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granite and of sublime dimensions, to attract the eye and diversify the plains. "All is a frightful extent of barrenness." A person may travel for many days without meeting with a habitation; wbich must induce the heaviest of all sensations of loneliness. When the dreary waste is relieved it is by a solitary village, with a few scanty symptoms of cultivation, or an encampment of Tartar shepherds, with their black tents and their flocks.
With regard to climate and seasons, at the greatest altitudes, there is scarcely either spring or autumn; the extreme rapidity of vegetation being astonishing. In summer the sun generally shines bright throughout his course. There are few showers except in March and April; the rest of the year being almost a perpetual sunshine. A heavy fall of snow is almost unknown; the Captain accounting for this scantiness by stating that the outer Himalaya, although not in general so high as the interior ranges, is the most formidable barrier, and has by far the greatest quantity of snow; that a chain which on an average may be taken at 18,000 feet, is quite sufficient to keep out the rains which inundate lower Hindostan; while owing to the aridity of the soil there is little evaporation to afford moisture for forming clouds.
There are other singularities which to the man of science must render even the upper regions of Koonawur interesting, in spite of the solitude and the barrenness of which we have been hearing. We thus read :
“The transparency of the air on lofty spots at mid-day, is remarkably beautiful : it is of the deepest azure, and blacker even than the darkest night. The sun appears like a radiant orb of fire, without the least haze; and the moon, which I have often seen rise, did not enlighten the atmosphere, and the direction where we expected her could scarcely be distinguished until her limb came in contact with the horizon.
“At night, when I was employed in making astronomical observations, which was rather an uncomfortable occupation at a temperature of 18° and 20° of Fahrenheit, the stars shone with the greatest brilliancy, and those of the galaxy could almost be counted.
“When I was encamped at 16,000, the gilded summits of the elevated chain that trends along the left bank of the Indus, had a very grand appearance: a few streaked clouds hung about them, which, being illuminated by the rays of the rising sun, showed a beautiful diversity of colours, rising in splendour with the most vivid rainbow, and surpassing in lustre the brightest burnished gold."
Then, what of the Tartars of Koonawur ? According to the picture given of them by Captain Gerard they might render the most naturally desolate country in the world interesting, notwithstanding their jealousy respecting the admission of strangers beyond certain boundaries :
" They are of a mild and benevolent disposition, very far removed from
the ferocity commonly attached to the character of a Tartar. I have had many instances of their humanity. At Peenoo, in Speetee, where I was confined to my bed for two days with rheumatism, I never experienced more attention ; I was a stranger to them, and the first European they had ever seen ; the moment they heard I was unwell, some brought Nerbissi (Zerdoary), which they reckon a sovereign remedy for most complaints ; others came with sugar and spices ; whilst a third party were busily employed in making tea : every one seemed desirous of showing me some kindness, which was rather troublesome, but well meant. They were not, however, intrusive, and did not stay a moment longer than I wished. At this time I was negociating with the chief person of the place to be allowed to return by Taree Pass. This man showed a degree of firmness that I could not help admiring, although it vexed me; he said his instructions on that head were so positive, that he dared not disobey them; and 150 rupees, which I sent him, did not alter his determination, and be returned the money. He replied, “You are welcome to goats, sheep, and blankets, but you shall not pass by this route ; we will post ourselves on the road, but you have a sufficient number of people to force the passage, for we will not fight; we, however, trust you will not attempt it without permission.'
“ This person, who was styled Lafa, visited me twice, and we exchanged silk scarfs, which is an invariable custom. He brought a present of a couple of sheep and some other things, for which I gave him a full equivalent. He was inflexible in his determination, but we parted on the most friendly terms, and he even carried his politeness so far as to send four people with me, for no other purpose than to see me safe beyond a dangerous part of the road, where we were obliged to use ropes.
