Page:Statesman's Year-Book 1899 American Edition.djvu/1354

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998 SIAM

The Legal Code is now l)eing entirely remodelled h\ a Japanese lawyer. The Consular Courts exercise jurisdiction over their nationals.

Religion and Instruction.

Education is making slow progi'ess. The capital possesses the following Government schools : Normal College for training teachers, established 1892, thirty-one students ; five Anglo-vernacular schools with over 300 pupils ; five vernacular schools with 480 pupils ; thirty-three aided vernacular schools with over 2,000 pupils. A new Code, based on the English Code, has been introduced and is now in use in all the Government and aided schools. Trained teachers are being graduallylntroduced into the vernacular schools, and all the schools are now under the control of an English inspector. The prevailing religion is Buddhism, and throughout the country education is chiefly in the hands of the priests. In the whole country there are some 4,701 temples, containing 58,293 priests. Of these priests 3,336 are recorded as being teachers of Siamese, Avith a total of 23,189 pupils. The Siamese language is now firmly established as the official language over the whole country. The Minister of Public Instruction and Ecclesiastical Affairs has also under his charge several Government hospitals, which have been lately established by the King, besides a public museum, and all the royal monasteries in the capital.

Finance.

The revenue of Siam may be roughly estimated at 17,000,000 dollars, of which the land tax produces about 600,000 ; the tax on fruit trees and market- gardens, 150,000 ; spirits, 1,800,000 ; opium, 1,500,000 ; gambling, 3,000,000; customs, 1,800,000; fisheries, 100,000; teak, 500,000; tin, 200,000. Besides these there are numerous taxes of less importance, most of which are farmed. Spirits, opium, and gambling are under exclusive monopolies. 'With the assistance of an European financial adviser and several European finance inspectors, the financial administration is undergoing reform which, if proceeded with, may be expected to lead to a large exten- sion of the commerce and revenue of the country. There is no public debt, and the expenditure keeps within the revenue.

Defence.

The standing army does not exceed 5,000 men actually under arms, lait is generally reckoned as consisting of 10,000 or 12,000 men who would he available in a short time. The people generally are liable to be called out as required, but there is no armed militia. Every male from the age of 18 to 21 years is obliged to serve as a recruit for three years, and afterwards to serve for three months after every twelve. The following individuals are, however, exempted : — Members of the priesthood, the Chinese settlers who pay a commutation tax, slaves, public functionaries, the fathers of one or more sons liable to service, and those who purchase exemption by a fine of six ticals a year, or by furnishing a slave or some other person not subject to the conscription as a substitute. It is stated that the Government possesses upwards of 80,000 stand of arms, besides a considerable stock of cannon. The army is in a very crude condition, and more reliance is now placed upon the newly constituted force of marine infantry mentioned below.

The navy list contains the names of 21 vessels over 100 tons, 10 of these being over 500 tons. The largest is the cruiser yacht Maha Chakrkri, of 3,000 tons, 300 feet long and 40 feet beam, 15 knots, 4 quick-firing 4*7