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is placed along with his bones and ashes ; fear that these should be disturbed on account of the valuables deposited with them, induces secrecy as to what may be termed the sepulchral spots. The Talains assert that the revenge of a Karen is sure to follow the disturber of the remains of his fathers ; be this as it may, the departure of a soul to the land of spirits is a festive occasion, and the friends and relatives meet to sing wild dirges, and drink till they can sing no longer.
Karens are lazy and averse to exertion, but good-tempered, very credulous, and more truthful than their more intelligent but less scrupulous neighbours. The arts are at low ebb among them, though some of their manufactures, particularly the bead ornamented apparel of the women, are curious; the dress of the men is extremely simple, consisting usually of two blankets or pieces of the coarse cloth made by the women, sown together, so as to form a kind of armless coat or frock, with a part in the centre unsown, through which the head passes, and the same at the sides, for the arms. Karens are fond of singing and their airs are wild and pretty ; the language being by no means unfavourable to the musical propensity of the people, and in itself exacting the greatest nicety and delicacy of ear and of pronunciation from the great play and variety of the vowel sounds which are distinguished in both dialects of their language.
Cholera, fever, and small pox are so much dreaded that Karens desert their villages and remove to other situations as soon as they are invaded by these scourges. The infected, unless they can move themselves, are left to their fate. Change of air and site seems the chief medical resource of the Karens; for their secondary ones, namely, offerings to the Nats of whatever they deem calculated to tickle fairy palates, do not appear to produce many very remarkable cures, though frequently resorted to.
Karens are, in their own way, bold hunters, and not above eating their own game even when a rhinoceros. They are however not bolder than the Talains, some of whom gain a livelihood by catching elephants, and prosecute this occupation in a most perilous manner; two men, mounted on a trained elephant and carrying a spear and a lasso made of leather rope, manage to get amongst a herd of wild elephants and then single out one to whom they give chase. The lasso is cast so as to catch one of the hind legs of the wild elephant; the other end of the lasso is fastened to the girdle of the trained animal, and the duty of the second man is to sit on the back of the elephant and to hold the coil and cast the lasso at the right moment;
if the wild elephant turns, he is kept off by the spear point and the tame elephant; he usually however makes off as fast as he can, accompanied by the trained animal, who must have good paces; when the wild one is tired, or as soon as he affords his hunters a favorable opportunity, his further flight is arrested by a turn being taken round a stout tree, to which the lasso is ultimately made fast. Starvation for a time, and then the gift of food soon renders the wild animal manageable. Such a method of elephant hunting is, for many reasons, very perilous; but strange to say the men employed in this hazardous occupation have a greater dread of the tiger than of the elephant, being more frequently a prey to the former than to the latter; for nights must be passed in the jungle to watch for the herds of wild elephants, and for fear of scaring these, the usual precautions against the tiger cannot be taken, so that the elephant-catcher runs greater risk from the stealthy and murderous spring of the tiger than from the infuriate violence of his gigantic game, the elephant. No bolder, yet more superstitious Nat worshippers than this class of hunters !
In Amherst province a portion of the people are Toungthoos; they are the best cultivators in the province, being the only people who understand the use of the plough. Distinct from the Talains, Burmese, and Karens by language, dress, and habits, their original country is not well ascertained; the name implies a hill man, and the use of the plough with a metal blade argues a higher country than the plains of Pegu, and a soil which required a more laborious culture than has been forced upon the people of the land of their adoption. Their pipes, their dresses, and other minor peculiarities indicate a more ingenious people; but their language and its literature remain unmastered by Europeans, and therefore little or nothing is known of the race except that they are esteemed good cultivators.
In the province of Mergui there is a considerable mixture of Siamese blood amongst the Talains and Burmese, but as the Siamese have intermarried with, and conformed to the laws and customs of, the people amongst whom they emigrated, no particular description is necessary.
Such may be said to have been the different races whom we found inbabiting the provinces ceded to the East India Company by the treaty of Yandaboo. Moguls, Jews, Armenians, Chinese, natives, of the Madras and Bengal provinces, followed in the wake of our troops ; and as soon as possession of the country was fairly taken, settled down, chiefly at Moulmein, in considerable numbers; but, like the Europeans, being
foreigners, they need not here be more particularly adverted to.
