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either to Burmah or Siam, are really independent. They are known as the Shan States, a term which includes much of the Laos country, partially under the authority of the King of Anam. Xieng Mai, the capital of Laos, is said to contain 50,000 inhabitants. It stands on a plain on the right bank of the Menam, 500 miles north of Bangkok, the capital of Siam. The other villages and towns (pp. 121, 124) are unimportant. The Karens also inbabit a mountainous country, partially independent. Western Karennee has asked to be annexed to British Burmah, owing to the assumption of authority on the part of the Burmese over it; but for the present the people are independent.*
The way this province of India was acquired has already been explained; and as it is. geographically and essentially a portion of Burmah, though one of the “Commissionersbips" under the Indian Viceroy, it may be more conveniently noticed here than further on. The part of the country intersected by the mouth of the Irrawaddy is flat, but the south, east, and part of the north is more or less mountainous, some portions of the country being, indeed, so rugged as to render cultivation impossible. Tenasserim-one of the three divisions, Arakan and Pegu being the other two—is divided from Siam by a high rangeof hills. Blue Mountain, one of the peaks on the northern frontier of the province, rises to a height of 7,000 feet, and some of the other elevations throughout the country are not much less. For instance, the mountains of Tenasserim are about 5,000 feet high, and throughout their extent are covered with dense jungle, in which live no human beings. Indeed, a large part of the country is clothed with forest containing the teak and other timber-trees, which constitute a great portion of the riches of the country. Rivers also intersect it everywhere, some of them navigable for considerable distances; but the population is small compared with the extent and capabilities of the country. In the year 1872 their number was placed at 2,747,148, scattered over area comprising something like 88,500 square miles. The great majority of these are Buddhists, the remainder being Mohammedans, Hindoos, Christians, and Pagans of various types. The province contained several towns, but only two of them have a population exceeding 10,000, Rangoon, the capital, containing, in 1872, over 98,000 people, though at the date of writing this census is believed to greatly under-estimate the number of inhabitants of the principal seaport of Burmah.† Under the British Government the country has rapidly increased in population, and its prosperity has been so great that no other province of India can compare with it. This is the best proof that our rule has been to the benefit of the natives. This they themselves acknowledge, though a few disaffected individuals in Rangoon and elsewhere, acting, it is believed, as the tools of the vain, ignorant courtiers at Mandalay, sometimes exhibit signs of desiring to disturb the peace. This, however, is not likely to be broken by any large number of the people. They know well that under the King of Burmah they enjoyed no such privileges, or an.
* O'Riley : “ Journal of a Tour in Karennee" (1856).
+ General Fytche states that in 1875-6 the province had a population of 3,010,662, and a gross revenue of £2,004,813, imports valued at £6,159,925, and exports at £7,208,896.
approach to the comfort and freedom they now possess.
Under their own rulers they were oppressed by rapacious viceroys, whose only thought was to fill their coffers. Torture was resorted to in all judicial difficulties, but, except in cases of treason or sacrilege, money could expiate even an offence so serious that not only the actual criminal but all his relations would have been made to share in the punishment. No man dared to grow rich, knowing that his poverty was his main safeguard from oppression and robbery. Thus in time trade languished, and industry was limited simply to provide for the worker's daily wants. So sensible are the Burmese of the difference between British and native rule that, in spite of the almost sacred regard they pay to their monarch and their country, they bave migrated in large numbers across the frontier, so as to be under our protection.
The example of the British administration has even had an effect on the king himself. At one time all officials, court favourites, and dependents were paid either by grants of revenue, or of land, or of the labour of the people living on these lands. Now some of the chief ministers and inmates of the zenana are paid fixed salaries, a reform which has, however, made the king more absolute than ever, and not much improved the condition of his subjects. Indeed, to improve the subject's condition is not an idea which often crosses the mind of a Burmese monarch. The first great principle on which his throne rests is that the people are his property, and as such he is entitled to their labour. Land is in Burmah so plentiful that it has never been looked upon as property in itself, the cultivator's labour being the valuable commodity. He sits on the soil as the chattel of the king, and his business is to raise produce for him, the balance remaining after the Government officials have taken their shares being considered a kind of gratuity on the sovereign's part to his lieges.
