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LITTELL'S LIVING AGE.-No. 372.-5 JULY, 1851.
little to the north of the Great Wall, in Eastern Tartary, at the commencement of 1844, were appointed by their spiritual superior to make their way as well as they could through Western Tartary to Lhassa, the capital of Thibet, and the holy see of Lamanism. This might look, at first sight, like taking the bull by the horns. The reader will find, however, to his surprise, that all the opposi tion they experienced was not ecclesiastical, but lay-not religious, but political; and that while they received every encouragement and hospitality from the Lama's government, they were baffled, and at length expelled, by the exertions of the Chinese resident, or ambassador, Ke-shen.
ABOUT the end of 1846, Mr. Alexander Johnston, son of the late Sir Alexander, and secretary to her majesty's minister plenipotentiary in China, was fellow-passenger on board the steamer from HongKong to Ceylon with a French Lazarist Missionary, named Joseph Gabet. It appeared that M. Gabet was then on his way from China to Paris, intending, should circumstances be favorable on his ar- In China a Romish bishop or priest is obliged to rival, to bring under the notice of the French gov- pass himself off, as well as he can, for a native, in ernment the ill treatment which he himself and a the lay dress of the country; but they were now brother missionary had experienced at Lhassa, going to enter a nation of priests, and therefore from Ke-shen, resident on the part of the Emperor prepared to disguise themselves as Lamas. Off of China at the court of the Grand Lama. Some went the tail, which had been cherished ever since of our readers will recognize in this name that of their departure from France, leaving the head enthe Imperial Commissioner who was opposed to tirely shaven. A long yellow robe was fastened Captain Elliot, in 1839, at Canton; and who, on on the right side by five gilt buttons; it was drawn account of the disasters which befell the Chinese round the waist by a red girdle. Over this was arms, was disgraced, plundered, and even con- worn a short red jacket, without sleeves; or, as demned to death by the emperor, but has since, they call it in Chinese, "a back and breast;" havwith marvellous expedition, contrived to regaining a narrow collar of purple velvet. A yellow nearly all his former honors and credit, and even a hat with broad brim, and surmounted by a red silk great portion of his former wealth, which was button, finished off their new costume. Their only colossal, as we shall see. Mr. Johnston found the attendant was a young Mongol neophyte, named narrative of M. Gabet so curious and interesting, as Samdadchiemba, who is thus described :Un nez the most recent and authentic account of Thibet in large et insolemment retroussé, une grande bouche its relation to China, that he noted down the prin- fendue en ligne droite, des lèvres épaisses et sailcipal heads at the time, and, on returning to his lantes; un teint fortement bronzé, tout contribuait official post, presented the manuscript to Sir John à donner à sa physionomie un aspect sauvage et Davis, who forwarded a copy in his despatches to dédaigneux." This Tartar Adonis had charge of Lord Palmerston. two camels and a white horse, which, with a tent and a dog to guard it, completed the equipment of our adventurous missionaries for the desert. They had no other guide for their route than a compass and a map of the Chinese empire, published in. Paris.
Nothing more was heard about the matter, until the appearance of these two volumes, by M. Huc, the companion of M. Gabet in all his adventures. A more interesting as well as diverting book has seldom issued from the French press. The qualifications of a Humboldt are not to be expected in a The apprehensions expressed by the friends. missionary priest. And though it should contribute whom they left behind, regarding what they might nothing to the geographer or savant, we might well suffer in the journey to Lhassa, were fully anbe grateful for its information regarding countries swered in the event. M. Gabet well-nigh sank nearly inaccessible to Europeans; but this in-under the extreme hardships of this savage and formation is conveyed in such an inexhaustible strain of good humor and fun, as amply to repay the perusal of any class of readers. In these points M. Huc bears some resemblance to his English namesake, Theodore, as we may almost call him.
nomadic life; first across an inhospitable desert,. and then over mountains to which the Alps are trifles. From plunder they escaped tolerably free, though the Mongol robbers would seem to be the civilest in the world. Instead of rudely clapping Some eight years before the late "Papal Ag- a pistol to your breast, they blandly observe, gression," His Holiness of Rome took a rather "Venerable elder brother, I am tired of going smaller liberty with the Emperor of China, by ap-a-foot, please to lend me your horse; I am without pointing a vicar apostolic to Mongol Tartary. The next thing was to ascertain, if possible, the extent and nature of this gigantic vicariat. However dreadful the intolerance and oppression under which Romish priests groan among us, they, are a good deal worse off in the Celestial Empire; and yet there, strange to say, they are as quiet as lambs, and the government seldom hears of them, except when some stray missionary is detected and packed off to the coast, for foreign shipment. MM. Gabet and Huc, who happened to be residing a
money, do give me the loan of your purse; it is very cold to-day, let me have the use of your coat.” If the venerable elder brother has the charity to comply, he is duly thanked; but, if not, the humble appeal is supported by the cudgel; and, should this not do, by something more coercive still. Very little better than the professional robbers were any, bands of Chinese soldiers with whom they might have the bad luck to fall in, and whose neighborhood, therefore, they diligently shunned. During the war with England, on the north-east coast, these
ragamuffin troops were so dreaded by their own countrymen that, when the process of civilized warfare came to be known and understood by the Chinese people, the latter often welcomed us as deliverers, and their satisfaction was increased when the public granaries were thrown open to them for nothing.
