SYCE, s. Hind. from Ar. saïs. A groom. It is the word in universal use in the Bengal Presidency. In the South horse-keeper is more common, and in Bombay a vernacular form of the latter, viz. ghorawala (see GORAWALLAH). The Ar. verb, of which saïs is the participle, seems to be a loan-word from Syriac, sausi, ‘to coax.’

[1759.—In list of servants’ wages: “Syce, Rs. 2.”—In Long, 182.]

1779.—“The bearer and scise, when they returned, came to the place where I was, and laid hold of Mr. Ducarell. I took hold of Mr. Shee and carried him up. The bearer and scise took Mr. Ducarell out. Mr. Keeble was standing on his own house looking, and asked, ‘What is the matter?’ The bearer and scise said to Mr. Keeble, ‘These gentlemen came into the house when my master was out.’ ”—Evidence on Trial of Grand v. Francis, in Echoes of Old Calcutta, 230.

1810.—“The Syce, or groom, attends but one horse.”—Williamson, V.M. i. 254.

c. 1858?—

“Tandis que les çais veillent
les chiens rodeurs.”

Leconte de Lisle.

SYCEE, s. In China applied to pure silver bullion in ingots, or shoes (q.v.). The origin of the name is said to be si (pron. at Canton sai and sei) = sz’, i.e. ‘fine silk’; and we are told by Mr. Giles that it is so called because, if pure, it may be drawn out into fine threads. [Linschoten (1598) speaks of: “Peeces of cut silver, in which sort they pay and receive all their money” (Hak. Soc. i. 132).]

1711.—“Formerly they used to sell for Sisee, or Silver full fine; but of late the Method is alter’d.”—Lockyer, 135.


SYRIAM, n.p. A place on the Pegu R., near its confluence with the Rangoon R., six miles E. of Rangoon, and very famous in the Portuguese dealings with Pegu. The Burmese form is Than-lyeng, but probably the Talaing name was nearer that which foreigners give it. [See Burma Gazetteer, ii. 672. Mr. St John (J. R. As. Soc., 1894, p. 151) suggests the Mwn word sarang or siring, ‘a swinging cradle.’] Syriam was the site of an English factory in the 17th century, of the history of which little is known. See the quotation from Dalrymple below.

1587.—“To Cirion a Port of Pegu come ships from Mecca with woollen Cloth, Scarlets, Velvets, Opium, and such like.”—R. Fitch, in Hakl. ii. 393.

1600.—“I went thither with Philip Brito, and in fifteene dayes arrived at Sirian the thiefe Port in Pegu. It is a lamentable spectacle to see the bankes of the Riuers set with infinite fruit-bearing trees, now ouerwhelmed with ruines of gilded Temples. and noble edifices; the wayes and fields full of skulls and bones of wretched Peguans, killed or famished, and cast into the River in such numbers that the multitude of carkasses prohibiteth the way and passage of ships.”—The Jesuit Andrew Boves, in Purchas ii. 1748.

c. 1606.—“Philip de Brito issued an order that a custom- house should be planted at Serian (Seriào), at which duties should be paid by all the vessels of this State which went to trade with the kingdom of Pegu, and with the ports of Martavan, Tavay, Tenasserim, and Juncalon.… Now certain merchants and shipowners from the Coast of Coromandel refused obedience, and this led Philip de Brito to send a squadron of 6 ships and galliots with an imposing and excellent force of soldiers on board, that they might cruise on the coast of Tenasserim, and compel all the vessels that they met to come and pay duty at the fortress of Serian.”—Bocarro, 135.

1695.—“9th. That the Old house and Ground at Syrian, formerly belonging to the English Company, may still be continued to them, and that they may have liberty of building dwelling-houses, and warehouses, for the securing their Goods, as shall be necessary, and that more Ground be given them, if what they formerly had be not sufficient.” Petition presented to the K. of Burma at Ava, by Ed. Fleetwood; in Dalrymple, O.R. ii. 374.

1726.—Zierjang (Syriam) in Valentijn, Choro., &c., 127.

1727.—“About 60 Miles to the Eastward of China Backaar (see CHINA-BUCKEER) is the Bar of Syrian, the only port now open for Trade in all the Pegu Dominions.… It was many Years in Possession of the Portugueze, till by their Insolence and Pride they were obliged to quit it.”—A. Hamilton, ii. 31–32; [ed. 1744].

  By PanEris using Melati.

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