Immigration of the Mons into Siam. พิมพ์ อีเมล
เขียนโดย .   

HALLIDAY,ROBERT. IMMIGRATION OF THE MONS INTO SIAM. JSS. VOL.10 (pt.3) 1913. p.1-15.

 

 

                                               Immigration of the Mons
                                                             into Siam.

 

                   The Mons in Siam,  though  but  a  feeble  folk  as  compared  with
the far more numerous Siamese  and  others,  have  yet  a  special  claim  on
our   attention   for   various  reasons.   They   represent   one  of   the   oldest
civilizations   of    Indo-China.   They    themselves   claim   in    the   literature
handed down to have  been  visited  by  Buddhist  missionaries  as  far  back
as  the  time   of  Asoka,  the  great  Buddhist  emperor  of  India,  who sought
to  spread   the  faith  far  and  wide. Doubt   has  sometimes  been  raised as
to   whether  this  event  really   took  place,   but  recent  researches  seem to
confirm   what  is   recorded.   At  Thatôn,   the  first  seat  of   a  Mon  Kingdom,
there  were  learned  men in  the  early  centuries  of  the  Christian  era,  well
versed  in   the  Tripitaka   and   in  Vedistic   lore.  It   is   certain   that,   in  the
eleventh   century,   Anawratha,  of   Pagan,   then  rising  into  power, looked
to  the   learning   of   the  Mon  capital  to  help  him  in   his   efforts   to  purify
the   religion   of   his   own   people.   The   Mon  books  speak of certain Mon
priests  who,   changing   their  nationality,  went   to   Pagan  and   were  well
received  by  the   king.  The   Burmese  monarch   is   said  to  have   learned
from them all  about   the   resources  of  the  Mon  king,  and   thereafter  took
steps   to   possess   himself    of   the   treasures   of   Thatôn.    After    a   pro-
tracted   seige   the  city   fell  before  him,  and  he   carried  off  to  Pagan  the
king,   the   men   of   learning   and  everything   upon   which  he   could   lay
his hands.

                   But  it  is  not of  Thatôn   that  we  are  to  speak  now.  As   various
observers   have   well  said,  the  Mons  are   found   in   Siam  living  in  their
own   villages   and   keeping  up   their  own   language  and  traditions.  The
history   of   their   ancestors   cannot  well   be  studied   without   taking   into
account   the   Mons   of  Siam. There   is   a   considerable   literature   extant,
and   much   of   it   is   conserved   in   this    country.    It   is  to  the   Mons   of
Siam   that  scholars   look   when  they   wish  to  get  hold  of  the  records  of
the  past.  That  is  another  subject  possessing  interests  all  its  own.

                The Mons too  are,  linguistically,  at  any  rate, allied  to  the  people
who   inhabited   Lower   Siam  in   bygone  days. The  people   who   inhabit-

 

                                                              (2)


ed  the  country   around  the  old-time   capital,  which   stood  near   the   site
of   the  present   Phrapatom  and   was,  according   to  Colonel   Gerini,   the
great  port   of Siam  in  that  day, probably  spoke  a  language   akin  to  that
of   the   Mons,  and   it   is   possible   that   the   people  who  then  inhabited
peninsular  Siam   were   actually   Mons.   That,  however,   is   more   of  the
nature   of   conjecture    than   established   fact.  Enough   to   say   that   the
Mons of the  past were a   people to be   reckoned   with, and even  those  of
the present day may not be ignored.

                     Let  us,  however, get   at some of  the  facts relating to  the  immi-
gration   of   numbers  of  that  race,   who  at  one  time   or  another   left  the
land  of  their  fathers  and  sought  new  homes  in  Siam.  The  story  of   the
Mon   immigrations   takes  us   back   to  very   stirring  times   in  the  history
of  Siam  and  Burma,  and   it  is   to  the  stirring  events  of  those times that
we  must look  for  the  causes  which  led  so  many Mons  to   flee   to  Siam
for   refuge.  We   do  not  require  to  go  further  back   than  to  the  first  half
of  the  sixteenth  century   to look  for  the  beginning  of   events   which  led
thereto.  Pegu   had   enjoyed  a  long  time  of   peace   under   Dhammaceti
and   Bañă Răṁ.  The   former   won   fame   as    something  of   a   religious
reformer   and   left   behind   him   valuable   epigraphical   records.  It   is  in-
teresting  here  to  note  that   one  of these  records, the  Kalyanī  inscription
in   Pali,   has   recently   been   published   in   Siamese   character   with   a
Siamese    translation.   One    of    the   historical     books    lately  published
from   the  Mon  Press   at   Paklat, takes   his  name  for   its   title,  and  gives
his    somewhat    romantic    story.    Bañă    Răṁ   erected    many  religious
and   other   public   buildings.  It  may   be   mentioned   that   there   is  here
in   the   National  Library   in   Bangkok  a  copper   plate  recording  in  Mon
the  founding   of   a  pagoda   by   this   king.  His   only   great    outing,  with
something  like  military  display, was  a  pilgrimage   to  one  of   the famous
shrines  of   Pagan.   A   natural   son   of  Bañă  Răṁ,  known  in   history  as
Smin  Dhaw,  was  the  last  king  of  Mon  race  to reign  in  Pegu.

