Charles Alfred Browne.

An introduction to the geography and history of India, and the countries adjacent; online

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description, this country having long been
celebrated for its cotton and silk fabrics,
and for its earthen ware ; which latter
was for a long time so peculiar to China
that it still bears the name of "China,"
though now manufactured in Europe of
a superior quality. It possesses all the
common domestic animals, and a very
small breed of camels not larger than
horses. The wild animals are the tiger,
rhinoceros and bear, with the usual
smaller kinds. Metals are abundant,
gold, silver, copper, tutenag, lead, tin,
and iron ; coal is also plentiful.

Towns. The cities and towns are numerous ;

the principal are Peking, Sinkang, Nan-
king, and Canton.

Peking, or the Northern Court, is the
capital. It is situated in lat. 39 54' N.
long. 116 27' E., about 40 miles from
the great wall, and contains two millions
of inhabitants.

Sinkang, situated inland towards the
western frontier, is reported to be equal
to Peking.

Nanking, or the Southern Court, the
former capital, situated near the eastern

CHINA. oil

Towns. coast upon the river Kianku, is the largest
city in the empire, though not so populous
as Peking. The cloth called nankeen,
takes its name from this city.

Canton is the largest seaport town in
China, and the only one to which Euro-
peans were formerly permitted to resort.
It is situated on the banks of the river
Quantung, or Pekiang, in lat. 32 4' N.
long. 118 4' E. ; and has, besides the
suburbs on shore, a large floating town
upon the river, containing altogether
nearly a million and a half of inhabit-

There are factories in the suburbs es-
tablished by England and America, and
by most of the European powers. No
foreigners are permitted to enter the city
itself, but are restricted to the suburbs.
The Russians are excluded from the sea-
ports, because a land trade is carried on
with them on the frontiers of Siberia.

About 80 miles below Canton, on a
small peninsula near the month of the
river, the entrance of which is called by
Europeans the Bocca Tigris, stands the
town of Macao, belonging to the Portu-
guese, who were permitted to form this
settlement in 1586 by the emperor of
China, in reward for services rendered
by them in expelling some pirates. Un-
til 1842 it was the only European settle-
ment in the Chinese empire, and is under
strict supervision, being in reality govern-
ed by a mandarin. No foreign females
are allowed to pass beyond Macao, where
European ships are consequently obliged
to land any who may be on board, before
they can proceed up the river.

312 CHINA.

Towns. A short distance from Macao is the

small island of Hong-kong, which was
finally ceded to the English in 3842, and
is now an English settlement.

Name. The English name for this country is

derived from the word "Cheen," by
which China is generally designated in
the east. The Native name is said to
be "Tchong kwe," or "the kingdom of
the centre." It is also sometimes styled
in their public documents, " the celestial
empire. 1 '

In J^ it " The Natives of this country, who are
by Europeans termed the Chinese, con-
sist of two classes, Tartars and Chinese
who are also of Tartar origin. They
vary in complexion from a dark and
swarthy brown, to a florid white, with
broad flat faces, and very small narrow
eyes wide apart. In their dress they
are entirely distinct from both Europeans
and Asiatics in general ; and are particu-
larly distinguished by the practice of
wearing their hair platted into a long
tail hanging down their backs. They
are a very ingenious and most industri-
ous people, very skilful artists, and ca-
pable of correctly imitating almost any
thing given them as a model, yet they
are greatly behind European nations in
every branch of art and science, which
is owing to their pride and their great
dread of all innovation, which prevent
their adopting any new inventions, es-
pecially from foreigners. Thus they re-
main in the same state to which they
appear to have attained many centuries

CHINA, 313

Inhabit- a go 9 an( j though far advanced in civil-
ization, while European nations were
yet in barbarism, the latter have now
passed far beyond them. Though they
have European ships of all kinds continu-
ally in their sight, they still adhere to
their own clumsy and imperfect style of
building, and the Chinese junks, as their
large vessels are called, are proverbial as
the worst adapted to the sea of any that
are known. They make use of the com-
pass, but they know nothing of naviga-
tion ; their astronomy is very imperfect,
and so in every other department of
knowledge ; every thing having long
stood still with the Chinese, while other
nations, whom they call barbarians, have
been continually advancing. The total
population of China is said to amount to
about 148,000,000.

