Treaty of friendship and commerce between Great Britain and Siam/Agreement

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Treaty of friendship and commerce between Great Britain and Siam  (1856) 
Agreement entered into between the undermentioned royal commissioners, on the part of Their Majesties the First and Second Kings of Siam, and Harry Smith Parkes, Esquire, on the part of Her Britannic Majesty's Government

Agreement entered into between the undermentioned
Royal Commissioners, on the part of Their Majesties the First and
Second Kings of Siam, and Harry Smith Parkes, Esquire, on the part of
Her Britannic Majesty's Government.

Mr Parkes having stated, on his arrival at Bangkok, as Bearer of Her Britannic Majesty's Ratification of the Treaty of Friendship and Commerce concluded on the 18th day of April 1855, between Her Majesty the Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and Their Majesties Phra Bard Somdetch Phra Paramendr Maha Mongkut Phra Chom klau chau Yu Hua, The First King of Siam, and Phra Bard Somdetch Phra Pawarendr Ramesr Mahiswaresr Phra Pin Klau Chau Yu Hua, The Second King of Siam, that he was instructed by the Earl of Clarendon, Her Britannic Majesty's Principal Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, to request the Siamese Government to consent to an enumeration of those Articles of the former Treaty concluded in 1826, between the Honorable East India Company and Their late Majesties the First and Second Kings of Siam, which are abrogated by the Treaty first named, and also to agree to certain explanations which appear necessary to mark the precise force and application of certain portions of the new Treaty:— Their aforesaid Majesties the First and Second Kings of Siam have appointed and empowered certain Royal Commissioners, namely, His Royal Highness Krom Hluang Wongsa Dhiraj Snidh, and their Excellencies the four Senaputhies or Principal Ministers of Siam, to confer and arrange with Mr Parkes the matters above named, and the said Royal Commissioners having accordingly met Mr Parkes for this purpose, on repeated occasions, and maturely considered all the subjects brought by him to their notice, have resolved:

That it is proper, in order to prevent future controversy, that those clauses of the old Treaty which are abrogated by the new Treaty should be distinctly specified, and that any clause of the new Treaty which is not sufficiently clear, should be fully explained. To this end they have agreed to, and concluded, the following twelve Articles:—

Article 1.

On the Old Treaty Concluded in 1826.

The Articles of the old Treaty not abrogated by the new Treaty are 1, 2, 3, 8, 11, 12, 13, and 14, and the undermentioned clauses of Articles 6 and 10.

In Article 6, the Siamese desire to retain the following clause: "If a Siamese or English merchant buy or sell, without inquiring and ascertaining whether the seller or buyer be of a good or bad character; and if he meet with a bad man who takes the property and absconds, the Rulers and Officers on either side must make search and endeavor to produce the property of the absconder, and investigate the matter with sincerity. If the party possess money or property, he can be made to pay; but if he does not possess any, or if he cannot be apprehended, it will be the merchant's own fault, and the Authorities cannot be held responsible."

Of Article 10, Mr Parkes desires to retain that clause relating to the Overland Trade, which states: "Asiatic Merchants of the English Countries not being Burmese, Peguans, or descendants of Europeans, desiring to enter into and to trade with the Siamese Dominions from the countries of Mergui, Tavoy, Tenasserim and Ye which are now subject to the English, will be allowed to do so freely overland and by water, upon the English furnishing them with proper certificates."

Mr Parkes, however, desires that all British subjects without exception shall be allowed to participate in this Overland trade. The said Royal Commissioners therefore agree, on the part of the Siamese, that all Traders under British Rule, may cross from the British territories of Mergui, Tavoy, Ye, Tenasserim, Pegu, or other places by land or by water, to the Siamese territories, and may trade there with facility, on the condition that they shall be provided by the British Authorities with proper certificates, which must be renewed for each journey.

The Commercial Agreement annexed to the Old Treaty is abrogated by the new Treaty, with the Exception of the undermentioned clauses of Articles 1 and 4:—

Of Article 1, the Siamese desire to retain the following clause:— "British merchants importing fire-arms, shot, or gunpowder are prohibited from selling them to any party but the Government; should the Government not require such fire-arms, shot, or gunpowder, the Merchants must re-export the whole of them."

