Transcript

'Junkzelone - what vast profit the Honourable Company may make by settling that place'
C 106/171, no.68 (c. 1700-19)


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...The Inhabitants are Siams, about 2000 Soules, and about 2 or 300 black Chrisitans who call themselves Porteguese. It is under the Goverment of the King of Siam, who sends two Chinese Govern[ors] every 3 or 4 years to rule them, by which meanes 'tis greatly oppress'd, allmost depopulated, and the trade ruined. Often vex'd with discents and depredations by the Malay Piratts. Lying so farr from Court that it is little regarded. The people inexpressibly lazy, all property being perfectly precarious; beggars to a man both Govern[or]s and Governed. Yett notwithstanding it is at present such a scene of misery and want, it needs nothing but a good Governm[en]t to make it a very happy place and the Inhabitants very rich. They would be glad to joyn or come under any foreigners for their protection, knowing they would live much happier, and not be oppress'd as they at present are
…The Commodities the Island affords and can afford are as followeth.

Tin. All the south parts are full of Tin Mines lying high and near the surface of the earth, which however the Natives for want of the Art our European miners are masters off, find difficult enough to come at; which added to their naturall sloth and the just fear they live in of being rich (which would render 'em liable to greater inconvenience then living just from hand to mouth) Are the causes that very little Tin is dug. When they gett into a hole five or ten foot deep (which is what they call a mine) if they meet with any water they leave off immediatly and goe no further let the vein be never so rich (because they can not drain the water off). They never goe under ground to follow a Vein, but poke what they can with a stick of hard wood, or some poor ill contrived Iron tool as farr as they can reach round them, and then leave of and goe and sink a hole in some other place till they find a Vein. And of such places as these they have hundreds for all the south parts of the Island are like so many gravell pitts. Even in melting the oar they are very wastfull, very inexpert and Tedious. They often give 25 per cent for melting, and this intirely for want of art in making furnaces, contriving bellowes and other melting conveniences, for they have charcoal enough for little or nothing. Yet for all this they gett above 100 tonns a year. So that any person may judge what a vast quantity may be gott by a few expert miners and slaves that may be had very cheap from Madegascar the Coast of Chormandell and Bengall.


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