Item description for A Diplomat in Siam (Itineraria Asiatica: Thailand) by Sir Ernest Mason Satow...
Ernest Satow, British Minister-Resident, Bangkok, spent three months in 1885-86 travelling to and from Chiangmai, northern Thailand. Although his official purpose was to iron out legal disputes over rights of access to the teak timber trade, between Siam and British Indian and Burmese subjects in the Chiangmai region, very little mention is made of this.
Nevertheless, his observations of the country he travelled through, the fishing and farming activities, the forests and the ruined temples of the old capital of Sukhothai, make this book a worthy contribution to our knowledge of late-19th century Siam that previously had been visited and written about by few other Europeans. The book is also studded with his thumb-nail sketches of objects and places that he found of interest. However, his loss of faith in the Siamese judicial system, plus his contraction of malaria on the journey did nothing to improve his disposition towards the Siamese people or their customs, and his comments on both are quite noncomplementary at times.
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An important contribution to Siam and Satow studies Oct 12, 2006
This book affords a rare opportunity to see the hinterland of Siam (Thailand) through the eyes of the notable 19th century British diplomat, Sir Ernest Satow (1843-1929). The editor, Nigel Brailey, has provided a useful introduction and the original line-drawings are also preserved. The original material (manuscript) for this book is held at the UK National Archives in Kew (PRO 30/33 20/1).
Ian Ruxton, editor of The Diaries of Sir Ernest Satow, British Envoy in Peking (1900-06), Vol. 1 of two and The Semi-Official Letters of British Envoy Sir Ernest Satow from Japan and China (1895-1906).