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the evening another message was brought to inform me, that the profession of Dr. Buchanan was held by the Birmans in a less dignified estimation than it bore among us; and that it was unusual, on such solemn occasions, to receive a person of his station into the lotoo, or great council hall. I took some pains to vindicate the dignity of the liberal and enlightened profession of medicine, and explained to them, that there was no monarch of Europe who did not consider a physician as worthy to hold a place in the most distinguished ranks of society. This difficulty was at last conquered; they agreed to receive the doctor, but stipulated that he should ride on horseback in the procession, and not be indulged with an elephant, a privilege which, they said, was granted only to persons of the highest consequence.
• Preparatory to our visit, the presents intended for his majesty were carefully assorted, and put into separate boxes : they were both handsome and costly, consisting of various kinds of European and Indian articles, such as mirrors, cut-glass, fire-arms, broad cloths, embroidered muslins, and Indian silks, all of the finest quality that could be procured; among other things there was a Sanscrit manuscript, superbly illumined, and written with beautiful minuteness; it was a copy of the Bagwaat Geeta, inclosed in a case of gold, and designed as a personal compliment from sir John Shore, the governor-general, to his Birman majesty: there was also an electrical machine, of the effects of which some of the Birmans were not ignorant. The boxes were covered with red satin, and fastened to poles, for the convenience of being carried on men's shoulders. Every matter was arranged on the day before the ceremony was to take place.
On the 30th of August we took an early breakfast, and about eight o'clock a sere-dogee, or secretary of the lotoo, came to acquaint us that boats were prepared to convey us across the lake. Our domestics had received orders to hold themselves in readiness, dressed in the livery of the embassy, and the guard was paraded without arms. having been sent before, we walked to the water side, attended by Baba-Sheen, the sere-dogee, and several inferior officers;
at the same time the two junior members of the Chinese mission, the senior one being now at the point of death, came forth from the gate of their enclosure, attended by a retinue comparatively very small.
small. We found three war-boats at the bank ready to receive us; these boats were sufficiently capacious for the number they were destined to contain: the largest was of 50 oars, but they were not above one-third manned, probably with a view to our accommodation, as the vessels are so narrow, that persons unaccustomed to them cannot sit between the rowers without inconvenience : it did not, however, escape our notice, that they were quite plain, without either gilding or paint. We were about 20 minutes in rowing to the opposite side of the lake, and found a crowd of people collected near the water's edge to see us land. The place where we landed appeared to be nearly a mile, in a direct line, below the fort, the southern walls of which were washed by the lake when the waters are swollen. Three elephants and several horses were waiting to convey us, and some Birman officers of inferior consequence attended at the bank, dressed in their robes and caps of ceremony. The furniture of the animals we were to ride was far from being superb. Men of rank in the Birman empire always guide their own elephants, and sit on the neck, in the same manner that the drivers, or mohaats, do in India : owing to this custom they are unprovided with those commodious seats in which an Indian gentleman reposes at ease on the back of this noble beast, whilst the government of it is entrusted to another person. A large wicker basket, somewhat resembling the body of an open carriage, but smaller, without an elevated seat, and covered with carpets at the bottom, was fastened on the back of the elephant by means of iron chains that passed under his belly, and were prevented from chafing him by tanned ox hides. This equipage was neither comfortable nor elegant ; but as I had not learned how to manage an elephant, and ride between his ears, there was no alternative; I was obliged either to take what was provided, or submit to a less dignified conveyance. The drivers, instead of making the beast kneel down to receive his rider, as is the custom in other countries,
drove him up to a temporary stage that had been erected for the purpose of mounting. Each of the Chinese deputies was also honoured with an elephant. Mr. Wood and Dr. Buchanan rode on handsome spirited horses, of the small Pegu breed, which had been prepared for them, and were equipped with much better furniture than was assigned to the elephants. The Birman saddles, however, not being well calculated for the ease of an European rider, two of English manufacture, which we had brought with us, were substituted in their stead. The moonshee, the pundit, and the painter, were likewise permitted to ride on horseback.
* The servants of the embassy walked on each side, two by two; and a number of constables attended, with long white rods, to keep off the populace.
