Edward Harper Parker.

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

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described as a Persian instead of a Ta-ts'in man.
The reason for this discrepancy has already
twice been explained. In the trilingual stone
inscription (Ouigour, Turkish, Chinese) dis-
covered a few years ago by Russian travellers
at the old Ouigour capital on the River Orkhon,
and dating from about a.d. 830, mention is
made of a western religion, either Manichaeism or
Nestorianism, which fact again tends to connect
Syria and Persia once more, through Tokhara,
with China and Mongolia. Nor must I omit to
mention the eminent services of MM. Ed. Cha-
vannes and Paul Pelliot, who, availing themselves
of the great cache of ancient literature discovered
by Stein, Tachibana, and others in the Thousand
Buddha Grotto near Tun-hwang, have been able
to set our knowledge of Chinese Manichseism
upon a firm footing.

Then we have the mission of John of Piano
Carpini, sent by Innocent IV. to Gayuk Khan
in 1245-7 (he passed through the country of the
Naimans and Kara-Kitans ; thence along the
Sungarian lakes to near the Orkhon) ; Rubru-
quis' mission of 1254 already mentioned, also
through the Kara-Kitan country, near Lake
Balkash ; letters from Nicholas III. to Kublai
Khan, sent by Franciscan friars in 1277-80 ; and
the arrival at Peking in 1293 in order to found
churches there of John of Monte-Corvino, be-
longing to the society of the Friars Minor. The
account of his journey says the Florentine trade
route lay through Azov, Astrakhan, Khiva,
Otrar, Almalik (Ili), and Kanchou. In 1286-
1331 Friar Odoric in his own person travelled
over parts of both the land and the sea roads
to China ; Trebizond, Tabriz, Shiraz, Bagdad,
Hormuz, India (Tana), Malabar, Quilon, Ceylon,
Mailapur (Madras) ; thence by Chinese junk to
Sumatra, Java, Borneo, Ciampa, Canton, Zaitun,

78 TRADE ROUTES [chap, iv

over the mountains to *' Cansay " (Hangchow).
This last stretch of country I have been over twice
myself, crossing two sets of passes. In 1336 the
last Mongol emperor sent letters by a " Frank "
named Andrea to Benedict XII., who replied
in the following year to the Khan's message.
In 1340 the Franciscan priest John of Marignoli
built a new church at Jagatai's capital of Almalik
(Hi), where in 1339 Pascal's Spanish mission had
been massacred. In 1342 this fresh mission was
once more destroyed ; and in that same year
Nicolas de Bonnet arrived in Peking as successor
to Monte-Corvino. We have already seen in the
chapter on " History " how a " Fulang " man
brought a wonderful horse to China in 1342, and
how the founder of the Ming dynasty in 1371
sent a message to Europe by one " Niekulun," a
" Fulin " man, who had come to trade at Peking
in 1367. In 1375 another Fulin man came with
the Sumatra mission to China. Both Marignoli
and Pegoletti bear witness to the fact that
" Franks " had nothing to do with France,
but meant all the Christian peoples west of
'' Romania " ( ? Greece) ; even now the modern
Greeks use the word " Franks " in this sense.

The Ming envoy sent to demand tribute from
Tamerlane in 1395 travelled via the Kia-yiih
Pass, Hami, Turfan, Hi, and Samarcand, whence
he was taken on to Shiraz and Ispahan, staying
some years in the country. Owing to a dispute,
probably about tribute, in 1401, the envoy was
forcibly detained ; and in 1405 Tam.erlane, for
reasons not given, but evidently incensed at the
demand for tribute, crossed the Jaxartes with
an immense host in order to invade China. As
he died at Otrar, he evidently followed so far,
and intended to follow farther, but in a reverse
direction, the footsteps of Genghiz Khan. The
Castilian envoy, Clavijo, who was then at Samar-

A.D. U00-1450J OLD WORDS FOR "CHINA" 71)

cand, has left it on record that a caravan of 800
camels, laden with silk, musk, rhubarb, and
gems, came from " Cambalu in Cathay " in 1404.
The son of Tamerlane sent numerous missions
to China, as recorded in the Ming annals, and
amongst the many return Chinese envoys there
was one who visited Hami, Turfan, Sairam, Otrar,
Tashkend, Samarcand, Kesch, Bokhara, Herat,
Termed, and Badakshan.

