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“tuft," on the head. After this first educational When the wedding present has been offered and ceremony, the future pupil is sent to the pagodas, received, the matrimonially disposed parties are where he is condemned to pass a certain portion considered finally engaged to each other, and then of his life in studies, which, in nine cases out of the bridegroom removes his residence to the vicinity ten, are for all purposes of future utility useless, of the bride elect, where it is her business, for or even worse than useless—as they are simply an three days before the ceremony, to convey his meals excuse for a wasteful consumption of time, and a to him. For our own part if we were one of the medium for the contraction of habits of idleness, Siamese women, we should look upon this portion which generally influence the whole tenor of the of the marriage ceremony with suspicion ; it seems students' future existence.
very much like a breaking in for the future; but It is an undoubted fact, peculiarly illustrated by it is the custom of the country and the women of Oriental example, that, where women take a low Siam yield to it, as the women of England yield to social position, the commnnity at large.follows many an institution of society in our own land, them in a corresponding degree. The influence of simply in obedience to "custom.” the mother over the immatured mind of child- In cases of divorce, the rules relating to the hood cannot be too highly estimated ; and, where disposal of children are primitive to a degree. her authority as a mother is set aside, her influence Should there be but one child, that one belongs to as such destroyed, the effects must be, as we inva- the mother; if there happens to be two, the riably see they are, calamitous. Thus it is in Siam. second belongs to the father; if more than two The wife, although holding a better position than the odd numbers belong to the mother, the even in some other Oriental nations, is still considered to the father; thus, Nos. 3, 5, 7, etc., would be something in the light of household furniture. She the maternal portion —2, 4, 6, would appertain may be pawned or sold to pay her husband's to the sire. This is certainly a very easy mode debts, unless she should chance to have brought of deciding matters, whether satisfactory or not him a dowry; in which case she is exempt remains a question. from the latter fate, and is held in some what We have elsewhere noticed the despotic power greater consideration than she would be had she of the monarch, and, now that we speak of the come to him a portionless maiden. Besides, she social position of women in Siam, we are reminded is independent, as, in case of divorce, the dowry is of an anecdote in connection with these subjects, returned to her.
and illustrative equally of both. As briefly as Polygamy is permitted, but it must not be un- may be, we will relate it :derstood from this that the different grades of Nuntai, the heroine of the tale, was one of the wives all occupy a similar position in the husband's most beautiful of the Laos girls ; indeed the fatal household—for this is not the case. There is only gift had been lavishly bestowed on her, and the one legitimate wife; she who has been made so by rumour of her charms spread far and near. No the Khan mak, or Siamese marriage ceremony-a one could dance as gracefully as Nuntai; and her mere civil form which, however, has the effect of voice was so melodious, that even the birds making the woman who passes through it the stopped to listen to it, as she carolled forth lier veritable wife, her children the sole legitimate notes, while the thrush with its mocking tones offspring
tried to emulate the sounds in vain.* Some of the preliminary arrangements incidental How gentle she was, this poor, simple Nuntai; to this nuptial ceremony are singular. The nego- how gentle and loving! and then so guileless, so tiation is generally entered into by a third party, unskilled in the world's deep treachery and cuna mediator in fact, who is chosen by the bride- ning,—but then she was little more than a child, groom to intercede with the father of the bride, or she would have been a child in England, for arrange her dowry, if she have any, and settle all she could only number thirteen summers; howother particulars. Should this negotiation be ever, tropical plants and tropical children mature successful, the bridegroom himself, accompanied quickly, and so it was with Nuntai. by his friends in procession, repairs to the resi- Now the rumour of her beauty, spreading as it dence of his future wife, with a suitable offering did, found a resting place at last in the palace of of garments, jewellery, fruits, flowers, and cakes. the great king, Nai Dua ; and, while it rested The garments, we may well imagine, are not of very there, it could not be content with merely resting, great value or number, as the attire of a Siamese but it must go flitting about, here and there, and woman consists of a piece of linen cloth wound everywhere, and doing great and irremediable round the loins, a scarf for the neck, and a palm mischief; for, during its flittings, it entered the leaf hat to be worn out of doors, as a protection cars of the monarch, and flew right down to his from the sun; additions are sometimes made to heart, or to that cold, bad thing, which should this costume, but these are the general garments. have been a kind, good, liuman heart, and inspired The jewellery would form a more important item him with the wish to see Nuntai, and if he in the trousseau, the Siamese women having a passion for trinkets of every description. They
* There is a peculiar kind of thrush in Siam, which is wear rings, bracelets, and necklaces whenever they said to imitate various sounds, the barking of dogs, mewing can-even on their ankles and feet.
