in EAgksdL Unk^duiy, immw of 
va htfpciied tobe dialed in tbamystfliyef a i^an* 
honae* AU^ ther^Df% that we eoolddo, was to es* 
pkin the piniciplea of the furt^ wfakh Pr Bwchanan* 
oh%in^y nndertook ; und in order to teiytatat 
the acqoirementt and gwde ^em in lAie pfaetBce^ I 
lent tboB the Encyclopedia BritaBniea^ and peiat*) 
ed eat the artide w^q the pioceM is la% tab- 
{Gained. Bdba Sheen and the Armenian Bitev|»e* 
ter translated it into the Binnan tonguew But I 
mndi fear that the theory alone, conveyed in terms 
of science, will not, without practical e^mienoe, 
advance them very far in an art wfaidi his fihrnwa. 
mi^sty is so laadably sdiei t oo s to being to pa> 
fectimi among his snhjects^ 

It was a matter too maailcahte t» pass uMMtici* 
ed, that of the munbers who did me the hoaoar of 
a Tisit, there was not one that had aaty share in tho^ 
administration of pabiie afian^thaWoondeck that 
met roe i^ Pegahm excepted, who, thoi^ , of die- 
tiagnished nmk, is b«t an inferior nnnister. Noaw 
of the Wengees or Attawoons condescended to pay 
ne the compliment. 'Ebe M aywomt of Pegae 
soflsetimes houem^ me with hu coatpany. Hia 
official comiefaence, however, was hem dwiinish- 
ed into ins^^eance, notwithstanding he waa of 
the highest order, except one, of nobility, wearing 
a tzakie of nme strings. 

When a public minister is delegated from a fo 
reign power to the Birman comt, it is the estaln 
lisfaed custom for thoMaywoon, or gofereorof the 
frontier province which tJie minister first enters, to 
provide for his safe conveyance to the capital, and 
to attend to his convenience so long as he con- 

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BMBA88Y fO iliVA. ^f 

to fw id ii in the eOTartrjr-*^ iervlas 
1m m beqamAy obligiMl to pOTfam a 
in tbe pment etm of tlw Engiili 
The g6f«nor of Binooytiw prgAco botj te iing o» 
Ywtn, porfatned ihe office to oar Ctiawo tteiglih 
iMooni wkk the vtmoat kindnoM and wtaritf , n^ 
IB Ub foqnonlirisits to thoH took ilM O f pmi m hy 
of ottagnpon Bie. Ho -wos a MimUo «W0) «■- 
eoedngty coortoooi in hk sMOiiMr flid oMoiO. 
Ho saiddKt ho had bonvtwico to Mu ia the ea- 
packy of legato befeie ho obtained hie p r ee eat eta- 
tkm ; and deoc iib o d tbe jovrnoy at mry Mfpa^ 
iagr> hat, at the proper 8eaeoii> no4 at aK p eri l o ag « 
Ho was upiraids of Aree mcmths in peiKmniig it. 
The rood Irom thofrondera of thopminee of B»- 
noo wstil he penetrated fu into Manehegee, or 
Yanm, lay thfongh Mogntainn D«ri% the ket 
thnty days he traveUed in o boat mi canah and 
riven. He infen n ed mo that tiieire wore two 
langiiay ^ken in Chiaa. One the Tinoop, or 
■alivo Clnneso ; the o«faer the Tanait, or Twttn 
tongue. Tho latter is the kngni^ of Iheocmqnetw 
on. Tbe^ ^mwawbafo not l^rCf to paao at wffl 
into ^o Chinese territory, nor the €lmiese nw 
to that of the Bimano ; but the gtmnoT hio 
power to giant passports. Hogai^o moan iwpres* 
noB of ^ Chop» or seal, whidi ho was a ec ns tom* 
od to affix to sndi pi^en, and Hkewiso proamed 
me a dmrt of his rente to Pddn, wfaidb ho after* 
wnrds fmeseated to me. I had Tarions occasions 
to admo^i^edge the atten^n and kindness of Ais 
tmly weK hped and intelMgent man, wiio seent- 
ed to have profited from his trarels^ and to- have 
o wrcome ^t afloeted reserve wlndi ^ the nation^ 
al oharact^iBtie of a Barman conrtiur 

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W XMSASfiY TO.AYA. 

(htthelMi of Angnsl, the an^vi^of a 
9mger h^m Rai^^oon^ sent by Captain ThoQiaa^ 
88 the bearer of letPteis and BewepaperB t^at had 
^a breoght from Calcutta* difi^ed smmg m 
tfajftt eatiatetJoE whkh they only who have been 
iii:nBinote ^mmjoieSf aad long abs^at from tfaetr^ 
frMda, can truly esdmate* It was the first coin* 
manlea^n we had received since our def>artare 
Qsom Bengal^ aod the situation of «&ars in Eu- 
rope wa» at that time extremely interes^i^^ 

Xn: addition to. the comfort we eiqierienced from- 
Hying at ease, ■ «Bd ha^ng et^ery want lU^erally 
supplied, our gratitude was due to Providence f(»:« 
t^B inestimaUe blesamg of health, which we en* 
joyed to a degree that iuUy e^dnced the sakhrity 
Gi the climate. • Not a symptom of sidkness, in a 
sjmgle instance excepted, had manifested its^ Br 
mmg our people* But^this was not the case with 
our Chinese AiigUKHirB. Iliey woe le$s forta* 
najte. A dyseiitary, which had earfy attaid&ed th» 
sfinior member of the ^nbaasy, hegfm to spread 
among his doneptiiQa; end, al^ough they w^e 
net numeiop9, we heard of frequent deaths and of 
general ^ess among th^n. As no doubt eouM 
he ientertaw^d ^: the hefiUhiness pf ike sitoation 
we were in, their malady was to be ascribed to 
sowe oth^vciHise tlmn theiKtinosp^re. Thego- 
vem<n' of'Bajgaoo, hewever, expteined the mattear 
Ti^.86»mbly, by observing, th^ the sickness un- 
d^ which they fdone laboured, entirely originated 
in their own indolence, and in the pernicious diet 
that they n^ed. The Chijiepe are said to be na* 
tionaHy great lovers of swings flesh ; and these 
personages possessed . all the partiality of their 
"ountry for that unclean .animal. They had erec* 



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SMBA88T TO AVA# 9S 

toi • |» ig ^ 8 tj^ wiiiilv the eiiclosrate cf tiwk direU- 
k^ whm llie^r fed poik for tiieir own tMe^ mti^ 
m a nmner of com pUm wrt, soraciliiiies sent » joint 
of tlie BieaVto me. Bmt though h teenied to be 
good, we could not hmg ounelTes to nm it. 1m 
addition t& the ill effects of nn^ grow fdod, thef 
took n V ^ECfcise, and drank inmoderetely of Ama.*- 
ciiow, a fioFjr and defeterione spirit. The gorpn^ 
ttor of BfiHoo, who aeeomited for iim caase of 
^ttir a§ment, condemned ^enr tmnmrnikj, whffdi> 
lie said, he had in Tain en d e a vo wted to eeifect by 
adriee md persaaskm. At length the pfiaci p a l 
legale became so serioa^ ill that his life was 
jagged to be in danger. The gotenuRv aasdew 
for the preserralion of a pefsen whose safety was 
ift some degree intruded to his care, widi a hn* 
BNBiiqr tiiat did him bonoor, applisd te^ me for 
nectodl awittanoe* Dr Bacjianan wflKngly ae* 
oe m panl e d hna to the nek man's cfcantary and mi 
eitiiiMng his patient, immediately perceived timl 
tfie case was desperate. He was aa emaoMted 
eld man, recced by a d i s ea s e of'saeii loi^ coo* 
limiaaee^ aa to kMrre no proq>eel of raee ve iyw Me»» 
diclnee, howefw, were admiaislsrefj^ whiehy tawagB 
alMy alfeffded bat a tei^K>rary leKef, ramd a fill* 
la^oos hope in ^ breast of the nv^mHf who ex* 
pre ss e d ^frtmostaiiiaety lobe ablate* attend OB 
die day appemled fer ear pvblie leeepiion, al 
which tbike llie C hine s e depaties were mcewise to 
bekitt^doeei. They had betee been admitted to 
as kifoniial aodiett<» of the king, whev the coort 
wasarMeflsgow^ soon alter ihmfym anrivaiy 
where his mi^eety met tiiem as theu^ by ebaaoe. 
It is not usual fer the l»ig ta reestrepabHe mini- 
sters ceremoniously^ except in the metropolis. 

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94 EMBASSY TO AVA. 

As the time f^proached that was appowied for 
our paUic ^itry into UmmeiBpoora, which as yet 
we had only viewed frem our residence on the 
oppofiiHe bank of the lake, I judged it proper to 
make some inquiry respecting the ceremonials 
usually observed on such occasions, and the ex- 
terior forms of homage that would be required* 
I wished also, to ascertain the r^tive d^^ree of 
rank isbsxt would be granted to the agent of the 
GdrrnncT-igeBomi of India; and as I was offi- 
cially given to understand that the Chinese depi^* 
ties were to be introduced on the same day, I 
urged my right to precedence, cm the«thofougb 
persuasion that they did not constitute an. imperial 
embassy, but were merely a jvevincial legation, al* 
thoughprobably sanctioi^dby the monarch of China* 
. The necessity of ascertmning these points be- 
came evident, from the scrupulous regard to*ex« 
temal forms whidi the Birmans manifested upon 
every occasion. The ^^ywoon of Pegiie hik^ ^ 
chau^ of my official communica^i^ I received 
through him, in ref^y to my firsts apptication, a 
general assmnee of due attentton, but an equivo^ 
cal aiuwer with respect to the CIuiMse. Repeals 
ing the ^refaisidon forsads^Klory pa^enlaik, I was 
informed that I should be aUdw«ki pam^ "ei ravk 
ivith tbe nobyity of the covirt, and that pj^cedaiee 
over the Claaese deputies wcsuld he gfa§»ted to met 
With those aasufaaoes I remained satisfied. 
^ On ^ 29th df August, the dily preeeduig thai 
of our fdnual introduction, I received a meissi^e^ 
deeinng to know what number of attendants I 
meant' to take with me> dnd to ^edfy the rank 
th»y bote, partieukffly t^t of ^e pundit, the 



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SMBASSY TO AVA. 96 

nMMmsbee, loid pi^ter. I wa3 at the same time 
adQiudnted, that it was not customary to admit 
armed men into the palace, a form to which I 
readily assented. Late in the evening, another 
message was brongkt to inform me, that the pro- 
fession of Dr Buchanan was held by liie Birmtins 
in a less dignified estimation than it bore among 
us ; and that it was unusnal, on such solemn oc- 
casions, to recdve a person of hb station into the 
Lotoo, or gveat eonncil hall. I took some pains 
to vindicate ilie dignity of the liberal and enlighten- 
ed profeenon of medicine, and explained to them, 
l&H there was no monarch of Europe who did 
not consider a physician as w^Mrthy to hold a place 
in die most distinguished ranks of society. This 
diffiooltywas at length conquered. They agreed 
to reoeiTe^e Doctor, but 8t^>ulated Uiat he should 
ride on borsebadc in liie joocession, and not be 
iB^i^ed witit ttd dbphimt^^a priril^e which, they 
said, was granted <m}y to persons of 1^ highest 
conaeqvenee. 

Prep arat ory to our visit, the presents intended 
for his majesty were carefully assorted, and put 
into separate boxes. They were both handsome 
and costly, conmstii^ of Tarious kinds of Euro- 
pean and Indian artides, such as miirors, cut- 
gfass, fire-arms, In^Mul-doths, ^ailntnd^red mus- 
Ims^ and Indian sOks, all of the finest quaMty tiiat 
could be procured. Among other things there 
was a Shanscrit manuscript, superbly iHummed, 
and written wMi beautiful minutehess. It was a 
copy of the Bagwaat peeta, enclosed in a case of 
g<dd, and deogned as a personal compliment from 
Sir Jolm Siioie> ^ Gorenior-general, to his Bir- 
man nu^jesty. There was also an electaioal ma* 



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96 EMAA6SY TO AVA. 

(Mae, of the effect^ of which some of the Binxwos 
were not ignorant.* The boxes were coYered 
^with red satin, and £Eistened to poles, f<x the con- 
venience of being carried on men's shouldenk , 
Every matter was arranged oa the day b^ore the 
ceremony was to take place. 

On the 30th of August we took an early break- 
faaty and about eight o'clock a sere'^ogee, w se- 
cretary of the Lotoo, came to acqnaiii^ us that 
boats were prepared to convey us across the lake. 
Our domestics had received orders to hold the]% 
selves ui readiness, dressed in the livory of llie 
embassy, and the guard was paraded without arnM. 
The presents having been sent befwe, we walked 
to the water side, attended by Baba-*Sheen, the 
Sere-dogee, and several inferior officeii. At the 
same time the two junior members of the Chi^ . 
nese mission, tlie senior being now at the poii^ 
of death, came forth from the gate of their cnclo* 
sure, attended by a retinue conpanMivdy r«y 
smalL We found three war-boats at the bank 
ready to rec^ve us. These boats were suffi- 
ciently capacious for the number they were des* 
tined to contain. The hvtgest was of fifty oart^ 
but they were not above one-4hird manned, pio- 
bably with a view to our accommodation, as the 
vessels are so narrow that persens unaccustomed 
to them cannot dt between the rowers without in** 
convenience. It did not, however^ escape our 
notice that they were quite plain, without ei<- 
ther gilding or paint. We were ehout tweaatj 
minutes in rowing to the opposite side of the lake^ 
and found a crowd of pec^le ci^lected near the. 

* An electri/yiii^ machice hU been iiilsodttocd seYtral 
y«frs ego by a FrenthnoAn. 



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EMBASSY TO AVA. 97 

Water's edge to ftee us land. The place where we 
landed appeared to be nearly a mile, in a direct 
Ime below the fort, the Bouthem walls of which 
are washed by the lake when the waters are swol- 
len. Tbree elephants and several horses were 
waiting to convey us, and some Binnan officers 
of inferior consequence att^ided at the bank, 
^Wfl0ed in their robes and caps of ceremony. The 
fiwnitine c^ the animals we were to ride was far 
from being anpefb. Men of rank in the Birman 
•fliqnre always guide theur own elephants, and sit 
on t^ neek, in the oame manner that the drivers 
or mohaate do in India. Owing to this custom, 
diey are m^rovided with those commodious seats 
in pencil an Indian gmiUeman reposes at ease on 
the back of this nMe beast, whilst the govern- 
ment of it is krtm^ed to another person. A large 
wicker bariiet, somewhat resembling the body of 
an open carnage, but smaller, without any ele- 
▼ailed seat, and covmred with carpets at the bot- 
tmn, was fastened <hi the back of the elephant by 
means of iron chains that passed under his belly, 
and wope presented fnmi chafing him by tanned 
oxhides. This equipage was neither comfortable 
nor ekfiant ; but aa I had not learned how to 
noanage an elefriiant, and ride between his ears, 
ihere waa no alternative. I was obliged either 
to take what was provided, or submit to a less 
dignified conveyance. The drivers, instead of 
making the beast kneel down to receive his rider, 
as is the custom in other countries, drove him up 
to a tempw-ary stage that had been erected for tlie 
purpose of mounting. Each of the Chinese depu- 
ties waa also hononsBil wili|.aa elephant. Mr 

VOJL. n. I 



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98 EMBASSY TO AVA. 

Wood and Dr Bachaomi rode on handsome spirit- 
ed horses, of the small P^ue breed, which had 
been prepared foi* them, and were equipped w!«h 
much better fomiture than was assigned to ihe 
elephants. The Birman saddles, howeyer, nol 
being well calcnkted for l^e ease of an European 
rider, two of English mannfactnre, whidb we had 
brought with us, were substituted in their stewl 
The moonshee, the pundit, and i^e pamter, vmm 
likewise permitted to ride on horsebadc. Afiber 
we had adjusted the ceremonid of mountuig, tin 
procession was marshalled in the following wder t 
A Sandoheaan, or master of the c^«momes> > 
on horseback : 
An Oniroupseree, or register of strang^ers, 

on horseback : 
A Letzounseree, of register of presents, 

on horseback, - 
dressed in their official robes and capci. 

Soldiers that composed the escort. 

The elephant of ^ rfepresentative of Ibe ■ 

Governor-general. 

Mr Wood and Dr Buchanan, on horoebadc. ' 

Baba-Sheen, as chief int^preter. - 

The Chinese deputies on elephants, preceded by 

their servants, bearing flags. 

A Woondock, or second counsellor of state* 

Two Terrezogees, or officers who hold 

judiciary stations. ' ' 

The servants of the embassy walked oii each 

side, two by two ; and a nutnber of constables 

attended, with long white rods, to ke^ oS the 

popidace. 

The procession being llms arranged, we com^ 
menced our march> keeping a moderate pace,- so 

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, HMBASSY TO A VA. 99 

ai not to dklzees tibe bearera of the presents. Af- 
ter proceediiig a short way, we entered a wide 
aEttd handsome street that was paved with brick. 
31ie houses on each side were low^ bnilt of wood, 
mod coTered with tiles. They had been evidently 
pf^ared for the occasion, being fresh whitewash- 
ed, and ^corsted with booghs and flowers. The 
skopB, ' wtidi are nsiudly opened towards the street, 
displayed their best goods. In front of each house 
waas a slight latticed railing of bamboo, adyanced 
hato the street^ to the distance of iJnee or four 
feetb Over ihis space was spread a shade (^ 
bamboo mats, tibat reached from tlie eaves of the 
houses to the railing, forming a sert of covered 
balcony, every one of which wais crowded wil^ 
^ectaitors, ram and women indiscriminately. Boys 
sot on the tops of the hotises, and the s^^ets were 
so 'ihnmged as to leave only a sufficient space for 
the procession to move williout intennptaon. But 
what rendered thie scene most remarkable was, 
the posture which the moltitu^ |Hreserved. Bivery 
person^ as socto as we came in sight, squatted on 
hiii Jiams, and cmitinued in l^at attitude until we 
had passed by. This was an indication of high 
feep&tt^ Throughout ^e crowd there was no 
distiffbenee, nor miy extraordinary noise. The 
populace looked up and'gased in ulenoe, nor did 
they attempt to fcikm us, but were s^isfied wi^' 
a transient view* The Pkgwaats, or constables, 
aimed with long rods, sometimes affected to strike 
those who were most forward, in order to make 
them recede ; but in this act they humanely a- 
voided hmling any one, generally ctirecting the 
blow to the gcMnd dose to ^lose whom they in* 
tended to remove. Thus we passed through se- 

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100 • EMBASSY TO AVA% 

v«nil wy# ■towete mnmiig m ft s^v^irt dmedon, 
a»d often erotsed by others at li^t aii^esw We 
pere^ved only two bride housed, and these we 
weie inlormed bekmged to foreigBers* C ent^iwm i i 
te the f«rt was a small street^ entirely occiq^ied by 
the shops <^dlTersmiths, miio exfailnted their wares 
in ^e op«i balcony, and displayed a gveac Tarie^ 
of Birman utensik in plate. The distance from 
the landing-place to this stieet we oompofted to be 
two miles, bnmediately after, we crossed the 
ditch of the fort> wbidi was wide, deep, and fisced 
with biick, bat had little water in it. The pas^ 
sage was ever a canseway fonned on a moond itf 
eod^ in which there was a chasm of abont ten 
feet to cany off die rain, and aeveas ^» a straig 
bn<%e of planks ¥ras laid. Between the bridge 

' and the foot of the wi^ thffle waa a space, eigl«ky 
or a hvadred feet wide, on which two l ed oidi t a 
wcse raissid to ^fend the passage of the dhefa; 
The nnpert, ftwed by a watt of bride, was abem 
twes^ feet lughy exdastiv of the parapet, wfaidt 
had embneares fer cannon, and aperlnes for aow* 
kelry. Small denii4iastions prelected at legnhoO 
distances beyond the wail, bat they did not tej^ 
peer to contaia suAcien^ spaoe to admit of hesvy 
ordnance.' The body of the ranqiart was cemi- 
posed of earthy sostazned extemaJiy and willda 
by strong wiriU The gate was massive, with a 
wicket in it ; and ihe fert altogether, conmdei^d as^ 
an Eastern forttfieationy was respekable, bat in- 
snifieient to resist the approadies of an enemy 
flkilled m war* The Birmans, however, beHere 
it to be impregnabke. They put their tmst in the 
lieight and aotidi^ of ^ir wi^l, which l^iey con- 
ceive to^ be stm^ ene«gh te lesist i^ aaBanlts^ in* 



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BMBA 8«Y 'TO - A VA, 101 

dependent of ^ corer of a glacas, Or tny other 
Mdwmm^ woric^ thm t^ ditefa. I iMd not atteinpt 
to OMMTtify tbeir pride by tdiing them a disagree- 
•Ue trutb, thai a batterer of half a dozen canadtf 
would IB a faw bonia, reduce ^ir> walb to a hetip 
of niinB f and iadmd if Ibad told tfaem so, it is pro* 
bnUe ihey Bughinot baire creddied tbe informatioD^ 
. We ontared b^ tbo western gate* > There wai 
Uttle darttnttioa between the faoHMs in llie fort and 
tkooo of the citf, excafrt that the dwdHngg of 
pohiana of offidalconaeqaence, and the ^nembem 
of the royal funily, who reaided within the walk, 
waie MisiraDded by a wooden partitioB lliat in- 
doaed a eaort We paaaady ladring aef era! anglea 
in. our way^ throng a meiket anp^ed with rice, 
pidaa^ aod other yeg^taUes, bi^ saw neither meat 
nor Sah. At the diatanee oi two short streeta 
&^m ike palaee, we came to a spot wh«'e bamboo 
stagea were' erected for u» to ali^t, similar to 
those at the landing-i^aee. Here we dkmoonted^ 
a«d walked in the same arder as we had rode. 
Coming to the top of a ahart street leading down 
to the iialaoe, we were deaired by the Sandohgaan, 
or master of the eeremoniaa, through Baba*8heen, 
to step and make obeisanca to the residence of 
mijeatyy by a gentle inelinatiQB of the body, and 
raising the hand to the head, as they did ; a de*- 
ske with which I complied, althon^ I conceived 
the distance so great aa fawdly to require ^t 
mad( of respect. Wlien we had proceeded two 
or t^ee hundred yasds farther^ the Sandohgaan 
repeated the ceretnony of bowing, to which I of-» 
iered no objection; nor should I hare felt the 
smallest r^kctaace in e^nplying, had not the man* 
i2 



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iOti BMBASftY TO AVA. 

ner of Ae SandeligMfi been what I ciwukkgti l 
extifeately cBsrespectfid. Tbns we poroceededy uitpl 
we came to ^ rlicKnii, wbieb was/ a Mly hi^, 
noted fcmt or fire feet from tlie groottd, and cfek 
en ill fiidee; it was mtmted abont a kuidMl 
yards from the gate of tke ^dace cowt, 
left band, and in liie amtm of . a ~ 
Potting off oor dioes^ we entered tbe> e do a a, and 
sat down on earpels ^tmUt were ifread fev «% widi 
oor (aces towards die pdaee gate. Here iii» pf»- 
sents were deposited^ wMist the Cbiaese dsywliet 
took tbebr places on tbe o<iier sid^ 

It was now aboat tmi o'doek, and tiba WMsdoelr 
intimated tbat we most wait nn^ aU^ tbe j^eineee 
of thfi royal fkmilf arrired, be^ofo it w«ndd be 
proper fcnr ns to enter^ We bad sat bnt a sbtft 
time, when the prince of Pegabm, tbe jnnier oi 
the king's sons in point of ranl^ tboa^ not in 
jeara, being born of a di£ferent motber, made bis 
appearance. He was moimted on ^ neck of » 
very fine elephsmt, which bo gnided Umsel^ sit^ 
ting on a scarlet clotb embn>id«*ed with gold, 
winlst a servant behind, on the bade of tbe anbnal>> 
screened him from the son widi a gilded paraeoL 
Abont fifty musketeers led the way. These were 
ibHowed by a number of balberdierB, carying epeatn 
with gilded shafts, and deeoi-ated with gokl taraek* 
Six or eight officers of bis household (each of die 
king's sons bare a seporate establi^ment) came 
next, dressed in velyet robes with embroidei«d 
caps, and chains of gold depending^ frem^ die left 
shoulder to the right side : these immediately pre- 
ceded the prince's elephani. Another body of 
spearmen, with his palam^^iin of stale, closed tbe 
procession. On entering the gate, he fi^avo to one 



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£MBASIit TO A¥A* i^ 

of hi»«itlftQdiiii«i&potiBlied iron bo«i^. with ii^^ 
h» goiremed his dspbint ; as mat any tinag ^ktU 
can be used as a wef^pon- is snffisred to be bvoi^t 
intbin the predneU of ^m palace, not efvn hf 
UsiiM^esty'saoiiB* Theprinee'seseorthahedwi^ 
eat tbB gate, and the gEeafeer muiiber of bis at*, 
tendaaia weve st ep p ed , these enty bdi^ adimtted 
idM weveef hig^nnky together with the men 
n^ canned his hoge beede-box of gn^dy md hki 
flaggen of water, yiAkkh are brought ratlier for 
state than for refreshment. When the prince had 
i^g^ted, his elephant retomed, and all the attend- 
anta ni^ifed thenaselTes in the area between ihe 
rfaoom and the palace gate. Soon after the piince 
ef Fsgabn had ent^ed, the prince of Tongho, 
tiie next in {nvcedenee, appeared. He was at* 
tended by a suit nearly sfmilar to that of his bro- 
ther; and in snccesBion came the princes of Basseih 
and of Prome : the Engy Teeidfn, or hdr apfia- 
rent, came last. When he arrived it was tvi^ve 
o'clock, which the great dram that prodaims the 
hours sounded from a lofty tower near ihe palace*^ 
The state in which the latter personage mmie his 
pnbMc entrance was highly sup^b, and becoming 
his elevated station* He was preceded by a nn- 
mopevs body guard of infantry, consisting of font 
or five himdied men, armed with mtnketi, who 
marched in regular files, and were uniformly doth» 
ed and accoutred. Next came a party c^ Cassay 
troopers, habited in then- fanciful dress, with high 
conical caps bending backwards. We w^ie told 
that, through respect, they had alighted from their 
horses nearly at the same place where we had das*- 
mounted. Twenty or thirty men followed these, 
holdbg long gilded wands ; then came eighioen or 

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1#4 EMBASSY TO AVA. 

twealf nuMtar^r officers of rank, wkh giided hel- 
QWte ; nest, the civil o£$oms of his faoiis^old ami 
bis ooiittdl)' wearing the tzaloe, or dbain of ii(^»- 
Vfff ittnA amyed in their robes and caps of stiitey 
vttied aodocding to their respeclive ranka. The 
prince, borne to men's shoulders, in a very rich 
jMbifdin, hni withoat asry canc^y, followed* He 
WMTSCvtened from the buq by «. large gUded &&» 
supported by a noUemaii ; and on eieh aide pf hia 
paknqifti wvticed six Cateay astf ologera, of the, 
Bnlninical sect, ^jessed in white gownd and white 
eipastadfited with Btsbn of gdd. Cloae behind; hie 
senrants caihed his waler-flaggon, and a gold. 
b ee tie *bat^ of a aise whidi appeared to be no ia* 
cmisideiable load for a man. Several elepbanlji 
and led horses with rich housings came after. Some 
inferior officers^ and a body of speannai, with 
three companies of musketeers, one clothed in 
blue, another in green^ and a third in red, con- 
duded the processionw 

in every put of this osteitolious parade, per- 
fect regolarity was maintained, which considerdbly 
increased the ^feet. All things seemed to have 
been carefully predisposed, and properly airanged. 
If it was less splendid than imp^al Delhi, in. 
the days of Mogul magnificence, it was far more 
decoroin Uian any court of Hindostan at the pre- 
sent day. The rabble was nc^ tumultuous, the 
attendants and soldiery were silent, and every man 
stemed to know his own. pkce. No noisy heralds, 
as is the custom in India, ran before, vociferating 
tilleSy and overturning people in their way. The 
display of this day was solemn and dignified ; and 
I doubt much whether, in any other capital, bu<^ 
midtilades could be brought together with so Tittle 



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EMBASSY TO AVA. 106 

Cflorrfttsion, as, lienides the attendants and the mi- 
Ktary, there were many thousands of spectators. 

Our delay in the rhoom had now been protracted 
tai two hours; a circnmstance which, liiough it 
gratified our curiosity with a novel and most inte^ 
resting spectacle, yet could not be considered as a 
Ai^irk of respect, especially as we had not the 
Company of any p^Bon of distinguished rank, die 
junior Wbondock excepted, who stayed with v» 
but a very short time, llie attendance of ^e 
Maywoon of Pegue was, according to the usage 
of the country, on this occasion, our undoubted 
right; and the example of the viceroy of Bamoo, 
who paid diat compliment to the Chinese deputies, , 
placed die omission in a more striking point of 
view, whilst the singular character of the people 
pBtt it out of my power to attribute the neglect to 
chance, or to casual inadvertency. 

A few minutes af^ the Engy Teekein, or pnnce 
royal, had entered, we received a summons, in 
compHdnce with which we proceeded from the 
ilfoom, observing the same wder as before ; the 
presents carried m front, and the members .of the 
CMaese ^bassy following the English deputation. 
Aiwt proceeded, the Sandohgaan was exceeding- 
ly troublesome, by calling on us to mdce frequent 
supet^uous obeisances, whHst his manner of re- 
qwring them was conspicuously uncivil. I check-* 
ed his insolence by observing, through Baba-Sheen,, 
tlM if he wished me to proceed, he must alter 
his tone and demeanour. This reproof, howeverr 
bad only a momentary effect ; he soon resumed 
his arrogant behaviour, which he repeated throughr 
out the day whenever opportunity offered. 

On approaching the gate, the greater part of 

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106 EMBASSY TO AVA. 

our attendants were stopped, and not permitted 
to follow us ; and we were desired to put off our 
shoes, with whidi we unmediately complied. 

The area we now entered was spacious, and 
contained the Lotooy or grand hall of consoltatimi 
and of audience, where the Woongees meet in 
council, and where affairs of state are discossed 
and determined. Within this enclosure there is an 
inner court, separated hy a hrick wall, which com- 
prehends the palace, and all the huildings annexed 
to the royal residence. Within ihe gate a troop 
of tumhlers were performing their feats, whik 
dancing girls were exhibiting their graces in the 
open air, and on the bare ground, to the sound of 
no very harmonious music We were next usher* 
ed up a flight of stair% into a very noble sak>on> 
or open hall, called the Lotoo, where the coiut 
was assembled in all the pomp that Birman gran- 
deur could display. On enterii^ this hali, a 
stranger cannot fail to be surprised at the magnifi- 
cence of its appearance. It is supp<Hted by Bev«n* 
ty-seven pillars, disposed in eleven rows, eadh 
ponsisting of seven. The space between the pil- 
lars I judged to be about twelve feet, excq)t the 
central row, which was probably two feet wider. 
The roof of the building is composed of distinef 
stages, the highest in Sie centre. The row of 
pillars that supported the middle, or most lofty 
roof, we judged to be thirty-five or fdwrty feet kk 
height ; the others gradually diminish as they op* 
proach the extremities of the building, and thos^ 
which sustain the balcony are not more than twelve 
or fourteen feet. At the farther part of the hail 
there is a hi^ gilded lattice, extending quite across 
the buildings and in the centre of the lattice is a 

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BMBASST TO AVA* lOT 

gilded door, wiiieh, when opeaAd, ditpli^ii ihe 
liirono. This docH* is elemtod five or bIx feet ironi 
ike floor, so diat ^ tterone mnal be a«eoiided .by 
■Maoi of Bt^M al; the bade, .wbidi are nol visile, 
Ror is ik» seal of the thsoiie to be seeii^ fifioept 
Ti^n the King'comes in penwi^ to the Loloo. At 
liie bottom of the lattuse them is a gilt balwtoidf^ 
^vse or fear fo^ h%hy in whidi the umbieUas and 
s ew nsr a l oAer iniig«in of state were deposited* The 
leyal «oloiir k wyte^«ad the nmbfellas were made 
of sUk of ^»t oolovy licUy be^aogled with gold. 
Within: this nagDificsnt saloon, were seated*, on* 
their mTexted legs^ all the {nin^ and the priae^ 
pal Bobilitsr of the Binnan .empire, -each person 
in the place appiopriaited to his partiicnlar rank and 
80atio«« ProKBBiitjr to ihe . thrane is, of course^, 
ihe most honourable sttnaliim ; fud this station W9a^ 
oeoapied by the princes^ of the blood, the .Woon<- 
gees, the Attswoons, and other great officer& of 
stiAe* The £ngy Teekien (or heir apparent) aat 
on « waall stool, about six mches hig^ ; the other 
piinees ^a fine mats. The i^mce between.: the: 
central^ pillars that front the throne, is always li^ 
Yseant^ forthbemdous reason, that his Mijestyst 
^^es may not be obhged to behold those whran he> 
^es not mean to honour with a look. The place 
allotted for ns was next to this nnoocvpied part, 
but we afterwards discovered ^t the Chiaese de- 
puties had taken possession of ihose seats which, 
aecording to the etiquette that had been agreed 
iqM», t^ English gentlemen were to haye occu«: 
p^d. So4rinal a circumstance would not hare 
merited attention, had it nxA been followed by cir-» 
oimstanoes wbieb ]eit no room to sr^pose, thftti 
any aet velating to extemal iinms liras either acci-r> 



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108 EMBASSY TO A7A» 

deatal m ttapremedilated on the part of those wko 
TOgvilated llie ceremoBkib. 

After w« had itkea p omcoq i o ii of mats that had 
hBm tpFoad te 11% it vrm eiTiUy intiiiittted that wo 
oaght not to piotnide the soke of o«r feettowavda 
te seat of iiqKJestyy hut should endaaTOur to nt 
iii the posture that was obaerred by l^oae aiwuid 
us. WithdaBdesffeweuwuMreMiilyha^ooiu- 
p^»d, if it had been iu our power, hiitwts had 
not yet learned to ait upon our owm lege. The 
floBhiEty of musdes wludi the Bmrneutj and in- 
deed all ihe natifes of Indn, posaoss, ia sodi aa 
cannot be acquired b^r Bnn^ieans. A j^mum, 
when he stta, seldom torches the seat with nis 
posteriors, but is sv^peited by his heeb. It is 
scarcely practicable for an European, dressed ia 
dose garments, to place hinaelf in such an atti- 
tude ; and if he were M&y h would be out of his 
power to c(»itinne long in it. We injected our 
legs as wndi as possible, and the awkwardness 
w^ which we did this ezdted a smile from some; 
not a wmrd, howcTer^ was uttesed, and our «Klea- 
TOUTS, I thought, seemed to gire satisfiMstion. Ijn 
a few minutaa dgfat Bramins, dressed in white sa* 
oerdotal gowns, and silk caps df the same colour, 
studded with gold, asseml^ lound the foot of 
the throne, within the balustrade, and ^cited a 
long prayer in not myleasiwg recitative. This cere- 
mony l«ited a quarter of an hour. When they 
had withdrawn, ^e letter from the GoYemor-gene- 
ral, which I delivered to a Woondock, was placed 
on n silver tray in front of the railing, and a San- 
dohgaan, or raider, ad^nnced into the vneant space, 
and made three praatmioBB, toudung the ground 
eaditiai^widi hit forehead* Hethmttad^or ni- 



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BMBA88T TO AVA. 109 

iker diiBted, in a loud mce^ iHuH I nnd^irtood 
was a Binnan translation of the letter. When 
tUs was done, the reader repeated his prostrations, 
and next proclaimed a list of the pres«[its for the 
king. These several readings being finished, he 
-repeated his obeisances and retired. After an in- 
terval of a few minutes, an officer, enticed Nak- 
hwngee, advanced, and proposed a qnestion to me, 
m if from his majesty. Chi receiving my answer 
■ht withdrew, as it might be supposed to commu- 
fucate the r^y ; and retomed in an adequate time 
-to Bak another. Thus, he put three separate ques- 
tions to me, which were as follows : '< You come 
-fipom a distant country ; how kmg is it since you 
wrir^d ? How were the kii^, queen, and royal 
lamily of England, when the last accounts came 
from th«ice ? Was England at peace or war with 
otherriiadons? and was your country in a state of 
disturbance ?" 

The latter question alone contamed more than 
words of compliment and ceremony, and, coming 
in such a solemn manner, required a clear and de- 
tominate answer on my part. I reined in the 
Pernan language—'^ That Great Britain was at 
enmity with France ; that the Continent of Europe 
was the seat of war; but that the kingdom of 
England enjoyed perfect tranquillity, whidi it was 
not probable would be disturbed." This interro- 
gation seemed to indicate, that the Birmans )iad 
received im{Mressions of our situation in Europe 
fitnn ,no vay favourable quarter ; and I had after- 
wards occanoQ to know, that the unremitting an4 
restless industry of French propagators had per- 
vaded even this rnnote region ; and that though, 

VOL. II. K 4 ' 



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110 KMSAfSY TO AVA. 

vfk 9ttcb a c^untry^ they dare not avow ^btk eqiuH 
Uzing principles, ^y left no art nnpractiaedy 
throiigh tbe means of their emissaries, to insinuate 
doubts, excite feass, and create distrust of tbe 
Bluish. 

Thes^ were aU the questions that were pro- 
posed ; neither the Chinese nor any other person 
being interro^ted. In a few miiiutes after my 
last reply had been conveyed, a very bandsosse 
jdessert ^fss brooght in, and set be£ore «s* It cottr 
sisted of a variety of sweetmeats, as well China 
f» Bkman : Isepack, or pidded tea-leaf, and beetle, 
iorwed psrt of the enler<»iiunwt, whicb was served 
np in silver? china^ and glas»-wwe» There apr 
peare4 to be not less than a hmdred different smaH 
^dishes. We tasted of a few, and ^rand some of 
them very palatable; bt|t none of ihe^conrtieri 
psrtook, or mi^ved irgm their plaoes* Abeut half 
en hour had elapsed, when we were inf4»ined hy 
^e Sandohgsan that there was no occasion lor us 
tQ pemain any longer. Ihe WHiHipfeaiance of bis 
roc^jesty W9» 9 ccinsid^able dis^ppointm^:^ as I 
had been taught to expect fhut 1^ would hsre re? 
ceived the Govemorrgenera)'s letter in person. It 
was not, howi^vfflr, until some time aWwards, thai 
I was made acquainted with the ^e reas<»n of bis 
fdwence. 

When we rose to l^ve the Lotoo, the Sanddi<* 
gaan desired us to make three obeisances to tbe 
throne, by a slight inclination of the body and 
raising the right hand to the head. We were then 
reconducted to the saloon, where we were iiH. 
formed it was necessary we should remain ontU 
the princes came forth from the palace, and had 
got upon their elephants, as their etiquette did not 



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SlCBAfiST TO AVA. Ill 

lAow aity ptt*0on, on snch occasfoUSy to monni be-^ 
fore the iD^iiiberB of die royal family; we Bty* 
^ordingly took onr pkces ih this hall as bef(H«« 
Shortly afterwards Ihe court broke np vnth as much 
Ibral floid parade as it had assembled. 

The x^eremony of departure differed from that 
of entrance. The Engy Teekien came oat first, 
Who went m last ; next followed the other mem-» 
bers of the royal femOy in rotation, and after them 
tam^ the Chobwaas, or petty tiibntary princes. 
These are personages who, before the Birmans had 
Extended tibdr conquests orer die ra^ territory 
diey now possess, had held small independent 
tOter^igt^BSi which tl»y were able to maintain to 
long lis the balance of power continued doubtful 
oHWeen the Bittnaitt, Peguers, and Si&tnese ; but' 
llie decided success du^ Ims attended the Birmait 
arms, sinc^ the accession of the preseirt fiomily, 
having depHted diem of th^ir independence, their 
countries are now reduced to subordinate provinces 
ei the Binnan empire. As maiiy of their go^ 
t«teors as confidence eoidd be placed iii, and wha 
were Willing to take it& oath of allegiance to their 
i^on^erors, were cimtintted in the management of 
dieir former possessions, and are obEged to make 
aa aimua) visit to die capital, to pay homage in 
person at die golden feet. The moderation, as 
wefi as the policy of diis measure, is said to have 
fttlly answered the ends diat were proposed. 

As soon as the royal femily had departed, iv6 
reitumed to the place where we had left our ele^ 
phants, and proceeded home ; with this difference, 
that the Chinese deputies, who had fbllowed us io 
die palace, preceded us in our return — a circuiii'* 
stioce whidi, in ad^dou to several oth^^, gave 

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112 EMBASSY TO AVA. 

me cause ta attribute want of ingennottROfw to 
those who had the management of the ceremonials. 
My claim of precedence had been unconditionally 
stipulated and admitted — a precedence, which the 
certainty that the Chinese deputies G(mstituted only 
a provincial mission of very inferior consideration, 
gave me an undoubted title to demand. 

With a people less attentive to punctilio, or less 
regardful of the privileges and external indicatiooa 
of rank, I should certamly not have considered it 
necessary to controvert matters of no intrinsic mo- 
ment in themselves, but which, when intended to 
produce an e£fect on the minds of those who can 
only judge from appearances, become, to a persoa 
in a pubUc capacity, of real imp<»tance. Every 
occurrence of this day, and every object that pre- 
sented itself, evinced the previous care that had 
been bestowed on the minutest points (^ etiquette* 
The utmost splendour of the court had been dis- 
played on the occasion ; and I was credibly in- 
formed, that the npurappearance H>f his majesty 
was neither customary when a foreign minister 
from a sovereign state^ was to be introduced, nor 
owing to any accidental prevaition; but that it 
was a matter predetermined, in order to afford a 
pretext for spreading inroad that the represent 
live of the EngUdi nation had delivered his des- 
patches, and rendered tribute (for so they deno- 
minated the presents) without being honoured by 
an interview of their king. These apparent indi- 
cations of arrogance, which were not diminished 
bv the unworthy artifice of making me believe that 
his majesty was to have received in p^'s^m the 
letter from the Grovemor-general, as coming fvon 
a sovereign and an equal power, gave me reason^i 



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£MttAS8Y to AVA. llS 

ftb!e grounds to be dissatisfied with the maimer in 
which the 4^remoniaIs had been conducted, and 
made me suspect the real light in which it was the 
wish of the court that I should be considered. As 
nothing degrading to my pubKc character, how- 
erer, had yet been avowed, I re£rauned from any 
formal declaration of my sentiments tiU subsequent 
isiifcuiikstmces confirmed my conjectures, and ren- 
iered an explanation unayoidable. 

We iM not arrive at our dwelling in the grove, 
tlB past three o'clock. In our way home, the 
spectators were few, in comparison with the num- 
hen coUeeted to gaze at us when we went. The 
Ay had been oppressively hot ; we were never- 
iMess highly graced by the scene we had be- 
held, whidi was uncommonly Splendid, and in 
every respect suited to the dignity of an imperial 
eoart. The evening, however, proved cool ; and 
rafreirfiing breezes recompensed us for the sultri-* 
oess of ^ day, the transactions of which suppli- 
ed an interesting topic df conversation until the 
hour of repose. 



k2 



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114 EMBASSY TO AVA. 



CHAPTER, VI. 

PRESENTS EXPECTED BY THE PRINCIPAL OFFI- 
CERS OF TRIVIAL VALUE MATTER OF 

FORM—VISIT THE ENGY TEBKIEN — CONDUCT 
OF THE PUBLIC OFFICERS MORE RESPITE OL 

' SPLENDOUR OF THE COURT — ENOY TEEKIBK 

—CEREMONY AT DEPARTING— ^HOBW AS, OR 

TRIBUTARY PRINCES MEEDAW PRAW A 

PRINCESS OF HIGH DIGNITY— .HER CQURT-^ 
VENERABLE PERSON CURIOSITY POLITE- 
NESS VISIT TO THE PRINCES OF PROME— ^OF 

BASSIEN — OF TON6HO AND OF PBQAHM— 

RECEPTION AT THEIR RESPECTIVE COURTS—. 
VIEW THE PIEDIGAUT TIEK, OR ROYAL LI- 
BRARY — iNOISES RENEWED BY THE OHINESB 

.^EFFECTS OF DESPOTISM PRIDE OF THE 

MINISTERS — INSURMOUNTABLE DIFFICULTY 
IN A POINT OF ETIQUETTE — POLITENESS OF 

" THE GOVERNOR OF BAMOO— VISIT TO THE 
S^REDAW POUNDAOEE PRAW, OR ARCH PRIEtT 
MAGNIFICENT KIOUM— NUMEROUS RELIGI- 
OUS BUILDINGS KNEBANG KIOUM — A BEAU- 

^ TIFUL BUILDING TO WHAT PURPOSE APPLI- 
ED A KIOUM OF EXTRAORDINARY SPLEND- 
OUR VISIT THE ARRACAN 6AUDMA EN- 
THUSIASTIC ADORATION OF THE MULTITUDE 

CHOUNDA, OR PLACE OF ACCOMMODATION 

FOR STRANGERS PARTAKE OF REFRESH- 
MENT — RETURN — DESCRIPTION OF THE FORT 
OF UMMERAPOORA. 



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XMBASHT TO AVA. 115 

The n^Et morning, Angost 3 let, the Shawbunder 
id Rangoon, and Baba-Sheen, waited on us with 
infonnataon, that, as our formal introduction was 
•now past, I might command elephants and horses 
to go wlieresoeyer I pleased ; and that they had 
received an order to attend, and to show me what- 
ever was moat worthy the notice of a stranger. 
They mtimated also, that the £ngy Teekien, or 
lieir^psrent, was to bold a court on llie fellow* 
ing day, for the purpose of our iatroduction, and 
tluAt our attendance would be expected about the 
hour of noon. These instructions they had re- 
ceived from the Maywoon of Pegue ; to whom I 
wrote in reply, that as the stipulated formalkies, 
which had been agreed to by aU parties, had been 
infringed on the preceding day, it became neces- 
sary, before I could accept of the prince's iiivita- 
tion, to receive a positive iissnrance that they 
would be better observed on iJiis occasion. I 
likewise represented the conduct of the Sandoh- 
gaan as obviously disrespectful, and hoped that be 
would not be allowed to officiate a^n on our in- 
troduction ; but, above all, I desired to be expli- 
citly informed, whether or not the Engy Teeloen 
purposed to appear in person, wiUiout whidi I 
could not possibly think of attending his court. 

To this letter I received a civil reply, in the 
IVtrsian language, assuring me that ^me part of 
what to me seemed objectionable, originated in 
mistake ; that the Sandobgaan should be confined 
for his improper conduct ; and that the prince in- 
teiided to, receive me in person. These assurances, 
cooling from sudi a quarter, were perfectly salis^ 
fritory. 

Since my arrival, I had been apprised of a dr- 



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116 XMBASiT TO AVA« 

cumBtaooe, of i^iicfa I wte b^snn mwivwi, tiiM 
it waa customary for a penaa in a public e&ptuchf 
to present Moaethii^ of the numuflActiire «f 1& 
country, or some rarity, to eadi membet of th^ 
royal family to whom he is introduced. It wafe 
likewise usual, though not indispensably neccMf* 
sary, to pay the same c<HnpHmeat to the dnef nk 
nisters and the principal officers of the court. This 
present, being no more than a piece or two of 
muslin, or silk, was too trifling to be ragasrded 1^ 
the individuak for its value. It was, nerertheless^ 
expected, and the omission would be eonsidovd 
as unhandsome. In addition, therefore, to liw 
things that I had brought with me, I gave cUrec 
tions to purchase such articles, of Eunqieaa and 
Indian manufacture, as were most esteemed, and 
could be procured. These I allotted agreeaUy to 
the instructions of Baba-Sheen and ihe Shawbun^ 
der, who were so good as to acquaint me with tho 
established forms, and the proportion to bo pre- 
sented to eadi person. 

At nine o'dock on the first of September, we 
crossed the riyw» nearly with the sune attendee 
as, on the former day. In eenseipience of an ap- 
plication I had made to the Maywocm of Fegue, 
elephants were now fffovided for Mr Wood and 
Dr Buchanan* Hiig was a drcoaiBtanoe which 
neither the gentlemen themselves nor I shodd 
have deemed of sufficient importance to deserve 
any attention, had not the junior members of the 
Cliinese embassy been sniqitied widi lliem ; but as 
these people pak sudi Mrict attention to the mi- 
nutest article ^cprassivo of relative rank, I (Hd 
not think it right that the gentlemen with me 
should be cowdwed in a degree in£mor to-llis 



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wbordmate membais <^a proviDcial del^;stimi, of 
which an acqiuesoaicie, in a less dignified mode of 
oonveyance than the Chinese were allowed, would» 
mi my part, faare been a tacit admission. 
' We proceeded through the dty by the route we 
pnrsned beforCf with t& presents carried in front, 
and obeeryii^ ike same order of procession. Many 
^ ihe houses weie decorated widi flower-^ts and 
garlands, but the spectators were by no means sq 
nnmerous as when we made our first entrance. 
We dismounted uA the top of a street, wilMn a 
€bw Inmdred yards of the surroimding wall of the 
prince's palace, wheee stages Wl been erected for 
our conyeuience. From thence we were conduct-^ 
ed to the Rhocnn, which was ^tuated a little to 
Uie right hand of the fHfinci^ gate, lliere was 
another bmlding of a similar kind opposite to us, 
which we were informed was used only for trials, 
and die trantac^Mm of public business; but the 
<me that we occupied was apfNropriated to cere- 
mony and state. In the formaUties of this day, a 
mueh m&te respectful demeanour was preserved 
tewaids us, than on the former occasion, and we 
81^ in the Rhoran with b^ter company. Twa 
Wo^dodis, the master of the ^phants, and some 
oth^ officers bearing emblems of rank, attended 
us ; another Sand^igaan ako officiated in die ce- 
remmiials, and behaved very differ^tly from the 
p«nMm whose manners had been so oflfensive, and 
wh^Qd I did not deserve at court on this day. 
Hub ccndudi fuUy compensated te the former in- 
dvilky, though perhi^ the. Sando^aan did not 
receive any severe r^ehension for what he had 
done* 
The king of the Birmans, who seems to have a 



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118 ' . BMBASSY TO AVA. 

|Murental foridness for all his diildren, is said to b« 
particidarly attached to ther Engy Teekien, ot 
eldest prince ; and, with a liberal policy, has grants 

. ed him a i^Hiie in the government inmost equal to 
what he Mmself exercises. The establishment lyf 
the heir-apparent is becoming his high station and 
tvLtare expectations ; and his Woon, or chief mi^ 
hister, stands among the foremost of ^ Birraatt 
nobles in reputation for wisdom and integrity. 

