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ham (or Meng-Mān) empire, the ancient capital of which, according to statements made to Captain Low, by several intelligent Siamese priests, was situated in a province of Laos, to the north of Siam. It has been already mentioned, that the Laos dialect has an alphabet more resembling the Mān than the Thai or Siamese, which indicates some connexion between the two languages. Leyden was led to conclude that the Lau or Laos nation consists of two distinct races, the Chang-mai and the Lan-chang. Captain Low supposes the inhabitants of North and South Laos to be of the same race, the above names distinguishing only the countries. Yet, he admits that the Siamese distinguish between those Lau who puncture and paint their bodies, and those who do not follow the practice, which extends more or less among almost all the Indo-Chinese nations. The Siamese, indeed, form an exception : they deem the practice a mark of barbarism.'' If so, may not the inhabitants of Laos who do not observe the practice, be a race closely related to the T'hai; while the other race are a branch of the Mān or Moan nation ? Where is the country to be found that is peopled by a single race ?
Not long before the Missionaries visited Bangkok, the Siamese monarch had sent an expedition against Laos, which had returned bringing back a number of captives ; and among the prisoners were the king himself and his family. The following extracts from Mr. Tomlin's journal, will relieve the dullness of our philological speculations, and illustrate the character of the people.
- Sabbath, Jan. 30. Went this morning to see the king of Laos and his family, lately taken prisoners and brought hither in chains, and who during the last fortnight have been exposed to public view in a large iron cage! The news of these captives, and their subsequent arrival, caused great joy to many; and the Phra Klang'and other high personages were long busied in devising the best mode of torturing and putting them to death.
We were disappointed in not seeing the king. For some reason or other, he was not brought out to-day. Nine of his sons and grandsons were in the cage; most of them grown up, but two were mere children, who deeply affected us by their wretched condition, all having chains round their necks and legs. One particularly, of an open, cheerful countenance, sat like an innocent lamb, alike inconscious of having done any wrong, and of the miserable fate which awaited him? Most of the rest also seemed careless and unconcerned, and ate the rice heartily which was brought to them. Two or three, however, hung their heads, and were apparently sunk into a melancholy stupor. Now and then they raised them, and cast a momentary glance upon us, their countenances displaying a wild and cheerless aspect. The sad spectacle exhibited by these was heightened rather than alleviated by the laughter and playfulness of the boys.
• Close by are the various instruments of torture, placed in terrific array. A large iron boiler for heating oil, to be poured on the body
VOL. VIII.- N.S.
of the king, after being cut and mangled with knives ! On the right of the cage a sort of gallows is erected, having a chain, with a large hook at the end of it, suspended from the top beam. The king, after being tortured, will be hung upon this hook by the chin. In the front there is a long row of triangular gibbets, formed by three poles joined at the top, and stretching out at the bottom, to form a stable basis on the ground. A spear rises up from the common joining of the poles a foot or more above them. The king's two principal wives, and his sons, grandsons, &c., amounting in all to fourteen, are to be fixed on these as upon a seat. On the right of the cage is a wooden mortar and pestle to pound the king's children in.
- The people are exhorted to go and see the captives while thus exhibited, previous to execution, and are expected to rejoice on the occasion! Lately, two or three days were expressly set apart as days of joyous festivity! A theatrical exhibition of Siamese players was going on close in the neighbourhood, in full view of the melancholy scene we were contemplating. The theatre being open, the spectators might amuse themselves by casting their eyes alternately on these two different scenes.
Captain Coffin saw the old king of Laos in the cage a few days ago. He seemed low-spirited but calm, and addressed a few words to Captain C., saying, the king of Siam had formerly behaved very well to him, and had received him in a very respectful manner when he formerly came to Bangkok. Fear or policy might probably induce the poor captive monarch to say these smooth words, as they would doubtless come to the ears of his Siamese majesty' pp. 92–95.
