THE reader has probably inferred, from the allusions to Deguignes in Professor Neumann's work, that the Chinese discovery of Fusang is no novelty to the world of science. More than a century ago that sagacious and sensible savant discussed in the "Mémoires de l’Académie des Inscriptions et Belles Lettres" (vol. xxviii., 1761), "Les Navigations des Chinois du côté de l’Amérique, et sur plusieurs Peuples situés à l’extrémité de l’Asie Orientale," and endeavoured to confirm the memoir by Hoei-shin. The Chinese scholar Klaproth attempted to refute Deguignes, but employed arguments which a more recent writer, D’Eichthal, with the aid of far more extended and accurate information, has in turn refuted. It is true, Deguignes was no more able to absolutely prove that Hoei-shin and his predecessors were in California, than we are at the present day. But he did his best, by adducing such testimony as he could collect; and we have at least the satisfaction of knowing that something has been added to it, and that more may
be contributed, until at last the work shall be completed.
A thorough history of the question would have made it proper to begin with Deguignes, or rather with Kampfer (bk. i. c. iv.), who speaks so positively of the great Eastern Continent beyond Kamtschatka, discovered by the Japanese. But as the translation by Neumann from the Chinese original is more complete, and as he has succinctly set forth the whole question as it was in his time, I judged it best to give preference to the translation of his work, and then add the letter of Colonel Kennon, which refers directly to so many statements made by Neumann--a course which will not seem out of place to those who will bear in mind that Colonel Kennon, who has accurately surveyed and mapped every mile of the North Pacific, and every acre of its shores on either side, is therefore as practically familiar with the possibilities of the route as any man can be. The importance of his testimony at the present clay, and the advanced state of our geographical knowledge, will appear to those who will consult the curious Japanese map brought to Europe by Kampfer, and given by him to Hans Sloane, representing the North Pacific; or the almost as erroneous chart of the same by Philippe Bundle, which is given with a facsimile of the former in Deguignes' Memoir ("Memoires de Lit. et de l’Académie Royale des Inscriptions et Belles Lettres," vol. xxv iii., 1701). having done this, I propose
to present in a condensed form an examination of the whole subject as it appeared in 1564 to M. Gustave d’Eichthal, a scholar well known for his learning and enthusiasm in Greek literature and other subjects. But before passing to the work of M. G. d’Eichthal, I shall touch on a few points in the excellent article by Deguignes, which should not be neglected. He himself regarded the facts which he had collected as authentic, and not as mere conjectures, like those indulged in by Grotius, Delaët, and others, relative to the early settlement of America--of which latter I may observe, that the reader who is desirous to know what they are, can find them all appropriately set forth and commented on in Irving's "Knickerbocker History of New York," a most fitting receptacle for theories which by their absurdity have become the legitimate property of the humorist. Deguignes attempted honestly and modestly to adhere to observation and probability, and the result is that his ideas have been, in part at least, confirmed, and the arguments of his opponents proved unsound.
His first step was to show that Li-yen, a Chinese historian who lived at the beginning of the seventh century, speaks of a country named Fou-sang (Fusang) which was more than 40,000 li east of the eastern shore of China. To reach it, "one must depart from the province of Lean-tong, north of Pekin, and that after travelling 12,000 li, the traveller would reach Japan; and thence to the north, after a journey of 7000 li,
arrive at the country of Ven-chin" (Wen-schin, the Painted People). "Five thousand li from this country, towards the east, is Ta-han, which is 20,000 li from Fou-sang." As Deguignes remarked, "Of all these, we only know the Leao-tong, the northern province of China, whence vessels sailed; and Japan, which was the principal station for Chinese vessels. The three other points on the journey are the Ven-chin country, Ta-han, and Fou-sang. I hope to show that the first is Jeso, the second Kamtschatka, and the third a place about California."
The next step was naturally enough to determine what was the length of a li in China in the fifth century. But this was difficult; for, as Deguignes remarks, "Although at the present day 250 li make a degree, they have varied in the past, not only under different dynasties, but in different provinces. Father Gaubil, who made deep researches in Chinese astronomy, did not venture to decide this measure. He tells us that the greater portion of the literati under the reign of Han maintained that a thousand li, drawn from south to north, made a difference of an inch of shadow at noon on a dial of eight feet. Those who succeeded them thought that this measurement was incorrect, since they judged according to the standard of the li in vogue in their own time. But if we cast our eyes on the li adopted by the astronomers of the dynasty of Leam, who flourished at the beginning of the sixth century ("Observations Astronomiques du Pére Gaubil,"
vol. ii.), we shall find a considerable difference, since their 250 li from north to south give in like manner an inch in difference. . . . . But uncertainty may in this case be avoided by observing that from Leao-tong to the island of Toni-ma-tao is fixed as a distance of 7000 li, and, in accordance with the li thus established, the 12,000 li from Leao-tong to Japan end in the centre of the island, about Mea-co, its capital."
