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Their occupation. The first forms in which Chinese appear in a foreign country are, either as merchants if they have any capital, or as artificers, if they have none. In Tenasserim the Chinese are merchants and ship owners, or ship-builders, spirit brewers, carpenters, blacksmiths, bakers, and gardeners. The introduction of Chinese in great numbers ought to be encouraged; they would be a great blessing in the wastes of Tenasserim if they would turn husbandmen.
To the generality of this people, Tenasserim as a promising place of resort is unknown, and it is the interest of the Chinese already settled to obstruct a more general introduction of their countrymen, in order to avoid competition. All Chinamen settled here confine themselves to the chief places on the sea-coast. All are married to Burmese women, and their children, if males, are brought up as Chinese, adopting the customs, manners, and dress of their fathers; they are however easily distinguished by their features, which are generally, in the eyes of Europeans at least, more comely than those of either of their parents.
People from India. 1. Chinlias.- The natives of the Coromandel coast, here generally known under the name of Chinlias, somewhat resemble the Chinese in their voluntary expatriation, which has its origin in the too great population of their own country, as they say; but probably much more from the facility of acquiring abroad in a shorter time, a sum of money with which they think to return like the Chinese into their own country again. By far the greater part of both however, have either not had time to accumulate enough, or think they have not enough, and they die before they accomplish their design. Their progeny, a mixed race by native women, is settled for ever in the country. A considerable number of these Chinlias are to be found in Penang and the other Anglo-Malayan possessions. They partly preceded, but many more followed, the extension of the
power in Tenasserim. Their numbers.—Their number is not great, and they are confined to the places where Europeans reside, with whose customs and wants they are much more acquainted than the natives, and by administering to which they gain their livelihood.
2. Bengalees. The same may be said of the Bengalees, who however are always inferior to the people of the peninsula of India in enterprise and capacity.
3. Convicts. The convicted felons transported from Hindoostan, form also a part of this class of foreigners. Their number exceeds at present one thousand seven hundred.
Their fate in Tenasserim.— These unfortunate men are always treated with the utmost mildness, and the present state of many of them, who are well-behaved, is undoubtedly better than it ever could have been in their own country. The system is introduced, that after a few years' transportation, if they behave properly their irons are taken off, then they can be hired out either as workmen or private servants ; as they have then opportunities of mixing with the inhabitants, they have also an opportunity of forming connexions with native women. Many of them, when the term of their banishment is expired, settle in the country, (hitherto but few of them have served out their time); they then form part of the population, as well as their progeny.
System of transportation. This system has been much blamed, and certainly the introduction of so many felons into a country cannot contribute to improve the manners of the original inhabitants, but it does not deteriorate them in that ratio, as is imagined.
Difference between Indian and European felons.-An indian convict is a different being from an European felon, and almost universally the former will be found superior to the latter.
Thugs.—The hideous crimes of the Thugs (the by far greater majority of convicts in Tenasserim are Thugs, or professional murderers) originate in religious motives, and when religious motives are set aside, yet the majority of the Thugs have been brought up from their infancy to murder as to a trade; after their conviction, they prove by their conduct that they are by far not so much depraved as they are supposed to be. The transportation of criminals from Hindoostan to this as well as to other territories, instead of confining them for life in loathsome prisons, is a commendable political act, and it is natural, that such parts should be chosen which are the most distant and in want of population. Though it seems never to have been the intention of Government to form in Tenasserim a penal settlement in imitation of New South Wales, yet part of the Hindoos will undoubtedly become colonists in course of time.
Armenians and Parsees.—Wherever there is a commercial place in the East, holding out a prospect of gain, there we are sure to find Armenians, Moguls, and Parsees, the chief native merchants, resem. bling in a great measure the Jews of Europe, chiefly such as they were in the time of the middle ages.
They are equally a dispersed people with the Jews, without a country of their own, equally industrious, persevering, and shrewd, and equally oppressed when they trust to native princes, but notwithstand. ing wealthy. Until now Maulmain is the only place where they have settled, because it is the only place in Tenasserim carrying on trade.
The Portuguese.-The descendants of the Portuguese, so generally spread along the sea-coasts on both sides of the peninsula of Hindoostan, are also found in Tenasserim. No nation left so many survivors of its transient glories in the East as the Portuguese ; but the progeny of Vasco de Gama's followers is sadly degenerated; they have retained nothing of their renowned forefathers, but the type of their religion, which is however with them only a heap of superstition and show of outward ceremonies, besides their language is barbarously corrupted by numerous Indian idioms. The European features are recognizable in many, but their condition and state of civilization are nearly the same with those of the natives amongst whom they live, and frequently much lower. They have all formed connexions with native women, and have no tie which unites them with Portugal, of which they are altogether ignorant. Their being nominally Christians, and their steadiness in adhering strictly to their faith, preserve them as a distinct class.
