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Title: Embassy to the Eastern Courts of Cochin-China, Siam, and Muscat - In the U. S. Sloop-of-war Peacock, David Geisinger, - Commander, During the Years 1832-3-4
Author: Roberts, Edmund
Language: English
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  DURING THE YEARS 1832-3-4.




Entered according to act of Congress, in the year 1837,

In the Clerk’s Office of the District Court of the Southern District of
New York.




Having some years since become acquainted with the commerce of Asia and
Eastern Africa, the information produced on my mind a conviction that
considerable benefit would result from effecting treaties with some of
the native powers bordering on the Indian ocean.

With a view to effect an object apparently so important, I addressed a
letter to the Hon. Levi Woodbury, then a Senator in Congress from the
state of New Hampshire, detailing the neglected state of our commerce
with certain eastern princes, and showing that the difference between
the duties paid on English and American commerce, in their dominions,
constituted of itself a very important item in profit, in favour of the

Subsequently to this period, Mr. Woodbury was appointed to the
secretaryship of the Navy, and consequently became more deeply
interested in the success of our floating commerce.

Scarcely had his appointment been confirmed before the melancholy news
arrived, that the ship Friendship, of Salem, Mass., had been plundered,
and a great portion of her crew murdered, by the natives of Qualah

As an important branch of our commerce to the pepper ports on the
western coast of Sumatra was endangered, by the successful and hostile
act of these barbarians, it was deemed necessary that the piratical
outrage should be promptly noticed by a national demand for the
surrender and punishment of the aggressors.

About this period, the U. S. ship-of-war Potomac was nearly ready to
proceed to her station on the western coast of South America, by way of
Cape Horn, but her destination was immediately changed for the western
coast of Sumatra, accompanied by instructions to carry into effect the
measures of government against the inhabitants of Qualah Battu.

As our government was anxious to guard against any casualty which
might befall the Potomac in fulfilling her directions, it resolved to
despatch the United States’ sloop-of-war Peacock and schooner Boxer, to
carry into effect, if necessary, the orders of the first-named vessel,
and also to convey to the courts of Cochin-China, Siam and Muscat,
a mission charged to effect, if practicable, treaties with those
respective powers which would place American commerce on a surer basis,
and on an equality with that of the most favoured nations trading to
those kingdoms.

A special or confidential agent being necessary to carry into effect
the new measures of government, I had the honour to be selected for
that duty, at the particular recommendation of the secretary of the

The summary chastisement of the inhabitants of Qualah Battu, and the
complete success of Com. Downes, in the performance of the duties
assigned by government, rendered a visit from the Peacock to that
place unnecessary, and thus left the objects of the mission more fully
open to a complete and minute investigation. How far they have been
faithfully accomplished, I leave to the candid and impartial judgment
of those who peruse the details of the Embassy, in the following pages.

At the period of my visit to the courts of Siam and Muscat, American
commerce was placed on a most precarious footing, subject to every
species of imposition which avarice might think proper to inflict, as
the price of an uncertain protection.

Nor was it to pecuniary extortions alone that the uncontrolled hand of
power extended. The _person_ of the American citizen, in common with
that of other foreigners, was subject to the penalties of a law which
gave the creditor an absolute power over the _life_, equally with
the property, of the debtor, at the court of Siam. As an American,
I could not fail to be deeply impressed with the barbarity of this
legal enactment, and its abrogation, in relation to my own countrymen,
detailed in the Embassy, I consider as not the least among the benefits
resulting from the mission.

With the courts of Siam and Muscat, it will be seen, I was enabled to
effect the most friendly relation, and to place our commerce on a basis
in which the excessive export and import duties, previously demanded,
were reduced fifteen per cent.

If in the attainment of these benefits some sacrifice of personal
feeling was at times made for the advantage of American commerce, the
dignity of my country was never lost sight of, nor her honour jeoparded
by humiliating and degrading concessions to eastern etiquette.

The insulting formalities required as preliminaries to the treaty, by
the ministers from the capital of Cochin-China, left me no alternative,
save that of terminating a protracted correspondence, singularly marked
from its commencement to its termination by duplicity and prevarication
in the official servants of the emperor. The detail of the various
conversations, admissions and denials, on the part of these eastern
ministers, in the pages of the Embassy, exhibits their diplomatic
character in true, but not favourable colours.

The unprotected state of our trade from the Cape of Good Hope to the
eastern coast of Japan, including our valuable whale-fishery, was
painfully impressed on my attention in the course of the Embassy. Not
a single vessel-of-war is to be seen waving the national flag over
our extensive commerce from the west of Africa to the east of Japan:
our merchantmen, trading to Java, Sumatra and the Philippine islands,
are totally unprotected. The extent of this commerce may be estimated
from the fact that there arrived in two ports in Java during one year,
one hundred and one ships, the united tonnage of which, amounted to
_thirty-eight thousand, eight hundred and seventy-seven tons_. To this
may be added the whale-fishery on the Japanese coast, which likewise
calls loudly for succour, and protection from the government. The
hardy whaler--the fearless adventurer on the deep--yielding an immense
revenue to his country, amid sufferings and privations of no common
order, certainly claims at the hand of that country, protection from
the savage pirate of the Pacific. Among this class of citizens too,
we may look for those bold and determined spirits who would form the
bulwark of our national navy. The protection of this important and
prolific branch of commerce is, in every point of view, a political
and moral advantage. I indulge the hope that it will become the object
of special legislation, and that the hardy sons of the ocean, while
filling the coffers of their country, may enjoy the protection of her

The various tables relative to exports, imports, currencies, weights
and measures, in the various places visited by the Embassy, will, I
trust, be found greatly beneficial to the commercial enterprise which,
yearly, extends from the Cape of Good Hope to the China sea. They
have been compiled in some instances from direct observation, and in
others, from the best authority which could be obtained. While it has
been my special object to render the pages of the Embassy a guide
to the best interests of commerce, I have not been unmindful of the
claims which the general reader may have on a work embracing a view
of that interesting quarter of the world, the eastern and southern
portion of the eastern hemisphere; its natural scenery, productions,
language, manners, ceremonies, and internal political regulations,
will be found in the Embassy. The picture may not be at all times of a
pleasing character; it has rather been my object to give the original
impression, than to decorate it with any factitious colouring. When
visible demonstration could be obtained, I have always resorted to
it, in drawing my conclusions; and in those cases in which this best
auxiliary was denied me, I have given the testimony of travellers from
other countries, who preceded me in visiting the courts touched at by
the Embassy, and whose details have received the sanction of the world.

The abject condition of morals among the inhabitants of the Indian
ocean, will naturally interest the philanthropist: while rejoicing in
the high moral tone of society which distinguishes his own happy land,
he will look with an eye of compassion on those regions where the
worship of the Supreme Being gives place to the mysterious idolatry of
Budha, or the external ceremonies of Confucius.

The searcher after literary information will find in the account of
the literary institutions of China much interesting and useful matter
for observation and reflection. In relation to the strictness of her
collegiate examinations, and the high grade of learning necessary to
secure their honours, some useful hints may be derived to our own
collegiate institutions.

In the appendix will be found a curious literary document in relation
to the aborigines of the Malay peninsula, particularly of the negroes
called Semang, accompanied by specimens of the Semang language in two
dialects, for which due credit has been given in the Embassy.

The philologist will doubtless receive this accession to the common
stock of inquiries into the origin of language, with considerable
gratification. A philosophical investigation of the relationship
existing between the varied families of the earth, and their common
origin, may perhaps yet be based on the analogy existing between their
language and dialects.

The phraseology of the epistolary document from the Sultan of Muscat
to the President of the United States, with that contained in the
letter from Tumbah Tuah to Captain Geisinger, at Bencoolen, furnishes
specimens of that figurative and high-wrought diction, for which the
Oriental nations are distinguished.

As I am about to undertake another voyage to exchange the ratifications
of the treaties alluded to in the Embassy, to form others in places not
yet visited, and to extend, if possible, our commerce on advantageous
terms, still farther east than India or Cochin-China, I beg my readers
will consider the present volume as a prelude to much further and
varied information to be derived under more favourable auspices--more
intimate knowledge of eastern forms--and that caution which should ever
be the child of experience.

In concluding my introductory remarks, I would freely acknowledge
my obligation to the works of those authors who have preceded me in
visiting the nations to which the Embassy was directed. I deemed it
important that no useful information, from whatever source derived,
should be withheld from my countrymen. Wherever ocular or audible
demonstration could be had, I have recorded the facts as they were
presented, in the most simple and unadorned manner; I had not in
view the flights of rhetorical composition, but the detail of useful

My country claimed at my hands, the faithful fulfilment of arduous and
responsible duties. If, in the information furnished in the Embassy,
her requirements have been accomplished, my ambition is satisfied.

  E. R.



  Sailing from Boston; Arrival at St. Jago; Description; Exports;
  Great Drought; Fogo; Fortifications; Sailing for Brazil;
  Description of the Coast; Harbour of Rio and Distant Views; the
  City; Public Garden; Boto Fogo; Botanic Garden; Population;
  Public Buildings; Senate and House of Representatives             13


  Sailing from Montevideo; Description of the Island of Tristan
  D’Acunha; St. Pauls; Engano; Arrival at Bencoolen and
  Description                                                       29


  Sailing from Bencoolen; Arrival at Crokatoa and Forsaken
  Islands; Scenery; Beautiful Submarine Garden; British Frigate;
  Arrival at Angier; Sailing from Angier; Bay and City of Manila;
  Buildings; Population; Provisions; Labour                         39


  Manila, continued; Calzada; Sea-Cucumber; Cigar-Factory at
  Binondo; Exports; Duties; Weights and Currency; Exchange;
  Imports; Luzon; Cavité; Hurricane; Lago de Bria; Pina; Indian
  and Buffalo; Visits to the Alcade                                 51


  Departure from Manila: Cholera; Cape Bolina; Chinese Vessels;
  Pilot; Macao; Linting, Village; Whampoa; Jos Houses; Sacrifice;
  Arrival at Canton; River and Boats; Description of Canton; Great
  Idol Temple; Legend of the Jos House; Religious Ceremonies;
  Minor Temples                                                     63


  Budhism; Tombs of Ancestors; Ceremonies; Origin of Tumuli or
  Tombs; Sacrifices to Confucius; Pan-Hwny-Pan; Infanticide;
  Charitable Institutions; Government Gratuities                    75


  Description of Canton; Sacking of the City; Place of Honour;
  Mourning; Compass; Materials for Buildings; Houses; Principal
  Offices; Duties and Penalties of Governor; Fires; Governor’s
  Salary; Division of Power                                         89


  Literary Institutions of China; Examinations; Schools; Teachers;
  School-room Ceremonies; Colleges; Domestic Commerce; Population
  of the Provinces; Imports; Exports                               109


  Early Commerce of China; American Trade; Hong-Merchants;
  Translators; Linguists; Foreign Factories; Style of Living;
  Manufactories and Trade; Physicians; Egg-Boats; Manufacturers;
  Mechanics; Population of Canton                                  123


  Weights and Measures; Money Weights; Commercial Weights; Opium;
  Opium-Smokers; Mantchou Dynasty                                  135


  Death; Ceremonies of Imperial Mourning; Population of the
  Chinese Empire; Knock-head Ceremony; Beggars; Cat and Dog
  Market; Dr. B. and the China-man; Barbers; Dress of the Chinese;
  the Dragon God; Slavery                                          147


  Climate of Canton and Macao; Meteorological Averages; Departure
  from Canton for Macao and Linting; Macao; Population;
  Superstitious Ceremony                                           162


  Sailing from Linting to Vung-Lam Harbour, in the Province of
  Fooyan, or Phuyen; Government of Shundai; Assistant Keeper of
  Vung-lam; Letters to the King of Cochin-China; Catholic Priest;
  Deputies from Shundai                                            171


  Present of a Feast to the Embassy; Description of Arrangement;
  Deputies of Hué; Extraordinary Demands--Refusal to Forward
  Despatches to the Emperor; Letter of the Envoy to the Minister
  of Commerce; President’s Letter; Unconditional Requirements of
  the Deputies                                                     189


  Suspension of Intercourse; Failure of Mission; Departure of
  Embassy from Vung-Lam Bay; Envoy’s Titles; Mode of Husking
  Rice; Tombs of the Dead; Fishing Boats; Absence of Priests and
  Temples; Superstitions; Wild Animals; Mandarins’ House; Mode of
  taking Leave; Government of Cochin-China; Grades of Rank         213


  Passage from Cochin-China to the Gulf of Siam; Arrival at
  the Mouth of the River Menam; Packnam; Procession to the
  Government-House; Reception; Governor; Siamese Temples;
  Interview with the Siamese Foreign Minister; Prima Donna; Feats
  of Strength; Siamese Females; Fire at Bang-kok; White Elephants;
  Embalming; Shaving-head Ceremony and Feast; Fox-bats             227


  Presentation at the Palace of Bang-kok; Description; Royal
  Elephant; White Elephants; King of Siam; Great Temple of
  Guatama; City of Bang-kok; Temple of Wat-chan-tong, and Figure
  of Budha; Banyan Tree; Fire-feeders; Missionaries                253


  Chinese Junks; Mechanic Arts of Siam; Amusements; Dancing
  Snakes; Annual Oath of Allegiance; Description of the Capital;
  Embassy from Cochin-China; Education in Siam; Palace             271


  Procession to the Funeral Pile of Wang-na, or Second King;
  Origin of Budhism in Siam; Sommona Kodom; Atheistical Principles
  of Budhism; Budhist Commandments; History of Siam; Government;
  Titles of the King; Officers of the Government                   289


  Ancient Laws of Siam; Legal Oaths; Punishment for Debt;
  Divorces; Population of Siam; Stature and Complexion of the
  Siamese; Division of Time; Boundaries and Possessions of Siam;
  Marine of Siam; Imports; Inland Trade; Currency; Treaty of
  Commerce; Table of Exports                                       305


  Departure from Bang-kok for Singapore; Singapore; Commerce;
  Bugis; Maritime Laws; Departure from Singapore; Straits of
  Gaspar; Island of Java; Population of Java; Clothing; Dying;
  Stamping; Fruits; Birds                                          319


  Batavia; Burying-Grounds; Servants’ Wages; Academy of Arts;
  Departure from Batavia; Arrival at Angier; Departure from
  Angier; Red Sea; Arrival at Mocha; Turkie Ben Al Mas; Palace of
  Mocha; Currency at Mocha; Transparent Stone; Colour of the Red
  Sea                                                              336


  Departure from the Red Sea; Cape Rosselgate; Arrival at Muscat;
  Blind Beggars; Fin-back Whales; Bedouin Arabs; Pearl Islanders;
  Arab Houses; Currency of Muscat; Naval Force of Muscat           351


  Departure from Muscat; Arrival at Quintangony and Mozambique;
  Exports from Mozambique; Imports; Departure from Mozambique;
  Arrival at Table Bay; Cape of Good Hope                          365


  Algoa Bay; Imports; Population of the Cape of Good Hope; Public
  Institutions; Newspapers; Departure from the Cape; Arrival at
  Rio Janeiro; Departure from Rio Janeiro; Arrival at Boston
  Harbour; Statistical Table                                       386


  Various Documents connected with the Work                        403




The Executive having, in the year 1832, resolved on an attempt to place
our commercial relations, with some of the native powers of Asia, on a
sure and advantageous basis, orders were issued to prepare the United
States’ ship Peacock, and the schooner Boxer, for that special object.

The commanders of these vessels were required to visit certain ports
on the southeastern coast of Asia, and to make a general report on
the condition of our commerce, in relation to its security from
piratical, or other hostile acts in the Indian seas. I was honoured by
the President of the United States with the station of special agent
or envoy to the courts of Cochin China, Siam, and Muscat, for the
purpose of effecting treaties which should place our commerce in those
countries on an equality with that enjoyed by the most favoured nations.

The Boxer, having orders to proceed on a voyage to Liberia and from
thence to join the Peacock off the coast of Brazil, left Boston harbour
about the middle of February, 1832; and on the following March we
sailed from the same port, in the latter-named vessel, for Rio Janeiro;
having on board F. Baylies, Esq., whom we were carrying to that place
on his way to Buenos Ayres, to which Republic he had received the
appointment of chargé d’affaires from the government of the United
States. No circumstance, worthy of record, occurred until the eighth
day of April, when at daybreak we discovered the isle of Sal, one of
the Cape de Verds, and ere evening closed, St. Nicholas and Bonavista
appeared in sight. We lay to on that night under the lee of Mayo and on
the following morning cast anchor in the roadstead of Porto Prayo, in
the island of St. Jago.

The customary salute of thirteen guns, given to the town, was
immediately returned with a corresponding number. Of the weather,
considering the season, we had no reason to complain. The thermometer
ranged between 40° and 72°, rarely exceeding the one or falling below
the other; the lowest point, when we passed St. George’s Bank, being
37°, and the highest, at the time the northeast tradewind first met us,
being 71°, in latitude 19°, and longitude 26°. The barometer ranged
from 29°, 97′, to 30°, 45′.

The most perfect order and regularity prevailed on board the ship, in
every department of duty; each individual having his duties so defined
as to prevent confusion among the crew, should any of the seamen be
called suddenly to quarters, or to make, take in, or reef sails.
Among the acquisitions most useful and instructive, were an excellent
library, presented by the government to the officers, and a second
selection of books, purchased by the officers and crew, jointly. It
was a gratifying sight to behold men who might, otherwise, have been
occupied in relating idle stories, singing immoral songs, quarrelling,
or creating a mutinous spirit among their fellows, drawing useful
information from the great sources of knowledge, and extracting from
the page of history, at the same time, a fund of information and a code
of morals.

The Cape de Verd islands belong to the kingdom of Portugal, and are ten
in number. They were discovered by Noel, in the year 1440, and contain
a population, as follows: Sal, four hundred; Mayo, two thousand five
hundred; St. Vincent, three hundred and fifty-six; St. Nicholas, five
thousand; St. Jago, thirty thousand; Fogo, ten thousand; St. Antonio,
twenty-four thousand; Brava, eight thousand; Bonavista, four thousand;
St. Lucia, uninhabited; total, eighty-four thousand.


Among the principal articles of export from the abovementioned islands
is orchilla, a species of lichen. It is used for dying any shade of
purple or crimson, and is superior to the same kind of moss found in
Italy or the Canaries. This vegetable product glitters, as a sparkling
gem, in the royal diadem of Portugal, having been monopolized by the
crown, to which it yields an annual revenue of $200,000. The right
of purchase claimed by the crown, allows only five cents per pound.
Were it not for this unjust monopoly, orchilla would readily sell at
twenty-five cents the pound. It is exported to Lisbon, and there sold,
by the agents of the royal trader, to foreign merchants, who re-export
it to their respective countries. Salt is produced at these islands,
in large quantities, and furnishes a considerable article of export
for the United States’ markets; being used for the salting of beef,
butter, &c. Heavy cargoes of it are exported, principally by Americans,
to Rio Grande and La Plata, for the curing of jerked or dried beef,
which finds a ready sale in the market of Havana. It is also purchased
by American sealers to salt the skins. In the list of fruits on this
cluster of islands, the red and black grape are conspicuous. They
furnish, converted into wine, a considerable article of internal
commerce. St. Antonio alone, says Mr. Masters, of Sal, produces,
annually, from fifteen hundred to two thousand pipes of wine. Owing to
the ignorance of the inhabitants in the process of fermentation, it is
of ordinary quality, generally unfit for transportation, and may be
purchased at the rate of ten or twelve dollars per pipe.

If there be truth in the often-repeated assertion, that volcanic
countries produce the best wines, Fogo will export, at a future day,
a very superior article. Since the year 1827, coffee, nearly equal in
flavour to that of Mocha, has been cultivated with success. Previously
to that period, the crown had laid an almost prohibitory duty on the
importation of this article from its empoverished islanders, in order
to encourage the agricultural produce of its more extensive southern
possessions, in the vast territory of Brazil. Every planter, now, looks
on his plantation as a source of increasing profit, and within five
or six years, coffee will become the leading article of commerce from
the Cape de Verd islands. It now realizes ten cents per pound. The
remaining articles for export, are hides, skins, goats, and asses.

We found the inhabitants, on several of these islands, suffering
extreme distress from a want of provisions, occasioned by a failure in
the periodical rains, for two successive years. At Fogo, many died from
starvation. The inhabitants of this island have, long since, annually
exported ten or twelve small cargoes of corn to Madeira, and in this,
their day of suffering, the inhabitants of that sister-island received
them by hundreds with every mark of kindness and attention. Some small
relief was likewise administered from the Peacock.

The whole appearance of the Cape de Verds, in consequence of this
long-continued drought, was exceedingly arid; the grass assumed a
dark brown colour, similar to that which may be seen on our western
prairies, when a fire has passed over them. Nothing green was visible
in the vicinity of Porto Praya, save in the deep valleys, lying on the
outskirts of the town, where some moisture yet remained, and where
water was obtained for the suffering population.

[Sidenote: PORTO PRAYA--FOGO.]

The town of Porto Praya, is situated on an eminence of considerable
height, and may be approached, in front of the harbour, by two roads;
the one being on the eastern and the other on the western side. These
roads exhibit marks of great labour, bestowed in their construction;
they have been, for the most part, blasted out of the solid rock, and
extend up the side of a precipitous hill. Forty-five pieces of cannon,
of various caliber, pointed towards the roadstead, serve, at once, as a
fortification to the town and a protection to the harbour.

Vessels bound to Western Africa, South America, or the East Indies,
generally take in refreshments at this port, which affords a safe
anchorage for vessels at all seasons of the year, excepting the month
of September. During this month it is visited by a violent gale from
the south, that would place in the most imminent danger any vessel
which might seek for security beneath the bold and rocky precipice that
rises in many places, nearly perpendicularly, one hundred and twenty
feet above the shore.

At the summit of this rocky acclivity is the plain on which Porto
Praya is built, and where a large open square, from which three or
four streets diverge, serves as a market-place. Within this square
is a building used for a jail. On its eastern side are situated the
governor’s house and a church; the latter being the only place for
religious worship in the town.

At the request of the governor, Capt. G. and myself paid him a visit.
We were received with courtesy and affability. He is of noble family,
not quite thirty years of age; and on this occasion was bedecked
with six orders of merit, which he frequently gazed on with apparent
satisfaction and delight. The houses here are generally built of
stone: those facing the public square are two stories in height, and
well stuccoed; on the western side, many of them commodious, well
finished and furnished, and fastidiously neat in their appearance. A
gallery, resting on a precipice seventy or eighty feet high, extends
along their rear, and commands a prospect of neat gardens, securely
walled in, and laden with tropical fruits, vegetables, and flowers. We
observed several negro girls, in the valley beneath, drawing water for
the inhabitants of the town, and, with well filled jars, winding their
way up the side of a zig-zag and dangerous path on the hillside. As the
eye followed their ascent up the fearful height, from which a false
step would have dashed them in pieces, we could not but admire the
seeming ease with which they balanced their vessels, and the apparent
disregard of danger displayed by them as they frequently bent, in
wanton sportiveness, over the projecting crags of the precipice.

The population of Porto Praya is said to amount to fifteen hundred or
two thousand, nineteen twentieths of which are black or of doubtful
origin. As a suitable return for the hospitality we had received
from the inhabitants, a supper and dance were given to them on the
quarter-deck of the Peacock, which was fancifully decorated with
evergreens and flags; that of Portugal holding a conspicuous station.

We found fish in abundance in the waters around Porto Praya, and by the
help of a seine obtained a good supply, among which we found the mullet
and red grouper. Two lancet-fish were also taken: these singular fishes
are furnished on each side of the tail with a weapon resembling the
spring lancet, which they use both in defence and attack. The date-palm
flourishes in the valleys, and all the intertropical fruits may be
obtained in abundance in their proper season, and vegetables at all

Having replenished our diminished sea-stock, we sailed from Porto
Praya on the thirteenth of April. After clearing the roadstead, we
had a clear view, to the west, of Fogo; its towering altitude rising
thousands of feet above the bosom of the ocean in which its base was
laid. This ocean-mountain bears evident marks of its volcanic origin.
Volumes of smoke were seen issuing from its numerous craters, so long
as its bold outline was distinctly defined. Ere sunset, the Cape de
Verds were completely hid from the view, and we stood south, inclining
to the eastward, until the eighteenth, when we reached the latitude
of 3° 31′ north, and 21° 41′ west longitude. We now shaped our course
more to the westward, and on the nineteenth, being in latitude 2°
22′ north and 22° 8′ west longitude, we took in a light breeze from
the south and east, and crossed the equator on the twenty-second, in
longitude 23° 30′. The usual ceremonies of a visit from Neptune, which
not unfrequently terminate in quarrels and fights, were judiciously
dispensed with. An attempt was, however, made to play a trick on the
uninitiated, which for a short time afforded much mirth and amusement.
A hair was placed across the centre of a telescope-glass, and handed
round, for the purpose of _seeing_ the equatorial _line_; but a young
midshipman having obtained another glass, _in which he could not see
the line_, the trick became at once discovered. To make some amends
to the crew for the loss of their usual frolic on crossing the line,
a modicum of good punch was served out in the evening, when it was
found that out of the whole number there was one-eighth (or twenty-one
men) belonging to the “total abstinence” society; a proportion which
I suppose to be as large as could be found among the same number of

With pleasant breezes and moderate weather, we proceeded on our course,
keeping the ship one point from the wind, so that a foretop studding
would draw. At day-dawn on the third of May, we discovered Cape Frio,
and at ten o’clock, A. M., the Sugar-loaf at the entrance to the
harbour of Rio Janeiro. From the time we discovered the cape until the
following evening, a most perfect and, to us, annoying calm prevailed.
A brisk gale at length sprung up from the southwest, accompanied by
thunder, lightning, and rain: so stormy, dark, and tempestuous was
the evening, that we only occasionally obtained a glimpse of the
fine revolving light on Raza island: at intervals, a vivid flash of
lightning would disclose to us the Sugar-loaf mountain and a small
twinkling light at Santa Cruz. The bearings of the principal points of
land having been obtained, before the evening closed, notwithstanding
the war of elements, we dashed onward in fine style under three
topsails. As we came abreast Santa Cruz, we were hailed, and answered;
but not heaving to, three guns were fired, followed by the burning of
as many “blue-lights.” We now proceeded up the harbour, and cast anchor
at ten o’clock. The city was saluted the following day, and the salute
answered by an equal number of guns.


The seacoast from Cape Frio to Rio is remarkable for the boldness
of its features, possessing various obtuse peaks and mountains; but
southward of the harbour is a remarkable range of hills, presenting a
rough profile of a human countenance lying with its face upward. It is
formed by a table-mountain and two jagged hills: the resemblance is so
striking at the first view that no force of imagination is necessary to
complete the picture.

No one can enter this harbour without admiring the beautiful panorama
which is spread before him. At the entrance, called the Pao de
Assucar, the celebrated granite peak is seen, piercing the clouds,
at an altitude of thirteen hundred feet, and the prospect is every
where varied and magnificent. Nature seems, here, to have spread a
banquet for her adoring admirers. Every spot is covered with beautiful
flowers; even the rocks are festooned with various parasitical plants,
which exhibit a perennial bloom. The harbour is surrounded with wooded
hills, studded here and there with a chapel, a venerable church, or
a beautiful villa. The imagination has free scope to picture forth
scenes of bliss in the numerous valleys, where peaceful cottages lie
partially concealed amid groves of orange and lemon, lime and citron.
On the bosom of this spacious harbour may be seen, tranquilly reposing,
the vessels of all nations; and the water is dotted in every direction
with boats issuing from the numerous inlets and islands, from the
first blush of morn to dusky night, laden with passengers for the
city-market and the shipping. These boats are managed by slaves. This
harbour, called by the natives Nitherohy, was discovered on the first
day of January, 1531, by De Souza, and named Janeiro, or January river,
as he supposed it to be an outlet to a great river, from the extent
of its bay. It will probably ever retain, as at present, its name,
notwithstanding the extreme absurdity of calling a bay a river: for it
was soon ascertained by discovery, that no large body of water emptied
into it.

The city of St. Sebastian, better known to the commercial world by the
name of Rio de Janeiro, lies on the southern shore, skirting the base
of several prominent hills and occupying the valleys between them; from
Boto Fogo to its western extremity it measures nearly eight miles. The
most conspicuous buildings are the numerous churches and chapels--the
bishop’s palace--the theatre--and the royal palace, fronting the
harbour, at the great landing for boats and vessels from Rio Grande,
the town on the opposite shore. The streets, regularly laid out,
intersecting each other at right angles, are not more than twenty feet
wide, and wretchedly paved. The sidewalks are narrow and inconvenient
for a town thronged with people. The houses are generally built of
unhewn granite, and are from one to three stories high; they are
furnished with balconies, which are much resorted to by the ladies, who
seldom visit the streets during the daytime, excepting in sedan chairs,
when they attend to their devotional exercises.

Owing to the extreme heat of the climate, the encumbered state of the
streets, and a due regard to the Portuguese custom which forbids their
walking abroad during the day, the ladies of the city take the evening
for visiting. In beauty, elegance and accomplishments, they sink in the
comparison with their neighbours of Buenos Ayres and Montevideo.

The houses, excepting those occupied by the richer classes, are dark,
narrow, and filthy; and if this Augean stable be not cleansed from the
accumulated filth of ages, ere the cholera shall visit it, thousands
will be swept away.

A stranger is surprised, in passing through the streets, at the immense
number of shops which occupy the ground floor of nearly every house
in the city; yet there are said to be but few failures among their
occupants. The extravagant price charged for every article, retail, may
perhaps account for this fact.

One of the most celebrated objects of curiosity in Rio is the
celebrated aqueduct, which is seen winding its way from the Corcovado
along the base of many hills, intersecting the streets with its double
arches, and passing over the roofs of houses to the various fountains,
which are constantly thronged with negroes, carrying jars of water
to the dwellings of their masters for culinary purposes--the kitchen
being, in many cases, in the upper story, while the ground-floor is
occupied for magazines or stables. At some of the fountains are stone
troughs, for the use of the negro washer-women, which are constantly
thronged with them, making most vociferous cries: a greater confusion
of tongues could not have been heard at the dispersion of the builders
at Babel; for there is a mixture of all the languages of Africa, from
Senegal to Angola, and from Da Lagoa Bay to Zanzibar--with Portuguese,
Spanish, French and English, and various Indian languages: making, in
the sum total, an olla not to be surpassed by the Lingua Franca of the
Mediterranean, or the bazars of British India.


Every kind of labour is here done by slaves; the heaviest burdens are
dragged by them on ill-constructed drays over a rough pavement: some of
them (principally criminals or runagates) are seen chained in various
ways, and bending under the weight of packages too heavy for their

Slavery appears here in all its worst features and most disgusting
deformities. Notwithstanding blacks may be seen at the altars,
administering the rites of religion,--as commanders of companies or
regiments, or as custom-house officers--yet poor friendless creatures
(white and black) are seen at every step, nearly naked, covered
with loathsome diseases, badly fed, having only the steps of some
church-door or the pavement for their bed, or lying exposed to the
intense heat of a tropical sun.

I visited many of the churches, but found them sadly shorn of their
former splendour, having in them only a few aged priests, and,
excepting on particular days, a very limited number of devotees: the
passers-by rarely lift their hats and make the sign of the cross, as
they were wont to do, when passing the sacred doors; the same neglect
is apparent when the vesper-bell strikes a few slow and solemn sounds
at the decline of day. Formerly, when its tones were heard, every
kind of labour and amusement were instantly suspended, every head was
uncovered, a silent thanksgiving offered to the Giver of all good for
mercies received during the day, and His divine aid and protection were
implored for the ensuing night. Now, almost every species of religious
observance has departed, in the overthrow of a notoriously debauched
and overgrown priesthood.

The population of Rio is estimated from one hundred and twenty to two
hundred thousand, of which a very large proportion are blacks. No
correct census has yet been taken, owing to the jealousy of the people,
who suppose that the object of government is to impose, in such an
estimate, a capitation tax. There is a great admixture of blood among
them, from the jet black African with his curly wool, to the pure white
with flaxen locks.

The _French residents_ are numerous, if a traveller may judge from the
names on the signs, and the endless _Parisian nothings_ exposed for
sale in the Rua d’Ovidor and the Rua d’Quitanda. Here and there are
interspersed English, German, or Italian names. Since the abdication
of the late emperor in favour of his little son Don Pedro the second,
and the breaking up of his splendid court, numerous carriages have
disappeared, and only a few humble volantes or cabriolets are seen
drawn by two mules, or perhaps by a horse and a mule.

The _National Museum_ is situated on each side of the Campo
d’Acclamacao, and is open to the public on Thursdays. It occupies at
present but three rooms, having been sadly plundered of its contents by
Don Pedro. The specimens of minerals are numerous and scientifically
arranged; but the entomological department is meager, considering the
immense numbers and beautiful varieties of insects for which this
country is so justly celebrated: there are many private collections
in the city which far surpass this, in numbers and brilliancy. In
addition to the abovenamed department are several cases, divided
into compartments, showing, in miniature, implements of trade and

The _Senate House_, on the opposite side of the square, is a very plain
edifice, badly built, and propped up in every direction with long
pieces of timber.

On the day when the minister of the interior delivered in his budget,
I visited the _House of Representatives_. The gallery and four private
boxes were crowded. We occupied one of the latter. There were about
seventy members present, highly respectable in their appearance,
although some were of a doubtful white, and others quite black. They
were dignified in deportment, graceful in action, and spoke with great

_Education_ has made great progress throughout Brazil within the last
fifteen or twenty years. Beside several Lancasterian schools, supported
by government, to which are admitted, gratuitously, children of all
colours, (slaves excepted,) primary schools are to be found throughout
the city; and private schools also, in which are taught the higher
branches of education. There are also a _surgical_ and a _medical_
academy, an academy of fine arts, and ecclesiastical seminaries.


The city has two public libraries; one of them contains between sixty
and seventy thousand volumes, in all languages. The other is at the
Convent of St. Benedict. I visited that institution when the librarian
was absent, but was amply compensated for the tiresome walk up the
steep hill, on a hot day, over a very rough pavement, by the beautiful
views exhibited in every direction. There, were seen mountain, hill,
and dale, cultivated and in a state of nature--an ocean, a bay, a
river, and on their surfaces were floating noble line-of-battle ships,
merchant vessels, and an abundance of little skiffs. At my feet lay
the city, with its busy throng, and at every important point were
fortresses and castles, showing forth rows of formidable cannon. The
day shone forth with great brilliancy; not a cloud was seen hanging
over the Payo d’Assucar, the Corcovado or the Tejuco; numberless
vessels were seen far at sea, pressing for the port, under a cloud of
white canvass, during the continuance of the breeze. On the left lay
the palace of St. Christovao; and, in the far west, a noble range of
hills, terminated by the spiked tops of the organ mountains, rendered
the picture enchanting and unrivalled. At the foot of the hill is the
arsenal; being deficient in room, the wall of the convent, on that
side, was taken down, and the rocks being blown away, a secret entrance
was discovered under the church, so ingeniously contrived as to be hid
from observation--it appeared like the rocks in which it was formed.

_Public Gardens._--On the bay shore, commencing near the Praya or Beach
do Flamingo, is a pleasant garden, surrounded by a high wall, and
guarded at its various entrances by soldiers. It is much resorted to
by the inhabitants after sunset. The avenues are of good width, well
gravelled, kept clean, and are finely shaded by native and foreign
trees, and with hedges of flowers indigenous to the climate; but the
pure and wholesome breezes, and a view of the bay, are obstructed by a
mound, thrown up unnecessarily high, to protect this retreat against an
ever-rolling surf.

Looking to the right at the further extremity of the beach, along
which is a range of good houses guarded by a high granite wall, lies
the beautiful Gloria hill, having a small white turreted chapel, Nossa
Señora de Gloria, or our Lady of Glory. It is of an octagonal shape,
lies partially concealed amid noble forest and fruit trees, and is
adorned with hedges of myrtle, interspersed with jasmine: and there,

    “Weak with nice sense, the chaste Mimosa stands,
    From each rude touch withdraws her timid hands;
    Oft as light clouds o’erpass the summer glade,
    Alarmed, she trembles at the moving shade,
    And feels alive, through all her tender form,
    The whispered murmurs of the gathering storm;
    Shuts her sweet eyelids to approaching night,
    And hails with freshened charms the rising light.”

I was much gratified with two visits made to the Botanic garden,
situated about eight miles from the palace. The first visit was by
water, as far as Boto Fogo. From thence it is probably three miles
by land over a tolerably good road, lying principally amid mountain
scenery, the Corcovado being on the right.

This mountain, on its eastern side, is one immense mass of granite,
rising perpendicularly to the height of two thousand feet. On either
hand are plantations and gentlemen’s villas. The road was overhung
with various fruits--the coffee-tree showing its red berries and the
cotton-tree its yellow bulb; or, having burst its outward covering,
displaying the contents of its little pod, as white and pure as the
new-fallen snow; the hedges were beautifully decorated by the hand
of nature with roses, myrtles and jasmines, intertwined with a great
variety of creeping plants. On the left, we passed a small brackish
piece of water, called Lake Frietas, formed by an encroachment of the
sea; which, in heavy gales and during high tides, forces itself over
the sandy barrier between the low lands and its waters.

We arrived at noon--an unpropitious hour, for the garden was shut until
three, in the afternoon. Being desirous to employ our spare time to the
best advantage, we strolled on several miles farther to the seabeach,
through sandy plantations, covered entirely with pine-apple, then in
a green state and very small. Our toil was unrewarded, as we did not
obtain a single shell, (the shore being too sandy,) nor did we see any
object worthy of note.

On our return, we visited the garden, and found it a delicious retreat
and in fine condition. The broad wide avenues are kept in neat order
and lined with trees of various kinds. A fine stream of water conducted
from the adjacent mountains, along neat canals, over pebbly beds,
passes through the garden and divides the compartments of exotics from
the avenues. The servants in attendance explained the endless variety
of trees, shrubs and plants, and permitted us to take specimens of
every thing we fancied.

This delightful spot is situated at the base of the Corcovado, on a
rich plain, fronting the little lake and comprises about seventy acres.
Here are many square plots of ground, containing altogether about six
acres of tea, both black and green, of which there are said to be ten
or twelve varieties. The plant is in height about ten feet, and bears
a small, delicate, white flower; it was in a healthy and flourishing
condition. The dried tea may be obtained in the city. The amboyna and
cayenne cloves grow here; the former being much more fragrant than the
latter. We also found the nutmeg--cinnamon of several kinds, pepper,
pimento, cardamoms, the camphor and sago palm, the bread-fruit in full
bearing, many varieties of the anana or pine-apple, the orange, limes,
sweet and sour lemons, citron, the mamoon, marrow or mamee apple, the
mango and delicious mangusteen of Java, the jack and the shaddock, the
banana, the plantain, the calambolla, &c., &c. The last is a sub-acid
fruit, of an oblong form and light straw colour, when ripe; it is
deeply grooved or ridged with sharp edges and is very refreshing and
agreeable to the taste. A beautiful arbour of a square form, having
vacant openings in imitation of doors and windows, stands in the centre
of the garden, furnished with a table; it is a place of great resort
for pic-nic parties and is ascended by artificial steps, made of the

The situation of Boto Fogo impresses every one who visits it, most
agreeably--it is a delightful retreat from the hot and unwholesome air
of the city and is, like the Praya Flamingo and the Gloria hill, the
residence of many respectable foreigners. The little bay, fronting the
pretty sandy beach, seems like a tranquil lake embossed in magnificent
mountain-scenery. Having replenished our partially-exhausted stock of
sea-stores, and the commodore being with the squadron at La Plata, we
were compelled, reluctantly, to proceed to that place and set sail
accordingly, on the twentieth of May. The situation of our squadron
at La Plata, arose out of difficulties which existed between the
Argentine Republic and that of the United States, consequent upon the
unlawful and unfriendly capture of American vessels, sealing among the
Falkland islands, by order of Vernet, the governor; and from the proper
and spirited conduct of Captain Duncan, commander of the Lexington,
in removing the colony to Montevideo, and thereby, most effectually
cutting off all further depredations upon our commerce.

[Sidenote: MONTEVIDEO.]

We received the customary assistance of boats, from the various men of
war, in towing the ship out of the harbour. As we passed the British
line-of-battle ship Plantagenet, the band of musicians struck up
our national air of “Hail Columbia.” On the thirtieth, we made St.
Marys, being the northern cape at the entrance of the river. A brisk
breeze the day following, accompanied with misty weather, wafted us,
at midnight, within four miles of the isle of Flores, on which we
found an excellent revolving light--and the weather clearing up, we
saw the dull light which crowned the hill called Montevideo. Sail was
then shortened to maintain our position until daylight; but in the
course of three hours, a strong current running out of the river, had
forced us into four and a half fathoms of water, on the edge of the
English bank. We anchored, on the second of June, in the roadstead
of Montevideo, near the United States’ ship Lexington. On the next
morning, we again sailed, with a strong easterly gale, for Buenos
Ayres, and at noon anchored in three and a half fathoms of water, off
Pinta de India, in thick weather and a bad sea. In the afternoon, it
became sufficiently clear for us to obtain a glimpse of the tops of
some trees; sail was again made and on the fifth, we came too, in
the outer Balissas, near to the United States’ ship Warren, under
the command of Acting-Commodore Cooper, and the schooner Enterprise,
commanded by Lieutenant-Commodore Downing. Having landed Mr. Baylies
and family, and taken in provisions for our voyage across the South
Atlantic and Indian oceans, we sailed on the nineteenth, and in four
days arrived at Montevideo. As we passed to our anchorage ground, H.
B. M. frigate Druid, A. R. Hamilton, commander, complimented our flag
by her musicians playing “Hail Columbia,” which cheered our hearts and
created a kindly feeling in us towards our English brethren. Many years
previous to this visit to La Plata, I had resided many months at Buenos
Ayres, and had become acquainted with a number of worthy men and lovely
females, who then shone with great brilliancy at the Tertulias, in the
Bolero and Pas-a-pie, but time had changed the faces and condition of
the living--death had been busy among all classes and many a friend
and acquaintance had gone to the eternal world, amidst the various
revolutions. The splendid churches were shorn of their ornaments and
a few solitary priests, superannuated and on the brink of the grave,
were seen tottering through the deserted aisles and cloisters, where
hundreds had once been, and where the resounding of my own footsteps
now made me start, and look back to see if any of the departed had
returned to wander within their former haunts, and deplore, though they
were wont to be called holy, their numerous imperfections. A regal
government has now given place to one of another stamp; but the great
number of armed men in the streets and about the public buildings, have
divested it of much of its republican character. A Protestant church
is now erected, and English names are frequently seen over the doors
of buildings where once a foreign merchant was not permitted to dwell.
To me, it seemed like traversing a vast sepulchre--so many had closed
their eyes in death, while others appeared like spectres of former
days. It was like a city once in ruins, but which had been freed of its
incumbrances, and was again ushered into light and life, peopled by a
new generation.

Montevideo also had met with unparalleled sufferings from the time
that it was besieged by the British to the present hour. The beautiful
cathedral was disfigured by marks of cannon-balls--the walls were
partly demolished--the gates broken down--the cannon removed, and not a
solitary sentinel was on the lookout from the battlements; the streets
were broken up, and full of unsightly and dangerous holes. Death, the
all-consuming hand of time, and squalid poverty, had laid a whole city
in ruins; it was like a vast cemetery; for all I once knew had been
swept away; even their names had been obliterated for ever. I therefore
left it, better satisfied to wander ten thousand miles over a trackless
and stormy ocean, than to remain in a city whose former inhabitants
were spread in dust amid its ruins.



Agreeably to orders from the navy department, the commander of the
Peacock was required to proceed to the west coast of Sumatra, to
ascertain whether Commodore Downes had obtained redress for the murders
and robbery committed on board the ship Friendship, of Salem, by the
natives of Qualah Battu; and if it should appear that from any cause
such redress had not been effected, then the Peacock, in conjunction
with the United States’ schooner Boxer, was to proceed to Qualah Battu,
and, if possible, to obtain possession of the murderers, and transport
them to the United States for trial; and also to demand indemnification
for the heavy losses sustained by the owner. If these demands were not
complied with, the town was to be destroyed.

The Boxer not having yet joined us, orders were left for her commander
to proceed to Bencoolen, in the island of Sumatra. On the evening of
the twenty-fifth of June, the ship got under way, from the bay of
Montevideo. As we slowly receded from the port, the feeble light on the
mount shone like a distant star through the hazy atmosphere; and the
thousand lights in the unfortunate town of San Felipé appeared like
the glimmerings of the firefly in a midsummer’s night, revelling amid
the light vapours arising from marshy ground; the brilliant light on
the Flores also was in full view, throwing its extended beams far and
wide over the tremulous sea. Our progress during the night was very
slow--Flores and Lobos, and the serrated mountains of Maldonado, found
us at the dawn of day, fanning along slowly, with an air which scarcely
ruffled the ocean’s surface. Nothing occurred to us beyond what
generally befalls the sons of the ocean, in running down ten thousand
miles of coasting. Scarcely were we clear from the muddy waters of La
Plata, and had launched amid the waves of the great Southern ocean,
when squally weather assailed us, and close-reefed topsails were
resorted to rather more frequently than is pleasant even to those who
live upon the mountain-wave. The ship was at one time rolling her
channels in before a strong westerly wind; at another, lying with her
broadside deeply submerged by severe squalls from the northwestern
quarter, the gun-deck being ankle-deep in water, and washing from side
to side. _Life-lines_ were secured from gun to gun to support the
constant passing of men fore and aft the deck. On the fifteenth of
July, the snow-clad mountains of Tristan d’Acunha appeared, lighted by
a brilliant morning-sun, and towering to a height estimated at between
nine and ten thousand feet.

This island is occasionally resorted to for water, live stock, fruit,
vegetables, butter, &c.; the former may be had in abundance on the
northeast side, where, in a clear day, it may be seen rushing from
above, white as the snow on the mountain-top, and dashing on the beach,
from a cataract of fifty feet in height. Owing to the steepness of
the anchorage-ground and the frequency of sudden squalls, it is most
safe “to lay off and on,” and send a boat on shore. Vessels which
prefer anchoring, run in until the watering-place bears southwest by
south, about one mile distant, where they find seventeen fathoms, in a
gravelly bottom, mixed with broken shells.

This place was originally settled in 1811, by the unfortunate Jonathan
Lambert, of Salem, who was drowned in going to Inaccessible island. It
has ever since been occupied by an English sergeant and family, from
the Cape of Good Hope, by order of the British government, who took
possession of it, as was said, with the ostensible motive of keeping it
as an outpost to St. Helena, at the time of Bonaparte’s imprisonment

It may be doubted whether a desire to prevent the Americans from
resorting to the island, as a place of rendezvous in the event of
another war, was not the real motive which actuated the British to take
it within their protection.

On the nineteenth, having then been out twenty-three days, we
obtained soundings in sixty fathoms water, on bank Lagullus, off
the Cape of Good Hope. Dashing onward through storm and tempest,
endeavouring to keep about latitude 38° or 39°, on the sixth of
August, forty-one days from our departure from the bay of Montevideo,
we descried on the northeast the uninhabited island of St. Pauls.
As we approached from the southward and westward, it bore the exact
resemblance of a long-nosed porpoise; but when passing its eastern
extremity, and bearing off about four miles north, it appeared like a
spermaceti whale, the head being to the eastward: fronting it was a
moderately-high conical peak: its highest point would scarcely exceed
five hundred feet. Three or four days subsequently, we encountered a
very heavy gale from northnortheast, accompanied by a tremendous swell
of the ocean; during its violence, a sea of uncommon height and volume
struck the ship, and threw her nearly on her beam ends, completely
overwhelmed the gig in the starboard-quarter, crushed it into atoms
in a moment, and buried the first three ratlines of the mizen-shrouds
under water.

It was fortunate that we escaped without further danger, as it came
thundering onward “mountains high.” A universal silence prevailed
during its threatening approach: after it had passed, great
apprehensions were expressed that it would “break on board,” and
completely sweep the deck.

As we proceeded along and gradually made northings from longitude
about 90° east, the winds began to be variable and the weather warm;
greatcoats and peajackets disappeared from among the crew, and finally
white duck trousers and shirts were alone seen. The southeast tradewind
did not unequivocally set in until we had arrived in the latitude of
16°, and longitude 102°.


On the twenty-third of August we made the island of Engano, the
southernmost of the chain of islands which runs parallel with the west
coast of Sumatra, and which is inhabited by a vile race. From Engano,
the winds were very light and variable from the southeast, accompanied
with lightning, thunder, and rain, till the twenty-eighth, when we
anchored in the bay of Bencoolen; about midway between the Ratones or
Rat island and the point on which the Doosoon, or village of Bencoolen
or Marlborough is situated, and about three and a half miles from
either place.

This settlement was ceded by the English to the Dutch government,
with all the British possessions in Sumatra, by the treaty of the
Netherlands in 1824, in exchange for Malacca and the claims of the
Dutch to the island of Singapore. Rat island basin is resorted to by
vessels intending to remain some time, more particularly during the
prevalence of the northwest gales from October to March; but coasting
craft always resort there during the southeast winds, which last
through the other half of the year.

A boat, with acting Lieutenant Sinclair, was despatched to the town,
and in a short time a very polite invitation was received from J. H.
Knoerle, Esq., the Dutch resident, to breakfast with him the next
morning, and to Captain G. and myself to reside with him during the
ship’s stay. By this boat we heard of the entire destruction of Qualah
Battu, by the Potomac, which happily precluded the necessity of an
unpleasant visit, and saved the officers and crew the painful duty
which would otherwise have devolved on the Peacock. The demolition of
this place struck terror into the inhabitants of all the native ports
on the coast, and will doubtless produce a salutary effect.

[Sidenote: RAT ISLAND.]

In the afternoon, we took a boat, and landed at Rat island. Two acres
of dry land would cover it; the coral reefs, which extend northward
and southward, are very extensive and dangerous. The island contains
four or five wretched huts, including a stone building now in a state
of much dilapidation, and a godown or magazine at the building, which
is open at the sides. In heavy westerly gales, the spray of the sea
breaks over this speck in the ocean. Fish is the chief food of the
inhabitants. The teeth of these islanders (possessed by few of them)
are of a deep black colour, and show that they are frequently employed
in chewing areca, &c. The chief man, called Rajah Mundo, is a Malay,
about seventy years of age, but still active and healthy, with features
so brown and deeply furrowed as to resemble a piece of soleleather.
When we entered his abode, a stone building, it reminded me of
Hogarth’s picture of the last day, when every thing has fallen into
decay. The steps were nearly all broken down; one of the two wooden
pillars which supported the portico was decayed, and had fallen; the
roof was gone, and the walls were falling; two half-starved monkeys
stood as sentries, at the door, having something which was intended as
an apology for a tail. The other articles of furniture in this abode
consisted of two Chama gigas, or the great giant clams, the root of a
tree for seats, two broken earthen pots for cooking, and a joint of
bamboo instead of a water-bucket, which latter served likewise the
purpose of a drinking-vessel, as we found in asking for some water.
The floor, apparently, had never been washed; the ceiling was of
coal-black; and centipedes, lizards, and snails, were crawling in every
direction over the walls. In the only dry corner, lay a sick daughter,
between two mats; but the mother of the rajah formed the consummation
of this dreadful picture: at the back door stood what I suppose must
be called a human being. We started back in amazement on seeing this
frightful object, thinking her to be deranged; the horror of Macbeth,
on seeing his chair occupied in the banquet-scene, by the ghost of
the murdered Banquo, could not have been surpassed by our own on this
occasion. The words of the royal thane rushed upon my memory, and I
instinctively uttered--

    “Avaunt and quit my sight! let the earth hide thee:
    Thy bones are marrowless!
    Thou hast no speculation in those eyes.
    Which thou dost glare with.”

    “Take any shape but that, and my firm nerves shall never tremble.”

The only article of dress on this singular being was a filthy, ragged
waist-cloth, apparently covered with vermin, from the belt of which was
suspended a long knife; her gray elf-locks scattered by the wind--her
eyes running with rheum--her face and hands covered with dirt--her body
loathsome with leprous spots; contrasted with her dark Malay skin, gave
her a truly hideous appearance; added to this, a solitary long black
tooth projected over her under lip, and her trembling and attenuated
frame displayed the influence of that baneful narcotic, opium, to
which she was addicted. Wretchedness could not portray a more faithful
picture: imagination had nothing to conceive. We gladly left this
loathsome habitation, upon a ramble about the coral reefs for shells,
and shortly embarked for the ship, rejoiced at being removed from a
horrid object, which long after haunted my imagination by night and
day. I have since learned that she is a fiend in human shape, living by
means the most diabolical.


The next morning we landed at Bencoolen, and found in waiting a
neat carriage, in which we were conveyed into a handsome park, and
subsequently to the government-house. Here we were received, at the
lower end of a long staircase, by the resident, and ushered up stairs
into the great hall, through two lines of soldiers, as fierce in
appearance as were ever exhibited on a stage: they consisted of Malays,
Sumatrans, and Javanese, from Neas and Borneo, and from the bay of
Bengal, turbaned, whiskered and mustachoed, and in some cases furnished
with long beards, armed with swords, the cris or crooked dagger,
pistols and muskets.

A most substantial breakfast was quickly served in great variety, and
placed in the verandah, for the benefit of the air. With a cloudless
sky above, the most beautiful scenery surrounding us, and a hospitable
reception, we had nothing more to desire. The government house is
situated in a park, embosomed in flowers, fruit, and forest-trees,
guarded by line hedges and a neat bamboo fence. The road around
the grounds was lined with the male and female nutmeg-trees, the
clove-tree, and the graceful areca-palm, laden with its yellow fruit,
hanging in large clusters under the branches. Here and there were
interspersed beautiful flowering trees in great variety, and creeping
plants intertwined among the branches. The female nutmeg was loaded
with fruit resembling, in colour, a straw-coloured peach, but pointed
slightly towards the stalk, like a pear. The fruit which had become
ripe, had burst about half an inch of its outer-covering, and displayed
a beautiful network of scarlet mace, covering a black shining hard
thick shell, in which lay concealed the nutmeg itself. The bark of the
nutmeg-tree is smooth, and of a brownish-gray colour; the branches are
handsome and spreading; the leaves, elliptical and pointed, afford a
very grateful aromatic odour: on the same tree may be seen the fruit in
its progressive stages to maturity, and the white blossoms hanging in
clusters, encircled by the yellow leaves from which they have burst.
From the centre of the flower proceeds an oblong reddish knob, which is
the fruit. I was told that a tree which produces, daily, throughout the
year, one nutmeg, is considered very productive and profitable, even at
the present low prices. At the Dutch company’s late sales, they brought
from fifty-two to fifty-six dollars the pecul, equal to one hundred
and thirty-three and one third pounds avoirdupois; and the mace,
from ninety-two to ninety-five dollars. The male nutmeg-tree, being
necessary to the propagation of the fruit, cannot be dispensed with;
it is generally filled with white blossoms, and interspersed among its
female companions. The operation of loosening the inner shell of the
nutmeg is a tedious process, and is performed over a slow fire; when
the shells are sufficiently loose to rattle they are broken, assorted,
soaked several times in water and lime--then placed in dry boxes or
small rooms to sweat; and finally, are packed in dry chunana or lime
made from seashells. The small and oblong fruit is not merchantable;
the best kind is large, round, heavy and firm, of a lightish-gray
colour on the outside; a strong fragrant smell; and when pricked, the
oil should readily ooze out.

Very extensive plantations of this great article in commerce, are in
the vicinity of Bencoolen. Those which belong to the Dutch government
are twelve miles distant, on a fine road extending towards the
mountains, about one hundred miles long. I visited some Parsees, who
were busily employed in curing nutmegs and mace. Large quantities of
the latter were spread on mats, exposed to the sun, where they remain
to dry, from six to ten, and from four to six o’clock. The extreme heat
of the day dries them too much and renders them brittle and deficient
in fragrance; if placed in too moist an air they are subject to decay
and will breed worms; they should be chosen fresh, tough, oleaginous,
of an extremely fragrant smell and of a bright reddish-yellow. The
rind of the nutmeg when not too dry, is preserved in sirup and the
entire fruit, when nearly ripe, made into a delicious and ornamental
sweetmeat; it is cut part of the way down, at regular intervals and
fancifully ornamented by neat scollops, peaks, and leaves, showing at
one view the straw-coloured outer-covering, the scarlet mace, and the
inner black shell, covering the nucleus of the whole, the nutmeg.

Pepper, another article of export to a great extent, is cultivated
throughout the island. It is propagated by cuttings or layers, as we
raise grape-vines: if suffered to trail on the ground, it produces no
fruit, and support is consequently necessary: it climbs from twelve to
twenty feet high: the blossom is white; the berries, when at maturity,
are red and much resemble branches of red currants. In a favourable
season it produces two crops.

The only fortification which Bencoolen possesses, is at Fort
Marlborough--it is in excellent order, and situated but a short
distance from the landing-place. There are not more than fifty or
sixty Dutch soldiers in the place. The town is built on a point of
land named Onjong Carang: it is of moderate elevation--falls back
into low swampy ground, and is at times severely visited by that
fatal disease, the jungle fever: the liver complaint is also very
general. Bencoolen and the ten doosoons or villages, contain about
eighteen thousand inhabitants, consisting of a few Dutch, some of the
descendants of Englishmen, who speak the English language--Chinese,
Javanese, Bengalees, Parsees, Sumatrans, Malays, &c. The Chinese occupy
an enclosure in the centre of the town, and have a Budhist or temple:
they bear the same characteristic marks here as elsewhere, being
industrious, frugal, and thrifty. Each doosoon is governed by a rajah,
who is chosen from among themselves, and if approved by the residents,
he cannot lose his office during life, unless for the commission of
some flagrant crime. The residents and a certain number of Rajahs form
a court for the trial of all cases requiring legal investigation. If
a criminal is condemned to suffer death, a copy of the trial is sent
to the governor-general of Java, and if approved by him, the sentence
is carried into execution. It is degrading to humanity to see the
abject air with which the resident is addressed by the lower order of
Sumatrans. They stand, when they enter his presence, with an aspect
of humble submission: their bodies are bent--the palms of their hands
are seen resting on their knees, and fear is strangely marked on their

The Dutch Government has two schools here--they are conducted upon
the Lancasterian plan; the first, which is kept in an outer room of
the government-house, contains about twenty-five scholars. The pupils
were learning arithmetic, to write on sand, and to read from certain
portions of the New Testament printed in the Malayan language. The
translation was made and published, many years since, at the expense of
the pious and well-known philanthropist, Robert Boyle, when the place
was under the jurisdiction of the British Government, and was sent
forth into various parts of the island. The second school is in the
orphan-house, about a mile from the resident, on a piece of high ground
sloping towards the bay, of which it has a fine view: in front of this
building are several acres of land, substantially walled in with brick,
and covered with fruit-trees and vegetables. The boys are educated in
this school for agents, writers, &c. The principal articles of export
from Bencoolen, to which may be added Trippany or Bichos do Mar, and
some edible bird’s-nests, have already been named. Coffee and rice are
raised here only in small quantities; they are imported from Padang for
home-consumption, and consequently are not articles for export.

All the fruits common to tropical climates, and many which I am assured
are not known in any other part of India, flourish here in great
abundance. The animal used for domestic labour is the carbou, called
here carboo: he resembles the buffalo without any hump between the
fore-shoulders: although naturally of a dull, obstinate and capricious
nature, he acquires a habit of surprising docility; at the command of
his master, he lifts the shafts of the cart with his horns, places
the half yoke (which is secured at the end) across his neck, and then
stands quietly until he is secured.

I have several times been amused to see three or four children climbing
on his neck, and seating themselves on his back, to take a ride. He was
easily governed, after they were seated, by a rope which passed through
the cartilage of the nose. He is a stout-built and strong animal, but
cannot endure much fatigue, and has shorter legs and larger hoofs than
the ox, with a thick sinewy neck. The horns of this animal are very
large and generally turn backward, being nearly square at the base.
Like the hog, he is fond of wallowing in the mire, and embraces every
opportunity to cover himself with it--being thus cooled and protected
from the heat of the sun, and from troublesome insects.

The bay of Bencoolen is extensive, and so much exposed that, when
the sea-breeze commences, it throws in a heavy sea, and renders
it impossible to carry off sufficient water for a large number of
hands without causing a long delay. Owing to this cause, we were
unable readily to obtain the required supply of water; and yams and
bread-fruit being scarce, both of which we much needed, we took our
departure, leaving instructions for the “Boxer” to follow us to Manila.


Having taken leave of the very kind and hospitable Mr. Knoerle, the
resident, and of his companion, the Rev. W. C. Slingerland Conradi,
pastor of the Dutch Church, I shortly found myself once more on board.
I have lately received the afflicting intelligence that Mr. Knoerle,
while on a journey to Palembang, was murdered at the instigation of
some of the principal rajahs of Bencoolen. His body was literally cut
in pieces, and then burnt with great exultation, by the perpetrators
and their friends. The question naturally occurs, what could have
incited the rajahs to commit so atrocious and fiend-like an act? The
answer is--_revenge_, which is always deeply seated in the heart of a

Mr. Knoerle, imprudently, injured the happiness of many families by his
unrestrained passions, and thereby sealed his horrid fate. He should
ever have borne in mind that he lived among

    “Souls made of fire, and children of the sun,
    With whom revenge is virtue.”



On the last day of August, we weighed anchor at nine o’clock in the
evening, from Bencoolen bay, and aided by the current and a land
breeze, about midnight we once more found ourselves at sea. Owing to
light head-winds from the southeast, calms, contrary winds, and violent
squalls from the high mountains of Sumatra, accompanied with thunder
and lightning, we did not arrive at our anchorage ground, off the north
end of the island of Crokatoa, in the straits of Sunda, until the
eighth day after our departure from the bay.

At daybreak the following morning, a boat was despatched in search of
inhabitants, fresh water, and yams; but, after three or four hours’
search, returned unsuccessful. Two other boats were then sent under
the command of the first lieutenant Mr. Cunningham: after a fruitless
search, that officer returned at sunset, after visiting Long Island
and Crokatoa. It was found difficult to effect a landing any where,
owing to a heavy surf and to the coral having extended itself to a
considerable distance from the shore. Hot springs only were found on
the eastern side of the latter island, one hundred and fifty feet from
the shore, boiling furiously up, through many fathoms of water. Early
on the succeeding morning, Capt. Geissinger, Lieutenant Fowler of the
marines, and myself, left the ship, on a visit to Forsaken island: we
flattered ourselves, as we approached the island, that the grateful
sound of many a murmuring rill, trickling down its steep and woody
sides, was heard by us--but we also were doomed to disappointment;
for, on landing, the sound was found to proceed from the singing of
locusts, which had obtained undisturbed possession of the island, and
were making sad ravages among the tender herbage. “No human footsteps
marked the trackless sand.”

In reconnoitring between Forsaken and Crokatoa islands, we were struck
with admiration at the great variety, both in form and colour, of an
extensive and highly beautiful submarine garden, over which the boat
was smoothly and slowly gliding. Corals of every shape and hue were
there--some resembling sunflowers and mushrooms; others, cabbages
from an inch to three feet in diameter: while a third bore a striking
likeness to the rose.

                            “Some present
    Large growth of what may seem the sparkling trees,
    And shrubs of fairy land: while others shine
    Conspicuous, and, in light apparel clad,
    And fledged with snowy feathers, nod superb.”

The water was clear as crystal; not the slightest breeze ruffled its
glassy surface: the morning sun, having just freed the noble peak of
Crokatoa from its misty covering, shone forth with unusual splendour;
the sides of the hills, to their lofty summits, were clothed with
all the variety of fruit, forest, and flowering trees common to
intertropical climates: large flocks of parrots, shaking the dew of
night from their downy pinions, were seen wending their way towards
the palm-trees, in search of daily food; and monkeys in great variety
were commencing their lively gambols amid the wild-mango and orange
groves:--again, gazing in delighted wonder beneath us, we viewed the
superb scene of plants and flowers of every description, glowing in
vivid teints of purple, red, blue, brown, and green--equalling, in
richness and variety, the gayest parterre. A variety of small fish,
spotted, striped, and ringed, possessing every colour and shade, were
sporting in these regions of unsurpassed brilliancy and beauty. It was,
apparently, a great gala day; for they were revelling in great ease
and luxury, playing all sorts of gambols in their bright sea-homes,
unconscious of danger, and taking a full measure of enjoyment, in
their unrivalled retreats. That nothing might be wanting to complete
this gay scene of Nature’s own choosing, shells of great variety and
shelves of coral, possessing every variety in colour, studded the
bottom; the superb Harpa, with its ribbed sides and straw-coloured
dress, slightly tinged with red and black; the Cyprea or Cowry of
almost every variety, covered with an epidermis or thin membrane to
protect its highly-polished surface; and many others, which might rival
the most delicate porcelain in whiteness and smoothness: there lay the
warlike Chiton, encased in his black coat-of-mail, ready for battle,
or adhering to the shell of a large Triton--the latter having closed
the entrance to his castle by a thick marble valve, which Nature had
provided as a protection against an enemy, or a barrier against the
rough beatings of a boisterous sea. Above, beneath, around us--all was
in harmony.

A solemn stillness--broken only occasionally by the diving of a huge
turtle, the harsh note of the wild seabird, the singing of locusts,
or the shrill cry of the tiger-cat--reigned every where in the narrow
strait which separates the two islands. Disappointed in receiving the
so-much-needed supply of water and provisions, we weighed anchor the
same evening for Angier, in Java, and before daybreak, came to in
its roadstead. On our passage across, about midnight, we observed a
large ship bearing down for us. Immediately all hands were piped to
quarters--the battle-lanterns lit, fore and aft--the gun-deck cleared
of hammocks--the two-and-thirties loaded with round and grape shot, and
run out--the slow matches lighted and placed in their tubs--the marines
ranged along the quarter-deck, and the powder boys stationed from the
magazine to the gun-deck--the surgeons in the cockpit were displaying a
fearful array of bandages; and in five minutes the ship was ready for
action. As the vessel neared us, we found her to be no enemy, but his
Britannic majesty’s ship Magicienne, from Batavia, bound to Bengal. So
we parted as we met--_friends_. May we never meet as enemies!


Day had scarcely made its appearance, ere the ship was surrounded
with Javanese canoes of all sizes, having outriggers to prevent their
oversetting, bringing fruits and vegetables, fowls, eggs, goats,
musk-deer, civet-cats, coloured and green doves; monkeys in great
variety; parrots, Java sparrows, having slate-coloured plumage and pink
bills, hats, shells, &c., for sale. Their strange mode of speaking the
English language, afforded much amusement to the whole crew: “Capetan,
you buy me fowl? Ib gotty fivety ten fowl, Capetan, he be great
biggy one; you buy Japa sparrow? Ib got uby, uby, yam, yam, plenty,
plenty, bery good; egg fowl, Capetan; fowl egg, Capetan, he be largy
one, biggy, biggy, all same as dat larangy, (pointing to a basket of
oranges,) I gib you Capetan, one hundred, five, ten, egg, (meaning one
hundred and fifteen,) sposey Capetan you gib me one dollar and one
quart;” (one dollar and a quarter.)

All this was spoken with great rapidity and amid forcible
gesticulations. They were not at all abashed in asking a double price
for their articles, and stale eggs; the latter, they always endeavoured
to impose on us as new and fresh. The greatest curiosity I have yet
met with, is the musk-deer; it is in height nine and a half inches,
and twenty inches in length, from the top of the nose to the tail; has
large protruding round eyes, moderate-sized ears and a sleek, grayish,
dun-coloured coat, with beautiful slender legs and small hoofs. In
its shape it is a perfect deer, but has no horns. I have, at times,
seen this animal possessed of two scythe-shaped teeth, projecting from
the upper jaw and placed near the extremity of the mouth, pointing
recurvated backward. When irritated it would cut deeply with them and
strike with great rapidity.

No covering beyond that of a waistcloth, was worn by the Javanese
boatmen, and but an additional breastcloth, by the females. An
odd-looking hat, which is in general use throughout the eastern seas,
is worn by both sexes; it is made of bamboo or palm-leaf, is impervious
to water, and may be likened to an old-fashioned painted dishcover,
divested of its brim. Both sexes chewed the areca-root to excess, and
were much disappointed that we could not supply them with opium, though
the penalty inflicted on them for its purchase, is slavery for life.
We paid a visit to Mr. Vogel, the commander of the Dutch fort, and met
with a very hospitable reception.


The Camprongoe village of Angier contains about fourteen hundred
inhabitants, composed almost entirely of Javanese and Malays; it is
built on low ground, verging on a swamp, in the midst of palm-trees.
The houses, excepting perhaps a dozen, are of bamboo, roofed with
palm-leaf, and enclosed by a slight paling of wood. A bamboo bridge,
thrown across a ditch, conducted us to a very neat fortification; the
parade-ground on each side being shaded by rows of trees and having a
very pretty garden tastefully laid out and full of flowers, in front
of the commandant’s house. During the two days which we remained, a
marriage-festival was in progress; when the seven days of public
rejoicing were finished the parties were to be united. These festivals
only take place among the children of the rajahs, or very rich men.
Every person who chooses to join the procession, is feasted at a house
provided for that purpose, during the festival. Were it not for the
presents of rice, bullocks, &c., sent by the friends of the betrothed,
the expense would be too burdensome; as many hundreds attend, even from
the neighbouring villages.

The procession consisted of ladies and gentlemen, seated in separate
carts, persons on horseback and on foot, dressed in the gayest
habiliments which they could procure, carrying a great number of flags
of various colours and devices; and children dressed in yellow satin
trousers, their faces painted yellow, with large curved eyebrows and
fantastical caps. Great numbers of noisy instruments accompanied the
motley group, and the whole village was in an uproar, which ended only
with the setting sun. As we were passing the house of feasting, a
servant was sent out to solicit the honour of our company; we entered
the premises through two bands of musicians, who played on about thirty
instruments, which being struck by small hammers, made a tinkling sound.

The master of the ceremonies received us with great politeness and
with much ceremony; he was habited in a robe of crimson, figured with
velvet, having a silk scarf thrown over his shoulders, and wearing a
turban; his teeth were of a deep black, owing to his excessive use of
areca and phunam, and his lips and gums were of a livid hue. Scarcely
were we seated, at a table set apart for our own use, in the midst of
many hundred hungry native revellers, ere twenty-seven dishes, composed
chiefly of sweetmeats, (there not being a particle of meat or fish,)
were upon the table. After tasting a little of each, to show that we
were gratified with the _whole_ entertainment, and partaking of a cup
of tea, we took our leave; areca was offered, as is customary, on our
entry and departure. During the repast, four Javanese stepped out
between the orchestra and danced for our amusement; their movements
were slow, but very graceful, the head looking downward, and the arms
as much in motion as the feet; the former being extended occasionally
rather above the head, and the palms being generally opened outward and
placed in every position, excepting that of closing or clenching.

Two well-constructed piers at this place, running out from a shallow
creek, make a convenient harbour for small-craft, and near its upper
part, is an excellent place for procuring water, which is obtained by
a simple and expeditious process: a hose is connected with casks in
a boat beneath, the latter are filled in a few minutes, so that in
twenty-four hours the ship obtained twelve thousand gallons of water.

Yams, sweet-potatoes, goats, fowls, and fruit were purchased in
abundance, but neither _flour_ or _bread_ could be obtained. Several
monkeys were purchased by the crew at Angiers. After the ship had
weighed anchor a female animal of this tribe, having a young one
clinging closely to the under part of her body, broke loose, ran with
great swiftness to the end of the spankerboom, and plunged into the
sea; a Javanese boat, towing astern, took them in; but not in time to
save the life of the younger; the female was then secured but refused
to eat, and remained till next morning in a state of melancholy.
Believing the animal would die, she was unloosed and running with
great precipitancy to the end of the boom, looked into the sea; but
not finding the object of her solicitude there, she looked overboard,
from every part of the ship, moaning most piteously. About this time,
she observed a small gray monkey, differing in species from herself,
having a very long tail; she at once seized the latter and hugged it
with great, seeming delight. The attempt to remove it from her would
have been in vain, had any one been disposed to make the trial; when
any of the sailors or the monkeys approached her, she would hug her
new object of affection with greater tenacity, run out her head, pout
disdainfully, and show a formidable row of white ivory; chattering and
scolding, at the same time most vehemently; occasionally she would
allow it to wander a few steps, holding on by the tip of the tail,
during the time; when too far, she would pull it backward, but if it
attempted to go beyond the length of its leading-string, (the tail,)
she would quickly drag it to her, box its ears, closely embrace it, and
after being reconciled, would feed it with some dainty morsel, stowed
away in her pouch.

On a cold, stormy day, during our passage from La Plata to Sumatra, the
gun-deck being deluged with water, a Porto Praya monkey, a favourite
of mine, came to the cabin-door, and in its most expressive manner
solicited permission to enter; it stood shivering in the doorway,
dripping with saltwater, and looking the picture of distress, at
the same time snuffing up the warm air, proceeding from a stove; I
called it in, at length; the first object of its attention was the
stove, (never having seen one before,) but approaching too near, it
slightly burnt its nose, and quickly retreated, looking with much
astonishment at the cause; finally it sprung to the top of the table
and skipping about from one place to another, unfortunately alighted on
the stove, where it danced for a second or two, jumped precipitately
down, and came to me, showing its paws, (which were scorched white,)
and apparently asking for relief. I rubbed them with oil, at which the
animal appeared to be relieved; it then quietly took its station as
close to me as possible, testifying unquestionably, as much silent
gratitude as any human being could have done in a similar situation.


We sailed from Angier roadstead, for Manila, on the afternoon of
the following day, but owing to light airs we made slow progress
to the island of Lucepara; here we were obliged to anchor to find
sufficient depth of water to carry the ship into the straits of Banca.
After sounding with several boats, there was, at length, found a
channel, having about three feet more water than the ship drew. When
passing through the straits we were compelled frequently to anchor,
in consequence of the soundings disagreeing much with our miserable
charts. A fine breeze wafted us through these waters with great
rapidity, as far as Pulo Aor; from thence, until we were fairly to
the northward of the great group of shoals, lying towards the coast
of Palawan, we were more indebted to the current. On our passage from
Sumatra to the Philippines we passed through a considerable portion of
the archipelago of the east, where lie Borneo, Java, and Sumatra, the
Molucca and Philippine islands; where the sea is like a smooth bed on
which the islands seem to sleep in bliss--islands, in which the spice
and perfume gardens of the world, are embosomed; where the bird of
paradise, the golden pheasant, and a hundred other birds of brilliant
plumage, have their homes amid thickets so luxuriant, and scenery so
picturesque, that European strangers there find the fairy lands of
their youthful dreams. But our pleasing anticipations were at times
blighted with the apprehension of striking on some unknown shoal, or
encountering one of those tremendous typhoons for which the northern
coast of China, in the latter part of September, about the changing of
the monsoons, is so notorious.

Thick squally weather attended by variable winds blowing sometimes from
the northern, and again from the southern quarter, wafted us rapidly to
the eastward, after doubling the shoals. We proceeded onward, assisted
by a strong current, until two o’clock in the morning of the thirtieth
of September, when a slight gleam of light appearing through the
mist, discovered to us mount and point Calavité, on the northwestern
extremity of Mendora islands. Shortly afterward, we descried Luban
and Cabia or (Goat) islands. At ten in the morning, we dropped anchor
between the island of Corregidor, and the mountain of Marivales on the
island of Luconia or Luzon.

Our chronometers being useless, we were obliged for some time
previously to entering the China sea, to depend on our “dead
reckoning;” notwithstanding twenty-five or thirty miles a day was
allowed for a current setting to the eastward, after passing Pulo
Sapata, the allowance proved insufficient, as we had gained forty-five
miles over our reckoning. During the past month, the diarrhœa prevailed
among the crew, probably occasioned by a change of climate from cold to
extreme heat, from rainy weather, excess in fruit, and frequent change
in diet, but more particularly from the compulsory substitution of yams
for bread.

Before we anchored, the ship was boarded by a Spanish officer,
despatched by the Corregidor to make the usual inquiries. Our arrival
was communicated by telegraph to Manila. The officer’s boat was rowed
by sixteen Indians, and armed with four neat, small brass swivels,
small-arms, pikes, &c., to enable them to combat with the pirates who
occasionally frequent the bay, and to capture smugglers.

Having previously paid the commandant and family a visit, by whom we
were received in a most hospitable manner, we landed in the morning
at the base of Marivales, in search of adventure. The ship anchored
the following afternoon, in the roadstead of Manila, about four miles
from the low-stone lighthouse, situated at the embouchure of the river
Pasig, and being only twenty miles from our first anchorage-ground. On
the succeeding morning, the captain of the port paid the usual visita,
(visit,) accompanied by Mr. Henry Sturgis, of the very respectable
American house of Russell and Sturgis, and Mr. Edwards, the American
consul. Having received a kind invitation from these gentlemen, to take
up our abode with them, I moved on shore, bag and baggage, to the house
of the latter gentleman, finely situated at St. Cruz, opposite the city
of Manila, and directly upon the banks of that beautiful river.

[Sidenote: MANILA.]

The noble bay of Manila is about forty-five leagues in circumference
and nearly free from dangers; the scenery is of a varied character:
mountains and hills are discernible in the distance, from Marivales,
sweeping in a circle around the bay, till the most lofty form the
eastern boundary of the island, the shores of which are washed, on one
side, by the ocean, and on the other, by the waters of Lago de Bria;
from the lake flows that rapid steam, the Pasig, (pronounced Parseek,)
into the bay, at the distance of twelve miles, watering a rich extent
of low land.

The city of Manila lies on the south side of the river, and is enclosed
by dark stone-walls, having a broad and deep ditch; so high are the
city-walls, that only the red tiled-houses, and the towers and domes
of churches, can be seen in the distance above them. On entering the
city, you are struck with the stillness and gloomy appearance of the
streets, interrupted only occasionally by the march of soldiers going
to relieve guard in this garrisoned town, the rumbling of a solitary
carriage, the tinkling of a bell, announcing the approach of the host
on its way to administer the last religious rites to a dying sinner,
or a distant convent-bell summoning the religious to prayers. The
streets, although narrow, are kept clean, and have good “trottoirs;”
the great square in the centre of the city contains a fine bronze
statue of Charles the Fourth of Spain, erected by his _dutiful_ and
_affectionate son_, Ferdinand the beloved, so says the inscription on
the pedestal; three sides of the square are occupied by the cathedral
or church of the “Immaculate Conception,” the consistorial palace, and
the palace of the governor-general. Manila contains about ten thousand
souls, and is garrisoned by two regiments of soldiers; at Binonda,
St. Cruz, and the villages in the vicinity, three more are stationed,
besides three thousand placed in different parts of the island. Of
these, twelve hundred only are Europeans, the remainder being Indians;
they are well clothed, fed, lodged, drilled, and paid. The houses are
built in a quadrangular form and are very massive, having covered
balconies, from the second story, projecting over the street; they are
generally spacious, well-furnished, and neat; the ground-floor, called
the “bodega,” or “godown,” is occupied as a magazine for goods, as a
stable, and for other purposes. Instead of lattice-work or glass, the
_mya_ shell is used, set in frames about four inches square; it affords
a very agreeable light, equal to that passing through ground-glass; the
windows thus formed extend round the house, can be slid at pleasure,
and render the dwellings light and airy; the second story is of thin
brick, or light framework, and plastered; the roof is covered with
tile, the framework being so constructed that it will readily yield to
the shock of an earthquake, (which is of very frequent occurrence,)
without being easily thrown down. A very large proportion of the
buildings, in the towns and villages, are in the native style, being
for the most part, owing to the low swampy ground, erected on piles
from three to six feet high, and are constructed with the bamboo or
palm-leaf; the interior is much exposed to view, as the windows made
with palm-leaf or bamboo lattice, occupy three fourths of their fronts
and are let down at daylight.

Within them may be seen, in the evening, the Holy Virgin, surrounded
by lights and placed in a glass-case, dressed in a gay attire, holding
in her arms the infant Saviour; around her are seen the whole family,
at prayers, before retiring to rest, thanking her for the blessing
bestowed during the day and imploring her guardianship from all enemies
during the night; at other times, the inmates are chewing buyo or
areca nut, &c., smoking cigars, (of which they are immoderately fond,)
combing and oiling their long thick hair, or thrumming on the guitar
and singing. Sewing is but little attended to, as their dresses are
simple and their children are permitted to run about naked. They cook
twice daily on the outside of their houses; their fare consisting
principally of rice and some fruit, with an addition perhaps of a
fowl, some fish or _locusts_. All their washing is done at the river,
where they bathe daily. Every man among the Indians owns a game-cock,
and he frequently loses all he has, even to his waistcloth, in that
barbarous species of gambling, cock-fighting; the birds are armed with
scythe-shaped spurs, and one or both expire, generally, during the
first few rounds. The immense number of licensed cock-pits which are
found in every town and village, serves to show the prevalence of the
passion for this amusement.

Manila is connected with the towns on the right bank of the river, by
means of a single bridge, built very neatly of stone, the arch of which
was thrown down a few years since by an earthquake, and is rebuilt of
wood. The commerce of the city is carried on at the right side of the
river, at Binondo, St. Cruz, &c.; that side having the advantage of
numerous natural canals or branches, from the main river, on which are
situated extensive warehouses, so that the cascoes, which are large
boats, having moveable or sliding roofs, in sections of about six
feet in length, can land their goods immediately at the wharf without
exposure to the weather.

The city of Manila, within the walls, was computed by a census taken
in 1818, to contain a population of six thousand eight hundred and
seventy-five, exclusive of the military. Buildings which rent from
five to fourteen hundred dollars per annum, in Binondo, contiguous to
the river and its branches, will not in Manila, rent for more than
one fourth of that sum, owing to its want of water communication, yet
the government have very inconveniently placed the new and extensive
custom-house close to the city-walls. There are about seven thousand
Chinese settled here; all the Europeans, including the military, do
not exceed twenty-five hundred; the rest are Indians, who, were they
aware of their strength, might easily wipe from the face of existence,
the handful of Europeans and other foreigners, who hold them and their
lands in subjection.

Provisions are so low in value, that it is said four dollars
will furnish a labourer, in rice, &c., sufficient for his yearly
consumption. Labour is exceedingly low; the wages for a servant-man,
being from one to one and a half dollars per month. Rice has been
sold here for three quarters of a dollar the caban of one hundred and
thirty pounds: at this time it is double that price, in consequence of
vast quantities having been shipped to Canton. A person possessing the
immense sum of twenty-five dollars is considered, among the Indians,
as “passing rich,” and immediately quits labour to _keep shop_ in the
street, with a moveable stall, or in front of his bamboo-hut; the
_goods_ usually consist of burgo, alias areca nut, and betel-leaf,
well prepared with liquid chunam for immediate mastication, cocoa-nut
oil, a little coarse pottery, wooden shoes, palm-leaf hats, and
perhaps a few mats. A great number of the shops contain only the
first-named article, and the stock in trade may possibly amount to the
sum of two rials, (twenty-five cents;) here they sit cross-legged,
during the whole day, or, desiring a change, sideways, on a gridiron
bamboo-seat. I have frequently feared the whole stock in trade, would
be ejected into the street by their insatiable masticatory powers, but
occasionally seeing the havoc they are making, and fearful of becoming
bankrupts, they thrust a corner of one of the handspike cigars (which
are in common use) into their mouths and finish off the evening with



There is a fashionable drive in Manila, called the Calzada,
encompassing, probably, two thirds of the circumference of Manila:
it passes over a low, level piece of ground, bordering on the fosse
or ditch of the city on one side, and on the open country and
parade-ground fronting the bay, on the other. Along this drive,
carriages may be seen rolling, filled with well-dressed ladies, but
mostly of a dark complexion, (Mestizoes,) smoking cigars with most
perfect nonchalance: some are puffing paper cigars--others, those which
resemble, in size, Havanas; and again others, a ponderous article which
would occupy an indefatigable smoker a week or ten days.

There are no public houses in the neighbourhood, and the only amusement
is a dull drive at sunset, day after day, over the same grounds, in
preference to others infinitely more pleasant, stopping occasionally
to light a cigar from a slow match: this latter article is carried by
boys, who infest the road, making loud and frequent vociferations,
going upon the full run. The market is abundantly supplied with beef,
fish, fowls, ducks, turkeys, geese, fruit, and vegetables. A large
proportion of the labouring class take their meals in the street,
from the innumerable venders which occupy the sidewalks, to the great
annoyance of pedestrians. Among the strange articles exposed for sale
in every street are fried locusts, made into a curry. That disgusting
looking fish, called by some ichthyologists, Holothurial--sea-cucumber
and sea-slug by the English--Bichos do Mar by the Portuguese--Tripango
or Trippany by the Javanese--Swala by the Sumatrans--and Balaté by the
Philippine islanders, is in common use among the Chinese and Europeans.
I have eaten it made into a soup or stew: it has a taste between the
green fat of a turtle and the soft gristle of boiled beef, and is said
to be very nutritious, but not equal to the edible bird’s-nests, or
nests of the sea-swallow of these seas. No less than five thousand,
four hundred and eighty-six piculs of one hundred and thirty-seven
pounds each, equal to seven hundred and sixty-eight thousand and forty
pounds, were shipped from this port to Canton last year, as appears by
the custom-house returns, besides a large quantity smuggled. By far
the larger portion is brought here by American vessels from the Fejee
islands. These fish resemble, when contracted, a cucumber, and it is
difficult to discover the eyes and mouth: some are black, others white,
gray, &c.: they are, at present, sold at fourteen dollars per picul,
the cargo.

The land in the vicinity, for many miles, is low and marshy, but neatly
cultivated with rice. It is surprising that health should be enjoyed at
all in the midst of rice-swamps, in this sultry climate: thousands of
huts are built in the midst of them, when it would prove fatal to the
whole population in almost any other country. The healthiness of the
climate, I think, must be attributed to the narrowness of that part of
the island, and to the constant and refreshing breezes which dissipate
its miasma. The bamboo is one of the most useful among the vegetable
creation--houses, chairs, fences, settees, buckets, boxes, baskets,
hats, drinking-cups, fans, mats for boats, spear-handles, sails, &c.,
are made of its wood; while the tender root is served up at the table,
boiled and roasted, used as a pickle and as a sweetmeat. I visited the
celebrated great cigar-factory at Binondo; about five thousand females
are employed in it, and about six hundred men: it is a royal monopoly.
Every person is searched twice a day to see if he pilfers any of his
majesty’s tobacco--he being the sole owner and master of the factory.

[Sidenote: MANILA--EXPORTS.]

The principal articles exported, (except gold and silver,) were indigo,
sugar, rice, hemp or abacia, cotton, cocoa-nut oil, sulphur, balaté, or
bichos do mar, coffee, wax and hides, in the following proportions:--

Indigo, thirty-one thousand, one hundred and nineteen arrobas, of
which twenty-five thousand were agua rose or liquid, in jars; sugar,
six hundred and seventeen thousand, seven hundred and thirty-eight
arrobas, excepting eighteen thousand arrobas of the first quality;
rice, one million, seventy-four thousand, one hundred and seventy
arrobas, including two hundred thousand, uncleaned; hemp, or abacia,
one hundred and fifty-three thousand, four hundred and forty-seven
arrobas--it is of two qualities, and is called, in the United States,
Manila-grass or hemp; cotton, four thousand one hundred and ninety-five
arrobas; cocoa-nut oil, six thousand, nine hundred and sixty-four
arrobas; sulphur, two thousand, four hundred and eighty arrobas; balaté
or bichos do mar, five thousand, four hundred and eighty-six arrobas;
coffee, fourteen thousand, six hundred and twenty-five arrobas; hides,
twenty-nine thousand, nine hundred and fifty-eight arrobas.

The minor articles of export are dried shark’s fins, oysters, muscles,
shrimps and other dried fish, oil of sesamum, edible bird’s-nests,
ploughs, hatchets, knives, cowries, rattans, canes, sail-cloth of
yéacos, dammer or pitch, tortoise-shell, horns, mother-of-pearl,
shells, tallow, shoes and boots, chocolate, soap, cigars, tobacco,
saltpetre, lard, dried deer and ox sinews, birds of paradise, wheat,
flour and bread, mats and palm hats, cigar-cases, rum, molasses,
sugar-candy, sweetmeats, groundnuts, gomuti or sagwire, cabinet
furniture, ebony and Japan woods, and Agal, a species of sea-weed,
or rather dulse, dissoluble into a glutinous substance, and used in
China as a valuable paste: also sinamaya, a fine cloth, made from the
avacá; and piña, which is a narrow cloth, made from the fibres of the
pineapple; it is, deservedly, considered as one of the most beautiful
fabrics in the world--is transparent, of a great variety of beautiful
patterns, and equal in the fineness of its texture to cobweb-muslin.
A large portion of the rice is exported to Canton by Americans, to
save the measurement duty, or to Lintin when they proceed elsewhere to
purchase other than China goods. Occasionally the export is prohibited,
either from scarcity or the caprice of the government.

The export of hemp, abacá or avacá, in the year 1829, was eight
thousand, four hundred and one piculs: in 1832, it had increased to
thirty-seven thousand, five hundred:--this article is the fibrous bark
of a wild banana, (musa textilis,) which grows abundantly in all the
Philippine islands. Gomuti or sagwire is exported in its natural state,
or made into cables, &c.: it resembles very coarse black horse-hair--is
the produce of the borassus gomuti or aren palm, which yields the
sagwire for cordage, and is found lying between the trunk and the
branches, on a soft gossamer-like texture, which is used in calking the
seams of ships: it also makes a useful tinder for kindling fire--grows
luxuriantly, away from the seacoast, but never produces more than two
crops of the sagwire.

The cocoa-nut oil is mostly shipped to Singapore, and from thence to
England, where it is manufactured into candles: it is of two qualities;
the best is boiled from the green nut--the ordinary kind is ground
from nuts, broken and exposed some days to the sun: the first quality,
only, is bought for shipping; as casks cannot be obtained, it is sold
in jars, and readily congeals when the thermometer is at 70°. Wheat
is raised in abundance, and ship-bread, of a very superior quality,
is generally sold at from four to five dollars the hundred pounds. As
salted beef, pork, butter, and hams, are purchased only by foreign
captains, they are of very slow and uncertain sale.

The _Import Duty_ in foreign vessels is fourteen per centum, Spanish;
the _Export Duty_, three per centum, excepting on hemp, which is free.
The importations for the year 1831 amounted to one million, seven
hundred and ninety-four thousand, three hundred and seventy-nine
dollars; the exports for the same period, to one million, four hundred
and fourteen thousand, seven hundred and ten dollars.

The gold and silver imported, amounted to three hundred and
thirty-seven thousand, two hundred and eighty-seven dollars, and the
amount exported, on which duties were paid, was forty-nine thousand,
two hundred and nineteen dollars. A large sum in gold, silver, and
in the dust produced in the island, is smuggled out of the country,
principally by the Chinese.

_Weights._--The quintal is four Spanish arrobas of twenty-five pounds.
The picul is here one hundred and thirty-seven pounds, Spanish, or one
hundred and forty pounds, English.

The _currency_ of the island is dollars and their parts, and doubloons;
the latter being worth sixteen dollars. _Exchange_ on London was four
and a half prem.; on Canton, two per cent. discount: but it necessarily
fluctuates very materially.

The _imports_ are British, India, and China goods, wines, sheathing
copper and nails, iron and steel, cocoa from Peru, &c. During the
southwest or foul monsoon, the shipping lies at Cavité, and in the
northeast or fair monsoon, (from October to April,) from three to five
miles from the entrance to Pasig, below the bridge which unites Manila
with Binondo.


The _population_ of the archipelago of the Philippine islands,
according to the returns made, in the year 1792, was one million, four
hundred thousand, four hundred and sixty-five; in 1805, one million,
seven hundred and thirty-nine thousand, two hundred and five; in
1812, one million, nine hundred and eleven thousand, five hundred
and thirty-five; in 1815, one million, nine hundred and twenty-seven
thousand, eight hundred and forty; in 1817, two millions, sixty-three
thousand, three hundred and ninety-five; in 1818, two millions, two
hundred and forty-nine thousand, eight hundred and fifty-two.

The increase in twenty-six years, from 1792 to 1818, was about sixty
per cent.; if to this be added thirty-seven per cent. for the increase
in sixteen years, from 1818 to 1834, the population at present amounts
to three millions, one hundred and twelve thousand, two hundred and
ninety-seven. The island of Luzon had a population of one hundred and
forty-nine thousand, six hundred and ninety-five: if to this we add
thirty-seven per cent. up to 1834, it will give two hundred and five
thousand and eighty two. Of this number, nearly one half is within
a circuit of twelve miles of the capital. The number of the negro
race, called Aetes, Ygorzotes, or Papuas, was estimated at seventeen
thousand, three hundred and fifty-five: this number does not include
many thousands, probably, who live among the fastnesses of the

The principal object of the Spanish government in ascertaining the
number of inhabitants, was to levy a capitation tax; in some cases as
low as one rial per head--in others, twelve rials. The Chinese pay a
much higher tax than any other foreigners; the traders, in 1832, paid
six dollars per annum--the common labourers, half that amount. The
latter tax forced many of the poorer class to emigrate: the Spanish
government is afraid of them, and wishes also to employ the natives of
the country; it therefore laid this heavy impost for the purpose of
driving them away.

No foreigners have permission to remain there, even to this day, as
permanent settlers: they are liable to be ordered out of the country
by the governor at any moment, and this right is not unfrequently

The island of Luzon, which derives its name from Luzong, a large
wooden mortar used by the natives for cleaning rice, was discovered
in 1521, and in 1571, Manila was founded. The discoverers found the
country about Manila thickly settled with an active people called
Tagalor; at the north of this nation they met with and conquered
the Pampangoes, Zambales, Pangasinanes, Yloeds, and Cagayanes: at
the eastward of the Tagaloes were the Camarines. Each of these was
a distinct people, having a particular language. None of them had a
sovereign or chief magistrate; they were divided into a great number
of small villages, containing from fifty to one hundred families,
each governed by a chief, who was chosen for his wisdom and his deeds
in arms. These petty states were continually at war with each other,
making slaves of their unfortunate prisoners--the mountains were then,
as now, inhabited by the negro race, common to many of the islands in
the eastern archipelago. These different races of people, with the
exception of about ten thousand, still form the population of the

[Sidenote: CAVITÉ--PASIG.]

Three leagues from Manila is Cavité, called by the natives Caveit,
because it is a crooked point of land extending into the sea. (Here is
a small arsenal, and some small vessels are built, and occasionally a
ship of war. It was formerly the resort of the Acapulco ships, before
South America freed herself and commerce from the shackles which
deprived her of all participation in a free trade.) The natives were
found to have all the necessaries of life--rice, beans, millet, camote,
a species of potato, pine-apples, oranges, mangoes, hogs, ducks, fowls,
goats, and buffaloes, were in abundance. The island abounded in deer,
wild pigeons, and other game; the gomuti-palm yielded them, when fresh,
a pleasant beverage--when fermented, an intoxicating liquor: the pith
furnished with sugar--when the liquor was properly boiled down, a
farina, inferior to sago, and of the inside of its triangular-shaped
fruit a sweetmeat was made. The cocoa-palm afforded a delicious
beverage, and oil for cooking or burning: the areca-palm with its nut,
and the betel-leaf, produced their favourite buyo. The lakes, rivers,
bays, and ocean, swarmed with myriads of fish, which they ensnared in
the most ingenious manner, with nets, lines, &c.

The island is traversed by a chain of mountains, extending from north
to south, from which others branch out; some are found isolated, in the
midst of plains, while others are surrounded by water. Volcanoes are
found in various parts; between the provinces of Albay and Camorines
is the Mayon, shaped like an obtuse peak; it forms a good landmark for
navigators; there is also at Taal a similarly-shaped mountain in the
midst of a lagoon; it is called Bombou. Hot springs are found in many
places. The island suffers at times from the effects of tremendous
earthquakes, which destroy massive buildings, rend asunder the solid
walls of Manila, and shake the mountain in the ocean, to its centre.
The volcanoes, also, overwhelm whole villages with ashes, stones,
sand, and water; making steril, verdant fields; carrying ruin within
its influence, and destroying the hopes of the poor husbandman. It is
subject also to desolating typhoons or hurricanes, sweeping in their
erratic course, hundreds of slight-built huts, prostrating the largest
trees, dismasting or foundering at their anchor, numerous vessels, and
driving on shore or wrecking others, for nothing moveable at times can
withstand these mighty winds. The hopes of the planter are also, in a
few hours, destroyed by devastating clouds of locusts, which infest the
land, devouring in their course every green thing.

Possessing a humid and warm atmosphere, the soil naturally yields an
abundance of the necessaries of life, but the seasons generate many
fatal diseases.

[Sidenote: PASIG.]

On Manila Sunday, (our Monday,) a party of eight, one beautiful
morning, before sunrise, proceeded in three veloches (carriages of
a certain description) to the village of Santa Anna, distant about
three miles over a fine road and highly-cultivated country, where we
embarked on board two large bankas of about eight-and-thirty feet in
length, dug out of a tree, having a light bamboo-roof which could be
elevated or depressed at pleasure, and paddled by four Indians. Between
eight and nine o’clock, we arrived at the town of Pasig, situated
about three miles from the entrance of the lake; the passage up was
delightful--the land bordering on the river was low but well cultivated
with rice, sugar-cane, &c., and fruit; it was one continuous village on
either bank. Being a holyday, the natives were well and gayly dressed;
hundreds of canoes passed us, laden with fish from the lake; others
with fruit, vegetables, eggs, areca-nut and betel-leaf, beef, pork,
fowls, ducks, geese, turkeys, cocoa-nut oil, molasses and sugar, cloth,
of various kinds, baskets, mats, hats, &c., made of bamboo, all under
cover of the moveable roof; they were paddled by an equal number of
men and women, all apparently, in good spirits, and having always at
hand a joke, to bandy with our canoe-men, in the Taga language; they
were hurrying on to the great markets at Manila and Binonda, to dispose
of their various articles. On the shores, men, women, and children
were fishing with every sort of contrivance that can be named, in
the shape of nets, hooks, and lines; some men with nets scraping up
the mud from the bottom to obtain shrimps, which they found in great
abundance; others taking very large craw-fish. Hundreds were bathing
in the river, near the banks; whole families were seen together, from
the grand-mother to the grand-daughter, washing their long black hair
with vegetable soap, called by the natives gogo, being the inner-rind
of a tree growing here in great plenty. Many of the palm and bamboo
cottages were erected on piles close to the bank of the river, and
some canoes were made fast to the ladder ready for any of the family
to take an excursion, when they wished to go to the village-church,
or to gossip with a neighbour and partake of his hospitalities, which
consist of Burgo and a cigar, a fishing-party, a main of fighting-cocks
or a boat-race. The fronts of the houses being open, all the operations
of the various families could be distinctly seen. We met with many
hotels, alias eating-shops, placed on piles some distance from the
shore, where our boatmen stopped to obtain their breakfast, which
consisted of rice, shrimp and other fish, in abundance, for which they
paid about two cents per head. Many loungers were reposing on the
bamboo-flooring, smoking or chewing burgo, flirting with the young
damsels, who were indulging themselves in the same luxury as their
beaux; at the same time, perhaps, combing out and oiling their hair,
which generally reaches to the waist, and occasionally adjusting
their tapa or outer-cloth, which is either of striped silk or cotton,
extending halfway below the knee; some wore a nicely-laced embroidered
muslin handkerchief on their heads and shoulders; their feet, or rather
toes, are covered with scant and showy slippers, having no heels nor
any quarters, cut down within an inch and a half of the end; these
were well bespangled, and some of them bound with a stripe of gold or
silver lace; they are only worn on special occasions, by particular
individuals; a large proportion of the people go barefooted, or wear a
high wooden shoe, plain or ornamented with brocaded or spangled-velvet,
or gilt-leather. Every man who is able, wears shirts of the truly
beautiful piña, or cloth made of the fibres of the pine-apple, which
is manufactured on the island. The shirts, made from this cloth,
as fine as cobweb-muslin, beautifully embroidered about the bosom,
collar, and wristbands, are worn by all the Indians and Mestizoes,
on the outside of the trousers; the latter are made of piña, or fine
grass-cloth, (called siramaya,) according to the ability of the owner.
As for stockings, they are about as useful to a young Tagalo girl, as
knee-breeches to a Scotch-highlander.

