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These nests, which are esteemed as the greatest delicacy upon a Chinese table, are made by a species of swallow in that country, in China, and on the neighboring isles. They are of the size of a goose egg, hemispherical, and found adhering to the rocks. The material of them is not ascertained, but the substance is viscous, resembling isinglass, and when dissolved in broth, becomes a jelly of delicious flavor. The inhabitants resemble the Chinese in their persons, dress and manners. Their houses are made of bamboo, covered with rushes or straw, and stand amidst groves of oranges, limes, plantains and cocoa trees. They use spoons of porcelain, and instead of a knife and fork, they eat with two porcupine quills. -4-eCAMBOJA AND SIAMPA. 721. Situation and General Description. Camboja is a territory of 4 or 500 miles in length, west of Cochin China, peopled by Malays, and inhabitants who resemble the southern Chinese. The country is fertile, and in addition to the grain and fruits of similar climates, affords indigo, camphor, opium, various drugs, ivory, gold and precious stones. This country also furnishes the camboge, a gum yielding a fine yellow tint. Through this country runs the great river Macon, called also Japanese, which descends from the mountains of Tibet. Siampa is a country south east of Camboja, upon the sea coast, whose inhabitants, climate and productions resemble those of Cochin China and Camboja. But Qur accounts of it are very imperfect. -4LAOS. 722. General Description. North of Camboja, and between Tunkin and Siam, lies Laos, an interior Country, of which little is known. The inhabitants resemble the southern Chinese in person, but their manners and religion bear an affinity to those of the Siamese. This country is said to afford the best benzoin and lac, With excellent musk, and some gold and rubies. The inhabitants have the reputation of remarkable integrity, faithfulness and civility, but are very indolent and super
stitious. The country is environed by mountains and forests, and penetrated by the large river Meinam, or Maynam, on which stands the capital, Mohang Leng. *-*SIAM. 723. Situation and Boundaries. Siam, or more correctly Shan, is bounded on the east by a chain of mountains, which separate it from Laos and Camboja, between the 10th and 19th degrees of north latitude. On the south it is bounded by the ocean, on the west by mountains which separate it from Pegu, and on the north by China. Its length is not precisely known, but is about 5 or 600 miles, and its medial bredth about 240. 7 24. Mountains, Rivers and Animals. Siam is, in a manner, inclosed by high mountains on the east and west. Through the country runs the large river Meinam, which is equal to the Elbe, with low banks, which are annually overflowed by the autumnal rains in September. The lands by the river are sown with rice, and the crops reaped in boats, the straw being left in the water. In this, as in all the neighboring kingdoms, elephants are common, and those which are white are heir in particular esteem. Poisonous serpents also infest this country, and fire flies are said to be very numeTOus. 725. Religion, Government, &c. The religion of the Siamese is idolatry, similar to that of the Hindoos ; the chief idol, Codam, is , the same as the Boodh of Hindoostan. The government is despotic, and the prince is held in great veneration. Punishments are said to be very severe. The Siamese have small persons, coarse brown complexions, mixed with red, narrow foreheads, hollow cheeks, large mouth, thick pale lips, teeth blackened by art, features of Tartaric origin. In dress, manners and food, the Siamese bear a resemblance to their neighbors. 726. Language, Literature, Amusements. The Siamese have two languages, the vulgar and the learned ; the latter is called bali. The vulgar language contains 37 letters, all consonants. The vowels and dipthongs constitute a distinct alphabet. The bali resembles the T
language of the Birmans. Education is not neglected in Siam ; children are instructed by the talapoins or priests, in the more useful branches of knowledge, reading, writing and accounts, and the people have books of history, poetry and fables. The amusements of the Siamese are dancing, dramatic representations and pantomimes, ox races, sailing matches, combats of elephants, cock fighting, tumbling, wrestling, rope dancing and fire-works.
727. Houses, Manufactures, Trade. The houses of the Siamese are small, constructed of bamboo, and in the low lands set upon pillars above the water of inundations. Temples and other public edifices are built of brick and stone, and are more magnificent. The Siamese, tho indolent, are ingenious, and excel in the manufacture of jewels. The climate prevents the necessity of much clothing. The avarice of the government destroys industry, for every subject owes six months service to his sovereign. The productions of this country, which form its wealth and the basis of its commerce, are grain, cotton, benzoin, sandal and other valuable woods, antimony, tin, lead, iron, load stones, gold and silver, sapphires, emeralds, agates, crystal, marble and tambac. The latter, called also aloes wood, is the heart of a tree, which is used for incense and perfumes, and is so much esteemed in India, as to be worth more than its weight in told.