• Feb. 26.—The old Laos King is dead, and has thus escaped the hands of his tormentors. He is said to have pined gradually away and died broken-hearted. His corpse was removed to the place of execution and decapitated, and now hangs on a gibbet by the river side, a little below the city, exposed to the gaze of every stranger entering the country, and left a prey to beasts and birds. It is rumoured that his family will not be put to death, but kept in chains probably during life.'—p. 103. - The tender mercies of the wicked are cruel. In a former part of the Journal, mention is made of a young French padre * who was lately up in the Laos' country, and put in irons by the • Siamese,' and who had become deranged. No further account is given of him, nor any explanation of the circumstances, which suggest the suspicion that the Frenchman had been intermeddling with the politics of the country. This would be no new occurrence. The Jesuits had a principal hand in fostering the conspiracy headed by Constantine Phalcon in 1685, which ended in the destruction of that adventurer and the expulsion of the French. The Christians now residing at Bangkok, are chiefly Portuguese ; and from the Portuguese consul, the Missionaries received the most hospitable treatment. Some of the Romish padres, however, endeavoured to raise an alarm as to their ulterior designs, and to waken the jealousy of the Siamese Government by the most malicious insinuations. When these reports reached the ears of the king, he adopted the very reasonable measure of ordering the books brought by the Missionaries to be translated, that he might know their contents; and it was soon officially notified, that the king found nothing bad in them, nothing against . the country or the laws.' The alarm would have passed away, had not a conspiracy of some of the Talapoins been detected at this critical juncture, which the enemies of the Missionaries eagerly connected with the arrival of the foreigners.
• An edict,' continues Mr. Tomlin, 'was issued, prohibiting any one from receiving our books under a severe penalty, some say of death ! and minions of Government were ordered to take away those which had been given : a great many were actually seized and taken violently out of the hands of the people, and sheet tracts pulled down from the walls of the houses. Mr. Carlos, also, was censured for having taken us into his house, and ordered to turn us out at the peril of incurring their displeasure. Mr. H. was requested by the Phra Klang to take us out of the country in his ship, on his return to Singapore. We thought it now high time to bestir ourselves. The consul being a little alarmed, and not knowing what was coming upon him, we resolved that he should not suffer on our account; therefore immediately locked up the house, gave him the key, and went to reside with Mr. H. a few days. We had soon an audience with the Phra Klang, desiring to know the reason why we were thus treated, and about to be banished from the country without having in anywise offended. We presented at the same time a petition drawn up in Chinese and English, setting forth plainly our intention in coming to Siam, our good will to the king and his subjects, and requested that a hearing might be granted, and that we might be suffered to answer our accusers face to face. This we requested the Phra Klang to put into the hands of the king; but he declined, and thought it quite sufficient to talk over the matter with him. He had nothing to say against us, except that we made too great a stir amongst the Chinese by the books. We told him, we were as much averse to mere noise and stir as himself, and thought, after the novelty of the thing had passed away, there would be very little stir made. We appealed to the treaty recently made, as affording us protection till it could be shewn wherein we had offended, and requested a written document to be given to us, if they persisted in sending us away, stating the cause of our banishment, in order that we might shew it to our own government, and so give a proper account of the whole affair. We claimed, also, an equal right with the Romish padres who reside here, and thought it but fair and equal that they should also be sent away, if we were obliged to go. We did this the rather as we are persuaded these Catholic Christians are underneath our worst enemies, and perhaps at the bottom of the whole matter. The Phra Klang, however, felt no inclination to gratify this request, and was more willing to compromise the matter with us. He saw no reason why we should be obliged to leave the country, and only requested us to keep a little more quiet and be more sparing of the books; in this respect we should do well to imitate the good padres, who remained quietly at home, making no uproar among the people. We left the Phra Klang apparently on very good terms, without giving any promise to follow the example of these worthy Missionaires Apostoliques.' pp. 27—29.
The Phra-klang's fears of the English are supposed to have wrought very powerfully in their favour; and after this, they met with no serious interruption or annoyance. Many individuals came two, three, four, and even five days' journey from the interior for books; and some very pleasing and satisfactory indications were afforded of their having produced a strong and beneficial impression. A singular fact was related to the Missionaries by a young Talapoin.