History. Like other eastern nations, the Chinese
pretend to an antiquity which is beyond
all reason, carrying their history to a
9 period of more than fifty thousand years
back. They are, however, admitted to
be one of the most ancient nations now
existing ; and they possess apparently
credible records reaching ag far as about
3,000 years before Christ. According to
these, the country was then in a state of
complete barbarism, and continued divid-
ed into a number of petty states, nomi-
nally subject to an emperor, until about
500 years before Christ, when it appears
to have been formed into one regular
government. From early times China
was subject to invasions from the neigh-
bouring Tartar tribes, and was twice


314 CHINA.

History, overrun and conquered, though not re-
tained, by Jungez Khan and Tymoor.
In 1644, taking advantage of internal
rebellions and disorders, the khan of
the Manshoor Tartars invaded and sub-
dued the empire, and from that time it
has been under the rule of his descend-
ants ; the country of the Manshoors hav-
ing become incorporated as part of the
Chinese dominions, under the name
which it now bears of Chinese Tartary.
The government is purely despotic, all
power and honor of every kind emanat-
ing solely from the sovereign. The title
given him by Europeans is "emperor.'"
His native titles vary, and are usually
remarkable for their absurd vanity, such
as "sole governor of the earth"-*-" celes-
tial monarch 1 ' "son of heaven. 1 '

Religion. The prevalent religion of China, being
that followed by the emperor, is Booddh-
ism of the yellow lama sect. Booddh is
known in this country by the name of
Fo, and his system of religion was intro-
duced from India about 65 years before
the Christian era. The Chinese priests
of this sect are usually called by Euro-
peans Bonzes.

There are two other systems of reli-
gion, the one of Confucius, the other of

Confucius, called by the Chinese Con-
foo-tsee, was a very eminent philosopher,
who was born about the year 550 before
Christ. His religion may be briefly des-
cribed as a system of morals founded up-
on the acknowledgment of a Supreme Be-
ing, rewarding virtue and punishing vice.

CHINA. 315

Religion. The religion of Lao-kien appears to be

a confused system of idolatry, including

with the worship of a Supreme Being

that of a multitude of spirits, and its

priests profess to practise magic.

Mahomedanism also exists among the

Language. The Chinese language is considered
the most singular in the world. It is
monosyllabic, that is, all its words con-
sist of a single syllable, and it is written
in a very complicated character, the
words being placed in columns from right
to left, and reading from top to bottom
of each column. For writing, the Chi-
nese use a hair-pencil or brush and the
ink generally called by the English "In-
dian ink," with which they trace the
characters upon paper or silk. Printing
with wooden blocks has been practised
by the Chinese from a very early period.


Islands connected with. China.

General There are several islands on different

parts of the coast, either tributary to
China, or included in its provinces. Of
these, the principal are the Chusan, the
Loochoo, Formosa, and Hainan.

The Chusan islands form an extensive
group, of which the principal one, nam-
ed Chusan, is situated in lat. 30 N. long.
122 14' E., about 10 miles from the
mainland. They form part of the adja-
cent province.

316 CHINA.

General The Loochoo islands are situated
about 400 miles from the coast, occu-
pying the 27th degree of north latitude,
and the 129th degree east longitude.
They are tributary to China. The in-
habitants are a kindly, intelligent race
of people, and have frequently shown
great hospitality to shipwrecked crews
of European vessels.

Formosa is a large island, about 180
miles in length, and 50 in average
breadth, lying off the south-eastern
coast of China, distant about 200 miles,
between lat. 23 and 24 N. According
to Chinese accounts, this island was not
known to them until A. D. 1430, when
it was accidentally discovered by some
of their ships. The Dutch took posses-
sion of it during the 16th century, and
retained it until 1661, when Kue-sing-
kong, called by European writers, Cox-
inga, a governor of a province in China,
not being willing to submit to the Tartar
conquerors of his country, determined to
establish himself in Formosa, which he
invaded with a numerous body of follow-
ers and conquered. It remained under
the rule of his successors until 1683,
when it was voluntarily surrendered to
the emperor of China, and became part
of his dominions. At present it is in an
unsettled state, the Ladrones or pirates
disputing possession with the imperial

This island was found, when taken pos-
session of by the Dutch, to be inhabited
by savage tribes, who still occupy the
eastern part, the Chinese having colo-
nised the western.



General Hainan is situated at the southern ex-
tremity of China, separated only by a
narrow channel from the province of
Canton. It is about 190 miles in length,
and 70 in breadth, and though so close
to the mainland, is in a very rude slate,
the inhabitants still consisting principally
of the original savage tribes.