“ The Chinese Tartars, on this remote frontier of their vast empire, are just as vigilant respecting the non-admission of strangers as their countrymen at Pekin : no sum of money, however great, will bribe them to infringe the orders of their superiors. Last year I reached the limits of their country in four different quarters, but was not allowed to advance a step farther; the same occurred in 1818, when my brother and I visited Shipke, and were the first Europeans they had ever seen.
"Since Messrs. Moorcroft and Hearsey reached Garoo and Mansurowur, and more especially now that the former gentleman has penetrated to the capital of Ludak, they have become doubly watchful ; and lately, two pilgrims on their way to make the circuit of Mansurowur, were stopped at Shipke, being taken for Europeans in disguise.
“The court of Ouchong, or Lahassa, have sent the most particular instructions to all the frontier posts, to prevent, if possible, Europeans from passing the boundary, but if that cannot be done, and they arrive at the first village, they are not to be supplied with provisions. This last injunction was so far attended to, that when I talked of proceeding onwards, I could not get grain at any price; but when I mentioned my intention of returning, they generally brought me plenty of grain, and said, that, although the commands of the Garpun, or Governor of Garoo, must be respected, yet we should meet and part on amicable terms, by an exchange of presents. This good trait in their character was particularly exempli
fied when I proceeded two-and-a-half miles beyond Changrezhing, where the Chinese stopped me. I had no object in staying longer than to observe the sun's meridian altitude, and when I began to return, they seemed greatly dissatisfied, and strongly begged of me to remain, as they had sent to the nearest village for a sheep, otherwise they must think I parted from them in displeasure; they met me with an air of openness and good humour seldom equalled, and I had some difficulty in persuading them that I left them on friendly terms, and they were not fully convinced of this until after my return to camp, when I accepted of a fat sheep, for which I recompensed them with several pounds of dried tobacco.
“ Notwithstanding their suspicion of strangers, I found the people communicative enough: they answered all queries respecting their country without reserve, and I was thus enabled to verify the accounts of Mansurowur and the Great Rivers, which I received from the Koonawurees, and I found them to agree very minutely.
“ The Tartars are the very reverse of quarrelsome, and their whole conduct was entitled to my regard; for at two places, Zeenchin and Changrezhing, although they had purposely left their houses to arrest my progress, yet they were quite peaceable, and so far from being disposed to dispute my passage by force, not one of them had arms of any kind. They thought their only mentioning the strictness of their orders, was sufficient to prevent me from advancing; and, although I remonstrated against them, yet from seeing the degree of confidence they placed in me, I directed my people not to go a single step beyond the limit they prescribed. Cheating, lying, and thieving are unknown, and they may be trusted with anything. They have the nicest notions of honesty of any people on the face of the earth, and pay an inviolable regard to property. I have been encamped at Shipke and Žeenchin, and I was eight days in Speetee, with between fifty and sixty loads of baggage lying about in every direction, many hundred yards from my tent, and I never missed the smallest article, although I had no sentinel, nor even a single armed follower, to intimidate them.
“I had former experience of their character, which I depended upon so much, that when I left Murung for Bekhur, I was determined to put it out of the power of my people to cause any serious affray, which I thought possible from having so many followers who did not understand the Tartar language, by ordering the only sword amongst my servants to be left behind.
“During the two days I encamped on the elevated table land of Zeenchin, upwards of 16,000 feet above the level of the sea, I was surrounded by hundreds of Chinese Tartars, and, although I believe there was scarcely an article that was not handled by fifteen or twenty people to satisfy their curiosity, I never lost the most trifling thing, and it would have been easy enough at night to have carried off half of my baggage without being discovered ; and indeed they might have robbed me of almost the whole of my property, for the people with me had never slept upon so lofty a spot, and they suffered so much from cold, that I am confident an alarm of thieves would not have induced them to move.
“The Tartars are hospitable and obliging : they used to take pleasure
in assisting my servants over the bad places of the road, and relieving them of part of their loads. They offered me sheep and blankets, for which I always endeavoured to give a double return : dried tobacco was the most acceptable present : they often asked me for some, and I had an opportunity of gratifying their wishes, having several loads of it. During a march they always filled the pipes of my servants with tobacco, and when we reached a Tartar village, we were invited to partake of refreshments, such as a dish of tea, a dram, and apricots.