of cats, and even the intonations of the human voice.
approved her, to have the girl among the train of trees which bordered the river were very beautiful, bis wives. He never thought of making her his and so green, no emerald was ever half so bright; queen, for he had one queen already, and the , and the birds, with their varied plumage, resting Siamese monarchs only have one queen ; on the branches, and looking like gems in the Nuntai, the poor, dear child, was meant to swell golden rays of the setting sun; fish leaped in the the infamous train of concubines, and have her still water, and even the banks of the river seemed pure heart sullied by legalised guilt.
teeming with buoyant life. Nor was it the Then the messengers of the potent Nai Dua animal and insect world alone which embellished the went to the girl, and delivered the command, and scene ; man in his various phases passed through from that command, she, poor star, knew there the panorama; the peasant from his bamboo hut was no appeal.
watched the royal gilded bark; the merchant She trembled like a palm-leaf when shaken by vessel, adorned with the leaves of the Atap palm, the western blast, and turned her timid eyes to seemed to tarry, that its crew might gaze on the her parents; but there was no hope there, they gaudy vessel; while, from the floating houses, thought the mandate an honour, and when they curious faces appeared, looking with habitual awe saw the silken scarf, with its glittering embroidery, on this appendage of the monarch. which the myrmidons of the sovereign threw over still, past the temples of their gods where priestly the girl's neck and shoulders, and beheld the occupants, with shaven crowns, sit in seeming ungold and gems with which they decked her, and concern of all mundane creation, their own most sought to enhance a beauty which could not be saintly selves excepted, the barge passed, in its increased by such aid as that they prostrated splendour hiding a heart in sorrow. themselves again and again, and uttered over and On, once more, to the great city, with its merover again their praise, and thanks, and fulsome chandise, its traffic, its toil. adulation. And for what ?—the profanation of It was night now, and the fireflies danced in their child. Born in degradation-bred in sub- the murky air. The heart of the maiden sank serviency—every feeling warped—every noble again ; there was something in the city which attribute destroyed by the grovelling condition made her sad. She looked at the great houses, of their lives—they had lost all sense of shame, and they frightened her; she looked at the one and gloried in their child's dishonour.
great house, the one she dreaded more than ever, But with Nuntai, poor rose-bud! the case was and her heart sauk—sank never to rise again. different. The thirteen summers of her young Weeks and months passed, and Nuntai became life had not borne the weight of sin to crush each the favourite mistress of the king. He loved her feeling of innate purity from her heart, and death, -loved her well enough to sorrow for the sorrow although she was not tired of life, would have he had caused. been a more welcome fate than that which awaited "Nuntai," and he took her hand, "you are her. But the poor victim was in the snare ; there | free! You pine for your lost home ; your cheek was no escape.
is as pale as the white flowers in your wreath, A gaily decorated barge floated on the Meinam's while those restless eyes shine with wild lustre. broad bosom. Thither they, these royal mes- Go, poor child! Nai Dua will sorely grieve for sengers, led the maiden. She scarcely knew where the light of his own bright star, but he must live they took her, for her gentle eyes were fixed sadly, darkly, without it.” longingly on her home, and her graceful arms The freedom came too late! The grasp of were stretched towards that home, supplicating a Death was on that girl; she became weaker and return to it. But the painted barge floated on, weaker, and in a few days ceased to breathe. aud soon her home was lost to sight; and then, Within six months of her incarceration in her heart-sick and wretched, she sank down on the royal prison, to which she had been brought in deck of that cruel vessel which so fatally held on health and strength, she died—a victim to the its course.
despotism under which she lived. She wept bitterly for some time, until her And such is the social position of the women sorrow wept itself away, and then, in her childlike of Siam—a contrast, certainly, to that held by the innocence, she began to look about her. The feminine part of England's inhabitants.
The cost of the Indian mutiny is not to be mea- | calculation the immediate commercial loss, and the sured by the expense of conveying and subsisting retrogression of commercial enterprise. the European troops alone, who will necessarily the last thirty years, since men still comparatively be sent to subdue the outbreak, and to preserve young were boys, no country has been so es; future peace, but there must also be taken into / tensively developed by the aid of British capital
and enterprise, as British India. Australia it is | French pay extremely high prices for finer qualities, true, has risen more quickly; but its rise is solely and will have them; hence it is that articles of owing to the gold discoveries. An immense trade a blue colour-cloths, for instance-are always is carried on between the two countries, but little dearer than those of any other tinge. For some or nothing has been done towards advancing the time past Oude has been producing indigo of a introduction here of its timber, gums, fibre, or quality approaching that of Bengal. From these other natural products. Wool, its original
, still two countries the larger part of the importation remains its staple commodity. To this may be
Indigo is made in considerable added copper ; but gold forms the basis of the quantities in the presidency of Madras ; but, owing whole of the exports and imports. If that source to peculiar properties, it is seldom taken, except of wealth were to fail, the country, per se, would for certain descriptions of goods. Some approxibe but very little advanced beyond what it was mation
be formed from these facts of the loss some ten years since.
