HotFreeBooks.com
Journals of Travels in Assam, Burma, Bhootan, Afghanistan and The - Neighbouring Countries
by William Griffith
Previous Part     1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12  13  14     Next Part
Home - Random Browse

Of the Petroleum {117} no use whatever is made, although we have ample experience from its universal use by the Burmese, that it is a valuable product both as affording light, and preserving in a very great degree all wooden structures from rot and insects. The springs occur in four different places, all close to the Puthar: of these three occur on the low hill which bounds the Puthar to the southern side, and one on the Puthar itself, at the foot of the range alluded to. The springs are either solitary, as in that of the Puthar, or grouped, a number together; the discharge varies extremely from a thin greenish aqueous fluid to a bluish grey opaque one, of rather a thick consistence: the quantity poured out by these latter springs is very considerable. On the surface of all, but especially on these last, an oleaginous, highly inflammable fluid collects in the form of a thin film. The jungle surrounding the springs ceases abruptly, the ground around, and among them, being covered with stunted grass and a few small herbaceous plants. Elephants and large deer are frequent visitors to the springs; of the former, the tracts are frequent, and they are sometimes shot here by the natives.

Vegetable Products.—The jungles afford several kinds of bamboo, some of which are of value; generally speaking the trees are not large, with the exception of a gigantic Dipterocarpus, wood-oil or dammar tree; of this particular tree I have seen specimens measuring 100 feet from the base to the first branch. The wood is of no value, nor have I seen any use made in Assam of the resinous secretion, which is in great vogue on the Tenasserim Coast for the construction of torches, etc.

II. FROM BEESA LACOOM TO NAMTUSSEEK.

COUNTRY TRAVERSED FORMING PARTS OF THE NAGA RANGE OF HILLS, AND OF THE SOUTHERN BOUNDARY OF THE VALLEY OF ASSAM: THE NORTHERN SIDE IS SUBJECT TO BRITISH, THE SOUTHERN TO BURMESE CONTROL.

1st. STAGE.—Halting place in the jungle, at an elevation of 770 feet above the sea. Direction SSE. Distance 12 miles, course over low hills covered with dense jungle.

2nd. Darap Panee.—Altitude 1029 feet. Direction SSE. Distance 12 miles, passed over some difficult places; crossed the Darap twice before we reached the halting place, course through very heavy jungle, except on the summits of the higher hills, which are tolerably open.

3rd. Namtusseek, {118} or Tusseek Panee, altitude 1413 feet. Direction SSE. Distance 12 miles, country more open: summit of the hills covered with grass and scattered trees. The highest hill surmounted was certainly 1000 feet above our halting place.

4th. Namtusseek, or Tusseek Panee, altitude (not observed). Direction SSE. Distance 10 miles, course almost entirely up the bed of the river over boulders, occasionally skirting the stream through heavy and wet jungle.

5th. Yoomsan nullah, near the foot of the Patkaye. Alt. 3026 feet; direction SSE. Distance 4 miles. Course for a short time along the bed of the Namtusseek, until we crossed a small stream, the Tukkakha: then ascended a mountain, about 3500 feet high; on reaching the summit we descended until we reached the halting place.

6th. Nam-maroan, or Maroan-kha. {119a} Alt. 2500 feet. Direction ESE. Distance 15 miles. Ascended until we reached the summit of the Patkaye; the ascent was in some places very steep, and owing to the unsettled state of the weather, very difficult. Reached the boundary nullah, along which we proceeded for some time; we then commenced the descent, which was steep, and continued so, until we reached the Nam-maroan. The extreme elevation we reached was rather more than 5000 feet. {119b}

7th. Nam-maroan.—Altitude estimated 2000 feet. Direction ESE. Distance 10 miles, course along the bed of the stream; ground difficult, and much impeded by boulders.

8th. Nam-maroan.—Altitude not taken. Direction ESE. Distance 7 miles. Course the same, but of a less difficult nature.

9th. Khathung khioung. {119c}—Altitude 1622 feet. Direction E. by S. Distance 7 miles, course continues along the Nam-maroan, the whole way: ground much less difficult. Passed close to a Singpho village of two houses; some Puthars which bore traces of having once been cultivated and inhabited occurred on this march.

10th. Khussee-khioung.—Altitude 3516. Direction E. by S. Distance 13 miles, left almost immediately the Khathung Kioung, and commenced ascending. Ascent in some places very steep and difficult, and continued until we had reached an elevation of 5600 feet. The descent then commenced, and continued until we reached the Khussee-khioung, passing along for some distance the Natkaw-khioung. The descent was occasionally difficult, owing to broken ground; tree jungle occurred almost throughout the whole distance.

11th. Kuttack Bhoom. {119d}—Altitude 3270. General direction S. Distance 13 miles. Left the Khussee-khioung, but reached it again before long. Continued to descend considerably, until we reached the Nam-thuga, thence the descent increased considerably. Halted on an open grassy spot, from which an extensive view of the valley of Hookhoom is obtained.

12th. Namtusseek.—Altitude 1099 feet. General direction ESE. Distance 10 miles. Descended from Kuttack Bhoom, until we reached the Loonkharankha, then ascended considerably. The descent then recommenced, until we reached the Namtusseek. Heavy jungle occurred throughout. Path occasionally difficult, becoming as we approached the base of the range very wet. We crossed several small mountain streams.

General features of the hills.—The prevailing formation appears to be sandstone, and connected with this we have rounded summits, not attaining a great elevation, and a considerable depth of soil. The lower ranges are throughout covered with heavy tree jungle. This becomes excessively thick and wet along the water courses, which are of frequent occurrence towards the base of the range, both on the northern and southern sides. But from an elevation of 1000 feet to that of Yoomsan, a great change for the better takes place on the northern face, the hills being covered with clay, and generally not very high grass jungle, among which trees are scattered. This character is particularly evident along both sides of the valley drained by the Namtusseek of the northern side. The Patkaye is wooded to its summit; the jungle on the south side being much more humid than that on the northern. Indeed on this face of the range, with the exception of the Puthars on the Nam-maroan, scarcely more than two open spots exist, and both of these are of small extent. Of these one exists at an elevation of 5500 feet, and one at Kuttack Bhoom.

The paths although very often steep, are easy enough for coolies, except during wet weather, when they become very slippery. With some degree of preparation the worst places might be made passable for lightly loaded elephants, and this would be facilitated by the soft nature of most of the rocks. The most difficult marches are those which lie along the beds of the streams, and these, it has been seen, are far the most numerous; they are particularly difficult for elephants, the boulders affording a very precarious footing to these weighty animals. The difficulty is much increased by rain, when even coolies find considerable difficulty in making any progress. Several elephants accompanied Major White as far as the Darap Panee, and a small suwaree elephant, loaded with a light tent, succeeded in reaching Yoomsan. The southern side of the range is decidedly of a more difficult nature than the northern, and it is in addition of greater extent: the highest point traversed is 5600 feet above the level of the sea. The range might be traversed by a lightly loaded active native in six days.

Streams.—These all partake of the usual nature of mountain torrents; they are all fordable during the cold weather, the principal ones being crossed at the heads of the rapids. The boundary nullah is a mere streamlet: it runs between two ridges of the Patkaye: its course being about ESE. and WNW. Owing to the frequency of the streams and their mountainous nature, I should imagine that this route is impracticable during the rains.

Villages.—Not a single village or house exists directly on the route. One small Naga village is visible from the Namtusseek below Yoomsan, and a detached hut is visible here and there on a high mountain close to, and NE. of Yoomsan. On the Burmese side there is, as I have mentioned before, a village consisting of two houses close to the route. This village has lately been established by some Singphos from Nimbrung, several marches to the eastward.

Population.—I certainly did not see 100 Nagas throughout the time passed in traversing these hills, although I am satisfied that every man within a reasonable distance came into Camp in the hopes of sharing in the extensive distribution of presents. From the appearance of the country about Yoomsan, and the valley of the Namtusseek, I am inclined to think that the population was at one time considerable. The openness of the country, which is as I have previously said chiefly clothed with grass, and the peculiar and generally imperfect aspect of the trees, can only be accounted for, by supposing the country to have been extensively cleared, particularly when it is remembered that the highest portions of the range are thickly wooded. But allowing this supposition to be correct, it is no proof, that the total population has been on the decline, for we must take into account, the wandering nature of all hill tribes. In forming an opinion of a hill population, which in all times and places has, in this country at least, been found scanty, we must take care not to confound the temporary huts, erected in khets, for the purpose of protecting the cultivation, with actually inhabited houses; to the former description I think the detached houses mentioned as being visible from Yoomsan are to be referred.

The Nagas, at least the men, for I saw no women, are a small, active, large-legged race, with Tartar faces. They are divided into very many tribes, each of which has some peculiarity of costume. Those I saw were decidedly inferior to any of the other hill tribes with which I am acquainted. Their clothing is miserable, the chief protection consisting of a number of rings, made of rattan, which encircle the abdomen. They are as usual excessively dirty, and much attached to the use of tobacco and ardent spirits. Their wants are few, but even these are miserably supplied. They entertain an unbounded fear of the Singphos, who appear to make any use of them they think proper. Their only weapons are spears, Singpho dhas and battle axes.