There was little in the etiquette of this day ^^ 
ferent from that of the Tisit to his Mftjesty. We 
Waited in the Rhoom mitil all the younger prtncei^ 
had arrired, which they did, as bet<^«, in rotation^ 
beginning with the junior. The members of th# 
foyal family went within the gi^, before they 
Idighted from their elephants and prianquins ; btrf 
the ministers and the nobility dismount^ on 1^ 
outside, and proceeded mi foot. Aftet each pert' 
son had Altered, the gate was immediatdy closed^ 
and opened as soon as ano^i^ irisitant presented 
Mmself. When we adtauced to the gate, we fex^ 
pected it would have been ioMantly thrown open 
to admit us. A delay, howeyer, oceuired, which^ 

. tt first I was inclined to attribiite to some aedo* 
dental circumstance ; but alter I had waited wtati 
minutes under a burning Sun, finding that tbei« 
was an unnecessary and apparently a studied pro^ 
traction, I turned roun^ and waUced towards ibs 

, Rhoom. On thk the door was immedkl^ly open^ 
ed, and the interior court, on llie right hand of th€r 
gate, as we entered, displayed sereral men danc-^ 
ing in masqua^e ; and on the left was a band of 
musicians, and a set of dancing girls without masks. 
A little fiirther on, were two handsome houses ; 

«M of masonry, with doovs and windows closely 

I 

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XMBAflf T TO A VA. 1 19 

fMemUisgOothk Btruc^ure, flat roofed, and of a 
feculiar, but £ai from iiielega&t» coastmotion ; th^ 
o^ier was of wood. We w^ce eondoeted to the 
iattOT, and ascended into a eapacioaa saloon, open 
on three sidea. Here we lonnd the court aaaemr 
bled, nearly in the same manner aa at the Lotoo* 
The hall consisted of six vows of pfflara, ser^ m 
aadi row ; bat these was net^ier ^ding nor pakit 
bestowed upon them, such omameats being strict*- 
ty confined to the sOYCieign' and ibe prieslJiood. 
The naked pillars gave a yery rode appeanoice to 
the apartment, vduch was disadvanttgeonidy con- 
trasted with die biilliant dsesses of l^e conrtieni. 
We occiqned the same relatiTe position to ^e rest 
of the assemUy as at the Lotoo, with this differ- 
aaoe, that the genlianen of the Bnglish mismon 
bad the place assigned to thorn which the Chinese 
deputies, ei/kter ^ongh mflstake or design, fw* 
■oned OB the feramdiiy. At aim end of ^ sa^ 
loon, against a wainsdot, stood the prince's sofa of 
ftate, covered with emfaarotd^^ed doth, and on each 
side wave ranged si0P«ral utensils of pAd of a very 
large size ; s^ as his beetie^M^, cnp^ sjpktsm^ 
piot, and water-iaggon* AboTe^sefti there waa 
a window in tiie wainscot, m or eight feet from 
the ground, with folding shuttets, that were closed 
whan we entered the hatt. Soon after we had 
taken our seats, femr Branmis, dressed in whke 
sacerdotal garmaits, dianted a prayer that lasted 
a ipiarter ci an homr. Their demotions being fi^ 
nidied, the window he&a9 mentioned snd^ly 
^>eni^ and discoyered the Engy Teekien seated 
behind it. The courtiers immecKately bent ^ir 
bodies, and sal in a crouching attitude, wiA their 
hamlajouia^* The £i^^ genOemen joined 4ie)f 



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120 JUfBASST TO AVA 

hmdB fike ^ rest of thiB company* Hie prince 
seemed te be about twenty-eight or thirty yean ol 
age, of an open countenance, and.rathOT indined 
te oorpulency; but <^ his person we could not 
judge, as his head and shcmlders only wc^re visi- 
Ue. His hMtf as much as could be seen of it, 
sh^ie with gc^d, and he wore on his head a py- 
nunidtcal ci^, that glistened exceedmgiy ; but of 
its real richness we could not form any estimate, 
being at too great a distance. A list (^ the pre* 
aents were then recited in a loud voice by a leador 
kneeling in front of the. eo&; afiter which, total 
^ence prevailed throughout the assembly. Not 
a word was spoken by the paince. He noticed 
no one, but sat erect and motionless, without ap- 
pearing to look ^ther to the right or the lelib 
About a quarter of an hour elapsed in this dumb 
interview, when on a sudden, by some ag^icy in- 
visible, to us, the window-shutters were dosed, and 
we saw him no more. 

A very handsome dessert was then served up, 
on di^es spread on gikted trays. We tasted of 
several things, and, when the repast was ended, 
returned to the Rhoom, in which we remained un- 
til the royal £unily passed by. As much form was 
observed this day, as when the court assembled at 
the Lotoo ; and the demonstrations of> respect ma- 
nifested towards the £ngy Teekien, as well by his 
iN'others as by inferior subjects, fell little short of 
what is^^ered to the sovereign himself-^ a circum- 
stance that strikingly evinces the wisdcHn and po- 
licy of the government. The Cbobwas, or peiuy 
princes, who followed the royal £unily, wore on 
this day very numerous. We were^told, diat there 
were altogether fifty-six Chobwad dependent on 



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XMBA^Y TO AVA.^ 121 

the ^rmair state. If thk be trm, dieir'tehileriet 
must be m-y mccmmderable. , On the present occft^ 
mm the governor of Bamoo walked amongst them 
in procession, from which we concluded thsJL he 
was a temptH'ary recent ; a .station to which the 
king occasionally appoints Birman offic««, when 
the hereditary, prince of the country haf^ieos to 
be a minor, or incapable of the administra^n of 
pabHc afiidrs. 

The mothw of the principal queen, named Mee- 
daw Praw, has already been mentioned as a prin* 
oess of high dignity, venerable for her years, and 
iUnstiioim from the affinity that she beans to the 
royal family. Her sister had been the wife of the 
iuoioiis Alompva, the deliverer of his country ; and, 
her daughter being espoused to the reigning mo- 
narch, (^ stands in the double relation of aunt 
and mother'4n-law to the king. I had been op* 
]»ised, diat a visit to this lady would be an accept- 
able, mark of respect to his mi^esty ; and as the 
rank she bore gave her precedence over all the smis 
of the king, exc^t ^he beir-apparent, it was pro- 
per that I should wait upcm her before I pind my 
respects to the junior princes. I gladly eml»aced 
the opportunity which this o£Fer gave me, to attend 
ik» diawing-voom of an Anatic {Hincess, and pro- 
mised myself much gratification from a sight so 
uncommon among the jealous nations of the East. 
When the ceremony at the palace of the Engy 
Teelden had ended, it was not more than two 
o'elook, and there was yet sufficient time to wait 
QpMi the Meedaw R'aw, who, we were informed, 
had made |Mepariations to receive us. Mounting 
oiH* ^phants, we went in fonn to attend her^ and 

VOL, n. L 



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1st XMBAflSY TO AVA. 

isand Jmt ^ o m tsaHs d of a very baacbaiiie i 
m. the nei^jiboiiiliood of the imperial palace. It 
VM'sitnated in the oentse of a court, swromided 
by a palisa^ at the gate of whidi there was ^ 
9«Bge erected for our convenieiice in alighting. Wo 
entered the enckMove without any of the panda 
ob eer r e d in our former yiaits. A,t the bottom of 
the stiBB we pat off our Aob^ and ascended into 
» handsome hall, supported by several lofty pillaia.- 
At ikke larther end a p<Htion of the flow was ele* 
vated six or «ght inches, and separated by a neak 
balustrade from the rest <^ the room. Within Uiiy 
space, under a white canopy, was placed a huqga 
cushion of blue Telret fringeid with gold, on a car<^ 
pet coTored with muslin. There was a numerous 
assemblage of both sexes, but particularly women» 
sitting round the balustrade. As soon as w« ^n* 
tered, a space was immediately vacated for us to 
occupy, in front of the door and opposite to ibe 
cndiion. After we had been seated a few minutes, 
tiie old lady came forth froin an inner apartment, 
and walked sio^y tcMvards tfie elevated seat^ sup- 
ported by two foinale servants, whilst anothw hM 
«p her train. Her long white hair hung loose vifmk 
her shouldsra, but she wore neither covering nor 
eraameKt upon her head. Her dress, which wpi 
extremely fine> without being gaudy, became faca 
advanced years and high dignity. It omsisted of a 
long robe of white muslm, and ov«r her shonlderB . 
was thrown a sash of gauze, emlnmdered with 
«pr%B of gold* She advanced to ^idiere the cwhiaa 
was placed, and took her seat on the carpet, mH§^ 
porting her head on her arm that rested on the 
pithyw, whilst the two fomdb attendaMs, neatly 
d f SBse d , kneeling, one on each side, fiumod^her witti 



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jfeMBAflFSY to AirJiu 168 

long^ gilded hm6. Every person seened H pay hm 
frrolDimd respect, and when sbe ^tered, hmik meM 
-and wonmi bent tbeir bodieB m the aiktatude aff 
vdlmiisncm. I bad brought, as a token of my tb^ 
•nmvtiMt, » string of pesoi and soaro &a» ioiiiAb. 
The Sandehgaan aimOniiced dw offisring^ and eni»> 
mtfailed the artkdes Trith a loud Toioe, entreatnif^ 
in n^ysane, her gvadous acceptaaoe of them. Sh% 
4ooiLed at the English gentlemen wkk eamestnesa, 
%ii^setaied cMnriy ta diaregard <he Ch in e se , al* 
tiioQgh thehr dress was ttraeh arove showy dual 
-flNtts. Her maaner was on this occasion extremely 
•fiompkimBt, and the asked s^Teral faastiapi, s«di 
aa, whal were onr names? how we were in health? 
-wilat wens Mar ageiT ? On being iafmnad, she oh- 
Mgi^ly aaid she wotidd pray ttoit we might attam 
-ma gTMt a longenty as heiaetf; adding, ihatdn 
IM reached h^ ae?nnty^secoiid year* I did not 
^ercmve, amongst the nninerons eonapany tha* aa- 
aendM, any ci die jnniM' princes, or of the prio- 
b^Md arinisters, amoogh dnre were sei^eral pev- 
lauuagoiHOf dutuictioii* After die had retired, ii 
t«y handsoBM dessert waa aorviad iq>. Theinils 
■id p i e s Bi i es were ddidoiii. Whataifer Cbam 
'OOnld yield, was miited with the pnadMoa of diaff 
-own eoantry. Havii^ taated of 'Marions diahea, 
we wilfadrew widKMrt any cerenMoy ; and as none 
of die itiyal lamily weae pcesena, ^ere ww no na- 
eessity to delay our i^rartore. W« aeoatt^agly 
ralamad home, a good deal c ypr eased by the iMSt 
of die weather, and wearied by the repetition of 
todioo^ fennaitiae. 

On the twoioilflPivaag^ays we iFvited the Prinoaa 
of Rroaaa, ^f Baniea, of Tongho, and of Pegahoi, 
ddea talcon from die provinoas oirer which they 



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124 MMBABBY f^ AVA. 

uMpeetlfely prende. These brotliera are nol all 
by the same mother. The Prince of Pkrome aleae 
being fuU Inxyther to the Engy Teekioi, or heir- 
apparent. In the course of ^oor visits we had a 
Jb«tter (^yportonity than before of viewing ike 
4rtreet8 and buildings, the ftmner of which wera 
kivariably laid out in straight lines, crossing each 
other at right angles. The houses in general dif- 
fered little from those oi Rangoon. They were 
aU covered wkh tiles, and mi the ridge of the roefe 
.was a long range of earthen pots, filled with water, 
in readiness, to be Inroken in ease of fire. The few 
hottseswof brick and mmtar which we saw were 
aaid to belong tp the members of the royal famity. 
Rows of trees were planted in several streets, five 
.or six feet in front of the houses, draining a shady 
-walk for foot passengers. As the younger pdbees 
do not assume the state of royalty, our recep^Mi 
was much more gay and less ceremonious at their 
palaces, than at that <^ the Engy Teekien. At the 
•palace of the Prince (^ Prome, or, as he is tensed, 
'the Pee Teekieo, the preparations made f<M- o«r 
entertainment were extremely splendid. When the 
gate of lk» enclosure was thrown open to admit ua, 
'we were surprised with a vi^v of a fame <rf''el6« 
]^umtB on one side, and oi horsbs xm the other : 
theie were fifteen of the former, some of i which 
flapassed in size and beauty any I had ever seen. 
The horses were more numerous, uid several of 
them, very richly caparisoned. Passing through 
these, we came to an open space, where sope- 
dancers and tumblers were performing in tte open 
•mc. We stopped to look at them, bat observed 
nothing remaritahle in their feats : they wene raucii 
inferior in agility to the tamblfirB of Southern In- 



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EMBASSY ro AVA. 1S5 

^iku One mm, fa^mever, snqinBed its it good ^k»^ 
Iff iip|»lyiligliie^«^t of a fi|»saf to Ins sbooHer, and 
vesting ^ Either -cMd ftgam^ a piBor, thus poking 
DB it, ttppsFimtl^r yn^ great ^nt;e, milal he h^tti 
'vnd' fefl^e a thiek shaft. Hiis he effected mfSbaat 
Tpkmdskg ins own skin, which, llioiigh the spear was 
isot "VBiy t^batpf mnt have been wonderfolly fiitb 
^ hare isssisted such eFideat viole^ice. 

M^Nie we w«re viewing the sports, a message 
^wtm b«o«ghi4fom the prince, to aeqtiaint m tluK 
'liiese pesple had been procwred for wa amasenienty 
4Wi l£at, «ft^ we had si^sied oeff enriosity, he 
^wodd be ^ad to see ns. Ws immediately pni^ 
ceeded to tii& hall of recep^on, wMeh was a hand- 
'•ome wooden bv^ding, but not so large as 'diat of 
•dbe «ldar hrofher. At the apper end there was ^ 
««6^ oanMMly gfided, and decorated with pieces 
«f niivoir, disposed in sadi a mtoner as to prodtice 
m fiMuiBg «ifect. None cf the roftfl family were 
^gsoto t, and we did not obser^ vay of ^ Weon* 
ffWft «r AttawooBs. A few m^imtes after we had 
takm mnr seats, the prmee entered, 8p)endi<fiy- 
dutouud . He proceeded to his sofa with mndi so-*' 
h l Mmt jr , and spoke oaly a few words. We wer#^ 
^ vnudy ^teitanied wifk a handsome dessert, of 
Kteli liie prinem hhns^ sc^ioiied «s to eat. As 
■Qon as he withdrew, our attention was caHed*to 
fe^Klabt -company of figtire-daAeers, who^~ had coift-* 
■Miwed ^leir performance hi the ▼irando, or bd» 
em^ iif tbs hall. This band of females ^ not at 
•fi €isere^ the festiYid ^ a pf^ice. Hoeeoftiie 
naikibar were beanlify, abd moved with graeiM 
ease^ in prnfect harmony to the mmic. Their eater 
AsesB was ailowmgirebe made of transparent gansa 

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1€6 SMBAMY TO 4VA. 

dd&calely embroiderod wi«k fiowera of g«ld md 
silver, wul a profusion of gdd chaina oadr^ed ihair 
necks aad arms. We vemaaied a qnaiter of an 
bour beholding iMs elegant ^>ectliele, and.tlM& 
roomed to the place where our elephants w«m 
waiting. The Prinoe of IVome is in peaeaon raUim 
i^ve the middle size. His age does not ^oeed 
twenty-seven or twenty-eight years ; and^ like his 
dder brother, his appearance promises fvdw^ cor- 
pulency. His coimt^oance is natoially .cheerfol 
and pleanng, which we were told was the true iih* 
dex of his mind. He bears an excellent charadei^ 
and is said to be much esteemed in the pi^viaaa 
over which he immediately presided. 

6ur next visit was to the Prince of Tongho, by 
whom we were received with ev^y marie of Mr 
tention. His dwdling was mudi inferior to tkoaa 
of his elder broUiers, and the attendance was com* 
paratively smalL There were, however, a imimbeK 
of state elephants paraded in the court*yard, 9a4 
we passed through a line of muskete^s,' drawn 
1^ in single files on each side. TMs miHtary'arra|r 
had a very dingulfur appearance. Hardly any two 
were dre^ed alike, and some of them were wil^ 
out any other clothing, than a fill^ that eneirclad 
their head, and a clo^ rolled roimd thdr ^traist^ 
Through respect, they were all seiRted on tfaesv 
heels, smne with their firelocks shouldered an4 
Others with the butts testing on the groi^d. Hm« 
also we found tumbleia, musicians, and dancers t 
and there were two carnages in waitnig, haad* 
aconely gikled, wi^ a pair of horses hanatessed to. 
aach. These vehides w&re ci a light eonstnkstioB, 
on four wheels, open at the sides, and eovMvd 
widi fi coa4^0x Anofiy. ^Hie prince sat on ft gild- 

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mUBjLMBt TO AYA. 1127 

•d chair : he wm « flknier inan, aad appeared to 
he older liiaii the Prince of Fhune, wIkwi he is 
•mad not to reeemUe in any particular; The power 
'wbkh this prince possesses must be connderaUe, 
Ma has gOT^nment^ foimeriy the independant kiif- 
dom of Tongfao, is lich, extensiTe, and popnloiis ; 
Mid the fort of Tong^o is> at ^e pmant day, 
deeased the s^ongest in the empire. Persons (ji 
tSBkf we obserred, were hwe permitted to iaitra- 
dmse their beeUe-boxes and qpittiag-pots, which 
was not jthe case at any (^ the other conrls. Onr 
visit being conckided, we rstorned home. I^ 
heAt 4ming the early part of tins day had been 
Tery intense; hot a refiv^ng shower towards 
erening cooled the ak, and rendered the night 
pleasant. We were not snrprised, when we eame 
hadcy 40 learn thai the s^or of the Chinese em- 
'Iwssy had died ducbg dtn'4ih8eiice, as he hadbeea 
-#o ill. in the moming that his colleagues dediaed 
taking a dbare in the ceremomals of ^ day. 

Oh the following day, at the customary hov, 
we crossed the lake, and proceeded mfk tlM same 
^itteadants as before to the house of the Prince of 
JBoa sie n. His duelling ww very handsome, and 
ibid piUars of his ball, which the law pn^ibits bin 
aithi^ to gfld or paint, were covered with ^oweivd 
-aatin. . Muxy men of rank graced the a ssem bly^ 
and some who wore high miMtary insignia*; but 
JMBe of the royal £uni]y or the principal minialefa 
were presents The prince seemed aTery awkward^ 
h«Afiil' youth, about senrenteen years of age. Tin 
ait ua l i anef bis gorernnMut, which extendei 9kmg 
the sea-coaat as far. south as Cape^ Negfais, g^Tsa 
him* the power eitfaor to obstract or assist, in a 
m ala ria l degree^ the maachants Who tvade to £aa- 



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HB mftAsair to ata. 

^«ii and Bh^ being somotiiAev oM%d4 W *Uke 
shelter in the Negrais nvevy during idie aAv«nie 
HMnMoon, hiB peopte hvve freqoent efpahxoMeM-bf 
affording aid to ^ distRMed. Alter sit^g s^nie 
-BBnntfls, and finding he was not isdined to begki 
a ^sconrse, I hroke tfarougb ^e general nli^oe, 
by eddremng him in a complimentary manner^^ffl- 
pressing aclmowledgment of the kmdness whkh 
bad been extended by t^ officeis of bis govarii- 
moit to British merchants and mtrina*s, as iiMil 
as my reliance on his fotnre ii^nsaiee hi tbeir^iih 
i^nr. I spoke in the hngoage of Hindostan, and 
;each sentente was tcanslated by Baba-I^een. Ute 
prince was embarrassed. He twice attempted )«d 
reply, but had not the power. Two of 1^ cottp- 
tiers crept towards hiito, and, in a prostrate aStiftate 
near the foot of his seat, suggested what toy <MI- 
cdyed he oi^fat to say. llbeir aid, bowewr, wii 
inefieotnaL His hkhness could not utter a^coHK. 
nected sentence. At length bis Woob^ or vttHf 
mndster, rebered him, by ulakmg an apposite t^ply 
■m his* name. Our entertamment was nearly tllB 
same as at ^e houses of the other prinoes. WMOt 
bence we went to the palace of the junior piiae^ 
•eatided Fegahm Teekien; a-tkledertredfromiiid 
«Msn»t c&y of that name, which is the seat vf Iw 
llfOtenHDent^ He seemed liiedto ihmk hk bisaAar 
whom we had just left, and his Woom was« ^tmf 
^veaeraMe personage. On this oocasioB, the rspaal 
di^Eraed in oae partieidar from my we bad yet 19^ 
«aifad. A roast fowl was iirtroduioedj'Bo doubt kt 
«M^liaient to us ; and as tfaenr religion docs ne* 
isrbid tbaaa to eat meat, b«t dnly p aa h ibits the 
sbHigblcr of aaimak loB the jHUposea of food,; tbam 
was no enma in the act ^ aenrmg it up to tM» or 

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MUBABBt VQ ATA. 199 

of It theaifldyfis. The only qneeftba ww, 
the bird came to be d^mved of lifo? to 
^wbicb, no doubt, an excnlpatcny answer could b»Te 
•been gvr&n. Tliisy howeyer, was a matter iriach 
it did not become us to discuss ; it was certainly a 
lumdsome and liberal testimony of ^eir de«re to 
proTiifo what tbey thought would be agreeable to 
iheir guests. 

in addition to the band of dancing ^Is that 
peif(»med here for our amusement, there were two 
oomediens, who recited passages, and exhibited 
▼arioua distortions of countenance ; but they ware 
hr inferior to the ioimitable performer we had 
Seen at Pegue. 

Haying finished our introductory yisks to the 
different members of the royal fomfly, we had now 
leisnre.to gratify curiosity, by viewing whateviar 
the d^ital contained, that was most deserving the 
notice (^strangers. The day not being hr ad- 
nmced^ we waticed from the palace of ihe prinoe 
of Pegahm, to see the Piedigaut Tide, or royal 
library. It is situated at the north-west angle of 
the frat, in the centre of a court paved with broad 
flags, and close to a very handsome Kioum, or 
monastery. Before we ent^?ed' the library we as- 
cended the Kioum, and found the inside correspond 
"Urith the external a^^earance. The building was 
•piicious «nd richly giMed. The pillars, the e^ 
lag and the pannels, were endrdy coveved with 
gold leaf; and the image of Gaudma shone wilh 
fariUiaat lustre. A balurtrade of wood, minute- 
ly and beantifuyy carvedy protected the image 
ieom intnders. On the pannels oi the waUs 
'wseve n^fesenled figures of infinior agents of the 
diraity, and of {NrMtnate Rhahaana in the act of 



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Aevoniik. ThoM were aU shaped in frelWhnIc m 
ifae wood) and were of lio contemptible workina»- 
ilbSiB. A well wroi^t fblttge of the same bonliBr- 
edVle panneb. The image of Gaudma, in Mi 
Kioom, was large, and made of marble* It wlis 
nested on a broad pedestal, entirely f^ided^ in front 
^ #kidi, wiAiik the balastrade, stood a handsoMe 
ghandole of cut-glass, of European maniifecta#*» 
Near liie image, was a i^lded eowii, wfaieh we 
W(hre iitformed, was liie castomarf bed of ^ pm- 
dpal Rhahaan, or head of all 4he Birman priest^ 
iiotfd, when he choee to pass the n^;ht in ikm ibvt^ 
whidi rarely happened. It was i^lendicly gik; 
the bottom, however, was only a bare board. Pil- 
lows were not wanting, for there were two % but 
they were made of wood. A mat spread «r iSbB 
io<H- is the highest lux«y of repose in Wfakh ^ 
Rhahaans indulge. 

Rhom the Klonm d^6 proceeded to Tisit ike ad- 
jac^t Hbrary. It is a large brtek building, rated 
mi a terrace, and covered by a roof of tery icota- 
pouud structure. It ccttifiists of one square toc^f 
with an endosed Tirando, or gallery, surround^lp 
it. This room was lodced ; and as we had nM 
brought a spedid cn-der for seeii^ it, die perMii 
'trho had the care of liie library sdd diat be waa 
not at liberty to open the doors, but assured m 
diat there was nothing in die inside dtffer^it iinAii 
what we might see in die virando, wher^ a nmiK 
ber of large chests, curiously ornamented with 
-gilding and japto, were ranged in regular ordet, 
i^ainst the wtdl. I coanted fifty, but there weib 
many more, probably Kot iess dam a imndroi. 
The books were reguln-ly classed, tod die ooiMmis 
'^ each chart wwa wdtt^ %i goM leSleia 'm^ 



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BM9A«ftY TO 4VA* 13^ 

lid* IlielitMBriani^^nedtwoyandshawedmeBoiii^ 
^ry bacuitiM. writing on thin leaves of iToiy, the 
nuwgiiiB of which werie praamen^d mth flowers of 
gold, neatly executed. I saw also some bookif 
written in the ancient Palli, the religions text. 
Every thing seemed to be airanged with perfect 
r^^nlarityy and I was informed that there wer^Q 
Jiooks i)p<m diyen sulyects— *n^ore cm divinity th/ai^ 
I9JX any other. But history, music, medicine, paint? 
ing, and fomance, had their separate treatises. The 
volumes were disposed under dietinct heads, regu? 
lariy ^umbered ; and if all the other chests wei^ 
|i9 well filled OS those that werje submitted to our 
pi^ection, it is not improbable that his Bi^ai^ 
RU^jesty may possess a more numerous library than 
any poten;tate frooa the bapks of the Pani^ to 
^e borders of China., 

It was latie when we returned home, jand our 
mose was distm-bed by a renewal of the noise^ 
which the Chinese w^e accustomed to make. They 
mounded all night, on loud gongs, the funeral knel]^ 
jpf tbe departed ambassador, uttering at intervala 
hiurible cries and lamentations. One of the mouinr 
Ksrs imitated with his voic^ the howling of a dog 
00 naturally, that all the curs belonging to the boat? 
people, a^d the Cassay huts in oja neighboujrhoodt 
joined in the choruii. Our proximity to these per^ 
«imagea proved to ns a source of great molesta? 
tion. 

, About |;hia im^ a ludicrous drcniptmice hi^^ 
pened, ^hidi only deserves notice, |U9 it tends t^ 
illustn^ the character of the people^ and 9hows to 
fvbaj^ an %bject stat6 4eiqM>tic tyranny can idebasii 
the human mind. The Engy Teekein, or prii^<f<( 



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1S2 EMBASSY TO AVA. 

Among odien, he had procnred male goi^ from 
almost OTery conntiy of the East. A flock of 
these, consisting of more than thirty, were sent 
to feed on the borders of the lake, near our dwell- 
ing. We happened to have three or four (^e-goats^ 
that had been brought from Bengal for the sake of 
their milk. Allured by the bleat of the femaloiy 
the whole flock of males one night broke tiiroii§^ 
the paling, and made a forcible irruption into our 
court. The suddenness of the attack, at such di 
hour,' surprised us not a little. I got up, and (nt- 
dered the Birman guards that were posted at th^ 
gates to drive them away, which they attempted 
to do by shouting at them, but without any effeety 
as the animals, some of which were very large, had 
now become furious, and after fighting with eadi 
other, began to rush through our houses. I then 
desired the Birmans to make use of sticks,^ but 
this they positively refused, saying that the goata 
were " praws, " or lords, meaning that they were 
ennobled by belonging to the prince, and that no 
person dai^d, on any account, offer injury to ihem* 
Having no other alternative, we armed our ser* 
vantsand the soldiers with large bamboos, who 
subdued these troublesome invaders, though not 
without much difficulty, and some risk, \diil8t the 
Birmans lifted up their hands and eye^ in astonish-, 
ment at our temerity : the praws/ however, wero 
sevex'ely beaten. Having at length got rid oi 
them, I returned to rest, and heard no more of 
the matter. 

The intense heat of the three days spent in the 
formalities of visiting the princes, made me post- 
pone 'any further ceremonials until the 6th of the 
vnoadk (September), whidi^day was appointed to 



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SMBA^SY TO AVA. ISS 

pay our n^M^td to Sere^w P^tm^tgee Pmw, or 
^ srch priest of ^e Bmnan empire. In ihe inter- 
mediate time, a difference of opinion arose in re- 
gard to the etiquette of complimehts, in which I 
did not think myself at liberty to depart from what 
I connitered an attention due to my public dba- 
racter. 

' The grmd rnfing council of the Birman nation 
has ah^idy been described as consisting of four 
chief members entitled Woongees, and four ju- 
irior members, caUed Wowidocks, between whom 
there is a wide disparity of rank. The place of 
tfiird Woongee was vacant^ and the junior bears 
very smaU comparatire importance with the two 
seniors, who, in fact, govern the empire. These 
pei^ons^ies, whose power is so great, possess a 
oorrpsponding degree of pride. iW governors of 
provinceis are, in their esteem, men of little cimse- 
^ence, and are often treated by these ministers 
with excessive arrogance, which is not solely con- 
fined tb those whose situation and expectations 
place them in a state of dependence, but is indis- 
eiiminately extended to all ; nor could I hope to 
be exempted from receiving a share in common 
with others. I was informed, that after paying 
my respects to the royal family and the Seredaw, 
irwas expected that I should wait on the two se- 
nior Woongees, and offer them in person the cus- 
tomary presents. I observed, in answer, that I had 
no objection to paying these ministers a mark of 
attention by the trifling present which usage had 
established ; but to wait on them at their houses, 
unless I received an assurance that my visit would 
be returned, was a ceremony I begged leave to 
VOL. II. M , ' 

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134 EMBAM¥ TO AVA^ 

^fecHne. This intinialkni, I ioaagbe, mm ntber 
a disappointmQiit to ^hem, as mack pains wera 
taken to indaoe me to alter my reaolutMm* I bow- 
ever refused to concede, but I <^6Bred to meet t|iem. 
at tbe hoisse of the Maywoon of Pegoe ; a pror 
posal from which they disa^itedy remfurkiagi that 
to yisit me would be mpre eligil^e than to |^ to 
the Maywoon's hocu^ I ref^iedy Aat <^«r forinap 
lities were not leaa stiict than theinb and that I 
icould no more relinquish my claim to the respect 
dne to my pablic statimiy t)m thffy could descend 
from their eleraticm ; and I saw no remedy nnlesa 
they themselves chose to »pply that udiich was in 
their own power, and wUdi they must be sensiblia 
I had a ri^t to require. Finding ^hat I was not 
Indined to yield, Uiey leqpested, if I could BOt 
irisit them in person, that I would allow the other 
gentlemen to pay them the compliment; a desire^ 
to whi<^ I readily acceded, as well from a wish 
to open a chaanci of c<mmiunicadoo, as tQ mani- 
fest on my part a conciliatory cUspesitioq. Mr 
Wood and I>r Buchanan ohligm^y made no ob- 
jection. I theref<M« answo^ thst the gentlemea 
would wait on them, and ex{»essed my regr^ that 
I was deprived of the same pleasure. 

During this interral of p)Bst, the gOTemor of 
Bamoo frequently faTOured me with a viut, hia 
business bringing him almost daily to the reeideiice 
of the Chinese. By his desire, I sent them oom-^ 
pliments of condolence, With ^ piece oi coarse 
white muslin, whidi, it se^ns, is the etiqaette &a 
such occasions. On one of these days the Bamba 
governor brought with him die chart of his jowr-^ 
ney to Pekin, as he had fermerly ptom/mdi it 
fvas dehneated m a cumin matti^ on a (mii$ oi 



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XMSASSY TO AVM> 135 

'Mtt^(lM«r^eonRi^)f «Md by the Birmaas^ <« 
-^Which Uk0y write wiUi » p^^ made of steatite, 
iftmiOp'Ulomi. The plaoes were distinctly marked ; 
im iM)t having say seale, the measoreinent was 
tsnreniNely eonfosed, and so d]isprop<fftionate that* 
'■ ft i^ft Impessible to jvdge of distances with any 
It^ree of precision. We coiJdy howerer, trace 

-his pirogl«aB thKemgh ^ Cluneae dcnninions in the 
Jesnitt map that is prfefiorisd to Da HaMe's ac 
6MCirt of C^ina* 

On liie llay appointed fyr oar Yisit to the Sere 
dKW» we took h(mi nt seTefl m ib» Bionung> and, 
attended hy onr usual retinite, crossed the lake. 
One of the sittvivBug Chinese abo accompanied us. 

* Baba*Sheen, ihe Shawbmider of Bai^oon, and 
abme ^Biifman officer^ met us on die opposite bank, 

^ 'whem onr eief^anto were wiutk^« When we ap- 

- fproKclied the dme e way or bridge, instead of cross- 
ing it, we tamed to Ihe left, tmd proceeded dpse 
to the ditch, paniUel witik the west face oi t^e 
ftA^, till we came to th^ north-west angle. ~At 
'liiiir^pkee ^die riTer approaches so near to the walls 

;m to tender a eontiniailion of the ditch in^ntc- 
ticaUe. We then wieat along the Aorth side, pass- 
ittgoa onr Mft m handsogme ^o«m crowned with a 
*gilded^pkHath or spire, whi^ we were to^ld had 
b^' Erected by Meedaw FHi.w, the venerable b^iy 
whom we had litiiiii Onwihing Bt the north- 
east comer, we obterred ait some distance on the 
"^^iidn inotkerreligknto ediftc^of diatingoishedsplen- 
dolar,'d%nified by ite ti^ .of Kioumdogee, en- royal 
eotti^m, where, we were mformed, & Seredaw 
or chief prieet intend]^ to raceiye ns, and not at 
hk usual rasUoiee, ^t^eh^was at a kioum about 
fwomikafitftiwr* TSiaaiticke Ideogned to pre^ 



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196 XMBASfY TO AVA. 

flent to him fasving been sent finward t» Iiib cm- 
tomaiy abode, we 'w^ate oUiged to wait in an ad- 
joining house until they could be l^rought back. 
Being {H'eparod, we wexe ccmducted into a spacioas 
court surrounded by a high Mck widl, in the cea- 
' tte of whidi stood the kioonif im e^fice not lees 
extra6rdinary from the style oi its «rchiteet«fey 
' than magnificent from its ornam^ots, and from the 
' gdd ^at was profusely bestowed on erery pari. 
It was composed entirely of wood, and the roofe, 
' rising one above ttiother in five dislincit stories, 
< diminished m size as liiey adranced in hei^t, each 
' roof being surrounded by a ceinke curiously canr- 
ed and richly g^ed. The body of the bulling, 
elevated twelve feet frt>m the ground, was support- 
ed on large timbers driven into the eaith after the 
manner of piles, of whidi there were probaUy 
150 to sustain the imm«ase wm|^ of 1^ si^mr- 
struetnre. On ascending the stairs, we were not 
less pleased ihan sur^med at ike spkndid appear- 
ance which tiie inside displayed. A gilded balu- 
etrade, fiantaslically carved into varioiis shapes and 
figures, encompassed the outside of the pl^orm. 
Within tl»s there was a wide gallery that.eomjne- 
hended the entire circuit ci the building,^ in whoidk 
many devotees were stretdied prostrate cm the 
floor. An inner raiiing opened into a' noble hall, 
supported by coknnades of iolily piUara ; ihe cen- 
tre row was at l^ast filfcy ieet Ugh, and gilded 
from the summit to«wi1liin four feet of the base, 
whidi was lackered red. In the midede of the 
hall there was a gilded partition of <^)en latticed 
work, Mteea or twenty feet fai^, miaxh. divided 
it into two parte, frt>m north to seutiii The sfttce 
between tiie pillars varied from twelre to sixteen 



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'SMftAtiSY TO A^A, 1^7 

•ifsf^ «ii#> the timber, i^hididg ^6w that tup- 
ported die galleries, ap^ared to be not fewer than 
one fam^ved, which, as they approached the ex- 

'^[«iiiitiee, dimisished in height ; die outermost row 
not exceeding fifteen feet. The bettom of these 
was eased wil^ sheet lead, bs a defence against the 

' weaidier. A marble image of Gaudma, gflded, ami 
wktAag ott a golden throne, was placed in the c^- 
tre of the partitiosi ; and in inmt of the idd, lean- 
ing agaki^ one of ^ pfflars, we beh€^ 1^ Se- 
fedaw sbtfaig on « satin carpet. Ho was encom- 
passed by a circle of Rhahaans, from whom he 
eovid be no o^erwise dietingnished, than by his 

- preserving an erect positicm ; Tiiulst ^e others bent 
their bodies in an attitude of respect, with didr 
hands joined im « Bn^^lieating manner. On enter- 
ing tlieiudl, the Bikmaas and tibe Chinese who ac- 
companied us prostrated themseh^es before the fi- 
gure of Gandma^ altar idiich they kneeled down, 
aad ofaade ^tr reT^roace to the Seredaw, tondimg 
Ibegrottid with their foreheads, whilst we took 
o«r seats on ftMiBSts timt were spread at a tittle 
diatmee from him. He received, ns with mndi 

-politmiess, and in his looks and demeanour afiected 
asore HTelinets and complaistmce than any of the 

-ftateniity I bad hitherto seen. His appearance 
denoted him to be about forty years of age ; not 
Bue agr o and aMStere as they gmierally are, bnt fot 

' and jocnlar. I presented to him my offering, which 
eon&ted of a piece of yeHo^ cloth, the sacerdo- 
tal eoloar; some sandal wood, and a few wax-can- 

-Aes 'COTtNvd with gold leaf. He asked sereral 

'questions respecting England, such as how long the 

Tuyage wuaUy was ir<ns tfaeiM^ to India* Being 

u % 



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188 ]£MBA«iir TO AVA. 

told ihis, he observed, that we were m mtna^ 
dinary people to wander so for from home. I no- 
ticed the magnificence of the kioom : he replied, 
that such sublonary matters did not attract his at- 
tention ; he was on earth but as a hermit. I de- 
sired his prayers ; he said lliey were daily offered 
up for the happiness of all mankind, but that he 
would recommend us to the particular {protection 
.of Gaudma. He made sc»ne obserrations aa wsa 
. appearance, which I chd not undovtand, and he evefk 
smiled ; a r^axation very unusual in a sRhahaaa. 
We retked without ceremony, and, mounting our 
elephants, proceeded along a wide road lea^ng to 
the northward, which soon thought us to an ex- 
tensive plain, that seemed to stretch in an uninter- 
rupted level to the foot of a range of mountains 
. ten or twelve miles distant. The soil was a poor 
clay, and the pasturage indifferent. We saw at a 
distance some fields of grain, and nndesstood that 
capacious reservoirs had been oonrtmcted with 
great labour and expense, by order of the king, 
' in the vicinity of the mountains, whtdi eotikMi 
the inhabitants of the low <k>untries to watM* ^ 
, grounds, and render the earth productive in a sea- 
eon of drought. Several kioums and villages weee 
scattered over the plain ; but when we had ad- 
vanced about two Bailee, religious edifices increas- 
ed, beyond our power to OEilculate the number. 
• Tlie first that we entered was called Knebang 
Kioum, or the Kioum of Immortality, from the 
centre of which rose a royal piasath, to4he height 
of a hundred and fifty fieet; the roofii were of ike 
customary cmnplicated structmre, one above an- 
other. This was the place where the embahndd 
bodies of deceased Seredaws are laid in state. Tba 



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IMBASaT TO AVA. 139 

iHul^ag Tested on a teirace of brick, tfnd was not 
elevated oa pillars^ as kiornns and dwelling-houses 
usually are. The hall was very handsome, about 
seventy feet square, surrounded by a wide gallery. 
The roof was sustained by thirty-six gilded pillars, 
the central forty feet in height. Mats were apread 
ia different parts for the repose of the Rhabaans, 
and on each was placed a hard pillow. There 
was also a tray containing books on the duties of 
Kbahaans, on religion, and the forms of religious 
worship. 

Having rested here for a short time, we next 
visited the kioum, which was the ordinary resid- 
. once of the Seredaw. This building far exceeded, 
in si^e and splendou:r, any that we l»d before seen, 
and is perh4>s the most magnificent . of its kind in 
the universe. It is constructed entirely of wood, 
and resembles, in the style of its structure an4 or- 
saments, tbst in which we ha4 an interview with 
, the Seredaw, but was much more spacious and 
. lofty. The numerous rows of pillars, some of 
.ihem siitty feet high, all of which were covered 
> with burnished gilding, had a wonderfully splen- 
did e£^dCt. It woidd be difficult to convey, either 
Ib language or by pencil, an adequate description 
ni this extraordinary edifice. The profuse e^- 
. penditure of gilding on parts exposed to the wea* 
. ther, as well as in the inside, cannot fail to impress 
m stianger with astonishment at the richness of the 
dscoration, although he may not approve of tl^e 
taste with which it is disposed. I could not have 
.formed in my imagination a display more striking- 
ly magnificent. This kioum was also divided by 
•a partition, which sepaxated it in the middle from 
#jiorth to wHith. Th^re was a small room on one 



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140 XlfBABSV TO AVA. 

t^f tasde 6f gilded boards, wUch we were tetd 
was the bedc^unber of die Seredaw. Mats were 
roread on the outside for the attendant Rhahaans. 
The figure of Chmdma was made of copper, and 
an European girandole of cnt-^lasB stood befote 
his throne. r 

Leaving this boildiiig, we passed throogfa many 
, courts crowded with smaller temples and kioimio. 
Several gigantic images of Rakuss, the Hindoo 
demon, lalf beast half human, made of brass, were 
diowed to us, as-composing apart of the-spoils of 
Arracan. From these we were condocted to a 
magnificent tmnple which is erecting for ihe imag^ 
of Gaudina, that was brought from the same coun- 
try. The idol is inade of polished brass, about ten 
feet high, and sitting in the usual posture, on a 
pedestal within an ardied recess. The waHs are 
gilded, and adorned with bits of different oi^ured 
mirrors, disposed with mu^ taste. Peculiar sat 
tity ia ascribed to this image ; and devotees resort 
from every part of the empire, to adore the Arra- 
can Gandma, which is not ea^o^ at all hours to 
'the view of the vulgar. The do<»B of the recesa 
are only evened when persons of partk»lar conse- 
quence come to visit it^ or at stated times, to ixt- 
dulge the populace. As we approached, a crowd 
of 'people thronged after us with tumultuous en- 
thusiasm, striving for admittan<^ to offer up a 
jHrayer to this brazen representative of the divinity. 
We soon turned from these wretched &natics, tmd 
the object of their stupid adoration, to view the no* 
ble piasath, or royal spire, that crowned the build* 
ing, and attracted much more of our attention and 
respect, than an image, from which even die sta- 
twy could ofaum no pmisa. The spire rose in 



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BMBA88T TO AVA. . 141 

mwea separate stages aboTe the roof (ff the kioniii ; 
. and the gold leaf, which had recently been ap- 
. plied, glistening in. the snn-beams, reflected a bril- 
Jtiant lustre. This temple, with its auxiliary build- 
ings, which are yet in an unfinished state, wHl, 
when completed, be the most elegant in the em- 
pire, though peiliaps not so spacious as that which 
is the present residence of the Seredaw. From 
hence we were conducted to what is called the 
Chounda, or place for the reception and repose of 
atrangers who come from a distance to offer up their 
deyotions. It communicates on the north side with 
the great temple, and is also a very beautiful speci- 
men of Birman architecture. It comprehends &fe 
long galleries, separated by colonnades, each consist- 
ing of thirty-four pillars, or two himdred and four al- 
together. The two central rows were about twenty- 
five feet high, but the external ones do not exceed 
fourteen. They were painted of a deep crimson 
^ground, enlirened by festoons of gold leaf encir- 
4ding them in a rery fanciful and pleasing manner, 
«nd in a style much more conformable to Europe- 
an taste than an unvaried surface of gold. The 
ceiling likewise was embellished with a profusion 
«f carved work, executed with great labour and 
minuteness. Measuring by our steps, we judged . 
the length to be five hundred and seventy-six feet, 
and the breadth of each distinct gallery about 
twelve— -the central rather wider ihan those on 
either side. A low railing extended along the 
enter pillars, to prevent improper persons and dogs 
from defiling the place. It is built upon a terrace 
of brick, elevated three feet from the ground ; and 
^ floor is made of Chunam, or fine stucco, torn- 
posed of lime, pounded steatites and oil, the co- 



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142 kMBASST TO AVA. 

liesion of wlndi forms a liard and smooth stn^f^co, 
that shiiie^ like marble *. Omr conductor infomi- 
nsy that this edifice had been lately erected at the 
8o)e expense of the semor Woongee. Ft certainly 
reflects credit on the projector, and is an onabieifit 
to the, country. 

The heat of the day, which had now attsoned 
its greatest force> and our having been in constat 
exercise from seven in the m(»iiing tin tWo o'clock 
m the afternoon, rend««d a place of repose ek- 
tremely acceptable; and here we not only rested 
ourselves, but likewise found It plcibtiftil colUUadn 
prepared for us. Our conductors, aware ttett m^ 
attention of strangers could not fall to be engaged 
for some hours by such a multitude of new and 
striking objects, thought it would be more {Prudent 
for us to wait under the shade of tins hospi^ble 
roof till the aftem<^n, than expo^ ourselves im- 
necessarily to a burning sun. We had brou^t 
with us, at the instance of our friends, "iiine, brdeul 
and butter, and cold fowl, to whi^ the Shawbiin- 
der had added a tureen of excellent i^rmiii^ 
Boup'y and a tolerable good pillaw. We esii down 
to our repast about two o'clock, and after it yaa 
finished, continued to recline^upon our mats uritil 
evening, fanned by a cool and refreshing l)r^Sz» 
from the west, whilst we conversed, and cont^- 
plated the scene around. The crowd cff 'people, 
whom the novelty of our appearance had collect- 
ed, were neither intrusive nor troubl^ome. On 
such an occasion, in most other countries of the 
East, it is probable that, from the prejttdices^of 

* Tbe i-Mkdtr may Me 4 p^ticoUr aooount of ^ Cbu- 
luun snd its prcwerties in Dr Anderson's <* Recreations ia 
AgnoukuM^** &c 



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BMBASST TO AVA« 143 

bigotry^ we ^ionld not have be^ suffered to de- 
put without receiving some insult, or remarking 
«ome indication of cont^npt ; but here, notwith- 
fitanding we entered their most sanctified recesses, 
we were every where treated with unifonn civi^ 
lity. The {absence of those who accompanied us 
had donbtkns some influence in commiinding die 
Vawe of the multitude; and if their respect was 
owing to this motive, it speaks highly for the state 
oi their police ; but I am inclined also to give 
them credit for a disposition naturally kind and 
benevolent. 

In the afternoon we returned home by the same 
l?oad that we caihe ; and our attention being less 
engaged tluqi in the morning, we had a better op- 
portunity to judge of the form and extent of the 
fortress, as we passed along the north side, from 
one end to the other* 

The fort of Ummerapoora is an exact square. 
There arb four principal gates, (me in the centre 
of each face. There is also a smaller gate on 
eac^i side of the great gate, equidistant between it 
and the. angle of the fort, ccmiprising twelve gates 
in all. At each angle of the fort were is a large 
. miadrangular bastion, that projects considerably. 
Thare are also eleven smaller bastions on eadb 
side, including those that are over the gateways. 
Between each of these bastions is extended a cur- 
tain, about two hundred yards long. From this 
calculation, a side of the fort occupies two thou- 
sand four himdred yards ; the Birmanis, however, 
called it four thousuid nine hundred royal cnbitSi 
which I conceive .to be an exaggerated account* 
Every bastion and gateway is covered by a tyle^ 



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t44 ^ £MBA$SY TO AVA. 

roof, fltipported on four pillars of wood, to prevent 
mjmy from the lodgment of rain. 

At each comer of the fort there is a gilded tem- 
ple, nearly one himdred feet in height, bat so in- 
significant, comparatively, with those we had just 
seen, as not to attract particular notice. 

We could perceive^ from our elephants, liie roof 
of a range of buildings in the inside, parallel to the 
walls, and extending akmg one entire side of the 
fort, which our conductors said was the public 
granary and store-rooms. 

We arrived at our grove half an hour after daric, 
wearied by the heat of the weather and the exer- 
dse of the day, but gratified to the highest degree 
with the multiplicity and extraordinary splendour 
of the objects we had seen. Much as we had 
heard of the magnificence of their religious build- 
ings, our expectations had been more than fulfill- 
ed. The unbounded expenditure of gilding which 
they bestow on the outside of the roofe, as well as 
within, must exhaust immense sums. I was in- 
formed that the gold leaf is exceedin^y pure, and 
bears exposure to the air for a long time, without 
suffering injury. The size or glue used to make 
it adhere, is called Seesee ; it is the juice of the 
croton sebiferum, after undergoing a certain pre- 
paration. This is the only manner in which a 
people, naturally frugal and disinclined to luxury, 
seem to^pply their superfluous wealth. Iris to 
be lamented, that their edifices are in general com- 
posed of such a perishable material as wood> which^ 
though of the most durable kind perhaps in the 
world, cannot last for tnanj generations, or leave 
to posterity a monumental proof of the taste and 
magnificence of the national architecture. 



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K^MBASftY TO AVA. 145 



CHAPtER Vn. 

klL^SON to HOPS FOR A PROSPEROUS TERMI- 
KATIOIf OF THE EMBASSY — MEET WITH STRB- 
NUOUSf OPPOSITION — ON WHAT GROUNDS- 
VESSEL ARRIVES AT RANGOON FROM MAU- 
RITIUS — NEWS FROM EUROPE, UNPLEASANT 

«— INDUSTRIOUSLY PROPAGATED MR WOOD 

VISITS THE WOONOEES — POJ^ITE RECEPTION 
— 'REMARKABLE CIRCUMSTANCE — REQUIRE 

TO KNOW HIS majesty's PLEASURE i:^AY 

APPOINTED FOR THE DELIVERY OF PRESENTS 

FROM THE BIRMAN KINO CONVERSATION AT 

THE LOTOO-^ ARROGANCE OF THE BIRMAN 
€OURT-^RESOLVB TO REMONSTRATE ^UNCI- 
VIL TREATMENT MR WOOD PRESENTS A 

WRITTEN AND SOLEMN DECLARATION — FER- 
MENT CAUSED BY IT^FAVOURABLE CONCLU- 
SIOH — A DAY APPOINTED FOR OUR RECEP- 
TION BY THE KINO — LIBERAL RETURN OF 

PRESENTS — DIFFERENT ARTICLES PROCEED 

TO THE PALACE — INTRODUCTION — HALL OF 
AUDIENCE — THE KING— -HIS DRESS— PERSON 
-—MANNER-— RECEIVE OFFICIAL PAPfRS IN 
THE RHOOM — FORMALITY IN CONVEYING THE 
king's letter — RETURN. 