                        Dakă Rat Pi, the son and successor of Bañă Răṁ had very dif-
ferent   interests.   He   is   said   to   have   spent   his   time   in   hunting  and
fishing   rather   than   in   the   serious   business   of   ruling   the   country.  It
was   thus   that   Tabeng  Shwethī,   the  king  of  the  small  state  of  Taungu,
found  his  opportunity,  and  after  repeated  attempts  he  at  length  in 1540
succeeded   in   taking   Pegu   and   deposing   its   king.   He  assumed  the
style   of   supreme   king   in   Pegu,   and  looked  around  him  to  bring  the
neighbouring   states   into   subjection.     It   was   he   who   made   the  first

 

                                                               (3)

 

great   Peguan   invasion  into  Siam.  He  seems  to  have  sought  in  every-
way  to  conciliate  the  Mon  people,  and  is  even  said  to  have conformed
to  the  Mon  custom  of  cutting  the  hair  so  as  to  become  one  of them.

                       The  foster  brother  and  general   of  Tabeng  Shwethi,  Bureng
Naung,   on   succeeding  to  the  throne  of  Pegu,  after   a  short  interval  of
native  Mon  rule,  sought  to  carry  out  the  same  propaganda  of conquest,
and   was   so   far   successful  as   to  become  nominal  overlord  of  Burma,
Siam,  and   the  Lao  and  Shan  states.   It  was   during  these  wars  of  con-
quest   that   the  Mon  people  began  to  feel  restive  under  the   intolerable
burden    which    constant     military    duty    imposed   upon   them.   Nanda
Bureng,  the  son  and  successor  of  Bureng  Naung,  began  his  reign  with
considerable  internal  trouble.  Siam  had  to  show  her  obligations   to   the
suzerain  power,  and   the  famous  Pra  Naret  went  over  to  Pegu   with an
army   and   was  asked  to  assist  in  the  military  operations.    Finding  that
the time  was  opportune,   he  threw  off  allegiance to  the Peguan monarch
and  attacked  and  devastated  the  eastern  provinces,    On  his  first  revolt
he   is   said   by  Phayre  to  have  carried  a  number  of   the  inhabitants  of
Martaban  into  Siam,  apparently  as  prisoners  of  war for  the Uparaja was
sent   after   him.  This   is   referred   to  in   the   Siamese  History,   though  I
have   not   found   it.    mentioned   in  the  Mon  records.   Some  years  later
when,   following  on  an   unsuccessful  attack  on  Ayuthia  by  the Burmese,
he  made  an  attempt  on  Pegu,  but  without  success,  he  was followed  on
his  return  by  a  great  number  of  Mons,   monks   and  laymen  from Marta-
ban.   This   is   probably   the  first  real  immigration   of  Mons  in  any   num-
ber   into   Siam.    Phayre    mentions   this   incident,  and  it  seems  to  have
confirmation  by  Siamese  writers.

                      According to Siamese history there was an immigration of  Mons
in   considerable   numbers   in  the  year  1660.  I   find   not  much  indication
of  it  elsewhere.  One  of  the  Mon  books   speaks  of  a disarmament  of  the
Mons  of  Martaban  by  order  of  the  king  of   Ava   about  this  time.  Phayre,
speaking   of  the   same  occasion,  remarks   that  the  Siamese  had    many
adherents   in   Martaban   and   tells  of   a  Mon  rising.  These   events   took
place  in  the   reign   of  Pra  Narai,  and  just  after  the  invasion  of   Ava   by
the  Chinese  in  1658.

                      It  is  to  be noticed  that  the  Mons   voluntarily  sought  refuge  in
Siam.   There   is   no   doubt   that   at   different   times   some   were  brought
over  as  prisoners  of  war.   The  Burney  Papers  show  that,  as  late  as  the
British  occupation   of   Tennasserim,  some  to  the  number  of   a  thousand,

 

                                                              (4)

 

most  of   whom  were  afterwards  sent  back,   were   thus   brought  over.   In
the   great   majority   of   cases  the  Mons  came  over  of  their  own   free will.
About  the  year  1633   a   letter   was   prepared   to  be   sent   to  the  king  of
Siam   by   the   Mons   of   Martaban,  in   which  it   was   declared    that "   the
Lord   of   the   golden  prasăda,   the  righteous  king   of   Ayuthia,    was    the
haven  of  the   Mon  race,  and   on  every   occasion  saved  the  lives   of   the
Mon  people."