The Singphos cannot be considered otherwise than as encroachers. Invasions of these restless marauders appear not to have been uncommon up to a late date. The remains of two stockades, in which they had entrenched themselves were extant, one close to Yoomsan, the other on the S. face of the Patkaye. I have before said that the puthars on the Nam- maroan bore evidence of having been inhabited, and apparently to some extent. But even during the stay of Major White on these hills, an irruption of Singphos from Nimbrung had taken place, and had totally unsettled the peace of the native inhabitants. Such things must be expected to occur, particularly when it is well known that the Burmese, the only power to which they are subjects, can exercise no authority over the Singphos in any one direction, except when they have a large armed force in the valley of Hookhoom.

Of the Capabilities of the country it would be vain to attempt giving an opinion. Scarcely any cultivation was passed on the route. The soil is generally deep, more or less yellow, and somewhat clayey; the hollows having a thin superstratum of black mould. Taking the deserted state of the country into account, this part of the Naga range is of little importance, except as forming portion of a most natural and well defined boundary, compared with other portions of the same range to the westward.

Products.—The principal mineral product is salt, an article which is procured abundantly in some other more available points of the range. We saw one small spring on the Namtusseek, from which supplies had been lately taken.

Vegetable Products.—Fine timber trees occur here and there. Oaks, Magnolias and Chesnuts occur not uncommonly, the Magnolias being of these in this range the most characteristic of elevation. The horse chesnut of Assam, (Osculus Asamicus mihi) occurs on both sides of the range, but does not ascend further than 3,000 feet. No Fir trees exist on the route, nor is it probable that they exist on the range in this direction. One of the most interesting plants is a new species of tea, which I believe to be a genuine Thea; it is called Bun Fullup, or jungle tea, by the Assamese, in contra-distinction to the true tea plant, which is called Fullup. This species makes its appearance at an elevation of about 1,000 feet, and is met with as high up as 4,000 feet. It attains the size of a tree of 30 feet in height; it is used only as a medicine. No real tea exists on this route; several plants were pointed out to me as tea, but all were spurious instances. The higher portions of the ranges have a flora approaching in many instances to that of northern latitudes. As examples of this, it will be sufficient to allude, in addition to the trees mentioned above, to the existence of two species of Daphne, one of Barberry, several species of a genus nearly allied to the Whortle Berries, a Violet, and several species of Smilacineae, to which order the Lily of the Valley belongs.

In concluding this part of my report, I may perhaps be permitted to advert to the question of the possibility of transporting a body of armed men into the Burmese dominions by this route. Although there is nothing in the nature of this portion of the boundary which would render this operation very difficult, yet considering the state of the adjoining parts of Upper Assam, and that of Hookhoom, it becomes almost impracticable. I allude to the extreme difficulty of procuring grain in Upper Assam, in which, at least around Sadiya, annual scarcities are by no means uncommon, and to the utter impossibility of drawing any supplies from Hookhoom in its present miserable state. All the necessary supplies would require to be drawn from Lower Assam, and for the transport of these the scanty population of this extremity of the valley would by no means be sufficient. Bearing on this point it must be remembered, that from the 1st of April to the 1st November, these hills cannot be traversed except by their native inhabitants, without incurring great risk from the usual severe form of jungle fever.

III. FROM NAMTUSSEEK TO WULLABOOM.

COUNTRY TRAVERSED SUBJECT TO BURMESE AUTHORITY, FORMING GREATER PORTION OF THE VALLEY OF HOOKHOONG, OR THE PAEENDWENG.

March 1. From Namtusseek to Nhempean.—Direction E. Distance 18 miles, crossed the Namtusseek, then passed through heavy tree jungle, and subsequently over extensive grassy plains.

2. From Nhempean to Nidding.—Direction SSE. Distance 4.5 miles, course along the Namtoroan, thence up the Saxsaikha.

3. From Nidding to Kulleyang.—Direction SSE. Distance 13 miles, country covered either with tree or high grass jungle. Passed a deserted village, Thilling Khet.

4. From Kulleyang to Isilone.—Direction SW. Distance 10 miles, country rather more open. Puthars are of common occurrence; passed a small village, Damoon.

5. From Tsilone to Meinkhoong.—Distance 17 miles, course at first along the Namtunai, {124a} country open, consisting of grassy plains; several nullahs occur.

6. From Meinkhoon to Wullabhoom.—Direction SE. Distance 13 miles. Course over plains intersected by tree jungle, subsequently up the bed of the Nempyo-kha.

Nature of the Country.—The valley of Hookhoong, or as the Burmese call it, in allusion to its amber mines, Paeendweng, is of small extent. Its greatest diameter is in the direction of E. to W., {124b} its southern termination being within a few miles from Wullabhoom. It is surrounded on all sides by hills, the highest of which are towards the NE. and E.; none however would appear to exceed 6000 feet in height; and from their appearance, I imagine they are wooded to their summits. The lowest hills are those which form the southern boundary, and these scarcely deserve the name. From Kuttack-bhoom a fine view of the valley is obtained; it is here very narrow, and does not I should think exceed 25 miles in breadth. The features of the country are in a striking degree similar to those of Upper Assam, that is, it presents a plain surface intersected frequently by belts of jungle, the parts at the base of the boundary hills being exclusively occupied by heavy jungle. The general elevation of the plain above the sea may be estimated at about 1000 feet, so that it is several hundred feet above the level of Sadiya. But although this is the case, the valley of Hookhoom undergoes the same changes during the rainy season as Assam, the greater part being during that period under water.

Of the Climate it is perhaps presumptuous to give any opinion; it is however by no means so cold as that of Upper Assam. In April the daily range of the thermometer was very considerable, from 60 degrees to 88 degrees. The rains set in later than on the northern side of the Patkaye, and they are said to be much less severe.

The rivers are numerous, the principal one is the Namtunai, {125} which subsequently assumes the name of Kyeendweng. This is in the places I saw it a large, generally deep and sluggish stream, varying in breadth from 270 to 350 yards. The next in size is the Namtoroan, which has more of the character of a mountain stream; it is of considerable breadth (opposite Nhempean it is 270 yards across,) and presents numerous rapids. Both of these rivers are navigable for boats of some size. The other rivers are small and insignificant; all fall into the Namtoroan or Namtunai.

Villages.—Of these the following were passed on the route:—

1. Nhempean, on the right bank of the Namtoroan, is situated on an extensive open grassy plain, it is stockaded: it contains about 12 houses, the river is here navigable for middling sized canoes.

2. Tubone, on the same bank, but lower down, and within quarter of a mile of Nhempean, it is of about the same size, and similarly stockaded.

3. Nidding, on the left bank of the Saxsai-kha, about three-quarters of a mile above its junction with the Namtoroan: it is a stockaded village, and about the same size.

4. Calleyang, on the Prong-kha contains about 8 houses: it is not stockaded.

5. Lamoon, on the Moneekha, is a very small village, containing four or five houses: it is not stockaded.

6. Tsilone, on the left bank of the Namtunai. This is the Dupha Gam's village: it is of the ordinary size, and is stockaded in the usual manner.

7. Meinkhoon, on the Cadeekha, by which it is intersected; it consists of two stockades, separated by the above stream; and contains about 25 houses, none of which are however large. It is here that the first Pagodas (Poongye houses) occur. The village is situated on an open grassy plain of considerable extent.

8. Wullabhoom, on the right bank of the Nemokapy, an insignificant stream. This village is not stockaded; it contains about 10 houses, of which several are of the Singpho structure.

The Gam of this village was in expectation of an attack from the Dupha people, and had in consequence erected a small square stockade for his own use; he had however built it so small that he might easily be dislodged by means of a long spear.

In addition to these, there is a village called Bone, on the Namtoroan; the path leading to this is crossed soon after leaving Namtusseek, and another stockaded village, on the right bank of the Namtoroan, a little below the mouth of the Saxsai-kha.

None of the above villages are situated on strong positions. The stockades are as usual of bamboo, and are but weak defences; the space between the stockade and the outer palisades is covered with short pointed bamboos, placed obliquely in the ground: these are called Panjahs by the Assamese; they inflict very troublesome wounds, and are universally employed by the Singphos. The interiors of the stockades are dirty, the houses are built without order, and generally fill the stockade completely, so that the people inside might be burnt out with the greatest ease. The average number of houses in each of the above villages, may be estimated at about 12, of these the largest occur at Wullaboom. They are built on muchowns, and resemble in all respects those of our Assam Singphos. They are generally thatched with grass (Imperata cylindrica. {126} ) The larger kinds have invariably one end unenclosed; under this portico, which is usually of some size, all the domestic operations are carried on. The Dupha Gam's is not distinguished above the rest in any one way.