In this way the revenue of the king is calculated to reach over £800,000, in addition to various perquisites and exactions, the value of which it is impossible to exactly calculate. Slavery also exists. Some of the slaves tre hereditary bondmen, such as those allotted to serve in the pagodas ; and others are debtors, who serve until they pay the uttermost farthing But there are whole villages of outcasts, who live apart from the rest of the world, and with whom few people will hold much intercourse, whose lot is almost as bad. Lepers, deformed and mutilated people, all incurables, executioners, coffin-makers, and others employed in the disposal of the dead are classed as such.
The productions of British Burmah consist of rice, cotton, tobacco, teak, and the articles already noticed in our account of Burmah proper; and in addition, the enterprise of the English manufacturer has resulted in the establishment of several rice-husking and sawmills throughout the province, in addition to various others for the manufacture of silk and cotton goods. Education on the English plan has not made much progress, but there is attached to the Buddhist monasteries numerous, cheap, and fairly efficient schools of a kind; while Christianity, if rejected by the Buddhists, is, through the exertion of the American missionaries, making headway among the wild Karens. The province is governed by a Chief Commissioner stationed at Rangoon, who is assisted by a number of deputies and other officials. Altogether the country is in a flourishing condition, and may be looked upon as one of the portions of India which not only pays the cost of governing, but actually yields a surplus for imperial purposes. This surplus amounted in 1875-6—a fair average year—to £1,112,019. Rangoon, the capital, lies twenty-six miles up the Rangoon River, and at the height of the rice season is a busy place, owing to the presence of so many foreign ships taking in cargo. The town runs for about a mile along the river-bank, and above three miles inland. The principal thoroughfare, and the one in which are the Government offices and the most imposing shops and dwelling-houses, is “The Strand," a broad macadamised esplanade running along the river-side. The town from the river presents a pleasant aspect.
Its teak and bamboo houses are shaded with thick tropical vegetation; while the English cantonment, the two or three European churches, and “several large pagodas with gilded richly-ornamented spires,” give a semi-Oriental, semi-British aspect to this town of the far East. “Beyond the city," writes Mr. Vincent, "we see a jungle of palms and bananas and bamboos stretching away, a wavy sea of green, to the very horizon itself.” Though the country round the city is of the usual nature of the delta of the Irrawaddy (p. 113)—low, sandy, and muddy, and subject to tremendous floods in the rainy season—it is not unhealthy. The town itself is laid down in streets-mostly broad, macadamised, and clean-running at right angles to each other; and the European houses are in the majority of cases raised on piles, and built of plain teak boards with tile roofs. The native town or quarter Mr. Vincent, however, considers “very mean-looking, the huts there being of bamboo with palm-leaf-thatched covers.” Maulmain is a town of about 10,000 people—Burmese, Chinese, Parsees, Armenians, Klings, Jews, Singhalese, and about a couple of hundred Europeans-almost hidden amid immense groves of cocoa-nut, palm, betel-nut, banana, papaya, bamboo, and other tropical vegetation. Timber is the great trade of the place. The teak-logs are hewn in the forests on the banks of the Salween River, and then, after being seasoned, floated down, sometimes for hundreds of
miles, to the town. A teak-log is not a light weight anywhere; in a tropical climate to handle it is a burden too great for men to bear. Accordingly, elephants are extensively employed in this occupation-drawing, stacking, and shifting the immense blocks of wood, some of which weigh two tons. “A log," we are told by Mr. Vincent, “that forty coolies could scarcely move an elephant will quietly lift upon his tusks, and holding it there with his proboscis, will carry it to whatever part of the yard he may be directed by his driver. They will also, using trunk, feet, and tusks, put the huge timber as evenly and correctly as one could wish. What surprised us most was to see the elephants select and pick out particular timbers from the centre of an indiscriminate stack or heap of more than a hundred simply at the command of the driver. The huge beasts are directed by the 'mahouts,' or drivers, by spoken orders, pressure of the feet on their necks, and the customary use of the ankus,' or elephant goad. It usually requires a year or a year and a balf to teach them the 'timber business,' and when thoroughly taught they are worth from 