Reclining on our gay pillow, stretched at ease, full length, on a
clean mat, laid on a raised bamboo-floor, discussing the merits of
cold roast fowl, ham, and tongue; a bottle of claret, and a bottle of
porter for our breakfast, I thought there were not many persons in the
world more comfortably situated for the time being. We stayed for a
short time at the house of the alcade of Pasig, a native gentleman of
Tagola parentage, and were hospitably invited to dinner. Having walked
through the town, visited the church and bazar, (which we found well
stocked with rice and fish,) we returned to the lake. The late heavy
rains had so swollen its waters that our canoes were paddled across
extensive paddy fields, where we met with others, fishing; we passed
close to several large craft, having two masts but no bowsprits, with
large mat sails, cables, and wooden anchors of various shapes. They
were clumsily constructed and badly rigged, but gayly painted on their
high bow-boards and on each quarter; the high stern was also painted
with flowers and a figure of the patron-saint after which the vessel
was named, in the gayest colours. There was nothing to be seen, on this
part of the excursion, excepting a wide expanse of water; mountains and
hills, in the distance, and fishing-snares placed in every direction.
Game of various kinds abounds among the hills, affording fine hunting.
Boa-constrictors and other reptiles may be found in abundance, and in
the creeks, alligators of an immense size. In the lake there are said
to be one hundred different varieties of fish; but it requires a week’s
leisure, a suitable banka, with many et ceteras, to enjoy the manifold
beauties with which this sheet of water is reputed to be surrounded.
We were much amused when on our passage to the lake, in discovering,
at a distance, a man floating with the stream and seated upright in
the water; we were unable immediately to discover what supported him
in that position, but shortly after we descried the projecting nose of
an enormous carabou or Indian buffalo. The Indian appeared to be quite
at his ease, sitting astride the ponderous animal, smoking one of the
immense-sized cigars I have before mentioned, and which would last out
a reasonable cruise. With the left hand he grasped the animal’s tail,
to support him in the current, and a rope passed through the nose (the
usual custom here) served to direct the _figure-head_ to any part to
which he fancied to go. He was hailed by our Indians and asked where he
was bound; he replied he was on his way to pay visits to some Señoritas
down the river, and, subsequently, was going to Manila, to sell his
carabou, (a distance of about ten miles.)

[Sidenote: PATERO.]

The scene was occasionally enlivened by the sound of a guitar,
proceeding from a canoe or a cottage on the shore. Rafts of cocoa-nuts,
containing many thousands, guided by a single man standing in the
centre of them, holding a long pole, with other rafts, of bamboo and
timber, were constantly passing us. On our return from the lakes we
visited several small streams on the left hand of the river, on which
is situated an extensive village called Patero, alias Duck-town--a
very appropriate name for the place, for I never before saw so many
ducks together; the cottages were standing very near to each other, and
thousands of these birds were feeding on the river, being secured by
a slight fence made of bamboo. Raising ducks and fishing seemed to be
the only employment. Every thing about the inhabitants wore a rustic
appearance, which was heightened, in a certain degree, by the plantain
and mango trees, overshadowing their picturesque habitations: some were
washing clothes in the stream, others, cooking in the open air--many
were stretched out at full length, asleep; children were hanging in
cots under the shadowy branches of the trees, soothed by gentle breezes
which rocked them to sleep--others, of a larger growth, in a state of
nudity, were playing with the ducks, sailing mimic boats, or making
_dirt-puddings_--not a few in number were diverting themselves with
cock-fighting--others were endeavouring to make a little musick, and
some were playing the game of draughts, with small stones. A portion
of the young Indian girls (Tagalos) were decorating or anointing
their pretty persons--others were paddling about in small canoes,
which they would occasionally upset to create a hearty laugh and
then, like dripping Naiads, again scrambling into them, would repeat
the same frolic. This village, or a succession of villages, extends
several miles along various outlets from the main river, from which no
portion of it can be seen, being completely hidden by the trees on the
banks; it contained, in 1818, three thousand, eight hundred and forty
inhabitants, all Indians; at this period, 1834, it has, probably, four
thousand, five hundred souls.

We returned to the hospitable alcade’s house about two, being only
a couple of miles from Patero, where we found a sumptuous dinner,
consisting of not less than twelve dishes of fish and meat, with a
variety of sweetmeats, fruit and coffee, (but no wine or spirits,) and
then cigars and buyo, for those who chose them. We did ample justice
to this repast, although nearly burnt up with a hot sun. This town, or
rather cluster of villages, is inhabited wholly by Indians, principally
Tagalos, and contained in 1818, twelve thousand, one hundred and forty
souls; at the present period, it has probably a population of fifteen
thousand; the houses are mostly built of bamboo and palm, and stand
on piles. In violent typhoons it is found necessary to secure them
with ropes, passed over the roofs, and fastened to strong posts. Their
elevation on piles is found a necessary security against the lake,
which occasionally, after violent rains, spreads its wide stream over
all the lowlands bordering upon it. The inhabitants raise cane and rice
in large quantities, with some wheat, Indian corn, fruits, &c. Fishing,
more or less, is the occupation of every one; they, apparently, live in
great simplicity and comfort, wanting nothing. A considerable quantity
of sugar is made here, there being several extensive buildings for
that purpose. Having taken leave of our kind host, we proceeded down
the river to Manila, and again were much delighted with the richness,
beauty and variety of the scenery. The mango with its umbrageous arms,
affording a delightful shade to the weary traveller--the plantain
and the banana, disputing every foot of ground, on the banks of the
river, the tall and graceful bamboo overtopping every thing around
it--extensive fields of cane, waving gently their green leaves to the
passing breeze, with fields of paddy, exhibiting the green spiral
leaf of the plant above the flooded meadows; numberless cottages were
seen, deeply seated in the midst of luxuriant fruit-trees, and a
massive church or convent was always in view, in some delightful spot.
Again we met Indians, of both sexes, fishing or bathing, going upon a
water-excursion, or to a ball, to chew buyo, to have a little chit-chat
or scandal with a neighbour, or visit a holy friar of a neighbouring
convent. These rapid and varied scenes, with our agreeable company,
afforded us much pleasure as we lay in our bankas, enjoying the rapid
passing views, which lapse of years cannot efface, exhibiting a rural
picture of great simplicity and beauty; the principal actors being a
race of Indians noted for the mildness of their tempers and for their
great hospitality.



We had spent a fortnight most pleasantly at Manila, when the painful
intelligence was received, that the Asiatic or spasmodic cholera had
suddenly made its appearance on board the Peacock. It has been already
stated that the diarrhœa and dysentery were prevalent among the crew,
on the passage from Angier to Manila. These diseases were ascribed,
among other causes, to the want of bread and the substitution of yams,
&c. The cholera could not have arisen from any want of cleanliness,
for our ship, from her keelson to her royal truck, was kept thoroughly
clean and in the finest order, both at sea and in port. The united
causes which produced this malady were, probably, change of food,
the great quantities of fruit used by the crew, and the arrival of
the season of the year, (about the change of the monsoons in the
bay,) which is generally unhealthy. The first case was in a sailor,
named Peterson, sixty-three years old. He had made a hearty meal on
bean soup, with pork, and about an hour afterward the first symptoms
made their appearance; the evacuations became copious, coldness and
insensibility supervened; the pulse became scarcely perceptible; the
countenance livid, ghastly, and sunken; spasms attacked the lower
extremities; and the surface was covered with a cold, clammy sweat. The
surgeon administered six grains of opium, in three doses; bad symptoms
increasing, fifteen drops of cajeput oil were given in brandy and
water, and repeated in half an hour. After the last dose of opium there
were no evacuations, but the spasms had increased, extended to the
abdominal muscles, and caused such extreme distress, that it required
three or four men to hold the sufferer in his hammock; his groanings
and screamings were violent and frightful. In three or four hours
the spasms ceased. Notwithstanding the internal and external use of
the most powerful stimulants, the prostration increased, and, at four
o’clock in the morning, he was happily relieved from all the pains and
troubles of this life. Another case, was that of a seaman, named North;
he was found at eight o’clock in the evening, lying on deck, totally
unable to rise, from extreme prostration. Death had, apparently,
struck an instantaneous and a heavy blow; the victim was already
clutched in its most loathsome and terrific embraces; the evacuations
were of the usual character; in a few minutes, the pulse was scarce
perceptible; the surface, cold and covered with a viscid perspiration;
the countenance, dreadfully sunken, livid, and cadaverous; respiration
became laborious, and the sufferer was tortured with severe spasms, in
all his limbs and the abdominal muscles, which caused indescribable
distress. Notwithstanding every known remedy was applied, the spasms
became more general and severe; the respiration more difficult;
the distress more insupportable; the prostration increased until
insensibility supervened, and death finally closed the terrific scene,
eleven hours after the attack. I have selected but two, out of many
cases, which will serve to show the terrific and appalling effects
produced by one of the greatest scourges that ever visited the world.

Finding the disease fast spreading, and fearful that it might sweep
off a large portion of the crew, orders were given to get the ship
ready for sea, when sufficient provisions could be obtained, and to
seek a more salubrious air and the chances of health, in the China sea.
To be compelled to leave a comparatively healthy and pleasant abode
on shore, for a floating hospital, tainted with a highly infectious
atmosphere, was painful and dangerous, but such was our lot; for thirty
sick-hammocks were slung on the starboard side of the gun-deck, when we
weighed anchor, and a panic was visible in the countenances of nearly
the whole crew. We finally, lost seven men, but many of those who were
attacked and recovered, suffered from impaired constitutions, became
the victims to other diseases, and eventually died.

We got under way towards sunset, on the second of November, and having
passed close under the stern of his Britannic majesty’s ship Alligator,
to take leave of Captain Lambert, her amiable and worthy commander,
together with our friends, Messrs. Strachan, Sturges, and Edwards, of
Manila, who were assembled on her quarter-deck for that purpose, the
British flag being run up at our main; during this exchange of friendly
salutations, we filled away with a fine breeze, and in about three
hours, passed the island of Correjidor, and stood out to sea. For the
two following days the wind was very light; on the third, we made cape


Returning health was very visible among the crew in this short space of
time: no new case of cholera occurred after we inhaled the invigorating
and healthy ocean air. On the fifth day our _barbarian eyes_ were
_blessed_ with a sight of the _celestial empire_, consisting of several
islands. Seventy or eighty miles from land, we fell in with a great
number of fishing junks, of clumsy construction, having the appearance
of the antediluvian vessels exhibited in the old bibles, with mat or
bamboo sails; they were always observed in pairs, having whole families
of the “celestials” in them, dressed in the ordinary garb of common,
dirty fishermen; generally without any covering to the head--but little
to the back, and that in a most filthy condition. When within two
leagues of the Lemma or Ladrone islands, a junk lowered her sails close
to us, and in about five minutes, two of the “heavenly creatures” came
on board, in a small skiff, offering themselves as pilots, being as
guiltless of any knowledge of our language as we were of theirs; they
were dressed in tan-coloured jackets and immense wide breeches, or
rather petticoat trousers, reaching just below the knee, and wearing
a greasy woollen cap--shirts have never been in fashion with them.
They were very uncleanly in their persons, stout built, and healthy.
Having stepped on board, the first words they uttered, were, “Capetany
me peloto--you wanty peloto?” “Yes,” said the captain. “How muchy, how
muchy, capetany, you gib?” taking at the same time, from the waistband
of his trousers, twenty Chinese cash, and counting them in his hand,
he said, “Dollar, dollar, so muchy, so muchy.” The captain counted out
one half the number, which was the usual pilotage to Macao roads. The
“celestial” then added three to the number, making thirteen, and the
bargain was made, he not forgetting to ask, as is usual, for a bottle
of samshew, (rum,) which he snugly stowed away in his bosom. Scarcely
had he taken half a dozen strides up and down the deck, and pointed to
steer more to port, before he asked for chow, chow, meaning something
to eat, which, to his astonished eyes, was furnished forthwith, in a
lordly dish, on a chest on the quarter-deck. He pointed occasionally
to starboard or larboard, through the labyrinths of islands. In the
course of four or five hours we anchored under the mountainous island
of Lautavee, during the night. The pilot, having received his money
next morning, with a countenance indicative of extreme happiness, and
ascertained carefully, that every dollar was good, took his leave,
having been almost useless. I went over to Macao the next morning,
passing through a fleet of sampans, (small boats,) navigated by
damsels, that one might almost deem amphibious, in which dwell whole
families, in a most miserable condition. I landed close to the quay,
leading to the Beach Hotel, kept by Markwick, an Englishman, fronting
on Pria Grande, a public walk, without trees, facing the outer harbour
and islands. The ship finally anchored at Linting, (Ling-ting,) which
is eighteen miles from Macao, and twenty-five from the Bogue, or mouth
of the river. This island was scarcely inhabited till 1814, when, in
consequence of a dispute between the British and Chinese, the company’s
ships remained here for some time. Population increasing, supplies of
vegetables and beef became plentiful, and induced American and other
ships to make it a place of rendezvous; but the importation of opium
being prohibited, both at Canton and Macao, at this time, the vessels
engaged in importing that article, repaired to this anchorage, when
they found every facility through Chinese boats, to smuggle or to
purchase it. This was the origin of the opium go-downs, as they are
technically called, or receiving ships, for this and other articles
for the Canton market. There are now, in 1832, from seven to eight
ships engaged in this illegal traffic. Among this number there is one
American vessel, the Linting, and occasionally there are two. In the
commencement of the northeast monsoon, in October, ships repair to this
place, where they usually lie to the end of April; when the southwest
monsoon commencing, they remove to the north end of the island, where
they stay six weeks, and then remove to Cap-sin-moon, (Cap-shuy-moon,)
a more secure, but less convenient anchorage.[A] There are now six
villages in Linting; in 1814, there were not more than sixty persons on
the island; in 1821, not quite two thousand, and now, the estimate is
upward of five thousand.

[A] Goods are trans-shipped from these places, without government
deriving any advantage.

We found here, at anchor, about thirty sail of fine English and
American ships. The next afternoon we landed on Linting, with a small
party, at a miserable filthy village. From the hills, on the back part
of the village, we obtained an extensive view of the bay, the extended
surface of which was dotted with thousands of boats. The islands around
are miserably barren, worn into deep furrows, along their broken,
hilly sides; and, excepting a few terraces, formed along their base,
on which upland rice and a few vegetables are grown, have altogether
a desolate appearance. When we entered the village, (containing about
twenty or thirty huts,) every man, woman, and child, turned out to see
the barbarian ladies and gentlemen. A more ragged, filthy assemblage
was, perhaps, never before seen. We hurried through, obliging them not
to press too closely upon us, fearful some of their old acquaintance,
apparently the rightful inheritors of their persons, might, contrary
to our wishes, transfer themselves to us. The next evening, Captain
Geisinger and myself went to Whampoa. Nothing worthy of notice took
place on our passage, excepting that sacrifice was made at every Jos
House we passed, by burning sacred paper at the bows of the boat, so
that we might be favoured with a fair wind. The same ceremony was
performed with the boats passing down, so that the god, or jos, was
completely puzzled; and therefore it was occasionally calm. The wind,
to show the impartiality of its director, would, at times, blow down
the Taho, or Tigris, against us, then die away, and give us a partially
fair wind.

As soon as the captain of the boat found it was coming aft, he placed
some oranges before a hideous painted god, in the little altar, which
all boats, ships, and shops, possess, lighted it up well, put some
odoriferous matches in a vessel of sand, and set them on fire. “Now,”
said he, “we sail hab fair win. Spose me tak care for Jos, Jos tak care
for me.” I really thought the bargain a fair one; and both parties held
honestly to their agreement, for we had a fair wind the remainder of
the passage; but Jos, having a bad appetite, we “turned to” and eat up
his supper, very much to the discomfiture of the captain.


It being Sunday, we attended a Bethel-meeting on board the ship
Superior; the service being performed by the Rev. Mr. Stevens, who had
just arrived from New Haven. We found, lying in Whampoa-reach, a great
number of English and American vessels, extending from two to three
miles. Whampoa, where the ships anchor, is between Dane and French
islands, and part of the island of Whampoa. Foreigners are allowed to
visit Danes’ island, but they are not allowed to visit the city of
Whampoa, the suburbs being filled with vile wretches, who endeavour,
upon every occasion, to create a quarrel, by using insulting language
and throwing stones; and when they outnumber the foreigners, a hundred
to one, they beat them with long bamboos, to the great risk of their
lives. The land on Whampoa island, is generally very low, and banked,
to keep out the tide. It is well cultivated with rice, cane, savo-root,
and other vegetables. Several pagodas are in sight from the anchorage,
and one that has been built “time out of mind,” is near the town of
Whampoa, nine stories high.

[Sidenote: CITY OF CANTON.]

At noon, we left the shipping for Canton, and in three hours arrived
at the factories, situated near the river, in the suburbs of the city
of Canton. The river was thickly covered with boats going in all
directions, from the humble sampan to the gay and splendid mandarin
boats, having streamers flying, gongs beating, and manned with a great
number of oars. Numberless boats were fishing, with every sort of
apparatus; others conveying the harvest of rice home, sculled by two
long oars, each manned by six stout fellows, the perspiration running
down their almost naked bodies in streams.

Every foot of land is cultivated or covered with buildings; boats,
without number, are moored along its banks the whole distance; but
within three or four miles of the factories, the crowd of vessels was
prodigious. Large men-of-war junks, of a most unwieldly and primitive
construction; flower-boats, kept for infamous purposes; pleasure-boats;
marriage-boats; and boats which carry bands of comedians, were lying in
all directions. Many of them have beautiful lattice-work sides, painted
green, and gilt with good taste. All the vessels on the river have one
distinguishing mark, an immense large eye on each side of the bow. “How
can you see,” say the Chinese, “spose hab no eye?” Small ferry-boats,
the residence of whole families, are constantly plying between the
city, or rather the suburbs, and Houani; also, boats laden with tea and
silk goods, from the interior or going to Whampoa; market, victualling,
and pedlars’ boats; boats of a peculiar construction, laden with oil in
bulk; others filled with coarse China ware, bamboo hats, and baskets;
umbrellas, and beautiful lanterns, covered with various devices;
and every thing that can be named, from silks and teas to fat pups,
fish-maws, and trussed rats.

The factories, or hongs, for foreign merchants, are pleasantly
situated, fronting the only open space of ground within the suburbs.
They are generally built in a neat style, but with slight pretensions
to architecture.

The city of Canton is built on a plain, encircled by a high wall, at
the foot of barren hills. I looked into the city through three of
the gates; the streets present a corresponding appearance to those
in the suburbs, being extremely narrow, and paved with hewn granite;
the tops of the houses nearly united, so that bamboo poles are laid
across from roof to roof, on which awnings are spread to protect
the inhabitants from the intense heat of the sun. The common houses
are extremely filthy; there is no circulation of air through them.
Notwithstanding the extreme narrowness of the streets, (only two
persons can conveniently pass,) fish-mongers and butchers, victuallers,
and venders of Jos paper and Jos sticks, &c., are permitted to encumber
them; so that when a lady, or lordly mandarin passes, in a sedan-chair,
or a cooly, with his burden, the cry of ly, ly, (make room, make
room,) is constantly ringing in your ears, to the great annoyance of
the passengers in the extremely thronged alleys. Oblong signs, of a
vermilion colour, with large golden letters, line both sides of the
streets, so as to hide the lower parts of the buildings: they make,
notwithstanding, a very gay appearance. The basement story of every
house, seems to have in it a shop filled with merchandise; and every
third house, I believe, has some eatables for sale: bird’s-nests,
fish-maws, shark-fins, dried oysters, muscles, deer-sinews, fish of all
kinds, pork, beef, &c.

All kinds of strange compounds are cooked in the streets and are
frequently made of vile materials, such as are never sold in any other
country. Vast numbers of shops are filled with gilt paper--paper
men, women, and beasts, of all sorts, with or without horns, and of
frightful shapes; some with moveable goggle eyes, and moveable heads,
painted of all colours, with mouths extending from ear to ear, intended
for offerings to a temple or Jos-house. A small oven is built at every
shop-door, in which to burn incense to their penates or household
gods, and in every shop, house, boat, and junk, altars are erected,
surrounded by a frightful paper Jos, ornamented with painted and gilt
paper, and having odoriferous matches burning before it.

In company with an American missionary, the highly respectable and
Reverend Mr. Bridgham, who has made great proficiency in the Chinese
language, and is extending his researches in various ways, more
especially in teaching a number of Chinese youths, &c., I paid a visit
to the great idol temple of Honam, opposite the city, on the south
side of the river, which is here about fifty rods wide.[A] This great
temple and monastery contain one hundred and seventy-four priests. The
general character given of these, by the Chinese, is, that they are
great debauchees, gamblers, and common mendicants; like the criminals,
their heads are close shaven, they not being suffered to wear the
long braided queue; and they are held in no manner of respect by the
people. The temple is said to be immensely wealthy. These priests are
of the sect of Firk, or Budha, and the temple, or rather succession
of temples, would, including the gardens, in which they raise large
quantities of vegetable and other fruits, cover an area of twelve
acres. Their diet is composed of fruits and vegetables. Meat and fowls
being expressly forbidden them.

[A] The legend of the _Jos House_, Hoe-chong-sze or Idol temple of

Jos is a corruption of the Portuguese word Deos, God. Every idol
temple is here called a Jos House; to worship any superior being is
expressed by, to Chin-chen-Jos. This great temple was, originally,
a garden, belonging to the family of Ko; about eight hundred years
since, a small Budha temple was built and named, Tseen-tsow-sze, “the
temple of ten thousand autumns.” It remained an obscure place till
about the year 1600, when a priest of eminent devotion raised its
character, and his disciple “Oh-tzze,” by his superior talents and
sanctity, together with a concurrence of extraordinary circumstances,
raised the temple to its present magnificence and extent. During the
reign of Kang He, the second of the reigning Tartar dynasty, in the
year 1700, Canton province was not fully subjugated; and the emperor’s
son-in-law, entitled Ping-naw-wong, “the subjugator of the south,”
reduced the whole to his father’s sway, and took up his headquarters
in the Honam temple, according to the Tartar and Chinese usage.
There were, on the island, thirteen villages which he had orders to
exterminate. Previously to carrying into effect this order, the king,
a blood-thirsty man, cast his eyes on Oh-tzze, a fat, happy, priest,
and remarked, that were he to live on a vegetable diet, he could not
be so fat--he must be a hypocrite, and should be punished with death.
He drew his sword to put in effect the sentence; but the limb suddenly
withered, and thus prevented its execution. That night a divine person
appeared to him in a dream, and warned him that Oh-tzze was a holy
man, and must not, unjustly, be killed. The following morning the king
presented himself before Oh-tzze, confessed his crime, and immediately
his arm was restored. He then did obeisance to the priest, took him for
his preceptor and guide, and, morning and evening, waited on him as a
servant. The thirteen villages heard of this miracle and solicited the
priest to intercede in their behalf: he complied with their request,
was successful, and the Honam villages were saved. Their gratitude to
the priest was unbounded; and estates, incense, and money, were poured
upon him. The king also persuaded his officers to make donations to the
temple, and it became affluent from that day. A hall for the celestial
kings was still wanting, and by seizing a fishpond belonging to a
wealthy man who had refused to sell it, sufficient ground was obtained
upon which to build it. The pond was filled up and built upon within
the short space of thirty days. It is sometimes called the Lok-wa-sze,
“the green temple.”


Entering under a gateway, guarded by strong wooden bars, we passed
over a paved flagging, to what is called, “Hill Gate.” It retains this
name, because the Budha priests affect to separate themselves from
the rest of mankind, and to live among hills and mountains--hence,
although a monastery be on a level plain, as it is here, the first
gate leading thereto, is always called “Hill Gate.” From “Hill Gate,”
we proceeded to the “Sea screen,” and from thence to the “Angler’s
eminence;” the origin of the latter name, I could not ascertain. We
proceeded onward to a building, having a roof similar to that seen on
China ware, and which was placed transversely across the passage. The
first objects which saluted our eyes, were two immense statues, in a
standing position, occupying each side of the passage; they are called,
“Huay Ha,” warriors; are not less than fifteen feet high, and present
a most threatening aspect, having eyes nearly the size of a hat-crown,
with a mouth of immense width, showing a long protruding fiery tongue;
these frightful objects were painted in gaudy colours and gilt; before
them were placed in white copper vessels--odoriferous matches in
sand. They are thus placed, as guards to the temple of Budha. After
passing a court-yard, similar to the first, I entered the pavilion or
palace of the great celestial kings, containing four colossal statues,
in a sitting posture, upward of twenty feet high, and gilt most
fantastically, but having placid countenances. The roof is supported
by thirty-two highly lacquered pillars. On the right and left, in two
small pavilions, are two military demi-gods, guarding, as I suppose,
the wings of the “great temple.” The principal hall or pavilion, which
I now entered, is called “The great, powerful, precious palace,” and
the “Golden coloured region;” fronting the entrance is the “Precious
Budhas,” “The past,” “present,” and “to come,” being three large gilt
images of Budha, called, in Chinese, Sam, Pow, and Fat. They are
moderate in size, compared with the monsters in the rear of them. The
artist aimed at giving them a benign aspect, and if immensely swollen
cheeks, sleepy eyes, and a drunkard’s countenance, form the true
expression of the milder virtues, it may here be seen to perfection.
On each side of the hall, eighteen disciples of Budha, are arranged;
they are kept well dressed, by the gilder and painter, and appear to
be very attentive to certain tablets placed before them, covered with

Religious ceremonies are performed daily by the priests, before these
divinities, dressed, generally, in long scarlet cloaks, with hoods,
(similar in shape to those worn by the Roman Catholic priests when
saying mass,) praying and kneeling occasionally, doing reverence with
both hands, closed together flat, raised to the head, or lowered to
the breast and waist; and sometimes prostrating themselves to perform
the ko-tow or knock-head ceremony, by striking their foreheads on the
ground. During the time, incense is burning before the altar, in the
shape of economical matches, highly odoriferous, being as slender as
a knitting-needle, and are placed in white copper vessels. The roof
of this great temple is supported by forty-two red lacquered pillars,
having on them gilt inscriptions. The ceiling and rafters are so
painted as to give an agreeable effect. The hall is about a hundred
feet square. Another temple, to which we proceeded, stands in the
rear of the great hall; here is a single image of Amida Budha, in the
Chinese language, called, “Omb-to-Fat.” In the rear of the hall is a
white marble obelisk, having various idols carved upon it; in the room,
immediately behind this, is the palace of the goddess “Koon-Yan,” who
is much adored; she is considered Budha; for, as in Bengal, Budha is
of either sex, according to the statues or images. This hall or palace
has in it the same number of pillars as that possessed by the great
temple--forty-two. There are four buildings erected on the right wing
of these temples, and five on the left, but all detached. First, and on
the right, is the place of a military demi-god; the second building,
is a place for keeping alive domestic animals, pigs, fowls, ducks,
and geese, agreeably to the leading doctrine of the sect, that no
animal should be deprived of life; the devout send these animals to
the temple, when they make or pay vows, or return thanks, for favours
received. It is evident that the pious depositor of the hogs could not
have been a descendant of the ancient tribes of Israel, or he would
not have shown so much affection, as to put them out to board within
the precincts of the holy temple, and keep a number of “celestials”
in constant pay to attend to them. The third building contains the
bookroom and printing-office. In the fourth, in an upper room, are more
idols. The first, on the left, is a pavilion, containing a military
demi-god; the second is a reception-room for visiters; the third
contains the idol of “Te-song-Wang,” the king of Hades; the fourth
holds the great bell; and the fifth is the chief priests’ apartments.
In these, Lord Amherst and his suite were lodged, 1816 and 1817, on his
return from an unsuccessful embassy to the court of Peking. Three other
buildings close up the rear of the buildings, on the left wing, the
book-house, treasury, and refectory; the latter was dark and dirty, and
sent forth a compound of unpleasant smells. The kitchen, the utensils
of which, experience has taught them the inutility of cleaning, from
their after liability to dirt, resembled, in condition, the refectory,
which latter contained only long wooden tables and benches. In the
rear of the last temple, is the kitchen-garden, and a small pavilion,
erected to the memory of a deer, attached to its master. On the left is
a mausoleum, in which the ashes of burnt priests are deposited once a
year; near to which is a little shabby house, where the ashes are kept
in jars, till the time of the opening of the mausoleum. Farther on, in
the garden, is the place in which the bodies of the priests are burned,
in a small temple. Some priests, who possess a little property, direct
their remains shall be buried and not burnt. The cloisters in the
building, on the right and left of the temple, are small and gloomy;
the walls are any thing but white, having a table, with a small altar,
and a gayly-painted, ugly divinity on it; a wooden stool completed the

In one room a great number of tailors were at work, not for the poor
and naked, but for these idle vagabonds. Passing through a small room,
we were invited by a member of the _holy_ priesthood, to take tea,
which was served up to us in the Chinese style, being made in the same
cup from which we drank it, and taken without sugar or milk. Eight or
ten sweetmeats formed the repast, the holy brotherhood standing around
us during the time, “thick as autumnal leaves in Vallambrosa,” curious,
doubtless, to know if _mortals_ and _barbarians_ ate in the same way as
the “celestials.”

[Sidenote: MINOR TEMPLES.]

There are not less than one hundred and twenty-four large and small
temples in Canton; and in the province, thirteen hundred and
twenty-seven. Public altars are here, in great number, dedicated to
the gods of the land and of grain, of the wind and clouds, of thunder
and rain, of hills, rivers, &c. At these, as in all the temples,
sacrifices and offerings, consisting of various animals, fish, fowls,
fruits, sweetmeats, cakes, and wines, are frequently presented, both
by government officers and by private citizens. Numerous attendants
are placed at the altars, within these temples of sacrifice, whose
lives are devoted to the service of the idols. On the birthday of the
gods, and at other times, processions are fitted out at the various
temples; the images are borne in state through the principal streets in
the city, attended by bands of musicians, priests, lads on horseback,
girls riding in open sedans, old men and boys, bearing lanterns,
incense, pots, flags, and other insignia; by lictors, with rattans,
and soldiers, with wooden swords. In addition to these processions,
the different streets and trades have their religious festivals, which
they celebrate with illuminations, bonfires, songs, and theatrical
exhibitions. Much extravagance is displayed on these occasions,
each company and street striving to excel all its neighbours. The
private and domestic altars, shrines crowded with household gods
and daily offerings, of gilt paper, candles, incense, &c.; together
with numberless ceremonies, occasioned by nuptials, or the burial
of the dead, complete the long catalogue of the religious rites and
institutions, which are supported by the people of Canton. The whole
number of priests and nuns, (there are said to be a thousand of the
latter,) is, probably, not less than three thousand, and the annual
expense of the one hundred and twenty-four temples, may be put down, on
a moderate estimate, at two hundred thousand dollars. An equal sum is
required to support the annual monthly and semi-monthly festivals and
daily rites, which are observed by the people, in honour of their gods.



[Sidenote: BUDHISM.]

Having given a description of the principal temples, &c., I shall now
state some particulars relative to the introduction of the Budhism
religion into China, and show what are the principles professed by its
disciples, at the present day.

In the sixty-fifth year of the Christian era, the emperor Ming-te
invited the first priests; they were probably natives of Ceylon.--The
invitation was given in consequence of dreams, which informed him that
the “Holy One” was in the West.

The ancient Chinese worshippers retained some knowledge of a Supreme
Being, yet the worship they paid to the visible heavens, the earth,
rivers, bulls, and above all, to dragons and the gods of lands, was
open idolatry. Subsequently, Confucius arose; he inculcated the
necessity of reverencing those whom the ancients had worshipped.
His wish was to promote the social happiness of his countrymen,
independently of the influence which religion exerts over a nation; his
great aim was the introduction of decorum and order into all the duties
of life; and to the strict observance of _external_ ceremonies, he
reduced the whole of religion. His system being found very deficient,
Taou-tze, the mystic philosopher, stepped forward to supply the wants
of the multitude by his abstruse speculations. According to his system,
all nature is filled with demons and genii, who constantly influence
the fate of man. He increased the number of idol gods to an enormous
amount, and attempted to define with scholastic precision, their nature
and offices. His demonology wanted perspicuity and contained too many
palpable absurdities to be generally received. Some of the emperors,
though declaring themselves believers in Taouism, could never introduce
a general acquiescence in doctrines which no one understood. China
wanted a creed which every man might understand; and the Budhists
supplied the desideratum;--accommodating their doctrines to all
existing superstitions, they opened the door to every description of
convert, who might retain as many of his old prejudices as he chose:
they were not rigorous in enforcing the obligations of morality; to
expiate sins, offerings to the idols and priests were sufficient. A
temple built in honour of any idol and richly endowed, would suffice
to blot out every stain of guilt and serve as a portal to the blessed
mansions of Budha. When death approached, they promised to each of
their votaries, speedy promotion in the scale of metempsychosis until
he should be absorbed in Nirupan or Nirvana--nonentity. With these
prospects, the poor deluded victim left the world. To facilitate his
release from purgatory, the ghostly hypocrites said mass, and supplied
the wants of the hungry departed spirit with rich offerings of food, of
which the latter enjoyed only the odour, while the priests devoured the
substance. As Confucius had raised the veneration for ancestors into
idolatrous worship, these priests were ready to perform their pious
offices before the tablets of the dead. Thus they became ingratiated
with the credulous multitude, who were too happy to avail themselves
of their cheap services. But notwithstanding the accommodating spirit
of their creed, the Chinese government has at times disapproved of
it. As the sanctity of marriage has been acknowledged in China from
time immemorial and almost every person at years of maturity has been
obliged to enter into that state, the celibacy of the priesthood of
Budha was considered as a very dangerous custom.

Budha regarded contemplation and exemption from worldly cares, as the
nearest approach to bliss; his followers, therefore, in imitation of
their master, passed and inculcated lives of indolence, and practised
begging, as the proper means of maintaining themselves. This mode of
livelihood was diametrically opposed to the political institutions of
China, where even the emperor does not disdain to plough. It was also
in opposition to the actual condition and wants of the people; a system
of idleness, in the immense population of the empire, would have been
followed by actual starvation, and a consequent serious diminution in
the number of inhabitants; for it is by the utmost exertion that they
are able to subsist. These serious objections to the foreign creed,
furnished its enemies with weapons by which to destroy it. It was
proscribed as a dangerous heresy, and a cruel persecution followed; but
it had taken too deep root to be easily eradicated. Among some of the
emperors too, it found abettors and disciples. Yet it never became a
religion of the state, nor were its priests ever able to exercise any
permanent influence over the populace. The Chinese are too rational
a people to believe, implicitly, all the Budhistic fables, nor can
they persuade themselves that the numerous images are gods. When we
add to this, their national apathy towards every thing connected with
religion, they being entirely engrossed with the things of this life,
we can easily account for their disesteem of Budhism. Nor can we wonder
that they worship at one time, the divinities they despise at another,
for ancient custom bids them follow in the track of their ancestors,
without inquiry or doubt, even when they cannot but ridicule its

The priests of Budha are a very despised class, and spring chiefly
from the lowest and most ignorant of the people. Their morals are
notoriously bad, and pinching poverty has made them cringing and
servile. They wander abroad in search of some trifling gift, and often
encounter a very harsh refusal.

Those temples which are well endowed by their founders, are crowded
with priests, so that only a few among the higher orders of them
can be rich. Stupidity, with a few exceptions, is their reigning
characteristic; neither skill nor learning is to be found among
them. Budha seems to have intimated that stupidity brings the votary
nearer to the blissful state of apathy, and therefore a knowledge
of his institutions is considered as the only requisite to form an
accomplished priest. The Budhists have no schools or seminaries, for
the instruction of their believers, seldom strive for literary honours,
and are even excluded from the list of candidates, so long as they
remain priests. Few among them are serious in the practice of their own
religion; they are in the most complete sense of the words, sullen and
misanthropic, and live a very secluded life. But religious abstraction
and deep contemplation, with utter oblivion of existence, appear to
be out of vogue. The halls of contemplation are the haunts of every
vice. Such effects must follow where the mind is unoccupied, and the
hands unemployed in any good work. The nuns are less numerous and more
industrious than the priests. It is a general observation that nearly
all the temples of Budha are in a dilapidated state; the contributions
of devotees not meeting the expenses of repairs. These erections are
very numerous; there is scarcely a small village that has not one, and
few romantic and beautiful spots can be found free from these seats of

The similarity of the rites of this superstition with those of papacy,
are striking: every one who visits the monasteries can at once discover
the resemblance. That they should count their prayers by means of a
rosary, and chant masses both for the living and the dead, live in a
state of celibacy and shave their hair, &c., might perhaps be accounted
for by a mere coincidence of errors into which men are prone to fall;
but their divine adoration of Teenhow, “the queen of heaven,” must be a
tenet engrafted upon Budhism from foreign traditions. We are unable to
fix the exact period at which this deity was adopted. There is a legend
of modern date among the people of Farh-keen, which tells us that she
was a virgin of that province, who, in a dream, saw her kindred in
danger of being wrecked, and boldly rescued them; but this affords no
satisfactory solution; neither is “the queen of heaven,” among the
deities which the Siamese Budhists worship, though they possess the
whole orthodox code of demons. It is probable that some degenerate
Nestorian Christians amalgamated with their faith and ceremonies, the
prevailing errors of China, and persuaded the priests of Budha to adopt
many of their rites.

Though the Siamese priesthood resembles the papal clergy, it does not
exhibit so striking a similarity as the Chinese. Moreover, the Budhists
of China have received all the sages which have been canonized by the
emperors or by public credulity. Mr. Gutzlaff says he saw, in one
instance, a marble bust of Napoleon, which they had placed in a temple,
and before which they burned incense; hence it would not be surprising
if they had also adopted among their gods so conspicuous an object
of worship as the “virgin,” who was adored by so many millions of
Christians. The present dynasty seems to have declared itself in favour
of the great Da-lai-lama of Thibet. As the Mongols on the northern
frontier are much devoted to the rites of Shamanism, and worship its
presiding deity, it was perhaps with a view to conciliate the good
will and keep in subjection these wild hordes, that the preference
was manifested. The religion of these barbarians being a modification
of Budhism, we might expect that the Chinese government would equally
extend its benevolence to the Budhist of China. Such does not appear
to be the fact; they are tolerated but receive no stated support from
the government; to some temples the emperors may extend his individual
charity, but this is not governmental patronage. If the high offices
of the state occasionally favour this sect, they never openly avow it;
such a disclosure would derogate from their fame and expose them to the
ridicule of their colleagues. In the midst of all these difficulties
a numerous priesthood do find subsistence. On certain festivals the
temples are crowded to excess, and the exclamation, “O-me-to-fuh” is
familiar to the ear of every one who visits them. I have thus given
a sketch of Budhism, a religion which strikes at the root of human
society, in enjoining celibacy as the nearest approach to perfection,
and in commanding its disciples to abandon relatives and friends,
without fulfilling their duties as citizens, parents and children.
We are bound to concede that this unnatural restraint is the source
of vice and crime; at the same time we must in justice admit that
Budhism does not sanction shocking rites, or Bacchanalian orgies, like
other idolatrous systems in Asia; nor have we to complain of that
indecency in its idol exhibitions, which is common to the religion
of the Hindoos; the wooden deities are hideous, but never repulsive
to the feelings of modesty. The temples are open to all, and serve
occasionally for theatres, gambling-houses and taverns. The Chinese
Budhists are a temporizing sect; their abstinence from animal food is
not very strict. They seldom defend their idols, or appear much annoyed
when they are treated with contempt;--their toleration arises from
indifference; all religions, with them, are equally safe, but theirs
is the best. They have no desire to proselyte, their numbers being
already too great, and are far from spiritualizing their idolatrous
systems. They talk of hungry demons and of the spiritual presence of
the idols in their statues, but this is all. To assert they adore one
Supreme Being in their idolatrous representations of his attributes, is
to state an opinion that never found a place in their thoughts, or in
their canonical works. They are without God in the world, and estranged
from the divine life, worshipping the works of their own hands, to the
disgrace of human reason.

[Sidenote: CEREMONIES.]

Having previously alluded to the superstitious rites performed by the
Chinese, at the tombs of their ancestors, parents and friends, I here
give a more detailed description of this idolatrous custom, together
with an account of the gluttonous and drunken feast, which is the
finale of what is misnamed a _religious_ observance. The description is
translated from an original Chinese composition:--

That this custom did not exist anterior to the age of Confucius is
inferred from the words of Mericius, who affirms that in the preceding
ages men did not even inter their deceased kindred but threw their
dead bodies into ditches, by the roadside. As they had no tombs there
could be no sacrifices performed at them. Confucius directed _tumuli_
to be raised, in order to mark the place of interment; this is the
first intimation of tombs, given among the Chinese. In raising these
_tumuli_ there was probably no other intention than that of erecting
a mark to the abodes of the dead. It is also known that children, in
that early age, would remain in temporary sheds, for years near the
grave of a parent, to “sorrow as those without hope.” But we proceed to
exhibit the _present_ state of these ceremonies as being all that is
of practical utility, in deciding the question at issue. The Chinese
visit the tombs, twice a year, in spring, and in autumn. The first
visit is called _tsing-ming_, “clear bright,” in reference to the fine
weather, which is then expected: the second is called _tsew-tse_, “the
autumnal sacrifice.” The rites performed during _tsing-ming_, are
those most generally attended by the Chinese. Their governors teach
that the prosperity of individuals and of families depends greatly
on the position, dryness, and good repair of their parents’ graves.
Therefore, “to sweep” and repair them, to mark their limits, and to see
that they are not encroached upon by others, are the objects of visits
to the tombs. When there are large clans, which have descended from
the same ancestors, living in the same neighbourhood, they repair in
great numbers, to the performance of the sacrificial rites. Rich and
poor, all assemble. Even beggars repair to the tombs, to kneel down and
worship. This usage is known by the phrases _saou-fun-moo_, “sweeping
the tombs,” and _paeshan_, “worshipping the _tumuli_.” To omit these
observances, is considered a great offence against moral propriety,
and a breach of filial duty. The common belief is that good fortune,
domestic prosperity, honours and riches, all depend on an impulse
given at the tombs of ancestors. Hence, the practice is universal; and
when the men are absent from their families, the women go to perform
the rites.

On some of these occasions, even where there are two or three thousand
members of a clan, some possessing great wealth, and others holding
high rank in the state, all, old and young, rich and poor, are summoned
to meet at the _tsoo-tsung tsze-tang_, “the ancestral hall.” Pigs
are slaughtered; sheep are slain; and all sorts of offerings and
sacrifices are provided in abundance. The processions from the hall
to the tombs, on these occasions, are formed in the most grand style,
which the official rank of the principal persons will admit--with
banners, tablets, gongs, &c., &c., &c. All present, old men and
boys, are dressed in the best robes which they can procure; and thus
escorting the victims for sacrifice, and carrying wine for oblations,
they proceed to the tombs of their ancestors, and arrange the whole
in order, preparatory to the grand ceremony. There is a _choo tse_,
“lord of the sacrifice,” appointed to officiate as priest, a master of
ceremonies, to give the word of command, and two stewards to aid in the
performance of the rites. There is also a reader to recite the prayer;
and a band of musicians, drummers, gong-beaters, &c.

After all things are in readiness, the whole party stands still till
the “master” gives the word. He first cries with a loud voice: “Let the
official persons take their places:” this is immediately done, and the
ceremonies proceed.

_Master._ “Strike up the softer music.” Here the smaller instruments
begin to play.

_Master._ “Kneel.” The priest then kneels in a central place, fronting
the grave, and behind him, arranged in order, the aged and the
honourable, the children and grandchildren, all kneel down.

_Master._ “Present the incense.” Here the stewards take three sticks of
incense, and present them to the priest. He rises, makes a bow towards
the grave, and then plants one of the sticks in an immense vase, in
front of the tombstone. The same form is repeated a second and a third

_Master._ “Rise up.” The priest and the party stand up.

_Master._ “Kneel.” Again the priest and all the people kneel down.

_Master._ “Knock head.” Here all bending forward, and leaning on their
hands, knock their foreheads against the ground.

_Master._ “Again knock head.” This is forthwith done.

_Master._ “Knock head a third time.” This is also done. Then he also
calls out: Rise up; kneel; knock head;--till the three kneelings, and
the nine knockings are completed. All this is done in the same manner
as the highest act of homage is paid to the emperor, or of worship, to
the supreme powers, heaven and earth. This being ended, the ceremonies

_Master._ “Fall prostrate.” This is done by touching the ground with
his knees, hands and forehead.

_Master._ “Read the prayer.” Here the reader approaches the front
of the tomb, holding in his hands a piece of white paper, on which
is written one of the sacrificial forms of prayer. These forms are
generally much the same; differing slightly according to the wish of
the composer. The form states the time; the name of the clan which
come to worship and offer sacrifice; beseeches the shades to descend
and enjoy the sacrifice, to grant protection and prosperity to their
descendants, that in all succeeding generations they may wear official
caps, may enjoy riches, and honours, and never become extinct, that by
the help of the souls in hades, the departed spirits, and the living
on earth may be happy, and illustrious throughout myriads of ages. The
prayer being finished, the master cries: “Offer up the gold and the
precious things.” Here one of the stewards presents gilt papers to the
priest, and he bowing towards the grave, lays them down before it.

_Master._ “Strike up the grand music.” Here gongs, drums, trumpets,
&c., are beaten and blown to make a noise as loud as possible.

_Master._ “Burn the gold and silver, and precious things.” Here all
the young men and children burn the gilt papers, fire off crackers,
rockets, &c.

Such is the sum of a grand sacrifice at the tombs of ancestors. But to
many, the best part of the ceremony is to come, which is the _feast_ of
the sacrifice. The roast pigs, rice, fowls, fish, fruits, and liquors,
are carried back to the ancestral hall; where according to age and
dignity, the whole party sit down to eat, drink and play. The grandees
discuss the condition of the hall, and other topics connected with the
honour of the clan; the young men carouse, and provoke each other to
“drink deep.” Some set out for home with a catty or two of the divine
flesh, which had been used in sacrifice; others stay till they wrangle
and fight, and night puts an end to the entertainment.

Those who live remote from the tombs, or who have no ancestral hall,
eat their sacrifice on the ground at the sepulchres. The poor imitate
their superiors, at an humble distance. Although they have no hall,
no procession or music, they provide three sorts of victims, a pig, a
goose, and a fish; some fruits, and a little distilled liquors--for
spirituous liquors are used on all these occasions. After presenting
these at the tomb, they kneel, knock head, and orally or mentally pray
for the aid of their ancestors’ souls to make the existing and all
future generations of descendants, rich and prosperous.

In these rites there is some difference in the wording of the prayer,
according as it is presented to remote ancestors or to lately deceased
parents or friends; but the general import is the same.


Further to illustrate the modes “in which the Chinese worship Confucius
and the deceased,” we subjoin the following extracts, from the
_Indo-Chinese Gleaner_:--

From the Shing-meaou-che, volume first, page second, it appears that
there are, in China, more than _one thousand, five hundred and sixty_
temples dedicated to Confucius. At the spring and autumnal sacrifices
offered to him, it is calculated in the above-named work, that
there are immolated (on the two occasions) annually, six bullocks,
twenty-seven thousand pigs, five thousand eight hundred sheep, two
thousand eight hundred deer, and twenty-seven thousand rabbits.

Thus, there are annually sacrificed to Confucius, in China, _sixty-two
thousand, six hundred and six victims_; it is added, there are offered
at the same time, _twenty-seven thousand, six hundred_ pieces of silk.
What becomes of these does not appear.

[Sidenote: CHINESE WOMEN.]

It has justly been remarked that a nation’s civilization may
be estimated by the rank which females hold in society. If the
civilization of China be judged of by this test, she is far from
occupying that first place which she so strongly claims. Females have
always been regarded with contempt by the Chinese. Their ancient sages
seem to have considered them scarcely worthy of their attention. The
sum of the duties they require of them is, to submit to the will
of their masters. The lady, say they, who is to be betrothed to a
husband, ought to follow blindly the wishes of her parents, yielding
implicit obedience to their will. From the moment when she is joined in
wedlock, she ceases to exist; her whole being is absorbed in that of
her lord; she ought to know nothing but his will, and to deny herself
in order to please him. _Pan-hwny-pan_, who is much admired as an
historian, composed a book of instructions for her own sex, in which
she treats of their proper station in society, the deportment they
should exhibit, and the duties they ought to perform. She teaches them
that they “hold the lowest rank among mankind, and that employments
the least honourable, ought to be, and in fact are, their lot.” She
inculcates entire submission to their husbands, and tells them in very
plain terms that they ought to become abject slaves, in order to become
good wives. We cannot expect that these doctrines, inculcated as they
are, by a _lady_, who ought to advocate the cause of her sex, and by
one held in so high repute as is _Pan-hwny-pan_, will be overlooked by
the “lords of creation;” especially as they accord so perfectly with
their domineering disposition, in China.

Confucius, the prince of letters, _divorced his wife without assigning
any cause for so doing_; and his followers have invariably adopted
similar arbitrary measures in their treatment of females. The price
which is paid to the parents of the bride, constitutes her at once a
saleable commodity, and causes her to be regarded as differing little
from a mere slave. In the choice of a partner for life, she is entirely
passive, is carried to the house of the bridegroom, and there disposed
of, for life, by her parents.

The birth of a female is a matter of grief in China. The father and
mother, who had already hoped in the unborn babe to embrace a son,
feel disappointed at the sight of a daughter. Many vows and offerings
are made before their idols in order to propitiate their favour, and
secure the birth of a son. The mercy of the compassionate Kuan-yin,
especially, is implored to obtain this precious gift; but after they
have spent large sums of money in this pious work, the inexorable
goddess fills the house with mourning at the birth of a daughter.
“Anciently,” says _Pan-hwny-pan_, “the female infant was thrown upon
some old rags, by the side of its mother’s bed, and for three days
was scarcely spoken or thought of. At the end of that time it was
carried to a temple by a father, accompanied by attendants with bricks
and tiles in their hands. The bricks and tiles,” says Pan-hwny-pan,
in her comment on these facts, “signify the contempt and suffering
which are to be her companions and her portion--bricks are of no use
except to form enclosures and to be _trodden under foot_; tiles are
useless except when they are exposed to the injuries of the air.” The
_Sheking_, one of the venerated books, says,

    “----When a daughter is born,
    She sleeps on the ground,
    She is clothed with a wrapper:
    She plays with a tile:
    She is incapable either of evil or good.”

This last assertion is thus explained; “if she does ill she is not a
woman--and if she does well she is not a woman; a slavish submission
is her duty and her highest praise.” At the present day, as well as
anciently, the female infant is not unfrequently an object of disgust
to its parents, and of contempt to all the inmates of the family.
As she grows up, her feet are so confined and cramped that they can
never exceed the size of infancy. This process entirely incapacitates
her from walking with ease or safety. Small feet, that badge of
bondage which deprives the Chinese females of the power of locomotion,
confines them to the inner apartments, except when poverty forces
them to earn their livelihood abroad by labour, which is rendered
exceedingly difficult and painful if accompanied by walking. Females
of the higher class seldom leave the house, except in sedan-chairs.
Their lives are but an honourable captivity. They have few or no real
enjoyments--are exceedingly ignorant--very few of them being able to
read. They live and die little more than ciphers in human society.
Pale and emaciated, they spend the greatest part of their lives in
embellishing their persons; while females of the poorer classes, whose
feet are necessarily permitted to grow to the size which the God of
nature designed, perform all the drudgery of husbandry and other kinds
of work. These last are in general very industrious, and prove to be
helpmates to their husbands. Being remarkable for their good, sound
understanding, they manage their families with a care and prudence,
and so far as industry and economy are concerned, they are exemplary
mothers. Nothwithstanding the degradation in which they are held, they
are generally far superior in intellect to the common cast of Asiatic
women--are very ingenious in their needlework, &c. To be a good
mother, in the estimation of this class of the Chinese, a woman must be
a weaver. It is to be regretted, that they have very little regard for
the cleanliness either of their persons or houses; their children crawl
in the dirt, and the few articles of furniture in their dwellings are
covered with filth.

Infanticide of females is not unknown among the Chinese. They are far
from regarding this crime with the horror it deserves. “It is only a
female,” is the answer generally given when they are reproved for it.

The account of the _Charitable Institutions_ of Canton is brief. They
are few in number, of small extent, and of recent origin:--

First: Yuh-ying-tang, or the “foundling hospital.” This institution
was founded in 1698, and it was rebuilt and considerably enlarged
in 1732. It stands without the walls of the city, on the east--has
accommodations for two or three hundred children, and is maintained at
an annual expense of two thousand, five hundred and twenty-two taels.

Second: Yang-tse-yuen.--This is a retreat for poor, aged and infirm, or
blind people, who have no friends to support them. It stands near the
foundling hospital, and like it, enjoys imperial patronage, receiving
annually, five thousand, one hundred taels. Both this sum, and that for
yuh-ying-tang, are received in part, or wholly, from duties, paid by
those _foreign_ ships which bring rice to Canton. Every such ship must
pay the sum of six hundred and twenty taels, which, by imperial order,
is appropriated to these two hospitals. The number of “rice-ships,”
last year, was twenty-eight, yielding the sum of seventeen thousand,
three hundred and sixty taels. The English, American, Dutch, Spanish,
and Portuguese, are the only foreign vessels that bring rice to Canton.

Third: Ma-fung-yuen, or the “hospital for lepers.” This is also on the
east side of the city; the number of patients in it, is three hundred
and forty-one, who are supported at an expense of three hundred taels
per annum! The condition of the three hospitals, if such they may be
called, is wretched in the extreme. The foundlings are often those
children which have been exposed; and who, when grown up, are often
sold, and not unfrequently, for the worst of purposes. Such is a
specimen of the benevolent institutions of the celestial empire!


The government, in times of calamity and scarcity, grant small
gratuities to the distressed, but the amount is so trifling, the
difficulty of obtaining it so great, that it is not worth the time lost
in seeking for it. During the month of August, 1833, owing to heavy
gales, accompanied with much rain, the rivers overflowed their banks,
and these united calamities destroyed a vast number of the humble
dwellings of the poor. The government, knowing the great distress of
many thousands, sent surveyors to take a list of the sufferers. About
_five_ months afterward, the two magistrates who divide the city of
Canton between them, gave public notice, that the sums subscribed by
the _public_ for their relief, would be paid out in the following
proportions, viz.: “To the poor, who were unable to rebuild their
houses--two mace, five candareens,” (about forty cents,) and if they
were _altogether destitute_, two months’ food in addition, viz., for
every “big mouth,” two mace and seven candareens: to every “little
mouth,” (child’s,) one half of that sum. The aged and feeble who are
unable to reach the distributing officer without several days’ hard
struggle, are frequently obliged to give up the scanty pittance, and
depend upon the cold charities of the world, or otherwise find their
grave on the roadside in a loathsome ditch.




The name of Canton on Chinese maps, is written Kwang-tung-sang-ching,
that is, the capital of the province of Kwang-tung, but when speaking
of the city, the natives call it san-ching, the “provincial city,”
or the “capital of the province.” It is built on the north bank of
Choo-keang or Pearl river, stands inland and is in a direct line, about
sixty miles from “the great sea.” The scenery around the city, in the
adjacent country, is rich and diversified, but deficient in boldness or

On the north and northeast of the city, the country is hilly and
mountainous. In every other direction a wide prospect opens to the view
of the beholder. The rivers and canals, which are very numerous, abound
with fish, and are covered with a great variety of boats, which are
continually passing to and from the neighbouring towns and villages.
Southward from the city, as far as the eye can see, the waters
cover a considerable portion, perhaps a third of the whole surface.
Rice-fields, and gardens, occupy the lowlands, which are diversified
with a few hills, rising here and there, to relieve the otherwise
unbroken aspect. The extent of the city, including all within and
without the walls, is not very great; though very populous, it derives
its chief importance from its extensive domestic and foreign trade.
Canton is one of the oldest cities in this part of the empire; since
the foundations were first laid, it has undergone numerous changes.

It is not easy, perhaps impossible, to determine its original site and
name, or to ascertain the time in which it was first built. Although
either of the questions is unimportant to the reader, a brief account
of what the Chinese themselves narrate, respecting one of their
largest and most populous cities, may interest him. Their classics
speak of Canton being in existence four thousand years since; that it
was then called Nan-keaon, and Ming-too, “the splendid capital.” It
first began to pay tribute to the emperors of China in the year B. C.
1123. The historians of the empire are only able to trace the origin
of Canton to the last emperors of the Chow dynasty, two thousand years
since; it was then surrounded by a stockade, composed of bamboo and
mud. We find it was but little visited by foreign vessels till the
year one thousand before Christ, when they held intercourse with eight
“barbarous” nations, from Teeu-chuh (India.)

In the time of the western or Han dynasty, two hundred years previously
to the Christian era, persons came from Canton, Loo-whang-che and
other nations in the south. The nearest nation was about ten days’
_journey_ and the most remote, five months’; their territories were
large and populous and they possessed rare commodities. In the year
one hundred and seventy-six of Christ, vessels from India and Egypt,
or Arabia, “came with tribute;” from this time trade was carried on
with foreigners, at Canton. In the year seven hundred, an imperial
commissioner was first appointed to receive “fixed duties;” ninety-five
years subsequently, all foreign vessels (owing to gross extortion)
resorted to Cochin-China. After the fall of the Tang dynasty, A.
D. 906, five dynasties arose, reigned and fell, within a period of
fifty-three years. A tribute in gold, silver, ivory and other valuable
commodities, was sent to the successor of Tang, to the amount of five
millions of taels. In consequence of this acknowledgment, the emperor
created Lewyen, “King of Canton” or “King of the Southern sea.” At
this period, the court of Canton was cruel in the extreme--criminals
were flayed, boiled and roasted, thrown on spikes, and forced to
fight with tigers and elephants. The city was freed from the monster,
(Lewyen,) by the founder of the Shang dynasty, in the year of the
Christian era, nine hundred and sixty-four; it subsequently became more
prosperous and beautiful; witches and wizards were prohibited; sorcery
was interdicted; the temples which had been built for the practice
of superstitious rites, were thrown down; the people were forbidden
to offer the sacrifice of human life, to demons; they were enjoined
to relieve the sufferers from noxious diseases which are prevalent;
dispensaries of medicine were established; useless and extravagant
articles of apparel were discountenanced, and pearls and ornaments for
head-dresses were disallowed. In the year one thousand and sixty seven,
a wall, about two English miles in circumference, enclosed the city
to protect it against the Cochin-Chinese. In the year twelve hundred,
“_foreigners resident_” received metals, silks, &c., and in return,
they gave rhinoceros’s horns, elephant’s teeth, coral, pearls, gems,
crystals, foreign cloth, pepper, red-wood, and drugs. In the year
fourteen hundred, one hundred and twenty houses were built for the
accommodation of foreigners.--In sixteen hundred and forty seven, the
present Tartar family came into power; Canton was summoned to submit
to its new master; on refusing, its walls were beaten down with great
cannon, and on the twenty-fourth of November, sixteen hundred and
fifty, it was taken:--for six days the inhabitants “were given to the
sword,” the city was plundered--and upward of seven hundred thousand
persons were slain, during the siege, and six days’ slaughter: “every
house was left desolate!” only one house remains standing which was
built before the sacking of the old city. That part of the city which
is walled in is nearly square, and divided by a partition-wall, running
from east to west; the northern, much the largest part, is called the
“old city;” the southern portion, more recently built, the “new city.”

The circuit of the wall does not exceed six miles: its southern part,
running east and west, is parallel with the river, from which it is
removed about fifteen or twenty rods: on this side are the “_Foreign
Factories_;” on the north, the city rests on the brow of the hill, and
is at its highest point about two hundred and fifty feet above the
surface of the river. The foundation and lower part of the wall, the
arches and the gates, are formed of coarse sandstone; its remaining
portion is built with soft brick. The walls are from twenty-five to
forty feet high, and from twenty to twenty-five feet thick; the north
side being the most substantial; on the east side the elements have
made great havoc: a line of battlements with embrasures surmounts
the walls, in the rear of which is a broad pathway. Two short walls,
designed to block up the narrow space between the main wall and the
ditches of the city, extend from its southeast and southwest corners;
through each of these there is a gate.

The city has sixteen gates, of which twelve are outer, and four open
through the wall which separates the old from the new city; they are
all guarded by soldiers, closed at an early hour in the evening, and
opened at dawn of day. The streets and buildings in the suburbs are
similar to those in the city, the houses of which occupy the whole
space between the _wall and the river_ on its southern side; on its
eastern quarter they are much less extensive; and in its northern
division there are only a few solitary huts. The houses on the south
are generally built against the wall which they overlook.

The suburbs are scarcely less extensive and populous than the city,
in which there are upward of six hundred streets, flagged with large
stones, chiefly of granite; they vary in width from two to sixteen
feet, the medium and most usual breadth being from six to eight.

These narrow streets are usually thronged by a numerous motley group;
through many of them, the pedestrian in the rear is liable to tread
on the heels of the leader; the stout, half-naked, vociferating
porters, carrying every description of merchandise, and the nimble
sedan-bearers, make up, in noise and bustle, for the deficiency of
carts and carriages: these, together with the numerous travellers,
various kinds of retailers, pedlars, and beggars, present before the
spectator a scene of great animation and endless variety. Many of the
visiters and much of the merchandise are conveyed into the city by
means of canals or ditches, of which there are several; one of the
largest extends along the whole length of the wall on the east, and
another on the west side of the city, so that boats can pass through
and out by either canal. The eastern, western, and southern suburbs of
the city are also furnished with large canals, into which a number of
smaller tributaries flow: the Chinese term these ditches “the veins of
the city.” Reservoirs are found here, but none of them are extensive:
much of the water is supplied from the river and canals; wells are not
unfrequent, and rainwater is used for making tea, &c.; fine wholesome
water is also furnished from numerous springs, which rise in the north
of the city, both within and without the walls. Several bridges (some
of which are of stone) are thrown over the canals.

The Chinese of the present day have seldom ventured or desired to step
beyond the limits which circumscribed the efforts of their remote
ancestors; they have been equally slow and unwilling to adopt or
imitate the usages and improvements of distant foreigners, and glory
in this, their prominent characteristic: hence without much claim to
originality, they are exceedingly unlike the nations of the West.

[Sidenote: PLACE OF HONOR.]

In giving a description of this people, or any thing which appertains
to them, we must not therefore form our estimate by the criterion of
European taste or usage. With the Chinese the left, as the place of
honour, takes precedence of the right; white is the badge of mourning.
From the peculiar construction of their compass, called Chenan, chay,
“a chariot pointing towards the south,” they do not number the cardinal
points in our order, but almost always mention the south before the
north; the west before the east; instead of saying north, they say,
west-north; west-south, &c. Without attempting to account for this
contrariety, it is obvious that the fact itself should be kept in mind,
while surveying the various works, occupations, institutions and habits
of the Chinese.

It is generally supposed that the remote ancestors of this people, in
the migration eastward, dwelt in _tents_; their circumstances would
require such habitations; when they became stationary, their wants
would prompt them to seek a more substantial covering; but their
houses, pagodas, and temples, of the present day, bear evident proofs
that this early covering from the heat and storm, was the only model
which presented itself for imitation, in the erection of more secure
and permanent habitations. The roof, concave on its upper side; and the
veranda, with its slender columns, show most distinctly the original
features of the tent; the whole fabric of the ordinary buildings is
light and slender, retaining the outlines of its primeval simplicity.
They therefore, will seek in vain, who expect to find here stately
edifices, built after the Grecian or the Gothic model.

Barrow, after having visited the imperial palaces, and travelled from
north to south, through the whole breadth of the empire, affirms, that
all the buildings of the Chinese are without elegance or convenience
of design, without any settled proportion; mean in their appearance,
and clumsy in their workmanship. Macartney was much better pleased
with their architecture; though it is totally unlike any other, and
irreconcilable to our rules, yet, in perfect consistence with its own,
it frequently produces a most pleasing effect.

The buildings of Canton present as great a variety in structure and
style as can be found in the whole empire.

A large part of the city and suburbs, is built on low ground or flats.
Special care is therefore required to secure a solid basis, for houses
and temples.

Near the river, and in all the most loose and muddy situations, houses
are raised on wooden piles, which make the foundation as secure as
brick or stone, perhaps, even more so. In some cases the piles rise
above the surface of the ground, the buildings constructed of wood,
resting directly upon them: in other instances, the piles reach only
within a few feet of the surface, and the remaining part of the
foundation is made of mud, brick, or stone; when this is finished, the
walls are usually carried up and completed with the same material. Many
of the houses are nearly baseless, or have only a slender foundation
composed of mud, of which also the walls are composed; hence, in
severe rain, storms, and overflowings of the river, of which some have
recently taken place, many of the walls are thrown down.

Bricks are in most general use for the walls of houses; three fifths of
those in the whole city are composed of them; the remaining part being
mostly constructed of mud; most of the Tartars in the old city are said
to inhabit dwellings of the latter kind.

Stone and wood are rarely employed in erecting the walls of houses:
the first is frequently employed in making gate-ways and door-posts,
and the second for columns, beams, and rafters. Many of the floors in
houses and temples are formed of indurated mud; marble flags and tiles
are likewise used for roofs; they are laid in rows on the rafters,
alternately concave and convex, forming ridges and furrows, luted by a
cement of clay.

Windows are small and rarely supplied with glass; paper, mica, shell,
or some other translucent substance, supplies its place; very little
iron is employed in building.

The materials above named, for buildings, are procured here at moderate
prices and in great abundance. Wood, usually a species of the fir, is
floated down the rivers, and brought to the city in large rafts. Bricks
are made in the neighbourhood of Canton, brought hither in boats, and
sold at various prices, from three to eight shillings a thousand.
These bricks are of a leaden blue or of a pale brown colour; a few
being red; the variation of teint is produced by the different modes
of drying and burning them; the red bricks are those most thoroughly
burned; the leaden blue have received only a partial action of the
fire, the pale brown, the sun’s action alone.

Excellent stone for building is found in the hilly country on the north
of the province, and also in several of the islands, south of the city.
Granite and sandstone are those principally found and in great variety.

Such is the general style and usual material of the buildings in
Canton. In passing through the city, the spectator is struck with the
great contrast between them, though this diversity does by no means
fully exhibit the relative condition and circumstances of the people: a
few only are rich, and the external appearance of their houses does not
exceed, in elegance, the dwellings of the middle class; many are very
poor--and the aspect of their abodes affords abundant evidence of their
abject state.

[Sidenote: STATE OF THE POOR.]

The poorest people are to be found in the extreme parts of the suburbs,
along the banks of the canals, and in the northern part of the old
city; their houses are mere mud-hovels; low, narrow, dark, unclean,
and without any division of apartments. A whole family, consisting of
six, eight, ten, and sometimes twice the number, is crowded into one
of these dreary abodes; yet we meet with individuals, enjoying health
and long life under these circumstances. To pass through the streets or
lanes of such a neighbourhood, is sufficient to reconcile a person to
any ordinary condition of life.

Neither intelligence or industry could ever be confined in such
miserable cells. In habitations, a little more spacious and cleanly
than these, perhaps one third part of the people in Canton have their
abodes: these stand close on the street, and have usually but a single
entrance, which is closed by a bamboo screen, suspended from the top
of the door; within these houses, there are no superfluous apartments:
a single room is allotted to each branch of the family, while a third,
which completes the number within the whole enclosure, is used by all
the household as a common eating-room.

[Sidenote: HOUSES.]

Chinese houses usually open towards the south; but in these, as also in
the poorer kind, this favourite position is disregarded. Dwellings of
this description, are rented at four or five dollars a month. Another
class of houses, inhabited by a more wealthy but less numerous part of
the community, are the residences of those in easy circumstances, who
enjoy plenty without any of the accompaniments of luxury; these houses
together with the plot of ground on which they stand are surrounded by
a wall, twelve or fourteen feet high, that rises and fronts the street,
so as completely to conceal all the buildings from the traveller, as he
passes by.

The prospect, in passing along the narrow streets which are lined with
these houses, is very cheerless. If allowed to enter some of these
dwellings more pleasing scenes will be presented. A stranger enters the
outer enclosure through a large folding door into an open court, thence
he is conducted by a servant to the visiters’ hall; which is usually a
small apartment, furnished with chairs, sofas, tea-stands, &c.; here
the host presents himself to introduce his guest to the younger members
of the family.

These halls are open on one side, the others being ornamented with
carved work, or hung with various scrolls presenting in large and
elegant characters, the moral maxims of their sages: or perhaps,
exhibiting rude landscapes, or paintings of birds and flowers. The
remaining portion of the enclosure is occupied with the domestic
apartments; a garden and, perhaps, a small school-room.

The houses occupied by a few of the most opulent in Canton are by
no means inferior to the imperial palaces, excepting it be in the
space which they fill. The family residences of some among those
merchants, who are licensed by government to trade with foreigners,
furnish good specimens of this description of buildings. The seat of
the late Consequa, now half in ruins, was once superb; that of the
present senior hong-merchant, is on a scale of great magnificence; it
is a villa or rather palace, divided into suites of apartments, which
are highly and tastefully decorated. The dwellings occupied by the
government offices, and the numerous temples of the city, need not
be particularized in this place; suffice it to remark, that they are
usually more spacious than private houses, and that, at present, most
of them are in a very ordinary condition; very few of the houses or
temples in Canton, have more than one story, the halls of which are of
the whole height of the fabric, without any concealment of the beams or
rafters of the house. Terraces are often built above the roofs, and
when surrounded by a breastwork, afford in the cool of the day, a very
pleasant and secure retreat, to which the inmates can ascend, in order
to breathe a pure air, enjoy a wider prospect, or to witness any event
that transpires in the neighbourhood. These terraces are not perhaps
unlike the _flat-roofs_ of other orientals. In some other points there
is also a coincidence between the houses of the Chinese, and those
which are noticed in the sacred writings.

Professor Jahn in his Biblical Archaeology, when referring to the
buildings described in the Scriptures, says: “The gates not only of
houses, but of cities, were customarily adorned with an inscription
which was to be extracted from the law of Moses; a practice in which
may be found the origin of the _modern_ Mezuzaw or piece of parchment
inscribed with sacred texts, and fastened to the door-posts. The gates
were always shut, and one of the servants acted the part of a porter:
the space immediately inside of the gate, called the porch, is square,
and on one side of it is erected a seat for the accommodation of
those strangers who are not to be admitted into the interior of the
house. From the porch we are introduced through a second door into
the court, which is commonly paved with marble, and surrounded on all
sides. Sometimes however only one side is enclosed, with a peristyle or
covered walk, over which, if the house has more than one story, there
is a gallery of the same dimensions, supported by columns and protected
by a balustrade.

In the church, large companies are received at nuptials and feasts: on
such occasions, a large veil of thick cloth is extended by ropes over
the whole court, to exclude the sun’s heat. The back part of the house,
called in Arabic, the harem, and in Hebrew, by way of eminence, _the
palace_, is allotted to the females. Behind the “harem,” is a garden
into which the women can enjoy the pleasure of looking from their
apartments. In the smaller houses the females occupy the upper story;
the place assigned them also, by Homer in the “Iliad” and “Odyssey.”

In the buildings of the Chinese, the various inscriptions are seen
on the door-posts: the porter at the outer gate; the porch and court
within; the peristyle with its columns and perhaps a gallery above;
the palace, Kin-tee or “forbidden ground,” with its garden, bears a
striking resemblance to those of the above description. The inner
apartments of the emperor are in like manner, by way of eminence,
called _Kung-teen_, or the “palace.”


The government of Canton now claims our notice. Here, as in every other
place throughout the dominions of the Mantchow Chinese, all power
emanates from one man, honoured as the vicegerent of “High heaven;”
hence the present line of monarchs have not been satisfied with the
dignity of sovereigns but have laid claim to the character of sages.

The sovereign of men, say they, “is heaven’s son; nobles and statesmen
are the sovereign’s children; the people are the children of nobles
and statesmen. The sovereign should serve heaven as a father, never
forgetting to cherish reverential thoughts, but exciting himself to
illustrate his virtues, and looking up to receive from heaven, the
vast patrimony which it confers; thus the emperors will daily increase
in felicity and glory. Nobles and ministers of state should serve
their sovereign as a father, never forgetting to cherish reverential
thoughts, not harbouring covetous and sordid desires, nor engaging in
wicked and clandestine thoughts, but faithfully and justly exerting
themselves; thus their noble rank will be preserved. The people should
never forget to cherish reverential thoughts towards the nobles and
ministers of state, to obey and keep the laws; to excite no secret or
open rebellion; then no great calamity will befall their persons.”

In accordance with these views, a spacious hall called _Wan-show-kung_
is dedicated to the emperor, in every province of the empire, the walls
and appertenances of which are _yellow_, which is the imperial colour.
In Canton the _Wan-show-kung_ stands near the southeast corner of the
new city, within the walls. It is used solely for the honour of the
emperor and his family, and, annually, three days prior and subsequent
to the imperial birth days, all the civil and military officers of
the government, together with the principal inhabitants of the city,
assemble in it, and there pay him adoration.

The same solemnities are required on these occasions as if the monarch
were present; no seats are allowed in the sacred place; every one
who repairs there, takes with him a cushion upon which he sits,
cross-legged, on the ground. So much is done for _absent_ majesty.

Among the principal officers, who exercise authority in the
city of Canton is first, Tsung-tuh: this officer is styled
Leang-kwang-tsung-tuh, or the governor of the province of Kwang-tung
and Kwang-se. He is clothed with high authority, and in many cases
independent of all the other officers within the limits of his
jurisdiction; usually, however, he acts in concert and confers with
them who like himself, have been sent hither from the capital. He has
no power to originate or carry into execution any law or regulation,
without the sanction of the emperor, and is required to act according
to precedents and existing statutes. In certain cases pointed out by
law, he can, with the concurrence of foo-yuen, inflict immediate death.

New regulations are frequently proposed to the emperor by the governor
and his council; when these have received the imperial sanction,
(which they generally do,) they have the force of law. The governor is
ex-officio, an honorary president of the supreme tribunal at Peking,
and occasionally, a member of the imperial cabinet. His commands are
most peremptory, and his authority can never be slighted or resisted
with impunity. The responsibilities of his office are great: he is
accountable to the emperor for the good management of all affairs in
the two provinces; the prosperity of the people and the fruitfulness
of the seasons are also items in the vast account which he must render
to his sovereign: he is required to make a faithful report of every
calamity which may come within the pale of his jurisdiction, whether
occasioned by fire, pestilence, earthquake, or famine, to the emperor
and the supreme tribunal, under penalty of being dismissed from office.
Any real or supposed deficiency in his capacity, subjects him to the
most severe punishment. The late governor of the province, Le, may be
adduced to prove this fact, who, during the last year for the “untoward
affair” of Leen-chow, was deprived of all rank and honours, chained,
imprisoned, condemned, and sent into banishment.

In case of fire breaking out in the provincial city, and consuming more
than ten houses, the governor is fined nine months’ pay; if more than
thirty houses are consumed, he forfeits one year’s salary, if three
hundred are destroyed, he is degraded one degree.

Fires occurring in the suburbs, do not subject him to the same
punishments. All the principal officers and a few of the most
respectable private citizens, frequently wait on his excellency. These
“calls” are visits of business or ceremony, according to circumstances,
and more or less frequent, as the disposition of the parties may
direct. On certain occasions, such as the arrival of a new governor,
all the civil and military officers of both provinces, are required to
send to him “an accurate and conspicuous account of themselves, their
term of service, and the condition of their respective districts.”
“But whoever,” said one of the late governors, “of the superior or
inferior officers, or the salt or hong merchants, or any other persons,
shall represent himself to be intimate with me and in my confidence,
or if persons shall write to each other to that effect, or shall
suffer themselves to be thus deceived; he or they shall be arrested
and brought to trial; and those who conceal such reports shall be
considered as equally guilty with those who give rise to them.”

All ultimate appeals in the two provinces, are made to the governor.
At the gate of his palace are placed six tablets, in which are written
appropriate inscriptions for those who wish to appeal to his authority;
the _first_ is for those who have been wronged by covetous, corrupt, or
sordid officers: the _second_, for those who have suffered by thieves
or robbers; the _third_ for such as have been falsely accused; the
_fourth_, for those who have been injured by swindlers and gamesters;
the _fifth_, for such as have suffered by wicked persons of any
description, and the _sixth_ is for those who wish to give information
concerning any secret schemes or machinations.

On the _third_ and _eighth_, the _thirteenth_ and _eighteenth_, the
_twenty-third_ and _twenty-eighth_ days of each month, the people are
allowed to take these tablets in their hands, and to enter one of the
outer apartments of the palace, where they may, in person, present
their complaints to his excellency. This mode of proceeding is however
seldom adopted: to send or carry up a petition to his gate, is the most
common method of seeking redress from the hands of the governors. When
all these means fail, an appeal may be made to Peking.

The mode of appeal by entering the gate of the magistrate, is allowed
also at the offices of foo-yuen, and an-cha-sze.

The governor’s house stands in the new city, near the yew-lan gate; it
is spacious and belongs to the government. The salary of this officer
is fifteen thousand taels, annually. It is generally believed that
his extra emoluments during the same period, amount to more than
twelve times that sum; although presents of every kind, to officers of
government, are disallowed.

Loo-kwan, the present governor, is an aged man, and a native of one of
the northern provinces. He seems to belong to that class of persons
who are fond of ease and pleasure, very ambitious--but desirous that
all under their authority should know their places and perform their
respective duties. He has a large number of persons employed about him,
as advisers, secretaries, servants, &c. A small number of troops, who
serve as a body-guard, are also attached to him, and at the same time,
constitute a part of the city-police.

Foo-yuen, the second officer, who is also called seun-foo, is usually
styled, by foreigners, “lieutenant-governor.” His jurisdiction is
confined to this province, in which he is second in authority. The
title of _Choo_, the present foo-yuen, as it appears in the government
papers, runs thus: “An attendant officer of the military board; a
member of the court of universal examiners; an imperial censor;
patrolling soother of Canton; a guide of military affairs and a
controller of taxes.”


Division of power, when it is to be intrusted to those who have been
selected from the people, is the policy of the Mantchow family. The
foo-yuen, though second to the governor, is not under his control; and
in certain cases, acts independently of him.

They often confer together, and in matters in which they cannot agree,
refer for a decision to Peking. The foo-yuen holds the _wang-ming_,
“king’s order,” or death warrant, by virtue of which criminals, in
cases of great emergency, can be put to the sword without a reference
to the emperor. His residence is in the old city, in a palace built
in the reign of Shwn-che, by one of the Tartar generals, who was sent
hither to “pacify” the rebellious subjects of the South. Choo is a
native of Keeang-soo and a thorough-bred son of Han--stern, resolute,
and even obstinate--rather careless about emolument, a comtemner of
bribes--a terror to bandits, a hater of “divine vagabonds”--respected
by few, and feared by all. In his person, he is tall and well formed;
his looks show that he has “gone hither and thither,” discharging the
functions of public life, without toil and anxiety. His origin is very
humble and he has grown old in the service of his country. He has one
son who is a source of grief to his parent; like the governor, he has
a small body of soldiers under his command, but the number of persons
kept in his immediate employ, is small. In his habits of living--we
have his own word for it--the patrolling soother of Canton is both
simple and an example to the people.

Tseang-keun, the third officer, usually denominated the Tartar general,
is commander of the Tartar troops in Canton, and is answerable for
the defence of the city. In most cases he acts independently of the
tsung-tuh and foo-yuen. The soldiers under his immediate command,
except a small detachment stationed on the river, are quartered in the
old city, where the general keeps his court and camp. He is always,
we believe, a mantchow and not unfrequently a member of the imperial

Subordinate to the tseang-keun, there are two foo-too-tungs or
lieutenant-generals, and a great number of inferior officers, who rank
as majors, captains, lieutenants, &c. His house, which was built by
Tsing-nan-wang, is said to exhibit some of the finest specimens of
architecture that can be found in the provincial city.

Hae-kwan-keen-tuh, the fourth officer, is known to foreigners and
often addressed by them as, “the grand hoppo of the port of Canton.”
He is generally a member of the imperial household, and receives
his appointment direct from the emperor. His jurisdiction (he being
commissioner of customs) is limited to the maritime commerce of Canton.
We shall have occasion, subsequently, to speak of this department, when
the commerce of the city is referred to.

Heo-yuen, the fifth officer, holds the highest literary appointment
in the province; he is usually spoken of, as “the literary chancellor
of Canton.” His office is one of great influence and respectability,
inasmuch as literary rank, of which he is judge and dispenser, is
necessary for preferment to all civil offices in the state. He has
a general supervision of all public schools, colleges, and literary
examinations, within the province. On some occasions his authority
extends to the military department.

The sixth officer, Poo-ching-sze, is the controller of the revenue
of the province; under the foo-yuen, he directs the appointment and
removal of all the subordinate officers of the local government. The
principal officers under him, are the king-leih or secretary, and a
koo-ta-sze or keeper of the treasury.

Gan-cha-sze or an-cha-sze, the seventh officer, is criminal judge of
the province; all the criminal cases which occur within its limits,
are brought before him for trial. Sometimes he sits in judgment alone;
but in cases involving the life of the accused, he is usually assisted
by other chief officers of the province. A degree of civil power, at
times, appertains to him in conjunction with the poo-ching-sze. The
government posts are under his control;--among other officers attached
to this department, there is a sze-yo who has the general management of
the provincial prisoners; his rank and his duties are similar to those
of the keeper of a state-prison.

Yen-yun-sze, the eighth officer, has the superintendence of the state
department: there are, under him, a yun-tung who attends to the
transportation of salt from one place to another, and several other
minor officers.

The salt-trade is a government monopoly, the duties upon which form an
important branch of the imperial revenue. This trade is limited to a
small number of licensed merchants, who are generally very rich, and
are often called upon to make liberal grants towards the support of the
provincial government.

The ninth officer, Tuh-leang-taou, has the control of all the public
granaries in the province; their superintendents are subject to his
direction and inspection. Canton and the suburbs contain fourteen
public granaries; these are required to be kept filled in order to
furnish supplies for the people, in times of scarcity.

Kwang-chow-foo-chee-foo, or a magistrate of the department of
Kwang-chow-foo, is the tenth officer in Canton; his title is often
abridged, sometimes to Kwang-chow, at others, to Che-foo: Kwang-chow
is simply the name of the foo. Chee-foo means, literally, “known of
the department (or foo),” and denotes that it is the office or duty of
this magistrate to be fully acquainted with the portion of territory
over which he is placed. Either term is sufficient to denote, pretty
nearly, what is the authority of an officer placed at the head of all
the affairs of such a division of the province. There are numerous
civil officers placed in various parts of the department, all of whom
are under his immediate inspection. He has also under his authority
a sze-yo, whose duties, as superintendent of the prisoners of the
department, are similar to those of chief jailer in a county-prison.

The eleventh principal officer in the province is
Nan-hae-heen-che-heen; this officer is subordinate to the che-foo, and
is to the district of Nan-hae what the che-foo is to the department of
Kwang-chow. As che-heen, he is required to know all the affairs of the
district. The department of Kwang-chow is divided into fourteen heens
or districts, of which Nan-hae and Pwan-yu are two of the principal,
and include the city of Canton.

The last officer whom we shall particularize, is Pwan-yu-heen-che-heen;
the rank and duties of this magistrate are the same in the district
of Pwan-yu as are the last-named officers in the district of Nan-hae:
their titles, like that of the che-foo, are commonly abridged; thus,
when speaking of the Nan-hae magistrate, the people say, Nan-hae-heen;
and when it is not necessary to mention the district, they simply say
che-heen, designating by each of their phrases, the magistrate of the
district of Nan-hae.

We have named and characterized as far as our limits will admit, and
the nature of the subject requires, the principal officers who exercise
authority in Canton; the reader will doubtless find it difficult, as
we have done, to determine the exact limitation of their respective
spheres, which, like the courses of the planets, often seem to
intersect each other. At first sight of so many bodies, all in motion
within limits so narrow, we feel surprised that they do not come
into collision, destroy each other and carry destruction through the
empire. On a close inspection, however, we are able to discover some
of the secret laws which govern this complicated system, preserve it
in being, and keep it in motion. Two influences, the one military, and
the other literary, are perhaps the principal forces which regulate and
control the measures of the Chinese government. Religion, which often
has a gigantic power over governments, is here blended with civil and
state ceremonies, and exerts but a feeble, and usually a most baneful
influence on the political destinies of the nation.

All the officers enumerated in the foregoing list, excepting the
two che-heens, the che-foo, and the tseang-keun, are general
officers--their jurisdiction extending to all other parts of the
province, as well as over the metropolis. There are likewise two other
officers, commanders-in-chief of the land and naval forces, who, like
the other members of the provincial government, act alone in certain
cases, and sometimes in concert with the other general officers. The
government is despotic as well as military; and so constructed, that
those who form the provincial government, shall, while they enjoy a
degree of independence, serve as mutual checks; while at the same
time, each superior officer is held responsible for those who are
subordinate, and accountable for himself. Even in the location of
these officers, there has been a cautious reference to “division and
balance of power.” For example: the tsung-tuh is stationed in the new
city, almost within a stone’s-throw of his majesty’s most faithful
“slave,” the hoppo; the foo-yuen and the tsang-kuen are placed in
similar positions in reference to each other: these two last are so
located in the old city, that, should circumstances require, they
could act against the two first, in the new city. The same principle
is observable likewise, if we mistake not, in the disposition which
is made of the troops. The whole land and naval force throughout the
province, has been estimated (nominally) at about one hundred thousand
men; all of whom are with fixed limitations, under the control of the
governor; he has, however, the immediate and sole command of only five
thousand, and these are stationed at a distance from the city. On all
ordinary occasions, except when he goes to a distance from Canton,
he is escorted by a detachment from the kwang-chow-hee, (the chief
military officer of Kwang-chow,) which, in the absence of his own
troops, serves him for a body-guard, and constitutes, at the same time,
a part of the police of the city. The foo-yuen has only two thousand
at his command; while the tseang-keun has five thousand, which, in
an extreme case, would enable him to become master of the city. The
proper seat of the governor is at Shaou-king-foo, several miles west of
this city; but on account of the superior advantages of Canton, he is
allowed to reside here; he cannot, however, bring his troops hither,
lest, in conjunction with the foo-yuen, they should prove more than a
match for the Tartar general-commandant and his five thousand fighting
men. It should be remarked here, that no individual can hold an office
in any province, department, or district of the empire, that includes
the place of his nativity, or that extends within several hundred _le_
of it.

The whole number of soldiers, ordinarily quartered in the city, does
not probably exceed seven thousand. There are in the immediate vicinity
of Canton, a few small forts, and the city itself is intended to be a
stronghold; but neither is in such a state that they would serve any
very valuable purposes of defence. Even the late rain-storm carried
away one of the gates of the city, and opened a wide breach in the
walls. Most of the forts are dismantled and defenceless, and present
nothing more formidable than the frightful paintings of tiger’s heads,
on the wooden lids which block up their port-holes. The two _follies_,
Dutch and French _follies_ as they are called, are situated in the
river opposite to the city, and are fair specimens of the forts about
Canton; there are likewise for the defence of the city, what have been
called cavalry, and artillery; but of these, we have heard little, and
seen nothing. Of the Tartar troops, there are two hundred chosen men,
who on state occasions, appear well clad and warlike; but, generally,
the soldiers are badly equipped, and poorly disciplined. All their
armour and accoutrements, consisting of shields and helmets, bows
and arrows, spears and javelins, short-swords and matlocks, seem ill
fitted either for defence or attack; the heavy losses sustained by the
troops of Canton, during the late highland war at Seen-chow, fully
confirm these remarks; as do also recent imperial edicts, in which the
soldiery are accused of idleness and lazy habits, and of “indulging
in all the softness of civilians;” the police of the city is on the
whole, vigilant and efficient. Besides those who act in the capacity of
constables, thief-takers, &c., constituting the regular police, there
are many neighbourhoods, as well as private individuals, which make
arrangements for a constant nocturnal watch during the night; almost
all the streets of the city are shut up by strong gates at each end;
near one of which there is usually a guard-house. The night-watches
are distinguished by bells, or some similar instruments kept by the
watchmen, in the winter months, when there is great danger from fire,
as well as thieves. Watch-towers are built on bamboo poles, high above
the roofs of the houses; thus constituting a double watch. When thieves
are discovered, or when a fire breaks out in any part of the city, the
alarm by means of the watchmen, spreads quickly from one extremity of
the city to the other. When riotous assemblies collect in the streets,
they are, in most cases, speedily dissolved by a vigorous application
of the bamboo or whip; many, doubtless, “shove by justice,” and to
the day of their death go unpunished; yet the number who are arrested
and brought to trial, annually, is very great; justice is often
administered in the most summary manner; not unfrequently, in minor
cases, the man receives the punishment, and again goes free, the same
hour in which he commits the crime.

[Sidenote: JUSTICE--JAILS.]

The forms of trial are simple: there is no jury, no pleading; the
criminal kneels before the magistrate, who hears the witnesses and
passes sentence; he is then remanded to prison, or sent to the place of
execution. Seldom is he acquitted; when witnesses are wanting, he is
sometimes tortured until he gives evidence against himself.

There are four jails in Canton; which together contain several hundred
prisoners; the jail is called te-yo, _hell_, or literally “earth’s
prison.” All capital offenders suffer just without the southern gates,
near the river; hundreds die there annually. When brought to the
fatal spot, they kneel with their faces towards the emperor’s court,
and bending forward in the attitude of submission and thanksgiving,
suddenly expire beneath the bloody sword of the executioner.



The _Literary Institutions_ of China, are the pillars that give
stability to the government. Her military forces are utterly inadequate
to hold together the numerous and extensive provinces and territories,
that constitute the wide dominions of the reigning dynasty. With great
difficulty the Tartar troops overrun the country; conquering province
after province, and gradually extending their authority over the
territories on the west of China Proper. But for a long period both the
discipline and the energies of the Chinese soldiery have been on the
wane: and at this moment the imperial hosts present nothing formidable
but their numerical amount; the recent insurrections at Leen-chow and
Formosa, have afforded the most complete evidence of this imbecility.
Not only in this part of the empire, but along the whole coast up to
the great wall on the north, and even beyond that in Mantchou Tartary,
both the land and naval forces have become so exceedingly enervated and
dissolute, that they exercise no salutary influence or control, except
over a few, who are equally debased with themselves. As police-men,
in the capacity of lictors, thief-takers, and executioners, they are
not less detested than feared by the common people; they are in fact,
for all purposes of defence, little better than _dead men_; were they
stricken from the catalogue of the living, we can scarcely doubt that
the stability of the empire would remain unimpaired.

There are many who look with astonishment at the magnitude of this
empire, and believe it strong and immoveable as the everlasting hills.
But an examination of its history and present organization, would show
them that it has been frequently rent and broken by rebel chieftains,
ambitious statesmen, and haughty kings; and that its present greatness
is chiefly attributable to its peculiar literary institutions. These,
though they are the glory and strength of the nation, are, except for
mere purposes of government, amazingly deficient; and it is their
relative rather than intrinsic value, that renders them worthy of
special notice. Wealth and patronage have great influence here; they
often control the acts of government, stay the course of justice, cover
the guilty, and confer honours and emoluments on the undeserving.
But as a general rule, _learning_, while it is an indispensable
prerequisite for all those who aspire to places of trust and authority
in the state, is sure to command respect, influence, and distinction.

Thus, without the dreadful alternative of overthrowing the powers that
be, a way is opened to ambitious youth, by which he may reach the
highest station in the empire; the throne only excepted. Usually the
most distinguished statesmen are those who have risen to eminence by
intellectual efforts: they are at once the philosophers, the teachers,
and rulers of the land. These distinctions they cannot however
maintain, without yielding implicit obedience to the will of the
monarch, which is most absolute and uncontrolled. Let them honour and
obey the power that is over them, and they stand; dependant indeed on
the one hand, but on the other, in proud and envied distinction.


High rank in the state is the brightest glory to which this people
aspire; with them, learning derives its chief value from the simple
fact, that it brings them within the reach of that dazzling prize.
Strict examinations, regulated by a fixed code of laws, have been
instituted and designed solely to elicit from the body of the community
the “_true talent_” of the people, with the ulterior intention of
applying it to purposes of government. At these examinations, which
are open to all except menial servants, lictors, players, and priests,
it is determined who shall rise to distinction and shed glory on their
ancestors and posterity--who shall live on in obscurity and die and be
forgotten. The competitors of the Olympic games never entered the arena
before the assembled thousands of their countrymen, with deeper emotion
than that which agitates the bosoms of those who contest the palm of
these literary combats. The days on which they are held, and their
results published in Canton, are the proudest which its inhabitants
ever witnessed. A brief notice of them may be interesting to the
reader, and at the same time enable him to understand more fully the
nature and object of the schools and colleges of the provincial city.

The highest literary examinations in the empire are triennial, and take
place at Peking. Besides these, there are also occasional examinations
granted by special favour of the emperor. Up to these contests, the
most distinguished scholars go, from all the provinces. This privilege
is not gained without long, patient, and successful endeavour; the
examinations at which it is determined who shall enjoy it, occur also
triennially and are held in the metropolis of each province. These
examinations are of incomparable interest to great multitudes of the
people, in every department and district of the empire. High honours,
rich emoluments, and in a word, every thing that the young aspirant
and his numerous kindred most esteem, are at stake; a long season of
preparation has been endured, heavy expenses incurred; and now the
decisive hour approaches.

Two examiners are chosen from distinguished officers at Peking, under
the immediate superintendance of the emperor; within five days after
they are chosen, they must leave the capital. They are allowed the use
of the post-horses belonging to government. Upon those who come to
Canton six hundred taels are conferred, to defray their expenses while
on the road; two hundred of which are paid when they commence their
journey from Peking, and the remainder by the governor of the province,
when they are about to return after the examination is completed.

The above examiners are assisted by ten others, who are selected from
the local officers over whom the foo-yuen presides. Besides these there
are many inferior officers, who are employed as inspectors, guards,
&c. All these, together with the candidates, their attendants, &c.,
amounting to ten thousand and upward, assemble at the Kung-yuen, a
large and spacious building designed solely for these occasions. It
contains numerous apartments, so that each candidate may be seated
separately from his competitors. All the seats are numbered. The
apartments are low and narrow, have only a single entrance, and no
furniture except a chair and a narrow writing-desk.

The number of candidates who assemble in Canton is between seven and
eight thousand. They are often attended by their friends, and continue
here for several weeks, and sometimes for months; during which time the
hum and bustle of the city are greatly increased, and every kind of
mercantile business receives a new impulse. These candidates are always
persons of some distinction, which they must have gained, either at
previous examinations or by the payment of large sums of money. They
are all called _sew-tsae_, a title not unlike that of master of arts;
they are divided into several classes; those who have purchased their
degree are often despised by the others, and are generally regarded
with less respect than those who have gained it by their own merits.
They meet on equal terms, and their “true nobility” is to be determined
by personal efforts, which are to be made during a fixed period and
under fixed circumstances. The candidates assemble on the eighth moon;
but none are allowed to enter the examination except those who have
been previously enrolled by the literary chancellor of the province.
The age, features, place of residence, and lineage, of each candidate
must be given in the chancellor’s list, and a copy of it lodged in the
office of the “foo-yuen.” They must all attend at the examinations in
their native province; and those who give in a false account of their
family and lineage, or place of nativity, are expelled and degraded;
for no candidate can be admitted at any place without proving that his
family has been resident there for three generations.

The examination continues for several days, and each student must
undergo a series of trials. The first is on the ninth of the moon,
the second on the twenty-second, and the third on the fifteenth.
The candidates are required to enter their apartments, on the day
preceding the examination, and are not allowed to leave them until the
day after it has closed. Thus they must pass two nights in close and
solitary confinement. On the first day of their examination, _three_
themes, which are selected from the “_Four books_,” are proposed to
them, and they are required to give the meaning and scope of each,
to which a fourth is added, on which they must compose a short _poem
in rhyme_. On the second day, a theme is given them from each of the
“_Five classics_;” and on the third day, five questions, which shall
refer to the history or political economy of the country. The themes
must be sententious, and have a meaning which is refined and profound.
They must not be such as have often been discussed. Those which are
given out for poetry, must be grave and important. In the themes for
essays on political economy, the chief topics must be concerning things
of real importance, the principles of which are clear and evidently
of a correct nature. “There is no occasion to search and inquire
into devious and unimportant subjects.” All questions concerning the
character and learning of statesmen of the present dynasty, as well as
all topics which relate to its policy, must be carefully avoided. The
paper on which the themes and essays are written is prepared with great
care; and must be inspected at the office of the poo-ching-sze. It is
firm and thick, and the only kind that may be used. The price of it is
fixed by authority. The number of characters, both in the themes and
essays, is limited. The lines must be straight, and all the characters
full and fair. At the close of every paper, containing elegant
composition, verses, or answers to questions, it must be stated by the
students how many characters have been blotted out or altered; if the
number exceed one hundred, the writer is tsee-chuh, “pasted out;” which
means, that his name is pasted up at the gate of the hall, as having
violated the rules of the examination, and he is forthwith excluded
from that year’s examination.

There are usually a hundred or more persons at every examination in
Canton subject to this punishment, for breaking this, or some other
of the regulations. The candidates are not allowed “to get drunk”
and “behave disorderly” during the examination. All intercourse of
civility between the examiners and the relations of the students
must be discontinued; and there must be no interchange of letters,
food, &c. On entering the outer gate of the kung-yuen, each candidate
must write his name in a register, kept for that purpose; if it is
afterward discovered that the name was erroneously written, then the
officer superintending the register, if it be found that he is an
accomplice in registering a spurious essay, shall, with the candidate
for literary honours who has violated the law, be tried and punished.
Moreover, the student, on entering the hall of examination, must be
searched; and if it be discovered that he has with him any precomposed
essay, or miniature copy of the classics, he shall be punished by
wearing a wooden collar, degraded from the rank of sew-tsae, and for
ever incapacitated to stand as a candidate for literary honours; and
the father and tutor of the delinquent shall both be prosecuted and
punished. All the furniture and utensils, such as the writing-desks,
inkstands, &c., in the apartments where the students write their
essays, must be searched; and also, each and all of the managers,
copyists, attendant officers, servants, porters, &c. If, in any manner,
a learned person, who is to decide on the papers, be admitted to the
apartments of the students, dressed as a servant, he shall be punished;
and the chief examiner delivered over to a court of inquiry. A watch,
composed of military officers and soldiers, is maintained day and
night, both in the inner and outer courts of the hall; and if any of
these men are guilty of conveying papers to the candidates, concealed
with their food, or in any other way, they shall be punished.

There are many other regulations and precautions which have been
adopted to prevent fraud, but a sufficient number have been stated to
show somewhat of the interest which gathers around these examinations,
and the schemes which are formed to gain distinction, without the toil
and fatigue of hard study. Of the thousands of candidates assembled at
these examinations in Canton, only seventy-one can obtain the degree
of Kew-jing; the names of the successful essayists are published by
a proclamation, which is issued on or before the tenth of the ninth
moon, and within twenty-five days subsequent to the closing of the
examination. This time is allowed to the examiners to read the essays,
and prepare their report. The proclamation, which contains the name
of the successful candidates, after it has received its appropriate
signatures, is pasted up at the office of the foo-yuen.

