Edward Harper Parker.

China, her history, diplomacy, and commerce, from the earliest times to the present day online

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construction of Chinese. This knowledge is indispensable to
anyone who ventures an opinion upon points connected with
Chinese etymology ; but of course it may be acquired by separate
study independently of my pioneer effort.


132 SIBERIA, ETC. [chap, vi

other matters connected with them, suggestive
of Samoyedes, Ostiaks, and Chukchis ; but if
the Turks then under more or less direct Chinese
rule had any knowledge of insignificant peoples
north of what are at this day the boundaries of
the Chinese Dominion, they kept that know-
ledge to themselves, or never told the Chinese
enough to make it worth while recording any-
thing. In connection with the western branch
of the Turks, and especially the Tiirgas, the
Chinese histories make numerous allusions to
Persians, Syrians, Ephthalites, Kirghis, and
other Western peoples, about whom they had
very scant information ; but there is never
anything to show that organised states existed
in Siberia beyond the Amur, Baikal, or Balkash.
Probably the Chinese never pushed up thither
because the length of the nights was so alarming
and it was so cold : several times the Chinese
mention with astonishment the long days of a
northern summer. The accounts given of the
second (main or eastern) Turkish Empire,
founded by Kutlug Khan, are even more inter-
esting and precise than those of the first. It
endured from about 680 to 743, when it was
replaced by the domination of a kindred race
called the Ouigours. These people, however,
never exercised anything like the same effective
dominion that their kinsmen the Hiung-nu and
the Turks had done before them, and they
decidedly showed more settled inclinations, and
more of a taste for science, art, and religion :
by degrees they seem to have voluntarily aban-
doned the Urga region north of the Desert alto-
gether, and to have settled in what are now the
western parts of Kan Suh province. Chavannes
and Pelliot, in their illuminating little work on
the Manichaeans already alluded to, have thrown
much new light upon Ouigour civilisation.


Meanwhile the Tunguses, corresponding to the
ancient Toba rulers, and also perhaps to the
later Mongols (before they became imbued with
a strong Turkish admixture), or to the modern
Solons, found opportunity to develop a great
political power in the Far East. There is reason
to believe that their rule included, at least for
tribute purposes, a great many tribes beyond
the Amur, as also all the Fish-skin Tartars,
Goldi, Manchus, and other unmistakable peoples
of Tungusic race, right up to the Pacific Ocean
and the mountains of Corea : but we cannot yet
identify some, if any, of the tribal names by the
light of any ethnological indications now sur-
viving. We are therefore, so far as our inquiry
is concerned, still left in the same historical posi-
tion : by the light of anything that can be dis-
covered in Chinese history, the Ouigours ruled
the west whilst the Cathayans or Kitans ruled
the east of what is now Chinese Mongolia ; the
first never pushing their knowledge, not to say
their influence, beyond the Kirghis, the second
never hearing of much beyond the Amur and
Lake Baikal. Then come the Niichens, or
genuine eastern Tunguses totally unaffected by
Mongol or Turkish admixtures. They are prob-
ably much the same people as those who for
200 years governed the little-known kingdom of
Puh-hai (720-920), which had political relations
with Japan as well as with China. They also
co-existed as a political power along with the
Ouigours, and with the so-called Kara-Kitans
who fled west when the Niichens broke up
the original Cathayan power. And so on until
we come to Genghiz Khan, no part of whose
tribal habitat was much farther north than the
River Shilka, if indeed so far. Genghiz, as we
know, swept the whole zone between Siberia (as
we now understand the word), Tibet, and China,

134 SIBERIA, ETC. [chap, vi

It is in the tliirteenth century that we hear
for the first time in the Chinese records inteUigible
accounts of Kipchaks, Alans or Azes, Bulgars,
and Russians. A great deal of interest attaches,
in connection with the Mongol inroads, to the
Hungarians, who belong to the same souche as
the Finns : so, at least, Professor Nordenskjold
told me when he visited Canton in 1879, and so
I have since satisfied myself more precisely.
The Bulgars of Genghiz' time were also partly
Finnish, at least so Bretschneider thought ; but
they have adopted the Slav tongue. One
extensive race, called the Wusun, disappeared
utterly from the Hi region shortly after the
Yiieh-chi, driven west by the Hiung-nu, gave way
before these same Wusun, and, turning south
to Bactria, founded the " Indo-Scythian " or
Ephthalite dominions in the Pan jab and Persian
regions, as already explained. Some modern
Chinese writers have endeavoured to identify
these missing Wusun with the Russians ; but
this is not likely, for the Russian language
appears to be pure Aryan ; that I can see for
myself. There is no evidence to connect the
Wusun with the Hungarians ; but the possi-
bility of it must not be ignored ; — in fact, Csoma
the Hungarian, about ninety years ago, went
on a hunt all over High Asia in search of the
original Madjar language ; and the late M.
Kossuth gave encouragement to my Hungarian
friend Nemati Kalman, who bespoke my co-
operation on the same quest : the Chinese men-
tion the Madjars quite plainly (Ma-cha) in
Genghiz' time. I cannot recall any other
instance of the utter disappearance of a con-
siderable nation from Chinese ken, unless it be
that of the Yiieban (also from Hi). The dominion
of the Mongols over Russia, and to a certain
extent Hungary, seems to be the first connect-

