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over the welfare of the peoples that are beyond the western frontiers of
the Empire ; it was, I say, in those lovely parts that, after having con-
quered the whole country of the Eleuths, I had received the sincere
homages of Tchering and his Tourbeths, who alone among the Eleuths
had remained faithful to me. One has not to go many years back to
touch the epoch of that transaction. The remembrance of it is yet
recent. And now who could have predicted it? when there was
the least possible room for expecting such a thing, and when I had
no thought of it, that one of the branches of the Eleuths which first
separated itself from the trunk, those Torgouths who had voluntarily
expatriated themselves to go and live under a foreign and distant
dominion, these same Torgouths are come of themselves to submit
to me of their own good will ; and it happens that it is still at Ge-hol,
not far from the venerable spot where my grandfather's ashes repose,
that I have the opportunity, which I never sought, of admitting them
solemnly into the number of my subjects.'

" Annexed to this general memoir there were some notes, also by the
Emperor, one of them being that description of the sufferings of the
Torgouths on their march, and of the miserable condition in which they
arrived at the Chinese frontier, which De Quincey has quoted at p. 417.
Annexed to the Memoir there is also a letter from P. Amiot, one
of the French Jesuit missionaries, dated ' Pe-king, I5th October, 1773,'
containing a comment on the memoir of a certain Chinese scholar and
mandarin, Yu-min-tchoung, who had been charged by the Emperor with


the task of seeing the narrative properly preserved in four languages in
a monumental form. It is from this Chinese comment on the Imperial
Memoir that there is the extract at p. 418 as to the miserable con-
dition of the fugitives.

" On a comparison of De Quincey's splendid paper with the Chinese
documents, several discrepancies present themselves ; the most impor-
tant of which perhaps are these : (i) In De Quincey's paper it is Kien
Long himself who first descries the approach of the vast Kalmuck
horde to the frontiers of his dominions. On a fine morning in the
early autumn of 1771, we are told, being then on a hunting expedition
in the solitary Tartar wilds on the outside of the great Chinese \Vall,
and standing by chance at an opening of his pavilion to enjoy the
morning sunshine, he sees the huge sheet of mist on the horizon, which,
as it rolls nearer and nearer, and its features become more definite,
reveals camels, and horses, and human beings in myriads, and announces
the advent of, etc. etc. ! In Kien Long's own narrative he is not there
at all, having expected indeed the arrival of the Kalmuck host, but
having deputed the military and commissariat arrangements for the
reception of them to his trusted officer, Chouhede" ; and his first sight
of any of them is when their chiefs are brought to him, by the imperial
post-road, to his quarters a good way off, where they are honorably
entertained, and whence they accompany him to his summer residence
of Ge-hol. (2) De Quincey's closing account of the monument in
memory of the Tartar transmigration which Kien Long caused to be
erected, and his copy of the fine inscription on the monument, are not
in accord with the Chinese statements respecting that matter. ' Mighty
columns of granite and brass erected by the Emperor Kien Long near
the banks of the Ily ' is De Quincey's description of the monument.
The account given of the affair by the mandarin Yu-min-tchoung, in his
comment on the Emperor's Memoir, is very different. ' The year of
the arrival of the Torgouths,' he says, ' chanced to be precisely that in
which the Emperor was celebrating the eightieth year of the age of
his mother the Empress-Dowager. In memory of this happy day
his Majesty had built on the mountain which shelters from the heat
(Pi-chou-chan) a vast and magnificent miao, in honor of the reunion of
all the followers of Fo in one and the same worship ; it had just been
completed when Oubache and the other princes of his nation arrived at
Ge-hol. In memory of an event which has contributed to make this
same year forever famous in our annals, it has been his Majesty's will
to erect in the same miao a monument which should fix the epoch of the
event and attest its authenticity ; he himself composed the words for


the monument and wrote the characters with his own hand. How
small the number of persons that will have an opportunity of seeing
and reading this monument within the walls of the temple in which it
is erected ! ' Moreover the words of the monumental inscription in
De Quincey's copy of it are hardly what Kien Long would have written
or could have authorized. ' Wandering sheep who have strayed away
from the Celestial Empire in the year 1616' is the expression in De
Quincey's copy for that original secession of the Torgouth Tartars from
their eastern home on the Chinese borders for transference of them-
selves far west to Russia, which was repaired and compensated by their
return in 1771 under their Khan Oubache. As distinctly, on the other
hand, the memoir of Kien Long refers the date of the original secession
to no farther back than the reign of his own grandfather, the Emperor
Kang Hi, when Ayouki, the grandfather of Oubache, was Khan of the
Torgouths, and induced them to part company with their overbearing
kinsmen the Eleuths, and seek refuge within the Russian territories on
the Volga. In the comment of the Chinese mandarin on the Imperial
Memoir the time is more exactly indicated by the statement that the
Torgouths had remained ' more than seventy years ' in their Russian
settlements when Oubache brought them back. This would refer us to
about 1700, or, at farthest, to between 1690 and 1700, for the secession
under Ayouki.

