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of both metals in ornamental work. Vases, urns, and various “knick-knacks” for display or use are made of silver, with gold figures embossed on them, and sent all over the East, in which they possess a certain celebrity. Among their other arts, gold-beating
-the gold being among the most ductile known-iron-founding, the making of glasswares, pottery, and the weaving of fine cloth may be included. Unlike Burmah, the Siamese have a regular coinage, the tical, or bat, a silver coin worth about half-a-crown, and impressed with the figure of an elephant. Spanish dollars are, however, much in use, and of late years bronze money, coined in England, has displaced the numerous halfpenny
paper notes in circulation. The Royal Mint is provided with machinery of English manufacture, though all the work inside the building is done by Siamese artizans.
The cannon foundry is also "run" by natives, but many of the enormous brass guns which are preserved inside the arsenal were originally cast under the direction of the Portuguese during the time they visited the country.
Bad legislation and the system of monopolies which his Siamese Majesty, like others of his Oriental brethren, loved, played such havoc with the commerce of the
country, that it was not until 1855 that the once brisk trade of Bankok began to revive. In that year Sir John Bowring framed a treaty of commerce with the Siamese king, providing for religious and commercial freedom, and, above all, giving the British traders permission to purchase goods directly from the dealer or producer without the interference of the king or any other person. The effect was soon visible.
soon visible. At Bankok -the only port from which we have anything like accurate statistics, and the one almost alone visited by foreign ships—the value of the exports for 1876 was £1,985,678, while the imports were of the value of £1,210,615. Rice is the main article exported, but agila, or eagle-wood, much valued in the East for its perfume, gutta-percha, cardamoms, gamboge, pepper, teel-seed, bamboo, rattans, sugar, tobacco, sago, coffee, skins, guavas, mangoes, sapan-wood, rose-wood, and other timbers, and even the tusks of elephants,
which, though considered the property of the king, and therefore not allowed to be killed, are freely slain sub rosa, since the natives in the wilder parts of the country have discovered that there is a lucrative market for them among the foreign traders. Among the articles imported, various textile fabrics, hardware, and opium may be mentioned. But though the British trade with Siam is considerable, the direct commerce between our islands and that country is inconsiderable. Nevertheless, the number of British ships visiting Bankok is vastly greater than that of any other nation. Even the Siamese vessels are fewer, while the Chinese junks, numerous as they are, do not quite equal the number of British merchantmen trading with the chief city of Siam. Forced labour for the benefit of the owners of the land interferes sadly with the internal prosperity and producing power of the country.
Ilence the soil, though as rich as any which the sun shines on, does not produce a great surplus, and in some places returns to the scant tillage of the peasant barely enough of food to support him and his feudal lord. The Chinese, not being subject to forced labour, have settled in the country in great numbers. It is they who own the large rice factories at the capital, in which the "paddy” is freed from the husk and packed for export. It is, again, the Chinese who are the most prosperous merchants, and whose floating shops along the river front strike the visitor as among the most ingenious arrangements for trade devised by an ingenious people. One side is left open to display goods ; the other shelters the trader's family. When business is not brisk at the spot first chosen, the floating dwelling is simply unmoored, and floated up or down the river with the tide to a spot which seems to present a more favourable opening for trade. Nor are they backward in competing with the natives in more toilsome, but less money-making, occupations. The Siamese are not a race addicted to over-exertion. Timid, careless, gentle, almost passionless, idle, inconstant, exacting, and though not truthful when they find lying a useful protection, sincere, affectionate, witty, and unworldly, they are but children in the hands of the keen Chinese, who know no scruples, possess not a lazy bone in their lithe bodies, and are ready at any moment to sell themselves (or any one else) to gain a
pice.” In Siam the male Siamese do not number more than 2,600,000, while the Chinese exceed 1,500,000. The rest of the population, which is calculated by Dr. Bastian to number in all under six millions and a half, is made up of Laotians, Malays, Cambodians, and Burmese from the province of Pegu—or Peguans, to be more precise. Of the inhabitants of Bankok nearly one-half are Chinese, and, indeed, at Pekin the country is considered to be one of the Emperor's tributary states, a theory borne out by the fact that Siam pays tribute to China, though it may be added this is only done as a convenience and according to old usage, since the Siamese gain so far by this that their junks are admitted into Chinese ports duty free. Siam, on the other hand, claims to be the suzerain of the Malay Peninsula rajahs, of Tringame, Kalantan, Patani, and Kedah (Vol. IV., p. 260), the Laotian princes of Xiengmai, Laptun, Lakhon, Phrë, Nan, Luang-Phra-Bany, and MuangLom; while Cambodia, being awkwardly situated between Siam on one side and the Anam, or Cochin-Chinese kingdom, on the other, prefers as a matter of policy to pay tribute to both. Indeed, the real limits of the kingdom are now difficult to trace, the borders being occupied by so many half-independent tribes. Even the population, in spite of a more or less accurate census, it is difficult to arrive at an accurate estimate of, for Siam, like many