Whilst we were thus pttssing our time iii amuse- 
ment and the indulgence of our curioeity, the 
VOL. II. • N 5 



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146 EMBASSY TO AVA. 

more important interests of the mission were not 
forgotten. The council, I was informed, had held 
frequent deliberations on some general proposi- 
tions^ which I had submitted with a view to assist 
the mercantile intei^ests of the two countries, and 
place commerce on a liberal and secure basis. I 
had reason gi^en me to conclude, that mj sugges- 
tions had niet with a fitvourable reception ; and I 
was likewise informed, by an authority which I 
conceired to be competent, that it was intended to 
depute a Binnan office of distinction in an offldal 
capacity to Bengal, there to confirm, on the part 
of his Birman Migesty, the good understanding 
that was henceforth to subsist between the Court 
of Ummerapoora, and the Goyemttient-Greneral of 
India. Assurances of this nature, together witli . 
the attention paid to our private accommodation, 
induced me to hope for a fiivourable termination 
of tiie missioti whh which I was intrusted. 
, I soon found, however, that tiie attainment of 
tiiese objects, which were obriously calculated to 
be of reciprocal advantage to British India and the 
Binnan empire, was opposed by the indirect arti- 
fices of individtals possessing weight, whose in- 
terests might eventually be afiected by any inno- 
vation, and who, on that account, sedulously fo- 
mented jealousy and distrust. I likewise learned, 
that the pride of the court had been early awaken- 
ed by a representation, that the government of 
Bengal being provincial, and tiie OovemOT-gene- 
ral, from whom I derived my conunission, only the 
subject of a king, it would therefore be derogatory 
to the Birman monarch to ti^at on terms of eqna-- 
lity with an administration that was subordinate, 
or to ccnrespond with OBny person beneath tiie dig- 



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SMBASST TO AVA. 147 

vkf of a crowned head. ,It is doiiibtlQl, howerer^ 
wliethtf the Bkmaii court would hare manifested 
its sentunents so uneqaiyocally as to draw from 
me a fcHrmal ^[)lanation, had not circumstances 
euhseqaently occnrred which served to strengthen 
its arrogance, and gave plausihility to the repre- 
sentations that had been febricated to mislead. 

Mattero wero in this state, when advice came 
of the airiTal of a small yessel at Rangoon .from, 
the Isle ^ France, under Birman colours, which 
brought an nn&yowable account of the situation 
of affiurs in Europe ; exaggerating the disappoint- 
Vk^t of the Allies on the Continent to a total de- 
feat; and adding, that the Dutch and Spaniards 
iMtving joined the repuUieans, the utter ruin of the 
English was not far dbtant. An obscure agent, 
maintamed at Rangoon by the French, transmitted 
this informatian to a perscm of some official im- 
portance at the Birman capital, who immediately 
promulgated it with an addition, that a powerful 
fleet was on ks voyage from France to India, and 
that four French ships of war were triumphantly 
craiziiig in the IndieB seas. 

This intelligence^ which was asserted with con- 
fidence, was dilig^tly improved by the Armenian 
and Mussulman' melrchants, who insinuated that, if 
our present overtures i^rung not from treachery, 
they originated in fear ; at the same time renew- 
ing a report, whidi had more than once been cur- 
rent, of a combination (tf all the powers of India 
to deprive Great Britain of her poesessicms in the 
East, and to expel all Europeans from those shores, 
whidi they were represented to have first visited 
as merclMmts, and afterwards invaded as usurpen. 
Although the Birmans probably did not give im- 



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148 ^SMBASST TQ AVA. 

plicit credit to the last mentioned nunour, yet the 
news from Europe, cooperating with their own 
.pride, determined them to persist in that arrogant 
assumption of superiority, which had hitherto been 
manifested rather in th^ actions than by ihek* 
Words. 

On the 7th of September, Mr Wood, in con- 
formity with the instructions he received, waited 
.on the two senior Woongees, accompanied by Dr 
Buchanan, and attended by a proportion ci the 
public servants. On his return, he addressed an 
official letter to me by vdiich it appean, that, in 
his reception, no part of the respect due to his 
public character was omitted ; whilst in the soli- 
citude expressed for our personal welfere, there 
was displayed the refined politeness of a polished 
court, llie cbnversation that he held^ with the 
Woongees was nevertheless marked by a drcum- 
stance which served to indicate more pointedly 
the precise line that was intended to be ^wn. 

On the day of my public introduction at the 
Lotoo, it was an omission too remarkable, to es- 
cape notice, that no inquiry whatever had been 
made respecting the Governor-general of India; 
nor in the conversations which I afterwards held 
with the several princes, was the name ci the Go- 
vernor-general once mentioned" by them. Such, 
however, was not the case at l&e interview be- 
tween Mr Wood and the Woongees. These mi- 
nisters inquired particularly concerning Sir John 
Shore, and the younger Woongee desired to be 
informed of the extent of the Governor-general's 
au&ority ; which implied, on his part, either real 
or assumed i^orance. These questions also, as 



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EMBASSY TO AVA. ' 149' 

appeara-from Mr Wood's refM>rt» did not arise 
bom the casual suggestioii of the moment, but 
were all pireconoerted and methodically arranged. 
The inferences thefefore to be deduced from them 
were grounds on which I might form a judgment. 
They eon^eyed something more than a presonip- 
tion of the real sentiments entertained rejecting 
the delegating authority under which I acted. 

There being no plakisible pretext for any longer^ 
delay, I pressed the Woongees to inform me what 
his M^esty's pkastue was regarding the several 
points which I had submitted to his councU ; and 
intunated the neoessity I was under of obeying the 
oiders of my own government, bv returning as 
speedily as was consistent with the objects for 
which I had been deputed. In leply to this ap- 
plication, I was i^prised* that the presents which 
his Birman Majesty designed to send to Bengal, 
in return for those he had received, would be pre- 
pared im the 19th of September, on which day, 
tf I would c<Mne to the Lotoo, they should be de- 
livesed to me, matters of business ini^t be dis- 
cussed, and I might fix on whatever day I thought 
prop^ to depart.. 

With this denre I willingly acquiesced, ^ af- 
fording me an opportunity of requiring to^now 
his Majesty's real sentiments, as well as the mo- 
tives that on their part gave rise to a conduct of 
so mysterious a nature. 

Nothing passed in the interval, except that I re* 
ceived intimation through a private and respect- 
able channel, that the court, although no objection 
woold be formally stated, had come to a decided 
reaoluti<m of considering me as a peraon deputed 
n2 



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190 BMBASST TO AVA. 

^from a proTindal and subor^ate power, and noi 
as the representatire of an eqnal and sorereign 
atate ; and that, fai pursnance of this estiination,^ 
his Majesty did not intend to honoor me with m 
personal audience of leave. Of the tnith of this 
information I had no reason to doubt ; birt before 
I took any measures to undeceire the court in a 
public manner, I deemed it exponent to have Mt 
assumption so haughty and impenous iwriied by 
^ highest authority. 

On the 19th of September I proceeded to the 
Lotoo, where I anived about twelve o'clock, and 
found the coundl of state akeady assembled ; the 
ministerB and the attendant officers bemg all dressed 
in their robes and ci^ of ceremony, A few mi- 
nutes after we had taken our seats, the presents 
were brought, ccmsisting of three large boxes^ co- 
hered with red cloth, and two elephant's teeth of 
considerable riiee. These 1 was desired to receive^ 
in the name of the Birman king, for the English 
goremment. At the same time, two livge rings 
were presented to me ; one a single ruby eel in 
gold, the other a sapphire, which I was requested 
to accept as a persond token of his Majesty's fo->. 
TOUT. A ring was also given to Mr Wood, and 
smother to Dr Buchanan* When this ceremony 
was ended, I addressed myself in the Birman lan- 
guage to the Wongees, and desired to know whe- 
Qier there were any reasons which applied to my 
ettuation, that had induced his raajeMy to decline 
honouring me with a pmonal audiemse; which 
compliment, I understood, was usually paid by 
their court to the deputies of all sovereign states. 
To this interrogation I received an equivocal re« 
ply ; and, on repeating it, they persisted in return- 



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XMBAMT TO AVA. 151 

lagan •▼aabe nMUuier. I then desired to be in-r 
fmied whether or not it was his Majestys hiten-. 
tloa to recave me in person, before my departure^ 
as the representatiTe ci the GoTemor-general. This 
fMstbn they said they could not answer, not 
knowing his Majesty's pleasure* I afterwards 
adced whether the king preserved his intention of 
sending an anthoiised peraon from his court to 
Bengal, as had been intimated to me by what I 
Gonceired to be competent authority ; and whether 
ike suggestioiMi iHiich I had submitted for the ad- 
vancement and protection of commerce, had been 
taken into consideration. These seyaral points, 
tfaey said, were then under discussion, and would 
be speedily detennined. They acquainted me, at 
the same time, that, if I would fix on any precise 
Miiod fM* my departure, the necessary papers and 
letters should be pcapared, and delivered to me 
two days preidous to my setting out, I mentioned 
the 3d of October. Iliey ropUed, that the lettei^ 
should be in readiness by what I understood to bo 
the 1st of October, but, by some misiq;>prehension, 
was the 30th of Septeni>er; adding their hope 
that I would come to town cm the 28& of Septem^ 
bar, the anmyersary of Sandaingguite, a day on 
which all the nobility pay homage to his miyesty. 
To their inTitation I answered, that my haTing 
that honour must d^iend on drcnmstances not yet 
ascertained. 

This interriew 1^ me little room to doubt of 
the estimation in which the Birman court held my 
puUic character, notwithstanding it was judged 
adyisable, from motives of policy, to avoid making, 
any direct avowal of such sentiments. Proceeding 
upon this plan, they conceded all their acts and 

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153 EMBASSY TO AVA.^ 

determintttioMB with a vefl of ambiguityy ^Mdi k 
sMMCunes was extremely ^fiiciilt to penetrate. 

Pride, the clnef actotimg prmeiple of tins anro-' 
gaat court, was the soaroe to which ks amdiii^ 
in every transaetbii cf a pidnfic natare, might uki* 
mately he traced. The first oliject of their go* 
?enuMeiit is to impress on the minds of the people 
the most rererential awe of their own sovereign, 
whose greatness iUMf do not admit to be eqaalled 
by that of any monarch upon eardi.* Wi^Mnii at- 
tempting to diminish thor veneration lor their own' 
prince, it became my duty, from the mode that 
was adopted in the display of his consequence, to* 
acquaint Uie miaisterB, in terms which couH not 
be misconstrued, that there was another powar, at 
no great distance, which would not readily sub- 
scribe to its own inferimity, or admit of any act in 
its negotiations with other states, which might ei- 
ther express or imply an assun^tton of superiority. 
It became necessary to inform them, that the Go- 
Temor-general of India was not, in his rdation to 
then: court, or to that of any other Eastern poten- 
tate, a subordinate pix>vincial officer ; but' a p^so- 
nage in idiiom sovereign authority over a widriy 
extended empire was efficiently vested; that, as 
the reptesratative of such aulJiority, I held an in- 
disputable claim to whatever consideration was 
granted to the ministers of other nations ; and that, 
the withholding it would be accounted an incivility 
so great, as probably to prevent the English go- 
Tunm^it from making any future advances for the 
estaUishment of a friendly and confidential mMir* 
course. 

To convey a truth not less important for them 
to know than incumbent on me to deckumy I de- 



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XMBA8SY TO AVA. 159 

termincid to address a letter to tlie pfmeipal Woon- 
gee and the council of state^ exjnvflsing my dke^- 
tiBiaction at the conduct which the Binnan court 
had thought proper to observe in regard to my 
public character; to require an explanation of those 
points which comprehended the objects of the em- 
bassy ; and to dmand, that I should be received 
and acknowledged by the king in person as iho 
r^H-esenta^Te of an equal and soyereign state. 

Had ihffre even be^ room left for me to hesitate 
iqHm the ad<mtion of this step> the following dr- 
cttnstances, wni<^ oeciured immediately afiter my 
intcorview wi^ the Woongees at the Lotoo, would 
have decided me in making a public declaration of 
my sentiments on a i^ode of behaviour which ex-? 
eaeded even ijieir usual extent of ojffidal arrogancei 
and fell little short of personal indignity. . 

The custom, which imposes an obli^tion on i| 
foeign minister, to pay fi mark of respect by a 
tiifling presoit to each member <^ the royal fiumly 
to whmn he is int|x>duced> has already been noticed, 
This compliment I offered in person to the several 
princes on the days of my presentation ; and, in 
Older to manifest that it was not my desire to with^ 
hold any attention consistent with my rituation to 
grant, soon after the yidts of ceremony were ended, 
1 had directed my M omishee, or Persian secretary, 
to wait on each of the ministers and the principal 
officers of the court, and request in my name th^ 
aee^tanc^ of some rarity, the produce of Europe 
or of India. The gift to each individual was very 
trifling. A few yards of European broad cloth, an 
article of cut-glass, a piece of Bengal musiin or of 
silk, was received as a polite and handsome testi- 
monial of a friendly di^osition. These civilities, 



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154 EMBASSY TO AITA. 

I was iirfbrined, -were, by a speeial mandiile, or* 
dered to be retomed, by erery person to whom tbe 
attention bad been ^own, in some prodnelkm of 
the Birman coaHtry, and of vahie equal t» wbat 
had been bestowed. 

It being expected tliat I shonld wait on the royal 
princes to receive in person the reuraneralkni idiiefa 
they designed to make for ^ presents ^tity had 
obtained, I sent, on the 21st of September, a mes- 
slige to the Engy Teekien, to abcpudltt him Aat» if 
it sniied his conyeniendB, I would pay my respoelr 
to him the following day, or pos^ne my iMt to* 
any other that he miglit thiidc proper to appoint. 
I likewise despatched a messenger with a siio^ar' 
liotification to the Prince of Prome. ^rora tli9 
first I receired a civil reply, excusing himself fironr 
seeing me on account of die indispoMtion of thB 
{Princess, who had lately been bron^t to bed ; but 
acquainting me, that, if I chose to attend, ' the pre^ 
sents for the English goy^nment would be delnrer-r 
ed to me in llie rhoom of his palace, or to any 
person whom I might appoint to r^icekve tbem. I 
replied, that being debarred of the honour of see-^ 
ing him, I would depute Mr Wood to ace^t Uo 
presents in the name of the GbTeanor-general of 
India. From the Prince of Prome I had not liiei 
honour of an answer. 

On the 22d, Mr Wood waited ontiie Engy 
Teekien, and was received wi^ mwk dvQity al 
the rhoom by his ministers. The pres^its were 
formally produced, and conveyed to our residence 
by the prince's servants. As the Prince of Prome . 
had not returned an answer to my message, I im- 
agined that some misapprehension had * occurred. 
Being desirous of appearing to put the most ^voiit4> 



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BMBAtSY TO AVA. 155 

tkke oonvtrne^aii on efwy pert of ihekt condaet^ I 
f«c|iieBted Mr Wood to gead a messenger, idien 
lie west to the house of Engy Teekien, to apprise 
tke Prince of Prome that^he meant afterwards to 
pay his respects to him. To dus intimation w«s 
iBtnmed what Mr Wood ocmsidered a satisfactory 
r^ly ; «ad as sooa as the first Tint was ended, 
he proceeded to the Prince of Prome's palace, 
where the treatment he received was extremely 
mde. Aft^ standing fof some time at the enter 
gate, exposed to the sun, he was informed itaX the 
piinoe was not at hone. 

However deficient the members of the royal 
fiunily miglM he in politeness to me« I determined 
not to suffer their exaJoagAe to influence my conduct 
towards ^m, or to ne^ect any mark of deference 
that was due to ikm illustrious rank. Meedaw 
Praw, the motW of the queen, bdng a personage 
venerable from her age, and d^pufied from h^ hi^ 
connections— her bdbaviour also, on our introduc- 
tion, having been disdnguished by afikbilky anid 
politeness — ^I was, for Uiese reasons, desirous of 
paying saxh a chaiucter parttcnlar nespect ; and 
w^ that view s^t a cmnplimentary message to 
hm', similar to* ^at w^di had been deliv^ned to 
iAs» two princes. 8he returned, m answer, that 
the next day would be perfectly convenient to her 
for my reception. I likewise intimated to the 
yotmgw princes my intention of paying them a 
visit, to which they replied by a verbal compM-^ 
ment. 

On the next day, the 23d, I proceeded in form 
to the house of Meedaw I^w at the appointed 
hour, and was received with sufficient poHtenesa 
by her >Yoon, or principal oifioer. There were 

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1S6 EMBASSY TO AVA. 

a^ertl perBoas of rank aasMibM ia iIm htSl wben 
I entered. After we had been seated about a quar- 
ter of an boar, a person came forth fimm the inncir 
apartment, and informed us that the princess had 
gone to the palace to i^ee the qjBttea her daughter, 
but would return in a few minutes. This I though 
rather an extraordinary step, as she herself had 
determined the -precise time when I was to coma. 
These minutes, however, were protracted to an 
hour. In the interval, pawn, fruil^ and sweetmeats 
were.senred up. At length, when her ministers 
perceived that my padence was exhausted, and I 
would wait no longw, a message was delivered to 
me from the princess, excusing her non-«4>pearanee 
on a plea of indisposition ; at the same time Arse 
gold rings, set with rubies and si^phires, and se- 
veral boxes, handsomely japanned and painted, 
were laid befinre me, and my acceptance of them 
desired. A couduct marked by such deliberate 
Unpoliteness, would have justified retaliation on 
my part, by a contemptuotw rejection <^ her pre- 
sents. I however refinuned from any further indi- 
cation of displeasure, than withdrawing uncere- 
moniously, without taking any notice of the boxes 
or rings, which were immediately conveyed to my 
residcoDce by her serrants. Having rsas<m to ap- 
prehend that the junicw princes meant to observe a 
similar line of conduct, I declined visiting them» 
but sent Mr Wood to go through the ceremony of 
. calling at their separate houses. As was ejected, 
he saw not one of the princes, but was received 
by their Woons, who, though they carefully re- 
frained from absolute rudeness, yet evinced in their 
conduct the utmost arrogance, under the doak of 
supercilious civility. 



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EMBASSY TO AVA. ISi 

Sadi strftnge and tinwannaitable insolence oouM 
not be measured by any 9cale of tme policy, and 
was hardly to be rec<mciled to reason or common 
sense. Nor could any part of their conduct be 
kid to the account of ignorance ; for no people on 
e»rth better understand, or more pointedly observe, 
the ininute punctilios of official form^ No candid 
and determinate reply could be extorted from them 
on any point in which their vanity was concerned. 
What their court intended to concede, I under- 
stood, was to be granted, not as an equivalent for 
re^vrocal privileges on our part, but as a boon — 
as an act of gratuitous condescension to me, in the 
diaraeter of a petitioner, bearing the tribute of ho- 
mage from an inferior state* Without the hardi- 
ness to avow these principles, which a sense of 
British powa*, and the proximity of the country, 
probably suppressed, they nevertheless acted upon 
them as an assumed fact, with a view to gratify 
their own pride, elude disagreeable explanations, 
and reap sill the advantages derivable from an in- 
tercourse with Brit^h India, to which they cer- 
tainly were far from being averse, provided the 
correspondence dould bd maintained upon their 
09m terms. 

In pursuance of my determination, I addressed 
li letter to the chief Woongee and council of 
state ; and, to giv6 it all the publicity that such 
a declaration ought to have, I sent Mr Wood to 
deliver it in person to the minister, directing him 
afterwards to wait on Uie two jimior Woongees, 
and apprise them formally of my having written 
a letter of such a tenor. 

Nor did I resolve on this measure without ma- 

YOL, II. .0 



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158 EMBASSY TO AVA. 

tnrely considering the dfllbct it was IScely to pro- 
duce, as well as the neces^ty in whkk it ori^- 
nated. The eonit had evidendy been embarrMsed 
in the first stages of the business, and was unde- 
termined in what manner to act. To this irreso- 
lution I ascribe the petty artifice of misinforming 
me in matters of fact. The accounts from Europe 
certainly had great weight in infifiencing liieir con- 
duct, and those could only be discredited by my 
holding higher language than before. To have ac- 
quiesced in silence would have been construed into 
at least a presumptive evidence of our weakness ; 
whilst the slight that was attempted to be cast on 
the authority delegated to me, left no ahemative 
but to endeavour to remove it by a temperate re- 
monstrance, such as my letter was intended to 
cx)nvey, or to decline any fiullier communication, 
and withdraw without ceremony. This latter step 
was not to be taken under any provocation sfam 
of personal injury, than which I believe nothing 
was farther from their intention. To enhance tiieir 
own importance by the unworthy mode of lessen- 
ing that of others, seemed to be the sole motive 
that actuated them, and which, as far as related to 
the government that I represented, it was clearly 
niy duty to expose. 

My letter was written in the English and the 
F^rsian languages.* The intervention of holi- 

* It afforded me particular satisfaction to know, that 
the full purport and expression of my letter could not fail 
to be conveyed, through the channel of either of the^ 
languages, to the Birman court The Armenian inter* 
preter of English, who had spent the greater part of his 
life in the Birman country, was a man eminentlv quali- 
fied for the task ; he spoke, read, and wrote English, su- 
perior to any person I ever knew who had not been in 

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EMBiiSSlr TO 4.VA. 159 

day» pipevei^ad the delivery of it before the 26tb, 
ivhen Mr Wood waited on tbe principal Woongee, 
ai^ presented it in form. He afterwards called 
l^pon tbe junior . Woongees, and acquainted them 
of bis baying laid before; tbe 8eni<»' an address 
wldcb required their serious consideration. 

I imagine^ that if this explicit avowal of ipy sen- 
timents had been made previously to our last men- 
tioned visits to the members of the royal fEanily, 
we should have had less cause to complain of in- 
civility. Such language, I believey was not ex- 
pef;ted» The. court had asanred itself that the states 
of our afiairs in Europe and in India was so cri- 
tical, that we would tolerate ^t greater arrogance 
of manner, rather than hazard the interruption of 
iatercoarse, and give our. enemies the advantage 
ei an alliance which the native vanity of tbe Bir- 
mans rendered tb^u not unwilling to overrate. 

Information was conveyed to me from a respect-. 
table quarter, that the fermentation whidi my re- 
BMnstrance excited in the council of, tbe Lotoo 
was by no means moderate. Tbe Woongees, I was 
told, were divided in their (pinions. The discus^ 
sion continued till twelve, o'dock on the njght of 
the . 27th, when the result of ^leir deliberations 
was laid before the king. 

Great Britain. It is a singular iket, that tbe first version' 
of the late Sir William Jones'a TransbUMm of the losti- . 
tutes of Hindoo Law, sb^mld be poade in the Birman Ian- . 
guage. When I arrived at Ummerapoora, the Armenian 
had just completed the work, by command of his Birman 
majesty. This circumstance offers no mean proof of the 
liberal had entightened pc^cy of a prince, who, superior • 
to general pwhidice, was willing to seek for information 
through a medium by which few other nations of the East 
will condescend to accept of knowledge, however bene^ 
fidal tbe attainment mi^^t prove to themsehres. 

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160 EMBASSY TO AVA* 

^Whatever mlghl hare been ^leir s i yr o tc seati- 
ments, the ultimale decision was temperate and 
wise. I was apprised, late on ^^ erenii^ <^ t^ 
26th, by a yerbal communication from the May- 
woon of Pegne, that oa the day i^pointed Fot the 
delivery of Ae reply to Uie Govt^mor-gwiOTal's 
letter, I should be formally receii^ at the palace 
of the king, who would grant meap^sonal au-. 
dience in the character to which I laid claim, and 
that the propositicms which I had suggested, for 
the relation and encouragement of comm«!ce^ 
had for dM most part rece^«d hia najesty s i^ 
probation. 

I expressed, in answer, the satisfiKStion I fek 
from h^ing a resolution so creditable to them- 
selres ; but added, that as the letter I had written 
was a public and s(^raaai declaration, I ^ould re- 
quire more than a verbal assurance, before I could 
consistently sulject myself to a repetition of for- 
mer disappointments, and requested that he wmild 
take the trouble to reduce hu obliging message to 
writing. With this he readily complied by a short 
note written in the Birman language. 

The form of receiving the presents, which vrem 
broi^t to me as a return for those that had beea 
given, occupied a considerable portion of Uie last 
dl^. One of the three boxes that had been sent 
by the king contained amber in large pieces, un- 
commonly pure ; another, a mass cf stone, of con- 
f^derable size, in appearance resembling die chry- 
sopriV^e ; and the third, a large and beau^ul group 
of crystals, rising from a matrix of amethyst, in 
the form of prisms, mostly hexagonal Or pentago- 
nal, slightly striated on the surfece, and terminated 
at (me end by a pyramid composed of three rhom- 

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XMBAMT TO AVA* 161 

boidal plaaes* It was a very cwioas prodnetioa 
•f natoe, and danbdeas, coBuaglrom such a quar-c 
ter, most hare been accounted of great yalne* The 
fffeaent from the £ngy Te^den consisted of six 
niby and sapphire rings, two elephants teeth, se- 
Teral ji^maned boxes, and three horses, small, like 
all those which the country produces, Imt extreme- 
ly well fonned. Two were piebald, to match ia ^ 
8 caniage, and the other wm a bright bay. The 
prindpal queen also, whose title is Nandoh Fraw,: 
and the second queen, called Myack Nandoh, seat 
their scpante offerings, and added to mv&nl rings 
and specimens of japanned ware, some handscmie. 
articles of pli|^, two large beetle-boxes, of em-« 
bossed silver, two tiays vod two drinking caps of 
the same metal^ the workmapship of which did not 
affixrd 8lftvounJ>le pro<^ of the skiU of their artists. 
Retribntary donations were now brought in trou- 
blesome abwidance from every individual. to whom 
the smallest gratification had been given; and in 
. some instances the return fiir occeeded in value 
what had been received. My house was encwm^i 
bered with all sorts of Bimmn ulennls in painted 
and japaaaed ware, sevml of which were by no 
means of a portaUe size. I waa also presented 
with pieces of silk, and cotton doth, of different 
dimensions and quality, in number not less thaa 
mg^ty or a handrad ; also el^hants teeth,, taahes . 
wrought into beads, fifiky &r sixty pieces of plato 
formed into beetle-boxes, mugs, qiitting-pots and 
cups. IVedons stones, too, constituted a very ge^ 
neral gilt, chiefly mbies and sapphires in their na« 
tive state, rudely set in gold. I received from va- 
rious penons nearly a hundred of these stones, few; 
o 2 



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I6i XMBASflTt TO AVA. 

6f in^noh were yaluable, tlnmgh some of the sap* 
phkes, on hemg polished by a li^pidfiiyy prored to 
faave a yery fine wat^. I must not, howeyer, omit' 
mentioning a beanlafy spedmen of filagree^ in a 
hige silver beetle-box, wfaidi was presented to m^ 
by one of iJie Attawoons. The woi^onansfaip waa 
minutely delicate, and exqnisitely i^bed; and, 
in order to enhance the Takie of the g^t, the donor, 
with a politeness that could not be surpassed in 
any court, had his title engraven in Bi^lii^ letter^ 
on the side of the box. A compliment so handf 
aomely conveyed demanded my best acknowle<^aY 
ments ; and I regretted exceedingly that the official 
character which I held detded me the pwsonal ac- 
quaintance of this minister, as well as of some otbeis, 
#ith whom I should have been hi^ipy, under any 
ether circumstances, to have cultivated an intiauu^. 
On the SOth of September, the day appmnted 
by his Birman majesty to receive the Engliali gc»* 
tiemen in the character t>f an imperial depntatioo, 
we crossed the lake at ten o-olodc in the mornings 
attended by pur customary suites and aoeompaaied 
by Baba-Sheen and aevenl Krman officers. We 
entered ihe fort, as usual, by the wastarii gate, 
when, instead of passing, as on forao^ occaiiiBasy 
along the north side of the enclosure of the paIaoe» 
to r^u^ the street leading down to the Lotoo, wa 
now proceeded round by the soutl% and in this 
liew direction observed many more houses o( dis- 
tinguished structure thtti by the other route.. In 
our way we passed through a short sti'eet, entirely 
composed of saddlers and harness-makers shops. 
On alighting, we were conducted int6 the rhoom, 
to wait there until the Engy Teekien should ar- 
rive, which he did precisely at the hour of twelve. 



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EMBASSY TO AVA. 163 

Several Cfaobwas, who were to be introduced on 
diis day, had taken their eeats in the rhoom be- 
fore we entered. Each of them held a piece of 
' B^ or cotton cloth in his lap, designed^ according 
to the established etiquette, as a propitiatory offer- 
ing to his majesty ; and on the cloth was placed a 
saucer, containing a small quantity of unboiled 
nee, which it seems is an indispenBable part of the 
^ceremony. The Birman custom differs in this 
particular from the usage of Hindostan. A per- 
son, on his presentation at the imperial court of 
Dettii, ofiers to the sovereign an odd number of 
the gold coin commonly called Mohurs, * an even 
number bmng considered as inauspicious ; but the 
court of Ummersl^KKHra, with a more delicate re- 
finement, neyer permits an offering in money, but 
reqaires from a foreigner something of the produce 
of his country, and from a subject some article of 
■umnfacture. The donation of ^rice is not, as am 
India, whoi presented by Brahmms to the incar- 
nadons of Vishnu, meant as an acknowledgment 
of divine attnbutesy but is merely designed as a 
recognition of the poww of the monarch, and an 
admowledgment of the property of the soil b^ng 
Tested in him ; a truth wluch is expressively d^ 
dared, by offering him its most useful prodiicti<m. 
During our continuance in the riioom, tea was 
served to ue ; and when we advanced to .the outer 
gate, we were not obliged to put off our shoes, 
but were pannitted to wear th^n until we had 

* Mohur U A corrupt name giyen by Europeans to this 
coin. Ashurfi is its proper term. Pagoda, likewise, as 
applied to a coin| is an illegitimate word, of which tho 
natives know nothing except on the authority of their 
conquerors. 



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164 EMBASSY TO AVA« 

readied the inneir enclorare thai sepmites the coorl 
of the Lotoo from that of the royal palace> within 
which not any noUeman of the court is allowed to 
go with his feet covered. There is a douhle par* 
tition wall dividing the two courts, witii an inter- 
vening space of t€^ or twelve feet, through which 
a gallery leads, that is appropriated exclusively to 
the use of the king when he choose to preside in 
person in the Lotoo. 

On entering the gate, we perceived the royal 
saloon of ceremony in front of us, and the court 
assembled in all the parade of pomp and deann- 
tion. It was an open hall, supptnted by colons 
nades of pillars twenty in length, and only four in 
depth. We were conducted into it by a flight of 
8t^>s, and, advancing, to<^ our places next the 
space opposite to the thrcme, which is always left 
vacant, as being in full view of his majesty. On 
our entrande, ^e basement of the throne, as a^ 
the Lotoo, was alone visible, which we judged to 
be about Are feet high. Folding doors screened 
the seat from our view. The throne, called Yaza^ 
palay, was richly gilded and carve^ ; on each side 
a sinall gallery, enclosed by a gilt balustrade ex<r 
tended a few feet to the right and left, containing 
four nmbrellas of state ; and on two tables, at the 
foot of the throne, were placed several laige ves- 
sels of gold, of various £onns, and for different 
purposes. Immediately over the throne,, a splen- 
did piasath rose in seven stages above the rooft of 
the building, crowned by a tee or umbrella, from 
which a spiral rod was dievated above the whole. 

We had been seated little more than a quarter 
of an hour, when the folding doors that concealed 
the seat opened wi^ a loud noise, and discovered 



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BMBAS8Y TO AVA. I<l5 

Hb iBftjesty aec^ding a flight of stepe that led up 
to the throne fit)!!! the inner apartment. He ad- 
vanced hut slowly^ and seemed not to possess a 
hee use of his limhs, heing obliged to support him* 
self with his hands on the balustrade. I was in* 
fonned, however, that this appearance of weakness 
did not proceed from any bodily infirmity, but 
from the weight of ^e reged habiliments in which 
he was dad ; and if what we were told was true, 
that he carried on his dress fifteen viss, upwards 
of fifty poimds avoirdupois of gold, his difficulty 
e( ascent was not surprising. Qn. reaching the top 
he stood for a minute, as though ta take breath, 
and then sat down on an embroidered cushion with 
his legs inverted. His crown was a high conical 
cap, richly studded vritb precious stones. His 
finders were covered with rings, and in his dress 
he bore the appearance of » man Cased in golden 
armour, whilst a gilded, or probably a golden wing 
on each shoulder, did not add much lightness to 
his figure. His looks denoted him to be between 
fifty and sixty years old, of a strong make, in sta- 
ture rather beneath the middle height, with hard 
features and of a dark complexion ; yet the ex- 
pression of his countenance was not unpleasing, 
and seemed, I thought, to indicate $n intelligent 
and inquiring mind. 

On the first appearance of his majesty, all the 
courtiers bent ^eir bodies, and held their hands 
joined in an attitude of supplication. Nothing 
fiuther was required of us, than to lean a little 
forward, and to turn .in our legs as ini^ch as wo 
could — not any act being so unpolite, or contrary 
to etiquette, 9S to present the soles of the feet to- 
wards the ^ace of a dignified penop. Fovr Br^-r 

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166 EMBASSY TO AVA. 

mins, dressed in white caps and gowns, chanted 
the usual prayer at the foot of the throne. A 
Nakhaan then advanced into the vacant space he- 
fore the king, and recited in a musical cadence 
the name of each person who was to be introduced 
on that day, and of whose present, in the charac- 
ter of a suppliant, he entreated his majesty's ac- 
ceptance. My offering consisted of two pieces of 
Benares gold brocade. Doctor Budiaiian and Mr 
Wood each presented one. When our names were 
mentioned, we were separately desired to take a 
few grains of rice in our hands, and, joining them, 
to bow to the king as low as we conveniently 
could, with which we immediately complied. 
When this ceremony was finished, the king uttered 
a few indistinct words, to convey, as I was in- 
formed, an order for investing some persons pre-; 
sent with the insignia of a certain degree of no- 
bility. The imperial mandate was instantly pro- 
claimed aloud by heralds in the court. His ma- 
jesty remained only a few minutes longer, and du- 
ring that time looked at us attentively, but did not 
honour us with any verbal notice, or speak at all, 
except to give the order before mentioned. When 
he rose to depart, he manifested the same signs of 
infirmity as on his entrance. After he had with- 
drawn, the folding doors were closed, and the court 
broke up. 

In descending, we took notice of two pieces of 
cannon, apparently nine pounders, which were - 
placed in the court, on either side of l^e siairs, to 
defend the entrance of the palace. Sheds pro- 
tected them from the weather, and they were 
gilded all over. A royal carriage also was in wait- 
ing, of curiQus workmanship^ and ornamented witJi 

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EMBASSY TO AVA. 167 

a roysl spire ; there was a pair of horses hamessi^d 
to it, whose trappings glistened in the sun. 

We returned as usual to the Rhoom, where I 
understood that the letter from the king to the 
Govemor-general of India was to he presented to 
me, together with some other documents that com- 
prehended the objects of the embassy. Soon after 
the members of the royal family had ascended their 
elephants, the expected letter was brought from 
the Lotoo on a tray, home by a Nakhaan, enclosed 
in a case of wood japanned and covered with a 
scarlet cloth. The mode of offering it, was not, 
I conceired, quite so ceremonious as the occasion 
seemed to require ; and the officer who was charged 
with the deliv^y indicated a reluctance to say that 
it was a letter from the king to the Governor-ge- 
neral of India. This circumstance produced some 
difficulty, as, without being distinctly informed to 
whom the lett^ was direeted, J declined accept^ 
it. At length the^ interpreter, finding I would nqt 
receive it on other terms, delivered it in a suitable 
manner, with a declarati<m that it was a reply from 
his Birman majesty to the letter of the British 
Govemor-geneial ai India, and that a copy oi a 
royal mandate was annexed to it, granting to the 
English nation certain valuable immunities and 
privileges of trade. 

Whilst we were in the outer court, or that in 
which the Lotoo is situated, we had an opportu- 
nity of viewing the immense piece of ordnance 
found in the fortress of Arracan when captured by 
the Engy Teekien, which was afterwards conveyed 
by water to adorn the capital of the conqueror, 
where it is now preserved as a trophy, and is 
highly honoured, being gilded, and covered by a 

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166 EMBASSY TO AVA. 

roof of a dignified order. It is formed of brass, 
rudely manufactured ; the length is thirty f^et, the 
dianfeter at the muzzle two and a half, and the 
dilibre measured ten inches. It is mounted on a 
low truck carriage supported by six wheels. Near 
h lay a long rammer and sponge staff, and we per- 
ceired sevml shot made of hewn stone fitted to 
the calibre. It is remarkable, that most of the 
spoils which had been brought from Arracan were 
made of bAss. The image of Gandma, the lions, 
the demons, and the gun, all transported from 
thence, are composed of that metal. 

The discussion, on the ceremony of delivering 
the letter being ended, we returned home, preced- 
ed by a Miouseree, of inferior secretary, on hcMrse- 
back, hearing in due form the royal letter, and 
dressed in his cap and gown of office. When we 
had reached our residence, I inmiediately address- 
ed the chief minister, to request an official trans- 
kition of the letter in the Penian language, also of 
the paper annexed to h $ obeerring, that as public 
interpreters of that tongue were appointed by the 
oomt, and it being well understood bysererbl pet- 
aons resident at Ummerapoora^ a medium of in- 
tercourse could nerer be wanting, whidi would be 
equally intelligible and ooorenient to Uieir govern- 
ment and to mine. Within two days I received 
a notification, that his miyesty had given orders to 
suf^ly me with the traaslatkm I required* 



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XMSASffr TO AVM. 169 



CHAPTER VUI. 

SVBSTAlfCI OP OFFICIAL PAPERS— PRBPARK TQ 

DEPART — CHINS8X DXPC7TIE8 TAKE LEAVE 

PREPARATORY TO THEIR RETURN — BIRMAN 

BOOKS SOLD CLANDESTINELY TO STRANGERS 

A MAN IMPRISONED LIBERAL CONDUCT 

OF THE COURT-^SIAMESB PAINTER — ^BIRMAN 
FESTIVAL — THE COURT OF THE QUEEN AT- 
TENDED BY ALl. THE WOMEN OF RANK — ILLU-» 
MINATIONS — UNCEREMONIOUS VISIT TO THE 
ENOY TEBKIEN-^ EMBARK ON BOARD OUR 
BOATS — DELATED— LETTER FROM THE PRIN- 
CIPAL WOONGEE TO THE tK>VERNOR-OENE* 
RAL OF INDIA — ILL TREATMENT SUFFERED 
BY ONE OF OUR PEOPLE— INSOLENCE OF THE 
FOLLOWERS OF THE PRINCE OF TONOHO— > 
LEAVE UMMERAPOORA— VISIT CHAOAINO— 
BESGRIPTION OF THE FORT— ODERUA, OH 
POT VILLAOE—KISOCKy THE GREAT MANU- 
FACTORY OF BIRMAN IDOLS -^TEMPLE OF 
COMMODOO PRAW-*FIRBWORKS— ROCKETS OF 
EXTRAORDINARY MAGNITU1» — CttAOAINO— « 
AN EMPORIUM OF GOTTON— ANCIENT AVA— 
TEMPLE OF LOGATHERPOO PRAW— STUPEN- 
DOUS IDOL — SANDAHT, OR ELEPHANT TOWN— • 
KEENDUSM RIVER— NIOUNDOH—PBGAMM — 
CIVILITY OF THE MIOUDOGEE, OR DEPUTY GO- 
VERNOR — RIDE TO VIEW THE RufNS — CURI- 
OUS TEMPLE — ART OF TURNING ARCHES LOST 
BY THE BIRMANS— REACH THE TOWN OF 
SILLAH MEW. 

VOL. II* . P . * 



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170 ^ RMBASSY TO AVA« 

The interfention of hoUdays, together with the 
nnaroidable delays of office, protracted the de- 
livery of the Peraiaii trandatioiis until the 14th of 
October ; on which day the papers, pn^>orly aa- 
dienticated, were brought from the Lotoo, and de- 
livered to me, by an officer of government. In 
translating these documents, I car^ully collated 
tiie P^vian version with the Birman original, which 
I was enabled to do by the assistance of persons 
on the spot who understood both languages, and ^ 
found the Persian to be as literal a translation as 
the different idioms would admit. 

The lett«* of his Birman majesty to the Go- 
venior-geiiend is a curious specimen of ik^ ex- 
trawgant plnmseology of oriental composition. A 
great part of it is the diction of the minister, 
which may be considered as the preamble of the 
letter. In this peirtaon are ^lummted the royal 
tides, the honours confen^ o<^' the Biitiidi re- 
pesentalive, and the presents that^were deliver- 
ed* It next details the heads of c^lain proposi- 
tions, which I had made wkh a view to advance 
tiie commercial interests of both nations. His 
majesty then speaks in his own person, and, ^ in 
the pompous etyle of an order^ ratifies immunitiee 
of considerable importance to British merchants 
and marmers* 

llie pi^r wMdi accompanied the letter k an 
or^r deMvered by the principal Wooi^^ee,: to 
carry into elfect the imperial mandate, and is 
addressed to the Maywoon of Pegne in par- 
ticular, as holding the jurisdiction of Rangoon, 
and to the governors of sea-port towns in gener- 
al. It, however, became necessary, in order to 
give full operation to his Majesty's good inten- 



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EMBASSY TO AVA. 171 

tkms, to obtain seyeral snbsidiaiy papenB, which, 
by expressing in clear detail the regular dues 
of government, and specifying the authorized' 
perquisites of office, might prevent in future 
fmy arbitrary exactions, and put an end to im* 
positions which had long heea practised oh Bri- 
tish merdhaHts trading to Birman ports, from whom 
loud complaints had at different times reached the 
supreme government. These papers I found no 
difficulty in obtaining. It was determined by 
them, that all goods of Europe and British India 
manu^Msture, imported in British ships,- should be 
subject to a duty of ten per cent, to the king ; the 
price of anchorage and pilotage, for ships of every 
rate, was determined ; the fees of the provincial 
and port-officers, charges for warehouse room, for 
interpreters and clearance, the customs to be levied 
at ieach house of collection on goods conveying 
up the river, were accurately defined; and teak 
timber — ^to us by far the most valuable conimodity 
which the country produces — ^was ordered to pay 
8t duty of five per cent, ad valorem^ at whatever 
port it might be shipped, and all further exactions 
on that article were prohibited. The several de- 
matids of the port and provincial officers on the 
masters of ships, which had heretofore been paid 
in rouni, or pure silver, were directed to be taken 
in the currency of the place, which, at Rangoon, 
is mowadzo, or silver depreciated twenty-five per 
cent. 

These regulations, expressed in separate instru- 
ments with clearness a;nd precision, were equally 
liberal and satisfactory; and, on the part of the 
Birman government, were voluntarily granted, 
fVom a conviction of the equity on which they 

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172 KMBASSy TO AVA. . 

were femidedy and the reciprocal advaatages they 
wer« likely to produce. From two propoekions 
which I offered, the court thought proper to widi- 
hokl its acquiescence ; hot it certainly was the tOr 
tentioQ of ^ king and his chief ministeiB, that the 
articles which were thus conceded should be car- 
ried into complete effect. Intercouise, howoTer, 
was not yet perfectly established ; many obstacles 
still impeded the way. The road was only open- 
ed, and success depended on the discretion of those 
who ehoidd first pursue the track that wns now 
pointed out. 

Having thus obtiuned the objects for which I had 
been deputed, to an extent that equalled my ut- 
most expectation, I [n^pared to de[Nirt. The wa- 
ters of the great river had been subsiding for some 
time, by which the lake hecMme so much reduced, 
that boals of burden were obliged to leaye it, and 
moor in the stream, the bar of sand at the entrance 
of the lake being almost dry in the fedr season. 
The vast sheet of water, which, by taking a cir- 
cuitous direction, had, on our first arrival, induced 
iis to conclude that we were on an island, was now 
diminished to an inconsiderable surface, and left a 
large portion of land, which had recently been co- 
vered, in a state adi4>ted for the cultivation of rice. 
We observed the peasants industriously employed 
in turning up the ooiry soil, preparatory to die re- 
ception of seed ; and it was now manifest that the 
place of our residence, which, from the encroach- 
jjoeai of the periodical waters, we had considered 
as low, was in fact an elevated and commanding 
siti^tipn# 

Early in October, the Chinese deputies, having 
tolfiUed their diplomatic mission, left ^e grove, to 



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EMBAMT TO AVA. 473 

return to their native country. They emharked 
on board commodious boats, in which I understood 
they were to travel for three weeks, and afterwards 
prosecute their route by land, until they got into 
the heart of the Chinese dominions, where water 
carriage is facilitated by numerous canak.' They 
expect to find the cold intense before their ar- 
. rival at Pekm, a journey which they stated would 
require three months to perform. I presented the 
senior, at his last visit to me, with a wrapper of 
Englidi broad cloth, which he remarked would be 
more comfortable in his journey among the cold 
hills of China, in the month of December, than 
his own garments of silk quilted with cotton. He 
apologized for not having any thing better to give 
me in return than some pieces of silk and a few 
fans ; but his son, a promising youth of seventeen, 
who attended his father in quality of page, and 
who had been on more familiar terms with us than 
the natural gravity and public character of the 
seniors would allow to them, came to take leave 
of me just before his embhrkalion, and, obseiTing 
tliat he should probably never see me again, en- 
treated my acceptance of his pillow and his purse, 
as memorials of the son of Keeloree. * When I 
hesitated in receiving what were conveniences to 
him, but useless to me, he seemed so much hurt, 
that I could not wound the feeKngs of the ingenu- 
ous youth, by rejecting his artless token of good 
wHl. I had ^ven him at.difierent tiiiies a km 
trifling gratifications, and he could not reconcile 

* This I conceive to be rather a title than his real 
p2 



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174 EMBAS6.T TO AVA/ 

himfielf to depart without making some return. 
His pillow was a light lacquered haxy about eigh- 
teen inches long, circular at top, and covered with 
a case of silk, so thickly quilted with cotton as t6 
render it Boh. In a box oi this sort, a Chinese, 
when he makes a journey, usually canries all his 
▼aluabres. Though unproidded with a lock, it is 
not easy to be c^ned, and the case is dosdy 
buttoned. Thus a trayell^ secures all his pro-, 
perty by sleeping on it. This box was not empty. 
It contained the purse * before meiitt<»ied, a sted 
and flint to light fire, and a bracdet and ring of 
agate, which &e donor asstured me were endued 
with certain cabalistic virtues, to protect the pos- 
sessor from the perils of the road. 

During die time that matters of business wore 
mid^ discussion, and the necessary papers pre- 
paring, Mr Wood employed his leisure hours in 
digesting his survey of Uie river, and in making 
astronomical observations, whilst Doctw Bucha- 
nan, ever assiduous in the pursuit of knowlec^e, 
prosecuted botanical inquiries, and collected gene- 
ral inf(Hrmati<m from every accessible source. A- 
mong other things, boqks in the Birman tMigue 
were brought to him for sale, on which the owners 
put what seemed to be a very ex<ni>itant pice ; 
and, either from real or pretended appreheosimi, 
these venders of Birman literature always produc- 
ed their wares in a clandestine mann^ ; assigning 
as a reason, that if any persoii were discoy^ed to 

* This purse bore an exact reaemblanee to the repre- 
sentation in Sir George l^unton's work, of the purse 
which his Imperiid Majesty of China presented to the am- 
tnusador's page, when the British embassy was formally 
introduced. 



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ISMfiASSy TO AVA« 175 

liftve sokl books to a foreigner without permission, 
he would be liable to a seTere penalty. This as- 
sertion we were at first inclined to consider rather 
as a pretext Tor enhancing the demand, than as 
founded on fiict. « One day, however, we under- 
stood that a man had actually been imprisoned for 
an offence of this nature, and was likely to suffer 
punishment. I immediately sent a message to the 
chief Woongee, apprising hun of the circumstance, 
and desiring to know whether it was illegal to sell 
books to us; that if their law prohibited it, I 
should reject such as in future might be brought, 
and direct every person under my authority to <lo 
the same. The Woongee returned a civil mes- 
sage, and the man was set at liberty. His ma- 
jesty, being made acquainted with the affair, sum- 
nMmed, on the following day, the principal Rha- 
haans to attend his council, and submitted to 
them, whether or not it was consistent with Bir- 
man tenets, to grant books that treated of their 
history and laws, to foreigners. The conclave, I 
was told, after solemn deliberation, determined in 
die affirmative ; and added, diat it was not only 
admissible, but laudable, for the dissemination of 
knowledge. His nuyesty was thereupon pleased 
to ordeir a handsome copy of the Razawayn, or 
History of their Kings, and of the Dhermasath, or 
Code of Laws, to be delivered to me fi*om the 
loyal library. Each was contained in one lai^ 
volume, written in a beautiful manner, and hand- 
somely adorned with paintmg and gilding. 

My Bengal drafteman, whose labours were prin- 
dpally dictated by Dr Buchanan in the delmea- 
tton of plants, met at Ummerapoora with a brothei 
artist in a Siamese pamter, who was employed by 



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176 BMBASSY TO AVA. 

the court Tbis man, though not so skilfcil 'Ss die 
person in my service, was nevertheless of much 
utility. He fnmidied me with several drawings, 
descriptive of the costume of the country, which, 
though executed with little taste, were finished 
with the most perfect fidelity. Among other thmgs, 
he brought me a representation of the Shoepaun- 
dogee, or royal barge used by the king when he 
goes in state on llie water. Tlie painter reported, 
that the length of the yessel was a hundred cu- 
bits (more tiban one hundred and fifty feet). I 
saw it through a glass, but at too great a distance 
to observe more Uian the elevated stem, the royal 
piasath in the centre, which occupied the place of 
a mast, and the splendour of the gildii^, with 
which it was entirely covered. The king pos- 
sesses a great variety of boats. Some of them we 
bad an opportunity of viewing, but the Shoe* 
paundogee is by fieur the most magnificent. 

The Birmali month of Sandtdngguite, whidi 
had just expired, is a season of universal festivity 
and rejoicing ; and on the three terminator days 
solemn homage is paid to the king, to the Engy 
Teekien, and to the principal queen. At the court 
of the latter, all the wives and daughters of the 
nobles pay their respects, unaccompanied by Aeir 
husbands or any male attendants ; and in this as- 
sembly as much state and ceremony are observed 
as at the court of his majesty. The rank Tdiich 
each lady bears in right of her husband, is expres- 
sed by her dress and ornaments ; female priority 
being not less scrupulously maintained, than pre- 
cedency amongst men. We regretted extremely,' 
that their customs did net allow us to attoid the 
queen's court, in the same maimer as liuX of her 



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EMBASSY XO AVA. 177 

iUiistnoiis motlier. Age and widowhood, it seems, 
gave the latter a privilege of receiving visits from 
the other sex, without violating decorum^ or in- 
curring reproach. 

