a considerable time to collect these numbers. The display was not so much made in honour of the Company as for the glorification of the King himself, and in order to impress us with his might and power.a For this reason we proceeded very slowly until we arrived at a cannon shot from the Kingas residence, when I was invited to step with Jan Van Ryck into a prow to be rowed to the Kingas tent as soon as the signal should be given. This tent was erected on three prows lying close together. Two of these prows were very large, but the third was the most elaborate, being in the shape of a cock. They were covered with cloths, had pillars and galleries all covered with printed hangings and the floor covered with alcatifas.
a As soon as we approached the Kingas tent we were told to take off our shoes, and having entered the two large prows, we advanced on our knees, bending our heads to the ground till we reached the place which was prepared for us to sit down. This was at the back of one of the great prows close to the King s prow where he sat on a gilt throne surrounded by his nobles. Here we remained for a long time in the prostrate position, our hands folded before us, till at last we were told to raise ourselves.a
The King then inquired the reason for the presence of the mission in his country, and being told complained of the sharp and arrogant tone of the letter which had been forwarded, expressing his belief that it emanated from a former chief of the Dutch factory, who had been expelled from the country.
a This man,a he continued, a is unworthy of belief and ought not to interfere in matters of dispute between honourable persons. During the time of his residence in the country he led the most shameful life, not associating with respectable people, but with men and women of the lowest and most degraded conduct. He had no doubt spent much of the Companyas money in their company, and not being able to account for these sums when recalled to Batavia, he had made false entries and inserted names of people who bad never even visited this country. . . . He sent his creatures to steal the slaves of niany of my subjects and even carried off my Awn serfs and had them transported to Batavia.a The envoy replied traversing the statements of the King and intimating that the Companyas demand of eight hundred slaves could be redeemed by the delivery of the miscreants who made the murderous attack on the Companyas servants. After further discussion the King assented to the release Af the Dutch prisoners. a After a short silence during which the musical instruments
were played, the King with his own hand shut the gilt window before his face and the whole assembly dispersed.a Afterwards the mission was subjected to many humiliations and even hardships, and at their request were granted a second audience of the King at the city of Arakan. They were left waiting a considerable time outside the fortress, and when admitted had literally to grovel in the dust before they reached the august presence. The description of the business, penned with minute detail by the diarist, makes curious reading : a Passing the second gate we arrived at a large square or courtyard full of armed soldiers and some elephants. Here we were told to take off our shoes. We advanced on our knees, our hands folded before us, and our faces bowed to the ground as is the custom in these parts. This creeping along in the dust and burning sunshine tore and spoilt our best clothes. The bruises on our knees which were not accustomed to such pilgrimages, the pain and discomfort of the whole performance were trying us to the
utmost. Proceeding in this manner, three
steps at the time, we came to another gate
and passed into another square, not quite so
large as the former, but also full of armed
soldiers, at the end of which was the Kingas
hall. Eight magnificent elephants were
ranged on both sides of the audience hall.
We were ordered to remain here some time,
our faces bent low to the ground, until our
presents had been taken from the bearers and
presented to the King. At last our guides
led us into the hall, which was a building
of wood, raised upon pillars and open on
three sides. The Kingas throne was at the
back and the nobles were seated on mats
and rugs in front of it according to their rank.
The throne was raised about 8 feet from the
ground. The King and Queen both occupied
it. We were told to take our places behind
the nobles and after having made three times I
the usual reverence of folding and raising the hands the King asked us when we wished to leave and the destination of our future voyage.a The King afterwards intimated that he had replied to the Governor-General in plain terms, and that if a friendly agreement could be arrived at he would be pleased, and that if not he would abide the consequences. This reply showed that the disposition of the monarch was far from yielding, and the envoy took his leave with the best grace he could. Afterwards an attack was made on a Dutch boat in the river, and this was the commencement of a series of hostilities in which the unfortunate Arakanese were rather severely punished.
From this period onwards for some years a fairly active intercourse was maintained by the Dutch with various parts of Further India. In 1655 we find in the Dutch records a reference to a report on the trade of Pegu made by Factors Anthony Parilgiven and Elias van der Broeck, who had a short time previously returned from Siringh to Pulicat
via Bengal. An interesting glimpse of the then situation is given in a despatch forwarded to Amsterdam.* aThe English,a observed the writer, a do not seem to care to continue their enterprise in these parts and will soon leave us the whole of the waters around. The Moorish merchants who have been in the habit of applying to the English for the purchase of rubies will then be obliged to apply to us. We hope that the rubies, which are not much in demand at present on the Coast of Coromandel, may come into fashion again, and that the Chinese pitjes on which at present six or eight per cent, is being lost in Bengal will find a better exchange somewhere else.a Subsequently the Dutch appear to have attempted to
* MSS. Dutch Records at The Hague, First Series, Vol. XX.
THE RIVER, BASSEIN.THE RIVER, BASSEIN.