to trade, by the revolt, in this article alone. It India, and especially Bengal, presents a most is not to be measured by the value of the lost striking contrast. It has risen to what it was by cultivation, but by the enhanced prices of manuslow and imperceptible degrees, like the British factures, and the closing of markets where cheapempire. It is scarcely a century since a few mer- ness is necessary to effect sales. Previously to chants blockaded themselves in a fort on the the outbreak being known here, indigo was rapidly Ganges; it is hardly half that period since Indian declining, though the price was then low. The first productions were of no esteem; but until this intelligence of it caused a reaction, and as the outbreak, India was likely to prove the great pro- mutiny has spread, so have prices advanced, until ducing country of the globe. The direct trade they are higher by 28. per lb.—or 40 per cent. on between Calcutta, America, and France is enormous, the average of those quoted in May; and this, when compared with what it is with other countries. not owing to a speculative, but to a real demand. The French too well understand the value of their Bombay has so long rivalled the Eastern coast settlements on the south-western coast to give them in producing cotton, that the receipts of this up (by purchase), though negotiations were entered article from the latter are not of moment beyond into a few years since to effect that object. They native consumption. The growth of rice has been then bound themselves not to erect forts, &c.; but so extended in other parts of India, as to render a requisition has been recently revived in Paris, the imports from Calcutta comparatively of little for a strong squadron of vessels of war to be sent moment. To give an idea of the amount of trade out to insure the safety of the colony. The Por- in this article, we may state that the total quantity tuguese have been equally tenacious in regard to landed from all parts in Great Britain was 172,238 Goa, though to either nation the trade of the places cwts. in 1828, and from British India only, in themselves are of little value to the mother coun- 1856, it was 3,602,126 cwts., while from all other try. It is at Calcutta, and the British ports ex. parts but 82,875 cwts. came in. Except the finer clusively, that the great business is transacted. qualities for table use, this grain forms the sole
Forty years since, the great staples of what food of the population. If it be not cultivated, were then the northern provinces of Bengal, were another of the horrible famines among the natives indigo, cotton, 'saltpetre, rice, and sugar; and at may be again known, but not to the same extent as present these articles form the bulk, in value, of former famines which have prevailed. The annexed their exports. From Bengal a large proportion of province of Arracan will prevent this, but the enworld's consumption of them is derived.
hanced price which must be paid for importatious The indigo planters depend upon advances on will create much distress, and occasion a further the probable yield, for the due cultivation of the serious loss to the overburdened Bengal treasury. land, and upon the north-western provinces for Upon Bengal alone are we dependent for our their seed. Both these sources are cut off. It supply of salt petre, now so necessary to almost cannot be expected either that the bankers have every art and manufacture. Some small quantities now the money, or, if they have it, that they are brought from Bombay and Madras, but of so will lend it on the uncertainty which must prevail inferior a quality as not to be noted. Nitrate of in reference to the future produce. The value of soda, from South America, is employed as a subthe crop of this dye, at the lowest estimate, must stitute in a very few purposes, but may hardly be be a million and a quarter per annum.
To this said to supersede saltpetre. must be added the value of the works, and other The supply of sugar is, next to cotton, perhaps, appliances for carrying them on, before a correct that which most excites general attention to the judgment can be formed of the mischief done by whole civilised world, the one being equally a the outbreak. East Indian indigo has long super- necessity with the other. In a very valuable work, seded that from Guatemala and Carraccas, which published not forty years ago, speaking of Bengal, formerly supplied the whole wants of the dyers. it is stated :From local circumstances the growth of the plant in South America has gradually fallen off, and the
The process of obtaining sugar is simple, and far less ex
pensive than in the other hemisphere. The juice is exsuperior make in Bengal bas driven South American pressed by the rollers of a mill
, and collected into large completely from the markets. The Russians and iron boilers, where it is boiled down smartly to a proper
consistence, the scum being carelessly taken off. The 393,600 quarters in 1855. Napoleon was correct liquor is suffered to cool, and becomes thick; it is then in theory when he issued the Berlin decees, he stirred about with sticks till it begins to take the form of sugar, when it is put into mats made of the leaves of the
was wrong only in carrying them out. In 1853, Palmyra tree, and the stirring continued until is cold. This India sent to this country 151,000 quarters of process affords a raw or powdered sugar, but clammy, and linseed, in 1954, 196,600; in 1855, 364,300; and apt to attract moisture; by the addition of quick lime to the in 1856, 343,000 quarters, a regular and progresjuice the sugar loses these properties.