Our missionaries had a characteristic account of the war with England from a Tartar, whom they met in the desert:
"What, were all the Tartar banners called to -gether?"—" Yes, all. At first it passed for a very small matter; every one said it would never reach us. The troops of Kitat* (China) went first of all, but they did nothing. The banners of Solón also marched, but they could not resist the heat of the south. The emperor then sent us his sacred order. ** On the same day we marched to Peking, and from Peking we went to Tien-tsin, where we remained three months."-" But did you fight-did you see the enemy?"-"No he did not dare to show himself. The Chinese protested everywhere that we marched to certain and unavailing death. What can you do,' said they, against these sea-monsters ?-They live in the waters like fish. When least expected, they appear on the surface, and throw combustible balls of iron. When the bow is bent against them they take again to the water like frogs.' Thus it was they tried to frighten us, but we soldiers of the eight banners are ignorant of fear. The emperor had provided each leader a Lama instructed in medicine, and initiated in all the sacred auguries. They would cure us of the diseases of climate, and save us from the magic of the sea-monsters-what then need we fear? The rebels, on hearing that the invincible troops of Tchakar approached, were seized with alarm, and asked for peace. The sacred master (Shing-chu) of his immense mercy granted it, and then we returned to our pastures, and to the charge of our flocks."
It is known for certain that when the British force had reached Nanking and the grand canal in 1842, the emperor so fully expected a visit at Peking that he stationed a force at Tien-tsin, as stated by the Tartar, and made every preparation to decamp into Tartary himself. In the confusion of packing up, some dexterous persons contrived to rob the treasury of several millions, and to this day the culprits have never been detected. The parties considered responsible, however, were, with all their relations and connexions, made answerable for the restoration of the treasure to the third and fourth generation. Without adverting to this circumstance, M. Huc observes, in another place, that during the progress of the war with the English, "nous savions que l'empereur était aux abois, et qu'il ne savait où prendre l'argent nécessaire pour empêcher de mourir de faim une poignée de soldats qui étaient chargés de veiller à l'intégrité du terri
The most distinguished hero, sent by the emperor to exterminate the English during our war, was a Chinese general named Yang. This man had enticed the unfortunate Mahomedan chief, Jehanghir, in the war with Cashgar, to trust himself in his hands, and then sent him in a cage to Peking, where, after amusing the emperor, he was cruelly put to death. M. Huc heard the following account of Yang's tactics :
As soon as the battle began he tied his beard in two large knots, to keep it out of his way; and then
Thus, the Chinese town at Moscow is called Kitaigorod, and Marco Polo always calls China Kathay, anglice, Kathai.
posted himself in the rear of his troops. There, armed with a long sword, he pressed his troops into action, cutting down without mercy such as were cowardly enough to fall back. This appears to be an odd style of commanding an army, but those who have lived among the Chinese will see that the military genius of General Yang was founded upon knowledge of his troops.
His tactics certainly did not succeed against our troops, and as he never made his appearance, it is supposed that he occupied his favorite place of honor at the tail of the rear guard, and led gallantly "We have asked," says M. Huc,
in a retreat.
of several mandarins why the Batourou Yang had not exterminated the English; all have answered that it arose from his compassion."
We have a terrible description in these volumes of Tartar uncleanliness, and several of the details on this subject are quite unpresentable. The dogma of the transmigration of souls acts, it seems, with some as a protection to the vermin with which they are infested. The interior of their tents is repulsive and almost insupportable to those unaccustomed Chinese may be, their northern neighbors far exto the odors that prevail there. Dirty as the ceed them; the former at least have taken it upon themselves to settle the question, by calling the latter Chow Ta-tsze, "stinking Tartars," as systematically as they call Europeans" foreign devils." This clever and indefatigable, but not too scrupulous, race, have nearly displaced the Manchows in their original country to the north-east of the Great Wall, and almost as far as the river Saghalien.* The Chinese are the men of business and shopkeepers in all towns, and have very little mercy on the comparatively honest and simple Tartars. It is impossible to help laughing at the stories of their ingenious rascality. They are in fact the chevaliers d'industrie-the Scapins and Mascarilles of Eastern Asia. M. Huc, in the following passage, gives an account of their tricks, which might have applied very closely to the way in which they treated our poor sailors in the south of China :—
When the Mongols, an honest and ingenuous race as ever was, arrive in a trading town, they are immediately surrounded by Chinese, who carry them off home as it were by force. Tea is prepared, their beasts looked to, a thousand little services rendered. They are caressed, flattered, magnetized, in short. The Mongols, who have nothing of duplicity in their own character, and suspect none in others, end by being moved and touched by all these kindnesses. They take in sober earnest all the professions of devotion and fraternity with which they are plied, had the good fortune to meet with people they can and, in a word, persuade themselves that they have
for commercial dealings, they are enchanted at finding Aware, moreover, of their own inaptitude
brothers-Ahatou, as they call it--who are so kind as to undertake to buy and sell for them. A good dinner gratis, which is served in a room to the rear, always ends by persuading them of the entire devotion of the Chinese confederacy. "If these people were interested," says the honest Tartar to himself, "if they wished to plunder me, they would hardly give me such a good dinner for nothing; they would not expend so much money on me. It is generally at this first repast that the Chinese bring into play all that their character combines of villany and trickery. Once in possession of the poor Tartar, he never escapes. They serve him with spirits in excess, and
* Maintenant on a beau parcourir la Mantchourie jusqu'au fleuve Amour. C'est tout comme si on voyagait dans quelque province de Chine.