Deguignes determined, with great intelligence, that the country of the Wen-schin, 7000 li north-west of Japan, must be Jeso, from the exact agreement of the accounts given of that country by Chinese historians of the early part of the sixth century (Goei-chi and Ven-hien-tum-hao, A.D. 510-515) with that of Dutch navigators in 1643 ("Ambassade des Hollandois au Japon," vol. i. p. 10; "Recueil des Voyages au Nord," vol. iii. p. 44). Both describe the extraordinary appearance of the natives, and speak of the abundance of a peculiar mineral resembling quicksilver. "Five thousand li from this country, to the east, lies Tahan. The manners of the people here were like those of Wen-schin, but they spoke a different language."
I trust that it will be specially observed by those who think the journey from China to Aliaska improbable, on account of the dreariness of the country and its great discomfort, that the old travellers cited by Deguignes speak of the Chinese navigators as habitually passing through many Tartar tribes,
crossing the Great Desert of Chamo, passing over the ice of a great lake in the country of Ko-li-ban, and, north of it, through a chain of mountains, where the nights in summer were so short that one could hardly roast a leg (or breast) of mutton between sunset and sunrise. But the degree to which the dreariness of a country will deter a traveller must depend upon the traveller himself. Colonel Kennon, in his letter, speaks of the years which he passed in a little pilot-boat, on probably the very route traversed by Hoei-shin, as the happiest of his life; while, as to the land, Lieu-tenant Cochran, who in 1823 had the hardihood to go on foot from St Petersburg to Kamtschatka, found the latter country delightful, and speaks pleasure of the entertainments there. It is true that he there wooed and won a wife, an incident of all others most likely to convey sunshine into what all writers agree is the foggiest country in the world. It is, however, to be assumed, that Hoei-shin and his predecessors went by sea--no impossible thing, at, a time when in China both astronomy and navigation were sciences in a high sense of the word. Deguignes, speaking of the winds and currents, as Colonel Kennon does, says that the Chinese, in order to avoid the shores, "took the wind from the north of Japan, and in the Sea of Jeso sailed to the east; but at the Strait of Uriés the current bore them rapidly to the north." Therefore they entered the Strait of Uriés, beyond which they found many islands, which extend to the most northern point of Kamtschatka,
and where also terminate the 5000 li between Jeso and Tahan. The account of the different people inhabiting the North of Asia on the route to America, as given by Deguignes from several old Chinese historians, is far more detailed than that in Neumann. From this and other circumstances, I infer that Professor Neumann, though he cites Deguignes, had read his work with but little care. Deguignes apologises for his long and detailed account of these tribes, their manner of life and habits; but to the interested reader this will appear to be one of the strongest links in the chain of evidence, since no one on perusing it can doubt that the Chinese were perfectly familiar with the entire northern country to the very edge of America, and had been so for many generations. Deguignes does not appear to have reflected that the naïf and manifestly truthful accounts of all these different tribes by old historians strengthen his arguments, since he tells us that he has omitted most of them. It is worth noting that he cites from Ven-hien-tum-kao and Tam-chu that "the Chinese travellers who intended to visit Tahan took their departure from a city north of the river Hoam-ho, 1 towards the country of the Ortous 2 Tartars. This town, then called by the Chinese Tchung-cheou-kiang-tching, must be the one now known as Piljo-tai-hotun." This mention of the route as that which was usually followed indicates that there was in those days much travel in that direction; and we find a reason for it when we
learn that at an earlier period the chain of islands from Asia to America was incredibly rich in furs, and that at a time when furs were in extraordinary demand in Europe and the East, a demand which lasted until the fifteenth century. We are told, for instance, that the principal charge brought against a Turkish sultan of that time, when his subjects rose in rebellion, was that he had spent millions in purchasing sables, this fur being supposed to be possessed of virtues as an aphrodisiac. To secure this luxury any sum was given; and it is said that, so far back as the fifth century, the Che-goei tribes, who lived on the north banks of the Amur, were principally occupied in fishing and in hunting sables. This fur-hunting extended over the Aleutian Islands, which, as D’Eichthal remarks (Revue Archæologique, 1862, vol. ii. p. 197), were inhabited before their conquest by the Russians (1760-1790) by a numerous and prosperous population. "As we leave the North," says Maury (Revue des Deux Mondes, April 1868), "the facilities of crossing by short voyages increase, and the natives seem to find more and more attraction in them. With nothing but a leafy branch for a sail, the boat-load, consisting generally of a man, his wife and children, dashes out seawards as soon as a favourable wind blows, and proceeds at a fast rate." The Russians have long had establishments on the islands of St Paul and St George, whence they send vast quantities of furs; and Colonel Kennon has frequently, while conversing with me, spoken of the beautiful quality of many which he saw, but which be
was unable either to purchase or accept as a gift, owing to a special request from the Russian Government that he would not take one away. Whatever he needed for food or stores was supplied with great generosity, but no furs could be touched. I have called special attention to the furs of this region, since, as they were once much more abundant there than at present, and that at a time when it was more the fashion to wear them, we have a satisfactory reason to account for the Chinese having at one time been familiar with the island route to America, and for their having gradually abandoned it. I am not aware that any special stress has been laid on this as evidence, but to my mind it fully accounts for the tone of the old writers cited by Deguignes, who appear to speak of going to America, not as if it were a legendary exploit, which had once or twice been achieved in the early dawn of history, but rather as a common incident.