* The procession being arranged, we commenced our march, keeping a moderate pace, so as not to distress the bearers of the presents. After proceeding a short way, we entered a wide and handsome street, that was paved with brick: the houses on each side were low, built of wood, and covered with tiles; they had been evidently prepared for the occasion, being fresh whitewashed, and decorated with boughs and flowers; the shops, which are usually open towards the street, displayed their best goods. In front of each house was a slight latticed railing of bamboo, advanced into the street, to the distance of three or four feet ; over this space was spread a shade of bamboo mats, that reached from the eaves of the houses to the railing, forming a sort of covered balcony, every one of which was crowded with spectators, men and women indiscriminately. Boys sat on the tops of the houses, and the streets were so thronged as to leave only a sufficient space for the procession to move without interruption ; but what rendered the scene most remarkable was, the posture which the multitude preserved; every person, as soon as we came in sight, squatted on his hams, and continued in that attitude until we had passed by: this was an indication of high respect. Throughout the crowd there was no disturbance or any extraordinary noise; the populace looked up and gazed in silence, nor did they attempt to follow us, but were satisfied VOL. IV.
with a transient view. The pagwaats, or constables, armed with long rods, sometimes affected to strike those who were most forward, in order to make them recede; but in this act they humanely avoided hurting any one, generally directing the blow to the ground close to those whom they intended to remove. Thus we passed through several wide streets, running in a straight direction, and often crossed by others at right angles. We perceived only two brick houses, and these we were informed belonged to foreigners. Contiguous to the fort was a small street, entirely occupied by the shops of silversmiths, who exhibited their wares in the open balcony, and displayed a great variety of Birman utensils in plate. The distance from the landing-place to this street we computed to be two miles.
• Immediately after we crossed the ditch of the fort, which was wide, deep, and faced with brick, but had little water in it: the passage was over a causeway formed on a mound of earth, in which there was a chasm of about 10 feet to carry off the rain, and across this a strong bridge of planks was laid. The fort altogether, considered as an eastern fortification, was respectable, but insufficient to resist the approaches of an enemy skilled in the science of war. The Birmans, however, believe it to be impregnable; they put their trust in the height and solidity of their wall, which they conceive to be strong enough to resist all assaults, independent of the cover of a glacis, or any other advanced work than the ditch. I did not attempt to mortify their pride by telling them a disagreeable truth, that a battery of half a dozen cannon would, in a few hours, reduce their walls to a heap of ruins ; and, indeed, if I bad told them so, it is probable they might not have credited the information.
• It was now about 10 o'clock, and the woondock intimated that we must wait until all the princes of the royal family arrived, before it would be proper for us to enter: and we had sat but a short time, when the prince of Pegahm, the junior of the king's sons, in point of rank though not in years, being born of a different mother, made his appearance. He was mounted on the neck of a very fine elephant, which he
guided himself, sitting on a scarlet cloth embroidered with gold, whilst a servant behind, on the back of the animal, screened him from the sun with a gilded parasol. About 50 musketeers led the way; these were followed by a number of balberdiers, carrying spears with gilded shafts, and decorated with gold tassels. Six or eight officers of his household (each of the king's sons have a separate establishment) came next, dressed in velvet robes with embroidered caps, and chains of gold depending from the left shoulder to the right side; these immediately preceded the prince's elephant: another body of spearman, with his palanquin of state, closed the procession. On entering the gate, he gave to one of his attendants a polished iron hook, with which he governed bis elephant; as not any thing that can be used as a weapon is suffered to be brought within the precincts of the palace, not even by his majesty's sons. The prince's escort halted without the gate, and the greater number of his attendants were stopped, those only being admitted who were of higher rank, together with the men who carried his large betle-box of gold, and his faggon of water, which are brought rather for state than for refreshment. When the prince had alighted, his elephant returned, and all the attendants ranged themselves in the area between the rhoom (which was a lofty hall) and the palace gate. Soon after the prince of Pegahm had entered, the prince of Tongho, the next in precedence, appeared; he was attended by a suite nearly similar to that of his brother; and in succession came the princes of Bassein and of Prome: the engy teekien, or heir apparent, came last; when he arrived it was 12 o'clock, which, the great drum, that proclaims the hours, sounded from a lofty tower near the palace. The state in which the latter personage made his public entrance was highly superb, and becoming his elevated station. He was preceded by a numerous body guard of infantry, consisting of 400 or 500 men, armed with muskets, who marched in regular files, and were uniformly clothed and accoutred; next came a party of Cassay troopers, habited in their fanciful dress, and high conical caps bending backwards. We were told that through respect they had alighted from their horses