ASSAM book iii
two articles that the King's revenue is derived. He levies no taxes
from his subjects, save that those below the rank, corresponding to
that of the nobility of Europe, have to Work for him for six days every
year either in the gold mine or at the silk. He sends both the gold and
silk to be sold in China, and receives silver in return, with which he
coins money of the value of 10 sols.1 He also coins small gold money like the aspres 2
of Turkey, and has two kinds of them, of one of which it takes four to
make an ecu, and of the other a dozen. This is all I have been able to
ascertain concerning a country which has been unknown to us up to the
present, but about which we shall hereafter have more information, as
also of others which the accounts of travellers have made known to us,
all not having been discovered in a day.3
Concerning the Kingdom of Assam.
never properly known what the Kingdom of Assam was till after that
great Captain Mir Jumla, to whom I have often referred in the history
of the Moguls, had secured the Empire for Aurangzeb by the death of all
his brothers and the imprisonment of his son. He concluded, that when
the war was finished, he would be no longer esteemed at Court
(see vol. ii, p. 157 n. ).
In Assam, it is said that it was once the custom for the Rajas to
require their subjects to wash for gold for a certain number of days
every year. Regular gold washers were taxed. For gold in Upper Burma
see Scott & Hardiman, Gazetteer, Part i, vol. ii. 304 f. 1 These coins were therefore worth 9d.
* The Turkish asper (άσπρος, ' white ' : see New English Diet. s.v.
asper) was both a small coin, and a money of account. Its value varied
with that of the piastre. It therefore represented about a halfpenny in
value, if there were 80 to 100 in a piastre. The coins here mentioned
by Tavernier were worth Is. l-1/2d. and 4-1/2d. respectively.
For the people of Tippera see ' On the Manners, Religion, and Laws of
the Cucis, or Mountaineers of Tipra' by J. Rawlins (Asiatic Researches, ii, 1799, pp. 187 ff.) ; and more recent accounts by Sir E. Gait (Bengal Census Report, 1901, vol. i. 186 f., 438), Sir H. Risley (Tribes and Castes of Bengal, ii. 323 ff.) ; T. H. Lewin (Wild Races of South-Eastern India, 190 ff.).