General Corea consists of a remarkable penin-
sula, bounded on the north by the moun-
tains dividing it from Chinese Tartary ;
and separated from Japan on the east
by the Sea of Japan, also called the
Straits of Corea ; and from China on the
west by the Yellow Sea.

This country, which is 400 miles from
north to south, by 150 from east to west,
is traversed through its whole length by
a chain of mountains, but contains a con-
siderable extent of fertile and well culti-
vated plains, though in some parts sterile
and rugged.

The capital is Kingkitao, an inland
town, situated nearly in the centre of the

Very little is known of Corea, the in-
habitants, called by Europeans Coreans,
having always shown great jealousy of
all foreigners, never allowing them to
proceed into the interior, nor to obtain
any information regarding the country.
It is under its own sovereign, paying
only a nominal tribute to China. The

318 JAPAN.

General written language is the same as the Chi-
Account. neg ^ feut the Jall g liage spoken by the

people is quite distinct. The population
is understood to be about 8,000,000.



Bound- T ne empire of Japan consists of four

large and several small islands, lying to
the east of Chinese Tartary and China y
and about 150 miles distant, extending
from lat. 46 to 30 N.

The large islands are Jesso, Nipon,
Sikoke, and Kinsin, and of these the
largest and principal is Nipon, which is
about 850 miles in length.

General They are all mountainous and have
" several volcanoes, some of which are con-
tinually in action. They are well wa-
tered, and cultivated with remarkable
industry and skill. Their principal pro-
ductions are rice and other grains and
vegetables, tea, cotton, silk, varnish, and
camphor. The animals are not numer-
ous. There are horses and cattle but no
sheep, and the wolf is the largest of their
wild beasts. Gold is abundant, and they
have also silver, copper, lead, iron, sul-
phur and coal.





There are numerous towns, many of
them large and populous. The principal
are Jeddo, Miako, and Nungasaki.

Jeddo, which is the capital of the em-
pire, is situated upon the southern coast
of Nipon, in lat. 36 29' N. long. 140 E.

Miako is an inland town in the same
island, and is the second capital or resi-
dence of the religious ruler of the empire.

Nungasaki is situated on the western
coast of Kinsin, in lat. 32 48' N. long.
]32 35' E. It is the only seaport to
which Europeans are allowed to resort.

The name of Japan is derived from the
Chinese term Sippon or Jippon. By the
Natives their country is called Nipon.

inhabit- The inhabitants, called by the English
Japanese, appear to be of the same gen-
eral race as the Tartars and Chinese,
being distinguished by the same small
narrow eyes and flat faces. Their com-
plexion is yellowish, occasionally ap-
proaching to white. They are an ex-
ceedingly ingenious people, and in point
of civilization may be considered on a
footing with the Chinese. Their manu-
factures of all kinds are excellent. In
silk and cotton fabrics they are superior
to any other eastern country, and in var-
nished and lacquered wares they are un-
equalled even by Europeans. So cele-
brated have they always been for this last
art, that "japari" has become the com-
mon English term for this description of
ware. Their acquirements in science,
however, are limited, as this nation, like
the Chinese, has remained stationary ; so

320 JAPAN.

Inhabit- that in navigation, mechanics, &c. they
are still very far behind. The amount
o^ the population is not known. It pro-
bably does not exceed 15 or 20 millions.

History. The early history of this nation is in-
volved in fable. Their records, as far as
they can be trusted, begin about the year
660 before the Christian era; and ac-
cording to these, the empire was from
that period under the regular hereditary
government of a single monarch, combin-
ing the offices both of king and priest,
without interruption, until A. D. 1150 ;
when the succession to the throne being
disputed brought on a civil war, which
terminated in the establishment of two
authorities much on the same footing as
in Bootan, the one having the tempo-
ral power of government, the other all
religious authority. The first, although
nominally inferior to the other, is ac-
tually the real monarch. His native
title is the kubo, and by Europeans he
is styled the emperor of Japan.

Religion. j n religion the Japanese are idolaters,
some of the Booddhist system, introduced
it is understood from China, and others
of a more ancient system, recognising a
Supreme Being but worshipping a mul-
titude of inferior deities. Japan was
visited by Portuguese missionaries in
1549, and they continued to teach their
religion with very considerable success
until 1638, when the government becoming
suspicious of their intentions commenced
a fierce persecution, and after massacreing
many thousands, entirely rooted out the


Religion. Rornish religion ; since which time, all
attempts to introduce Christianity into
this country have been carefully prevent-
ed, and the name of Christian proscribed.
The Dutch are now the only Europeans
whom they allow to trade with their

Language. The Japanese language is entirely dis-
tinct from the Chinese.



