Skip to main content

Full text of "Journal of a voyage up the Irrawaddy to Mandalay and Bhamo"

See other formats


This is a digital copy of a book that was preserved for generations on library shelves before it was carefully scanned by Google as part of a project 

to make the world's books discoverable online. 

It has survived long enough for the copyright to expire and the book to enter the public domain. A public domain book is one that was never subject 

to copyright or whose legal copyright term has expired. Whether a book is in the public domain may vary country to country. Public domain books 

are our gateways to the past, representing a wealth of history, culture and knowledge that's often difficult to discover. 

Marks, notations and other maiginalia present in the original volume will appear in this file - a reminder of this book's long journey from the 

publisher to a library and finally to you. 

Usage guidelines 

Google is proud to partner with libraries to digitize public domain materials and make them widely accessible. Public domain books belong to the 
public and we are merely their custodians. Nevertheless, this work is expensive, so in order to keep providing tliis resource, we liave taken steps to 
prevent abuse by commercial parties, including placing technical restrictions on automated querying. 
We also ask that you: 

+ Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Google Book Search for use by individuals, and we request that you use these files for 
personal, non-commercial purposes. 

+ Refrain fivm automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort to Google's system: If you are conducting research on machine 
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the 
use of public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help. 

+ Maintain attributionTht GoogXt "watermark" you see on each file is essential for in forming people about this project and helping them find 
additional materials through Google Book Search. Please do not remove it. 

+ Keep it legal Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just 
because we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States, that the work is also in the public domain for users in other 
countries. Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of 
any specific book is allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Google Book Search means it can be used in any manner 
anywhere in the world. Copyright infringement liabili^ can be quite severe. 

About Google Book Search 

Google's mission is to organize the world's information and to make it universally accessible and useful. Google Book Search helps readers 
discover the world's books while helping authors and publishers reach new audiences. You can search through the full text of this book on the web 

at |http: //books .google .com/I 



JK- t 


^y- . 













JI06611. d 3. 


likely to prove dangerous. The \-essel itself is said 
to have sunk in the bed of the river, or otherwise it 
might be blown up. 

Monday, 1th Novemher. — The moon had nearly 
reached the full, and the river scenery was bright 
and attractive throughout the night. The atmos- 
phere was cool on deck, tut very hot in the cabins. 
The musquitoes were large, numerous and very hun- 
gry, and most distressing to those who had no mus- 
quitoe curtains. As the morning advanced the voy- 
age became more interesting. "We passed by little 
Burmese villages on the banks of the river, composed 
of houses of wood and mate, and occupied by a 
cheerful population. Young men and women ran 
hastily to the bank to see the steamer pass, although 
the sight must now be a tolerably familiar one. 
There were children noisily bathing in the river, for 
though tlie water is apparently dirty from being 
laden with silt, yet It is sweet and soft. Some of 
the boys took pleasure in coming out in small narrow 
boats to be tossed about in the back water of the 
steamer, reckless of being ovei^et ; a catastrophe 
liowever which would be regarded with small alarm 
by this amphibious population. At one village we 
saw cotton yarn wound round a native revolving 
machine. Also lazy herdsmen riding on the backs 
of their buffaloes; a sight which is common enough 
in Burma, but appears somewhat sti'ange to the Eu- 
ropean visitor. Also saw elephant grass for thefii-st 
time. This grass is drooping and dwarfed now in 
consequence of the cessation of the rains, but is still 
sufficiently tall to conceal an elephant. 


The European pasaengevs are only five in number, rrrawdddj 
namely, Dr. Booth who is going to Bhamo for 
die sake of his health, Mr. Simkin, who is agent for 
the company's steamers at Prome and Thayetmyo ; 
Mr. Ferrie and Mr. Stuart who are going to Bha- 
mo ; and myself. More were expected but wero 
apparently deterred from a variety of considemtions 
including that of expense ; for though the cost of 
passage is reasonable, yet when added to the home 
charges which coatinue muob. the same, it must be 
felt, not perhaps by bachelore, but by married people. 
Otherwise, as will be seen hereafter, the pleasures 
of the trip are well worthy of the expenditure. The 
native passengers, consisting nof Burmese, Chinese 
and Moguls, were unexpectedly numerous ; and must 
have suifered much last night from the musquitoes. 

There is one point to which I beg to invite atten^ 
tion. The steamer " Colonel Fytche" is absolutely 
without arms. In the bows there is a very giufill 
brass swivel gun, which would be of very little 
use in the event of danger. There are no fire arms 
beyond two or three revolvers which are the Cap- 
tain's private property. Under ordinary circum- 
Btances there is perhaps nothing to fear, but still 
considering that at any time disturbances might 
break out in Ava, when it would be of the utmost 
importance to relieve or carry away European resi- 
dents from Mandalay, it would seem desirable that a 
stand of arms and a few cutlasses should be at the 
disposal of the Captain. 

At eleven o'clock a. m, we arrived at Donabew, doubImw 
after a twenty-six hours voyage from Rangoon. 



Judging from the numberof boats anchored off the 
bank, and the number of houses and quantities of 
stacked wood in the neighbourhood of the rirer, 
this must be an important place. The principal 
trade is in salt-fish, ngapee, and paddy. Ngapee 
is a condiment made of preserved fish, which is uni- 
versally eaten by the people of Burma, and for 
which there is consequently a very large demand. It 
is a sort of paste which mixes with rice like chntnee. 
Having never been induced to taste it, I am unable 
to offer any experienced opinion as regards its flavour, 
but judging from its appearance I should think 
anchovies would be preferred by Europeans. 

The afternoon was hot and the scenery presented 
but few Tariations. A thick fringe of foliage was 
occasionally followed by a sandy beach or mud bank, 
but otherwise there was nothing to relieve the eye. 
A slight wind and storm clouded the sky in the 

Reached Henzada at eleven o'clock p. m. Anchored 
off a very dreary sand and mud bank, which was 
none the less bare on account of the water having 
fallen several feet since the rains. We ware told 
that the town of Henzada was nearly three miles 
off. One or two passengers landed, notwithstanding 
the lateness of the hour, as there was a beautiful 
moonlight ; but they soon returned reporting that 
the place was utterly desolate. As we were not ex- 
pected until tlie next day, there was nobody wait- 
ing for the anival of the steamer, excepting a chup- 
rassee of Captain Plant, the deputy commissioner, 
■who at once ran off to Henzada to inform his master. 

The arrival of the " Colonel Fytche" in the middle 
of the night must be somewhat inconvenient to the 
district officers. Thus Mr. Man, the assistant 
commissioner, had to get up about one o'clock in 
the morning at Henzada, and make his way to the 
bank of the river with the mone}"" required to pay 
the extra assistant commissioners, and ministerial 
oflScera up the river ; and he brought with him 
abundant evidence that the country was quite as 
muddy, as we had already inferred from the appear- 
ance of the shore. 

Tuesday^ 8lh November. — About five o'clock A. m. 
Captain Plant came on board. He reported that 
his district was very quiet. The crops were abun- 
dant and there was no dacoity. He came however in 
a police bciafc with thirteen constables inside, for 
the purpose of taking an extra assistant commission- 
er by surprise, and breaking up and scattering a 
party of bad characters, opium eaters and gamblers, 
who were likely to plan some disturbances and oc- 
casion trouble. These extra assistant commissioners 
are a class of native officials, selected generally from 
the officials who were maintained under Burmese 
rule. They are very good fellows in then- way, and 
much better than might have been expected from their 
past experiences ; but still they require luoking after. 

Captain Plant had some little difficulty lately 
with some of the servants of the King of Ava, who 
would stick up the royal flag of their master at the 
different spots where the paddy was stored for the use 
of his majesty's dawk boat and steamer. The flag 
of the King of Ava consists of a peacock worked 


upon a white streamer, surrounded by a border. 
Captain Plant told the men that they mig'lit mark the 
spots with plain white flags, but that they must not 
set up the flag of Ava on British territory; and when 
the matter waa fully explained, the men readily pro- 
mised not to set up the royal flag for the future. 
The point may seem a trivial one, but the appear- 
ance of the royal flag on British tenitory amongst 
an impulsive people like the Burmese, only excitea 
wild speculation and disquietude. 

Had a long and pleasant conversation with Cap- 
tain Plant on general subjects. He wants to have a 
good district gaol instead of the existing lock up ; 
but Doctor Donnelly, the officiating inspector gen- 
eral of gaols, is restrained by financial considera- 
tions from supporting the application. He is anx- 
ious also for the promotion of some of his extra as- 
sistant commissioners; but this anxiety is doubtless 
shared by every district officer in the province. 
He suggested that lotteries! would be a far more 
popular mode of raising extra revenue amongst the 
Burmese than either income tax or local cesses. 
As a matter of fact there can be no doubt that he is 
correct. All Indo-Ciiiiiese races are imbued with 
the wildest spirit of gambling, and would play away 
everything they possessed, not excepting their souls. 
But even if it could he possible to over-ride the pub- 
lic opinion of the people of England so far as to es- 
tablish lotteries, the whole province would be ra- 
pidly impoverished and demoralised. Land re- 
venue and customs would suffer severely and no- 
thing would flourish but the abk;iree, or excise on 
ppirits and drugs. 


About noon we reached a place called Thendau, tj 
Bome twenty miles from Kenzada up a creek on the 
opposite side of the river. Here a plain white flag 
was set up to indicate that one of the King'a ser- 
. vants had some paddy to put on board ; and we 
duly found two large boat loads of the paddy- Ac- 
cordingly the steamer was anchored off the creek for 
thi-ee or four hours during the heat of the day, when 
only a slight breeze was stirring. Meantime the 
Burmese oiEcial brought one of his boats alongside the 
flat, and commenced vei-y deliberately to ship his 
cargo. The other boat would no dotibt have fol- 
lowed, but from some accident, arising from the ha- 
bitual carelessness and happy-go-lucky phase of the 
Burmese character, the crew were all absent, and 
the opportunity was lost. The boat that did suc- 
ceed in coming alongside contained about six hun- 
dred baskets of rice ; but when two hundred baskets 
had been shipped, it w-as discovered that the boat 
was leaking and rapidly sinking; audit was therefore 
deemed expedient to return to the shore with as 
much haste as was compatible with the dignity of 
the petty native official. The scene was a signifi- 
cant illustration of the way in which the King 
is sei'ved by his servants. 

Heard from Captain Plant a somewhat curious 
story of an execution. The criminal was a fine 
strapping young Burmese in the pride of manhood, 
■who had murdered his wife under circumstances of 
extreme ferocity, having stabbed her in several 
places with a small knife. After conviction he ma- 
naged to wrench an iron bar out of the prison wall. 


Captain Poole reported that besides the affair of 
the flags, the King's sei-vants had adopted other pro- 
ceedings, -which were of a questionable character. 
The King had bought very large quantities of paddy 
in the neighbourhood and paid for it ; and his ser- 
vants had further demanded that the people should 
mate presents of rice to the King, The inhabitants 
had acceded to the demand, but complained of it to 
the assistant commissioner. It seemed doubtful 
whether the contributions of rice had been required 
as an acknowledgment of the King's supremacy, or 
whether they were only regarded as a kind of com- 
mission to the King as the purchaser of the paddy. 
But whilst the inhabitants complained of the de- 
mand, they would not make any formal charge against 
the King's servants who collected the rice ; such as 
would have enabled the assistant commissioner to pro- 
ceed against these petty officials under the penal code. 

Captain Poole alluded to a fact with which I was 
imperfectly acquainted. During the first Burmese 
war of 1824, the Talains of Pegu had joined the Eng- 
lish in laj'ge numbers This might have been es- 
pected from the past histoiy of Burma. From time 
immemorial there have been incessant wara between 
the Talains of Pegu and the Bunnese of Ava, not 
altogether unlike the constantly recurring wars 
between the English and Scotch from the days of the 
Picts downwards ; and the ascendancy maintained 
by the Portuguese in Pegu, during the sixteenth and 
early part of the seventeenth centuries, was mainly 
owing to the assistance which they furnished to the 
Talain Kings of Pegu against the Burmese Kings 
of Ava. During the early part of the last century 


the Talains triumplied, and after several victories 
they swarmed up the Irrawaddy river into the 
territories of Ava, and took possession d£ the 
capital, and established their sovereignty over the 
dominions of the King. Then followed the reaction. 
A Burmese hunter, named Alompra, headed a popu- 
lar rising against the Talain yoke, and not only suc- 
ceeded in driving the Talains out of Ava, bat in 
extending his empire over Pegu, where he founded 
tlie present city of Rangoon. These latter events 
took place between 1750 and 1760, and are of consi- 
derable interest, its the dynasty of Alompra is still 
reigning in the capital of the old kingdom of Ava. 

But to return to Captain Poole and his story of the 
Talains. When war broke out between the British 
and the Burmese, the Talains joined our forces in 
large numbers. They naturally regarded the English 
troops as their deliverers from the tyranny of the 
King of Ava, and were led to expect that we should 
permanently occupy Pegu, and that they would then 
dwell in peace and safety under the British rule. Un- 
fortunately however the so-called moderate counsels 
prevailed ; or rather the English philanthropy, which 
ignores history and tradition, and wlU commit a 
breach of faith towards a people rather than be too 
hard upon an Asiatic enemy, succeeded in compelling 
the government of India to abandon the most im- 
portant portion of its conquests. Ai-akan and Te- 
nasserim were alone annexed, and Pegu was restored 
to all the oppressions of Burmese administration ; 
rendered doubly cruel by the fact that the Burmese 
were exasperated to the last degree by the assistance 
which the Talains had afforded to the British. The 



Court of Ava became as exclusive and arrogant as 
before. Crawfurd's Mission in 182G utterly failed ; 
the country was closed against Europeans ; and a 
second Burmese -war became a mere question of 
time. No sooner had the King of Ava recovered 
possession of Pegu, than he grossly violated his en- 
gagement at Yandabo, by which he had bound him- 
self to extend an amnesty towards all of his subjects 
who had in any way assisted the English, The Talains 
of Pegu were brutally massacred in laige numbers 
by the Burmese, and those who survived were com- 
pelled to take refuge in Arakan and Tenasserim ; 
and the British government of the day looked calm- 
ly on, preparing to see the Talains saci'ificed, rather 
than riak the impopularity which would have at- 
tended a renewal of the wai-. The consequence has 
been that for many years the Talains nurtured a deep 
hatred against the English for having xmgratefully 
abandoned them to their oppressors, at a time when 
they had fully earned the protection of the British, 
government. Time has perhaps softened this feeling, 
but nevertheless years must pass away before this 
unfortunate national sentiment will have wholly 
passed away. 

Left Myanoung about noon, but merely crossed 
the river to take in another cai-go of paddy belong- 
ing to the King. The Burmese broker who shipped 
the rice gave himself all the airs of a native official ; 
talking with a loud voice, and looking through the 
ship's binoculars with considerable dignity, which 
however was somewhat modified by the fact that he 
was not over-clean. He was accompanied or rather 
followed by his so-called secretaiy ; a half naked 

gentleman who squatted about in all directions with 
a pile of the usual oblong-shaped black paper, which 
is universally employed by the Burmese, and on 
which they wi-ite with a pencil of soapstone, or French 
chalk, which is found in great abundance in difPerent 
parts of Buima. Stopjiing at this place to take in 
the paddy waa very tedious. The afternoon and 
evening passed slowly away, but within an hour or 
two after miclnight we were again on the move. 

Thursday, l()th November. — A lovely morning and 
a very great improvement in the scenery. In the 
place of the monotonous frmge of tall grass, under- 
wood, sand and mud, we saw very pretty wood- 
lands, and the eye could range over a considera- 
ble expanse of landscape. In a word we are leaving 
the low flat country of the delta, and entering the 
upper region of woodland and fertile plain, diversi- 
fied by rising grounds. The dim range of the Ara- 
kan HUls stands out in bolder and stronger out- 
line, and we can see that their sides are covered with 
forest and jungle. The river, although still mud- 
coloured from the silt, sparkles very pleasantly in 
the morning sunshine ; for the surface is as smooth 
as glass, and diversified by the shadows of the trees 
that impart a greener colour to the stream. Here 
and there we see a fishing boat, or a bamboo raft 
with a whole family upon it ; or a large quaint ves- 
sel, with a cabin of mat and bamboo, that would 
seem to have been constructed in times primeval 
after the fashion of a Phoenician galley. Indeed it 
is by no means improbable that the primitive popu- 
lation of the Eastern seas improved their own rude 
'. craft by following the models set them by foreign 

tmders from Tyre and Sidon, These large galley- 
shaped vessels contain families of men, women and 
children, who go looming about the Irrawaddy with 
paddy, earth-oil, salt-fish, and other nondescript 
commodities ; and no doubt a little opium is occa- 
sionally smuggled by these traders into various 
places on the river. 

As the voyage progresses the scenery becomes 
more and more varied and beautiful. The Arakan 
Hills, covered with thick wood, send off a spur which 
is brought to an abrupt steep close by the river. The 
aide facing the river has been cleared of cultivation, 
and is covered with numerous statues of Gotama, 
some of them in white marble. Here the river be- 
comes more winding, and the current is stronger. 

