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and even so late as during the Burmah tenure of the country, the Kuman-thsfs invariably attended the prince royal, or governors on their journey through the several provinces of the empire ; preceding
.them upon the road, and bearing their bows and arrows in their
hands. These implements of war are now laid aside, and the Kumantksi are, in common with others, occupied in such pursuits as are more congenial to the age; being for the most part weavers and dyers, and residing in a separate quarter of the town, the avowed adherents to the Muhammedan faith, but ignorant of the precepts it inculcates, and assimilating in practice to the rest of the population. Seven generations* are said to have passed away since the event above described; yet notwithstanding this lapse of time, and in spite of the similarity of language and attire, the features of the K uman-thsi still betray their superior descent; while for beauty of stature, and agility
.of limb, they surpass the Muhammedans of India.
With the view of so many houses, and such a population as that contained in Rambree, together with the fact of its being the second city in Arracan, it is surprising to witness such apparent poverty in the show of empty shops on each side of the street. Here and there a.’ Manchester shawl, a piece of chintz, or printed handkerchief might be seen hung up to view, surrounded with the more homely productions of the country ; but the largest and best supplied shop of Rambree would scarely be deemed worthy of notice in any one _of the sadar bazars of India. Few engaging in trade: the greater part of the population are either idlers, day-labourers, agriculturists, or fishe_rmen_, (as circumstances may in_duce,) having no regular occupation calling for the exercise of a dexterous and continued application. It is iditficult to ascertain with precision the period of the greatest known prosperity in the town of Rambree. Different accounts are given by different people, according to their views, or the ideas they may entertain. Those who admit the population and wealth of Rambree to have been greater than they are at present, fix the date of such alleged prosperity during the administration of the Burmah Mey-0-wun, Keodine- Yrijah (A. D. 1805). _ At that time Rambree was the grand emporium of trade ; so many as 60 large godahs were known to enter the creek from different parts of Bengal, and proceed from thence to Rangoon and Tavoy, receiving at Rambree rowannahs spe
* By Dow’s account, it is 170 years ago. I must notice an error that the historian of India has fallen into; there is no river running from any part of Arracan into Pegu ; the native name for Arracan proper is “Peg/91'1" or “Peygi,” (signifying a large country,) and this word has been evidently confounded with Pegu.
cifying the duties they had paid, to secure them from further taxation on their arrival at any intermediate Burmah port. The town of Rambree, and indeed the whole island, suifered much in later years in consequence of the insurrection of the Mughs, excited by the Rama Réja KIMBRANG, and only subdued by the energetic conduct of NEMYO-SUYA'H*, the Burmah chief to whom the Meg/-0-wan SAO'1‘I'J.\'l-I had entrusted the defence. This rebellion was followed by a species of retaliation that deprived the town of Rambree of nearly the whole of its Mugh population. All the sligris, merchants, and others suspected of having conspired against the government were put to death, or obliged to fly the country.
It was the invariable, and, in some instances, necessary policy of the Burmese to trust as little as possible to the good will of the conquered. Securing their position by a strong stockade, and separating themselves from the inhabitants, they formed a little garrison of their own in Rambree ,- within this stockade all affairs both civil and military were transacted. The Burmah Mey~o-wuns were not, however, inattentive to the comfort of the people, or the embellishment of the town : the large tanks, Kus, and Kioums now seen at Rambree, were either constructed by the Meg-0-wuns, or by those who held situations of emolument, under them. Some of these temples are still existing, unscathed by the hand of man or the less hostile elements. Others, again, have crumbled into dust, the remains of those stupendous monuments that have marked the propagation of the Buddhist creed in the most distant parts of the world. Internally they are filled up with earth, the wall being of brick, well cemented together. Relics of GAUTAMA, such as the hair, feathers, bones, &c. of the several creatures whose form he assumed previous to his becoming man, with gold and silver images, dishes, goblets, and other utensils, are deposited in the interior: a certain portion of each placed in the
élpper, middle, and lower part of the temple The Kioums at Rambree town are, as might be expected, larger than those commonly met with on the island. One of these attracts attention from its superior size, and the elegance of its construction. It was built by a native of Rambree, named Komane-snows-no, who had been dewan to the Burmah Mey-0-wun SAo'r1'JA'H, and was one of those to whom suspicion of conspiracy was attached, but saved from death at the intercession of the Clu'lk'i1~ MOUNG~B0. Komsno-snows-so was in later years exalted to the office of Meg-0-wun over the islandi circles, the Burmah Mey-0
* Afterwards Mey-0-wz'm at Rambree.