Bound- Bootan is adjacent to the northern
frontier of the province of Bengal. It
is bounded on the north by the Hima-
laya mountains separating it from
Tibet ; east, by China ; south, by As-
sam and the frontier districts of Ben-
gal ; and west, by the river Teesta sep-
arating it from Sikkim.

Divisions. Jt has no divisions worthy of particu-
lar notice.

Rivers. Its rivers are numerous. The prin-

cipal are the Teesta on the west ; the
Gudhadhur towards the centre ; and
Monas, or Goomaree, to the eastward ;
all flowing from the Himalaya range, the
Teesta into the Ganges in the province of
Bengal, the others into the Brahmapootra.




Prod ac-

The northern portion of this country
consists of an irregular assemblage of
lofty mountains, known by the general
appellation of Tangustan, some covered
with snow, others clothed with forests.
Amongst these are populous villages sur-
rounded by orchards and plantations ; at
the base of the hills, towards the Bengal
frontier, is a plain of about 25 miles in
breadth covered with luxuriant vegeta-
tion, and marshy forests abounding with
elephants and rhinoceroses. From its
mountainous character the climate of
Bootan varies greatly, the inhabitants
of the more elevated parts shivering with
cold, while a few miles lower down the
people are oppressed by intense heat.
Every favourable spot is cultivated, the
sides of the mountains being industrious- ;
ly cut into terraces.

Its principal productions are wheat
and other grains, numerous fruits and
vegetables, including peaches, apricots,
strawberries and other fruits ; bees- wax,
ivory and coarse woollen manufactures.
In the forests there is a variety of useful
timber, such as the ash, birch, yew, pine
and fir, the last growing to a consider-
able size, and the hills yield abundance
of limestone. Wild animals are not nu-
merous, with the exception of those in
the low country. Monkeys of a large
and handsome kind abound and are held
sacred. Bootan has also a peculiar breed
of horses, noted for strength and activity.
They are small and short bodied, seldom
exceeding thirteen hands in height, but
remarkably well proportioned and com-


Produc- monly piebald. They are known in In-

tions. i- i xl J? rp rri

dia by the name of 1 angun or 1 any an,
from Tangustan their native country,
and numbers of them are brought to
Rungpoor for sale by the annual cara-
vans from Bootan.

Towns. rp^ p r j nc jp a } towns are Tassisudon,

Poonukka, and Wandipoor, towards the
north, and Dellamcotta, Lukheedwar,
Bukhsheedwar, and Kuchhoobaree, lying
along the southern hills, nearly in a line
from west to east.

Tassisudou, pronounced by the Na-
tives Tassjung, which is the capital,
stands in lat. 27? 5' N. long. 99 40' E.
about 100 miles north from the town of
Kooch Bahar. It is pleasantly situated,
and has a number of handsome buildings,
and has a large manufactory for paper,
which is fabricated from the bark of a tree
named dea, growing in the neighbourhood.

Name. J n ancient Brahmin ical legends this

country is denominated Madra. Its Na-
tive name, however, is Bhoot, or accord-
ing to English usage, Bootan.

Inhabit- The inhabitants are styled Bhootiyas,
or Bootanners. They are part of a nu-
merous tribe of Tartar origin, which has
peopled the greater part of the moun-
tainous tract bordering upon the Hima-
laya range. In features they resemble
the Chinese, and like the Chinese they
are remarkable for cowardice and cruelty,
though in person a very robust and ac-
tive race. Their weapons are chiefly
bows and arrows and swords ; their ar-


inhabit- rows being - generally poisoned. They
have also fire-arms, but of a very inferior
kind. There are also some thousands
descendants of Bengalese and Assamese.
The total population is believed not to
exceed 150,000.