                      It   is   worthy  of  note,  too, that these immigrations  of  Mons into
Siamese   territory   coincided   with    the   active   intercourse   between   the
two  countries.   We  have   seen   that   it  was  in  the time  of  the  active and
valiant   Pra   Naret   that   the   Mons  began  first  to  come  over.   In  the  lull
which  followed the death  of  Pra  Naret,  when the  rulers  of  both  countries
were   too  busy   at  home   to  give  any  attention   to  each other, we see no
signs  of   movement  of  the   Mons  toward Siam.   But   again  in  the   active
times  of   Pra  Narai   we  find   the  Mons   reasserting  themselves.   One  of
the  dangers  to  the   Burmese  monarchs  in  the  invasions  from  Siam was
the  fact  that  the  Mons,  who were the nearest neighbours  to  the  Siamese,
were   always   ready   to  be  on  friendly  terms  with  the invaders.  It was so
in   the   days   of   Pra  Naret  and  it  was so again when Pra Narai engaged
in    hostilities.   In    one   of   the   campaigns    in    the   time    of    the   latter
monarch,  Mon troops  from  Ayuthia  formed  the  vanguard  of  the  Siamese
army  and  were  the  first  to  engage with  the  Burmese  advance.

                    One  would  almost  expect  to  find  a  great   influx  of  Mons  into
Siam  on  the  occasion  of   the  taking  of  Pegu by Alaungphra in 1757, but
there   seems  no  trace    of  any   general   flight   at  that  time.  The   fact   is
that   the  Mons   would  be  so  paralysed  by  the   slaughter  which  ensued
that   there  could   not   be  sufficient strength left  for any general movement.
The  Mon  Chronicler  tells of many monks  who  had  gathered  about  Pegu
being   put  to  death,   and   of   others  who  crossed  to  Martaban  and  fled
thence  to  Chiengmai.  It  will  be  remembered,  too,  that  the  Mon  general
took  refuge  in  the  same  territory.

                  The next general flight of  Mons into  Siam  apparently  took  place
in 1774,  in  the  reign   of   Sinbyushin,  a  few  years  after the fall of Ayuthia.
Siam  had  again  asserted  itself  under  Paya  Tak   with   a  new  capital  at
Bangkok.  Sinbyushin  was   determined  to   recover   what   he  considered
lost   ground.  An   army   was   sent   to   operate   in  the  north.   The  gover-
nor  of  Martaban  had  collected  a  force  chiefly of  Mons  to enter  Siam by
way  of  Tavoy.    When   a   few   days   out   the  Mon  troops mutinied.   The

 

                                                            (5)

 

Burmese   governor   returned   to   Martaban   with   a   guard    of   his   own
countrymen,  but  was  soon followed  by the Mons with  Bañă Răṁ  at  their
head.   He    fled    to    Rangoon    and    was    pursued   thither.   The   near
approach of a  Burmese army only  hindered the  Mons  from  taking  him  in
his   own  stronghold.  The  Mons  retired  to   Martaban  and  a  month  later
were  obliged  in  their   turn  to  flee  with  their   wives  and  families.  Some
fled  to  Siam.  Others remaining in the forest  were  taken  by  the  Burmese,
and   suffered   untold  hardships.  Paya  Maha  Yotha, the  general  in  com-
mand  of   the   Siamese   force   sent   over   toward   the   Burma  frontier  to
watch   events  during   the   first   British-Burmese   war,  must   have   come
over  at   this   time   or  very  shortly  after.  He   told  Captain  Burney,  when
the  latter  was  paying  him  a   visit,  that  he   had  come  over  from  Burma
when  only   thirteen   years   of   age.   His   father   had   been  governor  of
Martaban  under  the Pegu  dynasty.  He   was  surrounded  by  much  more
military   state,   Captain  Burney   says,  than   any  chief   he  had  yet  seen.
Captain  Burney  was  much  impressed  with  the  old  general.

 

                   In  1814  again  there  was  another  rebellion  of the Mons in Mar-
taban, when  a   great   number  sought  refuge  in Siam. They  were  looked
upon  as  desirable  immigrants,  and  on  this  as  on  the previous occasion
responsible  parties  were  sent  out  from the  capital  to  meet  the  fugitives
and  conduct   them   to   suitable  places  where  land was given and neces-
saries  for   their  immediate  needs   amply   provided.  There   is   a   village
and  monastery  up  the  Menam  in  the  Pathomthani  district  which  go  by
the  name  of  the  Granary,  and  it  is said  that paddy  was stored  there for
the   use   of   the  Mons.  It   is  of  interest  to  note   that   Prince  Pra  Chom
Klao,  who afterwards  became  King  as  the  well   known  Maha  Mongkut,
then  a   mere  boy,  was   appointed  by   the king to meet the Mons  of  this
last   immigration,   at   Kanchanaburi,   and   bring  them  to  Bangkok.  The
King  ordered  three  royal  warboats and  lictors  to  accompany  him  as  a
guard of honour.