Population.—No country inhabited by sets of petty chieftains belonging to different tribes, which are generally at enmity with each other, can be populous; it is therefore with considerable surprise that I find it stated that the number of houses in the north and eastern sides of the valley is estimated at not less than 3000, which at the rate of 7 men to one house, which is, considering the great size of very many Singpho houses, rather underrated, would make the population of these portions of the valley amount to 21,000 souls. The part of the valley which I have traversed, and during which route 75 miles of ground were passed over, does not present a single sign which, in the absence of direct evidence, would lead one to suppose that it contained a considerable population. During the before mentioned marches, I saw only four paths, crossing or diverging from that which we followed. Of these, one leads, as I have mentioned, to Bone, one to the hills on the NE., one to a Singpho village, some miles to the south of our track, and the fourth diverged from the path leading to the Amber mines through the village of a chief called Tharapown Hhoung. The population on the above route of 75 miles, would at the rate of 7 men to one house, and 12 houses to each village, amount only to 840, but I think that 1,100 or 1,200 would be a fairer estimate. From Kuttack-bhoom, as I have mentioned, a great portion of the valley is distinctly seen, and nothing meets the eye but jungle, broken here and there by the waters of the Namtunai: not a clearing is even visible; instead of a population of 30,000, as has been stated I should imagine that the whole valley of Hookhoom does not contain more than 12,000.

The above population consists almost entirely of Singphos and their Assamese slaves, and these last form a considerable portion. This was particularly evident at Wulla-khoon, where they certainly out-numbered their masters.

The Singphos of Hookhoong resemble exactly those located in Assam: they are however less given to opium eating. They are of the same indolent habits, and content themselves with cultivating sufficient grain to keep themselves from starving. The women wear the Thumein, or Burmese dress, a costume which is entirely unknown among the Singphos of Assam. The most superior men I saw belonged to the Lupai tribe, from the east of the Irrawaddi; they had come to Meinkhoon for the purpose of procuring amber. In manners and dress they resembled the Shan-Chinese, they were provided with firelocks, in the use of which they were certainly adroit. The usual weapons of the Hookhoong Singphos are dhas and spears. I saw very few muskets.

The behaviour of these people was throughout civil, and perhaps friendly. Their hatred of the Burmese is excessive, the visits of the armed forces of this nation being most harassing and oppressive. They are sub-divided into tribes, among whom there is but little unanimity. The Dupha Gam is much disliked, as he is considered the cause of the visit of the Burmese. His power has been much exaggerated; he is not capable of bringing 500 men into the field. So unpopular was he, that it was reported to Mr. Bayfield, that he was to be cut off immediately the Burmese force had left the valley.

In giving the foregoing low estimate of the population of the valley, I believe I have taken into consideration every circumstance of importance. The occurrence of several old burial places on the route, some of which are of considerable extent, might be considered by some as a proof, that the population has undergone a decrease; but I conceive that it is sufficiently accounted for by the wandering habits of the people.

Capabilities.—The greater part of the valley is well adapted for the cultivation of rice, and as the soil is generally rich, approaching in external characters to that of some parts of Upper Assam, particularly Muttack, it is capable of supporting a large population.

Products.—Of the mineral productions, the most remarkable is Amber, for which the valley of Hookhoong has been long famous, and from the existence of which it derives its Burmese name. The mines are situated in low, wooded hills, from which they are distant between five and six miles; of this distance the first three miles traverse the plain on which Meinkhoong is situated. The pits now worked give occupation to about a dozen people; they occur on the brow of a hill: they are square, and of various depth, the deepest being about 40 feet, the diameter not exceeding three feet; the workmen ascending and descending by placing their feet in holes made in two faces of the square. No props are used to prevent the sides of the pits from falling in, the tenacity of the soil rendering this precaution unnecessary. The instruments used, are small wooden shovels, a wooden crow-bar tipped with iron for displacing the soil or breaking the rocks, baskets for removing the substances so displaced, buckets made of the bark of trees {128} for removing the water which is met with in the deepest pits, and rude levers similar to those used in Madras for the purposes of irrigation, for carrying the soil, etc. from the pits to the surface; these however are only used in the deeper pits, a hooked bamboo answering the purpose in the shallower ones.

The soil throughout the upper portion, and indeed for a depth of from 15 to 20 feet, is clayey and red: the remainder consists of a greyish-black carbonaceous earth, increasing in density with the depth, and being very hard at a depth of 40 feet. The amber occurs in both these, the clue to its existence being the presence of small masses of lignite. The searching occupies but very little time, as the presence of the lignite is readily ascertained; all I saw dug out occurred as small irregular deposits; it did not appear to be abundant. The people appear to have no guide for the selections of favourable spots on which to commence their operations; but having once met with a good pit, they dig other pits all around, and often within a distance of two feet from the first one sunk.

I could not succeed in procuring a single fine specimen; indeed the workmen denied having found any of value during the last six years! It is an article in great request among the Chinese and Singphos; at the pits, however, it is not high priced, and a first rate pair of ear-rings are procurable at Meinkhoong for 5 tickals; in Assam 10 rupees are occasionally given. Meinkhoong is annually visited by parties of Shan- Chinese, for the purpose of procuring this mineral; the caravan at the time I passed this village had returned, and I believe was met by Mr. Bayfield. There was a small party of Lupai Singphos from the East of the Irrawaddi, consisting of a Tsonba and six or seven followers still waiting for a supply.

The spot occupied by pits is considerable, but three-fourths of these are no longer worked. Compared with the Serpentine mines, they are but of small value.

Both Coal and Salt exist in the valley; the only indication of the existence of the former I saw, was a mass of lignite in the bed of a nullah between Tsilone and Meinkhoong.

Vegetable products.—Fine timber trees, {129} which belong to the same genus as the Saul, occur between Nhempean and Namtusseek, and elsewhere towards the foot of the hills surrounding the valley.

The Mulberry of Upper Assam occurs likewise, and the leaves supply with food a species of silkworm. From the silk a coarse species of cloth is manufactured, but the use of this appears to be very limited.

Tea appears to be of uncommon occurrence. The only specimens I saw were given me by Mr. Bayfield, they were procured from low hills some distance from Shellingket. On this subject Mr. Bayfield made very frequent and minute enquiries, and the result appears to be that the plant is of rare occurrence; none exists towards or about the amber mines.

The Room of Upper Assam (Ruellia Indigofera Mihi) is in use for dyeing cloths, but not so much so as in Assam.

The cultivated plants are of the ordinary kind; and the produce is just sufficient to meet the wants of the inhabitants. Owing to the presence of the Myoowoon's force, rice was scarce during my visit; the price was seven tickals a basket, each of which contains about 30 days' supply for one man.

The domestic animals are of the ordinary description: fowls forming the only poultry. But on this subject it is unnecessary to enlarge, as the habits and manners of the people are precisely the same as those of the Assamese Singphos.

IV. FROM WULLABHOOM TO MOGOUNG.

COUNTRY TRAVERSED FORMING CONSIDERABLE PORTION OF THE MOGOUNG VALLEY, THROUGHOUT SUBJECT TO BURMESE AUTHORITY.

March 1. Halted on a small stream, a tributary of the Mogoung river.—Direction nearly S. distance 22 miles, course at first along the Namphyet, thence over low hills, forming part of the S. boundary of the valley of Hookhoong.

2. Halted on the Mogoung river.—Direction S. distance 22 miles, over similar low hills until we reached the Mogoung river after a march of four hours, soon descending into its bed, which we followed.

3. Mogoung river.—Direction S. distance 13 miles, course along the bed of the river.

4. Mogoung river.—-Direction SE. distance 14 miles, course continued along the bed of the river.

5. Kamein.—Direction SSE. distance 14 miles: on starting left the Mogoung river: course throughout over fine open high plains intersected by belts of jungle.

6. From Kamein to Mogoung.—Direction SSE. Distance 25 miles, course over high open plains and dry woods. Many nullahs occurred on the route: crossed the Mogoung river opposite to Kamein.

Nature of the Country.—The low hills which are passed before reaching the Mogoung river, are covered with tree jungle, but they afford scarcely any thing of interest; they are here and there intersected by small plains, covered with the usual grasses. {130} The country traversed while following the Mogoung river, is most uninteresting, the road following almost entirely the sandy bed of the river, the banks of which are either covered with grass or tree jungle. On leaving this most tortuous river, the face of the country improved and became very picturesque, presenting almost exclusively fine high, and rather extensive plains covered with grass, and partially with trees, while here and there they are intersected by strips of dry tree jungle. Low hills are visible frequently, especially to the eastward.

Villages and Towns.

1. Kamein, on the right bank of the Mogoung river, at the junction of the Endaw-khioung, consists of two stockades, one on a small hill the other at the foot. Both together contain about 32 houses. The inhabitants are Shans. It is a place of some consequence, as it is on the route from Mogoung to the Serpentine mines. From Kamein, Shewe Down Gyee, a conspicuous mountain, so called, bears east.

2. Mogoung, on the right bank of the river of the same name, just below the junction to the Namyeen Khioung, contains rather fewer than 300 houses. Although it contains so few houses it is a place of considerable extent. It is surrounded by the remains of a timber stockade, similar in construction to those of Burmah proper. The houses are mostly small, and I speak within bounds when I say, that there is not a single one that bears the stamp of respectability. There is a bazaar, but nothing good is procurable in it. Tea and sugar-candy are rare and high priced. Pork is plentiful. Mogoung is situated in a plain of some extent, this plain is surrounded in almost every direction by hills, all of which, with the exception of Shewe Down Gyee, are low: the nearest of these are about three miles off.