At a given hour three guns are fired; and the foo-yuen at the same
time comes forth from his palace, accompanying the official paper; it
is forthwith pasted up, and again a salute of three guns is fired;
his excellency then advances, and bows three times towards the names
of the “promoted men,” (hin-jir), and finally retires under another
salute of three guns. Ten thousand minds are now relieved from their
long suspense. Swift messengers are despatched by those who have
won the prize, to announce to their friends the happy result of the
long trial which they have undergone; while the _many_ return with
disappointment to their homes, the successful _few_ are loaded with
encomiums and congratulations, and their names with their essays sent
up to the emperor. To crown the whole, a banquet is prepared for these
newly-promoted men, of which the examiners and all the civil officers
of rank in the province partake. Gold and silver cups for the occasion
must be provided by the provincial treasurer. The chief examiner,
from Peking, presides; the foo-yuen, at whose palace the banquet is
given, and who is present as visiter, is seated on the right, and the
assistant-examiner on his left. The governor of the province is also
present, a train of inferior officers wait as servants, and two lads,
dressed like _naiads_, holding in their hands branches of olive, grace
the scene with a song from their ancient classics.

There are three other examinations in Canton, which occur twice in
three years, and are attended by great numbers of aspirants. At the
first, which is attended by the students of Nan-hae and Pwanyu, the
che-heens preside; at the second, which is attended by candidates from
all the districts of Kwang-chow-foo, the che-foo presides; but the
third is conducted by the literary chancellor of the province, whose
prerogative it is to confer the degree of sew-tsae upon a limited
number of the most distinguished competitors.


These are preparatory to the triennial examination, and inferior to
it in interest; they need not, therefore, be further particularized.
It may be remarked, however, that they are open to persons of all
ages; and a case very recently occurred where a hoary head of eighty,
accompanied by a son and grandson, attended the examination; all of
them were candidates for the same literary honours. To qualify the
young for these examinations, and thereby prepare them for rank and
office in the state, is a leading object of the higher schools and
colleges among the Chinese. But a great majority of the schools in
Canton are designed only to prepare youth for the common duties of
private life. These latter, as well as many of the higher schools,
are _private_ establishments. And though there are teachers appointed
by government, in all the districts of the empire, yet there are no
public or charity-schools for the benefit of the great mass of the
community. Whatever may be his object and final distinction, almost
every scholar in Canton commences his course at some one of the private
schools. These, among the numerous inhabitants of this city, assume a
great variety of form and character, according to the peculiar fancy
of individuals. The opulent, who are desirous of pushing forward
their sons rapidly, provide for them able teachers, who shall devote
the whole time to the instruction of two, three, or four pupils. A
school of this description we have repeatedly visited; it is in a hall
belonging to merchants from Ning-po, and is kept by an old man, who has
three lads under his care; one five, another seven, and a third nine
years old: he instructs them in the learned dialects, and the youngest
has already made greater proficiency than is usually accomplished by
boys at the age of ten. Sometimes the inhabitants of a single street,
or a few families who are related to each other, unite, have a teacher,
and fit up a school-room, each defraying a stipulated part of the
expenses. At other times, the teacher publishes the rules and terms on
which he will conduct his school, and seeks for scholars wherever he
can find them. Children are not generally sent to school until they
are seven or eight years old; they enter, usually, for a whole year,
and must pay for that term whether they attend regularly or not. The
wages of the teachers vary greatly: in some instances (and they are not
unfrequent in the country) the lads pay only two or three dollars, but
generally fifteen or twenty per annum. When the teacher devotes his
whole time to two or three pupils, he often receives a hundred dollars
from each.

The ordinary school-room, with all its defects, presents an interesting
scene. At the head of it there is a tablet, on which the name of the
sage--“_the teacher and pattern for myriads of ages_”--is written in
large capital letters; a small altar is placed before it, upon which
incense and candles are kept constantly burning. Every morning, when
the scholar enters the room, he bows first before the tablet, and
then to his teacher; the former is not merely a tribute of respect,
but an act of worship, which he is taught, nay, compelled, to pay to
Confucius. The boys usually continue in school from six o’clock in the
morning until six in the evening, except two or three hours, which they
are allowed for their meals. When in school, they all study aloud,
each raising his voice at the same time, and striving to outdo his
fellows, the noise of which is very great. Upon those who are idle or
disobedient, the teacher plies the _rattan_, with woful severity. Every
lesson must be committed perfectly to memory, and the lad who fails in
this, is obliged to bow down, and learn it upon his knees; those who
are the most incorrigible are made to kneel on gravel, small stones,
or something of the kind, in order to enhance their punishment. The
San-tse-king, the famous “three-character classics,” is the first book
which is put into the hands of the learner. Though written expressly
for infant minds, it is scarcely better fitted for them than the
propositions of Euclid would be, were they thrown into rhyme. But, “it
is not to be understood” at first; and the tyro, when he can rehearse
it from beginning to end, takes up the Four books, and masters them in
the same manner. Thus far the young learners go, without understanding
aught, or but little, of what they recite; and here those who are not
destined to a literary course, after having learned to write a few
characters, must close their education. The others now commence the
commentary on the Four books, and commit it to memory in the same
way; and then pass on to the other classics. The study of arithmetic,
geography, history, &c., forms no part of a “common-school” education.

The high schools and colleges are numerous, but none of them are
richly endowed, or well fitted for the purposes of education. The high
schools, which are _fourteen_ in number, are somewhat similar to the
private grammar-schools in England and America; with this difference,
that the former are nearly destitute of pupils. There are _thirty_
colleges; most of which were founded many centuries since. Several of
them are now deserted, and falling to ruins. Three of the largest have
about two hundred students each, and, like all the others, only one or
two professors. We have sought long and diligently, but thus far in
vain, for some definite information concerning the existing discipline
and regulations of these colleges; should we affirm that they are
without rules and order, we should say what we do not doubt, but
cannot prove. All those systems of instruction which have sprung up in
modern times, and are now accomplishing so much for the nations of the
West, are here entirely unknown. There are a few books in the Chinese
language which contain excellent maxims on the subject of education,
give numerous rules to facilitate the acquisition of knowledge, and
detail systems of gymnastic exercises for the preservation of health.

Of the whole population of Canton, not more than one half are able
to read. Perhaps not one boy out of ten is left entirely destitute
of instruction, yet, of the other sex, not one in ten ever learns to
read or write. There is scarcely a school for girls in the whole city.
Public sentiment--immemorial usage--and many passages in the classics,
are against female education; the consequence is, that females are
left uninstructed, and sink far below that point in the scale of
being, for which they are fitted, and which they ought ever to hold.
The degradation into which the fairest half of the human species is
here thrown, affords cause for loud complaint against the wisdom and
philosophy of the sages and legislators of the celestial empire. We do
not knowingly detract from the merits of the Chinese; in comparison
with other Asiatics, they are a learned and polished race. Those who
have been educated are generally remarkably fond of books: and though
there are no public libraries in Canton, yet the establishments for
manufacturing and vending books are numerous. To supply those who are
unable to purchase for themselves the works they need, a great number
of circulating libraries are kept constantly in motion.

While the purest moral maxims are found mixed up at times, in the
Chinese language, as in ours, with gross licentiousness, the charge
does not lie against works comprising the library of the youthful
students, which, in this particular, is wholly unexceptionable.

The situation of Canton and the policy of the Chinese government,
together with various other causes, have made it the scene of a very
extensive _domestic_ and _foreign_ commerce. With the exception of
the Russian caravans which traverse the northern frontiers of China,
and the Portuguese and Spanish ships which visit Macao, the whole
trade between the Chinese empire and the nations of the West centres
at this place. Here the productions of every part of China are found,
and a very brisk and lucrative commerce is carried on by merchants
and factors from all the provinces. Merchandise is brought here from
Tonquin, (Tung-king) Cochin-China, Camboja, Siam, Malaca, or the Malay
peninsula, the eastern Archipelago, the ports of India, the nations
of Europe, the different states of North and South America, and the
islands of the Pacific. We shall briefly notice the several branches of
this extensive commerce, enumerate some of the principal commodities
which are brought to this city, as well as those which are carried from
it, and add such remarks concerning the situation and circumstances of
the trade, and those who conduct it, as seem necessary to exhibit its
full magnitude and importance.


Concerning the _domestic_ commerce, we can do little more than mention
the articles which are here bought and sold for the several provinces;
each of which we shall notice separately, that we may, by taking a
view of their position and number of inhabitants at the same time, see
to what advantage the present trade is conducted, and the probability
of its future increase or diminution. The maritime provinces claim
priority of notice, after which, those on the northern, western, and
southern frontiers will pass under review, and finally, those in the
centre of China proper. The colonial trade is, in the present view,

From _Fuh-keen_, come the black teas, camphor, sugar, indigo, tobacco,
paper, lacquered ware, excellent grass-cloth, and a few mineral
productions. Woollen and cotton cloths of various kinds, wines,
watches, &c., are sent to that province; which, with its population of
fourteen millions, might, in different circumstances, receive a far
greater amount of foreign manufactures and productions in exchange
for its own. The trade of the province is carried on under great
disadvantages. It has been shown by an accurate and detailed comparison
between the expense of conveying black teas from the country where they
are produced, to Canton, and of their conveyance from thence to the
port of Fuh-chow in Fuh-keen, that the privilege of admission to the
latter port would be attended with a saving to the East India Company
of £150,000 annually, in the purchase of black teas alone.

_Che-keang_ sends to Canton the best of silks and paper; also,
fans, pencils, wines, dates, “golden-flowered” hams, and
“_lung-tsingcha_”--an excellent and very costly tea. This province
has a population of twenty-six millions, and makes large demands for
foreign imports; these, however, by way of Canton, go to that province
at no small expense to the consumer.

_Keang-nan_, which is now divided into the two provinces of Keang-soo
and Gan-hwuy, with a population of _seventy-two_ millions, has the
resources as well as the wants of a kingdom. Notwithstanding its
distance from Canton, large quantities of produce are annually sent
hither, and exchanged for the productions and manufactures of the
western world. Green teas and silks are the principal articles of
traffic, which are brought to Canton; and they usually yield the
merchant a great profit.

From _Shan-tung_, fruits, vegetables, drugs, wines, and skins, are
brought down the coast to Canton; and coarse fabrics for clothing are
sent back in return. The carrying of foreign exports from Canton to
Shan-tung, whether over land or up the coast in native vessels, makes
them so expensive as to preclude their use among the great majority
of the inhabitants, who are poor and numerous. The population of
_Shan-tung_ is twenty-eight millions. From Chih-le, ginseng, raisins,
dates, skins, deer’s flesh, wines, drugs, and tobacco, are sent hither;
and sundry other foreign imports go back in return. The population,
amounting to twenty-seven millions, is in a great degree, dependant on
the productions of other provinces and countries for the necessaries of

_Shan-se_ sends skins, wines, ardent spirits, and musk. Among its
fourteen millions of inhabitants, there are many capitalists who come
to Canton to increase their property by loaning money. Various kinds of
cloths, European skins, watches, and native books, are sent up to the
province of Shan-se.

_Shen-se_ also supports a large money trade in Canton, sends hither
brass, iron, precious stones, and drugs; and takes back woollen and
cotton cloths, books and wines. The population is about ten millions.

_Kean-suh_ sends to Canton gold, quicksilver, musk, tobacco, &c., and
receives in return, for its fifteen millions of inhabitants, a small
amount of European goods.

_Sze-chuen_ sends gold, brass, iron, tin, musk and a great variety
of other drugs; and receives in exchange, European cloths, lacquered
ware, looking-glasses, &c. Sze-chuen is the largest of the eighteen
provinces, and has a population of twenty-one millions.

_Yun-nan_ yields, for the shops of Canton, brass, tin, precious stones,
musk, betel-nut, birds, and peacock’s feathers; and receives silks,
woollen and cotton cloths, various kinds of provisions, tobacco and
books in return. The population is five millions.

_Kuang-we_ has a population of seven millions, and furnishes the
provincial city with large quantities of rice, cassia, iron, lead,
fans, and wood of various kinds; and takes in return many native
productions, and most of the articles that come to Canton from beyond

From _Kwei-chow_, one of the central provinces, are brought gold,
quicksilver, iron, lead, tobacco, incense, and drugs; a few articles,
chiefly foreign goods, find their way back to that province. Its
population is five millions.

From the two provinces, _Hoo-nan_ and _Hoo-pih_, come large quantities
of rhubarb; also musk, tobacco, honey, hemp, and a great variety of
singing-birds; the number of inhabitants is five millions. They make
very considerable demands on the merchants of Canton, both for native
productions and foreign imports.

_Keang se_ sends to this market, coarse cloths, hemp, china-ware, and
drugs; and receives in return woollens and native books. The population
is twenty-three millions. _Ho-nan_ has an equal number of inhabitants,
and sends hither rhubarb, musk, almonds, honey, indigo, &c.; woollens,
and a few other foreign goods are received in return.

[Sidenote: OPIUM.]

This account of the domestic commerce of Canton, is taken from native
manuscript. We have sought long, but in vain, for some official
document which would show at once, the different kinds, and the amount
of merchandise, which are annually brought from, and carried to, the
several provinces of the empire. The account which has been given must
be regarded only as an approximation to the truth. Some articles,
doubtless, have been omitted, which ought to have been noticed, and
vice versa; one commodity in particular, opium, known to be carried
into all the provinces, and used to the amount of more than fifteen
millions annually, is not even mentioned. Still, the statement which
we have brought into view, shows that there is, in every part of the
empire, a greater or less demand for foreign productions; a demand
which, so long as the commerce is confined to this port, will be
supplied very disadvantageously, both for the foreigner and the native;
but while it does remain thus restricted, there is reason to suppose
that it will, under all its disadvantages, gradually increase; and even
if the northern ports of the empire should be immediately thrown open,
it will not soon cease to be important.

Though the merchants and factors from the other provinces enjoy a
considerable share of the commerce of Canton, yet they do not confine
themselves to the domestic trade; they participate largely in that
to Tung-king, Cochin-China, Siam, and the islands of the eastern
Archipelago. The whole number of Chinese vessels, annually visiting
foreign ports south of Canton, is not probably less than one hundred;
of these, one third belong to Canton; six or eight go to Tung-king;
eighteen or twenty to Cochin-China, Camboja, and Siam; four or five
visit the ports of Singapore, Java, Sumatra, and Penang; and as many
more find their way to the Celebes, Borneo, and the Philippine islands.
These vessels make only one voyage in the year, and always move with
the monsoon. Many of the vessels, from Fuh-keen and the northern ports
of China, which go south, touch at Canton, both when outward and
homeward bound. But the whole amount of trade to foreign ports, carried
on by the Chinese merchants of Canton, is not very great; this is not
the case with that which is in the hands of foreigners, which we shall
notice in the following chapter.



Portugal, Spain, France, Holland, Sweden, Denmark, Russia, England, and
the United States, share in the commerce of Canton.

The Portuguese ships led the way to China in the year 1576, but,
difficulties occurring, they were restricted to Macao, to which place
they have ever since been limited, excepting at short intervals, when
they have been allowed to visit other ports.

The Chinese annals say, that in 1550, the Portuguese borrowed
Haon-king-gaon, (Macao,) which is situated in the midst of dashing
waves, where immense fish rise up, and again plunge into the deep!
the clouds hover over it, and the prospect is really beautiful--that
they (the Portuguese) passed over the ocean, myriads of miles, in a
wonderful manner; and small and great ranged themselves under the
renovating influence imparted by the glorious sun of the celestial

Spanish vessels enjoy greater privileges than those of any other
nation: they trade at Macao, a privilege denied to all other
foreigners, excepting the Portuguese; at Canton, and at Amoy.

The Falanke (French) reached Canton, in 1520; they entered the Tiger’s
mouth (the Bogue) abruptly, but were driven away, because the loud
report of their guns frightened the inhabitants. Their trade has never
been very extensive, though it has continued to the present time.
During the few past years, they have employed annually, two, three,
or four ships in this trade. In the seasons 1832-33, there were three
French ships in port.

The Ho-lan-kwo-jin (Dutch) arrived at China, in the year 1601: they
inhabited, in ancient times, a wild territory, and arrived at Macao
in two or three large ships. Their clothes and hair were red, they
had tall bodies, and blue, deeply sunken eyes, their feet were one
cubit and two tenths long, and they frightened the people with their
strange appearance; notwithstanding tribute was brought by them, they
had, in commencing trade, to struggle with many difficulties; and
their commerce, during two centuries, has fluctuated exceedingly. Its
present prospects are improving. A few years since, they had only
three or four ships, annually employed in this trade. During the year
1832, seventeen, from Holland and Java, arrived in China. The value
of _imports_, was four hundred and fifty-seven thousand, one hundred
and twenty-eight dollars. The _exports_ amounted to six hundred and
fifty-six thousand, six hundred and forty-five dollars, exclusive of
the private trade of the commanders.

_Sweden_ has never, we believe, in one season, sent more than two
or three ships to China. The trade opened in 1732: during the first
fifteen subsequent years, twenty-two ships were despatched to China, of
which four were lost.

Peter Osbeck, who was here in 1750-51, as chaplain of the Prince
Charles, a Swedish East Indiaman, relates, that there were at that
season, eighteen European ships in port: one Danish, two Swedish, two
French, four Dutch, and nine English. For the last fifteen years, no
Swedish ships have visited China.

The _Danes_ preceded the Swedes in their visits to China, but we could
not ascertain the date of the year in which their trade began. During
twelve years, commencing in 1732, they sent thirty-two ships to China,
twenty-seven of which only returned. Their flag was called Hwang-ke,
“the imperial flag,” which name it has retained to this day. Their
trade has never been extensive, though it has continued to the present

The _Russian_ trading vessels are excluded from the Chinese ports;
their trade being confined to the northern provinces, by land.

The _English_ did not reach the coast of China, till about 1635. The
whole number of arrivals, during the year 1832, was eighty-seven; ten
of this number performed two or three voyages from China. Of the whole
number, nine were from London, and sixty-two from ports in India. The
vessels brought to China, broadcloths, long-ells, camlets, British
calicoes, worsted and cotton yarn, cotton piece goods, Bombay, Madras
and Bengal cotton, opium, sandal-wood, black-wood, rattans, betel-nut,
putchuck, pepper, cloves, saltpetre, cochineal, olibanum skins, ivory,
amber, pearls, cornelians, watches and clocks, lead, iron, tin,
quicksilver, shark’s fins, fishmaws, stock-fish, &c. In return, they
were laden with teas, silk, sugar, silk piece goods, cassia, camphor,
vermilion, rhubarb, alum, musk and various other articles. The value of
these exports and imports is as follows:--

In 1828-29, imports, twenty-one millions, three hundred and thirteen
thousand, five hundred and twenty-six dollars; exports, nineteen
millions, three and sixty thousand, six hundred and twenty-five
dollars: in 1829-30, imports, twenty-two millions, nine hundred and
thirty-one thousand, three hundred and seventy-two dollars; exports,
twenty-one millions, two hundred and fifty-seven thousand, two hundred
and fifty-seven dollars: in 1830-31, imports, twenty-one millions,
nine hundred sixty-one thousand, seven hundred and fifty-four dollars;
exports, twenty millions, four hundred and forty-six thousand, six
hundred and ninety-nine dollars: in 1831-32, imports, twenty millions,
five hundred and thirty-six thousand, two hundred and twenty-seven
dollars; exports, seventeen millions, seven hundred and sixty-seven
thousand, four hundred and eighty-six dollars: in 1832-33, imports,
twenty-two millions, three hundred and four thousand, seven hundred
and fifty-three dollars; exports, eighteen millions, three hundred and
thirty-two thousand, seven hundred and sixty dollars.


The _American_ trade to China, is of very recent origin; it commenced
after the revolutionary war. The first recorded facts which we are able
to obtain, carry back the trade only to the season of 1784-5, in which
two American ships were sent, laden, to Canton. In their return-cargo,
they carried eight hundred and eighty thousand, one hundred pounds of
tea: in the following season, but one vessel was sent, which exported
six hundred and ninety-five thousand pounds: in 1786-7, there were
five American ships, engaged in the trade: they exported one million,
one hundred and eighty-one thousand, eight hundred and sixty pounds of
this plant. One of these ships, was the “Hope:” other ships, which were
in port during this, and the following season, were the “Washington,”
“Asia,” and “Canton;” the last two, from Philadelphia.

The number of American vessels, which arrived in China, during the
seasons of 1832-33, ending in June, 1833, was fifty-nine. Some of these
ships did not, however, take in cargoes at this port.

These vessels brought quicksilver, lead, iron, South American copper,
spelter, tin plates, Turkey opium, ginseng, rice, broadcloths,
camlets, chintzes, long ells, long cloths, cambrics, domestics,
velvets, bombazettes, handkerchiefs, linen, cotton drillings, yarn and
prints, land and sea otter-skins, fox-skins, seal-skins, pearl-shells,
sandal-wood, cochineal, musical-boxes, clocks, watches, and sundry
other articles.

In return, they were laden with teas, silks, cassia, camphor, rhubarb,
vermilion, china-ware, &c. These articles were carried to the United
States, Europe, South America, Sandwich islands, and Manila. The
following statement will afford some idea of the progress in that
trade, and show its present amount:--

In 1805-6, imports, five millions, three hundred and twenty-six
thousand, three hundred and fifty-eight dollars; exports, five
millions, one hundred and twenty-seven thousand dollars: in 1815-16,
imports, two millions, five hundred and twenty-seven thousand, five
hundred dollars; exports, four millions, two hundred and twenty
thousand dollars: in 1825-26, imports, three millions, eight hundred
and forty-three thousand, seven hundred and seventeen dollars;
exports, four millions, three hundred and sixty-three thousand, seven
hundred and eighty-eight dollars: in 1830-31, imports, four millions,
two-hundred and twenty-three thousand, four hundred and seventy-six
dollars; exports, four millions, three hundred and forty-four thousand,
five hundred and forty-eight dollars: in 1831-32, imports, five
millions, five hundred and thirty-one thousand, eight hundred and
six dollars; exports, five millions, nine hundred and ninety-nine
thousand, seven hundred and thirty-one dollars: in 1832-33, imports,
eight millions, three hundred and sixty-two thousand, nine hundred and
seventy-one dollars; exports, eight millions, three hundred and seventy
two thousand, one hundred and seventy-five dollars.

[Sidenote: COMMERCE.]

It appears, from the foregoing statements, that the China trade,
employing, annually, one hundred and forty first-rate vessels, and a
large amount of capital, constitutes a very important branch of modern
commerce: this trade has always been carried on, and still exists,
under circumstances peculiar to itself: it is secured by no commercial
treaties, regulated by no stipulated rules: mandates, and edicts not
a few, there are on “record,” but these all emanate from one party;
still, the trade lives, and, by that imperial favour which extends to
“the four seas,” flourishes and enjoys no small degree of protection.

All vessels arriving on the coast of China, are, unless destined for
the harbour of Macao, or the port of Canton, considered by the Chinese
authorities, as intruders, and as such, must instantly depart. Year
after year, however, vessels have found a safe and convenient anchorage
at Lintin and its vicinity, where a large amount of business, including
nearly the whole of the opium-trade, is transacted.

Those vessels that are to enter the Bogue, must procure a permit, and
a pilot, at the Chinese custom-house, near Macao: the pilots, having
received license to act, must proceed on board immediately, and conduct
the vessel to the anchorage, at Whampoa.

As soon as the ship is officially reported at Canton, arrangements are
made for discharging and receiving cargo, the whole business of which
is sometimes accomplished in three weeks, but usually, it extends to
two or three months. Before this business can proceed, the consignee,
or the owner of the ship, must obtain for her a _security merchant_, a
_linguist_, and a comprador; and a declaration must be given, except by
those of the East India Company, that she has no opium on board. The
security merchant, or individual who gives security to government for
the payment of her duties, and for the conduct of the crew, must be a
member of the _co-hong_; this company is composed at present, of twelve
individuals, usually called _hong-merchants_: some of these men rank
among the most wealthy and respectable inhabitants of Canton: they pay
largely for the privilege of entering the co-hong: when they have once
joined that body, they are seldom allowed to retire from the station,
and, at all times, are liable to heavy exactions, from the provincial
government. Formerly, the whole, or nearly the whole foreign trade,
was in their hands: within a few years, it has extended to others who
are not included in the co-hong; and who are commonly called _outside

The linguists, so called, hold the rank of interpreters: they procure
permits for delivering and taking in cargo; transact all business at
the custom-house, keep account of the duties, &c.

The comprador provides stores, and all the necessary provisions for the
ship, while she remains in port.

The _port-charges_ consist of measurement-duty, cumshaw, pilotage,
linguist and comprador’s fees. The measurement-duty varies: on a vessel
of three hundred tons, it is about six hundred and fifty dollars,
and on a vessel of about thirteen hundred tons, it is about three
thousand dollars: the tonnage, however, affords no fixed criterion for
the amount of measurement-duty. But, for all ships, the _cumshaw_,
_pilotage_, _linguist_ and comprador’s fees, are the same, amounting to
two thousand, five hundred and seventy-three dollars.

Those vessels that enter the port, _laden only with rice_, are not
required to pay the measurement-duty and cumshaw, but they are liable
to other irregular fees, amounting to nearly one thousand dollars.

The management and general supervision of the port-charges, are
intrusted to an imperial commissioner, who is sent hither from the
court of Peking. In Chinese, he is called hae-kwan-keen-tuh, but, by
foreigners, he is usually styled the hoppo: his regular salary is about
three thousand taels per annum, but his annual income is supposed to be
no less than one hundred thousand dollars.

The arrangements between the native and foreign merchants of Canton for
the transaction of business are, on the whole, convenient and pretty
well calculated to promote despatch, and to secure confidence in the
respective parties.

The Chinese merchants have a well-earned reputation as shrewd dealers:
they have little confidence in each other; every contract of importance
must be “fixed,” and made sure by the payment of a stipulated sum: but
they place the most unlimited confidence in the integrity of their
foreign customers.

Among the _outside_ merchants the trade is very limited, and their
number being unlimited, there is often much competition between them.
The whole of the East India company’s business, a large portion of the
English private trade, and that of other foreigners, are confined to
the hong-merchants and those who transact business in connexion with

The establishments of the principal hong-merchants are extensive; they
have numerous and convenient ware-houses in which they store goods, and
from whence export-cargoes are conveyed, in lighters, to the shipping
at Whampoa.

The names of the hong-merchants are Howqua, Mowqua, Puankhequa, Goqua,
Fatqua, Kingqua, Sunshing, Mingqua, Saoqua, and Punhoqua. The Rev.
Robert Morrison, D. D., is Chinese translator to the British East India
company, and Mr. G. R. Morrison, his son, to those termed the _outside
British merchants_. The four linguists are named, Atom, Achow, Atung,
and Akang.


The _foreign factories_, the situation of which has already been
noticed, are neat and commodious buildings: the plot of ground on which
they stand is circumscribed by narrow limits, extending about sixty
rods from east to west, and forty rods from north to south: it is
owned, in common with most of the factories, by the hong-merchants.

The factories are called shih-san-hang, “the thirteen factories;”
with the exception of two or three narrow streets, they form a solid
block; each factory extends in length, through the whole breadth of the
block, and has its own proper name which, if not always appropriate,
is intended to be indicative of good fortune: the first, commencing
on the east, is e-ho-hang, the factory of “justice and peace;” it
communicates with the city ditch: the second is the Dutch; it is
called paon-ho-hong, “the factory that ensures tranquillity:” Hog-lane
separates this from the fourth, which is called fung-tae-hang, “the
great and affluent or chow-chow factory;” it derives the latter name
from its mixture of inhabitants, viz.:--Parsees, Moormen, &c.: the
fifth, being the old English factory, is named bung-shan-hong: the
sixth, the Swedish factory, is called suy-hang: the seventh, commonly
called the imperial factory, ma-ying-hang: the eighth, paon-shun-hang,
or “the precious and prosperous factory:” the ninth, the American
factory, is termed kwang-yuen-hang, “the factory of wide fountains.”
A broad street, called China-street, separates kwang-yuen-hang from
the tenth factory, which is occupied by one of the hong merchants: the
eleventh is the French factory: the twelfth, the Spanish factory: the
thirteenth, and last, is the Danish factory. The twelfth and thirteenth
are separated by a street occupied by Chinese merchants, generally
called New China-street.

Each factory is divided into three, four, or more houses, of which
each factor occupies one or more, according to circumstances. Brick or
granite is the material used in the erection of these buildings, which
are two stories high, and present a moderately substantial front. They
form, with the foreign flags which wave above them, a pleasing contrast
to the national banner and architecture of the celestial empire.

Besides the British East India company’s establishment, there are
nine British merchants and agents, seven American, one French, and
one Dutch. Between Canton, Macao, and on board the stationary ships
at Linting, there are distributed one hundred and forty residents,
exclusive of twenty-five belonging to the East India company’s
establishment, viz.: Sixty-three British, thirty-one Asiatic British
subjects, twenty Americans, eleven Portuguese, three Dutch, four
Danish, three Swedish, three Spanish, one French, and one Genoese.

Messrs. Markwick and Lane keep a European bazar, and the British hotel
is kept by C. Markwick in the imperial hong; the European ware-house
and hotel is kept by Robert Edwards, in the American hong.

Two newspapers are printed in the English language, the “Canton
Register,” and the “Chinese Courier;” the first, half-monthly, and the
second, weekly, accompanied by price-currents. There is also, printed
in English, a very useful and praiseworthy work, called the “Chinese
Repository,” to which I am indebted for a considerable portion of the
information relative to Canton, its commerce, &c.

The difficulty, which formerly existed in visiting and communicating
with Macao, Linting, and Cap-shuy-moon, is now happily removed by the
establishment of two excellent cutters, under British colours, which
have very convenient accommodations. Chinese boats also may be had
in abundance, either for the outer ship channel to or from Linting,
Cap-shuy-moon, or Macao, or the _inner_ passage to and from Macao, and
which foreign boats are not allowed to use.

The style of living in China (we refer to foreign society) is similar
to that of India, except that here man is deprived of that “help”
appointed to him by a divine decree, which no human authority can
justly abrogate, and enjoyed by him in every land save this.

A gentleman, fitting up an establishment in Canton, must first obtain
a _comprador_; this is an individual permitted, by special license,
to act as head-servant; to him belong the general superintendance
of domestic household affairs, the procuring of other servants,
purchasing provisions, &c., according to the wishes of his employer.
Visiters to Canton usually speak in high terms of the domestic
arrangements of the residents.

This place presents few objects of much interest to the mere man of
pleasure. Considering the latitude, the climate is agreeable and
healthy; provisions of good quality and great variety are abundant; but
the want of a purer air, and wider range, than are enjoyed in the midst
of the densely populated metropolis, to which the residents are here
confined, often makes them impatient to leave the provincial city.


The _manufactories_ and trades of Canton are numerous: there is no
machinery, properly so called, consequently there are no extensive
manufacturing establishments similar to those which, in modern times,
and under the power of machinery, have grown up in Europe. The Chinese
know nothing of the economy of time. Much of the manufacturing business
required to supply the commercial houses of Canton, is performed at
Fuh-shan, a large town situated a few miles westward of the city;
still, the number of hands employed, and the amount of labour performed
here, are by no means inconsiderable.

There are annually about seventeen thousand persons, men, women, and
children, engaged in weaving silk; their looms are simple, and their
work is generally executed with neatness. The number of persons engaged
in manufacturing cloth of all kinds, is about fifty thousand; when the
demand is pressing for work, the number of labourers is considerably
increased; the workmen occupy about two thousand, five hundred shops,
averaging, usually, twenty in each.

We have heard it said, that some of the Chinese females, who devote
their time to embroidering the choicest of the fabrics, secure a profit
of twenty and sometimes even twenty-five dollars per month. Shoemakers
are numerous and support an extensive trade, the number of workmen
being about four thousand, two hundred. The number of those who work
in brass, wood, iron, stone, and various other materials, is likewise
large. Those who engage in each of these occupations form, to a certain
degree, a separate community, having their distinct laws and rules for
the regulation of business.

The book-trade of Canton is important, but we have not been able to
obtain particulars in relation to its extent. The _barbers_ form a
separate department, and no one is allowed to perform the duties of
tonsor until he has obtained a license.

According to their records, the number of this fraternity in Canton, at
the present time, is seven thousand, three hundred!

There is another body of men, which we know not how to designate or
describe; the _medical community_; which must not be passed over
without notice. That these men command high respect and esteem whenever
they show themselves skilled in their profession, there can be no
doubt; it is generally admitted, also, that individuals do now and
then, by long experience and observation, become able practitioners;
but, as a community, they are anything rather than masters of the
“healing art.” About two thousand of these “physicians” dwell in Canton.

No inconsiderable part of the multitude which composes the population
of Canton lives in boats. There are officers appointed by government
to regulate and control this portion of the city’s inhabitants. Every
boat, of all the various sizes and descriptions that are seen here, is
registered; and it appears that the whole number on the river, adjacent
to the city, is eighty-four thousand. A great majority of these are
tankea (egg-house) boats, called by some, sampans; these are generally
not more than twelve or fifteen feet long, about six broad, and so low
that a person can scarcely stand up in them: their covering, made of
bamboo, is very light, and can be easily adjusted to the state of the
weather. Whole families live in these boats, and in coops lashed on the
outside of them they often rear large broods of ducks and chickens,
designed to supply the city-markets. Passage-boats which daily move to
and from the city-hamlets, ferry-boats which are constantly crossing
and recrossing the river, huge canal-boats, laden with produce from
the country, cruisers, pleasure-boats, &c. complete the list of these
floating habitations, and present to the stranger a very interesting

[Sidenote: POPULATION.]

There has been considerable diversity of opinion in relation to the
population of Canton. The division of the city which brings a part of
it into Nan-hae, and a part into Pwang-yu, precludes the possibility of
ascertaining the exact amount of population. The facts which we have
brought into view in the preceding pages, perhaps will afford the best
data for making an accurate estimate of the number of inhabitants
in the city. There are, we have already seen, fifty thousand persons
engaged in the manufacture of cloth, seven thousand, three hundred
barbers, and four thousand, two hundred shoemakers; but these three
occupations employing sixty-one thousand, five hundred individuals, do
not, probably, include more than one fourth of the craftsmen in the
city; allowing this to be the fact, the whole number of mechanics will
amount to two hundred and forty-six thousand; these, we suppose, are a
fourth part of the whole population, exclusive of those who live on the
rivers. In each of the eighty-four thousand boats, there are not less,
on an average, than three individuals; making a total of two hundred
and forty-two thousand; if to them we add two hundred and forty-six
thousand, (which is the number of mechanics,) the amount will be one
million, two hundred and thirty-six thousand, as the probable number of
inhabitants in Canton.

This number may possibly be incorrect; no one, however, who has had an
opportunity of passing through the streets of the city, and viewing the
multitudes that throng them, will think the estimate below one million.

It only remains to remark, briefly, in conclusion, the influence which
Canton is exerting on the character and destinies of this empire.
Intelligent natives admit that more luxury, dissipation, and crime,
exist here, than in any other portion of the empire; they maintain,
at the same time, that more enterprise, enlarged views, and general
information, prevail among the higher class of the inhabitants of
Canton, than are found in most of the other large cities; the bad
qualities are the result of a thrifty commerce acting on a large
population, in the absence of high moral principles; the good, which
exist in a very limited degree, result from an intercourse with
“distant barbarians.”

The contempt and hatred which the Chinese have often exhibited towards
foreigners, and the indifference and disdain with which the nation
has looked down upon every thing not its own, ought to be thoroughly
reprobated; on the other hand, the feelings which foreigners have
cherished, and the disposition and conduct which they have too
frequently manifested towards this people, are such as never should
have existed. Notwithstanding all these disadvantages, we think the
intercourse between the Chinese and the people of the western world,
beneficial to the former; and hitherto this intercourse has been
purely commercial; science, literature, and all friendly and social
offices, have been disregarded. We trust fervently, that such a
period has departed, that men are beginning to feel they have moral
obligations to discharge, and that they are bound by the most sacred
ties to interest themselves in the intellectual, moral, and religious
improvement of their various brethren in the distant nations of the



Among the _exports_ and _imports to_ and _from China_, are certain
articles, which are not generally known to merchants not engaged in
commerce to the eastward of the cape of Good Hope, among which are:--

_Agar-agar_: this article is a species of seaweed, imported from New
Holland, New Guinea, &c. It makes a valuable paste, and is extensively
used in the manufacture of silks and paper. It is also used as a
sweetmeat. There are several species of _fucus_ imported, which are
eaten both in a crude state, and cooked, by the lower classes.

_Amomum_: these seeds have a strong pungent taste, and a penetrating
aromatic smell; they are used to season sweet dishes.

_Anise-seed stars_ are so called from the manner in which they grow;
they are used also, to season sweet dishes, have an aromatic taste, and
from them is extracted a volatile oil.

_Capoor cretchery_ is the root of a plant: it has a pungent and
bitterish taste, and a slightly aromatic smell. It is exported to
Bombay, and is used for medical purposes, and to preserve clothes.

_Coral_ is valuable according to the colour, density, and size of the
fragments: when made into buttons, it is used among the Chinese as an
insignia of office.

_Cutch_ or _Terra Japonica_ is a gummy resin, and is imported from
Bombay and Bengal.

_Gambier_ is similar to cutch, although the produce of two different
plants: it is chewed with areca-nut, and is used also in China, for
tanning; but it renders the leather porous and rotten.

_Galengal_ is used principally in cookery; it has a hot, acrid, peppery
taste, and an aromatic smell.

The Chinese weigh all articles which are bought and sold, that are
weighable; as _money_, _wood_, _vegetables_, _liquids_, &c. This
renders their dealings more simple than those of other nations,
who buy and sell commodities, with more reference to the articles
themselves. Their divisions of weights and measures are into _money_
and _commercial_ weights, and _long_, and _land_ measures, &c.

The circulating medium between foreigners and Chinese, is broken
Spanish dollars, the value of which is usually computed by their
weight. Dollars bearing the stamp of Ferdinand, have usually borne a
premium of one, to one and a half per cent., while those of Carolus
have risen as high as seven or eight per cent., but are subject to a
considerable variation, according to the season, and _different times_
of the season. Those coins bearing the stamp of the letter G, are not
received by the Chinese, except at a discount. Mexican and United
States’ dollars, do not pass among the Chinese, but are taken _at
par_, by foreigners: every individual coin has the mark of the person,
through whose hands it passes, stamped upon it.

As the number of these marks soon becomes very numerous, the coin
is quickly broken in pieces; and, this process of stamping being
continually repeated, the fragments gradually become very small, and
are paid away entirely by weight. The highest weight used in reckoning
money, is _tael_, (leang,) which is divided into _mace_, (tseen,)
_candareens_, (fun,) and _cash_, (le.) The relative value of these
terms, both among the Chinese, and in foreign money, can be seen by the
following table. It should be observed here, that these terms, _taels_,
_mace_, _candareens_, _cash_, _peculs_, and _catties_, _covids_,
_punts_, &c., are not Chinese words, and are never used by the Chinese
among themselves; and, the reason of their employment by foreigners,
instead of the legitimate terms, is difficult to conjecture.

                                Ounce  Grains
  Tael. Mace. Candareens. Cash. troy.  troy.  Sterling. Dollars.

    1    10      100      1000  1,208 579.84   6s. 8d. 1,389 _a_ 1,398
          1       10       100         57.984      8d.   138 _a_ 0,139
                   1                    5.7984     8d.

The value here given for the tael, in sterling money and dollars, is
not the exact value: and it is difficult to ascertain, owing to the
ignorance of the Chinese, of such money among other nations. The value
given to the tael in the sterling money, is that which is found on
the books of the East India company: that given to the dollar, is the
extremes of its value.

[Sidenote: COIN.]

The only coin of the Chinese, is called _cash_, (or _le_,) which is
made of six parts of copper, and four of lead. The coins are thin and
circular, and nearly an inch in diameter, having a square hole in the
centre, for the convenience of tying them together, with a raised edge,
both around the outside, and the hole. Those now in use, have the
name of the emperor stamped upon them, in whose reign they were cast.
Notwithstanding their little value, they are much adulterated with
spelter; yet, on account of their convenience in paying small sums, and
for common use, they generally bear a premium, and but eight hundred
and fifty can commonly be obtained for a tael. The use of silver coin,
however, appears to be increasing among the Chinese, as by recent
accounts, we learn that silver dollars have been made in Fuh-keen and
other places, contrary to the laws of the empire.

Bullion is rated by its fineness, which is expressed by dividing the
weight into a hundred parts, called touches. If gold is said to be
ninety-four or ninety-eight touches, it is known to have one or two
parts of alloy; the remainder is pure silver metal; is estimated in the
same manner; and without alloy or nearly so, is called sycee, which
bears a premium according to its purity; the most pure sycees are equal
in fineness to the _plata-pina_ of Peru, which is now principally
imported by vessels of the United States, engaged in commerce to
the Spanish ports on the Pacific. It is cast into ingots, (by the
Chinese, called shoes, from their shape,) stamped with the mark of the
office that issued them, and the date of their emission. It is used
to pay government taxes and duties, and the salaries of officers. The
ingots weigh from one half, to one hundred taels, and bear a value
accordingly. _Sycee_ silver is the only approach among the Chinese to
a silver currency; gold ingots are made, weighing ten taels each, and
are worth between twenty two and twenty-three dollars; but neither
gold ingots, nor doubloons, nor any other gold coin, are used as money
among the Chinese. Great caution should be used in purchasing ingots or
bars of silver, as they are subject to many adulterations, and are not
unfrequently cast hollow, and filled with lead, to complete the weight.
In fact, every species of fraud is practised by the dealers in bullion.

The only weights in use among the Chinese, besides those of money, are
the _pecul_, (tan,) _catty_, (kin,) and _tael_, (leang.) The proportion
these bear to each other, and to English weights, is exhibited in the
following table:--

  Pecul.  Catties.  Taels.  Lbs. avoir.    Cat.   Lbs. troy.
    1       100      1600     133½      1.0.21⅓
              1        16       1⅓

Usage has established a difference between the tael of commercial
weights, which, at the rate of one hundred and thirty-three and a third
pounds to the pecul, weighs five hundred and eighty-three and a half
troy grains, and the tael of money weight, of which the old standard
is 579.84 grains troy. By the above table, it appears, that one ton
is equal to sixteen peculs, and eighty catties; one hundred weight
to eighty-four catties; one pound, avoirdupois to three fourths of
a catty, or twelve taels. The Portuguese at Macao, have a pecul for
weighing cotton, and valuable articles; a second for coarse goods; and
again, a different one for rice. But the Chinese, among themselves,
know no difference, either in the weight of a pecul for different
articles, or in the tael, whether used for money or goods.

The principal measures in use among the Chinese, are three; namely,
long measure, land measure, and dry measure.

The principal measure of length, is the _covid_, (chih,) which is
divided into ten _punts_, (tsun.) The _covid_ varies considerably,
according as it is used for measuring cloths, distances, or vessels.
That determined upon by the mathematical tribunal, is 13.125 English
inches; that used by tradesmen, at Canton, is about 14.625 inches; the
one by which distances are usually rated, is nearly 12.1 inches, and
that employed by engineers, for public works, 12.7 inches. The _le_
or mile, is also an uncertain measure, varying more than the covid
or foot. Its common measure is three hundred, sixteen, and a quarter
fathoms, or one thousand, eight hundred, ninety-seven and a half
English feet; it is the usual term, in which length is estimated. The
Chinese reckon one hundred, ninety-two and a half _le_, for a degree
of latitude and longitude; but the Jesuits divided the degree into two
hundred and fifty _le_, each _le_ being one thousand eight hundred
and twenty-six English feet, or the tenth part of a French league,
which is the established measure at present. A _le_, according to this
measurement, is a little more than one third of an English mile.

_Land measure_ has also varied considerably, but is at present
established by authority. By this rule, one thousand, two hundred
covids make an acre or _more_, which contains about six thousand, six
hundred square feet.

Rice, or paddy, is the only article measured in vessels the dimensions
of which have been fixed by law or usage; but as even rice and paddy
are usually weighed when sold in large quantities, the vessels for
measuring these commodities are but little used.

To perform these calculations, the Chinese have an arithmetical board,
or abacus, called _swan-pan_, or “_counting-board_,” on which, by
constant practice, they will perform calculations in numbers with
surprising facility. It consists of an oblong frame of wood, having a
bar running lengthwise about two thirds of its width from one side.
Through this bar, at right angles, are inserted a number of parallel
wires, having moveable balls on them, five on one side, and two on the
other. The principle on which computations are made, is this; that
any ball in the larger compartment, being placed against the bar and
called unity, decreases or increases by tenths, hundredths, &c.; and
the corresponding balls in the smaller divisions, by fifths, fiftieths,
&c.: if one in the smaller compartment is placed against the middle
bar, the opposite unit or integer, which may be any one of the digits,
is multiplied by five.

[Sidenote: OPIUM.]

Having heretofore cursorily alluded to the vast sum annually expended
in the importation of opium, I now proceed to give a more particular
statement concerning the trade, the number of smokers, &c., &c.
The opium-trade, which scarcely attracted the notice of merchants
previously to the year 1816, has now swollen into great importance, by
the rapid and extensive sale of one of the most destructive narcotics
which the world ever knew, and which is used in China as a pernicious
indulgence, by smoking. The government has passed the most rigorous
laws to prevent its importation and use, but as the officers of the
revenue boats, from Linting and Cap-shuy-moon to Canton, are bribed,
and receive a stipulated fee on every chest of opium, and every other
article illegally imported, smuggling is no longer fraught with any
material risk, and has at length assumed the appearance of a regular
branch of commerce. Once in two or three years, the Chinese admiral is
ordered to proceed to the smuggling depots at the island of Linting,
(alias Ling-ting) the “Solitary Vail,” or the “Destitute Orphan,” or
to Cap-sin-moon, alias, Cap-shuy-moon, or the “Swift water passage,”
and exterminate the “foreign barbarians.” He goes down in formidable
array, with an immense number of flags flying; and the sound proceeding
from an endless number of great gongs and other noisy instruments,
is heard, with a favourable wind, long before his fleet “heaves in
sight;” the smugglers are previously informed of his coming, (for
public notice is given many weeks, perhaps months, before he arrives;)
the imperial fleet is then hove to, at a safe distance, far beyond the
reach of cannon-shot, from three to five miles; the gongs are then
beaten with the utmost fury, the trumpets blown, and the thousands
of warriors shout and bellow with loud vociferations, to frighten
away the monsters, and a cannon-shot or two is fired, perhaps; the
“_barbarians_” then get under way very leisurely with a topsail or two
bent, and proceed towards the Ladrone, or Rogues islands, called by the
Chinese “Low man-shan,” or the “old ten thousand hills;” this satisfies
the commander, who returns back, and sounds far and wide, his valorous
deeds in _alms_, (arms,) (for he is one of the beggars who asks a
douceur.) Forthwith a courier is despatched to the imperial court,
announcing, that the Fankwai, or “Foreign white devils” are blown into
“ten thousand atoms,” and that their carcasses have been given to the
fish, and to birds of prey. As soon as the Chinese fleet “about ship”
to return, which is done immediately if possible, down drop the anchors
of the “Fankwai,” the sails are unbent, the smuggling boats are laden
again as usual; and thus ends this ridiculous farce.

To show the destructive tendency of this trade in every point of view,
to the Chinese empire, a statement is herewith presented, setting forth
the alarming increase of the imports from 1817, to 1833:

In the season ending in 1817, three thousand, two hundred and ten
chests of Patna, Benares, and Malva opium, containing one hundred
and five catties, or one hundred and forty pounds each chest, were
imported, which sold for the sum of three millions, six hundred and
fifty-seven thousand dollars: in the season ending in 1833, fifteen
thousand six hundred and sixty-two chests from India were imported,
which sold for thirteen millions, seven hundred and fifty-seven
thousand, two hundred and ninety dollars; the whole value of the known
importations during the time named, being seventeen years only, was
the enormous sum of one hundred and fifty millions, one hundred and
thirty four thousand, six hundred and sixty-eight dollars: the number
of smokers, allowing three candareens of 17.40 grains troy, per day
to each, had increased from about one hundred thousand, to about one
million, four hundred and seventy-five thousand, seven hundred and
twenty-six. If to the quantity already stated, there is added the
importation of Turkey opium, of which we have no regular account, as
well as the quantity smuggled by Chinese junks from Singapore, &c.,
all of which may be fairly estimated at one third more; the number of
chests imported in the year 1833, would be about twenty-one thousand,
which probably sold for the sum of twenty millions of dollars: the
number of smokers may be estimated at nearly two millions. The crude
opium undergoes a very expensive process by boiling, or seething and
straining, not less than twice, before it is fit for use; it is then
made into small pills, or put into the pipe, in a semi-fluid state,
and taken off, at _two_ or _three whiffs_, the smoke being vented very
slowly through the nostrils, the recipient lying at the same time in a
recumbent posture. Although the Chinese are well aware of its baneful
effects, and that it is yearly draining the country of the value of
many millions of dollars, yet they say, “it is a Josh Pigeon,” (meaning
that God hath so decreed it,) and they cannot prevent it. A chest of
opium, which cost eight hundred dollars, is said to quadruple in price,
when prepared for use.

Opium is vended as openly as teas, by the foreign merchants; the
quantity disposed of, and on hand, and the average price, are printed
and published monthly, and are in the possession of every dealer;
and the chits, or orders given on the commanders of the ships, are
generally sold like scrip, to a great number of persons on speculation,
before the delivery is finally completed.

[Sidenote: OPIUM-SMOKERS.]

The tremendous and horrible effects upon the personal appearance of
its votaries, may be seen daily, about the suburbs of Canton, and of
all the pitiable objects the eye ever saw, a confirmed opium-smoker is
apparently the most degraded and worthless. When he has once passed the
Rubicon, reformation seems to be impossible, the sting of death which
is sin, has seized upon him, his feet are already within the precincts
of the grave, and he has sunk like Lucifer, “never to rise again.”
When the effect has subsided, an emaciated, nerveless wretch is seen,
with a cadaverous skin, eyeballs wildly protruding from their sockets,
the step faltering, the voice weak and feeble, and the countenance
idiotic; but when an opium-smoker lies under the baneful influence of
the narcotic, the images which flit before his diseased imagination,
are exquisite, brilliant, heavenly: it is the Nepenthé, prepared by the
hands of the fair Helen, which so exhilarated the spirits of all who
had the happiness to partake of it, that all care was banished for the
time being, from their benighted recollections.


The Mantchou historians have endeavoured to conceal their very modern
rise as a kingdom, by veiling their origin in fables, and deducing
their descent from a divinity; through these fables, however, it is not
difficult to ascertain with a considerable degree of accuracy, their
real descent. Their nation is evidently formed by the union of several
Toungouse tribes, occupying the country, to the north of Corea, and on
the banks of the river Amour. These tribes had by their former unions
rendered themselves formidable to their neighbours; and in the time of
the Sung dynasty, from A.D. 960 to 1278, had, under the Chinese name
of the Kin, or golden dynasty, answering to the Mantchou name Aisin,
subdued several northern districts of China. Their farther progress
was interrupted by the Mongols, under Agodai Khan, grandson of Genghis
Khan, who, in the thirteenth century, destroyed both the Sung dynasty,
and its enemies, and founded the Yuen dynasty. The kingdom of Kin, or
Aisin, being thus destroyed, its tribes returned to their original
country, where they continued more or less independent of each other,
and of their Mongol conquerors. Among the chiefs of their tribes,
was one Aisin Keolo, or Gioro, whom the Mantchous make the son of a
divine virgin, who became pregnant of him by eating a fruit, brought
to her in the bill of a magpie. This Aisin Gioro, at first, ruled over
three tribes; but subsequently, others submitted to him, and he became
king of a nation, to which he gave the name of Mantchou, or Manchow,
which signifies “the full or well-peopled country.” At this point,
the thread of Mantchou history is broken, and even names disappear
for three or four generations; nor is the history resumed, till the
close of the sixteenth century, when the chief, who then governed the
Mantchous, incensed at the murder of his father, and grandfather, by
a tribe which had revolted from them, and become confederate with
the Chinese dynasty of Ming, began to wage war against the latter.
After thirty-three years, he had gained such power, and ruled over so
many tribes, as well Mantchou as Mongol, that in the year 1616, he
took the title of emperor, and adopted “Teenming, Heaven’s decree,”
as his Kwo-haou or title. Previous to this event, in the year 1599,
he appointed persons to form an alphabet for the use of his people,
for, up to that period, the Mantchous possessed no written language.
The alphabet which they adopted, was derived from, and improved upon
the Ouigour and Mongol alphabets, the Mongol being a modification of
the Ouigour, a derivative of the Syriac. During the rest of his reign,
which continued eleven years longer, Teenming was at constant war with
the Chinese, and dying, left the throne to his eighth son, who first
adopted the title of Teentsung, which he retained for nine years, and
then that of Tsungtih, which continued till his death in 1643; though
not of so warlike a disposition as his father, he continued the war
during the whole of his reign; owing to the dissensions which prevailed
among the Chinese princes of the Ming dynasty, and the numerous
revolts, which took place throughout the empire, he was enabled with
little trouble, to take possession of Peking, the capital, and to found
a new dynasty in China.

This monarch died while yet on the field of victory, leaving the throne
to his ninth son, a child of six years old, to whom was given, the
title of Kwohaou of Shunche. The young monarch was, immediately after
his father’s death, carried into the city of Peking, and proclaimed
emperor, amid the acclamations of the people. His reign, and the
commencement of the Mantchou or Ya-tsing dynasty, dated from the year

When about fourteen years of age, one of the regents dying, and some
dispute arising, as to who should take his place, Shunche laid aside
his minority, and assumed all the functions of imperial power. He made
few alterations in the old system of government, being fully occupied
in strengthening the dominion, which had been obtained for him; for
many Chinese princes still possessed parts of the empire, and assumed
the imperial title.

The last of these named Yungleih, was not slain, till the closing year
of Shunche’s reign, nor did his death put an end to all fears, for
Chingchingkung, known to Europeans, under the name of Koxinga, still
hovered about the coast, with a large fleet.

At Shunche’s death, in the year 1661, his third son succeeded to the
throne, at the age of eight years, a regency of four chief ministers
being appointed to govern during his minority. The new monarch’s
Kwo-haou was Kanghe.

Soon after Kanghe’s accession, the regency compelled all the
inhabitants of the maritime districts throughout China to retire thirty
Chinese miles from the east; by which means the power of Koxinga was
much weakened; but at the same time a great number of families were
reduced to want. In the 12th year of his reign, 1673, there was a
general revolt of the Chinese princes, who were yet living, but from
their dissensions and petty jealousies among themselves, they were
unable to effect any thing. It was not, however, till 1681, that they
were finally subdued. In the following year, 1682, the western part of
Formosa was wrested from the grandson of Koxinga, and has since that
time remained in the hands of the Chinese.

The conquest of China being firmly established, Kanghe was now able
to turn his attention to his own country, which he visited, attended
by his whole court and an army of sixty thousand men. He also sent
ambassadors to the frontiers, to settle with the Russians the limits of
the two empires--nor did he confine himself to the possessions already
obtained, but under pretence of assisting the Mongols, many of whom had
become tributary to the Mantchou monarchs, previously to the conquest
of China, he extended his possessions northeastward, into the country
of the Soungarians, whom, as well as some of the tribes of Turkestan
and of Thibet, he entirely subdued.

After a long and glorious reign of sixty-one years, Kanghe died in
1722, in the sixty-ninth year of his age, leaving the succession to
his fourth son; but his fourteenth son taking advantage of his elder
brother’s absence from the capital, seized on the billet of succession,
and having changed the number four to fourteen, assumed the throne and
the Kwo-haou of Yung-ching.

Yung-ching’s reign is chiefly remarkable for his persecution of the
Roman Catholic missionaries, most of whom were sent out of the country.
He showed neither the literary nor the military talents displayed by
his father, Kanghe, and by his son and successor Keentung; but he was
attentive to the business of the government, and to the people. In the
fourth year of his reign, the treaty of peace, now existing between
the Russian and Chinese empires, was ratified. By this instrument, the
Russians, among other privileges, are permitted to have an academy
and church, with an archimandrite, three inferior priests, and six
scholars, at Pekin. The time fixed for their stay there is ten years.
Yung-ching reigned thirteen years, and died in the year 1735, leaving
the succession to his fourth son who took the Kwohaou or title of

Keentung’s reign produced many literary works, or rather compilations;
it is remarkable for some brilliant conquests in Eastern Tartary or
Turkestan and Thibet. The Soungarians having revolted, he entirely
annihilated them as a nation, and peopled their country with the
inhabitants of more peaceful districts and with Chinese.

On the south of Soungaria he extended his boundary beyond Cashgar,
and rendered several of the neighbouring tribes tributary. In the
fifty-eighth year of his reign, 1793-94, the first British embassy to
China under Lord Macartney, reached Peking. The war in Thibet being
brought to a happy conclusion about the same period, is supposed to
have had a bad effect on the interests of that embassy. Two years
afterward, Keentung, after a reign of sixty years, placed one of
his sons on the throne, with the Kwohaŏu of Keaking, and shortly
after died. Keaking ascended the throne in the thirty-sixth year of
his age. During his reign numerous insurrections occurred among the
Chinese, and much discontent existed throughout the empire. In the
year 1805-06, the tenth of Keaking’s reign, the Russian embassy under
Count Golovkin, failed in obtaining an interview with the emperor, in
consequence of refusing to submit to the Kotow, or ceremony of thrice
kneeling and nine times bowing the head to the ground. In the year
1816, the twenty-first year of his reign, the British embassy, under
Lord Amherst, was sent back from Peking, in a similar manner. During
the latter years of his life, Keaking was extremely indolent and
inattentive to government, being wholly devoted to the gratification of
his vicious desires. He died in August, 1820, in the sixty-first year
of his age, and the twenty-fifth of his reign.

Taoukwang is the Kwohaŏu of the reigning emperor, who succeeded to
his father Keaking in the thirty-ninth year of his age. The chief
occurrences which have taken place during his reign, are the revolts
in Turkestan or little Bukharia. In figure, Taoukwang is said to be
tall, thin, and of a dark complexion. He is of a generous disposition,
diligent, attentive to government and economical in his expenditures.
He has also avoided through life, the vices to which his younger
brothers are addicted.



The Chinese having a great horror of the word “_death_,” they
substitute in its place various periphrases, such as “absent,”
“rambling among the genii,” “he being sick, occasioned a vacancy,”
i. e., dead. The empress having died during the month of June, 1833,
an imperial mandate was published, stating that “her _departure took
place_ at four o’clock on the sixteenth of the month.” His majesty says
he was married to Tung-kea twenty-six years previously; that she was
the _principal person_ in the _middle harem_, that she was ever full
of tenderness, filial piety, and was most obedient--but being attacked
by an inveterate dysentery, she had taken the “long departure,” and
that it caused him much pain at the loss of his “domestic helper”--his
“interior assistant.” His majesty set forth her great virtues, ever
since she had been consort to _heaven_, (i. e. the emperor,) during the
thirteen years that she had held the relative situation of _earth_ to
imperial heaven. An edict was published at her death, ordering, that no
officer should have his head shaved during one hundred days, nor have
any marriage in his family during twenty-seven days, nor play on any
musical instrument during one year; and that the soldiers and people
should not shave their heads for one month, nor engage in marriages
during seven days, nor play on any musical instrument during one
hundred days.

Other marks of mourning, are the use of blue ink in the public offices
in the place of red, and the removal of the red fringe which usually
ornaments the Chinese caps.


The following is the translation of the “Order of rites observed in
receiving the imperial mandate, raising lamentation, and laying aside
the mourning clothes, on occasion of the grand ceremony following the
demise of an empress.” It was circulated in Canton as a supplement
to the daily court circular. When the imperial mandate, written on
yellow paper, comes down the river, an officer is immediately deputed
to receive and guard it at the imperial landing place. The master of
ceremonies leads the officer, and directs him to receive the mandate
with uplifted hands; land and deposite it safely in the _dragon dome_,
(a kind of carriage borne by sixteen or thirty-two men,) and spread it
out in proper form. The civil and military officers in plain dresses,
then kneel down in order, in the “Sunny-side pavillion,” and so remain
until the mandate has passed. When they have risen, the officer leads
the procession to the grand gate of the examination court; the civil
and military officers then first enter the “most public hall,” and
there kneel down, the civilians on the east side, and the military
on the west, until the dragon-dome has passed; after which they rise
and wait till the dome has entered the hall of the constellation
Kwei. In this hall an embroidered yellow curtain and incense-table,
must previously be prepared, and an officer be sent to receive, with
reverence, the imperial mandate and safely lay it on the table. When
this has been done all the officers enter; upon which the master of
ceremonies cries out: “Range yourselves in order, perform the ceremony
of thrice kneeling, and nine times knocking the head.” He then requests
to have the mandate read aloud; and the public official reader raises
up the mandate to read it.

_Master of Ceremonies._ “Officers--all kneel--hear the proclamation
read--(and when the reading is concluded he continues)--rise--raise
lamentation.” The officers do so accordingly. After the lamentation,
the reader places the mandate on the yellow table, and the master of
ceremonies calls out: “Deliver the imperial mandate.” An officer is
then sent to the yellow table, who raises up the mandate, and delivers
it to the governor, kneeling. The governor having received it, rises,
and delivers it to the Poo-ching-sze, also kneeling; the latter
officer in turn rises, and delivers it to his chief clerk, likewise
kneeling. The clerk rises and takes it to the hall of Tsze-wei, (in the
Poo-ching-sze’s office,) to be printed on yellow paper.

_Master of Ceremonies._ “Officers--all put on mourning dresses.” The
officers then retire; when they have changed their dresses, the
master of ceremonies leads them back, and gives the order: “Arrange
yourselves, thrice kneel and nine times knock head--rise--raise
lamentation--(after lamentation)--eat.” The officers then go out to the
hall of abstinence, where they eat a little, the civil and military
each taking their respective sides. The master of ceremonies then
cries: “Retire.” They retire to the “public place,” and in the evening
reassemble, and perform the same ceremonies. At night, they sleep in
the public place, separate from their families. The same ceremonies are
performed in the morning and evening of the two following days, after
which the officers return to their ordinary duties.

When the mandate has been copied, an officer is sent with it to the
hall of the constellation Kwei, to place it on the yellow table, and
another is sent to burn incense and keep respectful charge of it for
twenty-seven days; after which it is delivered to the Poo-ching-sze,
and sent back to the board of rites. On the twenty-seventh day,
the officers assemble as before, and, after the same ceremonies of
lamentation have been gone through, the master of ceremonies gives the
order: “Take off mourning--put on plain clothes--remove the table of
incense.” All then return home and the mourning ceremonies are at an

The population contained in the eighteen provinces of the Chinese
empire, according to the census taken in the eighteenth year of the
emperor Keenlung, (corresponding to the year 1812,) amounted to three
hundred and sixty-one millions, six hundred and ninety-eight thousand,
eight hundred and seventy-nine souls. This statement is taken from
a work called the “Ta-tsing-hwny-teen,” a collection of statutes of
the “Ta-tsing dynasty,” published by government, in sixteen duodecimo
volumes, for the use of its own officers; it furnishes the data on
which the government acts in levying taxes, &c. All the people are
included excepting, we believe, those who are employed in the civil
and military service of the emperor. The mode of taking the census
is very minute and particular; every province is divided into _foos_
and _chows_; these are subdivided into _heens_; from the _heen_ the
sub-division is carried down to the _kea_, which consists of only ten
families. Ten _keas_ make a _paou_, or neighbourhood of _one hundred_
families, which has a headman or constable, whose duty it is to watch
over the whole; and among other things, to keep a list of all the
families and individuals within his jurisdiction; it is also the duty
of this constable to report the names of those within his limits to the
chief officer of the heen; who reports to the chief officer foo; he
again to the treasurer of the province; who in his turn, annually, on
the tenth moon, reports to the board of revenue at Peking. Such is the
division and the order required by the laws of the land. This system
certainly enables the government to know, and to state accurately, the
number of individuals, not only in every province, but in any given
district of each or any one of the provinces.

The Chinese empire having remained undisturbed by wars, or by internal
commotions of much importance, for more than one hundred and twenty
years, an accumulation has taken place on a comparatively small spot,
of a moiety of all the human beings which are now in existence. On a
first view of this immense, this incomprehensible number of living
beings, we can scarcely believe the evidence of our senses or conceive
how it is possible that sustenance can be procured for such an
assemblage; but when we have ascertained that the country is nearly
destitute of flocks and herds, that the ground is almost exclusively
appropriated to the feeding and clothing of its inhabitants, that
there are a less number of souls, by seventy to the square mile, than
is found in the dutchy of Lucca, and but five more in the same space
than in the Netherlands, which contains two hundred and seventy-five,
our wonder in a great degree ceases, and we are compelled to believe
that the Chinese government has published as accurate a statement
of its population as any European government, or that of the United
States: nor can we conceive what object the government can have in
deceiving its own subjects, for the work is evidently not published
for the use of curious inquirers abroad. It is also well known, that
the inhabitants live in the most frugal manner, that a bowl of rice
with a few vegetables, or perhaps a little fish or fowl, which is very
abundant, is the entire provision of multitudes.

Large portions of the country yield two crops annually, and those
generally very abundant; the inhabitants also obtain provisions
from the Persian gulf to the bay of Bengal, from Burmah, Siam and
Cochin-China, and from every important island throughout the great
Indian Archipelago. Every animal and vegetable substance is also an
edible with one class or other of the people. Large quantities of
vegetable produce, which in any other country would be devoured by the
flocks and herds, are here consumed by human beings. If we regard the
produce of the soil, and the manner in which the people live, we have
strong presumptive evidence of a very numerous population.


The Chinese of the present day are grossly superstitious; they offer
sacrifices to the manes of deceased relatives and friends, and emblems
of money and clothes are consumed on the supposition that a substantial
benefit will be transferred to the individual in the world of spirits.

In their habits they are most depraved and vicious; gambling is
universal and is carried to a most ruinous and criminal extent;
they use the most pernicious drugs as well as the most intoxicating
liquors to produce intoxication; they are also gross gluttons; every
thing that runs, walks, creeps, flies, or swims, in fact, every thing
that will supply the place of food, whether of the sea, or the land,
and articles most disgusting to other people, are by them greedily
devoured. The government has a code of laws, written in blood; the
most horrid tortures are used to force confessions, and the judges are
noted for being grossly corrupt; the variety and ingenuity displayed in
prolonging the tortures of miserable criminals who are finally intended
to be deprived of life, can only be conceived by a people refined in
cruelty, blood-thirsty, and inhuman.

Ancient Chinese books in speaking of their character, say: “Their
natural disposition is light and ostentatious, fond of talk, artfully
specious, with little truth or sincerity--the people of Canton are
silly, light, weak in body and in mind, and without any ability to
fight. The Chinese believe in sorcery and demons, and lay stress on
a multiplicity of sacrifices--they have tattooed bodies, and short
hair.” Of these ancient features of their character, they still retain
a fondness of talk, are specious, crafty and insincere; their timidity
and weakness, also still remain; they believe in sorcery and demons,
and lay stress on a multiplicity of sacrifices. Sir Thomas Herbert in
his quaint language, says: “The Chinese are no quarrellers, albeit
voluptuous, costly in their sports, great gamesters, and in trading,
too subtle for young merchants; oft-times so wedded to deceiving, that
after they have lost their whole estate, wife and children are staked;
yet in a little time, Jewlike, by gleaning here and there, they are
able to redeem their loss; and if not at the promised day, wife and
children are then sold in the market.” The Chinese settlers throughout
the Indian Archipelago, are described as being at once enterprising,
keen, laborious, luxurious, sensual, debauched, and pusillanimous; they
are generally engaged in trade, in which they are equally speculative,
expert, and judicious. Their superior intelligence and activity have
placed in their hands the management of the public revenue, in almost
every country of the Archipelago, whether ruled by native or European:
the traffic of the Archipelago, with the surrounding foreign states, is
almost wholly conducted by them.

There is scarcely a government gazette published at Peking; almost
daily, placards are posted at the principal places about Canton and
its suburbs, giving accounts of murders, and insurrections, robberies,
shocking and unnatural crimes of kidnapping, infanticides, suicides,
and of all the beastly and unnatural crimes of which the world ever
heard or read. The various modes of punishment resorted to by the
government, and the unequal distribution of justice, are revolting to
humanity, and most disgusting and loathsome in the recital. I will
relate one case to show, that, in modern times, the Chinese are not
less refined in their cruelties, than when Ta-he, the queen of Chow,
among many other horrible inventions, caused brazen rollers to be
heated, and then smeared with an unctuous matter, so that she might
have the supreme pleasure of seeing miserable culprits, fruitlessly
endeavouring to pass this burning bridge, and continually slipping into
a tremendous fire, there to meet with a death horrible in the extreme.
The case to which I have alluded, took place in the year 1813, when the
emperor of China convicted a eunuch of being concerned in a treasonable
conspiracy. The victim had been a favourite servant of the emperor’s
father, Keen-lung, who had conferred upon him many favours. The poor
wretch was bound round with cords and canvass, to which was added a
quantity of tallow and other combustible matter, so as to convert him
into a _gigantic candle_, and he was slowly consumed at his father’s
grave: the wretched being died in tortures the most excruciating that
imagination can conceive!


As our departure from hence will be for the kingdoms of Cochin-China,
and Siam, to effect suitable commercial treaties with those countries,
and as similar court ceremonies are there used as at the court of
Pekin, I herewith present a memoir, written by a most worthy and highly
respectable clergyman, the Reverend Doctor Morrison of Canton, upon
the subject of court ceremonies, observed from the lower to the higher
dignitaries throughout the Chinese empire, from the simple joining of
the hands and raising them before the breast, to the climax of all that
is debasing, the ceremony called the _San-kwei-kew-kow_, or “kneeling
three different times, and at each time knocking the head thrice
against the ground.”--“What are called ceremonies, sometimes affect
materially the idea of equality. They are not always mere forms, but
revelations of a language, as intelligible as words. Some ceremonies
are perfectly indifferent, as whether the form of salutation be taking
off the hat and bowing the head, or keeping it on and bowing it low,
with the hands folded below the breast; these, the one English, and
the other Chinese, are equally good. There is, however, a difference
of submission and devotedness, expressed by different postures of the
body; and some nations feel an almost instinctive reluctance to the
stronger expression of submission. Standing and bending the head,
for instance, are less than kneeling on one knee, that is less so
than kneeling on both knees; and the latter posture less humiliating
than kneeling on two knees, and putting the hands and forehead to the
ground; doing this once, is, in the apprehension of the Chinese, less
than doing it three, six, or nine times.

“Waiving the question, whether it be proper for one human being to
use such strong expressions of submission to another or not; when
any, even the strongest of these forms are reciprocal, they do not
destroy the idea of equality, or of mutual independence; if they are
not reciprocally performed, the last of the forms expresses in the
strongest manner, the submission and homage of one person or state to
another; and, in this light, the Tartar family, now on the throne of
China, consider the ceremony called _San-kwei-kew-kow_ thrice kneeling,
and nine times beating the head against the ground. Those nations of
Europe who consider themselves tributary and yielding homage to China,
should perform the Tartar ceremony; those who do not so consider
themselves, should not perform it. The English ambassador, Macartney,
appears to have understood correctly the meaning of the ceremony, and
proposed the only alternative which could enable him to perform it;
viz., a Chinese of equal rank performing it to the king of England’s

“Perhaps a promise from the Chinese court, that should an ambassador
ever go from thence to England, he would perform it in the king’s
presence, might have enabled him to do it. These remarks will probably
convince the reader that the English government acts as every civilized
government ought to act, when she endeavours to cultivate a good
understanding, and liberal intercourse with China, while, using those
endeavours, she never contemplates yielding homage, and wisely refuses
to perform by her ambassador, that ceremony which is the expression of

“The lowest form by which respect is shown in China at this day, is
_kung-show_, that is, joining the hands and raising them before the
breast. The next is _tsa-yih_, that is, bowing low with the hands
joined. The third is _ta-tseen_, bending the knee as if about to kneel.
The fourth is _kwei_, to kneel. The fifth is _ko-tow_, kneeling and
striking the head against the ground. The sixth, _san-kow_, striking
the head three times against the earth before rising from the knees.
The seventh, _luh-kow_, that is, kneeling and striking the forehead
three times; rising on the feet, kneeling down again, and striking the
head, again, three times on the earth. The climax is closed by the
_sun-kwei-kew-kow_, kneeling three different times, and at each time
knocking the head thrice against the ground. Some of the gods of China
are entitled only to the _san-kow_; others to the _luh-kow_; the _teen_
(heaven) and the emperor, are worshipped with the _san-kwei-kew-kow_.”

[Sidenote: BEGGARS.]

_Beggars_ are licensed by the government, confined within particular
districts, and are under the control of certain officers. If any are
found wandering beyond their designated limits, they are liable to
be punished by the officer who has charge over them; in addition to
this, they seldom escape being severely beaten by the mendicants whose
district they invade. They are all registered, and receive a small
monthly allowance of rice, which, together with the alms they obtain,
barely suffices to keep them from starving. Great numbers die in the
streets, in the winter, from cold and want of food, and are buried
at the public expense. A beggar is seldom forcibly driven away from
a door; for, should that occur, a complaint would be instantly made
to the proper officer, and the offender would be punished, or be
_squeezed_, as the Chinese term it, or mulct in a heavy fine. On the
28th November, 1832, public notice was given, for the beggars of a
certain district, to assemble in front of the foreign factories, “upon
important measures, touching the interests of the fraternity.” It was
stated, that certain impostors, from other districts, had been guilty
of the great crime of begging within their limits; and it was therefore
necessary that the name of each person should be ascertained, that
he might be brought before the proper officer for punishment, and be
driven into his own proper district. Great numbers assembled, toward
sunset, after the regular begging hours were over. I had the curiosity
to visit this _horrible_ group of unfortunates for a few moments, and
the recollection of the scene can never be effaced from my memory. The
blind, halt, and lame, were there, of all ages and of both sexes; a
more motley group, or a more disgusting spectacle, was never before
seen. They were squalid and ragged, filthy, and covered with vermin.
Many a blind Bartelmy, and many a Lazarus, were lying there, literally
covered with sores. I returned home, sincerely thanking God that I was
not thus wretched, and that I stood in no need of a temporal physician
to cure me of any loathsome disease.

Blindness is a very common misfortune in China; it is said to be caused
generally by depriving the head of almost its entire natural covering,
by being closely shaven, and using no effectual guard to protect it
from the extremes of the weather: none wear turbans, and but few hats
or umbrellas; slight paper fans being in general use. We were informed,
that many a child was made blind by the use of caustic, applied by its
parents, or by those who purchased it, for the purpose of exciting
compassion, in order to increase their gains in the practice of
soliciting alms. There are few sights so ridiculously amusing, in the
suburbs of Canton, as these untiring vagabonds: they are an excessive
annoyance to shop-keepers: a stranger cannot walk without seeing a
number of them assembled in the shop of some obstinate fellow, who
apparently seems determined to tire them out.

I have frequently seen from three to six assembled, some sitting in the
doorway, some lying down, and others standing at the counter, each of
them beating most violently on two stout pieces of bamboo, and making a
most insufferable noise.

Occasionally, a whole family of “singing beggars” are met with, making
the most horrible discord, and singing at the very top of their voices;
the rough music from marrow-bones, cleavers, and frying-pans, is vastly
preferable to it. Again, others are seen, who are either more rich, or
possess greater privileges of annoyance, being allowed to carry all
sorts of musical instruments, viz.: a drum, secured to the waist; a
small gong, suspended from the neck; and a trumpet, in the mouth. Now
and then, a sturdy, self-willed shopman, would pay no attention to
the vile pest: forthwith a loud thump was given on the drum, then a
thundering noise from the gong, followed by a horrible blast from the
trumpet. It would provoke the risibles of a saint, to see the gravity
of countenance exhibited by both parties. The shopman, attending to his
goods, apparently unconscious of the presence of the other, while the
beggar is pursuing his vocation as though his very existence depended
upon his making such a noise, as would awake the seven sleepers of
Christendom. As no customer is willing to enter a shop where he cannot
be heard, the master is at length, most unwillingly, compelled to give
him one cash, (about the eight-hundredth part of a dollar;) if this
should not be perfect in every respect, it is returned, and a good
one absolutely _demanded_, or a repetition of all that is horrible in
discord, and all that is unbearable in vile sounds is repeated. So it
proceeds from early dawn to setting-sun: as fast as one beggar-customer
is gone, another and another make their appearance; but the donor can
expel them if they call oftener than once a day.


Near the entrance of Old China-street, between Minqua’s hong, and the
American hong of Messrs. Oliphant & Co., called, “Kwan yueng hang,” or,
“The factory of wide fountains,” (where I had the pleasure of spending
a couple of months,) there is the mart for the sale of cats and dogs.
The venders regularly meet, daily, from one to three, (_high-change
hours_ being about two.) Here may be seen, arranged along the pavement
in regular order, baskets and cages of these animals, the latter being
used for poor puss only, who seemed always to be out of place.

Being within a half dozen steps of the venders, I overlooked them
from the balcony, and saw their daily operations; and, as trifling
as it may seem to others, I acknowledge that I was much amused with
the examinations that the poor animals underwent. Poor puss, as a
sailor would say, was “thoroughly overhauled, from clue to ear-ring,”
to see if she was sound in health; if she had a handsome, smooth,
glossy coat, suitable for ornamenting some garment; if she was free
from “cow-licks,” or the hair growing the wrong way; if her limbs
were sound, and suitable for making penny whistles, and other small
articles; and if she was plump, well-fatted, fit for culinary purposes,
and not blown out by injecting air into the body: a common Chinese
trick, and which is not tolerated by _fair, grave merchants_. Young
she-cats were preferred for breeders, and commanded double the price of
tom-cats. The puppies (for there were but few full grown dogs offered
for sale) were likewise thoroughly examined, to ascertain if their
outward garment was in good condition--if they were fat, sleek, free
from a musky or strong smell, and fit to make a rich press-soup, of
which the Chinese are extravagantly fond; if their limbs were sound and
not distorted, and if they were the true Chinese breed of prick-eared
curs, having black palates and black tongues, with a well-curved
feathery tail. The sluts brought generally, I found, more than double
the price of the males. The pedigree (being an important matter always
in monarchical governments) was also particularly inquired into.

It may perhaps, by some, be thought that I have been unnecessarily
particular in making the above statements, in reference to an
insignificant portion of the brute creation; but, as I was anxious to
give every particular in reference to the internal, as well as external
commerce of China, the reader will perhaps excuse the detail given

I cannot take my leave of the canine species, without relating a
provoking loss which befel Dr. M. B--ghs, of Philadelphia, during my
stay in China. The gentleman had purchased, at a high price, a fine
pup, on Change, for the purpose of carrying it to the United States.
The dog being rather troublesome in running about the house, he told
a Chinese servant, who spoke English, to tie him up. The doctor went
out, as usual, in search of curiosities, such as rare birds, &c.,
which he skinned and prepared. On his return, he inquired of the
servant if he had tied up the dog and secured him. “Yez,” said he,
“hab done, hab done.” Well, said the doctor, where is he “Up loom,
up loom,” meaning up in the doctor’s room; for a China-man cannot
pronounce the letter _r_. He immediately ushered the way up stairs,
threw open the chamber-door suddenly, and exhibited the dog tied up,
but strangled, having hung him! “Can do? can do?” said he, with an air
perfectly unconscious of having done wrong. “Can do?” said the doctor,
echoing back his words in a tone which indicated any thing rather than
satisfaction, “I wish you were there tied up in his stead.”

In front of the foreign factories, there are assembled regularly, every
morning, at an early hour, the “Barbers,” with their basins and snug
seats, for the use of their customers. They wield a very short, clumsy
razor, having a round wooden handle, without a particle of superfluous
wood about it: the blade is two and a half inches long, one and a half
inches broad at the end, and tapering to less than half an inch toward
the handle; it is three eighths of an inch in thickness, for about an
inch and a half of its length; the handle is of wood, round, and three
eighths of an inch in diameter, and the length of the instrument is six

Strict economy is observed in shaving; water only being used to soften
the hair. The head is shaved, leaving only a long lock, which is
plaited or braided, and if the tail fails to reach the heels, it is
eked out with black riband. Generally speaking, all the hair is shaved
from the face, nose, and the _eye-lids_; for a China-man will always
have the full worth of his money, although he pays but three or four
cash (equal to about a half cent) to the operator; the eyebrows are
then adjusted, and the hair eradicated from the ears and nostrils with
tweezers; the nail and corn cutter is then resorted to, who repairs and
polishes the nails of the hands and feet: the China-man is in prime
order--a small scull-cap, or palm-leaf pointed hat, is then put on,
or he protects his head with an ordinary looking paper fan, having on
it some moral sentences. At ten and at four he goes to his dark hole,
where he exercises his “chop-sticks” with great dexterity, regaling
himself with rice and vegetables, deluged with the fat of pork, if he
can obtain it. A draught of water, and a dram of shewhing, (arrack,) a
pipe of tobacco, and a piece of areca-nut, place him at once among the
celestials; but if to these, a pipe or two of refined opium be added,
not that exquisite of all pleasures, in the opinion of the country
bumpkin, of swinging on a gate all day, and eating bountifully of
mush and molasses, can bear any comparison with this care-killing and
unparalleled pleasure.

Of all uncouth figures, that strut their little hour upon the stage
of life, a China-man is surely the most grotesque animal. A loose
shirt for his outer and principal garment--his bagging breeks, added
to his white slouching stockings, made of cotton cloth, filled with
wrinkles--his black cloth slippers, with a white sole half an inch
thick--his shaved head, with his long plaited cue, streaming out
when he runs, like a ship’s pennant in a brisk breeze--his elongated
and stupid eyes; a fan in one hand, and a long wooden pipe in the
other--his enormous spectacles, without bows, astride on the tip of his
nose, and his mouth upon the full gape, standing for hours in front of
the factory of “wide fountains,” looking at the fan-kweis, (the foreign
white devils,) present him as the most unprepossessing figure ever
beheld--the most awkward looking biped in the universe.

[Sidenote: SLAVERY.]

Chang-ling, the great hero of Cashgar, has memorialized his majesty,
and informed him, that, during the late attack of the rebels on that
city, they endeavored to inundate it by cutting a channel and entering
the course of the adjoining river; but the Lung-shin, (Dragon-god,)
who presides over rivers and seas, prevented the design from being
effected. For this “_divine manifestation_” in favour of the imperial
cause, the emperor has ordered a _new title_ to be given to the god, a
_new temple_ to be built, and a _new tablet_ to _adorn_ it. Slavery,
in China, presents its worst features; the children of the slaves are
born slaves; and the children of free masters enjoy their rights over
them throughout all generations. There have been cases in which the
masters have become poor, and allowed their slaves to go and provide
for themselves; they have become rich, but being again found by their
masters, the latter have seized all the property. There are slaves of
another class, who are not bought outright, but with the condition that
they may be redeemed. Good masters admit the claim, when made agreeably
to contract; but bad ones use every expedient to prevent the claim of



[Sidenote: CLIMATE.]

The coast of China being similarly situated to that of the United
States, having a vast continent stretching from the south and northwest
to the northeast, possesses a climate nearly of the same character and
temperature. From the gulf of Tung-hing to the vicinity of Canton, it
may well be compared to the coast stretching from the Mississippi to
North Carolina, and the coast extending from Canton to that of Tartary,
to the states from North Carolina to Maine.

The climate of Peking is salubrious, and like that of the middle and
northern states of the union. The water is frozen from December until
March. Violent storms occur in the spring; the heat in summer is great,
and the autumnal months of September, October and November are the most
pleasant part of the year. But my principal object is to delineate
the climate of Canton and Macao, which lie between the latitudes of
twenty-two and twenty-three north; the statement is copied from the
Canton Register. I have added thereto several tables of meteorological
averages. Canton is regarded by the Chinese, as one of the most
unhealthy portions of their country, yet it is a more healthy climate
than that of most other places, situated in the same degree of latitude.

The weather during the month of January, is dry, cold, and bracing,
differing but little, if at all, from the two preceding months,
November and December. The wind blows generally from the north,
occasionally inclining to northeast or northwest. Any change to
the south, causes considerable variation in the temperature of the

During the month of _February_ the thermometer continues low; but the
dry, bracing cold of the three preceding months is changed for a damp
and chilly atmosphere: the number of fine days is much diminished, and
cloudy or foggy weather of more frequent recurrence in February and
March than in any other months. At Macao, the fog is often so dense as
to render objects invisible at a few yards’ distance.

The weather in the month of _March_, as stated above, is damp and
foggy; but the temperature of the atmosphere becomes considerably
warmer. To preserve articles from damp, it is requisite to continue the
use of fires and closed rooms, which the heat of the atmosphere renders
very unpleasant. From this month the thermometer rises until July and
August, when the heat is at its maximum.

The thick fogs which begin to disappear towards the close of _March_,
are, in April, seldom if ever seen. The atmosphere, however, continues
damp, and rainy days are not unfrequent; the thermometer at the same
time, gradually rises, and the nearer approach of the sun, renders
its heat more perceptible. In this, and the following summer months,
southeasterly winds generally prevail.

In the month of _May_, summer is fully set in, and the heat,
particularly in Canton, is often oppressive; the more so from the
closeness of the atmosphere, the winds being usually light and
variable. This is the most rainy month in the year, averaging fifteen
days and a half of heavy rain; cloudy days, without rain, are, however,
of unfrequent occurrence; and one half of the month averages fine sunny

_June_ is also a very wet month, yet, taking the aggregate, the number
of rainy days is less than in the other summer months. The thermometer
in this month rises several degrees higher than in May, and falls
but little at night. It is this latter circumstance chiefly, which
occasions the exhaustion often felt in this country from the heat of

The month of _July_ is the hottest in the year, the thermometer
reaching eighty-eight in the shade, at noon, both at Canton and Macao.
This month is also subject to frequent heavy showers of rain, and, like
the month of August, to storms of thunder and lightning. The winds blow
almost unintermittingly from southeast or south.

In the month of _August_ the heat is generally as oppressive as in
July, and often more so, although the thermometer usually stands lower.
Towards the close of the month, the summer begins to break up, the wind
occasionally veering from southeast, to north and northwest. Typhoons
seldom occur earlier than this month or later than the end of September.

In _September_ the monsoon is generally broken up, and northerly winds
begin to blow, but with little alleviation of heat. This is the period
most exposed to the description of hurricanes called typhoons, the
range of which extends southward, over about one half of the Chinese
sea, but not far northward; they are most severe in the gulf of Tonquin.

Northerly winds prevail throughout the month of _October_, occasionally
veering to northeast or northwest; but the temperature of the
atmosphere is neither so cold nor dry as in the following months, nor
does the northerly wind blow so constantly, a few days of southerly
wind frequently intervening. The winter usually sets in with three or
four days of light drizzling rain.

_November_, and the following months, are the most pleasant in the
year, at least to the feelings of persons from more northern climes.
Though the thermometer is not often below forty, and seldom so low
as thirty, the cold of the Chinese winter is often very severe. Ice
often forms about one eighth of an inch thick; but this is usually in
December or January.

The months of _December_ and _January_ are remarkably free from rain;
the average fall, in each month, being under one inch; and the average
number of rainy days being only three and a half. On the whole, the
climate of Canton, but more especially of Macao, may be considered
superior to that of most other places situated between the tropics.

Tables of observations on the thermometer and barometer for the year
1831. The averages at Canton are taken from the Canton Register. The
averages at Macao, from a private diary, kept by Mr. Blettersnan.

  Column headings:

  ad: aver. noon.
  an: aver. night.
  h: highest.
  l: lowest.
  am: aver. 7 a. m.
  pm: aver. 2 p. m.
  mh: mean height.

        Table I.       Table II.       Table III.       Table IV.
        Thermometer at Thermometer at  Barometer at     Barometer at
        Canton.        Macao.          Canton.          Macao.
         ad  an  h  l |am  pm  h   l | mh     h     l  | mh     h     l
  Jan. |64  50  74  29|62  65  72  53|30.22 30.50 30.00|30.26 30.50 30.05
  Feb. |57  49  78  38|59  59  71  49|30.13 30.50 29.60|30.13 30.40 29.97
  March|72  60  82  44|66  69  77  55|30.17 30.50 29.95|30.20 30.48 30.05
  April|77  68  86  55|73  75  83  66|30.03 30.25 29.85|30.08 30.27 29.93
  May  |78  72  88  64|77  78  85  71|29.92 30.10 29.80|29.95 30.06 29.85
  June |85  79  90  74|82  84  89  74|29.88 30.00 29.75|29.92 30.00 29.85
  July |88  81  94  79|84  88  92  81|29.83 30.00 29.60|29.87 30.01 29.60
  Aug. |85  78  90  75|82  85  90  79|29.85 30.00 29.55|29.88 30.02 29.56
  Sept.|83  76  88  70|81  84  88  76|29.91 30.10 29.70|29.91 30.05 29.35
  Oct. |77  69  85  57|75  78  86  61|30.01 30.20 29.50|30.03 30.19 29.45
  Nov. |67  57  80  40|65  68  80  57|30.16 30.55 29.95|30.14 30.36 29.95
  Dec. |62  52  70  45|62  65  70  57|30.23 30.35 30.15|30.23 30.31 30.15

The average of rain is the mean of its fall at Macao, during sixteen
years, furnished by Mr. Beale. The number of rainy days and continuance
of winds, are the mean of four years at Canton, taken from the Canton

  Column headings:

  a: average.
  h: high.
  l: low.
  mq: mean quantity in inches.
  mn: mean number of rainy days.

       |Table V. | Table VI.|                     Table VII.
       |Hygrom.  |  Rain at |   Continuance of Winds at Canton, the
       |at Macao.|  Canton. |                mean of four years.
       |a  h  l  |  mq   mn |                 days.
       |         |          | N.   NE.   E.   SE.   S.  SW.  W.  NW.
  Jan. |76 95 46 | 0.6¾   3½|11    2     2¼   4    4    0½   0   7
  Feb. |82 96 76 | 1.7    7 |11    1½    2¼   5¼   1½   0¼   0   6¼
  March|78 97 30 | 2.1½   6 | 5¾   1¾    3¾  10¾   2½   0    0½  3
  April|81 95 50 | 5.6¾  10 | 6¼   1     4   14¾   1    0½   0   3½
  May  |81 95 57 |11.8½  15½| 4¾   2½    3½  16¼   1¼   0¼   0¼  2½
  June |80 95 70 |11.1    9 | 1¾   0¾    2   21¼   3    0¾   0   0½
  July |83 96 70 | 7.7½  10 | 1¼   1     1¾  21    3    1¾   0¼  1
  Aug. |84 97 70 | 9.9   12½| 3    2     3   18    1¼   0¼   0½  3
  Sept.|84 95 50 |10.9¼  10 |10⅜   4     3⅛   8¾   0    0    0   2¾
  Oct. |75 95 20 |  5.5   5 |12    3¼    3⅛   5⅞   1¾   0½   0⅛  5¾
  Nov. |61 96 20 | 2.4½   3 |23    0½    0⅜   1¼   1⅞   0    0   3
  Dec. |71 90 30 | 0.9¾   3½|18½   2⅞    1⅛   2    2¾   0    0⅛  3⅝

After remaining nearly two months at Canton, I took passage in a fine
cutter, under English colours, for Macao, via Linting, and anchored in
about twenty-four hours, within half a mile of the landing, at Pria
Grande. Immediately on our nearing the harbour, a race took place among
the amphibious damsels that inhabit the numerous sampans, tanka or
egg-boats, which always lie within a short distance of the shore. Whole
families inhabit them, and they are extremely encumbered with children,
and the various articles used by the family. Their length is from
twelve to eighteen feet, and the breadth is about one half the length.
They have oval, sliding roofs, made of bamboo or mats, in two or three
sections, which are extended occasionally the whole length of the
boat. The occupants are extremely poor and miserable; they wear slight
dresses, consisting of a long frock and trousers, of tan-coloured
cotton. Except when heavy gales prevail, they rarely sleep on shore.

[Sidenote: MACAO.]

The town of Macao presents a pretty appearance from the roadstead. A
spacious semi-circular bay is encompassed with hills, crowned with
forts, convents, churches, and private buildings: the houses being
kept well whitewashed, it gives the town quite a neat appearance. The
streets are generally narrow, but they are exceedingly so through the
Chinese bazar, &c., not exceeding, perhaps, six or eight feet. Most of
the houses are built in the Portuguese style; but the Chinese houses
are, with very few exceptions, dark, filthy, and uncomfortable. Macao
is the summer residence of the foreign merchants of Canton; and it
is reputed to be one of the most immoral places in the world. It is
a rocky peninsula, about eight English miles in circumference; its
greatest length is about three, and its breadth less than one mile.
It forms part of the island of Heong-shan-nne, and was renowned, long
before the Portuguese were settled there, for its safe and commodious
inner harbour, and a temple consecrated to Ama. This settlement was
formerly called Amangas, that is, the port of Ama; and first took the
name of A-macao; but, in time, the first letter was suppressed, and
the place has ever since been called Macao by the Portuguese, and Moon
by the Chinese. The Portuguese had _temporary_ abodes at this place,
for about twenty years, by giving bribes to the authorities to erect
huts, under the false pretext of drying damaged goods, until they were
expelled by mal-conduct, in 1558, from Ningpa and Chinchew, when they
induced the local officers of Macao, by their old system of bribery, to
erect permanent dwellings.


The population from that time, rapidly increased; a temporary
government was established, and a great influx of priests followed. In
the year 1573, the wall across the isthmus was erected by the Chinese
government, to prevent the _kidnapping of children_, as well as the
sale of them by their wretched parents to over-zealous missionaries,
who adopted every means, however infamous, to make converts to their
religion, and to prevent the ingress of the Chinese; but it has been
long disregarded by the latter. The wall is now in a ruinous state near
the bay, being partly broken down by the encroachment of the sea; but
still no foreigners are allowed to cross it; and all provisions must
come to the gate, where a market is still held at daybreak.

It was supposed by the world, that Portugal exercised sovereign
authority over Macao, till 1802, when a British military detachment
arrived and offered to defend it, in conjunction with the Portuguese,
against an apprehended attack from the French; knowing if they obtained
possession of it, the British commerce with Canton would be destroyed:
the Portuguese governor could not accept of their assistance, because
the Chinese authorities would not permit it. In 1808, although a
British force obtained possession of three forts, by the connivance
of the Macao government, the Chinese authorities ordered them to quit
their territories, or they would put a stop to the British trade at
Canton, and drive the Portuguese from Macao, for suffering foreign
troops to land there, without first obtaining permission of the
emperor. Macao, therefore, is still part of the Chinese empire. This is
acknowledged by the Portuguese, who still pay an annual ground-rent,
which has varied at different times, but is now limited to five hundred
taels. The Portuguese and Chinese are both governed by their respective
laws and officers; but in case of collision between two persons of
the different nations, the Chinese always dictate to the former in
what way the affair must be settled. For fifty or sixty years, the
Portuguese enjoyed the exclusive trade to China and Japan. In 1717,
and again in 1732, the Chinese government offered to make Macao the
emporium for all foreign trade, and to receive all duties on imports;
but, by a strange infatuation, the Portuguese government refused, and
its decline is dated from that period. In 1686, when all vessels of
the Chinese empire were prohibited from navigating the southern sea,
their shipping and commerce declined rapidly, till, in 1704, only two
ships remained, which could neither be manned nor fitted out. This
prohibition was, some time after, annulled. The vessels that belonged
to the port in 1832, consisted of only fifteen, (being ten less than
is allowed by the Chinese government;) their united tonnage being
four thousand five hundred and sixty-nine tons. In 1833, the number
had diminished to twelve. These vessels are principally chartered
for foreign ports by Chinese adventurers, the owners generally being
destitute of means to load them. The whole income from the customs, in
1830, was only sixty-nine thousand one hundred and thirty-eight taels;
and of this sum, thirty thousand one hundred and thirty-two taels were
paid on one thousand eight hundred and thirty-three and a half chests
of opium. The disbursements were: to the military, twenty-nine thousand
six hundred and twenty-two; civil servants, twenty-four thousand four
hundred and seventy; and to the church establishment, eight thousand
seven hundred and thirty. The extraordinary expenses were forty-six
thousand six hundred and twenty-nine, making a deficiency of about
forty thousand eight hundred taels, which must be supplied from Goa.
The population of Macao was estimated, in 1830, at four thousand six
hundred and twenty-eight, viz.: one thousand two hundred and two
white men; two thousand one hundred and forty-nine white women; three
hundred and fifty male slaves; seven hundred and seventy-nine female
slaves; and thirty-nine men, and one hundred and eighteen women, of
different castes, who are all Roman Catholics. The Chinese population
is estimated at thirty thousand. The European Portuguese consist of
only sixty-two persons.

Macao is walled on one side, and has six forts; twelve churches,
including the church and college of St. Joseph; five small chapels,
and one Budhist temple: without the walls are three additional
temples. There is one school, where children are taught to read and
write correct Portuguese, (for this language, as spoken at Macao, is
exceedingly corrupt;) and another, where the Portuguese and Latin
grammar are taught. These are supported by royal bounty. There are an
English opthalmic hospital, and a small museum.

I visited a _Budhist temple_, facing the inner harbour, situated in
the midst of a number of large rocks, trees being seen growing out of
their crevices. It was really composed of a number of small temples,
seated on terraces, communicating with each other by means of steps
cut out of the rock. All the buildings, wall, and steps, leading to
it, are of hewn granite, very neatly wrought, and having ornamental
work, finished in a masterly manner. This temple is a place of great
resort for mariners; and near the landing, are various offerings of
anchors, ropes, and spars. The devotees were constantly passing in
and out from the temple to the priests’ houses, seated in a court.
There were several priests in attendance, and others were lounging
about the altars, with some old women, who appeared to be attached
to the premises. This temple is called “_Neang-ma-ho_,” a temple of
the “Queen of heaven.” The origin of it is said to be this: A number
of Fokein fishermen were about sailing from that province, when a
lady made her appearance, and told them they would all be lost in a
storm, unless they deferred it for some days. They paid no heed to her
advice, (excepting the crew of one boat,) and they were all lost in
a “ta-fung-pao,” or “great tempest.” The lady embarked on board the
remaining boat, when the storm had subsided, and safely landed near to
the spot where the temple now is; from that moment she was never seen
again. She is esteemed as holy, and is invoked as the protectress of
all Chinese mariners.

[Sidenote: BIRDS.]

I here witnessed a piece of superstition, which reminded me of drawing
lots, or cards, or opening the Bible in search of a cheering text
of Scripture, which is practised by superstitious people, in some
_Christian_ countries, for _good luck_. It was this: Many Chinese, of
both sexes, drew from a box on an altar, after considerable hesitation,
a bamboo slip, having Chinese characters marked on the end; which, I
was informed, was done by every one before they undertook any great
enterprise, and often in the minor affairs of life. They were asking a
sign from the gods; their request was to be answered favourably or not,
by carrying the mark on the stick to the priest, and ascertaining what
the corresponding mark decided. I went down near to the priest’s house,
and saw many return with cheerful countenances, and a light, elastic
step, having received a favourable decision; while others walked out
very slowly and despondingly, as though good fortune and themselves had
for ever parted company. The view of the inner harbour, from this spot,
and the beautiful garden, in which is found the celebrated cave, as
it is called, of Camoens, (which, by the by, is no cave, but a narrow
passage between two very large masses of rock; and on their apex, is
placed a summer-house,) is highly picturesque. The garden is extensive,
and laid out in a picturesque style; most of the walks are chunamed,
and it is suffering by neglect. The ascent to the higher grounds is
steep; but I was amply repaid by the fine scenery which it disclosed.
I had the pleasure of seeing the celebrated aviary of Mr. Beale.
There, for the first time, I saw one of the several species of the bird
of Paradise; also the silver pheasant, mandarin ducks, and a great
variety of the rarest birds, all in a most thriving condition, and
under the immediate superintendence of their worthy owner.

Mr. John R. Morrison, son of the Rev. Dr. Morrison, here joined me,
for the purpose of acting in the capacity of Chinese translator,
interpreter, and private secretary, on the mission to Cochin-China and
Siam, and to return to China from Singapore.