During the fifteen days of this " decreasing 
moon,'' |]be city was illuminated every night. Lan- 
terns made of different coloured transparent paper 
were suspended from bamhoo scaffolds, and dis- 
posed in various shapes, which produced a pleas- 
ing effect when seen from our residence on tlie 
opposite side of the lake. The superior brilliancy 
of the lights at the palace was distinguishable a- 
bove the rest. The Birmans are singularly ex- 
pert in the di^lay of fireworks of every descrip- 
tion. 

On the 13th of October, I received a verbal 
message from the Engy Teekien, that he should 
be glad. to see me on the following day, when he 
meant to lay aside the parade of state, and honour 
me with an unceremonious reception. I em- 
braced with pleasure an opportunity of an inter- 
view unincumbered with l^e formalities of regal 
pomp) and, accompanied by a few attendants, 
proceeded on horseback to his palace at the ap- 
pointed time. As soon as my anival was an- 
nounced, I was immediately introduced without 
the previoiis ceremony of waiting in the rhoom. 
On this occasion he did not, as formerly, exhibit 
himself from a casement window like a paged, but 
was seated at the upper end of the hdl, upon a 
couch richly adorned with the customary orna- 
ments, liis dress was very simple. He wore a 
white vest of fine muslin, with a lower garment of 
silk, and his head was bound with an embroidered 
fillet. Several jpersonages of rank were present; 



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178 EMBASSY TO AVA. 

habited also in a plain manner, bnt distingnished 
by their gold tzaloe, or chain of nobility. The 
deportment of the prince at this interview was per- 
fectly frank, and free from ostentation. I was 
disappointed, however, in his conversation. I ex- 
pected that he wotdd, by inquiring into the state 
of the British provinces, and the causes of their 
prosperity, have sought for information that might 
hereafter prove beneficial to the country over 
which he is one day presumptively to reign. His 
discourse took a quite different turn. He asked' 
only frivolous questions, and endeavoured to amuse 
me by the prattle of two sprightly chUdren, bin 
daughters. Half an hour having been spent in 
this trifling manner, I withdrew, and pud a visit 
to the Maywoon of Pegue, who told me that it 
was his intention to accompany us back to Ran- 
goon, where he would order every necessary to 
be provided for our convenience and accommoda- 
tion. 

The distance to which our boats were obliged 
to remove, reAdered the transportation of our bag- 
gage « work of labour. After conveying it across 
the lake, it was to be laden on carts, and drawn 
for two miles over what was now a plain of sand» 
but at the time of our arrival had been a wide sheet 
of water, navigated by vessels of considerable bur- 
den. The communication between the lake and 
the river was now completely closed. 

On the 23d of October we began to send off 
our heaviest articles. The commissary, or Kye- 
woon, had taken care to provide a carriage and 
labourers, the expense of which we were not suf- ' 
fered to defray. What I gave to the people, was 
considered as a private gratification. 

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EMBASSY TO AVA. 179 

Having embarked most of our ba^^age, Mr 
Wood ai^ Dr Buchanan, with a proportion of the 
attendants, left me early on the 25th, to go on 
board the boats. I remained until evening, wait- 
ing for some pi^iers which I expected from the dty. 
Hoises were in readiness for us to mount, on the 
i^posite aide of the lake. 

On leaving Tounzemahn, as the boat pushed 
from the shore, I looked back with pleasure at the 
grove, under ibe shade of which we had resided, 
and bade a glad but not unthankful adieu to an 
habitatiim where I had eiq>erienced kind hospitar 
lity, and spent three months in a manner that could 
not fail to impress me with a lasting recoUection 
of the scene. To be placed in so singular and in- 
teresting a sitnatioi^ cannot often occur; nor cm 
the images created by it be easily obliterated from 
the mind. 

Riding across the plain over which I had lately * 
sailed, I perceived tluit part of it was already un« 
der tillage, but the largest portion was left for pas- 
ture. During the inundation, canoes navigated her 
tween the houses of the lower suburbs of the city, 
and all communication was maintained by water. 
But carts now plied in dusty lanes, and the foundr 
ations of the buildings were at least fifteen fec^ 
above the level of the liver. Our boat§ were at a 
creek called Sakyngna, where a number of trad- 
ing vessels were also moored, some of them of con- 
siderable burden. The noise of the boatmen on 
the bank, and the smoke from the fires which they 
made, rendered the situation by no means agree- 
able. 

Various causes conspired to detain us at Sakp 
yngua Creek until the 29th. In ihe interval, I re- 

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ISO fiMBASSV To AtTA. . 

ceived a short letter from the principal Woongee, 
directed to the Governor-general of In^a, con- 
taining a desire of the king to procure certain re- 
ligious books written in the Shanscrit language; 
likewise that a Binnan, well versed in astronomy^ 
might be sent from Bengal to his court, to instruct 
his own professors, of whose ignorance in that sci- 
ence his majesty was fully sensible. The letter, 
however, laid as much stress on the purity of the 
preceptor's cast as on t^e e:rtent of his knowledge ; 
and comprehended ft curious addition to the re- 
quest, tlmt a Bramin woman should accompany 
tiie sage, with a view, I imagbie, of propagating 
a race of hereditary astronomers. I informed the 
Woongee, in reply, that Bramins of learning have 
an invincible dislike to leave their native country, 
even for a limited period ; but ta emigrate with 
their fiamilies, I conceived, was an act to which 
no temptation would induce them. I added, that 
the principles of the English government did not 
allow of force being used, to compel a subject into 
exile, who had not by any crime forfeited the ^o^ 
tection of the law. This, I dare say, was not 
very intelligible doctrine to the despotic monarch 
of Ava, and at aU events must have been perfectly 
novel. 

Whilst we i^mained at this place, one of our peo- 
ple received ill treatment from the natives^ which 
was remarkable, as being the first instance that 
had occurred. Dr Buchsoian, desirous of enrich- 
ing his collection of plants with every rare produce 
tion of the country, used to employ a peasant boy 
of Bengal to gather herbs for him, whom he every 
&y sent for that purpose into ^ fields. The fol- 
lowers of the Prince of Tongho happened to rc- 

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pang Bimmns for thek i»«<^n€e and dieiisiieitf . 
The liul junluddly efaaoced one day io meet a palter 
1^ ih&m rmBsum, wh» tsak hem bun hi^ kniCi, 
basket, and turban, and, threatesiiig to put bun 
^ deatb) m fifi^^iteQAd bim Itbi^ he botanized no 
«pQr« lal) WBW%im out of their isaofa. I had bet- 
lore beard mudi of the ieroeity of these people, 
who wene very wmwmiUB. Report fnade their 
Bttmbers tei^ tbousaAJ* liiey were alwaya qiiare- 
fsHing with the £9}b»iimm of tjbe «thev piinees, p«^ 
ticnlariy &oae of the PriAee of Prome* It waa 
•aid^tbatiibe kii^ had, on one occasion, wAkiUst we 
were at Uniserapoora, riiarply reprimanited \m 
80O, the Tongho Teekien, a#d confined bia Woon^ 
(NT nwiister, fw Bot keeping his pe^le ip b0tter 
esljectaon. I took »p oo^da of tfeiv conduct. It 
was not expediimt, at my ^qrartave, to mi^ a 
pabl^e complaint a^ sacb a petty oiitim^< 

The liver, wbieh tl^ee months befefe had dis* ' 
played an nnintemipted expanse of sererol miles, 
was now broken into separate streame, surround- 
ing numerous islands, which had just emerged from 
the inundation^ The pinc^al biandi of the river, 
even m its dfaniidsbed state, was a mile wide. I^ 
Buchanan and I crossed in a small boat to an island 
wh«:e some ft^ermen and gardeners had begun to 
erect huts, i& which they redde until retaming 
floods la the ensuittg year force them to aWidoii 
^ir habitations. They seemed to have the means 
of comiortable livelihood. Hieir gardens were al- 
ready sown with the sweet potato^ eonv<4vid«a 
batatas, pulse, and brenjak, eolaHQm melongena : 
the latter are usuaHy trauaplanted. The soil Wtfi 

v&L, II. a ^ 

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18d EllBASSY TO A VX. 

extremely dry, notwithstanding it bad eo reeently 
been covered with water, and the pasturage was 
liumriant. The inhabitants possessed cattle and 
poultry in abundance, and doubtless were supplied 
with excellent fish. 

Early oa the 29th, the Maywoon of Pegue vi- 
sited me, in a very handsome war-boat ^ded to 
the waters edge, accompanied by several others 
that were plain. He invited me on board, and we 
took our seats on the prow, which, in Binnan 
boats, is always the place of dignity. When we 
hfy the shore, the whole fleet pushed off and fol- 
lowed US. The morning was fine, and the water 
amoodi, whilst the spires of Ummerapoora in our 
stem, the white temples and lofty hills of Cha- 
gaing opposite, and the fort <^ ancient Ava below, 
formed a Yery cheerful prospect. We rowed to 
Chagaing, where, soon alter our amval, the- May- 
woon took leave of me, to return to the capital, 
having business to detain him a few days longer. 
He> howevOT, promised to overtake us on the way 
down, his boats being better adapted than ours £« 
expedition. 

After dinner. Doctor Buchanan and I walked 
out to view the f<Ht of Chagaing, which, in the 
days of Namdoo Praw, had been the seat of em- 
pire. We entered under a gateway, the arch of 
which was wide and well turned. This fwt had 
nothing to distinguish it from others that have, 
been aJready described. It was not nearly so 
large as that of Ummerapoora, or even equal fn 
extent to the lines of anci^it Ava. The defences 
were suffered to fall into ruins, and the houses 
wece meanly built among weeds and rubbish. ' We 
observed a well supplied herb market, which was 



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BMBA&SY TO AVA. 1B8 

attended whoUy by women. Passing through the 
fort, we crossed a narrow fosse on a handsome 
wooden bridge, the length of which indicated, thai 
diiiing the monsoon the inmidation extended to ft 
considerable, distance ; and a little farther, we 
Came to the great road leading to Meengonng. 
On our right, lay the low conical hills, whose 
summits, crowned with white temples, form sudi 
conspicuous objects from the rirer. Adyancing 
about a mile, we arrived at a village called Odema, 
or Pot Village, from its being a manufactory ci 
earthen ware. The lateness of l^e evening pre- 
vented our further progress. We returned by a 
road that led to the left of the fort, passing in our 
way a neat village situated near the banks of the 
river. 

, By means of our horses, we now enjoyed a con^ 
venience which, in coming up, we did not possess. 
A platform had been constructed in a broad boat* 
capable of containing five horses. We brought 
tliree from the capital, and added two others on 
the way down. Little trouble was occasioned by 
embarlung or landing them ; the Birman grooms 
were expert, and the beasts tractable. Early next 
morning we mounted, and pursued the route of 
the preceding evening. Numerous temples lined 
the road on either side, but one only of the num* 
her attracted particuliir notice. It was surround- 
ed by a high brick waD, from which elephants 
heads, formed of masonry, were protruded in such 
^ a manner as to give the wall an appearance of be- 
ing supported on the backs of those animals. The 
temple was a p3nramid of brick) about one hun- 
dred feet high, ornamented with a gilded umbrella 
Passing through Pot Village, we came to a towii 



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IM BMBA0SY TO AVA. 

c^led Kyeodc Zeit, remarkable for befbg tbefv^kt 
inaiHifactDry of marble idoiis the inho^itftnts of 
wfiick i^'ere st«tudriea by trade* I savr thirty or 
forty large yards crowded With artists at work o& 
mages of various sizes, but all of the same pee^ 
amuge, Gaudnla, sitting cross-legged on a ped€»- 
ttL Ilie ^u^trries, \iiience llie materials are pr(>- 
cvred^ are only a fetr miles distant. The mcuMa 
is brought hi^er in shafieless blodcs; and aftet 
being ikshioned, the iuli^ are pnbticly sold t# 
tho«re who hate grace enough to fmrehase them. 
The largest that I observed, a little e^eeded lire 
hmnan si^e, the price of wfaidi, they told, was tfttb 
ii«ndred tackals^ twelve or thkleen fft)uni(ls, btit 
«6md dimintitiTe Gacklmas t^rere to be disposed fff, 
as low as two or three tackals. The Leedeg^ Olr 
«teerBdMn of my boat, bo«ght one to ptmeet m on 
#» way Kh)Wi^. The Wt)i4tmen wetife eltnemety 
4eiTii find c^mmtinicatite. Hiey WonM ^t pao^ 
with diefa" feaci-ed cotamodity, I w«s told, to %tf 
WLcept Birmahs ; but ttiey anl^cred 6vtt ^esdond 
- with ^ood hnmo^ * afid otfr cimosHy neitb^ e*^ 
cftted e^ifrrye, nov ptv^ tUiibrftge. Tlie^ toiofo ai^ 
single* They shap^ t^ imaged WM i chisel md 
lAa^t, and afleiWi^^ ^rmooih i% by fi^^t^e mH 
Wttter. M ftny df the idols were b^u1*ftitty p^ 
lisbed, Which^ I Utidei^toodj Wais effeetie^ by rttb^- 
bing th6 tmMei with 1^^ different sMs of 8t<»xe> 
^ iirst rotigh, th6 scl^ond finer, ai^d th^ thii^ siich 
ftS ifones dre nisede of: the WorkWcfn afteirwards ttS^ 
lliA ^Ims Of their hands. This dperatloh giv^ it 
a transparent clsairtitess, Hit Surpassing th^ brightest 
p^ish ^ W^b European iakMb k Susceptible. 
Sttoh itti^i^^ W6^ d^sitftt^ t6tgS4St^ dM not 
l^eiceiv^ 86 high a finish!*^. 



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EMBASSY TO AVA. 185 

. Half a league further we came to where the 
temple of Kommodoo rears its massive and antiqne 
pile. This venerable and carious edifice stands on 
an eminence, which renders it a conspicuous ob- 
ject at the distance of many miles. It is compos- 
ed of solid masonry without cavity of any sort, 
and in shape resembles a beU. There is a high 
railing of wood encircling it, twelve feet distant 
from the base. The circumference on the out- 
side of the railing, by my measurement, was four 
hundred paces, perhaps three himdred and fifty 
yards, and the height did not appear less than three 
hundred feet. It ended in a clumsy cone, una- 
dorned by a spire or the customary umbrella, and 
exhibited a striking contrast to the elegant and 
still larger temple of Shoemadoo. Indeed, the 
style of its structure indicated, that it was built 
either by a people possessing totally different no- 
tions of architecture, or at a far more remote pe- 
riod. It was much the most inelegant and heavy 
building that we had seen in the country. The 
roof had once been richly gilded, and the remains 
of wooden galleries, from which the paint and 
gilding were not quite obliterated, lay scattered 
around. These ornaments had probably been of- 
ten renewed since the first erection of the temple. 
Kommodoo was once celebrated for its sanctity, 
and is still held in great reverence. Many devo- 
tees were sauntering round the hill, whilst others 
were prostrate at their devotions. The Birmans 
boast of the antiquity of this building. They as- 
cribe its rise to supematiiral agency, and fix its 
date further back than the Mosaic era. These, 
however, were the tales of ignorance^ to conceal 
q2 



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186 EMBASSY TO AVA. 

ttie want of klipwfeJge ; hut the imHea of lotfg du- 
ration were certainly evident, and from its size atid 
form fcominodoo iH^aw seems Hkety to resist thd 
ejects of tihie ifbf'many ag€«, 

!Prom Ae site of.KommocW, weliadan ei- 
{ehdted view ot ihe nver winding tlirough a ricli 
and level cotmfry. ' A considerable IjSce lay to fte 
soiittiward, Ine jflains were now cultivliting, 
whilst numerous Viftages and herds of cattle de- 
noted population and plenty. At a short distance 
from the foot of the till was a loAgavehtie formed* 
Dv a double row of tamarind tr^es of uncommoil 
statplihess aitd beauty, under the shade of which a 
fine of shops v^ erected on either side, where, 
besides provisions and cloth, utensils in brass-ware, 
and fireworks, were sold. On a gteeh^ a little way 
retired fi-om the rodd, we observed a number of* 
people employed in making rockets, the tubes 6f 
which were the solid tnii^ of trees bored after 
the manner of a pump. In some, the cavity ot 
the cylinder was nine oir teb inches in diluineter, 
imd the wood abo^t tWd inches thick. *Hie length 
of these tabes varied from tWelve to twenty feet, 
jrtiey were filled with a composition of chtircoal, 
saltpetre, and gitapowder, rammed in very hard. 
Th6 enormous size of Birman rockets has already 
been noticed, in the account giv^i of the firework 
ofPegue; 1)ut several that we saw hefe, far ex- 
ceeded those iii magnitude. Hie large ones are 
tred from a liigh scatfold erected for the purpose, 
amboos. fastened together, of a length adapted ta' 
preserve the poise, foi-m the tail of ^e rocket. In 
this branch of pyi'otechny the Birmans take par- 
ticular delight, and are extremely skilful. 

The day was now far advanced, and the sim be 

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EMfeAfcST TO AVA. Wl 

^^ p&^€tfA. Uttvrtig ekiMed our curiosity, 
Mre gmop^ back to out boats, & distance of lAxnd 
fiifeten ttiile^. 1 todk notice, ih my way, of fre^ 
quettt filled bcSh fit ihe sid^ of the road, in which 
j5ot^ of Watdif Tirefe placed for the refreshmeitt of 

th^^dih^ h the {(i^iicipd ^ihpatinm to whidi 
tbitcfsi iJs brotight if^om all parts of th^ cotuitry, and 
wh^re, ttftet- mhie cleaned, ft is etnbarked for thd 
Chiriit m'airket. Females petfttna the kb<te of 
clearing Jt frbin the seeds. This in effected hf 
double cylinder turned by a latlt^, ti4licfa the ^o- 
m&n Worrks with het foot, whili^t she supplied th6 
critton with h^'r hands. I was told diat the most 
opident ]to^rdhant in the «fitipire f^sidi^ kt Cha- 
pdn^f whd d^s ^tAelf in this article. In the ftf- 
temdbn W6 l66sed out bdlitsf, tod dropped ddwn t* 
Ava oih the opposite side. 

Early on iShe foUowi^ motnjng, X walked out 
ib examine l3ie fmns of this deserted capital. Thft 
disposition of its Stt-eets and buildings nearly re- 
sembled that of Ummerapoom at the present day. 
W^ could tra<5e the depaj'ate divisions of the pa- 
lace, amiddt heaps of rubbish overgrown by weeds 
and Mortis. On the spot where, but a few years 
^Ince, ihe Lotoo stood, imd justice Was administer- 
^ t6 a iiiighty e<npire, pulse and Indian (5om were 
now growing. Passing to the ttrestward, among 
tiiinous walls tod fallen telnples, we ctoie tipOn a 
godd foiid ; tod a miserable old W6itkan,'< the sad 
histdrian " and livihg einiblem of the place, pointed 
6ut the way to Logaiherpoo Rrtiw, fbrmerly the re- 
sidence of &e Seredaw, ot high piest Of the em- 
j^ire, where the colossal image t>f Gaudma wad still 
to be viewed. 

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188 EMBASSY TO AVA. 

The area on which the temple stands, is a square 
surrounded by an arcade of masonry ; on each side, 
nine cubical towers ai*e erected, and several build- 
ings are comprehended within the space enclosed 
by the arcade. The temple in which the stupen- 
dous idol is placed, differs from the other pyrami- 
dieal buildings, by having an arched excavation thai 
contains the image. On entering this dome, our 
surprise was greatly excited at beholding such a 
monstrous representation of the divinity. It was 
a Grandma of marble seated on a pedestal, in its 
customary position. The height of the idol, frona 
the top of the head to the pedestal on which it sat^ 
was nearly twenty-four feet. The head was eight 
feet in diameter, and across the breast it measured 
ten ; the hands were from five to six feet long ; the 
pedestal, which was also of marble, was raised 
eight feet from the ground. The neck and left 
side oT the image were gilded, but the right arm 
and. shoulder remained uncovered. The Birmians 
asserted, that this, like eveiy other Gaudma which 
I had seen of the same material, was composed of 
one entire block of marble ; nor could we, on the 
closest inspection, observe any junction of parts. 
If wliat they said was true, it remains a matter of 
much curiosity, to discover how such a ponderous 
mass could be ti-ansported from its native bed, and 
raised in this place. The building had evidently 
been erected over the idol, as the entrance would 
scarcely admit the introduction of the head. No 
intelligent Birman happening to be with us, all 
that I could learn in answer to my inquiries, was,' 
that the image had been placed there an hundred 
years ago, by a king named Podoo Sembuan.' 



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BMBAeSY TO AVA. 109 

WliitieTc^ may be h* real histoiy^ It k an extra- 
orditiaiy specimen of idolairouB extraragance. 

On onr retuhi, vine perceived a man driTkig a 
cart drawn by a pair <>f oxen, which was filled with 
rubbish from the rv^ned Imildi]^. I learnt that 
he wa8 canyiiig the load to a neighbouring brook 
to wash it^ eXpeetihg to i^scover gold, dilwr, or 
wme article of vafete^ which not tmfrequently huf^ 
pehed. Old Ava is said to be the re8<Kit of ntl- 
-HHTood thieVes, wh0 fiM shelter and pkici^ of ^n- 
element among ike decayed religiotffi 6diAd^« 

Oiir reseiirdies being ended> we i^^^Hi^biNtked, 
tmd immediately got under way, ilie bonttoentftiii^ 
^eir oars with judt svrffil^&t fy&^ U ltc«elemte ki 
"A alight degree dm* mo^mt down a gently gtiditig 
^ekfmni. The riter^ Bicefept in thwe lAn^ whet^ 
•vfeiidv divided its lrh««an, was a^v^ li m^ j¥M^. 
A little b^toe ^i^^efft/ we bro«tght to iSr th^ fdj^ 
tm the hih Imsd, under a bigh bftnk t^gf ^ town 
^ Samls^t^ tmd in ^ e^f«^tfg w» t^k ^t cm- 
tomfiiry WbJkti idikh at ikk» pl^ wm aiiicAn^ laned, 
^amfied^y hedge^fdwiv ««cld«hjg i^dft plftnt^ 
with pidi^ «i&£i«mim^ avi^ Indian Wthi, 
W^ 1^ Saiidaht htfUrftm ^ lieiift tti^iMng, and 
. (SDntinaed to fio^ down ^ stre&ai, ^^Htlk tittle eif- 
ettton or l^A^ttr to i>ia p^le. llm ViVei* h^vhsg 
'ftiHen at least tft^a feet ^t& ^ time W6 came 
m w^ e^iM flot, ai^l^ore, obs«rV« th« «6Wn8 and 
l^&a^^ em e«N^ sid^, nor h^deed ^co^d any ^}^et 
^ ^€€h iMt was am immediately on #e ed^ of 
TJte *8ftri5*, which hting petpefidictdarly direr the 
tiref. In limny pUtc^ to ft «oti«dd^Mle height; 
Ihit we k»iew wheft a town dr a collectioA of bouses 
Wirt 1?^ by the steps that Wei'e ctit hii ^ bank 
^m thd \;ofe^*^i^icte' i^ ftrtching WA?eeh Abmit 

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190. EMBASSY TO AVA. 

four o*dodc w© passed the place where the Keeii- 
duem unites wi^ the Irrawaddy. The mouth of 
the former did not seem to be much dimimshed by 
the change of season. We brought to in the 
evening, on the east side, in the neighbourhood of 
a poor Tillage, a short way below Tirroup Mew, 
where the country presented a cheerful aspect 
Grass was growing, and cattle feeding in every 
direction. 

On the fd^owing day, November 2d, we CMir 
tinued to travel in the same tranquil manner, the 
GoiT^it of the river flowing two or three miles an 
hour with an unruffled surface. The weather was 
serene, and the temperature of the air moderate. 
Abundance of water-fowl, collected on the sands 
which had receitly emerged from the inundar 
ti(m, afforded us good shooting. As we ap- 
proadied the city of Nioundoh, I made inquiry 
concerning the excavations in the banks, which 
formerly had been the retreats of hermits, and was 
told that no person woidd now venture to explore 
ihem, as they had become the habitations of in- 
numemble snakes and other noxious reptiles. We 
brought to in the evening among a fleet of at least 
two hundred large trading boats, whidi were 
moored at the bank, waiting to deliver m receive 
a lading. Nioundoh is a place of much commerce, 
having usurped all the trade that formerly was 
carried on at Pagahm. Cotton, japanned ware, 
and oil extracted from sesamum, are the principal 
articles of exportation. The land adjacent to thf 
town did not wear a more fertile aspect than when 
we passed it four months before ; — no change of 
season could effect an alteration in its barren soil ; 
but on the opposite bank of the river, rich crops 



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ISMBASSY TO AVA. 191 

were waving, and cattle grazing in luxuriant pas- 
' ture. 

^ Early on the following day we left Niounddi, 
and reached Pagahm by breakfisist time. Although 
the distance by land is «o short that Nioundoh may 
be called the modem appendage to ancient Pa- 
gahm, yet we were above two hours between 
them, owing to the circuitous course of the river, 
which lengthens the way to eight or nine miles. 

Mention of Pagahm has often occurred in this 
narrative, a city celebrated for its numerous tem- 
ples, and the traces which it bears of formed mag- 
nificence. To examine its extensive and various 
ruins with the accuracy of a speculative traveller, 
would have occupied more time thaij^we had to 
spare. Shortly after the fleet had brought to, I 
was visited by the Mipudogee, or the person who 
governed the town and district in the absence of 
the prince. He informed me, that his royal mas- 
ter was expected on the following day from Um- 
merapoora. In the afternoon we walked out to 
view a very curious and ancient temple, which was 
repairing at the expense of the Engy Teekien, or 
prince royal. It was built of masonry, and com- 
prehended several arches forming separate domes, 
into which fom* arched porches led, that faced the 
four cardinal points. On each side of the doors, in 
recesses in the wall, were seated gigantic human 
figures made of stucco, with large staring eyes, and 
the head protruded forward, as if to look at those 
who approached the threshold. These, I was told, 
were the supematiu;al porters of the doors, whose 
power of perception was such, that they could 
penetrate the recesses of the human breast, and 
discover ihe sincerity of devotion. The - Mioudo- 

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192 pMDASSY TO AVA. 

g^ oh&enedf ih^t it ww the priuce's btentiott to 
gild this temple ; and that four visa of gold, ^boi^t 
^ Yfrlw of «ijf hmwh::pd pow^9, were j^lready 
prj}pai?4 for that piuposPt He added, that ^ fWr 
sWeraWe sum of silver h^ beeu pxpeaded ori flie 
repairs. 

We were oa thi? o^JC^ou infon^et} 9^ A W- 
C^m8t^ce th^t ab9W^ hPW easily ^''^ W^ ®^<^ 
well kftpwii, ip^y ^ lw<i t^ ^ fipuptry fr^ <li»WP 
^nd the cap^iciPHa»^9§ ^ fa»b}oB. No*witb»tend- 
ipg thftt well-fpnW furcbes «if bripjc ape 9jiH t^ 
he seen in in^y of the aoci^nt tepiplee, yet Birr 
man wcNrlcfpen can np longer |.urn them. Masoi^y 
has not in latter ages been mn«eh pr^K^tised ; WQiA- 
en huildinp have snpfl^^^edec) the QMire solid stnMh 
^m^ of ^Mrick an4 ^lortar^ 

On onr reti|ni» the Miondog^e politely inWtad 
119 to 8^ and rest p^rsfBlye^ «t bis hons^, Wf 
9i(xep^ the invi^^ii^, mid wpre nshered into » 
lx>mmof[Upu9 dwelling enclosed hy a railii^, where 
we .found several persons seated in a spacions ML 
^n after our aitrance, the Mioudogee s wife cude 
forth fron^ fm inner apartment, and sat down by her 
hushed- She wa^ attended by two female ser- 
vant^» ^nd held by the band b^ daughter, a pretty 
delict pbi)4 9bout eighi^ years of age, who waa 
^ot at all alarmed ^t the sight of strangers, but 
^ame and e^ammod my hat and ^aulette witl^ 
much eng^iging fi^niliari^. H(^ fiEitherwas exr 
tremely civil, Not knowiag that we had liOTses, he 
kindly c^erpd ns the use of his, if we cbo^ to re*> 
main another day, wd am^ae oorselvpi by riding 
through the anient dty, which was too eKtensiixa 
to be tra?m^ed 10 ao short a time on foot. Boctiqr 
Biiaban«n baring ftxpretsed a wish to eaamiBO the 



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«¥9il8;9ir TO AVAt t^a 

l4U^lWl^ !^ ri4» spepieB of |4^ ^ {n^oqaised to 
send on© of tus people pn the frflpwing day, 8pi»e, 
distance off, to procure it for him, ^l^ch be punc-^, 
tsofdljr performedr Swck mst^wee of genpii^e hps- 
pit^ily we 3WiQng8t the Wgjjos^ grfm^tSiim ^9^ 
a traveller cwi ^qp^en<cef 

Ne^ nwning wfi naomi^, our hor^a^ it im wly 
homr, pw^uing ;»>i i^tiifr^fi dj^ptiox^ p^ a ro|^ 
th^ Je4 tQ WP» cpUed Tpj^pe^^dpflg, ^pi;|; tei^ iwHe» 
4i8tant^ Iwond whju:bf w4 W»<ff3e ^ontherly, we 
perceived Popp^ ^ /iH^nict^ mojofiii^a ^^Pf^ioned in 
ow fpTOW joomey;. On eacfr ^tf ^ of thp road, 
ipni^n^^le ipligioiia buildings appe^fec), ii^ every 
at^ge of di^^id^tion. At t|ie w^^ of two or 
three miles firom the river, tb? jfo^ bpq^l}l^ ^ps^ 
hmm, A Ufw pncapside^e flm^ns w^ere en- 
cLoaod }ff |hp jiphabitiapts^ sown ^ip% with huSm 
C((^ m4 pijWi afl4 p wwpip p)m»p ^ f»ttop plant 

^Vm gWWiagT Wfl Cffntiwpd onr pdp five gr si^ 
v^n^i «8 fcr »• ji smi^ YJJlagB nmed Mifl^ug^pp^ 
i|r]^ tlie, vfim P««m to ei>d in that djEpC^% 
llieftt I ?«w for th^ first tinie ft Idonm^ or n^fta^ 
tiFy,t)ittltp^««aapftiyr Wegothmsk.abomtur^r^; 
Q*doc|^^ a^d fym4 <ypwda of pen^ j^^mWpd ^$ 
ihe water-side, waiting for tl|p frrivaji of ^ ^Mw^A- 
of Pagfrlnn^ wbp was honrjy i^xpppli^ M 1^ 
nw^ ^ disjli^ct^n heflongjii^ ^ the city h&4 9^)90^ 
1^th^Iiy^toI)9l9e(th^^ In order tp^ll^fQPft 
tppiP^ nefHT th^ j^t wji^re he waa tP >Qd, wa lpp%< 
ed Pl^I tHMits» |^b4 leo^red tp a ^l^jmutipn }pyr^ 
dpvftt SJwprtf y aftpr the fla^ WP« i» »igbt* W« 
wpce # too g^rp^ 9> dist^^ipsr to distinguish the 
p^nceV Jba^e, the ^eom^iw pf whi<ch pere Rai4 
tp he yery h^pdf^m^; hi^ wd |f|w aa iipipepi4» 
vpi:*. |i. it 



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194l EMBASSY to AVA. 

dumber of boats, find heard the shouts df the peo- 
ple, who welcomed their royal governor with every 
demonstration of joy. 

Being unacquainted with the etiquette proper to 
be observed on such an occasion, I consulted the 
Mioudogee, whether a visit from me was expected, 
or would be agreeable to the prince. He replied,, 
that my paying a visit would lay the prince imder 
the necessity of desiring our stay for two or tliree 
dayBf to partake of an entertainment. As such a 
ceremony could not be conyenient to him, and had 
no inducement for me, I sent Baba-Sheen to apo- 
logize in my name, pleading haste and the lateness 
of the season as my excuse for not having the ho- 
nour to wait on him. 

At stmrise next morning, the Prince of Frome 
passed by, with a very numerous and noisy reti- 
nue. From the number of boats, there could not 
be fewer than three or four thousand persons. All 
ihe boatmen were singing in unison with the strokes 
of their oars. TTie Maywoon of Pegue, who was* 
in his smte, sent me a complimentary message, 
saying that he meant to attend the prince as for as ^ 
Meeaday, his own jaghire, or estate, ^ere he 
should wait our arrival. 

We were delayed at Pagahm, by our boat peo-' 
pie, till near ten o'clock, when we pushed off.' 
The river, during the early part of tins day, where 
Islands of sand (tid not intervene,' was not less than* 
iwo miles wide. At one place, however, the chan- 
nel contracted, and the current rushed round a 
projecting rock, with excessive rapicKty. * We saw 
several ranges of hills, some of which approached^ 
hear the river, but these were of no considerable 
magnlMide. Hie Anracan mountains, fifty or sixty 



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EMBASSY TO AVA. > 1^5 

mike distant, which were visible at intervak, tow- 
ered high above the rest. In the evening we 
reached Sillamew, an ancient city which had once 
been a place of considerable note. A little way 
to the northward, we perceived the minB of a brick 
fort, erected in a very judicioos situation^ the ditdi 
^and wall were still to be traced. We had been so 
much engaged, when we were here before, with 
the silk and cotton^ merchants who brought their 
goods to sell, that we entirely overlooked the site 
of, this fortress ; an oversight that might easily hap- 
pen, as its ramparts and towers are nearly level 
with the dusti 



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19ft EMBASSY TO AVA« 



CHAMfift tX 

ARRIVE AT SEMBEWGHEWN— .i»6tltfeKAS$ <)* 
TH£ MAYWOON OP ARRACAN — YANAKGKti^ 

OUM WELLS OP PETROLEUM — PATAKAGO — 

MEEADAY — PRIEKDLY ATTENTIOK OP THE 
MAYWOON OP PEGUE — KAYN, OR MOUNTAIN- 
EERS — STRANGE CUSTOM NOTIONS OP RELI« 

GION — PULOO— PROME — VISIT THE SITE OF 
AN ANCIENT CITY — ^PEEINGHES — MAYAHOUN 

PREJUDICE OP BIRMAN BOATMEN — DISA* 

GREEABLE CIRCUMSTANCE WESTERN RIVER 

• — DENOOBEW — ENTER THE RANGOON BRANCH 
OP THE IRRAWADDY — MOSQUITOES — MEET 
'CAPTAIN THOMAS — ARRIVE AT RANGOON, 

We departed from ' Sillahmew at the cnstomaiy 
hour, and by nine o'clock in the moming reached 
iSembewghewn on the east bade of the river. The 
town is a league inland ; but there is a village at 
the place where boats usually st(^. We perceiv- 
ed a temporary house at some distance, such as is 
built for the accommodation of a man of rank 
when he travels, surrounded by small huts ; and 
were informed that it was the encampment of the 
governor of Arracan« This officer had been newly 
Appointed, and was ou his way to tak0 poesessiop 

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EMBASSY TO AVA. 197 r 

of his yke-royalty, which confers the titk of May- 
woon on the possessor, and is accounted one of the 
most important governments of the empire. I 
sent a message to him with compliments, and a 
request that he would forward a despatch fw me to 
Chittagong, the frontier British province that bor- 
ders on Arracan. He obligingly undertook the 
commission, and punctually fulfilled Ms promise. 
I had afterwards the satisfaction to know, that the 
first advice which the Governor-general received 
of my proceedii^ at Ummerapoora, was by this 
conveyance. ^ 

We continued at Sembewghewn only a shoit 
time» . I did not land ; but the Doctor went on 
shore. He saw nothing, however, that merited 
particular notice. Mr Wood remained till the af- 
ternoon, to observe the distance between the sun 
and moon ; the latter being at this time visible, 
and the sky unclouded. We rowed till two o'clock, 
at which hour we reached Yaynangheoum, or Pe-* 
troleum Creek — a place already noticed in our 
journey up the river. 

Doctor Buchanan partook of an early dinner 
with me ; and when the sun had descended so low 
^8 to.be no longer inconvenient, we mounted our 
horses to visit the celebrated wells that produce 
the oil, an article of universal use throughout the 
Birman empire. The face of the country was 
cheerless and sterile ; the road, which wound among 
rocky eminences, was barely wide enough to ad- 
mit the passage of a single cart; and in many 
places, the track in which the wheel's must run 
was a foot and a half lower on one side than the 
other. There were several of these lanes, some 



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198 KBtBASdY TO AVA. 

atrkte t^ <be M^ l^Hs ttimAi^ wfaicli they ted. 

Vehid^ g^^g* ct^ f^ftniilmig, t^ere tlras enabled 

Ut ^itfBve * dnwreDft rOt^tSS) lixtiipt ttt ptt^ticiln^ 

]4a^, tdier^ the iurtnre 6f ih^ grotind wotQd oi^ 

^tiiH of oHe TOiid. Wfaeh k efittt c^^me to ihe dfi'' 

tfAUce ^ such b defiSe^ ^ dihrer Indlooed obt td^ 

6t^ any tll«t febigiii imierfere #it]^ Mat fronfi ^^ 

OpjMxi^ sidfi) no |ntft beting ^ttmcsSetttljr tvMo f^ 

two cart6 to pa«B. Tbe iAh, &t tk^^ hillbcitt, 

vfet^ covered ^ih gtai^d, tod yi^d^ iio o(9i^tc^ 

getation than a few stunted bushes. The \^ll6^ 

had Worn rtfts deep Ihto ttfe ^Ock, Whidi se^tned 

to be rather a mhsA of eottcrdtM gttt¥el, thto httd 

stone, and ilnafiy pieces dl ^ti^ed lirood hif 

strewed about. It is tdibaricable, ih&t w h eif^tet 

these petrifoctions were fotkiidy lli^ A(nl iVtts '((il|li^ 

dtt(3tire, and th^ ^onnd de^ili^ of Verditfo. Hid 

erening being far adtto6ed, We in^ but Mr tkttiL, 

Those whitAi we did obs^tte W^ite drAwii tsu^ Vf 

a pair Of oien, and of a lelAgik dliiintiiportiotntte tor 

the breadth, to allow space foi* l^e dCirtfleli pOtt 

tl»t cOittaiAed the oil. Xt i^ i tti&ttei* of snr- 

j^tise to HB, how ihey cOhld cOhVey sildi brittle 

Witi^, wi^ utty degi^ df itof^, 6Vt^ do I'l^ged « 

read. Eadi pdt W«ls |yacked ih it itei^flrdte baafk^ 

aMd laid on i^trttw ; fadtwiibrisnding wMdh ^ptetaH^ 

tkiin> thl; p&tm^ 01 i^e Way was streW^ widi tho 

Mgtnehts Of the testok, ttnd Wet with dA ; for tit 

cufo dan pfidveitt the {ractizre of some in et^eiry joidK* 

ney. Ai^WeapproachedlJiepits^whidiWeronioreifii^ 

tlfiM^than we Imd hnagitied, the country became h^ 

ttoeveb^ and the soO prodticed herbage ; it Wfts^^srif 

dwk when we reached them, and ihe tabottrl^ 

bad retired from work. There seemed to be a great 

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XMBA^'ir VO AVA. ' 1&9 

Many j^ WHite II eliMiil cortpa^ WdMhgtofhe 
imtif^iy we fottiid the tepettare iabetit fontr feet 
«^[ttn*e, «iid l9ie «ide6 ad fkt- to vre cmdd see dfyWh 
«h^re lined tHth timbeir ; tlie o9 ii dntwn up in aA 
htHi pot, ftet«ied to a rope parsed over a woodeil 
6^nder, ivliich itevdves on lb axis finpported hf 
two npHght pom. When the pot is filled^ two 
ttien tiike the tt>pe by ihe end, ^d tun down a decli" 
intf, Whidi is cut in the gtt)tind, to a distailce eqtd- 
ralent to the depth of tiife welL Thus, when they 
i^eaeh the end of llieir tttu^k, the pot is r&ised to 
its proper elevalaon ; ihe contents, watet and oil 
ta^kher, aare then disdmrged into a cistern, tmd 
Hm water is Idterirards drawn off through a hole 
m -the bottom. Oitr guide, an fcdive hltelligeni 
MhW, Went to a neigh^tfiing hmtse and proctkred 
d well tope, by means of WMoi We Were emibled td 
measure the dei^th, and ascertained it to be thiMy- 
BtfVen fittthoms ; biit df the quantity of oil at l^e 
frcyCftdtnWe coiild iipf Judge, "The orwuer df the 
i^ope, who followed our guide, affirmed, ittkt tl^ett 
ft pit yielded as-much as Came up to ihe waieft bf 
dl ik inaii. It was deetned tole^bly productive. H 
it I'eadied to his nedc, it Was iflbundant ; btlt that 
Which l-dse no higher than ^e knee Was accounted 
indifferent. When H weH is exhausted, they re- 
store the spring by (rutting deeper into ihe rock, 
Which is extremely hdrd ih those pla^s where the 
oil is produced. Gotemtnent farm out the ground 
^ifct supplies this ttsefnl commodity ; and it is a- 
^In let to adventurets, who dig wdis at iheir own 
haiiiatrd, by which they sometimes gain, and often 
Id6e, as tl^ labour and expense of dlgghig are cott« 
siderable. The oil Is sdd on the spot for a ittere ' 
trilte; I ^Ml two or three hundi^d p<rts for ft 

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^00 EMBASSY TO AVA. 

lackal, or half-a-crown. The prindp^l obarge 10 
incurred by the transportation and purchase of yea- 
sels. We had but half gratified our curiosity when 
it grew dark, and our guide urged us not to re-, 
main any longer, as the road was said to be infest- 
ed by tigers, that prowled at night among the 
rocky uninhabited ways, through which we had to 
pass. We followed his advice, and returned, with 
greater risk, as I thought, of breaking our nepks 
from the badness of the road, than of being de- 
voured by wild beasts. At ten o'clock we reached 
our boats without any misadyenture. 

We left Yaynangheoum before simrise, and, 
committing ourselves to the current, glided almost 
imperceptibly down the stream, the boatmen lying 
in idle ease, some on the roof, and others on the 
lateral platforms of the vessel ; whilst their only 
occupation was singing, praying, and sleeping by^ 
turns. The present manner of passing their time,, 
was a contrast to what they experienced on the, 
former journey, during which their labour had been . 
excessive and without intermission. They all ap-. 
peered pleased to return to Rangoon, where t$e. 
necessaries of life are much cheaper than at tlio 
capital. We lay this night near the town of Pa-, 
tanago, a place already noticed. Walking out in 
the afternoon, I started several hares. The coun- 
try abounds in game, and is beautifully diversified 
with hanging woods and rising grounds. 

The fleet parted from Patanago very early. Dr. 
Buchanan's boat going ahead of the rest, he reached 
Loonghee half an hour before his companions, and, 
profiting by his celerity, went on shore at this ro-. 
mantic spot, where we had passed several days on, 
our^ journey upwards. He walked to some dis-. 

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taiiM, in ti^ hope of ftodiitg fruit (m a ir^ whkh 
vhom fotr mOfiths bef<^ h^ hftd left in the earliest 
ttage ef blossom ; Imt the fhiit bad sinoe that time 
ripened and decayed, and the tree was now pnt^ 
ling fbith fresh dowers^ Between ibia place and 
Meeaday, there are seveltd ridges df low hills, 
dothed with wood, and destitnte ef cnltivatton^ 
Whidb my people said wei^ tlie haiKMA of muneroas 
.iSgers and elephants. At sttteset we gei to Meea- 
day, and perceived a nnttber ef boats fittteaed to 
€tie bank below tiie town, and anong e^ets we 
distinguished that of ^ Maywoon of Pegue. I 
immediately sent a message to his hottse^ noising 
bur arriyal, and in rettim received a eivil reply^ 
expressing a desik-e to see me. 

On the following tooming, about lAtfi o'cbek, 
a tiephW of the Maywoon eame down to welcome 
tts. After conversing some time> I walked with 
him to vidt his relation, by whom I was received 
Wilii every demonstration of friendship* He po- 
^ly flttked me to remain at Meeaday for a day or 
two, and visit his garden and conntry house. But 
an the season was advanced, I fell solidtons to »• 
^oid ttnneeessaiy^elay, and therefore excused m/- 
self. In fact, our stay would hate put him to an 
teconvetdence, havif^ business, he siidd, to adjust 
on his estate, which would employ him for seve^ 
tal days, but he etpei^d to arrive at Rangoon as 
soon as ourselves. On my expressing a desire to 
see some of the monntaineers caUed Kayn, ha 
obligitigly offered to send one of fals attendants to 
a village a few miles offjr inhabited by Aese peo- 
ple, with directions to bring some of them for our 
inspection, dressed in liie proper gaib of their coun- 
try. I undenstood from Uim ika^ sbee our de- 

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20? EMBASSY TO AVA. 

parture fi*om Umroerapoora^ not less than :50,OOj9 
persons had left that city, in the tndn of the seve? 
ral princes and men of rank, who, after paying 
homage at the golden feet, had returned to their 
respectiye governments. When I took leave, h^ 
ordered a pur of horses to he brou^t from his 
stable, and requested my acceptance of thenv 
They were very handsome, and one was of an u^r 
common colour, having a number of circular blade 
^pots on a milk white sldn. In return, I pre8ente4 
bun with a marquee made of European canvas^ 
lined with English broad doth, and my rifle'^barr 
relied gun, which I more highly valued. 

In the evenii^ I walked over grounds which f 
had often trode before, livery thing in this dis- 
trict seemad to be flourishing. The peasants and 
farmers acknowledge, in the Maywoon, a mild an^ 
beneficent landlord. If they were not so opulent 
as some, they were not so poor as many othersw 
Content, I thought, shone in every countenance, 
and comfort appeared to be an inmate of every 
dwelling. In my walks I saw a good deal of garne^ 
and shot a henza, or Braminy goose. The nar 
tives, although it is the symbol of their natioo^ 
hpld the bird in no estimation. It is somewhat 
larger than a barnacle ; the plumage is beauUfuly 
but the flesh indifferent. 

Next morning, on my return from a long ride, 
I found a number of people collected on the banks 
opposite to our boats. These, I learned, were the 
Kayn, or mountaineers, with their conductors, for 
whom the Maywoon had sent on the preceding 
day. I desired that the principal man and woman 
should be brought on board. This curious couple 
were dressed in their best attire, c(msisting of an 

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EMBASSY t6 AVA.7 203 

iR gimped weev^d coat made of coai-se black cot-' 
r ton cloth. That of the ftian was much shorter 
than the woman's, Botii were bordered with stiipes 
6f white, red, and yellow. The man had a belt 
drer his right shoulder, from which was suspended 
ii pouch, ornamented with strings and small shells. 
Oii their heads they wore fillets nearly in the Bir- 
man manner. To the woman's were fastened tas- 
sels, composed of the Calyptria of the Buprestis 
tgaiteu She had also decorated her neck and arms 
with many strings of beads and cowries ; but the 
ttioet remarkable part was her face, which was tat- 
tooed all over in lines mostly describing segments 
o^ dreles. This ceremony, which in some other 
countries is performed on the parts of women not 
pnblidy exposed, among tKe Kayn is confined whol- 
ly to the visages of their females, to which, in the 
eye of an unaccustomed beholder, it gives a most 
Extraordinary appearance. The aspect of the wo- 
Mon, though she was not old, nor in other respects 
ng^, from the effect of the operation was truly 
ludeons* I asked the origin of the custoni. This 
lliey did not know, but said it had existed from 
tim^ immemorial, and that it was invariably per- 
fovfned on every female at a certain age. I im-' 
med&ately employed my painter to make a drawing 
of these singular figures, in the attitude in which 
tiiey stood before me-*-a task which he performed 
m two hours, with great exactness, and drew strik- 
ing resemblances. There was some difficulty in 
faking a likeness of the man, who was alarmed 
and restless,'^ from a supposition that we were im- 
posing magical spells upon him'; but the woman 
stood still with her hands cro«sed, apparently in 
porAjd- good humout*'and content. They spoke 

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204 EMBASSY TO AVA. 

the Plrmiui language indi&f^itlyc w4 to fifhlqr 
to engoge their attontiai^ w^ 9s}c9d tjie nmn aey^ 
T9\ qoestumsi whara he Aifiei^ fp g9 wheq be 
died ? He r^edy that he diould again bequiiQ 
a child* Who will make you g clM ? " Tb^ 
Meuazivg/* Who aro the Moim^ag? ^^ Th^ 
&ther md motbor <tf th9 world, who grpnr qa i^ 
e^ulh as two treea in a field, ime e^er ff^n^ itm 
other dry* " Wh«t he meant l^y $fai« jivelfip.hpir 
we could m>t teU, ^paien^ it was ^ typa of suci^^s- 
fiive aod eternal reDOT^tien and decay. He a44^ 
that the Mowmng fs^ided Qn the great Bao! i ji> MH yi 
Qoowa, where ^ itiaagaa ^ th^ dead are 4qH>r 
sited. They had m Maa of a place of fa^^p^ ra^ 
wards and p.upjs hi pe n ta, and dea^ th« ^pi^i^f# i^ 
sin iw Aeir com^, TJittf io »ot p«lf wMs^ 
living, because they eannot, jn |;hia Jtfe, l»e ^ 
Mounziag, hi^ tbey tbic^ that ^JMr mwfi» 9^. 
to the«i after mo^ti demmh TVy bww lAf*r 
dead, a^d afterwards ooUeat lh«^ wihm m m Jmh 
whidi th^ fi(^¥^ to« himsei w*^% if *« app 

contain the relic9#f a inaa, they feai^ ^ si^ 4»y^ 
if « woman, Si^e; after whieh it k iPmmi U> 4k* 
place of i^termem^ a«4 4iH>«Mle4 i» A |99^e» ^m4 
on the sod that eorien i|, is laM a weod^ i^Nii^ 
of^deceaaed, t^Pff»y»>th» M ff i a mBg >^iiBQr 
tect the komft mi af^e«r 

I^eae are the rede aie$i«DB^rc%K# (cw^ert^^ 
ed by the bflrmtesa pitaagbifc xaee ^t inhabit ^ 
Ifffty inou^taias whieb difidfe Ai^a^en froq» Av% 
^wh^, as children ^fiatiaret delighting in ij^ 
^d and native fie^oa^t are fer Ifca.nioat pa^ m*, 
superably averse t(^ bold any comnieiiee wi<^ IJb^ 
people of the plaina. Tb# BiraM^s, since iAe q<Mf^ 
iueet of Amkmy bare ^mpett^d .meny^ and ifir^ 



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hired ft hw, to sdt^Q ia vilUigef «t th«biit|Bg^ 
the hiUa, wfaeie liKBy ve ti^^d with a humaniliy 
that teiuli to c(»ieili«te them to their upw aud 
more cijivitieed stete. A liurge proporti^i of K^y^ 
ai^, hpireTor^atilliD^p^ndrat.^ The Birm^ns ha¥iO 
not yet ««med fiacrilegieu^ invasion to their ho\y 
mountwn, which fvobahfy is not worth mcf^jtmog* 
When ft Kftyn dies within the jurisdiction of the 
Knaan^ the rations of tho deceased always oon* 
"^y the urn, and the image ci the departed person, 
to Gnowa, there to deposit them m liallowed 
earth* These pe^le have no letters, nor any law,. 
CBDoept eastern. To Ma the Birraans prudently 
ioftve th^n, never int«:£9ring in their muniapal 
' Bfid soeial eeoaomy* 

Onr oonosily heing satisfied, we left Meeaday 
as soon as the paiatw had finished thf drawings* 
Tlie comHry through which w« sailed this day had 
a pleasing appeeranee; i^>ots of coltivatiim and 
fivquent towns skirted the river, while smsll hills 
dodied wilh treies ^roso behind them. We passed 
in onr Wftf thi^ragh ft 4ack of thirty or foity e)e^ 
rhaate, v4m wens swjmmiwg across the nver, oaiv 
rying ihm liders en tbn^ necks* Those were aU, 
firaifttsS) and hod he«n#i»ployedinhnnl^»g.thok 
own spader* Males Bttd seMm «ied hy ^ Bir-r* 
mans for tfawt pw^ose. Late in the evenong wo 
hitssigtit to it ft smaU town ^called iNilioo, wbons> 
there IS ft enstonrfioiiae, having now oi«le9ed the. 
goiremmeiit of the PHnoe of Prome. 

