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[Eng sub] Fierce negotiation of Bowring Treaty between Siam and Britain

December 6, 2019


Won’t any of you translate it for me? What if our realm perishes? Then blame me not! I would like to present my letter of appointment from the queen. It tells that I am a representative of Her Britannic Majesty. This is a letter of appointment with the seal of the British queen. It proclaims that Sir John Bowring represents the British government as its plenipotentiary in negotiating public affairs with Siam. Allow me to present my fellows and the guests here thus: Mister Harry Parkes, consul at Amoy, my assistant; Mister George Kent, my second assistant; Mister John Charles Bowring, my son and personal secretary; and Mister Charles Bell, student and interpreter. This is the royal command appointing the negotiating committee: the Archduke of Royal Kinship, exercising absolute power on behalf of His Majesty the King in all matters concerning the Kingdom of Siam; the Primary Prince of Royal Intimacy, representative of His Majesty the King; the Archduke of Kindred of Triumph, in charge of the capital and its environment; myself, Grand Duke of Defence, in charge of the coastal cities of Siam. I have had everything translated into your language. Now that everything is correct, I should like to present the new treaty for Siamese agreement. May I ask Mister Parkes to read out the treaty in detail? They will read the entire treaty for all of us. Tell them not to read! I’ve read all the copies! Just ask them if such a treaty means they’re going to “seize” or “sack” Siam. Tell them to be frank, not to waste time blabbering! He understands the matter in its entirety, but wishes to ask you about your intention. We wish for friendship and trade. Please don’t close the door on friendship. His Excellency wishes for friendship and trade with us. He doesn’t want us to close the door on trade. It’s there! The door! If I closed it, how can they all be here?! The brute Crawfurd and the beast Burney once came! Never once has Siam closed the door! Tell them so! He says he dislikes how Japan closes its door. But Siam is not like that. The British ambassador Crawfurd came to Siam in the second reign. And there were others. Teak woods? Not for sale! We don’t have many to sell! Rice won’t be sold too! Siam sells rice to no one! We just store it for internal consumption! Taxes to be reduced from ten percent to three percent? Let’s agree to disagree! They knocked on our door with a warship, and they think they can get whatever they want? Mister Chuang, if they are this annoying, just kick them out of our land! The important thing is that the treaty must be in line with His Majesty’s will. Otherwise, just start a war! “Peace be in thy gates.” If Siam will need to change, I, Earl of Great Divinity, will never change. Out of my way, if there’s still Siamese blood in you! Don’t let ire lead you. Think of the common good of the nation first! Don’t you know? The “British-Irish lion” demanded that the Siamese cabinet allow it to clarify the old treaty on the Rubber East India Company, concluded afore the reigns of the first and second kings of Siam. The treaty was forced to be replaced by Captain Henry Burney’s treaty. – So it’s the time to do for the nation!
– Let the eldest archduke decide first! – I’m speaking for the heart of the archduke!
– Never claim anyone’s heart! Don’t do anything that’ll throw the Siamese government into trouble! The path of negotiation is so significant. Mister Thep, go back and think twice! Negotiating with that “lion”? Then beware your throat, not your tongue. I’ve learnt that the gunship Rattler is about to come. But I won’t let it pass the Fort of Great Defence or the Fort of Deterrence! You! Whatever I do won’t be related to the Siamese government! We must not do any harm to this Briton. That would be equal to giving them a chance to invade us justifiably. The “Duke of Great Support and Dignified Friendship for Siam”? He’ll even get a dukedom? That “British-Irish lion”? What are you talking about? You know him that well? It’s hard for me to explain, sir. But, one day, this man will be of great benefit to Siam. This man will be Siam’s first ambassador to Europe. If this time we just ignore those disadvantages, Britain will guard her advantages like a selfish crone. This amity will avail us. Other nations will grow more courteous towards Siam. All the good will fall upon us. What you just said is deemed treason, don’t you ever know? It’s like you want those Westerners to dominate the throne. France will sure follow this example. It will exploit Siam, seizing the whole nation of ours. Siam never fears the armed forces of any nation! Yet armed forces are nothing compared to the power of negotiation. You just need to learn from them. You need to know how they think. All right! Things have come this far. If I still oppose, I will be deemed a mulish old-timer going against the prosperity of the nation. My era is no more. I shall now allow the thrift of thy era. Enjoy it with care, I exhort thee. “Great Seal of State” [King Mongkut] May it please Your Most Excellent Majesty. I, Earl of Regal Might, hereby beg your divine permission to introduce Sir John Bowring, an agent accredited by the Sovereign Lady who rules the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, and his mission. It is my pleasure to greet an envoy of Her Majesty the Queen of England. I realise the greatness of your country and the value of mutual goodwill. How is the treaty going? Everything is most satisfactory, Your Majesty. Things were well handled. You must not expect too much from Siam. It was mostly a jungle. Trade will change Siam from a forest to a garden, Your Majesty. Our country used to be a forest. But it’s now a plantation. Trade shall change Siam into a park. My nation was once in the wild. Your country is a garden? We have earned our prosperity, Your Majesty, through trade. We prosper through trade. When the steamer would leave? When the treaty has been signed tomorrow, Your Majesty, the ship will go to await me at the estuary. Tomorrow, the treaty shall be signed and the warship shall go to wait outside the shoal. When everything is done, I hope that this goodwill will make us good friends.

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