After enduring several days of rainy and squally weather, we weighed
anchor, and proceeded towards Turan bay, on the northern coast of
Cochin-China, being the nearest and best point to hold communication
with the capital, called Hué, from which it is distant about fifty
miles; it being impossible to anchor off the bar of Hué during the
northeast monsoon. The weather during the passage, with the exception
of one day, was misty or rainy; and on the first day of January, 1833,
we found ourselves off the bay of Turan: but the weather was very
thick, with a heavy sea running, and the wind shifting nearly every
half hour, from northwest to northeast.


Finding it unsafe to run nearer to the land, we endeavoured to hold our
station, as well as we could, till the weather cleared up sufficiently
to see our way in; but it continued nearly the same till the fifth,
the wind remaining most of the time in the northwest quarter: daily we
lost ground, by contrary winds, and a strong current setting to the
southward and eastward along the coast. The very mountainous land about
the bay, was first lost sight of; in two or three days following, the
group of islands called Champella, or Cham Callao; afterward the island
of False Champella. Finding ourselves at length drifted down to Pulo
Cambir, and losing ground on every tack, we were under the unpleasant
necessity of bearing away for the most suitable and nearest harbour,
which was done at sunset on the fifth, calculating the distance to
the united harbours of Shundai, Vung-chao, and Vung-lam, (represented
by Horsburg to be very safe, and having sufficient depth of water,)
at one hundred and twenty miles. The wind, during most of the night,
was light from the northeast; and we had run, by the log accurately
kept, at seven the next morning, a distance not exceeding seventy to
seventy-five miles. At daybreak, the ship’s head was directed towards
the coast, but not seeing any very conspicuous landmarks, we kept
along shore till eight; having, within an hour, passed an island, and
a group of small jagged rocks, standing so near the coast that we at
first supposed the island to be part of the main land; it was, however,
Pulo Cambir, lying to the north of our port of destination. Seeing,
to the southward of us, a large fleet of fishing boats; a very high
conical mountain, which we supposed must be mount Epervier; and the
land, extending far to the eastward, which we were satisfied must be
cape Averella, or Pagoda cape; and, at the same time, discovering the
island of Maignia, a short distance to the southward of the harbour,
we stood boldly in, and, at twelve, came to anchor, in six and a half
fathoms water, in the fine harbour of Vung-lam; the village of that
name, bearing to the southwest, distant a mile and a half, and within
three quarters of a mile of a small, uninhabited, and unnamed island,
bearing south, called, by us, Peacock island. The beautiful harbour
of Vung-chao, being open to our view, in the northeast, two miles
distant; and the harbour, or roadstead, of Shundai, with Nest island,
bearing east, about the same distance. It will be seen, by the distance
per log, that we were currented along, in fifteen hours, fifty miles;
nearly equal to three and a half miles per hour.

To the southward of Cambir, lies a sand-beach, extending up a rising
ground, which, together with a more extensive plot near the southern
entrance, but to the southward of the island of Maignia, assist, as a
leading mark, in running in.

This is, truly, one of the finest harbours in the world, and free from
all obstructions, save a rock, called the buoy rock, within one and a
half miles of our anchorage, the top of which is above water.

The country around is apparently well cultivated, being laid out in
small patches, resembling gardens. It is beautifully picturesque and
bold, frequently running into hills, from one to fifteen hundred feet
high; the verdure of which extends, in many places, to the water’s
edge. The hand of the workman has here been busy on every spot
susceptible of cultivation. Villages were seen among the palm-trees,
near the sandy beaches, and on the cultivated swells of land, for many
miles around us.

In the afternoon of the day on which we anchored, an old man came on
board; though raggedly dressed and dirty, he appeared to be somewhat
superior to the fishermen who brought him off. Not being offered a
seat at first, he seemed rather disconcerted, and expressed a desire
to leave; but, having learned that he was an official personage, he
was invited down to the gun-deck, and there seated. Being interrogated
more particularly, in relation to his rank in the village, he stated
himself to be a Keep-tu (literally, assistant keeper) of Vung-lam and
King-chow, and the principal person in the village; but that he had a
superior, or commandant, at Shundai, under whom is also another officer
of equal rank with himself.

In reply to questions about the names of places, he said that the
southernmost, or principal town or village, was called Shun-dai;
that the central one, opposite which we lay, is Vung-lam; that the
most northern is Vung-chao. Shundai, he said, formed one part, and
Vung-lam and Vung-chao, another. He was asked whether there were any
fortifications on shore; and it was explained to him that a salute
would be fired in honour of the king, if there were any guns on shore
to return it. He said there was no fortification at Vung-lam, but that
there was a fort at Shundai. He was then informed, that, on the next
morning, a salute would be fired; which was accordingly done, with
thirteen guns. Upon inquiring whether the vessel was come to trade,
or for public business, he was informed that she was a ship of war,
sent out by the President of the United States, containing a special
envoy, with a letter for the King of Cochin-China. It was explained to
him, also, that the envoy wished to go to the capital, as speedily as
possible, in order to have an audience, and to present the President’s
letter. He seemed desirous to have some written paper, which he might
present to his superior: but no such paper was in readiness for him.
It was told him, that the special agent would himself write to the
capital, to announce his arrival, and desire an audience.

In order to obtain a better idea of what measures would be requisite,
to expedite the application to Hué, various questions were asked
respecting the government, &c. He stated that the government of Shundai
and its dependancies, are immediately subordinate to the supreme
provincial government of Fooyan (or Phuyen). That the provincial
government consists of a Tongdok or governor who presides over two
provinces, and is now in the adjoining province, to the north, a Bo
chāng-sü, or treasurer and sub-governor, and Au-tat-sü, or judge; and
that the seat of government is within a day’s journey. The name of
the capital he said, is Tüa-tien-pu; that of the king is Ming-meng.
Speaking of the capital, he said that the ship might return northward
to it in three or four days. Attention to other points prevented any
reply being made to this remark at the time, and it was afterward
forgotten. He inquired the name of the envoy, and the number of men on
board. He then took leave after having drunk a little wine. The old man
was throughout lively and cheerful. As he wrote Chinese pretty well, it
was easy to hold intercourse with him.

_January sixth._ Towards evening, a large party came on board,
consisting of the old head-man of Vung-lam, who visited us yesterday,
two persons despatched by the commandant of Shundai, and two Chinese
interpreters, with a number of attendants anxious to satisfy their
curiosity. The Chinese being able to speak the Mandarin as well as
their own provincial dialect, (that of Canton,) conversation was kept
up with greater facility than yesterday, little of it being held in
writing. They stated that two officers of the ninth rank, deputed by
the chiefs of the provincial government, had arrived about noon, and
had sent them to ascertain where the ship was from, and what was the
object in coming. They were answered that she was a ship of war, and
sent by the President of the United States of America, and that she
brought a special envoy, bearing a letter to the king of Cochin-China.
They were told, also, that the envoy wished to repair speedily to the
capital, and intended to send a letter himself to announce his arrival.
They requested a written paper to enable them to report to their
superiors. The following paper was therefore given them, in Chinese and
English. After receiving it they returned to the shore:--

“This is a ship of war of the United States of America. This ship is
called the Peacock. The captain’s name is David Geisinger. This ship
has been sent here by the president of the United States, he wishing to
form a treaty of friendly intercourse with the king of Cochin China.

“There is on board the ship a special envoy, Edmund Roberts, bearing a
letter from the president of the United States, which he is to present
personally to the king of Cochin-China. The number of persons on board,
including both officers and men, is one hundred and sixty-six.

“The ship at first intended going into Tonquin bay, but not being able
on account of the current, she came here.

“January sixth, 1833.”

Before they left, inquiries were made respecting provisions, and they
were told, that it was desirable they should tell the people to bring
things off to the ship to sell. They replied that the market was open
to go and purchase any thing. On this occasion, as well as yesterday,
no restriction was imposed on our visiting the shore, although to
prevent offence being taken, they were informed that we should do so.

_January seventh._ This morning, the same party as yesterday came
off again, with the addition of the two deputies from the seat of
government, and their retinue, consisting of umbrella-bearers,
trumpeters, and sword-bearers. The two deputies appeared anxious
to make as much as possible of themselves. They ran over various
questions of the same nature as those put by their precursors; which
having been briefly answered, they were told that the envoy was then
preparing a despatch for the king, and that in about an hour, it would
be taken on shore by a naval officer; when they must be prepared to
receive and forward it immediately to the capital of the province, or
wherever else it might be necessary for them to send it, in the first
instance. They then entered upon a number of impertinent queries,
such as, whether there were any presents for the king; what were the
contents of the letter to him; asking to see a copy of the envoy’s
despatch to the capital, and the envoy and captain’s commissions.
In all these inquiries they were immediately checked, and with some
difficulty, brought to answer the questions, whether they were willing
to receive and forward the despatch or not. Having answered in the
affirmative, they were told that was satisfactory--that the despatch
was being completed--that in the meanwhile they should return and make
preparations to receive the officer who bore it.

The subject of provisions and particularly _water_, was again
introduced, but nothing satisfactory was elicited in reply; the market,
they said, was open.

A little after noon, the despatch was carried on shore by Lieutenant
Brent. It was a letter in the form of a Chinese memorial, from the
envoy to the king of Cochin-China, and was written both in Chinese and
English. The following is a copy:--

    “To his majesty, the king of Cochin-China:--

    “The undersigned, Edmund Roberts, has the honour to inform your
    majesty, that Andrew Jackson, president of the United States of
    America, being desirous of opening a friendly intercourse with the
    king of Cochin-China, has despatched the United States’ ship-of-war
    Peacock, commanded by Captain David Geisinger, to your majesty’s
    dominions. The president of the United States of America has
    despatched the undersigned, his special envoy, to your majesty’s
    court, intrusting him with a letter to your majesty, and has
    clothed him with full power to treat with your majesty, for the
    important objects which the president of the United States has in
    view. He therefore requests that your majesty will grant him an
    interview, with the least possible loss of time.

    It was the intention of the commander of the said United States’
    ship-of-war, to have entered the bay of Turan; but having been
    driven from thence, after repeated attempts, by adverse winds and
    currents, he has been compelled at length to enter this port. As
    contrary winds and currents now prevail, it is rendered impossible
    for the envoy to proceed to Turan bay. The undersigned must,
    therefore, await your Majesty’s answer here.

    Dated on board the United States’ ship Peacock, in Vung-lam roads,
    province of Fooyan, Cochin-China, the seventh day of January, A. D.
    1833, the fifty-seventh year of Independence.


Not being well acquainted with the Cochin-Chinese forms, the letter was
simply folded up in paper and sealed, being enclosed in vellum, and

    The King of Cochin-China, &c., &c., &c.

The two deputies had made considerable parade, opposite the low and
dirty hut, in which they were waiting to receive the despatch. There
was a party of soldiers, with pikes fixed in the sand, at regular
distances; three elephants, with small riding-boxes on their backs;
palanquins, or travelling conveyances, of the kind used in the country;
and several ponies. The village generally has a dirty and miserable
appearance. There are a few neat little brick and wood houses, with
tiled roofs; the rest are all of mat, or the kind of leaf called
_attap_, little better than mere sheds.

After the despatch had been received by them, with a promise
that it should be forwarded immediately, several questions were
asked respecting the roads, the conveniences for travelling, and
accommodations between this and Hué. Answers were elicited from them
with considerable trouble. One of them, who admitted that he had twice
followed the road, saying that he had forgot all about it. They seemed
desirous to give as bad an idea as possible of the road, as though
they considered it not quite impossible for the ship to go further
north, and thus to relieve them of all trouble and responsibility. The
road, they said, was big with numerous dangers and difficulties; few
stopping-places or accommodations, and those few bad. The conveyance
for baggage, cumbrous, being on men’s shoulders. Houses were, however,
numerous on the road, and provisions abundant.

Their answers respecting provisions and their prices were
unsatisfactory; nor could they be induced to make any arrangements
for the natives to bring things off to the ship. Every thing appears
much dearer here than we expected to find it; even rice and sugar,
which we supposed the chief productions, are not much cultivated in
this neighbourhood. But the country around seems well fitted to afford
abundance of cheap provisions, did commerce hold out any inducement to
produce more than is needed for personal use. They stated the number of
inhabitants in Vung-lam to be about three thousand, and rather less in
each of the other places.

Before leaving, they were again requested to forward the despatch for
the king speedily; and, at the same time, to report to their superiors
that the envoy would require to be accompanied by a party of at least
fifteen or sixteen persons, and considerable baggage. As the boat
pulled off, they set out, with their retinue of elephants, palanquins,
and ponies; and, as we afterward found, returned at once to their
superiors, at the capital of Foo-yan.


_January eighth._ In the forenoon, a Cochin-Chinese Roman Catholic
priest came off, and held a written conversation, in Latin, with Dr.
Ticknor, of which the following is the substance:--

_Priest._ “I am a Catholic priest. The prefect (or governor) has sent
me to inquire whether you are Catholics, and of what nation you are,
whether French or English?”

_Answer._ “A few of us are Catholics. We are from North America.”

_Priest._ “On what business has your king sent you? On business to our
king, or for the purpose of trade?”

_Ans._ “Our business is with your king. This is a ship-of-war, (or
king’s ship,) not a merchant’s ship.”

_Priest._ “Have you any presents?”

_Ans._ “I cannot answer that question.”

_Priest._ “Do you remain here, or go to our king at Hué?”

_Ans._ “We shall go to your king, at Hué, when we hear from him.”

_Priest._ “The prefect sent me to learn whether you have business with
our king, what it is, and of what nation you are?”

_Ans._ “Our business has been communicated to your king, and it is with
him alone. We are from the United States of North America. Have you any
knowledge of North America?”

_Priest._ “I have no knowledge of North America. I know England,
France, Spain, &c. Will you tell me whether you have a minister
(_nuncium ad visitandum et cognoscendum_) authorized to negociate.”

_Ans._ “We have a minister (_nuncium_) to your king, to be acknowledged
by him.”

_Priest._ “Has your king sent you to our king with presents or

_Ans._ “This is a question which I am not permitted to answer.”

_Priest._ “Is your visit here friendly?”

_Ans._ “We have come here with the most friendly motives.”

He laughed and said--“A ship-of-war come with friendly motives!”

Here the conversation ended; he said he would return to the prefect who
sent him. The priest’s age was probably about sixty-five. He said he
was educated at the college of Jadent. He was attended by six persons.

_January ninth._ Going on shore to-day, Mr. Morrison was informed that
two deputies had left, the same evening they received the letter for
the king, and that the old head-man of the town, who first came on
board, was under arrest, for not having been sufficiently alert in
reporting the ship’s arrival. In reply to a question concerning the
priest who was on board yesterday, he was informed that he had been
sent by the governor of the province. He was informed, also, that two
or three Chinese junks, from Hainan, visit this port annually.

Some anxiety, too, was shown, to prevent any one walking beyond the
beach. The market-time was found to commence between two and three
o’clock, and to end about sunset.

_January fourteenth._ Mr. Morrison went on shore to make inquiries
respecting the trade, &c., of the place, from the principal of the two
Chinese interpreters who had been on board on the sixth and following
days; and who had since been employed as comprador for the ship. On
most points this Chinese appeared ignorant; a little information was,
however, obtained from him.


He stated that from one to three Chinese junks, annually visit
Vung-lam, about the month of January. They come from Hainan, and
import, almost solely, tea and paper. The former, if of good quality,
sells for two _kwan_ (or about eighty cents) a catty, if inferior, for
about half that price. They take back fah-sang, or ground-nut oil,
manure, and a few small articles. The oil costs about twenty-five kwan
a pecul. Cocoa-nut oil is made, but to a very small amount. It costs
about half a kwan a catty. The coasting-boats trade chiefly in rice,
which they import from the south, Ne-hats-ang. There seem to be from
twenty-five to forty of these boats in Vung-lam and the surrounding
anchorages, and not less than one hundred and fifty or two hundred
fishing-boats. The Chinese trade at Quin-hone, or Kwei-nyun, does not
exceed, he said, four or five junks annually. This is the capital of
the province of Pring-ding, on the north of Fooyan. The capital of
the province of Fooyan is not large. Its name is Tui-yan. It does
not possess much trade, and of that none is maritime, the city being
some miles from the coast. The truth of this statement seems somewhat
doubtful. The provinces of Fooyan and Pring-ding are under the same
dsong-dok or governor.

_January sixteenth._ This evening the old head-man of Vung-lam made
his appearance again, somewhat altered in his dress, for the better,
and seemingly alarmed at his arrest and punishment, the cause of which
he professed to be ignorant of. He came to request that the paper, on
which the conversation held with him the first day had been written,
might be given up to him, which was accordingly done.

He then expressed a desire that every one should remain on board, and
that none should go on shore, except to market; speaking, at the same
time, of “vexing and annoying the people.” He was asked to explain,
and said the people were alarmed. This, he was told, their behaviour
contradicted; and no molestation had been given to any of them, while
some of the soldiers had been very troublesome to those who went on
shore; even urging and almost forcing Mr. Roberts to return to the
ship, when it was evident he was waiting for the arrival of a boat.

Two instances of vexatious behaviour were particularly mentioned; to
which he replied, that he was ignorant of the circumstances, but would
inquire respecting them. He then left.

[Sidenote: DEPUTIES.]

_January seventeenth._ Increased difficulties having been met with in
the purchase of provisions required for the ship, Mr. Morrison went
on shore in the afternoon, to try the effect of remonstrance with the
old head-man. On reaching the shore, he met a large travelling retinue
coming into the town; and was informed that two deputies, Mandarins,
from Hué, had arrived, and were accompanied by the anchasze or judge
(the under-governor) of the province. He therefore returned to the
ship, whither he was shortly followed by the newly-arrived officers, in
a large galley, rowed by thirty-two soldiers, wearing red, lacquered,
peaked caps, with very ordinary waist clothes. The boat was about sixty
feet in length and twelve in breadth, and built most substantially and
neatly. She was decked with loose plank, a small cabin was erected
amid-ships, covered with palm-leaf. She had neither masts nor sails;
as the stern-post raked more than a whale-boat, she would not readily
answer her helm; a man was therefore placed at each bow with a
broad-bladed paddle, to assist her steering. The men rowed in unison,
standing up and facing the bows. An officer was placed amid-ships,
beating time by striking against two pieces of bamboo, which was
answered by the rowers by a sharp quick cry when their oars touched the
water. A small red square flag was hoisted on an ornamented staff at
the tafferel, and many long spears bristled along the quarters. She had
no projecting stem, a bluff bow, and was sharp aft.

The deputies were dressed in their robes of ceremony, consisting of
very stout figured or plain satin dresses, of blue, open on the sides
at the bottom, the sleeves very wide; short satin trousers of yellow or
red; black crape turbans, and Chinese shoes; but the cotton underdress
was exceedingly dirty. They all wore long thin beards and mustaches.

They had quick black eyes, with a lively expressive countenance. Three
most filthy servants attended them, each bearing boxes containing
areca-nuts, betel, chunam, and paper cigars; and they were continually
employed in scratching and picking off vermin. There were three
umbrella-bearers, some soldiers, &c., and two men dressed in long
blue woollen garments, bound with a wide strip of red cloth about
the neck and on the lower part of the sides, and of the same height
in front. They wore a low, red, peaked cap, secured to the head by
means of strings passing from the sides across the forehead and back
of the head, over a black turban--the cap only covered the head to
the top of the ears. These men bore ornamented ivory sticks, with red
silk tassels; but, contrary to the custom of those who had previously
visited us, these officers left the majority of their attendants
behind. The anchasze’s office designated him as of the third rank;
while the two deputies, it was afterward ascertained, were of the
fifth rank. They were preceded by two interpreters, one of whom spoke
fluently the corrupt Portuguese dialect of Macao, and also a little
French; the other, having been for some years in a British frigate, had
a pretty good knowledge of the English, so long as the conversation
was confined to what was commonplace. The Portuguese interpreter was a
native Christian, named Miguel, and had acquired a knowledge, both of
speaking and reading, at Macao. The quondam man-of-war’s man, was named
Joseph, when in the British service.

From the nature of the conversation with the two deputies, it was
chiefly kept up in writing, notwithstanding the presence of the two
interpreters. The deputies commenced by stating, that they had been
commissioned by the “minister of commerce and navigation,” at Hué, to
come, in company with a provincial officer, to inquire respecting
the ship, and attend to her wants. They wished to know, therefore,
if she stood in need of any thing. They were thanked, and informed
that she was not in want; at the same time, they were requested to
publish permission for the people to bring provisions alongside for
sale. They replied that they would do so. They then inquired to what
country the ship belonged, and produced a large sheet, containing
representations of every known national flag, with the names of the
countries attached, in French and in Chinese characters. The flag of
the United States was pointed out to them, and they were informed that
the ship was a man-of-war. They then put some complimentary questions,
respecting the health of our “king,” and of the individuals on board,
&c., which were answered and reciprocated. They had long, they said,
heard of the country, as a good and happy one; and were now rejoiced
at the meeting. They inquired the purpose of our coming, a species of
question which every new comer repeated, as though ignorant of any
previous intercourse with the officers of government. The necessary
answer being given, they were asked respecting the letter from the
envoy to the king, whether it had reached the capital before they left.
They replied it had; but the address on the cover was erroneous; and
therefore the minister of commerce and navigation, (whom they afterward
stated to be the chief minister,) could not venture to hand it to the
king. The country, they said, is not now called Annam, as formerly,
but Wietman, (in Mandarin dialect, Yuènan;) and it is ruled, not by
a king, (wang,) but by an emperor, (hwang-te.)[A] They said, also,
that they had received orders to pay particular attention, and examine
every thing, so as to prevent any farther miscarriage or delay in the
business of the mission. It was explained to them, that the errors
they mentioned did not arise from any disrespect towards the king,
(or emperor,) but from the ignorance of their forms, which want of
intercourse occasioned. They were asked to point out in what manner the
address should be altered, and replied, that it would be preferable to
address a letter to the minister of commerce and navigation, informing
him of the ship’s arrival and object of coming; and requesting him
to state the same to the king. They desired to be allowed to see the
letter, in order to prevent the admission of “interdicted words,”
that is, expressions which, according to the Chinese punctilios of
writing, are considered inadmissible in official correspondence with
the higher ranks of officers. The letter to the king was then returned,
at the desire of the envoy; and the deputies expressed a wish to know
the contents of the President’s letter, as well as the particular and
specific object of the mission. They were informed that the President’s
letter was an introduction of the envoy to the king, and that the envoy
was prepared to negotiate respecting the particular objects of this
mission, after his arrival at Hué; but that the one general object, a
treaty of friendly intercourse, was inclusive of all other objects.
This answer was far from being satisfactory, and they repeatedly
returned to the same point, till, finding they could obtain no other
reply, they at length desisted. Being now requested to give an explicit
address for the letter to be written to the minister, they drew a short
letter to the following effect:--

[A] Yet the prince, who assumes this latter title, is said to have
received investiture from China, as a tributary king.

[Sidenote: ENVOY’S LETTER.]

“Edmund Roberts, envoy from the United States of America, desires to
state to your excellency, that he has received the commands of his
president, deputing him, a petty officer,[A] to bring a public letter
to this effect: ‘I have long regarded the fame of your kingdoms with
a desire for friendly intercourse; but I have not previously had an
opportunity for obtaining it. I now entreat earnestly for a friendly
intercourse. Beyond this, there is no other point I desire.’

[A] This is an expression used by inferior officers, in corresponding
with superiors, when referring to themselves.

“The said envoy presumes to make this statement, praying you to report
it to the emperor, that having glanced thereat, he may happily allow
him to repair speedily to the capital, and respectfully present the
letter,” &c.

The tone of this letter is extremely objectionable, for, besides the
servileness of particular expressions, the general language is that
of an inferior, (the same idea being often expressed in Chinese by
different words, according to the respective ranks of the writer,
and the person he addresses;) the letter was therefore immediately
rejected; and some of the most offensive expressions, such as “petty
officer” and “earnest entreaty,” were pointed out and animadverted on.
With the effrontery of falsehood common among the Chinese, they denied
that the expressions were those of an inferior; but truth does not
form a part of their creed. They were then informed that a letter would
be written by the envoy the next day, and that the expressions should
be respectful, but not mean or servile. They repeated their desire
to see the letter before it was closed, in order to expunge improper
words; and insisted on the necessity of their so doing. They were told,
that they might see the letter; but that no material corrections could
be made at their suggestions, after a fair copy of the letter had been
prepared. After some further conversation and dispute concerning points
of small import, they returned to the shore, at about eleven o’clock
in the afternoon. The old judge had left early in the evening, having
become seasick.

_January eighteenth._ This morning, the deputies came on board by
appointment, to receive the letter from the envoy to the minister.
They were again accompanied by the judge, who had recovered from his
seasickness. Some refreshments were brought, consisting of a bullock,
a hog, a few poultry, some rice and wine, which were presented to the
envoy and captain, with felicitations on their arrival.

There being some doubt whether the minister of commerce and navigation
was the chief minister of state, (although they had asserted he was,)
the address of the chief minister was now asked. Before they answered
this question, they wished to see the letter; but this being refused,
they eventually gave an address the same as yesterday, viz.: “To the
minister of commerce and navigation of Cochin-China.” This address
was therefore inserted without alteration in the Chinese copy of the
letter. In the English, it was altered to “the minister for foreign
affairs, commerce and navigation;” he being the same minister called by
Mr. Crawford, the “Mandarin of strangers.” The letter was then shown
to them, and after a few trivial alterations of single words in the
Chinese translation, which were acceded to, they expressed themselves
satisfied; it was therefore sealed, and delivered to them to forward.
The following is a copy:--

    “To the minister for foreign affairs, commerce and navigation,

    “Edmund Roberts, special envoy from the United States of America,
    desires to inform your excellency that Andrew Jackson, the
    president of the United States, wishing to open a friendly
    intercourse with the emperor of Cochin-China, has sent the United
    States’ ship-of-war Peacock, commanded by Captain David Geisinger,
    to his majesty’s dominions.

    “And the president of the said United States of America has deputed
    me his special envoy to his majesty’s court, intrusting me with
    a letter to his majesty; and has clothed me with full powers to
    treat, on behalf of the president of the United States, for the
    important objects which he has in view. I therefore request your
    excellency to state this to his majesty; and hope that an interview
    will be granted with the least possible loss of time.

    “It was the intention of the commander of the said United States’
    ship-of-war to have entered the bay of Turan; but having been
    driven from thence, after repeated attempts, by adverse winds
    and currents, he has been compelled at length to enter this
    port of Vung-lam. As contrary winds and currents still prevail,
    it is rendered impossible for him to proceed to Turan bay. The
    undersigned therefore awaits his majesty’s answer here.

    “Signed and sealed on board the United States’ ship Peacock, in
    Vung-lam roads, province of Fooyan, Cochin-China, the eighteenth
    day of January, A. D., 1833, and of the Independence of the United
    States, the fifty-seventh.


A little general conversation ensued, at the conclusion of this
business; they having promised that an answer should be received in
seven or eight days.

They asked several questions respecting America and Europe, for
instance, what is the meaning of “the fifty-seventh year of
independence?”--“Is England now at peace with France?”--“Has France
recovered peace since the last revolution? and where is the dethroned
king living?”--“Is America at war with any country?” &c. These and
other questions of a similar nature having been answered, they took
their leave, inviting Mr. Roberts, Captain Geisinger, and the other
gentlemen on board, to call on them. They were at the same time invited
to visit the ship whenever they wished.

_January nineteenth._ Three of the gentlemen went on shore, about noon,
to visit the deputies, taking an excuse for Mr. Roberts and Captain
Geisinger. They were found residing in a neat little brick house,
situated in a small garden of areca and betel plants; the latter being
generally twined round the smooth round trunk of the areca-tree. The
house is the most respectable in the place, and appears to be a private
residence hired for the occasion. The conversation was for the most
part common-place. The judge, they informed us, had returned to the
capital of the province, to attend to the duties of his office.

A little information was obtained respecting provisions, firewood,
and the nature of their mission to Hué. On the latter subject, they
confirmed for the most part, the account previously obtained from the
two first deputies, and insisted on making a present of some fire wood,
saying they would send a person next day to show where it could be cut.
They were requested to give permission to shoot and ride, but declined
doing either. Shooting, they said, is prohibited by law. During the
conversation, they stated, that there is an American named _Leemesay_
(probably Lindsay) engaged as a pilot on board one of their ships.
This is an Englishman who finds it more convenient to pass among these
people as American than as English. On leaving, the deputies said
they would call on board the following day. A present of firewood was
brought along-side in the evening.

_January twentieth._ This morning, another present of firewood came
off, and with it the Portuguese interpreter Miguel. He brought a note
in French, addressed to the younger M. Vanier, whose mother being
Cochin-Chinese, he remains in the country, although his father has
returned to France. M. Vanier is now employed as a pilot, and is about
to go to the straits of Malacca, with a cargo of sugar from Turan. He
will be joined by a vessel from Ahiatrang, laden with rice, and piloted
by Leemesay, (or Lindsay,) the American whom the deputies spoke of
yesterday. Miguel informed us that the Roman Catholics are persecuted
under the present religion; and that the few French, Spanish, and
Italian priests, who are living in the country, are obliged to conceal

Père Jacard, a Frenchman, is confined wholly to the precincts of the
palace, where he is employed in the care of the king’s European books,
charts, mathematical instruments, &c. It is difficult for foreigners
(excepting Chinese) to gain admission; legal permission must be
obtained from the chief officers of the provincial government, in that
part of the country, where admission is sought.

About noon, the deputies made their appearance. The conversation was
short and common-place. They requested to be shown the ship’s voyage,
on a chart, and were curious to know why China was visited before
coming to Cochin-China, it being more to the north. They desired to
be shown about the ship, and then took their leave promising to send
their barge (a large boat, manned with thirty oars) to cut and bring
off firewood, the next morning. As they spoke of tigers, they were told
that guns must be taken as a defence; and they at length gave their
consent to shooting. As they left, they particularly invited the envoy
and Captain Geisinger to visit them the following day. Their invitation
was accepted, being desirous of not giving offence.

_January twenty-first._ The weather being unfavourable, an excuse was
sent, deferring the visit until better weather.

[Sidenote: YUEN AND LE.]

_January twenty-third._ Notwithstanding the weather continued
unfavourable and rainy, another visit was received this morning from
the two deputies, whose names were now found to be Yuen and Le. They
asked numerous questions respecting Europe and America, seeming
particularly desirous to know the affairs of England, and the nature
of the United Slates government. In answer to their inquiries about
the President, they were informed that he is elected by the people,
once in four years. They asked also a few questions respecting American
productions, particularly ginseng, of which they knew something; they
repeated their inquiries as to the object of visiting Canton, and
the time spent there, and whether there were any presents from the
president, &c.

In reply to questions put to them, they stated, that the tribunals
and officers at court, and the titles of their ministers and other
officers, are the same as in China; but they evaded telling the names
of any of the ministers, saying, that they could not remember them all.
They declined some trifles offered to them, on the plea that they dare
not receive any presents. They then repeated their invitation to Mr.
Roberts and Captain Geisinger, to visit them on shore, and promised
assistance in procuring provisions. They urged, that the ports were
already open to trade, and therefore the mission unnecessary. They were
told in reply that the regulations of trade were not known, and the
charges on ships were so high, it was found impossible to trade--that
the mission was not destined to apply to _them_ but to the court; and
that whatever might be the state of the case, speedy measures should
have been taken to enable the mission to proceed to Hué.



On this morning, January twenty-fourth, Captain G. and myself visited
the deputies: their residence was somewhat improved, since the previous
visit paid to them; considering the filthy habits of the people, it
was neat and comfortable. Our conversation was short and common-place.
The deputies informed us that they had been to Bengal, a year or two
before, and also to Manila.

_January twenty-sixth._ One of the officers, who had come from the
capital of the province on our first arrival, appeared again to-day,
accompanied by another whom we had not before seen, and the two
interpreters, bringing complimentary messages to the envoy, and
refreshments, which, they said, were sent by order of the king. They
consisted of a feast, (comprising fifty-one dishes,) two bullocks, four
dogs, five sacks of rice, five jars of native liquor, thirty ducks,
thirty fowls, eggs, and a variety of fruits.

As it would have given offence, and impeded, if not wholly destroyed
the object of the mission, to have refused the present, it was
immediately accepted with thanks; and the officers, who brought it off,
were informed, that a salute of thirteen guns would be fired in honour
of the king, as the present was said to have come from him. The feast
was brought on the board in handsomely varnished and gilded cases; to
all outward appearance, it was very neat and cleanly; but we could
not divest ourselves of the idea, that it was cooked in the uncleanly
vessels we had seen on shore, and that it had come in contact with
the filthy paws, dirty nails, and heads filled with vermin, which we
had seen on shore: we, therefore, barely tasted of one article, the
confectionary. A complimentary toast was drunk to the emperor, in a
glass of their favourite rice wine.

The mandarin, who came to present the feast, was dressed in a robe of
ceremony, of very stout, light blue, flowered silk. He was invited to
partake of the feast, but politely excused himself, saying, “I dare
not partake of a feast presented by the emperor.” He was therefore
furnished with other refreshments.

The feast was arranged in the cabin, by a servant sent with it,
assisted by several others: it was served up in China, and consisted of
fifty-one articles, (exclusive of fruits,) arranged in the following
order: At the head was placed an entire tortoise, jellied on the
outside, and filled with rice, &c.; then followed a leg of fresh boiled
pork; two roasted ducks; one roasted fowl; a deep saucer of roasted
pork, cut in square pieces; and three stewed pigeons in a bowl, with
sauce. The preceding seven articles were arranged from the head to
the foot of the table, in the centre, and were flanked with seventeen
bowls, each containing a different article. One contained stewed eels,
whether of the hedge or ditch, I am not able to determine; another was
filled with stewed mullet. One had within it a piece of stewed fish,
with sauce; a fourth held fish pickle, or the essence of balachang,
emitting a most unsavoury smell. Seven of the bowls were covered with
yellow paper, and ten with red: they contained chow-chow, or mixed
meats, deers’ sinews--which latter were particularly recommended.

The name and contents of each article were inscribed in Chinese
characters, on its cover. The remaining portion of the dishes,
consisted of two bowls of boiled ducks’ eggs, and one of fowls; one of
boiled crabs; three of red, yellow, and white rice; two of sausages;
three of rice pilau; one of stewed fowl; one of shrimps; one of bitter
cucumbers; two of sponge-cake; and the rest were forced-meat pasties
and confectionary. They were cooked with ground-nut oil, or the fat
of fresh pork; and were, generally, very insipid, and totally without

These refreshments had been sent in consequence of the receipt, at Hué,
of the envoy’s letter to the minister, and the officers said that a
reply might be expected in two or three days, at farthest.

In the afternoon, the deputies’ barge came alongside, and the
interpreters said there were two mandarins on board: but, seeing that
the ship rolled very much, they would defer the visit until the next


This morning, January the twenty-seventh, the two interpreters
appeared, to say, that two officers had arrived from Hué, but that
the vessel was so unsteady they were afraid to come on board, lest
seasickness should prevent them from fulfilling, to the full extent,
their mission. They, therefore, requested Mr. Roberts to visit, and to
converse with them on shore.

This attempt to make the envoy wait on them, could not, they were told,
be complied with; but Mr. Morrison would go on shore, if they desired
it, to ascertain their business.

Mr. M. accordingly went on shore, immediately after breakfast, and
found the two former deputies, accompanied by two others, said to be of
higher rank, who were far less prepossessing in their appearance, and
much ruder in their manners.

The following conversation took place with them:--

_Mr. M._ “Is there any letter from Hué?”

_Deputies._ “No; we two officers have been deputed by the minister to
come here.”

_Mr. M._ “Will there be any letter?”

_Dep._ “No; we are sent in place of a letter.”

_Mr. M._ “What message do you bring from Hué?”

_Dep._ “The minister of commerce and navigation has received the letter
sent by the envoy; the contents being respectful and reasonable, he
gave directions to the local officers to prepare a feast for the
envoy. With regard to shooting, although it is contrary to the laws,
permission is granted, in the present instance, for a few to shoot at a
time, in consideration that you know how to regard the laws.”

_Mr. M._ “Shooting is not the business on which the envoy has come
here. That is a trivial matter, not worth mentioning again. The envoy
has come on important national business, with a letter for the emperor:
he wishes to know what message you have from the emperor.”

_Dep._ “Though the shooting is a trivial matter, we have mentioned
it, because you formerly made a request on the subject. As to the
business of the letter, we require to converse respecting it with the
official gentlemen:” meaning the envoy and those who they supposed were
associated with him; for the Cochin-Chinese, like the Chinese, seldom
send officers singly on any special business.

_Mr. M._ “It would be contrary to all etiquette, for the envoy to come
on shore, to converse with you on this subject. If you have any thing
to communicate, tell it to me, or (which would be better) go on board
and tell it.”

_Dep._ “We like your regard for etiquette, and have now come with the
wish to conduct your business according to etiquette, and to conclude
it speedily. Yesterday we were prevented going on board by the wind: as
you have now come, we will enter on the business with you at once.

“The minister of commerce and navigation desires us to communicate
to the envoy the necessity of his having a copy and a translation of
the president’s letter to lay before the emperor; also to state, that
without full and complete information, the minister dare not report
to his majesty. Having come so great a distance, you are doubtless
anxious for the speedy conclusion of the business of your mission. It
is on this account we have been sent; for our laws are strict, and
demand implicit obedience: therefore, we are directed to show you how
to conform to them. What ought now to be done, is to give a copy and
translation of the President’s letter.

“Further, in the letter from the envoy, mention is made of the
important objects which the President has in view. Without knowing what
these important objects are, the minister can make no report to the
emperor. Were he to do so, and the emperor should make any particular
inquiries of him, respecting the mission, he would be unable to reply.
If you will give a copy of the letter, and information with regard to
these objects, four or five days will be sufficient to come to some
determination respecting your mission.”

_Mr. M._ “Letters between the rulers of nations ought not to be
submitted to the inspection of their ministers and people, but must
first be delivered to the rulers to whom they are addressed. Of the
President’s letter, there is both an original and a translation; which
will be delivered, together, to the emperor, after the envoy has
reached the capital.”

_Dep._ “If you will allow us to see a copy of the translation, your
business may then be advanced.

“In the intercourse of China with France, England, &c., copies of their
letters must first be shown to the minister or his deputies, before
they can make any report to the emperor. Otherwise, being ignorant of
the contents of the letter, they dare not report.”

_Mr. M._ “We know not the etiquette of China, but that of Europe,
and all the nations of the west. Letters are first presented to the
rulers, to whom they are addressed. Copies are not first shown to their

_Dep._ “France and England have sent envoys here, who did not refuse to
show copies of the letters which they brought.”

_Mr. M._ “I have heard that the English envoy, who complied with this
demand, had no audience.”

_Dep._ “The governor-general (Ta-ping-t’how, great military headman)
of Bengal, sent an envoy here, with a letter to the minister, and he
concluded the business satisfactorily. Would we treat the English well
and you ill?”

_Mr. M._ “You are, indeed, putting difficulties in the way. It has
never been customary with us to show copies of letters previously to
presenting the originals.”

_Dep._ “We are all the servants of our respective rulers, and we
desire, equally with you, to bring your business to a satisfactory
conclusion. We request you to think what object we can have in raising


Not being able to come to any conclusion on this point, they were asked
if they had any thing else to say, when they pointed to what they had
before written, respecting the important objects which the President
had in view. They then wrote again: “You should return to the ship, and
get the directions of the envoy and captain, on these two important
points, viz.:--

“1st. To show a copy of the President’s letter.

“2d. To state clearly the particular objects of the mission. In the
evening come again, and inform us of the result.”

“Our country wishes to receive and treat you in a liberal manner.
France and England did not refuse to show copies of their letters.
Why do you? We have been sent by the minister with these orders, and
wish you to act in accordance with the advice we have now given. Your
business will then be soon finished, which will afford the minister
pleasure also.”

_Mr. M._ “If these are the orders you have received, I fear we must
soon leave.”

_Dep._ “Why do you say so? Our endeavour is to bring your business to a
speedy conclusion. All envoys must desire to bring their business to a
satisfactory conclusion. We wish to aid you in doing so. Of what use is
it to talk of returning? What object will be effected if you do so?”

_Mr. M._ “If such points are insisted upon, we must consider that the
emperor desires no intercourse with our country; in which case there is
nothing left for us but to return.”

This view of the matter was strongly objected to by the deputies, whom
Mr. Morrison left with an understanding that he would probably visit
them again in the afternoon.

In the afternoon, accordingly, Mr. Morrison, having received farther
instructions, went on shore and recommenced the conversation, saying:--

“I have now received directions from the envoy to tell you, that what
you insisted upon this morning, cannot be complied with; for it would
be disallowed by our government. The letter is sealed, and cannot now
be opened; but must either be carried by the envoy to the capital, or
must be carried back, and the cause stated to the President.”

The deputies now inquired if there were _really_ a translation of the
President’s letter, in a manner which implied distrust and unbelief
of what they had been told. Being assured that a translation _really_
existed, they returned to their former point, desiring a copy--not,
however, of the translation, but of the general scope of it. Compliance
with this request was refused, unless they could show directions to
that effect from the emperor.

_Dep._ “If there is, indeed, a Chinese translation, it is requisite to
show a copy of it, before a report can be made to, or an order received
from, the emperor. Being foreigners, how can you refuse to have your
business conducted by us, who are the appointed deputies? or how can
you insist on going at once to the capital to present the letter

_Mr. M._ “Without seeing an order from the emperor, the letter cannot
be shown to any one; nor can the envoy stay here much longer. In a few
days, either he must repair to the capital, or the ship must leave this
port and go to sea. Two of you have been already informed of this,
when you received the envoy’s letter to the minister. As we have been
detained here nearly a month, without any thing having been done, it is
now repeated to you all.”

_Dep._ “This delay is owing to your own mismanagement, in not having
given a translation of the President’s letter, stating the objects
of the mission. It is in consequence of this mismanagement, that the
minister has been unable to state your arrival and object to the
emperor. Hence the delay, which has in no way arisen from any want
of kind reception on the minister’s part, or of attention on ours.
Our laws are very strict, and the forms required by our etiquette,
numerous. Were we to offend against either, the offence would not be
considered slight. We have now been sent to see that every thing be
done according to etiquette and law, and this requisition must, indeed,
be acceded to, before you can obtain permission to proceed to Hué.”

_Mr. M._ “A letter between the sovereigns of two nations, cannot be
carelessly and inconsiderately shown to any or every one. As to the
letter and the objects of the mission, should the envoy go to Hué,
the former can then be presented, and the negotiation of the business
entered upon. But, should the envoy not go to Hué, it will be needless
to speak of either.”

_Dep._ “We, the officers specially deputed by the minister alone,
require to see the letter. How can it be careless or inconsiderate
to show it to us? If every thing is left unexplained, then, although
you should go to the capital, the minister would still have to depute
officers to obtain a clear knowledge of your business, before he could
make any report to the emperor!”

_Mr. M._ “Was the envoy’s letter to the minister received?”

_Dep._ “It was; but the expression, ‘important objects,’ was not
explained, nor was there a translation of the President’s letter;
hence, he could not venture to make any report. He has, therefore, sent
us to repeat these inquiries; that, after he has learned the result
from us, he may report to the emperor.”

_Mr. M._ “If the envoy were at the capital, he would then make all
requisite explanations to the minister. If he cannot go to the capital
without making such explanations to you, the ship will have to go to

“Is the minister of commerce the same as the minister of elephants?

“If he received the letter, why is there no written answer from him?”

_Dep._ “The minister of commerce is a great minister, who directs the
affairs of all foreign vessels that come here. In the letter sent to
him, there was much that was not explained. Therefore, we have been
sent to arrange and explain every thing; after which he will be able to
report. Of what use would it be to give any previous written reply?”

_Mr. M._ “You had better make a speedy report of to-day’s conversation;
for if the envoy does not shortly obtain leave to go to Hué, he will be
necessitated to leave. The envoy is not likely to retract what he says.”

_Dep._ “Your ship has crossed a wide sea to bring an envoy from your
country; and the minister has acted towards you according to his
majesty’s gracious wishes of tenderness towards foreigners. He wishes
to conclude your business speedily and satisfactorily for you; but you
also must act according to our laws and etiquette: then you will not
fail in your object. Return, and tell the two gentlemen (meaning Mr. R.
and Capt. G.) that they may think maturely on the subject; to-morrow we
will visit the ship.”

_Mr. M._ “The subject has been already fully thought on; I request you
to think it over once more.”

They then again insisted on the necessity of every thing being fully
explained, before another step could be taken; and, addressing Mr.
Morrison personally, they said: “As you have read Chinese literature,
you are acquainted with our forms of etiquette, and what is right
and proper. Explain these to the envoy, that he may follow them; the
success of the mission will then be owing to your efforts; whereas, by
refusing to do so, the blame of failure will rest entirely on you.”

To this absurd language no reply was returned. They were told, that the
envoy came with a desire to open a friendly intercourse, and would be
sorry to return without having effected that object: but that he would
not act contrary to the rules of his own country; and that he thought,
if the emperor were informed of the circumstances, he would not desire
any previous copy of the letter to be given. The conversation then
ended, the deputies refusing to answer questions on any other subjects.

_January twenty-eighth._ This morning, early, the four deputies came
on board, as they had yesterday stated their intention of doing. The
conversation was commenced by asking the object of their visit, as
they had yesterday been told, that the envoy could not give up the
President’s letter, nor enter into any further particulars respecting
the objects of the mission. They were at the same time told not to
speak of “two gentlemen,” as the business of the mission rested wholly
with the envoy.

_Dep._ “The letter which the envoy sent to the minister, spoke of
very important objects, but did not explain what those objects were;
therefore, the minister being unable to speak to the emperor, has sent
us to inquire particularly; that when we have informed him of the
objects, he may make his report, and conclude the business of your
mission speedily.”

_The Envoy._ “Two of your number have already asked repeated questions
on this subject, and have been as often told, that the subject cannot
be treated of before the mission proceeds to Hué. As this has been
often told you, why do you now delay the mission with repetitions of
the same questions? The minister is fully aware that my mission is
for the purpose of opening a friendly intercourse between the two
countries. Why, then, does he not make report thereof to the emperor?
and why is there no order from the emperor, either permitting me to go
to Hué, or directing my return? This line of conduct certainly appears
uncivil; I must, therefore, conclude that the emperor is unwilling to
admit our intercourse. If you have any thing further to speak of, say
it; but do not go over yesterday’s conversation again.”

_Dep._ “Our country wishes to receive and treat you with liberality;
but there is an appearance of secrecy in the letter to the minister,
which requires explanation. Our conduct is in accordance with true
politeness. How say you we are uncivil?”

_Envoy._ “If, when the ship arrived, the minister of commerce had
immediately reported to the emperor the arrival of a United States’
vessel, with a special envoy on board, bearing a letter from the
President to the emperor, and had requested leave for the mission to
proceed forthwith to the capital, such conduct would have been open,
polite, and becoming. But to profess that he dare not report to the
emperor, and detain the mission here for a long period, refusing to
let it proceed at once to the capital, is, indeed, extremely rude.”

_Dep._ “Hitherto all envoys bringing letters here, from whatever
country, have stated their contents and the objects of their mission,
through officers deputed, like us, to receive such information. This
has always been necessary before a report could be made. We have
heard of you as a just, polite, and well-demeaned nation; and the
minister, when he heard of your arrival, was much pleased, and desirous
of bringing your business to a satisfactory conclusion, in order to
establish a friendly intercourse with you. [They were here told that
the minister was required to make no such request.] What answer would
he be able to give, should the emperor inquire about particulars?”

Here they were pointed to Mr. Crawford’s account of his mission to
Siam and Cochin-China, page 269; where he received what amounted
to a reprimand, for having shown to the governor of Saigon the
governor-general’s letter, when the minister of elephants told him: “It
is his majesty’s wish, when the governor-general writes again, that
the letter may be sealed, for this is the custom of Cochin-China.” And
again, “It is not agreeable to the customs of the country, that any
should inspect letters addressed to his majesty, before they reach his
own presence.”

They did not appear, or choose not to appear, acquainted with the
circumstances of Mr. Crawford’s mission, and did not want, they said,
the original letter, but a translation.

_Envoy._ “If I return, and report to the President that, when I came
here to propose a friendly intercourse between our countries, the
ministers of Cochin-China refused to report my arrival to the emperor;
took upon themselves to treat me rudely, and, after having detained
me a whole month, forced me to leave, without obtaining admission to
the capital; when this is told, what, think you, will be the world’s
opinion of your country? Its opinion will be, that you are an extremely
rude nation. If permission be not soon given for me to proceed to the
capital, I shall be necessitated to leave; for within the present year
I have to go to eight or nine other places.”

The latter part of this reply was intended to remove an error they
seemed to have fallen into, in supposing that the ship had come from
the United States, solely to negotiate a treaty with Cochin-China.

_Dep._ “Every thing in our country must be done according to etiquette.
Hitherto all countries, whether far or near, have paid regard to this
rule. The etiquette to be observed by ministers of government, is to
report no business, until they have obtained complete knowledge of it.
We have been desirous to effect for you the objects of your mission,
but you have been obstinate in your determinations. Pray, what would
you think of an envoy from any other country coming here, and refusing
to have any thing done through the medium of officers deputed, like us,
for the purpose of arranging the business of his mission, and insisting
on immediate admission to the emperor’s presence? If the circumstances
be told to all the world, the right and wrong will then be known. Our
country has always received other nations liberally, without deriving
any advantage from them.

“Before,” they continued, “you said there was no translation of the
President’s letter; now you say there is:--before, you said the vessel
was going to no other place; now you say she is going to nine other
places. What are we to understand by this?”

As not the slightest hint had been given to favour either of these
assertions, they were immediately contradicted. They had never been
told, either that the President’s letter was not translated, or that
the envoy had business in Cochin-China alone.

They now stated they did not want the letter opened; they only
required to know what was desired; whether land to build factories on,
privileges of trade, or what?

_Envoy._ “No favours or privileges are asked for. Our government does
not build factories. Friendly intercourse alone is desired.”

_Dep._ “Is commerce desired?”

_Envoy._ “That is necessarily included in friendly intercourse between
the two countries; which will be for the advantage, not of one, but of

_Dep._ “You have now come over an extensive ocean as an envoy. The
minister has acted according to the emperor’s gracious wishes of
tenderness towards foreigners. He wishes to conclude your affairs
happily and satisfactorily; but you persist and determine, of your own
accord, to return unsuccessful. Say not that you were not received
well and liberally. The fault lies with you!”

_Envoy._ “As you refuse our intercourse, and I cannot obtain permission
to go to Hué, I must leave shortly. The fault lies not with me, but in
the minister’s uncivil treatment. On my return, I shall have to report,
that the minister had the presumption to take the business of the
mission into his own hands, without making any report to the emperor.
How call you such conduct ‘_liberal treatment_?’”

_Dep._ “We too have been sent to bring the business of your mission to
a determinate point; but your obstinacy leaves us at a loss what to do.
We will return in a day or two to the capital, and make a report of the

This was said by the two who had arrived on the twenty-sixth.

In reply, they were told that the envoy could have nothing to do with
their movements; that when quite ready he would leave; but that, when
he did so, he would write a protest against the manner in which he had
been treated, and would send a copy of such protest to the emperor, and
copies to other princes also. At first, not seeming to understand what
was meant, they desired that it should be sent to the minister instead
of the emperor; but this, they were told, was out of the question.

_January twenty-ninth._ Some gentlemen who had been on shore in the
course of yesterday, having been asked when the ship would sail, Mr.
Morrison visited the deputies this morning, with the following written

    “I hear that you inquired last evening when our ship would sail. I
    am directed by the envoy to tell you, that if, within six days, the
    imperial permission be not received for the mission to go to Hué,
    the vessel will then sail.

    “The envoy does not act inconsiderately, as deeming this an affair
    of a trivial nature: but he is necessitated to leave, because the
    business confided to him, in other places, will not admit of a long

    “Nor does he consider it a thing of small import, that the minister
    of commerce, &c., refuses to report his arrival to the emperor, or
    to afford him the means of presenting the letter.”

In reply, the two deputies who had first arrived, (for the other two,
though not yet on their way for Hué, did not appear,) returned to their
former position, that they were desirous of bringing the business to
an amicable and satisfactory conclusion, but were prevented by the
obstinacy of the envoy. If a translation of the President’s letter, and
a complete statement of the objects of the mission, were delivered to
them, then some conclusion might be come to.

They were told it was useless talking thus, as the determination of
the envoy had already been communicated to them. Should the envoy go
to Hué, on his arrival there, the minister might receive a copy of the
President’s letter, and what explanations he might desire as to the
objects of the mission. Similar conversation was kept up for a few
minutes, during which the deputies received a written paper from the
other two, who were within. They then wrote, that “the President, being
elected and promoted by the people, and not possessing the actual title
of king, it behooved him to write in a manner properly decorous and
respectful; on which account it was requisite for the translation to be
examined, in order to expunge improper words.”

In reply to this insulting language, they were told that the President
was inferior to no king or emperor, and were then left.


In consequence of the insult thus offered to the President, Mr.
Morrison again went on shore in the afternoon, in company with Mr.
Fowler, for the purpose either of obtaining an apology, or of handing
the deputies, for the information of the minister, a protest from the
envoy against the adoption of such language. They now withdrew what
they had said in the morning; and, having previously torn up the paper
on which they had written, they denied that they had said what was
attributed to them. “The other day,” said they, “you told us that your
President is elected by the people; we asked, therefore, whether he
was really a king or not: and letters, we said, should be humble and

Had there been any doubt (which there was not) of the real sense of
what they said in the morning, the total incoherency of what they
now advanced would afford strong presumption against its truth; for
who could write in one sentence, the question, “Whether or not the
President is a real king;” and the assertion that “letters should be
humble and decorous,” with other than the insulting views attributed
to them in the morning? But, as they denied having spoken by command
of their master the minister, and wholly disclaimed any intention of
insult, the apology was thought sufficient, and the envoy’s protest was
not handed to them. They were again told that, though the President
did not bear the title of king, yet he was equal to any king or
emperor, and was so acknowledged by all with whom the United States had

This point being set to rest, a list of the refreshments, which had
been received from them at different times, was handed to them, with
a request that they would say whether it was correct or not. They
were then told, that if the business of the mission were to end
unsuccessfully, the refreshments they had sent could not be accepted as
presents, but must be paid for. This they strenuously resisted, saying,
repeatedly, that the things were of small value. “Nothing,” they were
answered, “of the smallest value, could be accepted, if the mission
ended without going to Hué. Should the mission proceed thither, they
would be accepted as tokens of a friendly disposition between the two
countries; but otherwise, no friendly intercourse being established,
every thing must be paid for.”

As the feast, when brought on board, had been represented as coming
from the emperor, it was now asked how that could be the case, since
the emperor was not yet apprized of the vessel’s arrival? The deputies
replied, that it was customary to present such refreshments to foreign
vessels on their arrival; therefore it was considered as coming from
the emperor, although prepared by the provincial officers, at the
direction of the minister.

They were then asked what the minister’s object was in thus delaying
the business of the mission, and refusing to report to the emperor.
They replied, as usual, that their wish was to expedite, not to retard
the business of the mission; which was hindered, they said, only by the
envoy’s refusal to act according to their advice. It was argued, that
if any one had business with them, he would not stay to explain his
business to their servants, but would require to speak with themselves
at once. Arguments, however, proved useless. They either could or would
not comprehend them. The two deputies, who were returning to Hué, had
not left, but were to start the same evening.

[Sidenote: ENVOY’S LETTER.]

_January thirtieth._ The deputies appearing to act under specific
orders, from which they could not deviate in the least, the envoy now
addressed a letter to the minister of commerce, specifying the objects
of the mission, and enclosing a copy of the President’s letter, with a
Chinese translation of it. The following are copies of the documents:--

    _Letter from Edmund Roberts, Esq., special envoy from the United
    States of America, to the Cochin-Chinese minister of foreign
    affairs, commerce, &c._:--

    “Edmund Roberts, special envoy from the United States of America,
    desires to inform your excellency, that he wrote, on the eighteenth
    of the present month, acquainting your excellency with the wish
    entertained by the President of the United States to open a
    friendly intercourse with the emperor of Cochin-China; and with
    his consequent appointment of myself to be the bearer of a letter
    which I am to present to his majesty; having, at the same time,
    full powers to treat, on behalf of the President, for the important
    objects which he has in view.

    “I have now the pleasure to enclose copies of the original, and a
    translation in Chinese, of the President’s letter to the emperor,
    for your excellency’s inspection. The important objects of the
    President, mentioned in the letter, are solely to ascertain, if the
    emperor is willing to admit the American commercial intercourse on
    the same terms as those of the most favoured nations; or on what
    conditions he will admit it, and into what ports. No exclusive
    privileges are asked for. And the envoy is not charged with any
    other matter or thing, excepting to establish a suitable commercial
    treaty between the two nations. These are the only objects of the

    “Had your excellency sent a written answer, requesting the
    above information, the envoy would have given these particulars
    previously; but certain persons inquired the object of the vessel’s
    coming, and asked for a copy of the President’s letter, to whom
    this information could not be given, as they could show no document
    or authority from your excellency.

    “The envoy has already been here some time, and will be unable to
    delay much longer. He therefore requests your excellency to provide
    the means for himself, and others who are to accompany him, to
    proceed to Hué speedily. For unless, within seven days, permission
    be received, from the emperor, to proceed thither at once, the
    vessel must go to sea.

    “Signed and sealed on board the U. S. ship-of-war Peacock, in the
    roadstead of Vung-lam, in the province of Fooyan, this thirtieth
    day of January, A. D., 1833, and of independence, the fifty-seventh.

    (Signed,) “EDMUND ROBERTS.”

    “Andrew Jackson, President of the United States of America, to
    his majesty the emperor of Cochin-China:--

    “Great and good friend--

    “This will be delivered to your majesty by Edmund Roberts, a
    respectable citizen of these United States, who has been appointed
    special agent, on the part of this government, to transact
    important business with your majesty. I pray your majesty to
    protect him in the exercise of the duties which are thus confided
    to him, and to treat him with kindness and confidence; placing
    entire reliance upon what he shall say to you in our behalf,
    especially when he shall repeat the assurances of our perfect amity
    and good will towards your majesty. I pray God to have you, great
    and good friend, under his safe and holy keeping.

    “Written at the city of Washington, the twentieth day of January,
    A. D. 1833, and in the fifty-sixth year of independence.

    “Your good and faithful friend,


    “By the President.

    “EDWARD LIVINGSTON, Sec’ry of State.”

    “The foregoing is a true copy of the original now in my possession.



These documents being completed, the packet was sealed up, and taken on
shore by Mr. Morrison; but now a new and unexpected difficulty arose.
The letter (which, they were told, though addressed to the minister,
was intended to be seen by the emperor) must be opened, submitted to
their inspection, and corrected entirely according to their taste, ere
they would receive or forward it.

This unheard-of and arrogant requisition was strongly objected to.
“What is the cause,” they were asked, “of such behaviour? Here are
four officers of whose names and rank we are equally ignorant. (For
their rank they had evaded telling, when asked, and their names,
though told by two of them, were not suffered to be written down.)
These officers require full information, respecting the objects of
our mission, and refuse to forward our official letters. In no other
country, we have been to, is an envoy thus treated.”

With the deputies, however, nothing that could be said was of any
use. They acted apparently on specific and peremptory orders, and
evinced a total disregard for every thing but a complete concession
to all their demands. On the present occasion they refused to write
an answer to what was said to them. Through the interpreter they
repeated the same language they had before so often used, respecting
their own and the minister’s anxiety to conclude the business of the
mission satisfactorily; the necessity of conforming to the customs and
etiquette of the country, and the obstinacy of the envoy, &c.

“Were a letter,” they were asked, “sent to you, would a copy be first
shown to your servants?”

“No,” they replied, “but the case is not parallel. Your envoy is like
one standing at the door of a house.”

“Admitting that, suppose me coming to the door of your house, on
business with you, should I have to inform your servants what my
business was before I could enter?”

The quick little interpreter, Miguel, said that this was agreeable to
reason, a point which the deputies were less ready to admit. They could
not allow the comparison. “Such,” said they, “are our laws. They must
be implicitly obeyed.”

“Had there been an imperial order,” it was resumed, “or a written
answer from the minister, then the business of the mission might be
communicated to you; but how can it be communicated to persons of
whose names and rank we are ignorant? The objects of the mission have,
therefore, been stated in the letter, which it will be well for you to
forward. This obstinacy in requiring to know our objects is insulting.”

Mr. Morrison was now pressed to return to the ship, to receive the
envoy’s permission for them to see the contents of the packet, and
correct the phraseology of the letters. Finding them determined not
to receive it as it was, he accordingly left, after having repeated
the necessity of paying for their presents, should their continual
opposition cause the failure of the mission. They appeared personally
desirous of conciliation, though their national vanity and prejudices
would not suffer them to see any thing absurd or improper in the
conduct which their orders obliged them to adopt.

In the evening Mr. Morrison again went on shore, with Chinese copies of
the President’s letter to the emperor, and the envoy’s letter to the
minister. Having required that the crowd of attendants, who usually
stood round, listening to the conversation, should be dismissed, the
envoy’s letter was shown to the deputies. They immediately proceeded
to criticise every word and sentence, making several alterations
and corrections, which, though of small importance, and generally
unobjectionable, occupied considerable time. During the conversation,
which the remarks, made on various parts of the letter, occasioned,
the interpreter Miguel, apparently of his own accord, though probably
prompted by his employers, remarked, that the President was equal to
a _king_; but that the emperor was superior to a king. The natural
inference, that the emperor of Cochin-China is superior to the
President of the United States, he left to be deduced by others. The
remark arose from an endeavour, on the part of the deputies, to have
the President’s title placed lower than that of the emperor; not, they
would have it believed, from an idea of inequality, but on account of
the humbler style, which they insisted, the writing party must adopt
in speaking of themselves. The envoy, it was answered, had taken
that station, which courtesy to the person he addressed, required;
but to place the President lower than the emperor, was a point of a
different nature--a point which courtesy did not require, and which,
the President and emperor being in every respect equal in rank, could
never be complied with. Having at length concluded with the letter to
the minister, every correction which could be considered derogatory or
mean having been rejected, the deputies now desired to see a copy of
the President’s letter. This was for some time objected to; and the
impropriety of the demand, as well as the unpleasantness of compliance
pointed out. They were resolved, however, to see it, and at length it
was shown to them; but as they were proceeding to make alterations in
it also, they were stopped, and told that the President’s letter could
not be altered. Without making alterations in it, they insisted that
the letter could not be forwarded; nor would they consent to receive
it at all, unless, after seeing every correction made in both letters
that they wished, the packet should be sealed before their eyes. They
were told this want of confidence was offensive, and required a similar
discredit of their authority, as their names and rank were unknown, and
they had shown no credentials. They thereupon stated their names and
rank, said they had no credentials; and argued that they too had been
shown no credentials by the envoy. The envoy, it was replied, would
show his powers to the proper individuals in fit time and place.

They still insisted on correcting the President’s letter. Mr. Morrison
therefore returned, about nine, P. M., leaving the sealed package,
addressed to the minister, in charge of the deputies.


_January thirty-first._ Mr. Morrison, having made a copy of the envoy’s
letter to the minister, with the corrections which were last night
agreed to, as being immaterial, repaired on shore, in the forenoon,
with authority to make such trivial alterations, in the translation
of the President’s letter, as the deputies might desire. He first
inquired if the packet that was left on shore had been sent to the
minister; and was answered, that, not being corrected, it could not be
forwarded. The deputies then repeated their unchanging expressions of
a desire, on the part of the minister who had sent them, to arrange
matters speedily, and on a friendly footing. Such conversation being
little likely to lead to any good result, it was avoided; and they were
requested, as they would not forward the packet, to return it. This
was accordingly done; and the envelope being removed, the translation
of the President’s letter was laid before them, accompanied with a
remonstrance against their conduct, in insisting that it should be
altered before they would forward it. About two hours were now spent in
objecting to particular words and sentences, either as being improper
and contrary to etiquette, or as being unintelligible. They also made
particular inquiries respecting the original letter, whether it was
sealed or not, and whether the Chinese translation was signed by the
President. They put some questions, also, respecting the signature
of the Secretary of State, what was his rank, &c.; and asked if the
original letter was kept on board; and if the one shown to them was
only a copy. When told, “of course,” they said, “that is right.”

Among other points, they professed not to understand the expression,
“Great and good friend;” and they interpreted it according to their
preconceived ideas, as a “request for a friendly intercourse.”
The expression was explained to them, and shown to be perfectly
intelligible, (for it was only their astonishment at such familiar
language, that prevented their understanding it.) But still they
considered it quite inadmissible; the common word _yew_, a friend,
was unsuitable and improper between two great powers. The only thing
that would satisfy such hairbreadth distinguishers, was to say, “Your
country and mine have amicable intercourse.” Wherever the simple and
_common_ word _I_ (wo) occurred, it became necessary to substitute
some other word, having a similar meaning, (as pun.) And for _he_ or
_him_, (ta,) referring to the envoy, they required in substitution of
kae-yuen, “the said officer.” Where the President says, “I pray your
majesty to protect him, and to treat him with kindness and confidence,”
they wished to introduce a request for “deep condescension” on the part
of the emperor, which was rejected; and, to satisfy them, a slight
change was made in the phraseology of the translation, but without
permitting any thing servile. The President’s letter concludes with
this expression:--“I pray God to have you always, great and good
friend, under his safe and holy keeping.” This they wished to change
into a prayer to “imperial heaven, for the continual peace of your
majesty’s sacred person.” In opposition to this proposed change, which
would present the President in the light of an idolater, the Christian
notion of the Deity, as “one God, the Supreme Ruler of heaven and
earth, of the nations and their sovereigns,” was explained to them;
and the divinity of heaven and earth, believed by the Chinese and
Cochin-Chinese, was denied. They then proposed, by another change of
the term used to express the Deity, to make the President pray to the
“Gods of heaven.” But this point they were obliged also to give up.

Having thus gone over the whole letter, without the admission of any
degrading terms, though some expressions which they wished to have
adopted were still of a doubtful nature, they were informed, that
if, after consideration, it should appear right to make the proposed
alterations, a copy would be taken on shore in the evening. As they
insisted on having the packet closed before their eyes, it was agreed
that the despatch should then be sealed up, and given them to forward
to the minister. But they were not yet satisfied. After suffering
the letter to the minister to pass muster, (which they did with some
reluctance,) they re-examined the President’s letter, and pointed out
how much the words, emperor, Cochin-China, &c., should, as indicative
of respect, be elevated above the head margin of the page; and finally,
they decided that it would be very improper for the President to
address his letter simply to the emperor, (te che;) it must, they
said, be transmitted either _with silent awe_, (suh te,) or _with
uplifted hands_, (fung, or te shang)--terms in frequent use among the
Chinese, and their humble imitators, the Cochin-Chinese, in addresses
from subjects to their sovereigns. These expressions were, therefore,
rejected, and Mr. Morrison returned on board, to consider the other
expressions, and explain them to the envoy. They were told that a
translation must be faithful to the original. They said it should give
the sense without adhering to the words of the original. This was
admitted; but if a different tone were adopted, they were told, the
sense could not be preserved.


Shortly after Mr. Morrison had reached the ship, he was followed by one
of the deputies, the other being kept back probably by his liability
to sea-sickness. The former came furnished with written directions,
to which he at times referred, having neglected to gain satisfactory
knowledge of two _important_ points, viz.:--whether there were any
presents for the emperor, “as a token of sincerity;” and whether the
envoy was prepared to submit to the etiquette of the court, at an
audience of the emperor--this point being rendered very doubtful by the
previous resistance shown to their numerous requisitions.

In reply to the first question, the deputy was told, that as the
subject was not mentioned in the letter from the President, it was
unnecessary to refer to it, before the conclusion of a treaty. Should
the emperor desire any thing particular, it might be sent at his

_Deputy._ “The emperor’s coffers are full and overflowing, well
provided with every thing curious and valuable; how can he desire
any thing from you? But you have come to seek trade and intercourse.
Although the emperor is tender and kind to strangers, and willing to
admit them--yet, consider, if it appears well to come without presents
and empty handed.”

_Envoy._ “My country asks no favours or ‘tenderness’ from any; but I
desire to know how the emperor is willing to admit our merchants to
trade; whether on the same footing as the Chinese, &c., or not. Our
ships are found every where, but we seek favours from none.”

_Dep._ “I have heard that it is customary among the nations of the
west, to send presents, when seeking intercourse with the dominions of
others. On this account I ask the question, not because the emperor
wants any thing.”

_Envoy._ “As the emperor does not want presents, why do you speak of
them? Should a treaty be concluded, this is a minor matter, which can
then be spoken of; but which does not require any previous attention.”
To this the deputy assented.

The ceremony of presentation was easily dismissed, by informing the
deputy, that nothing beyond a bow, as to the President, would be
performed. The ceremony of the country was then asked. He said, that it
was to make five prostrations, touching the ground with the forehead;
and asked if five distinct bows would be acceded to without the
prostrations. To this the envoy replied, yes; he would make five, ten,
or as many bows as they desired; but the kneeling posture is becoming
only in the worship of the Creator.


The deputy now urged the necessity of proper regard being paid to the
elevation of the words emperor, Cochin-China, &c., and to the use of
“humble and decorous expressions.” To this advice he endeavoured to
give greater force, by saying, that in the correspondence held by
the kings of An-nam, before the assumption of the present title of
emperor, such humble phraseology was made use of. This argument would
imply inferiority in the President, to one who bears the high title
of emperor, and was, therefore, instantly repelled as insulting.
The deputy denied its being insulting, maintained the propriety of
his argument, and insisted on the use, at the commencement of the
President’s letter, of one or other of the derogatory terms already
mentioned, viz.: that the letter was sent with “silent awe,” or that it
was presented with “_uplifted hands_.” He was admonished not to repeat
so insulting a demand; for that the President stands on a footing of
perfect equality with the highest emperor, and cannot, therefore, use
any term that may make him appear in the light of one inferior to
the emperor of Cochin-China. The same term, it was added, will be
used as it is used in the letter from the envoy to the minster, which
term implies equality, without any disrespectful arrogation of it.
Such demands, he was told, far from being amicable, were of a very
unfriendly nature.

In reply, he said, that unless this requisition was complied with,
he and his fellow-officers dare not forward the despatch, enclosing
the copy of the President’s letter, nor dare they, he added,
forward the letter to the minister, without the President’s letter,
although the mention made in it of the latter should be erased. As
this determination left no alternative, but complete failure or
dishonourable concessions, he was required to repeat the refusal, which
he did more than once, and then returned to the shore.



Two days having elapsed, on the third of February, without any
official intercourse with the shore, the junior deputy again appeared;
his colleague still remaining on shore on account of sickness. The
professed object of his coming, was a mere visit; the _real_ one, to
propose another word to be used at the commencement of the President’s
letter, if the words previously suggested would not be adopted. This
word was kin, implying reverence, solemnity, and veneration, &c., not
differing materially from that which had before been proposed: it was
also rejected. The expression as it already stood, contained, he was
told, nothing disrespectful, and was a plain and simple version of the
original. He was determined, however, that without the adoption of some
derogatory expression, the letter should not be sent on to Hué; so that
the business of the mission remained at a stand.

The deputy now shifted his position, as indeed none of his fellows
scrupled to do when needful, by adopting a false assertion: “While
on shore,” he said, “every word was assented to; why is the use of
these words now refused?” This shows the convenient deafness or
forgetfulness, which these little-minded politicians can assume, when
occasion requires; for it had been specifically stated, that not a word
would be altered without farther consideration, and the permission of
the envoy.

Thus baffled, he said that the obstinate determination of the envoy
left him at a loss in what way to act.

“There is but one way,” he was answered, “in which you can act. Take
the President’s letter without these alterations. If you insist on
them, the business of the mission is at an end. The vessel will,
however, stay the time already mentioned, till she is quite ready
to leave. But you must not suppose she can wait to receive farther
refusals to fresh applications for permission to go to Hué.”

When leaving, it was carelessly said to him, that as he had said
American vessels were at liberty to trade, he should give a copy of the
regulations of commerce. This he refused.

The next day, some similar questions respecting commerce, which were
asked during a short complimentary visit, were received uncourteously,
and answered by the deputies with professions of ignorance.


_February seventh._ Eight days having now elapsed since the return of
the deputies to Hué, and nothing having been heard relative to the
mission, the two remaining deputies were informed, that the vessel
would go to sea on the morrow; and Mr. Morrison was about to pay a
farewell visit, and urge the receipt of payment for the refreshments,
at different times sent off, when the younger deputy came on board.

After a few compliments had passed, he was told, that if the wind were
favourable, the ship would go to sea in the morning. He was asked,
also, if there was any news.

The native Christian, Miguel, before interpreting what was said,
asked if the ship would not wait till something was heard from Hué.
But the deputy, who was more cautious of expressing his feelings,
simply replied, that he had no news. Had he heard from Hué, he would
immediately have come to report the news. He requested that no offence
would be taken, nor any unpleasant feeling be entertained, on account
of the manner in which the mission left; as the failure was entirely
owing to the difference of custom in the two countries. He hoped that
all unfriendliness would be dismissed, and that American vessels would
frequent the Cochin-Chinese harbours, as much as if the mission had

In reply to what he said respecting the difference of customs, he
was told, that it could not be the custom of the country to exact
professions of inferiority from other countries, as the minister had
endeavoured to do in the present instance. The emperor, he said,
would have used the same phraseology, as that proposed to be used in
the letter, if addressing, by his envoy, the President of the United
States. This, he was told, would not be desired in the United States;
and, on the contrary, would only be subject to ridicule. He replied:
“Though _you_ might not require it, _our_ customs would!” It was
rejoined: “Since you would adhere to your own customs, if on a mission
to the United States, it stands to reason that the envoy of the United
States should adhere to his customs here.”

He now shifted his ground, and, while admitting that the expression
proposed was a strong one, maintained, nevertheless, that it was not
indicative of inferiority. Its use, by inferiors in addressing their
superiors, was pointed out to him; and he was asked, why, as the
word first used was far from disrespectful, he should wish it to be
changed? being, at the same time, again assured, that the words he
had suggested, should not be adopted. “If you have so determined,” he
rejoined, “I cannot receive this letter. But though the mission fail,
that will not prevent your vessels coming to trade.”

“The trade,” it was replied, “is on so bad a footing, the regulations
being unknown, and the government-charges and duties unascertained,
that vessels cannot come here.”

“All nations that come here,” he answered, “for instance, the English
and French, are on the same footing with you. They do not inquire about
the laws; and none dare extort from them more than the regular charges.”

“This,” he was told, “is not true; for the Chinese are on a different
footing, being able to go to many places where the English and French
cannot go. England and France have endeavoured to form treaties, but
without success. We know the regulations of the English and French
trade, but do not know any for the American trade: hence our mission.”

Being thus driven from one untenable position to another, he at length
pleaded ignorance. Admitting the fact, that the Chinese are allowed to
trade in Tonquin and other places, he however knew only the regulations
of Hué and Turan, and knew nothing of the laws in other places.

“The mission,” it was answered, “is not sent to you, but to the
emperor. He knows what the regulations are in every place.”

“The minister,” he replied, “would know all, if the letter were sent
to Hué: but without the change of phraseology already pointed out, it
could not be sent. The envoys of Burmah and Siam have used the same
expressions as those proposed to you.”

“This,” he was answered, “can be of no avail with the envoy of the
United States. If the envoys of Burmah and Siam have assented, either
ignorantly or with full knowledge, to adopt expressions of a servile
nature, that can have no influence on this mission.”

“Without the letter,” repeated the deputy, “the minister cannot report
to the emperor.”

_Envoy._ “If he will, he can.”

_Dep._ “As I have not received any notice from Hué, I cannot say what
he has done.”

_Envoy._ “Eight days have elapsed since the two deputies have returned
to the capital.”

_Dep._ “Only five days have elapsed since your last letter to the
minister was shown us.”

The deputy was now requested to receive payment for the refreshments
sent to the envoy and the ship, as it was unpleasant to accept any
thing in the form of presents, the envoy not having obtained the
objects of his mission. He was urged not to refuse payment, and assured
that the envoy was sorry he was obliged to leave, without having
brought about a friendly intercourse between the two nations. He
refused, however, all payment as strenuously as it was urged upon him.
The things, he said, were mere trifles, and he could not accept any
thing for them. Nor in this did he say wrong; for they probably cost
the government very much less than their real value, small as that was.

Before leaving, the deputy drank the health of the President; and the
health of the emperor of Cochin-China was drunk in return. He then took
leave, wishing us health and a pleasant voyage, and a speedy return. He
was thanked and told that he must not expect to see us again.

The next morning, the ship got under weigh; and though all day slowly
beating out of the harbour, nothing more was seen of the Cochin-Chinese.

[Sidenote: TITLES OF ENVOY.]

During the discussion with the Mandarins relative to the letter which
was to be written to the minister, I refused to consider him in any
other light than my equal in rank, as they were so strongly disposed
to exalt him, and debase me if possible. The deputies expressed some
surprise at this observation, and demanded upon what ground I claimed
an equality with them; they were answered, as the representative of an
independent power. They then asked what were my titles; if they were
of as much importance as the minister’s, and if they were as numerous.
They were told that there was no order of nobility in the United
States, and so they had been previously informed; still they insisted
that there must be something equivalent to it, and that, as I held an
important office under the government, I should not be without titles
of some sort. Finding the gentlemen were so extremely desirous that I
should have an appendage to my name, and as they would not be satisfied
with a denial, I at once concluded to humour them. I replied that I
would comply with their wishes, and furnish them with the greatest
abundance of titles. As they had been extremely unwilling to give the
titles of the emperor or the minister, or their own, they probably
concluded that I was actuated by the same motives as themselves in
withholding mine, whatever they were. The gentlemen belonging to
the ship who were in the cabin, looked very much astonished at this
reply, wondering how I was to extricate myself from this seeming
difficulty; but they were speedily relieved. The principal deputy
having prepared his Chinese pencil and half a sheet of paper, sat
down to write. I immediately observed to him, that it was necessary
to commence with a whole sheet, at which he expressed some surprise,
and said that the minister’s titles would not occupy one fourth of it.
Having determined to give them, in the first place, the names of all
the counties, and the two hundred and odd towns in my native state,
as well as the mountains, rivers, and lakes, which would supply the
places of titles, and then, if they were not satisfied, to proceed
_in the same manner_ with all the other states in the Union, which,
by giving first the names of the several states, then the counties,
towns, &c., would probably occupy them for some days, if they had had
sufficient perseverance to proceed _to the end_ of what _I intended
should be endless_. I then commenced as follows, Mr. Morrison acting as
interpreter and frequently translator:

Edmund Roberts, a special envoy from the United States, and a citizen
of Portsmouth, in the state of New Hampshire. I then proceeded with the
counties of Rockingham, Strafford, Merrimack, Hillsborough, Grafton,
Cheshire, Sullivan, and Coos. When he had written thus far, which
occupied much time, owing to the almost insurmountable difficulties in
rendering them into Chinese, he expressed strong signs of impatience
and asked if there were any more; I requested him not to be impatient,
as I was very desirous that not one should be omitted, as it was a
matter of primary importance in all governments where titles were
used. He remarked, that already they were greater in number than were
possessed by any prince of the empire. However, he dipped his pencil
in the ink, and recommenced as follows: I first took Gosport, in the
Isles of Shoals, being farthest at sea, and then went on with the towns
on the seacoast; with Hampton and Seabrook, Rye and New Castle, and
then Newington, Stratham, and Exeter. Having proceeded thus far, and
finding difficulties succeeding difficulties, at every syllable and at
every word, he laid down his pencil, seemingly exhausted, and asked if
there were any more, as he had then filled a sheet of Chinese paper.
I answered, he had scarcely made a commencement: at this he said it
was unnecessary to record the rest; and that he never heard or read
of any person possessing a like number. He complained of a headache
and sickness, owing to the rolling of the ship. I then begged he
would desist, for that time, and call on board as _early_ as he could
make it convenient on the following morning, for I was exceedingly
anxious he should have them _all_; then there would be no hesitation
in acknowledging that I was not presumptuous, when I stated that the
prime minister could not be considered my superior in point of rank,
as he did not possess so many titles. It was now very evident that
he began to be alarmed at the extent of my titles, lest they should
totally eclipse those of the minister, and that I might be desirous of
ascending a step _higher_ than his excellency. He replied that he was
fully satisfied that I was every way equal to him in point of rank. I
urged him to proceed, but without effect, for he refused very firmly,
but politely, and therefore _most reluctantly_ I was obliged to accede
to his wishes.

The whole scene was certainly most ludicrous. Some of the gentlemen
could with much difficulty restrain their risible faculties, while
others walked out of the cabin, being utterly unable to refrain from
laughter, while I kept a most imperturbable countenance until the whole
matter was concluded. I renewed the attempt the next morning, when he
came on board, but he looked quite aghast at the mere request, and thus
ended this farcical scene.


It may be thought by those who are for submitting to every
species of degradation, to gain commercial advantages, that I was
unnecessarily fastidious in the course I adopted in the negotiation
with Cochin-China; but when it is known that there is no end to the
doctrine of submission with the ultra-Gangetic nations; and all past
negotiations of European powers will fully confirm what I now state,
that neither privileges, nor immunities, nor advantages of any kind,
are to be gained by submission, condescension, conciliation, or by
flattery, (they despise the former as a proof of weakness--the latter
as arguing a want of spirit;) that threats and aggressions are neither
justifiable nor necessary, a dignified, yet unassuming conduct, jealous
of its own honour, open and disinterested, seeking its own advantage,
but willing to promote that of others, will doubtless effect much with
nations of this stamp and character, and must in the end be able to
accomplish the object desired.

Previous to visiting Cochin-China, I had laid down certain rules of
conduct, which I had resolved to adopt towards these people, as well
as the Siamese. In the first place, I had determined to adhere most
strictly to the truth, however detrimental it might be to the interest
of our commerce at _present_, or however unpalatable it might be to
either of the nations. I had further resolved, not to submit to any
degrading ceremonies, by performing the Ko-tow, uncovering the feet,
&c., &c. My answer to such requisitions would be: We do not come here
to change the customs of your court with its own statesmen, but we
come as independent people, for a short interview. Let your statesmen
preserve their customs, and we will preserve ours. Still, it may be
answered: You come to us, we do not go to you: my reply then would be:
When you come to us, you shall be allowed your own customs, in the mode
of presentation to the President. Reasoning with these people, must not
be founded on the ground of lord and vassal, but reciprocity. National
usages should be avoided as much as possible, and _natural reason_,
common sense, the reciprocal rights of men, be taken as the foundation
of intercourse. There is no end to the doctrine of _submission to law_,
where every worthless justice of peace tells you with a bare-faced lie
in his mouth, that his will and present declaration are the law of the
land. Seeing the gross impositions practised, by apparently friendly
nations, with other negotiators, I had further determined never to
repose any confidence in their advice, but to let my own judgment be
the guide of what was just and right. Furthermore, to be kind and
courteous to all; but after some little formalities, to reveal as
little to inferior officers as possible; and lastly, to use some state
and show, as they are useful auxiliaries in making an impression upon
the uncivilized mind.

I deem it best, here to remark, that in my negotiations with Asiatics,
all apparent acknowledgments of inferiority, which precedes signatures
to letters, as “your humble servant,” &c., are always construed
literally, and of course have an injurious effect upon a conceited
and arrogant people; and great nicety should be observed in preparing
documents on parchment, to which should be attached a large seal,
incased in a gold box, having the envelope of rich yellow silk or
satin, or otherwise it will give offence.

To all outward appearance the country surrounding this noble bay is in
a highly flourishing condition, but on a more close examination this
beautiful vision is not realized. The inhabitants are without exception
the most filthy people in the world. As soon as the boat touches the
strand, out rush from their palm-leaf huts, men and women, and naked
children and dogs, all having a mangy appearance; being covered with
some scorbutic disease, the itch or small-pox, and frequently with
white leprous spots. The teeth, even of the children who are seven or
eight years old, are of a coal black, their lips and gums are deeply
stained with chewing areca, &c., their faces are nasty, their hands
unwashed, and their whole persons most offensive to the sight and
smell; for the most part the comb has never touched the children’s
heads, and a whole village may be seen scratching at the same time
from head to foot. They are apparently brought up in utter idleness;
not a school is to be found, and they are seen playing all day long at
hide-and-go-seek under the boats, lounging among the palm-trees, or
sleeping on the bare ground in the shade or sun, as they find it most
convenient. The dress of the men and women is nearly the same, being
a wide long shirt, buttoned generally on the right side, with a pair
of short simple trousers, made of cotton. Those who are able, wear a
turban of black crape, and every man who makes any pretensions to
gentility, has a pair of reticules or broad-mouthed purses, in which
he puts areca and tobacco: these are thrown over the shoulders, and
are generally neatly made; some are wrought extensively in gold, some
embroidered with silk; others are of plain silk or satin, and generally
of their favourite colour, blue: those of an ordinary kind are worn
about the waist, or carried in the hand. But the dress of nineteen
twentieths of the inhabitants is merely a waist-cloth, which is kept in
a most filthy condition.

[Sidenote: PRODUCTS.]

In the course of a whole month, the period of our residence here, I
have not seen a person bathe, although beaches abound every where: the
Cochin-Chinese appear to have an utter aversion to cleanliness, and one
would be apt to infer that they all had a touch of the hydrophobia,
from their aversion to water. From the highly flourishing appearance of
the land, the immense number of fishing and coasting boats constantly
employed, it would be reasonable to conclude that great quantities of
sugar, coffee, cotton and fish were exported, and that provisions of
all kinds could be had in abundance; but such is not the fact: from
one to three small miserable junks, from the island of Hainan, visit
here annually, bringing coarse tea and some paper, and take in return,
ground-nut-oil, a small quantity of wax, and some colambac, here called
kinam; being a resinous aromatic concretion, and generally said to be
taken from the heart of the aloe wood. Sapan wood is occasionally to
be bought. The terrace culture is resorted to, in raising upland rice.
In fact, not enough rice is raised for the use of the inhabitants, and
they are obliged to import part of this necessary article of food from
Nhiatrang, and other parts of the kingdom.

Their mode of freeing rice from the husk, is by means of a long beam
having a pestle at one extremity; the beam plays on a pivot secured
between two parallel upright posts, a large mortar being firmly fixed
in the ground; the beam is elevated by the operator placing his foot
upon the other end; this is a primitive, and a very slow method of
freeing the husk from the kernel, and it causes it to be much broken.
Indian corn appears to thrive well, but they obtain but a scanty
supply: if more attention was paid to agriculture, and a less number
of people were employed in fishing, exports to a large amount might
be made within a few years; they import rice and tea, when they might
raise both in abundance, as well as coffee.

Elephants appear to be used here for domestic purposes; they are said
to be found in great numbers. Buffaloes, having a hump between the
fore shoulders, are used in the plough as well as the common ox; the
price given for the former for the use of the ship, has been from ten
to fifteen dollars. A small fleet horse, or rather pony, is here much
used, the price being about twenty quans, equal to eleven dollars.
Fowls, ducks and pigs, are by no means plentiful, and are only bought
at high prices; they will offer two, three or four of the two former
for a Spanish dollar or for a couple of common jackknives, which they
much prefer. The fruits which have been thus far offered for sale,
are the custard-apple and the jack, limes, oranges, pomegranates,
watermelons, lemons of immense size, and a great variety of the
plantain and banana, in one kind of which I found a great many seeds;
they were disposed of in horizontal layers in six compartments, having
a small pith running through them; there are about fifty seeds in
each, of an irregular shape, pointed slightly, and white at the apex;
immediately beneath them was a black ring, extending about one fourth
of the way down. Never having seen any seed-bearing plantain, I am
induced to note it; when ripe, the outside is of a reddish yellow, and
the fruit pleasant to the taste. The vegetables are few in number, and
all we have yet seen, are beans, the egg-plant, and the sweet potato.

[Sidenote: FISHING-BOATS.]

Great care appears to be taken of the remains of the dead--some are
placed in tombs of stone, neatly built and plastered, having a small
wicker-work house placed in the centre--others are deposited in a
common grave, having a basket-work roof which is placed there to
protect them from wild beasts. The inhabitants are civil, but sometimes
troublesome in approaching too near--they seem desirous of handling
every part of the dress--but the sad condition they are in, makes
it necessary frequently to use coercive measures to keep them at a
_wholesome_ distance. The naval button, with an eagle and an anchor on
it, demands universal admiration. A few small junks are built of wood
and many are repaired at Vunglam. Fishing occupies a large portion of
the time of the inhabitants, and from one hundred to one hundred and
fifty boats are seen issuing out of the bay every morning at sunrise
from the various villages. Some of them carry lug sails, and others are
of a triangular shape, &c., &c., and some have two masts and others
three; the largest mast being stepped in the centre, the next being
equi-distant between that and the smallest one, which is stepped as
near to the bows as possible; the sail on the middle mast is less than
one half the size of the mainmast, and the forward one about half the
size of the second. They are built very sharp forward; the bottom is
of basket-work, very closely woven, and stretched on a frame, and
dammer or pitch is used freely both within and without; the upper works
are of wood, and oil is frequently applied to the bottom. There are
a few built entirely of wood and very little iron, being generally
tree-nailed on to the timbers. The sails are of matting, neatly woven,
and generally well cut in a seamanlike manner. The cables are of
cocoa-nut fibres, and the anchors of a species of very heavy wood.
Chunam is used on the vessels, having wooden bottoms; and the upper
works are blacked with a substance resembling lacquer. The largest
class may carry forty or fifty tons.

Trees of a large growth are very scarce, being cut away to the tops of
the highest hills; they are therefore obliged to resort further inland
for ship-timber; a few planks of forty feet in length and about four
inches in thickness, of a very hard wood, were seen in the ship-yards,
sawed out quite roughly. Temples or houses for religious worship and
priests, there are none; they are said to be prone to superstitious
rites--this assertion has been fully confirmed in many instances.

In passing along between the village of Vunglam and the beach, I saw
a shed erected, having within it some characters written on a board
resembling the Chinese, but being blended so much together, they could
not be understood; the picture of a frightful object was also there.
A Chinese, who was with us, said it was placed there to guard against
evil spirits, which greatly infested that place. In another part of the
village was erected a similar shed, under which was a board, on which
was inscribed in Chinese characters, only the word _God_, it therefore
reminded me at once of what St. Paul found written on an altar at
Athens, “To the unknown God.” I suppose those more refined barbarians
and these poor Cochin-Chinese, are alike ignorant of _Him_ who made
and governs all things. Traversing the beach near Vung-chow, we saw a
small cell erected on posts, in the middle of a grove of trees; looking
into it, we found two chalk-fish painted green, suspended from the
roof, and some pots containing half-burnt joss-sticks. When they wish
for success in fishing, offerings are made to the presiding Deity.
Great quantities of sea-shells were scattered about the place, and
fires were evidently frequently made; thus they present the essence
of their feasts only to the Neptunian Deity, while the pious devotee
devours the substance. In another similar place about four miles from
thence, we found another cell or box erected on posts, but it was
more neatly constructed--in it were two paintings in water colours,
evidently Chinese, each having one large and two small female figures;
before them were half-burnt incense rods and on one side a horse’s head
wrapped in a cloth, which, on opening, we found filled with maggots: a
great number of small green glazed pots were scattered about.

Tigers abound throughout the country: a few nights since one came into
the village of Vunglam, and carried off into the jungle a good-sized
pig. The woods abound with wild hogs, goats, deer, peacocks, &c., &c.,
and the wild elephant is also abundant in the forests. About two miles
from hence is a large barrack, containing a number of soldiers: the
only arm I have yet seen them to possess is a very long spear, having
a small flag or tassel attached to it. I was introduced to an old man,
the commander of two thousand, the other day; himself and attendants
were on horses of a small size, or rather ponies; they sat on saddles
of a peculiar construction, the hinder part being the lowest; the
saddle-cloth being fancifully painted, a rope used instead of a bit
and bridle, and a string of small ornamented bells placed around the
neck: the commander was dressed in a long robe of blue satin, and
wore a black crape turban. He endeavoured to show every civility by
dismounting and walking.


It has been heretofore stated, that, after repeated requests, we
returned the ceremonious calls of two of the mandarins. On approaching
the house, towards the outer gate, we found twelve long spears, bearing
small flags, placed perpendicularly in the ground, in two lines. A
wattled fence separated the dwelling from the beach: in passing through
the outward entrance, we found a short neat avenue, of the graceful
areca-palm, intertwined with the piper-betel leaf. We then passed
through the inner entrance to the court-yard, which was in neat order.
The mandarins received us with much politeness: a temporary arbour
had been erected, and a table spread, having on it rice-wine, cakes,
sweetmeats, fruits--tea being also served. At each end of the arbour,
were suspended, from the roof, two elegantly embroidered cloths, having
silk tassels and worked lappels: Chinese characters were wrought on
them, the purport of which could not be ascertained, as they were so
much blended together. Two brass tripods, for burning incense, were
placed on the table, ornamented with a lion couchant, from the mouth
of which and the open-work cover, issued the grateful perfume of the
kinnam or calembac, which was kept well replenished. Paper cigars,
pipes, and areca, completed the regale. The house was of brick, with
a neat tiled roof. Flowers, in pots, were neatly arranged around the

Many of the natives stood looking on, and behaved with perfect
propriety. The mandarin, or chief of the village of Vung-lam, who
paid us the first visit on our arrival, was in attendance, standing
at my left hand, and served us, in common with the interpreters.
The mandarins were dressed in their robes of ceremony. Three houses
occupied as many sides of the court-yard. The mandarins and guards
attended us to our boats.

When the discussion was going on relative to the letter to the
minister, which occupied many hours, they finally approved of every
sentence, and every word, except “_friendly_,” which they thought was
rather too familiar a word to be used between nations; and therefore
they proposed substituting the word “neighbourly,” which would read,
“neighbourly intercourse.” Seeing that I was rather amused at the
proposed alteration, they were desirous of knowing the cause. Being
told, that, as we lived some twenty thousand miles apart, we could not
hold a _very neighbourly intercourse_, they were much amused by the
gross blunder committed by their ignorance, and replied, it was very
true, and therefore they would be satisfied with the word friendly,
as proposed by me. They were not aware, however, of the distance
between the two countries, neither did they know the situation of North
America, but supposed it to be in Europe, as we afterward ascertained.

When they take leave, they always place our right hand between theirs,
bow their heads very slowly, and as low down as possible.

The government of Cochin-China is thoroughly despotic, being framed in
close imitation of that of China. The sovereign, who, till lately, bore
the title of king, and who still pays a nominal tribute to China under
that title, assumes, among his own subjects, and with all foreign
countries, except China, the Chinese title of hwang-te, (or emperor,)
with the peculiar attribute, “sacred,” “divine,” &c., commonly used
by the court of Peking. The name, or epithet, by which the present
monarch is designated, (which name was taken by the monarch himself,
at his accession to the throne,) is ming-ming; it signifies, “emperor
appointed by the brilliant decree of heaven.”

According to the account of the deputies, who visited the ship at
Vung-lam, the _administration_ is also formed in imitation of the
Chinese--consisting of a council of four principal, and two secondary
ministers. The chief of these, (whom Mr. Crawford, the British envoy,
calls the minister of elephants, or of strangers,) was said to be the
minister of commerce, navigation, &c.

The provincial government is also formed in imitation of the Chinese.
Two or more provinces are governed by a toung-tuh, (tsong-dok,) or
governor; under whom, the principal officers, in each province,
are two, viz.: a pooching-sze, (bo-chang-sze,) or treasurer and
land-officer: and an anchasze, or judge. Subordinate to these, are
magistrates, called che-foos, che-keens, &c., presiding over the
districts into which each province is divided. In Cochin-China, as
in China, there are nine grades of rank, each of which is divided
into a principal and secondary class. Every officer, employed in the
government, is of one of these grades: thus, the ministers of the
council are of the first grade, principal class; and the governors of
provinces, are of the first grade, secondary class.

This is all the information respecting the government of Cochin-China,
that could be obtained from the natives.



We weighed anchor on the eighth of February, for the gulf of Siam;
light winds and calms detained us nearly two days, within sight of the
bay, in which lies Vunglam, &c., &c. We kept near to the coast, and
found it bold and free from dangers; the land was hilly and frequently
broken into mountains, more particularly between that bold promontory,
called Cape Varela, and Cape Padaran. We passed the latter within
three miles; from thence the land gradually dwindled into a gently
undulating country, and then into low land. We finally lost sight of
it off the numerous mouths of the great river, Kamboja. On the same
afternoon, being the twelfth, we passed Padaran, and saw Pulo Cica de
Terre and Lagan point. At meridian, on the following day, Pulo Condore
was in sight, and the islands to the westward, called the Brothers.
At daylight, the next morning, we beheld Pulo Ubi, or Yam island,
which lies to the southward of cape Camboja. On the fourteenth, the
islands and islets called Pulo Panjang, and ascertained their correct
position to be in latitude 9° north, by a meridian observation, and
by the chronometers, in 104° 32′, east longitude. At daylight, on
the following morning, we found ourselves in the midst of a group of
islands, lying so peacefully amid the glassy surface of the gulf, that
Dana’s beautiful description of “Quiet Islands,” was at once brought to
my recollection, from which I have made the following extract:--

            “The island lies nine leagues away,
              Along its solitary shore,
            Of craggy rocks and sandy bay,
              No sound but ocean’s roar,
    Save where the bold, wild sea-bird makes her home,
    Her shrill cry, coming through the sparkling foam;

            “But when the light winds lie at rest,
              And on the glassy, heaving sea,
            The black duck, with her glossy breast,
              Sits swinging silently,
    How beautiful! no ripples break the reach,
    And silvery waves roll noiseless up the beach.”

These islands are uninhabited, excepting when they are used as a
place of resort by Malay pirates. They are six in number, and a rocky
islet. As they are not laid down in any of our charts, they were
named the “_Woodbury Group_,” in honour of my friend, the Honourable
Levi Woodbury, the secretary of the navy. The northernmost island was
called “_Geisinger_;” the most southern and eastern, “_Roberts_;”
the centre one, between the two, “_Peacock_;” and that one lying
farthest to the westward, and nearly in latitude of Roberts island,
was named “_Boxer_:” the others were left unnamed. Their latitudes and
longitudes, from three chronometers and a meridian observation, are as
follows:--Two of them are about two miles long; one is in latitude 10°
16′ N., and longitude, 102° 43′ E., and the other in 10° 7′ and 103°.
Two small islands and a rocky islet to the westward of them, lie in
10° 25′ and 103°. Two narrow islands, four or five miles in length,
one in latitude 10° 19′ and 103° 12′ E., and the other in 10° 15′, and
103° 21′ E. On the sixteenth February, at noon, we were abreast of cape
Liant and the islands in its vicinity; the latter are high and bold of
approach. Their latitude and longitude are laid down in the charts too
far to the southward and eastward. On the eighteenth we came to anchor
in four fathoms of water, about ten miles from the mouth of the river

The Ko Si-Chang islands bore as follows: The most southern and westward
of the group, S. S. E. 3/4 E.; centre, S. E. 1/2 S. The mountain of
Bang-pa-soe, on the main land, E. S. E. The entrance of the eastern
or main branch of the Menam, and the easternmost land in sight, W.
S. W. The land is very low, even with the water’s edge, and covered
with trees; that at the entrance, on the starboard hand, is a little
more elevated. On the nineteenth, the tide had fallen to nineteen. We
weighed again, and stood a mile or two to the southward, and anchored
in five fathoms. The latitude and longitude of the anchorage is in
latitude 13° 26′ N., and longitude 100° 33′ E., as was ascertained by
frequent lunar observations and by four chronometers. During the height
of the river, when it is swollen by the periodical rains, sixteen feet
of water may be found on the bar. At high spring tides, in the dry
season, twelve to thirteen feet, and eight to nine in common tides.
The above-named islands, by some navigators called the Dutch islands,
possess a safe and beautiful harbour, formed between the principal, or
Si-Chang island, and the next in magnitude, called Koh-kam. They are
inhabited only by a few fishermen, and produce _some_ yams, bananas,
capsicums, gourds, and cucumbers. A boat was despatched to them to
obtain water, if possible, but it could not be found in sufficient
quantities to furnish the ship. We had no other resource, but to send
upward of forty miles for it, to Bang-kok, or else to take the brackish
water of Packnam. Water, we were informed, could only be had at the
Si-Changs during the rainy season.

