SIAM. Mongkut, Rama IV, King of Siam. 20795



A long Autograph Letter Signed ‘SPPM Mongkut RS on 4140th day of reign’, to William Adamson “the manager of the Branch of Borneo Company limited at Singapore, thanking him “for your security of my order of 2000 cartriages of Needham’s patent fowling piece”, regretting that an Armstrong gun can not be purchased, speculating that perhaps this is due to the British Government’s fears that powerful European nations may “follow the way of Siamese ruler”, and discussing other requirements, including a gun for use on a river steamer. 3½ pages, 9 x 7 inches, folds, in good condition, one royal monogram or seal cut from the centre of the first page with loss of a few words, now neatly repaired, two corners lightly damp stained. With a complete typed transcript. Royal residence grand palace Bangkok, 13 September 1862. A lengthy letter, entirely in the hand of the King, discussing his requirements from the West, including a gun made to his own specifications for use against enemies along the river, a sewing machine and some pills, and pursuing the possibility of selling Siamese tobacco in London and Manila. King Maha Mongkut, also known as Rama IV, ruled Siam (now Thailand) from 1851 to 1868, during which time he successfully negotiated with Western powers and modernized his nation. Mongkut ascended the throne upon the death of his half-brother, Jetta (Rama III), after spending 27 years as a Buddhist monk. Educated and multi-lingual, Mongkut negotiated with the United States and European powers to open Siam to international trade. “If the kind of Armstrong guns can not be purchased, can you ask the maker of Needham patent gun again, can they make other one cannon in like manner of that has been purchased some time ago, but I wish larger than the former as two inches bore or two & half inches bore the barrel shall be not rifle but shall as smoth as common gun in which the large cartriage of several balls like the fouling piece can be used in employment on board our small Steamer travelling in our river to treat with our enemies that must be occurred in our way on currence of river only where the near approaching of force of enemies shall be treated with several balls discharged at once from our cannon; you may understand perhaps as you have seen this river.”