A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels — Volume 07 eBook

Robert Kerr (writer)
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 785 pages of information about A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels — Volume 07.

Chaumigrem, who had fled the year before to Tangu, hearing that Xemindoo had disbanded most of his forces, marched against him and obtained a complete victory, by which the kingdom of Pegu was again reduced under the authority of the Birmans.  Xemindoo was taken some time afterwards and put to death. Chaumigrem being now king of the Birmans and of Pegu, went to war against Siam, with an army of 1,700,000 men, and 17,000 elephants, having a considerable body of Portuguese in his service.  All this army came to ruin, and the kingdom of Pegu was soon afterwards reduced to subjection by the king of Aracan, as formerly related.

The kingdom of Siam, though much harassed by these invasions, still held out, and, in 1627, was possessed by the black king, so called because he really was of a black colour, though all the inhabitants of that country are fair complexioned[27].  In 1621, this black king of Siam sent ambassadors to Goa, desiring that some Franciscans might be sent to preach the gospel in his dominions.  Accordingly, father Andrew, of the convent of the Holy Ghost, went to Odiaa[28], where he was received honourably, and got leave to erect a church, which was done at the king’s expence.  He likewise offered great riches to the venerable father, who constantly refused his offers, to the great admiration and astonishment of the king.  This black king of Siam was of small stature, of an evil presence, and an extraordinarily compound character, of great wickedness, mixed with great generosity.  Although cruel men are for the most part cowards, he was at the same time exceedingly cruel, and very valiant; and though tyrants are generally covetous, he was extremely liberal; being barbarous in some parts of his conduct, and generous and benevolent in others.  Not satisfied with putting thieves and robbers to ordinary deaths, he was in use to have them torn in pieces in his presence by tigers and crocodiles for his amusement.  Understanding that one of his vassal kings intended to rebel, he had him shut up in a cage, and fed him with morsels of his own flesh torn from his body, after which he had him fried in a pan.  On one occasion he slew seven ladies belonging to the court, only because they walked too quick; and on another occasion he cut off the legs of three others, because they staid too long when sent by him for some money to give to certain Portuguese.  He even extended his severity to animals; having cut off the paw of a favourite monkey for putting it into a box containing some curiosities.  A valuable horse was ordered to be beheaded, in presence of his other horses, because he did not stop when he checked him.  A tiger that did not immediately seize a criminal thrown to him, was ordered to be beheaded as a coward.  Yet had this cruel and capricious tyrant many estimable virtues.  He kept his word inviolable; was rigorous in the execution of justice; liberal in his gifts; and often merciful to those

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