The inhabitants are mostly Shans, there are some Assamese, the chief of whom is a relation of Chundra Kant, the ex-Rajah of Assam. The best street in the town, though one of small extent, is that occupied by the resident Chinese, none of whom however are natives of China proper. Of this people I should say there are barely 60 in Mogoung, and, judging from their houses, none of which are of brick, I should say they are very inferior to their fellow-countrymen residing in Bamo.

During our stay in Mogoung, which was protracted owing to the disturbed state of the country, the population was much increased by Shan-Chinese returning from the Serpentine mines; and as there was a considerable number of boats engaged by them for the transportation of the Serpentine, the town looked busier than it otherwise would have done.

The Mogoung, river is here about 100 yards broad, but it is much subdivided by sand banks: it is navigable for moderate sized boats a considerable distance above the town. In the upper part of the course this river abounds with fish to an unprecedented degree; of these the most numerous is the Bokhar of Assam, and of this I have seen shoals of immense extent.

The Namyeen is a small and shallow stream. Although from the extent of the stockade Mogoung has evidently in former periods (during the Shan dynasty) been of extent and consequence, it is at present a mean and paltry town. It derives any little consequence it possesses from being the rendezvous of the Shan-Chinese, who flock here annually for procuring Serpentine.

The most valuable product of the Mogoung district is the Serpentine; the mines producing which, we visited from Kamein. The marches are as follows,

1. From Kamein to Endawkhioung.—Direction SSW. Distance 10 miles, course over low hills covered with jungle, with intervening grassy valleys of small extent; crossed the Isee Een nullah.

2. Halted on a plain, on a patch of ground lately under cultivation. Direction SSW. Distance 14 miles. Course over a similar tract of country; continued for some time close to the Endawkhioung; crossed several nullahs.

3. Halted in the jungle.—Direction WNW. Distance 17 miles. Country the same: we changed our course on reaching the path which leads to Kionkseik, a Singpho village, diverging to the N.; halted within a short distance of Kuwa Bhoom.

4. Reached the mines.—Direction WNW. Distance 10 miles, course over small plains and through jungle until we reached Kuwa Bhoom, which we ascended in a WNW. direction, extreme altitude attained 2,799 feet. The descent was steep, varied by one or two steep ascents of some hundred feet in height. On nearing the base of the range we continued through heavy and wet jungle, until we arrived at the mines.

These celebrated Serpentine {132} mines occupy a valley of somewhat semi- circular form, and bounded on all sides by thickly wooded hills of no great height. To the north the valley passes off into a ravine, down which a small streamlet that drains the valley escapes, and along this, at a distance of two or three miles, another spot of ground affording Serpentine is said to occur. The valley is small: its greatest diameter, which is from E. to W. being about three-quarters of a mile, and its smallest breadth varying from 460 to 600 or 700 yards.

The whole of the valley, which appears formerly to have been occupied by rounded hillocks, presents a confused appearance, being dug up in every direction, and in the most indiscriminate way; no steps being taken to remove the earth, etc. that have been thrown up in various places during the excavations. Nothing in fact like a pit or a shaft exists, nor is there any thing to repay one for the tediousness of the march from Kamein.

The stone is found in the form of more or less rounded boulders mixed with other boulders of various rocks and sizes imbedded in brick-coloured yellow or nearly orange-coloured clay, which forms the soil of the valley, and which is of considerable depth. The excavations vary much in form, some resembling trenches; none exceed 20 feet in depth. The workmen have no mark by which to distinguish at sight the Serpentine from the other boulders; to effect this, fracture is resorted to, and this they accomplish, I believe, by means of fire. I did not see the manner in which they work, or the tools they employ, all the Shans having left for Kamein, as the season had already been over for some days. No good specimens were procurable. The workmen reside in the valley, drawing their supplies from Kioukseik.

On our road to the mines we met daily, and especially on the last march, parties of Shan-Chinese, Burmese, and a few Singphos on their return. Of these in all Mr. Bayfield counted about 1,100, of whom about 700 were Shan-Chinese: these were accompanied by ponies, which they ordinarily use as beasts of burden. The larger blocks of stone were carried by four or five men, on bamboo frames; the smaller, but which still are of considerable size, on ingenious frames which rest on the nape of the coolies' neck; the frame has two long arms which the bearer grasps in his hand, and which enables him to relieve himself of his burden, and re-assume it without much sacrifice of labour, as he props his load against a tree, which is then raised by the legs of the frame some height from the ground. The valley we visited affords I believe the greatest quantity of the stone, which is said to be annually diminishing, neither are pieces of the finest sort so often procurable as they were formerly wont to be.

The path to the mines is on the whole good; it is choked up here and there by jungle, and the occurrence of one or two marshy places contribute to render it more difficult. It bears ample evidences of being a great thoroughfare.

The greater part of the stone procured is removed in the large masses, to Kioukseik, and thence by water by the aid of the Endawkhioung to Mogoung. At this place duties are levied upon it. Hence almost the whole is taken to Topo by water. From this place the Shan-Chinese carry it to their own country on ponies.

From the stone various ornaments are made; from the inferior kind, bangles, cups, etc. and from the superior, which is found in small portions generally within the larger masses, rings, etc. The stone is, I am informed by Mr. Bayfield, cut by means of twisted copper wire. The price of the inferior kind is high.

It is from these mines that the province of Mogoung derives its importance; so much so, that its revenue is said to exceed that of any other Burman Province. The sum derived from the Serpentine alone is stated to be occasionally as high as 40,000 Rs. per annum.

Owing to the avidity with which this product is sought after by the Chinese, it is highly desirable to ascertain whether it exists in Assam, which indeed is probably the case. I believe it is reported to exist near Beesa; at any rate, blood-stone is found in this extremity of the valley of Assam, and this, in Chinese eyes, is of considerable value. If the Serpentine is found, specimens should be sent to Mogoung. As the Shan-Chinese are reported to be a most penurious race, a small reduction in the price below that of the Burmese, would suffice to divert the current of the trade into Assam. Another interesting product, although of no value, exists in the shape of an Alkaline spring on the Sapiya Khioung, which hence derives its name. The water of this spring bubbles up sparingly and quietly from under the rocky bed of the above mountain torrent, it is quite clear, of a decided and pure alkaline taste: it is used by the natives for the purpose of washing, and it answers this remarkably well. Of this interesting spring Mr. Bayfield took specimens for analysis.

Salt is procurable within a distance of three or four days from Kioukseik.

Vegetable products.—Teak, and some of it is of a fine description, occurs both on the route between the Mogoung river and Kamein, as well as between Kamein and the Serpentine mines. The natives do not however appear to cut it, probably owing to the want of water carriage. Fine timber trees, nearly allied to the Saul, likewise occur on the road to the mines.

I met with the tea but once. This occurred among the low hills dividing the Mogoung district from the valley of Hookhoong, close to the Dupai- beng-kheoung, or Tea tree Nullah. There was no difference in the specimens brought to me from the plant of Assam, with the exception that the leaves were even larger than in the plant alluded to; it did not occur in abundance. It exists I believe, in another place on this route, and among the same hills, but I did not succeed in procuring specimens. Throughout both routes scarcely any cultivation was seen. Between the Mogoung river and Mogoung town considerable portions of some low hills to the East, presented the appearance of clearings. It must however be observed, that the appearance of clearings is a most fallacious ground on which to form an estimate of the population; 1st, owing to the habits of a nomadic population; 2ndly, because a spot once cleared, keeps up the appearance of a clearing for a long time; and 3rdly, because some particular spots are, from some local cause or other, exclusively inhabited by grasses, the prevalence of which will at a little distance always give one the idea of cultivation.

Population.—This in the somewhat extensive tract of the Mogoung district traversed, is very scanty. That of Mogoung and suburbs may be estimated at about 1,600, and that of Kamein at 250. In addition to these places, I have to mention a small Singpho village of three or four houses, seen on a range of hills during our first march towards the mines, and bearing about WNW., and Kioukseik. This latter place we visited on our return from the mines, it is a stockaded village, containing 16 houses, and about 120 souls. It is situated about 100 yards from a small stream, the Nam Teen: it is inhabited by Singphos: it is about a mile from the divergence of the road to the mines, and bears from this spot nearly due south. During the season of operations at the mines it is a place of some consequence, as all the necessary supplies of grain are procured from it. At the time of our visit, there was a good sized bazaar along the Nam Teen, which was likewise a good deal crowded by boats.

The neighbouring hills are inhabited here and there by Kukkeens, the most troublesome perhaps of all mountainous tribes; but there are some other villages about the lake, called the Endawgyee. We had an opportunity of viewing from a distance the above lake on our return from the mines. From an open spot on the eastern face of Kuwa Bhoom, it bore nearly due south, and was estimated as being 15 miles distant. We could not distinguish its outline, but we saw enough to satisfy us that it was a large body of water. It is situated in an extensive plain near a range of hills, part of which form portion of its banks. From the same spot we could see Shewe Down Gyee, the large range from which the Namtunai takes its course, bearing nearly due east, and at an estimated distance of 35 miles; the situation of the mines is therefore nearly due east from Kamein.

