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for his capital, fortified it, and built a palace which still exists. He had many subsequent encounters with the Burmans, but always succeeded in repelling them. At length, having vanquished all his enemies, he turned his attention to the arts of peace, and particularly encouraged the superior industry of the Chinese, to whom he granted peculiar privileges. Unhappily the good sense and moderation which characterised the early part of his reign was superseded in later years by such caprice, superstition, tyranny, and avarice, as led to a general belief that he was labouring under insanity.
At length Chakri, one of the chief officers of the state, raised an insurrection against the now intolerable monarch, and put him to death. There is a repugnance in Siam to the shedding of royal blood in a literal sense, and therefore, though base-born, he was honoured with the death of a king; that is to say, he was beaten to death on the head with a club of sandalwood, and his body was tossed into the river without funeral rites. Chakri reigned in his stead, and bequeathed the throne to his son, who was the late king. During his reign the Burmese again made some attempts against the Siamese dominions, but they were overpowered, the leaders were beheaded, and the inferior prisoners conducted as slaves to Bankok, where Mr Crawford and his companions saw them twelve years afterwards working in chains.
Towards the end of the year 1821, the Marquis of Hastings, being governor - general of India, commissioned Mr Crawford, accompanied by two military officers, and Mr Finlayson as surgeon and naturalist, to visit Siam, and endeavour to improve the commercial relations between that country and British India. Though the mission was received with great jealousy, and scarcely treated with due respect, and though little positive advantage was gained in the negotiation, yet a foundation for friendly intercourse was laid ; and these gentlemen spared no pains to acquire such a knowledge of the genius and manners of the nation, and the resources of the country, as tended greatly to facilitate subsequent negotiations. The king then reigning died in July 1824, and without massacre or bloodshed was succeeded on the same day by his eldest but illegitimate son, KromaChiat—a rare event in the annals of Siam. The rightful heir retiring to a monastery, assumed the priestly office to save his life.
The present monarch has pursued a policy in many respects much more liberal than that of his predecessors. In 1826 a new commercial treaty was made with England, according to which British vessels might proceed to any port of Siam, and several vexatious imposts were removed. A treaty somewhat similar was made with America in 1833; for though Siam is not Tyre, nor · her merchants the honourable of the earth,' yet our
16 transatlantic cousins would of course like to drive in a wedge wherever an opening, however small, appeared for enlarging their foreign trade. Besides, two religious societies in America have sent Christian missionaries to these distant Asiatics, and for several years they have been prosecuting their labours with diligence and some measure of success, especially among the Chinese settlers. A most interesting and important point is, that the prince mentioned above as having quietly yielded to his brother's usurpation of the throne has come within the sphere of their influence, and though not converted to Christianity, has been greatly shaken in his religi
ous prejudices. He is said to have naturally a very fine mind, which is now much improved by European intercourse and literature: he candidly recognises our superiority, and desires to adopt our civil arts. Should he ever assume the government, Siam must make rapid advances in civilisation. Pra-Na-Wai, the Pra-Klang's eldest son, is his intimate friend, and has enjoyed similar advantages : it is hoped that the two will rise together.
Considering our relations with Siam, and the number and extent of our possessions in its neighbourhood, it seems more natural that it should fall both commercially and religiously under our cultivation than that of the Americans; and it must be deemed a pity that the British nation should allow this promising season to pass comparatively unimproved. The abundant vegetable and mineral resources of the country, and the facilities which it enjoys for navigation, offer means and inducements of the highest character. The great desideratum is to bring forward the native population, and encourage them in such useful and industrious habits as may render the natural wealth of their country available for commercial purposes. It must be confessed that there are considerable difficulties in the way of an object so desirable. The Siamese are exceedingly averse to labour, enervated by the climate, accustomed to obtain the necessaries of life with scarcely an exertion, and discouraged by the despotism and rapacity of the government from any desire of accumulating wealth. The king is the monopolist of the soil as well as of everything else, and it is difficult to obtain such a tenure as to warrant any considerable expenditure of labour or capital. To this it must be added, that there is little desire among the natives themselves for a better social system; their national vanity is overweening and extravagant; so that though poor, half naked, and enslaved, they look on themselves and their country as models of perfection. Though revolutions have occurred among them again and again, the dynasty only has been changed, while the system has been perpetuated with little or no alteration. But there is another side of the picture highly encouraging to European enterprise. The Siamese, though indolent, are highly acquisitive : every ambassador has remarked their unblushing anxiety about presents, and every traveller animadverted on the trickery and fraud by which their covetousness is too often indulged. We must look upon this as the natural working of the desire of property—an excellent quality in itself
, but diverted from its proper channel by a social system which renders it impossible to gratify it by an open and honourable acquisition of wealth. Who will say that it is impossible to make these people work for what they so greatly long to possess ? With respect to the tenure of land, the king has already seen it to be his interest to forego much of his commercial monopoly, and there is little doubt that he would relinquish the agricultural also if sufficient inducement were presented. As we are not masters of Siam, we cannot force the adoption of a better line of policy; but in the way of commercial intercourse and Christian enterprise much might be done to awaken the latent energies of the people. Hitherto it has been only through the stimulus which the Chinese have given to the industry of the country that its resources have been at all developed; and while they continue to trade to the east, we might counterbalance their growing
power, and prevent it from becoming monopolising and oppressive, by opening a more extensive commerce towards the west. One great advantage presents itself in Siam above the Indian Archipelago—its lands are not infested by robbers nor its shores by pirates; and the traveller who has been accustomed to fear the lawlessness which prevails throughout a great part of Asia, may repose here without dread of outrage either to life or property. Nor has the Christian any reason to fear persecution either in the enjoyment of his own creed or in his philanthropic efforts to instruct a benighted people.