 

                  This  evident  desire  to  get  away  from their Burmese rulers and
seek  shelter   with  a  friendly  nation   seems  to   give  support  to  the com-
mon  impression  that   the  Burmese  did  all  in  their  power  to  stamp  out
Mon  nationality.   One  or   two  things  are,  however,  to  be  kept  in  mind
which   shed   a   somewhat   different   light  on  the  matter.   The  kings  of
Burmese  race all more or less  endeavoured to  gain  the  confidence  and
sympathy   of   the   Mons   by   various  public  acts.   Tabeng   Shwethî,  as
has  been  mentioned,  conformed  to  the  Mon  custom  of  cutting  the hair
and  so,  in  the  words  of   the   Mon  history,  became  a  Mon,   Up  till  the

 

                                                              (6)

 

time   of   Alaungphra   they  mostly   established  themselves  at Pegu,  the
old   Mon   capital. They   were  generally  assiduous  in   their  attention  to
the  great  Mon  shrines,  the Shwe  Dagon  Pagoda  at  Rangoon  and  the
Shwemadaw at  Pegu. We  must  remember  that  they  ruled  the  Mons as
a conquered  people and  administered the  affairs of  the  country  accord-
ing  to  their  own  lights.  The Mons,  too,  were   always  plotting, as  these
various  flights  into  Siam  very  well  show.   It  was  always  after  a  rebell-
ion  of  some  kind  that  they  took  to   flight  and  left  the country  for good.

 

              There is, however,  another aspect which is  brought  before  us  in
the   Mon  literature  of  the  time.  Amongst   the   books  printed  at  Paklat
within  recent   years  there   are  several  by  an  author   who  was  writing
through   some   of   the most   troublous times  in Pegu, that is to say, from
the  time  that  Tha  Aung,  the  Burmese  Governor  of  Pegu,  throwing  off
allegiance  to  Ava,  assumed  the position  of  king,  right  on  till the  reign
of   Singu  Min,   the   grandson  of  Alaungphra  and  fourth   king   of   that
dynasty.  He  had thus  seen  the Mon  people  rise  against  the tyrannical
and treacherous  Tha Aung,  the  consequent  establishment  and  decline
of native government in Pegu, and the conquest  of  Pegu  by  Alaungphra,
which  has  left  the   Mons   a   people   without   a  country.   The author in
question  is  known as  the monk  of  Aswo'  and  is  credited  with  the auth-
orship  of a great  many  of the  Mon  books. One  of  the  books  printed  at
Paklat  is   a   translation   into   Mon,  by   this  author,  of   a   very  popular
Burmese  poetical  work  entitled   Parami   Khan   extolling   the  efforts of
Buddha   through   many   existences   in   attaining    enlightenment.   The
translator   tells   in  his  introduction  how  a  monk  at  Sagaing  in  the pro-
vince  of  Ava,  where  authors were  numerous,  hadproposed to translate
the work into Mon,  but finding  the  difficulties  greater  than  he  expected
he gave up  the attempt,  and  the  Burmese   work  was  sent   for   transla-
tion  to   the  monk of Aswo' at Pegu.  This  interest  in  Mon  readers  does
not  very  well  agree  with  the  commonly  received   notion  that  the  Bur-
mese  were  doing  all  they  could  to stamp  out  Mon  nationality   and  to
suppress the Mon language.' Talaing,'  the  name by  which the Mons  are
known   in   Burma,  has   been  explained  to  mean   " the   down-trodden.
This  supposed  degrading  epithet  was  fathered  on  Alaungphra,  but  it
turns   out   that   its   ancient   representative ' Tanlaing' was  cut  in  stone
more   than  six  centuries  before   Alaungphra   was   born.  This   warrior

king  gets   the  credit  of having destroyed  the  Mon  books and  certainly
he made a clean sweep of the Mons of Pegu, not even  the  monks  being
spared.

 

                                                         (7)

 

              The  monk of  Aswo' was  of  a  party who left the city  of   Pegu  on
the  Mons   rising   against    the  Burmese  governor  Tha  Aung   in  1740,
seventeen  years  before  the  surrender  to  Alaungphra. Their books had
been  left  behind  them in the hurry  to  get  away,  and  when  the commu-
nity  was  established  in  a  jungle  village  the  monk  had  to  set  to work
and  write  books  so  as  to  be  able  to  teach the boys  their  letters.  The
government archaeologists in later days found Mon MSS. rotting in caves,
and  even  being  used  as  fuel  by the Karens. No  doubt  the Mons them-
selves saw the danger of  leaving  the books exposed to the vandalism of
the   Burmese.  Many   books  were  brought  over into   Siam  at   different
times, and copies of works wanted by scholars have to be sought for here.

