1902 Encyclopedia > Siam


SIAM. [850-1] The kingdom of Siam embraces the greater part of the Indo-Chinese and part of the Malay peninsula. On the north-west the river Salwin separates it from Karen-nee, southwards thence the river Toon-gyeen; then, from the Three Pagodas in 18° 15' N. lat. down to the Pak-chan river in 10° N. lat., the principal watershed the range which separates the Me-kong valley from Anam. It then follows this range north, including the country north-east of Luang Prabang, to the frontiers of Tongking. Thence it runs west-south-west, separating the tributary from the independent or Burmese Shan states, and meets the Salwin in about 20° N. lat.


The great natural and economical centre of Siam is the delta of the Me-nam river, which is annually flooded be-tween June and November, the waters attaining their greatest height in August. The inundation covers several thousand square miles, so that the capacity for production of rice, which furnishes two-thirds of the entire exports, is almost unlimited, but is very partially developed both from scarcity of population and want of means of trans-port, mills, and better cultivation. Irrigation channels are, however, cut above the point where the creeks naturally cease by some of the small Chinese settlers. The bar formed at the mouth of this and of the other converging rivers—the Tachim, the Me-klong, and the Pechaburi on the west, and the Kharayok on the east—extends right across the upper end of the gulf, and has 12 or 13 feet of water at high water. The yearly encroachment of the land on the sea is considerable, and the entire delta from Chein-nat in 15° 20' N. lat. downwards has probably been formed in comparatively recent times. At Bangkok sea-shells are found 20 feet below the surface. The Tachim, the first great branch of the Me-nam, joins its right bank above Chein-nat; below this the main stream anastomoses naturally or by canals freely, the banks of the different channels being densely peopled. Above Chein-nat the Me-nam continues deep and navigable up to the junction of the Pak-nam Pho, its east branch being formed by several important affluents from the north-east. The west branch of the Me-nam is formed mainly by two affluents, the Me-wang and the Me-ping, which flow down through the west Laos states, some of whose chief towns are situated on their banks. In this more elevated region the hill ranges, with a general north-south direction, ramify widely, rising in places to from 6000 to 8000 feet, while the valleys between them widen out into great fertile plains, having the appearance of former lake-basins—a view which coincides with ancient local traditions. On the west frontier the rapid and broken stream of the Toon-gyeen, whose tributary valleys on the Siamese side produce valuable teak and cinnamon, flows from a mass of laterite, south of which the central range consists of granite, with syenite and quartzose rocks. Its spurs (6000 feet high) extending in every direction, of sandstones, Carboniferous limestones, and other Secondary formations, are clothed with sappan and other forest trees, and contain probably gold, besides argentiferous lead, tin, coal, and iron, the latter in nodules of clay oxide and brown haematite. On the west of the Gulf of Siam, as far south as 11° N. lat., is a dry barren region, enclosed between two ranges which intercept the rainfall on either side, but farther south are luxuriant damp forests containing Hopea (wood-oil), iron-wood, <&c, with occasional clearings for cultivation, and many rivers with wide mouths, but be-coming mere streams higher up.

Isthmus of Kra

In about 10° 30' N. lat. the Malay peninsula is narrowed by a river at either side to a width of only 27 miles, and there a survey for a canal has been made ; the maxi-mum height of the section is 250 feet, the mean 130; the amount of excavation is estimated at 84 million cubic feet, mostly through hard rock, and the cost at £620,000,000. But the approaches by the river-mouths on both sides are intricate and bad. This has latterly been the chief route across the peninsula; but there are other breaks in the range which forms the backbone of the peninsula, and the Buddhist propaganda is said to have crossed by the isthmus of Ligor. Here, however— perhaps, properly speaking, in Junk Ceylon Island—is the real termination of the great range which comes down unbroken from Yun-nan, separating the Salwin and the Me-nam valleys.

Eastern Siam

East from the plain of the Me-nam, and separating it from the Me-kong valley, a plateau rises with very gradual ascent, clothed to a width of from 30 to 50 miles with forest. From its east side several large and partly navigable rivers flow towards the Me-kong through a sandy and for the most part arid plain, with stunted growth of resinous trees and bamboos, brushwood and grass; but on the lower courses of some of these streams are rich irrigated tracts, producing rice, bananas, sugar, maize, and the usual tropical vegetables. The whole region is very unhealthy, especially in the wet season. Travelling would hardly be possible without elephants, of which some are kept in every village. The rocks are mostly calcareous or sandstone, and at the south edge of the plateau corals and recent shells at a slight depth show the former limits of the land. Farther north the mountains of Pechaboun and Lorn are rich in magnetic iron ore, argentiferous copper, antimony, and tin. Only the first-named is worked to any extent; and, though by very primitive methods, a large quantity of tools and weapons are manufactured. From the south of the plateau a range sweeps round to the south-east into Cambodia, outliers from which are the two peaks north and east from Chanta-boun, the latter noted for its emeralds, topazes, and sapphires. Isolated hills, apparently volcanic, occur, as the sacred Mount Phrabat, to the north-east of Ayuthia, where there are hot springs and a famous footprint of the Buddha, and the conical hills at Pechaburi in the south-west, consisting of lavas, scoriae, and trachytic rocks, abounding in caverns elaborately fitted as temples.


Tin is extensively distributed, especially throughout the Malay peninsula, where it is worked at Bang-ta-phang in the province of Chumphon, at Chaija and Chaliang, also on the Me-klong, at Kan-buri, and at Rapri. Gold is found pretty extensively in Tringanu and Pahang; there are mines at Bang-ta-phang; and it is extracted in the Me-kong valley by washing or with mercury. Most of it is consumed in trinkets and presents given by the king,—gold leaf being imported from China for gilding pagodas, &c. Iron abounds in the east, as at Loin and Mulu Prey, antimony at Rapri, lead at Pak-phrek and Suphan, silver in the Me-pik valley. Both the lead and copper ores are often argentiferous.


Much of the natural rainfall in Siam is intercepted by the high lands of the Malacca peninsula and by the mountains on the north-west and north, while the proximity of the Gulf of Siam tempers the heat. The rainfall at Bangkok on an average of ten years is 67.04 inches, of which 50.59 inches fall from May to October inclusive [851-1]. The mean annual temperature is 80°'l, varying from 74°.8 in December to 83°.4 in April; the lowest recorded absolute minimum was 57° in December 1866, the highest recorded absolute maximum 97°.5 in May 1867. The north-east monsoon begins to blow early in November, preceded by a month of variable weather. It has lost half its force in January, and by March strong south and south-south-west winds have set in, the south-west monsoon blowing then steadily and strongly till September. Thus there are three seasons of four months each, —the hot, rainy, and cold.

