PRELUDE TO IRONY
The Princeton Theology and the Practice of
American Presbyterian Missions in Northern Siam, 1867-1880
Herbert R. Swanson
A Dissertation submitted for the degree of
Doctor of Philosophy
The Melbourne College of Divinity, Melbourne University
Electronic Version 2012
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"PROCLAMATION OF RELIGIOUS TOLERANCE FOR THE LAOS
"I, Phyo Tape Phrai Chune, the royal representative of His Majesty, the supreme King of Siam, at Chiengmai, and also for the Laos States and cities of Lakawn and Lampang, do hereby make a proclamation to the princes and rulers and officers of various grades, and the common people, in the States and cities named, that His Majesty, the King of Siam was graciously pleased to send a royal letter, with the royal seal, to the effect that D. E. Sickles, Esq., the United States Consul, has communicated to His Excellence, the Foreign Minister of Siam, a complaint signed by Rev. D. McGilvary and Dr. M. A. Cheek, against certain parties for molesting the Christians and compelling them to observe their old religious customs. The Foreign Minister has laid the subject before His Majesty, who had most graciously listened to the said complaint, and had given the following royal command in reference to the same:
"That as religious and civil duties do not conflict, any religion that is seen to be true may be embraced by any person without constraint; that the responsibility of a correct or a wrong decision rests with the individuals making it; that there is nothing in the foreign treaty, nor in the laws and customs of Siam to throw any restriction on the religious worship of any. To be more specific; if any person or persons wish to embrace the Christian religion they are freely allowed to follow their own choice, and this proclamation is designed from this time forth to remove any fear that may have existed to the contrary. It is, moreover, strictly enjoined on the princes and rulers, and the relatives and friends of those who may wish to embrace the Christian religion, that they throw no obstacles in the way, and that no creed be enforced on the Christians, nor work demanded of them which their religion forbids them to hold or to do, such as the worship and feasting of demons or departed spirits, and working on the Sabbath day. Except in cases of war and other unavoidable or necessary work, and not feigned as such, they are to have the free observance of the Sabbath. No obstacle is to be thrown in the way of American citizens employing any persons needed for their service. The treaty in this respect must be observed. Whenever this proclamation is known by the princes and rulers, and officers and people, they are to beware that they violate no precept contained therein.
"Proclamation made on the 11th of the 12th waxing moon, year of the tiger, and 11th year of His Majesty's reign."
Source: "Proclamation of Religious Tolerance for the Laos," North Carolina Presbyterian New Series 12, 579 (12 February 1879): 1. For a later translation, see, McGilvary, Half Century, 216-17.
Map of Modern Day Thailand and Its Northern Region
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