History. The government of this country is of
a very peculiar character. There are
in fact two sovereigns, one styled the
Debor Deva raja, who exercises all the
real authority ; and a second styled the
Dhurma raja, who is the legitimate sov-
ereign. The Dhurma raja, however,
being considered a sacred person and
an actual incarnation of the Deity, never
interferes in any but religious matters,
leaving every thing else to the Deva raja,
who is nominally his deputy. Of the
early history of this country we know
nothing. The first intercourse of its
government with the British happened
in 1772, when the Deb raja suddenly
invaded and overran Kooch Bahar, be-
fore the authorities in Bengal were in-
formed of his proceedings. The invaders
were easily driven back by two battalions
of Native infantry and pursued into
their own territories, and their fortress
of Dellamcotta was attacked and taken
by storm. This alarmed the Deb raja
for his own safety, and at his entreaty
the teshoo lama of Tibet prevailed up-
on the British Government to conclude
peace, which has since continued.

Religion. The religion of Bootan is the Booddh-
ist system of Tibet, or as it is termed
the lama religion.

ASSAM. 325

Language. Four different dialects are spoken in
different parts of this country. The
whole are generally designated as the
Bhootiya language, and it is believed to
be derived from the language of Tibet.



Bound- This country lies on the north-eastern

frontier of Bengal. On the north it has
Bootan, and a range of lofty mountains
dividing it from Tibet ; on the east it is
believed to be bounded by other ranges
of mountains separating it from China ;
south it has the Shan Country, Moga-
ong, and Cassay districts of Ava, and
Kachar ; and west, the district of Gen-
tiapoor, adjoining the Silhet district of
Bengal, the Garrow mountains, and

Divisions. It is divided into three provinces,
Kamroop on the west, Assam in the
centre, and Seediya on the east.

The province of Kamroop was for-
merly an extensive division in Hindoo
geography, and included a large part
of Assam, with the modern districts of
Rungpoor and Rungamutty, part of My-
moonsing, Silhet, Munmpoor,.Gentia, and

326 ASSAM.

Divisions. Kacliar. As the name is now used, how-
ever, it is restricted to the western divi-
sion of Assam, and extends from the
province of Bengal eastward about 130

Rivers. In number and magnitude the rivers

of Assam probably surpass those of any
other country in the world of equal ex-
tent, the total number being said to be
sixty-one. The principal are the Brah-
mapootra, or as it is called in Assam,
the Loohait ; and the Dihong, Dibong,
Dikho, and Di prong, all of which fall
into the Brahmapootra, or some of its

General The whole of this country may be

^iion? 1 ' considered as forming the main valley of

the Brahmapootra river, extending in its

greatest dimensions, about 350 miles in

length by 60 its average breadth.

It is enclosed on all sides by ranges of
mountains. Those on the north and east
particularly are very lofty, and have
their summits constantly covered with

There are hilly tracts covered with
woods in different parts of the valley,
and the mountains also are covered with

Produc- The productions of Assam are much
the same as those of Bengal, which coun-
try it greatly resembles in appearance.
The principal articles are rice, mustard-
seed, black pepper, chillies,- ginger, betel,
toTjacco, and opium. The sugar-cane
thrives, but is generally eaten by the

ASSAM. 827

Produc- Natives fresh from the field ; cocoa-nuts
are very rare ; oranges abound. The
most remarkable produce of Assam,
however, is silk. No fewer than four
different kinds of silk-worms are reared.
Silks of several varieties forming great
part of the Native clothing, besides leav-
ing a quantity for exportation. The Na-
tive women of all classes, from the raja's
wives downwards, wear the four sorts of
silk. The cultivation of tea has lately
been introduced, and promises to become
of much importance. Gold is found in
all the rivers, particularly in the Dik-
rong, and there are probably other met-
als. Buffaloes and oxen are common,
but horses, sheep, and goats are scarce,
and there are no asses. The wild ani-
mals are generally the same as in Bengal.

Towns. The principal towns are Gaohati, Jor-

hat, Gerghong, Rungpoor, and Seediya.

Gaohati is situated on the south side
of the Brahmapootra, in lat. 25 55' N.
long. 91 40' E. It was in ancient times
the capital of Kamroop, but is now a
place of little consequence.

Jorhat, latterly the capital of the coun-
try, stands on both sides of the river
Dikho, in lat. 26 48' N. long. 94 6' E.

Geryhong is also situated on the Dik-
ho, and was for many years the capital
of the Assam kingdom ; but an insurrec-
tion of the people breaking out in 1794,
ruined the town, and caused the seat of
government to be transferred to Jorhat.

Rungpoor, the principal town of the
country in point of size and importance,

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Online LibraryCharles Alfred BrowneAn introduction to the geography and history of India, and the countries adjacent; → online text (page 19 of 26)