 

               The  literary  activity  of  the  monk  of   Aswo'  would  seem  to  dis-
prove  any  idea of  sustained effort at wholesale destruction of  the books
by   the   Burmese.   He   is   the   author   who  now  has  the  widest  repu-
tation  amongst   the   Mons  of   both  Burma   and   Siam.  It   is  true   that
he  may  have  been  writing  for  years  in   the  comparative  quiet  of  his
monastery   but   here   at   least   in   this   call   to   translate   a   Burmese
work   is  an   appeal  from   Ava   itself   to  help  in  adding  to  the  literary
treasures  of   the  Mons.   The  date  of  the  work  is  just  two  years  later
than   the  flight   of  Mons  into   Siam  in   the  reign  of  Sinbyushin.   This
Burmese  King   gave  great  encouragement   to  literature,  and   a   num-
ber  of  Burmese  works  were  written  during  his  reign.

 

                There  were  three  routes  by  which  the  fugitives  travelled  on
their   way   to  refuge   in  Siam.   According  to  the  Siamese   books  the
Siamese   authorities   met   them   at   Muang  Tak,   the  Raheng   of  the
present   day,   in   the   north,   Kanchanaburi   or   Kanburi  in  the  south,
and  Utaithani  between  these  two.  To  reach  these three places it was
necessary  for   them   to   traverse  the  routes  followed  by  the  Peguan
and   Burmese   armies   when   they   invaded   Siam.   And   just  as  the
armies  usually  marched  from  Martaban,  so  these great companies of
fugitive  Mons   usually  massed  at  that  rallying  place.   At  the  present
day  travellers  following  the  northern  route  proceed  by   water  to  the
neighbourhood  of  Kawkareik,  and  thence by l and through Kawkareik
and  Myawaddy  on  the  Burmese  side and Mesut the Siamese  frontier
station   to   Baheng.   No   doubt  the  old  route   was  similar,  though  it
is   not   particularly   indicated.  This   route  would  possibly  present  no
great   difficulties   to   the   fugitives.   Kanburi   can  be  reached  by  two
ways,   either   starting   up   the   Attaran,   or  going  along  the  coast  to
Tavoy.   By  the  former  route  boats can be  used almost to the Siamese

 

                                                             (8)

 

frontier.   Mr.   Leal,   the  interpreter  with  Captain   Burney's  mission  in
1825-26,  followed  this  route  in  returning from  Martaban  to  Bangkok.
It  is  interesting  to  note,  with  our  present  subject  before  us,  that   he
was  accompanied  by twenty Mons  and  three  Burmans. He embarked
in  boats  and  reached  the  frontier station, where Siamese troops were
posted,  in   nine   days.  Ten   hours   walking   from   there  brought  him
to  the  three  pagodas,  the  Kyăk-pi  of the Mons and Prachedi sam-ong
of  the Siamese.  The  same  day  he  reached  Songkhla.  The  following
day  he  was  at  Loomchang,  where  there was a Siamese guard of one
hundred  men, mostly natives of Pegu, and there he was able to procure
boats  for  the  journey  down  the  Meklawng.   It  took  him  four  days  to
reach   Kanburi.  It   will   thus   be   seen   that   it   was   possible  for  the
fugitive  Mons   to   reach   Kanburi   in   anything  over  two  weeks  after
leaving   Martaban.   With   old   people   and   young   children   in  their
company,  however,  it  would  not  always  be  convenient  to  force  the
marches  as  an  unencumbered  party  could.  Then  the  commissariat
would  be  somewhat  of  a  difficulty.  According  to  traditions  amongst
the  Mons  in  Burma,  people  were  always  more  or  less prepared for
such  contingencies.  When  trouble  was  imminent,   quantities  of  rice
were  boiled  and  dried  in  th  sun and thus they had a supply of ready
cooked food in a form convenient for carrying.

