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ancient wall of the city stretched beneath us. The pillars of the gates, and many a grotesque decapitated relic of antiquity, chequered the motley scene. All conspired to suggest those elevated and mournful ideas, which are attendant on a view of the decaying remains of ancient grandeur; and though not comparable to such ruins as those of Palmyra and Balbec (as they are represented), still deeply interesting to the antiquary, and more deeply interesting to the Christian missionary.' –
The multitude of temples in ruins may be accounted for by the prevalent notion, that, however meritorious it may be to repair an old temple, it is much more so to build a new one.
In seven days more they approached New Ava, or Amrapoora, about three hundred and fifty miles from Rangoon. When within four miles of this place,' we can hardly,' say they,' distinguish the golden steeple of the palace, amid the glittering pagodas, whose summits just suffice to mark the spot of our ultimate destination. The former viceroy of Rangoon and his wife received them with great kindness, and appeared to interest themselves in their success. They communicated to them the object of their journey, and that they had come up desiring to behold the Golden Face. The viceroy, now a minister of state, handed them over to Moung Zah, the proper minister for arranging the ceremony of the introduction. They explained to this personage the nature of their business, told him they were missionaries, or, propagators of religion;' that their object was to appear before the emperor, and to present to him their sacred books, accompanied with a petition. Just at this moment it was announced, that the golden foot was about to advance. They were conducted with great haste into a magnificent hall. Moung Yo, who finally had them in charge, directed them where to sit, taking his place on one side of them, and depositing their present on the other.
• The scene to which we were now introduced really surpassed our expectation. The spacious extent of the ball, the number and magnitude of the pillars, the height of the dome, the whole completely covered with gold, presented a most grand and imposing spectacle. Very few were present, and those evidently great officers of state. Our situation prevented us from seeing the further avenue of the ball; but the end where we sat opened into the parade, which the emperor was about to inspect. We remained above five minutes, when every one put himself into the most respectful attitude, and Moung Yo whispered that his majesty had entered. We looked through the ball, as far as the pillars would allow, and presently caught sight of this modern Ahasuerus. He came forward, unattended-in solitary grandeur-exhibiting the proud gait and majesty of an eastern monarch. His dress was rich, but not distinctive; and he carried in his hand the gold-sheathed sword, which
seems to have taken the place of the sceptre of ancient times. But it was bis high aspect and commanding eye, that chiefly riveted our attention. He strided on. Every heal, excepting ours, was now in the dust. We remained kneeling, our hands folded, our eyes fixed on the monarch. When he drew near, we caught his attention. He stopped, partly turned towards us—~ Who are these?” “ The teachers, great king," I replied. “What, you speak Burman-the priests that I heard of last night?" “ When did you arrive ?" “ Are you teachers of religion ?" “ Are you like the Portugueze priest ?" “ Are you married ?" “ Why do you dress so?" These, and some other similar questions, we answered; when he appeared to be pleased with us, and sat down on an elevated seat-his hand resting on the bilt of his sword, and his eyes intently fixed on us. Moung Zah now began to read the petition, and it ran thus:(pp. 228-230.)
The petition merely stated that, as American teachers, they had come up to behold the golden face, and had reached the bottom of the golden feet, to ask permission to preach their religion in the Burman empire, and that those who were pleased with it, whether foreigners or Burmans, might not be niolested by tlie officers of government, which was the only favour they had to ask of the excellent king, the sovereign of land and sea.'
• The emperor beard this petition, and stretched out his hand. Moung Zah crawled forward and presented it. His majesty began at the top, and deliberately read it through. In the mean time I gave Moung Zah an abridged copy of the tract, in which every offensive sentence was corrected, and the whole put into the handsomest style and dress possible. After the emperor had perused the petition, be handed it back, without saying a word, and took the tract. Our bearts now rose to God for a display of bis grace. “O, have mercy on Burmah! Have mercy on her king!" But, alas! the time was not yet come. He held the tract long enough to read the two first sentences, which assert that there is one eternal God, who is independent of the incidents of mortality, and that, beside him, there is no God; and then, with an air of indifference, perhaps disdain, he dashed it down to the ground! Moung Zab stooped forward, picked it up, and handed it to us. Moung Yo made a slight attempt to save us, by unfolding one of the volumes which composed our present, and displaying its beauty; but his majesty took no notice. Our fate was decided. After a few moments, Moung Zah interpreted his royal master's will in the following terms:-“ In regard to the objects of your petition, bis majesty gives no order. In regard to your sacred books, his majesty bas no use for them-take them away.”