After the conclusion of the treaty of Yandaboo and the cession of the provinces to the East India Company, the question of selecting a suitable position for the main body of the force to be cantoned was a matter of great importance. At first, it was in contemplation to have stationed the troops at the mouth of the Salween at Amherst, but Sir A. Campbell ultimately selected the point of junction of the Salween, the Gyne, and the Attaran river for the permanent cantonment of the force. The advantage of this commanding position is so apparent, that in former days, most probably when the Portuguese took a part in the struggles of Pegu, it had not been overlooked, and the British troops found a spacious irregular quadrangle, on which to establish themselves, already surrounded by an earthen mound or rampart of considerable antiquity.* Besides the numerous advantages of position in a military point of view, with reference to the protection of the frontier, the command of the rivers, and a close watch on the Burmese town and province of Martaban, the cantonment of Moulmein, is well raised, well drained, very healthy, and well supplied with water; whereas a difficulty on the latter point was found to exist at Amherst. The subsequent rise and progress of the timber trade, and the sufficiency of the river as a good port for shipping, had confirmed the wisdom of Sir A. Campbell's selection of Moulmein.
The population of the provinces, when they fell into our hands, has been variously estimated, one calculation making it as low as ten thousand souls : but this is evidently an error; for the provinces of Tavoy and Mergui have been very stationary in the amount of population ; indeed, the best informed persons doubt whether since our tenure of the country the people have on the whole increased or decreased. The same, with the exception of Moulmein, may be said of the northern province styled by the British province, Amherst; its villages afford no satisfactory proof of any remarkable increase of population since it has been in our possession. On the contrary, the increase is peculiarly slow-instead of 10,000 souls, the following would seem to be a fair estimate of the population before the Burmese War, caused a temporary fluctuation and disturbance :
he suben them, and" of muurmese
* A similar enclosure, also of great antiquity, may be observed at the head of
it is attributed to one of the ancient kings of Pegu.
And it may be supposed that upon our occupation of the provinces and the restoration of order, there was no material difference in the numbers, except such as was due to the camp followers and troops stationed at Moulmein, Tavoy and Mergui.
Our rule necessarily commenced by disturbing as little as possible the systems of revenue, police, and justice, to which the people had been accustomed under their Burman Rulers. This, the usual course adopted in the administration of a recent conquest, was accompanied by an error, which has elsewhere been the concomitant of our extension of territory in the east. In lieu of restoring to the people the use of their own language, the Talain, that of their conquerors, the Burman, was by us continued as the official medium of communication and accounts. We thus, from the first, deprived ourselves of that support which the strong feeling of Talain nationality would have afforded; and the error was the more grievous, because, during the conduct of the war with Ava, every advantage was taken of one feature of Talain nationality, implacable hostility to the Burmese ; and ordinary gratitude as well as policy, pointed out the propriety of restoring to our allies, when they became our subjects, the use of their own language, if only as an honorable acknowledgement of the sense entertained of their services. Far higher advantages would however have resulted from such a step; for it would, in all probability, have caused such an influx of the Mon or Talain population into our provinces as would shortly have rendered them much less a burthen than they have hitherto proved : and very possibly instead of a burtben, the receipts from these provinces might very shortly after occupation have covered, if not exceeded, their expenditure. By retaining the Burmese language as that of office, and by long indecision as to the permanent retention of the ceded pro
still operative to hold out any inducement to our Talain allies to settle under the protection of our Government; and thus neither benefitted ourselves nor them, but the Burmese, who in consequence of the course we pursued, retained the greater portion of a people that were otherwise ready, if enThe
couraged to have crossed over to British protection.
A very thin population for the area of the provinces, and the productive powers of their soil !
REVENUE.—The chief portion of the state revenue, derived from the land, was, by the Burmese, levied in kind; rice, the staple article of food is grown throughout the provinces; and onefourth of the crop was nominally the share claimed by the government, although in reality owing to the exactions of unchecked subordinates it was larger. Garden produce and fruit trees of
e fet crop, was reality or apden proelded revet, of tu ent, althou was largong, likewise of fishe
items of receipt were from the farming of fisheries, of turtlebanks, bazars and town dues. As the provinces were distant from the court of Ava, and were therefore not under good control, they were a prey to the Burman governors and their subordinates; tyranny and exaction rendered the revenue demands much more oppressive than any simple statement of the basis of the system conveys. With the exception of receiving the revenue derived from rice cultivation either in kind or commuted in money, we adopted the above fiscal sys-tem, conducting it by means of the same instrumentality as had been employed by the Burmese. Simple and well suited to a native government, and theoretically favorable for the cultivator, the system of taking revenue from the land in kind fails under British officers : for, having little or no knowledge of the language and of the habits or customs of the people, they have small power of coping with the dishonesty and cunning of interested subordinates ; the exact limit of their power is well