As to general features, the fauna of Siam is identical with that of Burmah and of southern China, and is one of the richest in the world. Elephants are very numerous in the south and east, but are not found so far north as in India. They are as intelligent as the Indian, but usually less highly trained. White (albino) mon-keys are sacred, as are the elephant, an iguana which lives in the house and kills rats and other vermin, and the crow ; white ants' nests are respected as resembling pagodas, so that libraries are often kept in tanks to escape the ants' ravages.


The flora is very similar in character to that of Burmah and has much in common with the Chinese, the transition to which is almost insensible. The coast region is characterized by mangroves, pandanus, rattans, and similar palms with long flexible stems, and the middle region by the great rice-fields, the cocoa-nut and areca palms, and the usual tropical plants of culture. In the temperate uplands of the interior, as about Luang Prabang, Hima-layan and Japanese species occur,—oaks, pines, chestnuts, peach and great apple trees, raspberries, honeysuckle, vines, saxifrages, Cichoraceae, anemones, and Violaceae; there are many valuable timber trees,—teak, sappan, eagle-wood, wood-oil (Hopea), and other Dipterocarpaceae, Cedrelaceae, Pterocarpaceae, Xylia, iron-wood, and other dye-woods and resinous trees, these last forming in many districts a large proportion of the more open forests, with an under-growth of bamboo.


Numerous caravans of cattle, horses, mules, and porters pass annually from Yun-nan (south-west China) to the northern (Siamese) Shan states, whence many of them proceed via Chieng-mai to Moul-main (Maulmain). They bring from China silk goods, tea, opium, and brass wares, and take back raw cotton, deer and rhinoceros horns, ivory, and saltpetre. The northern states, which are a great breeding-ground for cattle and ponies—elephants too are exported into Burmah—send down teak and other produce. The proposed rail-way from Moulmain via Myawaddi to Raheng, and thence to Kiang-sen, 190 miles from the Chinese frontier, is intended to stimulate not only the traffic with China but the local resources (see address by Mr Holt Hallett, C.E., in London Chamber of Commerce Journal, 5th May 1885). The eastern states, comprising nearly half the area and a considerable part of the wealth of the kingdom, send much produce via Korat to Bangkok. They produce chiefly China grass (Boehmeria nivea), sugar, indigo, silk, cardamoms, cotton, tobacco, sisiet (a substitute for betel), beeswax, benzoin, lac, iron, lime, sulphur, salt, coarse pottery, mats, hides, tigers, and bones, horns, and tusks of elephants, rhinoceroses, and boars. European cottons and hardware and Chinese goods penetrate everywhere, the chief entre-pots being Nangkoi in the east and Chieng-mai in the west. The eastern plains produce alternate crops of rice and salt. The rains dissolve the salt in the soil and wash it down, making cultivation possible. In the dry season the salt comes up again and is swept up from the surface. Much alcohol is distilled and consumed. Vast quantities (6900 to 7900 tons) of dried fish are prepared at Lake Tonle-sap, and at fisheries on the coast. [851-2] Although silk has been known from remote antiquity, it is produced exclusively by the Lao communities settled throughout the country,—the chief centres being Korat and Battampong.

Exports and Imports

The export in 1884 was 325 cwts., valued at £19,890; but the best quality hardly reaches the Bangkok market, its natural bright yellow colour making it difficult to dye. There is, however, not much of it, the demand for the better kinds being supplied from Cambodia. But for the apathy and indolence of the people the production might be largely increased ; the spinning and reeling apparatus too are very primitive, though some beautiful cloths are woven at Chieng-mai. Much of the trade in teak and cattle is worked by Burmese; otherwise almost all the trade of the country is in Chinese hands. In some of the remoter districts barter is resorted to, beeswax, salt, lac, and bars of iron being mediums of ex-change ; but generally silver is used, and sometimes Indian rupees. Civilization increases in the eastern districts as the frontier of China is approached. In 1884 419 vessels cleared from Bangkok with cargoes valued at £27,170; of these 240 (tonnage, 151,984) were British. In addition, there were 143 junks (tonnage, 3350). The total value of the exports was £2,262,240, rice being the prin-cipal item, £1,444,200. The imports were valued at £1,044,255, the chief items being—grey and white shirtings, £161,997 ; opium (704 chests), £81,410 ; chowls, i.e., shawls, a cotton cloth from Bombay, £105,264. In 1885 the exports were valued at £1,907,006 and the imports at £1,380,233. The exports being in excess of the imports, the difference is paid in Mexican dollars, which are melted down and re-coined,—the silver coinage being the standard of weight.

Coinage and Weights

The money and weights seem to be the same as the Old Cambodian. A copper coinage has replaced the cowries, and there is also a silver coinage, viz., the fuang=7 1/2 cents, the salung=15 cents, the bat or tikal = 60 cents or half a crown, 5 tikals = 3 Mexican dollars. From the tikal upwards these coins are also used as measures of weight. Thus 1 tikal weighs 15 grammes or 231 grains, 4 tikals = l tamlung, 20 tamlungs = l chang or catty, or two Chinese catties, = 3'2 lb. There are a few gold coins, but not in general circulation. Their value is sixteen times their weight in silver.


The land-tax is fixed at ten per cent., the first person who clears land being entitled to hold it. The tax on garden produce and on fruit trees is higher, but is fixed at intervals of some fifteen years, or at the beginning of a reign. There is a corvee of four months in the year, to which all classes except the nobles and the priesthood are theoretically liable, but it may be commuted for a poll-tax of from 6 to 18 tikals, payable either directly in money to Government or to the feudal superior, for all except the nobility are thus depend-ent on a superior ; in the provinces it is payable in kind through the governor. A smaller amount, 1J tikals, is payable by masters for their slaves. But there are some considerate exceptions, viz., persons over sixty or under eighteen years of age, or who have three sons paying the tax, and cases of incurable illness. If a special demand for labour be made there is exemption from poll-tax for that year. The Chinese only pay 4 1/4 tikals biennially, and Euro-peans are exempted. There is a tax on houses, on amusements (theatricals, dancers, &c), and on fishing-boats, nets, and other tackle. There is a royalty on tin, and the sale of opium and of alcohol is a Government monopoly, farmed to Chinese. Three per cent, is levied by treaty on British and other foreign imports, export duties on a great number of raw articles, and inland or transit dues on certain tropical products. The revenue from all these sources is estimated at 80,000 catties (£800,000).


