Khokand is practically a tributary. It is indeed, alleged that the chief pass be tween Khokand and Kashgar has been already made practicable for artillery. But it is not probable that the Russian Government will at any early date be desirous so far to extend its cares; nor, if it did, would the occupation be so serious to us as the establishment of Russian power on the Oxus.

at a level of upwards of 4000 feet above the sea, and its lowest part, where Lake Lob lies, is supposed to stand about 1200. The populated country consists of a chain of oases forming an open necklace of rich cultivation, girdling a central desertthe Takla Makán-which is, in fact, a great inlet of the Gobi. A constant tradition in the country, confirmed by notices in Chinese works, alleges the great encroachments of this desert, and speaks During the period of the Chinese rule, of ci ies buried in its sands, of which the up to the murder of Adolphus Schlagintsites are known. That treasure is reputed weit at Kashgar in 1857, it is scarcely an to be found in these is a matter of course, exaggeration to say that as little rumour but that tea is found, in one of them at of what passed in Eastern Turkestan least, is a more uncommon circumstance, reached India across the high Tibetan and appears to be a matter of fact. The tracts as there reached Europe in the climate is very dry; there is little rain; middle ages of what was passing among cultivation depends on irrigation from the Aztecs. Many Englishmen now liv the rivers, which are utilized by an infin- ing must have spent thirty years in the ity of canals and watercourses. Mr. upper provinces of India without ever Shaw, the first Englishman to penetrate this region, and fortunately for us, as intelligent as he is enterprising, was strongly impressed by the cultivated and settled aspect of the country, and by the prosperous, brisk, and intelligent aspect of the people. He believes that though they have long been Turks in language, there is in the race a deep basis of Aryan blood. The long faces, well-formed noses, and full beards of the peasantry testify to this.

From the second century before Christ this region has again and again come under Chinese dominion. It did so on the last occasion in 1759, and they held it, not without frequent and serious revolts, till 1863. The spirit of insurrection which had for eight or nine years been rife among the Mahommedan subjects of China then spread to these regions; the eagles gathered from all sides to the prey, and the mastery of the country was eventually attained, through alternate valour and treachery, by Mahommed Yakub Kushbegi. This man is said to be by descent a Tajik of Shaghnán, but born at Pishpek, on the Chú river (now in the Russian territory of Fort Vérnoë), and, according to some accounts, commanded the Khokand garrison of Akmasjid, on the Jaxartes, when they repelled the first tentative attack of the Russians in 1852. For the last six years he has reigned over the whole basin of Eastern Turkestan with the title of Atalik Gházi; and his power now reaches from Pamir eastward to Komul, a distance of some 1100 miles. Should Russia covet this territory, she would probably not find the first conquest difficult, now that

having heard a word of events in Kashgar of Khotan. About the years 1834-35 some obstacles in the route usually followed by pilgrims from Chinese Turkestan, bound for the holy places of Arabia, led them to adopt the practice of travelling to Bombay for shipment to Jedda Mr. Wathen, then Secretary to the Bombay Government, having taken advantage of this circumstance to collect from them a number of particulars regarding the modern history and geography of their country, the publication of these was regarded as a contribution to knowledge of extreme novelty and value.* And justly so, seeing how completely closed to modern exploration the country was. This entire absence of communication was due, no doubt, in some considerable degree, to the old Chinese custom of hermeti cally sealing a frontier. But, in a great degree also, it was owing to the nature of the routes between the two countries. A few figures will best show what that is.

Amritsar, the commercial centre of the Panjáb, lies about 60 miles from the foot of the mountains, and its distance in a straight line to Yarkand is, roundly speaking, 460 miles. But the actual distance as travelled by the principal routes is —

1. By Kashmír, Ladák, Karakorum Passes, and Shadulla, to Yarkand, 70 marches, or 945 miles;

2. By the more easterly routes, via Kúlú, Ladák, Changchenmo, and Shadulla, to Yarkand, 77 marches, or 1069 miles.

*See "Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal,” vol. iv. p. 653.