" The discrepancies are partly explained by the fact that De Quincey
followed Bergmann's account, which account differs avowedly in
some particulars from that of the Chinese memoirs. In Bergmann I
find the original secession of the ancestors of Oubache's Kalmuck
horde from China to Russia is pushed back to 1616, just as in De
Quincey. But, though De Quincey keeps by Bergmann when he
pleases, he takes liberties with Bergmann too, intensifies Bergmann's
story throughout, and adds much to it for which there is little or no
suggestion in Bergmann. For example, the incident which De Quincey
introduces with such terrific effect as the closing catastrophe of the
march of the fugitive Kalmucks before their arrival on the Chinese
frontier, the incident of their thirst-maddened rush into the waters of
Lake Tengis, and their wallow there in bloody struggle with their
Bashkir pursuers, has no basis in Bergmann larger than a few slight
and rather matter-of-fact sentences. As Bergmann himself refers here
and there in his narrative to previous books, German or Russian, for
his authorities, it is just possible that De Quincey may have called some
of these to his aid for any intensification or expansion of Bergmann
he thought necessary. My impression, however, is that he did nothing


of the sort, but deputed any necessary increment of his Bergmann
materials to his own lively imagination."

1 i. The first three paragraphs of the essay, comprising the formal
introduction, are intentionally rather more picturesque and vivacious in
style than the ordinary narrative that follows. If these paragraphs be
read consecutively aloud, the student will surely feel the sweep and
power of De Quincey's eloquence. Attention may well be directed to
the author's own apparent interest in his subject because of its appeal
to the imagination (p. I, 1. 4), of the romantic circumstances (p. 1,1. ll),
of its dramatic capabilities (p. 2, 1. 8), of its scenical situations (p. 3, 1. 8).
Throughout the essay effort should be made to excite appreciation of
the significance of words, and De Quincey's mastery in the use of words
may be continually illustrated. In paragraph i, note the fitness of the
word velocity (1. 12) and the appropriateness of the epithets in almighty
instincts (1. 17), life-withering marches (1. 18), gloomy vengeance (1. 19),
volleying thunders (p. 2, 1. i).

1 5. Tartar. Originally applied to certain tribes in Chinese Tartary,
but here used for Mongolian. Look up etymology and trace relation
of the word to Turk. steppes. A Russian word indicating large
areas more or less level and devoid of forests ; these regions are often
similar in character to the American prairie, and are used for pasturage.

1 6,7. terminus a quo, terminus ad quern. The use of phrases quoted
from classic sources is frequent in De Quincey's writings. Note such
phrases as they occur, also foreign words. Is their use to be justified ?

1 18. leeming. The lemming, or leming. A rodent quadruped.
" It is very prolific, and vast hordes periodically migrate down to the
sea, destroying much vegetation in their path." Century Dictionary.

1 22. Miltonic images. " Miltonic " here characterizes not only
images used by Milton, but images suggestive of his as well. Yet

compare :

Or from above

Should intermitted vengeance arm again
His red right hand to plague us ?

Paradise Lost, II, 172-4.
Or, with solitary hand
Reaching beyond all limit, at one blow
Unaided could have finished thee.

Paradise Lett, VI, 139-41.

2 12. sanctions. The word here means not permission, nor recog-
nition merely, but the avowal of something as sacred, hence obligatory ;
a thing ordained.


2 13, 14. a triple character. De Quincey is fond of thus analyzing
the facts he has to state. Notice how this method of statement,
marked by " ist," " 2dly," "3dly," contributes to the clearness of the

2 17. " Venice Preserved." A tragedy by Thomas Otway, one of
the Elizabethan dramatists (1682). "Fiesco." A tragedy by the
great German dramatist Friedrich Schiller (1783), the full title of which
is The Conspiracy of Fiesco at Genoa.

2 22. Cambyses, the Third (529-522 B.C.). He was king of Persia
and led an expedition into Ethiopia, which ended disastrously for

2 23. anabasis. The word itself means " a march up " into the
interior. katabasis (1. 28) means "a march down," in this case
the retreat of the Greeks. The Anabasis of the Greek historian Xeno-
phon is the account of the expedition of Cyrus the Younger against
Artaxerxes, which ended with the death of Cyrus at the battle of Cunaxa
(401 B.C.).