The head of the administration is the king, with five ministers,— viz., of war, foreign affairs, northern provinces, agriculture, justice, —and some thirty councillors. The office known to Europeans as "second king" (Siamese, wang-na, lit., "front palace") is difficult to define, as the share taken in government by him depends very much on his individual character. He has a palace and an official establishment, and a few soldiers at his orders. The country is divided into forty-one provinces, excluding the Laos and Malay states, and the Cambodian provinces. The provinces are of different grades, and their governors have very different degrees of authority. Speaking generally, they have cognizance of all civil cases,—though there is an appeal to the capital (which generally reaches its destina-tion, as the governor's council act as spies),—and of minor criminal cases. The graver crimes, as murder and dacoity, involving a question of life or death committed in Siam proper, are referred to a special department in the capital. Villages are governed by a head-man (kamnan, amp'hon, or nakhon), sometimes with a small salary, chosen usually in accordance with the popular wish, and dependent on the provincial capital. The Siamese mandarins in the Lao provinces do not oppress overmuch, nor do the native chiefs, since their power depends on their popularity. Besides the lower grades there are always four principal officials, the chao, lord or king, the uparat, rachavangsa, and rachabutr (the first title of Chinese, the others of Indian origin). These are hereditary in one or two families, any disputed succession being referred to Bangkok. The Siamese law is recognized, but the national "customs" are much regarded, and in ordinary cases followed. Civil and criminal processes alike end usually in a fine. Besides the capitation tax, there is a duty on rice, and each state pays tribute to Bangkok. The tie between Bangkok and the Malay states is slighter, being con-fined usually to interference in cases of disputed succession, and to a triennial tribute of a gold or silver tree or flower. The rules of procedure in Siam are very strict, but theoretically there is no hereditary rank.


The laws of Siam are ancient, though not very full or complete, a great part having been lost at the sack of Ayuthia in 1753. Generally speaking, they are referable to an Indian origin, especi-ally as regards religious, moral, and ceremonial ordinances ; the civil and criminal codes bear the impress of Chinese influence. There are several digests of the law, some centuries old, under sys-tematic headings, e.g., of the civil law, real and personal property, inheritance, ranks, evidence and ordeal, marriage, education, parental authority, slavery, money, weights and measures, contracts, and of the penal code, crimes, punishments, police, prisons. The king is absolute, but claims no absolute rights over the land. Great attention is paid to precedents. Among the peculiarities of the system are the employment of ordeal—by diving or chewing rice, &c.—in the absence of witnesses, and the rejection of the evidence of certain classes, viz., drunkards, gamblers, virgins, executioners, beggars, persons who cannot read, and bad characters. When a crime is committed the family and even neighbours of the accused can be held responsible for his appearance. The property of in-testates goes to the king, of an intestate priest to his monastery ; but the neglect of the heir to perform funeral rites renders his claim to property invalid,—a curious relic of Hindu feeling. Another trace of this may be found in the hereditary professions, though their doctrinal significance as castes has disappeared. The laws have many curious and not inequitable provisions about slavery (see below), e.g., if a temporary (debtor) slave has undergone punish-ment or suffering for his master, his debt shall be remitted wholly or in part; but, if he is a slave absolutely, his master is not legally liable. And there are well-defined rules as to non-fulfilment of contract with a slave, his maintenance during famine, injury by accidents, employment as a substitute in war, &c. Slaves who are allowed to become priests or nuns are free.


All men are liable to serve in war; but only from 4000 to 5000, taken from classes specially at the disposal of the war department, are regularly trained under European officers. The capital and surrounding forts are garrisoned, and there is a body of palace guards. The fleet consists of some twenty men-of-war and armed steamers and 500 junks.


The population is estimated by the Siamese Government at 6,000,000 for Siam proper, 3,000,000 Siamese Laos, and 1,000,000 Malays ; others estimate it variously at from 6,000,000 to 8,000,000. There are besides perhaps from 1,500,000 to 2,000,000 Chinese. In lower Siam the population is clustered along the rivers and canals ; in the diversified hill and plain country to the north it is distributed more generally. In character the Siamese are mild, patient, and submissive to authority. They are hospitable to strangers and to the poor ; quarrels, violent crimes, and suicide are rare. But they are idle and apathetic ; much time is devoted to amusements, as festivals and processions, boat races, games, cock and dog fighting, and even combats between fish. The position of women is good, although girls can be sold as wives. The Chinese population are energetic and industrious, but very independent, and sometimes give trouble, so that their increasing numbers and organization through their secret societies are a source of anxiety. The Siamese are of medium height, well formed, with olive complexion, darker than Chinese, but fairer and handsomer than Malays, eyes well shaped, nose slightly flattened, lips a little prominent, the face wide across the cheek bones, top of forehead pointed and chin short, thus giving the face a lozenge shape, beard scanty and with hairs pulled out, hair of head coarse and black. But intermarriage during many ages with Peguans, Laos, and Cambodians (though in many cases they and their descendants keep themselves apart), as well as of slaves from the aboriginal races, has produced much variety of type. Besides the Karens, who are the remnant of a more widely extended people, and who are found on the borders of Siam and Burmah and throughout the mountains of north and west Siam, the Lawas in the same region, and the Khongs, a settled people inland from the north-eastern angle of the Gulf of Siam, many other tribes of the earlier inhabitants are found occupying the whole of the forest region on both sides of the Me-kong, and known to their different neighbours by various names, all probably mean-ing simply "man," or "savage," as Kha, Moi, Pnom, Lolo. These eastern tribes more or less resemble each other. They are shy and timid, some having no chiefs or social organization, and these are preyed on or hunted down as slaves by their more civil-ized fellows in combination with the Laos. One division of these tribes, the Kouis (the name recalls the savage "Gueos" of the Portuguese), amalgamates readily with the Laos and in some provinces forms the bulk of the population. They live by cultivating rice, by collecting honey, beeswax, and resin, or by the chase. Their women are absolutely free before marriage, but adultery is punished with death. They worship ancestral and other spirits and can hardly be called Buddhists. Yet with a few exceptions these earlier peoples are by no means inferior in appearance to the Thai or Siamese, but often the contrary ; some ethnologists assign them a Caucasian origin, and identify them with the brown Polynesian race.


Slavery is general, but consists mainly of bondage for debt, a debtor being able to sell himself, wife, or children, or nephews or nieces,—their freedom being recoverable on payment of the debt. But the present enlightened ruler has set his face against the practice, and decreed its abolition, except in the Laos provinces and in the eastern states. The market is further recruited, first by the sale of offenders, who have the option between death and slavery, and secondly by slave-hunting raids, made in combination with the Anamites, on the villages of the wilder aborigines. These are dis-posed of on the spot or else to dealers from Cambodia or Siam proper.