Article 4 stipulates that no Charge or Duty shall be levied on boats carrying cargo to British ships at the Bar. The Siamese desire to cancel this clause for the reason that the old measurement duty of 1,700 Ticals per fathom included the fees of the various Officers. But as this measurement Duty has now been abolished, the Siamese wish to levy on each native boat taking cargo out to sea a fee of 8 ticals, 2 salungs, this being the charge paid by Siamese Traders, and Mr Parkes undertakes to submit this point to the consideration of Her Majesty's Minister Plenipotentiary to the Court of Siam.

Article 2.

On the exclusive Jurisdiction of the Consul over

British Subjects.

The 2nd Article of the Treaty stipulates that,—"Any disputes arising between British and Siamese subjects shall be heard and determined by the Consul in conjunction with the proper Siamese Officer; and Criminal offenders will be punished in the case of English offenders by the Consul according to English laws and in the case of Siamese offenders by their own laws through the Siamese Authorities. But the Consul shall not interfere in any matters referring solely to Siamese, neither will the Siamese Authorities interfere in questions which only concern the subjects of her Britannic Majesty."

On the non-interference of the Consul with the Siamese, or of Siamese with British subjects, the said Royal Commissioners desire in the first place to state that, while for natural reasons they fully approve of the Consul holding no jurisdiction over Siamese in their own country, the Siamese Authorities, on the other hand, will feel themselves bound to call on the Consul to apprehend and punish British subjects who shall commit, whilst in Siamese Territory, any grave infractions of the laws, such as cutting, wounding, or inflicting other serious bodily harm. But in disputes or in offences of a slighter nature committed by British subjects among themselves, the Siamese Authorities will refrain from all interference.

With reference to the punishment of Offences, or the settlement of disputes, it is agreed:—

That all Criminal Cases, in which both parties are British subjects, or in which the Defendant is a British subject, shall be tried and determined oy the British Consul alone.

All Criminal Cases in which both parties are Siamese, or in which the Defendant is a Siamese, shall be tried and determined by the Siamese Authorities alone.

That all Civil Cases in which both parties are British subjects, or in which the Defendant is a British subject, shall be heard and determined by the British Consul alone: All Civil Cases in which both parties are Siamese, or in which the Defendant is a Siamese, shall be heard and determined by the Siamese Authorities alone.

That whenever a British subject has to complain against a Siamese, he must make his complaint through the British Consul, who will lay it before the proper Siamese Authorities.

That in all cases in which Siamese or British subjects are interested, the Siamese authorities in the one case, and the British Consul in the other, shall be at liberty to attend at and listen to the investigation of the case, and copies of the proceedings will be furnished from time to time, or whenever desired, to the Consul or the Siamese Authorities, until the case is concluded.

That although the Siamese may interfere so far with British subjects as to call upon the Consul, in the manner stated in this Article, to punish grave offences when committed by British subjects, it is agreed that,—

British subjects, their persons, houses, premises, lands, ships, or property of any kind, shall not be seized, injured, or in any way interfered with by the Siamese. In case of any violation of this stipulation, the Siamese Authorities will take cognizance of the case and punish the Offenders. On the other hand, Siamese subjects, their persons, houses, premises, or property of any kind, shall not be seized, injured, or in any way interfered with by the English, and the British Consul shall investigate and punish any breach of this stipulation.

Article 3.

On the Right of British subjects to Dispose of their

Property at will.

By the 4th Article of the Treaty, British subjects are allowed to purchase in Siam "houses, gardens, fields, or plantations." It is agreed, in reference to this stipulation, that British subjects who have accordingly purchased houses, gardens, fields, or plantations, are at liberty to sell the same to whomsoever they please. In the event of a British subject dying in Siam, and leaving houses, lands, or other property, his relations, or those persons who are heirs according to English law, shall receive possession of the said property; and the British Consul, or some one appointed by the British Consul, may proceed at once to take charge of the said property on their account. If the deceased should owe money, the Consul shall liquidate his debts as far as the estate of the deceased shall suffice.

Article 4.

On the Taxes, Duties or other Charges leviable on

British subjects.

The 4th Article of the Treaty provides for the payment, on the lands held or purchased by British subjects, of "the same taxation that is levied on Siamese subjects." The Taxes here alluded to are those set forth in the annexed Schedule.