A.D. 1200-1400] NORTH SIBERIA KNOWN 135

ing link forged in the chain which was ulti-
mately to join Western Europe with Kanichatka.
The hold of the Mongols over Europe and over
Asia weakened simultaneously. In the West
the Novgorod Republic liad opportunity to
develop, and in the East China was able to shake
herself free. The Ostiak tribes of the Obi
(Beresof and Tobolsk) had paid tribute to Nov-
gorod before Novgorod paid it to the Mongols ;
but if the Mongols ever heard of the Ostiaks,
they do not seem to have thought it worth
while to interfere in a question of such jejune
importance to themselves. The brother of
Haithon of Armenia, besides Rubruquis and
some of the other European pilgrims to the
Mongol Court, would seem to have first sug-
gested to Europeans the existence of a farther
or Northern Siberia. The Mongols of China
kept up relations with the Kipchaks, Russians,
and Azes almost until their fall (1368) ; but the
Ming dynasty had little to do, in a friendly
co-operative way, even with Manchuria or
Mongolia so near, let alone with the tribes of the
remote western steppes. The Eleuth or Kal-
muck power accordingly now developed ; and
Chinese history totally ceases to be authoritative
on northern nations from that day to this.
The Manchus knew of no people farther north
than the Kazaks, or Turkified Kirghis, half of
whom are now Russian and half Chinese in
a political sense. The former Mongol influence
over the Kipchaks ^ in Ming times, therefore,
passed from China to Tamerlane, who was
treating with Kipchak envoys at Otrar, and even
contemplating an attack upon China, when he
died there in 1406. The word " Sibir "is about
this time mentioned for the first time as part
of the realm of Toctamish the Kipchak. Dr.
Albert Wirth, who collected and sixteen years

136 SIBERIA, ETC. [chap, vi

ago spontaneously sent to me many valuable
data touching this period, says that a Bavarian
named Schiltberger, who was there as a prisoner
amongst the Tartars at the time Tamerlane died,
speaks of " Issibur, where carts and sledges are
harnessed to large dogs."

In 1465-9 Ivan the Great annexed Novgorod,
and threw off the Kipchak yoke ; so that the
country of Sibir, practically the modern Tobolsk,
became almost independent. But by the time
of Ivan the Terrible (1557) the Sibir people, or
" Yugurs," had been compelled to send him
their usual tribute of minivers and sables.
Modern Chinese, in referring to these events, say
(but do not explain at what date or on what
authority) that the Russians had four great
provinces — Ki-yu (Kiev), the "old tribe";
Moskwa, the " new tribe " ; K'a-shan (Kazan) ;
and Si-pi-r (Siberia), which last was subdivided
into four. At present, according to Russian
official documents, there are 2,000 or so of
" Turalinians " between the Tobol and the
Irtish, and there are 26,000 Ostiaks in Tobolsk,
Tomsk, and the Yenissei. There are also
Chuvashes and Voguls in Tobolsk, but which of
these tribes represents the " Yugurs " of their
sixteenth-century " Sibir " I cannot say. Any-
way, Ivan and his son Theodore went on with
their eastern advance until they had conquered
the Bashkirs and Tobol-Tartars. The Chinese
record that between 1522 and 1567 the Russians
conquered the Khan of " K'u-ch'eng," and re-
moved him to the north of the Altai Mountains,
thus bringing themselves into contact with the
Tata (Mongols) and Wala (Eleuth).

