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LITTELL'S LIVING AGE.—No. 372.45 JULY, 1851.
From the Edinburgh Review. little to the north of the Great Wall, in Eastern Souvenirs d'un Voyage dans la Tartarie, le Thibet, pointed by their spiritual superior to make their
Tartary, at the commencement of 1844, were apet la Chine, pendant les Années 1844, 1845, et 1846. Par M. Huc, Prêtre Missionaire de la way as well as they could through Western TarCongregation de St. Lazare. 2 vols. Paris: tary to Lhassa, the capital of Thibet, and the holy
see of Lamanism. This might look, at first sight, 1850.
like taking the bull by the horns. The reader will About the end of 1846, Mr. Alexander Johnston, find, however, to his surprise, that all the opposison of the late Sir Alexander, and secretary to her tion they experienced was not ccclesiastical, but majesty's minister plenipotentiary in China, was lay—not religious, but political ; and that while fellow-passenger on board the steamer from Hong- they received every encouragement and hospitality Kong to Ceylon with a French Lazarist Missionary, from the Lama's government, they were baffled, named Joseph Gabet. It appeared that M. Gabet and at length expelled, by the exertions of the was then on his way from China to Paris, intend Chinese resident, or ambassador, Ke-shen. ing, 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 Imperia! 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 regain ing 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 furiner wealth, which was button, finished vif their new costuine.
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 Nothing more was heard about the matter, until and a dog to guard it, completed the equipment of the appearance of these two volumes, by M. Huc, our adventurous missionaries for the desert. They the companion of M. Gabet in all his adventures. had no other guide for their route than a compass A more interesting as well as diverting book has and a map of the Chinese empire, published in. seldom issued from the French press. The quali- Paris. fications 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 nomadic life; first across an inhospitable desert, strain of good humor, and fun, as amply to repay and then over mountains to which the Alps are: the perusal of any class of readers. In these points trifles. From plunder they escaped tolerably free, M. Huc bears some resemblance to his English though the Mongol robbers would seem to be the namesake, Theodore, as we may almost call him. 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 money, do give me the loan of your purse; it is next thing was to ascertain, if possible, the extent very cold to-day, let me have the use of your coat." and nature of this gigantic vicariat. However if the venerable elder brother has the charity to dreadful the intolerance and oppression under comply, he is duly thanked; but, if not, the humble which Romish priests groan among us, they are a appeal is supported by the cudgel; and, should this good deal worse off in the Celestial Empire; and not do, by something more coercive still. Very yet there, strange to say, they are as quiet as little better than the professional robbers were any. lambs, and the government seldom hears of them, bands of Chinese soldiers with whom they might except when some stray missionary is detected and have the bad luck to fall in, and whose neighborpacked off to the coast, for foreign shipment. MM. hood, therefore, they diligently shunned. During Gabet and Huc, who happened to be residing a the war with England, on ihe north-east coast, these
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ragamuffin troops were so dreaded by their own posted himself in the rear of his troops. There, armed countrymen that, when the process of civilized with a long sword, he pressed his troops into action, warfare came to be known and understood by the cutting down without mercy such as were cowardly Chinese people, the latter often welcomed us as enough to fall back. This appears to be an odd style deliverers, and their satisfaction was increased of commanding an army, but those who have lived when the public granaries were thrown open to among the Chinese will see that the military genius them for nothing.
of General Yang was founded upon knowledge of Our missionaries had a characteristic account of the war with England from a Tartar, whom they His tactics certainly did not succeed against our met in the desert :
troops, and as he never made his appearance, it is “What, were all the Tartar banners called to supposed that he occupied his favorite place of gether?”—“ Yes, all. At first it passed for a very
honor at the tail of the rear guard, and led gallanıly
in a retreat. small matter ; every one said it would never reach us.
“ We have asked,” says M. Huc, The troops of Kitat* (China) went first of all, but “ of several mandarins why the Batourou Yang had they did nothing. The banners of Solón also marched, not exterminated the English ; all have answered but they could not resist the heat of the south. The that it arose from his compassion." emperor then sent us his sacred order.
