378 TWENTIETH CENTURY IMPRESSIONS OF BURMA.
It was in 1827 that the history of Moulmein as a British settlement began. In that year it was selected by General Sir Archibald
Campbell as the capital of the newly acquired province of Tenasserim, its position on the left bank of the Salween at its confluence with the Gyaing and the Ataran, 28 miles from the sea, giving it the preference over Amherst in the south, and Martaban in the west. At the same time, Moulmein is the headquarters of the Amherst division.
As a port, the town has an interesting history. Between 1830 and 1858 it enjoyed a considerable reputation as a shipbuilding centre, the ample supplies of good quality teak available putting the town in a position of peculiar advantage. With the advent of the iron ship and the steamer, and the consequent decline of the wooden sailing ship, the industry in its more important branches was practically destroyed, and is now confined to the construction of craft of small tonnage for local use. As a port, the growth of Moulmein has been considerably handicapped by the bars near the mouth of the Salween, by reason of which several boats have suffered mishaps in recent years. The Government has now taken the matter in hand, and by means of a powerful modern dredger steps have been taken to keep the lower reaches of the river open to steamers of deep draught. The growth of the trade of the port may be gleaned from the following passage culled
from the a Imperial Gazetteera:aaThe imports in 1880-81 were valued at 98 lakhs, in 1890- 91 at 99 lakhs, in 1900-1 at 12 crores, and in
1903-4 at i*5 crores ; while the exports were valued in 1880-81 at 1-48 crores, in 1890-91 at 1*28 crores, in 1900-1 at r88 crores, and
in 1903-4 at 2 crores. Of the imports only about one-tenth come direct from foreign (extra-Indian) ports, the greater part being received, more or less equally, from Calcutta and Rangoon. From foreign ports the chief imports (mainly from the Straits) are betel-nuts, sugar, and provisions of various kinds. The imports from Bengal consist mainly of specie in payment for rice and other exports, and those from Rangoon of re-exported foreign goods. The exports, on the other hand, go mainly to foreign ports, this portion being valued in 1903-4 at 1*35 crores, of which by far the greater part was partially husked rice (valued at 1 crore), teak, and rice-bran being the next most important commodities. About half the rice is shipped to Suez, where it is to a large extent reconsigned to European ports. The exports from Moulmein to the Straits for farther Asian ports were valued in 1903-4 at 36 lakhs, and those to England at 22f lakhs ; while those to Indian ports were valued in the same year at 68 lakhs, of which 21 lakhs went to Calcutta, 18 to other Burmese ports, and 24 to Bombay.a
In the town of Moulmein proper there are three main roads, which run north and south parallel to the river. The numerous cross roads running east and west are not in very
good condition and are mostly unmetalled. The business quarters are on the river bank to the west of the town, whilst most of the
STREET SCENES, MOULMEIN.
VICTORIA GARDENS AND SALWEEN PARK.VICTORIA GARDENS AND SALWEEN PARK.