Tam-chu states that it is fifteen days' travel from the Che-goei, or sable-hunters of the Northern Amur to the east, where are found the Yu-tche, a race derived from the Che-goei; and that a further journey of fifteen days brought the traveller to Tahan. But, he adds, people also reached Tahan by sea, sailing from Jeso. After careful examination, Deguignes determined that the only country 20,000 li east of China, to which the name and conditions of Fusang could possibly be applicable, must be California or New Mexico.
"The Chinese historians add to the account of Hoei-shin
that of a Kingdom of Women, which is 1000 li farther east." It has been ingeniously suggested by M. D'Eichthal, that as the term women was formerly applied to entire tribes in North America, the monk may have heard something of them. Thus the Delawares, having given up their arms to the Six Nations, and become protégés of the latter, were formally entitled women, and accepted the name at a grand congress of the tribes. As for the absurdities connected with this legend of the women, as given by Hoei-shin, it is sufficient to say that he uses the term "it is said" in reference to the statement that the children of this woman-realm appear matured at the age of three years. Had he pretended to have visited the errantry, he would not have given as a matter of hearsay what he must certainly have observed. And as he was also told that these women suckled their babes from the backs of their heads, Deguignes, with his usual sagacity, remarks, "It is easy to see by this narrative that the women fed their children par dessus leurs épaules--over their shoulders--as is done in many places in India." The following, from the historians Nan-su and Ven-hien-tum-kao, is not without interest, as showing that from an early age Chinese vessels were driven by storms to America:--"In the year 607 (A.D.), under the dynasty of Leam, a Chinese vessel sailing in these seas was blown by a tempest on an unknown island. The women resembled those of China, but the men had faces and voices like dogs. These people ate small
beans, wore dresses made of a kind of cloth, and the walls of their houses were built of earth, raised in a circle. The Chinese could not understand them." If we make allowance for the dogs' faces on the well-known ground that the Chinese are particularly given to applying the word dog to all people whom they regard as savages, it will be found that the description applies with marvellous exactness to those New Mexican Indians who held a middle place between such highly-cultivated people as the Pueblos and the wilder and ruder tribes. The resemblance of the women to those of China is a matter of common remark; and one of my own earliest observations, as a boy, was the extraordinary likeness of Afong-Moy, a Chinese woman who visited America many years ago, to an ordinary squaw. This likeness is always, however, more striking in half-breed Indian women, and in those of light complexion, and the Pueblos are very much lighter than other Indians. 1 The enormous consumption of beans (frijoles), the cloth (which was very beautifully made by the Pueblo-Aztecs, from early ages), and especially the circular walls of earth, all identify these Indiana with those of New Mexico. 2 These people, as well as the Indians of Louisiana (Chevalier de Tonti,
[paragraph continues] "Voyage au Nord"), had a curious habit of howling and roaring terribly to express respect and admiration, and this may account for the voices like dogs spoken of by the Chinese.
Deguignes has collected some curious instances from old writers which seem to prove that Chinese merchants frequently found their way to Western America. Thus George Horne 1 (l. 6, c. 5), relates that beyond the tribes which dwelt west of the Hurons, there came in great vessels strangers who were beardless. Fr. Vasquez de Coronado states that he found at Quivir vessels with gilded poops; and Pedro Melendez, in Acosta, speaks of the wrecks of Chinese vessels seen on the coast. "And it is beyond question that foreign merchants, clothed in silk, formerly came among the Catacualcans." All these reports intimate that the Chinese once traded in Northern California, about the country of the Quivir. And there is, moreover, ground for asserting that, at one time certainly, the most civilised tribes in North America were those nearest China. It is generally assumed that the intelligent and almost refined Pueblos of New Mexico are the descendants of Aztecs who fled to the north after the Spanish invasion; but the traditions of the Aztecs themselves declare that they came from the north, and it is probable that the Pueblos have always been where they are. Delaët (bk. vi. c. xvi. and xxii.) says that near New Mexico were people who dwell in houses
several stories high, with halls, chambers, and stoves. They wore skins and cotton cloths, but, what is unusual among savages, had leather shoes and boots. Every district had its public criers, who announced the king's orders, and idols and temples were everywhere. Baron de la Hontan ("Memoires sur l’Amerique") speaks of the Mirambecs, who inhabited walled towns near a great Salt Lake. These people made cloths, copper hatchets, and other wares.
Charlevoix ("histoire do la Nouvelle France") narrates two incidents, which, though almost incredible, are at least worthy of consideration. One of these is that Father Grellon, after acting as missionary for some time in Canada, went to China, and thence to Tartary, where he met a Huron woman whom he had formerly known in Eastern America. Another Jesuit, returning from China, also declared that a Spanish woman, originally of Florida, was found by him in Tartary, to which country she had come by an extremely cold northern route.
It is said that the walrus and seal hunters of the mouth of the river Kocoima, in Siberia, are often carried out to sea on vast floating fields of ice, and occasionally drift to the opposite American shore, which is not far distant. Most of my readers will recall the wonderful preservation of the crew of the Polaris, which, with women and children, drifted for many months on an ice-cake. Indeed, many wild animals, also like men engaged in hunting, may in this way
have been transported from one continent to the other.