 

            Tabeng Shwethī  made  the  first  great historic invasion of  Siam
from  Pegu  by  this  route.  He  assembled  his  immense  army  of over
one  hundred  thousand  men  at  Martaban  and  crossed the Salwin to
Moulmein.  The  Governor  of  Martaban  is  said to have made a bridge
of  boats  over  which  a  horse  could  be  ridden  at  the  gallop. Phayre
says that  he marched in an easterly direction, and reached the Menam
above  the  capital.  According to  the Mon history, however, he went up
the  Attaran, crossed  by the three pagodas, and down the Meklawng to
Kanburi.  He  was  met   by   the  Siamese  on   the  way  to   the. capital
This   may   have   been   at   Suphanburi,     which   Mr.   Graham  aptly
terms    "that   cockpit   of   the   wars   with   the   Burmese."    Later   the
more  successful  Bureng  Naung  also  followed  this  route, but in both
cases the  return  was  made  up  the Menam and over by Kampengpet
and  Raheng.  It  is  somewhat  striking  that  what  seems to have been
the last of these historic invasions from Burma was made over the same
Attaran route, by the three pagodas and Kanburi. Bodawphra or Padôṅ
Min,  the Padung  of the Siamese books,  assembled his grand army at
Martaban   and   marched  on   Bangkok  by   the   Attaran    route.   The

 

                                                         (9)

 

Siamese capital had been transferred from the western bank of the river
" for  greater  security  against  Burmese  attack,"  Phayre  says.  Bodaw-
phra,  however,  met  with  least  success  of  all  these  expeditions. He
was defeated at every point, and fled for his life back to Martaban.

 

             The  route  along  the coast was the one chosen by Alaungphra
when  he  led  a  Burmese  army  into  Siam  in  person.  Having  to sub-
due Mergui and Ténasserim as well as Tavoy he had to go much further
south  than  would  be necessary for anyone  going  direct to Kanburi  in
making   for   the   Siamese   capital.   It   does   not  appear  whether  the
fugitive  Mons  would  use the Tavoy  route or not. From  Ye,  which  was
formerly a walled town of some importance, midway between Moulmein
and  Tavoy,  there   was   a   road  to  the  three  pagodas,  and  it  would
not  be  necessary  for  Mons  going  from   that   quarter   to go round by
Tavoy    to   reach  Siamese   territory.   Two   sepoys   carrying   Captain
Burney's  dispatches  from  Bangkok  went  via Kanburi leaving the river
at Saiyok and reaching Tavoy in eight days.

 

              There  is  still  the  Utaithani  route  to account for, though  I have
not  been  able  to  find  anything  which  would i ndicate the exact route.
It  is  mentioned,  however,  as  one  of  the  places  where  the Siamese
authorities  met  the  Mons  and  conducted  them t o lands reserved for
them.

 

               We have seen that there were at least three great immigrations
of  Mons  into  Siam,  four  according  to  Siamese  history.  The  first two
occasions, if we reckon only three, are mentioned in both Burmese and
Siamese  histories,  and  Phayre, following the Burmese, also mentions
both.  Of  the last  occasion  I  have  seen no  mention  in  the  history of
Burma,  but  on  the  Siamese  side there is abundant recognition of the
event.  It  is mentioned  both  in  the  Biography   of  the  first  four  kings
of  the  present  dynasty  and  in  a  fragment  of  Mon  history  written in
Siam,  which  recently  came  to  my  notice.  The  Mons  themselves  in
their  oral  tradition  say   distinctly  that   their  fathers  came  over   from
Burma  at  three  different  times.  They  adopt a Siamese word which is
used  of  the  march  of  an  army  and say that they came over in pi yok
(three  yok).  They   further   distinguish   between  the  descendants  of
Mons  who  came  over  on  the  different  occasions. They speak  of the
old  Mons,  that  is  the  Mons  whose  fathers  came over first,  and  new
Mons,  that  is   the   descendants  of  the  newer  comers,   and   a  third
class   are   called   the    real    Mons,    the     Mons    of    Pegu.   These
differences  are   all   more   or   less   distinguishable  in   their   speech,

 

                                                               (10)

 

the  new  Mons  often  being   nearer some  of   the present day  usages
in Burma.  Idioms  in  Burma  have  often  been   influenced   by contact
with  the   Burmese,  just  as  in  Siam  there  has  been a  like  influence
through  contact  with  the  Siamese.  There  is,  for   instance,  a  verbal
affix  used  with the first person plural which the Burmese Mons  use  in
common with the Burmese, whilst the old Mons of  Siam have  no trace
of it.  The  new  Mons,  on  the   other  hand,  seem  to  use  it.  I  was  in
Ayuthia  not  long  ago  and  whilst standing by a stall I heard  one  little
boy  say   to   another,   ă   su,   " let us be going."   This   is  the  form  in
question, and on reflection I wondered if by any' chance they had heard
me use the phrase ; but there is  a new  Mon village a   little way below
Ayuthia,  and   they  may  have  come  from  it.  Another  Burmese  form
one hears in the same village  is the Burmese ama (elder sister), when
women are speaking to elder women, their elder sisters.

