« VorigeDoorgaan »
“ As the sun cleared the atmosphere, however, debtors did of old through the iron gratings things assumed a pleasanter aspect; and by the of the Fleet and other debtors' prisons. The time that we were fairly under weigh, and work: batis, or temples, of wbich there are a huning towards the anchorage, the whole city of dred in the city, are built upon the banks. Bangkok, consisting of a long double, and in some parts
, treble row of neatly and tastefully Here also stand the king's palace, and the painted wooden cabins, floating on thick bamboo bouses of the nobles, foreign consuls, and rafts, and linked to each other, in parcels of six missionaries. or seven houses, by chains (which chains were During the last century, the capital stood fastened to huge poles driven into the bed of the much higher up the river, and upon its river), rose like a magic picture to our admiring banks. From this situation it was removed gaze. Junks of 1400 tons were lying close for a sanitary as well as commercial reason. alongside these floating cabins, so close that they It was thought that the exhalations from could converse with each other with the greatest the mud at low water were the cause of the facility, and one vessel-a Portuguese, that was working tack and tack with us up the river frightful visitations of cholera which ravaged approached so close to the houses that, in going the place; and certainly, since this dense about, she came foul with, and carried away with city has been placed over the running stream, her, half a dozen of these floating domiciles. The this frightful scourge has not been so frequent tide was running down rapidly, and so soon as
or destructive a visitant, and ague has in a the brig disengaged herself, away went these honses at a steamer's pace, amidst the vociferous great measure disappeared. This is in hootings and shoutings of their tenants ; and accordance with the latest sanitary experience before many minutes had elapsed, they had dis- of Europeans. The Bangkokians, however, appeared round a corner of the river, and were have only changed the nature of the prevastranded on the opposite shore.”
lent disease, for in consequence of the damp
condition of these wooden cabins, rheumatic The houses fronting the water-streets, or fever is very common. The writer of a open channels, have all open shops, and as paper published lately in the Transactions there is no such a thing as foot-way or car- of the China branch of the Royal Asiatic riage-road, like the Venetians, the Bang- Society, calculates the population of this kokians do all their town locomotion in floating capital to number no less than boats. The thousands of these little canoes, 400,000 souls. Imagine Liverpool and each managed by one person, often by girls, Birkenhead swimming apon the Mersey, and that are seen early in the morning, before you will realize the singular situation of the the sun becomes powerful, moving through capital city of Siam. Although the Siamese the different channels, give an interesting in many particulars resemble the Chinese, activity to the whole picture. Every con- from whom, in fact, they have received many ceivable commodity is thus borne from door elements of their civilization, in one particular to door. In one you will see rice, in another, they have an advantage—or rather their fruit, in a third, fish; or an old Chinaman government has over their celestial neighevery now and then floats along, intent upon bors: they are much more amenable to a bissing pot and pans, in which he is manu- European reason, and adopt with far greater facturing a rich-looking soup. In the midst facility the notions of “ barbarians.” Even of these little craft, a Chinese junk, painted at a time when the rulers of Siam have not all over with dragons and monsters, lies at shown themselves to be superior in underanchor in the stream, and forms a brilliant- standing to the average of Oriental despots, looking bazaar ; for no sooner does such a they have availed themselves of European vessel arrive, than an awning is spread over science, and at the very moment the Emperor the deck, and tables and cases are ranged of China was having war-steamers confore and aft by the crew, and every one
structed in exact imitation of those employed brings forth his particular stock in the by the English enemy-barring the steamgeneral venture, and becomes, for the nonce, engines—the King of Siam possessed a fleet an expert salesman. Here and there the of men-of-war constructed bị his own people rows of floating houses are broken with large under English direction, and officered by cages; these are the debtors' prisons, and Englishmen. Mr. Neale gives the following the poor wretches who occupy them are
list of the men-of-war possessed by the late obliged to hop from one to the other, accord - King of Siam, a part of which was under his ing as the sun moves, in order to obtain a manageinent:little shade, all the while keeping a sharp
Captains. look-out for passers-by; for they are com- Conqueror
Jacobs 50 pelled to beg their daily bread, as our poor | Victory :