1‘ The name for the Burmah Superintendent of Police.
1 Mrulcyoung, Murajyne, Kweyne-Kgoung, Kyoung-saa-yak, Kou/mil, and Jllde-du-in-du.
min Suuwn-none-sa-on-su residing at Rambree. The latter was subsequently sent on a mission to Benares, and his brother Mounge appointed to officiate during his absence. The mission was directed to ascertain the existence of the Bbodfbeng tree, as well as the site of many places known to have been the scene of GAu'rAMA’s early labour. On the return of Snows-nouo-su-on-so to the court of Ava, with the information obtained, he took the opportunity of effecting by the most persuasive means the dismissal of his rival from oflice, and from his unremitting but futile endeavours to regain that place by a method equally expensive, KOMENG-SHUV\’E-B0 is nowliving in comparatively reduced circumstances at the town of Rambree.
The change of rule has perhaps been as fatal to the prosperity of the monastic sects, as it has been disadvantageous to those who once constituted the higher classes of the people. The influence voluntarily conceded to the Pluingris by the Burmah Mey-o~wu'ns was astonishingly great, and reminds one much of the power once possessed by the priesthood of the Catholic kingdoms in Europe. In cases where a more peaceable species of intervention had proved unsuccessful, it was not uncommon for the Plningrzfs to assemble for the rescue of a criminal about to sufi'er execution. The spot selected for the process of decapi-' tation was in the neighbourhood of a large tree, at the S. E. extremis ty of the town. The unfortunate criminal, having been previously manacled, was led out for execution between files of Burmah soldiers, and when arrived at the ground was made to kneel with the head inclined, as a mark of obeisance to the ruler of the land, and avowal of the justice of the sentence. In the meantime, the head was severed‘ from the body (generally with a single blow of the dao) by the executioner*, who stood behind waiting the signal for the stroke. It being deemed a crime to take away life, it is conceived, by the worshippers of BUDDHA. an act of piety to endeavour to save from death even the vilest of animated beings; and as little resistance was evinced towards a class held in such peculiar veueration, the Pkringrfs not nnfrequently succeeded in carying off the criminal before execution had been effected. Taking him to the Kioum, he remained there until death or a change of Government secured him from the malice of his enemies, and the vengeance of the law in punishment of his
* The executioner: were individuals who had been condemned to death for heinous offences, and subsequently spared, on condition of their devoting their lives to the performance of this odious service. They were at the same time branded upon the cheek to guard against the chances of desertion.
