Abstract

In a letter to Prince Damrong, the Minister of the Interior, written in January 1896, King Chulalongkorn of Siam explained the case for the reform of the government administration that had been taking place in the kingdom from the late 1880s.1 To the west and to the east, the kingdom was faced by European powers whose military strength and systems of administration were much superior to those of the indigenous states they had replaced — and to those of Siam itself. That threat to the independence of Siam could be met, the King argued, by three measures: by maintaining friendly relations with the neighbouring colonial regimes; by possessing sufficient power to maintain the internal peace of the kingdom; and by improving the kingdom’s administration to equal that of the European regimes themselves. These measures were inter-dependent. Thus good relations with the powers could not be maintained if the colonial administrations were seriously disturbed by lawlessness in the border areas of Siam. Internal peace and stability depended in turn on the establishment of orderly administration throughout the kingdom. There were further considerations. Under an orderly administration, the people of Siam would have the opportunity and incentive to develop their agricultural and commercial interests.

Keywords

Income Defend Neon 

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Notes

  1. 1.
    Chulalongkorn to Damrong, 18 January 1896: quoted in Tej Bunnag, The Provincial Administration of Siam 1892–1915. The Ministry of the Interior under Prince Damrong Rajanubhab, Kuala Lumpur, 1977, pp. 91–92.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Prince Damrong, Thēsāphibān [The Thēsāphibān System of Provincial Administration], Bangkok, 1967, pp. 38–41.Google Scholar
  3. 4.
    A major work here is H.G. Quaritch Wales, Ancient Siamese Government and Administration, London, 1934.Google Scholar
  4. 4a.
    Useful analyses are provided by Fred W. Riggs, Thailand: The Modernization of a Bureaucratic Polity, Honolulu, 1966;Google Scholar
  5. 4b.
    and William J. Siffin, The Thai Bureaucracy. Institutional Change and Development, Honolulu, 1966, in both cases as an introduction to an examination of the modern Thai bureaucracy. King Chulalongkorn, ‘Phrarātchahatlēkhā phrabāt somdet phra čhunlačhā̡nklao čhaoyūhua song thalāeng phraborommarātchāthibāi kāekhai kānpokkhrǭng phāendin’ [King Chulalongkorn’s Speech Explaining the Changes in the Government], first published in Bangkok in 1927; and Prince Damrong, ‘Ru’ang laksana kānpokkhrǭng prathētsayām tāe borān’ [The Old System of Government in Siam], both of which are reprinted in Nangsū’ ānprakǭp khambanyāi wichā phū’ nthān ārayatham thai [Handbook on Basic Thai Culture], Thammasat University, 1971, are particularly important.Google Scholar
  6. 4c.
    Specific aspects of the pre-reform administration are considered by Wira Wimoniti, Historical Patterns of Tax Administration in Thailand, Bangkok, 1961;Google Scholar
  7. 4d.
    Akin Rabibhadana, The Organization of Thai Society in the Early Bangkok Period, 1782–1873, Ithaca, 1969.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    W.A.R. Wood, History of Siam, London, 1926, pp. 229, 231–232.Google Scholar
  9. 12.
    Prince Damrong, ‘Tamnān phāsī ākǭn bāngyāng’ [The History of Some Taxes], in Latthi thamniam tāngtāng [Various Customs], Bangkok, 1963, pp. 176–80.Google Scholar
  10. 15.
    See David K. Wyatt, ‘Family Politics in Nineteenth Century Thailand’, Journal of Southeast Asian History, 9, 2 (September 1968), pp. 208–28.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 16.
    David K. Wyatt, The Politics of Reform in Thailand. Education in the Reign of King Chulalongkorn, New Haven, 1969, pp. 35–62.Google Scholar
  12. 26.
    David K. Wyatt, The Politics of Reform in Thailand, New Haven, 1969, p. 43.Google Scholar
  13. 31.
    Siam Repository, 4, October 1874, pp. 471–2. The Council of State was established by King Chulalongkorn in May 1874. It was composed of twenty senior officials and members of the royal family, and was to act as an advisory body for the government. David K. Wyatt, The Politics of Reform in Thailand, New Haven, 1969, p. 54.Google Scholar
  14. 33.
    Prince Damrong, Thēsāphibān, Bangkok, 1967, p. 11.Google Scholar
  15. 35.
    Prince Damrong, Phraprawat somdet phračhao borommawongthōe krom phrayā thēwawong warōpakān [Biography of Prince Devawongse], Bangkok, 1923, pp. 12–13.Google Scholar
  16. 36.
    Wira Wimoniti, Historical Patterns of Tax Administration in Thailand, Bangkok, 1961, pp. 112–14.Google Scholar
  17. 37.
    David K. Wyatt, The Politics of Reform in Thailand, New Haven, 1969, p. 57.Google Scholar
  18. 42.
    Prince Damrong, Thēsāphibān, Bangkok, 1967, p. 12;Google Scholar
  19. 42a.
    Prince Damrong, Phraprawat somdet phračhao borommawongthōe krom phrayā thēwawong warōpakān, Bangkok, 1923, p. 20.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Ian Brown 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ian Brown
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Oriental and African StudiesUniversity of LondonUK

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