BANGKOK (q.v.) was established as the capital in 1782 after the sack of Ayuthia by the Burmese. Its population was estimated at about 300,000 in 1886. Ayuthia, now called Krung-krao, the famous capital founded in 1351 and half destroyed by the Burmese in 1767, was a generation ago the second city of the kingdom. It is still important as the entrepôt of the trade of south Laos. Many junks and fishermen come up from Bangkok. The modern town is chiefly on the water. In its most prosperous days in the 16th century it was three leagues in circumference, and contained distinct quarters for foreigners of different nationalities—Chinese, Peguans, Malays, Malabars, Japanese, and Portuguese. Prominent among its great buildings is the pyramidal structure called the Golden Mount, some 400 feet high, surmounted by a dome and spire ; but most of them are now crumbling away into great broken masses of sculptured masonry, statues, and spires, half buried under the vegetation of the tropics. Chantaburi, near the Cambodian frontier, the second port of the kingdom, is noted for its shipbuilding and fisheries, and has an active export trade from the south-eastern provinces. There are considerable Chinese and Burmese elements in the population, which in many of those southern towns is much mixed. Paknam, the port of Bangkok, 3 miles from the river's mouth, is fortified, as is Paklat Lang, S miles higher up, which is inhabited chiefly by Peguans. Various canals extend hence across the delta towards the Me-klong. Near its mouth is the town of Me-klong, peopled by Chinese merchants, fishermen, and gardeners. Higher up the river, at the foot of the hills, is Prapri, peopled by descendants of Cambodian captives. Pechaburi, a little to the south, at the foot of a range some 1500 feet high, where the king has a palace, is built after English designs; its inhabitants are Peguans. Petriu, on the east side of the Gulf of Siani, on the Kharayok river, has sugar plantations cultivated by Chinese. At Bangplasoi, at the mouth of the river, are extensive fisheries. Raheng, some 300 miles up the Me-nam, possesses docks, and there a good many teak ships are built. In the Lao or Shan country to the north Chieng-mai (Zimmé) is the most important tributary state. Its capital, Chieng-mai, the Jan-gomai of early European travellers, is the principal town of that region, with broad streets of good teak-built houses, surrounded with gardens, numerous pagodas, markets, and a large population. It lies in the wide fertile valley of the Me-ping, and is a great entrepot of trade from Bangkok and south-west China (Yun-nan and Ssmao), which finds its natural outlet thence to the Bay of Bengal. The rice, timber, &c, of the districts through which this route passes are considerable. Lapong, in the same valley, and Lagong, on a neighbouring tributary, are Lao towns of less importance and subordinate to Chieng-mai, as were formerly Nan and Pre, fertile teak-producing valleys to the east. Kiang-hai and Kiang-sen, farther north, on the Me-kong, were old Lao capitals of note (see SHANS), as was Luang Prabang, with its charming capital, which, like Chieng-mai, still retains some administra-tive independence. The extensive fertile and partly wooded plains to the north and east support great herds of cattle. With Vien-chang, a little lower down the river, Luang Prabang held its own for centuries against both Siam and Burmah. On the destruction of Vien-chang in 1828, Nangkoi, 25 miles lower down, increased in size and importance, and now has an extensive trade in English and Chinese goods. This district might perhaps without much difficulty be opened up by an easy route starting from Lakhon, only 130 miles distant from the sea. One of the most important provincial centres is the district of Korat, on the eastern plateau. The country is a series of fertile oases separated by tracts of waterless forest, contain-ing good timber, and full of game. The town is fortified, and has about thirty pagodas and some well-built houses, belonging chiefly to the Chinese merchants. Cart roads converge hither with the traffic both of north Laos and of the Cambodian provinces south and east, the latter passing up the fertile Moun valley on its way to Bangkok. The whole region between the Dang-rek Mountains and the Moun river is full of splendid ruins, attesting the former Cambodian influence as far at least as 16° north, to which limit, . therefore, the southward movement of the Laos may be supposed to have reached at the date of these buildings. The principal ruins of the district are found at Korat, Bassac, Phimai, and Ku-khan. The character of this wonderful series of buildings, the greatest of which, those of Angkor, are on Siamese territory, have been touched on under CAMBODIA (q.v.), to which they properly belong ; but it may be mentioned here that the earliest inscription yet found, relating to the erection of a Sivaite linga, is interpreted as belonging to 589 saka=667 A.D., though another, undated, refers to three generations earlier. The earliest references indisputably Buddhist that have been found are three centuries later than this.


With the exception of a few schools in the capital, education is entirely in the hands of the priests, the boys going to the temples between the ages of eight or nine and thirteen. The teaching is elementary, and, by the precepts of Buddhism, must be gratuitous, the pupils repaying it by menial services in house or boat or garden, or by presents of food. At thirteen the boy enters on a novitiate, which lasts till the age of twenty-one ; but, if not inclined for study, he may give it up after three or four months,—this tem-porary consecration symbolizing a separation from the world. At twenty-one, if so disposed, he may enter the priesthood ; but there are no perpetual vows. Girls are taught, if at all, only at home, by parents or brothers. There are no educational endowments ; but a certain number of persons occupy themselves with literary studies, as history, astrology, or alchemy, with which medicine is more or less combined. Medical practice, indeed, comprises a good deal of magic; but there is also considerable knowledge of medicinal herbs, and ancient medical works were written in Pali. Inoculation was long ago introduced by the Chinese, and vaccination lately by European missionaries. Women after childbirth are exposed for some time to the heat of a strong fire, the result being sometimes fatal.


Skill is shown in the casting of large metal statues 50 feet high or more, in repousse work in gold and silver, in enamelling on metals, and in gold and silver tissue work. Their drawing is spirited, but strictly conventional. The system of music is elaborate, but with no written notation. There is no harmony, but all the instruments of the orchestra play in unison, breaking off into variations and then returning to the air. They are proud of their national music, and both men and women play and sing generally. Their instruments are—a harmonicon with wooden or metal bars struck with a hammer, a two-stringed and a three-stringed violin, fiutes, drums, and pipes, also the Lao "organ," the tones of which, produced by metal tongues in the pipes, are very effective.


The Buddhism of Siam is the same as that of Ceylon, with slight doctrinal differences, much insisted on, from the Burmese. It is, however, professed in its purity by very few. The religious re-form initiated by King Phra Mongkut, himself for many years a priest, has divided the people of the capital into two sects,—the reformed, known as Dhammayut, and the older or unreformed, Phra Maha Nikai. The former attach more weight to the obser-vance of the canon than to meditation. The other sect is again divided into two parties, the one holding more to meditation, the other to the study of the scriptures. The only Brahmanical temple remaining in the country is at Bangkok, and its priests are said to be of Indian descent. Brahmans, however, are constantly employed in divination, in fixing the fortunate days for warlike expeditions, business transactions, marriages, and the like, and in arranging festivals. Buddhism is corrupted by a general worship or propitiation of nats or phees (spirits or demons); superstition in the more remote districts constitutes practically the only reli-gion. The belief in these spirits informs and affects every department of life. There are local earth divinities to whom temples or shrines are erected. Others with human or animal form dwell in the water. Others cause children to sicken and die. Others wander and deceive as ignes fatui. By certain spells men can become tigers or were-wolves. Bodies of the dead are sometimes possessed, and they are carried out not by the door but by an extemporized opening, so that they may not be able to rind their way back. The numerous offerings and honours paid to these spirits lead to drunkenness and to killing of animals in sacrifice. Phallic worship prevails to a considerable extent, notwithstanding the efforts of the king to put it down. A female incarnation of deity, the Nang Tim, is found in one or two villages of east Laos. Pilgrimages are frequently made to sacred places with Indian names (all the chief towns, indeed, have an official Indian name). Many of the figures and designs employed in the ornamentation of houses are really talismans intended to avert evil. The temples, with their surrounding monastic establishments, form a conspicuous feature everywhere. Some are very extensive, covering altogether an area of 100 or 150 acres. New temples are often built, or the priests' quarters in the existing buildings repaired, by rich men desirous of "acquiring merit." The temples (wats) hold very little landed or house property ; but, where they have been built or repaired by the king, or presented to him by some high official, they enjoy a small income chargeable on the revenues of the district, besides receiving presents from the king when he visits them in state. The priests of such temples are bound in return to give their services at state ceremonies, and their secular affairs, including repairs of temples and disciplinary matters, are administered by a special department of state. There remain now at Bangkok only two communities of nuns, who are employed in the service of the temples, and are allowed to receive voluntary offerings.