Wo got m^der way eaidy the ensifting morning 
and ftbcmt two o'olook stored at the lower suh^ 
uAs of Frtmo, in Ae midirt lof a graat oonoowae* 
of iMftts. Landing aiir hosmtk we ffoda in tho 



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Wi EMBASSY to AVA. 

eyening to view the site of a very ancient city, 
which ages ago was the residence of a dynasty of 
Pegue kings, before their country had submitted 
to the Binnan yoke. On onr right, we left a large 
temple named Shoe Sanda Fraw, situated on an- 
eminence, round the foot of which were several 
kioums, or monasteries. Pursuing a southerly di- 
rection, we came on a level road leading through^ 
weU cultivated fields, interspersed with groves of 
tall palmyra trees. We observed the channels of 
two rivers at this time almost dry, but which in 
the rainy season roll down an impetuous current 
fh>m the mountains, and empty their waters into 
the Irrawaddy. By iJiese streams, teak timber is 
floated from the forests during the monsoon, and 
is sold here very cheap. A plank three inches 
thick, and from sixteen to twenty feet long, may - 
be purchased for a tackal, or half a crown. The 
soil in the neighbouriHKHl of Prome i6 remarkably • 
weU adapted for gardens, and we met seteral per- 
sons carrying loads of fruit on their heads to mar- 
ket. The evenmg was fat advanced before we 
reached Yettee, on entering which we passed 
through an old gateway, that a|^>eared to be nar- 
rower, but of greater depdi, Aan any we had yet 
seen ; indeed the ruinous state both of the gste^ 
way and l^e wall rendered it difficult to judge ao- 
c^UTrtely of their dimensions. Wkhhi we could 
distinguish nothing but homes and fields, and it 
was now too late to exphnre the antiquities of the 
I^jice. Two intelligent men, whom we overtook 
riding along the road, informed us, that it had once 
be«i a great fortified city of a square form, each 
e*i8 measunng a space equai to two miles and a 
half; that it had flourished for several centuries 



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EMBASSY TO AVA. 1^07, 

bef<Nre the fall of the Pegue monarchy; and that 
the yestiges of the imperial palace and a \arge tem- 
ple were etill remaining. 

During our ride we observed two caravans of 
waggons drawn up in a circular form, in the same 
manner as th<^ we had remarked at Meeaday on 
omr jomney to the capital. Here, however, the 
nmnber of carta was much greater; one of the 
caravans containing not less than a hundred, which 
were disposed in two circles, one within the other, 
presentmg a very formidable barrier against the 
assaults either of men or of wild beasts. They 
were chiefly loaden with gnapee and salt fish, and 
had come from a tpwn called Omow, situated on 
the banks of a lake, where fish is caught in such 
abundance, as to constitute an article of commer- 
cial exportation. The road in this direction seem- 
ed to be well made, and much frequented. The 
Ledegee, or steersman, of Dr Buchanan's boat, 
who had travelled by land from Prome to Ran- 
goon> a journey of six days, said, that it was equal- 
ly good the whole way. Timber and stone flags 
are the principal articles of export trade at I^ome. 

Wh^tt the day broke we resumed our journey ; 
the temperature of the air was now extremely plea- 
sant, and the. mornings and evenings cool. At 
sunrise, the quicksilver in the thermometer stood 
at 67 degrees. In the earlier part of this day, the 
villages, particularly those on the east bank, had a 
very inviting appearance, from the orchards of 
plantain, mango, and other fruit-trees, with which 
they were surrounded. After passing Peinghee, 
the country assumed a rougher aspect. The river, 
at the narrow strait where our boat had been' 
wrecked on the way up, did not now run with 

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206 MMBABlFt TO ATA. 

such rapid vlolenee as before. Just above Hr- 
roupmion, we passed a large island covered with 
reeds and brushwood, which the boat people said 
was much infested by tigers. The handsome town 
of Kainggab was situated below it. We conti- 
nued our course till after dark> and passing the 
lights of the long and populous dty of Mayahoun, 
formerly Loonzay, brou^t to M tne west bank, a 
liule to the southward of the toWft; but it was 
too late to think of landing, 

Kext morning (Nov. iSd^JI Tn^ put df, ftt an 
early hour. In the middle of the preceding night 
I had been alarmed by a scene of c&scotd between 
the boatmen and my people, which had nearly pro- 
duced serious consequences, llie Biilnans have* 
a superstitious abhorrence of any person's passing 
over them when they are asleep ; it is deemed ft 
great indignity, as well as injurious from the ap- 
prehended effects of supernatural agency. Ine 
tM>atmen usually slept either on the roof of the 
boat, or on the platrorm projecting from the sides, 
whilst my people occupied the^ inner part. It hap- 
pened that in the night, one of the soldiers went 
out on the platform, and, regardless of the Bir-v 
mans who were taking their rest, stepped Over 
tiiem without ceremony, most likely ignonlnt of 
their prejudice, and perhaps half ameep himself. 
One of the Birmans, however, chanced unluddly 
to be awake, who, jumping up, instantly attained 
the offender with his fists ; a scuffle ensued, at- 
tended with no small outcry. The other Birmans 
rose, and armed themselves with the bamboos that 
were kept for oar handles. The soldiers flew to 
their bayonets, and my servants were preparing to 
take their part^ In this dtata of hostility I came 

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209 

among them, just time enough to prevent mischlei 
The Sei^ee of Rangoon and the Ledegee at length 
pacified the enraged crew, and I ordered my own 
people to return to their hirths. This accident 
produced no future enmity, and it was the only 
disagreement that occurred. The Birmans, though 
sometimes irascihle, were in general extremely 
good tempered, and seldom refused to accommo- 
date the colars (strangei*s), even at the expense of 
their own convenience. 

We rowed all this day through a country not 
80 well cultivated or so thickly inhabited as that 
we had passed on the preceding. A little below 
Shainwah, a considerable branch of the river takes 
a south-westerly course, leading, we were inform- 
ed, to Bassien; it is called Keidowa, and some- 
times Anon Kioup, or the Western River. The 
Arracan mountains were visible in the north-west 
quarter. We brought to after dark, a little above 
Henzadah, under a reedy bank, from which we 
were invaded by myriads of troublesome insects. 

The following day brought us, without any re- 
markable incident, to Denoobew. The high bank 
anrf beautiful situation of Terriato or Mango vil- 
lage, on the west side, tempted me to go on shore. 
It is a charming spot. Tlie town is inconsider- 
able, but the houses are neat and commodious. 
Denoobew, where we arrived after sunset, is dis- 
tinguished by a fine temple, and is also celebrated 
for its manufeu^tory of mats, which ai*e made here 
in beautiful variety, and superior in quality to what 
are fabricated in any other part of the empire. 
Long reeds and grass skirted the banks during the 
greatest part of this day's journey 
s 2 



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210 EMBAiSSY TO AVA. 

ProiA Deiiorobew to Yangab Cfaakga!!, l!he lirer 

netvefi nearly a direct course. About ten o*clock 
le morning of the 15tb, we got to the entntoce 
of the Panlang river, where it separated from fh^ 
great stream, in the same mamier as the Hoogl^f . 
does from the Granges. The principal branch, pur- 
suiikg a soullierly ^comise, divides, as it approaches 
{he sea, into a nnmber of channels, which are filled 
by the tide, and are fcHr the most part navigable. 
The river we now entered is called by variotts 
names, Ashay Kioup, or the Eastern River, Pan- 
lang River, and Rangoon Riter, the width of which 
did not exceed four hundred yards. The eastern 
bank is within the jurisdiction of Pegtie ; but the 
opposite country k included in the province of 
Dalla, and is governed by a person of a mudi lesii 
dignified title than MaywooU. Through ^e high 
reeds which on each side oveitiung the water, se- 
veral, pathways Were made leading to Carrian tH- 
iages. As we passed, I perceived ft watereomrse^ 
which my people said came ft6ih a lake called 
Mallatoo. We had now reached the place, where^ 
in going up, we had been so severely teftssed b^ 
mosquitoes, iond again felt their venomous in- 
fluence. They even assailed us in the day-time, 
and in such numbers, that We were obliged to for- 
tify our legs with boots, aiid put on thi(!lk gloves, 
whilst by continually fiappiii^ with aA handker- 
ciiief, we endeavoured to defend our faces. But 
no sooner had darkness commenced, than thesd 
troublesome bisects redoiibled their attacks, hi 
such multitudes, of su6h a. size, and so poisonous, 
that 1 am persuaded If an Eurc^ean with a deli- 
cate skin were to be exposed uiicovered to their 
ravages for one night, it would nearly prove fatal. 



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EMBASSY TO AVA. 21 1 

Even tbe Bimran boatmen, whose tItAsii ore xiot 
easily penetrated, cannot repose tiritiiiii their a<v 
tion ; and my Bengal servants actually cried out 
in torment. I lay in boots with my clothes on, 
and a double napkin over my face, and even thud 
could procure no rest. About nine d'ckfck we 
anchored below the town of Panlang, being unable 
to stem the tide ; and at deven my people hailed 
a strange boat coming with the flood, that rowed 
towards us. Instantly I heard an European voice, 
to which I had not of late been accustomed, and 
soon recognised that of Captain Thomas of the 
Seahorse. I had sent an express when we were 
at Meeaday, to apprise him of our approach, and 
desire him to get ready for sea. He had learned 
from a small vessel that we were at hand, and 
came thus far to meet us. It being impossible to 
sleep, we passed the night in conversation. The 
account he gave of his treatment by the municipal 
government of Rangoon during my absence, and 
of the conduct of the Birmans in general towards 
his crew, was perfectly sati^actory. He had un- 
rigged his ship during the monsoon^ and covered^ 
the decks widi an awning of mats, as a protection 
against the weather. Being id possession of a 
tcderably commodious house, near the quay, he ob- 
ligingly offered' me a room in it. Of this I availed 
myself, having no intention to remain at Rangoon 
longer than was absolutely necessary, and hoped 
to limit my stay to a v«ry few days. At midnight 
we got under way, and brought to again at six in 
the morning. The banks on each side of the river» 
do not indicate much cultivation in its neighbour- 
hood ; but of the state of the interior country we 
could not judge, being prevented by tbe bu6h«:f 



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2l2 EMBASSY TO AVA-. 

and tall reeds from seeing any distant objects. At 
ten o'clock the boatmen resumed their labour, and 
we passed on the left a very miserable village 
named Teetheet. We were again obliged to an- 
chor on account of the tide, and early on the 
morning of the 17th of November landed at Ran- 
goon. 



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CHAPTER X. 

IMPERf At ORDEii BEGIStERfiD At tHE RIlOOM 
REFLECTIONS ON OUR COMMERCE AND CON- 
NEXION WITH THE BIRMAN EMPIRE — RECEIVE 
A VISIT FROM THE M-^YWOON—r ACCOUNT OF 
A CARRIAN VILLAGE — BIRMAN GAME Ot 
CHESS— INSTANCE OF A tRIAL BY ORDEAL — 
LETTER FROM THE MAYWOON TO THE GO- 
VERNOR-GENERAL — TAKE LEAVE — EMBARK 
ON BOARD THE SEAttOfeSfi — VOYAGE TO BEN- 
GAL — CONCLtfSION, 

The Maywoon of Pegde dUired lit Rflngoon a 
few hours after we had Idnded. t paid him a vi- 
sit on the followiiie morning,^ and apprised him of 
my^ intention to sau for Bengal in a few days, when 
he politely Said, 'that he would continue at Ran- 
goon untH we depai-ted. He informed me, tliat 
the orders for canying into effect the ktte regula- 
tions wcpild be publicly read and registered at the 
Rhoom on the followhig day ; and he invited me 
to send a confidential person to be present at the 
ceremony ; adding, that the records were always 
open to public inspection, and that whoever chose 
might at any time procure a copy, by paying a 
trifling fee to the officer oi the court. 

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914 EMBASSY TO AVA. 

It may not be improper, in this stage of my 
narmdve, to <^er a few observations on the r^Bf 
tire connexion that subsists between the British 
possesMons in India and the fiirman empire; to 
point out the con^nerdal objects that render the 
intercourse desirable, and the political necessity 
there is fot our preserving such a degree of na- 
tional inflnence with that government, as may en- 
able Bs hereafter to coonteract aaf attempts to di- 
minish onr weight, or to erect an alien power, 
that might eventually injure onr interests, and 
even one day rival our authority. The propriety 
of discussing a subject of so much moment natu- 
rally suggests itself; but a moments reflection 
serves to convince us, that it ought not to be pass- 
ed over in silence. It is too true, that the im- 
portance of the objects is hidden only from our- 
selves. Those against whom it is most incumbent 
on us to guard, are well apprised of their extent 
and magnitude ; but even were i^ otherwise, the 
security which is to arise from the suppression of 
points of general knowledge, is folladous and with- 
out dignity. Pkudence requires that the transac- 
tl<ms of a cabinet should not be divulged ; but that 
policy must be very short-sighted which attempts 
to conceal from the world what every person may 
discover — ^the bounties of Providence, the products, 
resources, and local advantages of a great em- 
pire. 

British India is more deeply concerned in her 
commerce and connexion with that part of the 
Birman empire called Pegue, than many persons^ 
ii^ other respects intimately versed in the afiairs of' 
India, seem to be aware. This interest points t^> 
three distinct objects; first, to secure from tliat 



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BMBASSt to AVA. tiH 

qmrter regular supplies of tamber to sXiijMMuhti*^ 
idg, without which the Britisk marine of India 
eoM exist but on a very contracted scale ; se-* 
dendly, to introduce into that country as mudi of 
&wr manufactures as its consumption may require/. 
iKd to endeavour to find a mart in llie soutit-west 
<knainions of China, by mentis of the great tmt! 
of Ava ; thirdly, to guard with vigilance against^ 
e^eiy encroachment ^or adyanee whidi may be- 
made by foreign nations to. divert the trade into* 
other channels, and obtain a permanent setdmnent^ 
in a country so contiguous to the capital of our 
possessions. This last consideration supersedes all 
others in the magnitude of the consequences that' 
might ultimately result from it. 

- It is impossible to impress my reader^ by any^ 
stronger proof, with the vast importance of ilie' 
Pegue trade, than briefly to state, that a 4^itible ' 
vessel * of burden cannot be built in the river of 
Bengal, except by the aid of teak plank, which is • 
procurable from Pegue alone ; and that if the tim- 
ber trade with that country should, by any act of 
powers be wrested fnmi us, if it should be lost by 
nusfcnrtune, or forfeited through misconduct, tho;^ 
marine of Calcutta, which of late years has proved^ 
a source of unexampled proi^erity to our principal^ 
89ttlement, f essentiaUy ben^t^d tbfi parent coun- 

- *■ Ships hove been eonsCnicted of saul wood, mid «f t>- ' 
tMr iitdi|enotis timber of Bengal; bat on trial ihey were 
iK>t found to be sarioeable. '^ ' 

f The following I'emarkable instance of publ!c spirit 
wfH evince the advantu^ that haire dready been derited 
by the fMureiit conntty Irom the marine of Indifli, and the 
Ijei^etit that may in future be expected. '■-■■■ 

In'4lie year 1794, when the horrors of impending fa-* 
mine i^^avated the miseries Of war, the Secret Oamai^ 

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216 94iMS8|r WQ AVA- 

Hy^ aid gtreft hwn^nibte tHENenee «q bOjiviitwkr 
nuurt bfi' radnoed A^iflf (f» »iimbU»tiD«, withwl 
ths^postiti^tf of our Imt^ Me tQ ind «iiy wl^^, 
()Mte«iibslit«l0forib» iva^BrUof wlm^ii^ 
be jdqMTty^ Widiin the last m yewrs, e<»Ae of 
tbft iSttife nwtiefaint sfaipe evier sem ia ibe nrmt. 
Uttmea fatve amred inm Ciiloiiti^ ■* wliMse tbejr. 
were imibef teak tunbers tmd, uller liQlirering' 
fainal^' oirgoas in Loadoo, ir«re laMliiUf em- 
{doyed ib the service of the otaie. Ker irevld iIm 
iilwli'ititkMi ef the Fefpue irnde be confiiied aol^y^ 
lA Its eflEbcst^ to Bengal* Tht other fetlteieBti 

t«e ff ^e Court of Pi|:Qptor9» at the recommendation of 
hi8 Majesty's tniAisters, transmitted by express to Lord 
I'eigninoutii, then GovertiOr-geiiena of India, kitdli^nee' 
of Ike cahmhf tfia^ ttumte^ed e#ea* Britaiim desirkig 
^vtiafenr aidthe<70ir«rnoMntof JEndia^iddw^phr, Qf^, 
rf^pt of th9 despatphf the Governor-geQeral, with that- 
promptitude And ehergy wMch distinguished his adminis- 
tration, exerted the influenefe of govemmetat witfi sudi' 
efSbei, am 14UiaO tons #f diip^ng, Bhmowt^et^tiniy laiia, 
hmkfVfOp^ Anai^ted l» caip^ aica ^> S^iglaod; nod ww^ 
loaden and cleaned from the port of Calcutta in less than 
five months from the d»te of the arrival of the letter. 
'This BUpplr, with the exc^vtioti of the casualties df Hie 
sea, ar^ei nuMt opportunalf f4r Ikm relief of Jim paoit «f 
I^todoB, and raduc^d lib4 piu »t thatiB»seUe9taftM4# of 
food to thre« halfpence a pound. So extraordinary an 
exertion is neither so widely kao\9m, nor so justly appre» 
dated, as St merfts. It is « ei^ptHRfltati«e uShtdi tieflects 
the highest credit on all the parties concemed, and de- 
serves «» lie lEaeorded, kt toder ^dQc)fp» tQfi^pte^tjf the 
TMt roMVreea io( Xhmt Briftin, wbiok vm 0Qa^4«4 ^ 
dhtw seasonable supplies of proiwiott ^ the relief of tlp^ , 
me«ropotls, fiKW oc^nies situated at#ie ditMnoa (^ year- 
ly tw#-libinla t)f tha equa^oriail flbeHmimMe of the gkHmk 
* %:^ ,Qiwra a9d ^b0 ^i^ahrial^ iHitit nt Ca^^ of 
Pegue timber, are nov in 4he river, and exhibit no eom- 
temptiblft ^adnnens of thie naval architecture of India. 
Tbe.polt of Cakutia can fuwiih 40^000 toMof aluffutg. 



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EMBASSY TO AVA. 817 

would aen^ly abare in the loss. Madjras i» 9up- 
plied from Rangoon with timber for all the com- 
mon purposea of domestic use; and even Bom- 
bay^ although the coast of Malabar is its princi- 
pal storehouse, finds it worth while annually to 
import a large quantity of planks from Pegue. 

But whilst it is adyantageous to us to promote 
the exportation of timber from the maritime towns 
of Pegue, it is as manifestly our interest to dis- . 
courage the building of ships in tlie Rangoon riyer, 
where, the construction is facilitated by local ad- 
vantages equal to those of any port in the world, 
and superior to most. The progress made in this 
art * by the Birmans ha« of late years been rapid* 
and increases in proportion as foreigners can ptaca 
confidence in the Bimian goyemment. Wheii 
merchants find that they can build with security in 
the Rangoon river, for one^third less cost than in 
the Ganges, and for nearly half of what they can 
at Bombay, few will hesitate in their choice of a 
place. It is said, that the ships of Pegue are not 
80 firmly constru<^ted as those built in our portSi^ 
and in general this assertion is* true. But the de- 
fect does not arise from want of materials, but be- 
cause the owners were ^eculative adventurers, 
without sufficient funds to defray the charges of 
labour and of iron, in which material Pegue ships 
have, by fatal experience, been found deficient. 

* The Superb,* a yery 6ne ship, which wss on thestockf 
when 1 was at Rangoon, has lately delivered a valuable 
<:argo in the river Thames. The Laurestone also, a ves- 
sel of connderable force, which, 1 beUeve/was taken iirto 
die Fflcnch Hne dmiag th« U^ war, wm constnic^d a^ 
the same port. ^ -. 

VOL. II. T 7 



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218 EMBASSY TO AVA. 

Hie diipwrigfatSy however, are as expert as anf 
woitoien of the East; and their models, whkh 
are all from France, ace excellent. The d^siment, 
therefore, that arises to ns from the constmctioa of 
ships at Rangoon, is not less evident than the be^ 
nefit that we derive from importing the nnmana- 
factored materiaL The Iffiormans, sagadonsly 
knowing their own interest, set ns an example ci 
policy, by remitting all doty on cordage, canvas, 
and wrought iron, provided dbese articles are ikma 
fide brought for the equipment of a new vessel. 
The port charges also are not exacted from a new 
ship on leaving the river' to proceed on her first 
voyage. A conduct on their part so wise, sug- 
gests to us the expediency of adopting some mea- 
sures for our own interest. An alien duty, or a 
modified disqualification, would probd)ly, like the 
acts of Parliament in aid of British navigation, 
prove the most effectual remedy. Trade cmmot 
be prosecuted in the Indian seas to any extent, 
except with Bri^h ports. Many objectimis, it is 
true, may be made to such a proposition ; but l^e 
^ood resulting to ns wonJd be immediate and oer- 
imn ; whilst the ill consequences, if any there be, 
are equivocal and remote. 

But if we are called upon, by our interest in a 
commercial point of view, tc check the growth of 
ship>building at Rangoon, how muph more import- 
ant is the subject when seen in a political Ug^t ? 
It is a fact whiph appears to merit some consi- 
deration, and is perhaps not generally adverted to, 
that in a very few years, and at a small compaim- 
trve expei^e, a formidable navy may rise on the 
banks of the Irrawaddy, from the forests of Pegue. 



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BMBASaY TO AVA. 219 

It is probaMy not known, that artificers * are edu- 
cating by our en^nies for that express purpose, 
whilst we eiusoarage their progress in the science, 
by ^cabling them to derire benefit and acquire ex- 
perience at llie same time. National secnrity, 
ther^ore, as well as. mercantile advantage, strong- 
ly wege a vigilant attention to a quarter whence 
like means of ii^nry to ourselves may so abond- 
aptly be drawn. 

• The imports into Rangoon from the British &t- 
ilements, in the year 1794-5, amounted, I was in- 
Imnied, to more than twelve lacks of rupees, about 
135,000^1 starling. ThesS consisted diiefly of coarse 
piece goods, glass, hardware, and bn>ad doth. The 
draoand for &e last article, in the year 1795, was 
' ccmsiderahle. Returns wese made almost wholly in 
timb^. A few unimportant commodities are annu- 
ally carried from Pegne to ^e coast of Pedier and 
ihe Prince of Wales's Island, for the China market. 
The timber trade, though attended with a certain 
■advantage to the carrier, yet, not producing such 
•large profits as a more hazardous venture to the 
Eastern straits, to China, and the Malay coast, is 
seldom prosecuted by merchants of the highest 
commeroal credit, who aim at making a fortime 
by the success of a nngle voyage, for which the 
ship is usually freighted with that valuable and al- 
Inruig drug opium, so eagerly sought after by the 
Chinese, yet so. strictly prohibited by their govern^ 
mmit. Owing to this enterprising spirit among 
m^pchants'in India, a ship is seldom sent to carry 
wood, except wh^i the owners have not funds to 

• The French have long maintained an agent at Ran- 
goon, and are thoroughly acquainted with the advantages 
\rhich the country of Pegue offers. 

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2t0 BMBA^iSY TO AVA. 

pro^dtt B tnorevihiable^cargo; land this uw^ilky fire- 
quentij extends eren to the means of defraying ^^ 
expense of a lading of timber. Hence the mast^ 
of a vessel often finds himself ernhHtrassed ^n/iien 
-on the eve of departure^ and the tfessel Is some* 
times detained by legal demawk whidb he eanndt 
dkchai^e» Difficulty prodtices contentbn^ and 
provokes bitter and generally groundless inveetivi^ 
against the laws of the country, whidi though op- 
jH^ime to the subject> are certainly iesmnt to fo- 
reigners. 

Tknber for MuitiHie pwrpoees is the enly artii^ 
the Birman empire produces of which w<a stand ih 
iBdispensable nefed ; and to fn^mole or «icoarag« 
the culture and exportatioli of ih^se commodfities, 
which form the valuable staples of Britii^ iBdl% 
ahnost all of wbidi Uie kingdom of Ava is di^psy^ 
of yielding, wovdd operate to die manifest injury 
of our own provinces. We leqtiire^ and slMNild se^ 
ior notlnng more than a mart for our manafkctur- 
ttd goods, and) in return, to bring ba^k ih^ un- 
wroi^ht materials. Interference in any olheir' 
Aape appears to be impolitic, and fikely,^ in the 
end, to prove pn^ndidal to ourselves. 

The maritinM ptnts of this great empire aie 
commodious for i^ipping^ and better situated for 
Indian commerce than thoee of any o^ier pow^. 
Great Britain possesses ihe western side of what 
is called the Bay of Bengal ; the government tif 
Ava the eastern ; which is far snpaior te the fop* 
mer in the facilities it a£^rds to navigation. Ftma 
the mouth of the Ganges to Ci^ Comedny ^ 
whole range of our continental territory, tiiere is 
not a singk harbour capable of affording shelter to 
a vessel of five hundred tons burden. It is an un- 

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EMBASSY TO AVA. 221 

broken line of exposed shore, where ships miMt 
ride in c^n roads ; but Ava comprehends within 
her extent of coast three excellent ports — N^iraisy 
the most secure harbour in the bay ; Rangoon, and 
Mergni, each of which is equally convenient, and 
much mora accessible than the river of Bengal, 
which is the only port in ^ur possession within 
the bay. 

The entrance into the river of Bengal presents 
as intricate and dangerous a diannel as any that is 
known. And during three mcmths of the year, a 
ship, in leaving the Ganges, incurs considerable 
hasard from b^ng obliged to beat against a foul 
wind, in shoal w^ter, among surrounding sands ; 
but from the harbour of Negrais a ship launches at 
once into the open bay, and may work to the 
«outhward, without any other impediment than 
what the monsoon opposes. Rangoon, at that 
particular seaiion, is more perilous than Negrais, 
espedally to vessels bound from the Straits of 
Malacca, Pido Penang, and other eastern ports. 
These, if not well acquainted with the violent cur- 
rent setting at that pmod to the eastward, are li- 
able to be deceived in their reckoning, and, imap* 
gining themselves to be fiuther west than they 
really are, some^mes stand too much to the north- 
ward, till they get entangled among the ^loals of 
what is called tibe Bay of Martaban, whence a re- 
treat is very difficult, and ^^ere the tide flows 
.with such impetuosity, and rises so high, ^lat 
anchors are useless, and retard, but for a very short 
period, the impending fete. $hips sailing from the 
westward, by making Cape Negrais, and keeping 
within sight of the coast, until they come near the 
T 2 ■ 



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bar of Riogooo, avwcl those dangws. At erary 
•JLber, seMon Rangoon may be approadied, and 
lehi with perfect security. The j>ar is wtoW) aad 
eontains <bpth of wat^, at tturee-quartess flood, 
jniffici^at for ressels of any burden* The channel 
#f ihe river is unimpeded, carrying from six %9 
eight fathoms as high as the town of Rangoon^ 

Blessed with so extraordinary a coincidence of 
adTantages, arismg from situation, extent^ produce, 
itfid climate, the kingdom of Ava, or more pr<^»ef- 
ly the Birman empire^ is, ftmong Eastern nations, 
second ia importance to China a^oo^, whilst, from 
ills jcontiguity to British Indi% it becomes to as of 
much greater consequence. We can have, no rea- 
aen, in ^ presei^ prosperous state of our affaiss, 
to dread the hostilities of all the native powexa of 
ladia combined. Our hereditary foe is destroyed ; 
and there remains no other, who bears towards «a 
any fixed ot rooted enmity. The 'Birmans cer- 
tainly do not ; but, however favourable thehr nii- 
ftural dispoMtioA may bo, that charac^etisUc pride 
and unbo«inded arrogance which govam their con- 
duct towards other states, may 1^ them to offer 
indignity which we cannot avoid resenting, wid te 
oommik acts <^ aggreauon, as in the a£bir at Chit* 
tag<Mig, which we shall be obliged to repel. . Such 
necesuty is sincerely lo be deprecated. Steadincysa 
and tonper in dur ofigociationB, and a reasonable 
allowance for their mistaken principlea, will go £» 
lo avert the ill consequences that might arise from 
Ib^ haughty and weak assumpti<m. We caan^ 
expe<^ from a proud and victorious people, im? 
I»riessed with an extravagant tendon <^ 4faeir own 
power, Aet reverence which the states of India 
havo been taught to feel for our established cha- 

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BM9AftSY TO ATA. £28 

rhetor, Th^ pnndpal naAmm to tbe east of Bmi- 
gal are to be considered by thenMelrea as a kiod 
of body politic, wholly dii^tiiiet from all others ; 
and io fact Chin% Atb* and the coniitiiet umtk 
ioithemy amtpose a body in extent and nnmber cf 
inhabitants, more Uian eqnal to all Europe. Theae 
nations are connected by a strydag aiobilarity of 
])»aimers and political maxims ; to which, as they 
cannot be suddenly changed, we ought to aaekni- 
late, in our satercourse with their goyeinments, as 
far as the dignity of pur own will p^ftiiit. To pre- ' 
aerre a corre^ond^ace and it good understanding 
wiUi Ihe Court <^ Ava, k eseentially expedient for 
Q^ proqmiity ; but, to the reasons ak^y stated, 
that connexion should not be too intimate. A 11- 
, mited trade and a prepondecatiiig influence, suffi- 
cient to counteract the machinations ctf our ena- 
mies, are the utmost lengths ^t we should go.^ 
'By our not interfering &rther, the Birmans will be 
jBOUvinced ef the moderation and justice of our 
principles, and learn from them to repel the insi- 
dious advanoes of any other power, made with a 
latent view to undemMne their doaaaion, and uhi* 
mately to wvest their country from them. It ia 
oUr interest to maintain, their independence^ and 
to guard it from fMreign encroadiment ; wbakt a 
knowledge <tf tins tn^ cannot frol, in ^e end, to 
un^ the Binaan goyertunent to ours, in bonds of 
reciprocal amity and confidem^ 

Duning the few days that we continued at Bjun 
go<Hm I had the pleasure to inteiv^ange many re^ 
eiprocal marks of civility with the Maywoou^ w/bm 
paid me a Tisit on board the Seahorse; a£ter 
which wet rowed m his war-4)oat to a tery fine shi|» 
belonging to him, whidi had recently been buUt, 



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S24 • EMBASSY TO AVA. 

and) he assored me, was entirelytke wwkmnaAa^ 
of natiye artific^:^. 

Whilst we T^naiBiedhere, Doctor Budia&aii, ao- 
coD^Mmied by one of the officers of the Seahorae, 
made an excnrsicm on hcnseback a few miles ofi^ 
to view a Tillage inhabited by Carianere, the simple 
nual race of pe<^e oi whom mention has i^eady 
been made.* Passing by the great temple of &9ioe- 
dagoangy they proceeded along an indifferent road, 
aboat three miks, till they amved at (me of the 
villages whidi they sought. It contained not more 
than ten or a dosen booses raked on posts, and 
disposed in sndi a manner as to ^uslose a sqirare 
yani, in which were a nmnber of bi^yoes. The 
nead man was gone to a distant ▼ill^;e ; bat one 
of the inhabitttits innted the strangers to enter Im 
dwellings and hospitably offered what his boose 
aff(Htled. The visitants ascended a narrow ladder 
about twdve £Bet lugh into a sort ctf bam, cKyided 
into two by a mat partition. The floor was of 
rough boards, the sides of mats, and a roof, com- 
porad of bamboos, was covered with thatch. At 
night they drew up the ladder, and closing ihe 
dcKMT, sleep secure from the assaults of wild beasts, 
or the depredations of thieves. Seven m ei^t 
men, as many women, and several children, con- 
sdtiri^d a numerous fiuodily. Ttey seemed a healthy 
and vigorous race of people, and were of a fairer 
complexion than the gmienlity of southern Bir- 
OHms. Some of the women wore rich strings of 
cond round ^leir necks, and were even adorned 
with omaments of gdd and silver. I^ey qwak a 
dtaleet peadiar to themselves, but their laaguage 
is rwfically ^ same as ^e Binnan. There are 
. t See Vol. I. p. B42. 

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EMBASSY TO AVA* WK 

IMh Begttd luid Binaate CtMriaiKaB, who ^fkt m. 
the same degree as the natimis to whidi they an 
aUtodiecl. They comf^iUli €i being oj^ressed by 
thd %tkiaiifl ; but their appesraiute did not indkste 
tetene <^pire88k>n, and ^ey haye a certain tala for 
«i4iateTer then* kidwftry can raise* Doctor Btt& 
lianas mm aevend C^aneiv on the road carryi^ 
iMHitetfl ; some gmng for the t>rodace of their gaf«> 
^ns, oth«ns i«t»iiiiig with bnrdeos of frail and 
vegetiMes. Tht life these people lead is ttmiy 
fttmttL lliey have no oUier bneiness or ot^«Pt 
«ieept that of coAtirvtamg the so3, and tending 
titmt flochs. Tieir re%ion is the worship of 
Gandma ; but in tiiese rites they do not job wilk 
file tame ferroor that animates the Birmans ; they 
I9t&mf seem to acquiesce in the doctrines of their 
conquered, which they do not even profess to un*" 
Qeffftand* ^ 

: Dr Bnefa^taaa intmt)gated one of the me% who 
admitted their went of knowledge, and assigned as 
the reason, that God once wrote Ids laws and cem^ 
mlinds on Ae skin of a baffido, and called upon ail 
natiotts of the earth to come and take a copy*--4i 
admnions which all obeyed except the Carianen^ 
who had Jiot leisure, being occupied in ^e business 
of husbandry ; and that, in. consequence of this ne** 
gtect, they remained ever since in a state, of ignoi^ 
ance, without any other cares than those wludi re*- 
lated to their pastoral employment. On going 
away Dr Buchanan offered ^em a law pieces of 
sttrer, which so excited their sur[Hrise, bemg quite 
unaeoQstomed to such acts of libendity, that ^ey 
hesitated to receive the money, and seined at a 
loss to what motive to ascribe his bounty. Ait»r 
looking at one another, and talking for a minute 



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226 EMBASSY TO AVA. 

or two with mach earnestness, the womm, <m a 
sadden, as if his design had just heen discovered, 
all ran away lan^iing, whilst the men sullenly de- 
clined the gift. In &ct, they concluded that tfao 
Doct<Mr wanted to purchase the favonrs of one of 
their females, haying no notion of a disinterested 
dooadon. The ladies, boweyer, did not wait to 
ascertain for whom the gv^en apple was dengaad, 
and it was in yain he tried to con^nnoe ^e men 
that their sni^ttcioBB were ill fooaded. These poor 
paople entertain a ddicacy in regard to.wonotty 
which their more enli^tened conquerors do not 
feel. To proye the purity of his intentioas, how* 
ever, the Doctor left the money on the floor whmi 
he departed. The goxtlemmi retained hy ibe same 
road, and in their way examined a mineral sfmi^ 
in the neighboarbood of the great Pagoda. 

I had an oppcnrtanity, at Rangoon, of obseryk^ 
that the Birmans of dkdnction played at chess, a 
circumstance which, from our secluded sitnation at 
the capital^ had e8<»^ed my notice. This game is 
held in hi^ estimation among the superior raises. 
The board they use is exactly similar to ours, con« 
taining 64 squares, and their number of tro<^ the 
«eme, 16 on each side ; but the names, the pow^ 
and disposal of them, differ essentially. The king 
and his minister (a queea is never introduced by 
the Orientals) are mounted on el^hants. Theier 
are defended by two castles or yettay, two knig^ 
on horseback, Mene, two officers cm foot, one odl- 
ed Meem, the other Chek^, and ei^t Maondelay 
or foot-soldiers. The forces of eacb party are ar- 
ranged OD. three lines, by which eight squares re- 
main unoccapied. None of the pieces possess 
equal force with our queen ; and this restricted 

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EMBASST to AVA. 227 

opemti<m renders the Birman mode of playing 
more complex and difficult than omiB. The Bir- 
raans affirm, that it is a game of high antiquity^ 
utd that it is acknowledged and authorized hy 
llieir sacred writings, although every play of chance 
is prohibited. This testimony confirms * the opi- 
moa of iJie late Sir William Jones, that chess was 
invented in India, and is not, as generally imagitt« 
ed, of Persian origin. The Birmans call it Che- 
dreen, a word that bears some resemblance to the 
nttBe which is given to the game in most other 
parts of the w<N*ld. 

During the time that the English deputation 
w»B>]it Ummerapoora, Captain Thomas witnessed 
at Rangoon a remarkable instance of a trial by the 
ordeal of water, the circumstances of which he 
thus related to me :>-Two women of the middling 
dasB litigated a small property befOTe the' court of 
justice ; and as the judges found great difficulty in 
deciding the question of right, it was at length a- 
greed, by mutusd consent, to put the matter to the 
issue of an ordeal. The parties^ attended by the 
officers of the court, several Rhahaans, or priests, 
and a vast concourse of people, repaired to a tank 
or pond» in the vicinity of the town. After pray- 
ing to the Rhahaans for some time, and p^orming 
certain purificatory ceremonials, the litigants en- 
tered the pond, and waded in it, till the water 
reached their breasts. They were accompanied hf 
two or lliree men, one <tf whom pladng the w<^- . 
men dose to each other, and putting a board on 
thdr heads, at a signal given, pressed upon ^6 

* See a paper on the Indian Game of Chess by the Pre- 
sident of the Asiatic Society, in the 2d voL of Asia^i : Re- 
searches. 



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mm^ 



fM JBMBASST TO AVA. 

boird till be tminenied tbem both fit the^iniA m* 
stant. They remauied out of sight about a minuto 
and m half, when one of them, nearly sufibcatedy 
sBiged her head, whilst the other ccmtinued to sit 
npea h^ haios at the bottom, but was inune^Uate* 
ly lifted up by the men ; after which an i^cer of 
dM court solemnly prcmonnced judgment in her 
. &fonr ; and of the justioe of this deeision none of 
the by<-8tandef8 i^pear to entertain the smaUesI 
doubt, from the infaHihility of the proc€ which had 
beengrren. 

Hie trial by ordeal, in all countries where the 
Hindoo 4^digi<m prerails, is as ancient as their re* 
iords. The late Ali Ibrahim Khan, natiVe chief 
magistrate of Benares, has communicated, in a yery 
curious paper, * the modes by which this appeal 
to the Deity is made, as they are described in th^ 
M^asehera, or Comment on ^ Dlwrma Sastra, 
m the chapter on Oaths. The Birmans, being go- 
verned by the same authority, observe nearlysi- 
milar forms ; but as knowledge increases, and man^ 
kind become more enlightened, these absurd prac- 
tices lose ground, and have of late yean beeii dis- 
countenanced by the ju^ial courts both of India 
and of Ava. 

Previous to our departure, the Maywoon of 
Pegue delivered to my care a letter addressed to 
the Goverftor-general of India, couched in very 
friendly tc^tns, but dictated in the usual ftyle of 
turgid extraTsganee. He enumerated in it tba 
concessions granted in favour oi Ea^^isb amnn^ce, 
and expressed a detj^mina^im to exi^ufe h^ part 

* Thin pAptt was presented to ^e Asiatie Society bj 
Warren Hastings, £^. See " On the Trial by Ordeal a* 
mong the Hindoos,** Jsiat, Research, VoL L 

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BMBAStT TO Air A. tft 

witk pmetttriitf umI atteniM. lift BIrman Mi- 
jetty h9s long entertamed • deure to procure «» 
English carriftge, with the diitliMtiofiis of Birmfta 
myalty attadied to it. In this letter the Maywoonf 
nMe a request that sueh a one mi^ be s^M^; 
and in order to direct the artist^ I was fttHiished 
with a rery inteliigible tad well executed draw- 
ing, * performed at Ummefapoora, by the King^a 
patntar. It di^layed the caniage and body of an 
jBoglish crane-ne^ced chariot, gilded all over. 
fVom the top of the body there rose a regal spi^, 
or piasatfa, in separate stages, bearing a miniature 
reseooiblance to Aose which omanieated the pa* 
laea and royal barge. Foor Hens in a crouching 
at^tade guarded the carriage, two on the fore part, 
and two b^ind ; and a bird, designed, I imagine, 
td represent the Hensa, or tutelary goose, was 
placed in front with expanded wings. The Mny* 
weon's lettor, however, contained a requisition of 
yet greater importance ; which was, to obtain ma^ 
tetials for the establishment of a mint-<^ design 
wy ch, if carried Into effect, f must considlBrably 
promote the prosperity oi the country, as ibe ne* 

* The European part of this drawing was made from an 
old carriage which had been introduced into the Ava coun- 
try 8«Teral years before. The Governor-general complied 
Mrith boiii the requests contained in the Afwam** ktters 
fUid> in the following year, sent a very superb cbaHol tp 
his Birman majesty, constructed according to the represen- 
tation. The top of the spire, notwithstanding the body 
hung very low, wm 1^ feet from the ground. It was ez- 
tfintly Bch and well executed. 

f It is surprising that the Chinese have no ni»tiqnfl ceio. 
At the port of Canton, dollars in some measure supply tbs 
deficiency ; but in the interior of the kingdom, tha incon- 
venience must b« generally fbH. 
' VOL. II* V 



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SM^ XMBAMT TO AVA. 

ctMJty of iv^vii^Wig Umpfl of Imd Mbd sUvser, $iid 
ateerteiaiag tho pittity) <^perate asaaeosible im* 
pedinent to coBOMiee. 

Oe the 2^;h of Noyember^ the day {Kceceding 
llMt of our embfiikatioiiy I waUed on the May- 
woOKi, occompeBied by the gentlemen of the de- 
putation and detain Th4HBa% to take our final 
leayo. I had oceaaion to feel myself indiyidnally 
obliged to Inm for his peraoaal attentions, whilst 
hk mild adminiirtration and pleasing, manners had 
ficqnirad my eateon* He is universally acknow- 
le^^ to be a good man» and seems highly to de- 
serfe that reputaties. I had opportunities of wit- 
newng aerml instances of his benevolence and 
humanity; and, althoi^h his authority within hi|i 
own jonsdictiiMi is i^>8olttte> I never h^d him ac- 
cused of an abuse of hia. power, or <^ a ungle act 
,of qipression or injustice. Sudi a character, in a 
country where Uie meet r^oroua and often barba- 
rous despotism prevails, is entitled to particular 
encomium. We pi^rted with mutual, and, I am 
inclined to believe, not insincere profesoons of per- 
manent good will. • 

On tl^ morning of the 27th, we breakfasted on 
board the Seahorse. Most of the attendants, 
with our heavy baggage, had embarked on the pre- 
ceding day, and at tea o'clock we weig^ied anchor. - 
it had previouidy been agreed, that the Company's 
ship should salute the Birman flag with eleven guns, 
which were to be answered by an equal number 
from the battery <m shore. Captain Thomas per- 
fonned his part of the agreement ; but the battery, 
which was very slow in acknowledging the com- 
pliment, returned only seven. This apparent mark- 
of disrespect, whidi could not be attributed to ig- 

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EMBASSY TO AVA. S81 

norancfiy I conceived rather to origiaate in the per- 
son who had charge of the battery, and who HU^t 
think to recommend himself by H, tiian from any 
higher anthorhy . It was, howeyer, such an osten- 
mble and public slight to the Compan/s colonn, 
that I judged it expedient to write a note to the 
Maywoon, to acquaint him of the foct. 

We dropped ck>wn with the ebb as &r as the 
Chokey, or watch station, from whence the cua- 
tomhouse officer Tisited the Seahorse on her firrt 
airivaL In passing ^e mouth of the P^;ae river, 
we observed that, at the enlniiiee, it was neariy as 
wide as the great river; but that breadth soon di- 
minishes to a very contracted space. Sevraal large 
creeks branchied off both to ihe right and the left, 
wiaaii the pilot sud were navigabb to a considM*- 
able distance by boats of heavy bwden. In the 
evening we ^;&in waghed^ and crossed ^ bar at 
midnight. ]^ly next morning we saw the land- 
mark called the Elephant, and, favoured by the 
ebb, passed the China Bakir river. The wind net 
being strong enough, when the tide turned, to en- 
able us to stem the flood, we again came to anchor, 
bdng In company with a ship named the Hope, 
'bound also to Calcutta. On ^e following morn- 
ing we stood to the southward on the first of the 
ebb, which bore us along widi it against an msfii- 
vourable breeze. On tbs 30th we made Diamoi^ 
Islcind and Cape Negrais, and next day at an early 
hour passed a ship standing towards Rangoon, 
which appeared to have suffisred severely from a 
recent storm, having lost her mion-top uid fore- 
top-gallant masts. Hie wind was at this tone 
north north-west, and a heavy swell from the sama 
quarter indicated that th^ had lately been, a hard 

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SMBASST TO AVA. 

gale,.a vay imusnal circamBiaiice at that soason of 
ike yes/th 

KMfing frithm a few leagues of the coasts we 
^oatiniied to beat agamst an unfayourable wind nn- 
tS ikb 9th of December, when we made Cheduba, 
« fertite island belonging to the Binnan govern- 
ment. The chaniiel between this island and the 
mam is annaaliy navigated by large trading boats, 
bat it does 90t a^Sord a safe passage for shipping. 
The letigth of the island we judged to be about 4^ 
milte. i t yields abondance of ri€e»< and is govern- 
ed by a QMcey, or lieutenant, who is subject to 
the Maywoon of Arracaa. Having now the bene- 
fit of regular land and sea breeses, we were en- 
abled to make some progress to the northward. 
On the. morning of the 11th we saw whatara call- 
ed the Broken Islands, on tibe coast of Airacan, 
^hicli are for the most part a barr.'n assemblage cji 
tfodcy emiiaences, ali^^ng shelter <mly to pirates 
and thieves. On the 12d^ and ISth we experi- 
Cflicfrd mud) inconvenience, the wind, which was 
directly against us, blowing with such violence^ 
that the ship kbojored greatly, and our fore-top-^aU 
was torn from the yard. On ibo 14th the weather 
moderated, and, the wind veering a litde to the 
eastward, we had the good fortune on 1^ 16th to 
discover a pilot sehooner at andior, betwewi the 
eastern and western reefs near the month of ihe 
Ganges. Neap tides prevailing, our passage up 
ihe river was tedious, and the wind coming inva- 
riably from the tiorthem quarter, rendered it ha- 
ttrdous to proceed by night. On the 22d we 
reached Bu^ Budge, where I found a pulwar * 

* A commodious kind of boat used in the rirer 
•Ganges. 

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BMBASSY TO AVA. 233 

waitiiig, which my friend Captain Sandys, as soon 
as he heard of we arrival of the Seahorse, had 
despatched to meet me. At this place I quitted 
the ship, and in two hours reached Calcutta, after 
an eventful absence of ten months. 



XND OF THE BMBASSY TO AVA. 



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NARRATIVE 



OF THK 



LATE MILITARY AND POLITICAL OPERATIONS 



THE BIRMESE EMPIRE, 



80MB ACCOUNT OF THE PRESENT CONDITION OV 

THE COUNTRY, ITS MANNERS, CUSTOMS, 

AND INHABITANTS. 



HENRY O. BELJ., £ia 



EDINBURGH : 
PRINTED FOR CONSTABLE AND CO. 

1827. 



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d by Google 



[No one can have perused the preceding part 
of this work in which an accurate reprint has 
been given of the exceedingly valuable ac- 
count furnished by Colonel Symes of his 
historical researches and diplomatic exer- 
tions in the Birmese empire, without feeling 
conscious that his stock of useful knowledge 
has been increased, and that a desire has 
been excited to know moi'e of a people^ 
in many respects so remarkable. Colonel 
Symes, it will have been perceived, while 
he traces in the distinctest manner the his- 
tory of the Birmese from the earliest pe- 
riod in which we have any authentic tradi- 
tions concerning them, is necessarily, from 
the time in which he lived and wrote, ob- 
liged to stop short just when he has brought 
U9 down to near the commencement of the 

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NOTICE. 

present century, when the transactions which 
began to take place between the British go~ 
yemment in. India, and the neighbouring 
kingdom of Ava, were a^uming an interest 
and importance they had never before pos- 
sessed. Colonel Symes, however, by the 
various sources of information of which he 
had it in his power to avail himself, and 
which he seems to. have exhausted with un- 
abating 2eal and industry, for the advantage 
of his countrymen, has prepared us for un^ 
derstanding these transactions, and for at- 
taching to them an interest with whick they 
might not otherwise have been invested. In 
the sequel, it is hoped that something of a 
succinct and intelligible narrative has been 
given of our political and military operations 
with the Blrmese since the year 1800.] 



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NARRATIVE, &c. 



