Witzen's account of Tartary—China as described by the Jesuits and Father Du Halde—Macartney in China—Stay at Chu-Sang—Arrival at Nankin—Negotiations—Reception of the Embassy by the Emperor—Fêtes and ceremonies at Zhe Hol—Return to Pekin and Europe—Volney—Choiseul Gouffier—Le Chevalier in Troas—Olivier in Persia—A semi-Asiatic country—Pallas's account of Russia.

At the end of the seventeenth century, a traveller named Nicolas Witzen had explored eastern and northern Tartary, and in 1692 published a curious narrative of his journey. This work, which was in Dutch, and was not translated into any other European language, did not win for its author the recognition he deserved. A second edition, illustrated with engravings which were meritorious rather from their fidelity to nature than their artistic merit, was issued in 1705, and in 1785 the remaining copies of this issue were collected, and appeared under a new title. But it attracted little notice, as by this time further, and more curious particulars had been obtained.

From the day that the Jesuits first entered the Celestial Empire, they had collected every possible fact with regard to the customs of this immense country, which previous to their stay there had been known only through the extravagant tales of Marco Polo. Although China is the country of stagnation, and customs and fashion always remain much the same in it, the many events which had taken place made it desirable to obtain more exact particulars of a nation with whom Europeans might possibly enter into advantageous friendly relations.

The Jesuits published the result of these investigations in the rare work entitled "Lettres Edifiantes," which was revised and supplemented by a zealous member of their order, Father Du Halde. It would be useless to attempt any reproduction of this immense work, for which a volume would be required, and it is the less necessary as at this day we have fuller and more complete details of the country than are to be found even in the learned father's book. To the Jesuits also belong the merit of many important astronomical observations, facts concerning natural history, and the compilation of maps, which were till quite lately authorities on remote districts of the country consulted with advantages.

Towards the end of the eighteenth century, Abbé Grosier, of the order of St. Louis du Louvre, published in an abridged form, a new description of China and Tartary. He made use of the work of his predecessor, Du Halde, and at the same time rectified and added to it. After an account of the fifteen provinces of China and Tartary, with the tributary States, such as Corea, Tonking, Cochin China, and Thibet, the author devotes several chapters to the population and natural history of China, whilst he reviews the government, religion, manners, literature, science, and art of the Chinese.

Towards the end of the eighteenth century, the English Government, being desirous of entering into commercial relations with China, sent an Envoy-extraordinary to that country named George Macartney.

This diplomatist had already visited the courts of Europe and Russia, had been governor of the English Antilles and Madras, and Governor-General of India.

He had acquired in the course of his travels in such varied climates, and amid such diverse peoples, a profound knowledge of human nature. His narrative of his voyages is rich in facts and observations calculated to give Europeans a true idea of the Chinese character.

Personal accounts of travel are always more interesting than anonymous ones.

Although the great I is generally hateful, it is not so in travels, where the assertion I have been there, I have done such or such a thing, carries weight, and gives interest to the narrative.

Macartney and his suite sailed in a squadron consisting of three vessels, the Lion, the Hindustan, and the Jackal, which left Portsmouth on the 26th September, 1792.

Map of the Empire of China
Gravé par E. Morieu. 23, r. de Brea Paris.

After a few necessary delays at Rio-de-Janeiro, St. Paul and Amsterdam Islands, where some seal-hunters were seen, at Batavia, and Bantam, in Java, and at Poulo Condere, the vessels cast anchor off Turon (Han San) in Cochin China, a vast harbour, of which only a very bad chart was then in existence.

The arrival of the English was at first a cause of uneasiness to the natives of Cochin China. But when they were once informed of the motives which had brought the English to their country, they sent an ambassador of high rank on board with presents for Macartney, who was shortly afterwards invited to a banquet at the governor's, followed by a dramatic entertainment. During the short stay many notes were taken of the manners and customs of the people, unfortunately too hurriedly to admit of accuracy.