Arrived at Prome at about half past five in the 
afternoon. Here the river is almost shut in by for- 
est and mountain ranges. Prome has a more civi- 
lized appearance than any place we have seen since 
we left Rangoon. There is a pleasant walk on the 
top of the bank which hangs over the river, with 
seats for the European residents. Major Munro, 
the deputy commissioner of Prome, and Major 
Twynam, the executive engineer of the district, 
came on board. Every thing in Prome was report- 
ed to be very quiet. Crops promising, and no da- 
coity. Here as elsewhere every one was hungry for 
news. Later in the evening Mr. Hind, assistant 
commissioner, came on board. This gentleman ap- 
pears to have a large local experience of Arakan, 
dating back from 1835. The principal object of his 
conversation was to impress me with the demoralis- 


ing eflfect of the Bengal abkarry laws upon the im- 
pulsive pleasure-loving people of Burma ; and cer- 
tainly he furiiisbed sufficient data to prove the utter 
fallacy of the general conclusion that what is 
good for India is good for Burma. Prior to the intro- 
duction of British rule into Arakan the punishment 
for using opium was death. The people were hard 
working, sober and simple minded. Unfortunately 
one of the earliest measures in our administration 
was the introduction of the abkarry rules by the 
Bengal board of revenue. Mr. Hind, who had 
passed the greater part of his long life amongst the 
people of Arakan, described the progress of demora- 
lization. Organised efforts were made by Bengalee 
agents to introduce the use of the drug, and create 
a taste for it amongst the rising generation. The 
general plan was to open a shop with a few cakea of 
opium, and to invite the young men in and distri- 
bute it gratuitously. Then when the taste was es- 
tablished, the opium was sold at a low rate. Finally, 
as it spread throughout the neighbourhood, the price 
was raised, and large profits ensued. Sir Arthur 
Phayre's account of the demoralization of Arakan, 
by the Bengal abkarry rules is very graphic, but 
Mr. Hind's statements were more striking as he en- 
tered more mto detail. He saw a fine healthy gene- 
ration of strong men succeeded by a rising generation 
of haggard opium smokers and eaters, who indulged 
to such an excess that their mental and physical 
powers were alike wasted. Then followed a fearful 
increase in gambling and dacoity. But the subject 

I need not be pursued further in this place. It will 
suffice to record the local experience collected, with- 

i out unnecessary comment. The evil has been of 


late years in a great measure checked by the intro- 
duction of the farming system. 

It was far more gratifying to hear from Major 
Munro and Majoi' Twynam that a marked improve- 
ment was perceptible in the habits of the people of 
the Prome district, -which could only be attributed 
to the beneficial administration of the British go- 
Temmcnt. Under native rule, and indeed in a great 
measure under our own rule, the Burmese have been 
generally described as a light-hearted people, think- 
ing only of to-day and reckless of the morrow ; enjoy- 
ing life to the utmost so long as they were capable 
of indulging in material pleasures, and then passing 
an old age in the seclusion of the monastery. No 
one saved money, for that only excited the cupidity 
of the native rulers ; and thus improvidence was li- 
terally encouraged. I have heard that so long as a 
Burman bad ajar of ngapee and a basket of rice, 
he would not work, even though offered two rupees 
a day ; when however the rice and ngapee were ex- 
hausted he would work cheerfully for eight annas. 
Under British administration the saving instinct is 
once more developing. But the people are ignorant 
and suspicious of the banking system. They have 
no hoondeea like the people of India, and even the 
wealthier classes do not like paying for the anna 
stamp on every cheque. However, as they continue 
saving, and persistently seek to make a provision for 
the future, thoy will probably work out the problem 
for themselves of making money beget money. 
Fortunately there is an immense acreage of cultur- 
able lands which are lying waste, and which offer a 
means for profitable investment ; and when the land 




settlement is placed on a footing more in accordance 
with the ideas of the people, a large increase in the 
land revenue may be confidently expected. 

Friday, \lik Novemher. — Started in the morning 
for Thayet-myo, after passing the coldest night we 
had experienced throughout the voyage, and it may 
be added the coldest night I ever felt in Burma. 

The scenery now became more diversified than 
ever. The hilly slopes in the neighbourhood of 
Prome, thickly cultivated with custard-apples, take 
the form of ranges; but as we proceed we pass in- 
dividual eminences covered with forest and jungle. 
One marked feature in the appearance of the 
shore on either side was produced by the fall of 
water since the close of the rains. Already the 
river has fallen some twenty feet, and before the 
close of the hot weather next April the fall will be 
forty feet. This naturally elevates the forests and 
villages on either side of the river, and hides much 
of the inland scenery from our view. 

About five o'clock in the afternoon reached Tha- Th»yBt-m 
yet-myo. This is the last place of any importance 
within British territory, and is garrisoned with a 
wing of Her Majesty's 76th Europeans, the 36th 
Native Infantry, and a battery of Artilleiy. The 
cantonment is very prettily laid out, and presents 
quite an English appearance from the neatness of 
the grass and roads. The fort is sufficiently strong, 
but further means of defence appear to be wanting 
on the opposite side of the river. 

!Mr, Alexander, the assistant commissioner, came 



on board. Colonel Horace Browne, the deputy com- 
missioner, was absent in tbe district. We again saw 
the peacock flag set up to indicate the wood which 
had been stacked up for tbe King's steamers. In- 
formed Mr. Alexander of what had taken place in 
Myanoung and Henzada as regards setting up tbe 
King's flag in British territory, and suggested that a 
plain white flag would answer every puipose and 
prove less objectionable. 

Wrote to Colonel Hackett, who commanded Tha- 
yet-myo, and whom I had known at Madras some 
twelve years ago. He was on tbe other side of the 
river, or 1 should have been glad to have seen him. 
Considering that the steamer was without anna, 
except a veiy small brass swivel which was little 
better than a toy, and a revolver or two belonging 
to Captain Bacon, I asked Colonel Hackett to lend 
me twelve Enfield rifles, with bayonets, and ammu- 
nition, until our return from Bhamo, The requisi- 
tion was very kindly acceded to, and the rifles were 
received on board, very much to the satisfaction of 
Captain Bacon. The latter officer had felt much 
"the want of arms, when he was off' Mandalay dur- 
ing the insurrection of 1866. At that ciisis Captain 
Bacon could only arm his men with billets of wood, 
and rods of iron, and a few handspikes ; and this too 
at a time when a large party of the King's troops were 
on board aimed with dh4s, or large knives, and musk- 
ets. Great difScidty was subsequently experienced 
in getting rid of the royal troops. However Captain 
Bacon directed them to pile their aims in the fore 
part of the vessel, and then to go aft where Captain 
Sladen desired to speak to them. The men obeyed, 




I and Captain Bacon was thus enabled to secure their 

■ arms. Ultimately the men went aahore, and Cap- 
tain Bacon returned their arms ; not however with- 
out the preliminary precaution of pouring a jug of 
water down the barrel of each musket. 

Saturday, \2th Novevibei'.- — -The morning was very 
warm at Thayet-myo, and it was noon before we 
eteamed away. The river here had fallen away ap- 
parently more than at Prome, and left a broad ex- 
panse of brown clay with precipitous sides, which 
every now and then cracked in large masses, and fell 
into the river, where doubtless it melted away into 
ailt. In the afternoon we passed the boundary pillars J^™ 
which separate the teiritories of British Bm-ma from 
those of Ava. As we progress the scenery becomes 
even more diversified with mountains dotted with 

Sunday, \hth November. — Having proceeded for aiym 
considerable distance into the territories of the King 
pi Ava, it was natural that we should expect to see 
some signs of having loft British dominionb for a 
country under native rule. In the river however 
no perceptible change was to be seen. The region 
on either bank was of the same character as that 
which meets the eye between Tliayet-myo and the 
frontier. At length the Captain cried out, " There 
is a man being crucified!" Sure enough, ongoing 
to the side of the steamer we saw the man with hia 
arms and legs stretched out cross-ways to their ut- 
most extent on a wooden frame-work. 

The details of a crucifixion are so painfully associ- 
■Ated with the last scene in the life of the divine 


founder of Christianity, as to invest the barbarous 
spectacle with peculiar interest. In the present case 
the man was not crucified on a perpendicular croiss 
like a Roman criminal, but on a cross, in the form 
of the letter X, and the legs of the sufferer were 
stretched out in the same way as the arms. The 
criminal had apparently died very recently, for the 
body looked quite fresh, and two carrion birds close 
by had not yet commenced their horrid feaat. Cap- 
tain Bacon said that the man had been probably 
strangled before crucifixion ; and if so the sight, 
although sufficiently revolting, was not perhaps more 
so than the old custom of hanging In chains, which 
prevailed in England until a comparatively recent 
period. The crucifixion had been carried out on a 
bare sandy reach on the side of the river ; and it 
was subsequently ascertained that the man was a 
daeoit, who was thus exposed after execution on the 
scene of hia atrocities, in order to excite a wholesome 
hori-or in the minds of all who passed up or down the 
river. However therefore the barbarism of a cruci- 
fixion may be condemned, the spectacle satisfies a 
rude sense of justice ; and the sympathy, which 
would otherwise be felt for a man who has been 
subjected to such a horrible punishment, is transfer- 
red to the victims of his stUl more homd crimes. 

About three o'clock in the afternoon we reached the 
village of Meng-la, the first important place in Ava 
dominion. The people turned out as usual to behold 
UB from the tall sloping bank of the river, and sat 
down by each other in rows, and contemplated us 
like connoisseurs. Some of our party cUrabed the 
bank and explored the village ; but as they found it 



chiefly inhabited by priests, children, half-staired 
pigs, and pariah dogs, and moreover were not treated 
with the respect which is ordinarily extended to Eu- 
ropean visitors in villages in British Burma, they 
speedily returned to the steamer. Our stay at Meng-la 
was for the purpose of taking in wood for the steamer, 
and accordingly one continuous stream of coolies was 
running along the side of the river, and then up a 
long plank into the hold, laden with billets of wood ; 
whilst another stream of coolies returned from the 
steamer for fresh billets. The coolies were not naked 
bronze- coloured people like we see in India, but gene- 
rally belonged to the fairer race of Burmese. They 
included both men and women, who all displayed a 
considerable amount of red and yellow clothing ; 
whilst even the ladles, who carried the wooden billets, 
had adoraed their hair with flowers after the most 
approved fashion. After stoppmg at Meng-la about 
an hour we proceeded up the Myengoon channel, iniiyeng 
the hope of passing it before dusk. The attempt 
however was vain. The current was too strong, and 
after several unsuccessful efforts, we were compelled 
to anchor for the night. This result was not sur- 
prising. The "" Nagpore" steamer was lately engaged 
throughout the whole of one day, namely from five 
o'clock in the morning until four o'clock in the after- 
noon, before she succeeded in passing through this 

Monday, litk November. — Last night was very 
cool, and would have been very pleasant but for the 
conversational powers of the native gentlemen in 
the flat. After chanting a portion of the Koran 
with that monotonous sing song, which drives a half- 


T Christian distracted, some lively parties com- 
menced a long controversy in Hindustanee I'espect- 
ing the meaning of certain words in the English 
language. It was difficult to ascertain precisely 
what the disputants actually said; but judging from 
the intermittent fits of laughter, it would appear that 
our language afforded them intense amusement, and 
was not regarded with that respect which might 
have been expected. The mannera and customs of 
the native passengers are worthy of study. Their 
powers of sleep and contemplation are almost supei*- 
human. Their genius in attempting to pay a smaller 
price for their passage than the one adveitised is 
very considerable ; and doubtless would be very suc- 
cessftd were it not met in every case by a prompt 
threat on the part of the Captain to land the refrac- 
toiy passenger at the nearest village. Then how- 
ever the money is paid up with great promptitude 
and perturbation of spirit, and the alleged poverty of 
the passenger proves to be a deception. The beha- 
viour of the Burmese women would bear favourable 
comparison with that of the ladies of any other na- 
tion in the world. Although they wear no veil of any 
kind, there is an innate modesty in their appearance, 
which is sufficient to command respect. The same 
cannot be said of some young Tamil girls, whom we 
left at Thayet-myo; and who occasionally pretended 
to cover their faces with their hands, but otherwise 
chatted so freely with their neighbours, and laughed 
so loudly and significantly, that it is impossible to 
avoid the suspicion, that the object of their visit to tlie 
cantonment of Thayet-myo was of a somewhat ques- 
tionable character. 



After mucli difficulty and no little shouting and 
(tugging at the wheel we at last succeeded in passing 
-through the Myengoon channel. The difficulty was 
somewhat enhanced by a heavy rain, which obscui'ed 
the view, but made it very cool ; but the result was 
highly satisfactory, as by nine o'clock A. M. we were 
proceeding fairly on our voyage. 

About twelve o'clock we amved at Mugway, a vil- "' 
lage situated on a bare sandy reach, which presented 
« considerable contrast to the jungle covered heights 
on the opposite shore. At Mugway we anchored 
for about an hoiu". Judging from the large number 
of native boats which are moored off Mugway, the 
villagers might be supposed to be much given to 
fishing. This indeed is the case with most villages 
on the lower Irrawaddy, as fishing and the prepara- 
tion of salt-fish and ngapee, are alike lazy and 
profitable employments, and are thus suited to the 
genius of the Burmese as they would be perhaps to the 
I indolent and easy going population of most counti'ies. 
At Mugway however the people deal chiefly in mus- 
tard-oil, gram, and other grains ; and fishing is very 
precarious. There are not so many fish on the upper 
Irrawaddy as in the lower streams. 

Here as elsewhere we see Buddhist monasteiies, 
pagodas, and places of rest, known as dzyats; some- 
times in the neighbourhood of a village ; sometimes 
on the top of an isolated hill, or in the seclusion of an 
Punpeopled valley. If they serve no other purpose, 
Itheir erection is regarded as an act of merit by the 
Ipurmese, and the man who builds one is reverenced d 
nd respected as the great man of the neighbourhoodJ 


The scenery aftei- leading Mugway becomes once 
again dull and monotonous. Long sandy reaches on 
one side, and tall precipitous banks on the other, do 
not present an agreeable picture ; and as we approacli 
Yaynan-gyoung the precipitous banks on the right 
are some seventy feet in height, 

Tuesday ^loi/i November.— A cool fresh morning, but 
not sufficiently so to justify woollen clothes. About 
I T«jnui-gronng geven o'clock we reached Yanan-gyoung, which is a 
considerable town, and a great mart for earth-oil. The 
oil wells are about six miles off. The town is decidedly 
picturesque from the quaint old fashioned barks, with 
their curved and lofty prows, which are moored oflF 
the bank ; and also from the many pagodas and mo- 
nasteries which crown the heights, and gleam plea- 
santly in the moniing sun. There is nothing gloomy 
in the religious buildings of the Buddhists, and in this 
respect they exhibit a marked difference to the ceme- 
tery-like temples of the Hindoos, and even to the 
stately cathedrals of Christian lands. The Burmese 
delight in white and gold, with an occasional dash o€ 
red or blue. Tall masts, with gay streamers on the 
top, indicate a monastery and school ; and the grace- 
ful htee, or umbrella, on the summit of a pagoda is 
infinitely prettier than a weather cock, although per- 
chance not so useful. Again the yellow garment 
of the priests is far brighter and pleasanter than the 
dull monkish cowl of Roman Catholic countries, es- 
pecially when it is clean, which however is not 
always the case. 

The Buddhist religion is perhaps the least gloomy 
of all those creeds which involve a belief in the im- 



mortality of the soul. There is no eternity of hell ; 
no hopeless state of damnatiou even for the worst of 
criminals. The soul may be condemned to a lower 
state of existence in the next lif'u, or even to a limit- 
ed hell ; but existence is practically eternal until by 
many lives of purity and contemplation the spirit 
sinks into the beatified repose of Nirvana. This be- 
lief in the transmigration of the soul has presented 
for ages an impregnable front both to Christianity 
and Islam. It has long been dying out in In- 
dia, because the Brahmans have found it expe- 
dient to introduce still easier ways of salvation than 
the old system of Brahmanical rites and sacrifices, 
or even the later Buddhist system of a life of purity 
and contemplation. Faith alone has been declared 
sufficient to entitle the soul of the worst criminal to 
a place in the heaven of Vishnu. Faith in Rama, faith 
in Ivrishna, as incarnations of the eternal spirit of 
Vishnu, — even the constant and senseless repetitions 
of their respective names,— will carry the dying soul of 
the Hindoo into eternal bliss, or absorb it in the divine 
essence, the supreme soul, which animates the world. 
The scenery beyond Yanan-gyoung is very un- 
pictm'esque. Nothing but sandy reaches, with a back 
ground of low hills spai-sely covered with low woods. 

Here there is little to do but observe the manners 
of the native passengers, and as they appear to do 
nothing but sleep, smoke and contemplate empty 
space, the study is not so profitable as might have 
been anticipated. Found by personal experience 
that the Burmese pilot prefers Manilla cheroots to 

puiTuans, on the ground that they are finer tobacco. 

The fact is curious, inasmuch as nearly all British 



iBBideiits ill Burma declare that they prefer Burmese 
cheroots to Manillas. Some indeed who come from 
Madras, declai'e that they prefer Trichinopolies, which 
I have been assured on good authority are nearly as 
bad as Bengal cheroots. The Burmese pilot has a 
more coiTect taste. Manillas are the only cheroots 
which are at present worth smoking in the East. If 
however either Trichinopoly or Burmese manufac- 
turers would pass the leaves of their tobacco through 
glazed cylinders, and squeeze out all the bitter juice 
of the fibre, and the saltpetre that clings to the leaf^ 
they might succeed in making cheroots which would 
not undermine the constitution. 

Captain Bacon furnished me with some information 
about the ao-called emigratiou of coolies which is car- 
ried on from Chittagong and the porta in the Madras 
Presidency into British Burma. I agree with him 
that in some cases it approaches rather too nearly to a 
disguised slave trade, but cannot see how it is to be 
stopped or brought under beneficial supervision. En- 
terprising traders bring over coolies and women pas- 
sengers free of charge ; and of course obtain the pass- 
age money from employers of labour in Eangoon, who 
find means to recoup themselves out of the labotir of 
the coolies. The women are freely bought up by 
Moguls, who employ them as menial servants, and 
probably in some instances in a more dubious capa- 
city. All that can be said is that no objection appears 
to be ever raised either by the women or the coolies. 
But how far this emigration differs from the slave 
trade we have endeavoured to suppress in Zanzibar 
and the Persian Gulf is a question which can scarcely 
as yet be determined. 