2 25. Crassus. A Roman general who led an army into Parthia
(or Persia) (54 B.C.). He was defeated and put to death by torture.
Julian (1. 26), the Apostate, lost his life while invading Persia (363 A.D.).

2 28. the Russian anabasis, etc. The historic invasion of Russia
by the armies of Napoleon in 1812, followed by the terrible retreat from

3 3. This triple character, etc. Note this method of making clear
the connection between paragraphs. Make close study of these para-
graphs ; analyze their structure. Compare the manner of introducing
subsequent paragraphs.

3 14. Wolga. The German spelling. The Volga is the longest
river in Europe. It is difficult to locate with certainty all the points
here mentioned.

3 16. Koulagina was a fort somewhere on the Ural river; perhaps
to be identified with Kulaschinskaja, or Kologinskaia.

3 17. Cossacks. A people of mixed origin, but of Russian rather
than Tartar stock. There are two branches, the Ukraine and the Don
Cossacks. This people is first heard of in the tenth century. The title
of the leader was Hetman ; the office was elective and the government
was democratic. The Cossacks have been noted always as fierce
fighters and are valuable subjects of the czar. The Bashkirs (1. 18) are
Mongolians and nomadic in their habits.

3 18. Ouchim was evidently a mountain pass in the Ural range
(compare p. 37, 1. 18).


3 19. Torgau, spelled also Torgai by De Quincey, though elsewhere
Turgai, indicates a district east of the Ural mountains ; it is also the
name of the principal city of that district.

3 20. Khan. A Tartar title meaning chief or governor.

3 22. Lake of Tengis. Lake Balkash is meant. Compare p. 56,
1. 1 8, and note thereon.

3 23. Zebek-Dorchi. One of the principal characters in the follow-
ing narrative.

3 32. Kalmucks. A branch of the Mongolian family of peoples,
divided into four tribes, and dwelling in the Chinese Empire, western
Siberia, and southeastern Russia. They were nomads, adherents of a
form of Buddhism, and number over 200,000. Century Cyclopedia of

4 12. exasperated. As an illustration of the discriminating use of
words, explain the difference in meaning of exasperated and irritated
(1. 19) ; also point out the fitness of the word inflated in the phrase

(1- 13)-

5 23. rival. V?hy"a!most a competitor"? What is the meaning
of each word ?

5 32. odius. Is there any gain in force by adding repulsive ?

6 5. Machiavelian. Destitute of political morality. A term derived
from the name of Niccolo Machiavelli, an Italian statesman and writer
(1469-1527), who, in a treatise on government entitled "The Prince,"
advocated, or was interpreted to advocate, the disregard of moral prin-
ciple in the maintenance of authority. In this sentence discriminate
between the apparent synonyms dissimulation, hypocrisy, perfidy.

6 is. Elizabeth Petrowna. Daughter of Peter the Great and
Catharine I. Empress of Russia 1741-1762.

6 28. Tcherkask. An important city of the Cossacks, near the
mouth of the Don. tents. A common method of counting families
among nomads. What figure of speech does this illustrate?

7 25. roubles. A rouble is the Russian unit of value, worth seventy-
seven cents. The word is etymologically connected with the Indian rupee.

7 28. Thus far, etc. Notice the care with which De Quincey
analyzes the situation.

8 19. mercenary. Look up origin of the word. How is it appro-
priate here ?

8 29. romantic. What are the qualities indicated by this adjective?
How did the word, derived from Roman, get its present significance ?

8 34. A triple vengeance. Compare with the similar analysis
p. 2, 1. 13.


9 11. behemoth. A Hebrew word meaning "great beast." It was
used probably of the hippopotamus. See Job, xl, 1 5-24. In the work
by Bergmann, which furnished De Quincey with much of his material,
the figure used is that of a giant and a dwarf. Muscovy. An old
name of Russia, derived from Moscow.

9 13. "lion ramp." Quoted from Milton :

The bold Ascalonite
Fled from his lion ramp.

Samson Agonistes, 139.

" Baptized and infidel " and " barbaric East " are also borrowings from

9 16. unnumbered numbers. Notice how effectively in this and the
following sentences De Quincey utilizes suggested words: monstrous,
monstrosity ; hopelessness, hope.