At some little distance below the town, and on the right bank of the creek, is a small village, inhabited by that extraordinary race the Kaengs, of whose origin still less seems to beknown than what has been imperfectly detailed of other castes. The Kaengs of Rambree, by their own account, came down many years ago from the mountainous regions of Kaladong and K3/en-duing-myft, in Arracan proper; and as they can give no information whatever respecting their first settlement in those places, it is possible that they may be the aborigines of the country. Divided into clans, and differing from both Mug-hs and Burmahs in feature as well as attire, the Kaengs have many peculiar customs of their own, some of which deserve to be noticed. When any one of a clan dies, the body is laid upon a funeral pile, and consumed: the ashes, carefully collected within an earthen vessel, are conveyed to the mountain from whence the clan was known to have originally come, and there deposited in the earth. There is something awfully grand in this manner of disposing of their dead, bespeaking the existence of that love of liberty and of country still engrafted in their souls, which had in some instances rendered them* secure from their enemies. That same spirit of Freedom dictated an observancef which, however ‘revolting it may appear to European ideas, cannot fail to attract the admiration due to a virtuous feeling, that deems honor and reputation of more account than beauty, and has induced the father of a family to disfigure the faces of his daughters the more effectually to preserve them from the contamination of strangers. The mode of performing the operation is as follows: The young maiden is enveloped in a mat, and forcibly held down to the ground, while gun-powder or indigo is rapidly pricked into the skin (over the whole of her face) by means of a pointed instrument. This is generally done at an early age, and the pain produced by it ceases after the lapse of three or four days. So soon as released from the hands of her tormentors, the poor girl is presented to the dogs of the v.il_lage,_and should they evince any signs of anger or surprise, the operation is deemed to have been effectually performed. The Kaengs are not very numerous in Arracan, being found more plentifully distributed along the Yuimadong, and the less elevated mountains in their neighbourhood. Residing in the thickest part of the forest, and superior to the Rakklzeins in hardiness of constitution, as well as bravery of soul, they are chiefly occupied in the pursuit of game, or in the collection of honey, wax, elephants’ teeth, and such other forest produce as may meet with a ready sale in the plains. The Kaengs of Rambree are for the most part engaged in the cultivation of vegetables, and the manufacture of spirituous liquors, which are in general demand with those of their own class, forming an essential ingredient on all occasions of festivity, whether in the celebration of a marriage, or in the more important ceremonies of a funeral. Indiiferent to the nature and quality of their food, they not only subsist on vegetables and grain, but eat the flesh of most animals—-a preference being given to that of dogs and swine.
‘* The Kaengs of Arracan were on some occasions particularly troublesome to the Burmese invaders, who feared to follow them to their mountain fastnesses.
1- The Kaeng women are generally very handsome, and the Burmahs, as well as their predecessors, several times attempted to possess themselves of their persons: it was with the view of saving their daughters from such degradation that the Kaengs instituted the observance here described.
The Kuengs possess no written records whatever of their descent; and as they can neither read nor write, deeming it superfluous to instruct their children in such matters, it is not susprising that all traces of their origin should be either lost, or enveloped in total obscurity at the present time.
Since my last paper upon this subject I have been enabled to compare the meteorological registers with the Nautical Almanaclcs. In doing this I have made out a table of the average daily quantity of rain that fell in each rainy season with every 2% degrees of the moon's declination. I have now the honour to lay it before the Society, and to add, that where the registers were complete, I have begun the average with the first rain that fell in April, and ended it
with the last that fell in October.
Moon’: 1824 Gen. mean. decli- and ' nation. 18231825 1826 1827 1828 1829 1830 1831 I832 1833 1834
5v()0 'll0 ‘O02 '83l '230‘180 ‘.369 ‘($60 "076 ‘223 ‘I75 '4l2 '297
_ 2030' -231 mu -35:11-137-152 -238' -320 -365 "189 ~3o'4 -345 -345
@301 -167 -000 "080 '586'440 -449 -126 ‘I19 -249 -316 -329 '260 10» -315 -011; -164 -077-229 -4:;6| -350 -434 -332 -37.4 -370 -231 12°30' -142 -153 -688 .'078'252 -373; -267 -141 -132 -079 -237 -231 15°o' "483 -001 -340 -315-502 -227, -2:10 -319 -144, -235 -249 -281 17=30' -133 -152 -211 -205-223 -317 ~419 -409 -134 -269 'l86 -242 20=-0' '196 -035 -305 '261'632 -251 -234 -311 -180 '386 -253 -277 22°30’ '052 '096 ‘$31 - '33'.’ '277 '282 ‘Z11 25° '72l ‘I58, ‘622 '432 ‘483 27°30" l'580 1'580 No'rE.—-The periods for which these averages were taken, are for 1823, the months of August and September; for 1824 and 1825, Nov. Dec. Feb. and March; for 1826, May, June, July, August, Sept. Oct.; for 1828, July, Aug. Sept. and Oct.; for the other years, from the first rain in April to the last in October.