About one o'clock p. m. we reached Sim Pboogoun, sim pboogoon. 
an important place on account of its trade in gram, 
but situated too far from the shore to admit of a visit. 
At six o'clock in the evening we arrived at the lively siiiar-inro. 
^;own of Sillay-myo, fiimous for its manufacture of 
boxes, drinking cups, and small trays painted and 
varnished red inside, and curiously ornamented with 
nondescript gold colonrcd figures outside. Captain 
Bacon kindly bought me three boxes with trays for 
about eight rupees. In Rangoon or Calcutta they 
would have cost at least three times the price. The 
varnish and workmanship are very superior. My 
Bengallee servant bought some quaint black and red 
drinking cups for a few annas. 

Wednesday, \&tk November. — The temperature 
baa now become exceedingly pleasant, and it is some 
days since we felt anything like heat. The nights 
especially are deliciously cool. The sceneiy is very 
poor. On one side a sandy reach or mud bank. On 
the other side shapeless coarse looking hillH, sparsely 
covered with stunted jungle. The Bunnese Goths 
in this part of the country have taken to white wash- 
ing the outside of their pagodas, and the effect is 
far from pleasing. Possibly if the forest was thicker 
and the foliage greener, the presence of white would 
not be disagreeable ; but the jangle is short, coarse 
and muddy green, and consequently the white wash- 
ing only serves to make the surrounding scenery ap- 
pear dirtier. The river however presents a fine ex- 
panse of water, and notwithstanding the silt sparkles 
very pleasantly in the morning sunshine. 

A new well of earth-oil has been reoenllv dia- 


covered on the right bank of the river, amongst the 
bare hideous hills. The oil has been found in two 
or three different places, and we saw a number of 
native boats plying near the spot. Unfortunately 
earth-oil is still retained as a royal monopoly, and 
instead of benefitting the people only serves to in- 
crease the wealth of the Burmese officials. 

•Jjao' About ten o'clock this morning the towers and 

pagoda tops of the ruined city of Paghan began to 
loom in the distance. It was a wilderness of 
ancient temples, of quaint and curious towers, which 
once served to decorate a great capital, but had 
been for centuries abandoned to the solitude of the 
jungle. A teeming population had passed away, 
a,nd left nothing but their temples as monuments 
over their graves. 

The foundation of Paghan, like the foundation of all 
great cities, excepting those of very modern date, is 
involved in hopeless obscurity. Its more ancient tem- 
ples are referred to the ninth century of the Christian 
era; whilst, according to Burmese annals, its down- 
fall took place in the thirteenth century. The story 
of the circumstances which led to the ruin of Paghan 
appears to be based on fact. A Chinese ambassador 
had been dispatched to the court of Paghan, and was 
arrogantly put to death by the King. The Emperor 
of China sent a large army to revenge this atrocity. 
The King of Paghan posted a considerable force in 
advance at the mouth of the Bhamo river, which 
was then as now, the commercial route between 
Western China and Ava. At the same time he 
strengthened the defences of Paghan by pulling down 


HUlNa OF PAGllAS. 1*9 

a large iiumLiev of tcuiiilt-s both arched and square. 
But the Chinese anny waa irresistible. The Yiur- 
mese force at the Bhamo river was utterly routed. 
The King of Paghan loGt heart, and abandoned 
his defences, and fled to Basseiu. The Cliineae ad- 
vanced and occupied the city of Paghan, and con- 
tinued to pursue the Burmese army to a considera- 
ble distance below Pronie. 

But although the niins of Paghan are the relics of 
one of the greatest cities iu the Golden Peninsula, 
they are scarcely known to the western world. The 
existence of the place is not even mentioned by any 
traveller before the middle of the last century. 
About the latter period Captain Bakev and Lieu- 
tenant North were sent on a joint embassy by the 
East India Company to the court of Alompra, the 
founder of the still reigning dynasty of Ava; but 
they merely noticed tlie number of pagodas which 
were still standing and in good repair. Colonel Symes 
also visited the place in 1795. Later still in 1826 
the Burmese made their last stand at Paghan 
against the British army in the first Burmese war ; 
and the late Colonel Sir Henry Havelock, who 
wrote the history of the campaign, notices the great 
number of monuments, but adds that they excite no 
sensation beyond that of barren wonderment. Co- 
lonel Yule, who visited the place in 1855, was thus 
taken by surprise at the appearance of Paghan. He 
states that he differs widely fi-om the opinion of 
Colonel Havelock ; and devotes an entire chapter of 
his narrative of the Mission to Ava in 1855, to a des- 
cription of these remarl ■"'jmains. Consequent- 


ly all the European gentlemen on board the "Colonel 
Fytche" were most anxious to pay a visit to Paghan. 

Captain Bacon had promised to anchor hia steamer 
for an hour or two opposite Paghan to enable us to 
land ; and we had hoped to do so either in the even- 
ing or early morning, when there would have been 
no difficulty in exploring the place. But we were to 
some extent doomed to be disappointed. It was 
nearly twelve o'clock in the day, and beneath the 
full blaze of a burning sun, that we at last anchored 
off the great pumpkin pagoda, so called from the 
shape of its tower. However there was no hesitation. 
Solar hats and umbrellas were soon put into requisi- 
tion, and our party of seven, including the four Eu- 
ropean passengers, Captain Bacon and his chief 
officer, and the old Burmese pilot for interpreter, 
stepped into the boat and were soon landed on the 

First we ascended a dreary eminence of mud, en- 
livened here and there with large bare stones. Then 
we approached the pumpkin pagoda and climbed a 
long flight, or series of flights, of old brick steps. 
At the top was a paved court yard, surrounded by a 
wall. The pumpkin pagoda is perfectly white, and 
thus its great pumpkin-shaped tower is seen from 
a very considerable distance. Within the tower and 
facing the court yard is a great image of Gotama 
Buddha in a sitting or rather squatting posture, made 
of alabaster and adorned with gilding. This is the 
usual posture in which Gotama is represented. It 
is supposed to depict him at the exact moment when 
he was delivered from all the caree and sorrows of 





an existence in the universe of worldly passions and 
endless transmigrations, and became a Buddha out 
of pure benevolence, to teach the world the true way 
ot deliverance from the evils of life and conscious- 
ness, and final absorption in the beatified state of 
eternal repose known as Nirvana. 

The iniins of Paghan spread over a large plain 
covered with stunted brushwood, and extend for 
about eight miles along the river and two miles 
inland. Colonel Yule considers that there are about 
eight hundred to a thousand temples of all sizes, and 
this no doubt approximates to the truth. One Bur- 
mese tradition estimates them at 999 in number; 
whilst according to another there are 4444 ; but both 
these calculations are palpably mythical. Of the 
ancient city nothing remains but a brick rampart, 
and the fragments of an old gateway. Streets and 
houses, and even the royal palace, have been swept 
away, leaving nothing behind but this wilderness of 
temples of brick and stone. 

The place however is not utterly devoid of inhabi- 
tanta. In the immediate neighbourhood of the 
pumpkin pagoda are a few wooden huts, the abodes 
of fishermen and manufacturers of varnished cups 
and boxes ; also some wooden monasteries where the 
phongyeea, or Buddhist priests, in coarse yellow 
garments, lead a life of utter seclusion. A few pa- 
riah dogs barked as usual at our approach, but other- 
wise all was still excepting a babel of voices which 
issued from a monastery school. We stopped at 
one miserable shed, where some half naked Burmese 
were manufacturing varnished boxes. Here we 


found that their ware was not papier mache, as we 
had supposed, but that it consisted of a frame work of 
bamboo matting, plastered with a thick black varnish 
of native composition. . Being anxious to procure a 
half finished box as a specimen of the workmanship, 
we informed the Burmese pilot accordingly. The 
manufacturers were a melancholy set of men, but they 
burst into fits of laughter at the proposition ; and 
when at length the bargain was concluded, and a 
large box was purchased for a rupee, their mirth 
was uncontrollable. Even a grim old lady, who 
seemed as though she had never smiled in her life, 
sat and laughed until the tears ran down her face. 
The mystery of this unexpected mirth was impene- 
trable, but it may be remarked that a European does 
not land at Paghan perhaps above once a year, and 
veiy rarely indeed in the day time. 

The principal temples of Paghan are square build- 
ings raised over vaults or cloisters. Several ter- 
i-aces are raised one above the other ; and from the 
highest terrace rises a steeple, either bell-shaped of 
the ordinary Burmese type, or else with great bul- 
ging sides like those of the tall domes of the temples 
of India. Their foundations are of stone, but the 
main buildings are constructed of a very hard and 
superior kind of brick, covered with plaster. Round 
some of the temples is a paved terrace. The en- 
trance to each is guarded by two huge stone mons- 
tei-s ; a kind of dragon or griffin. The gateways are 
gothic arches, surmounted by curious carvings re- 
presenting flames, and are perhaps intended to in- 
dicate the halo of glory which is usually painted 
round the heads of Buddhist saints. The figures of 


Gotaina are of all sizes, and some are of colossal 
proportions; some are of white alabaster, others are 
painted a deep red, and all are more or less adorned 
with gold. Some of the smaller figures are entirely 
covered wuth gold. In the Ananda pagoda are a 
number of pictures like those in the Shoay-dagon pa- 
goda in Rangoon ; also several statues of Gotama 
thirty feet high and covered with gilding. In the 
Thapinya pagoda there are several red Gotamas in 
the cloisters, whilst the centre of the building is oc- 
cupied by another red statue twenty feet high. On 
either side of the entrance to this pagoda, at the 
summit of the steps above the dragons, were , two 
small figures of priests standing in long gowms, with 
umbrellas over their heads. One of these figures 
was the very counterpart of the statue of an English 
archbishop of the niiddle ages ; and I was once be- 
fore startled with a similar resemblance in a life- 
sized image of the same character, covered with gold 
mixed with black, near the foot of the staircase in 
the rooms of the Asiatic Society at Calcutta.'" More- 
over, the umbrella over £he little archbishop bore a 
remarkable similarity to the small circular roof 
over the pulpit of an English cathedral, which is 
popularly supposed to serve as a sounding board. 
Other ref?iemblances, including the ground plan of 
most of the temples, which is shaped like a cross 
after the manner of European cathedrals, have in- 
duced some missionaries to presume that these build- 
ings had a Christian origin. Tliis idea seems some- 
what preposterous. It is far more likely that there 
^' " ' — ■ . — i — — — . — — . » 

* I have In my own possession two small woodon images of the same tyiX5 ; and hiiu- 
dred^ of others of a similar character are to be seen iu ilxe pagudas iu Upper Bunn.i. 


is a Buddhist element in the Christianity of the dark 
ages, of which monasticism evidently forms a part ; 
just in the same way that there is a great deal of 
Platonism in the early Fathers. 

Besides these pagodas, and numerous other tem- 
ples more or less of the same character, there are 
hundreds of other reli^ous buildinors of all kinds and 
forms. The latter are described by Colonel Yule 
as including the bell-shaped pyramid of dead brick- 
work in all its varieties, raised over a succession of 
terraces, or over cloisters and a cell containing the 
image of Buddha. Also ^the bluff and knob-like 
dome of the Ceylon dagobas, with the square cap 
which is to be seen in the sculptures at Sanch^. 
Again from the terrace of the Thapinya pagoda we 
saw a building in which the brick work had fallen 
away from the image ; and this image did not seem 
to be a Gotama^ but bore a marked resemblance to 
the fiace of the sphinx, or some other Egyptian sta- 
tue. In fact the ruins of Paghan require to be ex- 
plored very carefully and minutely by some one 
who is familiar with the ancient religions of the 
world ; and it is doing the ancient city a positive 
injustice to attempt any description after a two 
hours' hurried visit beneath the fierce rays of an 
oriental sun. Thus many of the temples and exter- 
nal decorations are evidently of a Brahmaaical or 
Hindoo character, and there are references in Colo- 
nel Yule's work to Hindoo images. These we had 
no time to investigate, but they might tend to con- 
firm a belief which has been entertained by many, 
that Brahmanism and Buddhism are off-shoots of the 
same Yedic stem. 

Wandering over this desolate plain bcneatli a noon- 
day sun Was thoroughly exhansting, and I was glad 
to rest alone for a while oa the cool terrace of the 
Thapinya pagoda, where the north-eaat breezes were 
blowing pleasantly, whilst the remainder of oin' party 
went elsewhere. After a wliile three jihongyees came 
up in their yellow garments, and more inquisitive fel- 
lows I never had the pleasure of meeting. They con- 
templated my solar hat, and examinod it inside and 
out with gi'ave curiosity terminating in wann appro- 
val. They went in ecstasies over my silk umbrella, 
which I opened and shut to their great satisfaction, 
They gave their best attention to my shoes and socks. 
They warmly applauded my white alpaca coat, and 
especially my shirt and collar, which they critically 
examined with their fingers, and compared very fa- 
vourably with tlie coarser material of their own yel- 
low garments. They fully appreciated my shirt studs, 
and burst with acclamations of delight over my 
braces. By this time other people came up, and 
contemplated me quietly and admiringly from a dis- 
tance, as though I had been a picture by one of the 
old masters. Above all they were struck dumb 
when I lighted a cheroot from a patent fusee. I 
then offered a cheroot to the phongyees, which they 
at once refused, and in this respect totally differed 
from the phongyees at Rangoon, who never refuse 
such an offer. Tlie phongyees however at length 
sufficiently recovered to ask me to give them my solar 
hat, which I declined. The oldest one then asked for 
my umbrella, wliich I also declined. He next, re- 
quested that Iwould give him my shoes, as a memoi-ial 
uiy visit. This also was obviously objectionable. 


but in its place I offered liini some silver coin, 
which he refused with indignation. My clerical 
friends were nov/ offended, if not exasperated, and 
entered the pagoda in great dudgeon. I took 
the opportunity to leave the terrace and rejoin our 
party. As I left I hoard tliem shouting to me to 
come back from one of the upper galleries, but deem- 
ed it more discreet to go on my way. 

About two o'clock we returned to the pumpkin pa- 
goda; and then descended the brick stairs, and some- 
what pi'ecipitous eminence of mud and big stones, and 
once more entered the boat* Our little party was 
much knocked up by the ex^Dcditlon, but on reaching 
tiie steamer we were all soon restored by the 
universal remedy in the east of soda water and 
brandy. The sight however of those extraordinary 
ruins, and the ideas and sensations they awakened, 
more than compensated us for all the fatigues we 
had gone through. 

We now steamed past the whole length of Paghan, 
and saw one large pagoda entirely covered with 
gilding. Beyond this point the bank rises to a great 
height, and is composed of sandstone, and very preci- 
pitous. Here and there niches or openings were 
cut in the sandstone, which led to interior chambers, 
where ^ome phongyees are still living in gloomy 
seclusion. It is difHcult in this age of materialism 
to imagine what satisfaction men can derive from 
wasting their lives in such wretched solitudes; but 
faith and hope, the great anchors of Buddhism, will 
perhaps account for the phenomena. 

Pokokoo. Thursday. \ltJi November, — About seven o'clock in 


the morning we passed the important town of Poko- 
koo. A large number of pagodas bristled in the dis- 
tance, and were far more numerous than even the 
spires of Oxford. This is a great place for trade in 
gram, and the manufacture of jaggery, or coarse sugar, 
and putsoes, or cotton clothes, which are worn by the 
natives round the loins. We anchored at a consider- 
able distance, and landed many large bales of cotton 
twist, long cloth and grey shirting ; and here it may 
be remarked that there are evidences of a large and 
increasing trade at almost every station on the Irra- 
waddy. At Pokokoo an incident occurred which 
was somewhat amusing. The Hindoo passengers 
will not cook their food on board the flat, and are 
consequently compelled to satisfy themselves with 
parched grain, pounded rice, and other like victuals. 
When however the steamer anchored oflf a station, these 
Hindoos Avent ashore to cook their food ; and much 
growling and many rows took place if any passer- 
by cast a shadow upon the cookery. At Pokokoo two 
Hindoos went ashore, but the inquisitive Burmese 
crowded about them in great numbers, as though a sa- 
crifice was being performed, or some novel entertain- 
ment. About fifty men, women and children of 
all ages surrounded the unfortunate Hindoos in an 
irregular ring, and appeared to take the liveliest 
interest in the cookery, to the extreme exasperation 
of the cooks. Hov>^ever the latter were very hungry, 
and moreover were overpowered by numbers, and 
consequently deemed it expedient to finish their cook- 
ing, and eat their breakfast, without further parley. 
When they had finislied they came back to the 
steamer, leaving some rice and condiments on the 





Ava and 


grass. This was at once seized by the Burmese, not 
for consumption, but for the purpose of examining 
the victuals, smelling them, and handing them round 
as curiosities worthy of notice and investigation ; 
whilst men and women appeared to discuss the nature 
and qualities of the food in question for a considerable 
period and with great animation. About four o'clock 
in the afternoon, we arrived at Mingyan, an important 
place, where we landed a considerable amount of 


Friday ISth November. — The scenery both yester- 
day and to-daj^ is of an inviting character. About 
ten o'clock in the morning we met the '' Colonel 
Phayre" steamer and sent our letters on board ; whilst 
the Captain shipped a new capstan. In the afternoon 
we passed Yagoon, a place of small importance. 

Saturday^ l^th November. — A very cool morning. 
The scenery continues to improve. The country on 
both sides the river is covered with wood, and here 
and there dotted with pagodas. Saw on our left the 
great bell-shaped pagoda mentioned by Colonel Yule. 
On our left we passed the old metropolis of Ava, 
which has now dwindled into a poor village, although 
its pagodas testify to its former magnificence. 
Amarapoora was in the distance. 