The numerous public festivals are partly connected with religion, but are accompanied with much rejoicing and amusement. Among them are the lunar and the fixed New-Year's Day, and the festival of agriculture, when the plough is guided by the minister, the ladies of the court following and sowing seeds, which are picked up by the people to add to their usual sowings. At the ceremony at which the king and his ministers pledge themselves, the former to administer impartial justice, the latter to be faithful and loyal in their service, the oath is taken by drinking water, and the meet-ing of the king and nobles, with all the attendant paraphernalia, forms a gorgeous spectacle, the day terminating with fireworks and processions of boats. On the king's state visits to the wats there are festive processions of boats and troops. Other festivals are at the beginning and end of the rainy season. When the floods begin to subside there is a great water procession, and the priests command the waters to retire. Even the cutting of the king's hair is made an occasion for rejoicing. In every family the cutting, at the age of twelve or thirteen, of the tuft left on the top of the head is a great ceremony; it is not practised, except by way of imitation, among the Laos. The head is considered very sacred (this is a characteristic Papuan notion); no one must touch it, nor may it be raised above that of a superior, as in a carriage or boat. The funeral ceremonies of a prince or great man, often delayed for some months after death, are also attended by elaborate feasting, dancing, and other amuse-ments in temporary buildings erected for the purpose. The dead, with the exception of the poor, whose bodies are given to the vultures and wild beasts, and women who die in childbirth, are usually burned within the wats, the ashes being preserved, or mixed with lime to plaster the sacred walls. A rich man will often bequeath a limb to the birds and beasts.


The Siamese month is lunar, and, as a lunar month contains 29 1/2 days, they give the odd months 29 and the even 30. This gives a year of 354 days, and to make up the deficiency they intercalate seven or eight months in nineteen years, and add besides an occa-sional day to the seventh month. The years are denoted by a cycle of twelve names (of animals) taken in decades, so that every sixtieth year the year of a given name returns to the same place in the decade. The system resembles the Indian cycle of sixty years, but it is derived from China, where it dates from 2637 B. 0. Two eras are in use, the Putta Sakarat or Buddhist, used in reli-gious matters, which commences 543 B.C., and the civil era or Chula Sakarat (i.e., little era), said to commemorate the establishment of Buddhism in 638 A. D. The ancient Aryan inscriptions usually employ the Saka (Salivahana) era, dating from 79 A.D.


The name "Siam" has been usually derived from a Malay word, sajarn, "brown"; but this is mere conjecture. They and the Shans both call themselves Thai (Shan Tai), i.e., "free," and the Peguans call them Shan or Shian, which seems to be a translation of " Thai "and an allied word, as are perhaps Ahom = Assam, and Sam (Assamese for Shan). The obsolete Siamese word is Siem and the Chinese Sien-lo,—the Sien being, according to them, a tribe which came from the north about 1341 and united with the Lo-hoh, who had previously occupied the shores of the gulf, and were probably Shans. The Siamese call the Shans Thai-nyai, " Great Thai," perhaps as having preceded them, and themselves Thai-noi or "Little Thai." They are probably therefore closely related, though this is disputed by De Rosny and others; but the inferior physique of the Siamese may be explained as due to intercourse with Malays and other southern races and to their more enervating climate. Meanwhile for many centuries before the southward move above referred to the entire south as well as south-east of the Indo-Chinese peninsula was Cambodian. The town of Lapong is said to have been founded in 575, and the half-mythical king, Phra Buang, to have freed the Siamese from the Cambodian yoke and founded Sang-kalok, on the upper waters of the Me-nam, in the following century. Buddhism is said to have been introduced in his time, but Indian influences had penetrated the country both from the north and from the south long before this. Other Lao towns were built about the 7th century, and during the following centuries this branch of the race gradually advanced southwards, driving the Karens, Lawas, and other tribes into the hills, and encroaching on what had hitherto been Cambodian territory. Their southward progress may indeed almost be traced by their successive capitals, several of which are clustered on the Me-nam within a short distance of each other, viz., Phitsalok, Sukkothai, and Sangkalok on the eastern branch, Nakhon Savan at the junction, and Kamphong-pet, the immediate precursor of Ayuthia, on the western branch. A Sukkothai inscrip-tion of about 1284 states that the dominions of King Rama Kamheng extended across the country from the Me-kong to Pechaburi, and thence down the Gulf of Siam to Ligor ; and the Malay annals say that the Siamese had penetrated to the extremity of the peninsula before the first Malay colony from Menangkabu founded Singapore, i.e., about 1160. The ancestors of the Siamese were then on the western branch of the Me-nam, and in 1351, under the famous Phaya Uthong (afterwards styled Phra Rama Thibodi, and prob-ably of a Shan family) moved down from Kamphong-pet, where they had been for five generations, to Chaliang ; and, being driven thence, it is said, by a pestilence, they established themselves at Ayuthia. This king's sway extended to Moulmain, Tavoy, Tenasserim, and the whole Malacca peninsula (where among the traders from the West Siam was known as Sornau, i.e., Shahr-i-nau or Newtown, probably in allusion to Ayuthia,—Yule's Marco Polo, ii. 260), and was felt even in Java. This is corroborated by Javan records, which describe a " Cambodian " invasion about 1340 ; but Cambodia was itself invaded about this time by the Siamese, who took Angkor and held it for a time, carrying off 90,000 captives. The great southward expansion here recorded, whether of one or of two allied Thai tribes, confirms in a remarkable way the Chinese statement above mentioned, and was probably a consequence or a part of the great contemporaneous activity of the more northern Shan kingdom of Mau. The wars with Cambodia continued with varying success for some 400 years, but Cambodia gradually lost ground and was finally shorn of several provinces, her sovereign falling entirely under Siamese influence. This, however, latterly became displeasing to the French, now in Cochin China, and Siam has been obliged to recognize the protectorate forced on Cambodia by that power. Vigorous attacks were also made during this period on the Lao states to the north-west and north-east, followed by vast deportation of the people, and Siamese supremacy was pretty firmly established in Chieng-mai and its dependencies by the end of the 18th century, and over the great eastern capitals, Luang Prabang and Vien-cbang, about 1828. During the 15th and 16th centuries Siam was frequently invaded by the Burmese and Peguans, who, attracted probably by the great wealth of Ayuthia, besieged it more than once without success, the defenders being aided by Portuguese mercenaries, till about 1555, when the city was taken and Siam reduced to dependence. From this condition, however, it was raised a few years later by the great conqueror and national hero Phra Naret, who after subduing Laos and Cambodia invaded Pegu, which was utterly overthrown in the next century by his successors. But after the civil wars of the 18th century the Burmese, having previously taken Chieng-mai, which appealed to Siam for help, entered Tenasserim and took Mergui and Tavoy in 1764, and then advancing simultaneously from the north and the west captured and destroyed Ayuthia after a two years' siege (1767).

