File No. 892.001/43.
The American Minister to the Secretary of State.
Bangkok , March 25, 1911.
Sir: I have the honor to report that on yesterday morning, March 24, 1911, the final ceremonies connected with the cremation of the late ruler of Siam, King Chulalonkorn, were completed and the ashes laid to rest in the grand palace, Maha Chakri, amidst those of the rulers who have preceded in this line.
To the occidental the marked feature of the entire occasion has been that of oriental pomp and splendor. Yet, as compared with the reckless cost of life and treasure expended on similar occasions in the past, the present marks a striking advance toward the modern and more practical age. The towering superstructure for inclosing all, and which heretofore had cost hundreds of lives of slaves in the fever-infested jungles, was omitted and all the labor employed was regularly paid. And, perhaps most striking of all, large sums heretofore expended on the theatrical display and oriental amusement on such occasions were distributed among the educational, medical, charitable, and religious institutions throughout the Kingdom, irrespective of nationality or of creed. And this expenditure was made along lines to meet the special needs of the respective institutions [Page 710] as named by committees representing each. In this manner about $2,000 gold worth of goods was distributed among the American institutions in this country. The distribution of these gifts by an order from the King’s own hand to the respective representatives of the several institutions formed a feature of the occasion on the afternoon of three days of the ceremonies.
A marked evidence of the manner in which the new King is received by his people, as well as of the profound respect in which his father was held, has been manifest in the excellent order that has prevailed throughout these entire ceremonies.
I have, etc.,