On the whole, the Siamese must be considered as much above the semibarbarians of the Malay states and the islands of the adjacent seas; and under such European cultivation as that to which we have referred, there seems every reason to hope that they would make steady progress in freedom and civilisation, and assume at no distant period a position of high respectability among the nations of the East.
THOMAS MOORE, a man of brilliant gifts and large acquirements, if
not an inspired poet, was born on the 28th of May 1780, in Augier Street, Dublin, where his father carried on a respectable business as a grocer and spirit-dealer. Both his parents were strict Roman Catholics, and he of course was educated in the same faith ; at that time under the ban not only of penal statutes, but of influential opinion both in Great Britain and Ireland. Thus humble and unpromising were the birth and early prospects of an author who—thanks to the possession of great popular talent, very industriously cultivated and exercised, together with considerable tact and prudence, and pleasing social accomplishments-won for himself not only the general fame which ordinarily attends the successful display of genius, but the especial sympathy and admiration of his countrymen and fellow religionists, and the smiles and patronage of a large and powerful section of the English aristocracy, at whose tables and in whose drawing-rooms his sparkling wit and melodious patriotism rendered him an ever-welcome guest. Few men, indeed, have passed more pleasantly through the world than Thomas Moore. His day of life was one continual sunshine, just sufficiently tempered and shaded by passing clouds— mere crumpling of the rose-leaves'-as to soften and enhance its general gaiety and brightness. With its evening thick shadows came—the crushing loss of children—and the gray-haired poet, pressed by his heavy grief, has turned in his latter years from the gay vanities of brilliant society, and sought peace and consolation in seclusion, and the zealous observance of the precepts and discipline of the church to which he is, not only from early training and association, but by temperament and turn of mind, devotedly attached.
As a child, Moore was, we are told, remarkable for personal beauty, and might have sat, says a writer not over-friendly to him, ' as Cupid for a picture.' This early promise was not fulfilled. Sir Walter Scott, speaking of him in 1825, says: "He is a little, very little man--less, I think, than Lewis, whom he resembles : his countenance is plain, but very animated when speaking or singing.' The lowness of his stature was a sore subject with Moore—almost as much, and as absurdly so, as the malformation of his foot was with Lord Byron. Leigh Hunt, in a work published between twenty and thirty years ago, gives the following detailed portrait of the Irish poet :— His forehead is bony and full of character, with bumps of
wit large and radiant enough to transport a phrenologist; his eyes are as dark and fine as you would wish to see under a set of vine-leaves; his mouth, generous and good-humoured, with dimples; “his nose, sensual and prominent, and at the same time the reverse of aquiline : there is a very peculiar characteristic in it—as if it were looking forward to and scenting & feast or an orchard.” The face, upon the whole, is Irish, not unruffled by care and passion, but festivity is the predominant expression.' In Mr Hunt's autobiography, not long since published, this portrait is repeated, with the exception of the words we have enclosed within double inverted
-struck out possibly from a lately- awakened sense of their injustice; and it is added that ' his (Moore's) manner was as bright as his talk was full of the wish to please and be pleased.' To these testimonials as to the personal appearance and manners of Thomas Moore we can only add that of Mr Joseph Atkinson, one of the poet's most intimate and attached friends. This gentleman, when speaking to an acquaintance of the author of the 'Melodies,' said that to him ‘Moore always seemed an infant sporting on the bosom of Venus.' This somewhat perplexing idea of the mature author of the songs under discussion was no doubt suggested by the speaker's recollections of his friend's childhood.
Whatever the personal graces or defects of Mr Moore, it is quite certain at all events that he early exhibited considerable mental power and imitative faculty. He was placed when very young with Mr Samuel Whyte, who kept a respectable school in Grafton Street, Dublin. This was the Mr Whyte who attempted to educate Richard Brinsley Sheridan, and pronounced him to be 'an incorrigible dunce'-a verdict in which at the time the mother of the future author of the School for Scandal' fully concurred. Mr Whyte, it seems, delighted in private theatricals, and his labours in this mode of diffusing entertaining knowledge were, it appears, a good deal patronised by the Dublin aristocracy. Master Moore was his show-actor,' and played frequently at Lady Borrowes's private theatre. On one occasion the printed bills announced 'An Epilogue-A Squeeze at St Paul's, by Master Moore,' in which he is said to have been very successful. These theatricals were attended by several members of the ducal family of Leinster, the Latouches of Dublin, with many other Irish notabilities; and it was probably here that Moore contracted the taste for aristocratic society which afterwards became a passion with him.
The obstinate exclusion of the Catholics from the common rights of citizenship naturally excited violent and growing discontent amongst that body of religionists; and Thomas Moore's parents, albeit prudent, wary folk, were, like thousands of other naturally sensible and pacific people, carried away for a moment by the tremendous outburst of the French Revolution. The meteor-blaze which suddenly leaped forth and dazzled the astonished world seemed a light from Heaven to the oppressed nations of Europe; and in Ireland especially it was hailed as the dawn of a great deliverance by millions whom an unwise legislation had alienated and almost maddened. Young Moore, when little more than twelve years of age, sat upon his father's knee at a great banquet in Dublin, where the toast—May the breezes from France fan our Irish oak into verdure !' was received with a frantic vehemence which, child as he was, left an impression upon him that did not pass away with many years. The Day-star of