About eight o'clock A. m., we approached the pretty 
town of Tsagaing, where we anchored. The pagodas 
facing the river are of the same type as those at Pa- 
ghan, with gothic arches and guardian dragons. 
Other pagodas on neighbouring eminences rise above 
the green trees. Before us is a range of blue hills 
on which the city of Mandalay is situated. 


Beyond Taagaing the range of eminences, with 
Tvliite pagodas on the summit, become more striking. 
Those placed on the highest peaks are rendered ac- 
cessible by long winding paths, which appear like 
long white curving lines round each hill. These hills 
and pagodas eontinne for a considerable distance, but 
are succeeded by a yellow flat country, with a green 
back ground. 

The foliage on the right bank now begins to at- srandaiar. 
tract more attention, and about ten o'clock we ap- 
proached the golden city of Mandalay, the present 
capital of Ava. 

For many years past it appears to have been cus- 
tomary for the icings of Ava to change their capital 
at every revolution or change of dynasty ; but ever 
since the accession of the present dynasty of Alom- 
pra, about the middle of the last century, these 
changes in the site of the metropolis have been more 
frequent than ever. Thus the hunter king Alompra 
himself originally established hia capital at his native 
village of Motsho-boh ; and since then the metrojiolis 
has alternated between Ava and Amarapoora, until 
about fourteen years ago the present Iving Monng- 
lon transfeiTed it to Mandalay. 

The spot where we anchored was about three 
miles from the city and residency ; and certainly 
the appearance of the hank, although slightly pic- 
turesque from the number of trees, was altogether 
different from what had been expected. The people 
crowded as usual on the rising ground above the 
[ river, and watched us with a calm and observant eu- 
[ riosity. At a little distance beyond our steamer the 



'^ Jumna" was unloading some machinery for a 
stiam cotton mill, whicli had been supplied to the 
King by a trading company. Mr. Jones, an agent 
of the company, was superintending the landing of 
the cases, which was carried on by crowds of coolies 
who had been pressed into the service of the Iving, 
and were compelled to perform the work without 
pay. The process was a somewhat curious one, and 
reminded the observer of the building of the pyramids 
of Egypt, when swarms of captive slaves were em- 
ployed to drag huge stones along inclined planes for 
the purpose of construction. Long ropes were at- 
tached to each heavy case, which was then drawn 
from the hold of the ^^ Jumna'' along the planks 
communicating with the bank, and then up the rising 
ground v/hich led to the top of the bank ; and it is 
needless to add that the thirty or forty coolies who 
were employed to jduII at the ropes, set up the usual 
unearthly Asiatic howl whilst dragging each case from 
the steamer to its destination. The other leading 
objects on the shore were a fev/ wooden sheds, and 
a large number of stacks of wood ; but both these 
sights are so generally to be met with at the different 
stations on the river tljat they scarcely seem to call 
for special notice. A considerable portion of the 
ground was also marked out by long bamboo poles, 
and w^as said to be intended for the construction of 
ten new steamers, of which the machinery had already 
been ordered from England by the King. 

Many Burmese came on board, including three or 
four inquisitive and somewhat impertinent phon- 
gyecs ; something after the type of those we had met 



at Paghan, but more impudent. Tliey examined and 
criticised everything on deck, including glass tumb- 
lers, a painted t]'ay, the pictured coTere of a cheap 
edition of Miss Braddon'e novels, and a history of 
Russia, which the eldest phongyee opened at the 
index, and then made a futile attempt to peruse 
it upside down. The coloured pictures on the 
paper sides of Miss Braddon's novels excited the 
special attention of these holy men ; until the elder 
phongyee, the student in Russian history, discover- 
ed, somewhat suddenly, that he was gazing at the fair 
faces and figures of some English ladies ; and sud- 
denly threw down the book with pious indignation, 
lest his peace of mind should be disturbed by the 
feminine attractions thus disclosed to his view, and 
imperil his escape from the vortex of the passions. 
Another of the holy men tasted the remains of a 
bottle of soda water which he found at the bottom 
of a tumbler ; but be immediately showed by his 
countenance that he entirely disapproved of the 
beverage, _in_which it is not improbable he detected 
a slight flavour of cognac. Subsequently he appears 
to have revenged himself by an attempt to carry off 
the glass tumbler in the folds of his yellow raiment ; 
but he was happily discovered and the tumbler was 
recovered. In justice to phongyees generally it 
should be stated that such an attempt is of very rare 

Mr. Jones, the agent of a Bombay company, came 

on board. He has not been many months in 

I the country, but his observations and statements 

Birere subsequently confirmed by the direct evi- 



dence of other pereons with whom I came in con- 
tact. He has little hope that the cotton machinery, 
which he has brought out, will ever be successfully 
worked by the King ; and although evidently en- 
dowed with considerable energy and experience, he 
has some doubt whether the native agency at his 
command will succeed in bringing the machinery 
into working order. The condition on which the ma- 
chinery has been supplied is that it should be paid for 
on deliveiy. This payment appears to have been 
completed before the machinery left Rangoon. There 
was however a dispute about the freight between the 
Captain of the '" Jumna" and the Burmese officials; 
and the landing of the machinery was delayed for a 
short time in consequence ; but was ultimately re- 
sumed on the undei-standing, that the boilers only 
would be detained on board until the question as 
regards the amount of freight could be satisfactorily 

Mr. Jones related one or two stories of the coiu-t, 
which may perhaps be repeated here, as they have 
been also repeated to me by other persons, who had 
the means of knowing the truth. Some time before 
the war broke out, the King requested a so-called Ge- 
neral de Faeieu, a Frenchman who has been employ- 
ed by his majesty in training his army, to take six 
young Burmese youths with him to Europe and 
America, two to be educated as admirals, two as 
generals, and the remaining two as manufacturers of 
balloons. Whilst the negotiations were still pending, 
news arrived that a white elephant had been disco- 
vered at Toungoo ; and this distracting event bad 
such an effect upon the court of Mandalay that noth- 

ing else could be taken into consideration, and the 
educational question fell to the ground. Subse- 
quently, after the disastrous war had broken out 
between France and Prussia, and France appeared 
to be at the mercy of the enemy, the King of Ava, 
whose prochvities had been previously in favour of 
France., began to regard Prussia as the conquering 
power. Accordingly he proposed sending a German 
gentleman to Berhn to conclude a treaty with the 
-King of Prussia, and to take with him three Burmese 
youths to be educated, one as an admiral, the second 
as a general, and the third as a politician. The 
arrangement was however deferred imtil after the 
, death of the reigning King of Prussia, 

I About one o'clock p, m., Major McMahon, the offi- 
ciating political agent at Mandalay, came on board, 
and hospitably invited the European passengers to 
put up at the residency ; and it was agreed that we 
should start in his boat about four o'clock in the 
afternoon on account of the sun, and proceed as far 
as we could by water, and then go the rest of the 
way on foot or on ponies. The latest news from 
Mandalay was that the court, in a sudden fit of 

I piety, had prohibited the European residents from 

I slaughtering any cow or calf, however secretly, 
within the dominions of the King. So far had 
these orders been carried out, that some of the 
Burmese officials had actually carried away a calf 
belonging to Major McMahon, which was being sent 
on board the steamer to be slaughtered and cut up, 
BO as to avoid all reasonable gi-ound of offence. 

rThe matter was subsequently rectified in part by the 
irinie minister, who wrote politely to the effect 


diat a mistake had been made, and that the calf 
would be returned in due course. He then sent 
a messenger to say that Major McMahon could 
have his calf by sending for it ; but the political 
agent did not quite approve of this cavalier treat- 
ment, and declined to send for the calf. Another ver- 
bal message from the minister was followed by 
a similar result. The calf question now began to 
grow complicated. The minister could not com- 
promise his dignity by forwarding the calf, and the 
political agent was in lite manner reluctant to send 
for it, The astute Asiatic at last saw a way 
to remove the diplomatic difficulty. He sent a ver- 
bal message that he was prevented from sending the 
calf by the fact that he had also two other calves 
in custody, and that the three had got mixed up 
together. Accordingly it was necessary that a ser- 
vant of Major McMahon should select the right 
calf. The matter however was not quite settled 
when I left Mandalay. 

The action of the Burmese government in this 
matter of slaughtering calves was somewhat inconsis- 
tent, as a very short time previously twelve bullocks 
had been slaughtered, under the orders of the Bur- 
mese officials, for the purpose of greasing one of the 
King's new flats which was about to be launched. 
It is however due to the officials to explain that this 
extreme measure was only carried out as an act of 
urgent necessity, and not until after every cake of 
soap, scented or otherwise, procurable in Mandalay, 
had been bought up for the purpose. 

At four o'clock we left the steamer in Major 
McMahon's boat, and were rowed against a very 

I- strong current towards the creek in the direction 
I of the reeidency. Our progress was very slow, 
and we were thus enabled to observe many things, 
■ which might othei-wise have escaped notice. The 
houses along the bank were of the usual Burmese 
type ; frail structures of mats and bamboos raised 
upon wooden piles which are stuck in the mud. We 
saw in the distance the new river palace which is 
\ -under construction, and to which the King proposes to 
r remove for awhile when it is ilnished early next year. 
I "We saw several war galleys, with prows and sterns, 
i elevated very high in the air in a graceful curve. 
I These vessels are rowed, or rather paddled, by forty 
[ or sixty men, and pass through the water with eonsi- 
, 'derable rapidity. For about half a mile or a little 
more they can go as fast as an Oxford eight-oar at full 
speedj but this pace cannot be kept up for long. They 
ai'e covered with gilding on the outside, but are paint- 
ed red inside. A rowing match between three of these 
boats had taken place on the day before our arrival. 
We also passed an elegant barge with sides, decks 
and apartments covered with rich gilding. This is 
set aside for the use of the queens, and when the 
ladies take an excursion on the river the barge 
is drawn along by war boats. But the most mag- 
nificent structure was the King's barge. This 
splendid vessel has been built on two large canoes, 
and is covered with the richest carving and gilding. 
This also when used will be drawn by war boats, but 
it was only finished some two years ago, and has 
never as yet been visited by the King. In the 
I centre is a lofty tower with eight or nine square 
L fltories or terraces of black and gold, surmounted by 


the htee or umbrella. The prows of the two canoes 
on which this water palace is constructed consist 
each of an immense silver dragon ; and behind each 
dragon is the fierce colossal figure of a warrior deity 
called by the Burmese a Nat, but which is evidently 
identical with one of the Devatas of Hindoo mytholo- 
gy, of whom Indra is the special type. The sterns of 
the canoes fire beautifully adorned with gilding, orna- 
mented with a fretted work consisting of small 
pieces of looking glass, which has a very rich ap- 

These golden boats were quaintly and strangely 
fashioned, but still were what we had been led to 
expect from the old accounts of travellei-s in Ava, 
and many Burmese traditions. The most painfiii 
sight was some eight or ten steamera, which had 
probably been built at no very distant period, and 
were lying in a neglected and disabled position. It 
seemed as though the King had been induced to 
purchase a number of expensive steamers, which he 
could scarcely require, or which he was unable to 

After about two hours severe rowing on the part 
of four boatmen, we at last reached the creek, and 
arrived at a landing place. Ponies and lights were 
waiting our arrival, but as the residency was only 
three quarters of a mile ofi", most of our little party 
preferred walking. Eoad there was none. A rough 
mud path led along banks, or over ditches, or up 
and down eminences in which the use of a vehicle 
was impossible; and even the employmentof a wheel- 
baiTow would have been occasionally attended with 



inconvenience. At length we crossed over a stream 
atout a quarter of a mile wide on a long bridge of 
wooden planks ; and here those who rode on ponies 
were compelled to dismount, and have their ponies 
led over the plankingf. A narrow walk along a mud 
bank at last brought us to the English residency. 

The residency is situated in a square enclosure, 
covering an area of about five or six acres ; and ia 
surrounded by a fence of wooden posts and bamboo 
matting about twelve feet high. The wooden house 
built for Major Sladen is somewhat incommodious, 
and ia now occupied by Dr. Johnston, the residency 
doctor. Major and Mrs. JIcMahon occupy a more 
commodious house of wood and bamboo matting, 
which had been constructed by the King for the ac- 
commodation of General Fytclie during the negotia- 
tions respecting the treaty of 1867. Few sensations 
in this world are more agreeable than that of leaving a 
dark muddy road, and entering a well lighted Eng- 
lish drawing-room. Nothing could have exceeded 
the kind hospitality with which we were received. 
All the party were entertained at dinner, excepting 
Dr. Booth, who put up with the Eev. Mr. Marks. 
I Mr. Ferrie was then lodged in Dr. Johnston's house, 
I and Mr. Stuart and myself put up at Major McMa- 
I ton's. 

The only circumstance that mai-red the evening, 
I as far as I was concerned, arose from the temporaiy 
I stoppage of all my luggage at the Mandalay custom 
^ house. Major McMahon kindly despatched a note 
to the custom house officials, but it was too late, 
^for all excepting tiie ^ >e away. For- 


tunately my Bengallee .seiTant was permitted to 
bring away some of tlie more necessary articles, after 
the custom house peons had been fully satisfied 
that they were neither arms nor ammunition ; and 
early the next moming the whole of my things* were 
safely brought to the residency. 

The detention of the luggage at the custom house 
was purely an accident, and may be attributed to the 
delay of my servant. A curious incident illustrative 
of the character of the Mandalay officials, is perhaps 
better worth noting. We had on board five cases of 
copper caps called by the Burmese " hell fire," for 
the use of the King ; but although the custom house 
people were duly informed that the cases were iatend- 
ed for the King, and ought to be sent at once to the 
Palace, they refused to pass them on the ground that 
the cases contained war material. Subsequently the 
ministers appear to have settled the matter. 

Sunday, 20(/i November. — Walked with Major 
McMahon round the residency compoxmd. One 
side of the residency is set apart for the mixed 
court appointed for adjudicating cases in which 
British subjects are concerned, and which was es- 
tablished under the treaty of 1867. This year forty- 
nine mixed cases have been disposed of, and fifteen 
cases connected only with the poUtical agency. 
Between five and six thousand rupees have been 
received for stamps since the establishment of the 
court last year ; and about half of the residents in 
Mandalay, who were in a position to avail thtm- 
selves of the court, have already done so. Besides 
the residency and the doctor's house, there is a 



small jail connected with the court, which however 
is at present without inmates. Now that the rains 
have subsided, the compound has quite a European 
appearance. In front of the doctor's house there is 
Q garden, and in front of the residency the ground 
is covered with grass and shaded with trees. The 
road through the compound from the gateway to the 
residency, and indeed all round the residency, is mark- 
ed by white posts connected with a rope. Major 
McMahon is allowed a guard of eight lascara, who 
act as boatmen. Also the King furnishes six so-call- 
ed soldiers as a guard for the residency. The lattef 
are wretched looking coolies, without the remotest 
semblance or vestige of a unifonu, and only known, 
like the bulk of Burmese soldiers, by a tatooed mark 
at the back of the neck. They are armed with musk- 
ets, but are not allowed any ammunition. 

Monday^ 2\st November. — According to the ver- 
bal instructions which I received from General 
Fytclie before I left Rangoon, it was determined 
that I should not express any wish to visit the King, 
hat should raise objections on tho ground that my 
visit was a private one, and unconnected with poli^ 
tical matters ; and that I should delicately hint to 
the Pakhan Mengyeo, or prime minister, that hoA^'- 
ever anxious I might be, as an English gentleman, to 
pay my respects to a sovereign in cordial alliance with 
tlie British government, like the King of Ava, I was 
restrftined by a natural reluctance to kneel on a car- 
pet, and squat down in Burmese fashion, before any 
earthly potentate. On my ariival however I found 
tliat the King had heard of my coming, and ex- 
pressed to tho politicjil agent, as well as to several 


otlier persons, his anxiety to see me ; and it was ac- 
cordingly arranged tliat I should pay a visit to the 
palace on the following Wednesday. 

The Pakhan Jlengyee -was unfortunately suflPer- 
ing from illness, hut sent a polite message apologising 
for being unable to call upon me, but declaring that 
lie would do his best to i-cceive me on the occasion 
of my yisit to the palace. 1 replied tliat I should 
have much pleasure in seeing the minister. 

In the ftfternoon paid a \isit to the Kev. J, E. 

Marks, and promised to he present at his school the 
next day for the presentation of certain prizes. 

]n the evening Mr. Goldenburg and Father Ah- 
hona came to dinner. The latter gentleman has 
been thirty years at the capital, and is quite a his- 
torical character. He is a member of the old Italian 
^lission, which of late years has been superseded 
by the Fi"ench. He is a pleasant old gentleman, full 
of iofonnation about the court ; and an admirer of 
Jving Tharawadi, whom he described as a despotic 
tyrant, hut every inch a King. Tharawadi was the 
aovorcign who was disgusted at discovering that the 
tfeatv with the British govermnent was not eouclu- 
ded with a sovereign, but with the East India Com- 
pany ; in other words that " Goombance Meng," as 
the Company was called, was not a King, but a num- 
ber of merchants, with whom his majesty would have 
nothing to do. A French gentleman who visited 
his court, suggested that if his majesty would con- 
clude a treaty with France, the French King would 
assist him against all his enemies, At this Thara- 
wadi was most iudignant. "Help me," he ciicd. 