Something was now said about brother Colman's skill in medicine; upon which the emperor once more opened his mouth, and said, “ Let them proceed to the residence of my physician, the Portugueze priest ; let him examine whether they can be useful to me in that line, and report accordingly.” He then rose from his seat, strided on to the end of the hall, and there, after having dashed to the ground the first intelligence that he had ever received of the eternal God, his Maker, his Preserver, his
Judge, he threw himself down on a cushion, and lay listening to the music, and gazing at the parade spread out before bim.
* As for us and our present, we were hurried away without much ceremony. We passed out of the palace gates with much more facility than we entered, and were conducted first to the house of Mya-daymen. There his officer reported our reception, but in as favourable terms as possible; and as bis highness was not apprized of our precise object, our repulse appeared, probably, to him, not so decisive as we knew it to be. We were next conducted two miles, through the sun and dust of the streets of Ava, to the residence of the Portugueze priest. He very speedily ascertained that we were in possession of no wonderful secret, which would secure the emperor from all disease, and make bim live for ever ; and we were accordingly allowed to take leave of the reverend Inquisitor, and retreat to our boat.'—pp. 231-233.
Thus were all their hopes of protection from the sovereign of the Burman empire dashed to the ground, as he had dashed their religious tract; and they were advised, for their own safety, after such an inauspicious reception, to make the best of their way back again to Rangoon, lest Amrapoora should prove too warm for them. They give us but few observations of what they saw along the Irrawaddey, but those few are favourable to the general appearance of the country and its inhabitants; it was now a time of peace, and the beginning of a new reign. The banks were crowded with villages, with a numerous population, apparently healthy, happy and vigorous, by no means wanting in curiosity, which they indulged without being troublesome or uncivil. Mrs. Judson says that the united kingdoms of Arracan, Ava and Pegu, which constitute the Burman empire, are estimated to contain about nineteen millions; Colonel Symes says seventeen; his successor, Colonel Cox, eight; and Captain Canning, about four; so little dependence is to be placed on the information of travellers on subjects of this kind.
On the return of the missionaries to Rangoon, they found that a conspiracy had been formed in their absence, by the priests and officers of a neighbouring village, to destroy one of the small number of their neophytes. The man had fled for safety, but one of the conspirators complained to the new viceroy, that the teacher, who had forsaken his religion, was making every endeavour to turn the priests' rice-pot bottom upwards. What consequence,' said the viceroy; · let the priests turn it back again. The priests of Boudh are, however, too powerful in the Burman empire, to suffer their ' rice-pots' to be easily or safely turned up; and the viceroy appeared to know it. In fact their
rice-pots' are filled voluntarily by the people, on whose charity they entirely subsist; they do not even take the trouble of having their victuals cooked, or any of the domestic functions performed, within the precincts of the temple or the convent; but those of the inferior orders, or noviciates, sally out every morning to collect food ready dressed, walking at a quick pace along the streets, with a blue lackered box or a covered porcelain jar in their hands, never stopping for a moment, nor deigning to look to the right or left, but keeping their eyes fixed on the ground. These geutry of the yellow vest are much more respected here than their brethren are in China.