These are substantially the points advanced by Deguignes, 1 an excellent Chinese scholar, and a .careful writer. It was while making researches for a history of the Mongols that he found in the works of old Chinese historians the materials for his theory that America was peopled from the North-west. In 1831 Julius Heinrich von Klaproth, a distinguished scholar, attacked Deguignes in a work entitled "Recherches sur le Pays de Fou-sang mentionné dans les Livres Chinois, et pris mal à, propos pour une partie de l’Amérique" ("Nouvelles Annales des Voyages," t. xxi. de la deuxième série, 1831). By this work, according to Gustave d’Eichthal, Klaproth did much harm. There was an authority attached to his name which made it easy for lain, to render ridiculous the ideas advanced by Deguignes. There is a popular tendency--especially in France--to ridicule everything Chinese; and in England the mere idea of Chinese metaphysics awakens a smile in the readers of Dickens, though scholars know that Chinese Buddhists may be fairly said to have exhausted every refinement of thought known to à priori or pantheistic methods. In ninety-nine cases out of a hundred, the sneering critic who negatives has it all his own way with the public for a time, and for more than the present time he does not care. The
refutation of Klaproth now appears worthless; he produces nothing new, and attacks Deguignes entirely "out of himself." He begins with a plausible quibble, by accusing Deguignes of being false to his title. "In the Chinese original," says Klaproth, "which Deguignes had before his eyes, there is nothing said of the navigation undertaken by the Chinese to the land of Fusang; but, as may be seen further on, it turns upon a notice of Fusang as given by a Buddhist priest who had been there." Klaproth says "a native of the country," and by the country he means Fusang. But in a German version of the same passage, given by Neumann in a more recent work ("Ost-Asien and West-America, Zeitschrift für allgemeine Erdkunde,'' April 1864), the (or this) country refers to China. Now Deguignes really wrote, according to his title, on the navigation or voyages of Chinese to America, and he says very little of the record of Hoei-shin, beyond quoting it. Deguignes tells us nothing of a Chinese original in his title, he only adduces the narrative as confirming his other researches; and Klaproth appears fully convicted of a shrewd, unscrupulous trick, such as a petty Bohemian might have recourse to in some notorious journal, whose ideal of criticism is to make a writer appear personally ridiculous. After this he makes a vigorous attack on Deguignes' estimate of the length of the Chinese li in the fifth century, which ends in nothing, since he thinks that the Chinese of that time had no means of estimating distances at
sea. The remark is that of a man accustomed to believe that distances cannot be measured at sea without all the appliances and training of modern science, while the truth is, every captain of a Yankee coaster knows that it can be done--not very accurately, it is true, but approximatively or tolerably well--with the simplest instruments, such as any sailor can make. But as D’Eichthal observes, the 20,000 li from Tahan to Fusang are probably merely arbitrary. The travellers found that, going at the same average rate, it took them more than twice as long to get from Tahan to Fusang as from Leao-tong (north of Pekin) to Tahan. The obvious and natural way to measure Hoei-shin's 20,000 li from Tahan to Fusang is by the li assigned to the preceding distances, and according to this standard the estimate is accurate enough.
"The two agree in placing Wen-schin in the island of Jeso, situated 7000 li from the point of departure on the coast of Nippon. There, in fact, is the country of the Wen-slain or Tattooed People. The Ainos, who then occupied the northern part of Japan, or the island of Jeso, are still accustomed to paint their bodies and faces with different figures. But here," continues D’Eichthal, ''all agreement between the two writers ceases. Deguignes thinks that Tahan, which is, according to the Chinese account, 5000 li from Jeso, must be Kamtschatka. In this conclusion he has against him, it is true, the important sum-total of the distance; but on the other hand there are many arguments in his
favour, which we shall proceed to examine. Klaproth holds, however, that Tahan is simply the island of Krafto or Taraï-kaï, the southern point of which is found, according to his calculation, exactly 5000 li from the northern point of Niphon. To arrive at this conclusion, as the distance is only six degrees, Klaproth is compelled to adopt the measurement of 850 li to a degree, which he had just before rejected." He had said that the distance between the West Coast of Corea, and the middle of Niphon is, according to Deguignes, too great. "It would suppose for the li a length of 850 to the degree, whereas, at the highest, it cannot be more than 400."
"But to continue. If the island of Taraï-kaï is Tahan, we cannot find Fusang 20,000 li to the east, for the nearest land in this direction is 90° distant. 'By taking the story literally,' says Klaproth, 'and by seeking Fusang east of Tahan, we fall into the Pacific Ocean.'" But as Fusang must be found somewhere, and as it was a foregone conclusion with Klaproth that it must not be found in America, he assumes that, having arrived at the southern point of Taraï-kai, one should sail first to the east in order to pass the Strait of La Pérouse, coasting along the northern shore of Jeso, but that, having arrived at the north-east point of the same island, he would sail to the south, and thus arrive at some part of the South-east Coast of Japan, where Fusang would be found.
