Sivut kuvina

assented, and mentioned some of their .stratagems, which chiefly consisted in well-laid ambuscades, &c. • He then observed, that the English had a great many sepoys; 1 told him we found that the cheapest and best mode of preserving peace was, by convincing our neighbours that we were always prepared for 'war; but added, by way of softening the observation, that the Burmhaus were a nation of warriors. In this he corrected me, saying, "That only particular classes amongst them went to war, some by prescriptive occupation continued such from father to son, but, in general, only the poor; all those who paid a direct revenue to the king being exempted on certain conditions. But," says he, " our merchants like to go to war; our armies arc half composed of men who join war and frame together, carrying a pack of goods as well as their arm's with them." These must be staunch soldiers if pushed, thought I, but said nothing to diminish the good opinion he evidently entertained of the sagacity of their own arrangements, tie now requested me to take a dish of tea; and when that was done, we proceeded together to the palace, he walking by my side, and (he presents preceding us. At the gate he requested that the majority of my retinue would stop, and that the merchants might take off their shoes; to which I assented. We then walkedacross the, palace-yard, (about 100 yards,) to the steps "leading to the hall of audience. About two yards from the steps he put off his sandals, and at the . first step I and Mr. Keys took off our shoes,and followed him to the audiencehall, a room about fifty feet by fourteen, in the centre nave, with two aisles of (he same length anil breadth; and without them an open veranda or platform, guarded by a slight balustrade, tlie roof of the building supported by clumsy, naked, and unoruamented pillars of wood, and at the upper, or closed end, which joined the body of the palace, was placed a couch-bedstead, gilt, with velvet-covered mattrass, and cushions, trimmed with gold-lace; the floor covered about it with some mat Chinese carpets, and immediately over it, near (he roof, a small canopy of white cotton'cloth, with a vallance of open work about one foot deep, and suspended by lines from the four corners, made, fast to as many of the pillars. A clean mat, bordered with red cotton cloth, was placed for us in the right

hand aisle, but as the row of pillars intervening would have deprived us of a full view of his highness, I pointed out the inconvenience to the whoon, who then had il placed in the centre room immediately fronting the throne, and about thirty feet distant from it. The other gentlemen, servants, &c. in our rear, Baba Shein, who had obtruded himself on the occasion, on our right, and Mr. Moncourtuseon our left; the presents were arrange;! in front. The enga's whoon, sat between (he left-hand row of pillars, and the officers, &c. of his highntss's court, dressed in white jainmas, in the left and right hand aisles. We were seated about fifteen minutes before his highness appeared. He came from a door of communication with his palace a little to the right, and in the rear of the audience-room, lie was dressed in a janiuia of goldflowered muslin, a handkerchief or fillet of the same round his head, a handsome silk lunghee of the country manufacture, wrought with gold, diamond oar-ornaments, and a Burinhan sword, hilt and scabbard, plated with gold, in his hand. He ascended his throne by steps placed towards the front of it, and seated himself in the Burinhan style. He appeared to me about five feet five inches in height, rather inclined to corpulence; deep brown complexion, as the Burmbans in general are; of an animated cheerful countenance; and, as I should guess, about six or seven and thirty years of age. He fixed his eyes very steadfastly on us, without speaking, for a quarter of an hour. He then asked which was the Resident? After some further pause, he desired I might be asked to partake of some refreshments; and tea, sweetmeats, and betel were immediately served. His highness spoke to tis through the whoon, and while we were partaking of the tea, &c, he asked several questions respecting the relative force of the French and English nations; said, he had heard that the French were most powerful by land, and the English by sea; asked whether five English ships could beat ten French? whether France contained more inhabitants than England? all which I faithfully and impartially answered. He then observed, if the English were more powerful by sea, why were their ships afraid to come to Rangoon as formerly? or why did we permit them to take the Burinhan ships? I told him, it was as impossible for us to protect all our merchantmen from privateers privateers and marauders, as it was for the best regulated government to prevent theft. That as to their taking the Burmhan ships, it was an act of piracy occasioned by "the unsettled state of their government; but here my interpreter, Moucourtuse, endeavoured to screen the French, in whose interest he is, and I had no opportunity of rectifying his assertions at the time, bat snail not fail to set the business in a true light the first favourable occasion that occurs. After the tea, &c. were removed, his highness very obligingly desired 1 might be asked if I had any thing to say. 1 immediately briefly detailed to him, in moderate terms, the whole of my proceedings, and the unjustifiable treatment 1 had experienced from the mhce whoonghee, and mew whoon; and entreated his patronage and interference in my favour.

At night I entertained the multitude with dancers and tumblers on the strand. I forgot to mention in its proper place, that while we were at the enga's whoon's house, a messenger he had sent to call the mew whoon, returned with an apology to him and me for not attending, as lie was busy with his majesty in alchyinical pursuits.