 

           There  are  various dialectical  differences all  over the  Mon coun-
try  in  Burma.  Beginning  with  Ye  in  the  southern  part of the Amherst
district  and  travelling  up  to Moulmein you find various differences and
little  changes  all  the  way.  Up  river  from  Moulmein there is a marked
difference.  Crossing  over  to  Martaban  and  going  westward  you find
another change until towards Pegu you get what the Siamese Mons call
the  pure  Mon.   Strangely  enough  you  find  all  this  variety  of  dialect
in  Siam.  This  persistency  of  dialectical  variations is quite remarkable.
I  have  met old people in Moulmein whose parents had come over from
Pegu  at  the  beginning  of  the  British occupation and whose dialect is
still  that  of  Pegu.   The  differences  are  not  so  great  as  to  form  any
barrier  to  communication  between  persons  of different localities. The
differences   are  mostly  in  vowel   sounds.   In  certain  cases  ' k '  final
changes  to  ' t '  ;  some  give  double  initial  consonants their full value,
whereas  others  substitute  for  the first element ' a ' in the case of unas-
pirated  consonants  and  ' h '  for the aspirates ; and sometimes, where
there are synonymous words, one is used in one district and another in
another   district.   There   is   of   course   no   difference  in   the  written
language, though it is read according to local values of the vowels and
consonants.  The  combination  p-u-t  for example varies from the Pegu
pronounciation   ' put ',   ' paul '   or  ' pawt '   in   the  south,  to  ' peit '  up
river from Moulmein.

 

               I  have  already  pointed out  that  on the  two later occasions at
any  rate  these   immigrant  Mons  were   met   at  the  border  towns  by
the Siamese authorities and conducted to suitable places.   I have seen

 

                                                             (11)

 

no  indication  as  to  the location  of the first Mons who came over,  and
it   is   possible   that  t hey  were  allowed  to  settle  down  according  to
inclination.  Even  then  when  Ayuthia  was  still  the  capital  they must
have  been  here  in  great  numbers.  An  old  French  writer,  Dr. Frank-
furter  tells  me,   was  so  impressed  with   their  numbers  that  he  has
stated  that  half  the  population were Mons. On the two later occasions
they  were  placed  where  we  now  find them in greatest numbers, that
is,  speaking  generally,   on  the  river  north  of  Bangkok  in  the  neigh-
bourhoods  of  Pakret  and  Samkok,  in  the  Muangs  of  Nontaburi and
Pathomthani.

 

                When  the  town  and  fortifications  were built at Paklat, a Mon
governor  was  appointed  with Mon followers drawn from Pathomthani.
There  is  abundant  evidence  of  the  Mon  there  still.  You see it in the
dress  of  the  women,  and  you  hear it in the language spoken. On the
last  occasion  of  a  visit  to  Paklat  we  met a number of small boats on
the river  with companies of people who were distinctly Mon, and  when
we  got into the creek Mon was constantly spoken on the boats passing
out and in. Foot passengers too were  using Mon and when a company
of prisoners passed on their way to work,  two, at least, were addressed
and made answer in Mon.  When  Captain  Burney  came to the country
in the end of 1825,  he found here what he terms a large village,  called
Muang Mai,  with 10,000 inhabitants,  mostly Peguans, " who," he  adds,
" have emigrated  from  the Burmese dominions."  Captain  Burney took
a lively interest in all who came from Burma.

 

                  From  Paklat the Mons  have spread out through the canals to
the  Tachin  and  even  to  the  Meklawng rivers.  There are two villages
of  Mons  too  on the Petchaburi  river, but whether they are from Paklat
or not I cannot say. The Mons migrate a good deal, and seem always as
far  as  possible  to  settle  down  in  communities  of their own. They are
found  almost  all  over  the  country.   On  the  Mahachai  canal,  on  the
Tachin  river,  and  on  the  Sip  Sam Kot  canal  a  great  many  of  them
trace   their  connection  with  Paklat.  It  may  be  noted  here  that  Leal,
the  interpreter  with  Captain  Burney's  mission,   said  that  there  were
30,000  Peguans  in  the  districts  between he mouths of the Meklawng
and  Menam  rivers.  Such  figures  are  of  value  only  in  showing  that
the Mons were much in evidence.

 

                    Up  the  Meklawng  again  there  is a cluster of Mon villages
above  Ratburi.  Whether  the  Mons  there  originally  came down river,
where  they  may  have  settled  on  coming  in  from  Burma,  is difficult

 

                                                           (12)

 

to  determine.  Leal,  the  interpreter,  reported  finding  a  town  of 5000
inhabitants,  mostly  Peguans,  just  above  Kanburi.  When  they  came
first  to  their  present  location,  it  was  all  forest  land,  they  say.    It  is
now  open  cultivated  plain. They may have moved down  for the  sake
of  the  land.  On  the  other  hand  some  say  that  they went  ove r from
Bangkok.  They   seem  to  be  mostly  old  Mons  there,  though  I  have
been  told   that  there  are  also  some   new  Mons.   It   seems  that  in
Karen   monasteries  further  up  the  Meklawng   Mon  is  the language
used   for  literary  purposes,   and  young  Karens  wishing  to  become
Buddhist  priests  come  down  to  the  Mon  bishop below Banpong  to
be ordained.