As soon as the sick had recovered and fresh provisions had been obtained the vessels set sail. A short stay was made at the Ladrone Islands, and the squadron then entered the Strait of Formosa, where it encountered stormy weather, and took refuge in Chusan Harbour. During this stay the map of this archipelago was rectified and an opportunity was taken to visit Tinghai, where the English excited as much curiosity as they felt themselves at the sight of the many things which were new to them.

Many of the facts which surprised them are familiar to us, the appearance of the houses, the markets and dress of the Chinese, the small feet of the women, and many other particulars to which we need not refer. We will only allude to the account of the method employed by them in cultivating dwarf trees.

"This stunted vegetation," says Macartney, "seems to be highly appreciated in China, for specimens of it are found in all the larger houses. It is an art peculiar to the Chinese, and the gardener's skill consists in knowing how to produce it. Independently of the satisfaction of triumphing over a difficulty, he has the advantage of introducing into rooms plants whose natural size would have precluded such a possibility.

"The following is the method employed in China for the production of dwarfed trees. The trunk of a tree of which it is desired to obtain a dwarfed specimen, is covered as nearly as possible where it separates into branches with clay or mould, over which is placed a linen or cotton covering constantly kept damp. This mould is sometimes left on for a whole year, and throughout that time the wood it covers throws out tender, root-like fibres. Then the portions of the trunk from which issue these fibres, with the branch immediately above them, are carefully separated from the tree and placed in fresh mould, where the shoots soon develope into real roots, whilst the branch forms the stem of a plant which is in a manner metamorphosed. This operation neither destroys nor alters the productive faculties of the branch which is separated from the parent tree. When it bears fruit or flowers it does so as plentifully as when it was upon the original stem. The extremities of the branches intended to be dwarfed are always pulled off, which precludes the possibility of their growing tall, and forces them to throw out shoots and lateral branches. These shoots are tied with wire, and assume the form the gardener chooses. When it is desired to give an aged appearance to the tree, it is constantly moistened with theriaca or treacle, which attracts to it multitudes of ants, who not content with devouring the sweetmeat, attack the bark of the tree, and eat it away in such a manner as to produce the desired effect."

Upon leaving Chusan, the squadron entered the Yellow Sea, never before navigated by an European vessel. The river Hoang-Ho flows into it, and it is from the immense quantity of yellow mud brought down by it in its long and tortuous course that the sea derives its name.

The English vessels cast anchor in Ten-chou-Fou Bay, and thence entered the gulf of Pekin, and halted outside the bar of Pei-Ho. There being only three or four feet of water on this bar at low tide, the vessels could not cross it.

The mandarins appointed by the government to receive the English ambassador, arrived shortly after, bringing numerous presents; whilst the gifts intended for the emperor were placed in junks, and Macartney went on board a yacht which had been prepared for him.The first town reached was Takoo, where Macartney received a visit from the viceroy of the province and the principal mandarin. Both were men of venerable and dignified aspect, polite and attentive, and entirely free from obsequiousness.

"It has been rightly said," remarks Macartney, "that a people are as they are made, and the English had continual proof of this truth in the effect produced upon the Chinese character by the fear of the iron power that ruled them. Apart from this fear they were cheerful and confiding, but in the presence of their rulers they appeared most timid and embarrassed."

In ascending the Pei-Ho towards Pekin, the course was retarded by the many windings of the river. The country through which they passed was highly cultivated, with houses and villages at intervals upon the banks of the river or inland, alternating with cemeteries and pyramids of bags of salt, producing a charming and ever varying landscape. When night approached, lanterns of every hue, fastened to the masts and rigging of the yachts, produced the fantastic effect of many-coloured lights.

Chinese magic-lantern
Chinese magic-lantern.
(Fac-simile of early engraving.)