• When a priest dies he has peculiar honours paid him. Several months since, a neighbouring priest died, or returned, for the Burmans think it undignified to say that a priest dies ; his body was immediately wrapped up in tar and wax; boles were perforated through the feet, and some distance
up the legs, into which one end of a hollow bamboo was inserted, and the other fixed in the ground; the body was then pressed and squeezed, so that its fluids were forced down through the legs, and conveyed off by means of the bamboos ; in this state of preservation the body bas been kept. For some days past preparations have been making to burn this sacred relic, and to-day it has passed off in fumigation! We all went to see it, and returned sorry that we had spent our time to so little profit. On four wheels was erected a kind of stage, or tower, about twelve or fifteen feet high, ornamented with paintings of different colours and figures, and small mirrors. On the top of this was constructed a kind of balcony, in which was situated the coffin, decorated with small pieces of glass, of different hues, and the corpse, balf of which was visible above the edge of the coffin, entirely covered with gold leaf. Around the tower and balcony were fixed several bamboo poles, covered with red cloth, displaying red flags at their ends, and small umbrellas, glittering with spangles ; among which was one larger than the others, covered with gold leaf, shading the corpse from the sun. Around the upper part of the balcony was suspended a curtain of white gauze, about a cubit in width, the lower edge of which was bung round with small pieces of isinglass; above the whole was raised a lofty quadrangular pyramid, graduating into a spire, constructed in a light manner of split bamboo, covered with small figures cut out of white cloth, and waving to and fro, for some distance, in the air. The whole, from the ground to the top of the spire, might measure fifty feet. This curious structure, with some living priests upon it, was drawn balf a mile by women and boys, delighted with the sport, and in the midst of a large concourse of shouting and joyous spectators. On their arrival at the place of burning, ropes were attached to the hind end of the car, and a whimsical sham contest, by adverse pulling, was for some time maintained, one party seemingly indicating a reluctance to have the precious corpse burned. At length the foremost party prevailed, and the body must be reduced to ashes! Amidst this there were loud shoutings, clapping of hands, the sound of drums, of tinkling and wind instruments, and a most disgusting exhibition of female dancing, but no weeping or wailing. The vehicle was then taken to pieces, the most valuable parts of which were preserved, and the body consumed.'--pp. 82, 83.
Great and most potent, however, as the priests of Boudh are, there is a kind of sacred personage still greater than the highest of them, and next in rank to the sovereign : this is no other than that diseased animal the White Elephant, far more highly venerated here than in Siam; the only two countries where the superstitious notions concerning it prevail, which form no part of the Boudhists' creed. This creature is supposed, by the Burmans, to have lodged within its carcase a blessed soul of some human being, which has arrived at the last stage of the many millions of transmigrations it was doomed to undergo, and which, when it escapes, will be absorbed into the essence of the Deity. We are told that this sacred personage has a regular cabinet, composed of a woonghee, or prime minister; a woondock, or secretary of state; a songhee, or inferior secretary; a nukeen, or transmitter of intelligence, besides other subordinate ministers and functionaries, some of whom manage the estates which he possesses in various parts of the country'; and that presents of muslins, chintzes and silks are regularly made by all foreign ambassadors. All this may very well be a contrivance to put money in the pockets of those who have the good fortune to get upon the establishment of the 'White Elephant,' but his habitation and treatment can only be accounted for by the grossest superstition, unless indeed they are fraudulently kept up as necessary to blind the eyes of the populace.
* The residence of the White Elephant is contiguous to the royal palace, with which it is connected by a long open gallery, supported by numerous wooden pillars, at the further end of which a curtain of black velvet, embossed with gold, conceals the august animal from the eyes of the vulgar; and before this curtain the offerings intended for him are displayed. His dwelling is a lofty ball, covered with splendid gilding both inside and out, and supported by sixty-four pillars, half of which are elegantly gilt. To two of these his fore feet are fixed by silver chains, while his bind ones are secured by links of a baser material. His bed consists of a thick mattress, covered with blue cloth, over which another of softer composition is spread, covered with crimson silk. His trappings are very magnificent, being gold, studded with large diamonds, pearls, sappbires, rubies, and other precious stones. His betel-box, spitting-pot, ancle-rings, and the vessel out of which he feeds, are likewise all of gold, inlaid with precious stones; and his attendants and guard amount to one thousand persons.'*
In the year 1821, Mrs. Judson's health had suffered so much, that it became absolutely necessary for her to return to America; and in 1822 the path of duty, we are told, led Mr. Judson to Ava; that is to say, such was the indifference of the multitude on the
* Hamilton's Description of Hindostan, &c.