9 22. fable. Here used for plot ; the idea being that the story of
the Revolt has all the compactness and unity of design to be found in
the plot of a classic tragedy, which could admit the introduction of no
external incidents or episodes to confuse the thread of the main

10 8. translation. Note the etymology of this word, which is here
used in its literal sense.

10 17. But what, etc. See with what art, as well as with what
evident interest, De Quincey catches the very spirit of the plot. How
does the interrogation add strength ?

10 25, 26. Kien Long. " Emperor of China from 1735 to 1796, was
the fourth Chinese emperor of the Mantchoo-Tartar dynasty, and a man
of the highest reputation for ability and accomplishment." MASSON.

10 28. religion. Lamaism. " A corrupted form of Buddhism pre-
vailing in Tibet and Mongolia, which combines the ethical and meta-
physical ideas of Buddhism with an organized hierarchy under two
semi-political sovereign pontiffs, an elaborate ritual, and the worship of
a host of deities and saints." Century Dictionary.

10 29. Chinese Wall. This famous wall was built for defence
against the northern Mongols in the third century. It is 1400 miles in
length and of varying height. In what sense is the phrase used
figuratively ?

11 17. great Lama. " Lama, a celibate priest or ecclesiastic belong-
ing to that variety of Buddhism known as Lamaism. There are several
grades of lamas, both male and female. The dalai-lama and the tesho-
or bogdo-lama are regarded as supreme pontiffs. They are of equal


authority in their respective territories, but the former is much the more
important, and is known to Europeans as the Grand Lama." Century

The Dalai- Lama (p. 12, 1. n) resides at Lassa in Tibet.

12 34. With respect to the month. Notice the extreme care with
which the author develops the following details, and the touch of sym-
pathy with which this paragraph closes.

13 28. war raged. "The war was begun in 1768 when Mustapha
III. was Sultan of Turkey ; and it was continued till 1774." MASSON.

13 33. Human experience, etc. It is a favorite device of this writer
to develop a concrete fact into an abstraction of general application.
Do you believe that this is true ? Can you give any illustration ?

15 l. a pitched battle. " It will be difficult, I think, to find record,
in the history of the Russo-Turkish war of 1768, of any battle answering
to this." MASSON.

15 10. Paladins. A term used especially to designate the famous
knightly champions who served the Prankish Charlemagne. Look up
the etymology of the word and trace its present meaning.

15 24. ukase. " An edict or order, legislative or administrative,
emanating from the Russian government." Century Dictionary.

16 9. mummeries. Find the original meaning of this word.

16 22. Catharine II "Elizabeth had been succeeded in 1762 by
her nephew Peter III., who had reigned but a few months when he was
dethroned by a conspiracy of Russian nobles headed by his German
wife Catharine. She became Empress in his stead, and reigned from
1762 to 1796 as Catharine II." MASSON.

17 10. doubtful suspicion and indirect presumption. Note the
additional force given to the nouns by the adjectives.

17 18. Weseloff . This gentleman is referred to again at more length
in pages 45-50.

17 31. sanctions. Compare the note on p. 2, 1. 12. The SCUM in
which the word is used justifies the use of -violate in the next line.

18 24. first of all. Again see how, by use of this phrase, followed
later by secondly, thirdly, etc., De Quincey gains greater clearness for
his various points.

19 29. But the time, etc. Here is the first general division point in
the main narrative. The genesis of the plot has been described ; now
follow the active preliminaries to the flight.

19 33. one vast conflagration. Compare the account, p. 25.

20 12, 13. But where or how, etc. Note again the effective use of
interrogation. How does it stimulate interest ?


20 17. Kirghises. The spelling Kirghiz is more familiar. Like the
Bashkirs, nomads of the Mongolian-Tartar race, perhaps the least
civilized of those inhabiting the steppes.

20 26. rhetoric. In what sense used here? Is this use correct?

21 5. Sarepta. Locate this town ; it is on a small river that empties
into the Volga. " The point of the reference to this particular town is
that it was a colony of industrious Germans, having been founded in
1764 or 1765 by the Moravian Brothers." BALDWIN.

22n. Temba. The Jemba.

22 28. Kichinskoi. Notice the vividness of the character portrait
that follows ; compare it with the portraitures of Zebek and Oubacha
previously given.

23 l. surveillant. Here used for watchman or spy. What deriva-
tives have we from this French expression ?

23 34. Christmas arrived. Another division point in the analysis.

24 5. Astrachan. Also spelled Astrakhan. The name of a large
and somewhat barren district comprising more than 90,000 square miles
of territory in southeastern Europe ; its capital city, having the same
name, is situated on the Volga near its mouth.