We have a terrible description in these volumes the same day we marched to Peking, and from Peking of Tarlar uncleanliness, and several of the details on we went to Tien-tsin, where we remained three this subject are quite unpresentable. The dogma months.” -“ But did you fight—did you see the of the transmigration of souls acis, it seems, with enemy?"-" No ; he did not dare to show himself. The Chinese protested everywhere that we marched to are infested. The interior of their tents is repul
some as a protection to the vermin with which they certain and unavailing death. What can you do,' sive and almost insupportable to those unaccustomed said they, “against these sea-monsters ? —They live to the odors that prevail there. Dirty as the in the waters like fish. When least expected, they Chinese may be, their northern neighbors far exappear on the surface, and throw conubustible balls of iron. When the bow is bent against them they take ceed them; the former at least have taken it upon again to the water like frogs. Thus it was they tried themselves to settle the question, by calling the to frighten us, but we soldiers of the eight banners latter Chow Ta-tsze, “ stinking 'Tariars," as sysare ignorant of fear. The emperor had provided each tematically as they call Europeans “ foreign devils.” leader a Lama instructed in medicine, and initiated
This clever and indefatigable, but not too scruin all the sacred auguries. They would cure us of pulous, race, have nearly displaced the Manchows the diseases of climate, and save us from the magic of in their original country to the north-east of the the sea-monsters—what then need we fear? The rebels, Great Wall, and almost as far as the river Saghaon hearing that the invincible troops of Tchakar ap- lien.* The Chinese are the inen of business and proached, were seized with alarm, and asked for peace. shopkeepers in all towns, and have very little mercy The sacred master (Shing-chu) of his immense mercy on the comparatively honest and simple Tartars. granted it, and then we returned to our pastures, and It is impossible to help laughing at the stories of to the charge of our flocks."
their ingenious rascality. They are in fact the It is known for certain that when the British chevaliers d'industrie-the Scapins and Mascarilles force had reached Nanking and the grand canal in of Eastern Asia. M. Huc, in the following pas1842, the emperor so fully expected a visit at sage, gives an account of their tricks, which might Peking that he stationed a force at Tien-tsin, as have applied very closely to the way in which they stated by the Tartar, and made every preparation treated our pour sailors in the south of China :to decamp into Tartary himself. In the confusion
When the Mongols, an honest and ingenuous race of packing up, some dexterous persons contrived to
as ever was, arrive in a trading town, they are immerob the treasury of several millions, and to this day diately surrounded by Chinese, who carry them off the culprits have never been detected. The parties home as it were by force. Tea is prepared, their considered responsible, however, were, with all beasts looked to, a thousand little services rendered. their relations and connexions, 'mace answerable They are caressed, fattered, magnetized, in short. for the restoration of the treasure to the third and The Mongols, who have nothing of duplicity in their fourth generation. Without adverting to this cir- own character, and suspect none in others, end by cumstance, M. Huc observes, in another place, that being moved and touched by all these kindnesses. during the progress of the war with the English, They take ip sober earnest all the professions of "nous savions que l'empereur était aux abois, et devotion and fraternity with which they are plied, qu'il ne savait où prendre l'argent nécessaire pour had the good fortune to meet with people they can
and, in a word, persuade themselves that they have empêcher de mourir de faim une poignée de soldats confide in. Aware, moreover, of their own inaptitude qui étaient chargés de veiller à l'intégrité du terri- for commercial dealings, they are enchanted at finding toire Chinois."
brothers—Ahatou, as they call it--who are so kind as The most distinguished hero, sent by the empe- to undertake to buy and sell for them. A good dinner ror to exterminate the English during our war, was gratis, which is served in a room to the rear, always a Chinese general named Yang: This man had ends by persuading them of the entire devotion of the enticed the unfortunate Mahomedan chief, Jehang- Chinese confederacy. “ If these people were interhir, in the war with Cashgar, to trust himself in ested,” says the honest Tartar to himself, “if they his hands, and then sent him in a cage to Peking, wished to plunder me, they would hardly give me where, after amusing the emperor, he was cruelly such 4 good dinner for nothing ; they would not put to death. M. Huc heard ihe following account expend so much money on me. It is generally at this of Yang's tactics :
first repast that the Chinese bring into play all that
their character combines of villany and trickery. As soon as the battle began he tied his beard in two Once in possession of the poor Tartar, he never eslarge knots, to keep it out of his way; and then capes. They serve him with spirits in excess, and
* Thus, the Chinese town at Moscow is colled * Maintenant on a beau parcourir la Mantchourie Kitaigorod, and Marco Polo always calls China Ka- jusqu'au feuve Amour. C'est tout comme si on thay, anglice, Kathai.