†The unchanged conservative custom of the ancient Seres: "Mites quidem sed et ipsis eris persim res coetum reliquorum mortalium fagiunt."-Pliny, v. 20

On the first of these two lines, and influence has secured the imposition of crushing the section between Ladúk and Shadulla, differential duties to the detriment of English the frontier station of the Kashgar govtrade. We thus see what we have to expect ernment, an interval which occupies 20 in the vastly more important market of Eastern marches, four passes have to be crossed Turkestan, now that she has once put her foot that are higher than 17.500 feet above the blame the native ruler if he grants to Russia there. And surely we shall not be able to sea, and for 10 successive marches the exclusively those commercial advantages which halting-ground is never below 15,000 feet, we do not take the trouble to ask for a share say the height of Mont Blanc. in.*

On the second route, the interval between Ladúk and Shadulla occupies 25 marches. On this also four passes have to be crossed that are higher than 17,500 feet, and three of the four are over 18,350 feet. Moreover during these 25 marches the encampment is never below 11,000 feet; three times only it is below 12,000, and in eleven cases it is at 15,000 feet and upwards. This surely is the true Roof of the World! Pamir is but an


The intervention of such a region as these figures characterize not only renders serious menace on that side impracticable, but it is such a barrier to communication, and such a deadener of the sense of neighbourhood, that the presence even of a Russian force upon the plain of Yarkand would not be realized with anything like the vivid impressions that would be produced by its advent on the Oxus opposite Balkh or Kunduz.

Great as these obstacles are, they are not enough to prevent trade. The year after our Government persuaded the Maharaja of Kashmir to abolish transit duties on the trade with the Kashgar territories, it increased sevenfold. The demand, by that well-to-do population of which Mr. Shaw has told us, for our Indian teas, and for our English woollens and piece goods, is great. Shawl-wool, silk, and gold are to be had in return. And yet we have all but let these advantages slip through our fingers : —

be secured. Since then Russia has made a

The chain of lofty Himalyan peaks striking off from the south-east point of Pamir, to which our maps give the Turki names of Múztágh and Karakorum, divides the highest valleys of Sarikol and

the Yarkand river from the basin of the

Indus, which draws, from those mountains and the southern buttresses of Pamir, the tribute of the River of Gilghit and its confluents. This Gilghit valley, with the valley-states ramifying from it of Hunza or Kanjút, Nagri, and Yasin, and others to the south-west, of which we barely know the names, constitute Dardistán, the country of the Daradas of old Sanskrit literature, the Daradra and Darda of Ptolemy and Pliny, still bearing the same generic name as Dardus. Of the Gilghit valleys we know little yet, and from near the Gilghit confluence, for a course

of many miles down the main stream, no European has ever passed. The Raja of Kashmir is gradually annexing the Dard valleys. In Yasin, one of the highest of them, poor Hayward was so cruelly murdered two years ago, when about to ascend to Pamir by the Pass of Darkot.† His last letters give a few particulars regarding the people, and speak of their brown hair, occasional hazel and blue eyes, and the (comparatively) English aspect of the women. Though the people of all the districts we have named are reckoned as Dardus, at least two languages are spoken among them, having absolutely nothing in common. The Khajuna, spoken by the people of Hunza and Nagri, at the foot of the great Múztágh glaciers (the greatest glaciers in the world out of the Polar circles), is a non

The trade of the new Russian province of Tashkend was in 1868 about 5,000,000/.* in value, but was said to be capable of vast increase if the Eastern Turkestan market could commercial treaty with the Atalik Gházi, Mo-Aryan tongue, whose relationship has not hammed Yakub, for the purpose of securing yet been traced to any language. Little access to this market, but it is quite open to us at present to do the same. The moment, however, is critical. Russia, in the exercise of her undoubted rights, has chosen to protect her own manufactures by establishing a prohibitive tariff against English goods in her newly conquered provinces. Even in the semi-independent State of Bokhara, her in

has been told us of these people. The Kanjútis of Hunza are described as "tall skeletons"; they are by habit and repute

*Letter of Mr. R. B. Shaw in the "Times," Jan. 25, 1873. - We are glad to see by recent accounts from Calcutta that an envoy has arrived from Kashgar, that a commercial treaty is likely to be concluded, and that Mr. Forsyth will conduct a return mission.