1400 Rogers VOL. XXXIV.-NO. II.
Tons. 1000 700 500 150
is shown a few miles from the old capital, Caledonia
Middleton Good Success
is the object of the greatest veneration, and Sir Walter Scott
De Luz 10 | is the scene of an imposing festival once a Ariel
6 year, when the king and a vast number of These were fine, fast-sailing vessels, upon pilgrims go up the river and visit the spot. the European model. In addition to the Mr. Neale says he saw upwards of 70,000 government dockyard, there are dry-docks canoes paddle up the stream in grand proby the side of the river, in which any mer
cession on one of these occasions. A part chant vessel can have repairs done by the of the ceremony is to enter a cave, and cast king's shipwrights. No doubt the fleet since offerings in money down a deep hole. We this date is much increased, as the reigning should fear the priests were possessed of prince's brother has, for many years, taken some "Open Sesame !" to obtain an entrance a great interest in navigation; and, like into this secret treasure-house. Peter the Great, has made himself practically "The great sanctity of the white elephant acquainted with the art of ship-building in Siam is not difficult to understand, when The intimate connection which has long we consider that the doctrine of the transexisted between the court of Siam and the migration of souls is so ital a part of their English consul, Mr. Hunter, probably led to national religion; still more easy is the the introduction of European ideas among explanation, when we learn that white elethis semi-barbarous people —Mr. Hunter was phants are supposed to be tenanted by the the confidant of the late monarch, and of the souls of deceased kings. Well might his Prince Chou Fau Noi, and it was, in fact, majesty of Siam pay every attention to any through his vigorous action during a formid blanched monarch of the forest he might be able rebellion of one of the chiefs, that the fortunate enough to capture, when he conthrone itself was saved. In addition to the siders that his own time will come to animate English influence, the mass of Siamese court the like ponderous body, and to flourish a prejudices must have in some measure been prehensile trunk. There were, a short time leavened by the residence of an intelligent since, two of these revered animals under the Portuguese consul, and by the presence of safe-keeping of the priest. They have for American Protestant and French Catholic their habitations two of the most splendid missionaries.
batis or temples in the empire, situated in Whilst these influences have all been the midst of gardens filled with the tubepowerful levers in helping to raise the Siam rose, the yellow honeysuckle, and a passionrulers and nobles a little nearer to the flower of a very beautiful form, called by the European level, all attempts to Christianize | Siamese the bell-flower. In these gardens, people or princes have utterly failed. And when Mr. Neale visited the elephants, á this is the more remarkable, as the state posse of priests, dressed in gamboge-dyed religion, Buddhism, is without a god—the last dresses, were chanting laudatory verses god of the Buddhists having, according to about the great wbite elephant. This travtheir own account, died B.C. 543. One eller's description of the beast is in the would have imagined that a religion without highest degree interesting :a chief would be sure to fall before the first assailant ; but the purest and best of faiths admitted into the presence of this noble animal. I
“We closely followed our guide, and were has scarcely made a single convert as yet. have never before seen so large an elephant ; his Godama, the last god of the Buddhists, was, skin was as smooth and spotless and white as the they say, absorbed into the bosom of nature; driven snow, with the exception of a large scarlet and since this occurred, they know of no rim round the eyes. The brute was too dignified deity who has any part in managing the and accustomed to homage to pay the slightest affairs of the world, and awarding premiums visitors as ourselves, but went on calmly helping
attention to the intrusion of such unpresuming and penalties due to their deeds; but merit himself to leaves and branches from the mighty and malice are followed by punishments and piles that were heaped up before him. The room rewards as a necessary sequence; the former itself was an unpresuming one, exceedingly lofty, consisting of sufferings endured during a with windows all round the loftiest part; but the series of transmigration through the various flooring was covered with a mat-work, wrought existences, from the lowest insect up to the of pure chaste gold, each interwoven seam being highest divinity, whilst the greatest reward about half an inch wide, and about the thickness
of a half sovereign !!! If this was not sin to is made to consist in annihilation.
