Part 9.                                             

An English mans story while traveling through Thailand..

The Siamese And The Haws II:

 There he met two French priests;  Father John and Father Anthony, and Chao Kunnti, the Governor of M. Puann. He had scarcely reached M. Ngan when he dispatched a letter to the Haw of Tung Chieng Kumm. A reply was sent in due course. Dr. Neis then told the people that the Haw were coming down on them, but that if they agreed that the country should belong to France, he would remain and help them. They replied that they had no power to make over the country. He rejoined that he would hold them responsible if the Haw stole his baggage and stores. To this they would not agree, but offered to take his property with them into the jungle, and when the Haw withdrew, restore it to him. He thereupon deposited his things in a house, and placed a written placard outside the door, stating in Annamite that the country belonged to the King of Annam, and that if the Haw damaged them he would appeal to the king for justice. The French priests helped the people to make the stockade. 

When the Haw came down, Dr. Neis took himself off to Nawng Kai, and the two priests went to Annam. The unfortunate people were shut up in the stockade, their houses burnt and cattle slaughtered. For three days they held out, until all their ammunition was spent. Want of water forced them to make terms, and they had to pay heavy fines. The Haw then amused themselves by applying thumbscrews here and there to particular individuals that were special recipients of Dr. Neis' generosity, and forcing them to surrender the guns he had given them. The Haw then turned their attention to the foreign settlement, burnt the priests' houses, and scattered Dr. Neis' few clothes and books in the fields. The people believed that Dr. Neis sent for the Haw to come down and plunder Ngan; but this notion was absurd. I was glad not to find any corroboration of the story I had heard, that he left two cases of rifles for the Haw.

The Haw then moved on Tatom. When I was there in May of 1884, there was not a single inhabitant, the houses were burnt, and there were whole groves of cocoa-nuts and areca palms without owners. The Haw had also moved in the direction of Luang Phrabang, and had plundered M. Yim. Again Siam awoke to the dangers of the situation, and Phya Rat Waranu Kun , who ten years previously had begun so successfully and ended so unfortunately, was dispatched as General to complete his task. Phya Rat's father was the Minister of the Interior. He is proud of the fact that for five generations his forefathers have been distinguished Generals, he also claims to be descended from a Brahmin, which is not unlikely.

When Bush died at Luang Phrabang, the Haw had already retired from M. Yiw, and as we all had fever, it was thought better to return to Bangkok and prepare for the next season, which promised to be full of stirring incidents in more ways than one. Mr. D. J. Collins, from the Indian Survey, joined me to help in the work of surveying, and Leonowens at the last moment gave up the idea of returning to Luang Phrabang. He entered the service of the Borneo Company and took charge of their trading operations at Chieng Mai, where he has been very successful.

An escort of thirty marines accompanied us, and Lieutenant Rossmussan of the Danish Artillery was in charge. I was instructed " to consult with the two military commanders, Phya Rajawaranakul and Phya Pichai, who had been desired to take vigorous steps for the suppression of the Haw, to look after the safety of the survey party, and to render every assistance." When we reached Luang Phrabang on the 14th of January, 1885, Phya Pichai had already left Luang Phrabang with the Luang Phbabang contingent for Tung Chieng Kumm. 

Knowing that what was mostly wanted was to get together sufficient quantity of supplies, I made an attempt in that direction to get transport from Nan, but the authorities refused to allow the elephants, of which they had great numbers, to go beyond Luang Phrabang without an order from Bangkok. This was very unfortunate; so loading with rice as many elephants as we could get together, we started from Luang Phrabang, the eldest son of the Chief accompanying us. We followed the route that was taken by Phya Pichai with a large body of men, and each day increased my surprise at the lighthearted manner in which the transport of any number of men across a rough country is undertaken.

At Ban Leh of Wieng Sen I received a note from Phya Pichai requesting me not to come on to Tung Chieng Kumm , as provisions had run short. I sent him rice on the nine elephants we had, the tranport coolies having run away. It was arranged that both Phya Rat and Phya Pichai should reach Tung Chieng Kumm on a fixed day and in concert attack the stockade of the Haw, if the latter were not willing to surrender.

 Phya Rat was the son of the Minister at whose feet the uncle of Phya Pichai had thrown himself, begging that the people of M. Puann should not be driven from their country. Their political training was, therefore, not of the same character; furthermore, Phya Pichai was a country-bred man, whereas Phya Rat was brought up in the precincts of the Court, and on that account he was annoyed that he was appointed to act in concert with Phya Pichai. Besides this, he had a thorough contempt for the Haw, and was quite persuaded that his mere presence would make them fly or surrender. Consequently, he took things rather leisurely and, like the great Napoleon, depended on the enemy for supplies.

Phya Pichai was anxious to carry out his orders to the letter, so he hurried along a very rough route, over mountains and down rivers, with a large and scantily provisioned body of men, and reached Tung Chieng Kumm on the day appointed. Being utterly unaccustomed to command, he found himself at the head of an undisciplined rabble, and the Haw were irritated into assuming an attitude of resistance. He made a stockade, taking up a position about two miles from the Haw stockade, and there he remained for more than a month, awaiting the arrival of his colleague, who was loitering by the way and amusing himself. 

Phya Rat in due time appeared at Tung Chieng Kumm, unfortunately in great wrath with "the country-General," as he called his colleague. The "country-General" had an unpleasant time, but he did all he could to bring matters to a successful issue. He placed himself unreservedly under Phya Rat, who moved on further, and made a new stockade about five hundred yards from the other. Phya Rat was fully persuaded that the mere knowledge of his arrival had been enough for the Haw, and that they had already deserted their stockade, his scouts having reported

He went out to make a reconnaissance in person, but when he got within rifle-range, a shower of bullets convinced him the place was not deserted, and he had to beat a hasty retreat. Then he formed his plans for attacking the Haw, and getting rid of them, as he said, in half an hour. At this time, with Collins and Rossmussan accompanying me, I arrived at Tung Chieng Kumm, having received a letter from Phya Pichai informing me that Phya Rat was there, and he thought I ought to meet them to consult about the work. 

On the way to Tung Chieng Kumm, at the bottom of a dark ravine, were the corpses of two Lao, that had recently been beheaded. While Phya Pichai was waiting at Tung Chieng Kumm, the Haw had sent out scouts on the watch for messengers or stragglers from the camp; when they came across them they killed or mutilated them in such a manner that they died from the wounds. In this way an unfortunate Kamuk had all his fingers and his ears cut off, and was sent back to Phya Pichai; this was done to intimidate the other Kamuks, who were transporting supplies. The unfortunate man's wife was also seized, and being enceinte she was killed, as it was understood that the blood of an unborn babe, if mixed with powder, rendered it infallible for the destruction of life. Round ticals were also used as bullets, as they too were charmed to render them fatal.

       

Copyright 1998 USMTA Inc.   All rights reserved. Revised: October 16, 2004.