[Sidenote: PACKNAM.]

A boat was sent to the governor of Packnam on the eighteenth, to inform
him of the arrival of the ship, &c., and a letter was sent to the
minister for foreign affairs, announcing the arrival of the mission. On
the following day, an interpreter came on board, who asked among the
first questions if there were any presents for the king, but received
no satisfactory answer. A vast number of questions were also put to
Mr. Morrison by the governor. A Cochin-Chinese ambassador arrived at
Packnam on the same day, with several small filthy junks laden with
merchandise. It was said to be only an annual mission sent by the
emperor, while others stated that it was to honour the ceremony of
burning the body of the “second king” who died some months since at
the capital. On the twentieth, the captain of the port came on board,
who said he was sent by the praklang or prime minister, by order of
the king, to congratulate us on our arrival; that his majesty was much
gratified at the good news, and very desirous of having a friendly
commercial intercourse with the United States. After making similar
inquiries, as the governor of Packnam, he returned. The day following,
the praklang sent some fruit as a token of regard, with a complimentary
message to me.

On Sunday the twenty-fourth, three large boats came to anchor near the
ship, under the charge of the captain of the port of Bang-kok, Mr.
Josef Piedade, a Christian Portuguese born at Bang-kok. He stated that
preparations were made at Packnam by the governor for the reception
of the mission, that a feast was there prepared by order of the king,
that we should be under the necessity of remaining there that night,
for it was customary for all foreign ministers to stop there, and
notice to be given of their arrival; in congressional language, to
“report progress.” The vessel in which I embarked was from seventy to
eighty feet in length, and perhaps eight or nine in breadth, sharp
built; having three long brass cannon, highly ornamented with silver,
inlaid in fanciful devices. One was placed forward, between the bows,
the vessel having no bowsprit; one aft, and two long swivels mounted
on fixtures, between the fore and main mast, and between the main and
mizen mast. She had three fore-and-aft sails made of light canvass, and
cordage made of hemp, with good iron anchors, which are rarely seen on
board native vessels in the China seas, wooden ones being in general
use. The vessel was propelled with forty short oars, manned by as many
Burmese slaves, dressed in the king’s uniform; being a coarse red
cotton long jacket, a cap of the same material, trimmed with white, and
a blue waist-cloth. The boat had two rudders, one under each quarter;
and from having two helmsmen, it was either “hard up, or hard down,”
continually; consequently, she “_yawed_” not a little. There were no
less than seven red flags; one to each peak, two to each bow, and two
to each quarter. A small house on deck was appropriated solely for the
use of the envoy. It was covered with a carpet, and furnished with a
pillow to recline on. The boat was neatly built and painted, and the
house slightly decorated with carving and gilding. The passengers in
the two boats consisted of Capt. Geisinger, Second-Lieut. Purveyance,
Lieut. Fowler of the Marine Corps, Acting-Lieut. Brent, Doctor Ticknor,
Midshipmen Carrol, Thomas, Crawford and Wells, and Mr. J. R. Morrison
of Macao, Secretary and Chinese Interpreter, and four servants.
The other was, in all respects, a similar vessel, but manned with
thirty-six oars; rowed by Malay slaves dressed in blue, with caps of
the same, trimmed with white. The ship lay in five and a half fathoms
water, and not less than fifteen miles from Packnam, which is situated
about two miles from the mouth of the river Menam: Packnam means the
river’s mouth or embochure. The shores are every where very low, and as
flat as the south side of La Plata, or Arkansas on the Mississippi, and
in the rainy season are completely submerged. The entrance to the river
on the starboard hand is rather more elevated than on the left, which
is quite sunken, mangrove and other trees only appearing out of the
water. The river takes a sharp turn to the northward, at the entrance;
the left bank running parallel, gives it the appearance of being closed
at the mouth.

[Sidenote: PROCESSION.]

We arrived at Packnam, on the left bank of the river, about eight,
and found there, waiting for us, the captain of the port, and a
great number of slaves at the landing, with torches in hand, and
fastened also to temporary posts, to light us on the way to the
government-house, situated just without an extensive fortification.
There was a narrow way paved with broad bricks, which led to the
governor’s. The gentlemen composing the company, the servants on each
flank with their numerous flambeaux, with many hundred lookers-on,
preserving the utmost decorum, made no small show, and produced, upon
the whole, rather an imposing effect, for this was the first envoy ever
sent to the “magnificent king of Siam,” from the United States.

We were ushered into the best house in the village, enclosed by a
bamboo-fence and guarded by soldiers with long wooden poles, pointed
with iron. The houses are erected as all the houses are here, from five
to seven feet above the ground, on substantial posts; the sides are
covered with attap, a species of palm growing abundantly on the banks
of the Menam; they have a double roof, one of tile and another of attap
to moderate the intensity of the heat. We ascended a stairway and were
ushered into “the presence” through lines of _prostrate_ slaves, from
thence to a raised platform.

The governor was sitting cross-legged on an elevated seat, under a
broad canopy, surrounded, a little beneath him, by his sword and
silver-stick bearers, and a man holding a long fan made of feathers,
which was kept in constant motion to keep him cool and to drive off
the myriads of moschetoes. His menials were all prostrate, resting on
their knees and elbows, coming in and going out in the same attitude,
always keeping their faces turned towards him. He was smoking a long
pipe, having before him areca-nut, chunam, ceri (siri) or betel-leaf,
and tobacco, all of which were deposited in several large gold cups or
goblets. His dress consisted of a _waist-cloth_--his head was shaved
excepting on the crown, “à la Siamese.” He received us very graciously,
courteously, and hospitably, shaking us heartily by the hand; chairs
were prepared for us and the best viands the place could afford,
consisting of at least a dozen dishes, were shortly ordered in, well
cooked in the Portuguese fashion, clean and neat with porter, cocoa-nut
water, and a square Dutch bottle of gin--there were clean table-cloth,
knives, forks, plates and spoons, and the floor was covered with a neat
woollen carpet. The usual inquiries were made for our healths, ages,
children, &c., &c. He congratulated us on our arrival, and said the
mission was not only gratifying to him personally but to the country,
as he was informed by the praklang or principal minister.

Supper being ended, bamboo-chairs covered with mats, some mattresses
and pillows, were prepared, and the raised canopy or throne was
assigned to me. Three fourths of two sides of the room were open to the
air, protected from rain only by the long projecting attap roof--we
were guarded during the night by soldiers and excessively annoyed by
moschetoes. By daylight, all were upon the “qui vive,” glad to escape
from the torments of the night. An early ramble carried us to a pagoda,
neat in appearance, decorated with carved work and gilding--it was
built of brick and neatly plastered--figures of non-descript animals
were about it, which were probably intended for lions, cut from
granite, and there were small pra-chades or single spires built of
brick and plastered, the whole being enclosed by a wall; the doors
were shut so that we could not obtain an entrance; the ground every
where was very low and swampy, and the houses mean; the people appeared
to be wretchedly poor, diseased and dirty, but still cleaner than
the Cochin-Chinese. Breakfast ended, we took leave of the hospitable
governor and proceeded up the river.

Very extensive fortifications are here to be seen on both sides of the
river, having water batteries, apparently of great strength. A great
number of soldiers manned the walls in compliment to us, all dressed
in the royal red uniform. We proceeded on with the flood tide, cheered
by the passing scene. Occasionally, we met a single hut or a group of
huts, having a boat at the door, and a ladder to ascend into their
only room; this ladder is taken away at night, making their habitations
more secure against wild beasts and reptiles, which are in great
abundance in the swamps. Their principal neighbours are tigers and
leopards, snakes of various sizes from the boa-constrictor and venomous
cobra de cappello to the more deadly viper, which they say is black,
about four or five inches in length, and has two short legs. Alligators
bask in the sun at the foot of the ladder or under their building, and
moschetoes bear the palm here over the swamps of Louisiana and Texas,
coming in myriads so as partially to obscure the sun.

We passed on to Pack-lac situated on the right bank, where we again
found very extensive fortifications; but we were unable to ascertain
the number of guns either here or at Packnam, which is probably about
ten or twelve miles below. The ebb tide here met us, and the slaves
made but slow progress in rowing--a breeze occasionally helped us, but
the remainder of the passage was rendered tedious by the great heat of
the sun. The river has a great many bends, so that it is nearly double
the distance, by water, from Packnam to the capital, being from thirty
to thirty-five miles, and only twenty by land. The shores are upon a
level with the river at high spring tides, even at Bang-kok, and as I
am informed, a long distance above Jutaya the ancient capital.

Not until we were within a dozen miles of the capital, were there many
clusters of huts to be seen; but, from thence, they gradually increased
in number till we arrived at the city. The graceful and favourite
areca-palm, with its tall slender trunk and brush-like head, and the
towering bamboo and cocoa-nut, were to be seen every where along the
banks, interspersed with a great variety of fruit and forest trees;
and the water’s edge was bounded by the attap, or cocos-nypa, which
is in universal use as a thatch for their huts. As we approached the
capital, we began to see pagodas, some houses with tiled roofs, and
a great many large junks, building in dry docks, which consist of a
simple excavation made on the banks, the water being drained out by an
ordinary barrier of plank, well banked with clay. Many of these junks
were upward of a thousand tons. From two to three hundred were lying in
the river.


Numerous temples of Budha were now seen, covered with neat coloured
tiles, some blue, and others green or yellow. Tall single spires, or
prah-chadis, were observed every where. The temples present a very
splendid appearance, having highly ornamented carved work in front, and
literally blazing in gold. There is something very novel in their style
of architecture, which can only be made clear to the understanding by
drawings. Fruit and palm-trees overshadow their houses, interspersed
with the sacred fig-tree, giving to them a cool and tropical-like
appearance. Floating houses, resting on rafts of bamboo secured to
piles, line both banks of the river, which seem to be occupied by
industrious Chinese, as their long narrow red signs indicate: the
latter serve to show the various articles they have for sale, &c.
The Chinese are easily distinguished by their complexion, being more
yellow than the Siamese; but they have generally _docked_ the _entail_
to their heads, and dress à la Siamese, with a circle of hair on the
_roof_. But few of the “long tails,” the distinguishing appendage to a
Chinaman’s head, are to be seen.

We were upward of nine hours in reaching the landing,[A] in front
of the house assigned to us by the king. We landed, and formed a
procession to the house; the officers being dressed in their uniforms,
and the servants bringing up the rear. We were ushered in by the
pia-visa, or general of artillery, benedetts de arguelleria, and some
other of the king’s officers, to the finest looking house we had seen
on the river, having the front view entirely unobstructed. Passing
through a neat white gateway, having a well-built stuccoed wall, over
a grass-plot, through the inner gate, we found ourselves within an
extensive area, between two long rows of buildings, having large trees
in the centre; an outside staircase conducted us to a saloon, where
we found a table set, and shortly after supper was announced. It was
cooked in the European and Indian style, having a variety of curries
of fish and fowl. It was well served, and in profusion; and followed
by a great variety of sweetmeats, and fruits of the season. Certain
king’s officers attended, and ordered every thing; bedsteads and beds
were brought; and, in a day or two, moscheto-nets, &c., &c. A cook was
provided, and a purveyor, who partially supplied us with provisions.
There was, also, a superintendant of the household, a Siamese
Portuguese by birth, Domingo by name, having four other servants to do
the ordinary work of the house; and these, again, are all under the
orders of Piedade, the captain of the port, who receives his orders
from the praklang, or prime minister for foreign affairs.

[A] On the right bank of the river, which is called Bang-kok--the word
Bang-kok is derived from ban, a house, and kok, a garden. Most of the
fruit used at the old capital, came from this place.

Every day or two, presents of sweetmeats, fruit, or more substantial
food is sent, by the praklang, served up in glass dishes, and sent
on gold and silver salvers. When brought in, the servants kneel down
and present them, in a more humble manner than suits our republican
notions. Our residence has two ranges of buildings, running back
about one hundred and fifty feet, exclusive of the front yard, with a
wide area between them. It is built of brick and stuccoed, having a
neat tiled roof. A long covered gallery conducts to the dormitories,
consisting of eight on each side, which are about twenty feet square,
with wooden floors; underneath are magazines, or offices; between
the two ranges of building, and connected with them by a high wall,
is the dining-hall, open so as freely to admit the air, commanding a
fine view of the capital and suburbs, on the left bank: underneath the
dining-hall, is a private go-down, or magazine. The river at all times
has a great number of boats upon it; but in the morning, when the bazar
is being made ready, there are many hundreds, probably thousands, going
in all directions, from the smallest canoe, scarcely able to contain
a single person, to others which are nearly a hundred feet in length,
and made from a single teak-tree: they are paddled by a great number of
men, having a house in the centre, or a palm-leaf roof; the passengers
reclining on a raised platform, covered with mats, carpets, and pillows.

[Sidenote: WATER-PEDLARS.]

Water-pedlars, of both sexes, but principally women, are in abundance,
carrying tin and brass ware, English, and China, and India goods. Rice,
oil, dried and fresh fish, balachang, eggs, fowls, areca, siri-leaf,
chunam, pork, fruit, vegetables, &c.; indeed every thing that is
wanted, or supposed necessary for the comfort, convenience, or luxury
of the inhabitants. Budhist priests, with their yellow waist-cloths,
mantles, shaven heads and eyebrows, are seen in great numbers, going
their daily rounds among the inhabitants, in canoes, for food and
clothing. Women, also, use the oar, in great numbers, and with equal
dexterity as the men.

Although the Siamese are not a cleanly people, they are far superior
to the Cochin-Chinese; they bathe frequently, their skins are clear
and free of eruptions, and they do not everlastingly scratch, scratch,
and keep scratching, like the people of Vunglam; but their coal-black
teeth are excessively disgusting, and the saliva created by chewing
areca, siri-leaf, and tobacco, is constantly issuing in a red stream,
from their mouths. Fishing being farmed out, there are not the same
lively scenes exhibited here as on the Pasig. I have seen but a very
few occupied in that way since my arrival. Every floating house has
necessarily a boat to go visiting, from place to place, or to transact
business. The front parts of all these houses are shops, having their
wares neatly arranged on shelves and terraces. These buildings are of
one story only, and are used as a bedroom at night, or to take a siesta
when the heat of the day, low water, and want of customers, give to
their inmates a temporary respite.

The river here is about fifteen hundred feet wide, and very deep,
probably fifty or sixty feet, and the stream rapid on the flood and
ebb; the water is notwithstanding, fresh, and is used for all domestic
purposes, filthy as it is. The upper stratum of the banks of the river
is alluvial, and the under, where exposed, shows a stiff strong clay.
The houses on the land, with very few exceptions, are of one story,
built on high piles, made of plank or bamboo, and roofed with tile or


Having expressed a desire to the praklang, through the interpreter, to
enter as early as possible on the subject of the mission, I received
an invitation early the next morning, from the minister of foreign
affairs, to meet him the same afternoon at five. He sent me word at
the same time, that it was always customary for foreign ministers to
pay him the first visit. Suitable boats were sent in due time, and
Captain Geisinger and his officers, and Mr. Morrison, accompanied me,
dressed in their uniforms. A few minutes brought us to his house.
Numerous people were present to attend our landing, a large portion of
whom came, probably, from motives of curiosity only. The house being
but a short distance from the river, we were soon within his gates,
and entered by a flight of steps into the audience hall. In the centre
was a raised seat, on which the minister reclined. He is a very heavy
unwieldy man, weighing, probably, nearly three hundred pounds, and
about fifty-five years of age; his only dress was a waist-cloth of
silk; he was resting on a new crimson velvet cushion, supported on the
back by one of triangular shape. In front, on the seat, were utensils
of gold, handsomely wrought, containing areca, chunam, betel-leaf,
&c., the gift of the king. The front of the hall was entirely open,
the room decorated with a great number of very ordinary oval gilt
looking-glasses, placed near to the ceiling, on the pillars which
supported the roof; common English prints of battles, rural scenery,
&c., were closely placed along the walls. Instead of wooden panels,
painted Chinese glass was placed in compartments of about four feet
in height, with a profusion of blue and gold, and outré figures of
Chinese men, animals, &c. Brass chandeliers and common glass lamps were
suspended from the roof. On the left of the praklang, being the seat of
honour in the East, and at the distance of a dozen feet, were placed
two chairs for Captain Geisinger and myself. I was requested to occupy
the one nearest to the minister. A short distance from us, parallel
with the praklang’s seat, chairs were placed for the officers of the
Peacock and Mr. Morrison. On the right, on a raised platform, but lower
than the minister’s or our seat, and fronting Captain Geisinger and
myself, were Mr. Piedade and other interpreters, secretaries, &c., to
the number of six or seven, closely wedged together; they were all
crouching, in a brute-like attitude, on their knees and elbows. On
the left, between me and the minister, were two of his younger sons,
decorated with a profusion of golden necklaces, set with large stones,
having beautiful golden coronets around the tuft of hair, on the top
of the head, and a large golden bodkin secured the hair on their
crown; a silken waist-cloth covered their loins, and silver bangles
or rings decorated their wrists and ankles. Their skins were stained
with turmerick, sandal-wood, or saffron. A sword-bearer, resting on
his shoulder a sword, having a rich and highly-finished and ornamented
gold sheath; another slave, with a long feathered fan, to keep his
excellency cool, if possible, with others, were all prostrate on the
floor, like the interpreters; without, in the court-yard, were a
great number of people, all in this humiliating posture. His sons,
when called, crawled as well as the others, and went backward in the
same attitude, always facing their lord and master. One of them was
ordered to bring us palm-leaf cigars; he came crawling on, poor fellow,
bowed his head to the ground, and presented them; he then went to the
officers, but stood up, after leaving Captain Geisinger and myself;
he afterward crawled back to his station, on the left of his father.
We all made a bow in the usual style of our country, on entering and
retiring, and were presented with tea, sweetmeats, and fruit.

The minister congratulated us on our arrival, inquired, as is customary
here, as to our ages, children, &c., what ports we had been to, the
object of the mission, all of which he previously knew by a letter
received from me, dated on the day of our arrival off the mouth of the
Menam. Having got through with this interview, and appointed the next
evening for a conference, we took leave. I observe that the greater
chiefs within sight of our habitation, have high poles erected close to
their houses, on which small flags are displayed, and at night large
lanterns are hoisted at the top, as a distinguishing mark, over their
less fortunate neighbours. Every sort of humiliation is practised by
the lower to the higher classes, according to their rank: from that
of making a simple obeisance by uniting their hands, and raising them
to the forehead, and bowing the head low, to kneeling, and the entire
prostration of the body.

We went by invitation, on the sixth of March, to the house of the
praklang’s brother, to attend the celebration of the feats given, in
consequence of cutting the tuft of hair on his son’s head, which is
done between the ages of ten and fifteen. The principal part of this
evening’s entertainment was comic acting and posture dancing, which
consists in graceful attitudes of the body, and in slow movements of
the arms and legs, particularly of the former, even to the distinct
motions of the hands and fingers. The actors consisted of a king and
queen, and male and female attendants, amounting to a dozen, all
glittering in gold and tinsel, barefooted and barelegged, their faces
painted white, and having silver guards to their nails, not less than
six inches long, pointed at the end, and recurvated: singing in rather
a melancholy strain, not altogether unmusical. There were about a
hundred beating sticks on a long board, which were changed occasionally
for another stick, which, when struck, sounded like castanets: two
drums beaten by the hands, trumpets, small horns, and an instrument
called a ranat: it is made in Lao or Laos, of graduated pieces of
bamboo, which give a sweet sound when struck with a sort of wooden
hammer covered with pieces of coarse cotton thread: it has eighteen
keys or bars, each fifteen inches long, two inches broad, strung
together, and suspended over a wooden boat-shaped box; the top part
being left open. There was another instrument also, the khong-nong;
being a series of small cymbals in a bamboo-frame, forming a large
segment of a circle.

[Sidenote: THE PRIMA DONNA.]

During the posture-dances, and through a considerable part of the
divertisement, the principal singer to all splendid entertainments, the
prima donna, squalled to the very top of her voice, various ditties
in a melancholy strain, until I thought she would have swooned from
exhaustion: but I was mistaken; for she was made of tougher materials,
than ever fell to the lot of any other female. She was seated on the
ground, and dressed in a dingy cotton waist and breast cloth, and her
hair arranged “à la Siamese;” it being all shaved off excepting on the
crown, which was combed perpendicularly, standing “like quills upon
the fretful porcupine.” Her teeth were as black as ebony, and her lips
and gums were of a livid red: out of the corners of her mouth issued
a stream of dark coloured saliva, which, ever and anon, she wiped off
with the back of her hand, and which was finally deposited on the
waist-cloth behind: the saliva was produced by masticating areca,
siri, chunam and tobacco; the latter projecting from the right corner
of her mouth, according to the disgusting practice of the Javanese
and Siamese. A Catalani, a Sontag or a Garcia, could not feel much
flattered by this addition to their sisterhood. When the actors enter
on the floor, it is in a crouching or kneeling position, till they come
in front of the master of the feast; then all kneel, bow their heads,
and at the same time touch their foreheads with their united hands, and
then slowly lower them to the waist. The second night’s entertainment
consisted mostly of representations of gladiators engaged in combat,
fighting with swords and sticks, while numerous Chinese crackers were
let off in imitation of musketry: there were pugilistic contests also
with the fists, and slapping with the flat of the hand; but there was
no real “set-to.” There was also a most excellent company of vaulters
and tumblers; some of the feats were truly surprising, as the following
description will show: it was a feat of strength, which surpassed every
thing of the kind that I ever witnessed. Four men placed themselves in
a solid square, two others then got up and stood upon their shoulders,
and another man again upon theirs; a very athletic young man apparently
about sixteen years of age, by the assistance of a ladder, placed
himself in a similar position, on the shoulders of the last man,
standing however only on one foot, occasionally shifted; a boy of about
twelve, then mounting a ladder high enough for the top man to seize him
by a belt round the waist, he was raised at arms’ length with perfect
ease, standing on one leg, and occasionally shifting it to the other.
After balancing him for a minute or two he threw his burden from him,
who descending turned a somerset and came without harm on his feet,
being pitched from an elevation of about twenty-four feet. There were a
great many hundred spectators all sitting on the floor, excepting the
wives and relations of the master of the feast, who sat in a narrow
gallery. Chairs were used only by our party, consisting of eleven.

A handsome entertainment was served up to us, in a very neat large
room, to which we ascended by a flight of four stairs, leading from a
court open on two sides. The supper consisted of a great variety of
sweetmeats and fruit, served up in a very neat pretty style, on silver
salvers, placed on half a dozen tables--the chairs being borrowed
expressly for our use; the head of the table was assigned to me;
cocoa-nut water was the only drink, which was taken from the shell.
The room was decorated, at one end, with an elegant canopy, rich in
gold and silk, under which were displayed elegant glass, China ware,
and gold and silver utensils, arranged on a wooden-terraced frame,
highly gilt, painted, and varnished, flowers being interspersed here
and there. The canopy was brilliantly lighted with coloured lamps,
and made a handsome, rich, unique, but rather tawdry appearance. As
I cannot tell a Siamese man from a woman, when numbers are seated
together, so it is out of my power to say whether any females were
present, excepting the young actresses, who were all barefooted young
girls. The hair of the Siamese women is cut like that of the men; their
countenances are, in fact, more masculine than those of the males:
they are generally very fat, having very stout lower limbs and arms;
are excessively ugly; and when they open their mouths, truly hideous;
resembling the inside of a black painted sepulchre.

[Sidenote: FIRE AT BANGKOK.]

On the eleventh, a large fire took place, in the Christian Portuguese
company, of Santa Cruz, immediately in our neighbourhood, which
stopped at our premises. It blazed with great fury, the houses being
roofed with attap, and the bamboo-frames being covered with the same
combustible material: it produced great distress among the poor
people: their houses were probably all their property, their beds being
only a mat, and their cooking utensils, small earthen pots and a water
jar; a waist-cloth or two, and a few trifles, were easily saved; but
plunderers, in great numbers, stole their few miserable trifles as fast
as they were conveyed to the rear. About one hundred and fifty huts
were burnt, and some fifty or sixty of the sufferers took shelter in
and about our house, and some of the unoccupied rooms; and, for many
days, we supplied most of them with food. The king and the praklang
ordered them to be assisted with bamboo, &c., to rebuild their houses;
and rice, and other small articles, were sent to them by their more
fortunate neighbours. As soon as the fire commenced, every person who
could use a long-handled scoop, made of closely woven basket-work,
began throwing water on their houses, even on the opposite side of
the river. The floating houses moored along the shore near the fire,
were cast off, and it being the first of the ebb, they moved down the
river in great numbers. As many of them were on fire, they exhibited
a very novel but painful scene: four, unfortunately, were consumed,
with all their goods, and two China-men were burnt to death. On the
next flood, the river was filled with the floating houses returning. It
was predicted, by a superstitious Siamese, some days previously, that
a fire would take place, as a vulture was seen to alight on the house
of the port-captain. This officer’s house, situated close to the Roman
Catholic church, was burnt--the latter building receiving no injury,
as the walls only are up; and, I suppose, from the great poverty of
the Catholic Christians, it will take many years to finish it. The old
Catholic church, in the rear, built of wood and attap, is in a very
dilapidated condition. There are four other churches at Bangkok and the
suburbs, and only one at Jutia--the rest have fallen into ruins.

We landed, on the thirteenth, near the walls of the city, at the point
where one of the white elephants is confined: he was in a large, airy
stable, and had a great number of attendants. His colour is dusky, or
rather yellowish white, and he was far from being clean; his skin was
scurfy, and his eye very small, and of a bluish or light-gray tinge. On
account of his unruly temper, he is secured by a cable around his right
fore leg; the two fore feet are also well secured. One tusk is entirely
broken, and the other partly destroyed. He is annually confined, for
about three months, during the rutting season. We entered the city,
and saw part of the king’s elephants. In one place were six noble
animals, males and females; two of the largest sized males had several
massive silver rings on their tusks; they were kept clean, and were in
fine order. There were many other elephant-stables, bordering on two
streets, which we visited.

The streets, through which we passed, were from sixty to eighty feet in
breadth; the houses, generally, ordinary in appearance, built of boards
or brick, stuccoed, with tile roofs, or with bamboo with attap roofs.
Most of them are raised on posts, and stand five or six feet from the
ground. The streets are paved with very large-sized bricks. Stalls are
kept in front of most of the buildings, where are sold fowls and pork,
fruit and vegetables. The China, and Indian, and European goods, are
sold mostly in the floating bazars. There were few people to be seen.

Our object in visiting the left bank of the river, was, to see an
immense edifice, in the form of a temple, which was erecting for the
purpose of burning the wang-na, generally called the second king,
who died about six months since; and whose body has been embalmed,
according to the imperfect knowledge of the Siamese in this art. The
body is first washed, and then a large quantity of crude mercury
or honey is poured into the mouth; it is then placed in a kneeling
posture, and the hands are brought together before the face in the
attitude of devotion; strips of cloth are then bound tightly round the
extremities, and the body is compressed in a similar manner, for the
purpose of squeezing out the moisture. It is then put into an air-tight
vessel, more or less expensive, according to the rank of the deceased;
(some of the vessels are even made of gold;) a hollow tube is inserted
into the mouth, passes through the upper part of the box and the roof
of the house, to convey away the effluvia; a similar tube is placed in
the bottom, which communicates with a vessel, placed there to receive
the draining from the body. The sordes thus collected, if they belong
to a prince, are conveyed, with many ceremonies, below the city, and
there emptied into the river. Should they belong to the king, they are
boiled until an oil separates, and this is used on certain occasions,
(as when his family or his descendants pay their devotions to his
departed spirit,) to anoint the singular image, called Seina, which is
generally placed in a temple, after his death. By the process, named
above, the body, in a few weeks, becomes quite dry and shrivelled.


I am fully sensible that any description I can give of the building
to which I have alluded, will fall far short of the reality; in fact
no language can convey an adequate description of it. The “_tout
ensemble_,” when viewed at a distance, glittering in gold and flowers,
recalls to our recollection the brilliant and splendid castles of
fairy-land, so bewitchingly set forth in many an idle work of former
days. Many hundreds of people have been employed in its erection ever
since his death; the centre building is a large open dome, and probably
reaches to the height of eighty or ninety feet; it is supported by
immense wooden pillars of teak all in one piece--the roof is of various
indescribable forms, and differs from any I have ever seen--the parts
rise one above another till it comes to a point; from the centre rises
a high slender spire, and from the base to its apex cannot be less than
one hundred and fifty feet; the roof is covered with brass leaf, which
gives it a splendid appearance at a distance: it has a great number
of projections with various singular ornaments on their edges and the
inside of the roof is dome-shaped: beneath it was erected a small
temple, in the same form, having in the centre a high platform, to
which we ascended by a flight of steps, over which was a small spire:
it is supported upon four pillars and cannot be less than thirty-five
feet high--the roof is ornamented with neat carved work and richly
gilt--on the platform the body is to be burnt. The whole inside of
the building was painted to resemble flowers, profusely gilded, and
otherwise richly decorated with gold and silver leaf--the walls were
made of matting covered with paper and secured to bamboo-frames, as
well as the outer covering, which was painted brown, decorated with
large flowers made of brass or copper leaf and pasted on, which gave it
a brilliant appearance. Eight temples, one fourth of the size of the
great temple, stand about one hundred feet from it, so that the whole
forms a complete square, of rather less than five hundred feet on each
side; these are similarly gilt and painted, and are connected with each
other by a corridor inside; the covering outside is similar to the
great centre temple, being painted brown and overlaid with flowers.
Around the base of all these buildings are projections of about three
feet, like the base of a column, having imitation mouldings: these
are overlaid again with sheets of brass leaf, as well as the cornices
and architraves. The entrances to all the doors have a profusion of
gilt and painted ornaments as well as the base, shaft, capital, and
architrave of all the columns. The great building was surrounded at
proper intervals (so as not to appear crowded) with small temples
or sheds standing on four columns, and neatly gilt and ornamented.
A wide space on the east side was left open, on which were erected
very high narrow stages, neatly built, for the use of musicians, for
the exhibition of rope dancers, tumblers, and gladiators, or sword
fighters, pugilists, &c. At regular intervals were raised conical
umbrellas or a series of canopies, the lower one being about six feet
in diameter and each covering gradually lessening to the top, which
terminated in a point--they were about thirty feet in height and
alternately were of silver-leaf and brass-leaf, gilt, and ornamented
with flowers. The whole ground and passages were covered in with
bamboo framework, as well as the passage leading to the king’s palace;
the latter had a covered walk or roof of the same material extending
the whole distance to the entrance within the enclosure. There were
four entrances through long passages to the temple-altar or place of
burning, and the whole building was surrounded with hideous images of
men about a foot high, low dwarf-trees being interspersed between them,
protected again by a low neat network railing of iron.


On the fourteenth, we went to partake of a feast at the praklang’s, in
company with Mr. Silveiro, the Portuguese consul, and Captain Geisinger
and the officers. This invitation was given about ten days since,
and renewed from time to time. It was conveniently arranged by the
praklang, as this day was set apart for shaving the heads of two of his
sons and a nephew. The feast could not have taken place without our
assistance, for they borrowed one of our cooks, the tables, tumblers,
wine-glasses, tureens, ladle, spoons, &c. We were informed they had no
wine, and, therefore, requested me to furnish the requisite quantity.
At three, covered barges were in waiting for us, and in a few minutes,
we found ourselves seated in the hall of audience; the praklang was
sitting in all his majesty, on a raised seat. The dinner was already
on the table. As soon as the usual compliments were over, and we had
sat down to dinner, music struck up within the house, accompanied by
female voices, which were good and natural, and the songs were not
unmusical, being rather of a plaintive cast. The court-yard, during the
feast, was thronged with people, who came, I suppose, “to see us eat,”
and to see the officers in their uniforms; they were very orderly and
quiet, crouching to the ground. I have seen no instance, thus far, of
the slightest degree of rudeness, which was much and justly complained
of by Mr. Crawford and others, but quite the contrary: every mark of
respect has been shown.

The dinner was dressed “à la Siamese and Portuguese.” A stage was
erected in the court-yard for vaulters and tumblers; when the dessert
was produced, which consisted of some thirty dishes of confectionary
and fruit, they commenced their surprising feats. They consisted of
about a dozen, belong to the step-brother of the king, the prince
Cha-fa-Nooi, or Mum-fa-Nooi, and are the same that were exhibited at
the praklang’s brother’s, a few nights since. After the cloth was
removed, the king of Siam was given, as a toast by me, all standing;
and in return, the praklang proposed the President of the United
States, which was drunk likewise, all standing up. Two or three
complimentary toasts then followed. The tumblers continued their sports
for two hours, until sunset; then twelve young actors and actresses,
very richly clad, made their appearance, and performed pantomimes
and posture-dances, till past nine, when our party, being heartily
tired of the performances, begged leave to retire. Their sports, we
understood, were continued till after midnight; the music was the same
we had before. The three curtains, which conceal the entrances into
the interior of the house, were raised; when the players began, each
door appeared to be full of the minister’s numerous wives, and in front
some dozens of his children, all bedecked with necklaces, bangles,
&c.; their skins being coloured with saffron or turmeric, for it is
considered here a great desideratum to have the skin of a light yellow.
The women were not generally so masculine in appearance as those we
saw abroad, and were of a lighter complexion, being less exposed. Some
of them appeared but a shade or two less than white. They were clad in
sombre-coloured silk waist and breast cloths, but wore no jewels; the
teeth of even the youngest were black as jet, and their lips and gums
of a livid hue.

On the cutting of the hair from the crown of the male children, a
display is made by every person, however humble, from the firing of two
or three muskets to feasting, fireworks, dancing, music, and acting,
in all their varieties; presents are expected from all relatives,
acquaintances, and friends, which constitute a fund for the boy. A
similar amount of gifts is expected in return, upon a like occasion;
but a man high in office always has the best of the bargain.

[Sidenote: PRESENTS.]

To show the extreme indelicacy, in truth, grossness, of these people,
even among the higher classes, the captain of the port, Piedade,
was sent to me from the praklang, to say that the envoy from the
United States would of course make a present, as Mr. Crawford and
the Portuguese consul had done on a similar occasion; being placed
in rather a delicate situation, in regard to the treaty, having two
troublesome points unsettled, I complied with this piece of spunging,
and gave a hundred silver dollars, which were presented to the praklang
in the course of the afternoon, in a gold vase, by the general of
artillery, Benedito, with a complimentary message from me, wishing
that his children might be useful members of society, virtuous and
happy, &c. It was highly ludicrous, yet most disgusting, to see the
general of the eleven ranks of nobility, who stands second in order,
viz.: a _phaya_, crawling like a dog on all fours, dressed in a
striped silk cloak, bound round with heavy gold lace, of the fashion
of the fifteenth century, shoving the vase before him, till he came to
the praklang, and delivering it, making his obeisance to the ground
with hands united; then _backing out_ of “the presence,” in the same
degrading position, till he reached me, to return the great man’s
thanks. The vase was then taken just beyond our table, (one step below,
for every step, in fact, has its appropriate rank,) and delivered to
two persons, one of whom, I suppose, was the treasurer, the other the
Moorish or Chuliah secretary, who always makes his appearance, crawling
on all fours, with his black paper, slate, and pencil, whenever there
is any business to be transacted. The money was counted within our
sight, and reported to the praklang to be _all right_!!! It was but a
few days previous to this, that an elegant gold watch, set in pearls,
two cases of silks, and four elegant fillagreed silver baskets, edged
with gold, and ornamented with enamelled figures, had been presented by
me to the praklang, which I intended to deliver at the conclusion of
the treaty; but he having obtained information, by some means, that I
had a present for him, sent Piedade to inquire of what it consisted,
_and the cost_; the next day he returned, with the eldest son of the
praklang, who is one of the four household officers of the king, being
the second in rank, and called, “Luang-nai-Sit,” requesting to have
them examined and an inventory taken, which was done; a hint was then
thrown out by the captain of the port, that it would facilitate my
business, if the praklang had his presents. It was evidently improper
to give them, until those intended for the king were presented; but I
complied with it, satisfied in my own mind it was done _by command_.
They were presented the same afternoon, on gold vases, when I went to
discuss certain points in the treaty.

The king’s presents, consisting of silks, elegant watches set in
pearls, and very superior silver fillagreed baskets, with gold rims,
and enamelled with birds and flowers, were shown at the same time,
at their request, and an inventory of them taken also; again they
inquired the cost of them, made some remarks respecting the colour of
the silk, and said that some other colour would have suited the king
better; that the reason why they were ordered to examine the articles
was, to know if they were _suitable_ presents to give the king. Having
expressed some slight degree of indignation at their gross conduct,
they said, such were their orders from the praklang, and that Major
Burney--who succeeded Mr. Crawford, in finally making a better treaty
with them than was ever made before, although it was effected after a
long negotiation, by the sacrifice of the personal liberty of the king
of Quedah, and their great fear of the English government, who possess
the key of their country, in holding possession of most of the strong
holds of the Burman empire, as well as Malacca and Singapore, and their
possessions at Pulo Penang--brought, among other articles, a parcel
of painted boxes, &c., which they rejected. After a slight personal
knowledge of three weeks only with this people, I infer that they are
extremely disingenuous and fickle-minded, because many articles of the
treaty, passed and agreed upon in the evening, have the following day
been subverted, or the strength of the language so materially weakened,
as to take away nearly its whole force. That they are great intriguers,
past history will confirm: the present king, the illegitimate son
of the late monarch, by the sudden death of his father, aided by
bribes, placed himself on the throne, to the exclusion of the eldest
legitimate son, who, on the death of his father, fled the place, and
became a Talapoy to save his life. Cha-fa-Nooi, the next in succession,
has a small stipend allowed him, and lives in what is called the
Portuguese fort, opposite the city: his life is safe, as long as his
eldest brother lives.

That these people are highly superstitious, is shown by their constant
watching for the flight of vultures, and the worshipping of idols;
and the ten thousand follies attached to the Budhist religion, is
sufficient evidence. That they are servile, is a necessary consequence,
arising out of their despotic government. Subordination of rank is
carried to a most degrading and revolting point; true politeness
therefore is destroyed; they are abject in the extreme to superiors,
and most insolent and disdainful to inferiors. It appears to be
impossible for an inferior, to stand erect and manly, in presence of a
superior: they are sluggish, ignoble and crouching. A people who are
habitually crawling upon their knees and elbows, and performing “the
knock-head ceremony,” cannot be otherwise than ungraceful and inelegant
in their manners. If they were allowed to carry arms, they would be
constrained to be civil and polite to each other; but custom sanctions
the right of avenging private wrongs. They are a most extravagantly
vain people; are reputed to be very deficient in courage; excessively
lascivious and immoral; of which proofs are presented at every step.
Temporary marriages are so notorious, that to sell a daughter wholly to
a stranger, or for a stipulated term of time, is as common among the
middling and lower classes of people, as to sell any common commodity,
usually to be found in a bazar. Custom has also fixed a certain price
for a certain rank. It is said by Mr. Gutzlaff, that they are in
expectation of the coming of the Saviour of mankind, and that the
people who are to effect a change in their religion, are to come from
the West, (meaning Europe and America.)

If the overturn of an idle, superstitious and debauched priesthood
like the Talapoys, (or Talapoins,) who are said to amount to upward
of ten thousand generally, in Bang-kok and its neighbourhood, can be
effected, what a glorious field will there be opened, to enlighten a
nation who are not blood-thirsty or revengeful, but naturally mild and
tractable, and exceedingly charitable to distressed objects. They are
willing to be instructed, and gladly accept of any books in their own
language, which are presented to them. A better form of government
would of course make them a better people, but they are now bowed down
by oppression, and their highly productive soil is almost untilled,
because the hard earnings of the labourer are wrung from him by the
rapacious cruelty of his rulers. I omitted to say, that during the
evening’s entertainment at the praklang’s, a brown, highly varnished,
and gilt seat, was brought in and covered with carpets, cushions, &c.,
and placed on the floor a short distance from where we were sitting,
and shortly after, (preceded by crawling slaves,) a sword-bearer,
others carrying highly wrought gold vases, containing areca and a
water goblet, a small tea apparatus, &c.; then followed the prince
Cha-fa-Nooi, or Mom-fa Nooi, and, without any ceremony whatever, took
possession of the seat without noticing in any degree the praklang:
when the prince entered, the praklang left his usual seat, which was of
the same height as the prince’s, and seated himself on the floor, with
his feet resting on a broad landing, leading to the upper floor: this
is an acknowledgment of inferiority in rank. On this landing, at his
feet, reposed the praklang’s son and brother, and a step below, were
his chubah, secretary, &c., &c.: actors beneath the last, and a host of
crawlers. The prince retired after sitting a short time, but without
noticing his host, who immediately returned to the upper or highest

During the afternoon of the feast of the entertainment, the supercargo,
a Chuliah, belonging to the English brig Highland Chief, Captain Henry,
from Madras, came crawling in on all fours from the inner gate, and
presented, on salvers, some coarse Indian calicoes and lawns. They
were received with a sullen air, and I could not perceive that the
slightest notice was taken of them, when the praklang was informed of
the present. This same supercargo was one of the crouchers, placed on
the seat with the captain of the port, when we paid the introductory
visit to the minister.

[Sidenote: FOX-BATS.]

I went to visit the great resort of the fox-bats, on a branch of the
river leading to the sea. We found them in immense numbers within the
grounds owned by mendicant Talapoys, whereon were many temples in a
state of ruin. These birds were hanging by their claws, head downward,
where they remain during the day, occupying the limbs of many hundreds
of large trees. Having procured some, we measured one, and found it
was forty-three inches in length, measuring from one extremity of its
wings to the other: it has the head of a fox; the body is covered with
long hair, and it has a most unsavoury, strong, foxy smell; it uses its
teeth when fighting, but its main defence is in a hooked claw, placed
at the middle joint of the wings, by which it occasionally suspends
itself. In walking about the grounds of the pagodas, we observed
hundreds of small conical mounds, which had been moulded by a form made
of plantain stock, and surmounted by small paper flags fastened to a
slender rod; these were said to be offerings made by some votaries of
Budhistical nonsense.

In passing up the river a day or two since, we saw a snake of about
twelve feet in length, and about eight inches in circumference; he was
swimming about close to our boat, and did not appear to notice us,
excepting when we struck at him with a paddle. Crows, vultures, and
sparrows, abound every where, and we find the former very annoying to
us, occupying the trees in the area of our house, pouncing upon the
cooks’ premises, continually, and carrying off large pieces of meat
or fish. The most common reptiles about our premises are lizards;
several beautiful species are found every where. We have, among
others, the tokay or ghecko in great numbers. This name is given to
it here from its singular harsh and monotonous cry, which sounds
like its name, to-kay. Throughout the night, these noises are made
at intervals, probably of half an hour, commencing with a loud cry,
and gradually growing weaker, making pauses of perhaps five or six
seconds, between the cries; they are repeated from three to nine or
ten times before exhaustion takes place. These reptiles are frequently
seen eighteen inches in length, having red and light-green spots,
with many tubercles. Fish are abundant in the Menam, and the Siamese,
notwithstanding their pretended aversion to taking animal life, do
not hesitate to eat fish, flesh, or fowl, if it is killed for them.
All these articles are sold daily. Beef is not to be had but there is
plenty of pork. Fruit is by no means abundant here at this season,
although this is said to be the greatest fruit country in all Asia.
A few small mangoes have made their appearance, but the stones are
so large that little fruit is to be found on them. We have seen no
oranges excepting those brought by China junks--a few poor watermelons
and guavas, which are a tasteless fruit, and plantains, bananas, and
cocoa-nuts: the latter are in abundance, and the water from the young
ones is very refreshing.

[Sidenote: FRUITS.]

Here, for the first time, I tasted the water of a certain delicious
kind of cocoa-nut, which was frequently sent by his majesty; it was
highly flavoured, and tasted like burnt almonds. Oil is made in large
quantities, and is used, when fresh, for cooking, burning, and for
anointing the skin, and nourishing the hair. A little later, and
the delicious mangosteen will be ripe, the orange, the durian, the
pineapple, and lichi, will be in abundance, besides all the other
tropical fruits common to this climate. The only vegetables we have yet
seen on our table are the sweet potatoe, yam, garlic, onion, Indian
corn, beans, peas, and _celery_, which latter is used in soups only.

The valley of the Menam produces marsh-rice, of various qualities, and
in the greatest abundance; it is often exported in large quantities,
by license from the king. Rice is almost the only article of food used
by the inhabitants; this vegetable is mixed with a little balachang
and compound of shrimps, or the spawn of shrimps, or small fish, mixed
with salt, and dried in the sun, and then moistened with fish-pickle:
it is not only unsavoury to Europeans, but some of it is most offensive
to the smell. The inhabitants have but two meals a day, in the morning
and evening; the richer add tea, which is drunk in great quantities,
without sugar or milk, during the day. Chewing areca and smoking
cigars, are common to all, even among small children, and both are
constantly used during their waking hours.




On Monday, the eighteenth, arrangements having been previously made,
three large boats were sent by the praklang, to convey us to the
palace, for the purpose of being presented to his majesty. On the
previous evening, the second praklang, or the phaya-phiphat kossa,
with a long train of attendants, came to visit us, with the ostensible
object of talking farther respecting certain articles, which the
praklang wished to have altered in the treaty. After a few minutes’
conversation upon this subject, the audience of the king was spoken
of, and he said that certain ceremonies, according to court etiquette,
must be observed on our visit. I replied, that every proper respect
would, of course, be shown to his majesty; but that nothing mean or
servile must be expected. He then said, on our entrance into the hall
of audience, on passing the screen, three bows were expected in the
European style; that, on sitting down, in the Asiatic style, (as no
chairs are there ever used,) our feet must be placed behind us, that
three bows were then to be made, by uniting the hands and touching the
forehead, and lowering them to the breast. Seeing nothing unreasonable
or degrading in this formality, it was agreed to, excepting that we
refused to bow the head, like the Siamese. On the king’s naming us
personally, we were to bow in the usual style of recognisance with
us; and when the curtain was drawn on his appearance, we were to make
three such bows, as might suit us. This was all very well; and I was
glad to find the taking off the shoes was not spoken of, and entering
in a stooping position, which could not have been complied with, as
it was by Mr. Crawford, when on a mission a few years since, who, to
effect his purpose, (in which he totally failed,) complied with their
insulting demands. The Siamese amuse themselves with talking upon
this subject even now, and say, that the gentlemen belonging to the
mission, were obliged to walk ankle deep in mud and water; that some
of them lost their shoes, they being thrown away purposely by the
Siamese servants; of course, by order of their masters. Once or twice,
the subject was named to me, and I severely reproved them for their
disgraceful conduct. Major Burney, it seems, on a more recent mission,
agreed to comply with the demand of taking off his shoes, but on the
condition that he kept on his hat: they, however, preferred he should
keep on his shoes, and take off his hat.

Our mode of conveyance from the water-side to the palace, was agreed
upon previously, viz.: A palanquin, with eight bearers, dressed in red
uniforms, and caps to correspond, was to be provided for myself, and
ten horses for the other gentlemen, properly caparisoned, according
to rank. We embarked at nine o’clock, and were, in a few minutes, at
the palace-stairs. Spectators were numerous, in the floating houses
and boats, on our way; and on landing, the place was thronged with
them, leaving sufficient space, however, for the procession, there
being officers in attendance to keep the multitude in order. However,
every thing was well conducted, and without noise. Excellent horses,
handsomely caparisoned, with elegant saddles and silk bridles,
breastplate and head-stall, ornamented with various-coloured gems,
decked in rich embroidery, were provided: each horse was led by one of
the king’s servants.

The procession moved on, the envoy being placed in front, through two
long streets, passing a gate of the city, and finally arrived at one of
the gates to the palace-yard, where we found a guard, dressed in red
broadcloth coats, and waist-cloths of every colour, with and without
hats and caps, bearing muskets with black barrels and red stocks. We
proceeded to the hall of justice, where we dismounted.

Fronting the building, were ten large elephants, well caparisoned,
having a guide on their necks, with his hook and spear fixed to a
staff, while another sat on the rump with a similar weapon; and in
the centre, a standard-bearer, having a spear, to which was attached
a long tassel of elephant’s hair: these men wore red turbans and
neat parti-coloured dresses, well fitted to the shape. We ascended
two or three steps to a landing, which was crowded with people of
various descriptions: from this we advanced one step, which led to the
floor, being escorted by the officers in waiting, by Col. Pasqual,
and others. We were desired to wait a short time, till his majesty
had arrived in the hall, which was at a short distance. The floor was
covered with a good Persian carpet, apparently made for the place.
Among others present, were ten Pequan officers of rank, sitting on the
landing, outside the pillars which supported the roof, for none were
permitted to be on the floor where we were but the interpreters, and
these, according to etiquette, sat on the floor. The Pequan officers
were dressed in gold-flowered crimson silk, and long jackets, reaching
below the knee, and turbans of silk of the same colour, trimmed with
gold fringe: all were sitting in the Asiatic style. Having waited some
time, we were told the king was ready to receive us. In proceeding to
the hall, through a very spacious and extensive yard, we saw, on our
right, drawn out, standing on a grass-plot, under high canopies, eight
other elephants, richly caparisoned, having no riders, but plenty of
attendants. We passed on--preceded by a number of Chuliahs, or Moors,
having elegant silk dresses, reaching to the feet, and turbans, some
of flowered crimson: others with white silk having gold flowers, and
turbans of the same--through several hundred musicians, in red coats
and caps. In the rear were soldiers, placed in pens, in a crouching
posture, armed with spears and shields, with the interpreters and
peace-officers. The music, consisting of drums, brass horns, trumpets,
&c., &c., struck up a most deafening noise, on our entering within
their lines, which ceased when we arrived within the walls of the hall.

Every thing was conducted with the utmost decorum. Just before reaching
the hall, we passed a most noble spotted elephant--he had four massive
gold rings, which must have weighed several pounds each, studded with
jewels, secured around each tusk: a raised seat, a foot or two above
the ground, was fixed for him to stand on, because he was a royal
elephant, and could only be mounted by the king: a servant was feeding
him with fresh cut grass and bananas. Facing us was part of the king’s
stud of fine Arabian horses, placed under a high shed, richly, and
in fact, superbly dressed, attended by their keepers, which we were
requested to admire. The spectacle thus far was quite imposing, and it
seems every thing had been arranged to make a favourable impression.
The elephants were placed in those positions, where they would show
to the greatest advantage--as well as the king’s stud of horses, the
immense number of military with a vast many officers richly clad, many
of them being most splendidly dressed--the singular unique style of
architecture of the king’s palace--a large number of cannon placed
under open sided sheds, the hall of audience, &c., &c., illumined by a
brilliant sun and an unclouded sky, gave to every thing an Asiatic and
novel appearance.


We entered at length the vestibule through a line of soldiers, and
passed to the right of a Chinese screen of painted glass, into the
presence of his majesty. There lay prostrate, or rather on all fours
resting on their knees and elbows, with hands united and head bowed
low, all the princes and nobility of the land: it was an impressive
but an abasing sight, such as no freeman could look on, with any other
feelings than those of indignation and disgust. We halted in front of
the presents which were delivered the day previous, being piles of
silks, rich fillagreed silver baskets, elegant gold watches studded
with large pearls: they were well disposed to make a show. Having gone
through the first ceremony of bowing, we sat down on a carpet: on our
being seated the prostrate slaves around us (being the great men of
the land) bowed simultaneously three times to the ground, in a slow
solemn manner, and we joined in the ceremony as had been previously
agreed upon. The king was seated under a canopy, in the Asiatic style,
on a cushion of red silk velvet, on the lower and more advanced of
the two thrones, which occupied the upper end of the apartment: this
was a square seat raised some half dozen feet from the floor. Every
thing was blazing in gold, in and about the two thrones: the larger
and unoccupied one was of an hexagonal shape, and resembled a church
pulpit, so that the king’s person when seated in it, can be visible
only through the open spaces, in the form of Gothic windows, about four
feet in height by one and a half and two in width. One of these windows
is in front, and one on each side of the throne. A pair of curtains of
gold cloth formed a partition between him and several individuals of
the royal family, who lay crouching just without, on separate carpets,
leaving a wide open space between the throne and the two interpreters,
who were midway of the hall. Before the curtain and on either side,
were eight or ten umbrellas of various sizes: these consist of a series
of canopies of eight or ten tiers, decreasing in size upward.

His majesty is a very stout fleshy man, apparently about forty-five
years of age, of a pleasing countenance. He was dressed in a cloth of
gold tissue around the waist, while a mantle was thrown gracefully
over the left shoulder. Four noblemen’s sons were seated at the base
of the throne, at the rear and sides, having long-handled pear-shaped
fans, richly gilt, which they kept in constant motion. A few questions
were addressed by the king in an audible voice: they were repeated
in a lower tone by the phaya phiphat, or second praklang, to the
phaya churat, or chief of the Chuliahs, by whom they were whispered
to the captain of the port, who interpreted them to us in the same
low tone--the answers were returned through the same channels by us;
inquiring, in the first place, as to the health of the President
and all the great men in our country--our own healths--those of the
officers and crew--how long we had been from America--where we had
been, and whence bound--desiring me to acquaint the praklang with all
my wants, that they might be supplied, &c., &c., &c. The curtain was
now drawn and his majesty disappeared; the court made three solemn
kotows, and we our three salams, and then retired. The hall is probably
one hundred and twenty feet in length by sixty in breadth, and has
seven or eight stout square pillars on each side, probably built of
brick and stuccoed, which support the roof; the highest part of the
ceiling must be thirty-five or forty feet, is painted vermillion,
having gilt starlike ornaments: the pillars and sides of the wall
were painted so as to resemble paper hangings, and were altogether in
bad taste: common looking-glasses, and ordinary European paintings of
men with frizzled and powdered hair, were placed against the wall.
The floor was covered with a new kidderminster carpet, such as may be
bought in the United States for about a dollar and a quarter a yard; in
fact there was no richness or elegance displayed; excepting about the
throne there were neither jewels nor costly workmanship: the dress of
the king himself was by no means extraordinary.

We were surrounded by Siamese, Cambojans, Burmese, Pequans, Malays,
Chinese, Cochin-Chinese, Moors, and people of Lao, dressed all in
the costumes of their respective countries, but all of them at the
disposal of the “master of lives,” as the king of Siam is styled. It
was before observed, that the princes were nearest the throne, on a
separate carpet; behind them, on another carpet, were the praklang and
the higher officers of state, as precedence is decided here by relative
vicinity to the throne: the lowest officers admitted, are those at the
very entrance of the hall. When the courtiers enter, they crawl in on
all fours, and, when dismissed, crawl out again backward, “à la crab,”
or “à la lobster;” and when the numbers are great, their appearance is
most ludicrous. During the audience the utmost silence was observed by
the courtiers; not an eye was even cast toward us until it was ended.
One would suppose that all who were there present, were assembled
before the throne of Him who is to _sit_ in judgment at the latter day,
rather than before a temporal monarch; there were such a stillness and
solemnity at times, that the scene was quite oppressive. The audience,
which lasted about half an hour, being ended, his majesty ordered us to
be shown the white and other elephants, the temples, &c., within the

On our exit from the building, the music again struck up and ended
when we passed the lines. We were first conducted by the interpreters
and some half dozen officers, to the stables of the more valuable
elephants, kept within the enclosure. The first shown to us was the
sacred white elephant, a more gentle and peaceable character than the
one secured without the walls, near the river; he was much whiter
also, but this might be owing to his being kept cleaner, his eyes were
larger, sound, and healthy in appearance, and the skin free from scurf.
I was particularly requested to feed him with bananas and sugar-cane,
which he received from my hands most gently, rubbing his long proboscis
once over the back of my hand and then made three salams with his
trunk. Fresh cut grass was placed in small bundles before him, and when
annoyed by the flies and moschetoes, he would take a wisp and brush
his legs, throwing it afterward on his back. In this stall was a white
monkey, of the size of a small dog, a perfect Albino, the iris, pink,
&c., &c.; he was kept in a cage, and appeared never to be quiet for
a single second. We passed on to four other stalls, which contained
spotted elephants; they are noble animals, and I consider them more
worthy of notice than the white ones. We passed on to the great temple
of the palace, which was repairing, where Budha sat enthroned on high,
of a gigantic size, shining with gold and yellow cloths, and protected
with a yellow umbrella. The walls were covered with historical
paintings, relative to the wanderings of Rama; and the outer courts
were filled with descript and non-descript animals of all sorts, in
plaster, stone, and marble. Within the columns, plates of artificial
fruits were placed; the favourite lotus was growing in large ornamented
stone and porcelain vases, and there were artificial ones in stone. Two
warriors, of immense size, guarded the entrance as usual. The doors
were splendidly adorned with mother-of-pearl, inlaid so as to represent
flowers and fruit of various elegant devices. The thermometer being at
nearly a hundred, we remained but a short time, being much exhausted by
fatigue and the intense heat of the sun. We returned in the same order
in which we came, being much gratified with our reception, and rejoiced
that it was at an end.


I have frequently asked the question, How many priests there are
belonging to the different pagodas? The answer has been always,
sometimes ten, and sometimes twenty thousand; there is no particular
number. Pray, what is the cause of this great difference in numbers,
at different times? Oh! it depends altogether upon the price of rice;
if rice is abundant, priests are fewer in number than when it is
scarce; for a great number of them enter the priesthood for a short
time only, when they have nothing to eat: this is the reason, why there
are so many small boys dressed in yellow, because their parents have
no food for them. During the great inundation of 1831, the number of
priests doubled, in consequence of the scarcity of provisions. This
vicinity was, until that time, remarkable for the great abundance and
variety of its excellent fruit. In the course of three months, during
which the country was so submerged, it was almost totally destroyed,
as well as the crops of rice and cane. In speaking one day of the
extreme servility of the lower classes to the higher, I was informed,
that the praklang, in coming out of his house during the overflow of
the river, always had the usual homage paid to him by the people, of
kneeling or stooping when he passed them; and that they have been
frequently seen so deeply immersed in water, as to be obliged to rise
a little to prevent its entering their mouths, and suffocating them.
This degrading homage, I have seen frequently paid him by his eldest
son, Luang-nai-Sit, crawling on all fours into his father’s presence,
and bowing his head to the ground, with united hands. He is about
twenty-five years of age--has several wives and many children; he is
of an inquiring mind, but said to be very intriguing and cringing to
those who can promote his interests. He says, “his father frequently
sends for him to breakfast, and the constrained position in which he
is placed (on all fours) prevents his eating much, he, therefore,
unfortunately suffers before he can obtain his dinner.”

Among the queer articles of export from this place to China, are
snake-skins, which are there used for musical instruments principally,
and also for medicinal purposes. Many of the reptiles, from which these
are taken, are of large size; and it is said are upward of thirty feet
in length, and wide in proportion. The floating houses on the river,
when sunk nearly to the water’s edge, by the decaying of the bamboos
on which they rest, are frequently annoyed with them, for they are
always in search of poultry. Among other methods of taking them, is
this: a chicken is placed at the further end of a bamboo coop, near
the door, over-night; a hole is made in this coop of a sufficient size
to admit the entrance of a snake of fifteen or twenty feet in length;
if the reptile enter, after having gorged himself with his prey, he is
unable to get out, and is then easily killed. The skin is then dried,
and rolls of it are found suspended from the ceiling of the floating
shops. The entire carcasses of tigers are also exported to China,
for the people of that country ignorantly suppose them to possess
great medicinal qualities. Last year, sixty carcasses paid duties on
exportation, besides a large number smuggled; they are generally in a
very putrid state long before they are shipped.

The thick hide of the rhinoceros is also another article of export to
the same country, and by a peculiar process, it is made into, and used
as a nutritious jelly.

[Sidenote: BUDHA--CANALS.]

_March twenty-seventh._ Reconnoitring in my boat yesterday evening,
on the left bank of the river, up one of the numerous canals, we saw
under a common shed, a short distance from a wat or temple, a number
of idols. We stepped on shore to examine them, and at the feet of the
great idol, lay a poor wretch, dying with the confluent small-pox;
his bloated features and his person, covered with pustules, made him
a disgusting object; he had crawled thither that morning, and had
brought half a dozen saucers of sweetmeats, cooked rice, and fruit, and
placed them on the lap of Budha, praying no doubt most fervently, that
he would be pleased to cure him of his foul disease: but his cries were
of no avail to this gilded block of wood, although they lasted from
morning until eventide; for he died that night, at the feet of Budha.

_March twenty-eighth._ This morning, it being very high water, we
entered on the canal which runs near to the southern wall of the city;
passing along it, about a mile and a quarter, we turned to the left,
and proceeding along about the same distance, we again shot out into
the main river: thus taking a complete circuit of the city. The wall
is about twenty feet in height; not a piece of cannon was seen, nor
even a solitary sentry taking his weary round; but a number of canals
passed under the wall, and were filled with market-boats: there are no
portcullises ready to drop, in case of a rebellion, or the invasion of
an enemy; these canals, therefore, offer a ready and easy entrance. The
houses in the suburbs in many places, are built immediately against
the walls. No defence could be made, against even a small disciplined
force, for there is no regular military force in the kingdom; the
soldiers are never drilled with muskets, the government being unwilling
to trust them with arms in their hands: their mode of warfare is
altogether desultory. Many parts of the canal which surrounds the
city, were much crowded with pedlars’ boats, containing coarse cloth,
paper, brass, and iron utensils, &c.; others with salt, sapan-wood,
cotton in small baskets, areca-nut, siri-leaf, chunam, coloured with
turmeric, dried fish, oil, sugar, balachang, fresh pork, fish, fruit,
and vegetables.

The back of the city bore, altogether, a rural appearance; the banks
were thickly settled, people of all ages were bathing, washing at the
same time their simple dresses; children were seen asleep in short
square-net hammocks, and the mother lying at full length on a mat,
chewing areca-nut, or smoking a cigar, propelling with her foot the
hanging cradle; the cat and dog lay stretched also at full length on
the platform, overcome with the intense heat of the day; the banks
were, however, well shaded by the many trees which occupied every
vacant place. The mango, now fully laden with its oblong green fruit;
the religious fig-tree with its broad and pointed leaf; the plantain
bending beneath the weight of its fruit; the areca-palm with its
slender and regular stem, and brush-like head; and the useful cocoa-nut
and bamboo, were seen towering in every direction. We visited a number
of the king’s boat-houses, and saw a canoe one hundred and five feet
long, made from a single teak-tree, excepting the high curved stem and
stern; we saw also, hundreds of useless boats, most of them intended
for war, while others were for pleasure, being neatly gilded about each
quarter. The war-boats would be altogether useless in a sea-fight.


_March thirtieth._ Yesterday we visited a wat or pagoda, built by
the present king, when he was prince Chroma Chiat; it is called
wat-chan-tong, or “the temple of the golden sandal tree;” it is
situated about six or seven miles from the outlet of Bang-kok Yai,
into the Menam. The company consisted of the Rev. Mr. Jones, and
Doctor Ticknor; a boat and rowers were sent to us by the praklang.
The buildings are more substantial, and in better order, than any
I have heretofore seen; hewn granite steps and pillars were about
the principal entrances; the floors of the temples were of marble
tessellated; the walls leading to the temples, and the dwellings of
the Talapoys, were of square pieces of split granite; and there was a
greater air of neatness about them, than any we have yet viewed. Noble
banyan, and the religious fig-tree, shaded the walks; large porcelain
figures of men, and non-descript beasts, embellished the fronts of
churches, the entrances into the outer courts.

There are two islets near to the landing place, having on them
miniature temples, and small images, overshadowed by noble banyan
trees, which are to be found in great abundance every where in the
vicinity of Bang-kok. It is one of the most curious of nature’s
productions: each full-sized tree is a grove; for every branch, on
reaching the ground, vegetates and increases to a large trunk, and
these again send forth others, till, from old age and exhaustion, the
parent dies, and the progeny gradually decay for want of sustenance,
leaving a forest in ruins. It affords most beautiful walks, vistas,
and cool recesses; and bears a small fig, which is scarlet when ripe,
and affords a luxuriant repast to monkeys and peacocks, and other
birds, which inhabit this father of trees, that shades and protects
their young, in cool recesses, from a burning sun, where they sport
and idle their leisure hours away, free from cares, excepting from
the mischievous monkey, which robs them of their eggs, or the wily
serpent, that beguiles them of their tender progeny.

The principal wat is occupied by a colossal figure of Budha, lying on
his right side, supported by the elbow and hand, and seven square and
triangular pillows, with ornamented ends of coloured glass. It is of
the enormous length of _sixty-three_ feet, having on its head a high
peaked cap. The “phra-bat,” or “holy feet,” are each six feet nine
inches in length, having five toes, all of equal length, being one less
than the Budha of the Burmese. It is made of brick and stuccoed; but
overlaid with heavy gilding, highly burnished. It was covered, on its
exposed or left side, with yellow, or talapoy cloth, and canopied by
an enormous yellow umbrella. Many priests and young students of the
monastery accompanied us. They were asked why the idol was protected
with cloths, and the umbrella? They replied, that the great Budha
would be offended if neglected, and he ought to be kept warm. As the
thermometer was little short of one hundred, and we were panting for
breath, with the perspiration running from us in streams, they were
told that all clothing was oppressive; but they said, they dared not
neglect him. They were also asked, how long he was to lie? They said,
about three thousand years, when Budha would be annihilated, or his
authority rather would cease.

The ceiling of the wat was painted of a rich vermillion, and “thickly
inlaid with patines of bright gold.” The walls, and inside of the doors
and window-shutters, were entirely covered with rural and aquatic
scenes, birds, flowers, &c., &c.; all rich with gold and beautiful
colours, highly varnished, displaying a cultivated taste. The doors,
at the entrance, were most splendidly inlaid with mother-of-pearl,
wrought into various and elegant devices. Surrounding the wall of the
court-yard, was an extensive corridor, containing eighty Budhas, of
about four feet high, in a sitting posture generally, while others
were standing. At the feet of each were two smaller sized devotees,
kneeling and facing them, with their hands spread out and united in
the attitude of prayer. These, together with a group of eight in one
corner, made, altogether, two hundred and forty-six images, being all
highly burnished with gold. Other images, of women, are scattered about
the court; and the two gigantic warriors, as usual, placed as guards at
its common entrance. The Indian lotus was growing in handsome vases of
granite, porcelain, and marble. There was also a large gilt image in a
sitting posture, made of a composition of copper, tin, and zinc. The
ceiling, walls, &c., were nearly similarly painted to the other, having
a tessellated marble pavement; but the doors were painted black, with
borders of richly gilded flowers. A devotee had taken up his lodging
within the temple, near one of the doors, and was then praying at the
feet of the image. He passed his days there, and at night watered his
couch with his tears, in the vain expectation that, at his death, Budha
would cause his soul to be transmigrated into a higher and holier state
of existence.

There were about one hundred and fifty Talapoys generally at this
monastery. Here, also, was a small deep bathing place, having in it a
number of small alligators--they are common. We passed a great number
of temples, and counted twenty-five on this route. The banks were
thickly inhabited, having a low but rich country; and the various fruit
and flowering forest trees, by which it was overshadowed, contributed
greatly to its beautiful scenery. Boats were continually passing in
great numbers, variously laden. The fronts of the cottages being open,
all the domestic operations were fully seen. At the foot of the ladder,
childhood and old age were seen, bathing in the turbid waters of this
tributary of the Menam, all seemingly happy, although living under one
of the most despotic governments in the world.

On our return, observing an artificial mound near a small wat with a
gilded front, we were induced to stop and examine it; it was in height
about twenty feet, built of brick and overlaid with rough pieces of
rock. We entered by a flight of steps into some dark winding passages
in imitation of caverns--on the step was a small temple court and a
relic of gautama, which we were unable to see owing to the Talapoy who
had charge of it being asleep. The thermometer being at ninety-five,
with a dead oven-like heat, we were glad to retreat to some cooler
place. Proceeding on by another route, we saw a number of Talapoys,
collected near to a place for the burning of the dead, under a high
pyramidal shed placed amid a grove of the religious fig-tree: we landed
and proceeded to the spot. In the centre of the building, on a brick
platform, was placed a bier of seven or eight feet in height--the sides
which concealed the body were covered with white muslin and the top,
&c., ornamented with yellow tinsel; the bier, I suppose, was of wood,
but it was neatly covered with plantain stock, and being fresh cut
resembled ivory with a slight tinge of yellow: fanciful devices were
cut in the sides and red paper inserted, which gave it a very neat
and finished appearance. In each corner were raised platforms, and
on one of them sat fifteen or twenty Talapoys, having before them a
feast of nice things, such as rice cooked in various ways, sweetmeats
and fruits, and a pile of yellow cloth, all of which were presents,
from the parents of a dead daughter, lying before these senseless
worshippers of idols. They were talking aloud and laughing, apparently
insensible to the solemn occasion for which they were assembled: being
disgusted with their conduct, and finding that the ceremony would not
take place until three in the afternoon, we left the place intending to
return in due time.

[Sidenote: FIRE-FEEDERS.]

At the appointed hour, we were again there, but the burning had
commenced half an hour previously: a part of the scull was remaining,
the head having separated from the body: the back bone was nearly
entire as well as part of the limbs; two grim looking fellows were
replenishing and stirring the fire with three-pronged forks, smoking
cigars, and laughing as though they were attending a baker’s oven. They
were constantly employed in going from this funeral pile to another,
situated in the open air, a short distance off, where was consuming the
body of a dead slave.

Besides the “fire-feeders,” there was assembled a party of young
females, acquaintances of the deceased girl, waiting to collect the
unconsumed bones, that they might be conveyed to the mourning parents:
they were decent in their behaviour, but there were no visible signs
of grief on their countenances at this sad spectacle; they were seated
on one of the raised platforms, chewing areca-nut, and talking with
considerable earnestness--but the instant they saw us, they started on
their feet, and exhibited very strong symptoms of curiosity; probably,
many of them had never seen a white person before, and our dress, of
course, appeared strange to those who were only accustomed to the sight
of a waist-cloth. They inquired of a gentleman who spoke Siamese and
English, if we came to see a body burnt, or what was the object of our
visit: we told them it was to see a body burnt, and to view the temple
near by. They asked us to look at the remains, on the funeral pile, and
see if we could tell whether it was a male or female, (for the natives
are under the impression that Europeans know every thing, and all the
European race even if born in America, are called Europeans.) They were
told after taking a view of them, that they were those of a female. At
this answer, they held up their hands, and appeared to be exceedingly
astonished, for they were not aware that we had ascertained this fact
in the morning. We immediately left them, not wishing to be questioned
further, and they are under the delusion without doubt, that we do,
indeed, “know every thing.”

The poor slave who has just been mentioned, must have had a friend who
was willing to pay the expenses of the burning to the Talapoys, or
_alias_ the phratais or phra-bo-coots as they are called in Siamese,
otherwise he would have been thrown without ceremony into the Menam and
become food for fish or alligators. A worthless priesthood, who _daily_
spunge the most abject in society of their scanty pittance of rice,
clothing, or fruit, refuse even a few sticks of wood to consume the
dead bodies of their poor benefactors, and to recite a few heathenish
prayers without being amply paid for their trouble; but the priests of
Budha are not the only ones who exact payment for what is obviously
their bounden duty. Some of the Christian churches, even in this
vicinity, as well as those of other countries, will be paid for burying
their dead, and saying mass for the repose of departed souls.


The ceremony of burning the dead may be witnessed almost daily, between
noon and three o’clock, within the precincts of the temples. During the
ceremony, music of a most discordant kind is frequently introduced. The
instruments are noisy and consist of gongs, drums, &c., &c. Prayers,
written in the Pah language on slips of palm-leaf, are first read by a
priest from a pulpit; females and males set beneath it each holding a
taper: the language is probably unintelligible to every one present,
for most of the priests can barely read it, and few of them understand

These places are generally thronged with idle persons, who take no part
in the ceremonies, and walk in and out talking and smoking cigars, &c.,
&c. At the head of the coffin is a piece of white cloth; a number of
priests take hold of it on each side, reciting certain prayers--this
being ended, the coffin and bier are dismantled, the body is washed by
one of the servants of the pagoda, who is always paid a small fee for
this most disgusting piece of service. Bodies are frequently kept for
days in this sultry climate, and then the office is no sinecure--it
is truly loathsome. The ablution being concluded, a layer of wet earth
is laid on the bier and dry wood is piled upon it--the body is then
replaced in the coffin, and carried three successive times around the
altar by the nearest male relatives, and afterward deposited upon
the pile; tapers and incense rods are distributed to all who will
receive them; a priest delivers a final prayer, then sets fire to the
funeral pile, and is followed by all who receive tapers and rods for
that purpose. The scull is always broken with a heavy bar of iron,
to prevent, as they say, an explosion and scattering of the bones
and brains. Small pieces of money are now distributed to objects of
charity, who are always in waiting at these places at the usual hours,
and are disappointed if there are no rich victims ready for the funeral
pile; sometimes the male relatives throw bundles of cloth over the
pile--those on the opposite side carefully catch them, and in other
cases it is dispensed with.

No explanation of this singular piece of ceremony could ever be
obtained. I ought to have mentioned, previously, a horrible custom
which occasionally prevails here: many Siamese give directions that
their dead bodies shall be stripped of the flesh and given to dogs, and
carniverous birds, which infest the neighbourhood of the altars, and
the bones only are burnt. This is considered to be both laudable and
charitable. The unconsumed bones are carefully collected, prayers are
recited over them, and various ceremonies are performed by the priests.
They are then burnt to ashes, reduced into a paste with water, and then
formed into a small figure of Budha, and gilded; the latter is then
placed among the household gods, or deposited in a temple of Budha. If
any important branch of the family die, it is carried in procession,
and this is called “the procession of the bones of their ancestors.”
But as the priests are very exorbitant in their demands for this small
piece of service, none but the richer class can afford the expense.


I omitted to mention the arrival, some days since, from Singapore, of
the English schooner _Reliance_, commanded by an American, Captain
Burgess of Maine, and owned by Robert Hunter, a Scotch gentleman, who
has been trading for eight or nine years past between Singapore and
some of the ports on the eastern side of the Malay peninsula, but more
particularly with this place. In this vessel came an American Baptist
missionary, the Reverend John Taylor Jones--wife, child, and servants:
he has been residing for about two years past at Maulmein, in Burmah,
but latterly at Rangoon. He had been expected for some months, and a
house was preparing for him by the very respectable Mr. Silveiro, the
Portuguese consul at Cokai, near a campong of Burmese. I immediately
wrote a note and sent it to the roads, about forty or fifty miles
distant, offering them every accommodation in our extensive house,
until they should be able to take possession of their own. Two days
afterward, the family arrived with the exception of Mr. Jones, who came
the following day, and remained with us till every thing was arranged.
Their house is a tolerably comfortable one for the climate; they appear
to be well satisfied with it, and their contiguity to Mr. Silveiro, who
speaks French, English, and Siamese, and is able to give every sort
of information relative to the people and the country, having resided
here about thirteen years. The house is situated a short distance back
from the river, amidst palm and other trees, and is surrounded by a
dense population. The house formerly occupied by the Reverend Mr.
Tompkin, an Englishman, Mr. Gutzlaff, a Prussian, and Mr. Abeel an
American, all missionaries, residing here within the last few years, is
a short distance from it, and immediately on the banks of the Menam;
it is a very small cottage, fit only for humble dwellers, and the very
appearance of it, with the very respectable men who occupied it, will
convince any one, that a life of luxury and indolence was not their
object in leaving their country and their homes, and all that was dear
to them; but to go about doing good in the cause of Christ, according
to their best abilities.

These worthy men did much good when they were here, by administering
medicines to the sick, and in many instances, no doubt, in distributing
useful and religious tracts in the Siamese and Chinese languages; but
the injudicious though well-meant zeal of Mr. Gutzlaff in the very
outset, within the first two days of his arrival, gave great cause of
offence to the government; for he immediately threw many thousands
of tracts into every floating house, boat and junk, as well as into
cottages. An order was issued for his immediate expulsion from the
country, and that his tracts should be collected and burnt; and had
it not been for the friendly interference and good management of Mr.
Hunter, who was a favourite with the praklang, the order would have
been executed.

The king ordered a translation of the tracts to be made, which was done
very fairly; he read them and said candidly and openly that there was
nothing objectionable in them, but he preferred his own religion. The
government raise no objections to Christian missionaries residing in
the country, and it is as favourably disposed toward them as can be
expected, considering the great influence of the Budha priests; but
missionaries must never suffer their zeal to transport them beyond
the bounds of common prudence. A certain sect of Christians here are
very inimical to Protestant missionaries, much more so, I am credibly
informed, than the Talapoys, who believe themselves so firmly seated
that they do not trouble themselves about the Protestant preachers. As
a convincing proof that the government is far from being unfriendly to
missionaries, the praklang sent down a good covered boat, expressly to
convey Mr. Jones and his family to their new residence, at Cokai, two
miles distant from our house. Mr. Jones was introduced by Mr. Hunter to
the praklang, who received him with apparent kindness.

It it said, by some, that this favourable reception is owing to his
being an American citizen, and because of the friendly terms existing
between the government of Siam and the United States. It is true,
without doubt, that the king openly expressed much gratification, that
an American man-of-war had arrived with an envoy, for the purpose of
forming a treaty of amity and commerce. This fact was named to me
repeatedly, by the praklang and by others, who daily attend the court.
His Siamese majesty immediately ordered his best unoccupied building to
be prepared for us, (and it certainly is the best on the river;) two
of his best war-boats to be sent to bring us to the city, and a feast
to be prepared by the governor of Packnam; and on our arrival at the
house, every comfort and every luxury were spread on the table; and
cook, purveyor, servants, interpreters, and guards, at our service. The
praklang was ordered to facilitate the speedy execution of the treaty,

All this was very gratifying; but, under the frequent delays and
obstructions thrown in the way of the treaty by the praklang,
influenced, probably, by the preference which the government people
of Siam were said to have for my countrymen, it is said by Mr. S.
and by many others, to have been the most extraordinary instance of
despatch ever known in the history of diplomacy in this country,
even when an enemy was at their door. Their friendly disposition
towards us was confirmed by Major Burney, who was sent to Siam, by
the governor-general of India, about six years since, now ambassador
at the court of Ava. He informed Mr. Jones, that the Americans were
decidedly preferred to any other foreigners. He was detained here
about seven months, and met with a thousand vexations. He was not
more successful in his negotiations than we were, although aided by
the sacrifice of the king of Quedah, and the fears the Siamese have
of their English neighbours in Burmah, and the Malay peninsula. Mr.
Crawford, his predecessor, likewise, who came here for a similar
purpose, in 1812, was detained several months, treated with insult, and
dismissed without obtaining a single commercial advantage. I omitted
to mention that Mr. Abeel is held here in the highest estimation, by
those who have the pleasure of his acquaintance. He possesses talents
of a very superior order, and acquirements that do great credit to his
industry; is mild and conciliating in his manners, forcible in his
arguments, yet possessing a sufficient degree of zeal, never giving
offence to the government, nor creating dislike by being over-zealous,
and thereby disgusting the natives; but the bad state of his health
would not permit him to remain on this good missionary ground, which
may be made, in a few years, ready for the harvest. Missionary stations
should never be left vacant, and several teachers should be on the spot
at the same time, so as to be able to relieve each other occasionally.
The language of the country must first be learned, and at least a
partial knowledge obtained of the Mandarin and Fo-kien languages of
China. Missionaries should also be well acquainted with the peculiar
doctrines of the Budhists, which they are labouring to subvert: free
schools should be established; a printing-press put in operation, and
those children should be preferred who have never attended the schools
of the Talapoys. Although a good wife contributes in a thousand ways to
the comfort and convenience of the missionary, yet the prejudices of
the people they visit should be consulted, at least for the present;
for the Siamese are firm in their opinion, that the vow of perpetual
celibacy should be observed by all who bear the title of priests, of
Christians as well as worshippers of Budha. All missionaries should
also have some knowledge of medicine and surgery.



The climate of Siam is more healthy than that of Batavia.
Notwithstanding the great heat of the climate, and the vast quantity
of uncleaned and undrained land, epidemics do not often prevail; yet
the spasmodic cholera, a few years since, swept off upward of sixty
thousand inhabitants.

During our stay, the weather has been clear and serene, a breeze
visiting us about the middle of the day; yet the thermometer has
ranged 93°, and has frequently been 94° and 95°. No one has been sick,
excepting of complaints in the bowels, occasioned by a change of diet.

The profuse perspiration under which we suffered, day and night,
considerably exhausted our strength. Those pests of all swampy
countries, moschetoes and other insects, have not appeared in such
vast quantities as they do in the rainy season, nor reptiles, which
then abound every where; nor is the heat so great as it will be within
the next four or five months, when the thermometer will rise from 100°
to 103°; yet, it is said, the climate then is not more unhealthy than
it is at present. Where the ship lies, the thermometer has not risen
above 84°, and prevailing winds have been from the southward, blowing
fresh the most part of the time, with a considerable sea. During the
heat of the day, notwithstanding bathing is resorted to, and the
natives are often seen with a wet cloth on their shoulders, to keep
them cool and mitigate the effects of a scorching sun; yet it is a rare
circumstance to see any of them with a covering on the head, excepting
the women-pedlars on the river, who wear a palm-leaf hat, the exact
shape of a milk-pan reversed; this is kept on the head by means of a
frame-work, made of split rattan; their dress also is different from
other women’s being a tight cotton jacket, with sleeves, and the usual
waist-cloth worn by both sexes.

It is surprising how few of the mechanic arts are here practised,
excepting those which are connected with the building of junks and
boats; and in this case, strickly speaking, there are but two or three
employed. The carpenter, who builds the vessel, makes the masts and
wooden anchors, and the very few blocks that are used; pumps are not
known, for the water is bailed out from vessels of one thousand tons
burden. They go to market and buy their mats to make sails, which are
spread out on the ground within certain pegs, which give the proper
dimensions and shape; the bolt-rope is then sowed on, being made of
a species of very coarse strong grass, abounding every where; and
the sailmakers, being the sailors of the vessel, make the cordage
generally, and assist in making the immense cables. Blacksmiths are
necessarily employed to make bolts, and calkers are indispensable.

[Sidenote: CHINESE JUNKS.]

A true Chinese junk is a great curiosity; the model must have been
taken originally from a bread-trough, being broad and square at both
ends--when light, (I speak of a large one,) it is full thirty feet
from the surface of the water to the tafferel, or the highest part of
the poop. Forward, a wide clear space intervenes, where the cable is
worked, there being a stage erected, some twelve or fifteen feet above
the forecastle, on which they help to work and keep a lookout for sail.
The mainmast is a most enormous stick of teak or other hard wood, big
enough for a line-of-battle ship, on which they hoist an enormous sail,
which generally takes all the crew, consisting of at least a hundred or
a hundred and fifty men; when they wish to lower it, it is necessary
to send a number of men on the bamboo poles, which stretch from side
to side, to assist in its descent. A small mast, the after or mizen
mast, is placed on one side, not in the centre as in other vessels,
but stepped or secured on the deck. The enormous cable is hove up by
a common windlass, without the assistance of pauls, stretching from
side to side of the vessel, through the bulwarks. The centre of the
vessel is at least fifteen or twenty feet lower than the tafferel,
open for the most part amidships, planks being placed here and there
to step on. There is tier upon tier of cabins aft. The hold is divided
into compartments and made water proof; these are hired or owned by
the shippers, so that each one keeps his goods separately; and in case
the vessel spring a leak, in any particular part, it is more easily
repaired. The caboose is on one side; and their meals, as at home, are
made of rice and salt or fresh vegetables, and perhaps a little fish,
and of every cheap article, however unsavoury, served up in a great
number of small saucers.

The vessels are kept in a most filthy condition, and can be scented a
long way off. Scenes of the grossest debauchery are practised on board
these junks; and gambling is carried on to a great extent. They are
called either male or female, according to the shape--the former being
sharp aft, if not forward; but these are considered to be illegitimate
upstarts of modern date, and are not the true Chinese junk. The female
has an enormous broad convex stern, there being a hollow or cavity,
where the broad, clumsy, grating-like rudder is placed; it probably
recedes two feet from the quarters to the sternpost. They are generally
painted white and red, perhaps blue, and the two enormous eyes of
vigilance are ever to be seen on each bow. On the stern, all the art of
the painter is exhausted by a profusion of meretricious ornaments--an
eagle, or what is intended for one, occupies the centre of the stern,
surrounded by all sorts of non-descript figures, and on one side of the
counter is a Josh, or god of wealth, resembling in shape Toby Filpot,
besides a great variety of indescribable nothings.

The boat is exceedingly stout and clumsy, and an exact counterpart of
the junk, being of an oblong square, nearly flat, and propelled by a
long oar, placed on a swivel.

Another kind of mechanics, are tin and leather-dressers, which,
strange to say, are always to be found in the same shop. The makers of
qualtahs, or iron pots and pans, which are a very neat, light article,
and little liable to be broken, owing to the ductility or toughness of
the iron. These pots are sold at a cheap rate, and are preferred to all
cast-iron vessels imported from Europe. Some iron is also made into
small bars or pieces. There are also makers of sandals, which articles
are worn only by the Chinese. The tin-ware is very neatly made, and
the patterns show a good deal of taste; but it is useless to put on
the fire, as there is no alloy mixed with it. The leather is died a
common red, made of deer-skin, and smoothed by a black stone, the size
of a brick; it is used for mattresses, pillows, &c. House-carpenters,
canoe, and boat builders, and a few makers of musical instruments, with
a little coarse pottery, and a few ordinary knives and locks, comprise
all the mechanic arts that have fallen within my knowledge. Gold and
silversmiths, I have nowhere seen; if there were any, who possessed
such ingenuity, they would be seized upon by the king or his officers,
and employed in their service. The gold vessels, containing areca,
cigars, &c., &c., are carried to every place they visit, by the princes
and higher officers of government, are made at the palace, and can only
be used by the king’s favourites. I have seen a few rude hand-looms in
operation; but the fabrics, both of silk and cotton, were very ordinary.

They import their brass ware and silk stuffs from China and Surat,
and their cotton and woollen goods, cutlery, &c., principally from
Singapore. Even the Talapoys’ razors for shaving their heads, are
imported from Canton: they are made of thin brass, of a curved shape,
about two inches wide throughout, and six inches long, fixed into a
coarse wooden handle. The mechanic arts are carried on almost wholly
by the industrious Chinese. The common houses are of bamboo, with
attap roofs; some are built of wood, and few of brick; but with few
exceptions, they all stand upon high piles. They are thus raised, in
consequence of the inundation of the river, to make them more secure
against depredations, to keep them dry, and to avoid the numerous
reptiles. The bridges which cross the canals, are generally a single
plank; some few have timbers laid on apartments of wood or brick,
planked, and about six feet wide, but an arched bridge is nowhere to
be seen. Roads there are none; and the only carriages are those owned
by the king, which are brought out only on some great occasions, and
are never seen beyond the walls of the city; of course, there is
scarcely any use for horses or elephants. The Menam with its thousands
of boats, and the numerous canals and branches of the river, make the
communication every where cheap and easy, and compensate in a great
measure, for the want of roads.

The principal amusement of the inhabitants, within their houses, is
singing and playing on musical instruments, of various kinds: their
singing is of a plaintive and melancholy cast, and they display
considerable taste in its execution: but there is too much monotony,
too much sameness in it; still they have got beyond the point of being
pleased with mere sound, like the Chinese. Their musical instruments
are very numerous: I have been able to describe but few; the music
produced by them is very different from the vocal, being cheerful
and lively. Playing chess is also a pastime. Dancing girls are kept
for the amusement of the women of the higher classes. Tumblers,
rope-dancers and actors, are considered necessary appendages for a
complete establishment. Gambling is carried to great excess by the
Siamese and Chinese; and the revenue derived from it, as will be seen
in a statement of the revenue, is of considerable importance to the
government. Flying kites is a favourite amusement with all, especially
with the Talapoys, and a great number of them may be seen employed,
in this way, at all hours of the day. Playing shuttlecock with their
feet, three on a side, is much practised by them, as well as the laity;
and in their houses, and even within their temples, they spend a large
portion of their time at chess. These amusements, together with chewing
areca, smoking cigars, begging, and sleeping, leave but little time for
devotion and study.


A few days since, a Siamese came into the yard, and desired to exhibit
some dancing snakes; he uncovered a basket, and drew out with his naked
hand several of a large size, and of the most venomous kind known in
India, the cobra de capello--they were full six feet in length, and
large in proportion; he had eight in the basket, and took out three or
four at a time, and suffered them to run about: he would then touch one
slightly on the body, as he was retreating, which caused him instantly
to turn his head backward toward the tail. The head, from being round
and small in proportion to the body, was quickly expanded to the width
of full three, and probably five inches in length, showing a crown or
circle in the centre; the head was nearly flat, his forked tongue was
thrust out with great rapidity, and he kept vibrating from side to
side, and his keen fiery eye shot forth most terrific glances; but he
made a most noble and graceful, although frightful appearance.

The exhibitor kept a cloth moving, a short distance in front of his
eyes, and the snake, in endeavouring to elude it, so that he might
spring upon his adversary, kept in a dancing motion. Having tied two or
three of the largest round his neck, and put the head of one of them
in his mouth, the exhibition ended. Being satisfied that the fangs
were extracted, or otherwise they could not be handled with impunity, I
suffered two of them to run between my feet, but they did not offer to
molest me or any one else.

The water used for domestic purposes is taken, with all its impurities,
from the river, in water-tight buckets, neatly and strongly woven; it
is put into unglazed earthen jars of thirty or forty gallons, and is
suffered to settle in the best way it can, without any foreign aid.
The filth of half a million of people, which is all emptied into the
river, renders it most impure, and dead bodies are frequently thrown
in to save the expense of burning. In a family, where no garments
are mended--in which there is no baking or ironing of clothes; no
stocking nor shoes worn, and the washing and drying of their simple
garments, done at the river, does not occupy a month in a year--no
books read, and no writing done--a large portion of the time of the
females must, of course, be spent in sleep and idleness. This is the
life led by the Siamese women of a good condition, they having in fact
no occupation--this must be the true “dolce farniente” of the Italians,
and a sorry one it is.

They wear no jewels, these being used altogether by the children,
their dress consisting only of a waist and breast cloth of dark silk.
A little music, the dancing girls, actors, and tumblers, occasionally
exhibited, chess, colouring their skin yellow with turmeric, and
anointing the tuft of unshorn hair on the top of their head; scandal,
with frequent dissensions, the natural consequence of a plurality
of wives; no riding out, seldom paying visits, and rarely diverting
themselves with shopping, the almost unvaried repetition, from day
to day, of the same dull round of occupations and amusements, cause
their lives to drag on wearily, heavily, and listlessly. Long nails
being considered a sort of patent of nobility by the Siamese, as well
as the Chinese and Cochin-Chinese, draw a certain line of distinction
between the vulgar, who are obliged to wear short ones and work
for their living, and the higher orders. Those of the latter are
carefully preserved from being broken, but not quite so much pains
being taken to keep them clean, they are generally disgusting in their
appearance--some of them are full two inches in length, and are put
into cases of bamboo or metal on retiring to rest. The female actresses
wear silver-pointed cases to them, which curve backward with a high
sweep, nearly touching the wrist.

The higher orders of nobility, in fact, all who are allowed to crawl
as far as the lowest place within the palace, and all the officers
of state, must pay a morning and an evening visit to the “Lord of
the White Elephant,” to his “_golden-footed majesty_,” “the master
of all men’s lives.” Not to attend regularly, is considered a mark
of disrespect and disaffection to the king: sickness, or some great
calamity, only, is good cause for excuse.

Regularly, at half past eight in the morning, the praklang passed the
mission house, having about a dozen paddles to his long canoe, sitting
cross-legged or sidewise under the palm-leaf awning, or reclining on a
carpet and cushions, a slave crouching on all fours in front of him,
administering to his comforts in lighting a cigar, or helping him to
areca. His palanquin (or rather a lacquered hand-barrow) protected
from the rays of the sun by a large umbrella, was carried in the same
boat, so as to be in readiness, on landing, to carry his unwieldy
person to the palace. About noon, he returned. Between six and seven,
he again regularly passed, and returned again usually about midnight.
The paddlers on the numerous boats crouched low when he passed, as
they all do when passing by the king’s bathing-house on the river: he
never notices, in the slightest degree, their obeisance, but wo to them
if they omit it. The bath-house is of great length, painted red, and
decorated in front with numerous dwarf-trees and shrubs, and is used,
it is said, daily, by his hundreds of (some say, eight hundred) wives
and many scores of children, with their countless attendants.


Annually, every public officer renews his oath of allegiance to his
majesty, in the most horrid and revolting terms, calling down upon
himself every curse and punishment in the present and future world,
should he prove disloyal. At the commencement of the Chinese year,
every governor, or other important officer, even of the most distant
province, is obliged, on pain of death, to present himself at the
krong, or capital, for this purpose.

A few days after our arrival, the venerable bishop of the Roman
Catholic church sent a deputation to wait upon me, consisting of a
young French priest, who has been in the country about two years, and
a native Portuguese priest. The bishop sent an excuse for not paying a
visit in person, owing to his advanced age and great infirmities, and
requested me to call upon him, which I accordingly did in a few days
thereafter, in company with Mr. Silveira and Doctor Ticknor. He made
but few inquiries respecting his own country, which he had apparently
almost forgotten. He said he was born at Avignon, in 1760, left France
in the year 1786, and, with the exception of the time occupied by a
tedious passage, three months passed at Macao, and six months at Hué,
the capital of Cochin-China, he had been ever since in Siam. He was
very infirm, and in his second childhood: sans teeth, sight dim, sans
every thing. The house he lived in was very old and far from being
clean. The church was built of brick and stuccoed, having a very gaudy
and ordinary altar-piece, and destitute of images. It has been finished
but a few years, and is called Santa Assomption.

A college, erected within a few years since the church, and neatly
built of wood, stands near it, having about twenty students. It is
erected on high posts, and is one story high. This Christian campong
stands in the midst of palm and forest trees; and the situation is
altogether very rural and pleasant. It will bear no comparison with
its neighbours, the rich and gorgeous temples of Budha. The Catholic
churches in this country, since the first bishop arrived, in 1662,
have scarcely made any progress: the descendants of the Portuguese
constitute, I may say with propriety, all the Christians in the
kingdom; so say the Catholics themselves. All that can now be found
here, and in the vicinity, do not exceed, according to the most
zealous of that sect, thirteen hundred; but, according to a Protestant
Christian missionary, who resided here nearly three years, and numbered
them with considerable accuracy, they do not exceed four hundred. There
are four churches in this vicinity; three of them are merely long
sheds, in a wretched condition. In the campong of Santa Cruz, the walls
of a brick one are erected, near to the old shed of that name; but the
building will never be finished, for there are, already, evident signs
of dilapidation in many parts of it.

Of the splendid churches that once adorned the old capital of Jutaya,
there is but a small one now remaining, built out of the ruins of the
others; and in Camboja, where the Catholics once had a strong foothold,
they have dwindled to a mere name. The descendants of the Portuguese,
in whose veins courses the blood of the courageous adventurers with the
bold and fearless Vasco de Gama, who had the temerity first to double
the cape of Good Hope, and the cruel Albuquerque, are now crouching
slaves before the nobles of the country; and are employed only in
menial offices, with the exception of two, which give them a bare


The number of temples erected in the city and vicinity, I was unable
to ascertain: that they amount to several hundreds, (some report
from four to five hundred,) there cannot be a doubt. They occupy the
most conspicuous and beautiful spots on the bank of the Menam, on
its tributaries and numerous canals: you never lose sight of them;
frequently eight or ten are in view at the same moment. In the most
sequestered rural spots, they are always to be found; and wherever
a brick pathway leads into the depths of the forest, it is a sure
indication that there is a temple to be found. They are erected by
pious individuals generally, believing that it will be the means of
their souls being transmigrated into a higher and holier state of
existence, than would otherwise enjoy; they but most of them are built
from ostentatious motives.

They are of brick, and plastered; are one story in height, having
neither arch nor dome; of a square form, and the roof is covered with
neat coloured tiles, which gives them a gay appearance. At a first
view, one is deceived, by supposing that there are three or four roofs
to every building, as there are a series of them, which gradually
diminish in size, to the main roof. The fronts, or gable ends, are
laboriously and elegantly carved, with fanciful devices, and richly
gilded. The eaves, doors, and window-frames, are, more or less,
carved and gilt, painted and varnished. The doors and windows greatly
resemble the pointed, or Gothic style of architecture. A figure of
Budha, generally in a sitting posture, wearing the peaked crown, and
having the soles of his holy feet turned upward, occupies nearly one
entire end of the building, and is usually surrounded by votaries of
a small size. He is partially covered with yellow cloths, having a
high umbrella suspended over his head. Incense is occasionally burnt
before him. The ceiling of the roof, which is flat, is painted with
vermillion, ornamented with gilded stars. The entire sides, doors,
and window-shutters, are covered with figures, fruit, and fancy work
of various kinds--painted, varnished, and gilt. The floors of most of
the buildings are of cement, having neither galleries, benches, nor
seats of any kind, and scarcely a mat to kneel on. There are but few
public temples. The front and rear of all have a portico. China plates,
saucers, and common English crockery, stuck into plaster, intended
as ornaments, are seen on many of them; bits of coloured glass, also,
make up part of the ornaments around the doors and windows. The images
are either of brass or iron--brick plastered, and wood; but all richly
gilt and burnished. Two temples, of a lesser size, stand on either
side of the principal: they are generally not so highly ornamented.
Small pyramidal pagodas, of six or seven feet in height, and open
at the sides, surround these buildings, and contain two stones, or
rather slabs, standing about six inches apart; they are of the exact
shape of a bishop’s mitre. I repeatedly asked the use of them, or what
they were intended to resemble; but all professed their ignorance of
their origin. In them were generally found palm-leaves, containing
characters, written in the sacred or Bali and Siamese languages, strung
together in the centre, at a proper distance.

Small temples, or rather buildings, for various purposes, occupy the
fronts and sides, among which, in a distinct building, is the belfry,
which is ascended by a flight of steps, containing generally five or
six bells, having no tongues, but being sounded by means of a heavy
stick, or piece of metal.

Early in the morning, “when dying clouds contend with growing light;”
when the fox-bat is returning from his nightly wanderings, to suspend
himself on the holy fig trees, which lie scattered about the temples of
Budha, and like the midnight marauder, shrinks from the sacred light of
day; the tokay has ceased to send forth his harsh, loud, and monotonous
cry; the prowling tiger has retired to his lair; the tuneful birds have
chanted forth their first matins, or the labourer has returned to his
daily task; when every thing is hushed in the solemnity of night, in
the stillness of a temporary death, you are suddenly aroused by the din
of the pagan bells, sounding far and wide through the depths of the
surrounding palm-forests, summoning the worshippers of Gautama to early
prayers. In the confusion of the moment, between slumbering and waking,
you are transported, in imagination, to far distant lands, where the
Sabbath bell calls forth its votaries. But how great the contrast! One
summons to the worship of an imaginary god; the other to the worship of
the everlasting and true God, the Lord of all things--of light and life.

Pra-chadis, or thin tall spires, from twenty to sixty feet in height,
are in great numbers; and there is one at the krong or capital, which
towers to the height, probably, of a hundred and fifty feet. The houses
of the Talapoys are contiguous to the temples, and are generally
shaded by fruit and forest trees. Small temples, having a high roof,
and four wide avenues leading to the centre, for the burning of the
richer sort, and a raised platform in the open air, for those who can
only pay small fees, are placed at the most convenient spot near the
water. A long bath, or small pond, containing young alligators, seems
to be a necessary appendage to all temples. The grounds about the
front of many of the richer temples, are neatly and prettily laid out
with avenues, clumps of trees, shrubbery, &c. The priests derive a
considerable revenue by making small images, either of the unconsumed
bones of certain deceased persons, or else of common clay, gilt; and
also by writing on palm-trees, certain moral or religious sentences,
in the sacred language. The Indian lotus, with its broad leaf, is
nowhere neglected, but is found about every temple, growing from large
porcelain or stone vases, neatly, and sometimes elaborately wrought.
Every Siamese temple is not only a place for worship, but it is
likewise a monastery: females are in them, old and worn out, and their
characters are far from being respected. They only do menial offices,
dress in white, and have nothing to do with the worship in the temples.
As rice, their chief support, is abundant, it is but just that the
Talapoys should support them in their old age.