It was just at this time (1579) that the " Stro-
gonoff," or half -Tartar m.erchant guilds of East
Russia, engaged the services of Yarmak and
7,000 of his Cossacks to further their interests

A.D. 1580-1620] K'U-CH'ENG OR KOZUM KAN 137

in Tartar regions ; but after three or four years
of skirmishing and scuffling with the troops of
" Koziim Kan," Yarmak perished by drowning,
either in the River Irtish or in one of its tribu-
taries (1584). In 1591 " Koziim Kan " was
defeated, and again in 1598, when he fled for
refuge to the Kabnucks' camp near Lake
Dzaisang (north of the Altai); but the Kal-
mucks in turn chased him away to the Kirghis.
Here, manifestly, the Chinese and Russian
accounts agree fairly well in the main facts. The
doings described thus brought the Russians into
contact with that branch of the Mongols called
the Kalmucks' — styled by the Chinese Eleuths' —
who had meanwhile had time to gather strength
and found a dominion in the region of Uliassutai,
Hi, and Tarbagatai, which dominion included
many Kirghis and Turkish tribes. The pre-
datory Cossacks sent missions to the ruler of this
powerful state in the name of the Russian Czar,
who, like a wise man, secured all he could get
for nothing but the taking, and ran no risks.

It so happens that there is a hiatus in Chinese
history at this time, and the Manchu Emperor
K'ienlung himself admits that between 1450 and
1650 the Chinese knew little m.ore of the Eleuths
than that they often joined other Mongols in
raiding the frontiers : they do not even know
the names of the khans. However, in 1616 the
Ataman Wassili relates what happened to his
mission sent in the name of the Czar to the
Altyn-Kan (Golden Khan), at w^iose Court he
met also an envoy from the Yellow Czar (Em-
peror of China)' — probably the chief of as
" bogus " a mission as his own. The Khan was
then encamped on the Kem-chik, or " Little
Kem," i.e. on the present Russo-Chinese frontier,
due north of Cobdo. The Russians say that the
Altyn Khan promised to get their trading

138 SIBERIA, ETC. [chap, vi

missions through to China, and that the Chinese
even sent a mission to them in 1619 ; but, if so,
the Chinese are quite unaware of it, and the very
name of Russia was to all appearances totally
unknown in Peking at that time. The Russians
or Cossacks pushed on to Lake Baikal, and
received in 1638 their first tea through the
agency of this Altyn Khan, the history of whose
successors, until they were destroyed by the
Chinese, I have already published from Manchu
history.' By 1643 the Russians had already
reached the Sea of Okhotsk. After all, they had
only to follow the compass, so far as North
Siberia was concerned ; for there was not, and
there is scarcely even now, a genuine native town
in the place ; nor had the scant population of
trappers, fishers, and hunters any desire or
motive to resist their advance, which therefore
required little courage. The true interest lies
in the story of their pushing their way down the
Shilka and the Amur. These adventures have
been related over and over again, and there is
very little new for me to say here. In 1654
they attempted to explore the Sungari, but the
Cossack Stepanhoff was killed by the Manchu
troops in 1658 ; and this event is also recorded
by the Chinese. Then there was a long conflict
for the possession of Yaksa, or Albazin ; but in
1689 the Russians, by the Treaty of Nerchinsk,
agreed to abandon it, and also both banks of the
Amur. From that time to 1855, when Mura-
vieff " Amurski " obtained the Czar's permis-
sion to annex the Amur, the Russians remained
on very quiet and inoffensive terms with China,
trading only at Kiachta and Tarbagatai. In
1858 the Aigun Treaty, necessitated by these

^ " Tlie Kalmucks," China Review, vol. xxiii. " The Eleuths,"
China Review, vols, xv, xvi. See also previous references on
pages 36-40.

A.D. 700-1860] TIBET, NEPAUL, MANIPUR 139

new acquisitions, loosely defined the Ussuri
boundaries ; but in 1860, by the Peking Treaty,
Ignatieff secured the doubtful part east of the
Ussuri ; and now Russia, biding her time, has
improved her opportunities, slipped quietly in,
and dominates North Manchuria.

The early history of Tibet (700-900) is bound
up with that of the early Siamese empire of
Nan-chao. For a time the Gialbos threatened
the existence of China, and, as it was, asserted
their equality, obtained princesses, and made
treaties of reciprocity ; they also forcibly occu-
pied Kan Suh and Chinese Turkestan for a num-
ber of years, right up to Lake Balkash. During
the Five Dynasty, or Anarchy Period (904-960),
there were a few missions to China, but practi-
cally Tibet was an unknown quantity ; and
throughout the Sung dynasty (960-1260) the
diplomatic relations were only fitful. During
Mongol and Ming times Tibet was under military
supervision, but enjoyed internal independence.
After the Manchus came to power and overawed
the Lamas, their Resident, except on one or two
occasions when China had to assert herself,
for a century and a half occupied a position in
Tibet as modest and retiring, but as influential,
as that of our Resident in Nepaul. Nepaul,
which was forced by China to live on friendly
terms with Tibet, is still tributary to China,
and sends trading missions ; but she prudently
avoids raising political questions, and meanwhile
supplies us with some of our best mercenary
troops, at the same time enjoying complete
independence. Manipur, or Kase as the Chinese
call it, was only known to the Manchus for a
short time during the wars with the Burmese
king Alompra's successors : there is no mention
of such a place in the records of any previous
dynasty. China has never in modern times