V. FROM MOGOUNG TO AVA.

THE WHOLE OF THE DISTANCE BETWEEN THE TWO ABOVE PLACES WAS PERFORMED BY WATER.

The time occupied in descending the Mogoung river was three days. This river is exceedingly tortuous, generally a good deal subdivided, and its channels are in many places shallow. The chief obstacle it presents to navigation consists in rapids, which commence below Tapan, and continue for some distance; these rapids are not severe, but are rendered difficult by the presence of rocks, many of large size. These rapids commence immediately the river in its course approaches some low ranges of hills. Boats of considerable size however manage to reach Mogoung; they ascend the severer rapids in channels made along the sides of the river, by removing and piling up on either side the boulders which form great part of the bed of the river in these places. The descent is managed in the same way, the speed of the boat being retarded by the crew exerting their united force in an opposite direction. On leaving the proximity of the hills, the river resumes its natural and rather slow character, and towards its mouth there is scarcely any stream at all. The channels are much impeded by stumps of trees. The country through which the Mogoung river passes is very uninteresting, and almost exclusively jungle, either tree or high grass.

Only one village, Tapan, is met with; this is small, and is situated on the right bank; with the exception of its river face it is stockaded. At this place the Shan-Chinese leave the river, striking off in an E. direction towards the Irrawaddi, which they reach in one day. We observed a small Kukkeen village on some hills near Tapan; with these exceptions no sign of inhabitants occurred until we reached the Irrawaddi. On the hills above alluded to, the bitter Tea is reported to exist. The Mogoung river at its mouth is about 70 yards across. The Irrawaddi even at the mouth of the Mogoung river, and at a distance of nearly 800 miles from the sea, keeps up its magnificent character. At this point it is 900 or 1,000 yards across; when we reached it, it had risen considerably, and the appearance of this vast sheet of water was really grand. Its characters are very different from the Ganges and Burrumpooter, its waters being much more confined to one bed, and comparatively speaking becoming seldom spread out. Generally speaking it is deep and the stream is not violent. It appears to me to afford every facility for navigation; in one or two places troublesome shallows are met with, and in several places the channel near the banks is impeded by rocks. It is only in the upper defile, or Kioukdweng, that the navigation is during the rises of the river dangerous, and at times impracticable. On our reaching Tsenbo, which is about 12 miles below the junction of the Mogoung river with the Irrawaddi, the river continued to rise in a most rapid degree, Mr. Bayfield ascertaining by measurement that it rose 16 inches an hour. We were consequently compelled to push on, as we were informed that the next day the defile would be impassable. The Kioukdweng alluded to commences about two miles below Tsenbo, the river becoming constricted from 1000 to 150 yards. The rush of water was great, and was rendered fierce by rocks which exist in the midst of the river. Still further within the defile the difficulties were increased; at one place the whole of the enormous body of water rushes through a passage, and it is the only one, certainly not exceeding 50 yards in width. The passage of this was really fearful, for on clearing it we were encountered by strong eddies, backwaters and whirlpools, which rendered the boat nearly unmanageable. These scenes continued, varied every now and then by an expanded and consequently more tranquil stream, until a gorge is passed, well known by the name of the "Elephant and Cow," two rocks which are fancifully supposed to resemble the above named animals; the defile then becomes much wider, and the waters flow in a tranquil and rather sluggish manner. The depth of the river in this defile is, as may be supposed, immense; Mr. Bayfield ascertained during his passage up, at a season when the waters were low, that in many places no bottom was to be found at a depth of 45 fathoms. The necessity of this enormous depth is at once evident, and is pointed out by the configuration of the banks, which are in many places sheer precipices. Two other defiles exist between Bamo and Ava, of these the middle or second is the shortest, in both the stream flows sluggishly, and there is no impediment whatever to navigation. In these the depth is great, but owing to their greater width, much less so than in the upper.

The temperature of the waters of the Irrawaddi is as usually obtains, except during the rises of the river caused by the melting of snow, when it is higher than usual.

Tributaries of the Irrawaddi between Mogoung river and Ava.

The number of tributaries even to Rangoon is unprecedentedly small: this tends to increase the astonishment with which one regards this magnificent river.

The rivers that fall into the Irrawaddi within the above distance are,

1st. The Mogoung river.

2nd. Tapien Khioung, above Bamo.

3rd. Shewe Lee Khioung.

These are about the same size, and only discharge a considerable quantity of water during the rainy season. The Shewe Lee at its mouth, is between 5 and 600 yards wide, but only an inconsiderable portion of this is occupied by water, and this to no depth.

The great branch from which the Irrawaddi derives its vast supply of water still remains to be discovered, and will probably be found to be the Shoomaee Kha. It is evident, at any rate, that the great body of water comes from the eastward, for between the Mogoung river and Borkhamtee, in which country Captain Wilcox visited the Irrawaddi, and where it was found to be of no great size, no considerable branch finds its way from the Westward: neither are the hills which intervene between these points, of such height as to afford large supplies of water.

On the whole it is, I think, probable, that the Irrawaddi is an outlet for some great river, which drains an extensive tract of country; for it appears to me that if all its waters are poured in by mountain streams, a tract of country extensive beyond all analogy, will be required for the supply of such a vast body of water.

In addition to the above three rivers, few nullahs exist, but these are scarcely worthy of consideration.

Nature of the country.—From the mouth of the Mogoung river nearly to Tsenbo the country is flat, and the banks wooded or covered with grass to the brink. The range of hills which form the upper Kioukdweng there commence, and continue for a distance of 16 or 20 miles, during the whole of which they form the banks of the river. These hills are scantily covered with trees, most of which are in addition stunted. The vegetation within the maximum high water mark consists of a few scraggy shrubs. The rocks composing these hills are principally serpentine, which within the influence of the water is of a dark sombre brown colour. Limestone occurs occasionally.

From this Kioukdweng to the second, the entrance of which (coming from above) is at Tsenkan, the features of the country are of the ordinary alluvial description, and the river is a good deal spread out and subdivided by islands, covered with moderate sized grasses. On leaving the second Kioukdweng the same scenery occurs, the banks are generally tolerably high, often gravelly or clayey. About Tsagaiya, a few miles below the mouth of the Shewe Lee, low hills approach the river, and they continue along one or both banks {139} at variable distance until one reaches Ava. These hills are all covered with a partial and stunted vegetation, chiefly of thorny shrubs, and present uniformly a rugged raviny and barren appearance. The scenery of the river is in many places highly picturesque, and in the upper Kioukdweng and portion of the second, where there is a remarkable cliff of about 3,000 feet in height, bold and even grand.

Villages and Towns.—These although numerous compared with the almost deserted tracts hitherto passed, are by no means so much so as to give an idea of even a moderate population. From the mouth of the Mogoung river to the Kioukdweng there are several villages, but all are small, mean, and insignificant. Strange to say, they are defenceless, although the neighbouring Kukkeens are dangerous and cruel neighbours. Nothing can be more calculated to shew the weakness of the Burmese government than the fact, that the most mischievous and frequent aggressions of these hill tribes always go unpunished, although a short time after an attack the very band by whom it has been made will enter even large towns to make purchases, perhaps with money the produce of their robberies.

The upper Kioukdweng has a very scanty population, consisting of a distinct race of people called Phoons: who are sub-divided into two tribes, the greater and lesser Phoons. About 12 villages occur in this defile, and Mr. Bayfield says that the population is almost entirely confined to the banks of the river: all these villages are small.

Between the defile and Bamo a good number of villages occur, the largest of which does not contain more than 100 houses, the generality are small and mean. Bamo, which is a place of celebrity, and is perhaps the third town in Burmah, is situated on the left bank of the river, which is here, including the two islands which subdivide it into three channels, about a mile and a quarter in width; the channel on which Bamo is situated is the principal one. The town occupies rather a high bank of yellow clay, along which it extends for rather more than a mile, its extreme breadth being perhaps 350 yards. It is surrounded by a timber stockade, the outer palisades being well pangoed; the defences had just undergone repair owing to an expected attack from the Kukkeens. It contains within the stockade rather less than 600 houses, (the precise number was ascertained personally by Mr. Bayfield,) and including the suburbs, which consist of two small villages at the northern end, one at the southern, and one occupied by Assamese at the eastern, it contains about 750 houses. These are generally of the usual poor and mean description; indeed, not even excepting the Governor's house, there is not a good Burman or Shan house in the place. One street which occupies a portion of the river bank, is inhabited by Chinese, and contains about 100 houses; these are built of unburnt brick, and have a peculiar blueish appearance; none are of any size. The best building in Bamo is the Chinese place of worship. Those occupied by the Burmese have the usual form. The country adjoining Bamo is flat, dry, and I should think unproductive; it is intersected by low swampy ravines, one or two of which extend into the town. To the south there is an extensive marsh, partially used for rice-cultivation.

The population of Bamo including the suburbs, may be estimated at about 4500, of whom 4 or 500 are Chinese. The governor is a bigoted Burman, of disagreeable manners; he expends much money in the erection of Pagodas, while he leaves the streets, roads and bridges by which the ravines are passed, in a ruinous and disgraceful state.