 

                      There is a large community of Mons just above the town of
Lophburi,  which  1  have  personally  visited.  Some  of  the women we
found had never seen a white woman before, and my wife, who was with
me,  was  an  object  of  great  interest  to  them.  Further  up, but on the
western  side  of  the  river,  there  is  another  large  community  about
Utaithani, which was one of the places where the Mons assembled on
coming  over.  There  are  many Mons  in the Korat neighbourhood too,
and in the Northern Lao provinces, though in both cases they are said
to  be fast becoming Laos.  There  are  numbers  also  on  the  eastern
plains.

 

                       The Mons are in the main agriculturists, and we find them
with   lands   contiguous   to  their  villages,   where  they   grow  paddy
and  other  crops,  when  at  all  possible.   The  Mons  on  the  western
or  Meklawng  river  are  almost altogether engaged in this occupation,
except  in  the  two  isolated  villages  near  the  sea mouth where they
trade  in  firewood  and  leaf  thatch.  On  the Tachin the Mons engage
in   the   thatch  and  firewood  trades,   but  cultivate  rice  where  they
can.   On   the  Menam  there  is  a  good  deal   of  agriculture.  Excep-
tions  to  this  are  the  potteries  at  Pakret,  the brickfields of Phathom,
and   the   traders   or   carriers   on   the   waterways   of   the  country.
There  are  Mon  divers  diving  for  sand  just  above  Pakret.  At Phia-
patom  there  is  a  small  community    representing  the  Mon  families
who  went  there  to make  brick  for  the rebuilding of the pagoda.  The
pottery and brick traders connect the Mons of Siam with their  ancestry
in  Martaban  and Pegu.  Martaban or Pegu  jars were a commodity  of

trade in the east in the days of the old voyagers, and scholars are now
busy unravelling the mysteries of Mon  made bricks and tiles with Mon
inscriptions found about the shrines of Pagan.

 

                                                        (13)

 

           Along  the  canals  in  the maritime districts  and  at the mouths of
the  Tachin  and  Meklawng rivers a great many Mons are  engaged  in
the  making  of  the  attap   thatch  and  the  cutting  of  firewood.  Others
again  carry   these   commodities  about  the  country.  The  Mon  boats
are  seen in the rivers and  canals  all  over  Lower  Siam.  But  even  in
the neighbourhood of these swampy lands where nothing but firewood
and attap is possible, the people  are always on the look out for a bit of
land  to  grow  paddy.  There  is  only  one  exception  that  I  know of to
this desire for rice growing  land, and that is an isolated  village just be-
low  Ayuthia.  At  one  time  they  had  lands,  they  say, but they had so
much  trouble  with  grain  and  cattle thieves  that  they s old their land
retaining   only   the   village   site  and  now   they  are  all engaged  in
trading.

 

           Many, of course,  leave  their   village to  enter  government  service,
and   some   rise  to   trusted   positions.   In   most   villages  you  will hear
about some son of the people who is a Smin, an official of some standing,
either in the city or in the provinces.

 

           From  all  this  it  will  appear  that  the  Mons  have  not  only  found
for  themselves  a  congenial  home  in  Siam,  but  that they form a useful
part of the community.

 

                                                       (15)

 

                                                    NOTE.

 

 

            Mr.  A.  J.  Irwin,   who  was  prevented  from  being  present  when
the paper was read, writes as follows :—

 

           "I   note   that   he   [the  writer  of  the  paper]   said   that   it   is   un-
known   where   the   old   Mohns,  who  came  here  in  the  time  of  King
Naret, were located,

 

            "The    late    director    of    the    Survey   Department,   Col.    Bhra
Bhuwanarth   Narubal  (now  Bhraya  Pichai  Chănridh,  commanding  at
Paknampoh), who  is  a  descendant  of  those  Mohns, informed me that
they  came  to  Siam  under  the  command  of  two  of  their  chiefs,   who
were  afterwards  made  Bhrayas,  and  that  King  Naret,  who distrusted
them   very   much   at   first,   gave  them  land  and  settled  them  in  the
neighbourhood of what is now Klong Mohn."

 

               This  interesting  piece  of  information  is  in  keeping with what
one  hears  of  the  Mons  of  that  quarter  of  Bangkok.  On  the showing
of  Luang  Lokadip,  of  the  National  Library,  himself  a  Mon,   the term
Old Mons is properly applied to Mons who are the descendants of those
who  came  over  when  Ayuthia  was  still  the  capital and the term New
Mons  to  those  and their descendants who came over when the capital
was removed to Bangkok.

 

                                                   R. H.

 

 

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