* Why tlie King of France ought to ask rac to 

' help hiin : with my ai'iuy I could conquer all tha 

'world." The King, then issued orders that the 

lil'ronchniaa should never again be received at his 


Of late years the court of Ava has acquired some 
Kxeal knowledge of political affairs in Europe; but in the 
■3ays of King Tharawadi and Louis Philippe, tlie 
(Ideas wliich were entertained by the Burmese as re- 
;ards European states were alinost mythical. It was 
Supposed that there were two great sovereigns in the- 
World, namely a king of the east and a king of tlie 
(West. Tiie sovereign of Ava was identified with the' 
I of the east, and the rulers of Siam, the Shan 
ates, and Karenueewerc regarded as hisTsaubwas, 
^r vassals, 'i'he sovereign of Gireat Britain was sup- 
Ijrosed to be the king of the west, and it was conclu- 
l:ded that the rulers of Fi-anco, Prassia, Italy, and 
Bother European states were his Tsaubwas. The 
Vonderful rise of the French empire under Napoleon 
kiSie third, and the increased activity of France 
•in the affairs of the east, tended to explode this idea^ 
Jid di-ew tire attention af the court more particular- 
f to the French nation. The consequence has been* 
tat of late years the court of Ava appear to liave 
' endeavoured in their oriental diplomacy to pit France 
against Great Britain. The late crown prince, who 
was killed in the rebellion of 1866, was fully impress- 
ed with this idea. The war between France and 
' Prussia, and its disastrous results to the fernner 
ation have tended much to modify this view. 

Tuesday, 227id November. — Dr. AVilliaras and Mr. 
Soss called this morning. About twelve o'clock 


I proceeded to the school and residence of the Eev. 
J. E. Marks, which are situg,ted in a large eucloscd 
tiompoutid adjoining the political residency. As it 
was tlie Buddhist sahbath, some boya, including the 
young princes, were absent, but fifty-seven pupils 
were in attendance. I examined every class, begin- 
ning from the highest. The teaching of English, in- 
cluding reading, writing and composition appear 
to be very efficient. There is no school in Ean- 
goon where the boya are better taught than at this 
rising institution at Mandalay ; and the good nn- 
derstanding which prevailed between Mr. Marks 
Jind all the boys in the school was very gratifying. 
The assistant, Mr. Powel, appeara to be efficient 
and energetic ; but Mr. Marks seems to tlirow his 
whole soul into the work. Besides English the boys 
are taught lustory, geogmphy, arithmetic, mathe- 
mfvfcics, and Latin, The school has only been esta- 
blished a year and a half, but it has commenc- 
ed under the happiest auspices, and the success 
of the institution appears to have been gi-catly pro- 
moted at starting by tlie transfer of some boys from 
Mr. Marks's old school at Rangoon. By this mea- 
sure Mandalay boys, who were naturally ignorant of 
school discipline, were soon led by example to fall 
into the regular groove of rule and regulation, which 
is so necessary for maintaining the efficiency of a 

After examining all the boya down to the very 
lowest class, I gave away the presents at Mr. Marks' 
request, and was glad to hear that the boys had Icai-nt 
to cheer in the English fashion. Mr. Marks conclu- 
ded with a speech in the Burmese language, and 





I then tlie boys separated foi- a half holiday given on 
I the occasion. 

Tlie building of the school room and dormitories 
seems to be admirably arranged. At the side is 
a pretty little chapel in which Mr. Marks conducts 
daily and weekly services. At some little distance 
a church is being built at the expense of the King. 
When completed it will no doubt prove a handsome 
edifice, but I have considerable doubts as to the ex- 
pediency of pcnnitting an Asiatic sovereign, who is 
tlioroughly wedded to the Buddhist religion, and 
who spent some years as a phongyee before ascend- 
ing the throne, to build a church at his own expense 
for Christian residents. If the church is wanted it 
should be paid for by Christians; especially as the 
King could have no other object in building it, than 
that of ingratiating iiimself with the British govern- 
ment. Mr, Marks informed me that his majesty 
threatened in the event of his (Mr. Marks) leaving 
Mandalay, he would pull down the chm-eh ; and 
there is no reason to doubt that the King would carry 
out this measure. His majesty has remarked to 
several persons that the English aui-pass the Bur- 
mese in all the arts and sciences, in everything in 
fact, excepting religion; but that in religion the Bur- 
mese were far superior to any other nation. To 
those who have familiarized themselves with the 
leading dogmas of Buddhism, including the doctrine 
of merits and demerits and an implicit faith in the 
endless transmigration of the soul, the difficulties 
in the way of converting an adult Buddhist to Chris- 
tianity must appear almost insurmountable, unless 


Voyage to mandalay Asb bhamo. 

litcly at tlie top of the steps, and ushered us into a 
low room, open to all comers, in which some really 
good Carpets had been laid down. The Paklian Men- 
gyee is about sixty years of ago, with a broad counte- 
nance somewhat marked, teeth blackened wltli age 
and betelj and a ataid demeanour. He at once 
sat down on the cai-pet, the political agent sat down, 
and our little party did the same. All round us were 
servants and followers prostrating upon their sto- 
machs in all directions. Tea, -sugar, pomegranates 
and little cakes were served to us, and we had a long 
and friendly talk. Presently the Yaw-Ahtwcn-Woon, 
a minister of the interior, was introduced, and after a 
few general questions as to my age and other matters, 
lie talked with me about my History of India, and was 
apparently pleased with some information I supplied 
him about Kapila-wot, Magadha, and other places in 
Hindustan, which are celebrated in Buddhist tradi- 
tion, as well as in Hindoo legend. He then went 
away to officially report our arrival to the King, and 
after some twenty minutes or more we were told that 
the King was ready. 

Leaving the Pakban Mengyee, wc passed a gateway 
through a double line of walla, which form a second 
Hue of defence to the palace buildings, and comprise 
barracks and cannon. On entering this second en- 
closure there was a garden and a cariiage foundry 
on our right hand, whilst far a'way to the left was a 
building set apart for the wliltc elephant. AValk- 
ing across the enclosure wo approached the gi"eat 
Hall, which is only used on solemn occasions, and 
for the reception of an Ambassador with full powers. 
It has an imposing appearance from the lavish . , 

carviug and rich gilding, which covered the walls 
and roof as well as the great throne, and the numer- 
ous columns which supported the ceiling. We 
took off our shoes at the foot of the palace steps, and 
proceeded through some passages and gateways ta 
the hall of audience, known as the Zaydawon 
Leung, which was formerly painted red, but is now 
covered with a white plaster, and fully carpeted as 
L on state occasions, "We were here received by the 
I Yaw-Ahtwen-Woon, or minister of the interior, who 
' was dressed in white, with the usual silk loongyee, 
and wore the decoration of the golden tsalway of 
twelve strands, which presents a handsome and im- 
posing appearance with its golden chains over Bur- 
mese costume. After a few minutes we were 
summoned to the Mhan-gau, or crystal palace, 
80 called because, in addition to the rich gilding 
already mentioned it is extensively decorated with 
the pretty work of very small miiTors already no- 
ticed as part of the decorations of the war boats. 
The eye is really dazzled by the mixture of gold 
and red. Cushions and curtains are all red, and 
the lower portions of the columns are also painted 
the same colour, but the rest of the hall is covered 
with gilding. Here our party sat down on carpets. 
First was the Yaw-Ahtwen-Woon, next to him 
I was Major McMahon, and then myself, with Mr. 
I Nicholas behind us taking notes. On my left 
I were some commercial gentlemen. All round 
Iwere numerous officials prostrating themselves 
I with their noses nearly touching the ground. 
I Before us were several large openings in the golden 
leading into the interior apartments, and 



tile central opening was a small sofa. After some 
chatting a low boom was heard, and a perfect silence 
followed, during which the King appeared and took 
his seat on the sofa. Before him was a small table 
on which were boxes of betel and golden pots, 
brought in by the principal queen and some other 
ladies. At first these ladies concealed themselves, 
but as the interview proceeded the queen shewed 
herself fully to the view, and appeared to be about 
fifty-six, or rather older than the King. 

The King ia a pleasant, stout man of fifty-four 
yeare of age. He was not above six or seven 
yards from us, so that it was very easy to see him 
and to hear him speak. He first took up his opera 
glass and surveyed us very leism-ely, and then 
began eating betel, which he never ceased doing 
throughout the whole of the interview, excepting 
at intervals when he was somewhat excited, and 
gave emphasis to his views by drawing imaginary 
lines with his fingers on the table before him. 
The royal secretary then read aloud our names and 
offices, and the list of the presents which had been 
made to the King, and which were spread out before 
us on the carpet. This was done in a pompous style 
and with considerable intonation, especially at the con- 
clusion. His majesty then asked how long I had 
lived in India, and after receiving the necessary in- 
formation, he asked whether I could convey to the In- 
dian and Home governments the sentiments which 
he was about to express. I replied that I should 
have great pleasure in carrying out his majesty's 
wishes through the regular channel, upon which the 


I following conversation took place between His ma- 
1 jesty and myself, as secretary to General Fytche, 
] the chief commissioner of British Burma, and Ma- 
I'jor McMahon as political agent. 

King. — Let the British government be informed 
I that there shall be perpetual peace, and no war be- 
rtween ua, as long as I live and reign in Burma. It is 
[ also my sincere wish to cement the already existing 
I friendship the more closely, and to see the extension 
of trade which will benefit both the great countties. 
Secretary. — "NVhat your majesty has been pleased 
Ito express ia exactly what the British government 
\ cordially reciprocates. 

King.—YoVi are going up to Bhamo, I suppose 
I with McMahon, {turning round to the political ageni). 
Eow long do you intend to remain there ? 

Political Agent. — Only three days your majesty. 

King to the Secretary. — I have been infomied that 

I you have published the history of India. You had 

^ better on your return from Bhamo, stay here some 

time to enable you to procure copies of the ancient 

histories which I have in my possession concerning 


Secretary. — I am much obliged by the gracious 
I offer of your majesty. 

Here followed a long political conversation be- 
tween the King and myself, which need not be repeat- 
ed here, but which will be officially communicated 
to the government of India. Tho King then intro- 
duced the Sa-yay-dau-gyee, a royal secretary of the 
supreme council, to Major McMahon and myself, and 
d us that this officer had been instructed to accom- 


pany us to Bhamo, and attend to all our wants and 
comforts. It may here be remarked that this Sa-yay- 
dau-gyee is also known as the Pangyet Woon ; and 
proved a very pleasant companion during our tiip to 
Bhamo. The interview lasted nearly an hour, and 
was then brought to a conclusion by the King sud- 
denly rising and taking his departure, on which the 
principal queen not only shewed hci-selt, but a number 
of ladies, — inferior queens or ladies in waiting, — took 
care to get a fair sight of our party and show them- 
selves in return. They were dressed in red dresses, 
and looked both pretty and saucy as they whisked 
themselves away. 

We then returned to Major McJIahon's house 
somewhat fatigued. 

Some of these interviews with the King at Man- 
dalay must be amusing from the incongruities which 
are occasionally displayed. A few montlis ago a 
baiTiater from Rangoon persisted in being introduced 
to his majesty in his wig and gown. The court offi- 
cials were utterly dumb-foundered by the wig, whilst 
the King fairly roared with laughter. At length 
after full explanations had been requested and 
received, the King asked what the wig cost, 
The learned gentleman took the question in a figura- 
tive sense, as applicable to the entire cost of his legal 
education, and replied ten thousand rupees. This 
reply has puzzled his majesty to the last degree, and 
to thk day he occasionally refers to the extraor- 
dinary cost of the marvellous wig. 

Thursday^ JSfovember. — We walked over the 
fields early this morning to the creek, where we em- 


barked in Majoi- McMalion's boat for the steamer. 
The morning was beautifully cool and bright, and the 
boat running with the stream passed very rapidly 
over the water, which we had traversed so slowly 
on our arrival on the preceding Saturday. The war 
boats especially, and the King's barge, gleamed with 
dazzling splendour in the moi-ning sunshine. We 
found a large party on board, amongst whom was the 
Rev, J. E. Marks, who was proceeding to Bhamo 
with four of his pupils. The Keverend gentleman 
proceeded to the steamer with considerable pomp, 
having been furnished by the King with a gilt war 
boat for the purpose, which was rowed by sixty 
men, and made a considerable splash. The additional 
party at the table on deck comprised Major and Mrs. 
McMahon, Dr. Williams, the Rev. J. E. Marks, and 
the pleasant Burmese official, known as the Panoyet 
Woon, who had been introduced to us by the King 

Ion the previous day. Tlie latter title means in Bur- 
mese official language " governor of the glass manu- 
fiactories ;" but as there are no glass manufactories 
whatever in Burma the title appears slightly 

I have learnt so much respecting upper Bui-ma 
and the court of Mandalay from the Pangyet Woon 
that some slight account ot him may not be out of 
place. He is thirty-five years of age, but from his 
appearance and manners, he looks some years young- 
er. At eighteen years of age he was sent by the 
late crown prince to Calcutta to be educated in 
English at the Doveton college. At that time 
Dr. George Smith, the late editor of the " Friend 
■of India", was principal of the college ; and the 


jaws of two large fish. They appeared to have no 
fear, and permitted themselves to be stroked on the 
back by any one who liked. 

Saturday^ 2&th November. — We anchored this 
morning off a place called Malay in order to take in 
wood. We are now amongst a people, many of 
whom have never seen a steamer before. The usual 
events took place. The Woon, or governor of 
the village, came on board to pay his respects to the 
Pangyet Woon, and to offer presents of fish and 
pumpkin. These Woons are always attended by a 
considerable number of servants caiTying a water 
pot, Burma cheroots, betel box, and other similar ar- 
ticles, as well as by a body guard armed with musk- 
ets or long swords. Besides these official visits, 
the masses of the people were freely admitted on 
board the steamer, and went about prying everywhere 
with eager and wondering eyes. Men, women, 
children, little boys and girls, babies in arms, all 
came trooping in ; whilst crowds of other strange 
people, including a caravan of Shans, and a Bud- 
dhist nun, in dirty white garments, gazed anxiously 
at UB from the shore. At this place we were inform- 
ed that the inhabitants placed an inordinate value 
upon empty bottles. Those which had contained 
any kind of liquor were highly appreciated, but the 
passion for soda water bottles is stUl stronger, whilst 
there is if possible a deeper yearning for the dark 
red bottles which have contained hock. As we had 
a cousidorable number of empty bottles on board, 
due perhaps to the geniality of our party since leav- 
ing Mandalay, a few were thrown into the water as 
an experiment, and then commenced one of the m oBtj 



nusing scrambles that can possibly be imagined. 
Boys and girls threw off their garments, and dived or 
swam impetuously after the bottles ; not throwing out 
their arms leisurely, like European awimmei"s, but 
paddling like dogs, only much more noisily. Mean- 
time motheiiB, wives and sweethearts were urging on 
the competition for the bottles, and carrying them 
away in triumph immediately they were brought on 
shore, or safely landed on one or other of the numer- 
ous canoes that were plying about the steamer. Mr. 
Marks gave away some religious books and tracts, 
but they were regarded as things of small value in 
comparison with the bottles. One elderly official who 
accepted a book endeavoured to make a little capital 
by it. He assured Mr. Marks that he was anxious 
to peruse the work, and would do so directly he got 
home, provided that gentleman would favour hm 
with a pair of spectacles, as without spectacles he 
could not read the print. 

I , The beauty of the scenery after leaving this place 
was very stiiking. The windings of the river, the 

deep shade of the foliage, and the glass-like sur- 
face of the water, were very pleasing to the eye, 
and occasionally recalled some localities in Euro- 
pean streams. 

The nights are getting colder than ever, thermo- 
leter ranging from 57 degrees to 60, The days how- 
ever are still pleasantly warm. In the afternoon we 
arrived at a pictm-esque little place called Htee Kyine. h 
On the right was a hill and pagodas. Before us 
was a sandy reach with foliage beyond ; and on this 
lach, a wooden shed wa ected, and preparations 


were evidently being made for a poey, or Burmese 
theatrical entertainment. Having never seen a poey, 
we all landed about sunset, with the exception of 
Major and Mrs. McMahon and Mr. Marks, to see 
the performance ; and I was glad to obtain all the in- 
formation and explanation necessary from the Pang- 
yet Woon. 

The main story of the majority of Bumiese dramas 
is that of a prince who goes on foreign travel, and 
falls in love with the daughter of the King of some 
distant country ; but, as the coarse of true love never 
runs smooth, the union is deferred for a long period 
in consequence of difficulties ansing out of the oppo- 
sition of the parents on either side. The scenes change 
from the palace to the forest and back again as the 
story progresses ; and the entertainment is spread 
over an incredible length of time, occasionally four or 
five days, by choruses of ministers or ladies, inter- 
spersed with dancing and singing, and the occasional 
inti'oduction ot nats, or guardian deities, and belooa, 
or demons ; so that after sitting a few hours, even 
the most curious European observer becomes some- 
what wearied. 

The piece we saw was what might be called a low 
comedy, being especially intended for the amusement 
of the populace. The young ladies and wags and 
dancers of the village had been for some time engaged 
in preparing the performance, which was not origi- 
nally intended for our benefit ; but for enlivening a 
feast which was about to be celebrated. As however 
the steamer had arrived with Burmese and English 
officials the local authorities appear to have deter- 



^B mined to compliment us with a sort of dress rehearsal. 
"Under the shed a platform covered with cushions 
and cai-pets was reserved for visitors ; but the 
Pangyet Woon kindly ordered chairs to be brought 

• for our party. Before us was a space, about fifteen 
■yards square, covered with mats for the performance 
of the di'ama ; and this was lighted by lamps and 
candles hanging from the roof, or attached to the 
poles which supported it. On one side of this area 

• "were the orchestra and green room, which deserve es- 
pecial notice. The music consisted of nondescript 
pipes, but the main instrument consisted of a big drum, 
shaped like the cask of Bacchus, and beaten at one 
^^ end. Besides this di-um there was a strange sort of 
^K'Small enclosure, in which a man was engaged in ham- 
^Hmering a number of small gongs of different sizes, so 
^B as to represent a scale. The green room was a mere 
^B name, as all the mysteries of dressing and decora- 
^H tion are carried on with the most pi-imitive simplicity 
^H before all the spectators. Around the sheds were 
^B crowds of eager spectators ; and a more enthusiastic 
and appreciative audience could scai-cely be conceiv- 
ed. Indeed the whole scene seemed to res«nble in 
a small way the celebration of the Dionysia festival, 
I when the people of Athens went about in masque- 
I rade, out of pure love of fun ; and performed one of 
I those rude comedies, which were in vogue in the age 
I preceding the rise of the real Greek drama. 