The Bazaar of Bamo is generally well supplied: British piece goods and woollen cloths are procurable, but at a high price: the show of Chinese manufactures is much better, particularly on the arrival of a caravan; considerable quantities of Tea are likewise brought in the shape of flat cakes, of the size of a dessert plate, and about two inches thick. This tea is of the black sort, and although very inferior to the Chinese case teas, is a far better article than that of Pollong. In addition to this, warm jackets lined with fur, straw hats, silk robes, skull-caps, and sugar-candy are procurable; pork of course is plentiful, and is excessively fat; grain, vegetables and fish are plentiful. On the whole Bamo is a busy and rather flourishing place: it derives its consequence entirely from its being a great emporium of trade with the Chinese, who come here annually in large numbers; for the accommodation of these people and their caravans, two or three squares, fenced in with bamboos, are allotted.

The principal article of Burmese export is cotton, and this I believe is produced for the most part lower down the Irrawaddi.

The climate of Bamo is in April dry and sultry: the range of the thermometer being from 66 degrees or 68 degrees to 94 degrees or 96 degrees. North-westers are of common occurrence in this month, and are frequently of extreme severity. I saw very little cultivation about Bamo, some of the ravines alluded to had lately been under rice-culture; the chief part of the cultivation for vegetables, etc. is confined to the sandy islands, which occur here and there.

Of the numerous villages passed between Bamo and Ava not one deserves especial notice, nor is there one, with the exception of Umeerapoora, the former capital, which contains 500 houses. Shewegyoo, which formerly occupied a considerable extent of the left bank near the south opening of the second Kioukdweng had been burnt by the orders of the Monein Myoowoon, on account of their having supplied troops to the emissaries of the Tharawaddi. Kioukgyee, the residence of the above governor, had a short time before our arrival been invested by a force in the interest of the Tharawaddi, but had been repulsed. The governor was to proceed with the whole population, amounting to several hundred souls, to Bamo, to join his forces with those of the Bamo governor. This part of the country was most unsettled and almost deserted. On reaching Katha the state of the country was more tranquil, all the people below this point having espoused the cause of the Tharawaddi. Katha contains 200 houses, and has a rather respectable bazaar; it is well situated, and has the most eligible site in my opinion, of all the towns hitherto seen. The most remarkable object is a noble Kioung, or Mosque, built by the head- man of the place; this is one of the finest now existing in Burma.

The only other large place is Sheenmaga, about a day's journey from Ava. This is said to contain 1,000 houses. An extensive fire had lately occurred here. I counted 200 houses, and judging from the extent of the ruins, I should say it might probably have numbered between 4 and 500. There are several villages contiguous to this, and I think that the district immediately contiguous is more populous than any part hitherto seen.

During the above portion of the journey our halts were as follows:—

1. Tapaw. 2. Mogoung river. 3. Mogoung river. 4. Lemar, in the upper Kioukdweng. 5. Bamo. 6. Tsenkan. 7. Kioukgyee. 8. Katha. 9. Tsagaya. 10. Tagoung. 11. Male, at the entrance of the lower Kioukdweng. 12. Kabuet, in the lower Kioukdweng. 13. Male. 14. Menghoon. 15. Ava.

This distance down the Irrawaddi may, in a fast boat, be performed in ten days, but owing to the disturbed state of the country we were compelled to avail ourselves of the first opportunity that offered to enable us to reach Ava; in addition the proper number of boatmen was not procurable, everybody being afraid of approaching the capital even a few miles.

The chief product I saw was Teak, of this there were large rafts at Tsenkan and elsewhere. This tree seems to abound in the hills forming the NE. boundaries of Burmah. I did not, however, see any of large size.

Tea is found on hills to the east of Bamo, and at a distance of one day's journey from that place. Through the kindness of Mr. Bayfield, I was enabled to procure specimens; the leaves were decidedly less coarse, as well as smaller, than those of the Assamese plants, and they occurred both serrated and entire. No use is made of the wild plants in this direction, and the Chinese at Bamo, asserted that it was good for nothing. It must be remembered, however, that none of them had seen the plant cultivated in China. Indeed the only real Chinaman we saw, was one at Kioukgyee, serving the Myoowoon as a carpenter: this man had been to England twice, and talked a little English.

Cotton is, I was informed, extensively cultivated.

But the most valuable product is the Ruby, which is procured from hills to the eastward of Tsenbo, and which are, I believe, visible from the opposite town, Mala. From the same place and to the SE., low hills are visible, from which all the marble in extensive use for the carving of images, is obtained; this marble has been pronounced by competent authority to be of first-rate quality.

Population.—This must be considered as scanty. From a list of towns and villages, observed by Captain Hannay, between Ava and Mogoung inclusive, I estimated the population at 100,000 souls, but from this one- third at least must be deducted. In this estimate of the number of houses, Captain Hannay was probably guided, either by the Burmese census, or by the statement of the writer who accompanied him. From the numbers given by this officer, in almost every case one-third, and occasionally one-half, or even more, must be deducted: as instances, I may cite his statement of the number of houses in Bamo and Katha.

In almost every case Mr. Bayfield counted all the houses, and in all doubtful cases, I counted them also at his request, so that I am enabled to speak with great confidence on this point.

As a collateral proof of the scanty population of this extensive portion of the Burmese territory, I may allude to the fact that Bamo, the third place in Burmah, and the emporium of great part of an extensive Chinese trade, contains only even at the rate of seven souls to each house, which is two too many, 4,250 inhabitants. The capital may be adduced as an additional instance; for including the extensive suburbs, no one estimated it as having a larger population than 100,000. It must be remembered also, that there is no doubt, but that the banks of the Irrawaddi are more populous than any other portion of the kingdom.

Throughout the above rather long journey, we were treated, with one exception, tolerably well; indeed our delays arose from the unwillingness, real or pretended, of the authorities to forward us on while the country remained so unsettled. The headman of Kamein on our first arrival was extremely civil, but on our return after he had received news of the revolt of the Tharawaddi, he behaved with great insolence, and actually drew his dha on Mr. Bayfield. It must be remembered however that he had been brought to task by the Mogoung authorities for having, as it was said, accepted of a douceur for allowing us to proceed to the serpentine mines.

The general idea entertained by the people through whose countries we passed, was, that we had been sent to report upon the country prior to its being taken under British protection. Of the existence of this idea, Mr. Bayfield met with some striking proofs.

On reaching Katha our troubles ceased, and these, excepting at Kamein and Mogoung, only arose from the evident wish of the natives to keep at a distance from us, and not to interfere in one way or the other. At Mogoung I consider it probable that we should have been detained had it not been for the firm conduct of Mr. Bayfield, and his great knowledge of the Burmese character. At this place the authority of the Myoowoon, who was absent in Hookhoong, was totally disregarded, and his brother the Myoowoah, was in confinement, the Shan Matgyee having espoused the cause of the prince Tharawaddi.

Conclusion.—For the brief and rapid manner in which I have run through this last section of my report, as well as for having forsaken the arrangement adopted in the previous sections, I trust I shall be excused. In the first place, this portion of the route had been previously travelled over by Captain Hannay and by Mr. Bayfield, by whom much additional information will be laid before Government; and in the second place, I would advert to the hurried nature of this part of our journey, and to the disturbed state of the country. For similar reasons I have only drawn up this account to the period of my reaching Ava. It will be at once seen that the information might have been much more extensive, especially as regards the revenues of the districts, but I abstained from interfering with subjects which were in every respect within the province of Mr. Bayfield; and the minute and accurate manner in which this officer performed the duties consigned to him, reconciled me at once to the secondary nature of the objects which were left for my examination.

I subjoin a tabular view of the marches, this will not agree entirely with those given in the body of the report, as one or two of those were unavoidably short. I give the table to shew the shortest period in which the journey could be accomplished by an European without constantly overfatiguing himself. If the total distance be compared with an estimate made from charts, all of which however are imperfect so far as the country between Meinkhoong and Beesa is concerned, the tortuousness of our course will be at once evident.

Marches. Miles

1 From Sadya to Noa Dehing Mookh, 6 2 To Rangagurreh, 12 3 To Moodoa Mookh, 12 4 To Kidding, 9 5 To Namroop Puthar, 12 6 To Beesa Lacoom, 12 7 To Halting place in the hills, 12 8 To Darap Panee, 12 9 To the Namtuseek, 12 10 Namtuseek, 10 11 To the Boundary Nullah, 12 12 To the Namaroan, 15 13 Namaroan, 13 14 To Khathung Khioung, 15 15 To Khussee Khioung, 13 16 To Kuttack Bhoom, 13 17 To Namtuseek, 10 18 To Nhempean, 18 19 To Kulleyang, 17 20 To Tsilone, 10 21 To Meinkhoong, 17 22 To Wullabhoom, 13 23 To Halting place towards the Mogoung river, 22 24 Mogoung river, 15 25 Ditto ditto, 13 26 Ditto ditto, 14 27 Kamein, {145} 14 28 Mogoung, 25 —- Total number of miles, 378

The remaining distance performed in boats may be thus estimated down the Mogoung river to the Irrawaddi, 45

From the confluence of the Mogoung river down the Irrawaddi to Ava, 240 —- 663 —-

Allowing twelve days for the performance of this last portion, which however is too short a time, the entire distance may be performed in forty days.