500 rupees [£50] upwards, according to their abilities. We saw one, a venerable old fellow, nearly ten feet in height, for which the owner said he had refused an offer of 3,000 rupees. Sometimes an animal breaks his tusks, being forced to carry an excessive weight by a stupid or brutal driver, though the elephant knows his own power, and generally refuses to lift more than his tusks can safely bear; for if these should be broken off close to the head death would soon ensue: if only cracked, they are hooped about with iron bands, and are thus rendered serviceable for many years.” At one time most of the teak was purchased from the hill chiefs, who divided their allegiance between the Kings of Burmah and Siam ; but of Jate the timber, having become scarce, has had to be sought for much further from the river banks. Disputes have also arisen between the rival chiefs as to the ownership of the land on which the logs were cut, and, in addition to caravans having been attacked and plundered, often two or three litigants appear to claim payment for the same log. The result of this state of matters has been a serious interference with the trade of Maulmain, once regarded as the most flourishing town in British Burmalı. Bassein is an ancient seaport, the capital of a large and important district. Akyab, Arakan, Pegu (p. 112), Sittang, Martaban, and Tenasserim may be mentioned as other towns, all of which have, as tropical towns will have, an extremely family likeness. Where, in addition, these towns are British, the similarity of one to another is to a stranger still more marked, though of course long familiarity enables a resident to differentiate sharply between the pleasures and miseries of particular districts and stations.
UNDER the name of Indo-China, Chen India, or Farther India, is comprised Burmah, Siam, Cochin-China, and the neighbouring petty chieftainships, principalities, and kingdoms, including Cambodia and Anam. China and India limit their extension to the north, while the Bay of Bengal, the Malay Peninsula—the Golden Chersonese of the ancients—the Gulf of Siam, and the China Sea bound them in other directions. Burmah we have already noticed. But Burmah, though in some respects to us a more important kingdom than Siam, is neither so prosperous nor on the way to such peaceful prosperity as the latter. Thai, or Muang Thai—the Free, or the Kingdom of the Free—consists of forty-one provinces, but except the northern part of the country, which is mountainous, Siam is really one great plain, intersected by two main rivers, to the overflow and silt of which it owes its present fertility, and in all likelihood its actual existence, just as Holland may be said to be born of the Rhine, and Egypt—so far as the delta is concerned—to be the child of the Nile. The chief of these rivers is the Menam, or Meinam, which, as in the case of the Tibetan Sanpoo, is a word simply meaning the river. Flowing from the mountains of Yun-nan, it falls, after a course of 800 miles, into the sea thirty miles below the city of Bangkok, it and its numerous tributaries draining a vast portion of the kingdom. But the Menam is not only the great artery and highway of Siam, but its inundations over some 12,000 square miles give fertility to the soil and ensure the success of the rice crop, and in the rich deposit which they leave behind it supplies a soil capable of yielding the finest crops with the slightest cultivation. Indeed, the whole valley of the river is one of the most fertile regions in the world. may be said of the lands adjoining the Mei-Kong, a river which flows for 1,600 miles through the eastern districts of the country. So grateful, indeed, is the soil, that though to this day no better tillage is given to it in many districts than simply to turn buffaloes into the fields to trample down the weeds and disturb the soil sufficiently to permit of the seed being deposited, and harrowed over by dragging thorny bushes over it, immense harvests are obtained. Under a better system of agriculture, introduced by Europeans, and through the exertions of the enlightened monarchs who have for some time ruled Siam, rice, sugar, and the usual tropical crops already noticed as the staples of Burmah are grown in such abundance as to afford material for a large export trade. But Siam is not only rich in an exuberant soil, in all crops which will grow in its warm climate, in jungles which yield teak, dye, and gum-woods, in forests full of wild animals, and rivers and creeks swarming with excellent fish, but precious stones, gold, and silver are also found in no small abundance. Copper, tin, lead, and iron are plentiful, and are worked by the Chinese, who in this, as in all the neighbouring countries, are the most industrious and enterprising of the inhabitants. That gold and silver is plentiful is proved by the extensive use made