It will probably occur to the reader that this would
be taking i deal of pains to destroy an adversary's argument, and weaving a very tangled web. Yet as the last word always has weight, this argument of Klaproth held its own for many years, and still holds it with many people. It is true, as D’Eichthal remarks, that by proceeding in this style Klaproth put himself, in the most arbitrary manner, in direct opposition to the very letter of his text, which says nothing at all about sailing up and down and coasting around islands. "But this is not the only objection which can be urged against him. In the first place, nobody in Japan ever heard of Fusang. The details given with regard to it do not suit Japan in the least. One circumstance is decisive. Not only does the narrator put Fusang 20,000 li east of Tahan, but he speaks of a country of women 1000 li from Fusang. But 1000 li to the east of Japan must be in the sea." It is to be regretted that Klaproth asserts that Fusang is an ancient name of Japan, but without citing any authority on which to support such a serious and very material statement. Iris arguments have been answered not only by D’Eichthal, but by Sr. José Perez, in an article in the Révue Orientale et Américaine, No. 4, pp. 189-195. For a Chinese, even in the sixth century, to place in Japan such a marvellous country as Fusang was popularly supposed to be, would have been quite as absurd as if a French traveller of the fourteenth century had assured the world that he had found in England an immense region inhabited by giants. For popular belief very soon clothed Fusang
with incredible marvels, as we shall see anon; and Klaproth supposes this possible of a country which was at the time constantly exchanging embassies with China, and conveying to the latter, as the reader may recall from Neumann's work, detailed accounts of all its provinces, and of their inhabitants. As Klaproth admits, Fusang soon became a fairy-land, which Chinese poets loved to adorn with the fantastic and marvellous. "The authors of Chan-haï-king, of the Li-sao, Hoai-nan-tsu, Li-pe-tai, and others, have found in it an inexhaustible resource. According to them, the sun rises in the valley of Yang-kon and makes his toilet in Fu-sang, where there are mulberry-trees many thousand rods high. The natives eat the fruit, which makes their bodies shine like gold, and confers on them the ability to fly. "Such fables are not placed in a neighbouring country. They require for plausibility great distance, and entirely strange circumstances."
Again, the narrative declares that Buddhism was introduced into Fusang A.D. 458, but it did not find its way into Japan, officially at least, until 552. How then could Fusang, admitting that it existed, have been a part of Japan?
"But to throw full light on the question," says D’Eichthal, "we should study the second itinerary, that by land from China to Tahan, given by Deguignes and Klaproth. We shall now do so; and if accused of delaying too long over these documents, we reply that in them we find, as Deguignes and Klaproth himself had clearly
seen, a leading element in the question, and a decisive argument from the geographical point of view for the existence or non-existence of ancient communications between Asia and America.
"The traveller by land from China to Tahan went from the upper course of the Hoang-hoin, in the north of China, passed through the country of the Ordos or Ho-tas, traversed the desert of Cobi, and arrived at the principal camp of the Hoeï-khé Turks, on the left bank of the Orchon, not far from its source, where Karakorum was afterwards placed. Thence he journeyed to Lake Baïkal, crossed the country of Ko-li-han, the ancient home of the Kirkis or Khirghiz, and turning to the east, came to the Chy-weï. The most southern of these lived near the river Onon, flowing from the right of the Upper Amoor (Amur). By travelling fifteen days to the east, or in the direction of the Amoor, were found the Chy-weï Youtché, probably the same people whom other Chinese authors call Youtchy, that is to say, the Djourdje, the ancestors of the present Mongols. From this point, finally, ten days' journey to the north brought the traveller to Tahan surrounded ou three sides by the sea, and also called Lieu-koueï. 1
"We should have under our eyes the work of Deguignes, to realise with what care he has discussed every part of this journey. Then, having reached the final paint, he reasonably remarks, that as one travels by
land all the way to arrive at Tahan, it cannot be an island, yet that it must be a maritime country according to the first route, since they also went thither by sea; and basing his statement on the two views, he places the point de recontre of the two itineraries in Kamtschatka."
"The southern part of Kamtschatka, or Tahan," says Deguignes, "was known to the Chinese under the name of Lieou-koueï. Of old, the Tartars who lived near the river Amoor reached it after fifteen days' sailing to the north (Deguignes traces this navigation on his map). Chinese historians relate that this country is surrounded by the sea an three sides. In the year 640 (A.D.), the King of Lieou-koueï sent his son to China. 1 According to the most accurate descriptions which the Russians have given of it, this country is a tongue of land extending from north to south, from Cape Sultoïnoss to the north of Jeso, with which many writers have confounded it. It is partly separated from the rest of Siberia by a gulf of the Eastern Sea, which passes from south to north. Towards the northern extremity
it is inhabited by very ferocious people. Those who live towards the south are more civilised. It is very likely that their commerce with the Japanese and Chinese merchants who traded on their shores has contributed to make them milder and more sociable than those of the north, among whom these two more refined races rarely come" (p. 511).