Tieng Tsing signifies "heavenly spot," and the town owes this name to its agreeable climate and clear blue sky, and the fertility of its neighbourhood. In this place, the ambassador was received by the viceroy and a legate sent by the emperor. From them Macartney learned that the emperor was at his summer palace in Tartary, and that the anniversary of his birthday was to be celebrated there upon the 13th of September. The ambassador and his suite were therefore to go up by water as far as Tong Schou, about a dozen miles from Pekin, and thence proceed by land to Zhe Hol, where the emperor awaited them. The presents might be sent on afterwards. Although the first intimation was pleasant, the latter was singularly disagreeable to Macartney, for the presents consisted for the most part of delicate instruments, which had been taken to pieces for safety and packed separately. The legate would not consent to their being left where they would be free from danger of being disturbed. Macartney was obliged to obtain the intervention of the viceroy for the protection of these proofs of the genius and knowledge of Europe.

The cortège reached Tien Tsing, a town which appeared as long as London, and contained not less than seven hundred thousand inhabitants. A vast crowd assembled on the banks of the river to see the English pass, and the river swarmed with junks teeming with natives.

The houses in this city are built of blue with a few red bricks, some are two stories high, but that is unusual. Here the English saw the employment of those carriages with sails which had long been considered fabulous. They consist of two barrows made of bamboo, with one large wheel between them.

When there is not sufficient wind to propel the carriage, says the narrative, it is drawn by one man, while another pushes behind and keeps it steady. When the wind is favourable, the sail, which is a mat attached to two sticks placed upon either side of the carriage, renders the help of the man in front unnecessary.

The banks of the Pei-Ho are in many parts protected by breastworks of granite, to arrest inundation, and here and there dikes, also of granite, provided with a sluice, by means of which water is conveyed to the fields below. The country, although well cultivated, was often devastated by famines, following upon inundations, or resulting from the ravages of locusts.

Thus far, the cortège had been sailing through the immense alluvial plain of Pe-tche-Li. Not until the fourth day after leaving Tien Tsing was the blue outline of mountains perceived on the horizon. Pekin was now in sight; and on the 6th of August, 1793, the yachts anchored within two miles of the capital, and half a mile from Tong-Chow-Fow.

In order to leave the presents which could not be taken to Zhe Hol, at the palace, called "The garden of eternal spring," it was necessary to land. The inhabitants of Tong-Chow-Fow, who were already greatly excited by the appearance of the English, were still more amazed at the first sight of a negro servant. His skin, his jet black colour, his woolly hair, and all the distinguishing marks of his race, were absolutely novel in this part of China. The people could not remember seeing anything at all like him before. Some of them even doubted if he could be a human being at all, and the children cried out in fear that it was a black devil. But his good humour soon reconciled them to his appearance, and they became accustomed to look upon him without fear or displeasure.

The English were especially surprised at seeing upon a wall the sketch of a lunar eclipse which was to take place in a few days. They ascertained among other facts, that silver is an article of commerce with the Chinese, for they have no coined money, but use ingots bearing only a sign, indicative of their weight. The English were struck with the extraordinary resemblance between the religious ceremonies of Fo and those of the Christians.

Macartney states that certain authors maintain that the apostle Thomas visited China; while the Missionary Tremore contends, that this is merely a fiction palmed upon the Jesuits by the devil himself.

Ninety small carriages, forty-four wheelbarrows, more than two hundred horses, and over three thousand men, were employed in the transport of the presents of the British government to the emperor. Macartney and three of his suite accompanied the convoy in palanquins. An enormous crowd followed them. The English ambassador was greeted at the gates of Pekin by volleys of artillery. Once beyond the fortifications, he found himself in a wide unpaved street, with houses on either side, one or two stories high. Across the street extended a wooden triumphal arch in three partitions, each with a lofty and highly decorated roof.

The embassy afforded ample material for the tales which at this time filled the imagination of the people. It was declared that the presents brought for the emperor consisted of everything that was rare in other countries and unknown in China. It was gravely asserted that among the animals, there was an elephant not larger than a monkey, but as fierce as a lion, and a cock which was fed upon coal. Everything which came from England was supposed to differ from anything hitherto seen in Pekin, and to possess the very opposite qualities to those usual to it.