The spot on which the present capital stands, and the country in its
vicinity, on both banks of the river for a considerable distance, were
formerly, before the removal of the court to its present situation,
called Bang-kok; but since that time, and for nearly sixty years past,
it has been named Sia yuthia, (pronounced See-ah you-tè-ah, and by the
natives, Krung, that is, the capital;) it is called by both names here,
but never Bang-kok; and they always correct foreigners when the latter
make this mistake. The villages which occupy the right hand of the
river, opposite to the capital, pass under the general name of Bang-kok.


A Cochin-Chinese ambassador, with several junks, arrived here from
Longuar (alias Saigon) a few days before our arrival, being the same
mentioned previously. Ambassadors’ junks of both nations, whenever they
visit each other’s country, or pay their annual tribute to China, are
always well laden with goods, out and home, on account of the king or
his ministers; it is in part a trading expedition, and the secret is,
they are allowed to go duty free, as I have before stated.


The object of the emperor of Cochin-China, in this case, is blended
with a more serious piece of business; it is no less than to demand the
delivery, to them, of the person of the first minister of state, and
superintendant of Pegu, and the principalities of Laus and Camboja,
whose title is “Chan-phaya-bodin-desha;” he is a “meh-tap,” or
commander of the Siamese forces now in Camboja. It seems, in 1827, the
Siamese government oppressed the subjects of one of the Laos tributary
princes, Chow-vin-chan, to such a degree, that he was obliged to take
up arms in defence of his rights, against the neighbouring Siamese
government; this was the point to which the Siamese government wished
to force him, for the purpose of taking into possession his territory.
Hordes of soldiers were sent among them under the command of the said
Chan-phaya-bodin-desha, and they committed all sorts of enormities;
the country was stripped of its riches, and the inhabitants, fleeing
from the enemy, were shot down indiscriminately like wild beasts; this
process being found too tedious, thousands were packed into houses
and blown up with gunpowder; the younger women became the prey of
a licentious soldiery, and the smoking ruins of a peaceable people
marked the track of a band of savages, whose knives were steeped to
the hilt in the blood of their fathers and mothers, husbands, wives,
and children. Those who escaped were sent to the capital and sold as
slaves; thousands and thousands died on the rafts which floated them
down the Menam, with wounds, sickness, and starvation. In fact, the
country was made desolate, was in ruins: “He made a solitude and called
it peace.” The survivors were never more to see their country; their
soil was given to their savage invaders. In the midst of these horrible
excesses, an ambassador from the emperor of Cochin-China was sent to
the general in command, with the ostensible object of interposing
in behalf of Chow-vin-chan and his family, who had fled into their
territory--not from motives of compassion, I conceive, for the present
emperor of Cochin-China is an ignorant, blood-thirsty savage, and
pursues his enemy, where he dares, with an unrelenting hand. The
object was, in truth, to prevent the conquest of the kingdom of Laos
by Siam, which would give the Siamese a better chance of obtaining
a larger slice at a future day, which they had long contemplated
with eager and with gloating eyes. The Siamese commander, smarting
with all his wounds, and red-hot from the bloody battle-field, or to
speak less hyperbolically, not having filled a heavy purse from the
spoils of the conquered, anticipating a golden harvest from the onward
march, and feeling deeply indignant at the insidious policy of his
wily neighbours, ordered an instantaneous massacre of the envoy and
his suite of a hundred men, with the exception of one, who was sent
back to say, “I alone am left out of all my brethren.” Highly enraged
as was the emperor at the fell swoop of the embassy, and the gross
violation of the law of nations, he dissembled, not daring to wage a
war or revenge cruelty by cruelly; for his crazy, disjointed, and puny
government would probably crumble into atoms, the moment a large force
should quit the kingdom.

The Cochin-Chinese government are aware that the Tung-kinese, on the
north, are watching keenly for the first possible chance which offers
of freeing themselves from their despotic oppressors; the Cambojans on
the south are desirous also of measuring the length of their swords
with their hard task-masters, and the lower class of Cochin-Chinese,
which comprise nine hundred and ninety-nine of the thousand, are ripe
for a revolt; being ground to the earth by the higher orders. They are
ragged, filthy, and starving, from the gulf of Tung-king to the gulf
of Siam, and from the coast washed by the China sea, to the boundaries
of his “golden-footed majesty.” Year after year this demand has been
made and evaded, and so far from his Siamese majesty ever intending to
comply with it, he has lately sent this same “Meh-tap” into that part
of Camboja which fell to his majesty’s share in the division of that
kingdom with Cochin-China, to receive, and to protect from capture, the
many thousands of Cambojans, who have recently fled into the Siamese
territory. The ambassador paid his first visit a few days after his
arrival, to the chow-pia-praklang, and was treated with bare civility;
he was told, by order of his majesty, that a copy of the same letter
which was sent to his majesty the last year, was all the answer which
would be returned to the letter received from the emperor through
his hands. His audience with the king, which took place a few days
previously to ours, was marked by no distinguished honours; the pomp
and parade exhibited to us were dispensed with upon that occasion. It
is said by Mr. Silveira, and all others, that no embassy from a foreign
country ever had so favourable and honourable a reception as ours,
marked at the same time with the most extraordinary despatch ever known.

This same emperor of Cochin-China, this deep sympathizer in the wrongs
of the people of Lao, has lately persecuted to death a handful of poor
Roman Catholics, all who would not trample on the cross and renounce
Christianity. To conclude, the Chow-vin-chan and family were betrayed
into the hands of the Siamese. Sickness, distress of mind, and long
exposure to the elements, fortunately put an end to the prince. He
died in a cage, a few days before his cruel oppressors intended to
put him and his family to the most excruciating tortures; the heir
apparent escaped, but committed suicide by throwing himself from the
roof of a temple to the ground, rather than fall into the hands of his
blood-thirsty pursuers. The female part of the family receive a scanty
subsistance from the government and remain in the capital. Thus ended
the dynasty of Chow-vin-chan, adding another victim to the millions
that have heretofore perished, from the effect of inordinate ambition.

The barbarous conduct of the Siamese last year, in the Malay peninsula,
in sending hordes of soldiers, or rather common coolies, under the
command of the chow-pia praklang, which destroyed Patani, Singora, &c.,
plundering them of their property, and sending nearly five thousand
prisoners as slaves to this place, which had been given away, or “sold
in lots to suit purchasers;” the thousands that died from wounds, bad
treatment, and starvation--deserve the bitter execration of every
friend of humanity.

Education is carried to a very limited extent; a mere smattering
only is generally diffused among the Siamese, in reading, writing,
and arithmetic. The suan-pawn is in general use as an assistant in
making calculations. Those who wish to attain to a greater degree of
knowledge, more particularly in the Pali or sacred language, resort to
the monasteries of the Talapoys. In their composition, (if I may be
allowed to judge from the various articles of the treaty, being again
and again altered to make them clear and perspicuous,) they are fond
of being ambiguous in all their forms of expression. There was always
a disposition evinced to hint obscurely at things, like the Chinese,
rather than express their full meaning.


A plain unmasked style, in speaking or writing, is totally unknown
to a cringing people, born under a despotic government; but they
are rapidly becoming wiser. Their intercourse with the English and
Americans is gradually bringing about a more honest, manly, and open
mode of expressing themselves, both in speaking and writing; but it can
never be thoroughly effected under such a form of government as the
present. The lower classes of the people are obliged to make use of
gross flattery and adulation to their superiors, who again treat them
as slaves, using high authoritative language. Subordination in rank
is so strongly marked, that not the slightest appearance of equality
is to be seen. They attach a ridiculous importance to mere form and
ceremony. A Siamese, in the presence of a superior, either crouches to
the ground, or walks with his body bent. It seems utterly impossible
for him to sit or walk in an upright posture. Women are allowed more
freedom here, than in any other country where polygamy is tolerated.
They wear no veils, and almost hourly boat-loads of the wives of the
nobility were seen to pass; the curtains were drawn aside to satisfy
their curiosity, which always appeared to be more ardent than ours. The
lower orders of women, apparently, do most of the labours of the field,
and are employed in the boats on the river in great numbers. They are
the principal traders, and are said to be very shrewd and cunning.

The most conspicuous objects which strike the eye of the traveller
on the Menam, besides the splendid wats, are the new palace, a large
watch-tower, and a prachade or tall thin spire, which is many feet
higher than any other building; all are situated within the walls
of the city. The palace itself, with its pagodas, and many other
buildings, is surrounded by a high wall, having strong gates, and
a guard of a miserable and undisciplined militia. The palace is a
handsome and extensive building of brick, and stuccoed; the doors and
windows are similar in style, taste, and outward decorations to the
better class of temples, and bear a strong resemblance to the Gothic
style of architecture. It has a high cupola, formed by a series of
roofs, or it rather resembles a conical umbrella diminishing in size
to the spire, which is without decorations, and rises to the height,
perhaps, of one hundred and sixty feet. The roof of the building has
also a diminishing series of roofs like the pagodas, and it is covered
with very neat coloured tiles. The cupola appears to be gilded upon
copper, or more probably slabs of tin.

The watchtower is of the height of the palace, and is an oblong square
building; the base is probably one hundred feet square, built of brick
and plastered, having a guard-house and strong gates; fifty feet
from the base commences the first look-out room, and there are two
others above it. In them are gongs and bells, which give notice of an
enemy, or a fire, or an insurrection of the people. The inhabitants
are at once informed by the sound of one of these instruments, of
the calamity which assails them, each one being appropriated to one
of these particular objects. A few days before the procession of
the wang-na took place, there arrived the governor of Ligor, whose
title is chow-phay-a-lakhow, alias Ligor; he commands one of the most
important provinces belonging to the Siamese, in the Malay peninsula,
is a Siamese by birth, a man of powerful talents, fond of Europeans,
and adopts all their improvements in the mechanic arts. His boats
are handsomely modelled, carrying two or three fore and aft sails;
they are coppered, carry a suitable number of cannon, and every thing
about them is in excellent order. The model is superior to that of the
king’s, having a greater breadth of beam, and they are of a greater
length. The soldiers are well and uniformly clothed, and well drilled
with the musket and the use of the bayonet, according to the tactics
of the Europeans. There is some trade from the port of Ligor, in what
is generally called the Malayan produce, viz.:--tins, black pepper,
rattans, rice, sapan-woods, &c., and several small cargoes of cotton
are taken away annually by Chinese junks. Four of his sons govern other
provinces in the peninsula; the eldest is governor of Quedah, the
former king of which now remains at Pulo Penang, or Prince of Wales

Although the British agreed by treaty, on the cession to the Pulo
Penang, to protect him and his kingdom against any invasion by the
Siamese, yet the latter were suffered to capture Quedah, and the
British violated their treaty, for they offered no assistance. The
king fled to Penang for protection, demanded to be reinstated, and
was refused. Major Burney, in order to obtain a favourable commercial
treaty with the Siamese, agreed to keep him a prisoner, and he is now
in durance, living upon a small salary, under British protection. The
cause of the failure of Mr. Crawford’s mission, was his refusal to
deliver him to the Siamese, or confine him as a close prisoner.

The governor of Ligor was ordered here to attend the procession and
burning of the wang-na; and it was also necessary he should be here
at the commencement of the new year, to renew his oath of allegiance.
He is a powerful chief; the government is alarmed at the extent of
his power, but they dare not dispossess him of his government, or do
his person any violence, for his sons would most certainly avenge
his cause, and the king’s possessions in the Malay peninsula, would
probably be lost to him.

[Sidenote: TEA--RAINS.]

The Chinese, who are noted every where for their villanous tricks,
import large quantities of ordinary goods here, as well as those of a
good quality--among other articles is tea. A story I heard almost daily
in Canton, respecting the gross imposition practised upon foreigners in
this article, here proved to be true. It is a well-known fact, that all
the tea used in China, particularly about Canton, is bought up again,
“_fired anew_,” as it is termed, and coloured green; even black teas,
it is said, are thus coloured, by the use of smalts, and then exported
to various countries. Tea of a good quality is exceedingly scarce here,
and at a high price, notwithstanding the proximity to China, and the
great number of junks which enter here from all the maritime provinces
of that empire.

Until the ascension of the present king to the throne, it was a
custom with the sovereigns of the country to hold the plough at the
commencement of the rains, which generally take place at the latter end
of April or beginning of May; this is now dispensed with, and one of
the nobility is appointed instead of the monarch.

The rains continue till September, when the lower part of the Menam
begins to rise, and it is at its utmost height in November and
December: it then begins to subside. Its rise is generally from
twelve to sixteen feet, but two years since it rose to the height of
twenty-one feet.

The thermometer is occasionally as low as 73° in the months of December
and January, during the height of the northeast monsoon.

Vast numbers of boats and rafts, bringing in the productions of the
upper country, visited the capital during the flood above alluded to.




_April second._ Having received an invitation from his majesty through
the praklang, some days since, to witness the procession of the remains
of the late second king to the funeral pile, and this day being set
apart for that purpose, a suitable boat was sent to us early by the
praklang, and soon after seven in the morning, we proceeded across the
river to the city.

The party in the praklang’s boat consisted of Mr. Hunter, Dr. Ticknor,
Lt. Fowler, Mr. Morrison and myself--and in my boat were Midshipmen
Rumfort, Weed and Wells, Mr. Robinson, &c., &c., and Raymondo the
Portuguese interpreter. We landed near one of the city-gates and passed
through it to the place assigned us, a great concourse of people being
collected in the principal street through which the procession was to

Finding the place by no means convenient to see the procession, owing
to the lowness of the roof of the building, and being annoyed in some
degree by the concourse of people who came to have a sight of us,
(although they were altogether civil in their conduct,) I made known
to the interpreter that we must remove from that place to one more
commodious. Shortly after we went near to a part of the king’s palace:
it was an open building standing on columns of about twenty feet
square, having a tiled roof; mats were spread on a part of it for our
accommodation. The praklang was there and a prince of Lao, &c., &c.
The former shortly took leave to attend the procession, having seen
that we were properly accommodated. At nine, or rather at three, in
Siamese time, the procession commenced and continued about an hour and
a quarter, in the following order:--

First: several hundred standard bearers (three hundred and
eighty-four,) dressed in red embroidered cloth, wearing caps of the
same material; the banners were of silk richly embroidered with gold
of a triangular shape, bearing devices of dragons, serpents, &c.,
all neatly embroidered also. A band of music, consisting of drums,
harmonicon and small hautboys, accompanied them.

Second: a young rhinoceros of about four feet in height, drawn by a
party of soldiers dressed in embroidered blue cloth long jackets, on a
sledge or low carriage, having on his back a small gilded castle and
containing in the centre a small bundle of Talapoy or yellow cloths.

Third: two horses having two pairs of wings, about five feet in height,
bearing similar castles with Talapoy cloths; one of them was spotted
with red and the other with blue.

Fourth: two gigantic cocks, with demons’ heads, having four wings,
castles, &c., of various colours.

Fifth: two four-winged elephants, full size, one white and one green,
bearing castles and cloth, followed by a band of music.

Sixth: two gigantic cocks with cocks’ heads, four wings, beasts’ tails,
and partly human bodies, castles, &c., accompanied by a band of music;
colours of these nondescripts were various.

Seventh: two more with cocks’ bodies and tails, four wings, with
elephants’ trunks and tusks, gilt castles and cloth.

Eighth: two more cocks with four wings, castles, &c., but a little
different from the seventh.

Ninth: two cocks with griffin-legs and human arms, four wings, castle
and cloth.

Tenth: two cocks with long snouts, four wings, castle and cloth.

Eleventh: two horses with dragons’ tails, four wings, castles, &c.
Then came one hundred and twenty men carrying flowers made of yellow
or Talapoy cloth, having artificial green leaves: they were of the
shape of a sunflower and attached to bamboo-poles ten or twelve feet in

Twelfth: two horses’ bodies, with elephants’ heads and snakes’ tails,
four wings, castles, &c.

Thirteenth: two cocks with horses’ bodies, four wings, castles, &c.

Fourteenth: two lions, with deers’ horns, wings, castles, &c.

Fifteenth: two lions, with horses’ bodies, long tails, wings, &c.

Sixteenth: two leopards, with elephants’ heads and tusks, wings, &c.,

Seventeenth: two elephants’ bodies, with non-descript heads, wings,
&c., &c., colour, a dark ground with white spots.

Eighteenth: two horses, covered with green circles, cocks’ crests,
lions’ tails, wings, &c., &c.

Nineteenth: two striped and spotted leopards, with wings, castles, &c.

All the above animals were from four to six feet in height; they were
made of bamboo frame and covered with paper; the different pairs were
variously painted and gilt, striped, spotted, in circles, &c., &c.
They were drawn on low sledges, sometimes by men alone, dressed in
blue or green cloth, embroidered with the figure of a tiger, and caps
to correspond, with waist-cloths of all colours; others by men and
horses: all the animals were in pairs, and about twenty feet apart:
they had four wings each, and bore small gilded towers on their backs,
containing on a salver, cloths of yellow, intended as offerings to the

Then followed one hundred and thirty men with tom-toms or drums, which
they struck occasionally with a covered stick. They were dressed in
coarse red cotton jackets, caps, and drawers reaching to the knee.

These were followed by seven hundred men representing angels, dressed
in long white frocks, having white high peaked caps in the style of
the royal crown of Siam. These represented celestial messengers, and
were to show the soul of the deceased the way to heaven: each one
bore the sacred Indian lotus and leaf, artificially made: these were
accompanied by a great number of musicians, having trumpets and small
brass horns, making a great discord: then sixty-four conical umbrellas,
each consisting of five separate pieces: they were about fifteen feet
high, the lowest part being about four feet in diameter and were made
of cloth of gold and embroidered.

Between each two of these men, was carried what resembled a section of
a bishop’s mitre, similar in appearance to those placed in front of all
the wats. They were fastened to the tops of staves, of about nine or
ten feet in length, and were flat, broad, neatly ornamented, and gilt.

Following these, came the san-krat, or Siamese bishop, apparently
reciting prayers, in a car about twenty feet high. This carriage was
broad at the base, gradually lessening to the seat; neatly carved
and gilt, and sparkling with various coloured glass. The carriage was
drawn by six horses, and led by servants. Then came, dressed in a robe
of gold tissue, one of the youngest sons of the deceased, wearing a
royal gilt cap, in a car nearly similar to the last, and drawn in like
manner. An immense white umbrella was held over him, conical umbrellas
at each corner, and four long gold fans, pear-shaped: these are a sign
of royalty. Then came another son of the deceased king, wearing the
royal peaked cap, in a carriage like the last, drawn by one hundred
men, in embroidered green dresses and red caps, assisted by five horses
richly caparisoned, holding in his hand the end of a broad sash of
silver tissue, which was connected with the funeral car of his father,
being about thirty, forty, or fifty feet distant. This latter car was
about twenty-five feet in height. It was elegantly decorated with
carved work, superior to its predecessors, and highly gilt. The body
was seated in a square gilt tower, having gilt network sides, and was
supported by two angels, kneeling, in front and rear. The car was drawn
by angels dressed similarly to the former, and also by horses. Many
of the high officers of state walked in single files by the side of
the carriage, dressed in white muslin, and peaked caps, carrying white

The body was placed in a sitting posture, with the knees drawn up to
the chin, and the hands united in the attitude of prayer: it was said
to be embalmed.

Eight hundred angels next followed, in two lines, succeeded by a large
carriage, containing Agila, and other odoriferous woods, for consuming
the remains of the deceased.

The preceding carriages were all similar in structure, and from
eighteen to twenty-five feet in height to the top of the towers,
fifteen feet in length, and ten feet in width. The wheels were of a
solid piece of wood, and about two feet in diameter, similar to those
used in buffalo-carts in Manila, Sumatra, and Java: the carriage being
broad at the base, and gradually lessening to the tower, and of an
oblong form.

Following the foregoing, came six open carriages, covered with
beautifully figured cloth of gold, containing Talapoy cloths.

Fifty-six umbrella towers, of a very large size, being a series of
canopies, gradually lessening to the top, covered with rich gold cloth,
having tassels of green, red, &c., &c.

One hundred men with green and gilt drums, or tom-toms, wearing red
cotton frocks and caps.

One hundred and fifty men bearing artificial yellow flowers, made of
Talapoy cloth, similar to those already described. On each flank were
men carrying artificial yellow flowers, like those before named. Then

Three pairs of horses’ bodies, with non-descript heads, cocks’ crests,
lions’ tails, &c.

Two pairs, with giants’ heads and bodies, cocks’ tails and legs, in
green and gold.

Two pairs, with cocks’ legs and fishes’ tails, in white and gold.

Two pairs, with gorgons’ heads, human bodies, lions’ tails, in white
and gold.

Two pairs lions, painted blue.

Two pairs, yellow, with horns.

Two pairs, blue, with horns.

Two pairs, yellow, no horns: All having gilt towers, containing Talapoy

Fifty men, carrying rich silk embroidered pennants.

Then followed on horseback, in pairs, four princes, two and two,
wearing the gold-peaked crown, and dressed in long robes of silver
tissue: following them, eight more, of a lower rank. These were
succeeded by a great number of slaves or attendants, dressed in white
waist-cloths. The horses were richly caparisoned, with gold housings,
bridles, &c., and led by slaves. At every few steps they would stop,
and the attendants in front would kneel down, facing their masters, as
well as those in the rear.

Preceding every prince, went a man, bearing a bundle of rods, like a
Roman lictor. In the rear were open palanquins, having gold, or richly
gilt supporters on the sides, and rich velvet cushions. Then followed a
vast concourse of people, but all preserving good order.

There was an immense multitude convened to witness this splendid
funeral procession. Governors and rajahs from distant provinces of the
empire, came, by order of his majesty, each one bringing a gift to
assist in paying the enormous expenses attending this idle and useless
ceremony. Here were assembled persons of all nations. From the western
hemisphere, Americans; from the east, Indians, Arabs, Bengalese,
Burmese, Pequans, Malays, Sumatrans, Javanese, Cochin-Chinese,
Cambojans, the Chans, or people of Lao, Siamese, &c.; and among the
whole of them no serious impression could possibly have been made. It
could only be considered a fine farcical scene, a pretty raree show,
got up as a benefit for the king and his ministers, (for it is expected
that every one, who is able, will contribute something,) to show the
public that splendid mausoleums are only fit for the great of the land,
and that the vulgar herd must be burnt in the common way, either under
a shed, or else on a raised platform in the open air: to impress their
minds with the magnificence of majesty, and, at the same time, to
strike them with awe and fear, so that they may be more easily ruled by
the iron hand of despotism.

This whole assembled multitude (with the exception of our party)
crouched to the ground like base slaves, whenever any of the higher
ranks passed. Along an extensive street, on one side, were play-houses
erected, open to public use, in which were exhibited shows of all
kinds, and fireworks might be seen nightly, within the enclosure
surrounding the temporary funeral pile. His majesty was desirous we
should witness the burning of the body on the funeral pile, which was
to take place the seventh day after the procession;[A] but the ship
was in want of provisions; the southwest monsoon was about commencing,
which is generally attended with violent squalls and heavy rains, the
ship was riding at anchor ten or twelve miles from the mouth of the
river, in five and a half fathoms’ water, in a very exposed situation;
and it was necessary to bring our water some forty miles, near the
city, besides which, the only provisions to be obtained, were fowls,
pork, and rice.

[A] One of the sons of the wang-na watches at the temple, near the
funeral pile, night and day, till the body is consumed; the ashes of
the consumed body are then thrown into the river with many ceremonies;
and the unconsumed bones are then delivered to the priests, and made
into household gods.

[Sidenote: BUDHISM IN SIAM.]

The Budhist religion of Siam, according to historians, originated in
Magadha, the modern Behar, in the sixth century, (or 542,) the founder
being Gautama, the son of a prince, called Sudhodana. After many
centuries it was introduced into Ceylon; and in the seventh century of
the Christian era, first into Camboja, and from thence into Lao; and
lastly, into Siam. Sommona Kodom, the cattle stealer, a Singalese, was
the missionary who first propagated this religion in those countries.
He is described as being benevolent in the _extreme_. He even carried
his zeal so far, as to murder his whole family, (considering them as
encumbrances upon his country,) so that he might maintain a greater
number of priests. He was renowned for the daily mortifications of
his body, his fastings, his prayers, his miracles, and the fantastic
appearance he could assume--now swelling to the size of a mountain,
and again shrinking to a mere atom. But notwithstanding he possessed
great supernatural powers, he could not resist the cravings of an
un-saint-like appetite; for eating a large quantity of pork one day, he
died in a fit of anger, because he had transgressed one of his rules,
and thereby set a bad example to his disciples.

All professors of Budhism, whether of Tartary or Magadha origin, are
atheists. They do not believe in one God, the creator of the universe.
The leading doctrine of this religion, is that of the transmigration of

After being purged of all their sins, by being punished in some one or
all of their numerous _hells_, having practised the regular number of
virtues, they believe that they will at length reach the highest of all
their more numerous heavens, and then no longer come into existence or
die; that then they are emancipated from all the cares and passions
which belong to our natures, and sink into annihilation.

Here they will enjoy the company of the blessed Guatama, who occupies
the uppermost seat, and that of many worthies who will there be found;
yet the existence of the founder of their religion is limited to a term
of five thousand years, and nearly one half of that time has actually
expired. The Budhists say the world was created by chance; it will be
destroyed and reproduced, and destroyed again and again.

The founder of this religion--seeing that all mankind was in a state
of gross ignorance and barbarism, ferocious, their feet swift to shed
blood, that they were given up to a life of rapine--persuaded them that
it was a sin to shed the blood of any living creature; that they must
cultivate the soil, and live in peace and harmony with all mankind.

He, therefore, enjoined on his converts the following moral precepts,
viz.:--First: Thou shalt not kill any living creature. Second: Steal
not. Third: Commit not adultery. Fourth: Thou shalt not lie or
prevaricate. Fifth: Thou shalt not be guilty of drunkenness, or use
any intoxicating drugs. Sixth: Eat not after noonday. Seventh: Frequent
not play-houses, or any place of amusement. Eighth: Use no personal
amusements. Ninth: Sleep on a clean mat, and use no costly, soft, rich,
or elevated beds. Tenth: Do not borrow or run in debt.

The first commandment is violated in every war that takes place; and
how many instances have we on record of blood being poured out in
profusion, to make clear the path for the ascension to the throne of
a lawful sovereign or a usurper, or for some more trivial object. The
clergy and laity also daily partake of fish, flesh, and fowl; but they
consider the crime of killing them as attached to the vender only,
although they may hire him to commit the act. The second and third are
but little attended to. As it regards the fifth, the large revenue,
derived from the distilling of arrack, is a convincing proof of its
general use; and wine and spirits form a part of the cargo of every
English and American vessel, which are sold at a good profit; and
the use of opium is likewise rapidly increasing, notwithstanding its
use is prohibited by their laws and religion. As for the last five
commandments, they are imperative on Talapoys only, and they do, or do
not, observe them, as it suits their inclination. As for the fourth,
it is considered quite obsolete; I believe, it is observed or not, as
it may subserve the interests or convenience of either the clergy or
the laity. If there were not so great a number of Talapoys employed in
cutting grass for the king’s elephants, one would be led to suppose
that the third commandment was _originally_ intended to be observed
more strictly among them than it now is, but he must first be stripped
of his sacerdotal vestments, before he can be punished by the secular


All _spiritual concerns_ are delegated to the priests. A strict
observance of religious duties is not expected from the laity; if
they administer to the daily necessities of the clergy, pay them the
customary honours, and strictly attend to the observance of the holy
day, &c., they consider that they have fully acquitted themselves
of every essential part of their duty. Almost every freeman in Siam
is, for a longer or shorter period of time, a priest. If married, he
must be divorced, having previously made a suitable provision for his
family. If he enters the priesthood a second time, it is for life.
There are six grades of priests; they enter as noviciates, and are
promoted according to their respective merits. Above all, is the
san-krat, bishop or high-priest, who receives his appointment from the

The sovereign is the pope, or real head of the religion of the country,
and the priests depend wholly upon him for promotion, and in a great
measure for subsistence; he is always deemed holy, and must have been
truly virtuous in a former life, to have attained his present eminence.
Eighty-four thousand six hundred bats or ticals, equal to the sum of
about fifty-three thousand five hundred dollars, are placed down among
the items of the expenditures of the government, for the year 1832,
as given in alms to the priests by the king. The Talapoys cannot be
engaged in any of the temporal concerns of life; they must not trade
or do any kind of manual labour, for the sake of a reward; they are
not allowed to _insult_ the earth by digging it. Having no tie, which
unites their interests with those of the people, they are ready, at all
times, with spiritual arms, to enforce obedience to the will of the

No Talapoy can ordain a layman, without first obtaining a license from
the san-krat, and all classes of people pay him unbounded honours.
Secular persons must make obeisance to Talapoys--even parents to
their children; this mark of homage is considered as their due, and,
therefore, they never return the salutation. One strong inducement to
enter the priesthood, is an exemption from the conscription law, which
bears so heavily upon the people; to avoid paying taxes, and to obtain
an easy livelihood.

Their time must be spent in studying the sacred Pali or Bali language,
in reading hymns, prayers, and moral discourses, and begging: for they
must not lay in a store of food, nor make any arrangement for preparing
it for use, but still they employ others for that purpose.

They are forbid to be burdensome to beast or tree; but it seems
they may be so to their own species. Twice in the month, the head
and eyebrows must be shaved, as a token of mortification, and to
render them less captivating to the _fair_ Siamese. Attached to all
temples are monasteries, slenderly endowed by the government or rich
individuals--yet by far the largest part of their support is derived
from casual alms and gifts. Early in the morning, they may be seen in
great numbers, sallying forth in their yellow dresses, which are either
of silk or cotton; some carrying a large bason, and others with their
scrip, suspended over the left shoulder by a band of yellow cloth;
this is made of a composition of iron and sand, and it is exceedingly
brittle. These pots are manufactured just without the walls of the
city, on the south side. They are covered with a material more or less
rich, according to the ability of the owner. Great numbers of Talapoys
are seen rowing their little boats, in search of alms, having then
no protection for their closely shaven heads against the heat of a
powerful sun. But when they go out for exercise, or to pay a visit,
they use a long neat pear-shaped palm-leaf fan, called talapat. When
they present themselves at the foot of a ladder, or in front of a
floating-house, they never ask for charity, but wait patiently till
they are supplied with clothing or food: it is received in silence, and
they never return thanks to the donor.

[Sidenote: HISTORY OF SIAM.]

Siam appears to have no place in history, prior to the introduction of
the Budhist religion, in the year of Christ, 638, when a sovereign by
the name of Krek governed the country. In 1521, their first intercourse
with Europeans (the Portuguese) took place. There were two revolutions,
and the country was conquered by the Burmans, and recovered again its
independence between A. D. 1547 and 1596. In the year 1612, the first
English ship made her appearance, and ascended the river to Yuthia,
the ancient capital, about fifty miles above the present seat of
government. In the year 1621, a Portuguese mission was sent to Siam,
by the Portuguese viceroy of Goa; and in the same year, some Roman
Catholic missionaries first made their appearance. In 1627, another
revolution took place, which placed a new dynasty on the throne. In
1684, the son of the usurper was instigated by Constantine Phaulcon,
a Greek adventurer, to send an embassy to Louis XIV. In 1685, the
Chevalier Chaumont was sent there, at the head of a splendid embassy,
which was the cause, in 1687, of sending a second mission, with a
squadron of ships and five hundred soldiers. The total destruction
of the English took place at Magni, this year, in consequence, it is
said, of their overbearing and insolent conduct; and, in the year
following, their factory at Yuthia was removed. In 1690, a revolution
took place, and the reigning family lost the throne; the minister,
Phaulcon, lost his life, and the French were expelled from the
country, which destroyed their hopes of establishing a French empire in
the East, until the year 1787, when they made that famous treaty with
Cochin-China, ceding the peninsula of Haw, the bay of Turam, &c.; but
which failed in consequence of the troublesome state of public affairs
in France, at that period, followed by the revolution. Since that time,
and within the last five years, the French government sent a frigate to
Cochin-China, and endeavoured, but without effect, to have the treaty
ratified. The dynasty of 1690 reigned till the capture of the capital
by the Burmans, under Shembuan, the second son of Alompia, which took
place in 1767, when the king was killed at the entrance of his palace.

The Burman army retired with great plunder, after destroying vast
numbers of the inhabitants, making slaves of others, destroying the
temples, and committing every sort of excess. The Siamese immediately
rose upon the Burmans who remained, and massacred them and their

A chief, of Chinese descent, Pla-tah, alias, Phria-metah, in 1767,
seized upon the throne, and proclaimed himself king. In the early part
of his reign, he behaved with moderation, good sense, and discernment,
and his courage was unquestionable. He reconquered Piseluk and Ligor,
which had declared themselves independent, during the Burmese invasion:
but in the last year of his reign, he ruled in so strange a manner,
that it was generally believed he was insane. His tyrannical and
capricious conduct, in 1782, was the cause of a formidable rebellion,
under the chakri, so called, being the title of a great officer of
state: it ended in the dethronement and death of the king, in the
same year, at the present capital. The chakri reigned in his stead,
until his death, in 1809. His eldest son then mounted the throne, but
not without opposition, for there was a large party in favour of his
nephew, the prince Chow Fa, (or Chaou Pha.) He commenced his reign by
committing an act of great atrocity, ordering, within thirty-six hours
after the death of his father, the execution of upward of a hundred
persons, supposed to be inimical to his right to the throne, including
his nephew.

After the committal of this sanguinary act, he ruled with great
moderation. Nothing of much importance occurred. Three abortive
attempts at insurrection took place during his reign; one was by the
Talapoys, occasioned by an attempt to force a large number of their
order into the ranks of the army.

The acquisition of the fertile and extensive province of Batalang, in
Camboja, took place the same year he ascended the throne. The year
following, their implacable enemy, the Burmese, captured the island
Junti Ceylon, on the western coast of the Malay peninsula, which was
shortly after recaptured by the Siamese, attended with scenes of great
barbarity. Since the conquest of the Burman empire by the British, the
Siamese have lost all dread of their ancient enemy.

In July, 1824, the father of the present king died _very suddenly_,
it was said of stranguary, but not without strong suspicions of his
being poisoned; in fact, it is said, by every one, that this was
the cause of his death. His eldest, but illegitimate son, Chromas
Chit, ascended the throne the same day, without bloodshed, to the
exclusion of the rightful heir, prince Chow-Pha-Yai, who immediately
embraced the priesthood, in order to save his life, or his liberty,
or because he would not do homage to a usurper. His younger brother
_Chow-Phoi-Noi_,[A] otherwise _Mom-fa-Noi_, was the next legitimate
heir to the throne. He lives at the Portuguese fort, on the right bank
of the river, opposite to the palace, and is now about twenty-five
years of age.

[A] He speaks and writes the English language with considerable
fluency, and his pronunciation is very correct.

Joined to a playful disposition, he possesses considerable abilities;
he is a friend to the mechanic arts, and to the sciences; and very
friendly disposed, as well as his elder brother, towards foreigners.
He seems solicitous to become acquainted with all the Europeans and
Americans; and not a day or evening passed, during our stay there,
but his boat was sent, desiring the company of some of the gentlemen
residing at the mission house. In the night-time, by stealth, he went
down the river and visited the Peacock, having previously received
letters from Captain G. to his first officer. He examined the ship
throughout; the men were mustered to quarters, and went through the
exercise of the great guns, small arms, &c. Never having seen a
man-of-war before, he appeared to be astonished at the neatness of the
ship, the order, regularity, and activity, of the men when at quarters;
and stated, after his return, he was exceedingly surprised at every
thing he saw, and highly gratified with his visit. A strict secresy
was enjoined upon every one, not to divulge this visit, or it might
cost him his liberty, or, perhaps, his life. He made application,
afterward, through the praklang, to the king, to pay a visit, which was
granted; but there was not time; he was obliged to be present at all
the ceremonies attending the burning of the second king.[A]

[A] The present king is very desirous of encouraging foreign commerce
to enter his ports, and the perplexities and endless changes which
formerly annoyed them, are now removed. As long as the present king
lives, this wise policy will be pursued. The amount of imports is
rapidly rising in importance. A historiographer is regularly employed
at the court of Siam, and the recorded events are deposited in the
public archives.


The government of Siam is a despotism, subject to no restraint except
the apprehension of popular tumult or foreign invasion. The fact of
being in high station, is regarded as sufficient evidence of exalted
merit in a former state of existence. The king is therefore considered
almost, if not altogether, equal to a deity; and is always addressed
as such. His most common designations are Chaocheveet, “the lord of
lives,” Khun-luang, “the owner of all,” Phra-putty-chao-jahooa, “the
sacred lord of heads,” and numerous others of the same nature. His
more formal title, as translated in the treaty with the British,
concluded by Captain Burney, is the following: “The great lord who is
in possession of every good and every dignity, the God Bood’h, who
dwells over every head in the city of the sacred and great kingdom of
Sia-yoo-thya, incomprehensible to the head and brain.” The Siamese,
when they possess titles, cease to be designated by any personal names;
hence the king is never spoken of except by the abovementioned or other
similar titles.


Next in rank and station to the king, is the wang-na, commonly called,
by Europeans, the second king. This high officer is always one of the
most exalted of the princes, and is chosen by the king at the time of
his accession to the throne. When he survives the king he commonly
succeeds him on the throne; but when the wang-na dies first, it is
seldom that another is appointed to fill his place, during the reign of
the same king. Hence there was no one who held the office at the time
of our arrival, the one chosen on the accession of the present king
having died about ten months before.

At the head of the Siamese administration is the supreme council,
consisting of the following officers:--

First: A president, a prince of high rank. When the mission was in the
country, this office was held by the prince Khroma-luang-rah.

Second: Chao-phaya-bodin-deeha or khroma-ha-thai, formerly called
Chao-phaya-chakri. He has the general superintendance of the northern
provinces adjoining Pegue, and of the principalities of Laos and

Third: Chao-phaya-maha-sena, or khroma-ka-la-hom; he is of equal rank
with the lastmentioned, and holds the office of commander-in-chief of
all the land and sea forces, with the general superintendance of the
southwestern provinces, even to the last tributary Malay rajah.

Fourth: Chao-phaya, praklang or khromatha, the minister of commerce and
foreign affairs, who also has the superintendance of the southeastern
provinces adjoining Cochin-China. This office and the lastmentioned,
are at present held by one individual.

Fifth: Chao-phaya-jomarat, or khroma-muang, minister of criminal

Sixth: Chao-phaya-phollathep, or khrom-na, minister of agriculture and

Seventh: Chao-phaya-therama-terat, or chroma-wang, governor of the
royal palace.

The mission, during its stay in the country, had intercourse only with
the praklang, and the subordinate officers of his department. These

First: Chao-phaya praklang: Chao-phaya is the first in order of
the honorary titles. Praklang is said to signify, “lord of the
store-houses,” and is the title of the office. This signification
corresponds with the title given to him by the Chinese, viz.: “Great
minister of the treasuries or store-houses.”

Second: Phaya-si-piphat. This office is held by one of the brothers of
the praklang. Phaya is the second honorary title.

Third: Phaya-piphat-kossa, called by the Portuguese, the second

The other officers in this department, consisting of four phayas, two
pras, (or officers of the third rank,) eleven luangs, (of the fourth
rank,) &c., were never met with by the mission, except when in the
presence, and acting under the orders, of their superiors.

Connected with this department is that of the Farang-khroma-tha,
“Frank (or European) commercial board,” under the direction of the
Luang-sura-sakhon, chief of the Linguists, or captain of the port. This
office is at present held by Sur-Jose-da-Piedade.

The commander of the artillery, Phaya-viset, Song-khiam, is also often
brought in connexion with foreign missions. This office is held by
Sur-Beneditto-de-Arvellegeria, a Cambojan Portuguese, who, with his
brother, Sur-Pascoal, has been for many years in the employ of the king
of Siam. The governors of all provinces, whether great or small, are of
the second rank, or phayas, with one exception, that of the governor of
Ligore, called Chao-phaya-lahhon. Their subordinate officers are not



The Siamese have written _laws_, which are dated as far back as 561 of
Christ; and others are referred to in their courts, to the years of
1053-1614 and 1773.

The higher officers of state are the justices and magistrates, but
the final decision rests with the principal local authority within
whose district the delinquent resides. Where the government is a
perfect despotism, and the channels of justice are polluted by corrupt
propounders of the law, equity and justice are but empty names, and
good laws a mere mockery. Oaths are administered to witnesses only on
formal and solemn occasions: the following being the form used in their
courts as translated by Capt. Lowe:--

“I, who have been brought here as an evidence in this matter, do now,
in the presence of the divine Prah-Phutt hi-rop (Budha,) declare that
I am wholly unprejudiced against either party, and uninfluenced in
any way by the opinions or advice of others, and that no prospects of
pecuniary advantage, or of advancement to office, have been held out to
me; I also declare that I have not received any bribe on this occasion.
If what I have now spoken be false, or if in my further averments I
should colour or pervert the truth, so as to lead the judgment of
others astray, may the three Holy Existences, viz.: Budha, the Bali
(personified,) and the three priests, before whom I now stand, together
with the glorious Dewatas (demi-gods) of the twenty-two firmaments,
punish me.

“If I have not seen, yet shall I say I have seen; if I shall say that
I know that which I do not know, then may I be thus punished. Should
innumerable descents of the Deity happen for the regeneration and
salvation of mankind, may my erring and migrating soul be found beyond
the pale of their mercy--wherever I go, may I be encompassed with
dangers, and not escape from them, whether arising from murderers,
robbers, spirits of the earth, of the woods, of water, or of air, or
from all the divinities who adore Budha, or from the gods of the four
elements, and all other spirits.

“May blood flow out of every pore of my body, that my crime may be
made manifest to the world; may all or any of these evils overtake me
within three days, or may I never stir from the spot on which I now
stand, or may the _hatsani_, or lash of the sky, (lightning,) cut me
in two, so that I may be exposed to the derision of the people; or if
I should be walking abroad, may I be torn to pieces by either of the
four supernaturally endowed lions, or destroyed by poisonous herbs or
venomous snakes. If when in the waters of the rivers or ocean, may
supernatural crocodiles or great fishes devour me, or may the winds
and waves overwhelm me; or may the dread of such evils keep me, during
life, a prisoner at home, estranged from every pleasure, or may I be
afflicted with the intolerable oppressions of my superiors, or may a
plague cause my death; after which may I be precipitated into hell,
there to go through innumerable stages of torture, among which may I
be condemned to carry water over the flaming regions in open wicker
baskets, to assuage the heat felt by Than-Wetsuan, when he enters the
infernal hall of justice, and thereafter may I fall into the lowest
pit of hell; or if these miseries should not ensue, may I after death
migrate into the body of a slave, and suffer all the hardships and
pains attending the worst state of such a being, during a period of
years, measured by the sand of four seas; or may I animate the body
of an animal, or beast, during five hundred generations; or be born
an hermaphrodite five hundred times, or endure in the body of a deaf,
blind, dumb, houseless beggar, every species of loathsome disease
during the same number of generations, and then may I be hurried to
varah, or hell, and there be crucified by Phria-yam, one of the kings
of hell.”

The Siamese are extremely capricious, in the standard value of
witnesses; the oath of priests and men in office, bearing a preference
over all others, while there are not less than twenty-eight in number,
who are excluded, and declared to be incompetent; they are as follows:
contemners of religion, persons in debt, the slaves of a party to a
suit, intimate friends, idiots, those who do not hold in abhorrence the
cardinal sins, among which are enumerated, besides theft and murder,
drinking spirits, breaking prescribed fasts, and reposing on the mat
or couch of a priest or parent, gamblers, vagrants, executioners,
quack-doctors, play-actors, hermaphrodites, strolling musicians,
prostitutes, blacksmiths, persons labouring under incurable disorders,
persons under seven or above seventy, bachelors, insane persons,
persons of violent passions, shoemakers, beggars, braziers, midwives,
and sorcerers.

Tortures are resorted to in cases of treason or atrocious robbery,
and even among debtors where property is supposed to be concealed, as
well as the ordeal by water and immersing the hands in boiling oil or
melted tin. He who remains the longest under water, and the hand which
comes forth unscathed, are pronounced to be innocent. A debtor may be
punished by stripes and imprisonment, or dried, as it is termed by the
Siamese, that is exsiccated by being exposed to the direct rays of a
burning sun, suffering in addition the torments from myriads of noxious
insects, and finally to be sold as a slave if he is unable to discharge
his debt.

A great number of debtors are seen in irons about the bazars, whose
only mode of subsistence is by begging; and they seldom ask in vain of
a people who are pre-eminently charitable.

[Sidenote: PUNISHMENTS.]

Theft is punished with the bamboo and with imprisonment, and even hard
labour for life, in aggravated cases. Murder, counterfeiting coin, and
forging the royal signet, with imprisonment for life, and the severest
punishment of the bamboo; and in cases of cruel and deliberate murder,
with death, by decapitation. A breach of the marriage-vow is not deemed
a highly criminal act, and it is easily commuted by paying a fine,
according to the rank or standing of the parties, from the sum of two
hundred and seventy to ninety dollars. Marriage is a civil contract,
and the Talapoins are not considered, in any way, necessary to legalize
the contract; but their prayers and benedictions are occasionally
bestowed. Insults are punished, from an inferior to a superior,
according to the aggravation of the offence, by a fine, and even by
corporal punishment, when a priest is the aggrieved party.

If a priest commits a criminal act, he is divested of the sacerdotal
habit, and is punished generally with more severity than a layman.
Divorces are easily obtained, and each party receives back whatever
was contributed to the common stock. The minor male children go to the
mother, and the female to the father. Property can only be given to
the wife and children, and daughters receive from a half to a whole
share more than the sons. Wills must be made in the presence of four

Siam appears to be a place of refuge for the surrounding nations,
and is composed of a great variety of people, viz.: Siamese, Laos,
Cambojans, Malays, Kariangs, Lawas, Kas, Chongs and Semangs, Chinese,
Mohammedans, and Hindoos of western India, Peguans, and Portuguese.
The population of the whole empire, including their late conquests in
the Malay peninsula, does not probably exceed three millions and six
hundred thousand, (although many Siamese rate it, in round numbers,
at five millions.) Of this number, I am led to believe, from frequent
conversations held with men in office, that the Siamese do not exceed
one million and six hundred thousand. The native population of Lao,
about one million and two hundred thousand. The Chinese at not less
than half a million, there being nearly three hundred and forty
thousand in the capital and the villages which compose Bang-kok. The
Malays, probably, amount to three hundred and twenty thousand; and
the remainder are natives of western India. Peguans, Cambojans and
Portuguese, the latter from pretty correct authority, do not exceed
fourteen hundred in the whole Siamese dominions. The Kariangs, the
Lawas, the Kas, and the Chongs, are wild and migratory races; the
three first inhabit the mountains and fastnesses of Lao, from the
Burman dominions to Camboja. The Chongs inhabit the hilly country,
bordering on the eastern side of the Siamese gulf. The Semangs are a
race of savage negroes, dwelling in the mountainous regions of the
Malay peninsula, of which a very curious and particular statement
was published by J. Anderson, Esq., included in his account of the
“Aboriginal Inhabitants of the Malay Peninsula,” which I have subjoined
at the end of my Journal on Siam.[A]

[A] See Appendix A.

By actual admeasurement of a great number of Siamese, it is ascertained
that the average height does not exceed five feet and four inches.
Their skin is darker then the Chinese, yet they are several shades
lighter than the Malays; their complexion is rather a dark shade of
yellow or a yellowish brown. All classes delight in heightening it,
by using turmeric. A light yellow is considered to be the “ne plus
ultra” of all colours and all shades. This taste is derived, probably,
from the numerous Chinese who reside there. Owing to their frequent
bathing, and daily using a clean waist-cloth, their skin is remarkably
smooth, soft, and shining. They are inclined to obesity, have large
lower limbs and stout long arms; yet they are by no means a strong or
robust people. The _face_ is broad and flat--the cheek-bones round,
but prominent--the _nose_ rather small, round at the point, and rather
hollow at the bridge--they have large mouths and rather thick lips--the
lower jaw is long and full at the extremities, and the countenance
apparently square--the eyes are small and black, the white tinged with
a yellow cast--the forehead, although broad in a lateral direction, is
generally low--the beard is very scanty. The diameter of the head is
remarkably short from the front, backward; the top is unusually flat,
and from the crown to the nape of the neck, (in a large proportion of
them,) is nearly in a straight line. The hair is always black, thick,
coarse, and lank.


The Siamese week consists of seven days; the months, alternately, of
twenty-nine and thirty days; and twelve months, or three hundred and
fifty-four days, make a year. The year being solar, an intercalary
month of thirty days is added every third year after the eighth month.
The month is divided into a dark and a bright half, as the moon is upon
the increase or the wane. The Siamese new year corresponds with that
of the Chinese, which commences _after_ the last half of the month of
January, or the sun’s entrance into Aquarius. It is very certain, that
in forming their calendar, they depend upon that constructed at Peking.
There is also a greater division of time, consisting of twelve years,
each year taking the name of some animal, thus:--

             _Siamese._         _English._

  First year    Chuat             Rat.
  Second   „    Chabu             Ox or cow.
  Third    „    Khān              Tiger.
  Fourth   „    Thō               Hare.
  Fifth    „    Marong            Dragon, or great snake.
  Sixth    „    Maseng            Snake, or lesser serpent.
  Seventh  „    Ma-mia            Horse.
  Eighth   „    Ma-mee            Goat.
  Ninth    „    Wock, or Vock     Monkey, or ape.
  Tenth    „    Ray-ka, or Raka   Cock, or fowl.
  Eleventh „    Chō, or Chō-Chō   Dog.
  Twelfth  „    Khan, or Kun      Pig, or hog.

The Siamese have two epochs, sacred and popular. The _sacred_ era dates
from the death of Gautama, and the year 1833 corresponded to the 2376
year. The vulgar era was instituted when the worship of Gautama was
first introduced; and the year 1833 corresponded with the year 1194,
and was the fifth, or dragon year.

Siam proper extends from about the latitude of 23° north, to the
gulf of that name, and is bounded, west by the Burman empire, and
east by the Lao (Lau) mountains. This is the valley of the Menam,
the “Mother of waters,” the country of the true Siamese. The Menam,
after watering the low, flat land, by its annual deposites, empties
itself, by three channels, into the gulf of Siam. The boundaries of the
Siamese dominions on the bay of Bengal, extend from the Burman, (or
more correctly speaking, in the present day,) the _English_ Burmese
dominions, as far south as the boundary line between the petty states
of Perak and Quedah, in the straits of Malacca, in about the latitude
of 5° north, in which is included the valuable island of Junk, Ceylon
or Salung, containing a vast body of tin ore. It then extends nearly
east, across the Malay peninsula, in about the same latitude, between
the provinces of Tungano and Pakhang, the shores of which are bathed
by the China sea: it then extends north to the head of the gulf of
Siam. The Siamese government, during the year 1832, brought under their
immediate subjection, nearly the whole of the tributary states in the
Malay peninsula. They possess, also, a large part of the late kingdom
of Lao, including the former capital of the empire, called Lau-chang,
situated on the great river Camboja, in about the sixteenth degree of
north latitude, and which is represented to be very populous. They hold
also (with the exception of a small portion of the southern part) the
province of Batabang, in Camboja. Their eastern boundary line is in
about the longitude of 105°, and extends north to the latitude of 15°,
being the dividing line between Lao and Camboja, and extending south
to the Siamese gulf, the boundary being the island of Kong, (alias Ko
Kong,) situate in north latitude 10° 43′, and longitude 103° 17′ east.
Extending north, on the east coast of the gulf, lies Chautabun, once a
part of the ancient kingdom of Camboja. It is well known as a rich and
valuable possession of Siam.

The Siamese possess no ships of war, but they have an immense number
(probably not less than five hundred) of war-canoes; some of them being
over a hundred feet in length, and made of a single teak-tree: they
have also, probably, fifty or sixty vessels, having two or three masts,
using fore and aft sails, and carrying from three to eight brass guns:
the largest do not exceed a hundred tons’ burden: these are neatly and
strongly built, and many of them are even elegant models. The whole
number of mariners employed in foreign and coasting voyages, may be
fairly estimated as amounting to not less than thirteen thousand.


Siam is a very fertile country, and abounds in productions suited for
foreign trade, beyond any other with which I am acquainted to the
eastward of the cape of Good Hope. It is no less distinguished for the
variety and abundance of its mineral, than it is acknowledged to be
for its vegetable productions. I have annexed a statement, showing the
exports of 1832, the quantities of each article, the prices, &c., &c.

To the Siamese trade may be added that of ship building, which is
carried on very extensively. A great number of Chinese junks are built
here annually; the timbers are of a very hard wood called marbao, and
the plank is of the finest teak in the world. Many of these vessels are
of a thousand tons’ burden.

The imports consist of British piece goods, white and printed, with
some woollens. India goods, of all descriptions, the coarser from
Bengal, and the finer and more expensive, from Surak. From China are
brought silks and teas, porcelain, quicksilver, and almost every other
article exported from that country. From other sources powder, arms,
and cannon; glass ware, and crockery; cutlery; some drugs; arrack;
wine, &c., &c. Opium is strictly prohibited; but the Chinese and
others introduce, clandestinely, large quantities for sale. There
is an immense trade carried on at the capital, called Si-a-Yuthia,
(pronounced See-ah-you-té-ah,) and on the opposite, or right bank of
the river, at Bang-kok.

_Cotton twist_ is daily increasing in demand, more particularly low
numbers, from twenty to thirty. Twist, of a bright red, (not narrow,)
from number forty to fifty, always sells well; yellow and green are
died in the country, as well as ordinary red. Not more than twenty
peculs should be sent by one vessel.

_Siamese dresses_ should be of small star patterns, on red, blue, and
green grounds, with a few chocolate grounds: the _red_ grounds must be
_bright_; they should be in the proportion of _four_ to _one_ of the
others. Each case should contain twenty corges, containing four hundred

_Prints_, generally called seven eighths, find a ready market. They
must be all of the star pattern, bright ground and narrow. The
proportion is, two pieces of red to one of black or blue, in a case of
a hundred pieces. Some on cloth, of thirty-four to thirty-six inches,
would also sell.

_Chintz._ Large pattern furniture chintz is saleable. It is used for
curtains and screens. Patterns running lengthwise, are preferred.

_Ells._ Long ells find a ready sale. The consumption of _red_ is very
great. There should be one hundred pieces of red to twenty of green.

_Woollens._ _Thin_ ladies’ cloths only are in demand; heavy, thick
broadcloths will not sell. From September to December, there is a
demand for them. Red and green are the favourite colours. In a bale of
twelve pieces, each seventeen and a half to eighteen yards in length,
there should be five of red, four of green, one of yellow, one of light
blue, one of light purple.

_Steel_, in tubs of a small size, sells readily in small parcels.[A]

[A] Samples of goods should be in readiness, which will save great

The inland trade is a very important branch, especially with Lau, and
the Chinese province of Yunan, &c. This domestic traffic is carried
on, on the Menam, in flat-boats, and on bamboo-rafts. Boats leave Lau
in August and September, when the river is swollen by the periodical
rains, and arrive at Bang-kok in November and December. They bring
stic-lac, benzoin, raw silk, ivory, beeswax, horns, hides, timber,
&c., &c. The articles of merchandise exported into China, through
Lau, consist of coarse woollens, broadcloths, cutlery, gold, copper,
lead, &c., &c. The Chinese are the principal foreign traders. The
Siamese prosecute a large foreign and coasting trade to China, Camboja,
Cochin-China, the Malay peninsula, to Singapore, to the eastern coast
of Sumatra, to the bay of Bengal, &c., &c. The traffic between the
countries lying on the shores of the straits of Malacca and the bay of
Bengal, is generally conducted by three different routes, across the
Malay peninsula; and then reshipped, in boats, on the gulf of Siam,
to the capital: the imports being British and Indian goods, opium,
esculent swallows’ nests, &c., &c.

The population of the capital and Bang-kok, with their suburbs, may
fairly be rated at four hundred and fifty thousand inhabitants, I
deem it best to state this fact, so that it may be seen that, in a
commercial point of view, it is a place of great importance.


The Siamese coin no money strictly speaking; they use _bent_ bars of
silver, made nearly round and stamped with a star. Those of the largest
size are called baats, and by Europeans _ticals_. They are of the value
of _sixty-one_ cents and a small fraction. The halves are denominated
two salings, the quarters one saling; there are also eighths, called
one tuang. They have a gold currency formed in the same manner and of
various values; they have no copper or tin coin: occasionally, some of
the latter may be seen brought from Calantin, &c.: cowries or bias are
used in their stead.

The _currency_ is as follows: one thousand and fifty cowries or bias
make one tuang; two tuangs, one saling; four salings, one baat or tical.

Imaginary or money of account: four baats, one tamling; twenty
tamlings, one catty or eighty baats; fifty catties, one pecul or one
thousand baats.[A]

[A] The baat or tical has been assayed in Calcutta and valued at two
shillings and sixpence sterling. I have given it the same value as the
European traders--viz., sixty-one cents.

The _weights_ are the same as in China, being the pecul and catty; one
hundred catties making one pecul; one catty, one and a third pounds
avoirdupois. The fathom is the measure in most frequent use, being
six feet, six inches; also, twelve finger-breadths make one span; two
spans, one cubit; four cubits, one fathom; twenty fathoms, one sen; one
hundred sens, one yuta or yut.


On the twentieth day of March, 1833, corresponding to Wednesday,
the last of the fourth month of the year 1194, called
_Pi-ma-rong-chat-tava-sok_, (or the year of the dragon,) the final
articles of the first commercial treaty between Siam and the United
States were concluded after a negotiation of twenty-two days, and on
the first day of April they were signed and sealed; but only a single
copy of the treaty could be obtained, notwithstanding the promise of
the chao-phaya praklang, one of the first ministers of state, that two
copies should be furnished me. No other reason was assigned for this
breach of promise, than that it was not customary.

It is written in four languages, viz.: Siamese, Chinese, Portuguese,
and English, and is of the great length of nine feet and seven inches.
Previously to the signing of the treaty, the charges were not defined
and fixed; now, all obstacles and impositions are removed, and but a
single charge is made of seventeen hundred ticals on every Siamese
fathom of seventy-eight inches on the breadth of the vessel, if
merchandise is imported, and fifteen hundred if specie only is brought.
This charge is in full of all import and export duties either on
vessel or cargo. The sixth article of the treaty relates to debtors.
As foreigners were equally liable to the penalties with the natives,
I deemed it most proper to guard against the barbarity, which gave
the creditor in fact the power of life and death over his debtor,
and therefore in the early stage of the negotiation, I proposed an
article (which was agreed to) which released the American citizen
only, from all pains and penalties, by delivering to his creditors all
the property he possessed. About a fortnight after its conclusion,
the minister inserted an additional clause, making it reciprocal, so
that the Siamese debtor might receive the same benefit of the American
creditor. He was told it would have an unequal operation, as it would
very rarely occur that an American would incur a debt to a Siamese;
but he insisted that it should remain as it was, although I proposed
nullifying the whole article. But still if any American feels disposed
to take advantage of a code of laws written in blood, it will readily
suggest to him that a transfer of his debt to a responsible Siamese,
will give him a free and unimpeded course to hunt down a prostrate

An attempt was made to reduce the measurement-duty on vessels bringing
specie _only_, to eight hundred ticals (instead of fifteen hundred) but
it did not prove successful, and a similar failure was the result of
another proposition to admit vessels wishing to purchase a part of a
cargo only, by paying a proportionate part of the measurement-duty.

The treaty has removed all obstacles to a lucrative and important
branch of our commerce; the merchant being left free to sell or
purchase where and of whom he pleases. Prior to this period, the
American merchant was not allowed to sell to a private individual the
cargo he imported, nor purchase a return cargo. The king claimed the
exclusive right of purchase and sale in both cases; and furthermore,
such parts of the imported cargoes as were most saleable, were selected
and taken at his own valuation, which was always at prices far below
the market value, as _profit_ was the sole object in making the

Secondly: he also fixed the prices of the articles wanted for return
cargoes, and no individual dared offer any competition either in buying
or selling.

Thirdly: the American merchant not only did not obtain a fair value for
his merchandise, but it is notorious that he had to pay from twenty to
thirty per cent. more for the produce of the country than he could have
purchased it for from private hands.

Fourthly: the vexations occasioned by delay were a matter of serious
complaint. It was no uncommon circumstance to be delayed from two to
four months beyond the stipulated time. The loss sustained, say for
three months’ charter, and interest on the capital employed for that
time, &c., &c., amounted to several thousand dollars. In addition to
all these evils the merchant was frequently obliged to take payment in
_inferior_ articles, at the _highest_ market value for the _best_, and
even _unsaleable_ merchandise at high prices.

Fifthly: the duties on imports were not permanent; they varied from
eight to fifteen per centum.

Sixthly: the export duty on sugar of the first quality, was one dollar
and a half (Spanish) per pecul, which was not less than from 25 to 30
per centum upon the first cost, and other articles were charged in the
same proportion.

Seventhly: port-charges and other exactions were not defined and fixed,
but they generally amounted to not less than three and a half (Spanish)
dollars per ton.

Eighthly: Presents were expected, and in fact exacted, from the king to
the lowest custom-house officer, according to the usages of Asiatics;
there were but a few vessels that did not pay upward of a thousand
dollars, if they had a valuable cargo. The difference, therefore, in
exactions and impositions, prior and subsequent to the conclusion of
the treaty, may be stated on a vessel of two hundred and fifty tons,
having a twenty-five feet beam, as follows: The duties, _formerly_,
were from eight to fifteen per cent. on _imports_; the average rate was
not less than ten per cent.

  Now, on a cargo of $40,000, it would give the sum of         $4,000

  _Add_ to this $1,50 per pecul on sugar exported,
  which was equal, at the lowest calculation, to twenty-five
  per cent., on $40,000, which gives                           10,000

  _Also_, $3,50 per ton for charges                               975

  And presents, say                                             1,000

  If there is added the _difference_ in the sale of the
  imported cargo to the king or to individuals, the estimate
  cannot be less than twenty per cent., and probably
  twice that amount would not cover the loss,                   8,000

  _Add_ to this an additional price paid to the king on
  the produce exported, say it was twenty per cent., is         8,000

  Three months’ charter, arising from detention, at
  $900 per month                                                2,700

  Three months’ loss of interest is                               600

  From this amount deduct the _single charge_ of
  1,700 ticals per each Siamese fathom on the _breadth_
  of vessels bringing merchandise. If only specie were
  brought, 1,500 ticals.

  Sixty-eight thousand ticals at sixty-one cents, on
  seventy-five feet beam, is                                    4,275
  Making a difference of not less than                        $31,000

The result is, that the treaty has secured to us a valuable branch
of commerce which was entirely destroyed, and which will continue to
increase vastly, as the Siamese recover from the serious disasters
which resulted from the inundation of the valley of the Menam, for
upward of three months, during the year 1831.

_Exports from the river Menam (Siam) during the year 1832, showing the
quantity and market value of each article._

     NAMES OF EXPORTS.         QUANTITY.              PRICES.

  Pepper,                    38,000 peculs,     10 ticals per pecul.
  Sugar, 96,000 peculs,      15,000 1st sort,   8    do.       do.
                             60,000 2d   do.    7 a. 7½ do. do.
                             20,000 3d sort,    6 a. 6½ ticals per pcl.
                             1,000 Preto or
                               black,           2½ a. 3½ do.  do.
  Sugar candy,               5,000 peculs,      15      16     do.  do.
  Tin, 1,600,000 lbs.,       1,200   do.        20      22     do.  do.
  Tobacco,                   3,500   do.        100 bundles, 4 ticals.
  Benzoin,                   100     do.        50 a. 55 peculs.
  Cardamom, 73,150 lbs.,     550 1st sort,      100 a. 360 a. 380.
                             do. 2d   do.       150 a. 280    300.
                                 3d   do.       300    200    220.
  Ivory, 40,000 lbs.,        300 peculs,        160 a. 180.
  Bar-iron, 2,260,000 lbs.,  20,000 do.         3½ a. 4.
  Kwalahs or iron pans,
    60,000,                  1st size,          4 ticals per peculs.
                             2d   do.           3     do.      do.
                             3d   do.           2½ do.      do.
                             4th  do.           2     do.      do.
                             5th  do.           2     do.      do.
                             6th  do.           1½ do.      do.
                             7th  do.           1¼ do.      do.
  Aguils or eagle-wood,      10 a. 12 do.       1st sort, 400 ticals.
                                                2d and 3d, 250 and 200.
  Cotton,                    30 a. 40,000       26 clear, 8 in seed.
  Swallows’ nest,
    (esculent,)              10 a. 12           1st sort, 10,000.
                                                2d do. 6,000.
                                                3d do. 4,000.
  Bichos do Mar or Tripang,
  Camphire, Malayan,
  Wax, yellow,               1,800, do.         55 a. 60.
  Gamboge,                   250, 6 quantities averaging from 40 to 80
                                                   p. p.
  Varnish,                   500,               50 per pecul.
  Salt,                      8,000 peculs,      2½ a. 3½ per pecul.
  Dried fish,                60,000,            3 a. 4         do.  do.
  Hog’s lard,                                   14 or 15       do.  do.
  Sapan-wood,                200,000,      from 1 a. 3½ salings per pec.
  Teak-timber,               127,000 logs,
  Rose-wood,                 200,000 peculs,    3 salings per pecul.
  Barks, Mangrove, &c.,      200,000 bundles,   6 ticals per 100 bundles.
  Leather, Deer,             100,000,           20 a. 25 per 100.
  Iron-wood, (ebony)         1,500 peculs,      2½ peculs.
  Dried meat,                1,600,             6 per   do.
  Copper                     300,               50 a. 55.
  Rhinoceros skins,          not ascertained.
  Buffalo      do.           1,500,             8 a. 10.
  Ox           do.           300,               7 a. 8.
  Elephant     do.           not ascertained.
  Tiger        do.                do.
  Leopard      do.                do.
  Bear         do.                do.
  Snake        do.                do.
  Civet-cat    do.                do.
    „    „ Drug,             not ascertained.
  Dragons’ blood,                 do.
  Sharks’ fins,              65 to 70 peculs,   a. 65 per peculs.
  Buffalo and ox horns,      300        do.     3 a. 4 per  do.
  Deers’ antlers, do. soft,  26,000 pairs,      1½ a. 2 ticals per pair.
   do.   horns,        do.   3,000 peculs,      8 a. 9 per pecul.
  Ox and Buffalo bones,      300,               1        do.
  Elephant         do.       450,               7        do.
  Rhinoceros       do.       do.
      do.    horns,          do.
  Tiger, the entire bodies
    for China market,                           56 a. 60  do.
  Peacock’s tails,           1,200 trains,      7 a. 8 per pecul.
  Raw silk, (from Lao)       200 peculs,        200 ticals per do.
  Rough pitch,               10,000,            3 to 8 do.     do.
  Wood oil,                  15,000,            3 to 6 do.     do.
  Takan, an inferior or
    bastard Cardamom,        4,000,             32 to 40 do.   do.
  Feathers,                  4,000 pairs of
                               wings,           65 a. 100 do.  do.
  Large feathers for fans,   100 to 150 pairs,  30 ticals per pecul.
  Fish skins,                1,800 peculs,      30   do.       do.
  Jagra or palm-sugar,       150,000 pots,      4 to 6 pots 1 tical.
  Rattans,                   200,000 bundles,   4 ticals per 100 bundles.

    The foregoing is the quantity ascertained by the government for
    1832, to which may be added a considerable quantity for each
    article smuggled, and principally by the Chinese. The exports,
    therefore, for the year 1832, taking the foregoing statement to be
    correct, amount to a sum not less than _four_ and a _half millions
    of dollars_.



Having brought my mission to a close in a very satisfactory manner,
I was, on the evening of the third of April, invited to wait upon
the praklang. The principal object of the visit was to reiterate his
assurances, that every facility should be granted to American commerce,
both in selling their cargoes, and in collecting their debts. And,
furthermore, to state, that the presents the king and himself desired,
should be returned with the ratified treaty.

The following list was then given of the presents desired by the king
and the praklang:--

For the king: Five pairs of stone statues of men and women; some of the
natural and some of the larger size, _clothed in various costumes of
the United States_. Ten pair of vase lamps, of the largest size, plain
glass. One pair of swords, with gold hilt and scabbards; the latter of
_gold_, not _gilt_--shape of blade, a little curved.

For the praklang: One mirror, (or pair of mirrors,) three cubits long
by two broad, fixed in a stand, so as to form a screen; frame, carved
and gilt; back, painted green. Soft, hairy carpeting, of certain
dimensions; and some flower and fruit trees, planted, or in seed, with

I then took leave, after many demonstrations of good-will.

Some presents of the productions of the country, were sent to me, of
very mean quality, and of inconsiderable value.

On the fourth, the same boats being in readiness, which brought us to
the city, in the evening we embarked, reached the ship in the morning,
and the day following, made sail down the gulf.

Our passage to Singapore (a distance of less than a thousand miles)
occupied us till the first of May; the winds being very light and
adverse, and constantly shifting between the south and southeast
points. On the nineteenth, we made the group of islands, called the
“Great Redangs.” On the twenty-second, when Pulo Brala was in sight, we
spoke a Portuguese brig from Singapore, having on board an assistant
Roman Catholic bishop for Siam, and a new consul, to take the place
of Mr. Silviera; two days subsequently, we fell in with two small
Cochin-Chinese junks, from the province of Nhiatrang, for Singapore,
who sent a boat alongside, and asked most beseechingly for water,
having been, as they said, destitute of any for the last six days, as
they had brought only an earthen pot or two, for the supply of two
vessels; being apparently wretchedly poor, a full cask was given them,
after they had drunk to satiety. We successively fell in with Pulo
Timoan and Pulo Aor. The vicinity of these islands is remarkable, as
well as the southeastern point of the Malay peninsula, for piratical
vessels, which are constantly cruising about in search of small trading
vessels. On the thirtieth, we were swept by the violence of the current
on the Romania bank, where we anchored in nine and three quarters
fathoms of water; the following day we anchored about two miles from
Singapore, near to our old friend, Captain Lambert, of his Britannic
majesty’s frigate, Alligator.

[Sidenote: SINGAPORE.]

We called upon governor Ibbetson, who presides over this island,
Malacca, and Pulo Penang, and were received by him and the Honourable
Mr. Bonham with much hospitality and kindness; and subsequently, by
the Honourable Sir Benjamin H. Malhin, the recorder, and lady. The
situation of the governor’s house is upon a hill, which overlooks the
town and the numerous islands in the straits. It is a most delightful
situation; the approach to it, from the base of the hill, is lined on
the right side, by nutmeg and other spice trees, &c., being the garden
belonging to the government; but owing to some cause, they do not
succeed well--the fruit does not arrive at maturity. The country in
the immediate neighbourhood of the town, excepting in the direction of
the new harbour, and a few other spots, is still in a state of nature,
the soil giving an ungrateful return for the labour of the husbandman.
Fruit succeeds well, even the delicate mangusteen; but wheat, coffee,
and pepper have repeatedly failed, or the crops have been so
inconsiderable, as to be unworthy of attention. Gambir, alias catechu
or terra japonica, succeeds well; it is used as a die, or chewed with
areca. Esculent plants and farinaceous roots, natural to a tropical
climate, are here in perfection. This island is about twenty-seven
miles long, and from five to fifteen miles in breadth. It is separated
from the Malay peninsula by the old strait of its own name, being from
one fourth to a mile and half in width.

About three leagues south of the settlement is an extensive chain of
islands, very thinly inhabited by a race of savages. This open space
of water is a continuation of the straits of Malacca, and is called
the strait of Singapore; it is the high road of commerce between the
eastern and western parts of Asia. The town of Singapore was founded
by the British in 1819, and was then only the resort of fishermen and
pirates; and was carefully avoided by the regular traders. The year
following its occupation, it was visited by nearly seventy thousand
tons of shipping, and of this amount, about one fifth were native
vessels, belonging principally to the various islands in the Indian
Archipelago. The establishment of this as a free port, most seriously
affects the commerce of Batavia; it has drawn from it a most valuable
native trade.

The town is formed upon a regular plan, the streets intersecting each
other at right angles; the streets and roads are in excellent order,
the former having sidewalks. There is a great number of well-built
houses of brick, which are stuccoed, and have tile roofs. Many of the
houses have galleries or porticoes, and the grounds are prettily laid
out with trees and shrubbery. On the less valuable streets, the houses
and shops are built of wood, and covered with tile. On the outskirts,
the houses are thatched, and more particularly those inhabited by the
Bugis and Balinese, and the poorest class of Chinese. A good wooden
bridge connects the peninsula or western part with the eastern. On
this creek, or arm of the sea, into which empties a rivulet, are
situated the principal warehouses; and here small vessels discharge
their cargoes into very convenient and well arranged buildings. The
quays are built of stone, with very convenient slips, and good cranes
for landing goods. The island being situate within a degree and a half
of the equator, no material change takes place--a perpetual summer
reigns--flowers never cease blowing, and fruits are ever in blossom
or progressing towards maturity. It is an old saying, that not a day
passes at Singapore without rain; but it has been well ascertained
that the rainy and fair days are about equal in number throughout the
year; although in some years it has rained about two hundred and forty
days, or two thirds of the year. November and December are the coolest
and most rainy months; the thermometer then falls occasionally as low
as 72°, and in the hot and dry months of April and May, it attains to
90°. The climate is remarkably salubrious, and fevers and dysentery,
which are so fatal within the tropics, are here of rare occurrence,
owing, it is supposed, to the free current of air which passes through
the straits; but wherever its beneficial influence is excluded, those
diseases are very fatal; and this is the case about that beautiful and
romantic spot, the new harbour, situate but a few miles to the westward
of the town. The island is also free of those dreadful scourges, storms
and hurricanes, and violent gusts of wind.

I visited (in company with Captain Lambert, and the commander of the
Peacock) the person who is styled the sultan of Johore, who ceded
this and other islands to the British, for the sum of sixty thousand
dollars, and an annuity of twenty-four thousand per year. He was
formerly chief judge to Sultan Mahomet, of Johore. At his decease,
he seized upon this part of his possessions. The sultan’s residence
is surrounded by a high brick wall, having strong gates, guarded by
soldiers. Within it is a new mosque; a hall of audience, neatly built;
with many other houses of brick and thatch. We were conducted into the
hall, which is used as a banqueting place also; and shortly after,
we heard the loud breathing of a person who seemed in deep distress,
endeavouring to ascend the staircase; finally the sultan made his
appearance, and with great difficulty reached the centre of the room.
I verily thought he would have died within the first ten minutes, of
suffocation. He was most grossly, or rather beastly fat, and reminded
us of the Anthropophagi, or men whose heads do grow beneath their
shoulders; for neck, he had none. His eyes were enormously large, and
they had the terrific appearance of having started from their sockets.
He was truly a most disgusting and frightful object. After he was
able to breathe a little freely, the usual compliments passed, and
inquiries made, a feast was brought in, consisting of a great variety
of articles, which were neatly served up by numerous waiters. Two fine
lads, his sons, accompanied him; they were handsomely dressed, wearing
turbans, and armed with daggers. The sultan expressed himself gratified
with the visit, and we then took leave.


The population, on the first of January, 1833, was ascertained to
amount to twenty thousand nine hundred and seventy-eight persons. Of
these, fifteen thousand one hundred and eighty-one were males, and
_only_ five thousand nine hundred and ninety-seven _females_. This
motley group are made up of--one hundred and nineteen Europeans; ninety
Indo British; three hundred native Christians; thirty-five Armenians;
two Jews; ninety-six Arabs; seven thousand one hundred and thirty-one
Malays; eight thousand five hundred and seventeen Chinese; one thousand
eight hundred and nineteen natives of Coromandel; five hundred and
five Hindoos; six hundred and forty-five Javanese; one thousand nine
hundred and twenty-six Bugis, Balanese, &c.; thirty-seven Caffrees;
two Parsees. The country and plantations contain seven thousand three
hundred and sixty-two; the islands, which form a dependancy, of which
there are about fifty, contain one thousand and seventy-two; total,
eight thousand four hundred and thirty-four: which leave for the town
of Singapore, twelve thousand five hundred and forty-four, exclusive of
the military and convicts, which amount to about one thousand.

Singapore is merely a mart for the exchange of merchandise for the
products of Europe, India, and China, the Indian Archipelago, and of
the neighbouring states--the imports from one part forming the exports
to another. The total value of _imports_, for the years 1831 and 1832,
was seventeen millions, eight hundred and nine thousand nine hundred
and forty-eight sicca rupees; and the exports, fifteen millions,
fifty-one thousand five hundred and seventy-three. Of this amount,
nearly one eighth, or about nine hundred thousand dollars in value,
was conducted by native vessels. The fixed exchange of sicca rupees,
is two hundred and ten and a half for one hundred Spanish dollars. The
currency is the Spanish dollar divided into cents. The common weight
is the pecul, of one hundred and thirty-three and a third pounds,
avoirdupois, divided into one hundred catties. The English gross
hundred is also used, as well as the neat hundred. Salt, rice, and
coarse, or unpearled sago, by the koyan, of about forty peculs.

In the harbour, there may be frequently seen vessels from England,
France, Holland, and other parts of Europe; from the Brazils, Cape
of Good Hope, Mauritius, New South Wales; from Arabia, and various
parts of British and Portuguese India; from Siam, the Malay peninsula,
Camboja, and various ports in Cochin-China, from the gulf of Siam
to the gulf of Tonquin, (Tung-king;) from Macao, and various parts
of the provinces of Canton and Tokien, the former being called the
“Red-headed Junks,” and the latter the “Green-headed,” owing to their
being distinguished in this manner by being painted with these colours;
from Manila, Dutch and native craft from Java, Banca, and Bulembang;
and by Malay craft only, from the river Campar, and other eastern ports
in Sumatra. But the most important branch of the trade with the Indian
islanders, is that conducted by the _Bugis_ of Wajo, a state of the

The Bugis write and speak a different language from either of the other
tribes of the Celebes, either of Macassar, Mandar, or Kaili. They have
a code of civil and criminal law, referring to a state of government
and society, of a patriarchal character; and they have also a code
of maritime laws, dated in the year 1087, of the Hejera, (Hegira,)
from which I have made some extracts. Wajo is situated nearly in the
centre of the Celebes, and the Bugis live on the northern banks of an
extensive lake, about twenty-four miles in breadth. The outlet of the
lake is a river, which falls into the bay of Boni, and is navigable
for boats of twenty tons. This people are the sole native carriers of
the Archipelago, possessing an industry and enterprise far beyond the
generality of the Malayan tribes. They carry on an extensive trade with
all the ports in the Celebes; to Bonivati; to the eastern and western
coasts of Borneo; to the islands of Lombok, Bali, Sumbawa, Flores,
Sandal Wood, Ceram, Timor, the Arrows, New Guinea, &c. These bring
gold-dust, bird’s-nests, tortoise-shell, camphor, paddy, bichos do
mar, rattans, pepper, shark’s-fins, fish-maws, agar-agar, (sea-weed,)
garro-wood, mats, pamore, iron, striped and Tartan cotton cloths, oil,
tallow, mother-of-pearl, shells, &c., &c. Their cargoes are valuable,
and vary from ten to forty thousand dollars. They take, in return,
opium, British and Indian piece-goods, fire-arms, powder, Siamese
iron-pans, &c.; Chinese coarse earthenware, &c., &c.

[Sidenote: MARITIME LAWS.]

Maritime laws were established (as stated in a pamphlet published
in the year 1832) by Matorvei Father Gapa, (a practitioner in law,)
at Macassar, in the Hejera 1087, on Monday, the seventeenth day of
Moharain. The first _five_ sections relate to the rate of freight and
passage-money, to and from various places, and explaining a mode of
trade, existing to the present day, in the east. A person having goods,
either natural produce or manufactured, puts his articles on board a
prahū, going to any place where he can find a market: these goods pay a
per centage freight, as laid down by the law, and the passage-money is
included in that charge; and during the voyage, he takes part in rowing
or sailing the prahū, &c., &c.

The _sixth_ treats on the freight of money. If the amount is one
hundred and ten real, or less, it pays no freight; but if it exceeds
that sum, it pays one half the charge on goods to the same place.
The people of the prow (prahū) are not allowed to land if the master
does not receive the full freight; and further, they must assist in
bailing the water out and fastening the boat: nor are they to be freed
from their charge till she is laid up for the season. The seventh,
eighth, ninth, and tenth sections, treat on a mode of shares in trade
and shipping, viz.:--Seventh: if the owner of the prahū send a man in
charge of her, or if he let her to any one in the season, and furnish
the turobatu and turomudi, together with crew, and arms and stores
sufficient, and the boat should be damaged or lost, through the neglect
of the crew, &c., in that case they must make good the damages, or loss
of the boat: the shares of the turobatu and turomudi, and the expenses
of the prahū, being first paid. Eighth: if the person who sails the
prahū, also furnish the turomudi, turobatu, the crew and arms, then the
owner and the captain go equal shares, after the turomudi, turobatu,
and the expenses of the outfit, are adjusted.

Ninth: if the owner of the prahū gives her in charge to a captain and
the latter provide turomudi, turobatu and the crew, then the profit
is divided into three equal shares; two are taken by the owner of the
prahū, and one by the captain or person who charters her for the trip;
but previous to the division of the profits, the shares of turomudi,
turobatu and expenses of the prahū are always paid.

Tenth: if the owner of the prahū furnish the turomudi, and the captain
provide the turobatu, and both go equal shares in the expenses of
the crew, arms, and outfit, &c., in that case the profits are divided
into two equal shares, between the owner and the captain, after the
turomudi, turobatu, and expenses of the prahū are paid. If the persons
who sail the prahū furnish the turomudi, turobatu and crew, arms,
&c., then the profits are divided into three shares: two shares go
to the person who navigates her, and one to the owner. The turomudi,
turobatu and expenses of the prahū being first paid; if there be a
previous contract or agreement between the owner and the navigator, in
that case, the law takes no cognizance in the matter: if not, the law
directs as stated above.[A]

[A] The turomudi and turobatu have the principal management in
navigating the boat; the _former_ has charge of the after part of the
prahū and seeing the water bailed out, which is done by a bucket and
pulley; the _latter_, that of the rigging and forward part, under the
direction of the turomudi.

The eleventh, twelfth, and thirteenth sections regulating the amount
of passage money, have, no doubt been framed principally, if not
exclusively, in consideration of the practice of carrying slaves
to distant parts for sale, since women are included, who otherwise
never travel by water. The fourteenth and last section, lays down the
principle of a court of native admiralty law, but the latter part is
vague, as well as arbitrary; it is as follows: the captain is king
while at sea, and his will is absolute law, from which there is no
appeal; but if the turomudi, turobatu and the whole crew unite without
one dissentient voice, they can overrule the will of the captain. The
turomudi and turobatu hold the rank of prime ministers while on board
the prahū. If any matter of difference arise between the crew, the
captain, and turomudi, and turobatu, shall sit in council, and give
judgment in the case; and if they should pass the sentence of death
it must be executed; nor can any judgment given at sea be disannulled
after the prahū is returned to port. If an affray or murder should take
place among the crew, and the king’s son be involved, or if a freeman
should kill a king’s son, in either case the captain is not held
responsible on his arrival into port, by virtue of the power delegated
to him by the king.

We sailed from Singapore at midnight, on the eleventh of May, intending
to pass through the straits of Rhio, and to touch at the Dutch port
of that name in the island of Bintang. This port is the resort of
American vessels; being excluded from Singapore, they are obliged to
carry on their trade by means of coasting craft, between the two
ports, which causes an additional expense of about two and a half
per centum. The wind being contrary from the southern quarter, and
the strait very narrow, we were compelled to pass again through the
straits of Singapore, between the Malay peninsula and Pedra Branca
(white rock) into the China sea. The current being at times strongly
against us, and the wind very light between S. W. and S. S. E., the
ship was frequently brought to anchor in the China sea, which we found
generally very smooth. On the eighteenth, we saw Pulo Toty--on the day
following, the “Gooning” mountains on Banca. On the twenty-second, we
anchored near the woody island of Gaspar, and sent a boat on shore, but
not an inhabitant was discovered, it being only an occasional place of
resort for pirates. On the twenty-fourth, we anchored in the straits of
Gaspar, between the islands of Leat and Banca, and remained there till
the thirtieth, the wind being from the southward, and contrary, and the
current setting to the northward, from half a knot to three miles per
hour; it being rather feeble between eight and ten, in the morning, and
strongest towards midnight.


On the evening we anchored in the straits, we discovered twenty-one
piratical proas off the north end of Pulo Leat, and fourteen off
the southern point; rockets were thrown up by vessels stationed
midway between the squadrons, during the night. The ship being in
readiness for action, it is probable they discovered lights from
the battle-lanterns on the gun-deck, during the night, for in the
morning only a few scattered vessels were to be seen. We were at
length released from this unpleasant strait, which has shipwrecked so
many lives, either by being drowned, or else murdered by the savages
which infest them, by a fine leading breeze, passed safely into the
Java sea, through the great group called the “Thousand Islands,” and
anchored on the fifth of June in the unhealthy roadstead of Batavia,
where at length we found the United States’ schooner Boxer, Lieut.
Comdt. Shields, at anchor awaiting our arrival. Having received a
very hospitable invitation from Mr. Forrestice, an American merchant,
of the first respectability, to reside with him at “Fancy Farm,” his
beautiful country-seat, three miles from the city, I accepted his kind
offer and remained there for nearly two months. According to history,
the Portuguese first visited Java in 1511, an ambassador having been
sent there from Malacca. The Dutch arrived in 1596, settling first
at Bantam, but they afterward removed to Jacatia and in 1618 it was
seized by them, and all the inhabitants put to the sword who did not
seek safety in flight; the walls of the ancient city were razed to the
ground, the town burnt, and nothing remained but the name. On this spot
was the present city of Batavia founded. The island, with the exception
of five years, from 1811 to 1816, when it was in the possession of the
British, has been held by no European nation, but the Dutch. The island
of Java, called generally by the natives Jawa, is in a straight line
to its extreme points six hundred and sixty-six statute miles: and in
breadth, from fifty-six to one hundred and thirteen.

The origin of its name remains still in great uncertainty. The northern
coast is low, and generally swampy and unhealthy. The southern coast,
on the contrary, consists of a series of perpendicular rocks, but,
generally speaking, it is low and swampy; in some places suddenly
rising into hills, as about Angier. The largest mountains have an
elevation of from five to twelve thousand feet--they plainly show
their volcanic origin. The western part is called the Sunda country;
and the eastern the Javan, or the country of the true Javanese. They
occupy nearly equal parts; different languages are spoken in the two
districts, mixed a good deal with Malay, which is almost wholly spoken
on the seacoast. Java, like most mountainous countries, is extremely
well watered; but the size of the island precludes the possibility of
there being any large rivers. The rain commences with the westerly
winds, in October, is at its height in December and January, gradually
subsides in March or April, and is succeeded by easterly winds and fair

During the rainy season, the whole of the extensive swamp, on which
Batavia stands, is completely submerged, and the roads to the city
are then nearly impassable; this is the season when reptiles abound,
and moschetoes and insects bear sovereign sway. This is not the most
unhealthy part of the year; but when the rains are subsiding, and
expose an immense surface covered with vegetable matter, in a state of
putridity, fevers, dysenteries, &c., &c., are then uplifted by every
breeze, and borne on every wind.

The principal harbour of the island is Surabaya, which is formed by the
approaching extremities of the eastern part of Java, and the island
of Madura. The second river in size, in Java, empties itself into the
sea at this place. The next in importance, is Batavia; the roadstead is
sheltered by several islands, in the outer part of the bay.

The population of Java and Madura, in 1815, amounted to four millions,
six hundred and fifteen thousand, two hundred and seventy, of which
ninety-four thousand four hundred and forty-one were Chinese; and the
island of Madura contained two hundred and eighteen thousand, six
hundred and seventy-nine. The population of the principal capitals
was estimated as follows:--Batavia and its extensive suburbs have a
circumference of about twenty-four miles, and contain about three
hundred and fifteen thousand souls; Semarang, is calculated at twenty
thousand; and Surabaya, at twenty-five thousand.

I herewith present a comparative statement of exports from Java, during
ten years, according to the report of the customs:--


          | [A]Coffee.  |   Pepper.  |   Indigo.   | Arak.|   Hides.
          |   Piculs.   |   Piculs.  |   Pounds.   | Leag.|   Ticals.
    1823  | 285,000,000 | 3,000,000  |      --     |  605 | 37,000,000
    1824  | 242,000,000 | 3,000,000  |      --     |  468 | 58,000,000
    1825  | 278,000,000 | 8,000,000  |   6,000,000 |  175 | 45,000,000
    1826  | 340,000,000 | 4,000,000  |   9,000,000 |  433 | 75,000,000
    1827  | 400,000,000 | 4,000,000  |   8,000,000 |  464 | 60,000,000
    1828  | 416,000,000 | 8,000,000  |  23,000,000 |  534 | 47,000,000
    1829  | 282,000,000 | 6,000,000  |  46,000,000 | 1400 | 44,000,000
    1830  | 389,000,000 | 6,000,000  |  22,000,000 | 1900 | 30,000,000
    1831  | 300,000,000 | 6,000,000  |  43,000,000 | 1500 | 63,000,000
    1832  | 314,000,000 | 7,000,000  | 168,000,000 | 2000 | 82,000,000

        |  Mace.  | Nutmegs. | Cloves. |    Sugar.   |    Tin.
        | Piculs. | Piculs.  | Piculs. |   Piculs.   |   Piculs.
  1823  |   428   |   1341   |   1726  |  53,000,000 | 12,000,000
  1824  |  1500   |   3327   |   1750  |  47,000,000 | 30,000,000
  1825  |   735   |   3471   |   1930  |  16,000,000 |  9,000,000
  1826  |   556   |   2237   |    542  |  20,000,000 | 14,000,000
  1827  |  1085   |   6000   |    777  |  32,000,000 | 16,000,000
  1828  |   600   |   1650   |   1832  |  26,000,000 | 20,000,090
  1829  |   180   |   1160   |   2431  |  77,000,000 | 24,000,000
  1830  |   177   |   1300   |    803  | 109,000,000 | 21,000,000
  1831  |   745   |   2550   |   1531  | 120,000,000 | 30,000,000
  1832  |   949   |   3850   |   5144  | 246,000,000 | 40,000,000

[A] The culture of coffee was first introduced into Java in 1723.

       |    Rice.   |  Rattans.  | Tortsi.
       |    Koy.    |   Piculs.  | Piculs.
  1823 |  4,000,000 |  5,000,000 |   26
  1824 |  3,000,000 |  2,000,000 |   47
  1825 |  8,000,000 |  4,000,000 |   22
  1826 |  6,000,000 |  4,000,000 |   28
  1827 | 10,000,000 | 15,000,000 |   19
  1828 | 16,000,000 | 31,000,000 |   37
  1829 | 15,000,000 | 30,000,000 |   83
  1830 | 15,000,000 |  5,000,000 |   43
  1831 | 10,000,000 |  5,000,000 |   95
  1832 | 23,000,000 | 14,000,000 |  141

Java exports, besides the articles named, camphire from Sumatra and
the Celebes. Edible bird’s-nests, beeswax, gold dust, precious stones,
saltpetre, teak and other timber, and cabinet woods, tobacco, stic-lac,
brass, European, India and China goods; tin, from Banka, &c.; benzoin,
bichos do mar, rattans, die-woods from Borneo and Sumatra, sandal and
other fine woods, pungent oils, horses, Bali clothes, elephants’ teeth,
Japan, copper, leather, areca-nuts, cubebs, boots, shoes, &c.

              | Imports during | Imports during
              |      1831.     |      1832.
  Merchandise |   13,500,000   |   12,000,000
  Specie      |    1,100,000   |      900,000
              |   14,600,000   |   12,900,000

              | Exports during | Exports during
              |      1831.     |      1832.
  Produce     |   14,100,000   |   21,100,000
  Specie      |      600,000   |      950,000
              |   14,700,000   |   22,050,000

Passing the straits of Sunda, not touching at Angier, there arrived
at Batavia, in one year, ending the first of July, 1833, twenty-nine
American vessels, containing eleven thousand one hundred and
thirty-eight tons; and touched at Angier, eighty-two American vessels,
containing twenty-seven thousand one hundred and thirty-nine tons; of
these, twenty-four went to Batavia, the remainder to Canton, Manila,
&c., &c.

[Sidenote: JAVA.]

To show the importance, in part, of American commerce, trading to the
eastward of the cape of Good Hope, I herewith subjoin the following
statement of arrivals at two ports in Java. It appears, by the
custom-house returns, that there arrived at Batavia, in one year,
ending the first of July, 1833, twenty-nine American vessels, amounting
to eleven thousand one hundred and thirty-eight tons; and that
eighty-two American vessels, having a tonnage of twenty-seven thousand
seven hundred and thirty-nine tons, touched at Angier during one year,
ending the first of June of the same year. This latter statement does
not show all the vessels that passed through the straits of Sunda,
and from the China and Java seas. If to this statement is added, the
great and valuable conveyance to Sumatra, the bay of Bengal, &c., who
will say it does not deserve the fostering and protecting hand of the
government of the United States?

With the exception of two vessels, sent out on a special mission, the
Peacock and Boxer, to Asia, &c., the visit of the Potomac to Qualah
Battu, to punish an act of piracy and murder; with the hurried return
of one or two vessels from the western coast of South America, which
barely touch at Manila or Java for refreshments, this most valuable
part of our commerce has been extremely neglected.


We have also a valuable whale-fishery on the coast of Japan; and
accounts often reach us of American vessels being cast on shore, on the
islands and reefs in the vast Indian Archipelago, the crew being either
murdered or made slaves, until a ransom is paid for them, unless they
are relieved by some humane merchantman or foreign man-of-war: there is
not a single armed vessel of the United States to relieve or protect
them. Our vast commerce to the eastward of the cape of Good Hope, most
assuredly, should not be so overlooked, and left unprotected; at least,
it deserves an occasional visit from our vessels of war, to Madagascar
and the Comoro islands; the ports in east Africa, as far as Zanzibar
and Mombos; to Mocha, in the Red sea, and the western coasts of India.
They should also visit, once in two or three months, the native trading
ports in Sumatra, and proceed as far as the western coast of Japan,
and among the islands of the Indian Archipelago, showing their flag,
and conciliating, by every possible means, the natives they may meet,
by giving them suitable presents occasionally, which would cost but a
small sum. These visits ought to be paid once or twice during each and
every subsequent year.

The totally unprotected state of our commerce, from the cape of Good
Hope to Japan, deserves the _immediate_ and _constant_ protection and
attention of the American government. The silkworm has never succeeded
well, owing to the want of common information or gross negligence;
therefore the chief material of Javan clothing is cotton. The favourite
cloth made in the country is called batik, of which they make their
sarongs, or loose clothes, which extend from the waist nearly to the
ankles. If it is intended to ornament the cloth with one or more
patterns, it is first steeped in cunjee, or rice-water, to prevent the
colours from running; it is then dried and calendered; hot wax is then
distributed over it, from a vessel, running through a small tube; the
pattern is then formed by being traced, or etched over with a pointed
stick. Every part which is intended to be white, is left covered with
wax. It is then dipped once or more in the die, or else the die is
placed on with a pencil. If two or more colours are intended, every
part of the ground, excepting the new figure, is covered with wax, and
so on till the whole figure is finished: the wax is then melted off
in hot water. The figures have a velvet appearance, the edges of the
different colours lessening in brightness. The only permanent colours
are blue and scarlet, or red. They stamp palempores, or coverlids, with
carved wooden blocks.

The English imitation cottons, readily fading, have been brought into
disrepute. The kris, or kreese, is universally worn; and the value and
beauty of the weapon, are a test of the rank or wealth of the wearer.
In full dress, two are frequently worn, and sometimes even four: it
seems to be an indispensable part of their dress. It is an instrument
more suitable for assassination than for war.

Neither the nutmeg, clove, nor cinnamon, is indigenous; those which
have been cultivated, are found to have thriven very well. But it does
not comport with the views of the government to extend the cultivation
of spices in Java: it is even in contemplation to destroy the rice
plantations on Sumatra, in the neighbourhood of Bencoolen. The vine
was extensively cultivated in some of the eastern provinces; but the
growth of it was discouraged by the government, as it interfered, at
that time, with the Dutch possessions at the cape of Good Hope. The
soap-tree, of which the kernel is used in washing; the cotton-tree, the
wax and caoutchouc, or the tree which yields the gum-elastic, and the
bamboo and rattan, are common. The cocoa-nut, and gomuti-palms, are
also very abundant, &c., &c.

[Sidenote: FRUITS OF JAVA.]

No region of the earth, says Marsden, can boast an equal abundance
and variety of indigenous fruits as Java; but the Mangusteen bears
the pre-eminence among Indian fruits, and, in the opinion of most
foreigners, is superior to the cherrapayer of Lima, or any other known
fruit; it suits the greatest diversity of tastes: is mildly acid,
of a most delicate flavour, by no means luscious or cloying to the
appetite; the shape is globular, the rind about a fourth of an inch in
thickness, and it is as large as a good-sized apple; the shell is of a
deep crimson or rather purple and quite brittle; disrobing it of its
purple coat, there is displayed to view a snow-white pulp, distributed
in three or four cloves; they are soft, very juicy, and occasionally
touched with imperial purple, a colour once thought worthy of royalty
only, and had it been known in ancient days, it would have been called
the royal fruit; within this truly delicate pulp lies the seed. But in
the opinion of the natives and _many_ foreigners who have long resided
in the East, the _durian_ has the highest rank: the odour is peculiarly
offensive to _most_ foreigners, savouring of roasted onions: it has the
appearance of bread-fruit, but the spires of the husk are larger: it
is of a spherical shape, generally, and the size of a man’s head, some
being larger; when ripe they are yellow, and crack like a ripe melon,
at the stalk end: they are generally split into quarters, each one
having several small cells, that enclose the fruit, which is covered
with a pellicle or skin, and encloses a stone covered also with a skin;
these are roasted and eaten, and partake of the flavour of chestnuts;
the fruit is the size of a small egg, white as milk but sometimes
tinged with yellow, and as soft as cream; it can only be eaten when
at maturity; it grows on the body or greater branches of the tree, is
the product only of the Indian islands, and does not grow in Siam or
Cochin-China; it is always more expensive than any other fruit. I do
not deem it necessary to name any other fruits, excepting the wild
raspberry, which grows in the mountains, and the fruits named in the
account of Buitenzorg.

Of esculent vegetables which contribute to the food and sustenance of
man, rice is the most important, of which it is said there are upward
of a hundred varieties. Maize or Indian corn ranks next. They cultivate
also wheat, the sweet and the American or European potato, the yam or
ubi, and pulse in a great variety; the bread-fruit also, and most of
the vegetables of colder climates, the seed being imported continually
from the cape of Good Hope.

Neither milk, nor any preparation from it, is prized by the natives;
salted eggs are an important article of food: they are covered with
equal parts of salt and ashes, or salt and brick-dust, made into a
thick paste: it preserves them for many months.

The chewing of areca-nut, as well as siri or betel-leaf, tobacco
and gambir, is common to all classes. Every person who is able owns
a siri-box, more or less valuable; opium is exceedingly coveted by
them, and is both chewed and smoked; added to these is the disgusting
practice of holding tobacco between the lips, and at one corner of the
mouth, the saliva from it staining the lips, and running over the chin;
they use, also, arrack, and an intoxicating liquor made from the gomuti

There are no metals or precious stones, but there are many minerals.