After we had taken our seats, and the audience 
1 and performers, male and female, had lighted their 
I long Burmese cheroots, the performance commenced 
I "with a somewhat jangling fantasia from the orches- 



tra, Tlien a chorus of about twenty or tliirty 
women came in, dressed in Burmese petticoats with 
large yellow handkerchiefs, which they wore like 
shawls. This part of the perfoi-mance consisted of 
a musical but metallic kind of chant, with measured 
steps, and much graceful waving of the ai-ms and 
handkerchiefs. Then entered two dancing girls with 
spangled petticoats and silk handkerchiefa, who were 
adorned with a inultiplicity of necklaces, and who 
began the regular oriental dance with a far greater 
amount of demonstrative gestiire than was displayed 
in the choral dances ; advancing and retreating and 
singing the whole time, and placing their slight forms 
in the most ludicrous postures. Presently they imita- 
ted the actions of monkeys, and scratched their heads, 
and performed other indescribable antics, in a manner 
at once saucy and intensely amusing. Indeed our lit- 
tle party laughed almost as much as the Burmese au- 
dience, who fairly roared at the more striking absurdi- 
ties. Next the girls imitated the action of cultiva- 
ting rice, and preparing it ; and then fought one ano- 
ther with a mirthful abandon, which brought down 
shouts of merriment. Then four actors representing 
the four principal Woons, or ministers of State, came 
in and commenced dancing and singing. After this 
two buffoons entered and were followed by four ladies 
of the court ; and then there was more dialogue and 
dancing, and most amusing bye plays between the la- 
dies and the buffoons. One of the buffoons had made 
secret love to each of tlie four ladies in turn, and was 
then reproached by each for his want of fidelity ; and 
finally all four discovered the full extent of liis perfidy, 
and beat and abused him in the most approved style. 



Then a prince cjinio in, and a host of ministers 
and courtierH fell prostrate befoi-e him, and expresa- 
ifid their admiration of every sentence he uttered. 
iThe prince was dressed in shining clothes to repre- 
sent a coat of mail, and wore a very extraordinary 
iiat. But by this time it was past eleven o'clock, 
and most of us returned to the steamer ; but conti- 
jiued to hear the chanting and dancing, and frequent 
.shouts of laughter, until a very late hour. 

Sunday, 21th November. — Mr. Marks conducted 
flivine service on deck, and then preached a short 

Monday/, 2%th Novemher. — -The morning was fine 
iand fresh, and a great crowd came on board, includ- 
ing many of the performers of the previous evening. 
The bottle fun was renewed to the entire satisfac- 
tion of the ladies and boys ; and then we steamed 
away through very pleasant scenery, canying with 
J the "VVoon and a select party for a few miles, in 
order to give them a trip in the wonderful fire-boat. 

In the evening we anchored oft' a village named Kah-w 
Kah-tate, and were entertained, not with a regular 
poey, but with the choral performance of the young 
"women of the village. The proceedings were of a 
very simple character, and a mere repetition of what 
■was done at the opening of the poey on a previ- 
ous evening. About thirty young women stood up 
'in lines of six or seven. A prima donna led the 
chant, and they all moved tlieir arms to the cadences 
of the music, or turned half round and presented 
themselves sideways, or faced us, slanting themselves 
from side to side. When one set of ladies had finish- 
ed another came on, and went through pi-ecisely the 


same perfoimances. The entertainment was thus 
somewhat monotonous, and in the absence of any 
acting or bxiffooning grew wearisome. Indeed the 
principal charm lay in the gi-aceful movements of 
modest young women, Bome of whom were really pret- 
ty, and many of whom were married ; but there was 
no affectation or boldness, and no laughing beyond 
a concealed smile, and the perfonnance was as inno- 
cent aa the play of young children. The orchestra 
was very defective, and consisted chiefly of a gong, 
a hammer, and a clanging of something like little 


We returned to the steamer about nine o'clock, 
much gratified with the simple efforts which had been 
made to please the party. About an hour or two 
afterwards, whilst sitting alone on the deck with 
the Pangyet Woon, a deputation from the village 
came on board to complain that one of our party had 
been firing a musket on shore. We were extremely 
annoyed, and so was Major McMahon when he heard 
of it, but it appears to have been a mere thoughtless 
act of the officer of the steamer. He had gone ashore 
with two of the passengei-s, and taken his gun with 
him, and fired it off simply it had been load- 
ed for some time. Amongst however the villages in 
upper Bmma, the firing of a gun at night is regard- 
ed as a warning that dacoits are approaching ; and 
the inhabitants are accustomed to arouse themselves 
on hearing the signal, and to collect their valuables 
with all speed, and run away to the jungle. The 
ofiending party at once exphiined what he had done, 
and got several severe lectures ; and as the matter 


was thus cleared up, nothing more is likely to be 
heard of it, 

Tuesday, 2^th November. — This morning the usual 
presents of fish, rice, and vegetables were brought 
to the steamer, and another party of villagers was 
treated with a short trip in the marvellous fire-boat. 

The scenery continued to be varied and interest- 
ing, but nothing transpired worthy of particular 


In the evening we anchored off a place named shwd-goo. 
Shwe-goo. The Khyouk-myo Woon, or governor of 
six townships, came on board, with the usual num- 
ber of retainers and presents. Major McMahon 
observed that it was impossible on this occasion to 
refuse to accept the baskets, as such a course would 
have greatly offended both the local authorities and 
the court at Mandalay. He however took the op- 
portuiuty of suggesting to the Pangyet Woon that a 
repetition of such presents on future voyages would 
be contrai-y to English custom, and that a little rice 
or a few flowers, or a little milk would alone be 

Wednesday/, BOth November, — The Khyouk-myo 
"Woon has turned out to be a character. He was 
appointed to guard an outpost in the neighbourhood 
of Rangoon during the second Bui-mese war in 1852, 
and was prepared to defend the place •, but accord- 
ing to his own account " when Commodore Lambert 
came against him, and fired his bomb balls at him, 
he ran away, as he could not be expected to fight 
against so great a man as Commodore Lambert." 


His age was fifty -seven, and he had the reputation of 
having a lavge zenana. He gravely asked a Euro- 
pean gentleman on board, how many Burmese wives 
he had in addition to his European one. Like othev 
Woons he took his meals with the party, and drank 
two glasses of sherry with a queer expression as 
though he did not like the beverage. 

About eleven o'clock this morning we entered the 
second defile, which is about fifteen miles in length. 
The scenery of this defile, or gorge, surpasses any- 
thing I have ever beheld. The river narrows in, 
whilst the banks on either side rise to a height of from 
five to eight hundred feet, and are covered with thick 
woods. The most striking part of the defile, is a 
huge rock, which is called " monkey castle" from the 
number of monkeys that hang about it. This is a 
vast peiijendicular mass, rising apparently at least 
eight hundred feet above the glass-like river. It is 
impossible to describe our impressions of the grandeur 
of this wonderful defile. During the couple of hours 
we were passing through there was a continual 
change. Sometimes the stream took a winding 
course between tlie elevated and precipitous banks 
with their towering forests. At other places we came 
upon a long vista of wood and stream. Here and 
there was a pagoda, or a village, or a few fishermen 
in a boat. 0;i the whole I do not remember any 
scene so calculuted to please and astonish the eye, 
not by rude wild precipices, but by glorious heights 
crowned with forests, and throwing their dark shades 
upon the smootli watere. 

This evening we anchored juyt below iihanio. 

BELOW iniAMO. 73 

But for the thick fog, which hung over the river 
during a great part of the morning, we should have 
reached the place ; but as it was w^e could dimly see 
the houses in the distance, with the grand range of 
the Kachyen Hills beyond. Major McMahon re- 
ceived a letter from Captain Strover, which contained 
amonofst other information the fact that the latter 
gentleman had been without cheroots for a month. 
It was also understood that provisions were at a very 
low ebb, and indeed Captain Strover wrote that he 
should regard the " Colonel Fytche'' as coming to 
the relief of Bhamo. 

Being Major McMahon's birth-day, and having 
nearly arrived at the end of our outward voyage, the 
evening was past in festivity, and may be a song 
or two. At any rate a Chinaman on the flat was 
heard next day to make a laudable effort to sing 
^^ we won t go home till morning.'' As he could re- 
member only the words, ^^ won't, home, morning," 
and moreover seemed to give them utterance only 
after very deep cogitation, the effect was somewhat 

Thursday^ \st December. — This morning five long 
boats appeared in the distance bringing the officia- 
ting Woon, the Tseekay, and some other officials, 
to pay their respects to the political agent. Un- 
fortunately the boat containing the Woon, and about 
thirty rowers, was carried by the current past the 
steamer, just as part of the bank fell in. The boat 
was swamped at once, but did not go down entirely, 
although everybody on board was under water. The 
boats of the steamer at once started oft' to the res- 



His aofe was fifty-seven, and he had the reputation of 
having a lavge zenana. He gravely aslced a Kuro- 
pcan gentleman on board, how many Burmese wives 
he had in addition to his Enropean one, Like other 
Woons be took bis meals with the party, and drank 
two gLisses of sherry with a queer expression as 
though he did not like the beverage. 

About eleven o'elock this morning we entered the 
second defile, which is about fifteen miles in length. 
The scenery of this defile, or gorge, surpasses any- 
thing r have ever beheld. The river naiTows in, 
whilst the banks on either side rise to a height of from 
five to eight hundred feet, and are covered with thick 
woods. The most striking part of the defile, is a 
huge rock, which is called " monkey castle" from the 
number of monkeys that hang about it. This is a 
vast pcqiendicular mass, rising apparently at least 
eight hundred feet above the glass-like river. It is 
impossible to desei-ibe our impressions of the grandeur 
of this wonderful defile. During the couple of hours 
we were passing through there was a continual 
change. Sometimes the stream took a winding 
course between the elevated and precipitous banks 
with their towering foresfcj. At other places wo came 
upon a long vista of wood and stream. Here and 
there was a pagoda, or a village, or a few fishennen 
in a boat. On the whole I do not remember any 
scene so calculated to please and astonish the eye, 
not by rude wild precipices, but by glorious heights 
crowned with forests, and throwing their dark shades 
\ipon the smooth wateiB. 

Thia evening we anchored just bellow Bharao. 


But for the thick fog, which hung over the river 
during a great part of the morning, w^e sliould have 
reached the place ; but as it was we could dimly see 
the houses in the distance, with the grand range of 
the Kachyen Hills beyond. Major McMahon re- 
ceived a letter from Captain Strover, which contained 
amonofst other information the fact that the latter 
gentleman had been without cheroots for a month. 
It was also understood that provisions were at a very 
low ebb, and indeed Captain Strover wrote that he 
should regard the " Colonel Fytche'' as coming to 
the relief of Bhamo. 

Being Major McMahon's birth-day, and having 
nearly arrived at the end of our outward voyage, the 
evening was past in festivity, and may be a song 
or two. At any rate a Chinaman on the flat was 
heard next day to make a laudable effort to sing 
'^ we won't go home till morning.'' As he could re- 
member only the words, ^^ won't, home, morning," 
and moreover seemed to give them utterance only 
after very deep cogitation, the effect was somewhat 

Thursday^ 1st December. — This morning five long 
boats appeared in the distance bringing the officia- 
ting Woon, the Tseekay, and some other officials, 
to pay their respects to the political agent. Un- 
fortunately the boat containing the Woon, and about 
thirty rowers, was carried by the current past the 
steamer, just as part of the bank fell in. The boat 
was swamped at once, but did not go down entirely, 
although everybody on board was under water. The 
boats of the steamer at once started oft' to the res- 



cue, and in due course every one was saved and 
brought on board. Five of the, men swam to the 
bank on the first occurrence of the accident. Two 
men managed to reach the summit of the bank, but 
the other three were less fortunate. They had near- 
ly gained the height when the earth gave way, and 
they fell backwards in the water ; but they escaped 
along the foot of the bank, and the incident only 
excited a smile. 

The channel is very difficult. There are even 
some doubts whether we shall reach Bhamo at all, 
although we are within sight of it. Captain Bacon 
is having the river sounded in all directions, as he is 
determined not to risk his steamer by any premature 
movements. Still dissatisfied at the unexpected shal- 
lowness of the waters, and apparent closing of the 
channel, he has spent some hours in personally sound- 
ing the river. At last after much anxiety he con- 
ducted us safely to an anchorage at the side of the 
town, about a quarter past two o'clock in the after- 

jjhamo. Bhamo is a very ordinary looking village from the 

river. It is said to contain some four or five hundred 
houses, and about four or five thousand inhabitants, 
consisting of Burmese, Shans and Chinese. It is 
situated at the top of a high bank, whilst the oppo- 
site shore is a dreary waste of sand, with a gi-een 
fringe beyond, backed by a ridge of hills. The tall 
dark Kachyen hills are to be seen in the distance 
beyond Bhamo. Captain S trover, the assistant po- 
litical agent, came on board, together with a couple 
of intelligent but dirty Kachyens, one of whom had 


■been to Bengal and "was named Lalloo. This lattci' 
gentleman had a sort of silver cliatclaine on his 
shoulder, from which was suspended queer silver hooks 
for doing something to the ears, nose, and teeth. It 
bad been given to him by the chief of Momein. 
Some of our party went ashore ; but most of us de- 
ferred GUI' visit till next morning. 

Friday, ?^nd Decemler. — Went ashore about seven 
0*cloek A. M., and proceeded along a nondesci'ipt road, 
consisting partlyof mud, and partly of small rude pav- 
ing stones and brick. The latter materials are neces- 
sary to render communication possibleduringthe rains. 
Riding on ponies would not be easy, and any kind 
of wheeled vehicle could only be moved with great 
difficulty. Accordingly we walked to the residence 
of Captain Strover, which was nearly a mile from the 
place of anchorage, and outside what may bo called 
the stockade which surrounds the town. On either 
side of our walk within the town were detached Bur- 
man houses of bamboo and matting ; and the in- 
habitants including Shans and Burmese, regarded us 
with the keenest interest. The dogs also took a lively 
curiosity in our proceedings, and seemed under the 
impression that the introduction of civilization into 
Bhamo was not conducive to the true interests of pa- 
riah puppies. The stockade, or wooden wall round the 
town, consists ofanumberofteak poles setuprightclose 
together, and bound together with teak joists. It is 
about fifteen feetliigh, and is chiefly intended asa pro- 
tection against robbers and tigers; but some time back 
a tiger managed to scale it and cany away a woman. 
Tigers iafest the neighbourhood, and Captain Strover 
had been awakened only a few nights before our ar- 


rival by a noisy contest between a tiger and a buffaloe. 
The stockade is surrounded on the outside by a ditch, 
and tliere are great wooden gates at every entrance to 
the town, which are shut every night, and guarded by 
dirty looking soldiers. At the gate through which 
we passed on our way to the residency, were two of 
these fellows in a wretched hut. Before the hut 
■were three or four old muskets, and a small rusty 
ginjal, or little gun, about the size of a move- 
able garden pump. The muzzle was covered with 
some brown looking leaves, and it was evident the 
piece of ordnance was employed more to terrify than 
as a real protection. The two heavy wooden gates 
moved on great wooden rollers. We passed over 
some planks which covered the ditch, and also walk- 
ed over a long wooden bridge, which we are told is 
always carried away during the rains. At length 
we reached the so-called residency, which is at pre- 
sent little more than a hut of bamboos and matting, 
but comprises a sitting room, bed room, and veran- 
dah. A handsome wooden buildinof is however in 
course of construction, and will be finished, it is ex- 
pected, about the end of next March. 

The life of the assistant political agent at Bha- 
mo is by no means an enviable one. Every day 
visited by chiefs and other strangers of all kinds, who 
have their talk and go away ; but seven months have 
passed since he saw a European. Captain Strover 
seerrs to take things very easily, and nothing appa- 
rently would disturb his equanimity, but he admits 
that sometimes he feels a little dull. He has been 
for a long time without cheroots. He is never able 
to procure beef or mutton. Fowls and milk are his 

BHAMO. 77 

cMef, and generally his only diet. He has had no 
bread for the last seven months, and no tea for two 
months. Fortunately he has enjoyed perfect health 
the whole time he has been at Bhamo. The residen- 
cy ground is a mere piece of waste land extending 
over an area of two or three acres, and enclosed with 
bamboo matting. His escort consists of about twelve 
or fifteen men who reside in huts. Other huts have 
been set aside for a cow, elephant and ponies. A 
strange crowd of Kachyen chiefs and followers ga- 
thered around our party, and seemed to be a set 
of happy, but somewhat dirty looking fellows. One 
or two had traces of gashes on their faces, which they 
had probably received in some hill fray. One shin- 
ing character led in a fine pony, for which he asked 
a thousand rupees. The mere mention of the price 
demanded threw the crowd into fits of laughter, and 
the amount asked for rapidly fell dowm to a hundred 
rupees. Probably the dealer would have taken 
eighty rupees, but nobody seemed disposed to give 
more than seventy -five, so the bargain fell through, 
TTie pony must have been only recently brought 
from the hills, for he was in fearful alarm at the 
sight of a European, and would have indulged in a 
little kicking if approached without due caution. 