On ^ retimi of Celenel Symes from tbe court 
of Avaia ike yoar 1796, it af^pewed not im^ba- 
Ue thai the feelingB (d mutual condliatioa and * 
finendshipy which he had succeeded in establishing : 
between the two counlnes, might have continued 
UBimiMdred for seyerel years to eome. It seems, 
howefw^ a matter of we^ great diffiouhy to eaUcu* 
late upon any continuance of pacific cBspositions 
on the part of the golden-footed monarch of Bir- •• 
mah. His policy seems rather to be that of rest- • 
leaa amliition and po^tual action ; and if, at any - 
time, he ia quiet, it is Hm quiet of eghaustion and ^ 
consequent necessity — ^not of inclination. Nor is 
it to bis denied^ that, with the aid of his mimsters - 
of state, and the other machinery of his dei^o- 
tic goreinment, be possesses a talent for negotia- 
tamk, and personal as wdl aa national aggrandize- - 
ment, which mig^t reflect credit upon the Machia- 
Tek of perhaps mflore civilized, but not less artful 
cabinets* It camiot, therefore, be cause of modi 
wonder, that, iiot long after the termination of 
Colonel Symes' embassy, new causes of distrust, 
and oonmttan aroae^ . . 



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6 run BIRME8B WAR. 

It i^pean» that though the Birmese» by ibree 
of aims, had subdued Arracan, yet, that they 
had' never been able to reconcile its inhabitants to 
their yoke. Nor, indeed, is it likely that th^ 
ever attempted it ; for, widi the Birmesey the con- 
quered are always slaves. Accordingly, the go- 
vernors they aent into this province, proceeded 
to such tyrannical extremities in the burdens they 
imposed upon the inhabitants, that, rsdier thaa 
submit to their grinding rapaciousneas, the Ar« 
racanese left their country in crowds, and, with- 
out either asking or receiving permission, estar 
blished themselves in the Briti^ temtory of Chit- 
tag<mg. They who tlms emigrated ae^pured. the 
appellation of Mnglis. It wu etoy to forseee that 
a system of desertion, proeeecHng on sp exteottvo 
ft scale, and r^Miered so easy of executioii by ikm 
fadlity of intercowrse b^ws^ Clnltttgwig and Ar* 
racan, which are scparateid only by ike river N»6 • 
could not be very agreeable either to the pfida or 
selfishness of the Birmese monarch. Nor was.tW 
English government l^d to the miadiievovB ooo- 
saqnenees whii^ mi^t lesuit ^onir its beii^ aiqh* > 
posed to faitfboiur ^ fugitiveft of a neigbbepnag 
state. Its exertions, bowevec, to prevent thec^-^' 
tinufmce of the evil, wese of little avail i aiid by 
the year 179d, it is eakmiated that nearly 0ro«-' 
thirds of the ^itire popukttoa of Arracaa wmm - 
established on la|<ge troots of land im Cluttagongt - 
which had hi^no lahi watte and uijelees. The 
jealousy and anger of tiie Birmese was now eififec- 
tJMdty roused. They h)bked upo& the refugeeava 
tb^ ekves, by whose fliglijfc they had been dbpviv- 
ed of actual property. An amy, itentev; *^ 



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THE BIRMStl WAH. 7 

Inur ilMiitaiid men was speedily cari^snbed^ and^ 
Withomt much eereuaony, ordered to inlotsh in irar*> 
mit of the xmi$iw^Y» mto Chittagong. Hdre, for 
•9i»e niw^ an inegnlar system of warfare wai 
earned on against tbe new settlers ; birt perceivi 
ing that its ree«Hs were inefl^tiye, a letter, condi* 
ed in tfaoae bang^ty terms wbicli the Bnrmese are 
so fond of arrogating, was addressed to the head 
magistn^ of Chittagong. It demanded, in th6 
name of the Birman Sovm^ign, ihat the fiigitiTes 
8h<Hdd be giren np by the British ; and in case of 
rsftisal, an invasion was threatened of a more ex-^ 
tensive and formidable kmd. To this 'despati^ it 
was >of cotuse answered, that as long as tKe Bir* 
.mese army remained willnn the British territory^ 
m negotiation coiild be entered .into. The inyad- 
em, however, at first refused to withdraw; but, 
after having, with a good deal of courage, with<» 
atood the attack of a British fivce, which was 
marched to meet them, they, of their own aeconiy 
vepassed the frontier. 

Notwithstanding the determined feeling with 
wi^ch the Birmese seem to have been actoated, it 
does not appear iJit^ our government in India felt 
itself called up^m to take any steps towards eon* 
dliatbg them. On the contrary, it was resdv^ 
to give the Hughs a permanent and healthy setda** 
ment on the borders of Arracan, between ihe 
Bamoo river and the Naaf. Hiis was probably 
done aq a matter of sound piolicy, and in the ex* 
pectalion that the settlement would form a useful 
barrier between our possessions and those of their 
enemies, the Bmnese. The results, however, did 
not answer the ^peetations. Tbe MnghA^sonra4 

VOL. JI. X 



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8 THE BIRMESK WAR. 

hy diMippoiiitneiit, and sl^ langndshing to regttin 
tiie cotmtiy of their forefiftthere, which they feh 
liad heen oDJiistly taken from liiem, instead of 
bdng content with the nsnal occupations of peace- 
M colonists, formed themselves into tribes of pre- 
datory marauders, making continual incondMis 
into Arracan, and nourishing, wilih iuTOterate and 
hereditary ardour, their hatred of the Birmese* 
For seyeral years, these struggles and desultory 
contests being carried on at a distance from the 
seat of government, either of Ava or Bri^h In- 
dia, seem not to have excited much attention. It 
is proper however to remark, that the Birmese, 
having been foiled in theur attempt to induce the 
Company to refuse an asylum to the expatriated 
Mughs, always affected to hold it responsible for 
die injuries they sustained from their hostile in- 
cursions. 

Passing over an interval of some years, in whk^ 
affiurs went on in this manner, without any impor- 
tant results ensuing on either side, we find that, in 
1811, some transactions took place which, as they 
paved die way for others of still more serious' 
consequence, are worth recording. Among those 
who had been driven out of Arraoan, and had 
taken refuge in Chittagong, was a man of some* 
note, and not destitute of abilities, named King 
Berring. Having been deprived of considerable 
possessions in his own country, he naturally feh 
the hardship of his situation the more. Retain^ 
ing, however, much of the influence he former* 
ly possessed over the Arracanese, he induced not' 
onfy a large body of Mughs, but also many eC 
who had not as yet left their country, but 



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fHB BiaitBAB WAR. 9 

who secrecy hated the Birmese, to joiii him in a 
geoi^ial' and well concerted inTasion df the whole 
province of Arracan. He was so snccessful, that 
in a short time the capital alone was able to offer 
him any resistance. As the standard of what the 
Burmese considered rebellion, had been openly 
erected in Chittagong, and as King Berring had 
heen rending for 0ome time ander British protec- 
tion, it was naturally enough concluded by the 
Court of Ava, that his present proceedings were 
ooimtenaaced by our Goyemment. This, how- 
ever, was by no means the case ; and in order to 
remove any such impression, Captain Canning was 
ordered to proceed to Rangoon, and from thence, 
if he saw occaMon> to Amerapoora, in order to 
satisfy the Bkmese Court that the insurgent chief 
and his followers had acted, if not in express op- 
position to the commands of the Bengal goyem- 
ment, at least without its concurrence. This mis- 
non did not end altogetiier so favourably as could 
have been wished. The Birmese authorities at 
Rangoon^ finr from treating the British envoy with 
that respect to which the official situation he held 
entitled him, seem to have thought that they 
were more likely to ingratiate themselves with 
their sovereign, by casting upon him every possible 
slight short of direct insult. Under these circum- 
stances, Captain Canning did not think it prudent 
to venture further into the interior, being well in- 
formed that it was the object of the government 
to keep him, if possible, as a hostage, until the 
C<»npany should have consented to give up the 
insurgent Mu^is. These treacherous designs he 
contrived to frustrate, not without considerable 



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10 TQE.BIRMICSE Hi^AB. 

difficulty; and in 1812 he ret|ime<[i to Cidcirtts* 
without having been able to allay the suspicions oC 
the Birmese. 

In the mean time, ICing Barring had not been 
idle. He fought, however, with varicms reverses 
of fortune, being one month at the head of a power-* 
fill army, and the next an outlawed rebel, without 
a follower. When they who had joined hia stand- 
ard were, driven out of Arracan, they iuvuHably 
sought reluge in Chittagpng ; and the protecti<ni 
which seemed thus to be afforded them in the 
British territories, so enraged tlie fiinnese, ,AaV 
the Rajah of Arracan officially announced his in* 
tention of overrunning the couAtry with an antny 
80,000 strong unless all the^ .pwc^al inaurgwnta 
were given up. Otu* force on the frontiei^ at tbe^ 
time being exceedingly smsjl^ i| was nee^^ssaTy ta 
have recom'se to Qegotiation, to prel^^it, if ffoa*, 
sible, the threatened attack* Be£9re any. ding: 
decisive, as to the course our G^v^emn^t fihoukL 
pursue with respect to the refugees, had been de* 
terroiiied on. King Berring, who to a while ha4 
been in concealment, again made his appearance 
at the head of a considerable force. H6 gave 
battle to the Birmese, but was defea^ed^ and his 
adherents again retired to Chittagong. This affiuj^ 
only sei-ved to exasperate still m<Hre the lUyah df 
An-acan, who openly accused the Bntisli of a 
breach of faith, and declared a war inevitable*- 
Our Government, however, was not to be menaced 
into submission. Its independent and strictly 
honourable line of conduct probably prevented the 
matter from coming to the extremity it otherwise : 
would have reached. Towards tlie end of tha . 



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THE BIRMESE WAR. 1 1 

year 1^12, King Beiring, who had agAin taken 
the field, was attacked by a British detachm^it^ * 
and defeated. This measure tended nauch to 
pacify the Birmese ; and upon the succession of 
the Eari of Moira to the government of India, 
every cause of com|^aint whidi they could possibly 
have had against us was removed, by their being 
allowed to send small parties of their troops through 
1 our territories, in search of King Berring and his 
partisans. For some time longer, that indefieitig'- 
able, but unfortunate chief, cmitrived to set at de- 
fiance the united efforts of his enemies ; but his 
death, which took place in 1815, seemed to hold 
out some hope of greater tranquillity. 

This hope, nevertheless, proved falladous. The 
' Birmese had of late years been brought into more 
immediate contact with their British neighbours, 
and were not a little startled to find a power esta- 
blished on their frontiers, capable not oidy o£ re- 
sisting all their attacks, but even, should occasion 
require, of shaking from its security the very 
centre of their dominions. This discovery cannot 
be supposed to have been very agreeable to the 
grasping and suspicious Court of Ava ; and ac- 
c(n*dingly we find, that measures were speedily 
formed, upon an extensive scale, by which it was 
hoped effectually to crush the prosperity and 
power of the Bengal government. Not only were 
active preparations carried on at home, but, under 
the pretence of collecting certain sacred Hindoo 
writings, a mission was despatched to Calcutta, for 
the purpose of exciting the upper provinces of 
Hindostan to unite witib the Birmese in a simul- 
taneous declaration of war. In 1818, the Marquis 
X 2 



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m XHP BIIIMB8B WAR» 

of HaBltogt h$d certun mSagmtXion tlmt ike Bir* 
meee moBaxcli had secretly joined Hm Mahra^ta 
oonfedeney, which hady for ks ohjecty the entire 
mihytihaon ef ear ^Mjian empire* To afford the 
cosrt of ATft aome preteiice for having recourse to 
open hostilities, a l^ter was reottved by the Go- 
Tonor-general in the July of that yeer* whidb^ on 
behalf of the king of Ava, uncenemonioasly de- 
manded the ceanon of the proyincea of ChHtagong» 
Ramooy Moonshedabady and Dacca» which w^re 
h«&ceforth to become dependmudes of the Burmese 
empire. To this dendand, whidi was made throt^ 
the medium of the Ri^ of Ramree» the GTe- 
vemor-general replied, by a letter to the yiceroy 
cf Pegne, condied in the following terms : — ^' That 
if the letter he had received, had really been writ* 
tiB& by order of the king of Ava, has £xce]l«>cy 
lamented, that personfl so incempeteiit to form i^ 
just notion of tiie power of the British nation in. 
bufia, should have be^i able to practise <m the 
kings judgment ; that any hoped which the ki% 
mi^ have been induced to, entertain, that die 
British Government woidd be embaixassed by eoa* 
tests in other quarters, - were entirefy delu»ve ; 
that WQ were indifferent to attack frc»n the king 
<A Ava, farther than, as we. sboidd regard mt^ 
concern, the waste of Uvea in mi unmeantng i^a&t^ 
rel ; that his Excellency trusted, however, tiu^ the 
king would perceive the fdly of the cotmseUora 
who would plunge him into a calamitous war, by 
which the commerce of his empire Woilld be whol^ 
destroyed; and that if, as the Govemor*general 
could not but believe, the njab of Ramree had, 
^-^r some unworthy purpose of his own, essumed 
tone of insolence and menace, exhibited in his 

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THE BIHMBfl^ W4Jil< IS 

l^ter^ Trlthoiit the aatlbdritx of the khfgi b» hop<M 
Uml a procedure so calcidated to' breed dissen- 
sion# between two Mendly Mates, would be ^sit** 
ed by the king with the seyere diepleaeure it d«- 
setFed* " * 

The mild but decided tone of this answer, com- 
Mried with the unexpected events of the Mahratta 
c<mt^st^ k^ the court of Ava quiet ; and in the 
^isi^g year (1819), the death of the king^ 
Mmderajee-praw, diverted still more effectually. 
its attention for a short time from British afllhirs. 
Mindwajee-praw, whose character is so well de* 
scribed by Colonel S^rmes, enjoyed a long and 
pro^rous reign of thirty-seven years ; at the end 
of which poiod, acceding to tl^ inflated style of 
the Birmese sjtate papers, ^^ the immortal king^ 
Wi^urted with the fatigues of royalty, went up to 
ailiuse lumself in the celestial regions. " He was 
succeeded, not by his son, who, during the period 
6C Cokmel Symes' embassy, was the JEn^ Teekien 
or prince roysl, and to whom Minddrajee-praw is 
said tehave been much attached, but who died 
before bis fisither, in consequence of which, hi» . 
graindson, the prince's son, became heir to the 
tlvone. His daimis, bowev^, were not unonip 
tested* The brothers c^ the late king, as is not 
Infrequently th^ caie, when the laws of succession 
are not fiimly established, became his dedd^d 
enemies. But frdling in their machinations, the 
Prince of Tonghop, with his family and many of 
hk friends, was executed, and tiie Pnnce of Prome, 

• Extract of a dcqpatdi from Fort Willisin, HtkMMtk 
18901 



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14 THE BIRMBSS WAR. 

whose' daughter the new king had married, was' 
^own into prison, where he died soon after- 
wards. On the 2d of November 1819, the Em-* 
penMT was solemnly crowiied at Ava. 

The object to which his attention was first di- 
rected, was the reduction of the province of Cas- 
say, on the northern frontier of the empire. This' 
.territory had been hitherto independent of Ava ; 
but internal dissensions having arisen, and there 
being two claimants for the crown, one very'^- 
torally asked the assistance of the Birmese, and 
the other of the British. The former, ever willing 
to avail themselves of any opportunity for increas- 
ing their own influence, marched an army into 
Assam, and placed a Rajah of their own choosing, 
tributary to their court, in the government. The 
British, on the other hand, expressly refused to in- 
terfere in the internal afliurs of foreign states; It 
seems impossible, however, for the Birmese to 
come into contact with any foreign nation without 
speedily picking a quarrel with them. Having 
gained possession of Assam, they found nothing 
beyond but the eastern boundary of Bengal, and 
it was not long before they manifested their desire 
to cross that boundary. .The Rajah, who had sought 
onr assistance, and who, as he maintained, had been 
unjustly driven from his birthright, though he could 
not prevail upon the Bengal government to give 
him any active suppoft, was nevertheless allowed, 
upon the principle of neutrality which it adopted, 
to truisport gunpowder and mUitsoy stores through 
the British territories to Assam. This was a suf- 
fident handle for the Court of Ava. . Their cele- 
brated general Maha-Bandoola was sent to take 
the command of their military force in Assam,' and, 



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■ooB afiter hift snrmd» it wm intiliiat^d to ihe Bii- 
tish local tntibonties, that if the Eit-Rajah was al-^ 
lowed to remain in the CompaDy'fi territories^ be 
VQUld be taken thencib by force. The conciliating 
W8wer» however, made by the Company, onee 
more had the efiect of delaying^ an opefi rupture ; 
laid the war whidi the Birman emperor waa at the 
time carrying on agieiinit hi* hereditary' enemies, 
the Siamese, engroi^ied probably the greater part 
of hit attention. The year 1822, therefore, passed 
over without any acta of hostility on ^ther flSde* 
SidMequeni erents, however, speedily showed that 
Ihepacifie and conceding disposition evinced by 
the Company only tended to increase the insolence 
cud Capacity of the Birmeae. 
• In 1823, variona acts of aggression were sys« 
tematically committed. Several of our Mugh 
tulQecta were attached and killed on board 
their own boats in the Naaf river t and a party 
of the Company's elephant hunters Were taken 
from within ^e British boundaries and carri- 
ed priioneri to Arracan. Even these insulting 
ifitomi^ bare been oveiiodced ; but an attack 
made upon the Brkisfa guard in the island df Sbu- 
pwee waa of a still mofe serious kind, and could 
h^ regarded in no other light than as an explicit 
dedaratiim of mdisguiaed hostility. We had re- 
tained the undisputed possession of this island for 
many years, and nothing but a determination to 
force us into a war could have suggested the. at- 
tempt to wrest it fh>m us. The attack was made 
on the 24tk of September, by a body of six hun- 
dred Arracanese troops, who killed and wounded 
several of our soldiers, upon whom they came al- 
together unexpectedly. They were, however. 

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16 fUB BIBM^^K. WAB. 

8peed]l|r reinforced, and. the enemy ^ wm drmn 
ont of the island. A remonstrance was also, im-t 
mediately addressed to the Court of Amerapo<n«» 
but no answer was deigned to be returned, ^lie 
Governor-general now became aware that tii«?e 
was but one line of conduct left for him to follow, 
and tliat further forbearance on his part wonkl 
have been attributed to pusillanimity, and ad^wft- 
tage taken of it accordingly. On the fifth of 
March, therein, 1824, an official declarati^i of 
war was issued by the Government of Fort'WU- 
liam — characterized not more strongly by its tem- 
perate firmness, than by its British frankness aad 
honesty. 

This step excited, as was to be expected, no 
inconsider8i)le sensation thron^out our posses- 
sions in British India, as well as in this country, 
as soon as the news, arrived. It was at Cal- 
cutta, however, from its vidnity to the Chitta- 
gong frontier, that its importance was princlpal- 
ly: felt. It was known there that one of the Bir- 
mise generals had already gasconadingly amumnc- 
ed his. intention of taking possession of die town, 
preparatcry to his march to England. It was 
destined, however, that ere long die arrogance of 
dus haughty nation should be effectually tamed. 
The war opened with military qieratioiiB on the 
frontiers of Sylhet and Chittagong, to both of 
which districts troops were speedily marched. It 
was .in Sylhet and Assam that af^rs of greatest 
consequence took place. Our troops there were 
under the command of Major Newton, who, in 
several engagements with the far supericH* forces 
of the Birmese, gained decisive advantages. over 
• them. The first success obtained by the jenemy 

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TITB BlRllt£SS WAtt. 17 

Uto in fltt ftffiiir which took place at Doodpatlee^ 
aftdr Colonel Bowen had aitived to the assistance 
^. Major Newton with a force from Dacca. The 
BirmeiBe, amounting to abont 2000, had, accord- 
kigto thdr invariable custom, stodcaded themselves 
with imusual strength and care, and " fought," says 
Colcttel Bowen, ** with a bravery and obstinacy 
whvch I had never witnessed in any troops." The 
action lasted from early in the day till night-fall, 
i^efl^the British were obliged to retire with a se- 
vere loss. The Birmese, however, also suffered 
much ; and soon after, evacuating their stockades, 
reti^ated in the direction of Assam. 

Fresh troops were sent into Assam under the 
command of Colonel M*Morine, who, by the lat- 
ter end of Mardi, Bad penetrated as far as Gowa- 
hati. The Birmese government finding it neces- 
81^ to concentrate their force in another quarter, 
withdrew the greater part of their troops from 
Assam, and left Colonel M*Morine in quiet pos- 
session of the country. In Chittagong, in the 
meantime, afiairs were going on less successfully.' 
Captain Noton held the chief command on this 
frontier, but an error seems to have been commit- 
ted in intrusting too few men to his charge. The 
smidl corps he commanded was attacked in May 
by a powerful body of Birmese, and totally de- 
feated. Captain Noton and most of his brother of- 
ficers being slain in the engagement. The alarm 
speedily reached Calcutta, before which it was 
imagined the Birmese wonld instantly make their 
appearanos there being no intermediate force to' 
bppose liieir advaiace. la this emergency, l^e 
European inhabitants formed themselves into a* 
m^tia, and a lar^ proportion of the crews of the 



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)9 rH9 mnumM waiu 

Compny • «Ups were laiuled tip aid ia piolietisf 
the town. But the pwc w|ui fooa-dttcovared tot 
he greater than the occarioa reqwpd. The mk^ 
my did not thbk of i^roiphiiig <^Qa 9t^ ne«i9 
thiU Ramoo, where> fcM* » time» ihey toc^ np Ibeir 
bead-quarters. 

While these erents wer^ passing on the ooilh- 
em frontiers of the Birmtm ?mpiref a plan WM 
matured by the Bengal government, the executtoa 
of which was to effect an entire change in the fei^ 
tures of the present war. Hitherto, we had been 
acting principally on the defensive ; but it was ne- 
cessary, considering the enemy we hfKl to deai 
with, to make it a leading object not more to re- 
pel aggression, than to humble arroganpe and inti- 
midate fool-hardiness. It was necessary to show 
the Birmese that we could not mily endure, but 
inflict ; — ^that as we were not easily roused into 
anger, so our animosity was only the more fearful 
when it at length broke forth, llie measure which 
was about to be carried iuto effect was that of des- 
patching a considerable force by sea to make f^ 
descent upon some part of the enemy's coast, ^(diere 
probably such a visitation was but little expected. 
The force destined for this impprtant ezpeditipu 
was supplied by the two Pre»dencies of Beagsl 
and Madras ; and, when uuited, was put uuder 
the command of Brigadier-General Sir Archibald 
Campbell. The place of rendezvous was the port 
of ComwalUs, in the Andaman islands, where th^ 
mK>ps arrived by the M of M»y 1824. From 
thence Sir Archibald Campbell saUed on the 5t^ 
direct for Rangoon, deteclung one pi^rt ^f his force 
under Brigadier M%ea^ agaiost the Island of 
Cheduba, and another under Mo^ Wahab agaix^ 



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thm Musi «f If^ffm. Or 1^ IMi ikm fleet «ii«* 
cliored in the Rangoon Rirer, and on the fellow* 
ing matBihg flsHed up tb idie town, in onkr of at* 
taek, receiving little or no moleetatimi by ^ way. 

liie Kni)»e at Rangoon seem to hate been 
laken completely by surprise ; and when the new* 
of die nrrmd of a ^Kitish fleet spie a d ^ret th^ 
oomitry, ndtlnng coidd exceed the wondei^ Con* 
Mematioa of the liihabitantB. In w^terer Tirtnes^ 
ttowevet y the Bkmese may be deficwnt, certaiidy 
conrage is not of the nnmber; and as soon as 
Aeir first eaiotiwis of arteniiiiment had snbsidedy 
ihey pepared at all fanards for a resokite^ and, 
in this instahce, We onght peihaps to say, pa«* 
Miotic di^nce. Perceiving dieir feebieness, and 
being not as yet sufficiently a^vare of ^ek hardi-' 
hood and Mtyy tiie finish commander fauinanely 
forbore openiag a iie up<m the town, in expecta*' 
timi that its governor would ciSer hnn some teraaa 
ef ci^Htidaiioii. But it was toon discotered that 
no such intention was entortsined* A feel^ Mid 
ill-directed fire was commenced upoii the iitnpa 
from a oxteett'-gun battery, udnch was m a t«ry 
diort tmie effectually sftmced* The trbop« wt»ie 
l^n ordered into the boats to efiect a landing, anA 
in less than twenty minutes the BritM fls^ Ww 
seen flya^ in the town, witiMrat &e lods of a sh^ 
gie life, or the discharge of a single liitiiket. It 
was only the hevses of Rangoon, howevei^y that 
KrtN*e thus got possesmnW. the iuhabitaUlB had 
all betaken themsdves to te jungles in the neigb* 
boui^Mod, and our trodps found notfaii^ but « c^ 
lection of empty habitatioik tm »dtoh tb eia se tve a 
in ah&t their fieilignes. The quantity of onhi«M# 

VOL. w t & 

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'^ THE BIRMBSK WAR: 

axpttxwSi wks indeed cmMidsraUe, birt la golenid 
of a very imperfect . deecriptuxi. The Islands of 
Chednba and Negrais fell into our hands mtK^ 
about the same t^e, liioiigfa not without a very 
spirited opposition on the part of ^e inhabitants 
of both. * » 

- The prospects of onr Utile army, now quartered 
in Rangoon, were any thing but encouraging. The 
town was empty, in the most literal sense of the 
word. Every attempt to establish any int^vonrso 
with the native Birmese, for , the purpose of obn 
taining provisions, was found to be fruitless* The 
rainy season was just setting in, which in Eastern 
climates is always peculiarly unhealthy to Euro-^ 
pean constitutions ; and, as liar as any accurate in-i 
fermation i^uld be procured, it was ascertained 
that his gold^d-footed Majesty was making pr^Mi-^: 
vations, OB the most magnificent scale, '^ to covetf 
the iiMse of 1^ earth with an innum«»ble host^^ 
and to drive back the wtkLr fonngneis.into the bca 
from whence they came. '' To add still further to 
the discomfort of Sir Archibald Campbells situsn 
ttoQ, some disagreements unfortunatdy took place! 
betwe^i the naval and land forces. It had beea 
expected, it is true, that the mere capture of Ran-r 
goon, together witii the two other maritime posrr 
ses^ons of the Birmese, already alluded to, would 
have produced' such an efiR^ct cmi the Court of Ava, 
that terms of peace would have been iinipediately^ 
prop<ited. Nothing, however, was Airther. from- 
the inteoiioDs of tha^ proud Court ; and sul^sequent 
eimtkU proved, that though the Birmese amy be 
beaten, they will 4ie rather than. cqn^Mis they liave 

WmsO..- ..• , . ..-.•^ .. ; -,,. ^. ,_ . . . .;.Li 

TheC^ommander-in-chief, therefore, fiwUog t^t. 

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• THE BIRMBSI WAIU 91 

ai» yet, no pradical benfeto had resdtadirom his 
succe^ and that, cm the eontrary, the alhiost im->^ 
penetrable jungles which sarround Rangoon wer« 
rapidly filling with troops from all quarters^ ad-* 
inirably skilled in every species of dMultory war* 
fare, and prepared to drive* him either once mom 
into his ships, or, if he thought of advancing, to 
dispute every inch <^ ground with him, saw ths 
necessity of having recourse immediately to bold 
and vigorous measures. His first ol^eci was, to 
ascertain tl^e possibility of obtaining a sufficient 
number of boats, manned by skilful pilots, to con- 
vey a constdemble part of his force up the Irn^ 
waddy. Hiis river may be set down as the great 
high road of the Birman empire. • Indeed all the 
knowledge Which we possess ojt that ciaunt^, was 
gathered by Colonel Symes, and our other envoys, 
upon its banks. It mm from north to south^ 
through the whole of the kingdom of Ava ; and to 
it alone is to be attributed the internal commercial 
prosperity of the empire. Every village on its 
banks is obliged to furnish one or more war-boats^ 
carrying from forty to fifty men each ; and of tbeao 
his Majesty can muster, on the shortest notice, 
four or five hundred. An impressMNi appears ta 
have been entertanned by our Indian government^ 
that, from the spirit- <^ dissatisfiEM^n whieh they 
supposed must necessarily &ast in t^ minds c£ 
many of the inhabitants against the tynyuiy of 
their despotic monarch, they would be found, io 
numerous instances, willing to give all the aid in 
their power to the Briti^. It was recollected, 
besides, that Rangoon was a town of Pegue, one 
of the conquered jnt>vinces of the Birman empire, 
and that, for along period of yeim> die moal detei*-* 

' , Digitized by VjOOQIC 



niiifdbottililjr kad odMhid b«li«!efi» ihi$ mo coaa* 
tiiflB. Hiere wa« periMfs aotUng iraatiojiaUf aaa- 
ffome m liia hopea.wbi^ tbete cfmsiden^iifl gava 
riM tOy but ^y weoe emtuAy fUbcioviB. A^^iat-t 
^imcoini^aiato the Biraie«e might h»re among 
tiwnolvOT against theZr g^emitmit) and h^virevec 
nvor^y the Pegncm m^ht oontinoe to feet ih^ 
aahjeetion into which lliey bad been reduced from 
f^ iltate of ind^MBdence, yet» Uke the people of aii^ 
cient Greece^ et the appeaninee of a eomnnm fo^ 
all these causes of internal dissenMon were fofgot- 
tea, Not a single boetoiaa acquainted with the 
navigation of iba Irmwaddy was to be pjocnred; 
aad whethor iBspired with fear or patriotism, hot 
one desica was manifested, from the throne to th^ 
hoiel, to sbon all interoonrse with the English, 
Xt would fwebaUy ^li^o hvn been dai^^erons to 
have Tentcured hi i^ the Irrawaddy, nidess the co? 
c^Mffi^Qa of.a land focoe could hai^e bee^ depend*? 
ad.oa;. and hefiMre that, coald he the case, it would 
ha necessary to dear the way by some hand ight- 
ing. The design, dierofore; was for ih^ presenf 
abandoned. 

In the meanwhile, the rainy season set in with 
1^ ila.attftndept enls* Die rain fell in sttehqaan-* 
tity» thai! it was inq^Msible for our troops to keep 
the ^old, and act upon a regnhff system, Hfffast 
sedy tee^ by ccmtianal inieiiiai<»B of the enemy, 
threatened with an afjproaching famine, and redu- 
oed by an epidemic, which broke out am<mgBt 
thtta» to a state of ilh» greatest d^^itily, it seemed 
ab»oaft im^KMsiUe for them to achieve any thing of 
imporlanoek Neither the ho^ility, however, of the 
BinneHe« ner of t^ ehunOoy conld subdue. British 
courage, For,^ moi^s, ftom May till Dsi?^m- 

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THE BIRMES£ WAR. * ^lA 

ber, our operations were cfmfined to "Rangoon and 
its Ticinity, it being the determination of the ene- 
my to prevent us, if possible, from adrandng a 
step into the country. Our ultimate success ih 
compelling them to retreat further into the interior, 
and thereby affording us an opportunity of follow^ 
ing them, depended mH so much on the decisive 
advantage gained in any one action, as on the con- 
tinued judgment and skill which regulated the 
whole system of our military tactics. We never 
advanced a few miles out of Rangoon for the pur- 
pose either of dislodging the enemy from a ]>osi- 
tion they had taken up, or of gaining possession 
of some post which appeared of importance, with- 
out being almost sure of achieving our object. But 
as soon as a certain resistance had been made, the 
Birmese were accustomed to retreat leism^ly fron^ 
their stockades into the jungles, where, though we 
knew we had beaten them, it was imposmble for us 
to follow. Many rencontres of this description 
took place, into the details of which it is unneces- 
flary for us to enter. A short account of one or 
two of the most remarkable will suffice as a de- 
scription of the whole. ^ 
On the ^th of May, the British, and Birmese 
troops came into contact for the first time. Sir 
Archibald Campbell led his forces about five miles 
up the Rangoon river, and found the enemy had 
taken a position in one or two scattered villages^ 
flanked on both sides by a jungle. Confident iii 
the strength of their situation, they received the 
Britkh with shouts and cries of *' Come I come ! '- 
A heavy foe was immediately commenced upon 
^onr troops, wfaode muskets iMiykig suffered firom' 
. - . . • - '-■ y2 - •. ^ 

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2^ THfi BIRMfi3K WAII. 

ndo, w«r« to m^ffiaeoi that it wm m^esMvy ^ 
tbem to dose without lo^ of time. The Bineeoe 
wefe altogether unable to withstand the violence 
of oar charge ; but, shut in as they were in their 
own encampment, and thrown injto irretrkyabl^ 
c^Hifusioa by the impetuosity of our attack, their 
.only alternative was to continue ^fating with dee* 
penite resolution until they were cut to piecea. 
Being unaccustomed to give, ^ey did not expect 
•quarter, and in self-d^ence, therefkH*e, our soldiers 
were unfortunately obliged to disregard the dic- 
tates of humanity. Having taken possession of 
the villages, in which about 400 Birmese lost their 
iivei^ Sir Archibald reconducted his tijoops to 
Rangoon. . 

Soon after this affiur two deputies arrived irom 
the Birmese cavip, under pretence of negociating 
a peac^ but in reality, only with the view ^ 
gaining time for the main body of the enemy to 
ptrengibea themselves as much as possible at Kern* 
mindmoy a village throe miles above Rangpoo, on 
Im elevated situation, with a tiiick forest inits rear* 
Tbey were intended perh|»ps to act also as spies, and 
rqiort upon the condition and qwits of the British 
army. Whatever was their object nctthiog satis- 
$M3tory was proposed by them in the interview 
they had with pur commismners. Determined to 
emivince the Bk^iese that we were not to be 
lulled into^a treacherous security, our Commander, 
<m the Burning of the day aft«r their departure^ 
(lOth June), ordered a general advance upon 
Kemmindine, The road was not left undisputed* 
About half wi^ a strei^ stockade ran acrsss it» 
^ fruitless atten^pt to ^fei^ wluc^ cost tl)Q,-e«e? 
kny two hundred men. Tlie way being cleared, 



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TUB BIRMfiSS WAR* » 

itMi.adtfm u^mk m^red fonrard, coniiii^ng of a^ 
Immi4 3000 iiien» aad 1>y nigfat-faU the troq>8 had 
laken their positioii in many pliaces wi^in a 
huiMlred yards of where the enemy was posted* 
At daybreak on the following day, firing com? 
miencredy which upon our part, in leas than two 
hdwoi^ produced a yery viaible breach in their forti«- 
Rations. This, together with the recollectioa 
o( their discomfiture the day before, operated so 
pfWwerfuUy on the Birmese, that notwiihatandmg 
the still eiiistiiig s^engtb of their stodcade they 
ihoHgfal; proper (juietly to evacuate the place dur« 
.ing the cannonade* It was this facility of securing 
a r^^eaty assisted as ^ey were by the chain of 
posts which they occupied, and the thickness of 
the surroimding jungle, that particularly annoyed 
oixt troops, who» just in the very moment of victory^ 
eoi»tantly found that l^ir enemy had slipped as it 
were f i^am between Aeic very fingers. Ilie object, 
however, whi^ Sir Archibald Campbell had in view 
in makii^ this attack, was fiiUy accomplished. A 
t&atot of ^ British arma b^;iHi to pervade the coun* 
try ; and>,in the coorae of a few days, every stockade 
in th^ immediate vicinity of Rangoon was aban<" 
doned. In this, as well as in aU his other expet 
lotions on the banks of the river^ the Commandearf 
tn*chief received most effective and valuable as* 
finance from the co-qx^ration of the naval part of 
his f<mse. 

A short cessation from active hoa^ties.to^k 
place, aft)9r the affair of Kemmindine ; but both 
pwties were i»;epering to renew^operationa with 
inoreasod vigour. - A teinforcement arrived al 
IUng9Q0 from Madras; and the detachments 
which had taken poomsimi of Chedaha. and Ne- 

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M THE BIRME8B WAR. 

gra]% retnrned very seasonably to the maiii anny^ 
now a good deal weakened from yarions causes. 
The Birmese, on tbeir part, were not idle. Their 
former generals having failed in driving *^ the wild 
foreigners into the sea," had fallen into disgrace, 
and were succeeded by a senior officer of some 
reputation, who brought with him a oxmsiderable 
foody of fresh troops. His object was, not so 
much to meet the British in open fight, as to hem 
them in within a limited space, and harass them 
,with a protracted system dk desultory warfare. To 
such proceedings, it was of course not our interest 
quietly to submit ; and accordingly, various expe- 
ditions were undertaken for the purpose of break- 
ing through the cordon which the enemy was at- 
tempting to form round us. In one of these, ten 
stockades were taken in one day, and the new ge- 
tieral, with many o^r chiefs of rai^ were killed. 
Still, however, no thoughts of peace weie en- 
tertained by the Birmese ; and it was now evi- 
dent, that whatever successes were gained, as long 
as bur operations were confined to the neighbour^ 
hood of Rangoon, no efiect would be prodw^ by 
them on the Court of Ava. Unprovided, there- 
fore, as Sh* Ardnbald Campbell was, with' the 
means of advancing into the interior, he^ resolved 
to have recourse to the only other alternative left 
him, which was to intimidate the Birmese still 
further, by the capture of some oF tbeir soutberft 
maritime possessions. An expedition was fitted 
out for this purpose, under the command of Lieu- 
teiiant Colonel Miles., whb, in the course of a few 
months, made himself mast^ of Tavoy, Mergoe, 
and Tenasserim, seaports of much importance on 
^he eastern shores of the empire. 

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TUB BXRMESB WAIU t? 

' Tiro of th« long's brothei^thaprbffes of Toag* 
|loo mid 'Sarawuddy, now took the command o^ 
the army. The one fi^ed his head-quarters at Per 
gne, and the other at Donoobew, hoth at a con^ 
siddrable distance from Rangoon, Alon^ with them 
came a body of astrologers, who were most proba^ 
bly kept in pay by the Binnese goTemment,.' as 
nsefdl engines by which to act on the superstitioii 
of the people ; and likewise a party of troops, cal- 
led the King's Inynlnerables, from the belief en- 
tertained, or* a£fected to be entertained, both by 
themsdvea and their countrymen, that the fire of 
an'eoemy could not injure them. Notwithstand- 
ing the extensive nature fA their preparations, hown 
ever, and the confidence they ex{tf essed in thei^ 
own success, the operations of this new armament 
ended as disastroiisly as those of any which had 
preceded it. Instead of gaining any adyi^itagt 
over the British, they were invariably driven bade 
with considerable loss, as often as they attempted 
to approach our encampments. Yet it is not to 
be deiued or concealed, that the Binnese are no 
contemptible antagonists: they are constitution? 
ally brave, they are trained to arms from thei^ 
cradle, and there is a persevering obstinacy in their 
style of fighting, which, with troops less perfectly dis- 
ciplined than those of England, would have every 
chance of being ultimately crowned with success. 
But the golden-footed Monar^ of Ava had 
found out, at length, that, however he might at 
first have affected to despise the small army which 
had taken possession of Rangoon, . 600 miles dis* 
tant from his capital, it was more llvin a match f(^ 
the be«t generals he could send against it, followed 
by thouapnd9 of his ftyourito troc^. {{e saw tb9 



i^ ' TllE BlitMltiSfe WAR*' 

necessity, therefore, of collecting his energies for a 
yet mcM'e powerful effort* His forces^ he foimdi 
were too much scattered ; he was convinced tfaaf 
he was attempting to do too much at once. He 
recalled, therefore, the armies he had sent into 
Assam and Arracan ; and, concentrating the whole 
military power of his kingdom, he gave the entire 
command to Maha Bandoola, whom we have had 
occasion to mention already, and whose reputation, 
from his partial successes over the British in Chitta^ 
ffong, stood exceedingly high. Bandoola, as we 
have already related, had advanced to Ramoo, 
where he was prohahly making preparations for an 
expedition into Bengal ; and it is not unlikely that 
he foilnd it exceedingly disagreeable to be awaken- 
ed from his dream of future victory, by b^ing 
recalled to defend his own coimtry from invasion. 
His retreat from Ramoo, and subsequent ^miu'cb 
through Arracan, (which in the midst, as it was, of 
the rainy season, must have been a peculiarly ar- 
duous one), relieved the inhabitiants of Calcutta 
from considerable anxiety ; and, shortly afterwards, 
enabled our troops in that quarter to advance with 
little opposition into the very interior of Arracan, 
taking possession of the capital itself. 

As soon as Maha Bandoola arrived at Ava^ 
every honour and attention was conferred upon 
him by his sovereign ; and, after a short delay in 
the cajHtbl, he set out for Donoobew, accompanied 
by a large fleet of war-boats, which carried ^own 
the river strong reinforcements of men and mili- 
tary stores. We were not, however, imprepared 
to receive these new enemies ; and some overtures 
of a friendly nature, which we had a short time be- 
*5w^ ^received from the Siamese, tended to inspm 

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X»E BIBMBSB WAR# 29 

In with additioiial confid^ice. Ae it was now also 
clearly foreseen, that an advance towards the ca- 
pital of the empire would he necessary hefore w^ 
Could expect to intimidate the Birman monarch 
into a desire for peace, 500 native artisans had 
been sent to Rangoon from Chittagong, who were 
busily, employed in preparing boats to convey our 
troops up the Irrawaddy. The arrival, likewise/oJf 
sevend battalions of British and native infantry, as 
yireW as of some troops of cavalry, added consider^ 
ably to our numericsd and actual force. Towards 
the end of November, the largest and best ap^ 
pointed army which the Birman government had 
yet sent into the field, marched down from Donoo- 
bew, and made their appearance in the neighbour-^ 
hood of Rangoon, with the intention of driving us 
first from our position at Kemmindine, and then 
of forcing the scattered remains of our army 
to seek for safety in their ships. The name of th^ 
Commander-in-chief, Bandoola, was in itself a towei' 
of strength ; and lliere was not probably a Birman 
into whose ima^nation the thought ever for a 
moment entered, that this invincible leader couldf, 
by any possibility, be upsuccessful. 

Bo^ armieil met for the first time on the 1st of 
December ; and as the particulars of their first env 
gagement, where so piuch talent was displayed oq 
both sides, cannot fail to be read with interest, we 
shall make no apology for introducing in this place 
$n extract from the London Grazette Extrawdinaiy 
of April ^4. 1825,— consisting of 
- «f Copy of a Letter from Brigadier- Generttl Sir A,, 
Campbell, K. C. B., to George Swinton, Esq., datecf 
|Iead- Quarters, Rangoon, 9th December 1824i 
.,.f*.^Sir,--'Ti>e long-tihr^tened, and, on my part, no le«i» 
fnjCiously wished fi>r eyent, hat) &t leqgth taken pla^^ 

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80 .1#£ BIIIttlMII Wi^H. 

ffliihft Bindbcia, said to be MooiiifMiiicd bjr tiM f^ri^^ 
Tongho and Sarawuddy« appeared in front of my posUion 
(Ml the morning of the 1st instant, at the head of the whole 
united force of the Birman empire, amounting, upon the 
tnodt moderate calculation, to from fifty to sixty ^ousnsd 
men, apparently well armed, with a nutnerous aitillirjv 
and a body o£ Cassay horse, llieir haughty leader had 
insolently declared his intention of leading us in cajltive 
bhains to grace the triumph of the Golden Monarch-; but 
it has pleased God to expose the vanity of his idle liireats^ 
and crown the heroic efforts of my gallMrt little army with 
« most complete and agaal victory* 
. *' The enemy had assemSled his forces in the heavt 
Jungle in oht front, during the night of the 30th ult. ; and; 
being well aware of his near approach, I had previously 
made etery necessary arrangement for his receptioii, in* 
Whatever way, he might ttiink proper to leave his impervi^ 
bus camp. The absence of Lieutenant- Colonel Godwin 
at Martaban, and of a strong detachment under Llettt^n- 
ant-Colonel Mallet, which 1 had sent to display the Bti* 
ti^ flag in dte ancient capital of Pag^ie, had much weakeoii 
^ my force ; but I had been too long fismiliar wiA the 
resolute resolution of British troops, to have felt any re- 
sret that fortune had given me an opportunity of contend^ 
mg with Bandoola and his formidal^e legions^ e^>eii under 
circumstances of temporary disadvantage* 

** Early in the momiug of the 1st inst., the etievAj^ 
commenced hk operations by a smart attack upon our post 
at Kemmindine, commanded by Major Tates, and gai^ 
risoned i>y the 26th Madras Native Infantry, witli a de« 
tachment of tlie Madras European Ecgiment, supported 
bntbe river by as strong a naval force as could be spared; 
As the day became light, it discovered numerous,- and^ 
apparently, formidable masses of the advancing enemy is- 
kuing from the jungle, and moving, at some distanee, vpott 
vo^ our flanks, for the purpose St suntmndii^ us, whidi 
I allowed them to e&ct without int^riiptioa, leaving ua 
pnly the narrow channel of the Rangoon river unoccupied 
in our rear. ^ „ 

<* Bandoola had now fully exposed to tne his plan or 
Operations, and my own resolution Was instantly adopteil 
of allowing, and even encouraging him to bring forth hia 
toeans and resources frodi the Jungle to the more open 



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Tn BimMsuc 'WAR. ; SI 

rt^iiiiyoii-tiit teft, where I knew I coidd M cny ibne at- 
tmd hw) tt> «dnriitage; 

<• Tbcrightcorps of tiie Binnesemnny had Cfossed to th^ 
DaUah «ide af the Rangomi river, and in the coarse of the 
wamrnkag was ab o e n r c d in several divisions crossing the 
plain towaidt the site of th^ ruined tiHage of Dalla, where 
It took post in the Beigfabouriag jangle,, sending 6n a di- 
vision lo ocfttpy Hie abnost inacoessible ground on thei 
kank of <fce river, and from which they soon opened a dis- 
tant §Ke npon the shipping. ^Another division iixmiediste- 
Ijr look gvovnd in frant of Kemnnndine^ and for six sue- 
feseive days tried ki vain every eiforC lliai hope of success 
and dread of failure could dil forth, to drive the brave 
S6th and a handful of Europeans from this post, wMle 
trciaeBdoufl>iire»rafta, and crowds of wap-boats, were every 
day eaofAo^ m the equally vain endeavour to ^Ive the 
ihii^lMig firtfm their station off the place. 

<* The eneuiy*8 cq^ wing and cenffe occupied a mnfti 
af hiUs imoiediaferiy m front of tim great Dagon page£^ 
•overed with ao thick a forest as to lie impenetirable to all 
Wl Birroah troops, sad their left extended nearly twol . 
miles furrier, albag a lower and mone open ridge to ihO 
ti&tgeof PucendooB, where their extreme left rested. The^ 
vore no sooner thus placed in position, than muskets and 
ipeaia were taid asi^ for the pkk-axe and shovel, and fit 
ma inimdiity short space of time every part of their line 
#iik of the iungfe was strongly end judiciously entrenched. 
«( In ^e «liemoeH of the Ist, I observed an opportuni- 
If of MKaddhsg ike enemy's left to advantage, and ordered 
Jf Igor Sale, with 400 men from the Idth Light Infantry, 
and 9Mi Madias Native Infantry, under Major Dennie 
<^ the former, and Captain Ross of the latter corps, t^ 
mme fetw«d to the point I had selected, and I neVer 
#itneased « move dashing charge than was macle on thift ' 
«coaaioai by his ]|[a|esty*s I9di, wMle ^ 19th Native Inw 
lantry followed their example with a spirit ftalt did them 
honMr, carrying aU opposition before them. They burst 
thmiigb tfce eMrenohments, carrying diftnay and terror in- 
lo the enemy's ranks, great numbers ef whom were sflahi^ 
a«d tba party returned loaded with aims, standards, and 
•ther fepophtea. Hcring corrci^y ascertained every thing 
I required, I now, at I origlaalty detenumed, afoirtttinea 
VOL. II* ' Z 

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8f mi BTKMB8E WAX. 

from giving any Serious tnterrupCiOB to lite ilictofaligiMt 
labour of the opposing army, patienUy waitmg until I saw 
|be whole of their material ^lly broughtibrward and with- 
in my reach. -About sunset In the evening, a cloud of 
skinmshers were pushed forward close under the nortl^ 
east angle of the pagoda, who, tidying advantage of tb« 
many pagodas and strong ground on our firont, ttnnmenc- 
ed a harassing and galHng fire upon the wo^s. I at once 
saw we should suffer from their fire, if not dislodged, 
therefore ordered two companies of the SStfa regiment, 
under Captain Piper (im officer I have often bad occasion 
%o mention), to advance and drive them bade Were it 
permitted, on such an occiinon, to dwell upon the enthu* 
siastic spirit of my troops, I would feel« pleasure in re- 
counting the burst of rapture that followed ^ery order W 
advance against their audacidus foe; but it is sufident to 
remark, that the conduct of these two companies was most 
^ns{Hcuous. They quickly gained their point, and fully 
acted up to the character they have ever sustained. At 
daylight, on the morning of the Sd, finding the ene- 
|ny had very much encroadied during the nig&, and bAd 
entrenched a height in front of the north gate of the pa- 
goda, which gave them an enfilading fire upon part of -ovr 
fine, I dire^ed Captain Wilson, of the 88th reghnent, 
with two companies of that corps, and one hundred men 
of the 28th Madras Native Infantry, to drive tbem from 
the hill. No order was ever more rapidly or iiandsomely 
obeyed. Hie brave Sepoys, vying with their British com- 
rades in forward gallantry, allowed the appalled Birmese 
no time to rally, but drove them l¥om one brea8t-,Work to 
another, fighting them in the very holes they had dug 
finally to prove their graves. ' 

<* In the course of this day, Colonel Mallett's detach^ 
^ment returned from Pegue, having found the eld city 
.completely deserted, and gave me the additional means c^ 
attacking the enemy the moment the time arrived. 

*< During the 3d and 4th, the enemy carried on his Uu 
.bours with indefatigable industry-$..and but for the inimit- 
able practice of our artillery, commanded by Captain 
Murray, in the absence, from indisposition,^ of Lieutenirat^ 
. Colonel Hopkinson, we must have been severely annoyed 
.by the incessant fire from his trenches. 

"The attacks uppn Kemmindine continued with un» 
abating violence ; but the unyielding spirit of Major Tates 

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THS BIRMESX WAR. 8S 

•0^ Ub Bteflcly troops, tUthoogb exhausted with falurue and 
want of rest, baffled eteiy attempt on shore ; while Cap-^ 
tain Ryres, with his Majesty's sloop Sophia, the Honour- , 
tHa^ Company's cruizer Teignmouth, and some flotilla and 
row gun<4)oats, nobly maintained the long-established 
lame of the British navy, in defending the passage of the 
riyer against the most furious assaults of the enemy's 
war-boats, advancing under coTer of the most tremendous 
fire-rafts, which the unwearied exertions of British sailors 
could alone have conquered. 