140 SIBERIA, ETC. [chap, vi

had the faintest pohtical influence in India,
though all five kings of the Hindoo states sent
missions to China about 1,000 years ago. True,
in the middle of the seventh century the warlike
founder of the T'ang dynasty, with the assist-
ance of Nepaul, carried punitive war success-
fully upon a king of North India, but there the
matter dropped : the Ming dynasty 800 years
later had shipping relations with the Indian
coasts ; but none the less India has never fallen
within China's political sphere. The Mongols,
Mings, and Manchus have each in turn sent
expeditions to Burma, but China's political
influence has never continued for long there
either. Siam has never been invaded either by
land or sea, but from the date of her moving
down definitely to Ayuthia* — say a.d. 1200 —
from the Shan states (Old Thai ^), south of Yiin
Nan, until 1853, she always recognised China as
a nominal suzerain, for reasons of trade policy.
The Shan states — those not belonging to Burma
— and also Annam, have at irregular intervals
been either ruled indirectly by the Chinese or
have been nominally tributary to them. The
same thing may be said of Corea, but with less
irregularity. Japan has never been in any way
conquered by either Chinese or Tartars, nor
forced to do anything ; she has occasionally
sent polite missions, but it is only the Chinese
who call them " tributary " ones. I just men-
tion these points in order to complete the circuit
of the Eighteen Provinces, and to bring the
reader back to the other side of Siberia.

1 See p. 29. The Old and New Tai or Thai (= free) races differ
in using or in omitting the aspirate, as I ascertained on the spot
in 1888, from Mr. Gushing and other Shan scholars. The History
of Nan-chao makes use of this national word Tai, and explains
quite clearly how the Early Siamese were under the religious
influence of Magadha.



It is not necessary to dwell upon the old co-hong
trade at Canton. The former Factory site of
the " Thirteen Hongs " is now principally occu-
pied by a large foreign " hong " about two fur-
longs below the island settlement of Shamien.
Trade with the East India Company nominally
began in 1680, and all privileges continued until
1783, when there were certain modifications.
In 1834 exclusive rights entirely ceased. Life
and trade at Canton a century and a quarter
ago have been vividly described ^ by Dr. S. W.
Williams, who resided there before the Factory
was destroyed in 1856, and was frequently U.S.
Charge d' Affaires at Peking after the second or
Anglo-French war. The merchants passed a
confined, ceremonious, and reserved existence,
entirely in the hands of their fiadors and com-
pradores on the one hand, and of the Chinese co-
hong on the other. No wives were allowed, and
even burials had to take place at Whampoa,
twelve miles down the river. It was only in
1828 that the British Superintendent first suc-
ceeded in getting his wife up : it will be remem-
bered that this misogynist policy had already
been followed 2,000 years before in the case of
" fem.ale animals," the idea in both cases evi-
dently being against increase and multiplica-

1 China Review, 1876-7.

142 MODERN TRADE [chap, vii

tioii. British trade was, of course, the largest
of all ; lead (for packing tea) and woollens were
the chief imports (no specie, no cotton fabrics)
from England, opium from India, and the usual
" Straits " produce picked up from the Dutch
colonies visited by our ships en route. Tea and
silk were the main exports then as (largely)
now. The British tea consum.ption in 1795 was
14,000,000 lbs. a year, more than one half of
which total wa.s smuggled by foreign ships from
Canton, operating in the English Channel.