October 14. In the morning early I sent Mr. Rowland, my interpreter, with some presents for the queen mother, the first and second queen, and king's grandson; also to the akedho or whoon, to the second queen, who had been instrumental in procuring my interview with the Enga Tekaing. He saw the queen mother, as she is called, being the mother of the king's first wife, and sister to the famous Alain Praw, the founder of the present dynasty. She received him. and frankly asked him how she could serve me? He told her briefly the situation of my affairs, and that I only waited to have my memorials presented and answered. " Are you sure," said she, "that is .all he wants? I have been told, he wants the island of Negrau." He assured her that was one among the number of falsehoods circulated against me, that the English sought for no power or dominion in this country; that I only reauired to be treated with the respect ue to the Governor-General, whom I represented, and to have power to protect English merchants trading to his majesty's dominions. •' Well," replied she, " I will undertake to do his business; I don't care for the Enga Tekaing

or any t»f them, and can speak my \cutiments to the king." She then ordered one of her servants to go immediately to the mhee whoonghee itnd mew whoon, and direct them to present my memorials to his majesty as the next morning, and she would go herself to the palace in the morning aud support my suit; and pointed out to him one of the people that she would send to call him when she wanted him. He could not see the queen's or king's grandson this day, as it was necessary that previous permission should be obtained for his going into the palace.

October 16. In the morning the queen-mother sent for my interpreter. When he waited on her she informed him that she had staid with the king till eleven o'clock last night, but had uot been able to effect any thing in my favour; that the enemies of the English had poisoned his mind with reports to our prejudice, and induced him to believe we wanted to take his country from him; that the mhee whoonghee, the mew whoon, and the Malabar shabundcr, were, in particular, the persons who opposed me, and had obtained such an ascendancy that it was in vain to contend further. She, therefore, advised me to give mvself no further trouble; for if she could not succeed with her son in my favour no one could. The candour of this good old lady pleased me extremely; for she is the first person who has spoken truth to me since I have been in the Burmhan dominions. She accepted the piece of fine muslin I had sent, and returned me many thanks, saying, she would make a dress of it for going to the pagoda, and always pray for me. She added, that she was quite ashamed to receive so many things from me and not do any thing in return; but that her son had desired her not to take any memorials or letters from me; she, therefore, could do no more in that business.


At two p. M. we left our station opposite Amarapoorah; five boats of my party, and one boat with the English merchants, Mr. Reeves and Mr. Lane; also a small boat with a Mahomedan trader. At four P. M. we made fast at Cheghain. In the evening I walked through a part of the town to the south point of the ridge of hills which commence here, and extend along the western bank of the river, almost as far as Keoun Meoun with very little interruption.

Interruption. The summits of all the peaks to the southward are crowned with Burmhan pagodas, and other religious buildings: most of them have flights of steps leading to them; the whole of bad burnt bricks plastered over. Upon near inspection they are rather paltry, and from the badness of the materials promising no long duration. We climbed up to one of them, and from it commanded a very, extensive view of the adjoining country, which appeared pleasant and fertile, but mostly woody and uncultivated; the banks of the river were higher than the plains adjoining, as is usual in countries subject to inundation. These latter were, in many parts, still under water, although the river does not appear to me more than five or six feet above its ordinary level in the dry months. Amarapoorah from hence makes but a mean appearance; its golden spires might be mistaken for chimney-tops, or glass-blowers' furnaces, and a nearer approach will not tend to raise in the minds of its beholders any ideas of magnificence, comfort, or industry.


Ava seems buried in its ruins; fifteen years ago the metropolis of the empire, it is now totally depopulated, and overcrown with weeds or mouldering in neaps of rubbish. Two or three pagodas alone point out to the enquirer's eye its site, which is surrounded by a small creek, and appears to me a better situation fora city than that now occupied by Amarapoorah. Cheghain seems also to be going fast to decay; excepting the religious buildings, you see none but mean straggling houses, and but a very scanty population. It is principally supported by the cotton trade to China, of which it is one of the greatest shipping ports; also by making Chunam, the south end of the ridge being very good lime-stone; the cheapness of this material seems to be one cause of the religious rage for building pagodas here, of which you see new ones rising in every direction. I know of no particular sanctity annexed to the place, except that on a rocky point projecting from the opposite shore, now covered with religious buildings; they say, (hat Godomah descended from heaven, when he transmigrated into the body of a cock, and picked golden grains from the sands.