A Persian trader in a work cited by Dr. Bret-
schneider upon Tchin or Khata trading, and dated
about 1500, mentions a mission to China sent by
Tamerlane's grandson about the year 1449, but
the Turkish translation of this Persian work does
not enable us to identify the names of places
along his route. The Ming history says that
missions came from Samarcand in 1430, 1437,
1445, 1446, and 1449. It is interesting to note
how long the word Kitan (Khata) and Cambalu
(Peking) survive, together with the older word
Thin, Tzin, or Tchin. It was reserved for Bene-
dict Goes (1602-7), who travelled from Kabul,
Yarkand, and the Upper Oxus to Suh-chou,
first to prove that " Cathay " and " China "
were one and the same place. Lieutenant Wood
in 1838 was the next European to follow the
route of Polo and Goes.

The sea trade routes followed by the eunuchs
of the Ming dynasty are perfectly clear. And
after all it is only in petty matters of shifting
banks, shifting bars, and consequently shifting
emporia, that we can possibly go wrong ; for a
junk which leaves its anchorage must either go
back or go on, in either of which cases it calls at
fixed places. The chief one of these leaders was
the Chinese Narses named Cheng Ho. In 1405
he took sixty-two junks and 27,800 men from
Shanghai to Amoy, Faifo, Binh-thuan, Pulo-
Condor (island), and Kampot (Cambodgia), to

80 TRADE ROUTES [chap, iv

all which places I went myself in 1888, and in
the same order, so that I can personally vouch
for the reasonableness of the eunuch's stages.
Either on this or the next occasion he took
Kilung (Formosa) on his way, but failed to induce
the savages of those parts to bring tribute ; but
he left presents, and describes them, and also
mentions the origin of the name Tamsui (Fresh
Water), which is still that of a treaty port. In
1407-9 the same eunuch went to Palembang,
Lambri, Malacca, Siam, Cail, and Ceylon, fighting
several considerable battles near Acheen and
Kandy, and asserting China's over- sovereignty
in a very decided way. In 1412-16 he visited
Pahang, Lambri, Aru, Kelantan, the Andaman
Islands, Cochin, Quilon, Calicut, Hormuz, Aden,
Magadoxa, Jubb, and Brava. In 1430-1 he
found it necessary to go the round of most of the
above places again. He himself never actually
went up the Persian Gulf, nor up the Red Sea ;
but he sent lieutenants, who seem to have pene-
trated to Jeddah, as they brought back detailed
accounts of the land of Mahomet. Nor does he
seem to have ever gone personally to Java or
Borneo, which islands, however, were both re-
peatedly visited by other eunuchs ; as also were
Madras, Bengal, and (by land) Nepaul and Tibet.
The present Manchu dynasty had to begin
afresh and feel its way overland along new or
forgotten ground, just as its predecessors had
done. The first distant discoveries were made
towards the end of the seventeenth century,
when the Emperor K'ang-hi found it advisable
to march as far as the Kerulon and the Tola in
order to drive back a Kalmuck invasion ; his
historian truly boasts that no previous emperor
occupying the Chinese throne and no Chinese
army ever went so far west, or numbered so many
as 30,000 men conveyed across the desert. The