It is only after discussing the two routes, and settling the common point or limit as we have seen, that Deguignes undertakes to determine the position of the country of Fusang. "This long detail," he declares, "was necessary for an exact knowledge of the situation of the country. The Chinese narrative informs us that Fusang is 20,000 li distant from Tahan or Kamtschatka. Thus, by leaving a port in the latter country, such as Kamtschatka, and sailing east for 20,000 li, the voyage ends on the most western shore of America, or about the place where the Russians landed in 1741. In all this immense extent of ocean there is no land nor island to which the distance of 20,000 li applies. Nor can we, on the other hand, suppose that the Chinese followed the coast of Asia, and, touching its most eastern extremity, there placed the land of Fusang. The excessive cold which prevails in the north of Kamtschatka, renders this supposition untenable." 1
"When Deguignes wrote," adds D’Eichthal, "the
solution which he proposed was not, however, so simple or evident as it may appear to us to-day. At that time the geography of the North Pacific was just beginning to be cleared of the darkness in which it had been so long enveloped. Behring had discovered, in 1728, the strait which bears his name; he had found, in 1741, some of the Aleutian Isles, the promontory of Aliaska, and the northern extremity of the American side; but he had not been able to make exact surveys. Deguignes, at least, did not possess them; and to prepare the singular map, designed by Philip Buache, which accompanies his memoir, the illustrious academician had recourse to a Japanese chart.
"Since M. De l’Isle," he says, "published a map of this part of the world, we have obtained from Russia information which, without giving with accuracy the contour of the American coasts, teaches us generally that the coast of California runs towards the west, and approaches considerably that of Asia, leaving between the continents a narrow strait, agreeing with the shape which the first geographers gave to America, probably from more exact knowledge than we suppose, and which is now lost." Thus the map of Asia, published by Sanson in 1650, gives, between Asia and America, near the place of Behring's Straits, the Strait of Ainan, as it was then called. This strait disappeared on Guillaume de l’Isle's map of 1723, but reappeared in the same map re-edited in 1745, and again in 1762, corrected by new documents. This information was confirmed
by Japanese charts, especially by one which Mr Hans Sloane, President of the Royal Society of London, had communicated to him, and which he placed before his paper in the "Memoires de l’Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres." "It agrees on the whole," he declares, "with our old maps of America, and with the Russian discoveries." "On this map, about the part discovered by the Russians, America seems to advance considerably, and form a tongue of land which extends to Asia (the promontory of Aliaska). In this case it is intelligible that the Chinese found it much easier to reach Fusang, since they thus had a coast to follow almost all the way."
"It was," says M. D’Eichthal very truly, "with a kind of prophetic instinct, or, if you will, with extreme shrewdness and sense, that Deguignes traced, on the map made by him, the route which was probably followed by those whom he calls navigateurs chinois to get to America. The details are naturally very imperfect, and Behring's Island is the only one given of the Aleutians. On the other hand, the promontory of Aliaska is out of all proportion too great, both in length and breadth. There is an entire absence of all astronomical verification; nevertheless, the general 'lay of the land' is correct, as recent discoveries have confirmed. We have under our eyes three very important documents, 'Les Renseignements Statistiques et Ethnographiques sur les Possessions Russes à la côté Nord-ouest de l’Amérique, by Rear-Admiral Wrangel ('Statistical and Ethnographical
[paragraph continues] Communications as to the Russian Possessions on the North-west Coast of America); 1 an analysis of the work of Father Wenjaminow on 'Les Isles (Aléoutiennes) du District du Unalaska,' by F. Löwe (from the periodical Archiv für die wissenschaftliche Kunde von Russland, 1842, 8th Part); and the critique of a memoir by Maury, ou the facilities of passing from the North-east Coast of Asia to the North-west Coast of America (Revue des Deux Mondes, April 1858). All of these works agree in demonstrating time ease of this communication, and that of settling on the North-west Coast of America. The climate of all this region, even at the 60th degree of latitude is, for its elevation, very mild. The chain of the Aleutian Isles and the promontory of Aliaska form, as it were, a barrier which exclude Polar influences. On the other hand, the great warm current of the Pacific Ocean, observed by modern navigators, 2 contributes to raise the temperature. Observations, carefully collected, have shown that at Sitka the average temperature is 7°.39 Centigrade, or 50.91 Reaumur, with, it is true, slight differences between summer and winter: even in winter the sea is never closed. In a word, according to the unanimous testimony of navigators, there is not on the face of the
globe such a change of climate as is experienced in passing from Behring's Straits to the Pacific Ocean."
All that has been said of the extreme facility with which the natives of the North Pacific pass from Asia to America has, however, according to M. D’Eichthal, nothing to do with the question of Chinese or Japanese navigation between the continents; and therefore, he thinks that here Deguignes erred, and said too much, when he entitled his memoir "Des Navigations des Chinois du côté de l’Amérique." It seems to me that this is stretching courtesy to Klaproth to affectation. Deguignes believed, from several sources, that Chinese, merchants as well as missionaries, had found their way to California. On this hypothesis he wrote his book, and demonstrated the route which they must have followed, and therefore he had a full right to say that its subject was ou the "navigations" of the Chinese from the American coast. He could not, unfortunately, give the log-books and diaries of the skippers who took Hoei-shin and his predecessors across; though, if he had, Klaproths would not have been wanting to impugn their authenticity.