CHAPTER VIII.

Notes made on descending the Irrawaddi from Ava to Rangoon.

28th May.—I left Ava and halted about two miles above Menboo.

29th May.—Continuing the journey, the country appears flat with occasionally low hills as about Kioukloloing, no large villages occur; the river is sub-divided by churs; no large grasses to be seen, and the vegetation is arid. Bombax is the chief tree: Mudar and Zizyphus occur: Guilandina, Crotolaria a large Acanthacea, and a Jasminioides shrub are the most common plants: Borassus is abundant: Fici occur about villages. The banks are generally sandy, not high.

Yandebo. This is a wretched village; barren plains bounded to the east by barren rather elevated hills; base jungly. Observed the tree under which the treaty was signed with the Burmese at the close of the late war. It is an ordinary mango, near a pagoda on a plain with two large fig trees. I counted to-day 28 boats sailing up between this and our halting place of yesterday, mostly large praows. The banks present few trees, are flat, barren, and from being occasionally overflowed, adapted to paddy.

Halted at Meengian, which is a middling sized village on the left bank, about a mile below Tarof myoo.

30th May.—I made an excursion into the country which is dry, barren, and sandy, with a descent towards the banks of the river. Zizyphus, Acacia, Euphorbia 20 feet high, Calotropis, Capparis 2, etc., occur all the same as before, only one Ehretiacea appears to be new. Hares are very common. Likewise red and painted Partridges, and Quail. Carthamus and Tobacco are cultivated, specially the latter at Meengian. The most common tree here, is Urticea procera? which has always a peculiar appearance. The country towards Pukoko becomes prettier, the left bank wooded, and the ground sloped very gradually up to Kionksouk, which is barren, and 2,000 feet high at least, with the slopes covered with jungle.

31st May.—Passed Pagam, a straggling town of some size, famous for its numerous old pagodas of all sorts. The surface of the country is raviny, and the vegetation continues precisely the same. Below Pagam, the range of low hills becomes very barren: altogether the country is very uninteresting.

The low range of hills on the right bank is nearly destitute of vegetation. The hills present a curious appearance of ridges, sometimes looking like walls. The country continues the same.

Halted opposite Yowa.

June 1st.—A low range of hillocks here occurs on the left bank, and as in other places, consisting of sandstone with stunted and scanty vegetation.

Tselow is a large place on the left bank, the river is here much spread out, with large sand banks. The hills on the right bank present the same features; passed Pukangnai, a large village on the left bank. Passed Pukkoko, Pagam, Tselow, etc., the hills about this last place abound with Prionites. Strong wind prevails.

June 2nd.—Yeanangeown 10 A.M. The country continues exactly similar to that already observed—hillocks intersected by ravines, loose sandstone, very barren in appearance. Vegetation is the same, but more stunted; fossil wood is common, especially in the bottom of ravines. {147} Of fossils very few were seen, but more are to be procured by digging. The most common trees are Zizyphus, Acacia, and a Capparis: the most common grass Aristida. Arrived at Yeanangeown, a busy place judging from the number of boats.

Wind less strong. At 2 P.M. stopped at Wengma-thoat, where Zizyphus is extremely common. Euphorbia seems rather disappearing.

The plants met with at the halting place six miles above Yeanang, were Euphorbia, Olax, Zizyphus, Mimosa, Carissa, Ximenia, Prionites, Calotropis, Gymnema, Capparis pandurata et altera species arborea, Murraya rare, Gossypium frutex 6-8-petal, Xanthophyllum blue, petiolis alatis of Tagoung, Sidae sp. On the right bank flat churs continue covered with a small Saccharum. Vegetation more abundant and greener than before. Ficus again occurs and Stravadium occasionally.

Passed 5 P.M. Memboo at a large village on right bank, containing perhaps 200 houses. The river below this runs between two ranges of low hills, similar in every respect to those already passed. A Kukkeen woman was observed, who appeared to have a blue face, looking perfectly frightful.

June 3rd.—Maguay. Reached this place at 8 P.M. It is on the left bank. It is a place of some importance. Many boats lying in the stream. The country, is of the same dry, arid description: the banks of the river are however lower than previously observed.

Passed Esthaiya, a small village on the right bank, at 6 A.M. Adelia nereifolia continues common in some places.

Dhebalar, Meemgoon, two villages nearly opposite, neither of these villages large. Ficus and Bombax are common; no Euphorbia was observed.

We are now evidently getting within the influence of the Monsoon, as the vegetation is more green.

Passed Mellun, a village on the right bank. The hills on either side of the river are higher and better wooded than before observed, and the river itself is not more than 350 yards broad.

Observed gold washers below Meegyoung-yea, where they find gold, silver, and rubies by washing the sands. Here Bombax is very common on the right bank.

Passed Thembounwa, a village on the left bank. The country presents the same ridges of singular hills formed of veins of slaty, tabular, brown rock, this is very conspicuous at Thembounwa. The hills on the left bank above Meeaday are very barren; the banks rocky.

Halted at Khayoo, just above Meeaday, at 7 P.M.

June 4th.—Passed Teiyet myoo, a village on the right bank, which seems to have some cotton trade; the houses along the bank are wretched in appearance. Meeaday was passed during a squall, I was thus prevented from making any observation on it. Teiyet is the largest place I have seen. The country we are now passing is very slightly undulated, soil light and sandy. Fine tamarind trees occur, also Terminalia. In addition to the usual plants a Lagerstraemia occurs, which attains the size of a middling tree, and a frutescent Hypericum, Aristolochia, and Hedyotis occur. Strong south wind prevails so that we can make no progress whatever, I therefore went into the jungle and found Stravadium, a fine Bignonia foliis pinnatis, floribus maximis, fere spitham. infundibulif. subbilabiat. lacinus crispatis: one or two Acanthaceae, two Gramineae, two Vandelliae, Bonnaya, Herpestes, Monniera, Rumex, Dentella, three or four Cyperaceae, Ammannia, Crotalaria on sand banks, Triga in woods and Bauhinia, Dioscoria, a pretty herbaceous perennial Ardisia, etc. We have not made two miles since breakfasting at Teiyet, about four hours ago. Convolvulus pileatus and dwarf bamboo are common on the low hills. The Lagerstraemia has petals none, or minute squamiform.

Reached Caman Myoo, a village on the right bank, at 7 P.M.

June 5th.—Many boats are here, owing to there being an excellent place of anchorage in still water, protected by an Island, but there are not many houses in the village.

Below, the river again becomes confined between hills, but above this it expands. These hills are rather bare: no Euphorbia exists, and the whole vegetation is changed.

Now passing hills, chiefly covered with bamboos. Bignonia crispa occurs, and a Scilloid plant out of flower is common. Aroideum, similar to that of Katha, is common, a new species is likewise found, but it is a Roxburghia, and rare.

Stravadium has very minute stipules, the habit and gemmation is that of Ternstraemiaceae, and it perhaps connects this order with Myrtaceae; Punica from this is certainly distinct, owing praeter alia to its valvate calyx. Soneratia belongs I suspect to Lythrarieae, connecting it with Myrtaceae.

The Roxburghia above alluded to, is a distinct genus.

Planta quam juniorem tantum vidi vex spithamaea. Radices plurimae filiformes, cortice crassa, tenacissima obfibras foliiformas ad vaginam redacta, superiora petiolique purpureo-brunnei, vernatione involutiva, flores solitarii in axillis foliorum et vaginarum, albi carneo tincti. Pedicellis subtereti apice, articulatis, monoicis.

Perianth sub-companulat, 4-sepalum, sepalis lanceolato-oblongis a medio reflexis, estivat imbricat.

Stam. 4. sepalis alterna, filam subanth. magna, subsagittat, connectivo magno supra in apiculum longum product, et inter loculos in carinam (carneam) purpuream, loculi angustissimi, viridis, alabastrus lutescens. Pollen viridescens. Faemin flos, infimus, unum tantum vidi sepala longiora herbacea, stam. 0.

Ovarium compressum, fol. carpell () {149}, stylus conicus, ovar viridis, stigma sub-simplex.

Char. gen. Flores monoici Per. 4, sepalum, stam. 4.

Arrived at Prome on the left bank, the stockade seemed to be out of repair: the water front of the stockade is about 800 yards in length: it extends about 200 yards back from the river, and beyond the hill on which are pagodas: opposite the pagodas it is of brick, and beyond this a long line of houses or huts extends; there is no appearance of improvement going on. The hills on the opposite side present the same features, trees just commencing to leaf; every thing indicates a temporary sterility caused by the long hot season. Above this place we passed a village extending 500 yards along the river. Cocoa trees thrive well here, and are not uncommon. Borassus continues.

Shwe Doung, 6 miles from Prome, is as large as Prome itself: the country beyond this expands; no hills were seen near this part of the river; some way below Palmyras are common; Bombax, Ficus, and Tamarind are the chief trees.