voyagait dans quelque province de Chine.
make him drink till he is fuddled. Thus they keep), Polygamy, abolished by the gospel, and contrary in possession of their victim for three or four days, never itself to the happiness and peace of families, should, losing sight of him, making him smoke, drink, and perhaps, be considered as a good for the Tartars. In eat ; while they sell his live stock, and purchase for the actual state of their society, it acts as a barrier to him whatever he may want, charging him generally the libertinage and corruption of manners. Celibacy double or triple for everything.
being imposed upon the Lamas, and the class which
shaves the head, and lives in the lamaseries, being sa M. Huc puts in a strong light that appropriation numerous, if the daughters could not place themseives to themselves of Manchow, or Eastern Tartary, in families in the rank of secondary wives, it is easy (the country of their last conquerors,) which has to imagine the disorders which would arise from this been effected by the Chinese within something more multiplicity of young women left to themselves withthan a century, and to which we have already out support. 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 10 her “Of what use,” says he, " would it be to a travel.
parents without even assigning a reason. He is 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 obser
Our travellers, in their progress westward, had to vation might be true in the time of Kanghy,” says cross the Yellow River more than once where it M. Huc, - when it was made, but the very opposite makes a bend northwards through the Great Wall is the fact at present; for the traveller in Manchour and back again, enclosing in this curve an area of ria now finds that he has to deal with China, and some three degrees square, the miserably waste it is of the Hé-loung-Keang that he hears, and not and sandy country of the Ortous. Unhappily, for of the Saghalien." In our own colonies, the the poor missionaries, this ruthless and ungainly rapidly increasing numbers and wealth of the stream (which a late emperor justly called “ China's Chinese, where they exist, are apt to give them a sorrow”) was in its frequent condition of overflow, degree of presumption which, wiih the aid of their and we have a pitiable description of the miseries vices, might make them troublesome, were it not endured by themselves and their camels, of all for the wholesome dread they entertain of European beasts the least adapted to deal with floods. The power, wherever they happen to be really acquainted waters of the Yellow River, pure and clear at their with it.
source among the Thibet mountains, do not assuno 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 ceplion 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. The fact that, in China Proper, Buddhism and its same velociiy, 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 passage until it reaches the provinces of Honan and government gives every encouragement to Laman- Keangnan, where the actual bed of the river is now ism in Tartary. The double object is said to be higher than a great portion of the immense plain thus to impose a check on the growth of the popu- through which it runs. This evil being continually lation, and at the same time render that population aggravated by further depositions of inud, a fearful as liule warlike as possible. The remembrance of catastrophe seems to overhang that unfortunate the ancient power of the Mongols haunts the court region ; at the same time that the constant repair of Peking. They were once masters of the empire, of the dikes taxes the ingenuity, while it exhausts and, to diminish ihe chances of a new invasion, the the treasury, of the Chinese government. Sir John study is now to weaken them by all possible means. Davis offered to the minister Keying, a relation of
With this large proportion of the male popula- the emperor, the aid of English engineers in an tion condemned to celibacy, M. Huc gives us the emergency where science could scarcely fail of following reasons for his thinking that polygamy, beneficial results ; but he shook his head, and said under all the circumstances, is the best thing for he dared not even mention the subject. the Mongol Tartars. It seems generally to have
The personal observations of M. Huc settle the existed in the pastoral and nomadic state.
question as to the real nature and amount of what This is a distinguishing term for the Laity, who is called the “ Great Wall" towards the west :wear their black hair, while the Lamas shave the We had occasion (he says) to cross it at more than whole head.
fifteen different points, and several times we travelled 1 M. Huc is here treating of the Mongol Tartars ; for whole days in the line of its direction, and kept it not of the Thibetians. Father Regis, in his memoir constantly in view. Often, in lieu of those double annered to Duhalde,' speaking of the polyandry of turreted walls, which exist near Peking, we met with 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 busbands common at Teshoo limit hiinself to his coparcenary wise ; 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 bave been as the Thiberians, 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."