We have a report of this pass by one Ibraham * This figure has naturally given rise to question, but Khan. It runs for about six miles over snow, and a the amount is not essential to the object urged. glacier has to be crossed.

desperate brigands and man-stealers, and | men, though wearing arms as regularly as are the terror of the northern valleys. other men wear clothes, seldom or never The Shiná, again, or language of the venture from their own lands, unless south-western Dards, is evidently a dialect of Sanskrit kin.*

disguised as priests or beggars. On the Peshawar plain, previous to the British occupation, men ploughed with rifle slung and sword girt; growing crops and graz ing cattle were watched by armed pickets. All this is changed now within the red

great part was dreary waste, is becoming rapidly covered with cultivation. But the plain alone is within our boundary, and the old characteristics prevail beyond it.

Most, if not all, of the Dard tribes now profess Mahommedanism, but, like others of the rude converts round Pamir, they have not abandoned their love of the grape-juice, which abounds in these pur-line; and the Yúsufzai plain, of which lieus of the Nysæan Mount. And Islam having but recently penetrated those regions, there is naturally a lack of those venerable shrines of ancient saints in which Mahommedan devotees rejoice. Hence, it is alleged, the Dardu Moslem, when they catch a promising saint, are apt to make a martyr of him, in order to have a holy shrine at hand, as an aid in "making their souls."

In that unknown tract of the Indus valley to the south, the Dard comes in contact with tribes of Afghan race, or, at least, of tribes Afghanized by long contact and subjection, and these extend down to our own Afghan province of Peshawar. The name of Yaghistán, applied to the tract, exactly describes the malandrinesco character which the people have borne ever since the region was colonized by the turbulent Afghan. A large part of the country derives a more courteous name from the great Afghan clan of Yusufzai, who are its predominant occupants, and who also inhabit the northern half of our Peshawar plain. But the less complimentary name is thoroughly deserved. Their polity is, probably, the nearest approach to the realization of the French Commune, in its most modern sense, that exists on earth. Each petty tribe forms an independent commonwealth, and each such community is the rival, if not the foe, of every other. When undisturbed by a common external enemy, the several tribes are always opposed; feuds, estrangements, and affrays are of constant occurrence; the public roads and private property are alike insecure. The traveller invariably conceals and misrepresents the time and direction of his journey. Vendetta, unsurpassed by anything in Corsican story, is a law imbibed by children with the mother's milk; and the women are often the first to urge their men to deeds of blood. The

* A work now being published by Dr. Leitner, of Lahore, may be expected to give information of high

interest on Dardistan.

Nothing seems clear as to the position of that city and Mount of Bacchus, which was visited by Alexander, except that it was somewhere in the angle between the Kábul river and the Indus.

Of our Peshawar valley itself some parts have an aspect of savage sterility; but from the slight elevation on which the British camp stands, the impression, especially in spring, is very different. A vast sheet of luxuriant wheat is at your feet, broken by groves of fruit-trees rich in blossom; the clear bold outline of the mountains encircles you on all sides; snowy peaks, the outliers of Hindu Kúsh, rise to the north-west; to the south-west open the dark jaws of Khyber, breathing painful memories; far to the north-east you almost certainly behold Aornos, if you but knew which of those heights it crowned! Yonder cairn of tumbled stones on the plain was once a great Buddhist dagoba, rising in golden splendour to a height of 700 feet (so say the Chinese travellers), the work of the great Scythian conqueror Kanishka. The valley was studded with the cities and temples of an Indian people. But after the Mahommedan invasions began, and Mongol raids that followed them, year after year, the fertile and prosperous plain became desolate; man almost disappeared, and the rhinoceros haunted the marshy thickets of the valley. Then came the Afghan immigration. The marshy thickets exist no longer, and the very memory of the rhinoceros, which Sultan Baber hunted here little more than 350 years ago, has perished as utterly as the mammoth's on the banks of Dordogne; nor does the animal exist within a thousand miles of Peshawar.