** Captain Ryves lost no opportunity of coming in con- 
tact with the much Taunted boats of Ava; and in on0 
moming,^ fhre out of six, each mounting a heavy piece of 
ordnance, were boarded and captured by our men-of-war's 
boats, commanded by Lieutenant Kellett of his Majesty's 
ship Arachne, and Lieutenant Goldfinch of the Sophia; 
whose intrepid conduct merits the highest praise. 

<* The enemy having appar^itly completed his left wins 
with its full Yiomplement of artillery and warlike stores, £ 
determined to attack that part of his line eariy on the 
morning of the dth. I requested Captain Chadds, the 
senior naval officer here, to move up to the Puzendoon 
creek during the night, with the gun- flotilla, bomb -ketch, 
&c. and commence a cannonade on the enemy's rear at 
daylight. This service was most judiciously and success- 
fully performed by that ofiicer, who has never yei-disap*' 
pointed me in ray most sanguine expectations. At the 
same time, two columns of attack were formed, agreeably^ 
to orders 1 had issued on the preceding evening, com- 
posed of detaiis from the different regiments of the army; 
The first, consisting of 1 100 men, I placed under the or-t 
ders of that pliant officer, Major Sale, and directed him 
to attack and penetrate the centre of the enemy's line | 
the other, consisting of 600 men* T intrusted to Major 
Walker, o^the 3d Madras Native Light Infantry, witht>r« 
ders to attack their left, which had approached to within a 
few hundred yards of Rangoon. At seven o'clock, both 
columns moved forward to the point of attack; both 
were led to my perfect satisfaction ; and both succeeded 
with a degree of ease, their intrepid and undaunted con-* 
duct undoubtedly insured; and I directed Lieutenant 
Archibald, with a troop of the Governor-general's body 
guardy whidi bad been landed the preceding evefling, to 



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M TUB BimO^ WAB)^ 

CnUow ihm column under M*j«r ^f^ and tall* <d ^wt>gt 
of any opportunity which might offer, to cherge. 

** The enemy were defeated and dispersed in every di« 
yeetion ; and the body guard, gallantly charging over the 
btoken and swampy ground, completed Uieir terror and 
dismay. The Caetsay horse ded, mix^ with the retreating 
infantry ; and all their artillery, stores, and reserve depots^ 
which hflMi cost them so much toil and labour to get up» 
with a great quantity of small, annf* gilt shatah-S s^ni* 
dardsy and other trophies, fell into our hands. Neve)r ivai| 
victory mote conqtlete or more decided ; and never was 
tbe triumph of discipline and valour, over the disjointed 
efforts of irregul&r courage, and infimtely siiperior niWH 
Iwra, more conspicuous. Majors Denaie apd Tliomhill* 
pf the I3th Light Infantry, and Major Gore of the 8pih« 
^ere distinguished' by tbe steadiness with which they led 
their men ; but it is with deep regret I have to state, the 
lost wfr have sustained, in Uie death of Major Walker, one 
pf India's bast and bravest soldiers, who fell while leading 
bis column intp the enepiy's entrenchments; when the 
command devolved upon Major Wahab, yflio gallantly 
jponducted tt^e column during the rest of the aption; and 
|> pbsarved the 3ith Madras Native Ugbt Infantry^ on this 
pecaaien, conspicuously forward. 

'* The Birmese left wing thijs disposed of, I patientlj^ 
Plaited its effect upon the nght, posted in sp thick a forest 
iM to render any Attack in that quarter in a great measure 

<( On the 6th I had tbe pleasure of observing that Bao« 
^bola had brought up the scattered remnant of Ins de^eaU 
ed left to strengthen his right and centre, and condnued 
)3ay and mgfat employed in onrying on bis approaches in 
Cront of the great pagoda. I ordered th(9 artillery to slack- 
en its fire, and the infantry to keep wholly out of sights 
allowing him to cany on his fruitless labour with little 
•pnoyanpe or molestation. As I expected, be took sy»» 
tem for timidity ; and on the morning of the 7th instant* 
I had his whole force posted in my immediate front — ^bift 
&vt line entrench^ so close, that the soldiers in th^r bar-* 
l«ckfi could distinctly hear the insolent threats and re* 
Iproaches o£ the Birman bravoes* 

*« The time had now arrived to undeceive then) in their 
■anguine^ but iltfeunded hopes. I instantly piade my 
•nangemeiits, and atludf past alevefi o'clock eVery thin^ 

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TftE BIRMESE WAR. " SS 

iTM in readiness to assault the trenches in four columns 
of attack, under the superintendance of Lieutenant- Colo* 
nei Miles, my second in command, and commanded by 
Lieutenant- Colonels Mallet, Parlby, Brodie, and Captain 
Wilson of the 38th Regiment. At a quarter before tvtelve 
I ordered every gun that would bear upon the trenches tcr 
Open, and their fire was kept up with an effect that never 
was surpassed ; Major Sale at the same time, as directed^ 
making a diversion on the enemy's left and rear. At twelve 
•*clock the cannonade ceased, and the columns moved for- 
ward to their respective points of attack. Every thing- 
was done under my own immediate eye, but where all be- 
haved so -nobly, I cannot particularize; but I must in 
justice state, that Captain Wilson's and Lieutenant- Colo- 
nel Parlby's divisions first made an impression, from which 
the enemy never recovered. They were driven from all 
their works without a check, abandoning all their guns^ 
with a great quantity of arms of every description ; and 
certainly not the least amusing part of their formidabler 
preparations was a great number of ladders for escalading 
the Great Pagoda, found in rear of their position. The 
total defeat of Bandoola'st army was now most fully ac- 
complished. His loss, in killed and wounded, from the 
nature of the ground, it is impossible to calculate ; but 1 
am confident I do not exceed the fairest limit, when I 
state it at 5000 men. In every other respect the mighty 
host, which so lately threatened to overwhelm us, now 
scarcely exists. It commenced its inglorious flight dur- 
ing last night. Humbled, dispersing, and deprived of their 
arms, they cannot, for a length of time, again meet us ia 
the field, and the lesson they have now received will, I ant 
confident, prove a salutary antidote to the native arro- 
gance and vanity of the Birmese nation. Thus vanished 
the hopes of Ava: and those means which the Birmese 
government were seven months in organizing for our an- 
nihilation, have been completely destroyed by us in the, 
course of seven days. Of 300 pieces of ordnance that ac- 
companied the grand army, 240 are now in our camp, and . 
in muskets their loss is to them irreparable. 

«• Our loss in killed and wounded, althongh severe, 
will not, I am sure, be considered great for the important 
services we have had the honour to perform. ^ 

•; Of my troops I cannot say enough j their valour was 
z 2 ^ 

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M THE BIRMESE WAR* 

only cquAUttd by the cbeeifal patience wkh whieli tfiiy 
hare long and painful priTations. My Europeans fought 
like Britons, and proved themselves worthy of the coun^ 
try that gave them birth; and, I trust, I do the gallant 
sepoys justice when I say, that never did troops mort 
strive to obtain the palm of honour, than they to rival 
their £ur<^>ean comrades in every thing that marks th« 
steady, true, and daring soldier. 

'* My obligations to Captains Chadds and Ryves, an4 
the officers and seamen of his Majesty's navy, are greafc 
imd numerous. In Captain Chadds himself I have aU 
ways found that ready Verity to share our toils and dan- 
gers, that has ever characterised the profession he bdongs 
to < and the most cordial zeal in assisting and co-operating 
vrith me on every occasion. I have also to notii:e the 
good conduct of the Honourable Company's cruisers, th(ft 
guti^flotills, and row4M>ats , nor ought I to omit men^ 
tioning the handsome conduct of Captain Binny, acting 
agent for the Bengal transports, in volunteering both bia 
£uropean crew and ship for any service. On the present 
occasion she was anchored off Dall, and sustained some 
loss from the enemy's fire. I may also add, that every 
transport in the river was equally anxious to contribute 
every possible assistance to the public service. " 

NotwithstandiDg the defeat, so tmexpected on 
his part, which Bandoola thus enstamed, not many 
days elapsed before that indefatigable leader sue* 
ceeded in rallying his scattered forces, and with ^ 
body of about 25,000 men retomed to withttt 
three mfles of the Pagoda alluded to in Sir Archie 
bald Campbeirs despatch, and ^* commenced en- 
trenching and stockading, " in the words of ihal 
Genera), ** with a judgment in point of positioik 
8uch as would do credit to the best instructed en-^ 
gineers of the most civilized and warlike nations, ** 
This position, however. Sir Archibald determined 
to attack tm the 15th of December ; and from the 
admbable manner in which the fire of the artillery 
"^^m directed, in less than fifteen minutes the co-> 
lumns destined fof carrying the breach were in pot* 

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THS BIftMSM WAIU $f 

M0n<ni» BOl only ol tke emmy'u w«rk) but of bw 
camp, which was left atandmg, with all Uie bag- 
Ifage, and a ^refU; proportion of his arms andam-^ 
miinitioii. ^< When it is known, " «ays the Com«» 
mmd^r-in-cbief, <' that 1300 Britisk infiM^ 
stormed and carried by assault the most formidab^' 
entr^iched and sto<^^ed wocks I ever snw, de- 
fended by upwards oi 20,000 mei^ I tnwt it ia 
imneeessary for me to say more in praise of sol^ 
diers perfcnrming such a prodigy ; fiitare ageei will 
scafcely beUeve it. " It is prop^ howeyer, to 
Itteotimi, that upon this occanon Bandoola did not 
p^MQmaiid'in peijion; the diief towhom be had 
intrusted that duty was mcntaUy wounded ix^^iM^ 
gaJHantly defending the stockade. 

Cb. the same day on which this reey bnlUant 
action took place, under the saperinteadaBce of 
Captain Chadds, the senior naTal oti^cer at RaB<i 
goon, an attlu^k was made upon a fleet of thirty- 
Iwo of tbo ^Aemy's* war-boats. Of these, princi- 
pntty tbi!o«gh the aid of the Diana steam-boat» 
whidi accompanied this exped^ion, and the celerity 
qI w^ose unions, even against wind and tide, in^ 
•pireid the Birmese with tb^ greatest consternation, 
tUrty were captured, hailing been previously aban- 
doned by th^ crews, who, upon ^ appimch of 
the eteaJb(v4K)at, threw themsehes into die riv^, 
WEid were either drowned or swani ashore, appa? 
reutly in ai| agony of terror. In consequence of 
these continued disasters, Maha Bandoola found it 
necessary to lead baick hb anay much shattered tq 
Poiioobew« 

. It wm now for ^ first time that the British 
army at Rangoon found itself in undistufbed pes- 
leasian of i^ conndeniblt dittiict df country, and 

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S^ THE BIRMBSft WAR. 

ttdive prepiirations were iuiniediately made for 
taking every advantage of this new situatioti of af-» 
fairs. Orders were issued to prepare for a speedy 
advance into the interior ; Mid besides the continual 
arrival of transports from tlie Presidencies, this ob- 
ject was not a little favoured by the return of many 
of the inhabitants of the country to their former 
places of residence in Rangoon and its vicinity^ 
and by their consenting to open a regular traffid 
with the British in all tfrticles of consumption. 
Some of the native watermen too volunteered kitof 
our service, by whose assistance we were enabled 
to obviate many of the difficulties which our ignor-» 
ance of the navigation of the Irrawaddy would 
C|therwise have occasioned. * 

Certainly at this moment the situation of the 
Birmese monarch was any thing but enviable. The 
most nmnerous armies, headed by the most skilful 
.generals he could send into tiie field, had been de^ 
feated again and again. The victmious troops ftt 
Rangoon were about to mareh for Ava ; from the 
north-east frontier of Arracan a large force under 
Brigadier-general Morison was preparing to etftei^ 
h|is empire, and if possible to co-operate willi- Sir 
Archibald Campbell's divkton ; from Sylh^t, an- 
other army midier Brigadier-general Shouldham,' 
threatened to advance to the capital through Cas- 
say; in Assam, Lieutenant-colonel Ridmrds was 
busy with a small but active corps ; and on the 
south, the Siamese, who had already manifested 
their friendly dispositi<Mis towards the British, held 
out hopes of their making a movement in conjunc* 
tW with our columns, ' which were to march up 
the Irrawaddy. His celestial Majesty, however, 
w Bot easily terrified^ or, if he is, ke has too mudb 

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pcide to ibaw iu Up^ the praMBt oeeaumi h* 
boldlj^ 8|;ood at bsy^ ami man^y prepared for re? 
fiistance at whateyer cost. 

Xt was on tlie 13th of Febmairy 1825 that tho 
general advance of the British txopfs commenced, 
^(ley were divided ibto two colnm^ ; the one a^ 
hpQl;/ 2000 stroi^, proceeding by land, wider the 
pommand of Sir Archibald. Campbell ; m^ the o^ 
fhar by water, under Brigadier^^eneral Cotton^ 
consisted of ajbout lOOQ European in£antry, witb 
a ^werfol train pf artillery, which was embarke4 
in a flotilla of s^ty heals, commanded by Captain 
Alexander. Tlie land c^umn was to proceed, in 
the first place, up ,the Lain river> and effect a junct 
tiovk with Brigadier Cotton as near Dono(4iew a« 
possible. A smaller force und^r Mijor Sale wm 
ako ordered to take po8f9es8i<H| of Bfifsein, i^itef 
which it likewise was to join the mam body a^ 
Ponoobew* Brigadier M'Rea§^ wilii the r^nain^ 
der of the troops, was left in command at RaQ-^ 
goon, and was, to employ himself in superint^ftd-k 
ing, the fortificfition of thaf; town, which went on 
bmkly, 

. The land force under General Campbell march* 
ed to Lain* without meeting with any rei|ist«HiC4l 
whatever. Its distance from Rangoon is ab<»it fifty 
miles; bu;fct owing to the unc^tivated state. of the 
coimtry, aqd the absence of ev&y thing like reg»> 
lar roaid^ the teoops, though in high health and 
s^uits, could seldom advance mone than ei^t mil^ 
» day. They left Rai^ooa on ^ 14th, and did 
90% reach Lain till %)^ 23d of Febnury. The towi^i 
though the capital of a pretty extensive district^ 
was found quite deserted, and a halt was made a| 
k^for «l}f % J%la WJflU I tftw ifJrfei^ *f> wlwp 

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40 TkB BIRMSSfc WaIi. 

resumed its mardi tdwsrds DoAoobew Willi tJI pos- 
sible expedilioii. By the 7th of March, it was near 
enough that place to hear distinctly the sound of a 
cannonade, which the marine division under Ge- 
neral Cotton, having arrived ^first, had already o-i 
pened upon it. The operations of this division, in 
passing up the Irrawaddy, had necessarily been 
much more arduous than those of the land cohinm: 
Various stockades and entrenchments had been 
thrown up upon the banks to oppose its progress; 
At Paulang, in particulu', a very spirit^ affidr 
took place, wh^re between four and five thousand 
Birmese were driven back from very powerful for- 
tifications mill considerable loss. Upon this and 
other similar occasions, the shells and rockets used 
by the British were found of the greatest sendee^ 
both as tending to throw the. enemy into confusion,' 
and to save the lives of our men. After these suc- 
cesses, Brigadier-General Cotton proceeded direct 
to Donoobew ; and though Sir Archibald Campbell 
had not yet come up, he determined upon at^ick- 
ing the enemy, who, headed by Bandoola, mus- 
tered about 15,000 strong, and had fortified theit 
position in the most skilful and soldier-like man- 
ner. An outer stockade, which our marine force) 
first attacked, was carried with a loss to the enemy of 
about 400 men. The attempt made upon the sec<Aid 
stockade was less successful ; and, after being ex-i 
posed for a considerable time to a heavy fire, Ge- 
neral Cotton found it necessary to re-embark the 
troops he had landed for the purpose of making* 
the assault, and dropped down four miles below 
Donoobew, there to wait until reinforced. Oar 
loss in this second afiair was serious. 

In th« mean while, £lir Archibald Can^ibell, not 

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^HE AlllMBSB WAR. ' 41 

altogether aware of the formidable resistance which 
was to be made at Donoobew, had pushed on se- 
yeral days* march tcnvards^Prome, a city of some 
, magnitude, and which he understood was the head< 
quarters of the enemy. On the 11th of March, 
he received despatches informing him of the failure 
of the. attack upon the outworks at the former 
place, and, after some deliberation, he judged it 
proper to retrace his steps to the assistance of Ge* 
neral Cotton. On the 14th, and four following 
days, his troops were employed in crossing the Ir- 
r^waddy, which it was necessary to do before they 
could reach Donoobew. The task was one^f no 
alight difficulty ; but, in the words of Major Snod- 
grass, '* energy and perseverance, aided by the 
(pheerful and hearty exertions of the soldiers, final- 
ly triumphed over every obstacle. " It was not, 
however, till the 25th, that the army arrived with- 
in guuHsbot distance of Donoobew. 

The main stockade, at the fort of Donoobew, 
was upwards of a mile in length, composed of so-r 
)id teidc beams, from 15 to 17 feet high, and fr6m 
5 to 8 ^hundred yards broad. B^iind this were 
jthe brick ramparts x>f the place, surmounted by 
^bout 150 guns. The whole was surrounded by a 
large deep ditch filled with spikes, nails, and holes; 
and the ditoh itself was shut in with several rows 
pf strong railing, together with an abatis of great 
l)readth. Our camp was hardly pitched, before a 
sortie was made from the fort, which, though of a 
formidable appearance at first, ended in smoke. 
For several days skirmishes of a desultory kind 
took place before die works, without producing 
any serious impression on either side. On the first 
of April, a continued fire of r(>cket8 was kept up 

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Alt rtiie BrRMt8«WAR» 

vpon our pot, wil^ little or no Tetttm firemi Hk^' 
enem^, a circtimstiuice idiich o ccteio ii fed ftOitte raT-* 
prise. Tbe cause, howerer, was sstisfiettiiorily e- 
tHHigh expktned next day. The iat% of Donoo^ 
bew was nearly evacuated, ibr on tlie moming dt 
the first, Maha Bandoola, while going his ftmnds, 
had been killed on the spot hy a locket ; and sudi 
was the panic which instant^ took .possession of 
^e garrison, that ihe fiforviving clnefe found it nt* 
terly impossible to keep it any longer together* 
Just afi the enemy's reS3^ guard fled towards ^bM 
neighbouring jungle on the 2d, our army took pos^ 
aessidk of the place, and found in it a great storO 
not only of guns and ammunition, but of gtaiA 
feltfficient for many months consumption. 

The dealli of Midia Bandodla was probably idie 
greatest misfortune Which the Birmab monardi had 
yet sustained. There can belittle doubt that he pos-^ 
sessed talents of no mean order, and the rei^ct^ 
approadiing to awe, wbidi he inspired in his isol- 
^er^, iuade ^tm a great deal mfbre formidable 
When under his command than that of any one 
els^. One of the pris(Hiers found in 1%e foirt re- 
lated the partidtilars of his Gefneral's death in ibese 
words: "I belong to the household of Mengfai 
Maha Bandoola, and my business was to beat t^ 
great drums that are faan^ng in the veranda of the 
Wongee's house. Yesterday mNnning, betweeil 
^e hours of nine and ten, wh^e the cMefs dihneir 
was preparing, he went out to take his usual morn- 
ing walk round the works, and arrived at his ob- 
fccrvatory, (that to^er with a red baSlupon it), 
Ipdiere, as mere was no firing, he sti down upoti 
a couch which was kept there for his use. ^VbHe 
W was giving orders to some of hii chiefs^ tha 

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THE BtRNfESE WAR. '4^ 

English began throwing bomhs, and one of thefnir 
falling close to the General, burst, and killed him 
on the spot. His body was immediately canied 
away and burnt to ashes. His death was soon 
known to every body in the stockade, an^ the 
soldiers refused to stay and fight tinder any other 
commander. The chiefs lost all influence over 
their men, every individual thinking only of pro- 
viding for his own personal safely." 

With as little delay as possible the British force? 
now pushed on to Prome, well aware that decisive 
measures alone would produce any eflFect on the 
Court of Ava. No interruption of a hostile na- 
ture was attempted to be made ; but letters werid 
received, in the course of the march, from the 
Birmese authorities at Pl*oxne, intimating the wil- 
Kngness of the government to conclude a peace. 
As it was suspected, however, that this wras mere- 
ly a stratagem for the sake of gaining time, Sir 
Archibald Campbell replied, that as soon as he had 
taken mSitary possession of Promd, he woidd be 
happy to listen to any overtures of an amicabld 
nature which might be made to him. The pru- 
dence of this determination vras very clearly per- 
ceived when the' army arrived before that city, 
where every predaration wiw making for a vigor- 
ous defence. The celerity 6f our motions, how- 
ever, was too much for the enem^, who, being 
taken by sidrprise before their fortifications wertr 
completed, retired during the night of tlie 24th 
of April, and, on the 25th General Catnpbeft enf- 
tered the place without firing a shot. 

As the rainy season was about to set in, awd 
fte campaign therefore necessarily near a close, 

VOL. II. 2 a 

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44 THE BrEHISB.WAfL 

our head-quarters were fixed at Fron^ from 
wlience a detachment marched, during May, to- 
wards Ton^oo, takmg possession of ^ interme- 
diate country, and returning about the end of May 
to Prome. The Prinee of Sarrawuddy, who now 
headed the remnant of the Birmese army, fell back 
upon Melloone, and busied himself in raising re* 
<Tuits, to the number of about 30,000, for the en- 
suing campaign. 

, During the stay of the British army at Pr^e, 
every thing was done to conciliate the good will 
and secure the ccmgdenpe of such of its native in-, 
habitants as returned to it. The consequences 
were psrticulariy happy. The tide of population 
flowed back ; and not only at Prome, but in all 
the tpwns and districts which had been already 
passed, an active and cheerful people returned to 
live in unmolested quiet, perfectly satisfied of the 
good fiedth and honesty of their invaders. In fact, 
the whole of Pegue, as well as a considerable po- 
tion of Ava fVoper, may be considered as haviugy 
at this time, been under the jurisdiction - of the 
British. We had certainly conquered the country 
BO far ; and, without attempting any material aU 
teration of their ordinary modes of civil govern- 
ment, we found it necessary to supply the placQ 
of their magistrates and other creatures of th^ 
crown, who had for the most part absconded, by 
organi;riQg a system of official authority, to which 
we gave the sanction of our approval and assis-^ 
tance. Into the details of these arrangements i^ 
is unnecessary here to enter. It is sufficient to 
•ay that they were at once simple and effective ; 
Wd reflect no small credit on our Commander-jii^ 
rfiief and his adviser^. 

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THE BIBMKSC WAlt. 45 

^ The reeoiirces of iim Cotirt of Avft, great as 
their efforts had ahready^ been, were yet for from 
being exhausted. During the period in \diich 
^ere was a necessary cessation of hostilities, a 
new army was organized, amounting to 70,000 
men, and all thoughts of peace appeared to be 
laid aside. It was the earnest desire, however, of 
our Commander-in-chief, to aroid, if possible, the 
shedding of more blood ; and, in the beginning of 
October, he despatched a letter to the Birmese 
head-quarters, urgiiig strongly upon thehr chiefs 
the propriety of advising dieir sovereign to listeot 
to the lenient terms of peace he proposed. In 
eonsequence of this letter, a meeting took place at 
Neoun-Ben-Zeik, between Conm^issioners appoint^ 
ed on both sides ; but after much useless cohver<* 
sation, prolonged to a ridiculous length by the 
Birmese, it was found impossible to [A^vail upon 
tiiem to agree to the proposals we made; and so<hi 
after the Birmese commissioners had returned to 
head-quarters, the army advanced in battle array 
to the very gates of Prome, its General having 
previously honoured Sir Archibald Campbell with 
the following laconic epistle : — '* If you wish for 
peace, you may go away ; but if you ask eith^ 
money or territory, no friendship can exist be^ 
tween us. This is Birman custom." — It was 
not long before ^^ Birman custom ^ underwent a 
change. 

To oppose the formidable force whidi now 
direatened to shut us in, and bury us among the 
rains of Prome, we were able to muster Sn army 
of only 5000 men^ of whom only 8000 were Bri- 
tish. It seemed to be die wish of the Bmnese 
leaden not to risk a general engAgement, but ut 

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4ft THB>BIAM£SE WAR« 

IMToeeed by the slowar, thoogh perba]^ ovDra cer- 
tain method of blockade. As soon as these intent 
tioDB were discovered, it was resolved to attack 
ihe esemy at once, without aUowing him more 
time for strengtheniiig his position. Ou the 1st 
of December, our marine and land forces adyanc- 
f^ at the same moment ; and) after a well conr 
tested fight of some hours, the Birmese wera dri- 
ven back, with much slaughter, to a stockade they 
had erected some miles distant on the heights of 
^apadee. It was remarked, as a cuiious featurr 
«f this engagement, that three young and hand- 
some women, evidently of high rank, fought with 
fhe most persevering obstinacy and courage among 
the ranks of tbe Birmese, recalling to the recolleo 
tion of our officers aH they had ever read of the 
Amazons of earlier ages. It was believed that at 
[east two of th^se ladies perished in Uie field. The 
Birmese General, Maha Nemio\F» and many of 
ibe Chobwas, or tributary princes, who hai} grown 
grey in the service of their sovereign, also lost 
their live^ on this day. But, after all, our troops 
bad only achieved half of what it was necessary 
for them to do. Until the enemy wai^ driven from 
bis formidable position at Napadee, we could not 
congratulate ourselves on having gained any ded« 
^ve victory. On the second of December, there- 
fOTe, and tb^ fow following days, the army was 
employed in probably the most arduous duty it had 
yet undertaken,** that of fo|*cing the heights of 
Ki^adee. They were fortified with unexampled 
atrengthi^ although the natural obstacles ibey pre- 
i«:ited made artificiid means of defei^ce almost un- 
fiecessary. AU ibings considered^, we do not think 
Dwcao b9 g|4^<nised of £glviag way to oatiooal vanity 

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tniS BtRMESS WAR. 17 

when we aaiert, that none but Biitish soldien^ 
powerftilly assiirt^d by a fibtilla commanded by 
British sailors, could have succeeded in steadily 
adyandng from one stockade to another, imder the 
icoBtinued yoUe3rs of the Birmese, and in driving, at 
the point of the bayonet, without returning a shoty 
their opponents from a position three miles in 
extent. On the 5th, the victory was complete. 
Erery division of the Birmese army, and there 
were several, had beenbeaten in succession ; and, 
completely disheartened, the fugitives dispersed 
lliemselves in all directions^ wherever the woods 
or the jungles seemed to offer eonceaknent. 

It was now determined to lose no time in ad-* 
vancing to Ava itself, ndlich iff about three hun- 
dred miles distant ftom Prome ; and on the 9th ^ 
December the march was commenced. On the 
29th our army reached MeUoone, about half-^way 
between Ava and Prome, having seeh nothing on 
the way but a deserted country, covered with the 
wounded, the dead, and the dying. The -Birmese 
monarch was at last awakened to something like a 
beconfiii^ knowledge of th§ situatioii in which 
he stood ; and at Melloone, a flag of truce watf 
sent to meet us, and to intimate the arrival of a 
commissioner from Ava, with Aill powers to oon*^ 
elude a treaty of peace. That this was really the 
case, was attested by the amicable conduct of the 
enemy's troops who were assembled at Melloone. 
Our army, therefore, halted on the opposite dde 
of the river, and a bai^e was nioored in the mid- 
dle, where the first meeting with the new*delegate 
was to take place. On the 1st of January, tfac^ 
commissioners of both nations met. The demand 
2 A « 

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TUB BI»MSflfr WAlt. 

opon o«ar part of » croro of r uy t c i, as imU 
M of tbe oessioa of Anracaiiy and the restofatioB of 
Cassay, was what principaUy dtartlefl the Birmese 
CcnniiuflsioD^rs ; but, i^ len^^ fiadiBg it inpoflBi- 
Ue to make oa aker oar terms, the treaty was 
figreed to and signed, fifteen days bmng allowed 
fo ohtainiBg the ratificatiqti of the King. At tkm 
pxfkt^oa ci that period, it wis comnnmicated to 
us from Melloone, that no answer had yet been 
reeeiyed from Ava, and a fiirthw dday of a^ne 
six or cight'daya was requested* But as this mast 
evidently have been a preconcerted scheme, son* 
picions were roused 'of the sinc^ty of that de- 
signing court, and Sir Archibald Campb0U gave 
the Birmase the choice of only two al^^nadTes^ 
either to evacuate Melloone, and aUoi^F him to tak» 
pilssession of it, in which case he would r^naim 
qui^ fot a short time longer, or to pr^are for aa 
pssault, whidi he would make upon it that very 
night, the Birmese, with mudi courage, instantly 

K pared for their defence. ^Though not mferior in 
very, however, the militarv tacl^cs of the Bir- 
mese will not fmr a mom«[it bear any comparismt 
with oun. Early on the 19di January 1826, the 
Brilish standard was erected on the walls of Mel- 
loom^, 15,000 men baring been driven out of the 
tow^ by, comparatively, a mere bandfuL In the 
house of Prince Memuiboo^ a hidf-l^ther of the 
King, who had taken the command, was found mo- 
ney to the amoimt of from 30 to 40^000 rupees ; 
and what was still more surprinng,. though perhapa 
|iot quite so agreeable, both the Ei^lish and^rtnese 
copies of the treaty lately made, signed and sealed 
as they had been at the meeting, and bearing, conse- 
quently, undemable- evidence of ^ir nev^r having 

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h^tm-^eatmud by ^ King. << It is no easy m«^ 
4er> " says an officer from whose wotk we hsve 
already qiu>ted, ^' to divine wliat olject tlie Gotmt 
of Aira could have had in view in ^>eaing ne^;a- 
tiaticms they had no intention of abiding by^ or 
what posnble resolt they could hare anticipated 
fiom a short and profitless delay, which to us was 
in every pcnnt of viewdesiraUe, as much to allow 
the men to recover from Uie debilitating effects of 
thdr late &tigue, as to a£ford time for collecting 
cattle from the interior, and sufficient supplies of 
every description for prosecuting our journey al«ig 
a sacked and pkmdraed Une of country* " — << Me*- 
miiiboio and his beatea army, " adds Major Snod* 
grass, ^' retired from the sc^ne of their disasters 
wilh all possible haste, and the British Commander 
{Mrepared to follow him up without delay* Be- 
iwtef howev^, cc»nm^cing his march, he de* 
spatched a mess^oig^ with the unratified treaty to 
the Kee Wongee, as well to show the Birmese 
chiefe thai their perfidy was discovered, as to §^e 
th^m the means of still performing their engage* 
nents ; — but merdy telling the latter in his note, 
that, in the huny of departure from Mellocme, be 
had forgotten a document which he might now 
ftdd more useful and acceptable to his government 
thaa'^ey had a few days previously ccmsidOTed it. 
The Wongee and his colleague politely returned 
thar best thanks for the paper; but observed, that 
the sadoe hurry that had caused the loss of the 
treaty, had compelled them to leave behind a 
large sum of money, which they also much re- 
f;ietted, and which they were sure the British Ge^ 
wral oidy waited an opportunky of returning. " 
^ Our anny now remied its march upon Ava* 

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w^ 



50 tHrariiMBSE WAH. 

On^lie Slflt of Jantiaryv it was met by a Doctor 
Pricey an Ameriean raissionaiy, and an EngtishmaA 
of 1^ name of Sandford, assistant surgeon of the 
Royal Regmient (who had been taken prisoner 
some months before), and who were now sent 
on l^r parole of honour to communicate the sin- 
cere desire which his celestial Majesty at last enter- 
tmed for peace, and to ascertain the lowest terms 
upon which it woulii be granted. The terms <^red 
at MeUoone were r^iewed, and the British general 
having promised not to advance for twelve days 
nearer their capital than Pagahm-mew, l^e two- de- 
legates returned to Ava. There can be little 
doubt that the Birmese monarch now saw the ne- 
icessity for peace, and was l^refore anxious to 
secure k ; but the terms pisoposed, lenient -as liley 
were, he found dreadfidly galling to hispid. At 
all hazards^ therefore, he resolved upon one eShrt 
more, and if that Mled, peace was to be imme- 
diately concluded. On the fall of Mellooae, he 
made an appeal to the patriotism and generosity of 
his sid>jects. He repres^ited himself as tottering 
on his throne, and the immortal dominion of Ava ' 
as about to pass away into the hands of strangers. 
To the troops which he now collected, to liie a- 
mount of about 40,000 men, he gave ^e honour- 
able appellation of " Betrievers of the King s 
Glory;'' and a warrior, bearing the formidable 
titles of " Prince of the Setting Sun, " x Prince . 
of Darkness, " and '< King of Hell, " was intrust-^ 
ed with the command of this force. He too]( his 
position at Pegahm-mew, where he was attadced by 
the British on the 9th of March. The result waa 
the same as had attended ail our eUgHgemeBts 
^'f^ the Birmese. We took possefl^on of 4lie 

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plaec^ tmd iJm << Retrieven of the King's Gloiy'* 
fled ki detftdied parties over the coHiitiy» Th% 
unfortunate " Prince of the Setting Sun"*' ventur- 
ed to retiuii to Ava after his defeai^ where he waa 
imBdediately put to death by order of the king. 

Peace was now inevitable, unless it had been 
resolved to allow Ava itself to fall into our hands. 
TW army, which ^Mmtinuedto^ advance, was met 
only 45 ntttes from that city by Dr Price and Mr 
Sandford, accompanied by two mmisters of state 
and all the British prisoners who had been taken, 
during the war, and bringing the first instaknent 
of the money payment (25 lacs of rupees), aa 
well as an authori^ under the sign-mantuil, to ac- 
cept of sudi terms of peace as we might propose. 
These were finally settled and signed on the 24t)i 
af Febniary 18^6. Tim important Treaty of 
Peace between the Honourable East India Comi- 
pimy on the ond part, and his Msgesty the King 
of AKa <^ the other, consisted of the foUowing Ar- 
ticles, to which we have mudk plettsvnre in giving 
B place in this work. 

« Art I. — There shall be perpetual peace and friend- 
ship between the Honourable Company on the one part^ 
and the King of Ava on the other. 

** Art; II.— Hi« Majesty ih6 King of Ava renounces 
all claims, and will abstain from all fiiture interfiearence 
^th th.e principality of Assam and its dependencies, and 
also with the contiguous petty states of Cachar and Jyn- 
teea. With regard to Munnipore, it is stipulated, that, 
should Ghumbeer Singh desire to return to that country, 
lie shall be recognised by the- King of Ava as Rajah 
thereof. 

<« Art III.— To prevent all future disputes respecting 
the boundary between the two great nations, the British 
Government will retain the conqacred provinces of Arra-- 
can, including the four divisions of Arracan, Ramrec, 
Ch^ba» and Sandoway, and his nvgesty the King of 

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52 TR9 BIRME8E WAS. 

A^a cedes all right theneto. Hie Uniiottpecto \ » mi CP, mr 
'Arracan mountains (known in Arracan by tbe name eC 
Yeomatoung, or Pokhingloung range)^ will henceforth 
form the boundary between tbe two great nations on that 
side. Any doubts regarding tbe said line of demarcation^^ 
will be 'settled by the commissioners appointed by the ro- 
^^ective governments for that pufpose^ such commission- 
ers from both powers to be suitable and cerresponding in 
rank. 

" Art; IV. — His Majesty, the King of Ava, cedes to 
the British Gofemment the conquered provinces^ of Yeb, 
.TaToy, and Mergui and Tenasserim, with the islands and 
dependencies thereunto appertaining, taking the Saluoen 
>iver as the line of demarcation on that frontier. An;^ 
doubts' ivgariKng their boundaries will be settled as specB- 
£ed in the ^eluding part of Art III. 

« Art. V?--In proof of the sincere disposition of the 
Birman Government to maintain the relations of peace 
and amity between the nations, and as part indemnifica<- 
^n to the British Government for tiie expenses of the 
war^ his majesty, the King of Ava,. agrees te pay the sum 
of one crore of rupees. 

**Art. VI. — No pevscm whatever, whether native or 
foreigner, is hereafter to be iholested by either ^arty, on 
account of the part which he may have taken, or have been 
compelled to take, in the present war.' 

** Art, VII. — In order to cultivate and improve the re-* 
lations of amity and peace hereby established between the 
two Governments, it is agreed, Uiat accredited minif^ters, 
retaining an escort, or safeguard of fifty men from each, 
shall reude at tbe. durbar of the other, who shall be per- 
mitted to purchase, or to build a suitable place of resi- 
dence, of permanent materials ; and a commercial treaty, 
upon principles of reciprocal advantage,^ will be entered 
into, by the two high contracting powers, 

** Art. VI I L— All public and private debts contracted 
by either government, or by the subjects of either govern- 
ment, wiUi the others previous to the war, to be recog- 
nised and liquidated, up<^n the same principles of honour 
and good faith, as if hostilities had not taken place be- 
tween the two nations; and no advantage shall be take^ 
by either party, of the period that may have elapsed since 
the debts were incurrea» or in consequence of the war; 
«nd according to the universal law of liatiohsj it is fixt^ 

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^HErBlRUSSE WAR. ' 53 

llier itipiiUtedy that the property of all British subjects 
•who may die in the dominions of his majesty, the king of 
Ava, shall, in the absence of legal heirs, be placed in th^' 
hands of the British resident or Conaul in the said domi^ 
nions, who will dispose of the same according to the tenor 
0f the British law. In like manner, the property of Bir- 
mese subjects, dyin^ under the same circumstances, in 
any part of the British dominions, shall be made over to 
the minister or other authority del^^ted by his Birman 
majesty, to the supreme government of India. 

<' Art. IX. — The king of Ava will abolish all exactions 
upon British ships or vessels in Birman ports, that arei 
hot required for Birman ships or vessels in British ports ^ 
nor shall ships or vessels, the property of British subjects* 
whether European or Indian, entering, the Rangoon ri- 
ver, or other Birman ports, be required to land their guns^ 
or unship their rudders, or to do any other act not requir- 
ed by Birmese ships or vessels in &itish ports. 

<* Art. X The ^ood and faithful ally of the British 

Govemmeht, his majesty the King of Siam, having takeit 
a. part in the present war, will, to the fullest extent, as far 
as regards his majesty and his subjects, be included in t^e 
above treaty. 

«' Art XL — ^This treaty to be ratified by the Birmese 
authorities competent in the like cases, . and the ratifica* 
tion to be accompanied by all British, whether Suropea^ 
or native, American and other prisoners,' who will be de- 
livered over to the Bri^sh commissioners; the British 
commissioners, on their part, engaging that the said treaty 
shall be ratified by the R|g|)t llonourable the Goveraor- 
general in council, and the ratification shall be delivered 
to his mi^ty the King of Ava, in four months, or soonei^ 
if possible ; and all the Birmese prisoners shall,- in liKe 
manner, be delivered over to their own go?enupent, ^ 
soon as they arrive froqi Bengal. , ^ 

(Signed) (Signed) 

Laboben Mionga, a. Campbell, Major- 

Woongee, L. S. General and Senior 

Seal of the Lotoo^ Commissioner. 

Shwaquih Woon, T. C. Kobkbtson, Civil 

Atawcon, L. S* Conmiissioner, L. S: 

(Signed) 
H. p. ChaddS) Capt, 
^ • ^ ' R.N. 

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dl THE BfRMBSS WAR. 

*' AdditioHAl Article. — The British cominuudoiittt be- 
ing most anxiously desirous to manifest the sincenty of 
their wish for peace, and to make the immediate execu- 
tion of the fifth article of this treaty as little irksome or 
Inconvenient as possible to his Majesty the King of Ara, 
c^ynsent to the following arrangements with respect to the 
division of the sum total, as specified in the article before 
referred to, into instalments, viz. upon the payment of 25 
lacs of rupees, or one-fourth of the sum total, (the other 
articles of the treaty being executed), the army will re- 
tire to Bangoon. Upon £e further payment of a siriiilar 
sum, at that place, within one hundred days from this 
date, with the proviso as above, the army will evacuate 
the dominions of his majesty the King of Ava with the 
least possible delay, leaving the remaining moiety of th« 
•um total to be paid by equal annual Instalments in two 
years, from this f4Ui day of February 1826, a. n.,— 
through the Consul or Resident in Ava or Pegue, on the 
part of the Honoucdble East India Company. 

(Signed) (Signed) 

IiAEOKBIf MiOVGA, A. CaMPBEJLL, MsjOT- 

Woongee, L. S, General and Senior 

iSeal qf the Lotoo, Commissioner. 

(Signed) (Signed) . 

SmwAQviv WoOTK, T. C. Kobertson, Civil 

Atawoon, L. S* Commissioner, L.S. 

H. D. Chads, Capt. 
R. N. 

Thus concluded a war of a more serious and 
extensive nature than pny in which our Indian go* 
T^mment had been engaged for a long pwiod. Tlie 
eool perserenmce and bitrepidity widi which so 
amall a forceas that commanded by Sir Archibald 
Campbell marched for into the interior of a hos^* 
tile.comtry, orercoming in its progress thousands, 
not of rude barbarians, but of well-disciplined and 
most courageous soldiers, cannot certainly be su^ 
fidently admiredt and offers a subject <tf proud re- 
flectimi for the historian of British valour. Ava 
itidlf,"tlie golden capital of the " Lord of Earth 

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THB BIRMKSX WAR. &5 

ftnd Air> *' would have been^ had we so diosen, an 
easy prey to oar yictorions arms ; but as our ob- 
ject was not so much to conquer a country as to 
teach a lesson of humility to a haughty people, and 
as the capture of a city which the Birmese yene- 
rate so highly mi^t only have sirred to exasperate 
their feelings, and induce them to protract the war 
at any risk, it showed at once sound judgment and 
•elf-denial to abstain from proceeding to this last 
extremity, though we were within four days march 
of Ava. All that it was oecessary for us to do, 
was done. The cession of Arcacan, in particular, 
gives to our Indian territories on that frontier a se- 
curity from hostile inyasion, which they never be- 
fore possessed ; whilst the footing upon which our 
commercial relations with the Birmese empire have 
been placed, are of sudi a nature as to afford us 
advantages of the most important kind. Besides, 
the beoefits derived from l^is war are not likely to 
be of a temporary nature. The eyes of the court 
of Ava must now be opened to the vast superio- 
rity of the British nation in point of military power ; 
and whatever tone it may still affect to assume in 
conformity with the national policy of most Eastern 
states which affects to treat every thing foreign 
with contempt, it will long continue to remember, 
with emotions of^ salutary fear, the defeat of its 
bravest and most numerous armies at Rangoon, 
Donoobew, atProme, atMelloone, and at Pegamue. 

In c<mcluding. this page of British history, it is 
particularly gratifying to be able to record, not 
only the brilliant actions of our brave soldiers, but 
the well-won gratitude of their fellow-countrymen* 
On ike 8th of May 1827, Mr C. W, Wynn mov«d 

VOL. II. 2b- 9 

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56 THE BIRMESE WAR. 

in the House of Cominon8> and on ilie 14tii Lord 
Goderich in the Lords, that the thanks of eacJl 
House be given to the officers and men engaged in 
the late glorious successes in India. The thanks 
of the British Parliament have always been re- 
ceived as one of the best rewards which could be 
bestowed for services performed to the country ; 
and certainly they were never given with the more 
hearty concurrence of the whole nation, than up<m 
the present occasion. 



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THE BIRMESE EMPIRE. 57 

Having, in Hie preceding pages, endeavoured to 
give as distinct a narrative as o\xi spac^ would ad- 
mit, of the late important transacticH&s whicli have 
taken place between this country and Birmab, it is 
now our wish to present our read«^ with such addi— 
tkaaal information regarding the Birmese empire 
and nati(mal. character, as we may have been able 
to collect from various sources, and as we feel con- 
fident will not be perused without interest. We 
are necessarily obliged to condense our facts as 
much as possible; but they will not be the less de- 
serving of attention on that accoimt. 

Aware as we now are of the gceat internal resour- 
ces of Birmah, its external or natural a4vantages must 
be no less obvious to every one who casts his eye over 
^e mi^ of those coimtries that surroimd the Bay 
of Bengal. Our territories, which lie on the north 
and the west, are at once discovered to be greatly 
inferior in most ojF the topographical requisites of a 
commercial and maritime country; whilst, from the 
river Naaf on the Chittagong frontier, following 
^e line of coast southwards as to as Tenasserim, 
are many commodious and safe harbours, even ex- 
cluding those of Bassein and Rangoon, which are 
probably surpassed by none in the world. It is 
true, that the Birmese, either through ignorance or 
inactivity, have not derived that benefit which it 
was, in their power to have done from these cir- 
cumstances ; but this is probably only the more fa- 
vourable for us, as it would induce them the more 
willingly to permit our merchants to establish up- 
on the best footii^ a connexion for the purposes of 
trade and traffic with the ports alluded to. Nei- 
ther ought it to be forgotten how fatal an influence 

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58 THE BIRMESB EMPIRE. 

it miglit have cm our Eastern poesessumB, wer« my 
other European power hostilev to^ ns to obtain the 
command of any of those ports, and shnt diem a- 
gainst us. The fertility of Bengal, we already 
know from experience, is hir from being beyond 
the influence of the seasons ; but if our settlements 
be maintained on the Birmese coast, the luxuriant 
and almost spontaneous productions of that empire 
would ever be to British India a certain resource 
against the calamities of famine. 

Anxious therefore that nothing of consequ^ice 
^ould remain unknown concerning a country to 
which we have of late been accustomed to look with 
so much interest, and with which our commercial and 
political relations are probably destined soon to be df 
a much more extensive and definite kind, we shall, 
in the sequel, without further introduction, arrange 
our remarks under the six different heads of Statist 
tical details of the Birmese empire, — Peculiarities 
of the Court of Aya— Legislative Enactments^— 
Public and Domestic Character of the Peopk— ^ 
Tlieir R^igion — and Literature. 

' L Statistical Details. — The extent and 
boundaries of the Birmese dominions have been va^ 
riotisly stated, and, changing as they continually 
are by the fortune of war, it is extremely difficult 
to state, with any thing like accuracy, the prectsu 
number of square miles over which his golden- 
footed Majesty bears sway. Malte Brun estimates 
the empire at about 1050 geographical miles .in 
length, and 600 in breadth, in which^ however, it 
must have suffered considerably by the' recent ces* 
*i<>n of Arracan. Both he and Colonel Franklin 
»gree in stating the number of square miles to hm 

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STATISTIC AI« DETAILS. 59 

about 194^000. The populatioii of ^e em|»ro 
was sappoeed by Colonel Symes, in 1795, to be 
17,000,000; but Captain Cox, who succeeded 
Symes as an envoy to the court of. Amerapoora, 
has rated it at only 8,000,000, while Colonel 
Franklin, who seems to have been at sreat pains 
in collecting information upon this and other sub- 
ject9 connected with the Birmese, proceeds, appa- 
rently up<m sound data, in allowing only 25 inha- 
bitants to a square mile, or a total population of 
little mOTe than 5,000,000. The reason probably 
why a traveller, possessing the acuteness and in- 
telligence of Colonel Symes, may have been led to 
form so erroneous an estimate is, that he judged of 
the entire country by the fertile and populous tracts 
which line the banks of the Irrawaddy. But this 
river, being the high road of the empire, evidently 
iiffords no fair rule by which to form an opinion of 
the remoter and less frequented districts. As nearly 
as Colonel Franklin could ascertain, there were in 
Amarapoora, the late ca{Htal, 25,000 houses, and, 
as the taxes are levied on houses, he supposes that 
seven persims may be allowed to each, which makes 
llie p<^ulation of that city only 175,000 souls. It 
has been further ascertained, that there are at most 
not more than 8000 cities, towns and villages, in 
the Birman dominions ; and that these, owin^ to 
-the necessity fw the unf^'oteeted- inhabitants unit- 
ing in societies, com[nise probably nearly all the 
hmises eodsting in th^ aif^ire. Of these towns and 
villages the average is not more than 200 houses 
each, whidi g^ves the number of 1,600,000 hou- 
ses, and thisy at the rate of seven inhabitants to a 
^ouse, yields a population of 1 1,200,000, of which 
' 2 B 2 

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M THE BtRMBSE EMPIRE. 

not more than one half can he considered in a i 
of fixed and effective allegiance. 

It is a somewhat cnrions feu^, that the proportion 
of women to men in the Birman empire is about fonr 
to one. Colonel Franklin's inquiries, however, con- 
vinced him that this great disproportion was not to 
-be attributed to any natural cause, as he ascertained 
that the births of females did not exceed lliat of the 
males beyond what is common. It must be accoinrt- 
ed far rather by the incessant wars in whidi the ra- 
pacious deposition of the Birmese sovereigns have 
continually involved their subjects. But frc»n what- 
ever cause this efifect proceeds, the military force 
of tlie empire, a matter of some consequence, can- 
not fail to be deeply affected by it. 

There is no standing, l^nd force, except a small 
ill-disciplined corps of artillery, a still smaller body 
of cavalry, and about 2000 iitfantry. The Bir^ 
mese monarch's armies are idways raised on the 
spur of the moment. The state council determines 
the number of men to be furnished by eadi dis- 
trict ; and the Princes, Chobwas, and Lords, who 
hold their lands by military tenive, are bound to 
see that number made up without loss of time. 
When the rates are fixed, the two, four, or more 
houses which furnish one man, must advance, be-r 
, 'sides, 300 tecals (about 400 rupees) as his pay 
during ^ war, whatever its length may be. The 
recruit must furmsb himself with a spear, sword^ 
target^and musket ; ammunition he receives gratis^ 
Colonel Franklin was of opinion, that it would be 
difficult for the court of Ava to raise and main- 
tain, for any length of time, an army ^^cceecHng 
60,000 men. That he much underrated its abi- 
lity in this respect, the events of the lprf» war «uf-» 

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STATISTICAL BSTAIIrS. ^l 

icientiy attest. To secure tfae fidelity e( the con- 
scripts, their ftunilies are always retained in the 
^strict to wMch they hdong ; and shonld their re- 
lation desert^ are mercilessly burnt aliye without 
dislincti<m of age or sex. 