snakes, as the Yankee says, I don't know what The original faith is still the living faith of
The idea of a great, unwieldy brute, like the country. The footprint of Buddha, which the elephant, trampling under foot and wearing
out more gold in one year than many hard. | prince was looked upon as the heir-apparent working people gain in ten! And then the soiled to the throne, and high expectations were mess that this costly carpeting was in, in many entertained of him when he should have parts, would have been sufficient to cause a miser to go off instantly into a fit of insanity: visited the court of Siam in 1839,* gives
ascended the throne. Dr. Richardson, who Several priests were busily engaged in different parts of the room, polishing up tarnished spots; the following interesting account of the others, professionally goldsmiths, were extracting reception-room of the prince, which shows at the worn strips, and replacing them with new a glance the style of man Chou Fau must be, ones, so heavy and so bright, that it made our brought up, as he has been, among a nation eyes and mouths water to see such infamous of semi-savages. “ The room,” says Dr. waste. Every ove to his liking, however. The Richardson, wherein we were received was sovereigns and potentates of Europe manage to fitted up in the English style, and on the make millions slip through their fingers in the pursuits of the pomps and vanities of this wicked table was a splendid gilt lamp, with cutworld, and in indulging every appetite that vicious glass shades, which was made for William nature can give birth to. The King of Siam IV.; the walls were decorated with English would, doubtless, do the same if he could; but prints, and he had a small library of English he can't, for this simple reason, that so limited books, of which the Encyclopædia Britannica
, are the resources for gratification and pleasure, formed a part.” and so cheaply obtainable these few, that his formed a part.” majesty, who does not spend much in wearing
The possession of this work points to the apparel, turns his treasures into mats for his scientific turn of the prince's mind. Chou favorite doll or deity to tread upon.
Fau Noi acquired a respectable knowledge “ The man who was so fortunate as to intrap of mathematics, as a preliminary to a study the elephant, got from the King of Siam a pen- of fortification and gunnery, in both of which sion of one thousand tikols per annum, which
arts he is reported to be “well up." pension is hereditary ; besides this, he was raised
Mr. Neale, who visited Chou Fau later to a very high office in the kingdom-that of carrying water for the elephant to slake his thirst than Dr. Richardson, gives us a fuller view with; and the jars with which the water is of the habits and occupations of the prince. transported, and the trough from which this levia. He says :than drinks, are both more or less filagreed and worked with gold.
“ His thirst for literature was then (1840) “The white elephant, junior, differed from the greater than ever; all the latest publications, he, white elephant, senior, considerably, in size and by means of agents, procured from Singapore, and appearance, and consequently, luxuriated in silver I have seen him laugh as heartily over Dickens' instead of gold. He was evidently the younger Pickwick as though he had been accustomed to son of a junior branch of the family, and was the scenes that book depicts from his earliest accordingly neglected and ill treated. Even the youth. . . . The prince had some favorites that priests neglected to repair the rents in his silver had picked up a little smattering of English, and inatting, which was fast going to pieces, and if assisted him in his more scientific amusements. one might judge from the meagre and sickly Opposite the armory, and just on the threshold of look of the poor animal, it was not likely to live his palace, was a very pretty little farm-house, long enongh to tread upon a new. The vault surrounded with glass windows, and over the in which this poor brute was confined was also entrance door of which was placed a board with insignificant in comparison with the other, and the inscription of • Watches and clocks made and the garden, though abounding in flowers, was repaired here,' written in large letters of gold; evidently ill looked after and neglected.”