sive increase from our own empire, making Such was Bengal sugar at that period. Every this country independent of Russia. With hemp new appliance of scientific art discovered in this also a similar effect was produced. Taking the manufacture has been transmitted to India, until same years, the import declined from 897,380 Bengal sugar enters most largely into general cwts., in 1853, to 471,000 cwt., in 1855, entirely consumption. All the beautifully crystallised from the north. In the same time India (almost sugar, like powdered candy, seen in the shops, is exclusively from Bengal) sent 340,500 cwts., from Benares, and it is only necessary to compare 630,000 cwts., and 696,000 cwts. in the three that with the article manufactured as thus described, years named, and in 1856, 790,760 cwts. to see the rapid progress made in improving it. The progress of the cultivation of hemp is, But increased production at the present time is, perhaps, greater than of sugar, before mentioned. perhaps, of greater importance than improvement For a long series of years the officers of the Com-. in quality. It is well kuown that the growth of pany made great exertions to render the various sugar has not increased in proportion to the in- fibrous substances useful. It is not long since creased consumption, and new sources of supply Sunn was imported for no other purpose than that are anxiously sought after. The total quantity of making door-mats and tow. It was even put used in this country, in 1856, was 7,240,626 cwts.; aside for the former use in favour of old rope on of these the West Indies, the great sugar islands,con- account of greater durability. Now, however
, tributed 3,163,386 cwts.; the Mauritius, also ex- some qualities interfere materially with Russian clusively devoted to sugar, and where the cane is hemp, and there is none that cannot be put to a reared in gro artificially brought to a barren purpose which to some extent supplants the other, rock, for such the island is, 1,441,317 cwt.; Cuba, and tends to bring about an equilibrium of price
. Brazil, and all the other slave states, 1,759,932 Jute, which has a large part in the above imcwts.; and British India, 886,991 cwts. A defi- portation, is merely a sort of flax, but it ciency of 10,000 tons in the general stock has now employs many special dealers throughout raised the price of sugar ten shillings per cwt., or Britain. It has founded a manufacture in Dundee three halfpence per lb. to the consumer, but this and Perth, in making Gunny bags for re-expormutiny endangers the supply of 65,000 tons per tation to India, particularly to the Eastern Archiannum, of which 44,000 tons were used at home,
home, pælago, where these bags are as regularly quoted in the difference, of course, going to other European the price.currents as pale ale or any other Eurocountries.
pean commodity. The number of hands employed To sugar have to be added rum and molasses ; in the north is considerable, and were the price little of the latter comes over, the length of the of the raw article to advance materially, much voyage, and the expense of freight probibiting its social distress must result. exportation. The former spirit, however, figures Rape seed forms a more striking instance of extensively in the general consumption of the work that has been done in India. In 1853, 53,800 article. The navy annually uses a great quantity, quarters were received; in 1856, 252,700 quarters. and for a considerable number of years past has The same remark applies to others of a similar de been supplied with the produce of the East Indies. scription. But beside the seed, an immense Habitual drinkers do not, however, recommend the amount of seed-oil is exported-a new trade, use of East India rum as an ordinary table beverage. sprung up within ten years. Ground nuts,'giogells, It is very strong, therefore deceptive, and the teel, sesame, and other seeds, besides rape and flavour, they say, is anything but agreeable ; but linseed, are expressed in considerable quantities, when mixed with West India, and served out with and the product sent here. We all reinember how a proper proportion of water, by those who nauseous castor oil was formerly, and many suppose like such drinks, this Bengal rum is called deli- it to be nauseous now. It is not so, however, in cious.
reality. We are acquainted with an old purser in One of the great objects in developing the re- the Company's service who always uses castor oil sources of India has been to render us independent in dressing salad, and accordingly have carefully of foreign countries for the supply of necessary eschewed supping with him during lamb and salad articles. The utility of this policy was never so season. This, perhaps, is prejudice. Certain it clearly shown as during the late war with Russia. is that no one who has partaken of them has For hemp and linseed we formerly were wholly de. complained. This condiinent was first introduced pendent upon Russia. Had we remained so, at table for the sake of the children, and it remains we should have been in no small difficulty, since now as a matter of course. In 1834 there were the imports of flax seed and linseed from the received 1,900 cvt. of a thick, glutinous, higla north fell from 884,000 quarters, in 1853, to coloured, and perhaps nasty, castor oil; in 1856,
29,600 cwts. came in, presenting a striking con. / which potters' ware cannot be glazed, did away trast to the former--tlıin, pellucid, and tasteless, with Boracic acid from Italy, until it became too so much so as to be substituted for salad oil with. dear for the purpose. It is doubtful if the acid out discovery.