Octobtr 22. We proceeded at half

past five A.M. and at eight passed the new city of Gucayne; a number of merchant-boats were laying there. At ten A.m. we stopped at the ancient city of Pegaam, or Pokghong, and went on shore to view the ruins of this ancient city. I climbed to the top of an old pagoda, by several flights of narrow ruinous stairs. The two lower stories* have a flight in each angle, arched over and steep. The first, about a yard broad, and in height from the steps to the top of the arch about five feet, ending in a small turret placed over the angle, and from the door of which only they receive light. The height of the whole of the first flight and story is about forty feet. The height of the second nearly the same, but the arch lower, and passages narrower; the rest of the steps are on the outside, leading to the top of three other stories, from whence the dome rises. The first two stories are surrounded by a Gothic arched gallery, along which are arranged various images of their deities. The building itself is quadrangular, each face fronting the four cardinal points of the compass; with a projecting portico, and corresponding niches within, wherein is placed on a throne or altar-a colossal gilt figure of Godomah. The principal figure seems uniformly to be placed to the east, where there is the greatest projection for the shelter of those who come to pay their devotions. From the top of this pagoda I commanded a full view of the remains of the city and adjacent country, which, as far as the eye can reach on the eastern side of the river, is rugged downs; sterile, uncultivated, and covered with scrubby bushes, &c. To the southeast, about three miles inland, a rugged ridge of hills rise abruptly from the common level of the country, and extend about five or six miles north and south. The ruins of the pagodas extend about four or five miles along the banks of the river, and inland about one mile and a half.

I counted to the south of me fifty; and to the northward there might be seventy more distinguishable, of various forms and sizes; but numberless others have sunk into indistinguishable masses of rubbish, overgrown witli weeds; and the plain is every where covered with fragments of their materials. Immediately above the bank, where my boat lay, is a part of the wall of the western curtain of the fort; and about a quarter of a mile to the eastward. ward, parallel to it, I passed through a breach in the eastern curtain, and think I saw the north angle bastion, about 700 yards from me. It is probable, therefore, that the fort was not larger than the present one at Amarapoorah; or they may have fixed dimensions for their imperial forts. The wall is composed of small bricks and mud, about fourteen cubits thick; and has the remains of a dry fosse without. I sketched the figure of one of the most perfect and the largest I saw. My view is of the west front, which measures at the base about 183 feet, and, as nearly as I can judge by my eye, is about 200 feel in height. Its interior is similar to one I have described, but in better preservation. It is built of bricks of two dimensions, the largest, which are used in the body of the building, are seventeen inches long, eight and a half broad, and three and a half thick. The least are fourteen and a half long, seven and five-eighths broad, and one and a half thick. They are well burnt, and joined together with great skill and nicety. Their surface and edges being ground, perfectly correspond, and lie so close as that not the least cement can be seen between them; if any was used it must be a very fine gluten. As far as relates to the exterior surface of the body of the building, the masonry is the best I have ever seen, but I doubt much whether this holds good throughout; perhaps it is only observed in the cannon revetements. The whole building has been plastered over in the usual manner, and it is where this plaster has scaled off that the workmanship is to be observed.

A little further to the eastward, without the walls of the fort, is another about the size of the one I sketched, but somewhat different in form. It has been repaired and beautified by the present Prince of Pagaan, and is deserving of more attention than my time or circumstances would permit me to bestow on it. It is also quadrangular, but its porticos project further, and the spire is loftier, and it has two vaulted galleries surrounding it, in the walls of which are numerous niches filled with various images of their deities. In the four principal centre niches are four erect colossal gilt images of Godomah, about twenty-five feet in height, standing on the lotos flower. It is remarkable that these have all crisped hair! The Poonghees deny that they have any affinity with Caffres, but say that

when Godomah assumed the religious habit he cut off his hair with his sword, leaving it rugged or furrowed, and the features of a genuine Burmhan have a good deal of the Caffre cast. These principal niches form a kind of sanctum sanctorum, and are railed off so as to prevent the too near approach of the multitude. Over each figure is suspended a chattre of dominion. In the vestibule of the western front is a large stone with the prints of the feet of Godomah. These are only representations of those sacred impressions which he has left in various parts of the earth, particularly in theBurmhau dominions. The following are the rough dimensions which I took of the building, to forma ground-plan from:—The outer wall of the portico fourteen feet thick, breadth of the passage ten feet. Portico or vestibule, length forty feet, breadth twenty-one, height thirty-five, passage of ditto to first cloister or gallery fourteen feet length, breadth ten feet. First gallery greatest length 143 feet, breadth eighty-six, passage (hence to the inner gallery fourteen feet, breadth ten feet; inner gallery greatest length 101 feet ten inches, breadth eight feet six inches. Nich for the idol, breadth twenty feet, depth seventeen feet, height thirty-five or forty feet. The partition wall between the two galleries, and the outer wall also, had several small arches for the passage of air and light at different heights. To get to the second story ii was necessary to creep along a cornice, about fourteen feet above the pavement, and only sixteen inches broad; a risk which neither our devotion or curiosity could tempt us to encounter. I have only to add that the avenues to the inner cloister had great folding grated gates; but the only precautions used are seemingly intended to keep out cattle. We are permitted to traverse and examine every thing without molestation; a few persons, who, I suppose, were slaves to the pagoda, attending us out of curiosity. However, to reconcile them to our measuring, &c. I told them we hadnothing of the kind in our country, and if 1 was not particular in writing down the length, breadth, &c. the people there would not believe that there was such a building in the world. In the two galleries of the lower story I think there are at least 2,000 images in the niches, of stone and wood gilt, the carving tolerable; and in little compartments on the outside of the suibase, were figure* in relief, of green varnished

