chapter
45 Pages

INTRODUCTION

ON the IIth May, 1824, the Burmese seaport of Rangoon was attacked and occupied by the British troops under Sir Archibald Camp8elL As the season advanced; and the country became inundated by the flooded rivers and heavy rains, it was found impracticable to engage in any active operations in the direction of Ava. A part of the force at his command was, therefore, dispatched by Sir A. Campbell, by sea, to reduce the maritime provinces of Burma, and the districts of Tavoy and Tenasserim were selected to be attacked. In selecting Tenasserim and its port, Mergui, as desirable acquisitions for Britain, the commander of the army of invasion was unwittingly carrying out a continuity of action, on the part of his nation, for, during the latter part of the seventeenth century, King James the Second and his Government, instigated by the East bdia Company, had yearned after Mergui, an<;l had even attempted, but unsuccessfully, to capture that seaport, where it; had been their intention, if they had triumphed, to erect a fort to command the navigation and commerce of the eastern side of the Bay of Bengal, and the overland route to Siam. This, however, ill 1824, had all been forgotten; but the national aspiration of 1687 was gratified in 1824, as Mergui, on

being summoned, on the 6th October, to surrender unconditionally, fell in an hour's time before the gallant assault of the British troops, supported by the guns of the cruisers of the Honourable East Iudia Company.l

Two years later, the war, which had been forced upon Great Britain by the arrogance and hostility of the Burmese in the region of Assam, was brought to a close by the treaty of Yandabo, concluded between the King of Burma and the Honourable East India Company on the 24th February, 1826. By this treaty his Burman Majesty undertook to abstain from all future interference with the principality of Assam and its dependencies, and ceded to the Briti~h Government Arakan, and" the conquered provinces of Yeh, Tavoy, ana Mergui and Tenasserim," their islands and dependencies.2