could ever be made in quantity sufficient to supThe great consumption of all these oils is in ply the demand which there is for tineal and lubricating machinery, and in burning. Continual borax, as it is termed when refined. And so on fishing in the northern seas has greatly limited the with an immense variety of articles. The extent propagation of whales—so much so, that Denmark of the commercial loss by these events will not be has claimed the enforcement of a particular treaty, ascertained for years, but its effect will be manifest which excludes us from the best waters. The in the enhanced prices of goods. southern fishery has long fallen into the hands of There are no statistical tables applicable to the Americans and the New Zealanders ; were it Bengal particularly, but an approximation to not, therefore, for the introduction of gas, and the value of the trade may be gathered from vathese Indian importations, our manufactures and rious sources. our comforts would be at a low ebb for that neces- Previously to 1834, the East India Company sary-oil.
combined political with their trading functions ; Beside saltpetre and castor oil we are totally in that year the latter entirely ceased, their goods dependent upon Bengal for many articles, now were sold off, their warehouses disposed of, and become in such general use, as to be actual neces. their labourers dismissed-though not without lisaries. For instance, safflower, which produces the beral pensions. And here it may be noticed that beautiful pink dye, so much admired in cotton from these men two fine regiments of volunteers, fabrics, and which is valuable for having a peculiar numbering some 1,600 strong, ablebodied young affinity under certain treatment with the cotton. men, were permanently kept up at the Company's Fine qualities of this plant which, early in the expense, and officered by the superior clerks, whose present year were worth £10, are now currently commissions were signed by the Sovereign, and selling at £18 to £20 per cwt. Lac Dye, the im who, by Royal warrant, when the corps was disproved cultivation of which has completely driven missed, were permitted, to retain their relative madders from the market, and reduced the price ranks in the army of Great Britain. At a crisis of cochineal from 17s. to 4s. per lb., is solely like the present, sixteen hundred such trained men brought from Bengal. This substance it is which would have been found worthy of attention. gives so brilliant an appearance to the Guards, and In 1832 the value of imports from British most of the regiments of the line, in distinction India was £6,337,098, and the exports of British to the madder dyed dingy coats of some of the manufactures, £3,750,286. This, however, hardly militia. The gum shellac, which is obtained from presents a fair comparison with the present time, the savie insect as lac dye, is to be found in prices have so fallen both of imports and exports almost every recipe connected with arts or manu- that the quantities of each are nearly quintupled. factures, and it effected a great revolution In 1842 the value of exports from India were some years ago by replacing beaver bats with the £7,120,748, and the imports thereto “four-and-nine," and has created the now uni- | £5,439,564 ; in 1854, the former had increased to versal “ Paris chapeau.” Without shellac, light- £10,672,876, and the latter to £9,127,556. In ness, and imperviousness to wet in this indispens. the succeeding year, 1855, the latest date to which able part of dress would be gone, and we might the returns are made up, we received raw material almost imagine a return of those days when a to the value of £12,668,774, and sent out manu. gentleman might be seen in London walking with factured articles to the extent of £9,949,154.. a handkerchief over his hat in the rain, if an um. Thusbrella or a coach were not to be had. About the
The imports in 1822 were
£6,337,098 year 1825, when joint stock companies were so
12,663,774 prolific, one was formed to meet this particular inconvenience by lending umbrellas. You were
Increase in 23 years
6,331,676 to call at a station, leave a deposit, receive an umbrella and a ticket, return it to any station The exports in 1832 were ...
£3,750,286 in your way, and get back your deposit, at the
9,949,154 same time deducting a small sum for the use of the
Increase in 13 years
These are only a very few of the articles affected by this present war.
There is hardly any
The chief articles imported in the last named one of importance, the growth of other countries, years were-which is not opposed by the production of India.
£1,518,097 Thus, if the imports from thence do not directly Sugar
1,043,480 interfere, they do indirectly, by reducing the cost Linseed
1,297,803 of others. For instance, salt petre, when at a certain price, has the preference over other similar
£3,859,380 ingredients in making soap. Tincal, without