A.D. 1700-1800] SIR AUREL STEIN'S ROAD 81

son and grandson of this excellent monarch saw
that it was indispensable to crush the Kalmuck
power : they proceeded to attack them first at
Kokonor and Lob Nor ; then to advance along
the North Road to the Purun-ki river and the
Tsaidam ; as a sequel utterly to annihilate the
whole Kalmuck state, to annex Cobdo, Sungaria,
and in the end even the Mahometan states of
Little Bokhara (i.e. Kashgaria). The Kalmucks
retreated on one occasion from Kokonor by a
road running west of the Kia-yiih Pass to Hami,
and not marked on most maps. They "^ were
granted trade privileges with China in 1739,
and also had the privilege of going to Tibet to
" boil tea " ; but of course that was before their
power was broken. At present there seems to
be no long-distance caravan trade along the direct
roads between Tibet and Lob Nor across the
K'unlun Mountains. During all these conquests
the Chinese armies always kept either to the
northernmost road by Uliassutai, or to the
North (Sungaria) Road, or the two branches of
the South (Kashgaria) Road, i.e. to the main
roads ; and the same thing may be said of Tso
Tsung-t'ang's reconquest from Yakub Beg in
1877, except that he never used the Uliassutai
road at all : by-roads and cuts across the desert
were only occasionally made use of for military
surprises. The southern branch of the South
Road has always been used for the Khotan
jade-stone import trade, which is a very ancient
one. After the subjection of Kashgaria, the
Manchus for a few years extended their influence
over Kokand, Bokhara, Shignan, and Badak-
shan ; but their armies never penetrated even
temporarily far beyond the Pamirs. There
were continuous disputes with Kokand as to the
right of the latter to tax the Kashmir trade
crossing the Sarikol region ; but China supplied

82 TRADE ROUTES [chap, iv

Kokand with tea and drugs, and was thus always
able to put pressure upon the Usbeg power by
stopping this important trade.

The ordinary Tibetan tribute route, over
which thousands of men and animals habitually
travelled to and from Peking in huge caravans,
was that taken by the Abbe Hue in 1834-5.
He followed the high-road from Dolon Nor to
Chagan Kuren, near Baotu ; cut across the
Yellow River and a corner of the Ordos Desert ;
and recrossed it at Karahoto. Thence he fol-
lowed the left bank and the Great Wall to Sayang,
Nien-po, and the Kumbum Monastery, near
Si-ning. From that resting-place he started
once more along the road running south of
Kokonor to the sources of the Yellow River ;
crossed the Shuga and Bayen-kara ranges, then
the Murui-Usu, and on to Lhassa, apparently
by the same road the Manchu Nepaul army
took, as already related.

The Nepaul " tribute " (trading) mission,
which still periodically visits China, invariably
takes the post road, via Shigatsz and Lhassa, to
Ta-tsien Lu. The road from Yiin Nan to Tibet,
though practicable, is too rough for troops, and
is therefore deliberately abandoned by the
Manchus, as it was 2,000 years ago by Han Wu
Ti : still, Prince Henry of Orleans some twenty
years ago managed to cross the extreme head
waters of the Irrawaddy, the ultimate sources of
which have since been accurately placed by
Jacques Bacot and others. Westward from
Lhassa to Lari there is a post road ; but the
Chinese Resident had for long been practically a
political prisoner at Lhassa ; d fortiori no Chinese
trader can do much in the way of exploration
farther west. Since the British expedition to
Lhassa of 1904, the Chinese reconquest of Tibet,
and the disorganisation of frontier affairs con-

A.D. 1850-1900] CHINA TO MECCA ROUTES 83

sequent upon the fall of the Manchu dynasty,
the precise status of Tibet has been in a state of
" suspended animation."