The Treaty of Nanking (1842) opened four new
ports, and abrogated all these restrictive rules
about residence. Afterwards, as has been ex-
plained under the heading of " Europeans," by
the Tientsin treaties nine, and by the Chefoo
Convention again four additional ports Avere
thrown open to foreign trade. The various
wars and complications that have harassed
China up to date have led to the total number
of ports being increased to forty-seven, so far as
the Foreign Customs is concerned. In the year
1864 the British or direct trade had already
reached 101,000,000 taels, or ounces of silver,
and the total, including other countries and
coast trade, was 260,000,000 taels : at that date
the whole trade of Japan, America, and other
foreign countries only amounted in all to 10
per cent, of the British trade, including, of course,
British colonies. I proposed in the 1901 edition
of this book to take the year 1880, as a central
point, between the period when legations were
first established at Peking in 1861 and the year
1900 (that is, the trade of 1899), in order to survey
rapidly the condition of foreign commerce in
China. I now propose to compare these totals
with the trade of 1913, that is, the trade before
the great war queered the pitch. As the gold
value of- the silver tael is still only about half


what it was in 1880, and subject to violent aber-
rations at that, I think it better to give the totals
in silver, as nearly as I can; for, although this plan
may suggest to us a false idea of the gold cost of
produce to England and Europe, it is the only
true way to form a notion of the actual wealth,
measured by the standards of silver and copper,
which is taken out of China, for the unit of
" Exchange " in Shanghai is the rate for tele-
graphic transfer on London.


Nineteen Ports. Thirty-two Ports. ; rorty-seven Ports.

1880. I 1899. 1913.

British Empire . : 122,600,000 ; 286,200,000 402,000,000

Japanese Empire . 5,700,000 53,100,000 185,000,000

other countries . i 30,000,000 ' 113,000,000 403,000,000

158,300,000 452,300,000 i 990,000,000

From the above summary it w411 be seen that
if between 1880 and 1899 the total direct trade
nearly trebled itself, between 1900 and 1913 the
same direct trade about doubled itself; and the
Japanese share, magnified nearly ten times during
its pioneer development, has more than tripled
itself again during its riper development. Look
at it which way we Avill, there is no reason to fear
that Great Britain is going to the wall, for we are
still equal to the rest of the world, barring Japan.
It must be remembered that England no longer
takes the larger half of China tea, as she did in
1880, which deficit is more than compensated for
by much greater cargoes of tea brought from
India, the paid value of which remains in our
own empire instead of going to that of China. It
must also be remembered that the Russian
and Japanese land trade by way of Manchuria

144 MODERN TRADE [chap, vii

has introduced quite new elements, and that the
loss of Kiao Chou to Germany in 1914 must
again seriously modify the position of affairs
as existing in 1913.

Out of the above trade, and of the home or
coast trade in foreign or Chinese steamers,
which is equal in volume to over once and a
half the total of the foreign trade, the Chinese
Government in 1880 derived a revenue of
14,250,000 taels, against 26,660,000 taels in
1899, and 43,900,000 taels in 1913. It will be
noticed that, whilst direct trade has trebled and
again doubled, the revenue on the whole trade has
not kept pace : the reason is not very obvious ;
but as, owing to fluctuation in exchange rates
and market values, the charges on imports have
for many years only averaged 3 per cent.,
instead of the 5 per cent, average usually sup-
posed to be levied, that fact (which of course in
itself requires further specialist explanation) may
partly account for it. Then, again, we must
consider the British bankers, careful definition
of what are called " invisible imports " and
"invisible exports," both of which or neither of
which must be counted. Probably a further
reason is that the specific duties on compara-
tively high-paying articles such as tea have for
many years steadily declined with the trade in
those staples ; whilst the specific duties on
various cheap export commodities (formerly
neglected, but now aggregating huge totals) are
very low, and therefore do not advance pace
by pace with the volume of the trade. Rice,
for instance (though not exportable from China
except under diplomatically arranged special
conditions), is sometimes " exported " by the
million hundredweight from one port to the
other at a very low likin charge, or even free
altogether. However, in 1902 the Mackay

A.D. 1880-1913] COTTON AND YARN TRADE 145

treaty, which aimed amongst other desirable
financial reforms at the abolition of likin in
exchange for a substantial increase in import
duties, did attempt to grapple with this ques-
tion, and, as I write, I observe that the atten-
tion of President Li has once more been called,
by his Chinese advisers this time, to the
extreme desirability of effecting that important

The trade in cotton goods is the one which
most interests the Englishman at home, and the
Board of Trade has at last shown its good
sense in establishing an Advisory Committee,
with a special commissioner properly trained
in the Chinese language and the cotton business
alike, to deal with the textile question by study-
ing it "on the tramp " in China. In 1880
the trade in cottongoods amounted to 23,400,000
taels, in 1899 to 103,500,000 taels, and in 1913
to 182,500,000 taels (being 38,000,000 taels
over 1912). As to the yarn trade, the displace-

Online LibraryEdward Harper ParkerChina, her history, diplomacy, and commerce, from the earliest times to the present day → online text (page 13 of 35)