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· Illustrated and Embellisher with cirrect Maps and bearstiful
Newcastle upon Tyne :
VOYAGES AND TRAVELS,
DISCOVERY OF AMERICA
SYMES'S EMBASSY TO AVA.
THERE is no civilized country so little known as India
beyond the Ganges; although, even in Ptolemy's time, it was the seat of commerce, and now comprehends one of the greatest empires in the east.
The Birmans, whose ancient capital was Ava, maintained a supremacy over the kingdom of Pegu throughout the last, and during the first 40 years of the 18th century, when the Peguers revolted, and finally sigued their wasters. But their triumph was of short duration ; for the Birmans, after a pause, flew to arms; and, at the erid of a long and bloody war, completely subjugated the people of Pegu." Arracan was also compelled to acknowledge the suprériacy of the conquerors: and the Siamese, with difficulty, preserved their independence over part of their ancient territories. Thus the Birmans became indisputably pre-eminent among the nations inhabiting the vast peninsula that separates the gulf of Bengal from the Chinese sea; possessed of a territory equal in extent to the Vol. IV.
German empire; blessed with a salubrious climate, and a soil capable of producing almost every article of luxury, convenience, and commerce, that the east supply, Miamma, or Birmah, thus happily circumstanced, enjoyed the pleasing prospect of a long exemption from the miseries of war; but unbending pride, and resentment unjustifiably prosecuted, nearly embroiled them in fresh troubles, before they had time to profit by the advantages of peace, and threatened to raise them up a foe far more formidable than the Chinese, Arracaners, Peguers, Siamese, and Cassayers, whom they had conquered:
The trade of Arracan, which is chiefly carried on with the eastern ports through an inland navigation, when the rivers are swollen by the rains, had suffered repeated interruptions from piratical banditti, who, infesting the Broken islands, among which the channels wind, that are the usual course of boats, not only committed depredations on private merchants, but had even the hardiness to attack fleets, laden with the royal customs, which are usually received in kind, viz. 1-10th of the commodity. These robbers, when the season of the year did not admit of their plundering on the water, sought adventures by land; and, as the Birmans allege, conveyed their booty of goods and cattle across the river Naaf, into the Chittagong province, where, secure from pursuit, being then under protection of the British flag, they disposed of their spoils to advantage, and lived at ease, until returning want impelled them to renew their predatory inroads.
The river Naaf, which bounds the British and Birman territories, .is situated at a considerable distance from the town of Chittagong; the seat of provincial government, and residence of the English magistrate: :: Tho banks of this river are covered with deep jungles, iğterspørsed with scanty spots of cultivation, and a few wretched villages where dwell the poorest class of herdsmen, and the families of roring hunters, whose occupation it is to catch and tame the wild elephants, with which these forests abound. The asylum that such unfrequented places offered to persons concerned in a lawless traffic, rendered it easy to be carried on without the knowledge of the English officers of justice; nor could it possibly reach the notice of the