728. Situation and Extent. Malacca, or Malaya, is a peninsula, or narrow projection of land, between the gulf of Siam and the bay of Bengal, extending south nearly to the equator, where it is separated from Sumatra by a narrow strait. Its length is nearly 600 miles, and its medial bredth about 150. It is washed by the ocean on three sides, and on the north is bounded by Birman.
729. Character of the Malays. The Malays are of small stature, a tawney complexion, with large eyes, flat noses, and long black shining hair. They are ferocious, restless, fond of navigation, war, plunder, and desPerate enterprizes. Their piratical vessels scour the ****, and often attack and seize European ships. Those who are not slaves go always armed with a poniard. They adapt their dress to their occupation, and instead of long flowing garments which other Asiatics wear, they are clothed in short garments closely buttoned. The mahometan religion has been introduced among the Malays, and with it the use of the Arabic characters. Their language is a dialect of the Sanscrit, and is remarkably soft and musical, most of the words ending in a vowel. 730. Productions and Commerce. Malacca is nothighly cultivated, rice being the chief grain raised for food. But the soil is rich, and its spontaneous productions are numerous and valuable. The country is covered with odoriferous trees and flowers, such as the tambac, the sandal, and the odorous cassia, with pepper, spices, gums, and that delicious fruit, the mangostan. Tin and elephant’s teeth are said to be exported. The forests abound with elephants, wild boars, tigers, monkeys and fowls. The chief city of this peninsula is Malacca, on the southern shore, a place favorable for trade, taken by the Portuguese and held till 1641, when the Dutch took it. It contains 12 or 15,000 inhabitants. **oTHE PIRMAN EMPIRE. 731. Situation and Extent. The Birman empire comprehends the kingdoms of Ava, on the north, and Pegu, or Bagoo, on the south. The Birmans were formerly subject to Pegu, but they revolted and subjected the whole country in the 16th century. This empire now extends from the 9th to the 26th degree of north latitude, and from the 92d to the 103d east longitude. Its length is more than 1000 miles, and its medial bredth about 500. It is bounded on the south by the Malays, on the west by the bay of Bengal and the British dominions, on the north by Asam, and on the east by Tibet, China and Siam. The population is estimated at 17 millions of souls. 732. Mountains, Rivers, Forests, &c. We have ne correct delineation or account of the mountains of Bir
man. A chain on the northern frontier is mentioned,
and another on the west, dividing this empire from the British dominions. The chief river is the Irrawady, which enters the bay of Bengal after a course of 1200 miles. The Mague, or river of Siam, which is of equal length, enters the gulf of Siam. There are many other considerable rivers, and branches of the larger streams, of which our accounts are confused and imperfect. The forests are numerous and large, supplying timber in abundance, and especially the teak, a timber far superior to the European oak. 733. Productions. . The lands of Birman, like those of the adjacent countries, produce trees and plants of the most valuable kind in rich abundance. Here rise in luxuriance the white sandal and tambac, whose fragrance delights the senses; the durable teak, the jet black ebony, the sycamore fig, the Indian fig, the banyan tree, whose foliage is impenetrable to the ardent rays of a tropical sun. Ginger, cardamom, turmeric, betel, cinnamon, laurel, tamarind, aloe, sugar cane, plantain, cocoa, and innumerable other trees and shrubs of the most valuable kind, adorn the forests and enrich the gardens of this favored region. Rice is the chief grain raised for food, but wheat and other grains are cultivated. 734. Animals and Minerals. The animals are such as are common to India. Elephants are numerous in Pegu, and buffaloes in the mountains. A kind of wild fowl, called henza, or braming goose, is, like the Roman eagle, the symbol of empire. This country is the golden Chersonese of the ancients, and gold is yet found in the rivers of Pegu. There are also mines of gold and sil. ver, tin, iron, lead, antimony, arsenic and sulphur. Rubies, sapphires, garnets, amethysts, chrysolites, jasper, load-stone and marble are also found in this country. 735. Religion and Government. The Birmans adhere to the Hindoo faith and worship, as the disciples of Boodh. The Birmans believe in the transmigration of souls, and that finally those which are radically bad will be condemned to everlasting punishment. They have numerous temples, with idols sitting in the posture of tailors. The priests or talapoins inculcate morality, but the manners of the country are repugnant to our ideas of morals. The government is arbitrary, but the king con