Again, it is stated in the 8th Article, that "British subjects are to pay Import and Export Duties according to the Tariff annexed to the "Treaty." For the sake of greater distinctness, it is necessary to add to these two clauses the following Explanation, namely,—That beside the Land tax, and the Import and Export Duties, mentioned in the aforesaid Articles, no additional charge or tax of any kind may be imposed upon a British subject, unless it obtain the sanction both of the Supreme Siamese Authorities and the British Consul.

Article 5.

On Passes and Port Clearances.

The 5th Article of the Treaty provides that Passports shall be granted to travellers, and the 5th Article of the Regulations that Port Clearances shall be furnished to ships. In reference thereto, the said Royal Commissioners, at the request of Mr Parkes, agree that the Passports to be given to British subjects travelling beyond the limits assigned by the Treaty for the residence of British subjects, together with the Passes for Cargo-boats and the Port Clearances of British Ships, shall be issued within twenty-four hours after formal application for the same shall have been made to the proper Siamese Authorities. But if reasonable cause should at any time exist for delaying or withholding the issue of any of these papers, the Siamese Authorities must at once communicate it to the Consul.

Passports for British subjects travelling in the interior, and the Port Clearances of British ships, will be granted by the Siamese Authorities free of charge.

Article 6.

On the Prohibition of the Exportation of Rice, Salt, and Fish,

and on the Duty on Paddy.

The 8th Article of the Treaty stipulates that "whenever a scarcity may be apprehended of Salt, Rice, and Fish, the Siamese Government reserve to themselves the right of prohibiting by public proclamation the Exportation of these articles."

Mr Parkes, in elucidation of this clause, desires an agreement to this effect, namely,—That a month's notice shall be given by the Siamese Authorities to the Consul, prior to the enforcement of the prohibition; and that British subjects who may previously obtain special permission from the Siamese Authorities to export a certain quantity of Rice which they have already purchased, may do so even after the prohibition comes in force. Mr Parkes also requests that the export duty on Paddy should be half of that on Rice, namely, 2 Ticals per Koyan.

The said Royal Commissioners, having in view the fact that Rice forms the principal sustenance of the nation, stipulate that on the breaking out of War or Rebellion, the Siamese may prohibit the Trade in Rice, and may enforce the prohibition so long as the hostilities thus occasioned shall continue. If a dearth should be apprehended, on account of the want or excess of Rain, the Consul will be informed one month previous to the enforcement of the prohibition. British Merchants who obtain the Royal Permission upon the issue of the proclamation, to export a certain quantity of Rice which they have already purchased, may do so irrespective of the prohibition to the contrary; but those Merchants who do not obtain the Royal Permission will not be allowed when the prohibition takes effect to Export the Rice they may already have purchased.

The prohibition shall be removed as soon as the cause of its being imposed shall have ceased to exist.

Paddy may be exported on payment of a duty of 2 Ticals per Koyan, or half the amount levied on Rice.

Article 7.

On permission to import Gold-Leaf as Bullion.

Under the 8th Article of the Treaty, Bullion may be imported or exported free of charge. With reference to this clause, the said Royal Commissioners, at the request of Mr Parkes, agree that foreign Coins of every denomination, Gold and Silver in bars or ingots, and Gold Leaf, may be imported free; but manufactured Articles in Gold and Silver, plated-ware, and diamonds or other precious stones, must pay an import duty of three per cent.

Article 8.

On the establishment of a Custom House.

The said Royal Commissioners, at the request of Mr Parkes, and in conformity with the intent of the 8th Article of the new Treaty, agree to the immediate establishment of a Custom House, under the superintendence of a High Government Functionary, for the examination of all goods landed or shipped, and the receipt of the Import and Export Duties due thereon. They further agree that the business of the Custom House shall be conducted under the Regulations annexed to this Agreement.

Article 9.

On the subsequent Taxation of Articles now free from duty.

Mr Parkes agrees with the said Royal Commissioners, that whenever the Siamese Government deem it to be beneficial for the country to impose a single tax or duty on any article not now subject to a public charge of any kind, they are at liberty to do so provided that the said tax be just and reasonable.

Article 10.

On the Boundaries of the Four Mile Circuit.

