The Modern Buddhist;
being the Views of a Siamese Minister of State on his own and other religions. London Trubner & Co. 1870
First edition, pp.91. A very good copy in the original crimson cloth. Professionally re-cased. Bookplate of Taunton Castle. Title inked on spine. Newspaper cutting pasted in rear.
Henry Alabaster, 1836-1884, was one of the first British diplomats to the Court of Siam. He arrived in Bangkok as deputy consul in 1857 at the age of twenty-one, in the wake of Bowring's treaty which opened the country to foreign trade. His Thai became sufficiently fluent that he as appointed official interpreter. In 1873 he became personal adviser to King Chulalongkorn and served him loyally until his death at the early age of 48. He assisted in the design of the palace gardens, in founding the Survey Office, and the Post Office. He catalogued the Royal Library and started the first museum in Thailand, inside the Grand Palace. His monument, the finest in the Protestant Cemetery in Bangkok, was erected by the King of Thailand. Chao Phya Thipakon (or Praklang) was Foreign Minister of Siam under King Mongkut. His book, the "Kitchanukit", was the first book printed and published by a Thai. Alabaster here provides a partial translation.