Friday, October 2, 2009

X. Of the Royal Seal, and of the Maha Oborat.

There is no Chancellor at Siam. The King gives not his Seal to any person; Of the Maha Obarat.

There is no Chancellor at Siam. Every Officer that has the Power of giving the Sentences, or Orders in Writing, which they call Tara in general, has a Seal which the King gives him: and the King himself has his Royal Seal, which he commits to no person whatever, and of which he makes use for the Letters he writes, and for whatever proceeds immediately from him. The Figure which is in the Seals, is not hollow, but in Relievo. The Seal is rub'd over with a kind of Red Ink, and is printed on the Paper with the Hand. An inferior Officer takes this Pains; but 'tis the duty of the Officer to whom the Seal belongs, to pluck it with his own Hand from the Print.

After several remarks, which I have made, it seems to me, that whatever is done in the King of Siam's Name has no Power, if it is not done at the place where this King actually resides. Certain reasons have hindered, why they have not certainly inform'd me thereof. However, it is certain, that for the reason which I have alleged, or for some other, there is at Siam as it were a Vice-Roy, who represents the King, and performs the Regal Functions in the King's Absence; as when this Prince is at War. This Officer is called Maha-Obarat, as it was given me in writing, or Ommarat, according to the Abbot de Choisy, and Mr. Gervaise. And the Abbot de Choisy adds, that the Maha Omarat has a right of sitting down in the King's Presence, a Circumstance which some have informed me to be peculiar to another Officer, of whom I shall speak in the sequel. At present they give him the Title of Pa-ya, and they do thereunto add the word Tchaou, which signifies Lord; Tchaou Pa-ya Maha Omrat: Sometimes he has only the Title of Oc-ya, as in Vliet's Relation, where his is called Oc-ya Ombrat. He is thereunto qualified as Chief of the Nobility, which signifies nothing, but the first Officer of the Kingdom.

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