The revenue of the country id a sulject upon 
ip^ch we still remain in great imcertainty. It 
arises principally from the tribute of the Chob- 
was, the tithe of the produce of the crown lands, 
^e mines, and the imports and exports. It is not 
« little increased also by the perpetual occurrence 
of confiscations, escheats, fines, donations, &c &e. 
For the most part the revenues are collected in 
kind, with the excepti<m of the tributes of the 
Chobwas, and the duties on cotton and some other ^ 
vrticles, which are paid in buUion. The annual in- 
come of the public treasury does not probably exceed 
fifteen lacks of rupees per annum. But whateyor 
may be the state of the funds set aside for public 
services, the personal wealth of the golden monarch 
is idways immense, consisting not only of the ac- 
cumulated ta*ea8ures c^ his ancestors, but of the 
property'of almost every man of wealth or consi- 
dmtion in the country, whom he generally takes 
care to proscribe at least once in the course of his 
reign. Nor does the provision whi<^ he may find 
it necessary to make for his duldren or his house-* 
-hold diminish these stores ; ihey are supported by 
grants of territory, privileges of markets, or of 
kvying imposts, or of some other patrimonial w 
* acquired method of Eastern aggrandizement. On 
the whole, the king^ Ava is probably Ae ridiest 
prince in India. 

The elimate of Birmah is at once temperate and 
salubrious, ^nd is perhaps superior to that of any 

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M THI BinHMSM. MMFIBX» 

^Ai&r ooontiy in the saow pandlel of ktitede. 
** The fleasoofly" says Colon^ Fnmklki, '< are re- 
fvhvy and a pestitoM^ was neTer known. Earth- 
qaakoB are vjeiy rare, and stonns or tempests sel- 
dom felt. " The rainy season, which lasts fyr a- 
hont four months, and which is common to all 
Aese latitades, is indeed almost the only ineiMk- 
Feniraice of the climate. The soil of the lower 
provinees in particular, is extremely fertile, {mto- 
dndng, hesides vast' quantities of most valuable 
teak-^wood, a great variety of grains, as well as 
indigo, tobacco, cotton, and sugar. Fruit is eoL- 
<3eedingly plentiful, and some sinrts are pecidiar to 
the country; mangoes, oranges and mdous, are 
abundant, and in great perfection. Vegetables ■ of 
all kinds are also plentiful, and a dearth is seldom 
kimwn. The country, likewise, is w^ stocked 
with mines and minerals. It cmitains, too, sevmd 
mineral savings, as well as cayems and caves, which, 
if the accounts given of diem be true, surpass every 
thing of the kind hiUierto known. 

The exports of Birmah are numerous and va- 
lual4e. Of the raw matefiala, the teak-limber is 
uadoubtedty entitled to the precedence. The con- 
sumption of this invaluable wood in the country 
itsetf is very great, IxMh for their common houses^ 
their numerous religious buildings, and their river- 
boats. Yet so inexhaustible are the forests whidL 
line the banks of the Irrawaddy, and some of the 
other riv^^ that the supplies continue as abundant 
as ever, and little variation has occurred in tiie 
pace. It is difficult to calculate the advantage 
which this country may derive iccm an extensive 
commerce in this article as a means of siq>porting 
thtjit naval power, by i^hich alone we are enabled 

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^TTATiaTICAI. DBTAIIrS. BB 

to retain the dominion of the teas^ The ardck 
next in importance is o^ton^ of which great qnan- 
tities are ammaUy exported' to China. Among 
many other articles of crude produce, it is pn^>er 
to enumerate ivory, which in Birmah is consider- 
ed royal property — ^wax, which is procured very 
plentifuUy — ^lead — copper — arsenic —tin, which is 
for the most part brought from Tavoy and Mer- 
gni— ^-amber — indigo — paper, of two kinds, one 
made of the bark of the paper mulberry, white 
and fine, the other of the macerated filainents of 
bamboo, dark and coarse — birds' nests, in great re^ 
quest for the China market, and collected in small 
islands on the coast, — fish-maws, and shark-fins, 
also for the China market, — tobacco, which has 
heeti l(mg- cultivated and used in the country, and 
is probably ind^enons, notwithstanding that some 
botanists maintain it to have been imported into 
Asia from America — honey, which is very plenti- 
ful, the Birman wilds being extensive^ and abound- 
ing in bees — rice, nutritive, but coarse — pre- 
cious stones, of all sorts except the diamond ; but 
particularly rubies, ^f excellent quality, sapphires, 
emeralds, topazes, amethysts and garnets. Many 
Othw articles of a similar nature might be enume- 
. rated, but these are the principal. 

We find likewise from Colcmel FrankUn, that 
the principal manufactures of the kingdom, at least 
those whidi are intended for its exportation, are, I si, 
Ships built in Birinese ports, of which it was under- 
stood in 1801, that, on an average of the preced- 
ing ten years, SOOO tons were built per annum ; 
2d, Towelling,'of which they are fomous for mak- 
ing a rough kind ; Sd, Earttien ware torn P^gue, 
whkk has hmg been celebrated for this manidiM;« 

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■■■I^" 



lure ; 4lh, . Saltpeti^ Bot w^ rofined, and one 
cause coDsetpiently of the badness of their gun- 
powder; 5tl^ Silks of various kinds, of wUch, 
howeFer, few are exported ; Und, 6th, Silver Bul- 
lion^ according to the weight of which, of various 
standards, from the want of a current coin, the 
Birmese generally keep their accounts. 

The number of vessels which may belong to 
Birmese merchants cannot be great. The charac- 
ter of the people in time of peace, the continuance 
of which can never He calculated on for a yeai' at . 
a tim^, is unquestionably more of an agricultural 
than cpmmeroal kind. They are very indifferent 
sailors, their voyages being seldom any Uiing else 
than coasting expeditions, through cbannels Uttle 
exposed, and the greater part of their export trade 
being carried on in foreign bottoms.' To the pos- 
session of a navy, they have not the modt distant 
p'etensions, the only thing in the shape of a ma- 
rine force, which they can boast, consisting of the 
Irrawaddy war-boats, described by Colonel Symes 
and others. The laigest of these are from 80 to 
100 feet long, but in breadth they seldom exceed ^ 
8 feet. They carry from 50 to 60 rowers, and a 
piece of ordnance proportionate to the size of the 
boat. Each rower is armed, and a party of sol- 
diers is also commonly on board. They sail in 
fleets, and their attack is very impetuous. The 
sailors encourage each other, by singing a war- 
song, and can impel the vessel with either the 
stem or the prow foremost. The largest of these 
boats does not draw more than three feet of water. 
In a military point of view, they are the most re- 
i|>ectable part of the Birman force. 
, To these details we have only to add, that Bir- 



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PECULIARITIBS OF THE COURT OF AVA. 65 

mil is in general divided into the Upper and 
Lower provinces, Amerapoora or Ava being pro- 
bably abont the centre of the empire. To the 
north and east of that capital, ^e country is moim- 
tainouB, but intersected by many de%hti^ valleys, 
wMier the command of ibe nmnerous petty prin* 
ce» named Chobwas, who pay a certain anntial tri* 
'bnte* The inhabitants of these districts are called 
Shans, which may not inappropriately be translat- 
ed Highlanders. From Aja to !^tHne, within 
which boondaries lie the most central parts of the 
Birmese empire, the country is much more level, 
and the soil on the banks c^ the river is perhaps 
the richest in the world. The tficient kingdom of 
Tonghoo is also fertile, bnt thinly inhabited. The 
ooimtry between Prome and Rangoon, which now 
constitutes Lower Ava, and was formerly the 
kingdom of Pegue, is populous and well cultivat- 
ed ; and it is with this part of the empire that the 
Britieh are as yet best acquainted. 

II. Pbculiarities of the Court of Ava. 
— The constitution of the Birman government is, 
in the strictest sense of the word, despotic. The 
kii^ is above all the laws, and the most implidi 
obedience to his commands is inculcated as the 
first duty of the subject. Assuming, as he doe^, 
titles which in their sounding emptiness mock tiie 
weidmess of humanity, the lord of earth and air 
hesitates not to arroglBte the prerogative, and ezuct 
the adoration paid to a deity. The very existtfiee 
of all the most andeAt usages and customs of the 
country depend upon his voice; and lif<d, libera 
ty and pro^^ty, ai^ toys with which he tsptaiB at 
will. His external i^iKkmi te exceeds dnit of 

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M THI BIRMESE BMPIRS. 

liny Enntpean 0oy«reigii ; anid as we haine alraadf . 
■aid, his wealth is inexhaustible. His [Miry conn* 
Bel, who advise widi him on affiiirs of state, con-«> 
sists commonly of four old men, his personal friends, 
to whmn experience may be supposed to hare 
taught wisdom, and the advance of life to have 
moderated the ambiticm and calmed the passions of 
youth. There is, besides, a great public council 
where the king commonly presides, and wh^re no* 
thing can be determined without his sanction. 

Pride, as well as splendour, is a charact^istie 
feature of the Birmese court r both are indeed ibe 
' omnmon attendants - of tyranny. The reception 
wfaic^ the various ambassadors have met wkh 
whom the British Government oi India have seen 
cause to send to Ava, sufficiently marics the haugln 
ty and unbending tone which that court is dii^>esed 
to assume towaids ffveigners. Unlike the pow«:B 
€f Hindostan, with whom <we have had occasion 
to have any intercourse, and who, from the days of 
Tamerlane, have undeviatingly observed the same 
formalities towards our envoys, the Birmans always 
rscdved them wi^ jealousy, frequently treated 
them wi^ msolence, and almost always dismissed 
them unceremoniously. Whether the late war may 
have effected any diaxige in their sentiments upmi 
this subject, is yet to be proved ; but Certainly the 
hcis mentioned both by Cdonel Symes, and hia 
still less fortunate successor. Captain Cox, are e- 
nough to rouse ind%nation, iif they had not previ* 
cnuly recited contempt. 

But it is not towards frnreign^a ^one that tbia 
iarce of unapproachable subtodty is attempted to 
he k^ up on the parfr of his oelettial mafss^. 
Every ariifice is vernvted to which power can com- 

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PECULIARITIES OF THE COURT OP AVA. 67 

inaiidy or weal^ execute, or Btipentition enhance 
to inajHre the mindd of the people with the pro- 
fonndest awe, Teneratu»l>4|Bd fear of their emperor. 
He rarely goes ahroad ; hnt when he does, it is al- 
Wt^itt a 8t)4e'^nfh0r#thaii OHeliitAt ihagnifi6)^C6, 
and probably for the purpoi^e of iaying the fbunda- 
MM^^ i^SHHfO' sj^Mtaid' r^i^otiS ^ttnicltire, or' of 
t a<i u>g |;fi iglng, ^h^ ftttisfaed, ^mne ^Idfen pagoda of 
lltt»dit^ g^dehr; ¥^th the Mdue motived also, 
it is the policy of the ismtt fifeqiiently to diftnge 
fbe sdLti^f goveimm^, ikhd cOnsecfuently th^ i-esi- 
dtticd'<tf'-the^'emper(Jr.' ' AtAettipobra, so long 

. laioWfr bf^e pWud litlrf ofthelimmbrtel City, is 
IWl *bw^ tlfe ^tiffitd^of Bittnih; in 1824 a neW 
JMlsMe^^i^ iwadmgBt OWAVtf, of which the king 
w«tB ^^^tak^ possession as ^olsir i(s finished; and 
of^sdors^llie tfooden hous^,' teftipl^, itnd colon- 
Mdei'tiC AmerapooraVotild^eedily follow him: 
Ttfe'w!ves,' daStdren;' brotherA, and '^h^ helalionii 
WtnW ktefjg, Imve Always^'Tesid^Cto near his, iii a 
rtyle fJf-p^portioriftte JjoiHp. ' ' • 
•-^^The^Birmese beittg' natflftM^'A gfa^Kdaiifetess peo- 
lHle, hxtt^^mtkiy stiU»d days 'of pnbHC' amu^emehf 
H&d idlett^ss. The cotirt coiidescendi^ to ti^e part 
HfihitAt «sports*'only oiice* 6r twice a year. Upon 
tiiese occasions its fovourite entertahiihent is an 
ikhibitton t>f flr^wOlfo^' got tip nAder the snper- 
ittten^mce' of iktUnerotts d^cHttdaArprin'ce^, litrho 
¥icfVith eadi oAlle^'iit> the bnHitoc/ and costlinesiA 

. of Aeir preparations, and' not nnfreqtifently VeceiVe 
pi-^iieiitsfrofti'tlte U%whe!i they h^VcT 'the go<ld 
f&rttM tO' plfese Mm. " Hfifl princiifer part of these 
Ifrp-w^flrtf' Are tocketf of ^ ^^ inMt^ly e*- 
cMUtig any titftfg^'kno^ hi tUi cottitiy. Whea 

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66 TUB BIIU«S«B E^fPIBB. 

Captam Cox was at Amerapoora» the Loid t>f EMrlt 
and Air himself cut down too la^rge trees to make 
into rockets, eack of which was to contain 10,500 
pounds of gunpowder. The effect produced hy the 
simultaneous firing of ten or twenty such rockets 
must be somewhat striking. 

Upon these public occasions his Majesty usiuJly 
i^pears in one of his splendid imperial state car- 
riages. That which was captured during the late 
war, and publicly exhibited in this country, afford- , 
. ed a tolerable specimen of what these state carri- 
ages are. It was one of the most singular and 
magnificent productions of art that can well bo 
imagined, presenting one entire blaze of gold, sil- 
ver, and precious stones, the number of the la^Uber 
amounting to many thousands,—- comprehoi^nij 
diamonds, rubies, white and blue sapphires, eme- 
ralds, amethysts, garnets, topazes, and crystals of 
all sorts. The carving was of a very superior de* 
scription; and the form and construction of the 
carriage, though curious to European eyes, was 
neverUidless in such good taste, and the workman- 
ship so chaste and refined, that the general effect 
was exceedingly imposing. It was between twenty 
foid thirty feet mgh, and is in Birmah always drawn 
by elephants. 

Ridiculous as the importance attached to thase 
matters by this Eastern despot may seem, it ia 
probably well for the country over which he bears 
sway that his dispositions lead him to indulge 
in jEixcesses of no more criminal a kind. The Bir- 
man monarch, conscious as he is of his own power> 
and willing enough on many occasions to exert it 
1^ the utmost, does not on the whde seem desir- 
ous to initerfere materially with l^e dotnestic ha- 

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LStflSLATIVE EKACTMEKTS« ($9 

!>it^ dhd'hsppiness of hiis pec^le. To those at a 
distance, whom he knows to he possessed of power 
as well as himself, he is inyari&hly reserved and 
haughty ; to iJiose whom hirth or accidental cir- 
cnmstances have ^ven a high, and peihaps formi- 
dable rank in the state, he seldom scruples at $he 
^ctates, either of prudence or fear, to be both 
cruel and unjust; but to those whom fortune has 
placed in what he regards an unmeasurable grade 
below him in the scale of creation, he is altogether 
indifferent, viewing them only as tools in the hands 
of his mi^istrates and governors, by whidh to ef- 
fect his measures of state policy. This will per^ 
haps appear still more clear when we have said a 
few words on 

' ni. BiRM&sE Legislative Enactments. — - 
AH the cities throughout the empire are governed 
by M aywhoons, who apparently correspond pretty 
neaiiy with omr Lord Mayors. The Maywhoon 
is commonly assisted by three other civil magis- 
trates, who a4it as judges in all civil and criminal ^ 
suits, holding their court in the town-hall or 
** Flace of Truth, ** of w^h there is one in every 
dty. Besides, every great officer, whether civn 
or military, is a justice of peace within a certain 
district, and can try petty causes, and punish tres- 
passes by flogging, fine, or imprisonment. One of 
the great evils, indeed, to which the people are 
exposed, arises from the midtiplicity of these offi- 
^eers, who claim liie privilege of acting as justices of 
peace. All causes must originate in the town- 
haU, bat may be removed by appeal to the Lotoo,' 
or Greoi Court of the empire, and ultimately td 

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70 THM BIRMESE EMPIRE. 

hia Miyeaty.iii Coaacil^ hut, ibfi exgv^,.^ ^ 
taining a hearing there, is ^enormous. . . , ^ 

.In addition tot the .{^onuuon mode of df^i^g 
causes, which ia by the ardent writtei^ laWs.inB^ 
altered, it is true, by subsfMinfint c^^m firoivi,^^ 
original institute trials' by. ordeal, ;farying,.«.gpo4 
Aesl from Uiose of India, are cq^mipB tbrpuglw^ 
the empire* Of trials of ,1;^ V^^ CJ^^ Qf^ 
mentions the following curipps in^^i^ yir^ic^ jfcpo|^ 
place, to ascertain the truth o|[ an,%9cu^||i(xig ,$^ 
adultery against a native. ^^ The def^ndggl^df^^ 
ing the charge, the principals, witiiesses and coui^ 
adjourned to a small pagoda without. ^ \^^%^ 
the town* whea, all the par^ .F®^ aoliy mi ^ 
sworn according to the rites of the pirm^J^fi^ 
the depositions of the witnesses taken down, and 
the Deity fuyoked-by the.]^Fies^,to.J)id|^ be|9rpea 
the nartiest A certain , quality of wax.^yf 
weighed in twpequjal porti^n^ .aiad |»ip^ in^ 
t^o indies, which were lighted, at ^ ..aai^e .ktr 
atant. On^ waa held by the plai^tifi^ the o^r l^ 
the defendant ; and the, h(4der of the candJl^ ,w)^dl 
first bufned out wasadj^dg^^ to hi^ve, anforn fafoe^ 
^d t>f course lost ,t)i^ caiis^ and wimld> bo sfn* 
tenced to pay the; c^t of the^ sx^t,. aoiounting t9 
400 tecals, and damages 300 tecaW. la this cas^ 
the. defendant's. cand)^ buii|/^ put g^it^^wb^P .tfaf 
people gave a shout;, aji^d th^ phml^^ fpendsioif^ 
ii\g prc^iaxed a band , of ni^asifi. md jdapQ?i»y^ ti^ 
exJi|hit«d.b^ore thep^jt^le." ,. . *.,.j 

In their punishments the Birmaaa are fexceedt 
ingly severe. The mildest numaer of suflferiiig 
death is to have the head taken off with a large 
knife, commonly at one stroke. Killing, by varbus 
modes of barbarous torture, is much more common. 

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LBOISCLATIVB 1&KACTMENTS. 71 

*ft6pri0?M may not nnfreqaeiitly be purdiased with 
money^ howev^ deserving of punishment the 
malefectors be; bnt, if mone^ be wanting, the 
slightest offence is visited without mercy. Mrs 
Ji^son, who writes an account of the American 
'Baptist Mi^on to the Birman empire, relatea 
libe particulars of one or twb executions at which 
fllie and her husband were present. The scenes 
were shocking in the extreme. On (me occasion 
^* four Binnans were fastened to a high ^^ce, 
first by the hair cf the head and neck; their 
fttms were ihea extended h^izontally, as fieu* as 
i&ey could be stretched, without dislocation, and 
B c<Hrd tied tight around them ; their Aighs and 
iegs were ^n tied in their natural position ; they 
were ripped open from the lowest to the h^est 
-extremity of the stomach, and tiieir yitab and part 
fjf tiieir bowels were hanging out ; large gashes 
ware cut in a downward direction in tiieir sides 
and thighs, so as to bare the ribs and thigb- 
hones. One, who I suppose was more guilty 
tiian the rest, had an iron instrument tinnst 
isidelmig tim>ugfa the breast, 'and part of his vi- 
tals pushed out in the opposite dn^ction. Thus, 
witii the under jaw fallen, tiieir eyes open and 
fixed, naked, excepting a cloth round the middle, 
Aey hung dead. " Afterwards, Mrs Judson was 
present when six mea were executed. There were 
seven cul{Hits in all ; but of these two were brothms, 
who requested to be shot, asking, at tiie same time, 
to be pnthmed if tiie fomth shot should miss. The 
elder brother was fired at four times without effect, 
and was tiien loosedfrom tiie tree to which he 
had beea tied, amidst the sh<mts and laughter of 
2 c 2 

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718 THB B1RMS8B BMPIRE. ' 

tbe speclatora. The yoiuager brother, wm ht^ 
fortunate ; he expired at the secoad. shot. Thi 
remaining fire were bdbeaded each at one Uonw 
** We went close to tiiem, " sap Mrs Jndeon^ 
** and saw their tronks and their Jieads and tbeir 
UQod« W^ saw a man pnt his foot on on^ of the 
tmnks, and press it with as .little feeliag. as one 
would tread upon a beast. '-^ This piece of wan^ 
ton cruehy mtist not howei«r:be considered^ ttt 
diaracteristic. of liational feeling, as it is-Ukely 
thai; none but the woi^ characters j&'e(|jaenled 
such .scenes as these. The crimes of the poor 
creatures alluded, to were Tarioiis. Onft h«i Wem 
digging under a pagoda ; another had stabbed * 
woman, but had not killed her ; and the reel were 
robbers. . i.r 

. One great object of the Btmaese IflEws^ is t^ S0^ 
erne the allegiance of the subject to the soyei^iga^ 
Hiie form of the oath of alle^nce:is4>articttlarif 
solemn and imposing. . A book of xeliginus ' ins^ 
tutions, and an image with' a bowl ol.water» t^ 
placed before the> person wh6,.ia about ta take it. 
Tbe image is held up before him, h^ lifts the bowl 
in his hands, and repe|i^ tbese' words, ^*r-^' J(ntl» 
presence of the Creator of fire tbouaand worldi, 
widi all the saints dierein, fire hirge riwaKf and 
five hundred small, the seas, and all therein, I eaH 
all the samts and angela in heaven .andrcttrth <(p 
bear me witness, that I wisb to beia tme aadl 
£uthftd subject of tlve king of Ava. ^$fy God 
grant, ^at, if I should desert his serrke, I may 
not pass in safety by water, but the fishes of ^e 
ocean may devour and tear me to pieces ! May 
God grant, that, if I should desert his service, I 
may not pass in safety by land, but be dcvorared 

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LE6ISI.4TIVE ENACTMENTS. 73 

hf ipr^d bea^ of tl^ earth ! May Qod grant, 
that, if I should not keep this oath, and ever rebel 
against my king and country, the above may hap- 
]p^, to me ; that I niay be afflicted with the 
flfx^i^lgea of the Almighty, and die an ignominious 
fleaih ! 7 , This path is thrice repeated ; the ps^er 
Qf^, i^hich it,i9 Jnscribed is, then burnt, and th^ 
q^iep ^t into the bowl of water, . in which the 
mijijzzle of a n^usket and the points of a sabre and 
]m^ ib^JPg ctppjedj .the person says ; — *< May lliese 
^K9i|^oi|s become, t^e instrumc^nts.of my de9truc7 
t^opi if «vcr I«Ferve. from thp oath I, have just 
tri^ipL j V K T^9 pi^iest |;hen presents the bowl, and 
ti|$ .water is drank. Should the oath ever be 
ew^rvi$4i from,, the 4^%q^ent i% consigned to a cs^ 
pit^ punji^bmc^ of the most ^eadfril kipd, comf 
niQI^y im|^ipe9|i, m^. ^ria house and gimilyare 

; Th^i^ is ^ . gve^ njomlier of slaves in the Birr 
spip .ei|>pixe> ^e fi^tjier, of a family beting alwayp 
allowed to ^11 hi^ wife, and cjiildren for. the payr 
m^pf, .of hip debt9* . This he is frequently obliged 
tQ^do,. not.^Ut^afiCo^Ht of^any debts whic}i he ^or 
lwtarily,ijQcurs> but because,, under this despotic 
gyiverome^t» a tax iis irequ^ntly levied on an indi- 
i^i«b1 uflpch b^yopi4 hjfi abjility to pay? and he is 
Wt to the toiture .omtil the sum be produced. 
Tb^ caae»,ihowe^^9 isiStUl harder when the parent 
4te« in.debti for then the ei:e{litor may lay claim 
iQ.tbe ^H^han)99 a«d e«ther>retam them himself, or 
eeU them<% m ^luvalept sum- . Notwithstandr 
ingiaU these severities, however, the Birman sys- 
tem of laws co&tains much ^at is good ; and, on 
the whole, !we doubt extremely that there is a 
fTM^r fNT^^MMrtioB of crime or misery in that em- 

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74 turn BIRMK8E EMPttte. 

pire, than w91 be found in countries which boivt 
of a greater share of civilization. 

* IV. Public and Domestic Character of 
THE People— -It is a matter of extreme difficnlty 
to speak with any accuracy of national chanM^ter, 
eren where we have had numerous opportunities^ 
by frequent intercourse and personal observation^ 
to draw our own conclusicms regarding it. Of a 
nadbn till lately so little known to us, and con- 
cerning which its mifriendly dispontions towards 
us have tended to foster so many prefuc&ses, it 
becomes us to speak with every caution and ftn^ 
bearanoe. In time of war, more especially if the 
country-be ravaged by an invading army, it is mtx% 
to impossible for those invaders to form any just 
conception of the people fdiom tiiey have come to 
conquer and to kill. In speaking oi the Birmese, 
therefore, as a nation, we should mudi rather al- 
low ourselves to be guided by tlie opinions entw- 
tained, and the facts stated, by such of our country- 
men as happen to have had an opportunity oi visit- 
ing it in times of peace and tranquillity. Yet ev^ 
they, we find, diragree wictely among iJimnselves. 
Nor is this to be wcmdered a^ coi»idering tile va- 
rious aspects under which various circumstances 
place different foreigners. Colonel Symes, we 
have seen, entertained, on the whole, rather « fin- 
vourable impression of the IKrmese, though he by 
no means shut his eyes to some of thc& mlii^ 
vices— such as cunning, avarice, and anehy. On 
the whole, we are disposed to ihink with him, 
that we shall get nearest the truth hf takk^ n 
middle course. If they are apt to be andadims 
RQd haughty towards strangen, it cuaM hedmr 

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PUBLIC GHAHACnil Of THS FBOPLX. 7^ 

i|i.,t]|9 st^m.liine cbaii^i^jbb tp .^b; pneiits. and 
tbopoor^ .fmd, much mJii^MJl itQ.b^ ho«pita)>le mi 
c^rftiL : If 10 war .$b«y.are ^rqactier^uii jua^ $ar 
]^i<mf> Ihay 'ftrek ab^ patient •,1la4^r (nufieriofib 
ftngat 9iMi husdy... JXiii their pQrs<M)i» houAea, a«4 
fo(^, ,th^.ju» iiidined> inom a la?y habit|» t^ kni 
ciaralefla ani Bltiiyy .tbey lo-e. in «g^[ieral afiSsK^tMrn? 
aiaiparenta^.dutiM cbildren,. ^iiMsere iicianils, and 
not radi»tii» «aamifia..j Mrs Jiid«#n» avk/intd? 
jigent woman, wh<^iiaa. lived many yean) ia.tbji 
Ksnaan wi^ira^ goaa stiU iurthair* - She< daBorifees 
tb»v fitinnaae aa ^^ a U^aly^ indiistrioiii^itnd.enMt 
geticoaaoay i&uiber iadTaiK>ed.ia cm\mk^&m. tkfm 
most of the Eastern nations. They are frank^ 
caadidy and. deattete of that r p ii Hi Bf iita iw t y ybich 
djattngnUiaa ,tha Hindoas^^^and €i that GevenapaB 
M.mali^yty which ia a..]eadii^ iteit in«the Ma> 
ky.charaf^ar." . r - .. *, i . . >. 

l.Soim of .thmr Domestic custona are>,c»cioina. 
We can. only jnentMA m, ia^ Jf> a youi|g wot 
ana ,g^rowB iU, the .doctor ai^ Ji^ iftarenta ham 
i|nently enter mto> an agreeiaant^ tha^ if she 
Itves^t the ^doctor jshaU. take iiei.aa his paopefty; 
but, if she dias^ >that heiahall pay hecFalua to 
the.parentSk^ f^ I^d^ .not knowy'' jaaya Dr JBnh* 
chanan,»auwrit«*.4kf uueh reaaacch^ ^'^.if.the doc- 
tor i may sail the girJiagain^iim'Binst retam her m 
hm, fiuaily*;. Ui&idM^juiidbar of fine yawig w«aeft» 
winch i saw in the house of a doctor at Meaday, 
makes me" think the practice to he very common," 
In their food» the Binnans, according to our 
QOtioBs, aM T«ry uneiaaaly. The bwer di^Maa 

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76 THE BIRMSffB EMPIllK. ' 

«ftt all kifids of reptiles, Ikaitfa, gnimas, and 
makes. Their religion forbids diem kilHlig animal 
food; andy consequently, animals that hare died 
from disease are geneiafly eaten throogboot the 
country. Ci^tain Cox lUnks that this em^ono, 
in fdiidi tliey resembto ibeir neighbovrs the Chi- 
nese, is the cause oi a dreadful disorder that act- 
tacks the extremities with ukercRis sores, which 
soon mortify, and leave those that soniye dia- 
gosting and mntilatod objects. Horse-fle^ is m 
peculiar estimadcm among all the artttoera in me- 
tals, who think it best calculated to recruit the 
strength wasted by woiking at their forges* 
Venison is the only meat permitted to be sold in 
the markets, a privilege allowed fw the «iconr- 
agement of hunters. The killing ci a cow is 
punished with particular severity. 

The Birmans are exceedingly fond of gayety 
and amusements oi all sorts. In private, chess 
is tbeir £ftvourite entotainment, a game they de* 
servedly hold in high estimation. Their .board is 
die same as omv, and so is the number of their 
pieces ; but they vary considerably in power. Tbey 
arrange them in three rows, so that some^squares 
on either hand are 1^ unoccupied. The ganra^ 
as played by them, is a good deal nunre complex 
than ours. Thdr sacred writii^ pn^bit all 
games of chance ; but ibey express^ authorize 
chess* Music is another ftivourite recreadmi of 
the Birmans. Their musical instruments, though, 
in numy reqtects, rude an^d imp^ect, are yet ca- 
pable of prodacing tones of mudi power and swaet- 
ness. Their softer airs, in particular, please even 
die s<miewhat fesditioas ears of.foreigBen. Hieir 
principal instruments are, »harp of uneoodi aoa« 

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DOMESTIC CHARACTXE OV THE PEOPLE; 77 

•tnictMm ; a Imtt, which is swnetlmig lik« our Vio- 
<lin ; a pnlhwc^y which is a cmnmon flageokt^ 
a kife'zoup^ which is composed of a cdkcdon of 
cymbals, prodacing modulated gradalioBs of soimds^ 
v^pcMoy or guitar, made in the shape of a ch>cO¥> 
dUe, and used as an accompanim^it to the vcHce ; 
a boundawy or eoUecticm of drams, used in fnfil 
hands in procesdons ; and a heemy or pipe of Pan, 
composed of reeds, neaUy joined together, and 
j)rodiicing soft plaintive melody. Dr Bndtanan 
^rardiased a whole set oi these musical instrur 
ments for something under six guineas ; and sngr 
gests, that it would be no unprofitable speculation, 
to import into this : country a band of Birmese 
musicians, who woidd prolNd>ly attract considerar 
ble attention. Almost every Birman has some ia- 
strament or other to beguile his vacant hours ; he 
who can procure^ no bett^, is c<Hitented with a 
Jew's haip. 

Their public amusem^its consist principally 
of exhibitions of fire-works, in which &ey gteat- 
Jy delight, and which, during certain annual fes- 
tivals, are always provided at the expense of go- 
vernmodt. Water contests, too, as described by 
Colonel Symes, and whidi seem to be a kind 
of substitute f(nr the want ai snow-balls, are com- 
mon, and much relished. The Birmese are Uke- 
wise a dramatic people^ and give considerable en^ 
couragem^it to stage representations, although it 
does not appear that liiey have made much pro* 
4{ress beyond pantomime and melo-drama. Indian 
jugglers, and other mountebanks, are continually 
perambulating the country; and, on the whole, 
^y vgifms to. have abnost a Ftoisian delight in 

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76 THE BIRlfBSX BHPIRC 

In penoftfld a|^>einmce, the BkiBMe fesettibid 
tlie Chinese more than the Hindoos. The mem 
are, in ^nen^ not nnich'abo^e the noddle sbe, 
but are ro^mst and adtive ; and, from a costom 
^i^thtfret^f [rtwckk^'^oiit lileir'lM0«i1ls,''f«Ml % 
»f««diM appeiMfic<j Am* >a longutitte. <]^ litiik' 
«0ttqienfitteAt'^tlHl^ ii' IMex^ th«f laAgtnd iHa»>- 
^Mty'whk^ ilrtiflgoi8h^f^e''Midt«tf of HiMM^ 
HM. The nos^ia gtneraMy'smallr btt»no r 4li mfe ri»- 
«(#^Hke that' of-the tMigPO. Theip fiitanphnddi^ii 
liHriCf a kM of Medinid hetw^e^th^ d^ tinge 
tlf^he <inhld!^iaat of Afrioa'and'the dear 4Am«b 
^fthe ^ir<^>e«nr ttis^'ki'fMt^' i^a ligM y^Xkl^. 
^Tli»'%roro«n are somewhat faii^, and| ia^^eiiiBiitf, 
-WUH made^ llibi%lr mdtned to* tfifrj^eam; ^4Mr 
ilui^'ii alflfiost i^ays blHek; Mixed Wi«h*1^Blrt- 
iMiede dre the* Temftins «f sevMtA* pecidiar ti^ibM. 
The ^hm» m* H^hhttid^^'abeiidy tn^irtknetf, 
are the most remarkable. They are diMiHgiu^lbefd 
Vf ^1^ «&mple^ honest, and M>£feifflite zDMtfmera, 
wid'sp^eak a ilialeot pecnliaf to them/isel^es: miei^ 
Hibes^htfweiF^, fiv6 ^4^ best teMns*^i(?M»tMe 
Krmese. What is BtiU more fortanflA;^^ *tiiat 
^ofie^ iShoref dees' nbt^^e^dfi^ dkoUg tiben^ any 
moh ^kig flJB ^«ame-MAie^ <#iief ewM-'of fanany 
fiiHs of ^Indiife Society fs^^'tfaftm' fonncMd 6n 
#«nu^ more l^ral basis,>thep8tt9iftonihk/weMf, 
Wid ^n«(if, being open alike to^ta^K' Tfais"isf 'cff 
its^ sufficient to^neenr^'for^^nr^^a^^n^^h iiM)re 
T^d |)rogi«ss ih'^the^ sisale «f hsttbniSj^ ^te- c«ft 
«f«r be-madeiyy matiy of the -fiorf^iitt^fing^' cedn- 
trfes. ■"•' -. .^ '-'•"» .- 

''' RiBLimMiw^Th^M -cannotf be* « 'dottbt Aitt 
the Burmese are entitled tt>!^c<midM«i ft dVVVttt 

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RILIGIOV. n 

and pious pei^le, although iHwt they term reltgkm 
^wollld hardly go under that appellation in any 
-part of Europe. Whikt they bdioTe in the ex- 
istence of yarions g«dB, or ik human beings wiio 
have become gods, ^ey have formed no concep- 
tion whatever of a Supreme Being, who luui 
isneaied, and preserses ihe umveise. The sys- 
tem of morals, howetei^ which dieir t^igious 
doctrines inculcate, is good ; and the fear of punii^- 
meaAy and hope of reward, are the motiTes held 
^out for the practice of virtue. Godaooa «ff GwmU 
ma, their supreme dtvimty, is belief^ by thmn 
,to have been the fourth incarnation of Budcttm. 
The partioular altiibutes wiik which they invest 
fcim, as wfXL m iA» leadmg principles of tbm creed, 
^V9^ be best undentood by a penisal of ^ follow- 
ing very interesting catechism, translated from the 
^ngisal l^rmese by Dr Richanan, atkd which we 
have ventured on slightly abridging, to adapt it 
better to our limits. It is entitled, 

A Short View of the Beligion of Godama, 

** A Cathidie Biifaop, rtading «t Ava, loiiie time ago 
isiked the chief Rahan, called Zankdobura, to five him 
jsolne abort treadee, wldch would explain the heacw of the 
4mm taught by Godama. The Zarado, williDg to satisfy 
4km Bisbop, wnate for hw nee the foUowtng trcetiae:^ 

« The gods who have appeared, in this present world* 
and who htare obtained the perfect state» Nkbaut are four, 
Chaltdiaaam, Gana^oin, Gasps, and Godama. 

** Q. Of which of these gods ought the law at preMOt 
to be followed ? 

<« jL Ofthegad G^dimuw 

^ U. Where 16 the 9ed Godanis? 

^ A, Goda■[u^ at the age of tlurtgr-^ve jranrm Itaving ob- 
iaiiiid diTimty, preadied his law for fort^F-Ike yeaf% and 
brought salvation to all li?iflf bdn^ At eifhCgr ysirt <if 

roqb. II* 2 o 

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M THB BIBMX6B BMPIKB. 

age he obudncd Nieban^ and thk happened 296S years 
aga Then Godama said, < After t shall have departed 
from this earth, I Will preserve my law and disciples fbr 
five Aousand years $ * and he commanded tiiat hia images 
«nd relics should be worshipped^ which has accordiiigly 
been ever since done. 

« Q, In saying that Crodama obtained Nieban^ what is 
understood by that word f 

«* ^, When ft person is po longer suljecl to any of the 
£»llowing miseiies, namelyy to weight, old age, disease, 
and death, then he is said to have obtained Nieban, No 
thing, no place, can give us an adequate idea of Nieban ; 
we commonly say, thai to be free from the four abore 
mentioned mia^es, and to obtain salvation, is Nieban, In 
the same manner as when any persQn* labouring under a 
severe disease, recovers by the asisistance of medicine, we 
say, he has obtained health; but if any person wishes to 
know the manner, oir cause of his tiiut obtaining health, 
it can only be answered, that to be restored to health sig- 
nifies no more. than to be recovered from disease. In the 
same manner only can we speak of Nieban, and after this 
manner Godama taught 

*< Q, Is not Godama the only true god on the fiice of 
tfaisear^? 

** A, Godama is the only true and pure god, who knows 
the four laws called Sizza, and who can bestow Nieban* 
In the same manner as on the destructio^ of a kingdom, 
many arise who aspire to the throne, and who assume the 
royal insignia; so, when the time fixed for the duration of 
the law preceding Godama had expired^ and it had been 
prophesied for a thousand years that anew god was about 
to appear, six men, before the coming of Godama, pne- 
tended ^at they were gods, and each of liiem was foUoMfti- 
ed by five huhdred disdples. 

<* Q. Did those false gdds preach.no doctrine ? 

" A, They did preach, but that ^^ch they tau^t was 
false. 

«« a What did they teach ? 

<* A. One taught, that the cause of all the good and 
evil which happen in the world, of poverty and wealth, of 
nobility and want of rani, was a certain saperior Nia of 
the woods, who> on this account, ought to be wonhipptd 
by mankiodi 

'* A second taught^ ^at after death man wm by no 

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RELIGION. 81 

means changed hito animals, and diat anhnatsi on being 
slain, were not changed into men ; but that, after death, 
men were always bom men, and animals bom aaimals. 

« A third denied the proper NUban, and a«iserted, that 
all living beings had their beginning in their mother^ 
womb, and woiUd have their end in death ; and that there 
is no o^er Nieban but this death. 

*' A fourth taught, that all living things neither had a 
beginning, nor would have an end ; and that every thing 
which happens arises from a fortuitous and bHnd fate. He 
denied the lot of good and evil deeds, which, according to 
the law of Godbma, is the efficient cause of all the good 
and evil that happen to livins beings. 

** The fifth taught, that Nieban consists ih nothing more 
than the life of certain Nixt and Biammay who live for the 
whole duration of a world. He asserted, that the chief 
"jgood works are, to honour our parents, to endure the heat 
Of the sun or of the fire, and to support hunger ; that there 
'is no crime in killing animals. He said, that such as per- 
formed these good works. Would be rewarded in a future 
life, and that such as did the contrary would be punished. 

*< The last taught, that there existed a being, who had 
created the world, and all things which are therein, and 
that this being only is worthy to be adored. * 

" Now all these fklse gods or deitti taught such things, 
not because they believed them to be trae, but in order to 
answer questions which had been proposed to them, they 
said whatever at the time came into their minds. 

** Q, When the true god Godama appeared, did not 
the false gods renounce their doctrines ^ 

<* A. Some of them did, but others still continue ob- 
stinate ; and with all these Godama fought in the king- 
dom Saulti, near the tree Manche. What greater mirade 
can be performed ? 

'* Q. In this conflict, who ffained the superiority f 

**. A* Godama did ; on which account the ringleader of 
the false gods was so ashamed, that, tying a pot about his 
' neck, he threw himself into a river, and was drowned. 

« Q. What is the doctrine and law which Godama de- 
livered to be observed by all men ? 



* Here the Zarado probably riludes to Devadat, as tbe 
JioAcm call Jesut durkt. 



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82 THE BIBJflSK SMPUtE, 

** A, It eonsuu diicflj in obserfing the fire oommtad- 
OMiits, and in abstaining from the ten sins. 

<* (2- What are the five commandments I 

** A* I. From the meanest insect up to many thou shatt 
kill no animal whatever. II. Thuu snalt not steal. III. 
Tboa sbate not' violate the w'lh or concubine of another. 
IV. Thou sbalt tell nothing false. V. Thou shalt drink 
neither wine» nor any thing that will intoxicate; thou shall 
not eat opium, nor other inebriating drug. Whoever 
keeps these five commandments, during all successive 
tranvnagrations, shall either be bom a nobleman, or iVo/, 
•od shall not be liable to poverty, nor to other misfortunes 
and calamittea. 

««i2. What are the ten sins? 

'* jl. These are called bj the common appellation Z)ttie- 
tuuruiki and are divided into three classes. In the first 
class ave comprehended the works which are contrary to 
the commandments; namely, I. The killing of animals. 
IL Theft. III. Adukery. In the second class are con- 
tained, IV. Falsehood. V. Discord. VI. Harsh and in. 
dignant language. VII. Idle and superfluous talk. To 
the third cIms belong VIII. The coveUng of your neigh- 
bourns goods. IX« Envy, and the desire of your neigh- ' 
bour*s death, and misfortunes. X. The following of the 
doctiine of false gods. He who abstains from these sins 
is said to observe SUa ; and every one who observes SUa^ 
in all successive transmigrations, will continually increase 
in virtue, till at length he will become worthy of behold- 
ing a god, of hearing his great voice ; and thus he will 
obtain Nieban, and be exempted from die four known mi- 
series, namely, weigb^ old age, disease, and death. We 
must also believe, that Godama taught, If we observe hia 
laws, we shall see the other gods who are to arise after 
him. 

*' Revolving then things in your minds, ye English^ 
Dutch^ Armenians^ and others, adore Godama, the true 
God ! Adore also his law and bis priests. Be solicitous 
in giving alms, hi the observance of Sila, and in perform- 
ing Bavana^ But a true and legitimate priest of Godama 
is not to be Ibimd, except in this empire^ or in the island 
of Ceylon ; and you, O bishop ! have obtained a great lot, 
who have been thought worthy, although bom in one of 
tbe small island depiBndiBg OB ZMii^i^ to iMM«r hitber, 
and to hear the truth of the divi|M l«w. T^t ^^ok vdiicb 

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'I noivr give yon, is nore cttimablfl than ^Id and silver^ 
than diamofids and precious stones. And I exhort al^ 
English, Dutch, Armenians^ and others, faithfully to trans- 
cribe its contents, and diligently to act according to the 
precepts therein contained. '* 

The Tencration paid to Godaina throughout the empire, 
ifl great and unceasing. Of the manner in which the re- 
ligious ceremonies upon great occasions are performed, 
Mrs Judson thus writes. « This is the season for the great 
feast of Gaudama. It commenced yesterday, and is to 
continue for three days. It is observed all over the coun- 
try ; but I presume the multitude collected in this plac« 
is much greater than at any other, excepting Ava. Priests 
and people come in boats from a great distance to worship 
at the pagoda in this place, which is supposed to contaifi 
the relick of Gaudama. The viceroy, on these days, goes 
out in all the pomp and splendour possible, dressed and 
ornamented with all the insignia of office, attended by the 
members of government and the common people. After 
Jcneeling and worshipping at the pagoda, they generally 
mod the day in amusements, such as boxings dancing, 
■mging, theatrical exhibitions, and fireworks. Most of 
the older people spend the night at the pagoda, and listen 
to the instructions of the priests. " 

Of course, the priests are in Birmah a numerous 
and popular tribe. They live by themselves in 
monasteries, wear yellow apparel to distinguidi 
their shaven heads and unshod feet, and are sup- 
ported by voluntary contributions. Persons of all 
ages are i^dmitted into the priesthood. They live 
a life of celibacy, and perform no labour. Their 
days of public worship are indicated by the four 
quarters of the moon. Those of the fidl and new 
moon are the most solemn. 

As was to be expected, the Birmans are not 
contented with being religious alone, but are also 
grossly superstitious. Astrologers are in great re- 
pute among them, who predict lucky and unlucky 
days, watch the position of the plaaeta at the birtn 
2 d2 

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M THB BIBIONV SIfPIRK. 

€i dbiMreiiy and read a waa's hrtaxm <m Aa faim 
of his haad. The existence df evil fl(Hnl0> gheals, 
witcbesy and all kind of demons, is firmly cr&> 
dited* They suppose that certain kin^ of dift- 
eaaes amf foe frighteaad away by making a great 
noise ; and the medical profesmon is pecnliariy an- 
der the control of superstition, charms being firmly 
believed m, and an ideal potency attached to many 
BMdiciiMd compounds. The dead an Invned or 
buried (the former being considered the inost ho- 
nourable) with religious rites ; but it does not ap- 
pear that matrimonial connexions are considered ^ 
haying anything to do wi^ the teiaeta of GUidama. 
In no country, indeed, are marriages more qmoidy 
got up, polygamy being allowed, and a Birmaa 
aametimes taking i» hiniself three or fom wires in 
-die course of a month. Upon liiis si^gect Bandi 
more that is interesting and important might Im 
written, but our space forbids. * 

VL LiTSRATUi^E. — The Burmese are a well 
educated pe<^le, at least the male part of the com- 
munity, the boys throughout the empire being 
rtai:^ght by the prieets both to read and write* 
Tbege is a library in almost every monastery, fy 
.their more elegant books diey write on sheets of 
ivory, or on yery &m white palmyra leaves. Tine 
margins of the former are ornamented with gild- 
ing, and of the latter with flowers painted in va- 
■ripus br^ht colours. In their more common bookie 

* We would refer those who are desirous of more in* 
formation cbnceming the religion of the Birmiese, to an 
exceedingly able and erudite paper by Dr Buchanan, in the 
^5tfa V«l. of. the Aaiaitic Researcfaoa^ ^>fh*(« m«<ib new aod 
curious information wiH be fpund. 

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lew f9bm 9xe tal^ea, 4m chvacten being ^ngrayed 
widi m iron stile cm palmyra leaves of an mfeiio^ 
texture. The contents of these books are various. 
Those upon law and religion are mostly tran8late4 
from the aacient Pali limguage, which is probably 
the same as the Sanscrit. There are many trea- 
tises pn law. On medicine also there are sever^ 
books of authority ; but little is known of surgery, 
unless l^e art of dressing wounds and setting bones. 
Inoculation, too, has been lately introduced, but k 
not yet g^nca:aI• The Birmans have many histo^ 
ries, principally of the lives and actidns of their 
own kmgs ; and, like some of the most celebrate^ 
Greek and Roman historians, the writers always 
take care to give a particular account of all the 
omens and prodigies which accompanied the events 
they relate- They have also translated for their 
own use tii^e histories of the Chinese, the Siamese, 
and some other neighbouring nations. They are 
excessively fond of poetry ; but their poetry is al- 
most entirely lyrical, and most of it written for 
the purpose of being adi^ted to music. Their 
dramatic entertainments are principally musical, 
with a little dancing and dialogue introduced occa- 
sionally. The subject is commonly taken from 
some of the legends of their heroes ; and after the 
different characters and songs have been assigned 
to the different performers, the dialogue itself ifi 
left to the extemporaneous ingenuity of the actor. 
These actors are for the most part' Siamese, and 
exhibit in general befope ah indulgent and ^fjsiljf 
pleased audience, 

TTie Birman language seems to be far fi-bm hav- 
ing arrived at any fixed state of giipimmatical per- 
fection. In its original state it was probably purety 

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86 THE BIRHfESE EMPIRE. 

monosyllabic ; but as the Pali has been very liber- 
ally engrafted on it, many polysyllables hare been 
consequently formed. '< It has no inflexions," says 
a writer upon this subject, " and depends almost 
entirely on juxtaposition for the relative value of 
its words. Its pronouns and particles are peculiar, 
Its idioms few and simple, its metaphors of the 
most obvious kind, but it is copious m terms ex- 
pressive of rank and dignity ; and the rank of the 
speaker is indicated by the peculiar phraseology 
which he employs. Repetitions of the same turn 
and expression are affected, ra^er than shunned ; 
and a sententious brevity and naked simpIicity*of 
phrase are the greatest beauties of .which the lan- 
guage admits. ** One great impediment in the 
way of obtaining a critical knowledge of the Birmah 
language is, that there is no reg^ar standard of 
orthography, nor no grammar rules of universal 
application. Every author spells after a fashion 
of his own ; and what is good grammar with one^ 
is considered grossly inaccurate by another. Mr 
and Mrs Judson studied the language for two 
years, before making any considerable progress in 
it. With the exception, indeed, of die solitary 
circumstance, that the Birmans write from left to 
right, there is no one common feature between 
any of their books and those of Europe. Tlie 
fcMms of expression, the shape of the letters, the 
appearance of the words, which are not divided 
and distinguished by lo^aks, points, and capitals, 
but run together in one unbroken line, making a 
whole paiiu;raph look like one word, the charac- 
ters scratched on dried palm-leaves, and every 
thing, in short, that forms the constituent parts ii 

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LITERATURE. 87 

a hookf bears an oriental, and, to the coacepti<Mi9 
of a foreigner, a new and strange appearance. 

There can be little doubt, that the introduction 
into Birmah of some of the improyements made 
by l^e Western naiticms, in the art of cUsseminat- 
ing knowledge, would be attended with the happiest 
results in that country. Nor is there much reason 
to fear, Uiat one of the consequences of the lata 
war, or rather of the terms of peace, will be the 
gradual diffusion of many European customs and 
luxuries over that empire. It is a most important 
fact, that though female education seems to be in« 
tentionally neglected, there is hardly a male through- 
out the empire who cannot both read and write. 
The Birmese, though a vain, are not a bigoted or 
narrow-minded people ; and the day is probably 
not fat distant, when the enlightening influence of 
their British neighbours, combined with their own 
increasing willingness to receive instruction, may 
raise them to a rank, hitherto arrogate<l, more 
through a spirit of empty pride, than fiedrly won, 
either by dieir military prowess, or intellectnal 
and moral greatness. 



END OF VOLUME SECOND. 



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THIS BOOK 

FORMS PART OF THE 

ORIGINAL LIBRARY 

OF THE 

UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN 

BOUGHT IN EUROPE 

1538 TO 1839 

BY 
ASA GRAY