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TOMLIN, Jacob.

Journal of a Nine Months' Residence in Siam.

London: Frederick Westley and A. H. Davis, 1831 Stock Code: 145984
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At the forefront of missionaries to Siam

First and sole edition of this extremely uncommon and engaging narrative, presented here nicely in the original boards. Jacob Tomlin, of the London Missionary Society, accompanied the German missionary and civil servant Karl Gützlaff during most of his pioneering visit to Thailand in 1828, when the two men were the first Protestant missionaries to that country.

In company with Gützlaff, Tomlin (1793-1880) "embarked on an extended tour of Siam, where he distributed religious tracts and preached, but was unable to build a church In a period of religious freedom, the novelty of his teachings apparently attracted considerable interest. After visiting Bali he returned to Bangkok, although as little more than a visitor. By 1833 Tomlin was principal at the Anglo-Chinese College in Malacca, when he abolished the stipend the mission paid to students. His relationship with the London Missionary Society came to an end in 1834, after which he ran his own school in Malacca. He returned to England in 1836 and devoted the rest of his life to pastoral work" (Howgego). The two men were visiting in the wake of two treaties signed between Britain and Siam in 1826, which clarified Siamese territorial claims and in which Siam became a British ally against the Kingdom of Ava (Burma). During their visit, Gützlaff and Tomlin "succeeded in translating the Bible into the Thai, Lao, and Cambodian languages, composing dictionaries into Thai and Cambodian, and providing medical services" (Suksod-Barger).

Tomlin's appealing account of a lunar eclipse gives some flavour of his book, "To-night there was a beautiful eclipse of the moon. At the commencement the whole city seemed in an uproar. Numerous gongs, drums, and cymbals resounded on all sides, and mingling their harsh, dissonant tones with the roar of cannon and muskets, fired at momentary intervals, made a most dismal concert. All this clamorous uproar was intended to fray the monster away that was about to eat up the moon!" (p. 107). He concludes with a "Summary Account of the Siamese Mission", and gives a demographic breakdown of the population of Bangkok in 1828.

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Duodecimo in sixes. Original purplish-red cloth spine, paper spine label, drab grey brown sides, untrimmed.


Contemporary ownership inscription to front pastedown of "Haden, Aug. 7th '35". Spine sunned, light signs of handling, touch of foxing to title page. A very good copy, complete with terminal advertisement leaf.


Howgego III T10; Runchana P. Suksod-Barger, Religious Influences in Thai Female Education 1889-1931, Eugene, OR, Pickwick Publications, 2014; an online search of institutional libraries locates 10 copies only (Cambridge, Glasgow, St Andrews, University of


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