The intercourse between France and Siam began about 1580 under Phra Narain, who, by the advice of his minister, the Cephalonian adventurer Constantine Phauleon, sent an embassy to Louis XIV. When the return mission arrived, the eagerness of the ambassador for the king's conversion to Christianity, added to the intrigues of Phauleon with the Jesuits with the supposed intention of establishing a French supremacy, led to the death of Phauleon, the persecution of the Christians, and the cessation of all intercourse with France. An interesting episode was the active intercourse, chiefly commercial, between the Siamese and Japanese Governments from 1592 to 1632. Many Japanese settled in Siam, where they were much employed. They were dreaded as soldiers, and as individuals commanded a position resembling that of Europeans in most Eastern countries. The jealousy of their increasing influence at last led to a massacre, and to the expulsion or absorption of the survivors. Japan was soon after this, in 1636, closed to foreigners ; but trade with Siam was carried on at all events down to 1745 through Dutch and Chinese and occasional English traders. In 1752 an embassy came from Ceylon, desiring to renew the ancient friendship and to discuss religious matters. During recent agitations of the Buddhist priests against Christianity in Ceylon they received much active sympathy from Siam. After1 the fall of Ayuthia a great general, Phaya Takh Sin, collected the remains of the army and restored the fortunes of the kingdom, establishing his capital at Bangkok ; but, becoming insane, he was put to death, and was succeeded by another successful general, Phaya Chakkri, who founded the present dynasty. Under him Tenasserim was invaded and Tavoy held for the last time by the Siamese in 1792, though in 1825, taking advan-tage of the Burmese difficulty with England, they bombarded some of the towns on that coast. The supremacy of China is indicated by occasional missions sent, as on the founding of a new dynasty, to Peking, to bring back a seal and a calendar. But the Siamese now repudiate this supremacy, and have sent neither mission nor tribute for thirty years, and yet their trading vessels are admitted to the Chinese free ports, like those of any other friendly power. The late sovereign, Phra Paramendr Maha Mong-kut, was a very accomplished man, an enlightened reformer, and devoted to science ; his death indeed was caused by fatigue and exposure while observing an eclipse. Many of his prede-cessors, too, were men of different fibre from the ordinary Oriental sovereign. Chao Dua, the adversary of Phauleon, went about seek-ing pugilistic encounters. He is reported to have been a cruel tyrant and debauchee and a keen sportsman ; but the offence given to his subjects in the latter character and the evil reports of the persecuted French missionaries may have unduly blackened his reputation.

Of European nations the Portuguese first established intercourse with Siam. This was in 1511, after the conquest of Malacca by D'Albuquerque, and the intimacy lasted over a century, the tradition of their greatness having hardly yet died out. They were supplanted gradually in the 17th century by the Dutch, whose intercourse also lasted for a similar period ; but they have left no traces of their presence as the Portuguese always did in these countries to a greater extent than any other people. English traders were in Siam very early in the 17th century ; there was a friendly interchange of letters between James I. and the king of Siam, who had some Englishmen in his service, and, when the ships visited "Sia" (which was "as great a city as London") or the queen of Patani, they were hospitably received and accorded privileges,— the important items of export being, as now, tin, varnish, deer-skins, and "precious drugs." Later on, the East India Company's servants, jealous at the employment of Englishmen not in their service, attacked the Siamese, which led to a massacre of the English at Mergui in 1687 ; and the factory at Ayuthia was abandoned in 1688. A similar attack is said to have been made in 1719 by the governor of Madras. After this the trade was neglected. Penang, a dependency of Quedah, was occupied in 1786, and in the 19th century the stagnation of trade led to the missions of Crawford (1822), Burney (1826), and Sir J. Brooke (1850); but they were not very cordially received, and effected little. Sir J. Bowring's treaty in 1856, however, put matters on a different footing, and Europeans can now reside in Siam, buy or rent houses, and lease land. The export and import duties are also fixed, and there is a vice-consular court at Chieng-mai, with appeal to the consular court at Bangkok, held from time to time by a judge from Singapore, with which place there are extradition arrangements. Of late years the north-eastern provinces have been harassed by invasions of the Lu and Ho, peoples of Chinese extraction, their incursions extending down the Me-kong as far as Nong-kai.

Besides works referred to at the end of article SHANS, the chief authorities are La Loubère, Description du Royaume de Siam, 1714 (the best of the old writers) ; Pallegoix, Royaume Thai ou Siam, Paris, 1854 ; Crawford, Embassy to Siam ; Bowring, The Kingdom and People of Siam, London, 1857 ; Bastian, Die Völker des östlichen Asiens, vols, i., iii., Leipsic, 1867 ; Garnier, Voyage d'Exploration en Indo-Chine, Paris, 1873 ; Mouhot, Travels in lnda-China, &c. ; Journ. of Ind. Archip., vols, i., v. ; Grehan, Le Royaume de Siam, Paris, 1870 ; Beclus, Nouvelle Geographie Universelle, vol. viii. ; Bagge, Report on the Settlement of the Boundary between Siam and British Burmah, 1868; Satow, Notes of the Intercourse
between Japan and Siam in the 17th Century
; Aymonnier, in Excursions et Reconnaissances, Nos. 20-22 (Saigon); Consular Reports, 1884-85. (C. T.)

Language and Literature


The Siamese language is spoken over the whole of Siam proper. In the Malay peninsula the boundary-line comes down on the west coast nearly as far as Quedah and Perlis, and includes also Junk Ceylon, while on the east coast the population is mainly Siamese as far as Ligor inclusive, and also in Singora Siamese appears to be the ruling language. Its boundary towards Burmah, the Shan and Laos states, and Anam and Cambodia cannot be defined so precisely. There are also in the north-east a number of wild tribes who speak languages of their own. The name by which the Siamese themselves call their language is phásá thai, or "language of the freemen " ; and it probably dates from the period when the Siamese made themselves independent of Cambodian rule in the 12th century. The Shan tribes, whose language (with those of the Ahom, Khamti, and Laos) is closely akin to Siamese, also use the term tai (only with the unaspirated t) for their race and language.