It is interesting to notice what route is usually
followed by modern Chinese ^lussulmans on
their way to Mecca. In 1893 I met one of these
pilgrims at Bhamo ; he had come all the way
from Ho Nan province, and was going by steamer
to Rangoon. In 1841 a Yiin Nan Mussulman,
who afterwards became prominent in the Pan-
thay rebellion as " Old Papa," went by way of
Esmok to Kiang Tung, Legya, and Ava (Man-
dalay) ; thence in a junk laden with Yiin Nan
copper to Rangoon. From this port he travelled
by steamer to Calcutta, Ceylon, Malabar,
Socotra, Aden, and Mocha ; thence to Jeddah.
The route he took back by sailing vessel was
ultimately by way of Acheen ; but he was
wrecked on the way, and most of the places he
called at are not at all identifiable by the un-
initiated. Then he went to Penang, Malacca,
Singapore, Canton (where he stayed in the old
mosque), up the West River to Nan-ning and
Peh-seh. Peh-seh is now the great trading
centre for the foot traffic between Pakhoi, Kwei
Chou, and Yiin Nan. But he also gives us a
land route, which is exactly that of 2,000 years
ago, and is evidently so described by him with
the intention of encouraging the Kan Suh
Mussulmans to do their religious duty ; to wit,
the Kia-yiih Pass to Hami, Turfan, Aksu, Ush,
Kashgar, Andijan, Kokand, Khodjand, Samar-
cand, Bokhara, Bagdad, Aintab, Aleppo,
Damascus, Jerusalem, Cairo ; or, as an alter-
native, Aintab, Antioch, Jaffa. Instead of going
from Bokhara to Bagdad (he names eight
stations), you can go from Bokhara to Balkh,
Kabul, Kandahar, Kelat, and Bejda, taking ship
at Beyla. The late Gabriel Deveria has collected

84 TRADE ROUTES [chap, iv

these and many other interesting details con-
cerning the Chinese Mussulmans.

If we now pass on to Mongolia, we shall find
that the trade of north-west concentrates at or
near Baotu, at the north-east corner of the
Yellow River bend, whence the ancient high-road
through Kwei-hwa Ch'eng (Tenduc) permits of
easy travel to Dolonor (Lama Miao) and Kalgan.
From Kwei-hwa runs also the high-road to
Uliassutai and the northernmost route to the
Far West. These roads (soon to be railways)
are of great commercial importance to the
foreign trade of Tientsin, and the best first-hand
authority on the subject is Rodney Gilbert, who
has " roughed it " by boat, cart, and camel.

As to the roads into Manchuria, recent re-
searches prove absolutely that the mediaeval
Chinese envoys to the Niichens followed the
present high-road round from Peking, through
Shan-hai Kwan, Mukden, Kirin or Ch'angch'un,
to Alchuk and Sansing. So with the modern
Corean road from Soul, or P'ing-yang, by way
of I-chou, whence either via Mukden and the
Manchu road, or via the Feng-hwang road and
Kin-chou, where the latter joins the former :
these were the roads of ancient times. The
Kitan roads I have been over, for the most part,
myself ; they are simply the high-roads from
Peking through the various passes of the Great
Wall, and to this day the caravans of laden
camels or mules, the droves of horses, the herds
and flocks driven in for sale may be seen coming
through in the winter season exactly as they
came 2,000 years ago. Of course the Peking-
Mukden and Peking-Kalgan railways have revo-
lutionised part at least of the traffic, and no
doubt before long the Kalgan railway will be
carried on to Urga and Kiachta. The present
Kalgan and Kiachta road used by the Russians


was not the one preferred by them in the seven-
teenth century. They used to go from Tsuru-
haitu on the lliver Argun, across the River
Hailar and the Hingan Range, down the Yall
Valley to the Nonni ; whence south-west through
the steppes and mountainous borderland of south-
east Mongolia to the Hi-feng K'ou (pass) in the
Great Wall. Between Tsitsihar on the Nonni
and Peking, travellers crossed Cholin-u-yc and
Mokhoi to the rivers Toro and Shara Muren,
with its tributary the Loha.

The same thing may be said of the Tonquin
frontier ; the roads have always been the present
ones ; the only novelty being that the Red
River route from Yun Nan past Lao-kai to
Hanoi never existed in practice, even if known
in theory, as a continuous road, until twenty-
five years ago, when Jean Dupuis effectively
discovered it. Even Haiphong had no existence
as a port. Now we have a continuous railway
from the port, via Hanoi and Lao-kai to Yiin
Nan city. The Annamese formerly discouraged
trade with China, when and for the same reasons
the Japanese did : first, on account of pirate
complications ; secondly, from the dread of
opium importations.