It is stipulated in the 4th Article of the Treaty, that "British subjects coming to reside at Bangkok, may rent land and buy or build "houses, but cannot purchase lands within a circuit of 200 Sen (not more than 4 miles English) from the City walls, until they shall have "lived in Siam for ten years, or shall obtain special authority from the Siamese Government to enable them to do so."

The points to which this circuit extends due North, South, East, and West of the City, and the spot where it crosses the river below Bangkok, have accordingly been measured by officers on the part of the Siamese and English, and their measurements, having been examined and agreed to by the said Royal Commissioners and Mr Parkes, are marked by stone pillars placed at the undermentioned localities, viz,—

On the North, — One Sen North of Wat Kemabherataram.

On the East, — 6 Sen and 7 Fathoms South-west of Wat Bangkapi.

On the South, — About 19 Sen South of the village Bangpakio.

On the West, — About 2 Sen South-west of the village of Bangphrom.

The points marking the spot where the circuit line crosses the river below Bangkok are placed on the left bank 3 Sen below the village of Bangmanau, and on the right bank about one Sen below the village of Banglampuleun.

Article 11.

On the Boundaries of the Twenty-four Hours' Journey.

It is stipulated in the 4th Article of the Treaty, that Excepting within the circuit of four miles, British Merchants in Siam may at any time buy or rent Houses, Lands, or Plantations, situated anywhere within a distance of twenty-four hours' journey from the City "of Bangkok, to be computed by the rate at which boats of the country can travel."

The said Royal Commissioners and Mr. Parkes have consulted together on this subject, and have agreed that the boundaries of the said twenty-four hours' journey shall be as follows:—

1.On the North. — The Bangputsa Canal from its mouth on the Chau Phya River, to the old city walls of Lobpury, and a straight line from Lobpury to the landing-place of Tha Phrangam, near to the town of Saraburi on the River Pasak.

2.On the East. — A straight line drawn from the landing-place of Tha Phrangam to the junction of the Klongkut Canal with the Bangpakong River; the Banpakong River from the junction of Klongkut Canal to its mouth; and the Coast from the mouth of the Bangpakong River to the isle of Srimaharajah, to such distance inland as can be reached within 24 hours' journey from Bangkok.

3.On the South. — The isle Srimaharajah and the islands of Se-chang on the East side of the Gulf, and the city walls of Petchaburi, on the West side.

4.On the West. — The western Coast of the Gulf to the mouth of the Meklong River, to such a distance inland as can be reached within 24 hours' journey from Bangkok. The Meklong River, from its mouth to the City walls of Rajpuri. A straight line from the City walls of Rajpuri to the Town of Suphanapuri; and a straight line from the Town of Suphanapuri to the mouth of the Bangputsa Canal on the Chau Phya River.

Article 12.

On the incorporation in the Treaty of this Agreement.

The said Royal Commissioners agree, on the part of the Siamese Government, to incorporate all the Articles of this Agreement in the Treaty concluded by the Siamese Plenipotentiaries and Sir John Bowing, on the 18th April, 1855, whenever this shall be desired by Her Britannic Majesty's Plenipotentiary.

In witness whereof, the said Royal Commissioners, and the said Harry Smith Parkes, have sealed and signed this Agreement in duplicate, at Bangkok, on the Thirteenth day of May in the year One Thousand Eight Hundred and Fifty-Six of the Christian era, corresponding to the Ninth day of the waxing moon of the Lunar month of Wesakh in the year of the quadruped Serpent, being the year One Thousand Two hundred and eighteen of the Siamese Astronomical Era, which is the nineteenth of Her Britannic Majesty's and Sixth of Their present Siamese Majesties' reigns.

(Signed,) His Royal Highness

(L.S.) Krom HLuang Wongsa Dhiraj Snidh.

(Signed,) His Excellency

(L.S.) Somdetch Chau Phya Param Maha Bijai-Neate.

(Signed,) His Excellency

(L.S.) Chau Phya Sri Suriwongse Samuha Phra Kalahom.

(Signed,) His Excellency

(L.S.) Chau Phaya Phra Klang.

(Signed,) His Excellency

(L.S.) Chau Phya Yomraj.

(Signed,) His Excellency

(L.S.) Harry S. Parkes.

Approved,

John Bowring.