We returned to the steamer for breakfast, after 
which both the steamer and flat were crowded with 
men, women, boys, girls, and babies ; — dirty Ka- 
chyens, broad faced Chinese, China women with 
small infants and still smaller feet, cheerful Shans 
and Burmese of all colours. Whilst I am writing 
successive relays of people are curiously watching 
my proceedings, and apparently commenting freely 


Upon them in unknown tongues. One young gentle- 
man, who has never had his hair brushed during his 
life, is eagerly looking over Iny shoulder. Amongst 
the more extraordinary characters is a little bald 
headed Buddhist nun, who says she is thirty-five 
years of age, and we have ascertained that she is just 
three feet nine inches high, having carefully measured 
her against one of the piece goods. She is a very 
friendly dwarf, but very ugly. She brought pre- 
sents of walnuts and pumpkins, and has been reward- 
ed with rupees, and above all with a little dogskin jack- 
et, which she wears with great satisfaction- The jack- 
et fits her very well, although made for Miss Ethel 
McMahon a year ago, when that young lady was at 
the age of six. Shortly after receiving the gift, the 
nun sewed up the jacket in front ; partly to prevent 
anybody from taking it away, and partly it is believed 
from a determination to wear it until death. The 
little daughter of Major McMahon has taken a great 
fancy to her, and even gone so far as to offer her a 
swing in a juvenile contrivance which has been hung 
upon deck. The nun, although very accommodating, 
is not prepared to undergo the ordeal. She smokes 
cheroots with great satisfaction, and lights them 
with lucifer matches in a masterly manner. 

About noon a grand assembl}'' of about forty 
Kachyen chiefs came on board to pay their respects 
to the political agent, and to see a steamer for the 
first time. Some of the jungle chiefs are well built 
men, and apparently frank and open ; but their ci- 
vilization is of a very low type. In religion they 
propitiate the genius loci, the spirit of the hill, the 
stream, or the village. Each one is virtually the so- 

Iverejgn of liis own little teiritory, and possesses tlie 
■ of life and death. They are engaged in con- 
stant frays, chiefly on account of the old system of 
dehts, which are often the sources of hereditary feuds 
tlirough many generations. These are the points in 
dispute which are being constantly referred to Captain 
^trover. The Kachyens speak a peculiar language of 
heir own, but have no written language. The po- 
Bitical agent presented each one with a piece of 
jQUslin, with which they were apparently well pleas- 
ed, One of them mentioned " brandy" as a sort of 
■ passing suggestion, but Major McMahon failed 
fto take the hint. 

Some Kachyen ladies came on board attired in all 

I tiie grotesque decorations which appear to be the 

fashion in the hills. They had waist bands of white 

Bhells, and of thin black lacquered rings. They wore 

about twenty or thu'ty of these rings, and took off 

leveral to show us. The married ladies had sil- 

iVer plates dangling iiom their ears about three 

■inches square and covered with some strange figtn-es. 

1 Must of the ladies had holes perforated in their ears 

i in which they wore a large and long silver tube, 

I bearing a marvellous resemblance in size and appear- 

I ance to a tin pea-shooter. The unmamed ladies wore 

I a thick red brush stuck in one end of the pea-shooter, 

1 which, together with their display of unbrushed hair, 

I was a sort of hint that they were open to a propo- 

I eal ; for in the Kachyen world of fashion the ladies 

I BCver comb or brush their hair until afiter they are 

man'ied, but exhibit their unkempt hair in huge 

rough masses which have never been anointed with 

oil or fragi'ant waters. The maiTied ladies are said 


to dress their hair a little, and at any rate wear a 
head dress of a rude fashion. Neither the married 
nor unmarried ladies can be regarded as handsome. 

Major McMahon endeavoured to take the por- 
traits of some of the ladies, but the task was sur- 
rounded with difficulty. In the first instance they 
declined to sit unless they were supplied with some- 
thing to drink. They expressed a strong preference 
for brandy, but this was refused on moral and pru- 
dential grounds. Two bottles of beer were then 
placed before them, when another complication arose. 
They could not open the bottles. It was said that 
only one cork screw had ever been seen in the 
Hills, and that this had been worshipped as a dei- 
ty. Moreover they apparently laboured under 
the impression that if they carried away the beer^ 
their gentlemen friends would exercise an arrogant 
prerogative over the weaker sex by drinking the beer 
themselves. No alternative was thus left but to open 
the bottles, and allow the ladies to drink the beer on 
the spot. Tin pots were produced in the shape of 
tins used for preserved provisions, with the labels 
still fresh upon them. Two of the more experienced 
ladies drank off their beer with great gusto. One 
solemn young lady drank more than her share, and 
was soundly thumped by her companions for such a 
violation of good manners. A still younger dryad was 
more suspicious. She was evidently ignorant of the 
flavour of beer, and therefore took a small taste at 
first, which meeting with approval was followed by 
a considerable draught But the attempt at portrai- 
tion proved a failure notwithstanding the beer. The 
ladies would not sit still, and the crowd became very 


^ssing and noisy. So the drawing materials were 
bad a^ide in despair. 

JSot only in the morning, but throughout the day 
until nearly sunset, the steamer and flat were crowded 
with people of all sorts and persuasions. All Bha- 
mo seemed to have taken a holiday to see the won- 
derful fire-boat, especially as it was accompanied by 
a flat which had never previously been beheld in 

In the evening we took a walk in the China quar- 
ter accompanied by Mr. Marks. Our way led 
through long streets with pavings of stone, brick and 
timber planking, which did not coyer the whole of 
the roadway, but foi-med a sort of paved path run^ 
ning along the middle of the road. Dogs barked at 
us from the houses and recesses on either side, but 
gave way at our approach. The people were all civil, 
although a little cm-ioua. Tlis place is filled and sur- 
rounded with pagodas ; whilst a great Chinese tem- 
ple, with incense ever burning before images of Fo, 
but otherwise somewhat neglected, remains as a mo- 
nument of the old trade with China, which eighteen 
years ago was carried on by the caravans. This tem- 
ple is almost deserted now, but its walls and resting 
places, its large court yards paved with flat stones, and, 
spacious theatre, can recall the days when Bhamo was 
a wealthy emporium. The great problem as regards 
Bhamo is whether this trade can ever be restored! 
by re-opening the abandoned route, which in former' 
years ran over the Kachyen hills towards western 
China. The route over the hUIs could now be 
opened with ease, thanks to the good understanding 



wliich has been established by Captain Strover with 
the Kachyen chiefs. But western China is unsafe. 

Some eighteen years ago a Mussulman colony, known 
as the Panthays, which had for centui'ies been settled 
in the province of Yunan, and been tolerably faithful 
servants of the Chinese emperor, suddenly broke out 
into open rebellion, defeated the Chinese authorities 
and established themselves in tlie city of Talifoo. 
But though the Panthays have defeated the Chinese 
in the open field, the latter encouraged several rob- 
ber chiefs to harass the Panthays and keep the roads 
closed. When order is restored, and the Panthays 
and Chinese settle down as friendly neighbours, the 
old caravans from western China may be expected to 
come down to Bhamo ; and then there will be great 
rejoicings in this trading city, for prosperity will 
flow into it from all quarters. Silks, furs and tea 
will be brought to Bharao, and piece goods and hard- 
ware will be carried back to the far off city of Talifoo, 

Under existing circumstances Bhamo has been 
dwindling away. History has repeated here in this 
remote quarter, precisely what has befallen the great 
cities of the ancient world. When the Romans ob- 
tained possession of the Mediterranean trade, Tyre 
and Sidon passed into nothingness. When the land 
route through the Arabian desert was abandoned 
for the water route through the Red Sea, Petra and 
Edom became a howling wilderness- Whether Bha- 
mo is to become a mere fishing village, or is once 
again to become an emporium of trade, depends upon 
whether the Panthays and Chinese can become 
friendly neighbours. 

Safurdai/, Srd December, — The night has been 

i very cold. Thenuometer about fifty-sis on board 
I the steamer, and fiftv'-two on land. Crowds of people 
I came pourmg in as usual. 

The Kachyen interpreter, named Moung Mob, 
came on board. This is the man who is said to 

»have discovered the efforts to injm"e llajor Sladen 
and his party during the expedition of 1863. Some 
of the party declared that he was a villain, but 
opiniona were divided. He seemed very proud of 
ihe notoriety he had attained. He said that bis 

I name had been printed in all the newspapers, and 
fliat all the English ministers, high and low, were 
acquainted with it. We all promised to remember 
him, which he appeared to consider very satisfactory. 
About eleven o'clock a. m. Major McMahon and 
Captain Strover set off to pay a friendly viait to the 
acting governor or Woondouk, and I had the plea- 
sure of accompanying them. The morning was now 
warm, but we still found it necessary to wear thick 
woollen clothing and flannel shirts, although large 
umbrellas were earned over us as a protection 
against the sun. We walked for about hidf a mile 

I along the street with a paved road in the centre, 
like that already desciibed, and at last reached 
ibe Woondouk's house. The yard in front of it ap- 
peared to cover about an acre, but behind it was a 
large garden, which we did not visit. The whole 
wea is sarrounded by a strong fence of bamboo mat- 
ting. A guard house was situated by the gateway 
with a few soldiers. There were muskets and 
spears, and a thin iron ginjal like the one wehad seen 
at the town gate. Crossing the court yard we ascend- 
, ed a flight of wooden steps, and were cordially receiv- 


'ed by the Woondouk, who with the other officiak 
Were evidently pleased with our visit. The large 
hall of audience was constructed of timber and bana- 
boo matting ; and thick carpets were spread out on 
which we sat in Burmese fashion, and of course with- 
out taking off our shoes. We were regaled with some 
good tea, and smoked together in a very friendly 
fashion, and talked upon different subjects. Beside 
the hall was a large covered enclosure, which had 
only been erected during the last two years, and 
Was intended for public entertainments, of which 
there xvas to be one that evening* After half an 
hour we took our departure, and returned to the 

After dinner all our party, excepting Mrs. Me- 
Mahon and Mr. Marks, went ashore to see the 
great poey, at the Woondouk's house. The place 
was lighted, partly by candles hung in glass globes 
from the ceiling, and partly by great flaming torches 
stuck in the ground, which were fed with oil from 
time to time. We were seated in chairs upon a 
carpeted platform. Below and before us was a 
large open space tor the performers, with the usual 
tree stuck in the ground to represent a forest. The 
audience was so large that it seemed as if all Bhamo 
had come out to see the poey. Eager faces in 
many rows gleamed merrily in the glare of the 
torches, and the scene was as genial as any I had 
ever witnessed. 

These poeys are really extraordinary performances. 
The people take an interest in them which at firat 
is unintelligible to Europeans, but which may be 


ascvibed to a popular element which is not to be found 
amongst either Europeans or Hindoos, but wliich no 
doubt found expression in the Greek drama. Thus at 
Bliamo there are six quarters or divisions of the town. 
Each division has its own chorus of young women, 
and at every play each chorus appears in turn, singing 
and moving in slow cadences. There is thus a com- 
petition between the several choi-uses, each one striv- 
ing to surpass the other ; whilst the audience, 
is largely composed of husbands, loVere, fathers and 
brothers. Under such circumstances the drama, 
which after a while appears to us inexpressibly weari- 
some, is one of deep pei-sonal anxiety to all the native 
lookei-s on, who are generally anxious that the choms 
belonging to their own particular quarter of the town 
should surpass all others, and also individually an- 
xious that a wife, a sweedieart, a daughter or n sister 
should appear to the best advantage. 

"When these interminable chomses are oVer the 
four chief ministers at court appear upon the scene ; 
and here some highly pojiulav buifoonery is introduc- 
ed of a professional character. Two buffoons appear in 
the character of chiefs of wild tribes, ignorant, rude 
and clumsy to the last degree. They are clamorous 
for some redress, and indulge in antics, and make 
their obeisances and prostrations in such an absurd 
fashion, as to bringdown roars of laughter. More- 
over they astonish the ministers with the loudness of 
their complaints, and are rebuked accordingly. The 
jninisters on the other hand exhibit a burlesque dig- 
nity and indifference, ivhich is intended as a satire on 
Burmese official life, and is of course received with 
bursts of merriment. Then one buffoon hilt chief, 


who is apparently driven out of all sense of proprietjr 
by the utter want of sympathy with which his petition 
is received, suddenly lays hold of a minister, and bangs 
him about until he falls down dead. After this the girls 
make their appearance as maids of honour, and play 
every conceivable freak, either as monkeys, scratching 
their heads, and peeling plantains ;or as something else 
rendered equally as absurd by significant grimaces or 
wonderful contortions of the body. Then follows the 
prince, and more talking and haranguing. Meantime all 
the speeches and dialogues are sparkling with puns, 
which of course are only intelligible to those who are 
thoroughly familiar with Burmese, and of which the 
language is said to be especially capable. 

I was fortunate enough to, sit next the Pangyet 
Woon, who had accompanied us from Mandalay, and 
who kindly explained every thing that could be ex- 
plained ; but understanding that the first night's per- 
formance would last until three or four o'clock in the 
morning, and then would only comprise a small por- 
tion of the play, we broke up about half past eleven 
and returned to the steamer, after a friendly parting 
from all our Burmese friends. 

The walk back was very pleasant Lights were 
carried before us in glass globes, whilst a little moon 
was shining. The long streets were perfectly quiet, 
excepting that occasionally a guardian dog barked 
or growled ; and notwithstanding the remoteness of 
the place, there was no more show of danger than if 
we ha-l been walking in London or Calcutta. 

Sunday. Ath December. — To-day the steamer was 
comparatively quiet. Mr. Marks conducted divine 



(ervice on Lhe deck, as on tlie previous Sunday, Be- 
I JDg rather tired did not go on sliore, and so the 
I day passed away without incident. 

Monday^ 6fh December. — Major McMahon paid a 
■visit to tlie Woondouk before breakfast ; and about 
Pten o'clock the Woondouk paid us a return visit, 
f bringing me a present of rice and walnuts. Made 
\ over tlie rice to the servants as nsual, and brought 
I away the walnuts, whicli are very good and cheap 
at Bhamo. The Woondouk was polite enough 
I to say that he should always be a friend of mine, 
I and I naturally reciprocated the sentiment in the 
) warmest manner. 

A little after twelve o'clock we steamed away for^ 
Mandalay. A large number of passengers had come 
on board out of curiosity, but all Bhamo appeared to 
have turned out on the shore to witness our departure. 
The people were of all ages and sizes, and by sweep- 
I ing our opera glass over the crowd we could perceive 
' the delighted ciuriosity, wliich appeared on every face, 
to see the mysterious paddle wheels turn round in the 
water,andthesteamerandflat, linked together by some 
magic tie, move away fi'om the shore towards Manda- 
lay and Bangoon. Atlength the moment of departure 
came ; trees, houses, and crowded faces disappeai'ed 
from our view, and we were once again on the calm 
waters, proceeding with great rapidity down the 

After a mile or two the steamer ran aground, but 

after some hours wa.s towed oft' the sand bank by a 

' process which is called kedging. A boat went out 

about a hundred and fifty yards, and cast an anchor 


in deep water, to wliicli an iron cliaiu was attaclied 
which connected it with the steamer. All hands 
then worked at the windlass to drag the steamer 
towards the anchor, and after the usual shoving and 
shouting, the ohject was achieved, and we steamed 
away in deep water. At night we anchored just at 
the entrance of the second defile, 

Tuesday, 6fh December.- — -This morning there waa 
a thick cold fog which olouded the whole scene ; but 
about half past eight o'clock it cleared away before 
the bright sun, and we entered the second defile. The 
scenery appeared to even greater advantage than on 
our upward journey. The morning shone gaily 
on the tops of the wood-covered heights on either 
side ; and the long dark shadows on the water, and 
the winding character of the river, added gi-eatly to 
the beauty of the vista, and oecaaionally seemed to 
shut us in. The tall precipitous side of the monkey 
castle conveyed also a clearer idea of the height of 
the green covered eminences which towered around 
us. Altogether the sight was one I had never seen 
before, and perchance never shall see again. 

Amongst the native passcngera are some of the 
strongest and lustiest Shnn men and women I had 
ever beheld. Stout round-faced people with open 
countenances, more like burly Englishmen than Asia- 
tics. Saw two of them fasten rags to long strings, and 
drop them in the river, and then draw tliem up^gain, 
and wash their faces with them. One fellow's rag 
slipped off the string and fioated away to his great 
wonderment and concern ; hut on hearing us laugh, 
both be and his friend laughed heartily too. It is 

-■evident that these Shans are as happy and good tem- 
pered as they appeal- to be. 

Wednesday and Tfmrsday, ^th and 8th December. 
— The weather during these two days was cold, and 
therefore so far pleasant. But a return voyage is 
always tedious. Nothing to see but what has been 
seen already. Even the beautiful river palls on the 
eye. Every body on board is apparently anxious to 
get to Mandalay, if not to Kangoon. 

Friday^ ^th December. — We are to reach Manda- irongooi 
lay this afternoon, hut before doing so, we are to 
land at Mengoon to see the famous mass of brick- 
work constructed by Bhodau Phra, the great grand- 
father of the present King, as well as the great bell. 
Eeached Mengoon about one o'clock, and after tiffin 
we all went on shore in boats. Climbing up an emi- 
nence we saw in the first instance the great bell. 
This is said to be the largest bell in the world with 
the exception of the one at Moscow. Great Tom of 
Oxford, the great bell at St. Paul's, and Big Ben at 
AVeatminister, are mere hand bells in comparison 
with this big fellow at Mengoon. The latter is 
twelve feet high, and more than sixteen feet in dia- 
meter at the lip, and could easily contain twenty 
people. We all got easily underneath it. There is 
no clapper, as in former times it was beaten from 
without. It emits no soimd now. It is still slung 
from a great beam by a huge copper hook or sling ; 
but the hook has given way, and the bell now rests 
upon some blocks of wood carved in strange grotesque 
figures. The thickness of the metal of the bell varies 
from six inches to twelve, and the actual weight of 
the bell ia about ninety tons. 