“A person has only to signify his wish to get whatever he wants.”
We must here stop, and leave a great number of things told of the Tartars to be examined by those who have followed us thus far. The author of the Account has abstained in a remarkable manner from swelling it with notices of his adventures, the incidents that befel him, and whatever might be called narrative. From a passage quoted in the Editor's Preface, we, however, learn that he thought he could have made the account twice as long as the mere description goes, without diminishing the interest; and we have no doubt with an increase of it. Still, as we are informed by Mr. Lloyd, the copy left by the lamented traveller had been carefully corrected by him, which must in some degree compensate for the want of such additional materials as he may have meditated to supply, or been capable of furnishing
Art. XIII.—Æsop's Fables : written in Chinese by the Learned Mun
Mooy Seen-Shang, and compiled in their present form (with a Free and
a Literal Translation) by his Pupil Sloth. Canton Press Office. With this perfect novelty we received the following distinct communication :
“Liverpool, 24th Sept., 1841. “ The Rev. David Thom begs the acceptance on the part of the Editor of the Monthly Review of the accompanying copy of Æsop's Fables, translated into Chinese, and published by the writer's brother, Robert Thom, Esq., one of Her Majesty's Interpreters in China, under the pseudonyme of Sloth,
“ The work, which supplies what has long been a desideratum in Chinese elementary literature, has already obtained the approbation of some of the most distinguished Sinologues in this country, and on the continent. One of the latter considers it to be a work which no European student of Chinese, if he but knew where to procure it, would choose to be without.”
The Preface by Mr. Thom to this curious, and in every way singular publication, first demands our attention ; for it contains, besides some interesting particulars connected with himself, an
earnest and well-timed appeal with regard to the cultivation by Englishmen of the Chinese language.
He sets out with a complaint of the strange neglect of England, whose interest in Chinese affairs need not be explained, in respect of encouraging a study of Chinese. Paris, Rome, and Naples have countenanced it, have had their learned Chinese scholars, while England has been obliged to apply to some one of these cities for a man able to act in the capacity of interpreter. No endowment was appointed, no professorship established in this country either by government, the universities, or the patrons of learning, for the necessary and highly important purposes mentioned. Says Mr. Thom, " When our Government wished to send an ambassador to this distant land in 1793, no Englishman could be found capable of conveying the compliments and kind wishes of George of England to Keenlung of China.” We quote another statement which ought to appear among the curiosities of literature. It appears from our public papers, written about the middle of the nineteenth century, that a discussion had arisen with respect to the instituting of a Chinese chair, and that, while some objected altogether to the establishing of such a professorship, “ others (and they were the majority) agreed to set aside for the reimbursement of a learned gentleman, who had spent many years of his life in the acquiring of this most difficult of all languages, a sum about equal to half of that which an English gentleman awards to a good cook, or a smart valet-de-chambre!"
Very lately, however, some little has been done, for a professorship has actually been established in the London University, that may not only so far promote the study of Chinese as to equip some English youths for the fulfilment of important commercial and diplomatic offices in the Celestial Empire, but shame the Government and our ancient seats of learning out of their neglect and despite of the language and literature of the flowery people, and beget in the public mind something like an adequate anxiety on the subject.
Considering the paramount interests that have long been involved, and the probability that the day might arrive when a terrible collision would occur between us and the Chinese, it is matter for marvel that no earnest steps were taken in this country to cultivate a knowledge of a language, through the medium of which mutual understandings might be established and maintained, not to speak of the intellectual enlightenment that would have been promoted among a semi-civilized people by such potent and rational means. But, instead of adopting such steps, hear what was done as well as not done at a very recent period of our history :
"Towards the year 1808, a poor despised Missionary, anxious to communicate the doctrines of Christianity to the Chinese, applied to the Honourable East India Company for a passage in one of their ships to China.