* In his neighbourhood, remote from Bangkok, there was an old Sing žin, or sage, eighty years of age, who told his neighbours some time back, that, within six years, a Redeemer, or Saviour, of his nation should appear. For the present, because their sins were lying upon them, there was no salvation " yin wei tsuy sew bo kero." On hearing of our arrival at Bangkok and seeing the books, he said : “ These are the forerunners of Him that I spoke of.” This may, perhaps, afford some explanation of the reason that the question has been so often put to us, “Is Jesus come hither?” Probably, with some glimmerings of truth, much of the darkness of error is mingled ; and the old man and others of his countrymen may, like the Jews of old, be waiting for a temporal, rather than a spiritual deliverer.'-p. 116.
One day, a man came to them, and with much simplicity and earnestness asked Mr. Gutzlaff: “Is this Ayso (Jesus) come with 'you ? Or, will he come? Or, is he now here? Or, are you
the person ?' Mr. G. answered : 'No, I am not Ayso; but he ' is come hither, for he is Tien-kong, and is every where.'
It is remarkable how the expectation of one who is to come, still pervades all nations, blending with their various creeds and superstitions. Is this the perpetuation of the universal expectation derived from the sublime intimations of Hebrew prophecy, that preceded Our Lord's first advent? Or is it the reflection of the Christian faith respecting his second coming? Or is it the mere instinctive prompting of the earnest expectation” with which all nature awaits the day of the manifestation of the sons of God ? While the infatuated Jew still blindly clings to his hope of a Messiah Ben David, the Mohammedan Sheeah is looking out for the return of the last Imaum, the Boodhist is taught to expect the fifth and last Boodha of the present kulpu or mundane period, and the Hindoo votary of Vishnoo anticipates yet one more avatar of the Preserver'; all dim, shadowy emblems of the triumphant return of the White Horse whose mysterious Rider bears the titles of Faithful and True, King of Kings and Lord of Lords *,--at whose name, it is written, and the decree is irreversible, “ every knee shall bow.”.
Art. III. A Dictionary, Practical, Theoretical, and Historical, of
Commerce and Commercial Navigation. Illustrated with Maps.
By J. R. M‘Culloch, Esq. 8vo. pp. xii, 1143. Price 21. 10s. THIS is a work which was much wanted; so much so that a d. bad book, at least a very imperfect one, would have found a ready sale under such a title; but this volume, which is really a stupendous mass of various information, must, in consequence of the very superior judgement and ability, as well as accuracy, with which it is executed, supersede every similar work. It is, in fact, a commercial encyclopedia, indispensable to the mercantile man for the purpose of continual reference; and comprising at the same time a fund of statistical and geographical information relative to our Colonies, and upon miscellaneous topics, which might almost warrant our recommending it as a work of amusement. Although few persons, we presume, will have courage enough to sit down with the intention of reading it through,—this single volume containing about as much letter-press as would make two ordinary folio volumes,-yet, in turning over its pages for reference, the eye is continually detained by articles of the most entertaining nature. Such has been the case at least with ourselves, in examining its pages for the purpose of testing its accuracy and the competent manner in which it has been executed ; for a Reviewer must have the digestive powers of the dragon of Wantley to manage the whole volume. As to the Writer, we should be really glad to learn by what new application of steam power, within the specified time, he has been able to collect and condense such a mass of materials, even making the freest use of the very imperfect performances of his predecessors. There must have been, one would think, some division of labour; and yet, the presiding mind may be detected, we think, throughout; and the attention paid to accuracy, upon which the value of such a compilation absolutely depends, is vouched for by the specific references to authorities. Except in the case of dictionaries or books in familiar use, the page and chapter are generally particularized; experience having taught us,' says our Professor, that ' the convenient practice of stringing together a list of authori'ties at the end of an article, is much oftener a cloak for igno‘rance, than an evidence of research. A hint this, by which future compilers will do well to improve. Faultless the work cannot aspire to be ; and those individuals
* Rev. vi. 2 ; xix. 11.