William and Robert Chambers,
Text on page 23
tawing, which is given in a reduced size below. It contains three good-sized rooms and two small ones. It is built precisely like the natives' houses, only larger and better, and cost about three hundred dollars. All our Burman missionaries use similar ones. During ^y pleasing residence with this great and good man, the small room on the extreme left was my chamber, and the large one, with two little fir-trees under the ^'indows, my study. The centre room is the dining-nall, and the farthest one Mr J.'s chamber. His study a large apartment partitioned off from one end of the chapel. The kitchen, or "cook-house," is always a small, separate building.
Mr Judson's house.
Population of Rangoon ; Commerce ; Prices of Living. Shoodagn Pagoda. Slaves of the Pagoda. Sunrise Worship. Rainy Monsoon. History of the Mission. Maubee. Labour of Native Assistants. Interesting Case. Voyage to Pegu. Evidences of former Greatness. Shoomadoo Pagoda. Voyage up the Irra-Waddy. Boats. Mode of Fishing. Prome. Leper Village. Gaudama's Foot. Burman Energy. Earth-oil Wells. Shyan Caravan. Ruins of Paghan. Attempt to buy Beef. Buffalo Herdmen. Curiosity of Natives. Toddy. Arrival at Ava.
the 14th of May, the sad hour of bidding adieu to ^e dear missionaries and their interesting disciples Arrived, and I embarked for Rangoon. Every day Aad increased my regard for them, and the probability Af seeing them no more made the last few days truly Sorrowful.
. The change of the monsoon, which now takes place, often accompanied with severe squalls; but these coasting vessels have little fear of them, and never lay Up on that account. Often the season passes without any that are serious, as it lias this year. We had two Ar three flurries with rain; but they helped us on powerfully, and the 17th (of May) found meat Rangoon, ^ithout accident. The entrance of the river, though six miles wide, is difficult to find, the channel very Harrow, and the coast very shoal for a great distance above and below ; while a perfectly flat shore, scarcely above high tides, gives the mariner no certain landmarks. There are no pilots to be had, but by sending a boat to the city. On one point is a cluster of trees, ^hich has been called " the elephant," from a fancied ^semblance to that animal ; but my imagination was too ^ull to discern much shape. The sands have extended Rome miles to the southward, since the coast was first
Having passed the ordeal of the custom-house, without any special vexations, I found Messrs Webb and Howard, with their wives, in usual health, and received lrom them a kind and cordial reception.
The name of Rangoon is so conspicuous in the annals Af our mission, and occurs so often in the narratives of travellers on this coast, that I naturally entered it with feelings of peculiar interest. Association of ideas, of cAurse, keeps up some of that interest ; but so wretched a looking town, of its size, I have nowhere seen. The city is spread upon part of a vast meadow, but little above high tides, and at this season resembling a neglected swamp. The approach from the sea reveals Nothing but a few wooden houses between the city wall ailfl the shore. The fortifications are of no avail against modern modes of attack. They consist of merely a row
of timbers set in the ground, rising to the height of about 18 feet, with a narrow platform running round inside for musketeers, and a few cannon, perhaps half a dozen in all, lying at the gateways, in a useless condition. Some considerable streets are back of the town, outside the walls.
The entire population is estimated at 50,000, but that is probably too much. There is no other seaport in the empire, but Bassein, which has little trade, and the city stands next in importance to Ava ; yet there is nothing in it that can interest a traveller. A dozen foreigners, chiefly Monguls, have brick tenements, very shabby. There are also four or five small brick places of worship, for foreigners, and a miserable custom-house. Besides these, it is a city of bamboo huts, comfortable for this people, considering their habits and climate, but in appearance as paltry as possible. Maulmain has already many better buildings. The eaves of the houses generally descend to within six or eight feet of the ground; very few being of more than one story, or having any other covering than thatch. Cellars are unknown, and all the houses are raised two or three feet above the ground for coolness and ventilation. As the floors are of split bamboo, all dirt falls through, and what is not picked up by crows, dogs, fowls, and c., is occasionally swept out and burned. For nearly half the year, the city presents a most singular appearance, half sad, half silly. By a standing law, on the setting in of the dry season all the thatch must be removed, except a particular kind, not common, made partly of split bamboo, which will not easily burn. Were it not for the people in the streets, and the cloths of various kinds put up in the houses to keep oft* the sun, it would seem, at these times, like a city deserted.
The streets are narrow, and paved with half-burnt bricks, which, as wheel-carriages are not allowed within the city, are in tolerable repair. There is neither wharf nor quay. In four or five places are wooden stairs, at which small boats may land passengers ; but even these do not extend within twenty feet of low water mark. Vessels lie in the stream, and discharge into boats, from which the packages, slung to a bamboo, are lugged on men's shoulders to the custom-house.
The commerce of the place is still considerable, though greatly crippled by enormous port-charges, and absolute prohibitions against exporting rice or the precious metals. Specie is exported, but only by adroit smuggling. Could rice be exported freely, a most beneficial trade, both to government and people, might be carried on, the agriculturist receive a better reward for his. toil, and the price of land be raised throughout the kingdom. Paddy is now selling at five rupees the hundred baskets ; that is, about two dollars fifty cents for a hundred bushels !
The best of cleaned rice is four annas a basketaabout twelve cents a bushel ! Wheat, as good as I have ever seen, is selling at twenty dollars per hundred bushels. Such prices would send here half the vessels in Bengal Bay. How strange that governments must always be doing damage, by dabbling in matters which, if left to themselves, would prosper! However, the policy is certainly more wise than that of Great Britain, which lets some of her subjects annually starve, and others constantly suffer, by keeping bread-stuffs away.
Other necessaries are equally cheap in Rangoon_
fowls, about one dollar per dozen ; black tea, brought down the Irrawaddy from China, twelve cents a pound ; rice, one cent per pound ; coffee, six cents per pound ; sugar, six ; bread same as in Boston ; eggs, fifty cents per hundred; milk, forty-five cents per gallon ; wages, six dollars per month, without food or lodging; oil for cooking and lamps, fifty cents per pound ; washing, four dollars per hundred ; fuel, about seventy-five cents per month. Almost every kind of British manufactures may be had in the bazaar, at rates not higher than they cost in Boston. Medicines are not easily procured, and many kinds are excessively dear.
During the long wars of Europe, in the days of Napoleon, many vessels were built here, chiefly by theDuring the long wars of Europe, in the days of Napoleon, many vessels were built here, chiefly by the