After the big bell we went to see a curious pago- 
da rising in seven parapets of a snake-like form, like 
the ancient cities of Lanka and Ecbatana, only that 
there was no difference of colour in the parapets. 
Last of all we visited the vast masses of brickwork 
which Bhodau Phra spent twenty years in erecting. 
This King died in 1819 without completing the struc- 
ture, and in 1831 it was fractured to its foundations 
by a great earthquake which also loosened the big 
bell. This enormous pile rises only 165 feet fi-om 
the ground, but it comprises between six and seven 
millions of feet of solid brickwork. One of our party 
climbed to the summit, and described the whole build- 
ing as being cracked and loosened in all directions. 
Stacks of bricks and fragments of scaffolding atUI re- 
main as they were left by the bricklayers some twenty 
orthirty years before the earthquake. In front of the 
atmcture are two large coUossal stone lions, or ele- 
phants, or griffins, about forty feet high ; but it is im- 
possible to say what they really are as both their 
heads are off. 

After a long walk in the sun we returned to the 
steamer very tired. 

Arrived at Mandalay about four o'clock in the af- 
ternoon. In the evening Major and Mrs. McMahon 
landed, and we were to follow next morning. 

Here we heard the extraordinary news that Rus- 
sia had renounced the treaty of 1856, and that the 

English fleet had been sent to the Black sea. Next 
morning we had reason to believe that the rumour 
was an exaggeration. 

Suturday, loth December. — Proceeded early in the 
morning to the hospitable home of the political 
agent, and were very glad of the day's rest and 
comfort. Heard some capital stories from Mr. Jonea, 
who appears to have had an original and somewhat 
succeesful way of dealing with the native officials, 
declining to treat with them excepting on easy and 
equal terms. On one occasion a Bm^-mese official of 
high rank asserted his dignity by speaking in a loud 
voice, and leaning his head on one side ; whereupon 
Mr, Jones bellowed out that it was " all right" in 
still louder tones, and stuck his head on the other 
side. Ever since they have been very good friends. 
Heard the story of a visit paid by a number of young 
Chinese nobles, or princes, on board a man of war, 
on which occasion one of the sailors went up to the 
Captain, and touched his hat and said; — " If you 
please Sir, there's one of these here kings been and 
tumbled down the hatchway." 

Sunday, 11th December. — A. day of complete rest. 
In the evening a messenger came fi.'om the Pakhan 
Mengyee, or prime minister, to state that the King 
wished to see us on the following morning, and we 
accordingly agreed to pay a farewell visit to his ma- 

Monday, 12th December. — Proceeded with Major 
McMahon to pay a visit to the palace. The inter- 
view wag of a similar character to the previous one, 
excepting that it was much longer, lasting from half 
past eleven o'clock until two. We did not see the 
Pakhau Mengyee as he was suffering from sickness. 
The following extract from the notes taken on the 


occasion will convey a pretty general idea of the con- 
\ergation which was carried on during the interview 
with the King : — 

His Majesty. — Were you pleased with the recep- 
tion, and did you all enjoy yourselves on your way 
to Bhamo and back to the royal city ? 

Secretary and Political Agent. — Both said that 
they and all on board were much pleased with all 
they had seen, as well as with the marked attention 
and kindness, which had been shown them by the 
officials, and for which they were grateful to his ma- 

Kinrj. — I believe McMahon has been there already 
twice ? 

Political Agent. — Thrice your majesty, including 
this trip. 

King to the Secretary. — I suppose you have by this 
time judged, and found out by personal observation 
and experience, that there is no hindrance to free 
trade. I do assure you that I am very anxious to 
see the gold and silver road opened as soon as pos- 
sible. I have done all that lies in my power to 
promote commerce and trade for the welfare of the 
subjects of both the great countries of England and 

Secretary.- — All that we saw during our recent 
voyage has convinced us that your majesty has cor- 
dially co-operated in the efforts of the British govern- 
ment to re-open the old trade route through your 
majesty's dominions with the people of Yunan ; and 
I have not the least doubt that in course of time the 



I trade with aoutli-'west China will increase, and will 
■ thus promote the prosperity of the subjects of both 
' the great countries. 

King.~Do you remember the subject of the con- 
versation we had at oiu- last interview, regarding 
which I particularly requested you to take notes of 
I what I said for submission to your government ? 

Secretary/. — I do remember and have already mi- 
nuted the same. 

King. — Please to repeat the substance briefly. 

Secretary, — It is the sincere wish of your majesty 
to remain on the best friendly terms with the Eng- 
lish government ; that there will be no war but 
peace between the two great friendly powers during 
your majesty's reign ; and that your majesty takes 
an especial intei'est in furthering commerce for the 
■welfare of the subjects of botli the great countries of 
England and Burma. 

King. — Good: write and let your government 
know my sentiments, and let General Fytche be 
also informed of the same. 

Secretary. — I shall have much pleasure in duly re- 
porting what has passed to General Fytche. 

King.—My predecessora contracted royal friend- 
ship with the sovereign ruler of China, by which a 
gold and silver road was opened for the prosperity 
both of Burma and China. I did the same with the 
English sovereign ruler and entered into a treaty, 
I have done all I could to resuscitate trade between 
Burma and China, and have also assisted English 


merchants who placed themselves under my protec- 
tion. I did so with a view of pleasing the Eng- 
lish government, but I cannot say whether the Eng- 
lish government is pleased with it, or not. 

Secretary. — Your majesty's efforts to protect the 
persons and property of all English subjects in 
your majesty's dominions, are duly appreciated by the 
British government. 

King to the Secretary. — It is a pity the usages, cus- 
toms and notions of the English and Burmese are so 
different from each other ; it is thus difficult for one to 
please the other. When Chinese ambassadors come 
to Burma, they are honoured with rank, title, insignia 
and offices. The same is done to Burmese ambassa- 
dors when they go to China. There is reciprocity. 
Real friendship towards one another is shown and 
proven by acts and deeds openly, and not mei-ely by 
words. I had a mind to show my partiality to the 
English by conferring decorations, but I have been 
told that English officers are not allowed to accept any 
honorary title or decoration even from a friendly so- 
vereign. There can be no real iriendshlp when such 
restrictions are enforced. It is an immemorial usage 
and privilege of sovereign ralers to honour those 
who are deserving of honour; it would be consider- 
ed an affront if any person refused a royal favour. 
I am very anxious to forward decorations and other 
royal marks of friendship and favour, as tokens of 
esteem and good will to the English ministers and 
officers, particularly to the governor general, the 
great ministers, General Fytcho and yourself. I re- 
frain from doing so for fear they might be refused 


and retuiTied. What a shame it would then be to a 
sovereign ruler ! 

Secretary. — Being loyal subjects of her majesty 
the Queen we are bound to obey the orders of our 
government, but no donbt in time your majesty will 
understand our government better. 

Political Agent. — In time both states will un- 
deratand each other's customs. 

Here the King, after a pause good-humouredly re- 
lated at considerable length a story wherein an 
elephant, monkey and a partridge are said to have 
agreed to be guided in all then" doings by the senior 
in age of the three. After much discussion which 
need not be repeated, the seniority was established 
and conceded in favour of the partridge, who proved 
that the banian tree came into existence long after 
his birth, since he had dropped the seed from his own 
beak ; whilst on the other hand the elephant and the 
monkey could only state that the banian tree had 
already sent forth a few branches when they were 

This story was brought in as an illustration to show 
that the Bm-mese custom and usage are of a more 
ancient date than that of any other nation, and that 
therefore they should have the preference above other 
customs. When his majesty had finished, the con- 
versation was resumed as follows : — 

King to the Secretary.' — I wish you to convey my 
sentiments on this subject to the English govern- 
ment, with a view to their modifying the restrictions 
imposed on their mhiistera as far as I (their friend) 
am concerned. 

Secretary. — I will not fail your majeaty to repre- 
sent your wishes in the proper quartera. 

King to the Secretary.- — I regret to say that ray 
Bcrihes have not as yet finished copying the ancient 
history, (the books are so voluminous,) and I am 
thus unable to present them personally to you ; but 
the books will be sent down to you through 
McMahon as soon as they are ready, 

Secretary. — I am much indebted and feel very 
gi-ateful to your majesty. 

After the interview the King provided us with a 
tiffin in the hall of audience, which was served up 
in large silver dishes with golden goblets. Several 
dishes of fruits, cakes, and fresh and dried fruits were 
placed under each cover. We partook of this tiffin 
in company with the minister, during which we all 
conversed together on general topics. 

As we are to be on board the steamer before four 
o'clock in the afternoon, we had no time to see the 
gardens, and the so-called white elephant •, but Mr. 
Ferrie, who had been over the palace with the Eev, 
J. E. Marks on the previous Saturday, has kindly 
furnished me with the following description : — 

" On arriving at the palace about nine o'clock in the 
morning, we found that the princes, who had been 
pupils of Mr. Marks, had not left their beds, and we 
accordingly paid a visit to the so-called white ele- 
phant. He was a vicious brute with white eyes 
certainly, but his skin was of the ordinary colour, 
saving that it appeared as if it had been scrubbed 
with pimiice stone. He was tied up in a shed, but 


was surrounded with all the adjuncts of royalty, in 
the shape of a gold umbrella and a white canopy. 
Next we saw the royal carriages, which appeared to 
be of English or Calcutta make, but were covered 
all over with gilding. After this we saw the htee, 
or umbrella, which is being prepared as a royal 
gift to cover the summit of the great Shoay Dagon 
pagoda at Rangoon. It was being covered with 
gold plates about one-sixteenth of an inch in thick- 
ness, which were hammered on to an iron framework 
with iron nails in the usual Burmese fashion. When 
finished there will be four hundred lbs. of gold 
upon it, which calculated at £4-10s., an ounce gives 
a total of £28,000. 

" We now returned to the palace, and were met by 
one of the princes, and proceeded to the audience 
hall, where we found two other princes. In a 
short time we were told that the King would see us 
"under the ti-ee," which turned out to be a side 
court shaded by trees. We were accordingly led 
to the northern side of the palace, and then after 
ascending a flight of steps, and passing through 
several small doors, we entered a small court yard 
in which was a kind of wooden arbour. Lumps of 
jade stone of considerable value were lying about. 
His majesty appeared shortly afterwards, and con- 
versed with us in the most affable and condescend- 
ing manner for about an hour. 

" The commander-in-chief, who seemed to be a very 
respectable elderly gentleman, was then deputed to 
conduct us, together with the three young princes, 
through all the palace gardens. These gardens oc- 



cupy the north-western comer of the palace enclosure; 
tliey were laid out in squares, and are crossed in dif- 
ferent places by canals of brick work, in which the 
water is said to be seven fathoms in depth. The 
pathways run in every direction, with grottos here 
and there. 

"" We saw some Burmese soldiers being exercised. 
They wore red coats with green facings, and brass 
hats with biloos or griffins in front. They were being 
ti'ained to throw their feet as high as possible in the 
air. After this we took our leave, much pleased 
with the extraordinary scene." 

Tuesday, iBth December.— We left Mandalay yes- 
terday afternoon at four o'clock. TTie Pangyet Woon 
was on board, having been directed by the King 
to proceed to Pagban for the purpose of inspecting 
the iron mines. 

Reached Minjan about two o'clock in the afternoon. 
Here the Captain would have taken six hundred bales 
of cotton on board as cargo, but was prevented from 
doing so in consequence of a demand from the Bur- 
mese custom house authorities for ten per cent 
duty. This was contrary to treaty, but the officials 
would not yield. The Pangyet Woon said that he 
could not interfere, but would report the matter im.- 
mediately to his government, when the restrictions 
would be instantly removed. The officials were 
probably only tiying it on us for the sake of procur- 
ing a bribe. 

Some officials connected with the Burmese tele- 
graph station at Minjau camo on boaid, and I took 

the opportunity of testing the working of the line by 
dispatching a message to Major McMahon at Man- 
dalay, who will probably report hereafter the hour at 
which he received it. 

Wednesday,, 14:th December. — About nine o'clock Kwonngoo. 
this morning we anchored for a short time at the 
village of Ngyoungoo a little above Paghan. Here 
my Burmese writer went on shore with two other 
Burmese, all of whom were accidently left behind. 
It may here be mentioned that the poor fellows 
suffered considerably from their negligence. They 
had to engage a boat, and row day and night for two 
days and a half before they caught the steamer ; and 
they had no warm clothes with them to protect them 
against the chills at night, and nothing to eat all day 
but plantains. 

About ten o'clock a. m. we reached Paghan, where p^BiiaD- 
I bade adieu to the Pangyet Woon. 

This evening we anchored off Yaynan-gyoung. Yaynin-Bj-ounj. 
The Tseekay of the place, a very stout man, came 
on board, and brought with him a singing woman 
and her husband. "We had a perfoi-mance from the 
two which lasted about two hours. The woman 
was pretty, and sang remarkably well, chiefly solos, 
but she also sang one or two duets with her hus- 
band. The melodies were very far superior to any 
native singing I ever heard in India ; less metalUc 
and monotonous, and with melodies almost European 
in style. The first songs were love ditties. A prin- 
cess was in love with a prince, but there was as usual 
some difficulty on the part of the parents, who refused. 
their consent to the maiTiage. The lady declared 



her passion and bemoaned her fate : 
somewhat stronger than is consonant with English 
ideas ; but still there was a plaintive tone, and earn- 
estness in the singing, which rendered it very effec - 
tive. The lady sang how in former times, when 
people were so afflicted with disappointment in love, 
the Brahmas (gods) came down to console and help 
them ; and she asked how it was that they did not do 
BO still ? " Their conduct," she said, " was cruel, Sure- 
" ly they must be fast asleep, and if they are so short- 
" sighted as not to observe the troubles in this world, 
" the people will present them with a pair of diamond 
" spectacles. I am so troubled that I cannot eat, 
" drink or sleep; and it I do sleep for a while my 
" dreams are very terrible. Oppressed by these sor- 
" rows I will fly away to a solitude, and put on the 
" white dress of a mm." Next followed a diiet in 
which the lady complained that her lover took the 
matter very coolly and did not share her sufferings ; 
and above all that he did not take the same trouble 
on her account as she had taken in his behalf. The 
prince replied that women were dangerous, and 
placed their affections on the wealth of their admirer 
rather than on the admirer himself. " The love of 
" women," he added, " may burn fiercely for a while, 
'* but if they lose one lover they soon find another." 

At this point I asked if these people sang nothing 
but love songs. In reply I was told that this was 
far from being the case, as they themselves delighted 
in songs of a more domestic character, like those of 
Bums, but that they always sang lovo songs in the 
presence of Europeans, under the impression that 
such were preferred. At my request the lady then 


left off the amatory singing, and favoured us with. 
songs about flowers and birds, men and children, the 
bleak snows of the Himalayas, the merry sunshine 
of the jungle, the people working in the paddy fields, 
and the boys and girls pla}Tng in the villages. The 
melody of these songs was very pleasing, and 
although not entirely free from that metallic twang, 
in which uncultivated voices are prone to indulge, 
the tones were sufficiently sweet and simple and 
pleasing to the ear, and appropriate to the scenes to 
which the songs refen-ed. 

TImrsday, 15th Decemler.—AX half past eleven Meohia. 

• o'clock this morning we arrived at Menhla, the last 

station within the territories of the King of Ava, In 

the afternoon we entered British territory and finally 

reached Thayet-myo, where we landed for a while, 

Friday^ Saturday and Sunday, IGth, llth and Hcnzaai, 
l8th December. — -The fag end of a return voyage is 
always void of interest, although our party on board 
were as lively as ever. On Saturday we landed at 
Henzada, and were hospitably entertained by Captain 
Plant, and spent a genial evening, which will be 
pleasantly remembered for many a long day by all 

Monday., I9th Deceviber. — On this day at twonangoon 
o'clock in the afternoon we landed at Rangoon, after 
one of the pleasantest trips imaginable. This was 
due partly to the novelty of the localities visited, but 
in a still greater measure to the good feeling and de- 
teiTnination of all on board to promote the pleasure 
of the voyage ; and above all to the constant and 
highly successful eftbrts of Captain Bacon to contvi- 


bute to the happiness of all his passengers, not only 
by the skilful navigation of his vessels through diffi- 
cult waters, but by giving his fellow-voyagers a good 
table, meeting every reasonable wish, and being al- 
ways ready, when circumstances permitted, to join in 
any amusement with which our little party occa- 
sionally sought to wile away the passing hours. 


JBritish Ounna. 

No. 3-1 P. 

Foreign Department. 



Major Geseral ALBERT FYTCHE, c. s. r. 

CuiEF Commissioner, and 
Agent to His Excellency the Viceroy 

AND Governor General. 

C. U. AITCHISON Ebqr. c. s. i. 
Secretary to the Governmsnt of India, 

Foreign Department. 
Dated Rangoon, January 10th 1S71. 

I have the honour to forward for the information 
of the Government of India twelve copies of a Jour- 
nal of the voyage to Mandalay and Bhamo, which 
■was undertaken by my Secretary, Jlr. Talboys 
Wheeler, in the months of November and December 

2. I have been much gratified with the results 
of Mr. Wheeler's trip, which extended for a thousand 
miles up the river Irrawaddy. His Journal furnish- 
es interesting and graphic descriptions of a country 


and people but little known to Europeans ; whilst 
considerable tact and discretion were displayed by- 
Mr. Wheeler in his interviews with His Majesty the 
King of Ava, and the Ministers of State. Mr. 
Wheeler's tact will aiso be found favourably men- 
tioned in the Diaiy of the Political Agent at ]!ilaiida- 
lay, which has been forwarded to your address by 
the same Mail Steamer which canies this despatch. 

3. I trust that the Journal of Mr. Wheeler, as 
well as that gentleman's proceedings, may meet with 
the approval of His Excellency the Viceroy and Go- 
vernor General in Council. 

I have the honour to be, 
Your most Obedient Servant, 

(Sd.) a. FYTCHE, Major General a s. i., 

Chief Commissioner and Agent 

to His Excellency the Viceroy 

and Governor General. 


■>"■ - 


^v ■< 


;> 'i-ii 



r ♦.