Passed Reedan, a straggling place on the left bank. A range of hills occur, extending close along the right bank, and which, as well as the distant ones, are wooded to the summit, as the hills are on the Malay Coast.

Passed Thengyee, a village on the right bank. Hills at this place approach close to the river for a short way, but soon cease. They are covered with Teak, scarped, and many images are carved in the recesses of the rock, apparently sandstone. Thengyee, just below this, seems to be a great place for boat-building.

Halted at Talownmo at 7.5 P.M.

June 6th.—At this place there are no hills near the river, which is sub-divided by islands. Painted partridge continues. Kioungee; palmyra trees continue in plenty. Talipat never seen dead, but with its inflorescence. Passed Meavion and Runaown. Palmyras here occur: great numbers of boats passing up and down. Traffic considerable.

Moneu, a village on the left bank, at which many boats were observed.

The river banks throughout are today flat and alluvial, and those of the Islands are covered with moderate sized grasses; extreme banks jungly. Palmyras continue.

Halted at Thendan, on left bank.

June 7th.—The country here has the usual alluvial features; few villages are seen, but as the river is sub-divided, one must not judge from this and the consequent barren appearance, that the country is less populated than above.

Stravadium is common in the woods: on the banks, noticed Acrostichum difforme; Epiphytical Orchideae are common. Urticea fructibus late obcordatis.

Passed Tharawa, a village on the left bank, and Theenmaga myoo on the right bank, which seems a large place; here Pandanus commences. Palmyras were seen, together with a few Areca. At 4 P.M. I saw at Zulone myoo, for the first time during the descent, a Crocodile, which is an indication of our approach to the coast. A Bombax is now common on some of the islands, the banks are now generally grassy.

This Bombax is apparently the same as that of Assam; the river here resembles the B. pootur about Chykwar.

Halted at a small village about six miles above Donai-byoo near Dollong.

June 8th.—Donai-byoo, 7 A.M. This is a large place, on the right bank, having a good many boats.

Niown Sheedouk on the left bank, three miles below Donai-byoo, is likewise a large place.

Tides exist here, and their influence extends upwards as far as Zulone, that is to say, the stream is much diminished during the flood. Entered Rangoon river at 1 P.M.: it is here not more than 200 yards broad. Nioungdoa is a middling sized village, situated about a mile from the mouth or entrance, at which were observed plenty of boats. The banks of the river are here grassy; tall Saccharum and Arundo occur, but not so large as those of Assam. The river a small way below the mouth is not more than 100 yards wide. Bombax and Ficus are the most common trees: Lagerstraemia grandiflora forms a little tree jungle: Butea likewise occurs.

Passed Tsamaloukde, a small village on the right bank.

June 9th.—Halted at 6 this morning at a small village on the left bank. The features of the country now become paludosal. Acanthus ilicifolius, Cynometra acacisides, Cyperaceae, Soneralia acida, Avicennia, Stravadium, Croton malvaefolium are very common, Creni sp. Caesalpinia, and a leguminous tree, fructibus 1-spermis, drupaceis, Webera, Premna, Cissi sp. potius Vitis, Clerodendri sp. Heritiera fomes, Flagellaria indica, Hibisci species populneae affinis, Arundo, Ambrosinia 2 species.

Country open, low, and quite flat, admirable for rice cultivation.

Crinoid giganteum, Excaecaria, Agallocha, no Rhizophores, Ipomaea floribus maximis, hypocrateriform, albis, foliis cordatis. Soneratia apetala less common, but becomes more so as we approach Rangoon, it is an elegant tree with pendulous branchlets. Heritiera is very common and conspicuous when in flower, it is then of a yellow brown tint; Acrostichum aureum, Calamus, and Lomaria scandens occur.



CHAPTER IX.

Journal towards Assam and to Bootan—contains notes on distribution of Plants.

Left Calcutta a second time on the 31st August 1837, arrived at Serampore on the 1st September, and spent the day with the Voights.

September 3rd.—Continue on the Hooghly: paddy cultivation prevails and Crotalaria juncea; this last is sown broadcast in low places, but not quite so low as paddy. Bengallees are but slovenly husbandmen; grass, etc. collected by them in small cocks, and covered with a small thatch, which answers its purpose as well as a narrow brimmed hat would answer that of an umbrella. Broken earthenware not unfrequently visible in the banks, in some places at the depth of 3-4 feet. Unsettled weather, with gusts of strong wind from the S. and SSE. Thermometer 78 degrees 82'. The usual Calcutta birds continue, jackdaw-like crow, Falco pondicherainus, two common mainas, Ardea indica, and the white one.

Came on the Ganges about noon; on passing Chobda had the horror of seeing the bodies of burning Hindoos, the friends who are present at these funeral rites turning them about with sticks, so as to give each side its share of fire. The women bathe in their ordinary dresses: these though ample are of fine cotton fabric, so that when wet more of the shape is disclosed than is deemed desirable in Europe, but exposure of person has no repugnant effect on Asiatics.

The Matabangah is a small, very tortuous, stream, not exceeding 70 yards in breadth: the banks are low, either wooded to the edge or covered with grass, such as Cynodon. Excellent pasturage prevails, as indicated by the number of cows.

Monday 4th.—Wind SE. There are not many villages in the vicinity of the river; passed yesterday Kranighat, where there is a toll, from which officers on duty are exempt; but as no precautions seem to be taken to keep the river clear, no toll whatever should be taken: although the latter is high, the receipts must be very small. Passed Arskally about noon, the banks are composed occasionally of pure sand, and the country becomes more open, with very little jungle, much indigo cultivation occurs. Thermometer 78 degrees 85'.

Tuesday, 5th.—Wind SW. The country continues the same as before. At 2 P.M., we reached Krishnapoor.

Wednesday, 6th.—8 A.M. We left the Matabangah river and entered a less tortuous nullah. The country continues the same. Much indigo cultivation still occurs. We saw yesterday evening a large herd of cows swim across the Matabangah; they were led by a bull, who kept turning round every now and then to see whether his convoy was near him. Today I saw a rustic returning from his labours, with his plough thrown easily across his shoulders; to a strong Englishman the feat of walking home with such a plough, cattle, and all would not be very difficult. Indigo is cut about a foot from the ground, then tied in bundles. Water for steeping it in is raised from the rivers by something like chair-buckets, only the buckets are represented by flat pieces of wood, the whole is turned on an axle by the tread of men; the water is carried upon an inclined narrow plane; the machine answers its purpose very well, and the natives work it with great dexterity. At 5 P.M., we came on a stream 100 yards wide, down which we proceeded.

Thursday, 7th.—The country continues much the same. Of birds the black and white peewit is not uncommon;—cormorants, etc. also occur. P.M. Thermometer 90 degrees.

Friday, 8th.—The country is more low and more sub-divided by rivers than before. Abundance of indigo. Pumps also used, as before observed, for raising water. Passed Moodoo Kully at 5 P.M., and left its river for a small nullah. Indigo abundant on all sides throughout the day's journey.

Saturday, 9th.—Continue in this nullah. Country wooded. Phaenix sylvestris very abundant: Areca Catechu also becoming abundant. A good deal of cultivation occurs, mottled chiefly with sugar-cane and vegetables. The habits of the black and white kingfisher, Alcedo rudis, are different from those of the other Indian species: it never perches, choosing rather the ground to rest upon: it builds in banks: takes its prey by striking it from a height of 20 feet or thereabouts, previously fluttering or hovering over it. The size and figure of this bird when resting on the ground, resembles the two common Indian Terns.

Palms, contrary to what might be supposed from the nature of these plants, can put forth additional buds;—this is exemplified in phaenix sylvestris, the stems of which are deeply and alternately notched by the natives for procuring toddy. When this is carried to a great extent, the tree either dies or a new apex is formed laterally. The old notches, as might be expected, at length, become much obliterated. It is from the study of such palms that much light will be thrown on the growth of monocotyledonous stems. The vegetation of jheels is now obviously commencing. Pistia stratioles, Nymphaea, Potamogeton, Potamochloa, Oplismenus stagninus, and Villarsia occur. Reached Furreedpore at 7 P.M.

Sunday, 10th.—Came on the Paddo, an immense stream 1.5 miles wide, with a very strong current, about a mile to the East of Furreedpore. Lagerstraemia Regina here occurs.

Monday, 11th.—The country is become much lower since leaving Furreedpore, and is inundated during the height of the rains. The peculiar vegetation of jheels predominant; that of the jungle continues much the same. Plhugoor continues plentiful. No palmyras. Mangoes plentiful, but small. Passed a deserted Roman Catholic Chapel, and Priest's house. White-winged long-nailed water-hens becoming plentiful.

Tuesday, 12th.—The country abounds more in jheels: in many places nothing is visible but water, in which huge plains of floating grasses occur. The villages are very numerous, and occupy in fact almost every spot of ground not subject ordinarily to inundation. Damasonium Indicum, Nymphaea pubescens occur in profusion. The grass which exists in such vast quantities is, I believe, Oplismenus stagninus. The water of these jheels is clear, black when deep, which it often is to a great extent.

Previous Part     1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12  13  14     Next Part
Home - Random Browse