varnished pottery, and also on the frieze of the cornice.

The prince of Pagaam has a house here; or, as it is called in the language of the country, a palace, surrounded by a mat enclosure; hut we were not permitted to examine it. Near the river arc a number of betel gardens, covered over as in Hiudostan, and apparently diligently kepi. They are watered by paeotes, as used on the Coroniandel coast; but the lever is wrought by the men at the bucket, after the Chinese fashion. There are but few inhabitants hen;, and those apparently in indigent circumstances; the trade of this place having been transferred witli its population to Gucaym, adjoining it to the northward, where the principal manufacture of lacquered ware is carried on. Near it also is a famous pagoda, built by one of the ancient kings of Pegaam, and lately repaired and gilt by private donations of the devout.


October 2-1. At seven A.m. we passed Chanbew-inew, or the city of the White Elephant. The river having thrown up a large sand flat before it, its trade is carried on in temporary huts, erected on the beach in the dry season; as remarked going up, several merchantboats lying there. On the eastern shore also is a considerable town, a little to the southward of which are rugged downs, which extend all the way as far as the Chokey and I own of Muiuboo. There is a considerable flat on the western side the river Croad, and numbers of uncultivated islands mid channel. At one P.m. we passed the upper town of Hanaughong; at three P.M. my Bengal washerman departed this life. His complaint was an inflammation of the spleen and worms, of long standing before he left Bengal; besides, he was so irregular and obstinate, that all Mr. Key's endeavours were in vain, although every attention pur circumstances would permit was afforded him. -At four P.m. made fast at Wamachote on the eastern bank, and buried him. Wamachote is famous in legendary lore, as being the place where a hog waded the river, of such a monstrous size that he passed without wetting his belly. There are a few miserable huts; the country inland arid, sterile, ragged downs. At nine P.m. we were alarmed by some war-boats passing up, who approached us in a mischievous manner, and would

not 'answer when challenged. The place also being noted as the resort of vagabonds, and the banks overhanging so as to give any shore assailants too much advantage over us; we, therefore, crossed the river and made fast to a sandy island mid channel.


October 27. We proceeded at five A.M. with a number of small boats of the mew whoon's suite in company; the land, on both sides, alternately hills and small flats near the river; inland, I am told, there are considerable flats and valleys under culture, and well inhabited. At nine A.M. we passed the town and chokey of Palo, on the east bank, belonging to the Prince of Prone, and where h is jaghire or territory begins. A little further down on the west bank we passed the town and chokey of Patoi, belonging to one of the queens. The new whoon's pha-iui came in sight, surrounded by a great fleet of merchant-boats under his convoy; a privilege he assumes whenever he goes up or down the river, and from which he and his, derive a considerable profit at the expense of the chokeys. About ten A.M. he passed us in all the pomp of savage state; exalted in his own ideas, probably, in proportion as he saw us degraded. He, in a commodious phiUMin, rowed by 100 men, and, humble me in a blatchong-boat paddled by six or seven; his lady deigned to look at us, but he did not appear. At eleven A.M. we passed the town of Comma; the great route to Bengal by Arrakan goes through it; the distance, 1 am told, to Arrakan is seventy miles. At noon, saw hills on both sides down to the water's edge, clothed with wood in full verdure, so as to appear cheerful and picturesque. The river from a half to three-quarters of a mile broad, the current gentle, and water smooth. The banks are, in general, tolerably stocked with game, deer, hare, partridge, quail, snipe, and jungle fowl; so that with proper accommodations, and on good terms with government, a voyage on this river at this season would be pleasant, indeed superior to one on the Ganges, or any other river 1 know. At four P.m. we. passed the city of Prone, or Paai-Mew, once the capital of the Burmhan dominions, and still a place of considerable trade and population. Timber is to be had here, cheap and in plenty; and iron, the produce of mines in its vicinity. Ships of 500 tons have been built here, and there is


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