The total result of these laborious inquiries
into trade routes is, after all, a simple conclusion.
With one or two exceptions, the beaten tracks
are exactly the same now as they were 2,000
years ago, both by land and by sea. The marts,
with similar rare exceptions, are either the old
marts, or are near them, or have a special
traceable reason for their modified existence.
Even the peoples are the same peoples, mixed
or displaced here and there by conquests,
famines, or other cataclysms. Tea, known, as we
have seen, to the earliest Arab visitors, became a
new export when cotton became a new import :

86 TRADE ROUTES [chap, iv

it was first taxed in the eighth century. Cheap
freights for heavy commodities in huge ships
have displaced certain exchanges ; as, for
instance, iron, which from being an export is
now an import : thousands of tons of old horse-
shoes twenty years ago did, and possibly still
do go out as ballast, at low freights. The great
novelty and the great economic curse to China
has been opium, which now • happily ceases in
great measure to work its evil course ; but it is
not fair to charge upon ourselves the whole
blam.e for this, nor do the Chinese historians
attempt to do so : on the other hand, we have
not been ungenerous in our efforts to aid China
in suppressing the evil within the past decade.
The way a man walks from one village to
another is a road ; if the walk extends to fifty
villages, and a pack-mule accompanies the man,
it becomes a great road ; if supplied with post-
stations for man and caravan, it is a high-road.
People follow their noses by land, the compass
by sea (or headlands if they do not understand
the compass), and bones in the desert ; all this
now in 1917 exactly as they did 200 B.C. In
other words, commercial history shows us
nothing more than that with the same old
materials we adapt ourselves to fortuitous cir-
cumstances exactly as our ancestors did before
us. During the past sixty years these modifying
circumstances have been of unusual gravity,
and for that reason have caused unusual com-
motion^ — they are steam, electricity, coal, petro-
leum ; and now last of all wireless talk, aerial
and submarine locomotion ; in a word, " pro-
gress." It appears to me doubtful if we Euro-
peans are a whit happier for " progress " ; it
has certainly not had cheerful results so far
for the Chinese i — two dozen words originally
written in 1900, truer than ever now in 1917.



The first European missionary who attempted
to reach China by sea was St. Francis Xavier,
and the first great city the Portuguese had
definitely heard of was Canton ; but St. Francis
died, in 1552, on his way thither, at the port of
a small island called Shang-ch'uan, lying to the
south-west of Macao. The name was soon cor-
rupted into Sanciano, or Saint John, which it
now bears : the Macao Portuguese still make an
annual pilgrimage to this place. Macao was
founded shortly afterwards, but it was not
until 1582 that the Jesuits Ruggieri and Pasio
actually succeeded in reaching Canton itself ;
and they subsequently Avent on to the then
provincial capital of Chao-k'ing, locally pro-
nounced Shiu-heng. Here they were joined in
the following year by the Italian, Matthew Ricci,
who after various vicissitudes reached Peking
with one or two companions in 1601. Now it
was that the Chinese had the opportunity for
the first time of com.paring notes upon the
subject of the mysterious Franks and the semi-
mythical country of Ta-ts'in, which up to that
date had been as much a puzzle to them as
Serica and the Seres had been to the denizens
of the West. The condition of their own prac-
tical knowledge when Ricci arrived was as
follows :■ —