It will be remembered that Deguignes lays stress on the high culture of the early dwellers in New Mexico. So far as the limited information of his time extended, he found in that country the point of departure and the first theatre of American civilisation, and he believed, according to D’Acosta, that, instead of the inhabitants of this region having been refugees from Mexico, they are
the remains of a primitive civilisation from which the Mexicans drew their culture ere they wandered south. D’Eichthal appeals to ancient works not known to Deguignes, and also to the most recent, as verifying this theory. These are the "Narrative of the Journey of Cibola in 1540," by Castañeda de Nagera, Paris, 1838, given in the collection of "Voyages, Relations, et Mémoires Originaux, pour servir à l’Histoire de la Découverte de l’Amérique, par Ternaux Compans;" the "Reports of Explorations and Surveys to ascertain the most practicable and economical route for a railroad from the Mississippi River, made under the direction of the Secretary of War in 1853-54," especially in vol. iii.; "Report on the Indian Tribes," by Lieutenant A. W. Whipple, Thomas Ewbank, Esq., and Prof. W. W. Turner; and also the "Personal Narrative of Explorations, &c.," by John Russell Bartlett, New York, 1854. In these works may be found, not only indubitable proof of the former highly-advanced civilisation of New Mexico, but remarkable indications of apparent affinity with Chinese culture. Deguignes was in the right when he suggested that the oxen seen by Hoei-shin were probably bison. We might add the statement, that in Fusang stags were raised as cattle are in China, and that cheese was made from hind's milk, "as appears from Popol-Vuh, the Sacred Book of the Quichés," by M. l’Abbé Brasseur de Bourbourg 1 (Introduction,
p. 40). He was also strictly right in asserting that the vine was known there, and that iron was not, but that copper was used, and that gold and silver (owing, doubtless, to their abundance) were of no value. All these facts were strictly applicable to Mexico, and they were not collectively applicable to any country then known to the Chinese. Of his own knowledge Hoei-shin relates no marvels; what he tells us of the existence of a white race is fully confirmed by tradition and the traces still existing of such people. Lieutenant Whipple says there are white Indians at Zuni, the principality of the old kingdom of Cibola, although they are exception They have, he says, light or auburn hair. The first Indian seen by Father Niça, in 1539, is described as a man of light complexion. Indians of this type have since existed. And Catlin remarks that, on seeing the Mandans, one is tempted to exclaim, "These are no Indians." There are numbers of them whose colour is as light as that of half-breeds, and among the women "are many who are almost white, and who have grey eyes, or blue and hazel" (Catlin, "Letters and Notes on the Manners, Customs, and Conditions of the North American Indians," fourth edition, London, 1844, vol. i. p. 93). And as some uncertainty may exist as to the relative colour of a half-breed, I would explain that it is often not darker than that of a Chinese, and is much clearer, the cheeks being generally rosy. I have seen the whole of Catlin's portraits of Mandans, and, like all Americans
who have been in the West, am familiar with Indians, both of full and mixed blood, and am quite sure that such an expert as General Whipple, whom I have known personally very well, never mistook a half-breed for a real Indian. The extraordinary lightness of the Mandan women is a phenomenon which can only be accounted for by their belonging to an entirely different stock from the other tribes. The men had very long hair; braves who were 6 feet 2 inches high had it trailing for two or three inches on the ground.
All these facts agree very well with the assertions of Hoei-shin, and M. D’Eichthal, with great sagacity, points out that even the two prisons, situated one in the north, the other in the south; the one for great criminals destined to endure lifelong punishment, the other for trivial offenders, coincide with the ideas as to future punishment held by some Indian tribes, and especially by the Mandans. Catlin tells us (vol. i. p. 157) that these people believed that their hell, which, like that of the Norsemen, was a cold one, desolate and horrible, covered with eternal ice, was situated far to the north, while the happy hunting-grounds, or their paradise, lay in the south.
We may, perhaps, even dispense with supposing that the oxen seen by Hoei-shin were bison, if we admit that domestic cattle may have existed in America, and been exterminated. Thus, in the "Rélation de Choses de Yucatan de Diégo de Landa," the author tells us that an Indian chief named Cocom showed him one
day an ancient book containing the picture of a common European cow, and told him it had been prophesied that when such beasts should come into the country, the worship of the gods would cease--"Cessario el culto de los Dioses, y que se avia cumplido, porque los españoles truxeron varas grandes." It is true that this may have been a mere trick of the Indian to flatter the Spaniard.
D’Eichthal has vindicated Deguignes as regards the statement that hinds (biches) were domesticated in Fusang, and that cheese was made from their milk, by citing from the "Popol-Vuh" (Introduction, p. xl.)--"Milk was known to the Mexicans, who were accustomed to milk bison-cows and tame hinds, and make cheese." The statement appears to 'have been taken from Castañeda.
"The analysis which we have made of the work of Deguignes," says D’Eichthal, "shows how he availed himself of the different geographical and historical documents consulted by him, especially the Chinese narrative of Fusang. There is, however, in this relation a point which has escaped him; he did not, and in fact could not, understand who or what those priests were who, in the 458th year of our era, carried their doctrines to the country of Fusang; nor did that other priest, who, forty years later, wrote of that country." "Formerly," says Deguignes, "these nations had no knowledge of the religion of Fo. In the year 458 A.C., under the dynasty of Sum (Sung), five bonzes
of Samarcand carried their doctrines into this country: then the manners changed" (p. 523).
