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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.
make him drink till he is fuddled. Thus they keep possession of their victim for three or four days, never losing sight of him, making him smoke, drink, and eat; while they sell his live stock, and purchase for him whatever he may want, charging him generally double or triple for everything.
Polygamy, abolished by the gospel, and contrary in itself to the happiness and peace of families, should, perhaps, be considered as a good for the Tartars. In the actual state of their society, it acts as a barrier to the libertinage and corruption of manners. Celibacy being imposed upon the Lamas, and the class which shaves the head, and lives in the lamaseries, being sa numerous, if the daughters could not place themselves in families in the rank of secondary wives, it is easy to imagine the disorders which would arise from this multiplicity of young women left to themselves without support.
M. Huc puts in a strong light that appropriation to themselves of Manchow, or Eastern Tartary, (the country of their last conquerors,) which has been effected by the Chinese within something more than a century, and to which we have already alluded. In a map of this country, constructed by The married state, however, is anything but the the Jesuits, Père Duhalde states his reason for in-conjugal, in the literal and derivative sense of the serting the Tartar names, and not the Chinese. term. The husband can send back the lady to her "Of what use," says he, "would it be to a travel parents without even assigning a reason. ler in Manchouria to know that the river Saghalien quits by the oxen, the sheep, and the horses which is called by the Chinese Hé-loung-Keang, (river he was obliged to give as the marriage present; of the Black Dragon,) since he has no business and the parents, it seems, can sell the same merwith them, and the Tartars, with whom he has to chandise over again to a second bidder! deal, know nothing of this name?""This observation might be true in the time of Kanghy," says M. Huc, when it was made, but the very opposite is the fact at present; for the traveller in Manchouria now finds that he has to deal with China, and it is of the He-loung-Keang that he hears, and not of the Saghalien.' In our own colonies, the rapidly increasing numbers and wealth of the Chinese, where they exist, are apt to give them a degree of presumption which, with the aid of their vices, might make them troublesome, were it not for the wholesome dread they entertain of European power, wherever they happen to be really acquainted
Our travellers, in their progress westward, had to cross the Yellow River more than once where it makes a bend northwards through the Great Wall and back again, enclosing in this curve an area of some three degrees square, the miserably waste and sandy country of the Ortous. Unhappily for the poor missionaries, this ruthless and ungainly stream (which a late emperor justly called " China's sorrow") was in its frequent condition of overflow, and we have a pitiable description of the miseries endured by themselves and their camels, of all beasts the least adapted to deal with floods. The waters of the Yellow River, pure and clear at their source among the Thibet mountains, do not assume M. Huc explains how Thibet, and even Mongol their muddy tinge until they reach the alluvial tracts Tartary, to a considerable extent, is a nation of of the Ortous, where they spread over thousands Lamas. He says he may venture to assert that in of acres during the inundations, altogether concealMongolia they form at least a third of the whole ing the bed of the stream. Being from this point population. In almost every family, with the ex- always nearly on a level with the country through ception of the eldest son, who remains "homme which they flow, this defect of encaissement is the noir," all the rest of the males are destined to be cause of disastrous accidents, when the rapid stream Lamas. Nothing can be more obvious than the is swollen by melting snows near its source. fact that, in China Proper, Buddhism and its same velocity, which charges the river thickly with temples are in ruins, and the priests left in a starv-comminuted soil, prevents its deposition on the ing condition; while, on the other hand, the government gives every encouragement to Lamanism in Tartary. The double object is said to be thus to impose a check on the growth of the population, and at the same time render that population as little warlike as possible. The remembrance of the ancient power of the Mongols haunts the court of Peking. They were once masters of the empire, and, to diminish the chances of a new invasion, the study is now to weaken them by all possible means. With this large proportion of the male population condemned to celibacy, M. Huc gives us the following reasons for his thinking that polygamy, under all the circumstances, is the best thing for the Mongol Tartars. It seems generally to have existed in the pastoral and nomadic state.
This is a distinguishing term for the Laity, who wear their black hair, while the Lamas shave the whole head.
passage until it reaches the provinces of Honan and Keangnan, where the actual bed of the river is now higher than a great portion of the immense plain through which it runs. This evil being continually aggravated by further depositions of mud, a fearful catastrophe seems to overhang that unfortunate region at the same time that the constant repair of the dikes taxes the ingenuity, while it exhausts the treasury, of the Chinese government. Sir John Davis offered to the minister Keying, a relation of the emperor, the aid of English engineers in an emergency where science could scarcely fail of beneficial results; but he shook his head, and said he dared not even mention the subject.
The personal observations of M. Huc settle the question as to the real nature and amount of what is called the "Great Wall" towards the west :
We had occasion (he says) to cross it at more than fifteen different points, and several times we travelled for whole days in the line of its direction, and kept it constantly in view. Often, in lieu of those double turreted walls, which exist near Peking, we met with
↑ M. Huc is here treating of the Mongol Tartars; not of the Thibetians. Father Regis, in his memoir annexed to Duhalde, speaking of the polyandry of Thibet, states expressly that the Tartars admit of no such irregularity." Turner, Moorcroft, and Skin-my and polyandry. The Nair, we suspect, does not ner, found a plurality of husbands common at Teshoo limit himself to his coparcenary wife; and in the Loomboo, Ladak, and on the Himalayas. We found Mahabarat, although Draupadi is the wife of the Five it too in Ceylon, as Cæsar had found it in Britain. Pandus brothers, some of them-if not all-and Arjuna Barbarous as the custom seems to us, and inexplicable especially, have several other wives. But, in case M. by any supposed disproportion of the sexes, we perceive Huc found polyandry at Lhassa, in either form, the no more satisfactory explanation of its existence among omission is unaccountable. It must have been as the Thibetians, than among the Nairs in Malabar. great a novelty to a European, as the rumor of Mr. There is no incompatibility, it is true, between polyga-Hodgson's "live unicorn."