Both in Shan and Siamese the system of tones, which is one of the main features of all the languages of Indo-Chiua, has attained its greatest development. But, while in Shan the tones are not marked in the written language, in Siamese there are distinct signs to denote at least four of the five simple tones (the even tone not being marked) ; and there is further a classification of the consonants into three groups, in each of which certain tones predominate. It is always the initial consonant of a word that indicates, either by its phonetic power or by the tonic accent super-added or by a combination of the two, the tone in which the word is to be uttered, so that, e.g., a word beginning with a letter of the second class in which the even tone is inherent, and which has the mark of the ascending tone over it, is to be pronounced with the descending tone. [855-1] The difficulties caused to a European student of the spoken language by the tones are increased by the greatly expanded vowel-system. In addition to the short and long, there are shortest vowels, sets of open and closed vowels, &c, and a large number of vowel combinations. Owing to the introduction of the Indian consonantal system and the incorpora-tion in it of many letters to express certain sounds peculiar to Siamese, the number of consonants has been swelled to forty-three ; but, while many of these are only used in words adopted from the Sanskrit and Pali, Siamese utterance knows no more than twenty; kh, g, gh are all pronounced as kh ; similarly ph, b, bh as ph, &c,—the language having a predilection for hard letters, especially aspirates. The only compound letters at the beginning of words are combinations of hard letters with I, r, w, y, while the finals are confined in pronunciation to k, t, p, h (ng), n, m. This causes a considerable discrepancy between the spelling of words (especially loan words) and their pronunciation. Thus sampurn is pronounced sombun, bhâshâphásá, nagaranakhon, saddharmasatham, kusalakuson, seshaset, vâravan, MagadhaMakhot. The foreign ingredients in Siamese are principally Sanskrit, mostly in a corrupted form. The importation of Pali words dates from about the 12th century, when, the country having shaken off the yoke of Cambodia, a religious intercourse was established between Siam and Ceylon. Besides these, there are some Khmer (Cambodian) and Malay words. [855-2] Exclusive of those foreign importations, Siamese is a monosyllabic language in which neither the form nor the accent or tone of a word determines the part of speech to which it belongs. Homonymous words abound and are only distinguished from one another by the tones. Compare lan, "white"; lan, "to relate"; lan, "to flatter"; lán, "to smooth"; Ian, "relation." Words are unchangeable and incapable of inflexion. The Siamese are fond of joining two words the second of which is either purely synonymous to or modifies the sense of the first, or is only a jingling addition. There is no article, and no distinction of gender, number, or case. These, if it is at all necessary to denote them, are expressed by explanatory words after the respective nouns; only the dative and ablative are denoted by subsidiary words, which precede the nouns, the nominative being marked by its position before, the objective by its position after, the verb, and the genitive (and also the adjective) by its place after the noun it qualifies. Occasionally, however, auxiliary nouns serve that purpose. Words like "mother," "son," "water" are often employed in forming compounds to express ideas for which the Siamese have no single words; e.g., luk can, "the son of hire," a labourer; mê mü, "the mother of the hand," the thumb. The use of class words with numerals obtains in Siamese as it does in Chinese, Burmese, Anamese, Malay, and many other Eastern languages. As in these, so in Siamese the personal pronouns are mostly represented by nouns expressive of the various shades of superior or lower rank according to Eastern etiquette. The verb is, like the noun, perfectly colourless,—person, number, tense, and mood being indicated by auxiliary words only when they cannot be inferred from the context. Such auxiliary words are , "to be," "to dwell" (present); dai, "to have," len, "end" (past); ca, "also" (future); the first and third follow, the second and fourth precede, the verb. Hai, "to give" (prefixed), often indicates the subjunctive. As there are compound nouns, so there are compound verbs; thus, e.g., pai, "to go," is joined to a transitive verb to convert it into an intransitive or neuter ; and thûk, "to touch," and tòng, "to be obliged," serve to form a sort of passive voice. [855-3] The number of adverbs, single and compound, is very large. The prepositions mostly consist of nouns. The order of the words in a single sentence is subject, verb, object. All attributes (adjectives, genitive, adverbs) follow the word to which they are subordinated. The following simple sentence may serve as an example of Siamese construction and diction ; mua (time) an (read) nansü (book) ni (this) leo (end, done) con (should) fak-vai (entrust) ki (to) phüenbàn (neighbours) hai (give, cause) khan (they) an (read), i.e., "when you have read this book, please give it to your neighbours that they may read it."

The current Siamese characters are derived from the more monumental Cambodian alphabet, which again owes its origin to the alphabet of the inscriptions, an offshoot of the character found on the stone monuments of southern India in the 6th and 8th centuries. The sacred books of Siam are still written in the Cambodian character, and some have occasionally an interlinear translation in the current Siamese hand.

The study of the Siamese language was initiated in Europe by La Loubére (1687), from whom Dr J. Leyden ("The Languages and Literature of the Indo-Chinese Nations," in Asiatic Researches, vol. x. pp. 158-289, reprinted in Miscellaneous Papers on Indo-China, vol. i., 1886, pp. 84-171) has derived much of his information. Leyden's Comparative Vocabulary of the Barma, Malayu, and Thai Languages appeared in 1810. The first grammar of the language we owe to James Low, Calcutta, 1828. Very useful Grammatical Notices of the Siamese Language, by the Rev. J. Taylor Jones, appeared at Bangkok in 1842. The Grammatica Linguae Thai of J. B. Pallegoix, Bangkok, 1850, was followed in 1854 by his great Dictionarium in Siamese, Latin, French, and English. An analytical account of the language was attempted by Ad. Bastian in his Sprach-vergleichende Studien, 1870, pp. 191-226. In 1881 L. Ewald brought out at Leipsic his Grammatik der Tai- oder Siamesischen Sprache. Lastly, Prof. Fr. Müller gave a summary of Siamese grammar in his Grundriss der Sprachwissenschaft, vol. ii. part 2, Vienna, 1882, pp. 367-376. A new grammar, by the Rev. S. George, is in progress. Compare also W. Schott, Ueber die indo-chinesischen Sprachen, insonderheit das Siamesische, 1856; and E. Kuhn, Ueber Herkunft und Sprache der transgangetischen Volker, 1883. An English grammar written in Siamese, and designed for use in schools, appeared at Bangkok in 1837.


