Copy of a letter to the king about iron works - ROM2018_16380_50

ROM2018_16380_50

Copy of a letter to the king about iron works

Maker: Unknown
Medium:ink on paper
Geography: Myanmar (Burma)
Date: 1858-1901
Dimensions:
33.5 × 21.7 cm
folded: 25.5 × 21.7 cm
Object number: 2016.66.8.34
Credit Line: Gift of David Strachey
Not on view
Description

This is a letter in Burma written to the king about the iron works. It is unclear which king, but it is likely to be King Mindon Min or King Thibaw Min as those were the kings who ruled while Clement Williams and Louis Allan Goss were in Myanmar. It is associated with Clement Williams or Louis Allan Goss.

Dr. Clement Williams (28 December 1833 – 26 June 1879) arrived in Burma in 1858 as an assistant surgeon with the 68th Light Infantry. After mastering the Burmese language, he settled in Mandalay by mid-1861 and gained the confidence of King Mindon. In 1863, he was appointed Britain’s first political agent in Upper Burma. That same year he led an expedition up the Irrawaddy River to Bhamo, later publishing an account of his travels, Through Burma to Western China. After quitting the army in 1865, he worked briefly for the newly established Irrawaddy Flotilla Company before going into business for himself as a buying agent for the king. In 1879, en route between Burma to England, Williams died of typhoid outside Florence. Like many doctors familiar with working with chemicals. Clement Williams was an early amateur photographer, as recounted in his book. Until 2017, however, there were no images positively attributed to him. Thanks to gifts from his nephew, Louis Allan Goss (1846-1933), and Goss’s heirs, they now are in the collections of the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology (MAA) in Cambridge, UK, and the Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto, Canada.

Louis Allan Goss (29 October 1846 –  10 July 1933) arrived in Mandalay, Upper Burma, in April 1866 to join his maternal uncle, Clement Williams (1834-1879), in business. While there, he studied the Burmese language and published a transliteration of the Thimbongyi, the Burmese spelling book, with the Royal Press. He moved to Rangoon in 1873 and become the editor and manager of the Educational Gazette, a vernacular-language newspaper. From 1878-1902, he was the Inspector of Schools and then Acting Director of Public Instruction. In 1886, he produced an English version from Pali of We-than-da-ya (Vessantara-Jātaka), illustrated by an unidentified Burmese artist. Upon retiring from government service in 1901, Goss taught the Burmese language at the University of Cambridge. L. Allan Goss donated a large collection of photographs and maps to the Cambridge University Library, the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology (MAA) in Cambridge, and the British Library. Another collection of photos and artifacts was given to the Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto, by his descendants in Canada. 

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