In the Yusufzai country, near our border, there has existed for many years the seat of a fanatical Mahommedan zealotry, founded originally some fifty years ago, and which has long derived recruits and remittances from the bigoted and malcontent in India. The troubles stirred by this nest of sedition and fanaticism led to the somewhat serious operations of 1863 known as the Sitána or Ambeyla Campaign. A name often mentioned in

connection with those troubles was that through their own cemeteries, prefacing of the Akhund of Swát. This personage, the operation merely by an apostrophe to Abdul Ghafúr, was originally a herdsman, their dead kith and kin, "Look out! whose austerities and hermit life grad- tuck up your legs! the plough is comually won him an immense reputation foring."* The men are dark and lean, havsanctity and miraculous power. His his- ing little resemblance to the typical tory is singularly like that of some of the Afghan, and it is probable that a strong ascetic saints in the Roman Calendar. mixture of aboriginal blood, as well as Though not a man of literary or theologi- seclusion, has tended to fashion their cal education, he became a potent author- peculiarities. ity in all religious questions, and issued Near Jalálábád. -a name still heard his rescripts to the surrounding regions. with pride by an Englishman, the KáIt was commonly believed that he daily bul river is joined by a large tributary, entertained hundreds of visitors, cured descending from the lofty mountain counthem of all diseases, granted their diver- try to the north, and generally called in sity of desires, and fed them as his guests, our maps by the local names of Kúner or without the aid of visible means. Prob- Káma. It is the Choaspes, and perhaps ably the Akhund was by no means himself the active and indefatigable intriguer that the Anglo-Indian press conceived, but he and his name were used as tools by the Sitána gang.

Swát is the greatest of the Yúsufzai valleys. In old times, when yet an Indian country, it was known as Udyána, or "The Garden." Its river, Suvastú, appears by that name (Soastus) in the Greek writers, and the remains of old Indian cities and Buddhist temples still exist in the valley. It has never been entered by any European, nor is that easy for any stranger, even a Mahommedan. The valley, 70 miles in length, is crowded with villages, hidden among groves of plane and other stately trees; the cultivation runs in an almost unbroken chain of terraces beside the noisy and sparkling river; and the mountains above are crowned with forests of the edible pine, the Deodar cedar, and the wild olive. But this secluded paradise has its drawbacks. It is frightfully unhealthy; the filth and vermin of the dwellings are even beyond other Afghan wont; and feuds are at such a pitch in the upper valley that hardly any intercourse takes place between village and village. Some of the Swát customs are very peculiar. Among others is that of a periodical redistribution of lands by lot, after intervals varying from ten to thirty years. Another is that when two proprietors fall out, both are expelled from the community (like the "rogue elephants" of Ceylon) with the loss of all civil and domestic rights, until they can make it up again. The women have great freedom, and go out on visiting excursions 30 or 40 miles from home, in bevies of fifteen or twenty together, with no male escort. The Swátis also, strange in Mahommedans, are said, after a few years, to drive the plough

the Malamantus, of the ancients. As far as the first lofty chain of heights through which the river breaks, the country is inhabited by Afghanized tribes; after a rugged ascent the upper valley is reached, extending, it is said, in comparatively easy slope to the borders of Pamir, and forming the kingdom called Chitrál, or as often Káshkár. Klaproth, whose knowledge was large, but not the omniscience which he supposed, decided that the mention of a Kashkar in this quarter was a blunder of Elphinstone's; but he was rash and wrong.t

Our knowledge of this country is scanty. The people make an ignorant profession of Shiah Mahomme lanism. Their language, from the vocabularies that have been published, is evidently of Sanskrit affinity. A telegram from Russia recently announced that the Mír of Badakhshan had "concluded an offensive and defensive treaty with the Badshah of Chitral." The chief of Káshkár does in fact give himself the high-sounding title of Badshah, but it is about as appropriate as that of the quondam Emperor Soulouque. The country is said to be fertile and well peopled; but at heights varying from 6,000 to 12,000 feet, these are relative terms; and probably 80,000 souls would be a liberal guess-estimate at the population of his territory. The country is said to produce some silk and shawlwool, with abundance of fruit, including fine grapes, from which wine is made, and used freely. Man-selling is very rife

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in Chitral. The usual victims are the utary to the Emperor of China."
neighbouring Kafir tribes; but, failing
them, the King is said to seize on slight
pretence and sell his own subjects. Ba-
dakhshán is the usual mart. The Chief
of Upper Káshkar, which recently formed
a separate State, is alleged to have sent
an annual tribute of slaves to the Prince
of Badakhshan.*

This is

a very curious circumstance, and, combined with other information collected by our eminent traveller, Mr. Shaw, identifies Chitrál with that Bolor of the modern Chinese Tables which has been ren lered, by a combination of accidents, such a Will-o'-the-Wisp in geography.

