Letter from the acting Phrakhlang Phya Phiphat Kosa in Siam to the Supreme Government in Batavia, 13 January 1769, and the answer from Batavia, 29 May 1769


Letter from (acting) Phrakhlang Pia Pipit Kosa [1] to the Supreme Government in Batavia, 13 January 1769.

Seeing that of old up to the present day a very close and sincere friendship has existed between the kingdom of Siam and the Honourable Company, formerly Their Honours also sent their representatives and other servants hither. They set up their residences here, and also had a lodge constructed in order to store all the merchandise that was brought by Company ships and was bought by the inhabitants. The former Phrakhlangs did not neglect to deliver annually to the residents the wares that the Company ordered.

Further I report that when the enemy Phama [2] rose in war against Siam, His Highness the Siamese king sent a mandarin by the name of Phiatak [3] to the district of Tjinteboen [4] in order to gather some men there and bring them to Siam to help. But this did not progress quickly, and the kingdom of Siam was overcome by the said enemy and the king with his whole family and all the mandarins and subjects were murdered or fled. Because of this the land was completely ruined, so much so that there was even no one who was entitled to rule except the above-mentioned Phiatak.

With some men Phiatak entered the city (which had been burnt and plundered by the enemy and then abandoned), where all the persons who had fled into the forests joined him, and chose and acknowledged him as their lord and ruler. With this the land is again in its former state, indeed even more flourishing than before. It is now visited even more than formerly by junks and other trading vessels. Therefore I request Their High Honours to build a lodge here [in Thonburi] and to place a resident and several servants in it, in order to trade on the old basis, with the promise that everything that the Company may come to order I shall command the Khlang’s people to provide without fail.

Seeing that all the ammunition, with no exception, was carried off by the enemy, I find myself very much in need of a thousand good flintlocks, if for example something similar should happen again. I and all the mandarins kindly request Their Honours, because of the friendship formerly enjoyed, to be pleased to send these along when a ship is heading this way with merchandise and for similar prices to before.

Furthermore, because the kingdom of Siam and Holland are very old friends, I also request Their Honours to have the goodness to send a copy of this [letter] to His Highness the Prince of Orange and Nassau, and to ask him to appoint a resident again, in order to carry on trade on the old basis, seeing that the friendship is still as it was before, in the hope that it may also be long-lasting and His Highness may enjoy a long life.

Finally, I have gathered two pikuls of the best ivory, consisting of one pikul of four and one pikul of five tusks. These I have entrusted to the Chinese captain Tjien Heeng to present to Their Honours.

On Friday the 13th day of the 3rd month in the Year of the Rat 1130 [5].


Answer from the Supreme Government in Batavia to the Phrakhlang, 29 May 1769.


With as much sorrow as the Governor-General and members of the Council of the Indies have been informed from time to time about the devastation of the kingdom of Siam, and of the disasters that have befallen both the royal family and their subjects through the superior strength of their enemy Rama [6], with the same degree of joy Your Excellency’s letter of 13 January 1769 has been received. Since the devastation the Company’s resident and servants have been forced to remove themselves from Siam. With gladness we have learnt that the kingdom of Siam has been deserted by its enemies, and that the remaining inhabitants have chosen the High and Distinguished Mandarin Riatak [i.e. Phya Tak] [Taksin] as their ruler, and the land has thereby been restored to peace and its former flourishing condition, and in particular that Your Excellency to whom the weighty office of Phrakhlang is entrusted shows himself inclined to restore the friendship with the Dutch Company while carrying on trade on the former basis.

The Governor-General and members of the Council of the Indies hereby congratulate Your Excellency with acquiring the great dignity of Phrakhlang. However, no matter how ready the Governor-General and members of the Council of the Indies may be to send a mission to Siam, they cannot do this without the special prior knowledge of His Most Serene Highness the Prince of Orange and Nassau and their other superiors in the Netherlands, let alone constructing a lodge and establishing a resident and other servants for the direct sending of ships with merchandise. But in the meantime, in order to show that the old understandings still apply, the Governor-General and members of the Council of the Indies have not only sent Your Excellency’s letter to the said Prince of Orange and Nassau, but have also decided in favour of your request to send a thousand good flintlocks with the five returning Chinese skippers. [These will be sent] first a hundred with each skipper, or in all five hundred of the best musketeers’ flintlocks with wooden ramrods, for the price always paid of 2,650 rix-dollars or 2,120 Spanish reals. For the price of the flintlocks we ask that sappan wood may be delivered on time to Batavia and transported with the same ships and skippers, for 1¼ of a Spanish real per pikul of 125 pounds. If there is a shortage of sappan wood, bees’ wax can also be sent, for the market price. This will serve as a test to see what advantages can be gained from the trade between us.

Furthermore the Governor-General and members of the Council of the Indies thank you for the gift received of two pikuls of elephant tusks, and to show their regard include a return-gift with this: two gilded flintlocks, one pair of gilded pistols, and four extra fine hamans with golden heads.

Written in Batavia Castle on the island of Great Java, 29 May 1769, [signed] the Governor-General of the Netherlands Indies.



[1] Phiphat kosa is the title of a deputy phrakhlang.

[2] Phama, Thai term for Burma, Burmese.

[3] Phiatak, Phya Tak (Sin), or Taksin.

[4] Tjinteboen, Chanthabun or Chanthaburi.

[5] 13 January 1769.

[6] Burma.