In 1517 a " Fulangki " fleet had appeared at
St. John's Island, which was then the entrepot
of trade between Canton and Malacca. Why
the Portuguese^ — for they it was, under Peres
de Andrade's command^ — were introduced into
China by this name we can only guess ; prob-
ably because, as with the old Fulin, the already
established Arabs had to explain to the Chinese
who they were. They sent apparently to Canton
or Chao-k'ing a Ka-pi-tan Mo (Capitao do Mar)
with tribute in 1518, and then first was their
name of " Frank " officially recorded : the
word " Portugal " was afterwards used, but it
never seems to have quite " caught on," though
the " Po-tu-ki man " of Macao is now familiar
to us all. Naturally the appearance of these
strangers at Canton, to which place Andrade
shortly afterwards forced his way, created great
commotion in official circles, especially as other
Portuguese ships had meanwhile visited Ts'uan-
chow, and had exhibited considerable violence
and asperity in their dealings with the various
trading people along the coasts. However, a
Portuguese mission, it is not quite clear under
whom, got to Peking in 1520, and an attempt
was then made by the Chinese Government to
force the Envoy to restore Malacca to its rightful
king, who was nominally a tributary of China.
At least one of the members of the mission was
executed at Peking, and the Envoy himself is
supposed to have perished in prison at Canton,
back to which place he was ignominiously
escorted. This fiasco naturally led to hostilities,
during which the large Portuguese cannon used
in the sea-fights attracted considerable attention,
and soon acquired the name of " Franks " too,
which in some parts of China is still the case
even to this day. The Chinese seem to have
subsequently availed themselves of the assist-


ance of the Portuguese, and of these wonderful
guns, to punish their own pirates : trade had
meanwhile been temporarily transferred to the
coast town of Tien-peh (Tin-pak), west of St.
John's, but now (1534-7) the Portuguese were
allowed by some official who had been judiciously
bribed to occupy Macao as a commercial depot ;
and from that day to this they have never been
ousted from it, though their right to possess it
was never put on a legal footing until some
thirty years ago (1887). But they had also for
a time other settlements at Ningpo and Ts'iian-
chow, the former of which was destroyed in
1549, probably at the time the piratical Mendez
Pinto was there. Pinto had just escaped from
captivity in Mongolia, and had returned to
Ningpo from a visit to Japan, which country he
was the first white man to see. There was also
some fighting at and near Ts'iian-chow, but both
the Chinese and the Portuguese accounts leave
confused impressions, and it is probable that
the Portuguese never had so much to do with
that port as the Spaniards.

For some years after this the severest possible
restrictions were placed upon Chinese leaving
their country for purposes of trade, but in 1567
the Governor of Fuh Kien obtained their
removal : in any case trade at Macao went on
without a break. In the main it appears the
Chinese were unable or unwilling to prevent the
fortification of Macao : moreover the Dutch and
the Japanese were beginning to give serious
trouble, and it was therefore thought prudent
to conciliate the Portuguese. Their trade was
limited to twenty-five ships a year. In 1667 a
mission was sent from Goa to complain about
obstructions to trade, and in 1710-27 the King
of Portugal took prominent part in the Emperor's
academic dispute with the Popes ; but since


the last mission to Peking in 1753 the Portuguese
have until our own days had very little inter-
course with official China. Up to the time of
Ricci's arrival it was not quite understood what
country Portugal really was ; the very name
was not heard in China till 1564 ; and even now
the vague name of " Western Ocean " men is
usually employed by old popular habit to spe-
cially designate the Portuguese, — except, as ex-
plained, in " pidjin English " conversation. The
physique as well as the moral of the mixed race
now in occupation of Macao is considerably
below that of pure Portuguese, and even below
that of the pure Chinese. The trade of the place
has dwindled into insignificance.

From the Portuguese we pass to the Spaniards.
In the year 1576 the Chinese, in their pursuit
of certain Japanese and Chinese pirates who had
been hovering about Formosa, came across some
more Franks in Manila, where there had already
been large settlements of Fuh Kien traders long
before the Spaniards ever appeared in those seas.
A Mexican priest who had lived there, writing
in 1638, said their junks came from Ocho (Foo-
chow), Chincheo (Ts'iian-chow), and Amoy,
and always went back in ballast, carrying only

Online LibraryEdward Harper ParkerChina, her history, diplomacy, and commerce, from the earliest times to the present day → online text (page 9 of 35)