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Description of the Thai Kingdom or Siam around 1850 Thailand under King Mongkut gives a complete overview of basic features of the Thai people and of Thailand during the reign of King Mongkut The description is directed at laymen in Western countries at a time when only a few objective travelogues on the Orient written by traders and missionaries reached the West Monsignor Jean Baptiste Pallegoix for many years a missionary working in Siam and later Bishop of Siam and neighboring countries elaborates on the daily life of the Siamese and on physical features of the country and its flora and fauna as he found it in the early 1830s when he arrived He treats the juridical and political institutions of the Thai state including its elaborate system of nobility and officials serfs and slaves its arts and crafts and the growing agricultural production and exports of a nascent economy As a Roman Catholic bishop he had a keen eye for the religion and history of the Thai people in respect to the likelihood of conversions to Christianity Thai Buddhism and superstitions are treated in great detail and the foundations and rules of this religion are provided for laymen The book provides a detailed account of important event in the history of the country starting with the arrival of the first French missionaries for example the behind the scene moves in the revolution of 1688 and King Narai's relations with the French priests and his embassies to France and concludes with a detailed description of the state of the Catholic Church in Siam around 1850

11 thoughts on “Description du Royaume Thai ou Siam (2 Volumes)

  1. says:

    Reading this book by Jean Baptiste Pallegoix is tediously tough due to some of his lengthy narratives especially Chapter 20 A History of the Mission to Siam which covers 101 pages as the longest chapter in which the readers have no choice but keep reading on and on till the end; the two runners up being Chapter 7 Habits and Customs of the Thai 315 and Chapter 15 An Analysis of the Buddhist System 305It's a pity to see its blank front cover which in fact there is a picture its caption reads A group of small boys of a Christian school in Bangkok back cover Some might read knowing it as such in other words taking it for granted; however this book written in the context of Siam's in the 19th century in the reign of King Mongkut has revealed his scope of various information and knowledge gathered as wide and deep as possible It is notably said there was a share of knowledge between him and the king he taught the king Latin and the king taught him Buddhism This mutual pursuit for knowledge of two scholars needs verification since it was interesting to know its time frame and methodology To continue