24 26. at the rate of 300 miles a day. By no means an incredible
speed ; in Russia such sledge flights are not uncommon. Compare
what De Quincey has to say of the glory of motion in The English
Mail-Coach, " running at the least twelve miles an hour."

25 26. malignant counsels. What is the full effect of this epithet ?

26 10. valedictory vengeance. Note again the force of the

26 28. aggravate. What is the literal significance of this word ?
As synonymous with what words is it often incorrectly used ?

28 11. For now began to unroll. Does this paragraph constitute
a digression, or is it a useful amplification of the narrative ? Does
De Quincey exaggerate when he terms these experiences of the Tartars
" the most awful series of calamities anywhere recorded " ?

28 14. sudden inroads. " The inroads of the Huns into Europe
extended from the third century into the fifth ; those of the Avars from
the sixth century to the eighth or ninth ; the first great conquests of the
Mongol Tartars were by Genghis-Khan, the founder of a Mongol
empire which stretched, in the beginning of the thirteenth century, from
China to Poland." MASSON.

28 18. volleying lightning. Compare p. 2, 1. i, where De Quincey
uses a somewhat similar phrase. Why is the phrase varied, do you
suppose ?


28 21. the French retreat. It would be interesting to compare the
incidents and figures of this retreat, as furnished by biographers and
historians. Sloane's Life of Napoleon is a recent authority.

28 26. vials of wrath. Compare Revelation, xv, 7, and xvi, i. If
De Quincey had used the Revised Version he would have written bowls
instead of vials. Such borrowings of phrase or incident are called
" allusions." Make a list of the scriptural allusions found in the essay,
of those suggested by Milton.

29 16. Earthquakes. " De Quincey here refers to such destructive
shocks as that which occurred at Sparta, 464 B.C., in which, according
to Thirl wall, 20,000 persons perished ; that which Gibbon speaks of
during the reign of Valentinian, 365 A.D., in which 50,000 persons lost
their lives at Alexandria alone ; that in the reign of Justinian, 526 A.D.,
in which 250,000 persons were crushed by falling walls ; others in
Jamaica, 1692 A.D. ; at Lisbon, 1755 A<r> -> w "^ tn l ss ^ 3o>oo lives ; and
in Venezuela, 1812 A.D., when Caraccas was destroyed, and 20,000 souls
perished." WAUCHOPE.

29 20. pestilence. Described by Thucydides; see also Grote's
History of Greece, Chap. XLIX. Of the great plague of London (1665)
the most realistic description is Defoe's Journal of the Plague Year.

29 28. The siege of Jerusalem. Read Josephus, The Jewish War,
Bks. V and VI.

29 31. exasperation. Compare note on p. 26, 1. 28.

30 3, 4. even of maternal love. The reference is to an incident
mentioned by Josephus (The Jewish War, Bk. VI, Chap. Ill), in which
a mother is described as driven by the stress of famine to kill and
devour her own child.

30 5. romantic misery. How romantic ? Compare this phrase
with similar uses of the word romantic.
30 10. River Jaik. The Ural.

30 33. scenical propriety. Compare the statement with similar
ones made by the author elsewhere.

31 11. decrement. Compare with its positive correspondent, incre-

31 20. acharnement. Fury.

31 26. The first stage, etc. A time mark in the essay.

32 10. liable. Another instance of a word often misused, correctly
employed in the text. Compare note on aggravate, p. 26, 1. 28.

32 23. Bactrian camels. There are two species of camel, the drome-
dary, single humped, and the Bactrian, with two humps. The former
b native to Arabia, the latter to central Asia. The dromedary is the


swifter of the two. Bactria is the ancient name of that district now
called Balkh, in Afghanistan.

33 7. evasion. Compare with its positive correspondent invasion ;
compare decrement, p. 31, 1. n.

34 8. champaign savannas. Both words mean about the same, an
open, treeless country, nearly level. What is the linguistic source of
both words ?

37 19. hills of Moulgaldchares. Spurs of the Urals running south-

38 10. Polish dragoons. "The adjective refers not to the nation-
ality, but to the equipment of the cavalry. Thus there was at one time
in the French army a corps called Chasseurs d'Afrique, and in both the
French and that of the Northern troops in our own Civil War a corps
of Zouaves. Similarly at p. 53, 1. 24, De Quincey speaks of yagers
among the Chinese troops. Perhaps both Polish dragoon and yager
were well-known military terms in 1837. At any rate there is no gain
in scrutinizing them too closely, since the context in both cases seems

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