They possess a fine breed of horses, strong, fleet, and well made, of
about thirteen hands high--also the ox, buffalo, goats, some sheep, and
the hog. Of wild beasts, there are several species of tiger, cat, the
jackall, wild dog, rhinoceros or wild Javan ox, the wild hog and the
stag, the rib-faced and axis deer, the weasel, squirrel, and a variety
of monkeys. The turkey, goose, duck, fowls; also, two kinds of parrots:
the peacock, falcon, carrion-crow, and the owl. The number of birds of
distinct species are said not much to exceed two hundred.



[Sidenote: BATAVIA.]

I now proceed to give some account of Batavia, &c. Although this
city is situated in the midst of low, marshy ground, abounding in
rice-swamps, and considered as the most unhealthy spot in the world,
yet it is, nevertheless, a great commercial place, and is much
frequented by vessels bound to or from the China sea, Hindostan,
Sumatra, Singapore, &c., &c.; and it is the only place in the world
which has any trade to Japan, with the exception of China. It is
most conveniently situated to obtain commercial information, and
for refreshments. Before Singapore was made a free port, it was the
principal mart for the country trade of the East Indies. Subsequently
it has much diminished, and the very valuable trade with the Bugis,
or natives of the Celebes, and other islanders of the Indian
Archipelago, has been entirely diverted to Singapore, where the traders
can always obtain a ready sale for their cargoes, and receive, in
return, European, India, and Chinese goods, at more moderate prices,
without having to pay any duties, or be subject to those inconvenient
restrictions, which are so annoying in Dutch ports.

The immense ware-houses, running from street to street, situated on the
great canal and river, leading into the bay, which were once burdened
with merchandise, are now scantily filled, or nearly empty; and there
are but few places so large as Batavia, in the present day, which show
less signs of an active commerce, less bustle on the quays, or exhibit
a greater degree of dulness, and want of bustle in the streets. This is
owing, in part, to the belligerent attitude of Holland and Belgium;
the alarming war with the Sumatrans; the establishment of a free port
by the British; but more particularly, to the narrow-contracted views
of the government, in regard to commerce. The Dutch government wish
to drive all foreign commerce from their ports in Netherlands’ India,
with the exception of the native traders of the Indian isles; and
to extend, if it be possible, their unjust and iniquitous system of
monopolies, and of forced cultivation, upon the natives, which have
so often driven them to despair and revolt, causing whole districts,
containing many thousands, to abandon their lands and their homes,
and fly to the fastnesses of the mountains, or to what are called the
native provinces--preferring a very precarious mode of living, to being
made the worst of slaves to the worst of masters, by being forced to
cultivate coffee, and then to sell it for about half its fair market
value, to the Dutch company, leaving them, in fact, no means of support.

Old Batavia is but the shadow of what it was in former days. It was
once called the “Queen of the East;” her merchants were “princes of the
earth,” in point of wealth, and lived in a style of magnificence, which
far surpassed every other to the eastward of the cape of Good Hope,
with the exception, in more modern days, of Calcutta. A traveller,
visiting Batavia at the present day, inquires for the splendid palaces,
noble avenues of trees, and neat canals, with the gay pleasure-boats,
which used to be seen sporting on their surface, accompanied with
music, and graced with numberless enchanting females. He then visits
the most fashionable streets of former days, and a truly painful sight
is presented at every step: of choked canals covered with slime, and
green stagnant pools, a resort of frogs and snakes, and other reptiles.
The noble avenues of trees, which led to splendid habitations, and the
heavy, massive gateways, are still seen; but the houses are either
crumbling in the dust, or else a miserable palm-leaf hovel encumbers
the space they once ornamented. But the gay inhabitants, who once gave
life and animation to these fair scenes, where are they? Alas! fled
with “the years beyond the flood.” Their bodies lie mouldering, not
only in the tens of thousands, or even the hundreds of thousands, but
in the millions of graves which occupy, for many miles in extent, the
city and its suburbs.

They present a most painful and humiliating spectacle to every
beholder, whose feelings are not wholly callous to so sad a scene. The
tenantable houses which remain, are occupied by a squalid and sickly
race of Chinese, Malays and Bugis, who are generally very poor, and
live upon the scantiest substance, being _unable_ to remove to a better
country, away from the pestiferous air which destroys their health,
occasioned by deleterious swamps, stagnant pools, and the miasma which
is constantly generating from the decomposition of vegetable matter.

It may be thought that I have given an exaggerated statement of the
frightful mortality which _has_ prevailed, and frequently _does_
prevail at Batavia--which clothes the ground with graves, and encumbers
it with monuments; but the returns of the Dutch records, according
to Raynal, give the deaths of _eighty-seven_ thousand sailors and
soldiers, in the hospitals, from 1714 to 1776; and upward of one
million of inhabitants, in the very short space of twenty-two years,
from 1730 to 1752, which can no longer leave any doubts as to its
perfect correctness.

Since the walls of the city were demolished by the British, and a great
number of filthy and useless canals have been filled up, the general
opinion is, (and more particularly within the last half dozen years,)
that the old town is rather less sickly than formerly; however, no new
houses are being erected within the city proper, but are extending
altogether beyond the old barrier, in a southerly and easterly
direction towards the country, from two to five miles, where it has
been found much more healthy.

Stately avenues of trees line the roads, and the few canals remaining
are kept more clean than formerly. The modern houses are airy and
spacious, generally of one story in height, and surrounded generally,
with very wide piazzas. The avenues leading to the houses are kept
neatly gravelled; and the grounds are adorned with trees, shrubs,
and flowers: showing a correct taste which seems (to make use of
a mercantile phrase) to have been imported from England, for it
is quite at variance with the general style of laying out Dutch
pleasure-grounds. In fact, there is an air of neatness and comfort
displayed, which serves to divert the mind from dwelling too much on
the fact, that you are living in the midst of this store-house of
disease, where you are constantly warned by the inhabitants to keep
away from every partial draft of air, for if the perspiration is
checked, a fever or diarrhœa, or more fatal dysentery will ensue; and
you are again warned, if the sea-breeze should set in _early_, before
the sun has had time to absorb the exhalations, the malaria of the
marshes, to keep within your room with closed doors. The night air is
also highly deleterious, and the fervid rays of a noonday sun not less
fatal, so that no person who is able fails to keep a carriage. Constant
and profuse perspiration soon impairs the digestive organs, loss of
appetite follows and debility ensues: mental and bodily exertion
becomes painful, and the health is soon impaired.

These are a _few_ among the _many, many_ drawbacks of an unhealthy
tropical climate; yet every climate is to be found in Java, from
the most unhealthy to the most salubrious, from swamps teeming with
exhalations in the highest degree noxious, to the pure mountain-breeze,
which brings health on its wings, and is redolent with the sweets
wafted from a thousand fragrant flowers.

The merchants go to the city about nine, take tiffin at their
counting-houses at twelve, return to the country about four, and dine
between six and seven. As soon as the lights appear on the table, it
is the signal for the sport of myriads of moschetoes and midges. Boots
are then indispensable, unless the feet and ankles are otherwise well
covered; when the knife and fork do not claim the attention, your hands
are industriously employed in driving off these eternal pests from the
exposed parts of the body.

The hospitality of the English, Scotch, and Americans, is proverbial,
and they live upon the most amicable terms; there is none of that petty
jealousy, and bad feeling, which is seen to exist among rival houses,
in many other places.

The custom-house stands on the brink of the great canal, which leads
into the bay, and where it once terminated, it probably extends now
three quarters of a mile beyond it, to the barrier or break-water,
which has lately been erected at its entrance; it is extremely shallow,
suitable only for very small craft, and as it is constantly filling up
by accumulations of filth from the city, and by mud and sand thrown in
by the sea-breeze, it is probable it will within a few years, extend
as far again into the bay. As a baneful monopolizing spirit seems to
pervade this government in almost every particular, even the poor
fishermen are not exempt, who labour continually in a broiling sun, or
a deluge of rain, following their vocation far at sea. Their fish are
sold at public auction at two o’clock every afternoon, so that the
government may take their share of the “_fishes_” which fall to their
lot; the “_loaves_” are obtained from the poor cultivators of the soil.
The retailers, mostly Chinese, buy and hawk them about in baskets every
where, at a very considerably advanced price.

The criminals repairing and extending the canal, may be hourly seen
in the water, among caymans or huge alligators, and are said never
to have been molested by them, but in one instance, while a white
man is certain to be seized at once. If the alligator show a decided
preference for the whites, the buffaloes throughout India show a very
strong aversion to them, and either attack them or run from them in
dismay; yet the smallest Indian boy has them under complete control.

The buffaloes, on the great western prairies in the United States,
show the same aversion to the whites, or probably to all hunters,
and, whenever they see them, they fly in great terror; the hunters,
therefore, always go to leeward of the herd.


The Chinese burying-grounds occupy a vast extent of land in the
suburbs; I may say, with truth, of many miles. Near one of them is an
old temple, in which are deposited, probably, fifteen or twenty idols,
principally made of granite, dug up at various times, on the island.
They are said to be of Javanese origin, but they must have been brought
thither by Bramins in bygone days. The Chinese worship them, as they
do every thing else that bears the remotest appearance to “the human
face divine,” or any of the hideous images representing the demon of
mischief--any thing, but the one, great, invisible Being. The public
archives are kept in the extensive building, called the palace, at

The governor does not occupy this building, when in town, but a much
smaller one, on the street of which the “Genootschap,” or academy of
arts and sciences occupies one part, in the building kept for public
parties, called the “Harmonic.”

The palace is a noble building, and kept in good order. In the audience
hall are about forty pictures, of the Dutch governor-generals of
Netherlands’ India. Some of them are dressed in very quaint costume,
and if their countenances are faithfully represented, I must say, no
man would willingly change faces with the greater part of them. There
are a few, however, of noble and manly features, who have nothing
savouring of the “thumbscrew” in their countenances. _Generally_, the
paintings are bad--some four or five are very valuable. A full-length
portrait of his present majesty is placed at the head of the room.

The wages paid to servants have nearly doubled within a few years; the
present rate is from six to twelve guilders (equal to two dollars,
forty cents, or four dollars, eighty cents) per month, out of which
they furnish their provisions in part, which consist principally of
rice, it being a very cheap article in Java. Considering that each
servant attends to but one piece of duty--that one bujong attends to
the cutting of grass only, for two horses, which occupies but a small
part of the day, and that the larger portion of the time of the almost
innumerable servants is spent in idleness, labour is excessively high,
compared with that of any other country, even the dearest parts of the
United States. The house-servants, with few exceptions, are Malays, who
speak no English.

The Genootschap, or Academy of Arts and Sciences, has a small library
of a few hundred volumes. With the exception of a model of a bridge,
a Javanese lion, some half dozen miniature models of Japanese houses,
warlike instruments, a few coins, and a few common shells, there is
nothing worth naming.

Our kind Batavian friends accompanied us on board, and on the
twenty-second of July we sailed for Angier, where we arrived the
following day. During our stay the thermometer ranged in the roadstead
from 83° to 89°, and the barometer between 29.75 to 29.95. There were
only five days on which it rained, and then only light showers. There
were some cases of dysentery, diarrhœa, and fevers, but there were no
deaths among the crew. There were about two cases of dysentery to one
of fever.

Toward midnight, on the twenty-eighth of July, as the moon was gently
sinking behind the mountains which overlook the campong of Angier, a
light land-breeze suddenly sprung up. Orders were immediately given to
weigh anchor. The shrill whistle of the boatswain and his two mates,
followed by their deep grum voices, calling all hands, “roused many a
heavy sleeper, unwillingly from his hammock,” wishing the boatswain,
and his call together, in Davy Jones’s locker. We were under way in
a few minutes, in company with the Boxer, proceeding through the
straits of Sunda, having once more launched into the Indian ocean.
The lofty peak, of Crokatoa, the mountainous island of Tamarind,
and the lesser islands of Thwart, the Way, the Button, and the Cap,
with part of the coast of Sumatra, were distinctly visible. Before
losing sight of Prince’s island, the wind came from the southward and
eastward, accompanied with fine weather, which continued to waft us
rapidly over the rolling billows to the westward, till the sixteenth
of August, having run our westing down mostly between the latitude
of 10° 11″ to secure strong breezes; being then in latitude about
2° south and 52″ east longitude, the wind veered to the southwest,
but without any diminution of strength, or any alteration of the fine
weather we had previously enjoyed. It continued until the evening of
the twentieth, when we descried, first, the most easterly land on the
continent of Africa, cape Orfui, otherwise called, by the Arabs, Ras
Hafoon; then the mountains lying to the northward of this cape, called
Gebel Jordafoon; and then cape Guardafui, or the cape of burials; the
northeast extremity of Africa, and the southernmost cape of the gulf
of Arabia. The land appeared like the outline of a well-defined cloud,
high in the heavens. The next morning, we doubled close round this
bold promontory, which was so formidable in ancient times to the timid
Arabian mariner.

[Sidenote: BURNT ISLAND.]

“The shrill spirit of the storm sat not dim upon the bluff brow,” “nor
enjoyed the death of the mariner,” for the morning was bright, and
fair, and joyous. The loud roaring of the sea shamed not the thunder,
as it was wont to do, for it was almost unruffled. The tremendous sound
of the mysterious bell, which was wont to be heard high above the loud
surges of the ocean, warning the mariner of his fate, if he approached
too boldly, was hushed; and the bodiless hand, which was seen to give
it motion, had disappeared in the lapse of ages. We kept close to the
northern shore, as far as Metté, or Burnt island, to take the benefit
of a current setting to the westward.

Being so near the land, we suffered severely from the hot, suffocating
air of this inhospitable region. Clothes were a burden, sleep fled
from us, and the slightest exertion was painful. The whole aspect of
the land was most dreary and most desolate. Mountains and plains of
sand, only, were presented to our view, looking “like drifted gold
in summer’s cloudless beam.” Not a tree, nor a shrub, nor scarcely a
blade of grass, to relieve the eye of the extreme aridity of this vast
wilderness. Here and there, at great intervals, were a few miserable
huts, in a gully, formed by the washing away of the sand; and the
great comfort derived from the “shadow of a high rock in a hot and
dreary land,” would have been felt here as an inestimable blessing.
Now and then, a naked and poverty-stricken fisherman was seen stealing
along the shore, propelling, with his double-bladed paddle, a frail
catamaran, made of two or three sticks of wood, sitting to his waist
in water, having a rush sack to put his fish in, and liable to be made
the prey of the voracious blue shark, which abounds in these waters. He
was in search of what could not be found on the land, to wit, something
edible; something to nourish his own frail body, or satisfy the
cravings of a famishing wife, and a brood of naked, starving, helpless

We were a few days in accomplishing the short distance of two hundred
and forty miles, from the cape to Metté, and then shaped our course for
cape Aden in Arabia Felix, which we descried the following morning,
presenting a bold, broken outline. We continued coasting along the
shore till the twenty-ninth, when we spoke an East India company’s
cruiser, the Nautilus, the same brig which the Peacock captured at the
termination of the late war with Great Britain. She had under convoy
four brigs from Mocha, bound to Surat. They were very much crowded with
_good_ mussulmans, from Mecca, who had been on a pilgrimage to the holy
city, and were purified of all their sins, past, present, and to come,
by the waters of the miraculous well of Zemzen, &c., and were now sure
of admission into the sensual paradise of the prophet.

The triple and quadruple mountains of Yemen were distinctly visible,
and the sandy coast was interrupted at intervals by high land, till
we made the broken hill which forms the celebrated cape of Death, or
cape of Tears, Babel Mandeb, better known to the world as Babel Mandel.
The passage between this headland and the island of Perim, and Babel
Mandeb, is less than a mile and a half wide according to the chart of
Sir Home Popham. It is called by modern navigators the lesser Bab, or


Head winds and adverse currents obliged us to enter the Red sea through
the great channel formed between Perim and the group of islands, called
“Souamba,” or the Eight Brothers, lying on the Abyssinian shore. We
therefore had on either hand Africa and Asia in full view, both
equally steril and lofty in the interior. Although the distance is but
forty miles to Mocha, from the straits, yet it occupied the remaining
two days of the month to effect it, owing to contrary currents and
winds. We anchored in five fathoms water, at the distance of two miles
from the shore; immediately on anchoring, a lieutenant (Brent) was sent
on shore to the dowlah or governor, to say that a salute of fifteen
guns should be given, if an equal number were returned; this was
promptly complied with. We found Mocha in possession of a Turkish rebel
chieftain, Turkie ben al Mas by name, who it seems has held it for the
last seven months; he was an officer in the service of Mehemet Ali the
celebrated pacha of Egypt, and being discontented with his situation
he thought it best to carve out for himself, with the assistance of
his sword, a little good fortune, in the shape of a governor over a
few cities; he collected together a number of followers, soldiers of
fortune, who are always to be found in Egypt, as well as in Turkey and
elsewhere, ready to draw the sword for those who will pay the best and
make the largest promises. These troops consisted of Turks, Copts or
Egyptians, Bedouin and other Arabs, and Abyssinians. It seems on his
march from Grand Cairo, where the expedition was planned, he conquered
the principal places, lying on the Arabian side of the Red sea; meeting
with some opposition at Judda alias Djidda, the port of disembarkation
for pilgrims going to the holy city of Mecca, it was plundered and
many of the inhabitants were slain. Here he found seven large East
India built ships, armed and equipped, belonging to his late master;
of these, he took forcible possession, putting on board some troops,
and ordering them to Mocha to co-operate with his army which proceeded
by land. He marched on with about three thousand men, capturing on his
way Hodeida, Loheia, &c., till he came to Zebid, better known as Waled
Zebid: here he met with considerable opposition, but finally it was
obliged to submit to the “strong arm.” Exasperated at the resistance
made by the dowlah, he ordered him to be put to the most cruel
death--such a one as could only enter into the imagination of a fiend
of darkness. A copper cap was made, heated red hot, then fitted to his
head, and his brains were literally fried out, he dying in the most
excruciating tortures. This place (Mocha) capitulated after some slight
skirmishing, on condition that the dowlah and the garrison should be
suffered to depart unmolested, with their arms, accoutrements and
baggage, to the interior; this was faithfully complied with as it
regarded the troops; they were suffered to depart without molestation
to the mountains of Yemen. The dowlah was promised every indulgence,
and the conqueror apparently took a deep interest in his welfare. He
was asked, with great seeming kindness, if he had a family, wives
and children, in the interior, and if he did not wish to see them
speedily. He answered in the affirmative, and expressed himself in very
forcible and affectionate terms--such as may be supposed to emanate
from a man of ardent temperament, and one whose feelings are centred
in the bosom of his family. He was informed that all his fears should
be speedily hushed, that he should depart for the mountains, and be
allowed a body-guard for his protection. On the second night after
their departure, as they drew near the first rise of mountains, and
within sight of the hills which overlooked the home of his children,
anticipating the delightful pleasure of once more beholding and
embracing them, as he was resting on the ground and partaking an humble
meal, he was most treacherously and cruelly shot, in two places,
through the back, and there left to be a prey for the eagle and jackall
of the mountains; while his poor and fatherless children were daily and
hourly looking from their tent-doors into the valleys, wondering why
he tarried so long, and complaining of his tardiness; but, alas, their
eyes were never destined to behold him more.


By a particular invitation, we visited the conqueror. We landed at a
stone-pier, and shortly passed through one of the city-gates. After
winding through extremely narrow and crooked streets, which were as
hot as the blast from a “baker’s oven,” we arrived at a building
dignified with the name of “the palace,” fronting an open space of
ground on one side, and on another, overlooking the harbour. There
were, lounging about the grand entrance, a goodly number of his
cut-throats, whose trade and pastime are blood, armed to the teeth,
and ready for service. We were conducted through long dark passages,
up a precipitous staircase, wide enough only for one person to advance
at a time. Landing places were frequent, and heavy doors at each, so
as to cut off all communication: wherever a soldier could be placed
on the narrow landings or passages, either above or below, there was
no space left empty. In passing through the entrance, up this narrow
stairway, the scene of so much bloodshed at different times, we were
strongly impressed with the idea, that the lumps of dirt and the spots
on the walls, were the blood and brains of many a victim; and however
erroneous the opinion might be, we imagined every thing about the
palace smelt of blood, as though it were the shambles of wretched human

We passed through the anteroom, filled with his body guard, and
found him reclining on a raised settee, covered with Turkey carpets.
Captain G. and myself were requested to take seats on each side of
him--he placing himself in the corner of the settee, probably as a
precautionary means against treachery. He was a stout, noble looking
man, having a bushy black beard and mustaches; his aspect was by no
means ferocious. He was rather plainly dressed, in dark striped silk,
and wore the red cloth cap.

He treated us with great affability and kindness, expressed himself
highly gratified at the sight of two American men-of-war, (being the
first, as we understood, that had ever entered the port.) He offered
every assistance in his power, and sent to the ship a present of some
bullocks, sheep, and vegetables. Our conversation related principally
to the difference in charges paid on English and American vessels. It
seems the English vessels pay a duty of two and a quarter per cent.,
without any other charges, while the Americans pay three per cent.
Anchorage money, which was one hundred and eighty, has been increased
as high as three hundred and fifty dollars on the largest vessels,
although it has been lessened lately to two hundred and fifty: the
harbour-master, also, is paid twenty-three dollars: there are, besides,
some smaller impositions. He promised to do all that lay in his power,
to equalize the charges on English and American vessels; but said
that the government was in a very unsettled state at present; that he
had sent despatches to the sultan of Stamboul, alias, Constantinople,
announcing the conquest of this and other places in his name, and that
he was now awaiting his orders, &c.

The wide anteroom-doors being open, the guard was within a few feet of
us, and heard all our conversation. They were principally Turks: some
wore the turban, and others the red military cap. They were heavily
armed about the waist, with two pair of horse-pistols, a cimeter, and
perhaps with one or two daggers; the handles of all being fancifully
inlaid with silver. Their complexions were generally of a light olive,
with black eyes and long beards. Some were quite white, having small
very light blue eyes. They were fine looking men, possessing stout
muscular frames. The sleeves of many were tucked up to the shoulder,
showing a very brawny arm. They stood in a respectful attitude, but
not cringing, like a Siamese or Cochin-Chinese, in the presence of a
superior. They were indolent in their appearance, yet the ferocity
of the tiger lurked in their countenances. A sign or a nod; a word,
or even a wink, was sufficient for these blood-hounds to lay us dead
at their master’s feet. But such fears were far from us, or that the
delicious coffee of Yemen, which we were sipping, was imbued with

Part of his fine stud of Arabian horses were handsomely caparisoned
and brought to the door, for us to ride through the town and into the
suburbs, to see the extensive villages of the Arabs, Sommanlis, or
Abyssinians. The village, occupied formerly by the Jews, was deserted;
what had become of them, we could not learn. Two slaves were placed at
the stirrup of each horse to accompany the party: for the most part of
the way they kept pace with the riders. These villages are situated,
generally, in the midst of extensive date-groves. The houses of the
Sommanlis have neat conical roofs, made of date-leaves, or coarse
rushes, and the sides are of the same material, or of mats. They have
woolly hair mostly, extremely black skins, but prominent noses, limbs
well formed, fine teeth, and rather pleasant countenances: they are as
straight built as the young areca.

There is a strange fashion prevailing among the fops of this village;
that of changing the colour of their wool to a light brown or yellow;
but as the colouring of gray hair, among a more civilized people, is by
no means uncommon, they are not, therefore, altogether singular. These
fops had no other covering to boast of than a waist-cloth.

[Sidenote: MOCHA--BEGGARS.]

The lofty mountains of Yemen afford great relief to the inland
prospect; but in the immediate vicinity of Mocha, there is only an
extensive date-grove; elsewhere every thing is desolate and steril:
the eye wanders in vain for an oasis, for some green spot, and sees
only tufts of coarse brown grass, and a plain of sand. The town has a
very neat and substantial appearance from the roadstead, presenting to
the view a compact mass of white buildings, mosques, minarets, and
castles, breaking only the uniformity of the scene. They are lofty, so
as to catch every breeze which passes over the walls--are flat-roofed,
and the inhabitants sleep on them in consequence of the excessive
heat. They are protected, in part, against the baneful effects arising
from heavy dews, and from the power of the moon, by a light leaf roof;
are clumsily built, mostly of brick baked in the sun; and there is no
appearance that a level was ever used. The floors are undulating, like
the waves of the sea. Crooked, dark, and narrow passages, and steep
staircases, with strong doors at every landing, ready to be barricaded
in case of an insurrection, or an enemy making his appearance, are
common in every house: in fact, every dwelling is a strong castle. On
entering within the city walls, all idea of comfort instantly vanishes;
dirty, intricate streets are every where lumbered with the rubbish
from ruined buildings; turbaned heads, the red military cap, and loose
floating garments, are seen at every step, all being heavily armed
about the waist, “ready to do battle;” women, with closely veiled
faces; porters, sweating most profusely, under heavy loads of luscious
dates, oozing through the meshes of the slight mat covering; strings
of camels, laden with coffee, &c., from Yemen, lying in the streets,
munching their allotted portion of hard brown beans, or bearing about
skins of water for sale; asses, without number, laden variously;
small droves of miserable cattle, or rather frames set up ready for
filling out, if sufficient encouragement should be given to effect
it. Abyssinian sheep, covered with hair instead of wool, having broad
tails, hanging nearly to the ground: they are mostly black-headed,
affording delicious mutton: goats, every where, grown fat even upon the
coarsest rushes, and the twigs and leaves of the common thorn. But the
most distressing sight is that of the poor, blind, diseased, and lame
beggars, which meet you every where, in the streets and in the bazars,
at the mosque-doors and at the doors of the palace, in the suburbs
and at the gates of the city, begging most earnestly for the smallest
pittance, for even one or two commassées, (a small copper coin, being
three hundred and eighty to the dollar,) or a few cowries. Some of them
were mere walking skeletons; their frames being covered with shrivelled
brown parchment, stretched over what resembled bunches of dried catgut,
being the muscular parts of the body. They had deep sunken cheeks,
hollow to the bones, and sharp noses; the nostrils being so nipped
in as to present only the mark of an orifice, like an old closed and
deep-cut wound, badly united: not a particle of flesh was on their
legs, arms, or their collapsed bodies. Some could walk, but how it was
effected, in their extremely emaciated condition, was a mystery of
wonder; the slightest breath of wind would almost overpower them; and I
was, several times, upon the eve of holding out my hands to save these
shadows from being dashed to the ground. Death stared them in the face,
and only suffered them to remain in misery a few moments longer, that
they might complete, perhaps, their allotted task of penance, for the
vile deeds done in the body.

We passed through extensive covered bazars, which appeared to be well
supplied with goods. The size of some of the shops, or rather closets,
was extremely small, the vender sitting with his legs under him, having
every thing within reach of his hands. There was but little fruit and
vegetables for sale, but fish and fowls, goats, sheep, and bullocks,
in abundance; plenty of dates; some highly-flavoured, but extremely
small oblong grapes; raisins, without seed; and ordinary pomegranates.
Occasionally, there may be had water-melons, sweet potatoes, onions, a
superior kind of sorrel, and some long gourds.

About the coffee-houses, (or rather sheds,) were seen, in groups,
soldiers, smoking their chebouks, and sipping their small cups
(resembling egg-cups) of coffee, made from the husk of the berry,
without the addition of sugar or milk. They were generally reclining on
rough-made settees, covered with the strong leaf of the date-palm. They
were of all shades, from the deep black to the brown Bedouin, and to
the unadulterated white from Georgia and the Caucasian mountains. They
were, with scarcely an exception, men of noble features: their dresses
were as various as the nations they came from. They pay only three or
four commassées for their refreshments. This small coin, and cowries,
are the only currency used in the bazars for small transactions; but
Spanish dollars and German crowns are almost wholly used in larger
ones; and Persian rupees, and those of Bombay and Surat, and foreign
gold, are no strangers. During the time I was examining this motley
group of strange beings, the hour of evening prayer drew nigh. As the
sun disappeared behind the mountains of Abyssinia, a loud cry was
heard--“Hark!” cried many voices:--

    “Hark, from the mosque, the nightly solemn sound,
    The Muezzin’s call doth shake the minaret;
    ‘There is no God but God: to prayer--lo! God is great.’”

Each one then spread his garment, or a mat, upon the ground, and
instantly the assembled multitude of Mussulmans were on their knees,
facing to the north towards Mecca, and praying to Allah with low
prostrations, and every outward demonstration of intense devotion. It
was a pleasing sight even to a “Giaour,” to one who never doubted the
founder of their religion was not the “true prophet;” but still, it
must be acknowledged, he was of infinite service in turning millions
from gross idolatry, to the worship of “one true and ever-living God.”


The export of coffee from this place, annually, is about eight thousand
bales, of three hundred and five pounds each; and the price, at
present, is said to be from twenty-nine to thirty-two dollars per bale;
but we paid at the rate of thirty-six dollars for some bales of the
very first quality. A small part of this goes to the Persian gulf, to
Surat, and Bombay, probably making, altogether, one half; the remainder
is taken by the Americans. From the other ports in the Red sea, as high
up as Djedda, (Judda,) it is carried to El Coseir, or Kooseir, Suez,
&c.; and so on to Egypt, Turkey, &c. Gum Arabic, myrrh, frankincense,
dates, and a few smaller articles, may be added to the list of exports.
The difficulty of egress, during the northeast monsoon, the wind and
current adverse and very strong, which commences about the latter
part of September, is a great obstacle in trading to this port. If it
was possible to direct the trade to Aden, situated a hundred miles to
the eastward of cape Babel Mandeb, which is furnished with two good
harbours, this very serious obstacle would be obviated. In no part of
the world have I seen fish in greater abundance; they go in immense
shoals, and appear, to an inexperienced eye, like low breakers over
spits of sand, or a barred harbour. Birds are, in great numbers,
hovering over them, waiting with impatience for their portion of food.
Rock-weed is seen floating down the Red sea in great quantities. The
only boat used for fishing, is the catamaran, similar to those already
described. The stationary number of inhabitants in the city, is said
not to exceed five thousand; but, at present, there are probably about
ten thousand, in addition, including the soldiers, women and children,
and other followers of the army. In the environs of the city, are seen
thousands of miserable beings, lying on mats or on the sand, having a
slight tent made of the date-leaf, a mat or two, or some rags tacked
together, possessing little or no covering for the body, and apparently
scarcely any thing on which to feed it, to prevent the immortal part
from deserting the mortal.

I observed, in several houses, the “transparent stone,” which is placed
over the tops of the latticed windows; there was as much light shed
through it as through ground glass.

The colour of the Red sea has long given occasion to a variety of
conjectures and speculations. Doctor Ehrenberg discovered that it was
owing to small animalcules, which he names, “oscillatoria,” which hold
a rank midway between plants and animals. This colour may hold good, as
it regards the more northern part of the sea, but at Mocha it is of a
light sea-green.



We remained in Mocha roads only two days, and then sailed, on the
evening of the first of September, for Muscat. Owing to light winds, we
did not pass the “Lesser Bab,” or the narrow straits of Babel Mandel,
till three o’clock in the morning of the third, having drifted through
them by the help of the current, in a night resplendently beautiful,
and “in silence” passed we “through the Gate of Tears.”

[Sidenote: MUSCAT.]


Nothing remarkable occurred on our passage through the gulf and sea
of Arabia, till the thirteenth, when we made Ras el Had, or cape
Rosselgate, being the extreme northeastern limit of Arabia, having
had the winds, during the passage, very light, from the southward and
westward. Ras el Had is a low sandy point. A range of high mountains
form the background of the landscape, which have an altitude of
nearly seven thousand feet; this is a link in a chain of mountains,
which extend as far as the Devil’s Gap and Kuriat, and are known by
the name of Jeebel Huthera, or the Green mountains. Off the cape,
were a great number of small boats fishing, principally with spears
and grains; the harpooner standing in the bow, who, immediately on
striking a fish, sprung into the water, more effectually to secure
his prey. Sharks appeared to be their object, which are dried and
shipped to various places; and the fins reserved solely for the China
market. The surface of the water was red with myriads of crabs, which
were sent forth by the _Great Provider_ of all things, to sustain the
larger fish. The day previous to our arrival, as we lay at anchor, a
few miles from Muscat, a boat was despatched, under the command of
Acting-Lieutenant Brent, to the sultan, to inform him of our arrival,
and the object of the visit. The boat returned laden with abundance of
exquisite _grapes_, of four different kinds, and ripe _dates_, just
plucked from the trees, and strung together like large golden beads,
refreshing to the taste, and by no means too luscious or cloying to
the appetite. There were other fruits also sent, such as the season
afforded, with a number of goats and sheep, being presents from the
sultan; bringing also complimentary messages, and congratulating us
on our safe arrival, and expressing himself highly flattered, that,
at length, United States’ ships-of-war should, for the first time,
visit his ports, and more especially for the object of the mission.
On the evening of the eighteenth, we anchored in Muscat cove, in
company with the Boxer. The winds from the cape, were very light, from
between southwest and southeast; and the current constantly against
us, setting out of the Persian gulf. The coast appeared to be nearly
as steril as that of Abyssinia or Somauli, being mountainous, barren,
rocky, and sandy; but villages were much oftener to be seen, and
frequently of a large size, in the midst of groves of the date-palm.
Boats also were in great numbers, and well built, instead of the frail
catamaran; they were provided with cotton sails, and the owners were,
apparently, better fed than those about the Red sea, and wore most
venerable long beards, quite outstripping any of the goat family.
The waters were teeming with food--fish were in greater abundance,
if it be possible, than about Mocha. In the morning, an interchange
of salutes took place. The harbour, or rather cove of Muscat, is
extremely limited in its dimensions; it does not exceed three fourths
of a mile in depth, from its entrance at the small islet, called the
Fishers’ Rock, lying off the northern part of the Muscat island, and
its width, between the fort on the island, and another fort on the
main, on the western shore, is scarcely one half its depth. It is open
to the north, and during the prevalence of northerly and westerly
gales, in the winter, a heavy sea is thrown in. The cove is bounded
by very precipitous black rocks, running up to the height of three or
four hundred feet, being much jagged or serrated; and on the higher
parts are perched small circular towers, which are said to have been
placed there by the Portuguese, in the “olden-time,” when they held
possession of the place. They are, apparently, inaccessible to every
thing, but hawks, gulls, and sea-swallows, which abound in its caverns
and fissures. No place (excepting always a plain of sand) presents a
more forbidding aspect than this; not a green thing is to be seen,
whether tree, shrub, or plant, from the roadstead. The town and its
two castles, which crown the tops of very high rocks, to the east and
to the north, and which are evidently intended as much to overawe and
defend the town, as the harbour, together with the two forts and its
towers, are the only objects (if I may except a few white stone houses)
which at all relieve the dreary prospect. Unless the wind blows from
the northward, or a strong breeze from the southward and eastward,
through the narrow gap, which separates Muscat island from the main
land, the heat is excessive, for there is not the slightest degree of
elasticity in the air; and the heated rocks are never cooled during
three fourths of the year, and the sun seems to dart forth its rays
with great malignity. During our stay, the night wind occasionally blew
from the land, and then the heat was almost insupportable; every one
complained of its suffocating effects, the perspiration poured from
the body like rain, and the strength was at once prostrate. The town
lies at the bottom of the cove, at the only level spot to be seen,
between very high ridges of rocks in the southwestern quarter. It is
walled, excepting the part fronting the harbour, having round towers
at the principal angles. With the exception of the sultan’s palace,
whose walls are bathed on the harbour side by “Oman’s green waters,”
and on another side by the bazar, a narrow, dark covered street, and a
few other decent looking houses, miserably built of stone, and coated
with chunam, the larger portion are small, dark, and filthy, made of
palm-branches only, or at best covered with mats, or coated with mud,
so that the periodical rains frequently demolish a considerable portion
of the city, and they are then seen floating in fragments through the
streets, which are converted into so many canals, by the torrents of
water which descend from the circumjacent mountains. A mat laid on
the bare earth, is the bed of the occupants, and their hands pillow
their heads; an earthen pot is their only cooking utensil, and dried
camel’s dung and palm-branches their fuel. Dates and fish, in scanty
quantities, twice a day, form generally their meals; and when they
are so fortunate as to obtain a few ounces of goat-meat, it is cut
into small pieces, and roasted on wooden skewers. The inhabitants are
indolent, and those who are neither sailors nor soldiers, mechanics
nor merchants, are miserably poor. Beggars are every where, and it is
even a more remarkable place for blind people than Mocha; they are
seen in groups at the corners of the streets, crying out in the most
piteous manner, for the love of Allah, the holy prophet, and all the
santons, to give them something to relieve their wretched condition.
The lanes, or rather slits, between the buildings, are very irregular,
encumbered with filth and rubbish; and the houses are similar in
construction to those of Mocha. The city, within the walls, is reported
to contain about twelve thousand inhabitants, and as every foot of
ground is covered with buildings, (there being neither gardens nor open
squares,) I suppose this number not to be exaggerated, notwithstanding
the circumference of the walls does not exceed a mile. The larger
part of the inhabitants are Arabs; the remainder are from various
parts of Hindostan, Persians, Scindians, Abyssinians, and negro slaves
from the coast of Zanzibar; all reposing in safety under the mild
and equitable government of a very worthy prince. The population of
the suburbs is estimated at five thousand. Here may be seen weavers
manufacturing fine check cloth, with red and yellow silk ends, which
form the turbans, universally worn by all who are born within the
kingdom of Aman, whether the sultan or the subject. The weavers dig a
hole in the ground, for their feet, and form a seat a step higher, to
sit on; they use a very primitive loom, and the web is extended but a
few inches above the ground, a light date-leaf shed serving to protect
them against the rays of the sun. A few blacksmiths, coppersmiths,
ropemakers, carpenters, and sandal-makers, are almost the only trades
that are carried on to any extent. The mechanic arts are conducted
in the streets, under open sheds. The bellows of the smiths are of a
very primitive construction; two skins are so arranged, that while one
is filling with air, they blow with the other; with a hand placed on
each, they are alternately depressed and filled. A hole in the ground
serves for a fireplace, and another for water; a stone serves for an
anvil, and with clumsy hammers, and sitting on their hams, they carry
on, in a very slow manner, their imperfect trade. The slave-bazar
is near the landing-place, and a sale is made every evening towards
sunset; the slaves are well oiled, to show a smooth skin, and they are
decently dressed; the males with a waistcloth, and the females have,
in addition, a breastcloth. The auctioneer parades them through the
streets on the day of sale, and, if a higher price is not offered at
_public_ sale, than was bid privately, they are then delivered to
the highest private bidder. Goods are hawked out about the streets
in the same way; to wit, Cashmere shawls, swords, spears, rhinoceros
shields, &c., &c. The slave-bazar is a great resort for Arab dandies;
decorated with fine sabres and silver-hilted crooked daggers, which
are worn in the shawls which encircle their waists; their long beards
well perfumed, and their turbans arranged according to the prevailing
fashion, they examine females as well as males, with little regard to
delicacy, or even to common decency. In passing through the streets,
we constantly met Arab, Abyssinian, and negro women with masks, having
in them oblong eye-holes; they were made of black cloth or silk, some
being bound with gold lace; their dress a black, blue, or dark robe,
with trousers of the same, or else made of cross-barred silk. Very
few of them turned their faces to the wall when we passed, but they
stopped and took a full view of us. Hindoo barbers carry on their trade
generally in the street. After having shaved the head, a part of the
face, and over the _eyelids_, extracted the hairs from the nose and
ears, trimmed the mustaches, and perfumed the beard with sweet-scented
Arab oil, they conclude by cutting the finger and toe nails; the whole
being done with an air of much gravity and importance. It is said they
have the same characteristic marks here, that they do in many other
parts of the world; being great tattlers, newsmongers, politicians,
and story-tellers. The Arabs stain their feet black or red, nearly to
the ankles; and the hands and nails of the fingers and feet with red
henna, as well as a narrow black stripe along the outer edge of one or
both eyelashes, with antimony, to give a more pleasing expression, and
sparkling effect to the eye.

Small fish being very abundant about the ship, the fishermen came in
great numbers to throw their nets. They are of a circular form, and
probably fifteen feet in diameter, loaded with small weights at the
extremities, having a line fastened to the centre to draw it up; when
thrown in it sinks gradually, the weights being light; when it has sunk
to the depth of eight or ten feet, two divers jump overboard to drive
the fish within the net; when they wish to draw it up, the weights
close the bottom, and so secure all that are within its meshes.

Several divers were employed to find a sword which by an accident was
lost overboard in eight fathoms, where the ship was anchored; two of
them went down several times, and the greatest length of time either
remained under water, was _two_ minutes and _five_ seconds. The ship’s
bottom being very foul, two large gangs of divers were employed to
cleanse it, which was thoroughly effected with scrapers and rubbers
in the course of four hours, taking off oysters of the size nearly of
the palm of the hand, and barnacles also of a very large size; this
was done at an expense of twenty-five dollars. It had a very ludicrous
effect to see so many venerable long beards, white, grizzled and black,
thus employed, and constantly popping their bare heads and dripping
beards out of the water.


We were many times in the day amused to see two very large fin-back
whales fishing alongside, and under the bows and stern of the ship.
The male has been a daily visiter in this harbour for upward of twenty
years, and goes by the name of “Muscat Tom.” Formerly the cove was much
infested with sharks, so that no person would venture into the water;
but after he took possession, it was freed entirely of these pests,
these sea-manduleens, (mandarins,) as the Chinese fishermen call them,
in derision of the all-grasping _land mandarins_. A few years since he
was missing for many days; the sharks ascertained by some means that he
was “not at home” to pay _particular_ attention to his _visiters_ and
invite them _in_; they therefore intruded upon his quarters, and not
only banqueted upon his larder, which was filled with a great variety
of fine fish, but actually invited and _sore pressed_ some of the land
bipeds to _follow_ them; as they are equally as well pleased with flesh
as with fish, the consequence was, the _natives_ refused to join any
other _jamb_ or _crush_ of the usurpers, and took a great dislike to
_aquatic parties_. Happily at length, bold Tom returned, and every
thing was restored to its proper order; for he had been like “Celebs
in search of a wife;” and if he did not bring her home under his arm,
he brought her under his fin, and “she was a helpmeet unto him;” and
together they made a clear _sweep_ of all the pests and incumbrances of
their household, to the great joy of the land-animals, who again paid
them frequent visits.

They have never been known _wilfully_ to injure them; but occasionally
when they were in full chase after a _school_ of _small fry_ who were
playing truant within their submarine garden, they would unluckily
upset the water carriage of their neighbours; however, as no offence
was intended, an apology was deemed wholly unnecessary, and the natives
acted a very wise part by not showing a useless resentment to their
benefactors. Hourly the happy pair may be seen moving along very
lovingly together “cheek by jowl,” occasionally sinking to the bottom,
but not in search, as some may foolishly imagine, for----

    “Wedges of gold, great anchors, heaps of pearl,
    Inestimable stones, unvalued jewels,
    All scattered in the bottom of the sea,
    Some lying in dead men’s sculls; and in those holes
    Where eyes did once inhabit, there were crept
    As ’twere in scorn of eyes:”--

but after something more useful; they are now seen rising with
great swiftness perpendicularly half their length out of water, and
with wide expanded jaws, catching all that comes within the vortex,
filling the enormous sacks under their throats full to overflowing;
and “thereby suck they _in_ no small advantage.” Whenever the water
is too shallow to rise in this manner, they dash forward with the
rapidity of lightning, making a great breach; their ponderous body
being thrown frequently entirely out of water. Many fishermen follow
them to catch the fish they kill, but do not swallow; and by these
means obtain during the day a great number. Muscat Tom and his wife
are never known to sleep in the harbour, having sufficient sagacity to
know, that they might be cast on shore by the current, and so caught
_napping_. I observed that the same silly custom prevails here with
the fishermen, as in many parts of the United States and elsewhere, by
spitting on their bait to _insure good luck_. During our stay about two
thousand Bedwin (Bedouin) Arabs arrived by order of the sultan; they
were to be embarked on board the ships-of-war at the commencement of
the northeast monsoon for Mombas, and other parts in Africa; they are a
little darker coloured than the Arabs of Mocha, slender built, of good
open countenances, and with fine sparkling eyes: the hair dressed in
small-sized spiral curls, and profusely oiled, wearing a bandage around
the head to confine it. They had no covering to the head, were naked
excepting the waist, and were generally armed with spears.

There are a great number of small villages within a small distance
of Muscat, wherever a tolerably level spot can be found between the
precipitous rocks. The principal one of six, lying around the shore
of Muttrah harbour, is the walled town of Muttrah, which is said
to contain about eight thousand inhabitants, including a colony of
Belooches, or Scindians, from the banks of the renowned Indus. They
occupy a walled town within the walls of Muttrah, having sentries
constantly posted at their only gate, which fronts the beach. The
principal business transacted at Muttrah, is building and repairing
of vessels. The poorer inhabitants of all these towns are very filthy
and nearly naked, and not abundantly supplied with food, even of the
meanest kind. They are very civil in their demeanour; but by no means
deficient in curiosity. It is about two miles from Muscat to Muttrah.
The passes between the rocks being very narrow, and exceedingly
difficult, and the heat overpowering, the communication is kept up by
means of canoes, neatly painted, having a temporary date-leaf roof,
and a mat to sit on. Large droves of camels and dromedaries, from the
interior, arrive daily, laden with wheat, dates, grapes, &c.

All religions, within the sultan’s dominions, are not merely tolerated,
but they are protected by his highness; and there is no obstacle
whatever to prevent the Christian, the Jew, or the Gentile, from
preaching their peculiar doctrines, or erecting temples. The principal
part of his subjects are of the sect of the Mahometans, called the
Bee-asis: they profess to abstain from the use of tobacco, spirits,
and all fermented liquors, and from every description of pomp and
magnificence, in their dress, their houses, or their mosques. (The
latter are very ordinary buildings, being destitute of all ornaments,
and without minarets.) They do not grant pre-eminence to the
descendants of Mahomet, but maintain that all who are Mussulmans by
birth, are eligible for any employment in church or state. I was of the
opinion, until I became better acquainted with these people, that they
were more strict than the other sects, both in precept and practice;
but their religious prejudices are broken down, the form only is left;
and away from Muscat, or those who are not in the immediate employ of
the sultan, and are therefore not in daily attendance upon his person,
they use tobacco, as well as all intoxicating liquors, freely. This
is frankly acknowledged by the sultan’s own officers. Several small
craft arrived from the Bahrein islands, bringing a deputation from
the principal ruler, requesting assistance and protection against
the Wahabees or Joassames, who had again collected a large army, and
threatened to take possession of their islands. It was said, they were
in arrears for three or four years’ tribute-money, which they were
first commanded to pay. A compromise was attempted by the deputies; but
it was not settled when we left there. The vessels wore a striped flag,
either of red and green or red and white.


The sultan possesses a very fine stud of Arab horses. I saw, at
different times, about two hundred. He is the owner, as I was informed
by the colonel, or commander of the Bedwin cavalry, of all the horses
in Muscat, or the neighbouring towns. He was very desirous of sending
to the President of the United States, two stallions and two mares
of the best blood; but it was declined, because the ship was not of
sufficient size to carry them, comfortably and safely, through the
tempestuous weather usually encountered from the entrance of the
Mozambique channel to the cape of Good Hope. The sultan’s horses are
fed upon lucerne and dates; and it is said that most of the cattle,
sheep, and goats, are fed upon dates and fish. The coarsest kind of
grass, and rushes even, are difficult to be obtained at any price, and
all the lucerne belongs to the sultan.

We found the mutton here very excellent, the sheep costing two dollars,
and goats at various prices: fowls from one dollar to two and a half
per dozen: bullocks, very fat and very palatable, at ten dollars
each. But there were no hogs, turkeys, geese, or ducks. Fish was very
abundant and cheap, and generally good flavoured. Both white and purple
grapes were supplied us daily, and in profusion, by the sultan. The
pomegranates were much superior to any I have ever seen. There were
but few mangoes, the season for them having passed. The oranges were
insipid, and tasted like the sweet lemon. Limes were very plentiful.
The muskmelons gave out a fine perfume, but they were very tasteless.
The dates, when not too ripe, had the flavour of a very sweet green
chestnut. Pistachios, almonds, raisins, and kismisses, (or seedless
raisins,) were plenty. Of vegetables, there were the long purple
egg-plant, potatoes, onions, okra, and parsley. The date molasses was
very good; wheat sold for one dollar and a quarter for one hundred
English pounds; and a French brig was lading with it and jacks, for the
Mauritius. The water, which supplies the shipping and the principal
part of the inhabitants, is drawn from a very deep well outside the
walls of Muscat, by a buffalo, up an inclined plane, and then brought
in skins, on men’s backs, to the landing.

The sole object of our visit to Muscat, was to effect a commercial
treaty with his highness, Syed Syeed bin Sultan, and to obtain a
reduction of the duties and port-charges, heretofore paid on our
commerce, so as to place it upon a footing with the most favoured
nations. The sultan appointed an audience in the afternoon of the day
subsequent to our arrival. I landed, in company with Captain Geisinger
and Lieutenant-Commandant Shields, of the Boxer. We found the sultan,
with his eldest son the governor of Burha, and ten gentlemen, composing
his divan or council, sitting in the veranda, facing the harbour.
The governor and the counsellors were sitting on chairs facing each
other, and the sultan was seated about ten or twelve feet from them
in a corner. He immediately arose, on our entrance, and walked to
the edge of the raised floor, between the courtiers, and received
us very graciously, shaking us by the hand. Here was to be seen no
abasing crawling, and couching, and “knocking head,” like a parcel of
slaves; but all was manly, and every one stood on his feet. The usual
congratulatory compliments and inquiries were made; and coffee and
sherbet were introduced. I was seated near to, and on the right hand of
his highness; and we entered into a private conversation, through the
interpreter, Captain Calfaun, relative to the object of the mission,
(after having presented my credentials.) The sultan at once acceded to
my wishes, by admitting our commerce into his ports upon the same terms
of his most favoured friends, the British, to wit: by paying a duty of
five per cent. on the cargo _landed_, and free from every other charge
whatever, either on imports or exports, or even the charge of pilotage.
When the fifth article of the proposed treaty was read, which related
to shipwrecked seamen, he at once objected to that part of it relating
to a remuneration for expenses, which would be necessarily incurred
in supporting and forwarding them to the United States, and said,
the article he wished so altered as to make it incumbent upon him to
protect, maintain, and return them to their own country, free of every
charge. He remarked, that it would be contrary to the usage of Arabs,
and to the rights of hospitality, which have ever been practised among
them; and this clause was also inserted, at his request. The sultan
is of a mild and peaceable demeanour, of unquestionable bravery, as
was evinced during the Wahabee war, where he was severely wounded in
endeavouring to save an English artilleryman. He is a strict lover of
justice, possessing a humane disposition, and greatly beloved by his
subjects. He possesses just and liberal views in regard to commerce,
not only throwing no obstacles in the way to impede its advancement,
but encouraging foreigners as well as his own subjects.


The sultan of Muscat is a very powerful prince; he possesses a more
efficient naval force than all the native princes combined from the
cape of Good Hope to Japan. His resources are more than adequate to his
wants: they are derived from commerce, owning himself a great number
of merchant vessels: from duties on foreign merchandise, and from
tribute-money, and presents received from various princes, all of which
produce a large sum: a small tithe also is taken on wheat and dates,
but more on houses or lands.

His possessions in Africa, stretch from cape Delgado to cape Guardafui:
and from cape Aden in Arabia, to Ras el Haud, and from Ras el Haud they
extend along the northern coast of Arabia, (or the coast Aman) to the
entrance of the Persian gulf: and he claims also all the seacoast and
islands _within_ the Persian gulf, including the Bahrein islands, and
pearl-fishery contiguous to them, with the northern part of the gulf as
low down as Seindy. It is true that only a small part of this immense
territory is garrisoned by his troops, but all is tributary to him.

In Africa, he owns the ports of Monghow, or Mongallow, Lyndy, Quiloa,
(Keelwah,) Melinda, Lamo, Patta, Brava, Magadosha, (alias Magadshe,)
and the valuable islands of Monfeea or Mafeea, Zanzibar, Pemba,
Socotra, alias Socotera, &c., &c.

From Africa are exported, gum-copal, aloes, gum-arabic, columbo-root,
and a great variety of other drugs. Ivory, tortoise-shell, rhinoceros
horns, hides, beeswax, cocoa-nut oil, rice, millett, ghee, &c.

The exports from Muscat are wheat, dates, horses, raisins, salt, dried
fish, and a great variety of drugs, &c., &c. Muscat, being the key to
the Persian gulf is a place of great resort in the winter months, for
vessels from the Persian gulf and the western parts of India.

The productions of Africa, of the Red sea, the coast of Arabia, and the
countries bordering on the Persian gulf, may be had there.

Their vessels trade not only to the countries named, but also to
Guzzerat, Surat, Demaun, Bombay, Bay of Bengal, Ceylon, Sumatra, Java,
the Mauritius, the Comoro islands, to Madagascar, and the Portuguese
possessions in East Africa; bringing Indian, African, and European


The number of vessels employed on these voyages I was unable to
ascertain with any degree of exactness: but no number named was less
than two thousand; of this a very large proportion are small craft,
having but a few ships and brigs. The naval force of the sultan is very
respectable in point of numbers, and they are daily becoming better
_ship_ sailors.

The officers practise the lunar observations, and possess excellent
chronometers. His force is sufficient to give him entire control over
all the ports in East Africa, the Red sea, the coast of Abyssinia, and
the Persian gulf. He has an abundance of sailors and although he has
but a small number of regular troops, yet he can command any number of
Bedouin (Bedwin) Arabs he may want, by furnishing them with provisions
and clothing. This force consists of between seventy and eighty sail
of vessels, carrying from four to seventy-four guns. I have added a
statement which shows the names of his largest vessels, with the names
of some of the smaller classes: the rate of each: where built, and
where stationed in the month of October last, as given by Capt. Seydlin
Calfaun, the sultan’s English interpreter and translator, and a naval

Previous to the conclusion of the treaty, American vessels paid
generally _seven and a half_ per cent. upon imports, and seven and a
half per cent. upon exports, with anchorage money and presents. The
governor of the out ports claimed the right of pre-emption in both
cases, and they resorted to the most nefarious practices to accumulate

The commerce of the United States, under the treaty, is entirely freed
from _all_ inconvenient restrictions, and pays but _one_ charge, namely
_five_ per cent. on all _merchandise landed_, and it is freed from the
charge of pilotage, as every port has pilots which are kept in pay by
the sultan.

The currency of Muscat differs materially from that of the Persian
gulf, or Africa; it is as follows, viz.: twenty gass-rauz-auz or
rauhzee, make one mamoody; one hundred and forty-two pise or pesos,
make one Spanish dollar; but it varies from one hundred and twenty to
one hundred and fifty;[A] three and a quarter Persian rupees make one
Spanish dollar at present; two and a quarter Bombay rupees, (less five
pise,) one Spanish dollar; two and a quarter Surat rupees, (less five
pise,) one Spanish dollar.

[A] The value of a Spanish dollar in this copper coin is styled a
“black mamoody.” The abovenamed copper coin is the quarter _Ana_ of
the British East India Company; eleven and a half “white mamoodies”
constitute one Spanish dollar, (this is invariable.) It is a nominal
money or money of account.

The Spanish doublon is worth from fourteen to sixteen dollars according
to weight, but more than fifteen dollars is readily obtained.

The weights of Muscat are as follows, viz.: twenty-four rials make one
maund; the custom-house maund is eight and three fourths pounds; the
bazar-maund is eight, eight and a fourth, and eight and a half pounds.

    _The following exhibits a Statement of the Naval Force of the
    Sultan of Muscat, showing the names of his largest vessels, with
    some of the smaller classes--the rates of each; where built, and
    where stationed in the month of October, 1833._


  Liverpool,         74,         Bombay,                Zanzibar.
  Shah Alum,         56,         Bombay,                Zanzibar.
  Caroline,          40,         Ramgoon,               Muscat.
  Prince of Wales,   36,         Demaun,                Muscat.
  Hemingshaw,        36,         Cochin,                Calcutta.
  Piedmontese,       32,         Muscat,                Muscat.
  Mossafa,           24,         Cochin,                Muscat.
  Rahmani,           22,         Bombay,                Muscat.
  Fulke,             18,         Demaun,                Bombay.
  Soliman Shah,      18,         Muscat,                Muscat.
  Curlew, (brig,)    12,         Bombay,                Muscat.
  Psyche, (brig,)    12,         Cochin,                Muscat.
  Tage, (yacht,)      6,         Malabar coast,         Zanzibar.
  Vestal,             6,         Muscat,                Muscat.
  Elphinstone,        6,         Bombay,                Bombay.

    Also fifty baghelas carrying from eight to eighteen guns, and ten
    balits carrying from four to six guns. The baghela is a one-masted
    vessel, from two hundred to three hundred tons. The balit is also a
    one-masted vessel, from one to two hundred tons. Part of his naval
    force was employed in convoying vessels up the Persian gulf, some
    in Africa, &c., &c.



Our voyage from Muscat to Mozambique was not marked by any particular
occurrence, excepting the death of a very young and valuable officer.
The southwest monsoon having ended, we were in daily expectation
of the advent of the northeast monsoon; but on the morning of the
seventh of October, without waiting for a change of wind, as we were
ready for sea, we weighed anchor again, in company with our consort,
depending mostly upon the assistance of the current; for there was
scarcely “a breath, the blue wave to curl.” As soon as the anchor was
“apeek,” and the topsails sheeted home and hoisted up, eighteen guns
were fired, as a parting salute to the hospitable sultan, (sooltaun,)
which was returned with twenty-one. Not wishing to be behind-hand in
an act of courtesy, three more were fired. The effect produced by the
echo, among the serrated and cavernous rocks and mountains about the
cove of Muscat, and the neighbouring hills, was surpassingly fine;
loud, distinct, and repeated charges were heard, apparently, for the
space of several minutes, until the reverberations died away, in
faint echoes, among the distant hills in the southeast, west, and
northwestern quarters. The winds were very light, from the southward
and eastward, the first part of the passage, until we arrived in about
5° south, when it changed gradually to the northward and eastward,
and continued so until we arrived at Mozambique. We had abundance of
rain about the equator, accompanied by light squalls and calms; the
currents setting generally to the southward and westward; they also
set to the southward and eastward, and to the northward and eastward,
due west, and to the northwest. A short distance to the northward
and eastward of the island of Socotra, (Socotera,) it set in for
three successive days, about 70° west, eighty-six miles, and for the
seven successive days to the southward and westward, two hundred and
sixty-five miles. The particulars of each day, I omit, as it can only
interest the navigator; but what I have stated, will serve to show
the absolute necessity of having firstrate chronometers, or the lunar
observations carefully attended to; and never omitted to be taken
when practicable. On our passage through the channel, we entered the
small port Quintangony, seeing the Portuguese flag flying on a fort,
mistaking it for Mozambique, as the bearings answered to its situation,
and the table-land being north of it. We weighed anchor forthwith, and
in two hours afterward, on the afternoon of the seventh of November, we
discovered the island of St. George, which has a flag-staff and a small
battery, and to the southward of it, the island of St. Jago; and at
the same time the island of Mozambique, lying to the westward, distant
about three miles, with its formidable castle and its neat white
houses, appeared in view.


Before the sun had sunk behind the forest of palm-trees, which clothe
the mainland of Africa, we found ourselves snugly at anchor, in a fine
harbour, surrounded by twenty or thirty coasting craft, and several
large Brazilian and Lisbon vessels. The town presented the most
respectable and pleasing appearance; our cares were lulled to rest,
for the present, being most grateful to the Giver of all good, for
having conducted us thus far in safety, though sickness and sorrow,
anxiety and death, had caused sad havoc among us--making the ocean
the grave and the winding-sheet of many a brave and worthy heart,
although clothed with a rough exterior--leaving a sad chasm among
companions and friends, among parents and wives, and poor fatherless
children. The last death which took place among us, was that of a
most worthy and excellent young man, Midshipman Lewis H. Roumfert
of Mount Holly, Pennsylvania. Had he lived, he would have been an
ornament to his profession, and a most useful member of society; but
God willed it otherwise, and, therefore, we ought not to complain. A
short distance to the eastward of the island of Socotra, in the Indian
ocean, he was laid in his watery grave. The solemn and sublime service
of the Protestant Episcopal church was read by our worthy surgeon,
Dr. Ticknor; the main-topsail being aback, and the colours hoisted
half-mast. The topsails being filled again, we left him, poor fellow,
sinking down into an earthless grave:

    “Down, down through waters fathomless,”

_there_ to remain, until the last trump shall sound, and the sea shall
disgorge its mighty dead.

We had scarcely dropped anchor, before an official visit was made by a
lieutenant. A salute was fired in the morning, which was returned by
an equal number of guns from the castle. The commandant of the castle,
Juan Alexander de Almedia, and the acting-governor, was desirous of
receiving us at the fort with military honours, and a message was sent
to that effect, but which was declined; and at noon we landed, and were
received by the commandant at the grand entrance, with a double file
of soldiers with “present arms.” This noble fort was built by Juan de
Castro, in 1518, and it is certainly, for the most part, in a fine
state of preservation. It is called Santo Sebastiano, and it appears
capable of resisting any force which probably will ever be sent against
it, notwithstanding the honeycombed state of many of the iron cannon,
and the very weak state of the garrison. It is of a quadrangular form,
having an extensive bomb-proof citadel, capable of protecting all the
inhabitants of the town, in case of a siege, with sufficient magazines
for munitions of war and provisions.

An immense cistern stands in the middle of the parade, which is filled
by the annual rains. The inhabitants are supplied from this cistern,
whenever the rainy season fails, as well as the shipping; the latter
being obliged to pay one dollar per cask. Ships-of-war, of all nations,
are furnished from it gratis. Our little squadron was supplied from it
by means of pipes, made of condemned iron guns, which lead outside the
gate. The fort and two water-batteries adjoining it, on the extreme
point, mount one hundred and thirty guns, of all calibers, of brass and
iron, in all stages of decay, and apparently of all ages, excepting the
modern. Some of the large brass ones are highly ornamented, and of a
handsome mould. Two of the heaviest enfilade the entrance, and throw
each a hundred and five pounds of stone shot, which I should only have
expected to meet with at the Dardanelles. The oldest chapel on the
island, fronts the grand parade. It is now in a state of dilapidation,
being rent through the centre of the stone roof by an earthquake. A
small new chapel has been built outside the walls, within a water
battery, on the northern side.

In consequence of the death of the governor, the government is now
administered by a junta, consisting of the civil, ecclesiastical, and
military orders.

Joaquim Xavier Dinir Costa is the acting-governor, although second in
the council. Trei Antonio da Maià, bishop, being the first member, and
Colonel Francisco Heririquer Ferraò, being the third. We visited the
acting-governor, who offered every assistance in his power, and sent
us very generously, out of a scanty supply, as well as the commandant,
fruit, vegetables, &c.

A council, consisting of such heterogenous materials, never did and
never will amalgamate well together. It is like an attempt to combine
vinegar with oil, which has never yet been effected, and so it was with
these gentlemen; no two could ever agree upon any essential point,
excepting always, to find “ways and means” to obtain their salaries. I
omitted to state, that, in examining the magazines within the castle,
they showed us a great number of flying-artillery, &c. Our curiosity
was highly gratified by the sight of some ancient armour, consisting
of helmets, cuirasses, and lances, which were deposited there in
bygone days, soon after the fort was built, being brought by Juan de
Castro from Portugal. There are two fortifications built at the other
extremity of the island, to protect the southern and western passages.
The officers in these forts are Canaveens, or natives of Goa and of
East Africa, born of Portuguese parents, who, in the lapse of several
generations, have become black, although they have no wool or negro
features. A more deadly affront could not be offered them than to say
they are not _white_. In the castle, they are from Portugal and Brazil.
The island has a coral foundation, and is covered with white sand.
It is about a mile and a half in length, and averages less than half
a mile in width; it is almost wholly unproductive of vegetation: the
inhabitants depending on Cabaceira and Mesuril, on the main, for their
daily supplies of fruits, and vegetables, and meat.

[Sidenote: PRODUCTS.]

The harbour abounds with fish; but they are nearly destitute of boats,
(although not from the want of wood or workmen.) Not a single fish was
offered us for sale, although the inhabitants have become wretchedly
poor, and are overburdened with slaves whose present low rate, from
three to eight dollars, and often at half the price I name, holds out
a temptation to purchase; although they have but a scanty meal for
themselves, and yet, a quarter of a mile from their doors, the waters
swarm with food. Such is the curse of the indolent habits produced by
slavery. But as a happier day is dawning on them slowly, agriculture is
taking place of this vile traffic. It is now said, that coffee, cotton,
sugar, &c., may be cultivated from Da Lagoa bay to cape Delgado, with
the utmost facility; and that tens of thousands of cattle, and sheep,
and goats, may be raised, where the forest occupies the ground, and
the wild beasts roam at large. Instead of being dependant upon foreign
supplies for almost their daily food, they may become exporters to an
enormous amount, in the various products of the forest, the field,
the ocean; in timber, in ivory, in cotton and coffee, sugar, drugs,
salt, rice. Cocoa-nut oil might be made in any quantity along their
coast, yet not a gallon is exported. Already the beneficial efforts
made, begin to develop themselves, in the increased quantity of various
articles from the interior, more particularly in elephant’s tusks,
which have amounted this year to upward of ten thousand Portuguese
arrobas, equal to four hundred and thirty thousand pounds; besides the
ivory from hippopotami, which is in great abundance. A large proportion
of the ivory from elephants, comes from the country of the Majonas,
at a distance of about fifty days journey inland. Since slavery has
been abolished, the natives come to the seacoast with little fear of
being kidnapped. Their confidence is daily gaining ground; and a brisk
and praiseworthy trade will take the place of villany and barbarity.
I observed previously that they were almost dependant upon foreign
supplies for the necessaries of life. It is a fact, that a fortnight
previous to our arrival, not a pound of flour, wheaten bread, coffee,
sugar, salted beef or pork, or a bottle of wine or foreign spirits,
could be purchased in the place; but the very fortunate arrival of
several Brazilian and Lisbon vessels, laden with every variety of
articles (put up in small packages,) relieved them from great distress.

The landing place is in front of the palace square, having the
government-house and a church adjoining, on one side, and the
custom-house on the other. This last is a building, which reflects
great credit upon the place, being neat, commodious, and substantial.
The pier is built on arches of faced stone, and extends to low-water
mark, and is, at all times, an excellent landing. The streets are
narrow, but the principal ones are chunamed on the sides, and some
entirely, where the banyans (the principal traders) inhabit. Many of
the houses are lofty and flat-roofed; but the larger portion of them
are only one story. They show that the inhabitants were once opulent,
but are now fast sinking into poverty and distress. The moral and
religious character of the people is at the lowest ebb possible. It
wants the besom of destruction to pass over the land, to clean out
this Augean stable from the filth and pollution which characterize
this modern Sodom, giving the innocent a warning, which shall be heard
in a voice of thunder. And such is the character of the people, in
the present day generally, from Portugal and Macao. The colony in
East Africa has been entirely neglected by the parent-country for the
last three years, owing to its distressed situation, being wholly
unproductive to the crown of Portugal. Hundreds of unhappy exiles are
dragging out a miserable existence in this most destructive climate,
banished for supposed political offences, without means to live,
excepting by a precarious and scanty subsistence, picked up from day
to day; separated from their distressed families, denied the solitary
comfort of writing, to inform them they are still dragging out a
lengthening chain, or receiving a line from them, if, by chance, they
ascertain where they are to be found; and as if the diabolical malice
of the government knew no bounds, they are banished from the seacoast
to the interior, to prevent their escape, or engaging in insurrections.
I was informed that there are innumerable instances of persons being
taken from their beds at midnight, in Lisbon and elsewhere, hurried
on shipboard, and sent to the Portuguese possessions in East and West
Africa, without a form of trial, or knowing any cause for this outrage
on justice and humanity. Many hundreds have died on the passage from
sickness, brought on by distress of mind; others have been obliged to
beg their daily bread, and finally died of starvation; while hundreds
of others have fallen victims to a destructive climate.


A gentleman, now residing at Mozambique, told me, that he and his
brother were taken from their beds at midnight, without being suffered
to hold any communication with their families, with nothing but their
clothes on their backs, and hurried on board two different vessels,
one to West Africa, to Benguela, and the other to East Africa, to
Mozambique; and to make it the more heart-rending, all near relations
were separated in this manner. We heard similar distressing accounts,
when at the Cape de Verd islands and at Macao. The bitter curses
which have ascended to Heaven, against the Braganza family, for the
last three hundred years, from the exiles of Portugal, to South
America, Africa, and India, from aged parents, heart-broken wives, and
fatherless children, will shortly sweep from the earth this destructive
scourge, and leave on record but a small part of the vile doings of
the most heartless, worthless, lascivious, and diabolical monarch,
which ever disgraced the face of the earth. When this place was first
visited by Vasco de Gama, in the latter part of the fourteenth century,
the crescent was flying instead of the cross, and he was welcomed by
the Arabs with music and dancing. But the attempt to plant, rather too
abruptly, the standard of our holy religion, was received with disgust;
and the followers of the prophet flew to arms, but were discomfited
by their more warlike foes. In fact, they at length submitted to the
conquerors, who then made great exactions of provisions and of every
thing else, of which they stood in need. It is stated, that at that
time, every part of the country, capable of cultivation, was well
attended to; that their flocks and herds were peacefully grazing upon
the plains; that the slave-trade had barely a name; and that the people
were trading to various parts of the coast, to Zofar, or Zofal, the
Sofala of modern days--supposed by some to be the land of gold--the
Ophir of King Solomon, to the Red and to the Erythrean sea, or Persian

From the time the Portuguese took possession of it, till the
suppression of the slave-trade, a short time since, peace was banished
from the land. The Mocouas, their immediate neighbours, were seized
and sold, like beasts of the forest; the lands were made desolate, the
palm, the mango, the casheu, (alia acajou,) soon covered the fields;
and the wild elephants, the hippopotami, the rhinoceros, and the tiger,
were to be seen roaming at large, as they are at this day, where peace,
and happiness, and contentment had taken up their abode. The cross, the
emblem of our holy religion, instead of proving a blessing, carrying
with it, as it does, when duly propagated, a balmy influence, and
bearing healing on its wings, has proved calamitous in its tendency.
It has blasted the hopes of millions, confirmed the superstition of
idolaters, and fixed more deeply the rooted prejudices of the Moslem.
Thus the cross has, unfortunately, proved in the Brazil, in East and
West Africa, in Arabia, in the East Indies, in China, and Japan; so
that the name of Christian has become a by-word and a curse, whereever
its doctrines have been propagated by the Portuguese or Spaniards.
Every engine, which brutal force could apply, has been used without the
slightest compunction. Humanity appears to have had no place in their
adamantine breasts, and the mild and peaceful doctrines, expressly
laid down by our Saviour, have never been inculcated; but fire and
the sword, assisted by a detestable and horrible inquisition, have
been preferred in _their_ place, and oppression, fraud, and cruelty
have been resorted to in every shape, to answer the most nefarious
purposes of the government and its religion, and the sordid views of
unprincipled individuals. What might not have been the state of things,
if the liberal views of the founder of the Roman Catholic religion,
in Maryland, had been propagated, and they had been blessed with a
government founded on just and equitable principles! Look at Maryland,
and the Roman Catholic religion, as it exists in our own blessed
country, and behold the contrast!!! Look at our political institutions,
and the happy and prosperous situation of a settlement, begun upward
of one hundred years after the Portuguese took possession of their
present miserable colonies, by a noble, but persecuted band of English
settlers--and see the present situation of Portugal and its conquests.
With the exception of Brazil, which has just slipped her leading
strings, what can be more wretched? To prove the unappeasable hostility
of the nations, in East Africa, towards their oppressors, and every
one who wears straight _hair_, it is a fact well known by all who are
well acquainted with the state of things here, and substantiated by the
Portuguese themselves, that they dare not go half a dozen miles into
the country, without an armed guard. And this is the state of things,
from Da Lagoa bay (alias Lorenzo Marques) to cape Delgado, after having
had possession of the coast upward of three hundred years; and so it
is at Bissaõ, Saint Paul de Loando, Benguela, &c., in West Africa. The
Portuguese, under a liberal form of government, unshackled by a state
religion, known to be corrupt beyond measure, would prove themselves
to be, as they once were, a noble people, zealous in all good works.

As it regards the first circumnavigator of the cape of Good Hope and
the discoverer of South and East Africa, the world seems willing to
award the whole merit of the discovery to Vasco de Gama, and he is held
forth in bold relief, at the expense of others, who are entitled at
least to a small share of it. In looking into ancient history, there is
much light shed upon it. According to Herodotus, it seems that one of
the most illustrious of native Egyptian kings, “actuated by the spirit
of a great man, which raised him superior to the age in which he lived,
eagerly sought the solution of the grand mystery, that involved the
_form_ and termination of Africa.” In furtherance of this noble project
and to ensure it success if practicable, he employed the boldest of
navigators in those days, to wit, certain Phenicians. Having obtained
vessels which were thought suitable for the enterprise, they proceeded
down the Red sea and boldly launched out into the Indian ocean, and
after a voyage of three years, they made the complete circuit of
the continent, passing through the Pillars of Hercules (straits of
Gibraltar) and up the Mediteranean to Egypt.

They stated that in passing the most southern coast of Africa, they
were surprised by observing the sun on their _right hand_, or to the
north of them, a statement which the historian rejected as impossible.
This very circumstance, which threw an air of discredit over the
whole transaction, was the strongest proof that could be adduced in
confirmation of what is known to every one in the present day, that to
the south of the equator this must necessarily have taken place.--Some
writers have deemed it impossible for other reasons, because of the
smallness and weakness of their vessels--but as we see thousands
of small craft, in the China, Java, Red and Arabian seas, and from
cape Guardafui to Da Lagoa bay, of not more than fifteen to twenty
tons burden and some even less, open amidships, or having merely a
palmleaf-covering, _sowed_ together with coir spun-yarn the seams
being calked with the same stuff and chunamed outside, the _rudders_
being _tied_ on, where we use braces and pintles, which are always
unshipped in port, and secured again by the crew who are expert
divers--without even pumps, the water being bailed up amidships and
poured into a spout which leads from side to side--the wonder rather
ceases, and it is certainly a strong and convincing proof that the
_craft_ of the Phenician navigators was no obstacle to the enterprise.
Added to this, all small vessels as well as more large ones in the
seas I have named, always keep in _shore_ and never quit it unless
from necessity--and furthermore, by far the greater part do not use
compasses. And if further confirmation is wanted, look at the numerous
enterprises projected by the Malegashes (people of Madagascar) a few
years since, against the Comoro islands and various places in Africa,
against the Portuguese settlement and those of the sultan of Muscat,
in open _canoes, without compass or sails_, being propelled by paddles
and carrying sometimes upward of six thousand warriors. This shows the
practicability of exploring the coast even in more unsafe vessels, and
of a much smaller description, for the Malegashes were necessarily out
sight of land from two to three days occasionally, as the distance from
Grand Comoro to the Querimba islands on the main, where they landed
several times, is not less than one hundred and thirty-five miles.
Look at the hardy sons of New England also, navigating the Atlantic
ocean on vessels of thirty or forty tons, visiting every creek and nook
in the Falkland islands, South Shetland and Cape Horn, in search of
seals. Furthermore, there was the voyage of Pedro de Cavalho, and he
transmitted his description to Portugal.

Now if the account of Herodotus is untrue, still Diaz’s discovery of
the cape and Cavalho’s voyage to Soffala, left de Gama but the short
distance of one thousand two hundred miles to explore, and therefore
he is only entitled to a small share of the credit which threw so much
lustre on the Portuguese name, in effecting a passage by sea to the
East Indies, which was previously performed by a most circuitous and
tedious route by land and by water; for de Gama, on his arrival at
Quilmany, obtained pilots to Mozambique, and from thence onward all
obstructions were removed.

All that vast tract of country lying between the cape of Good Hope
and cape Guardafui, may now be said to be parcelled out among three
nations. The English are gradually or rather rapidly settling that
whole tract of country lying between the cape district (cape of Good
Hope) and Da Lagoa bay. There is a considerable settlement at Fish
river, about six hundred miles east of the cape, and there is a small
one begun at port Natal, about two hundred and seventy miles to the
north and eastward of it, on the coast of Natal, which is about the
same distance to Da Lagoa bay, still further to the eastward; and
they claim part of Da Lagoa bay by gift from a negro king, Mayetta,
the sovereign of Temba. This brings them to the borders of the
Portuguese settlements. The Portuguese claim from Da Lagoa bay to the
cape Delgado, lying in about 10° south. From the latter cape to cape
Guardafui, it is claimed (with all the islands adjacent to the coast)
by the sultan of Muscat.

The exports from Mozambique do not exceed half a million of dollars,
(since the suppression of the slave-trade.) These consist in elephant
and hippopotamus ivory, gold dust, tortoise-shell, ambergris,
columbo-root, drugs, cowries, rhinoceros-horns, and hides, &c., &c.
This is certainly a very meager account of the value of its exports,
to which may be added, pearls of a superior quality, there being an
abundance about the Bazaruto islands; but its resources are yet to
be developed, and I have stated previously of what they may consist,
provided the government will throw off all shackles which embarrass
trade, and have a duty not exceeding that which is now imposed by the
sultan of Muscat, to wit: a duty of five per cent. only, on goods
landed and sold, without any other charge whatever. If this is not
done, all trade among foreigners must necessarily proceed to the
sultan’s dominions, in East Africa. The duties and exactions on foreign
commerce are so exorbitant, but more particularly on the American
trade, that our flag has almost entirely deserted all the Portuguese
ports in West as well as in East Africa. The Americans pay twenty-four
per cent. and the English fifteen, on imports, exclusive of an almost
endless number of fees, besides export duties.

Imports consist of coarse cotton goods, white, brown, blue, and
striped, as well as some fine cottons, and a small quantity of light
quality woollen cloth, principally blue, suitable for the army. Powder,
arms, beads, sugar, tea, coffee, wine, spirits, &c.; in fact, every
article useful to eat, or to drink, or to clothe themselves.


Our passage from Mozambique to Table bay, was marked with storms and
tempests, violent and sudden gales, accompanied with a mountainous
sea. After passing the dangerous reef of rocks, called the Bassas
de India, in the southern part of the Mozambique channel, we were
assailed by one gale, with the rapidity of lightning, in the latitude
twenty-eight, and longitude thirty-four east, taking the ship
“_flat-aback_” instantaneously, and placing us in a most dangerous
and critical situation. It was a doubtful case, for some minutes,
whether she would not overset, or go down stern foremost. But “_He_
who holds the winds in his power, the waters in the hollow of his
hand,” mercifully decreed that we should once more see the living
objects of our affections, and be restored in safety to our beloved
country--“to the land of the brave, and the home of the free;” for
the ship’s head “_payed off_,” and she was got before the wind, all
sail being taken in, and drove before this furious hurricane for the
space of eight hours, under _bare poles_, the captain not daring to
loosen an inch of canvass to the tempest during that time. The first
three or four hours, she went at the rate of twelve miles per hour,
and when her rate had diminished to about eight knots, having had, in
the meantime, every article that would lessen the weight on the spar
and gun-decks, placed in the hold and on the berth-deck, she was “hove
to.” It would have been done in the commencement of the gale, but as
the ship was very light, and the stock of provisions nearly expended,
it was apprehended, in bringing her “to the wind,” she would overset,
when all would inevitably have perished. We touched on the northeastern
edge of bank Agulhas, for the purpose of taking advantage of the strong
southerly and westerly current, and we were by no means disappointed,
for the ship was set to the extraordinary distance of one hundred and
twenty-three miles, in twenty-four hours, south, 71° west, between the
twenty-sixth and twenty-seventh of November, from the latitude of 32°
36′, and longitude 25° 16′, to the latitude of 35° 21′ and longitude
23° 8′; but it was accompanied by a tremendous wrecking sea. As we
had three excellent chronometers, and made the land at daybreak the
following morning, about the bay of St. Sebastian; we ascertained, both
then and afterward, there was no error; and yet, on the twenty-sixth
and twenty-eighth, the current was very feeble, not exceeding thirteen
miles in the two days. On the thirtieth, we made the most southern land
of Africa, being cape Agulhas. It is a low flat point, the sea always
breaking over it. We saw, in the course of the day, cape Hanglip,
and the cape of Good Hope also, which bound the entrance into False
bay. Heavy gales of wind, between west and northwest, continued until
the fourth of December, when we made Table mount, and stood into the
bay in a violent southeast gale. We then saw, for the first time,
the phenomenon of the cloud-capped mount, which is always seen when
the wind is from that quarter. One looks with astonishment, at what
seems always to be the same cloud, sideling along from east to west,
apparently remaining stationary, without being instantly dispersed by
the furious tempest; but Doctor Arnott thus accounts for the singular
beauty and density of the clouds, which frequently envelop the mount,
and the cause of its creation and final dispersion: “The reason of the
phenomenon is, that the air, constituting the wind from the northeast,
having passed over the vast southern ocean, comes charged with as much
invisible moisture as the temperature can sustain. In rising up the
side of the mountain, it is rising in the atmosphere, and is therefore
gradually escaping from a part of the former pressure; and on attaining
the summit, it has dilated so much, and has consequently become so much
colder, that it lets go part of its moisture: and it no sooner falls
over the edge of the mountain and again descends in the atmosphere to
where it is pressed, and condensed and heated as before, than it is
re-dissolved and disappears: the magnificent apparition dwelling only
on the mountain-top.”


The ship came to anchor, about one mile from the landing, soon after
sunrise, and a beautiful _home scene_ was presented to our view. The
town is on a sloping plane, and rises gradually to the foot of the
celebrated Table mountain, a distance of about three miles, the height
of this precipitous mountain being three thousand six hundred feet.
The town is seen stretching out also on the right towards the Lion’s
Head, which is at an elevation of two thousand eight hundred feet, and
again to the extreme right towards the Lion’s Rump, which is at an
elevation of one thousand one hundred and forty feet. Around the base
of this hill, which is called Green Point, are a great many neat villas
and cottages. On this point stands the light-house, containing two
excellent lights on the same level. On the left again, farmhouses are
scattered about the base of the Devil’s Peak, which is three thousand
three hundred feet high; the road leading to Wynberg is seen winding
round it. The vine-fields were beautifully verdant, the grape just
beginning to fill out, and the fruit and ornamental trees appeared to
be abundant in the city and about the cottages; but still the general
appearance of the country was far from being verdant, and the few
trees called the protea dispersed about the elevated and uncultivated
parts of the land, disappoint an American eye, being deficient in
noble forest-trees. The violent southeast gale of the previous day
having subsided, ushered forth a day redolent with sweets to the weary
mariner, being calm, mild and beautiful; the smoke was ascending from
a thousand fires in the town, preparing the early meal; a school or
church bell was heard in the distance; the people who visited us,
speaking the English language, forcibly reminded us of home and a
thousand endearing and painful recollections, after an absence of
nearly two years; but our cares were once more hushed, and the stormy
Indian ocean and its ten thousand perils were almost obliterated from
our memories, like the forms of last year’s clouds; and with grateful
hearts we found ourselves again within the pale of civilization, in a
bracing and healthy climate which we had long and ardently desired to
meet, to recruit our debilitated frames, which were nearly exhausted
by the baneful climates of Java and Manila, Siam and Muscat, Mocha
and Mozambique. An interchange of salutes took place on our arrival,
but the effect of the echo, was not comparable to that produced by
the amphitheatre of rocky hills and caverns which encompass Muscat.
In passing up from the landing, we went through the water street of
every seaport town, across the grand parade to George’s hotel, in the
street called Heeregracht, through the centre of which is a canal
which conducts off the waste water flowing from the base of Table
mount. From the same source the town and shipping are supplied, the
fountain-head being at the beautiful seat of Mt. Breda, by means of
iron pipes which conduct it to the jetty: hose being led into the casks
from the conductors, boats are enabled to load with great ease. The
canal is shaded on either side by the cape oak; it also passes through
a fine shaded walk which is still called the public garden, although
a very large portion of it is appropriated, most ignominiously, to
the culture of vegetables: it is probably two thirds of a mile in
length. The town is regularly laid out, is said to contain about
twenty-two thousand inhabitants, and has a neat appearance; there are
shops in abundance, but prices are extravagantly high. The houses are
generally made flat-roofed, so that the violence of the winds may
less affect them: they are built of ordinary brick and stuccoed; the
interior arrangements of the richer class, are similar to those in
larger cities. One is very much reminded of a Dutch American town in
the state of New York, excepting that soldiers are stationed at every
principal place, as though the inhabitants were not trustworthy; they
are seen before courts of justice, the government-house, postoffice,
and custom-house, but they are never seen in my own country, even
before the _palace_ of the President.

[Sidenote: CLIMATE--FRUITS.]

The climate of Cape Town is unquestionably very healthy, and not
surpassed in equability and in the agreeableness of its temperature.
In fact, the transition from heat to cold is very inconsiderable, in
comparison with many other climates. It seems, from a meteorological
table, kept for several years, that the mean temperature of Cape Town,
was at 67¼° of Fahrenheit; the mean temperature, for the coldest winter
month, was 57°, the hottest, 79°, and the least heat during summer
was 63. Although the proportion of deaths is more than double that of
Portsmouth, in New Hampshire, yet this number is greatly augmented by
invalids from India, who there find their graves; but in the other
districts it is about in the same ratio as Portsmouth, averaging
about one and a half per centum. It was truly refreshing, to see the
rosy-cheeked children, and the healthy appearance of the inhabitants
generally, after having spent many months among the pale, sallow
complexioned and dying East Indians. Here an Indian may renovate his
exhausted frame, and be cured (if it be possible) of that never-ending
source of complaint, a diseased liver. There are good roads, pleasant
country-seats, fine horses, and good carriages; and he must be very
fastidious in his taste, who cannot be suited in his viands, for here
are fish, flesh, and fowl, in great variety. As to fruit, the quality
is excellent; the prices are very low, and the variety is certainly
extraordinary--for in January there are plums, apricots, peaches,
almonds, strawberries, mulberries, grapes, apples, oranges, lemons,
figs, muskmelons, and watermelons. In February the same. In March the
same, adding thereto lemons and pomegranates. In April, add pears,
limes, and quinces. In May, medlars, jambos or rose-apple, loquats,
a Chinese fruit, &c. In June, add shaddocks and citron, with various
kinds of apples and pears. In July, August, and September, the same,
adding oranges to the last month. In October, adding guavas, &c. In
November, early figs, strawberries, green almonds, and the fruits of
September and October. In December the same. And as to vegetables,
they are in every variety, almost at all seasons of the year. And who
could be so devoid of taste, as not to be gratified with the sight
of the immense variety of flowers, shrubs, and parasitical plants
which greet the eye at every step? It may, therefore, truly be called
Florida, or the Land of Flowers. The luxuries of Europe, of America, of
India, of China, and Australia--in short, of the world, are here; and
as to the inhabitants, so far as I had the pleasure of being acquainted
with the English part of them, they deserve every commendation
it is in my power to bestow, for their hospitality and unwearied
kindness--more particularly the acting-governor, Lieutenant-Colonel
Wade, the Honourable Mr. Justice Menzies, A. Oliphant, Esq., the
attorney-general, J. B. Edwards, Captain Bance, and the officers of the
seventy-second Highlanders; Captain Stevens, the commander, and the
officers of the ninety-eighth regiment.

The articles of export of the most importance, are aloes, oil, raisins,
and other dried fruits; salt, tallow, and wool. There is exported also
excellent salted beef and butter, and bread, but no pork. The following
prices were paid for sundry articles, purchased by Mr. Stockton,
the purser, for the Peacock:--ale, two Spanish dollars per dozen,
(Cape made;) geese, one dollar; sheep, two dollars; fowls, fifteen
rix dollars; per dozen; flour, averages generally from ten to eleven
dollars, it is rarely as low as eight dollars fifty cents, frequently
at twelve Spanish dollars per barrel, of one hundred and ninety-six
pounds; hams and bacon, from Europe, twenty-three to thirty-five cents
per pound; butter, (Cape,) thirty-one and a quarter cents, including
keg; potatoes, six dollars per barrel, including barrel; pork, (Irish,)
twenty-five dollars; salt beef, (Cape,) eleven dollars per barrel,
two hundred pounds, including barrel, or four and a quarter cents
per pound without; beef, (fresh,) five cents; biscuit, five cents,
including bags; bread, (soft,) four cents; cheese, (Dutch,) twenty-one
cents; brandy, (Cape,) including pipe, which costs ten dollars,
sixty cents per gallon; Cape Madeira wine is from five to eighteen
pounds sterling per pipe of one hundred and ten gallons, according to
quality and ripeness; cordage, sixty shillings per one hundred English
pounds; ratline and spunyarn, fifty-four shillings; Stockholm tar,
fifty-four shillings per barrel; blocks eight-pence per inch; sperm
oil, seven and sixpence per gallon; linseed oil, seven shillings;
nails, ninepence sterling per pound; fir-plank, four-pence halfpenny
per foot; carpenters, six shillings per day; spirits of turpentine,
seven shillings and sixpence per gallon; pump-leather, five shillings
per pound; three and a half sides, tanned leather, cost sixty shillings
sterling; houseline, seven shillings and sixpence per dozen. The four
kinds of the celebrated Constantia are sold as follows:--

[Sidenote: PRICES OF WINES.]

                                            £  _s._  _d._

  Frontignac, per half aum of 19 gallons    13   2   6
  White                ditto     ditto      11   5   0
  Red                  ditto     ditto       9   7   6
  Pontac, the richest, ditto     ditto      22  10   0

The last costing nearly six dollars per gallon. There will probably
be added to the list of exports in a few years, olive-oil, cocoa,
figs, almonds, nuts, dried, pickled and smoked fish, raw silk, cotton,
tobacco, grapes and currants. If the British government would impose
a reasonable duty on _cape_ produce _at home_, the quantity of wine,
brandy, dried fruits, &c., would be vastly increased, and many a barren
field and neglected hill would blossom like the rose, and pour forth
riches inexhaustible. That any duty at all should be paid, seems most
strange and unnatural to an American, but that it should amount to a
prohibition (as on wine) is unbearable. At their own sister-colonies,
they are obliged to pay as follows; at Mauritius, six per cent. at New
South Wales, five, and at Hobart town, Van Diemen’s land, fifteen per
cent.: whereas in Brazil they pay only the latter duty. What would
seem more strange to an American planter in Louisiana, than to have
his produce most extravagantly taxed, or taxed at all in the state of
Maine, but most fortunately it is prohibited by the constitution of the
United States. No less a duty than two shillings and six pence sterling
per gallon is paid on cape wine in England, and dried fruits are
extravagantly taxed. Taxation without _representation_ was one of the
causes of revolution, and the stamp act was another, with both of which
their colonies are burdened. It matters not whether they tax their
colonists, on the spot where there domicil is, or whether it is done in
England on their produce. The duty on imports and exports is the most
important branch of the revenue of the cape. Great Britain requires the
colony to pay the whole expense of her establishments, except the army
and navy, and yet all important offices are filled by the crown. As
it respects the local taxes they are almost innumerable. Among these
enumerated, I find every male or female, bond or free, who has arrived
at the age of sixteen, pays an annual tax of six shillings sterling
each, and ten shillings more on every servant, besides a tax on horses
and carriages, on the productions of the farm, wine, brandy, &c., &c.
In reference to household expenses, meat, fish and bread are cheap, but
wood is extravagantly high, and ever will be, as no coal has ever yet
been found in this, or in any other part of Africa; it is frequently as
high as six to seven pounds ten shilling sterling per chaldron. Sydney
can furnish it at a much cheaper rate, and it will probably soon be
brought altogether from that quarter. Servants’ wages are higher here
than in any other country, and house rent is at about the same rate as
in New York. It seems almost incredible, yet it is unquestionably true,
that the contract price for fresh beef and mutton (for 1833) to supply
the garrison at the cape, should be at a fraction _less_ than a penny
per pound, and that bread should be furnished at a penny per pound; but
I presume it is made of barley and oats, and probably a proportion of
beans, as it is frequently in England, for it cannot be made of wheat
for three times the price. This information is derived from Governor
Wade. It is most surprising, that not a single whale-ship belongs to
the cape, when whales are so abundant, even within sight of their
harbours. There are two small boat-whaling establishments in False bay,
one at Cape Town, one in Algoa, and one in Plettenberg’s bay. The boats
are mostly of a bad construction, and too small; they fish only for cow
whale, when they come into still water to calve, and cleanse themselves
with sand; but this kind of fishery is very destructive to the species,
and they have greatly diminished in numbers, so that the business is
scarcely worth following. Neither do they dry, pickle or smoke fish for
exportation, and yet the bays swarm with them, and there is a mine of
wealth yet untouched on the bank of Agulhas. The Brazil and La Plata,
the Mauritius, &c., would furnish good markets, and a fine hardy set of
seamen would be raised for commercial and other purposes. The fishing
on the bank is not so hazardous as that of Newfoundland, and they save
a tedious voyage, in going and returning; in fact, it may be said they
may be always in sight of their own homes. Salt is abundant, and the
weather never cold, they can make their own lines and leads, lead being
found in the colony, and they can raise cotton and make their sails
and cordage, and there is a plenty of timber on the east and northeast
coast. There are but eleven vessels belonging to the cape, of all
descriptions, which are principally employed in coasting voyages to
Port Elizabeth; they are from forty to one hundred and seventy tons,
and their united tonnage is but one thousand one hundred and four
tons. The colony has been represented to me, by many gentlemen, who
have visited all the districts, as being poor, the soil generally very
light and thin, and very deficient in water, the rivers being deep
seated, which drains off the moisture from the surrounding country,
subject to long and destructive droughts, and cursed with locusts
and grasshoppers, and the karras or plains being very extensive, and
totally unfit for cultivation, and withal very mountainous. But still,
I am convinced, that abundance of grain can be raised to advantage,
and wool, raw silk, wine, dried fruits, beef, &c., &c., besides the
products of the ocean, can be exported to a large amount, but Saxony or
Merino wool must become the most prominent article among the exports.
The farmers are wisely rooting out the wire-haired, _big-tailed_ cape
sheep, and substituting those which have _wool on their backs_. It is
not an article of luxury like wine, subject to fluctuations from mere
change of fashion. If his late majesty, George the fourth, had taken a
fancy to cape, instead of xeres, (sherry,) as he did a few years since,
it would have been a fortunate circumstance for the colony: the hills
would have been clothed with vines, instead of a green patch, here and
there, dotting the surface like the oases in a desert.

[Sidenote: CAPE OF GOOD HOPE.]

The cape of Good Hope, from its fine geographical position, being
placed on the highway between the world’s nations, must become a place
of great importance, when the India and China trade is left free and
unrestricted, as it ought and must be. It is a most convenient stopping
place for the interchange of commodities, or to touch for supplies, or
to obtain information; all they now want is an unshackled commerce, and
a moderate duty laid on their produce in the parent-country, and by
their sister-colonies. Without this reasonable aid, their agriculture,
fisheries and commerce, will make but slow progress, and if the
colony does not become a burden, it can never be of much advantage to
England, excepting to draw off a part of her surplus population, or in
case of a war. But the commerce of the Cape has latterly increased,
notwithstanding burdens and the neglect of the parent-country. The
number of foreign arrivals in Table bay (which was in every month in
the year) from December seventeenth, 1831, to thirtieth November,
1832, was one hundred and ninety-seven; and at Simon’s bay thirty-six,
including ships-of-war. At the time the Dutch held the Cape, no vessels
lay in Table bay during the winter months, but now I am informed, no
difference is made in the premium of insurance, between the winter and
summer months. Hempen cables of an extreme size (and anchors of course
in proportion) are always preferable to chain cables in any roadstead,
where there is a heavy swell and violent gales from the ocean; but the
first few fathoms from the anchor, should be chain to guard against
rocks and other obstructions and anchors, and it can readily be secured
to the hempen one. But still no cable is equal to _coir_, having three
valuable properties, being strong, buoyant and exceedingly elastic.
In the La Plata and elsewhere, it has been found, that riding by two
or more hemp cables in one string, in a violent gale and heavy sea,
enables the ship to rise with buoyancy, but if a great length of chain
is veered out, it lies upon the bottom and operates against the rise
of the vessel, and she therefore feels the full force of the sea,
which causes her to plunge deeply, or the sea to break over her, and
consequently there is more danger of foundering.



The village in Algoa bay now called Port Elizabeth, is rising into
importance most rapidly. Twelve years since, it contained four houses,
and now it has upward of one hundred, and its residents are rated at
above twelve hundred persons. It is one of the most prominent portions
of the Cape colony, a place of resort for vessels to or from India.
Subscriptions to the amount of five thousand pounds have been raised,
for the purpose of building a lighthouse on cape Receife, and a jetty
for the landing of goods. There are five ships connected with the
direct trade to Europe. The number of vessels which have visited the
port this year is about fifty. There is a good road leading to Graham’s
Town, ninety miles in length; it is in the Albany district, and is
said to contain upward of six thousand inhabitants. All imports and
exports by sea, from Graham’s Town, &c., and the adjacent district of
Uitenhage, are from this port. The imports in 1828 were fifty-five
thousand two hundred and one pounds, and had increased in 1832 to one
hundred and twelve thousand eight hundred and forty-five pounds, and
the exports from forty-one thousand two hundred and ninety pounds, to
eighty-six thousand nine hundred and thirty-one pounds. Provisions
of all sorts are in abundance, and ships can be watered with great
facility by pipes, leading from a pump to the sea. The exports are
wine, brandy, vinegar, ivory, hides, skins, leather, tallow, butter,
soap, wool, ostrich-feathers, salted beef, wheat, candles, aloes,
barley, &c., &c.

Plettenberg’s bay is another place of resort for vessels in the winter
season, bound home from India. The roadstead is open to southeast,
but the anchorage is good, in eight, nine, and ten fathoms. The bay
is spacious, with sufficient room to beat out, in southeast gales.
The number of inhabitants is about four hundred, upward of one half
being white. Cattle and sheep are plentiful, and it is noted for the
excellence of its butter; and the timber is abundant.

There is no port of consequence lying between Plettenberg’s bay and Da
Lagoa excepting port Natal, and this has but thirteen feet of water at
its entrance; but it is well sheltered from prevailing winds. A few
English traders are only to be found there at present, but there is no
doubt that the British government will have a small garrison stationed
there in the course of 1834. The merchants at Cape Town are preparing
to take immediate advantage of this well-situated port, and protection
from the government follows of course. The traders now penetrate one
hundred and fifty miles along the southern coast beyond Natal, and far
into the interior, in a northerly direction. There are no other ports,
suitable for large ships to visit, than those already named, lying
between False bay and Da Lagoa. The country about Natal is represented
as being very fertile, well wooded and watered, and the climate
healthy; it was exceedingly populous until the modern Attila, _Chaka_,
took possession of it, and slaughtered most of the inhabitants. It
abounds in cattle, and ivory is abundant. The Kowie and great Fish
rivers, where there is a great number of English settlers, may be
made good ports, whenever suitable improvements are made at their
embouchures; they are barred like most of the rivers from the Cape to
Da Lagoa, or I may as well say all the rivers in Southern, Eastern and
Northeastern Africa, or from the cape of Good Hope to cape Guardafui.

The whole line of North Africa, or the coast leading from the cape of
Good Hope to Benguela, is represented as being worthless, Saldunha
bay, and the coast lying between it and Cape Town, being the only part
where European settlers are found. Saldunah bay is well sheltered from
violent winds, having a sufficient depth of water, but the country is
very sandy and agriculture but little attended to; a few cattle and
sheep are raised among the scanty herbage. Except one or two bays where
whales resort, the remaining part offers no inducements to adventurers.