The land of the independent Kafirs-a land of lofty mountains, dizzy paths, and narrow bridges swinging over roaring torrents, of narrow, terraced valleys, of umbrageous forest trees, of wine and milk and honey, remains, as when Elphinstone first collected particulars_regarding the people, untrodden by any European foot. The best chance that has ever occurred of exploring this country presented itself during the British occupation of Kábul, and was, in a melancholy manner, despised and neglected. The story is thus told by Captain Raverty, in the words of an officer who witnessed the circumstances : —

The people of Káshkár are said to be The road by Chitral to Wakhan and very handsome, like their immediate Pamir (and so to Yarkand or Kashgar) is neighbours to the westward, the Kafirs or said to present less natural difficulty than Pagans; indeed, they are in all probabilany other from India; but this is not say-ity merely a converted section of the ing a great deal. The usual route leads same race. from Peshawar to Dír, in the north-west part of the Yusufzai hill-country, through the Bajaur highlands, between the Kúner and the Panjkora rivers, that is to say the tract between the Choaspes and the Guraus, which Alexander traversed, and in which he captured the city Arigaum. Dír is mentioned by Marco Polo as on the route taken by Mongol banditti in an inroad on Kashmir and the Panjáb, from the side of Badakhshán. From Dír the road northward crosses the mountains which form the western wall of the Chitrál Valley, by a pass having a probable height of 12,000 or 13,000 feet. In winter this pass is impracticable on account of the snow, and in summer it is beset by Kafir robbers, who keep up an incessant fire upon travellers. Many are killed in the pass, and the graves of those who have fallen are marked by cairns and flags, and designated, “The tombs of the martyrs." Hundreds of these dismal memorials line the road and damp the traveller's spirits on the way between Dir and Chitrál. Besides the pass at the heading these savages rushed into his master's of the Chitrál Valley, leading to Pamir, presence, exclaiming, "Here they are, Sir! there are more direct but more difficult They are all come! Here are all your rela passes from Chitrál direct across the Hin- tions!" Conolly, amazed, looked up from his du Kúsh to Badakhshán. On that called writing, and asked what on earth he meant; Nuksán, glaciers and large beds of snow when the Peon, with a very innocent face, are passed. In descending towards Chi-pointed out the skin-clad men of the mountrál the traveller is girt with a leathern kilt, and slides down the snow slope. Ponies have their feet tied together and are rolled down. "By these processes," says the native authority, "both men and beasts generally reach the base of the pass safely."

In the end of 1839. . . when the Shah (Shújáh) and Sir W. Macnaghten had gone down to Jelalabad for winter quarters, a depatation of the Siahposh Kafirs came in from Nurgil to pay their respects, and, as it ap peared, to welcome us as their relatives. If I recollect right there were some thirty or forty lines with bagpipes playing. An Afghan Peon, of them, and they made their entry into our sitting outside Edward Conolly's tent, on see

tains, saying, "There! don't you see them? Your relatives the Kafirs?" .'. . The Kafirs

themselves certainly claimed relationship; bat I fear their reception by poor Sir William was not such as pleased them; and they returned to the hills regarding us as a set of purseproud people, ashamed to own our country cousins. During the remainder of our sojourn The learned but errant Wilford, in the in Afghanistan nothing more was seen or latter part of last century, sent one Mo-heard of this singular race . . . and I cannot ghul Beg, a forerunner of Major Montgomerie's "Pundits," to explore these regions, and was informed by him that Chitral was then "in great measure trib

The same charge of selling his subjects was formerly

alleged against the Mir of Badakhshan. See Timkowski's "Travels," i. 423.

but regard it as most unfortunate that when so favourable an opportunity presented itself the country they inhabit, they should have of becoming acquainted with these tribes, and been allowed to depart unconciliated, and no advantage have been taken of their visit.*

"Journal of Asiatic Society of Bengal," vol. xxvi

P. 345.

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