and here he would be seen, seated at a table
liberally bestrewed with fragments and little The late king was a mere bloated sensual- mites of wheels, pursuing his favorite occupation ist, with just sense enough to see that he of watch-making. It was a strange sight, in could depend better upon the advice of such an out-of-the-way place as Bangkok, and Europeans than upon that of his own nobles; among such a set of uncouth beings as the Siam
ese, to come suddenly upon the strange figure and, in consequence, foreign influence bas
the prince presented, with a pair of huge goggles predominated for many years at Siam, and protruding from his eyes, and surrounded by a the notions of the higher nobility have been group of curious and inquisitive favorites." very much influenced thereby. Many of the Ministers of State speak very good English, Mr. Hunter, the English consul, was the and have adopted semi-English fashions in chief agent in sowing the good seed of entheir houses. The example of the late king's lightenment in the prince's mind. He taught youngest half-brother gave a great impulse to this monarch, for he was an admirer of ernment of India to the Court of Siam. By Dr.
* Journal of a Mission from the Supreme Govour nation, and treated all Englishmen with Richardson. Published in the Calcutta Journal. the greatest respect. For many years this | 1840.
him English, and pointed out the chief works ere, with letters addressed me. I found but my that he should study, and the result here, as name on back of the parcil, and little bok contain at Sarawak, bas shown what a centre of civili
but direction for use, and adjustment of the inzation an Anglo-Saxon consul might become struments, and the printed tracts regarding philo
sophic observations upon the same. in the midst of a barbarous people. Of late
** Now I beg to return my thanks for your so years, a still greater advance has been made valuable various presents, which many of my in Bangkok towards introducing the domestic visitors, who have witnessed the same at my resiinfluences of our race among the people, the dence, praised muchly for such the wonderful ladies of the American Protestant Mission and finest European manufacture; but I am sorry having free access to the ladies of the harem, that I do not understand its use with all pains or and of course imperceptibly imparting to pictures contain in the cases. I shall be very them European ideas.
glad if you give me another direction for use of
all pictures, or figures, or pairs, exactly more." The latest information we have received from this little-visited country, tends to in
This curious letter, describing the interest crease still more the interest Europeans must
taken by the chief of a semi-savage nation in feel in it. The old king, a man of narrow one of the latest and prettiest philosophic toys intellect, having died in April, 1851, his eldest half-brother, Prince Chou Fa Yai, was, reoscope-thus concludes with a sentence
so common in our drawing-rooms--the stecontrary to general expectation, called by the which evinces the thoughtful character of nobles from his seclusion, and placed upon the royal writer. the throne. This prince had long buried himself in a convent, and, apparently, was 'Myself and my royal family are well, and hope wholly taken up with the performance of his you and yours will be the same, Him blessing the office as a priest; whilst, however, wearing superagency of the universe ; whose characterthe yellow badge of his order, and in conse- istics of are always difficult to be exactly known quenee excluded from political affairs, this by whole world of mankind.
“I beg to remain yours faithful, sagacious man was forming opinions of men
“ J. P. P. W. MONGKUL, and things, and acquiring a knowledge of
“ The King of Siam and Sovereign European affairs and arts and sciences, which
of Laos, &c." appears to have been little guessed by the European residents, from whom we have ac- The freedom from prejudice, and the largequired what knowledge we have of the march ness of the views, of this sagacious prince, at of civilization at the Siamese Court. They once proclaim the depth and power of his universally believed that Chou Fau Noi, the understanding. The King of Siam is a conyounger brother, would succeed the old king. stant contributor to the Calcutta periodicals, Able, however, as we have shown this prince and a very singular paper, which appeared to be, he is still inferior to the king, of whom in one of them in 1852, giving an account of Dr. Bowring, in a letter to a friend of the his coronation, and making excuses for some writer, makes mention in the highest terms, of the ceremonies used on that occasion, is speaking of him, indeed, as one of those extra generally understood to have been written by ordinary men that at rare intervals suddenly him. In this communication, he seeks to rise up in all parts of the world.