American missionaries.—Their are a number of American Baptist missionaries in the provinces. They have made little progress in the conversion of the natives. The Burmese do not well know how to draw a difference between English men and Americans, and they consider the latter to be a peculiar variety of itinerating white people, whose real aim and purpose are to this day unknown, or indistinctly guessed at by the multitude, and to the knowing few, a puzzling enigma. They pass under the name of foreign teachers.
Englishmen almost all in official capacities. There are besides the civil officers of government, and the body of military officers belonging to the regiments, and besides the Europeans constituting the regiments, (two at present), few English residents here, and these are almost all congregated in Maulmain, where they are chiefly engaged in ship building, or otherwise connected with the teak forests in Amherst Province. Until very lately not one English gentleman thought of settling for the purpose of calling forth into practical use the numerous resources of the country. All Englishmen have hitherto been on friendly terms with the natives, in every part of the country. The Burmese population have too much regard for their new governors, not to treat with politeness, affability, and good-will every individual with European complexion, and no European can ever have had reason to complain. The awe which European superiority, and
British political ascendancy inspires and spreads throughout the Eas. tern nations, influences probably as much the natives to treat an EQropean with particular consideration, as the appreciation of security and of a mild rule conferred by the British, over such a great portion of mankind.
Character of the natires superior to the Indians.-The character of the natives in Tenasserim is, on the whole, praiseworthy. By all who have had an opportunity of drawing a parallel between them and the natives of India Proper, they are declared superior to the Indians. One of the peculiar features of Burmese character, and one which is to a superficial observer striking, is their independence and manliness, forming a striking contrast to the submissiveness, humility, and effeminacy, so universally met with in India.
Independence and manliness is an apparent anomaly, if found amongst a people, who have been swayed by one of the most despotic governments in Asia, since time immemorial ; but to account satisfactorily for this apparent discrepancy, it is necessary to keep in view the nature of Indo-Chinese despotism. It is laid down in these countries, and considered by all people as an indisputable axiom, that all and every thing is the property of the king, and that the king is lord of life and land. This rule of state and nations adopted in Indo-China, operates differently for the rights of men, though they have been always under such an axiom unknown, or not understood, yet the infringement of them, could not have been every where effected equally.
I confine my observations to Tenasserim, endeavouring to shew, that independence can exist, even where a man is doomed to be the property of his sovereign from the moment of his birth.
People in Indo-Chinese governments, are theoretically slaves of the king, but not virtually. The government could not use the whole population for government purposes. If part of the population were called upon to sacrifice their personal liberty, either to carry on a war, or to accomplish some public work, it could be only a tem. porary measure, and after the purpose of government was effected the majority would return again to their homes, released from their temporary bondage. The infringement consists in the unjust, forcible, and arbitrary exaction of the property of the subject.
Tenasserim formed an out-station of the Burmese empire. Governors were sent to manage public affairs, who were often superseded by others, before they knew the resources of the provinces. The inhabitants therefore easily found the means to deceive their superiors about their abilities to contribute to the revenue, or refused to do so.
The village head men, or Thoogies, were generally elected out of their own tribe, and by bribing them the villagers often succeeded in deceiving their superiors.
The Tenasserim provinces were a conquered, ruined country, thinly peopled by Burmese colonists, which never yielded a considerable
revenue to government. Taking the inability of the population for 7 granted, the exactions from Ava were more moderate ; and when
the exaction of the governors, and the oppression of government became insupportable, part of the population found an asylum in the wilds of the country.
It is said to have been a common occurrence for people to abscond with their property into the jungles, and there wait for more auspicious times. So common must have been the practice, that after a fourteen years' peace, and annually strengthening confidence in the present government, the Kareans to this day cannot be persuaded to come to town, because they have apprehensions for their personal safety.
When the rumour spread over the provinces, in 1838, that Tharawaddie's armies were approaching to reconquer the country, the people of Tairy and Ye laid up stores of rice in the jungles, ready to fly at the approach of the foe.
Their being greatly freed from the influence of priestcraft, as will be shown afterwards, and their having no castes as well, are two additional weighty reasons for speaking in favour of their independence. Their manliness is ascribable to the same source. The greater portion have often been reduced to extremities in the jungles, where skill and courage were called into play to extricate them from difficulties, and they have enough opportunities to this day to exercise this spirit of manliness, in their often protracted wanderings in the pathless wilds of their own country. Out of this state of the country, such as it was under Burmese rule, sprang another characteristic of the people, not less prominent, but not at all praiseworthy; this is cunning, shrewd. ness, and falsehood. Where people of every rank, from the commonest coolie to the prime minister, had to deal with despots, at whose mercy they were without appeal, and where they had to practise every kind of delusion, to evade the manifold tyrannies which threatened them, cunning and shrewdness were therefore considered virtues of the first magnitude. The common daily bazar proceedings, however, furnish a proof that they are honest enough in mercantile transactions, far more so than their Indian neighbours, and much more than the crafty, treacherous Chinese.
All engagements ought to be ratified in public courts, then they