For Deguignes, as for all men of his time, the religion of Fo was simply one of the national religions of China. Its identity with Buddhism was, I believe, not even suspected. But how could those pretended Chinese bonzes have come from Samarcand? Deguignes, it appears, did not even ask himself this question.
In the time of Klaproth, ideas were more advanced. The identity of the religion of Fo and Buddhism was now acknowledged; and the passage in question is much better translated--"Formerly the religion of Buddha did not exist in those countries. It was in the fourth year, la-ming, of the reign of Hiao-wou-te, of Souang (458 A.C.), that five pi-khieou, or priests of the country of Ki-pin (the ancient Kophen), went to Fusang, and there spread the law of Buddha. They took with them books, holy images, ritual observances, and established habits of monasticism which altered the manners of the inhabitants."
The land of Ki-pin, the ancient Kophen, is now called Bokhara, the country of Samarcand. Samarcand, indeed, at the time of which we are speaking, was one of the great strongholds of Buddhism. It was in the centre of Asia, one part of it touching Persia, another Turkestan--at the opening of all the roads which led from that central point to the northern frontier of China, and to the north-east of Asia and the shores of the Pacific. If Klaproth had admitted that
[paragraph continues] Fusang was in America, he would have found in this indication an excellent setting-out-point for studying the institutions and monuments of America, and their relations with Asia. He could the more easily have done so, because at that time the journey of Humboldt to New Spain, and also the "Views of the Cordilleras and Andes," had already appeared, and in those works numerous affinities between the various civilisations of America and Eastern Asia were plainly shown. But by his determination to place Fusang on the South-east Coast of Japan, Klaproth not only lost the benefit of the revelations on the subject of Buddhism furnished by the Chinese document, but also found it a stumbling-block. As we have already remarked, he was led to fix the introduction of Buddhism into a Japanese province in the year 458 of our era, whereas be knew and owned that the establishment of Buddhism in Japan did not take place until the year 582. Besides, we must remember that in Klaproth's time the history of Buddhism, though clear, was still very incomplete. The great works of Hodgson, of Turner, of Burnouf, and those which are derived from them, had not yet appeared. That which Deguignes could not even imagine, that which even Klaproth could have accomplished but imperfectly, is now easy. "By summing up all that we now know of the internal development and the distant propagation of Buddhism, we can well understand what may have been the result of its teaching in America, and can judge, from this point of view,
the institutions and monuments of ancient American civilisation."
Such is, in brief, the substance of M. D’Eichthal's vindication of Deguignes against the attack of' Klaproth, though it would be but just to say that he has added to it a mass of valuable information which should be read by all who take an interest in the subject. Let me, in conclusion, add a word in sincere praise of the very moderate tone of his defence. Those who have read the bitter accusations which other writers have, in a spirit of honest indignation, hurled against Klaproth, will understand and fully agree with me.
131:2 Ordos or Hot-as.
135:1 Captain H. C. Leonard, who has resided for twenty-five years among the Chinooks, and who is familiar with all the North-western tribes, fully confirms this statement relative to the general resemblance of their squaws to Chinese women.
135:2 For an account of their dwellings, vide Johnson's "Cyclopædia," N.Y., 1871.
136:1 Vide Delaët, bk. vi.
138:1 Histoire Générale des Huns, des Turcs, des Mongoles, et des autres Tartares Occidentaux, Paris, 1756-58, 4 vola., par Joseph Deguignes.
144:1 Klaproth, pp. 62, 64; Deguignes, pp. 508-510.
145:1 These details regarding Kamtschatka are reproduced in an article by Professor Neumann, "Ost-Asien and West-America, Zeitschrift für allgemeine Erdkunde" (April 1864). Professor Neumann, says D’Eichthal, gives his citations as from Steller's "Beschreibung von dem Lande Kamtschatka" (Leipzig, 1530), but they were originally drawn from Chinese works. In Neumann's statement, the envoy of the son of the king of Lieou-koueï, in China, is mentioned in this manner--"In the year 640 of our era, in the time of the second Emperor of Tang, the Empire of the South received the last embassy and the last tribute from the country of Lieou-koueï" (p. 316). I have throughout used Deguignes' original work in verification of D’Eichthal's articles.--C. G. L.
146:1 Both Klaproth and Bretschneider have left out of sight the fact that Fusang as described must have been a temperate, if not a warm climate.--C. G. L.
149:1 In the original edition, "Statistische and Ethnographische Nachrichten, gesammelt von Contre-Admiral von Wrangel," St Petersburg, 1839. This is the first part of the collection called "Beiträge zur Kentniss des Russischen Reichs, &c., herausgegeben von K. E. von Baer and von Helmersen."--C. G. L.
149:2 Vide Letter from Colonel Barclay Kennon.
151:1 B. de Bourbourg is a writer who must be cited with great caution, but he is probably right in this instance.--C. G. L.