There are no records in Siamese referring to the time antecedent Literate the settlement of the nation in their present locality, or, in the ture. words of Mr Key Elias, " of earlier date than the founding of their first national capital, Ayuthia, at the commencement of the 14th century." [855-4] The inscription at Sukkothai, said to be of the year 671 of the Siamese era, nine years after the invention of the present Siamese characters, [855-5] cannot be put in evidence as an historical record till a facsimile and revised translation shall have been obtained. The few manuscript annals mentioned by Bishop Pallegoix have not yet been critically examined ; but metrical compositions, containing legendary tales and romances, abound and are eagerly studied. The subjects are mostly taken from the Indian epics, as in the case of the Rama-kiun or Ramayana, more rarely from Malay or Javanese legend, such as the drama I-hnao. There is a great variety of metres, all of which have been described with much minuteness of detail by Colonel Low in his article on Siamese literature, in Asiatic Researches, vol. xx. pp. 351-373. [855-6] In their romantic poetry the Siamese have a greater tendency to describe than to relate; their pictures of places and scenery are grand and striking and form the best part of their poetical conceptions. The great blemish of their poetry consists in tedious embellishments and a hankering after indecent and often gross allusions, from which but few works, such as Sang Sin Chai and Samut Niyai Si Muang, may be said to be free. The titles of the principal romances are Hoi Sang, Nang Prathom, Sang Sin Chai, Thepha Lin Thong, Suwanna Hong, Thao Sawatthi Racha, Phra Unarut, Dara Suriwong, Khun Phan, Nong Sip Sang, and the dramas I-hnao and Phra Simuang. The plots of some of these have been given by Colonel Low. The most popular of the religious books, all of which are translations or amplifications from Pali originals, is called Somanakhodom (Cramana Gautama), which is identical with the Wessantara Jataka. In miscellaneous literature may be mentioned Suphasit, consisting of 222 elegant sayings in the accented metre called Klong, and Wuta Chindamani (Vritta Chintamani), a work on prosody like the Pali Vuttodaya, but treating also o'f a number of grammatical questions. The fable literature is of course largely represented; the lists, however, are frequently swelled by the enumeration of single fables which are but parts of larger collections.

The number of works on law is considerable ; and it is remarkable that, while in Burmah many Pali codes have currency, not a single Pali text-book on law should have been discovered in Siam; all that we meet with in the law books are a few Pali quotations here and there. Laksana Phra Thammasat Laksana Phua Mia, an introduction to the code of Siamese laws, founded on the Dharma-castra and on royal edicts, was completed in 1804. It contains thirty books, at the head of which stands the Phra Thammasat, attributed to Manosara or Manu, a treatise on the classification of laws. Next comes the Inthaphat, or book of Indra, a guide or exhortation to councillors and judges, and then the Phra Thamnun, or rules for the general conduct of judicial business. Then follow in order the undermentioned sections—disputes, plaints and allegations, official rank, classification of people, debt, marriage, criminal law, abduction, slavery, disputes connected with land, evidence, inheritance, examining officers, appeal, disputes as to classification of people, radius of responsibility for burglaries, &c., the thirty-six laws, the royal edicts, trial by ordeal of water and fire, laws of the palace, laws of the priesthood, offences against the king, offences against the people, rebellion, ancient statutes, recent statutes. Only one of these sections, the one on slavery, has been translated into English, by Dr Bradley; it appeared in the Bangkok Calendar. The whole work has been printed at Bangkok in two volumes. The Kathu Phra Aiyakan, another compendium of laws, contains edicts principally referring to assaults, adultery, and the appraise-ment of fines. Among these we find the following: "A man who strikes another with a blank book shall be fined as though he had struck him with his hand ; but if the assault is committed with a book of the classics the offender shall be fined twice as much as he would have had to pay for assaulting with a stick." The Laksana
Tat Fong
, or law of plaints and allegations, and of the institution and summary dismissal of suits, appears to be identical with the fifth-section of the printed code. There is also a separate work called Phra Thamnun, which, though identical in name with the section of the Laksana Phra Thammasat above described, covers much more ground. A compendium of law entitled Rüang Kot Mai Müang Thai, or Code of Laws of the Kingdom of Siam, in two volumes, was printed at Bangkok in 1879. Colonel Low, who did not touch on jurisprudence in his essay on Siamese literature, made good the omission in a separate article "On the Laws of Siam," in the first volume of Logan's Journal of the Indian Archipelago (Singapore, 1847).

Pallegoix, in his "Catalogus praecipuorum librorum linguae Thai" (Grammatica, pp. 172-180), gives the titles of a good many treatises on scientific subjects, medicine, mathematics, astrology; but none appear to have been critically examined. In the first volume of his Description du royaume Thai (1854) are inserted various pieces translated from Siamese works. See also on the Siamese language and literature generally the "Remarks" by the Rev. C. Gützlaff, in the Transactions of the Royal Asiatic Society, vol. iii. (1835), pp. 291-304 ; and on the literature Leyden's "Essay" above referred to (Miscellaneous Papers, vol. i. pp. 143-147). It is only in quite recent times that an Anamese influence has begun to be traceable in the language and literature of the Siamese.

In 1810 Dr Leyden undertook, at the instance of the Calcutta Auxiliary Bible Society, to superintend a translation of the four Gospels into Siamese ; but he died before the project was carried into effect. Subsequently Messrs Gützlaff and Tomlin, assisted by learned natives, laboured till 1833 at a trustworthy translation of the new Testament into Siamese. Their task was continued and completed bv Messrs Jones and Robinson, and the work was published in 1846. (R. R.)



851-1 But on the neighbouring ranges of the fall is, at Moulmein 244 inches, at Tavoy 202, at Mergui 185.

851-2 During the floods vast quantities of fish swarm into the rice-grounds and are caught when the water recedes, furnishing a valuable and abundant food-supply.

855-1 See A. Bastian, "Ueber die siamischen Laut- und Ton-Accente," in Monats-ber. d. k. Akad. d. Wissensch. zu Berlin, June 1867.

855-2 See Pallegoix, Gramm., pp. 155-156, and Van der Tunk, Bataksch Leesboek, vol. iv. pp. 127-133, 208-214.

855-3 See "The Passive Verb of the Thai Language," by F. L. W. von Bergen, Krung Theph Maha Nakhon, 1874.

855-4 Sketch of the History of the Shans, Calcutta, 1876, p. 34.

855-5 Bastian, in Jour. As. Soc. Bengal, vol. xxxiv. p. 27, and Sprachvergleichende Studien, p 227.

855-6 See also Pallegoix, Gramm. Linguae Thai, pp. 120-129.

The above article was written by the following authors:

(a) Article up to beginning of Language and Literature section:
Coutts Trotter, F.R.S.E.; Edinburgh.

(b) Language and Literature section:
Reinhold Rost, C.I.E., LL.D., Ph.D.; Oriental Lecturer at St. Augustine's Missionary College, Canterbury, 1851-96; Secretary to the Royal Asiatic Society, 1863-69; Librarian at the India Office, 1869-93; author of Treatise on the Indian Sources of the Ancient Burmese Laws and Revision of Specimens of Sanskrit MSS. published by the Palaeographic Society.

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