shield himself from the ridicule which he
fears will be heaped upon him by Europeans, “ I am," he says, “in communication with one of by stating that, however absurd they are, the most extraordinary men of the age—the King yet the people believe in them, and any sudof Siam. His letters would astonish you, so well den departure from the established usage on written in English), so inquisitive, so tolerant, such occasions would only lead to a revoluSo sagacious."
tion, without advancing the aim of his life An extract from one of these letters, writ- the progress of civilization among his people. ten by his Siamese majesty, in acknowledg. the character of the man. The king, who is
This alone would be sufficient to stamp ment for a present of some philosophical toys and instruments, which we give verbatim 'et upwards of fifty years of age, is tall and literatim, will, however, speak more clearly spare in person, with a look and manner indiin his behalf than we can do.
cating that he was born to command. Since
he has come to the throne, he has busied "Your various presents," writes the royal scribe himself in opening roads in his territories, to Sir John Bowring," you had been so kind to
and in extending the metropolis upon the send me, by care of Honorable Thomas Church, banks of the river. The Prince Chou Fou Esq., of Singapore, was reached my hand long I Noi, the younger brother, according to the singular custom of the country, has been , commerce, and we should be delighted to created “Second King,” or reserve monarch. learn that the mission of Sir John Bowring, With two such rulers, we may reasonably appointed to open negotiations with the King hope to see the kingdom of Siam entering of Siam for this purpose, has proved successinto closer connection with the maritime ful. The flood of Europeans at the present countries of the West. Hitherto, commerce moment pouring into the Pacific, is day by has been so shackled by the absurd restric- day spreading its fertilizing influence among tions imposed by the laws of the country, the stagnant nations of the East. China is that it has been little better than a second fast entering into more intimate relations with Japan, and all our political missions to ob- Europe, Japan promises to come forth into tain a modification of them have come to the world, and Siam without doubt will see nothing; even the attempts of Sir James the necessity of abolishing the last remnants Brooke, in 1850, were fruitless. The acces- of that system of commercial restriction sion, however, to the throne, of the present which suited her well enough before she had wise prince, whose attachment to Europeans, British India bounding her like a wall on the and especially to the English, is well known, West, and a new empire of restless Anglopresents a most favorable opportunity for Saxons watching her from the not far distant opening the flowing cornucopia of one of the shores of the American Continent. most productive countries of the East to our
From the Biographical Magazine,
If the spirit of poetry, infused into the mother, notwithstanding many household soul with the very breath of life, and brighten- cares and anxieties, and often much sickness, ing from infancy to dawning girlhood, till its retained her imaginative and ardent feelings, dame, too powerful for the frail tenement in and appreciated the marvellous mental gifts which it glows, destroy it—if versatile fancy, and dawning genius of her child. As soon delicate sensibility, exquisite tenderness, and as Lucretia could speak, it was discovered
, purity and grace - if these give their pos- that her thoughts were of a deeper nature
sessors any claim to rank with the illustrious, than those of the children around her; and then Lucretia and Margaret Davidson enjoy when she could read, she was continually it. Yet a melancholy overclouds their short busy with the little books she received as career, and deepens with our admiration of gifts from her father. Long before she could them. We are made sensible at every step write, she gave her thoughts to paper in that intellect adorned them, not in Barry awkward Roman characters. In infancy, she Cornwall's words—
had her favorite birds and flowers; to these
she would address odes, irregular, indeed, To light them like a star,
and very imperfect, but all tinted by true but as the wreathing flame which consumed poetic thought. Occasionally she indited a whilst it heightened their loveliness. They sonnet to her mother, and at such times a were daughters of the New World, where look of grave reflection rested on her face Poetry breathes among the forests and the which would have been altogether out of mountains, and gives its everlasting voice to place there, had it not, by frequent and the majestic rivers.
sudden expressions of the most brilliant aniLUCRETIA DAVIDSON, the elder of these mation, been rendered by contrast positively two sisters, was born in 1808, in the State of beautiful. When only ten years
she New York. Her father, Dr. Oliver Davidson, wrote the following acrostic upon her own was a highly intellectual man; and her