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throne, now assumed formidable proportions, and, with the aid and encouragement of the Germans, he was soon declared king. Malietoa was overthrown and carried away from the islands in a German man-of-war.
This action on the part of the German authorities justly aroused intense excitement in the United States. It was regarded by our people as an attempt to establish a protectorate over Samoa that would result in the ruin of our interests and, ultimately, in annexation to the German Empire. Decisive measures were promptly adopted by the United States challenging the conduct of Germany, the result of which was that the commissioners, appointed by the United States, England, and Germany, for the amicable adjustment of the difficulty, declared that the pretensions of Tamasese were to be discountenanced and Malietoa replaced upon the throne. The neutrality of Samoa was guaranteed, its independence was recognized, the right of the natives to choose their own ruler was established, and the citizens of the three powers were declared to have equal rights in the islands. A supreme court was created, consisting of one judge appointed by the king of Sweden and Norway, to whom are referred all suits respecting real property, all causes between natives and foreigners, and all crimes committed by the natives against foreigners. All future alienation of lands, except with certain specified exceptions, is also prohibited.
This policy, ratified by the three powers, has been promptly executed, and the government of Malietoa, thus supported and protected, has given permanent peace to the country.
Very little is known of the ancient history of the kingdom. It is inhabited by a heterogeneous population that, in physical characteristics, customs, and manners, is closely related ( to the Hindoos and Chinese, and has been, from time to
time, further reinforced by, and amalgamated with, a considerable emigration from those countries as well as from the islands on the south. Its boundaries, too, are as yet undefined, though its area is popularly estimated at 250,000 square miles or nearly that of the state of Texas. The number of inhabitants also is only approximately known, since there has never been an official census. Various authorities state the number of souls at 6,000,000, of which only about one third are Siamese.
The trade of Siam has been tributary to China from a remote period and is still principally carried on with that country although, in recent years, the English commerce has grown to considerable proportions. The exports in 1884, amounted to nearly $12,000,000, more than one half of which consisted of rice. The imports for the same period were valued at about $5,200,000 and were made up of silk goods, tea, opium, and English cottons. The exports, generally in excess of imports, are paid for in foreign silver, which is recoined into the currency of the country.
Although the ruler of Siam possesses autocratic power, it is rarely exercised. The code of laws is old and venerated and, though crude and incomplete, all decrees and judgments are intended to be based upon it. In cases of ambiguity, the courts are governed by precedent; and this custom is so general and strong that much of the civil and criminal procedure derives force and efficacy from the unwritten law.
Buddhism is the religion of the country and the large and costly temples, richly ornamented and stocked with grotesque and gigantic idols, form a conspicuous feature in every part of the land. The numerous religious festivals are seasons of great rejoicing and amusement. Even funeral rites are accompanied with banquets, dancing, and similar diversions, and, after burning the bodies of the dead, the ashes are preserved
in urns or, being mixed with lime, serve to plaster the temple walls.
Bangkok, the capital, is a city of 500,000 inhabitants, and is located on both sides of the large river Chow Payah, about thirty miles from its mouth. The city extends for six miles along its banks and is so intersected by canals and small streams running in all directions through the city that the place is appropriately styled the "Venice of the East." Thousands of shops and dwellings, built upon bamboo floats, line the shores for miles, and boats are exclusively used for visiting all parts of the city. It is situated in a vast plain that is covered with rice fields and, although destitute of sanitary improvements, is considered very healthy. Its importance as the capital and chief commercial port of the kingdom has attracted to it a large body of European and Asiatic residents, and, with submarine cable, mail and telegraphic facilities, telephone exchanges, gas and electric light plants, and other necessary or convenient appendages of modern civilization, the city is becoming quite cosmopolitan.
The Siamese are not a literary people, yet education is generally diffused among all classes. Their system of writing, which is quite as slow as the forming of English capital letters with the pen, makes the preparation of manuscript a long and tedious process. Yet they have some printing presses, from which the natives have issued elementary schoolbooks and Buddhist volumes for the priests. The Protestant missionaries established the first printing press in Siam in 1836 and, since that date, they have printed and distributed many thousands of volumes among the people, consisting mainly of the Gospels, Pilgrim's Progress, Life of Christ, Evidences of Christianity, and other books of a similar character. Their long-continued and persistent efforts have been crowned with abundant success, their missions are in a flourishing condition
and no more inviting field has been opened for the extension of the Protestant religion.
Our treaty relations with the government of Siam were first established in 1833, when Mr. Edmund Roberts was commissioned by President Jackson to visit the courts of CochinChina, Siam, and Muscat for the purpose of effecting arrangements for the protection of our seamen and the extension of American commerce. At the time of his visit our shipping was subjected to every species of extortion that eastern avarice so well knew how to impose upon it, and American citizens were exposed to the penalties of laws that gave to the creditor power over the life as well as the property of the debtor. The success of the mission was fully attained by the abrogation of these harsh provisions and the securing of necessary and proper guarantees for the protection of our ships and seamen. Our relations with the kingdom of Siam, since that date, have been undisturbed by any untoward incident, and our commerce with the country, though inconsiderable as yet, has enjoyed all the rights and immunities which are extended to that of the most favored nation.
RELATIONS WITH THE CONGO STATE AND THE HAWAIIAN
The Congo State.
DURING the last decade an association was formed in Europe for the purpose of organizing a government and developing the resources of that vast portion of equatorial Africa, which Henry M. Stanley has so successfully explored. This association, called "Comité d'Etudes du Haut Congo," and afterwards substantially merged into "The International African Association," had as its president, King Leopold of Belgium.
Portugal claimed this territory, or at least that part of it lying about the lower Congo, by right of discovery by her navigators in 1484. Possession was taken at that time in the name of Portugal and a colony called Zaire was founded. In various treaties with Spain dating from 1668 to 1713 Portugal's right to the Congo country was conceded. During the continental war in the eighteenth century she was dispossessed of her African colonies but by skillful diplomacy she managed to regain them in 1763. Early in this century England attempted to effect by diplomatic means, the abolition of the slave trade carried on by Portugal. The latter government, however, was unwilling to discontinue a trade which formed the bulk of her income from Africa. But in 1810 she was induced to join in a treaty to suppress the traffic. Shortly after