I herewith present the amount of the imports and exports into Table,
Simon’s, and Algoa bays, for the year 1831:--

                                                          Pounds sterling.
  The imports into Table bay, from Great Britain, were             271,687
   „         „         „           British colonies                 35,620
   „         „         „           Foreign states                   35,833
   „         „         „           United States of America          1,207
                                                    Pounds sterling
  The imports into Simon’s bay, from Great Britain       120 10 0
   „         „         „             British colonies  1,352  5 0
   „         „         „             Foreign states      628  5 0
                                                        ---------    2,101
  Ditto, ditto, Algoa bay, port Elizabeth, from Great
    Britain                                            9,458  5 0
   „         „         „              British colonies   778 15 0
   „         „         „              Foreign states     187  0 0
  The whole amount of imports into the Cape of Good Hope colonies £345,052
  The exports from Table Bay to Great Britain were                 100,509
   „         „         „        British colonies                    64,596
   „         „         „        Foreign states                      11,513
  Ditto, ditto, Simon’s Bay to Great Britain           2,941  0 0
   „         „         „       British colonies        1,561  0 0
   „         „         „       Foreign states          1,296  0 0
   „         „         „       Navy supplies           5,476  0 0
  Ditto, ditto, Algoa Bay, port Elizabeth to Great
    Britain                                           24,019  0 0
   „         „         „       British colonies        4,800  0 0
   „         „         „       Foreign states          1,892  0 0

In the amount of exports, from the three ports named, twenty-nine
thousand and thirty-six pounds were articles of foreign growth or
manufacture, leaving the sum of one hundred and eighty-nine thousand,
five hundred and seventy pounds, being the value of articles of
colonial produce for the year 1831.

  The value of exports to Port Elizabeth, in 1831,
    from Table Bay, was                                     £44,672
  Value of imports, in return, from Port Elizabeth           34,640

These sums not being included in the above statements, must be added
to the aggregate of these ports respectively. Since April, 1832, Cape
Town and Simon’s Town have been declared “_free warehousing ports_;”
and Port Elizabeth was declared a “free port” only--all goods of every
description whatever, the growth, productions, or manufacture of Great
Britain, or any of the possessions of the British crown, pay a duty
of three pounds per centum. All goods being the growth, produce, or
manufacture of any of the East India company’s possessions, pay ten
pounds per centum. Any foreign nation, at peace with Great Britain,
may import, in foreign ships, any goods, being the growth, produce,
or manufacture of such foreign nation, ten pounds per cent., and they
may export any goods to any country, &c. All casks, barrels, staves,
heading, or hoops, to be used as wine casks, _duty free_.

No gunpowder, arms, ammunition, or utensils of war, or fresh or
salted beef, pork, dried or salted fish, train oil, blubber, fins, or
skins of creatures living in the sea, can be imported, except from
Great Britain, or some British possession in America. No _tea_ can be
imported, except by the East India company, or some British possession
in America.

Accounts are kept in pounds, shillings, pence, and farthings, or rix
dollars, skillings, and stivers. One stiver is equal to three eighths
of a penny; six stivers, two and one fourth, or one skilling; _eight_
skillings, eighteen pence, or one rix dollar. Three shillings and
ninepence is the par value of the Spanish dollar, but they were sold by
the purser of the Peacock at four shillings; and doubloons, at sixteen
dollars, or three pounds four shillings. Bills on England were three
shillings and eleven pence sterling per dollar.

The weights made use of in this colony, are derived from the standard
pound of Amsterdam, and the pieces permitted to be assized, are from
fifty pounds down to one loot, or the thirty-second part of a pound,
which is regarded as unity.

Proportions between colonial and British weights and measures. Weights:
ninety-one pounds and four fifths, Dutch, are equal to one hundred
pounds English, avoirdupois. Measures: corn, four Dutch schepels are
equal to one Dutch muid, one hundred and seven ditto, to eighty-two.

Winchester bushels. A load of ten muids is equal to thirty bushels, two
pecks, one gallon, and one pint English; eight bushels make a quarter

One ell of cloth is equal to twenty-seven Rhynland inches; one hundred
and thirty-three, fifty-one hundredths, Dutch ells, are equal to one
hundred English yards.

The truth is, that all articles of produce are sold by English weight,
and not Dutch, unless by a special agreement.

[Sidenote: POPULATION.]

The colony of the cape of Good Hope is divided into ten districts.
Herewith, I present a table, showing the whole amount of the population
for 1831-1832; the number of births, marriages, and deaths. Mr.
Greig, the editor and publisher of the South African Almanac, says,
“It is compiled from tax and rolls, and there is an omission of the
itinerants’ and Hottentots’ settlement at Kat river, &c., to the number
of between fifteen and sixteen thousand;” and Cape Town is supposed to
contain about twenty-two thousand, in December, 1833, instead of the
number stated.

               |  Free Persons,  |                 |
               |white & coloured.|     Slaves.     |      Total.
  Districts.   +--------+--------+--------+--------+--------+--------
               | Males. |Females.| Males. |Females.| Males. |Females.
  Cape Town    |  6,410 |  6,949 |  2,921 |  2,906 |  9,331 |  9,855
  Cape District|  3,703 |  2,977 |  2,709 |  1,473 |  6,412 |  4,450
  Stellenbosch |  3,854 |  3,677 |  4,724 |  4,108 |  8,578 |  7,785
  Worcester    |  5,758 |  5,655 |  2,667 |  2,135 |  8,425 |  7,790
  Swellendam   |  6,063 |  7,867 |  1,650 |  1,381 |  7,713 |  7,248
  George       |  3,286 |  2,740 |  1,106 |  1,068 |  4,392 |  3,808
  Uitenhage    |  5,135 |  4,485 |    677 |    616 |  5,812 |  5,101
  Albany       |  3,572 |  2,705 |     72 |     67 |  3,644 |  2,772
  Somerset     |  4,494 |  4,375 |    781 |    623 |  5,275 |  4,998
  Graff Reinet |  6,397 |  4,613 |  1,505 |    944 |  7,902 |  5,557
    Total      | 48,672 | 44,043 | 18,812 | 15,321 | 67,484 | 59,364

               |        |        |
               |        |        |
  Districts.   | Births.|  Mar.  | Deaths.
               |        |        |
  Cape Town    |    644 |    138 |    638
  Cape District|    123 |     28 |     98
  Stellenbosch |    296 |    102 |    189
  Worcester    |    577 |     67 |    261
  Swellendam   |    606 |     49 |    325
  George       |    219 |     46 |     60
  Uitenhage    |    300 |     60 |     81
  Albany       |    177 |     34 |     89
  Somerset     |    384 |    119 |    107
  Graff Reinet |    156 |    127 |     74
    Total      |  3,482 |    770 |  1,922

  Total                           126,848
  Add for the army                  2,500
  Add omissions, say               15,652
  Making a grand total of         145,000

This settlement, which was founded by the Dutch, under Governor
Riebeck, in 1652, contained in 1832 but a little upward of one hundred
and forty thousand, there not being so many inhabitants as there are
in the city of New York or Philadelphia, whereas the first English
settlement of Puritans, which landed in New England but thirty-two
years previous, now numbers upward of two millions, and the United
States not less than fifteen millions. The Dutch held it from 1692
to 1795, when it was placed under the protection of the British
government, by order of the prince of Orange. It was restored to the
Batavian government in the commencement of 1803. In January, 1806, it
capitulated to the English arms under General Sir D. Baird, and it is
now an integral part of the British empire.

On a calm and beautiful morning, before the sun had tinged the
mountains of Hottentots’ Holland, or Table mount, we were preparing for
a ride to the celebrated vineyard of Constantia and to Simon’s town.
J. B. Ebden, Esq., Captain Geisinger and myself, went in an excellent
carriage, having six fine horses, accompanied by Captain Shields of the
Boxer, Lieut. Craver of the Peacock, Mr. Poor of the Boxer, &c., on
horseback. A pleasant ride of five miles brought us to the beautiful
village of Wynberg, passing on the right of the Devil’s Peak. This
village is adorned with a great number of gentlemen’s seats, and neat
cottages, the avenues leading to them having well-trimmed hedges of
myrtle and oak, and over shadowed by pine, oak or fruit trees, the
grounds being ornamented with flowers and shrubs, and the porches
shaded with luxuriant grape-vines. A small but very pretty new church,
belonging to the Episcopalians, graces a rising ground on the right.
We proceeded on about five miles further, where the road branches to
the left and to the right, the former being the direct road to Simon’s
town, and the latter leading to Constantia, &c. We breakfasted at the
picturesque seat of the late Governor Cole, at Protea, with Mr. Scott
of Bengal. From thence we went about three miles out of the direct
road, passing the Newlands, a celebrated seat of a former governor,
Lord Somerset, who lavished some eighty thousand pounds sterling upon
it, at the expense of the British government. We passed through a noble
avenue of ancient oaks, which led to Great Constantia, where we found a
very substantial Dutch dwelling-house, having extensive out-buildings
on the right, with the wine-store in the rear. We were very kindly
and hospitably received, and treated to a taste of four kinds of very
old, rich wine, drawn out of some of the immense leaguers, which line
both sides of an extensive building. Every thing about the place is in
excellent order; the variety of fruits, flowers, shrubs and creeping
plants, and live hedges, made it truly enchanting.

[Sidenote: CONSTANTIA.]

A fine stream of water runs through it, from the range of mountains,
on the decline of which the vineyard is situated. From this estate
two other vineyards have been formed, viz.: high and low Constantia,
so called from their relative positions to the mountains. There is
a most commanding view from the upper garden, the mountains about
Hottentots’ Holland, cape Hanglip and the range of mountains leading
towards the celebrated cape of Good Hope, as well as False bay and the
Indian ocean, and had we ascended to the top of the mountains, which
overlook Constantia, about three thousand feet, we could have seen both
oceans at one view, the Indian and South Atlantic. The vines, which
were hanging thick with clusters of fruit, are kept as low as three
feet; only two fruit-bearing shoots of three eyes are left of the last
year’s growth. The grapes are trodden out with the feet, as well as
pressed out, the former being preferred, as in ancient times. There was
but little to gratify the sight after leaving this hospitable place,
till our arrival at Simon’s town. On the left is a low sandy isthmus,
(having on it many lagoons,) which connects the cape district with
Hottentots’ Holland; it is about twelve miles in length, and separates
Table from False bay; there can be no doubt but that cape district was
once separated from the main land, and this plain was formed by the
accumulation of sand, thrown in by the gales from the Atlantic and
Indian oceans. A few miserable hovels are scattered here and there,
over this dreary isthmus, and on the right toward the mountains, there
were a few ordinary cottages, and a solitary shepherd watching his
flock, but scarcely a tree was seen in any direction, excepting a few
Proteas, or those about the farm-houses. We wound round the base of
Mysenberg, which is about two thousand feet high, passing through a
dreary and uncomfortable looking fishing village of the same name.
Proceeding on, we came next to Fishhook bay, where there is a poor
village, having a small whaling establishment. At this place we came to
a low, sandy isthmus, which is mostly covered at high water, and leads
to Chapman’s bay, on the west; this isthmus separates in nearly equal
divisions the northern from the southern range of mountains, they being
in length twenty-nine miles, from the Lion’s Rump to the cape of Good

About two miles from the latter village is Elsey peak, about twelve
hundred feet high, round which the road passes, the base being washed
by the sea, and then we came to the bay and village of the same name,
having another small whaling establishment; but the inhabitants had
shaken hands with poverty, and these three villages are evidently fast
going to ruin. Two miles further brought us to Simon’s town; it was
suddenly presented to our view on winding round the base of a mountain,
with its naval arsenal and pretty white houses, having altogether a
neat and cheerful appearance. A frigate, a merchant-ship and a sheer
hulk, were riding quietly at anchor on the glassy bosom of the bay. We
stopped at a neat hotel, and after a visit to Admiral F. Warren and
family, by whom we were very kindly and hospitably received, we visited
the arsenal, this being the cape rendezvous for British ships-of-war on
this station, and found every thing in fine order and well arranged,
viz.: suits of sails, boats, blocks, rigging, masts, chain and hemp
cables, anchors, &c.; all in readiness for use from a seventy-four-gun
ship to a sloop. The streets were in good order, and the houses very
convenient and well built of stone or brick, and stuccoed, and the
whole aspect of the place was favourable, and had an air of comfort
and cleanliness, although bounded by barren, woodless and precipitous
mountains and hills, with only here and there a few scattered fruit or
forest trees about private enclosures. The town is represented to have
a population of one thousand seven hundred inhabitants.

False bay is easy of access to vessels of the greatest depth of water,
having but few dangers and those visible. No harbour can surpass that
of Simon’s bay in point of security, having a sufficient depth of water
for ships of any burden; the winds may be said never to blow from the
east, which is the only point from which vessels are exposed. The winds
most prevalent in False bay, are from the southeast, and Simon’s bay is
completely sheltered from their violence; and in the winter from the
north, which does not affect vessels materially, which are properly
secured. Boats can always land, and refreshments of all kinds may be
had, excellent fresh beef and mutton, and salted cape beef, with
bread, biscuit, vegetables, wine, butter, &c., &c.

The bay abounds with fish, and if there is any deficiency of articles
in the town, they may always be procured from Cape Town by the wagons.
Horses and carriages are always to be had, and the mail runs twice a
week to the capitol, during the warm months, and three times during the
cool part of the season; the distance is twenty-one miles. Within the
district there are plenty of cattle, and sheep, and wheat raised, and
wine and brandy made in abundance. It is every way a most convenient
and safe port for refreshments, and to repair vessels, and a most
desirable haven for shelter to the way-worn mariner, who has been
buffeting the storms of winter about this “cape of torments.” Our
return occupied the space of three hours, and was performed by the same
set of horses throughout, with perfect ease.


The following public institutions are established at Cape Town:
The _South African library_, in a building at one end of the Grand
Parade, is at once the pride and boast of the colony. It contains
about ten thousand volumes in all departments of literature, and is
highly creditable to the place. The South African college, founded
in 1829, is spoken of in high terms by the inhabitants, although a
large portion of the sons of wealthy parents are sent to England to
complete their education. It has a professor of classical and English
literature, as well as one for Dutch, and one for mathematics and the
principles of astronomy. It has also a Dutch assistant and teacher of
German, an English assistant, a mathematical assistant, writing-master,
and drawing-master. There is also a society for promoting Christian
knowledge, a philanthropic society for the diminution of slavery
in the colony, and a royal observatory, having an astronomer, an
assistant-astronomer, and a chronometer and instrument maker; a Bible
union instituted in 1818; a South African infant school; a savings
bank; a South African literary and scientific institution, to which
is attached an excellent museum; a medical society, a “European and
burial society;” this society was formed in 1795, for supporting poor
and unfortunate fellow-countrymen, during their illness, and in the
event of their death, to cause them to be respectably interred. It is
a Dutch institution, and now possesses considerable funds. A “Saint
Andrews,” friendly society, for the benefit of the Scotch, founded in
1820, to afford relief in sickness, and medical assistance. A widows’
and old women’s fund; a widows’ private fund to afford relief to the
widows of deceased members; a South African missionary society; a
London missionary society, established in 1795; a Wesley missionary
station society for Southern Africa. The school of industry, for
the instructing female children of all denominations in reading and
needlework; there is also a Sunday school attached to it. There are
also a ladies’ benevolent society, an English choral society, and eight
Sunday schools.

The commercial exchange is a handsome commodious edifice, having
a lofty and spacious centre-hall: the tables are furnished with
newspapers, and there is a good supply of mercantile works of reference
with maps, &c. Most of the public meetings are held here; the north
wing is used by the South African public library; a masonic hall is
held in another room, and it has a ball-room, fifty-eight feet by

There are also a _colonial insurance company_ and an _agricultural
society_, which are likely to be highly useful, not only to Cape Town
but the whole colony, branches being already established in most of
the districts. There are a temperance society, having nine branches,
in almost every district; an _orphan house_, and two “_free schools_,”
besides other institutions. There is an English church now building,
called St. George’s church, at a probable expense of sixteen thousand
pounds sterling; the Rev. George Hough is the chaplain; the service is
at present performed in the Dutch reformed church, at noon, after the
Dutch society has retired. The new church is calculated to hold one
thousand persons, of which three hundred seats are reserved for the
poor. A Lutheran church: St. Andrew’s church (Presbyterian:) a Roman
Catholic chapel, and a Wesleyan and Methodist chapel, &c., &c.

There are four newspapers printed in the colony, three at Cape Town and
one at Graham’s town, the Government Gazette being one of them. There
has also been published since June, 1830, a monthly publication called
the Cape of Good Hope Literary Gazette; each number contains twelve
quarto pages. It is a most respectable periodical, and contains a great
deal of original matter, on general and local topics: it is independent
in its tone, liberal in its doctrines, and deserving of encouragement.
The “South African Almanac and Directory,” for 1833, possesses very
high merit, and I am deeply indebted to it, for no inconsiderable
portion of statistical matter, &c., relative to the colony of the cape
of Good Hope.

[Sidenote: MUSEUM.]

Attached to the South African literary and scientific institution
is a museum; no museum I have yet seen, will compare with this, in
the superior arrangement of the birds and beasts; nothing can be in
finer order than the first: it would require many years of study and
observation, and a fine tact, to be able to arrange them in their
natural state as they are--to catch, in fact, the “living beauty,”
when sporting among the wilds of his native bowers. There are many
hundreds in the highest state of preservation; the beauty of their
plumage is unsurpassed. There is also a small but valuable collection
of shells, minerals, fossils, coral, sponge, &c., &c. A French
gentleman is the artist, the preserver and arranger of this beautiful
museum. I regretted much, that an hour was all I had to devote to these
beautifully arranged objects of nature. There are a noble lion and a
lioness at the upper end of the public garden, belonging to government.
There were for sale in Cape Town a number of zebras from the Snow-berg
mountains; these were in fine order and appeared to be very tractable,
and several were mounted without any difficulty. This animal is so
well known that it is unnecessary to attempt giving any description
of it; their coats were in such good order, and the yellow ground and
black stripes so bright, distinct, and perfect, that one can scarcely
believe it is other than a work of man’s fancy; it differs from the
zebra of the plains, by having black rings upon the legs. The price was
ninety pounds sterling per pair; they are built very compactly, and
are said to be a very hardy animal; there was an “_ant bear_,” but it
differed materially from one I saw at Buenos Ayres; the body and nose
of the latter were longer, and the bristles on the back also of greater
length, and more rigid and wiry: he was very harmless, and suffered
any one to handle him: a spring-bock-springer, antelope, or showy-bock
was also for sale: he had a cavity about the lower part of the rump,
adjoining the tail, the hair being quite white: when he bounded in the
air this spot dilated by the effort, and closed again on descending.
The above animals, as well as birds, reptiles, &c., were for sale by
Mr. Reid, in Roland street--a “collector of curiosities” as he styles
himself on his card.

Mr. Villet in Long street has a very great collection of animals living
and dead: the living ones are at his garden at Green Point. He is also
a nursery seedsman and florist: prepares birds, skins, insects, &c.
There are many other “collectors of curiosities.” The enormous prices
paid by the English generally, put all the traders on the frontier upon
the “qui vive;” and the shell-collectors at Table and Simon’s bay, &c.,
find a ready sale and high prices for paper-nautilus, beautiful limpits
in great variety, as well as scaly chitons, &c.

Dr. Smith has in his possession a stuffed Hottentot woman, formerly a
well-known notoriously bad character in Cape Town; she was skinned in
a very complete manner, excepting the head, hands and feet, the fleshy
part being taken away, and then preserved and stuffed and placed in
a standing position; it is almost the first attempt ever made: the
features are the same as when living: she was about thirty years of
age, of middle height, and well made, having close set and small tufted
twists of hair; apparently no bridge to the nose, thin lips, with
the extraordinary projection behind, which is common to her nation.
The Hottentots are unquestionably a distinct race, from the rest of
mankind, with the peculiarities well known.

There is a race-course at Green point; the horses have a high
celebrity for swiftness, strength and beauty. It has been found that
the racehorses imported from England cannot compete with them. It is
probable they never fully recover from the fatigues of a tedious voyage.

The oil which is preferred, is taken from the top of the tail of the
cape sheep; it burns without smoke or smell. The acorns are preserved
in fresh water, and the cattle fed on them as well as grass.

There are regular mails to twenty-five different towns. The rate
of postage for a single letter, is from twopence to thirteen pence

There are stationed within the colony three regiments of soldiers,
the seventy-second Highlanders, the ninety-fifth and seventy-fifth
regiments; the two first named are at Cape Town and vicinity, the
seventy-second being stationed in various parts of the colony. I will
only say they are in the finest order possible, and the officers of the
royal artillery and royal engineers, are gentlemen that would honour
any situation in which they might be placed.

Robbin island is low land, raised but a few feet above the level of
the sea, and can only be seen at a short distance, lying parallel with
the main and devoid of trees. It seems on the first view to be a part
of the continent; it is the Botany bay of the cape, and has a small
garrison; there is a good anchorage on the southeastern side, and a
safe passage between it and the continent.


There is an expedition preparing for discoveries in the interior of
Africa, to consist of about forty persons, under the direction of a
most worthy and scientific man, Dr. A. Smith. It was to leave Graff
Reinet, being the most convenient place of rendezvous, on the first of
June, 1834. At that place there can easily be procured oxen, wagons and
attendants. It is in contemplation to penetrate as far as the equator,
in a northeasterly direction, but the course will be varied according
to circumstances; the time it will occupy will probably be two years.
The objects in view are to enlarge the geographical knowledge of the
extensive and unknown regions to the northward of this settlement, to
obtain scientific information, especially as it regards the branches
of meteorology, geology and magnetism; to collect botanical specimens,
and those of natural history, and to ascertain what prospects the
productions of the country, and the disposition of the native tribes,
hold out to commercial enterprise, are the chief aims of the intended
experiment. There is to be a botanist, a surveyor and a draftsman,
capable of delineating landscape and portraying objects of natural
history, and a person capable of conducting the trading department
of the expedition. It seems there are to be seven wagons, with one
European, and four Hottentots, to each, and one hundred and twenty
crew, and it is probable that two sergeants and ten soldiers will
be added to the number. The cost of the expedition will amount,
probably, to not less than two thousand pounds, exclusive of the
necessary instruments, maps, &c. Lieutenant Edie of the ninety-eighth
regiment will assume the command, in case of accident to Dr. Smith.
Both of these gentlemen lately returned from a journey to Natal. May
every success attend so laudable an undertaking: it is fraught with
innumerable dangers, from sickly climates, _savage_ beasts, and still
more savage men.

It is in contemplation to build a break-water, into the bay, commencing
near the Chavonne battery, and a survey has been completed. If a double
railway is made from the quarries on the side of the hill called
the Lion’s Rump, which is at a very short distance, the full cars on
descending could be made to return the empty, and then it would be done
at a small expense, considering the importance of the object.

On the twenty-first, our stock of provisions being replenished, we took
leave of our hospitable friends. The ship tacked and stood in shore,
and then tacked again and stood off, the main-topsail being aback; a
salute of twenty-one guns was fired, the English flag being hoisted at
the main. The compliment was returned by the castle, the ship “filled
away,” and we passed between Robbin island and the main, owing to the
wind being light, from the northward and westward. The convict-houses
on the island are on the eastern side. The neatness of the officers’
quarters and the soldiers’ barracks, gave some relief to a very barren
spot. The verdant vine-fields, the pleasant town, and the cloud-capped
Table mount, gradually receded from our view, as we approached the
land about Saldanha bay. The weather was fine, the temperature of the
air was delightful; a smooth sea, with light breezes, accompanied us
to the coast of Brazil, so that the smallest boat in the ship could
have performed the passage with perfect ease and safety. We did not
attempt to make much westing until the ship had arrived in the latitude
of about eighteen, and in the longitude of about eight west, owing to
the baffling and uncertain winds which are always experienced in a
higher latitude, as an approach is made toward the sea, midway between
the two continents, and toward the coast of America. And we derived
but little benefit from northerly and westerly currents, which only
assisted us about one hundred and fifty miles. On the seventeenth
January, (1834,) we once more were _blessed_ with the sight of “Lord
Hood’s gigantic nose,” and the Vac d’Assucar, and anchored the next
morning in Rio harbour. Having been deprived nearly twenty months of
letters from home, great anxiety was expressed by all for the return
of the boat, which had been despatched on shore and to the Natchez to
procure them--hopes and fears rushed on the fancy of all, as the return
boat approached the ship--the budget at length arrived, and was opened
and distributed, the seats torn asunder, and the contents read with the
utmost rapidity, and in a few minutes the delightful sound that “all’s
well” was heard from the cabin to the ward-room, and from the steerage
to the berth, gun, and spar decks, repaying all for the thousand
perils they had encountered from stormy oceans, treacherous reefs, and
baneful climates. Such is the delight most painfully earned by a long,
protracted absence from our country, and our friends.

The Boxer having parted company soon after leaving Table bay, and
keeping more to the westward than the Peacock, caused a delay of two
days in her passage beyond ours. I remained at Rio until the arrival
from “the river” of the Lexington, commanded by Captain M’Keever.


Having taken leave of many worthy friends on board the Peacock, I
embarked on board the Lexington, and on the first day of March we
were cheered with the welcome sound of the first lieutenant’s voice,
ordering the capstan bars to be manned. The band immediately struck up
the cheering tune of “Homeward bound,” the capstan bars flew round like
a top, and in a few minutes, the ponderous anchor was at the bows, and
as we “filled away,” every countenance seemed exultingly to say, “Our
next anchorage ground will be within sight of home, and friends, and
our dear native shore.” Light and unfavourable winds annoyed us for
the first fortnight, until we stretched as far to the eastward as 28°,
and latitude 19°, when the northeasterly wind began to prevail more
steadily. On the twenty-seventh day, we crossed the equator and passed
between cape St. Roque and the island of Fernand de Noronha. The whole
passage was marked with light winds, until we arrived in the latitude
of Bermudas, when strong gales from the northward caused us to suffer
severely from the cold. On the twenty-fourth of April we caught the
first sight of land at cape Cod, and that evening, after “battling the
watch” all day with a furious northwester off cape Ann, we put into
Boston harbour and anchored near the light-house. On quitting the ship
and her worthy commander and officers, the next morning, the music
played, “Home, Sweet Home,” which I was upon the eve of visiting, after
a painful absence of twenty-six months.

    _A Table, showing the names of the various places visited in
    rotation, on board the United States ships-of-war, Peacock and
    Lexington, from the eighth of March, 1832, to the twenty-fourth of
    April, 1834; together with the distances between each place, and
    the number of days at sea._

                   |                             |Distance  |   Number
      From         |     To                      | in miles |   of days
                   |                             |per log.  |   at sea.
  Boston           |  Port Praya                 |   3,672  |     31
  Port Praya       |  Rio de Janeiro             |   2,641  |     22
  Rio Janeiro      |  Montevideo                 |   1,159  |     13
  Montevideo       |  Buenos Ayres               |     110  |      2
  Buenos Ayres     |  Montevideo                 |     133  |      3
  Montevideo       |  Bencoolen                  |   9,215  |     63
  Bencoolen        |  Crokatoa and Angier        |     593  |      9
  Angier           |  Manila                     |   1,631  |     19
  Manila           |{ Macao   }Canton            |     589  |      7
                   |{ Linting }                  |          |
  Linting          |  Phuyen bay and Cochin-China|     718  |      7
  Phuyen bay       |  Siam                       |     950  |     10
  Siam             |  Singapore                  |   1,028  |     25
  Singapore        |  Batavia                    |     920  |     26
  Batavia          |  Angier                     |     --   |      2
  Angier           |  Red Sea                    |   4,694  |     38
  Red Sea          |  Persian Gulf               |   1,416  |     17
  Muscat           |  Quintangony and Mozambique |   2,782  |     30
  Mozambique       |  Cape of Good Hope          |   2,306  |     24
  Cape of Good Hope|  Rio de Janeiro             |   3,673  |     27
       Peacock, miles                            |  38,230  | 370 days.
       Lexington, from Rio de Janeiro to   }     |          |
         Boston                            }     |   6,948  |    54 do.
       Whole _distance_ of miles, exclusive}     |  45,178  |   424 do.
         of currents                       }     |          |


_State of Commerce in the year 1833, at Rio de Janeiro, Brazil;
Condensed and brought into Form from Various Documents._

There _arrived_ 1704 national vessels, and _departed_ 1629; and
_arrived_ 696 foreign vessels, and _departed_ 617.

The _exports_ consisted of the following articles, viz.:--

  Coffee, 577,764 bags and barrels        10,494,576 000
  Sugar, 15,000 boxes, 11,204 barrels,
    and 7,217 bags                         1,459,513 500
  Hides, 187,530                             754,048 880
  Horns, 380,242                              48,922 340
  Rice, 14,248 bags                           80,276 000
  Rum, 3,492 pipes                           192,928 000
  Tobacco, 15,919 rolls                      158,584 500
  Ipecacuanha, 458 barrels and bundles        59,880 000
  Tapioca, 937 barrels and bags                3,002 000
  Cotton, 196 bales                            1,488 000
  Timber, 1,633 dozens                        40,860 000
  Tanned half hides, 5,210                    20,987 000
  Gold, diamonds, &c.                      2,400,000 000
                       Valued at          15,715,060 820
                                           Mil Reis. Rs.
  The _imports_ were valued at            16,560,372 752
  The _revenue_ amounted to the sum of     4,847,952 550

There were imported 184,000 barrels of flour, including 13,000 barrels
on hand, on the first of January; and there were exported 48,500; and
there were on hand, the first of January, 1834, 35,000, which gave
100,500 barrels consumed--164,185 barrels were imported from the United
States, and 6,815 barrels from Europe and elsewhere.

The number of foreign vessels despatched during the year, were 565,
measuring 149,746 tons, of which,

  208 were English, measuring            53,985 tons.
  167  „   American     „                50,410  „
    7  „   Austrian     „                 1,771  „
    5  „   Belgian      „                 1,149  „
   16  „   Danish       „                 4,688  „
   26  „   French       „                 7,252  „
    6  „   Spanish      „                 1,059  „
    3  „   Dutch        „                 1,225  „
   13  „   Hamburgh     „                 3,919  „
    6  „   Montevideo   „                 1,054  „
    4  „   Neapolitan   „                   815  „
   40  „   Portuguese   „                 7,327  „
   26  „   Sardinian    „                 5,661  „
   21  „   Swedish      „                 5,496  „
    2  „   Tuscan       „                   382  „
    2  „   Russian      „                 1,366  „
    3  „   Bremen       „                   904  „
    1  „   Roman        „                   158  „
    9  „   Argentine    „                 1,116  „

There were shipped, by American vessels to the United States, 236,708
bags of coffee, and to Europe, 67,043 bags; making 303,751 bags, &c.,
which is upward of one half of the whole quantity exported.

Production of coffee throughout the world, in 1833:--


  Brazil                              92,432,240
  Java                                40,000,000
  Rest of India and Arabia            30,000,000
  Cuba                                50,000,000
  Porto Rico                          15,000,000
  St. Domingo                         40,000,000
  British West Indies                 20,000,000
  French      „                       15,000,000
  Dutch       „                       10,000,000
  Spanish     „                       10,000,000
            Total pounds             322,432,240

Consumption of coffee in 1833, copied from an Antwerp newspaper:--

  Low Countries                             90,000,000
  Germany and the Baltic                    70,000,000
  Spain, Portugal, and the Mediterranean    65,000,000
  England and Ireland                       25,000,000
  France                                    24,000,000
  United States                             80,000,000

  In 1830, Brazil produced 391,785 bags     62,685,600
   „ 1831,   „       „     430,672  „       68,907,530
   „ 1832,   „       „     513,296  „       82,127,360
   „ 1833,   „       „     577,764  „       92,432,240

Being an increase of nearly fifty per cent., from 1830 to 1833.

Coffee consumed in the world:--

  The consumption in Great Britain,       is about   10,000
   „       „         France                   „      20,000
   „       „         Netherlands              „      40,000
   „       „         Spain and Portugal       „      10,000
   „       „         Germany and the Baltic   „      32,000
   „       „         United States            „      15,000

This quantity is produced as follows:--

  British West India Islands        13,390
  Java                              20,000
  Cuba                              15,000
  St. Domingo                       16,000
  Dutch West India Colonies          5,000
  French   ditto   and Bourbon       8,000
  Brazil and S. Main                32,000

Population of Brazil in 1819, continued:--

  Whites               843,000
  Indians              259,400
  Free casts           426,000
  Ditto blacks         150,500
  Black slaves       1,728,000

  Produce: 100,000 cases sugar, of 15 qtt., of 128 pounds each.
           150,000 bales of cotton, 12,500,000 pounds.
                   Between 12 and 13 millions pounds of coffee.


_Of the Aboriginal Inhabitants of the Malayan Peninsula, and
particularly of the Negroes called Semang._

This subject has afforded matter of curious and interesting
speculation, to several writers of modern date. Marsden, Leydon,
Raffles and Crawfurd have alternately bestowed a slight attention upon
it; but it is one which requires more minute investigation, and would
amply repay the labours of the philosopher.

Of the _interior parts_ of the Malayan peninsula, which is the Suvarna
or Gold island, one of the three sacred isles of the Hindoos [a] and
the _grand depot_ for souls after death, [b] there is little known
even at the present day, and the researches which have hitherto been
made, regarding the Aboriginals of this portion of the East, have as
yet been exceedingly defective, and unattended with any satisfactory
result. “In our present state of knowledge,” as a late author observes,
“I fear we must pronounce that the origin of the nations which inhabit
the Indian islands seems buried in unfathomable obscurity, and hardly
appears less mysterious than that of indigenous plants and animals of
the country they inhabit.” [c] Mr. Marsden, in the introduction to
his Malayan grammar, has quoted the opinion of Sir S. Raffles, (then
Mr. Raffles, secretary to the governor of Prince of Wales island,)
who published a paper on the Malay nation, in the twelfth volume of
the Asiatic Researches, relative to the Aborigines of the peninsula.
“The Malays,” observes this author, “seem to have occupied a country
previously unappropriated, for, if we except an inconsiderable race
of Caffrees who are occasionally found near the mountains, and a few
tribes of the Orang-Benua, there does not exist a vestige of a nation
anterior to the Malays in the whole peninsula. As the population of the
peninsula has excited much interest, my attention has been particularly
directed to the various tribes stated to be scattered over the country.
Those on the hills are usually called Semang and are woolly headed;
those on the plains, Orang-Benua, or people belonging to the country;
the word Benua being applied by the Malays to any extensive country,
as Benua China, Benua Kling, but it appears to be only a sort of Malay
plural to the Arabic word Ben or Beni, signifying a tribe.” [d] This
hypothesis, however, is satisfactorily confuted by Marsden, who asserts
that Benua is a genuine Malay word signifying country, region, land,
and that a slight variation of the word, as Whennua or Fennua is
found in the Bisagan dialects of the Philippines, and the languages
of the South Sea islands, bearing a precisely similar signification.
In my inquiries among the Malays, I have not been able, however, to
discover that the term Orang-Benua (which is literally Aborigines
or people of the land) is ever applied to any particular race of
the Malayan peninsula, the supposed Aboriginal tribes being styled
Sakei or Orang-Bukit, Orang-Laut or Semang. According to the Malayan
legends, indeed, there is a race of wild people said to be found in
the interior of Buman, the boundary between the states of Perak and
Salengore, designated Tuah-Benua [e] by the Salagorians, and known at
Quedah by the name of Mawas. They are represented as bearing a strong
resemblance to the Mawa or long-armed gibbon, and instead of having
a bone in the lower part of the arm, they have a piece of sharp iron
which serves the double purpose of an arm and a cleaver for cutting
wood. There is another savage race, according to the Malays, called
Bilian, who are covered with hair, and have nails of extraordinary
length. Their principal occupation is said to be tending the tigers,
which are their peculiar flock, as the buffaloes are of the Malays. In
rainy nights, they are represented by the Malays as sometimes coming
to their residence and demanding fire, which those who are acquainted
with their savage disposition, hand them upon the point of a sumpit
or arrow tube, or at the extremity of a sword; as were the person to
present it with his hand, he would inevitably be seized and devoured by
the savage monster, a fate, which the credulous Malay firmly believes,
has befallen many. It is admirable how the Mahometans of the present
day even, assign to these regions inhabitants so aptly coinciding with
the mythological superstitions of the Hindoos. Fitter subjects could
not indeed be attributed to the sovereign of darkness, whose abode
is said to be in the peninsula of Malacca, than the Mawas and Bilian
races above described; whose appearance is quite consistent with what
some intelligent Christians even, consider as the imps of the infernal
regions, and it is still more remarkable that the supposed residence of
the Mawa species is, according to the Malays, in the very neighbourhood
of the city of the Hindoos, yama-pari, or the _grand depot_ for _souls_
after death. Another circumstance deserving of notice is, that the
Menang-Kebans of Sumatra, supposed to be the primitive Malays, “deduce
their origin from two brothers named Perapati See Batang and Kei
Tumunggungan, who are described as being among the forty companions of
Noah in the ark, and whose landing at Palembang, or at a small islet
near it named Lauha Pura, (probably the small island of Lucepara) is
attended with the circumstance of the dry land being first discovered
by the resting upon it of a bird (Perapati is literally a pigeon) that
flew from _the vessel_. From thence they proceeded to the mountain
named Sigantang-Gantang, and afterward to Priangan in the neighbourhood
of the great volcano, which at this day is spoken of as the capital
of Menang-Kaban.” [f] There is a mountain called Gunon-Gantang in
the Perak country, the supposed Yama-puri, and what is still more
extraordinary, the king of Perak, in opposing the claims of the Siamese
to a Boonga-Mas or Golden Flower, in a letter to a friend, says, “I am
he who holds the royal sword and the dragon Betel Stand, and the shell
fish which came out of the sea, which came from the hill of Segantang.”
I do not profess myself to be sufficiently conversant with the subject,
to reason farther on this singular coincidence, but it appears to me
that many curious inferences might be drawn from it, and I shall leave
the matter for the investigation of a more scientific pen.

[a] Sir S. Raffles remarks: “Farther investigation may, perhaps,
establish Java and Sumatra, or rather the Malayan ports, (in which
general term, we may include all the islands containing the Malayan
ports,) as not only the Taprobane or Taprovana of the ancients, but
also the sacred isles of the Hindoos.” See History of Java, vol. i.,
page 5.

[b] “As Ptolemy places Ma-Lancapuri in the same longitude with the
Pauranies, he must have used the same data, which he had, probably,
received from the Hindoos, whom he conversed with at Alexandria.
Ma-Lanca being, according to the Pauranies, in the centre of the
peninsula, it must be of course in about four degrees of latitude
north, and there it is placed by Abul Fayil, and in 4°. 20′, by
Ptolemy. Ma-Lanca is called, in the Pauranies, Yamala and Malaya, which
last denomination it still retains. It is styled also Chanchan-apuda,
or with the Golden Skirts. It may be translated the country of the
Golden Feet, a title assumed by the emperor of Ava, and other kings
of that part of the world: and the Malayan _breeze_ is as famous in
the East, as the _Sabaean_ in the west, and its capital was also
called Saba or Zaba. In the beginning of the Brahmanda-purans, it is
declared, that the stronghold of Yama Tri-_cuta_, that is to say, the
peninsula of Malacca, is one hundred yo-janas long, and thirty broad,
which is sufficiently accurate. Ptolemy mentions, there is a place,
called Malaioncolou, probably, from the Sanscrit, Malaya-Culum, which
implies a place on the borders or shores of Malaya; the same is called
Maletur by Marco Polo; Malayatir and Malaya-Culom, are synonymous.[A]
It is singular, that the city of Canca-Nagera, or Ma-Lancapuri, is
placed by Ptolemy in the exact latitude of the river Dinding, in the
Perak territory, (which is known as the _Temala_, or Land of Tin,
of the same author,) and which is, no doubt, the same city alluded
to in the Sejara Malaya, or Malayan Annals, written in the year of
the Hajeirat, 1021, or a little more than two centuries ago. It is
therein mentioned, that Rajah Suran Padshah, (said to be a descendant
of Alexander the Great,) formed the design of subjugating China, and
for this purpose his men-at-arms, and the rajahs dependant on him,
assembled from every quarter, with their hosts, to the number of one
thousand and two lacs. With this prodigious host, he advanced against
China, and in his course, forests were converted into open plains--the
earth shook, and the thickets moved--the lofty grounds became level,
and the rocks flew off in shivers, and the large rivers dried up.
Two months he marched on without delay, and the darkest night was
illuminated by the light of their armour, like the lustre of the full
moon; and the noise of the thunder could not be heard for the loud
noise of champions and warriors, mixed with the cries of the horses and
elephants. Every country which Rajah Suran approached, he subdued and
reduced under his subjection, till at last he approached the country of
Gangga Nagara, the rajah of which was named Ganggi Shah Juana, which
city is situated on a hill of very steep approach in front, but of
easy access in the rear.[B] Its fort was situated on the banks of the
river Dinding, in the vicinity of Perak.” It is also worthy of notice,
that there are two rivers under this mountain, which bear the name of
Sangah Kechil and Sangah Besar, or the small and great Laugah. It will
also be observed, by a reference to any of the charts of the straits
of Malacca, that there is an island, called Callum, or Collong, which
forms the straits of the same name, and which are about a day’s sail
from the Dindings. There is a river of the same name on the main, from
which much tin is exported, and which is, perhaps, the Malaion-Colon of
Ptolemy, and Malaya-Culum of the Sanscrit, notwithstanding the powerful
arguments against such a supposition. It must not be omitted to notice
besides, that there is another river to the southward of Colong, called
Langar, which bears such a striking affinity to Lanca. An intelligent
author (Mr. Crawford) asserts, that ‘The word Kolon is, without any
alteration, Javanese, and means the west, and the compound word,
Malayu-Kolon, exactly in the order in which it stands, means, ‘Malays
of the west;’ and there is an unanswerable objection against supposing
Malayu-Kolon to be on the Malayan peninsula, or supposing this to be
the Golden Chersonesus or Khruse, at all, which will occur at once to
every one familiar with the well-known history of the Malays. It is
this--in the age of Ptolemy, and for many ages after it, the Malayan
peninsula was uninhabited, or inhabited only by a few negro savages,
resembling the cannibals of Andaman, wretched beings, with whom there
could have been no intercourse, or at least no commerce. Malays did not
emigrate from Sumatra, their parent-country, and settle in the Malayan
peninsula, until the comparatively modern period of 1160, a thousand
years after the time of Ptolemy, while Malacca was not founded until
1252, and every other Malay state, on the peninsula, is of a still more
recent foundation.’--History of the Archipelago, vol. iii. p. 190, 191.

[A] Major Milford’s Essay on Asiatic Researches, vol. x., pp. 144, 145,
146, 147.

[B] Forrest alludes to a remarkable mountain in this quarter: “Gunang
Jantong, hanging hill, is remarkable, near Laroot river.”

[c] Crawford’s Archipelago, vol. i. p. 36.

[d] We are informed by Marsden, that the Sumatrans are firmly persuaded
that various particular persons are what they term “betuah,” (sacred,
invulnerable, not liable to accident.) The belief which prevails
in that island, however, among the Malays, of the transmigration
of souls, does not extend to the Malays of the peninsula, who have
spirits and imaginary beings of their own, among which we may safely
reckon the Mawas and Bilian. Mr. Marsden says of the Sumatrans: “They
have an imperfect notion of a metempsychosis, but not in any degree
systematic, nor considered as an article of religious faith. Popular
stories prevail among them, of such a particular man being changed
into a tiger, or other beast. They seem to think, indeed, that tigers,
in general, are actuated with the spirits of departed men, and no
consideration will prevail on a countryman to catch or to wound one,
but in self-defence, or immediately after the act of destroying a
friend or relation. They speak of them with a degree of awe, and
hesitate about calling them by their common name, (ariman or machang,)
terming them respectfully sewa, the wild animals, or even nenck,
(ancestors,) as really believing them such, or by way of soothing them,
as our ignorant country-folks call the fairies ‘the good people.’”

[e] In the history of Sumatra, there is a description of two races
of wild people on that island, called Orang Kubu and Orang Gugu; the
latter of whom seems to correspond with the description of the Bilian
of the peninsula. “In the course of my inquiries among the natives,”
observes Mr. Marsden, “concerning the Aborigines of the island, I have
been informed of two different species of people, dispersed in the
woods, and avoiding all communication with other inhabitants. These
they call Orang Kubu and Orang Gugu. The former are said to be pretty
numerous, especially in that part of the country which lies between
Palembang and Jambi. Some have, at times, been caught, and kept as
slaves, in Labun; and a man of that place is now married to a tolerably
Kubu girl, who was carried off by a party that discovered their huts.
They have a language quite peculiar to themselves, and they eat
promiscuously whatever the woods afford, as deer, elephants, wild hogs,
snakes, or monkeys. The Gugu are much scarcer than these, differing in
little, but the use of speech, from the Orang Utau of Borneo, their
bodies being covered with long hair. There have not been above two or
three instances of their being met with by people of Labun, (from whom
any information is derived,) and one of these was entrapped many years
ago, in much the same manner as the carpenter, in Pelpay’s fables,
caught the monkey. He had children by a Labun woman, which also were
more hairy than the common race, but the third generation are not to
be distinguished from others. The reader will bestow what measure of
faith he thinks due to this relation, the veracity of which I do not
pretend to vouch for. It has, probably, some foundation in truth, but
is exaggerated in the circumstances.”--See History of Sumatra, p. 41.

[f] See History of Sumatra, pp. 332, 333.

At Perak, the principal tin country of the peninsula, there are two
distinct races of wild people in the interior, the one called Semang,
resembling those of Quedah in personal appearance, but speaking a
different dialect, somewhat more civilized, and fond of collecting
silver and gold, with which they ornament their spears and knives,
which they obtain in exchange for the products of the wood; the others
are called Orang-Sakei by some, and Orang-Bukit or hill-people by
others. [g] They are much darker complexioned than the Malays, but
fairer than the Semangs, and speak a distinct language of their own.
They are not so timid as the Semangs, and sometimes come down to the
Malayan villages to amuse the inhabitants by their peculiar dances and
music. Their ordinary dress consists of pieces of bark beat out, tied
round their middle, but in their woods they are frequently met quite
naked. Both tribes are reported to be pretty numerous on the hills
which divide the Perak from the Patani states, and they are often
engaged in hostilities with each other. They are not so untractable as
the Semangs, and some of their children are trained up as domestics in
the Malayan families.

[g] This race of people seem to correspond in their appearance and
habits with a tribe called Jokong, which Sir S. Raffles describes as
being found near Malacca, (Asiatic Researches, vol. xii., p. 109):
“I had an opportunity,” remarks this author, in his paper on the
Malay nation, “of seeing two of these people, from a tribe in the
neighbourhood of Malacca; it consisted of about sixty people, and
the tribe was called Jakoons. These people, from their occasional
intercourse with the Malayan villages, dependant on Malacca, speak
the language well to be generally understood. They relate, that
there are two other tribes, the Orang Benna and the Orang Udai. The
former appears to be the most interesting, as composing the majority;
the latter is only another name for the Semang or Caffres. They are
not circumcised, and they appear to have received some instruction
regarding Nabi Isu, or as they pronounce it, Nabi Isher. They,
however, have no books, nor any word for God, whom they designate by
the Portuguese word Deos. The men are well formed, or rather short,
resembling the Malay in countenance, but having a sharper and smaller
nose. They marry but one wife, whether rich or poor, and appear to
observe no particular ceremony at their nuptials; the consent of the
girl and the parents being obtained, the couple are considered as man
and wife.”

The Orang-Laut is a race of people resembling the Malays in appearance,
who live almost entirely on the water; they are certainly the
Ichthyophagi of the East, and they subsist wholly upon fish. Dr.
Leyden supposes the Battas of Sumatra to be the Ichthyophagi described
by Herodotus; but there are several circumstances in his description
which would seem to contradict such a supposition. The same author
also, in alluding to the Batta Anthropophagi or cannibals of Sumatra,
says: [h] “This inhuman custom is not however without a precedent in
history, for Herodotus positively asserts that the Padang or Pedasi,
about five hundred years before our era, were not only addicted to the
eating of raw flesh, but accustomed to kill and eat their relations
when they grew old.” Now it is curious that Batta or Battey, for the
name is written both ways, seems to be the very word which in Greek,
is rendered Padasi, the letter P being almost always pronounced B
among several of the Indo Chinese nations, as in the word Pali, which
is almost always pronounced Bali. The following is the account which
Herodotus gives us of the Paday or Padasi:--“Another Indian nation, who
dwell to the _eastward_ of these, (the Indian Ichthyophagi,) are of
Nomadic habits and eat raw flesh; they are called Paday and are said to
practise such customs as the following: whoever of the community, be he
man or woman, happens to fall sick, his most familiar friends, if it is
a man, kill him, saying, that by his pining in sickness, his _flesh_
will be spoiled for them, and though he deny that he is sick, they do
not attend to him, but put him to death and feast on him. When a woman
falls sick, she is treated in like manner by her most intimate female
associates. They also sacrifice and feast on him who arrives at old
age, and this is the reason that so few ever attain it, for they kill
every one who falls sick, before that period.” [i] Although this account
corresponds in some particulars with the habits of the Battas, yet it
differs materially in others. The Battas, it is well known, inhabit
the _central_ parts of Sumatra and but rarely approach the _seashore_;
they could not therefore be termed Ichthyophagi, as they scarcely _see
fish_. The Orang-Laut of the present day are not known to be addicted
to cannibalism, though it is extremely probable they were in former
times, as they _yet_ retain all the characteristics of the most savage
life. They rove about from one island to another, and are found in
greatest numbers about the Lancavy group of islands opposite Quedah,
and likewise in the straits of Singapore, Dryon, Banca and Belitong.
They subsist wholly by fishing, and are very expert at striking fish
with the spear; they live principally in small canoes: sometimes when
the weather is boisterous, or their little barks require repair, they
erect temporary huts on the seashore: they are almost all covered with
ring-worms and scorbutic eruptions, and have altogether a most squalid,
wretched look; they are sometimes, when chance throws them in the way
and they have become a little civilized, employed by the Malays to pull
an oar, at which from their continual practice, they are very expert;
“their religion is,” (as Symes says of the Andamaners,) “the genuine
homage of nature,” offering up a hasty petition to the sun and moon.
Of the origin of that most singular and curious race called Semang,
[j] the Malays possess no tradition: certain it is, however, that
the tribes of them which inhabited various parts on both sides of the
peninsula, were much more numerous before many of the Malayan colonies
were founded by emigrants from Sumatra. The Semangs are designated by
the Malays Semang Paya, Bukit, Bakow and Bila. The Semang Paya are
those who reside on the plains and borders of morasses; the Semang
Bukit whose abode is on the _hills_, and the Semang Bakow are so
called from their frequenting the _seashore_, and occasionally taking
up their quarters in the mangrove jungles; the Semang Bila are those
who have been somewhat reclaimed from their savage habits and have
had intercourse with the Malays. A similar race of people are said to
have formerly inhabited all the islands of the Archipelago, and small
parties are still to be found on many of them. To the eastward they
are called Dyake, and on the east coast of the Peninsula, Pangan. They
are at present most numerous in the interior of Jan, a small river to
the northward of Mirlow, near the lofty mountain Jerei, in the Quedah
territory. There are small parties also in the mountains inland of
Jooroo and Krian, opposite Pinang. Their huts are temporary dwellings,
(for they have no fixed habitations, and rove about like the beasts of
the forest,) consist of two posts stuck into the ground, with a small
cross-piece, and a few leaves or branches of trees laid over to secure
them from the weather; some of them indeed, in the thicker parts of the
forest, where the elephants, tigers, and other wild animals are most
abundant, make their temporary dwellings upon the cliffs, and branches
of the large trees; their clothing consists chiefly of the inner bark
of trees, having no manufactures of their own; a few who have ventured
to approach the Malayan villages, however, obtain a little cloth in
exchange for elephant’s teeth, gahru, dammer and canes, which they
procure in the forest, but of the intrinsic value of which they possess
little knowledge, and are imposed upon by the crafty Malay. From the
Malays also, they procure their arms, knives and tobacco, of which
last they make great use; they in turn frequently impose upon the
superstitious Malays, when they have no products to barter and wish
to procure a supply of tobacco, by presenting them with the medicines
derived from particular shrubs and trees, which they represent as
efficacious for the cure of headaches and other complaints. The Semangs
subsist upon the birds and beasts of the forest and upon roots; they
eat elephants, rhinoceroses, monkeys, and rats, and with the exception
of the partial and scanty supplies which they obtain from the Malays,
they have no rice nor salt: they are very expert with the sompit, and
poison their darts with the ipoh, procured from the juice of various
trees, which are deadly poison; they handle the bow and spear with
wonderful dexterity, and destroy the largest and most powerful animals
by ingenious contrivances. They seldom suffer by beasts of prey, as
they are extremely sharpsighted, and as agile in ascending trees as
the monkeys. Their mode of destroying elephants, in order to procure
their ivory or their flesh, is most extraordinary and ingenious; small
parties of two and three lie in wait, when they perceive any elephants
ascend a hill, and as they descend again, (which they usually do at
a slow pace, plucking the branches as they move along,) while the
hind legs are lifted up, the Semang, cautiously approaching behind,
drives a sharp-pointed bambic or piece of weebong, which has been
previously well hardened in the fire, and touched with poison, into
the sole of the elephant’s foot, with all his force, which effectually
lames the animal and most commonly causes him to fall, when the whole
party rush upon him with spears and sharp-pointed sticks, and soon
despatch him. The rhinoceros they obtain with even less difficulty.
This animal, which is of solitary habits, is found frequently in
marshy places, with its whole body immersed in mud, and part of the
head only projecting. The Malays call them bodak tapa, or the recluse
rhinoceros. Toward the close of the rainy season, they are said to bury
themselves in this manner in different places, and upon the dry weather
setting in, and from the powerful effects of a vertical sun, the mud
becomes hard and crusted, and the rhinoceros cannot effect its escape
without considerable difficulty and exertion; the Semangs then prepare
themselves with large quantities of combustible materials, with which
they quietly approach the animal, who is aroused from his revery by an
immense fire over him, which being kept well supplied with fresh fuel,
soon completes his destruction and renders him in a fit state to make a
meal of; the projecting horn on the snout is carefully preserved, being
supposed to be possessed of medical properties, and highly prized by
the Malays, to whom they barter it for tobacco and other articles.

[h] On the language and literature of the Indu Chinese nations. (As.
Res. vol. 10, 202, 203.)

[i] Herodotus, Lib. 3, s. 99.

[j] Dr. Leyden, in his disquisition on the language and literature of
the East, makes mention of the negro-tribes as follows: “The Papuas,
termed by themselves Inglote, but by the Spaniards of the Philippine
islands, ‘Nigritos del Monte,’ from their colour of woolly hair, are
the second race of Aborigines in the Eastern isles, in several of
which they are still to be found, and in all which they seem to have
originally existed. Some of these divisions have formed small savage
states, and made some advances towards civilization; but the greater
part of them, even with the example of more civilized races before
their eyes, have betrayed no symptoms, either of a taste or capacity
for improvement, and continue in their primary state of nakedness,
sleeping on trees, devoid of houses or clothing, and subsisting on
the spontaneous products of the forest, or the precarious success
of their hunting and fishing. The Papuas, or Oriental negroes, seem
to be all divided into very small states, or rather societies, very
little connected with each other. Hence their language is broken into
a multitude of dialects, which, in process of time, by separation,
accident, and oral corruption, have nearly lost all resemblance. The
Malays of the peninsula consider the language of the blacks of the
hills as a mere jargon, which can only be compared to the chattering of
large birds, and the Papua dialects in many of the Eastern isles, are
generally viewed in the same light.” See As. Res. vol. x. p. 218.

A more simple and natural mode of bestowing names cannot well be
imagined, than that adopted by the Semangs: they are called after
particular trees: that is, if a child is born under or near a
cocoa-nut, or durian, or any particular tree in the forest, it is
named accordingly. They have chiefs among them, but all property
is in common; they worship the sun. Some years ago, I am told, the
bindahava or general of Quedah, sent two of these people for the
inspection of some of his English friends, at Penang; but shortly
after leaving Quedah, one of them, whose fears could not be appeased,
became very obstreperous, and endeavoured to upset the small boat, in
which they embarked; the Malays, therefore, with their usual apathy
and indifference about human life, put the poor creature to death,
and threw him overboard; the other arrived in safety, was kindly
treated, and received many presents of spades, hatchets, and other
implements, which he appeared to prize above every thing else. On his
return to Jan, he built himself a small hut, and began to cultivate
maize, sugar-cane, and yams, and it is said that he is still there,
and is a quiet inoffensive man. This man was, at the time of his visit
to Penang, according to report, about thirty years of age, four feet
nine inches in height: his hair was woolly and tufted, and of a glossy
jet-black; [k] his lips were thick, his nose flat, and belly very
protuberant, resembling exactly the natives of the Andaman islands.
The Semangs are found also at Tringand, on the eastern side of the
peninsula. I am informed by the Malays that the dialect of that tribe
is different from those of Quedah, but much the same as of those near
Malacca: they are not of such a jet-black, glossy appearance as the
Semangs from Quedah, nor as the Andamans. There is little doubt that
the degenerate inhabitants of the Andaman islands, in the bay of
Bengal, are descended from the same parent stock as the Semangs, and
it is extraordinary that they have preserved the same uniformity of
manners and habits, through such a series of ages. It will be seen by
a reference to the following specimen of the Semang language, that
there is a very material difference in many of the words collected by
Colonel M’Lunes, (late Malay translator at Penang,) from a Semang or
Jan, and published by Mr. Crawfurd, and those collected by Mr. Maingy,
the president of Province Wellesley, (government of Penang,) from the
Semang of Jooroo, and that the Andaman language bears no resemblance to

[k] “The East Insular Negro,” says Crawford, “is a distinct variety
of the human species, and evidently a very inferior one. Their puny
stature and feeble frames cannot be ascribed to the poverty of their
food, or the hardships of their condition, for the lank-haired
races, living under circumstances equally precarious, have vigorous
constitutions. Some islands they enjoy almost exclusively to
themselves, yet they have in no instance ever risen above the most
abject state of barbarism. Wherever they are encountered by the fair
races, they are hunted down like wild animals of the forest, and driven
to the mountains and fastnesses, incapable of resistance.” (Crawford’s
Archipelago, vol., i. p. 26.) Sir Everard Home gives the following
description of a Papua negro, carried to England by Sir S. Raffles,
Hist. of Java, vol. ii., Appendix, p. 235: “The Papua differs from the
African negro in the following particulars: his skin is of a lighter
colour, the woolly hair grows in small tufts, and each hair has a
spiral twist. The forehead is higher, and the hind head is not so much
cut off. The nose projects more from the face, the upper lip is longer
and more prominent, the lower lip projects forward from the lower jaw
to such an extent that the chin forms no part of the face, the lower
part of which is formed by the mouth; the buttocks are so much lower
than the negro as to form a striking mark of distinction, but the calf
of the leg is as high as in the negro.”

_Specimens of the Semang Language in two Dialects, and of the Andaman._

  English.     Semang Jooroo.  Sensing Jan or   Andaman.

  Earthquake   Talila
  Land         Teh Karmon      Teh              Tatonguangu
  Mountain     Maidap          Tabing Chubak
  Plain        Teh Haita
  Sand         Pasain
  Island       Paloo
  Road         Ha
  Water        Ho              Bateao           Migway
  Sea          Lawat           Lant
  River        Sungei          Sungai
  Flood        Pasing
  Ebb          Suit
  Sun          Milkatok        Milkatok         Allag
  Moon         Bulan           Kachit           Tabei
  Stag         Binting
  Rain         Ujar                             Oye
  Fire         Us                               Mona
  Smoke        E’el
  Lightning    Kilat
  Thunder      Kai
  Wind         Bioh
  Cloud        Miga
  Dark         Tin, Amea
  Light        Cha hai
  Cold         Gun, Amad                        Choma
  Hot          Pedee                            Mooloo
  Black        Belteng         Belting          Cheegheoga
  Charcoal     Auggu           Mannying
  Ashes        Tebut           Tapip
  Cloth        Budbud          Panzah
  Tree         Kuing           Chuck
  Leaf         Klee
  Rattan       Latei
  Bough        Teboa
  Flower       Bungei
  Rice         Bei             Bayas
  Salt         Ceam            Siyah
  Milk         Boo
  Teeth        Kabis
  Life         Gamas
  Sick         Myi
  Fever        Maa
  Smallpox     Champang
  Man          Tumbal          Teunkal          Camolon
  Woman        Mabei           Badon
  Virgin       Kedah
  Father       Kan             Ai
  Mother       Boh             Mak
  Brother      Tobai           Inak
  Sister       Wan-Ku-Man
  Infant       Wang            Wanganeg
  Husband      Tee
  Marriage     Goon
  Body         Pee
  Mine         Eng
  Flesh        See
  Bone         Gehee           Aieng            Geetonggy
  Blood        Muhum                            Cochengohee
  Head         Kula Kuyi       Kai              Tabay
  Face         Mid
  Ear          Pal             Anting           Quaka
  Mouth        Tenut           Ban
  Tooth        Lemum           Yus              Maboy
  Tongue       Litig
  Belly        Koad            Cheong           Napoy
  Nipple       Bou             Chas
  Hand         Tong
  Fingers      Wantung                          Momay
  Thumb        Boaling
  Hair         Saa
  Nail of the
    hand       Tiku Tong
  Arm          Belang                           Pilei
  Foot         Chan
  Nail of the
    foot       Tiku Chan
  Toe          Wong Chan
  Eye          Meda                             Tabay
  Nose         Muck            Neak             Mellee
  Tiger        Chiai           Taiyo
  Hog          Tuban, Badai
  Dog          Wan             Ek
  Deer         San             Rusak
  Elephant     Ta-Meen-da      Gazah
  Crow         Eghail
  Peacock      Mah
  Monkey       Jayo
  Buffalo      Kebao
  Rat          Tikus
  Cow          Lemboh          Lembok
  Fowl         Kawao
  Duck         Itek
  Fish         Ikam                             Nabohee
  Snake        Ekob
  Bee          Galu
  Crab         Kandun
  Ant          Kesub           Les
  Egg          Mahu
  Nest         S’am


It is well known wherever tea is used, that there are two descriptions
of it, the _black_ and the _green_. In the account of the _domestic_
commerce of China heretofore mentioned, it is shown that the _black_
teas are brought from the province of _Tuh-keen_, (which lies at the
distance of about four hundred miles from Canton,) and the _green_ teas
from _Keang-nan_, (at the distance of about eight hundred miles.) The
hilly upland districts of these provinces are the native and favourite
soils of the tea-tree. It has not been supposed that these leading
kinds of tea, as an article of wide consumption, were the produce of
the same tree--but it has been and still is questioned, whether the
black and the green teas are the produce of plants _specifically_
differing, or whether these differences of colour, flavour, &c., are
the result of the action of soil and sun on the same original tree.
Botanists have never been permitted to traverse these provinces, and
so decide this question; we believe however, that their opinion now
is, that there must and do exist differences sufficiently great to be
denominated _specific_, between the black-tea tree and the green-tea

Beside this region producing the real tea of commerce, the greater
part of the Chinese provinces, and even Cochin-China and Japan, have
their tea-tree. The provincial tea of China is a widely different, and
very inferior article, though used by the poorer local population;
and sometimes when prices are high, it is used to adulterate, before
exportation, the _true_ tea. Perhaps the grape is the only plant whose
produce can be compared for singular diversity of flavour, &c., to
the tea of the tea-tree. The delicious “Woolung” differs as totally
from the common Souchong, as does the “Vin ordinaire” of the worst
districts, from the “Chambertin of Burgundy.”

We are not aware that there is any thing peculiar in the cultivation
of the tea-tree, except that, like the mulberry, it is kept down to a
sapling size, to secure a tenderer leaf, and to render its gathering
the more easy. It is said to be cultivated by small proprietors, who
sell the produce of their tea-groves to collectors, called at Canton
“teamen.” These collectors leave Canton in the winter and spring with
their own, and perhaps a loaned capital, and after purchasing, curing
and packing, as much tea as their means will command, return with it
to Canton in the autumn. In the curing of tea, we are not aware that
any unwholesome methods are regularly resorted to--it is certain,
however, that _iron filings_ have sometimes been detected in black
teas, and that the colour of the green is sometimes attempted to be
heightened by a little “Prussian blue.” It is perhaps from a few cases
of this kind, that prejudices have been excited against this wholesome,
temperate and social beverage. The green tea, when arrived at Canton,
is spoken of in the market as a “Sunglo,” or a “Hyson” tea; the _black_
tea is called a “Mohea,” or an “Anki” tea. These names, derived from
the districts where the tea is grown, are used as general distinctions
of flavour and quality--the “Hyson” and “Mohea” being _sweeter_ and
more _valuable_--the “Sunglo” and “Anki,” more _astringent_ and _less
esteemed_ teas. These names are however almost unknown to the consumers
in Europe and America. The names with which they are familiar, are
found under both these general distinctions in tea. The Hyson--Hyson
Skin--Young Hyson--Gunpowder and Imperial, all green, may be either
Sunglo or Hyson teas. These names, viz.: Hyson, Hyson Skin, &c.,
merely designate the sortings, or siftings of the green leaf into its
different _sizes_, or _stages of growth_, but _plucked from the same
tree_. The Hyson, being the full-grown, mature leaf, has hitherto been
in much the greatest quantity; but the increasing demand for Young
Hyson, Gunpowder and Imperial--_younger leaves_--will no doubt be
followed by a corresponding effort to increase by a different time of
gathering, the proportion of these kinds of tea.

There is not so much care taken in sorting the produce of the black-tea
tree. Its rougher, coarser leaf cannot be made to curl or roll when
dried, like that of the green-tea tree. In the spring, the first
sproutings of its twigs and tender leaves are gathered--these make
the _Pecco_ tea; they may be distinguished by the _white down_ which
covers them, as it does the spring shoots of other plants; hence the
name “_Pih-haou_,” white down. In the course of the summer, there are
three other gatherings, each less valuable than the preceding, of the
leaves of the _black-tea_ tree. The “_Congo_,” the great article for
the English market, is made from one of the _early_ gatherings, without
any mixture of inferior tea. The “_Campoi_,” though not at the present
day a favourite article, or a very inferior one, has a large clean
leaf, and should be, as its name signifies, a “selected” tea. It is
not correct to say that the “Souchong” is an _inferior_ tea. Its name
merely designates it as a “_small-leafed_” tea; its different qualities
take in a wide range of flavour and value. Its first gatherings, from
favourable soils, are delicious teas; while the third crop, “Souchong,”
is superior only to Bohea. The “_Pouchong_” is only a peculiarly
_packed_ tea; a clean unbroken black tea is chosen and tied up in
small papers to make Pouchong tea; its name signifies “_enveloped_,”
or a “packed tea.” The very inferior article called “_Bohea_,” is at
the present time, rather a manufacture than a growth of tea. Its name
is corrupted from “Woo-E” the hills bearing the black tea. It is now
prepared either in the country, by mixing the refuse of the Souchong,
or with “Wa-ping,” a neighbouring provincial tea, or at Canton by
adding farther, the tea which has been damaged on its passage from the
interior, and all the leaves within reach of collection, which have
been _once infused_ and dried again.

The “teamen” are in the habit of affixing the same name, year after
year, to the tea which they bring to market; this name given to their
whole parcel, or to each of the qualities it may contain, is called
the “Chop” name. The foreign resident at Canton has little or no
intercourse with the “teamen.” The “hong” merchants, or the merchants
trading through the hongs, are the medium of sale; they often, however,
purchase largely on their own account and judgment from the “teamen.”

The Dutch learned the use of tea at Bantam from the Chinese, and first
introduced it into Europe in 1610. It was not known in England until
after 1650; and from 1700 to 1710, there was imported less than eight
hundred thousand pounds; but from 1710 to 1810, it amounted to seven
hundred and fifty millions of pounds: between the years 1810 and 1828,
the total importation exceeded four hundred and twenty-seven millions,
being on an average of between twenty-three and twenty-four millions a
year. In the year 1831, the quantity amounted to twenty-six millions,
forty-three thousand, two hundred and twenty-three pounds; and in
the season of 1832-33, the export of the English Company was thirty
millions, thirty-six thousand, and four hundred pounds. The expiration
of the English East India Company’s charter, and the ill success of
the Netherlands Trading Company, are now turning the commerce in this
valuable article into private hands. At the close of the company’s
charter, (in 1834,) the consumption of tea in the United Kingdom, was
estimated at thirty-two millions of pounds. Under the free trade now
opening, it may be estimated at thirty-five millions. The consumption
of the rest of Europe, imported almost entirely through Hamburgh and
Holland, may be estimated at _five_ millions of pounds. The quantity
imported into Russia by land from China is not included.

The _American_ trade to China commenced in 1784-5; and that season,
eight hundred and eighty thousand, one hundred pounds, were exported.
In the next season, six hundred and ninety-five thousand pounds were
taken. In 1786-7, five ships were engaged in the trade, and they
exported one million, one hundred and eighty-six thousand, eight
hundred and sixty pounds; but in the season of 1832-3, _fifty-nine_
vessels exported thirteen millions, two hundred and fifty thousand, one
hundred and eighty-five pounds of the following descriptions:--


  Bohea, 13,665 quarter chests of 50 catties each, making      683,255
  Souchg. and Pouchg. 39,538 chests 50 catties       „       1,876,900
  H. Skin and Tonkay, 36,608   „    52    „          „       1,903,616
  Young Hyson,        51,363   „    70    „          „       3,595,410
  Gunpowder and Imp.  12,583   „    83    „          „       1,041,899
  Hyson,              14,248   „    49    „          „         710,972
  Pecco,               2,563   „    49    „          „         125,587
                                                   Catties,  9,937,639
                                           Equal to pounds, 13,250,185

The consumption of the United States, and the ports supplied from the
commerce of the United States, may be estimated for 1834, at _fifteen_
millions of pounds.

We have therefore a total annual consumption, on this side of the
Cape of Good Hope, of this great staple of China, of FIFTY-FIVE
millions of pounds. This amount will in a few years be increased to
sixty millions. The quantity of tea exported by the Dutch cannot be
accurately estimated. Some seasons there are five or six ships engaged
in the trade, and in other seasons there are none: when there is any
deficiency it has been supplied by the Americans. The quantity exported
to British India averages about _two_ millions, three hundred thousand
pounds annually. The export by vessels of other nations is very

The Portuguese, notwithstanding their direct, early, and intimate
connexion with China, neglected to import it, being very indifferent
to its use; they, as well as the Spaniards, place but little value on
it even to this day; coffee and chocolate being preferred in Spain and
Portugal, as well as in South America, Mexico, Cuba and Porto Rico,
with the addition of the Yerba de Paraguay or Maté, the favourite
beverage of the Spaniards of La Plata, Paraguay, Chili, and other parts
of South America.

_Comparative Estimate of the principal Exports from Canton to the
United States._

                         | 1822-23.| 1823-24.| 1824-25.| 1825-26.| 1826-27.
                         |         |         |         |         |
 Bohea, one fourth chests|   10,018|    2,413|    5,795|    3,340|    1,095
 Souchong & Pouchong     |   37,828|   29,296|   31,566|   24,527|   27,405
 Hyson skin & Tonkay     |   37,134|   32,426|   56,788|   45,299|   29,395
 Young hyson             |   22,165|   31,217|   39,303|   45,461|   28,487
 Gunpowder & imperial    |    4,899|    5,587|    6,817|    8,019|    5,992
 Hyson                   |   14,703|   11,562|   14,501|   19,072|    8,915
 Pecco                   |      175|      315|      215|      368|      377
   Total chests          |  127,022|  112,816|  154,985|  146,086|  101,666
 Cassia,          peculs |    7,773|    6,459|    8,624|    9,023|    4,035
 _Silks_--Crape,  pieces |   91,447|   55,616|  103,236|   46,703|   29,615
   „ Crape shawls        |  156,631|  142,425|  220,635|  264,630|  104,060
   „ Crape scarfs        |   45,264|    8,683|    8,100|   15,800|    4,160
   „ Crape dresses       |   32,457|   23,298|   46,500|   58,050|   32,940
   „ Florentines         |    4,295|    3,846|    2,879|    1,025|      750
   „ Sarsnets            |   46,264|   45,384|   64,231|   62,662|   20,474
   „ Senshaws            |   24,145|   12,302|   10,919|    7,740|    9,485
   „ Pongees             |    5,649|    2,850|    2,967|    2,145|    5,369
   „ Handkerchiefs       |   92,338|   37,877|   80,979|   90,985|   42,635
   „ Satins              |    8,150|    5,614|    7,384|    7,880|   10,881
   „ Levantines          |   10,944|    8,645|    9,600|    6,280|    7,657
   „ Camlets             |   --    |--       |    --   |    --   |    1,477
   „ Droguets            |   --    |--       |    --   |    --   |      425
 Sewing silk,     peculs |       75|       58|       75|       41|       18
 Raw silk                |   --    |--       |    --   |    --   |      210
 Nankeens,        pieces |1,070,707|  259,506|  765,000|  664,000|  267,405
                         |         |         |         |         |
                         |    $    |    $    |   $     |    $    |    $
 Total value            $|6,760,582|5,006,243|7,716,444|7,650,938|3,806,708

                         | 1827-28.| 1828-29.| 1829-30.| 1830-31.| 1831-32
                         |         |         |         |         |
 Bohea, one fourth chests|    1,100|      901|    1,904|    3,592|   12,182
 Souchong & Pouchong     |   24,775|   17,216|   25,428|   17,514|   39,596
 Hyson skin & Tonkay     |   33,926|   18,097|   68,134|    5,447|   20,883
 Young hyson             |   31,085|   26,192|   29,476|   25,528|   40,065
 Gunpowder & imperial    |    6,614|    4,888|    6,289|    3,953|    9,117
 Hyson                   |   14,963|   11,264|   11,197|    7,147|    9,346
 Pecco                   |    --   |      191|      366|      205|      517
   Total chests          |  112,463|   78,749|  102,794|   63,386|  131,706
 Cassia,          peculs |    7,209|    2,916|    2,888|    1,828|    3,541
 _Silks_--Crape,  pieces |   69,028|   24,605|    9,660|    5,881|    9,507
   „ Crape shawls        |         |         |         |         |   77,570
   „ Crape scarfs        |   57,293|  101,425|   87,304|  102,162|
   „ Crape dresses       |         |         |         |         |
   „ Florentines         |    2,135|      850|      400|    --   |    --
   „ Sarsnets            |   23,489|   17,295|   25,439|   53,385|   27,455
   „ Senshaws            |   14,957|   11,340|   10,113|   25,810|   22,292
   „ Pongees             |   13,530|   16,087|   10,491|   41,439|   44,578
   „ Handkerchiefs       |   76,569|   24,314|   14,662|   14,189|   23,157
   „ Satins              |   18,606|    4,836|    5,154|    8,985|    6,965
   „ Levantines          |   13,497|    7,382|    4,356|    6,155|   13,643
   „ Camlets             |    2,620|    2,465|      310|      990|    3,500
   „ Droguets            |    --   |    --   |    --   |    --   |    --
 Sewing silk,     peculs |      184|      144|      164|      354|      350
 Raw silk                |      157|       68|      230|      285|      109
 Nankeens,        pieces |  524,500|  392,900|  305,568|  118,774|  122,285
                         |         |         |         |         |
                         |    $    |    $    |    $    |    $    |    $
 Total value            $|5,318,966|3,337,480|3,629,722|3,356,551|5,577,731

                          | 1832-33.| Catties
                          |         |  each.
  Bohea, one fourth chests|   13,665|   50
  Souchong & Pouchong     |   39,538|   50
  Hyson skin & Tonkay     |   36,608|   52
  Young hyson             |   51,363|   70
  Gunpowder & imperial    |   12,553|   83
  Hyson                   |   14,248|   49
  Pecco                   |    2,563|   49
    Total chests          |  170,538|
  Cassia,          peculs |    7,428|
  _Silks_--Crape,  pieces |    4,559|
    „ Crape shawls        |   77,876|
    „ Crape scarfs        |    --   |
    „ Crape dresses       |         |
    „ Florentines         |    --   |
    „ Sarsnets            |   22,289|
    „ Senshaws            |   13,172|
    „ Pongees             |   48,741|
    „ Handkerchiefs       |   27,274|
    „ Satins              |    7,201|
    „ Levantines          |    6,351|
    „ Camlets             |    1,091|
    „ Droguets            |    --   |
  Sewing silk,     peculs |       72|
  Raw silk                |      144|
  Nankeens,        pieces |   31,500|
                          |         |
                          |    $    |
  Total value            $|6,691,412|

 _Average Prices for Teas._

              |        |-24.|-25.|-26.|-27.|-28.|-29.|-30.|-31.|-32.|-33.
              +--------+----+----+--- +----+----+----+----+----+----+----
              |        |    |    |    |    |    |    |    |    |    |
 Bohea tea    |   11   | -- | 12 | 12 | 12 | 12 | 12 | 12 | 12 | 11 | 11
 Souchong     |   22   | -- | 25 | 20 | 18 | 18 | 17 | 17 | 16 | 18 | 20
 Pouchong     |   --   | -- | -- | -- | 18 | 18 | 17 | 24 | 20 | 20 | 25
 Hyson skin   |   21   | -- | 28 | 27 | 18 | 21 | 21 | 18 | 18 | 24 | 27
 Tonkay       |   --   | -- | -- | -- | 18 | 23 | 24 | 22 | 20 | 24 | 30
 Young hyson  |   33   | -- | 40 | 40 | 25 | 33 | 30 | 32 | 30 | 44 | 47
 Gunpowder &  |        |    |    |    |    |    |    |    |    |    |
    imperial  |   55   | -- | 50 | 50 | 55 | 50 | 45 | 48 | 49 | 56 | 58
 Hyson        |   40   | -- | 40 | 45 | 40 | 40 | 40 | 42 | 42 | 46 | 49
 Pecco        |   55   | -- | 50 | 60 | 60 | 60 | 60 | 60 | 80 | 50 | 55

 _Export of Teas for Account of the English Company,
 to London, season 1832-1833._

 Bohea              Peculs   52,844     Cost Tales   837,556
 Congo                      139,640          „     3,315,811
 Souchong                     2,321          „        86,482
 Tonkay                      23,103          „       631,866
 Hyson                        6,579          „       342,947
 Hyson Skin                     786          „        21,450
           Pounds[A]     30,036,400 {on account of the English Company,
                                    {  exported during the season 1832-33
                         13,250,185 by vessels of the United States.
                         43,286,585 {Pounds of tea exported by American
                                    {  and English vessels, from Canton,
                                    {  in the season 1832-1833.

[A] The Company’s agents, in Canton, do not give the number of chests
in their returns of teas shipped.

_Annual Revenue obtained by the Government of Siam from Farms and

 Names.          |Annual quantity.|Prices in ticals. |Duties.   |Revenues.
 Paddy and rice  |1,696,424 coyans|                  |          | Ticals.
                 | of 23 picul    |1st sort 16 ticals|}         |
    „    „       |     „      „   |2d   „   14   „   |}         | 862,358
    „    „       |     „      „   |3d   „   12   „   |}         |
 Orchards        | 68,235 in No.  |                  |          | 545,880
 Vegetables      |  4,251         |                  |          |  17,800
 Samsoo or spirit|                |                  |          |
   shops         | Bang-kok       |                  |          | 104,900
    „       „    | Sieuthaja      |                  |          |  16,000
    „       „    | Bangxang       |                  |          |   8,000
    „       „    | Suraburi       |                  |          |   4,000
    „       „    | Krungtaphan    |                  |          |   4,000
 Bazars          | Bang-kok       |                  |          |  39,200
   „             | Sieuthaja      |                  |          |  12,800
   „             | Suraburi       |                  |          |   1,600
   „             | Bangxang       |                  |          |   1,600
 Duty on floating|                |                  |          |
   houses        |                |                  |          |  36,000
 Chinese gambling|                |                  |          |  64,000
 Siamese, ditto  |                |                  |          |  58,000
 Teak wood       | 127,000 trees  |                  |          |  56,000
 Sapan wood      | 200,000 piculs |1st sort 3½ to 3  |}         |
   „     „       |   „       „    |2d   „   2½ to 2  |}         |  84,000
   „     „       |   „       „    |3d   „   1½ to 1  |}         |
 Cocoanut oil    | 600,000   „    | 7½ to 8          |1¼        |  56,000
                 |                |                  |to 1½     |
 Sugar, 1st      |  10,000   „    | 8½ to 9     }    |          |
   „    2d       |  60,000   „    | 7     to 7½ }    |          |
   „    3d       |  20,000   „    | 6     to 6½ }    |1½        |  40,000
   „    black    |   1,000   „    | 2½ to 3     }    |          |
   „    candy    |   5,000   „    | 16    to 17    } |½         |
 Jaggery         | 150,000 jars   | 18 tcls. p. 100  |          |
                 |                |              jrs.|2 tcls    |   8,000
 Salt            |   8,000 coyans | 2½ to 3          |6         |  32,000
 Pepper          |  38,000 piculs | 10 to 11         |1½        |  23,200
 Bastard         |                |                  |          |
   cardamums     |   4,000   „    | 32 to 40         |6 tcls    |  16,000
 Cardamums       | 1st. 100  „    | 360 to 380 }     |   „      |
     „           | 2d. 150   „    | 280 to 300 }     |16 „      |   5,400
     „           | 3d. 300   „    | 200 to 220 }     |   „      |
 Sticlac         |   8,000   „    | 12 13 14         |1¼        |   9,500
 Tin             |   1,200   „    | 24 26 28         |3 tcls    |  18,200
 Iron            |  20,000   „    | 4 5 6            |    „     |  54,000
 Ivory           |     300   „    | 160 170 180      |12 ditto  |   2,500
 Gamboge         | 1st 50 to 60   | 75 to 80 }       |          |
    „            | 2d 150   „     | 55 to 60 }       |6 ditto   |   1,200
    „            | 3d 50    „     | 40 to 45 }       |          |
 Rhinoceros horns| 50 to 60       | 800 per picul    |32 per    |
                 |                |                  |     picul|   1,600
 Benjamin        | 100   „        | 50 to 55         |          |     400
 Bird’s-nests  } |                | 1st srt. 10,000} |          |
  „      „     } | 10 to 12       | 2d   „    6,000} |6 ticals  |  32,000
  „      „     } |                | 3d   „    4,000} |          |
 Young deer’s    |                |                  |          |
   horns         | 26,000 pairs   | 1½ to 2          |10 per 100|   3,600
 Old, ditto,     |                |                  |          |
    ditto        |200 piculs      | 8 to 9 per pecul |½         |

 Names        | Annual quantity      |Prices in ticals | Duties  |Revenues.
 Buffalo,     |                      |                 |         |
         ditto|     200 piculs       |3 to 4 per picul |¼        | Ticals.
 Deers’ nerves|     200 „            |16 to 20         | 1½      |
 Rhinoceros   |                      |                 |         |
         skins|     200 „            |7 to 8           |½        |    800
 Tigers’ bones|      50 to 60        |50 to 60         | 3 ticals|
 Buffalo hides|     500 „            |8 to 10          |½        |
 Deers’ ditto | 100,000 „            |20, 25, and 30   | 3 ticals|  1,600
 White dried  |                      |                 |         |
         fish |   4,000 „            |8 to 9           |½        |
 Black, ditto |  15,000 „            |7 to 8           |½        | 18,000
 Small dried  |                      |                 |         |
         fish |  60,000 „            |3 to 4           |¼        |
 Dried shrimps|  10,000 „            |30 to 35         | 3  „    |  4,600
 Balachang    |  15,000 coyans       |50 to 60         | 12 „    |  8,000
 Wood oil     |  15,000 piculs       |3 to 5           |½        |  5,600
 Pitch        |  10,000   „          |3 to 4           |½        |  6,000
 Torches      | 200,000 bundles      |5 ticals per 100 |½        |  5,600
 Rattans      | 200,000   „          |4   „        „   |½        | 14,000
 Firewood     |                      |                 |         |
 Wooden posts |1st. 500 to 600 in No.|1 per 4 ticals } | 10 per  |
              |                      |                 |      100|  8,000
   „      „   |2d. 3,000         „   |1 per 2 do.    } | 5  „    |
   „      „   |3d. 200,000       „   |100 per 25 30  } | „  „    |
              |                      |    40         } | 10 „    |  8,000
 Bamboos      |600,000,000 in No.    |3 ticals per 100 | 15      |
              |                      |                 |      100|  3,000
 Attaps       |95,000,000,000    „   |3 ticals per 1000| 20 „    |  1,600
 Rose wood    |200,000           „   |342 per picul    | 10 „    |
 Bark         |200,000 bundles       |100 per 6 ticals |         |  1,600

 Provinces under the superintendance of the crommahathai,
                                             or 1st minister      32,000
   Ditto    ditto        ditto       of the croomkallahom,
                                              or 2d ditto         24,000
   Ditto    ditto        ditto       of the crommatha,
                                              or 3d ditto         12,000
 Revenue of Justice under the Crammamuang                          4,800
    „    of the Tribunal                                           8,000
    „    derived from the gold in the province called Bangtaphan,
                                               180 ticals weight of gold.
   „   „           „       in the province called Pipri
                                                60 ticals weight of gold.
 Tribute which the Malays pay for gold mines,  216 ticals weight of gold.


  Salaries which the king pays to the government officers
                                                  annually       618,800
  Alms to the Talapoins and the poor                              87,600
  Monthly allowances to the sons of the late and present kings,
                                       and the second king        29,000
  Annual salaries of all the princes employed, and the minors     47,400
  Annual pay of the Talapoins                                     18,240

_Statement of Annual Consumption and Value of Indian Opium in China,
for the following Seasons_:--

          |               Patna and Benares.            |
          |                                             |
          |Chests.            Price.           Value.   |
  Seasons.|       |        |        |        |          |
          |       | Lowest.|Highest.|Average.|          |
  1816-17 | 2610  |  1080  | 1320   | 1200   |3,132,000 |
  1817-18 | 2530  |  1200  | 1330   | 1265   |3,200,450 |
  1818-19 | 3050  |   800  | 1200   | 1000   |3,050,000 |
  1819-20 | 2970  |  1150  | 1320   | 1235   |3,667,950 |
  1820-21 | 3050  |  1300  | 2500   | 1900   |5,795,000 |
  1821-22 | 2910  |  1650  | 2500   | 2075   |6,038,250 |
  1822-23 | 1822  |  1180  | 2550   | 1552   |2,828,930 |
  1823-24 | 2910  |  1100  | 1900   | 1600   |4,656,000 |
  1824-25 | 2655  |   900  | 1450   | 1175   |3,119,625 |
  1825-26 | 3442  |   800  | 1150   |  913   |3,141,755 |
  1826-27 | 3661  |   800  | 1250   | 1002   |3,668,565 |
  1827-28 | 5134  |   815  | 1220   |  998   |5,125,155 |
  1828-29 | 5965  |   880  | 1100   |  940   |5,604,235 |
  1829-30 | 7143  |   805  | 1000   |  860   |6,149,577 |
  1830-31 | 6660  |   790  | 1050   |  870   |5,790,204 |
  1831-32 | 6060  |        |        |  953   |4,234,815 |
  1832-33 | 6931  |        |        |  798   |4,459,170 |

                    Malva.                  | Total.
 Chests.          Price.            Value.  |Chests. Value.
        |       |        |        |         |       |
        |Lowest.|Highest.|Average.|         |       |
 ------ +--------+--------+---------+-------+-------------------
  600   |  800  |  950   |  875   |  525,000|  3210 |  3,657,000
  1150  |  600  |  800   |  612   |  703,800|  3680 |  3,904,250
  1530  |  600  |  850   |  725   |1,109,250|  4580 |  4,159,250
  1630  |  950  | 1400   | 1175   |1,915,250|  4600 |  5,583,200
  1720  | 1230  | 1800   | 1515   |2,605,800|  4770 |  8,400,800
  1718  | 1050  | 1600   | 1325   |2,276,350|  4628 |  8,314,600
  4000  | 1080  | 1500   | 1290   |5,160,000|  5822 |  7,988,930
  4172  |  800  | 1050   |  925   |3,859,100|  7082 |  8,515,100
  6000  |  550  |  950   |  750   |4,500,000|  8655 |  7,619,625
  6179  |  560  |  850   |  723   |4,466,450|  9621 |  7,608,205
  6308  |  860  | 1060   |  942   |5,941,520|  9969 |  9,610,085
  4401  |  950  | 1420   | 1204   |5,299,920|  9535 | 10,425,075
  7771  |  750  | 1250   |  968   |6,928,880| 13132 | 12,533,115
  6857  |  740  | 1030   |  862   |5,907,580| 14000 | 12,057,157
 12100  |  520  |  760   |  588   |7,114,059| 18760 | 12,904,263
  8265  |       |        |  704   |5,818,574| 14225 | 11,501,584
 14454  |       |        |  570   |8,258,155| 21385 | 13,757,290

_Average Consumption of fifteen years, ending 31st March, 1832._

  Chests of Patna and Benares, 19,954 chests,          weighing 1,995,400
         Or candareens of extract of 50 touch               1,596,320,000
  Chests of Malva              24,600          weighing catties 2,460,000
         Or candareens of extract of 75 touch               2,952,000,000

  Total chests.

  Total candareens of extract.

  Number of smokers, at 3 17-40 candareens per day.

_Tumbah Tuah’s Letter of Thanks to Captain Geisinger, Bencoolen, August
31st, 1832._

The commander of the United States ship-of-war Peacock, during our
short stay at Bencoolen, presented one of the principal rajahs of that
place some American tobacco, and the following letter of thanks was
sent, written in the Malayan character, which, being translated into
English, is as follows:--


“This friendly epistle is the dictate of a heart very white, and a face
very clean, written under a sense of the greatest respect and most
exalted love, permanent and unchangeable as the courses of the sun and
moon; this is to say from me--a gentleman--Tumbah Tuah of Bencoolen,
the Paseer Marlborough. Now may God the Holy and Almighty cause this to
arrive before the face of his glorious excellency, Colonel Geisinger,
the head man who commands in the American ship-of-war, which is now at
anchor off Rat island, in the harbour of Bencoolen.

“Furthermore, after this, the object of this letter is to acknowledge
the present of American tobacco sent to me, and which I have duly
received through the love of Knoerle the resident of Bencoolen; this is
the message [present] of your lordship to me rajah, &c., [two names.]
Wherefore I return praise to God, and my expressions of gratitude--thus

“Besides this, I can only pray the Lord your God to grant you peace and
long life. Amen.

  “The gentleman,

“Bencoolen, the 31st day of the month of August in the year 1832.”

The superscription was as follows:--

“Presenting itself before the visage of his Excellency Colonel
Geisinger, commanding the American ship-of-war.”

_Translation of a Letter from the Sultan of Muscat to the President of
the United States._


“To the most high and mighty Andrew Jackson, President of the United
States of America, whose name shines with so much splendour throughout
the world. I pray most sincerely that on the receipt of this letter
it may find his Highness, the President of the United States, in high
health, and that his happiness may be constantly on the increase. On
a most fortunate day and at a happy hour, I had the honour to receive
your Highness’s letter, every word of which is clear and distinct as
the sun at noonday, and every letter shone forth as brilliantly as
the stars in the heavens. Your Highness’s letter was received by your
faithful and highly honourable representative and ambassador Edmund
Roberts, who made me supremely happy in explaining the object of his
mission, and I have complied in every respect with the wishes of
your honourable ambassador, in concluding a treaty of friendship and
commerce between our respective countries, which shall be faithfully
observed by myself and my successors, as long as the world endures.
And his Highness may depend that all American vessels resorting to
the ports within my dominions, shall know no difference, in point of
good treatment, between my country and that of his own most happy and
fortunate country, where felicity ever dwells. I most fervently hope
that his Highness the President may ever consider me as his firm and
true friend, and that I will ever hold the President of the United
States very near and dear to my heart, and my friendship shall never
know any diminution, but shall continue to increase till time is no
more. I offer, most sincerely and truly, to his Highness the President,
my entire and devoted services, to execute any wishes the President
may have within my dominions, or within any ports or places wherein I
possess the slightest influence.

  “_This_ is from your most beloved friend,

“Written on the twenty-second day of the Moon, Jamada Alawel, in the
year Alhajira 1249,[A] at the Royal Palace in the city of Muscat.

[A] Corresponding to seventh of October, 1833.

“This letter is to have the address of being presented to the most high
and mighty Andrew Jackson, President of the United States of America,
whose name shines with so much brilliancy throughout the world.”

    _Translation of the “Chinese Chop,” relative to the United States’
    Sloop-of-war Peacock, D. Geisinger, Commander, and sent to the
    Hong-Merchants at Canton._

    “Chung, Imperial Commissioner at the Port of Canton, Tsunhwan of
    Jeho, &c., &c., hereby issues an order to the Hong-Merchants:--

“The Custom officers at Macao have reported, saying: On the sixteenth
day of the present Moon, [November ninth, 1832,] the pilot, Leu Kefang
reported, that on the sixteenth, the American cruiser Geisinger[A]
came and anchored off the Nine islands; that immediately he went and
inquired why he came and anchored, and that the captain of the said
ship replied, that he sailed from his own country to Manila, and a gale
having driven him hither, he had anchored for a short time; but that
when the wind should become fair he would set sail and depart. Now on
examination it is ascertained that there are in the ship two hundred
foreign seamen, twenty-four cannon, one hundred muskets, one hundred
swords, nine hundred catties of powder, and nine hundred balls. Uniting
these circumstances they are forthwith reported. Having obtained this
information, we ordered the pilots to keep a strict watch and guard
(against the ship.) Moreover, as it is right, we send up this report.

[A] The Chinese always omit the name of the ship, and insert the name
of the captain.

“_This_ coming before me, the hoppo, and having ascertained that the
said cruiser is not a merchant-ship, nor a convoy, and that she has
on board an unusual number of seamen, cannon and weapons, she is
not allowed, under any pretext, to anchor, and create disturbances.
Wherefore, _Let her be driven away_. And let the “hong-merchants,” on
receiving this order, act in obedience thereto, and enjoin it upon
the said nation’s Tae-pan,[B] that he order and compel the said ship
to depart and return home. He is not allowed to frame excuses, linger
about, and create disturbances, and so involve offences, that would
be examined into and punished. Let the day fixed for her departure be
reported. _Haste! haste!_ A special order.

[B] Consul.


“Twelfth year, twenty-second day of the ninth intercalary moon.”[C]

[C] November sixteenth, 1832.

NOTE.--The truth of the matter is, the pilot, who came in the
mandarin-boat, was informed, that the Peacock was on a cruise and last
from Manila, and came there for provisions, and when she was supplied,
and otherwise ready, she would proceed to sea. But nothing was said to
him that she was driven there in a gale of wind from Manila. An order
was issued commanding the Peacock to quit the waters of China, but no
notice was taken of it, for the ship remained at Linting for six weeks
after. So inefficient is the _navy_ of China in the present day, that
the Peacock alone could destroy the whole “_imperial fleet_,” and have
passed up to Canton and back with a _leading wind_, without receiving
any material injury from the forts, as their guns are firmly imbedded
in stone and mortar, and they can only be fired in one direction.


       *       *       *       *       *

Transcriber's Note

Duplicate headings have been removed.

The following apparent printing errors have been corrected:

p. 9 "Cavite" changed to "Cavité"

p. 9 "Cavite" changed to "Cavité"

p. 10 "Hue" changed to "Hué"

p. 20 "ever house" changed to "every house"

p. 31 "Malborough" changed to "Marlborough"

p. 35 "who who were busily" changed to "who were busily"

p. 40 "‘Some" changed to "“Some"

p. 44 "seeming delight" changed to "seeming delight."

p. 47 "American consul," changed to "American consul."

p. 51 "CAVITE" changed to "CAVITÉ"

p. 57 "CAVITE" changed to "CAVITÉ"

p. 65 "peloto?" changed to "peloto?”"

p. 85 "if she" changed to "“if she"

p. 96 "“it is a villa" changed to "it is a villa"

p. 101 "of taxes." changed to "of taxes.”"

p. 104 "Nan-hae-heen che-heen" changed to "Nan-hae-heen-che-heen"

p. 132 "crosing" changed to "crossing"

p. 133 "POPULATION" changed to "POPULATION."

p. 134 "the earth" changed to "the earth."

p. 138 "longtitude" changed to "longitude"

p. 142 "grand son" changed to "grandson"

p. 144 "1618" changed to "1681"

p. 147 "twenty six" changed to "twenty-six"

p. 169 "mandarin, ducks" changed to "mandarin ducks"

p. 178 "I am" changed to "“I am"

p. 178 "at Hué?" changed to "at Hué?”"

p. 181 "navigation,’" changed to "navigation,”"

pp. 189 and 191 "HUE" changed to "HUÉ"

p. 190 "confectionary" changed to "confectionary."

p. 193 "before hey" changed to "before they"

p. 198 "Hitherto all" changed to "“Hitherto all"

p. 198 "places." changed to "places.”"

p. 200 "“_liberal treatment_?”" changed to "‘_liberal treatment_?’”"

p. 203 "I have now" changed to "“I have now"

p. 213 "MANDARINES’" changed to "MANDARINS’"

p. 216 "to Hue" changed to "to Hué"

p. 216 "can.’" changed to "can.”"

p. 224 "peacocks,," changed to "peacocks,"

p. 227 "STRENTH" changed to "STRENGTH"

p. 266 "wh take" changed to "who take"

p. 273 "the iron" changed to "the iron."

p. 274 "Chinese" changed to "Chinese."

p. 282 "case, i" changed to "case, is"

p. 282 "less tha" changed to "less than"

p. 290 "cocks’ with horses bodies" changed to "cocks with horses’

p. 296 "orginally" changed to "originally"

p. 298 "Phanlcon" changed to "Phaulcon" (two instances)

p. 302 "third rank)" changed to "third rank,)"

p. 302 "rank,) &c," changed to "rank,) &c.,"

p. 308 "witnesses" changed to "witnesses."

p. 313 "a star," changed to "a star."

p. 317 "2d do 6,000." changed to "2d do. 6,000."

p. 318 "32 to 40 do" changed to "32 to 40 do."

p. 326 "expenses of the prahu" changed to "expenses of the prahū"

p. 327 "midnight" changed to "midnight."

p. 341 "region" changed to "region."

p. 368 "curiases" changed to "cuirasses"

p. 371 "pla as" changed to "place was"

p. 374 "Guardafui,may" changed to "Guardafui, may"

p. 378 "us,speaking" changed to "us, speaking"

p. 390 "Wynberb" changed to "Wynberg"

p. 398 "longtitude" changed to "longitude"

p. 408 "Sakci" changed to "Sakei"

p. 409 "Gantang,and" changed to "Gantang, and"

p. 409 "extraordinary,the" changed to "extraordinary, the"

p. 417 (note) "190, 191.”" changed to "190, 191."

p. 418 (note) "202, 203." changed to "202, 203.)"

p. 419 "vol. ii" changed to "vol. ii."

p. 431 (note) "the captain" changed to "the captain."

Many archaic, inconsistent, and variant spellings, as well as
inconsistent hyphenation, have not been changed. The following possible
mistakes have also been left as printed:

p. 97 the passage beginning "says: “The gates" has no ending quotation
mark. The quotation continues to the words "and “Odyssey.”".

p. 136 the values in the table are inconsistent.

On p. 204, there are reference to 1833 as both the fifty-sixth and
fifty-seventh year of independence.

p. 279 they but most of them

p. 372 "Bissaõ"

p. 381 "the spot where there domicil is"

p. 387 the values in the table are inconsistent.

p. 389 the values in the table are inconsistent.

p. 400 the values in the table are inconsistent.

p. 403 the values in the table are inconsistent.

p. 423 the values in the table are inconsistent.

p. 424 the values in the table are inconsistent.

p. 428 the values in the table are inconsistent.

p. 406 "Free casts"

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Embassy to the Eastern Courts of Cochin-China, Siam, and Muscat - In the U. S. Sloop-of-war Peacock, David Geisinger, - Commander, During the Years 1832-3-4" ***

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