The wall of the imperial palace was at once recognized by its yellow colour. Through the gate were seen artificial hills, lakes and rivers, with small islets, and fantastic buildings amidst the trees.

At the end of a street terminating at the northern wall of the city, was a vast edifice of considerable height, which contained an enormous bell. The English explored the town in various directions, and on the whole were not favourably impressed. They concluded that a Chinaman visiting London, with its bridges and innumerable ships, its squares and monuments, would carry away a better idea of the importance of the capital of Great Britain than they could do of Pekin.

Upon their arrival at the palace, where the presents for the emperor were to be displayed, the governor discussed with Macartney the best way to arrange and display them. They were finally placed in a large and well-decorated hall, which at the time contained nothing but a throne and a few vases of old china.

It is unnecessary to enter upon the interminable negotiations which arose out of the resolve of the Chinese, that Macartney should prostrate himself before the emperor; which humiliating proposition they had prepared for by the inscription placed upon the yachts and carriages of the embassy, "Ambassador bringing tribute from England."

The Emperor of China
The Emperor of China.
(Fac-simile of early engraving.)

It is in Pekin that the field is situated which the emperor, in accordance with ancient custom, sows every spring. Here, too, is to be found the "Temple of the Earth," to which the sovereign resorts at the summer solstice, to acknowledge the astral power which lightens the world, and to give thanks for its beneficent influence.

Pekin is merely the seat of the Imperial government in China, and has neither shipping, manufactures, nor trade.

Macartney computes the number of inhabitants at three millions. The one-storied houses in the town appear insufficient for so large a population, but a single house accommodates three generations. This density of the population is the result of the early ages at which marriages are contracted. These hasty unions are often brought about from prudential motives by the Chinese, the children, and especially the sons, being responsible for the care of their parents.

The embassy left Pekin on the 2nd of September, 1793, Macartney, travelling in a post-chaise, probably the first carriage of the kind which ever entered Tartary.

As the distance from Pekin increased, the road ascended and the soil became more sandy, and contained less and less clay and black earth. Shortly afterwards, vast plains, planted with tobacco, were crossed. Macartney imagines tobacco to be indigenous, and not imported from America, and thinks that the habit of smoking was spontaneous in Asia.

The English soon noticed that as the soil became more and more barren, the population decreased. At the same time the Tartar element became larger and larger, and the difference between the manners of the Chinese and their conquerors was less marked.

Upon the fifth day of the journey, the far-famed Great Wall was seen.

"The first glance at this fortified wall," says Macartney, "is enough to give an impression of an enterprise of surprising grandeur. It ascends the highest mountains to their very loftiest peaks, it goes down into the deepest valleys, crossing rivers on sustaining arches, and with its breadth often doubled and trebled to increase its strength, whilst at intervals of about a hundred paces rise towers or strong bastions. It is difficult to understand how the materials for this wall were brought to and used in places apparently inaccessible, and it is impossible sufficiently to admire the skill brought to bear upon the task. One of the loftiest mountains over which the wall passes has been ascertained to be no less than 5225 feet high.

"This fortification—for the simple word 'wall' gives no just idea of the wonderful structure—is said to be 1500 miles long, but it is not quite finished. The fifteen hundred miles was the extent of the frontier which separates colonized China from the various Tartar tribes. Such barriers as these would not suffice in modern times for nations at war.

"Many of the lesser works in the interior of this grand rampart have yielded to the effect of time, and fallen into ruins; others have been repaired; but the principal wall appears throughout to have been built with such care and skill as never to have needed repairs. It has now been preserved more than two thousand years, and appears as little susceptible of injury as the rocks which nature herself has planted between China and Tartary."

The great wall of China
The great wall of China.

Beyond the wall nature seems to proclaim the entrance into a new country; the temperature is colder, the roads are more rugged, and the mountains are less wooded. The number of sufferers from goître in the Tartar valleys is very considerable, and, according to the estimate given by Dr. Gillan, physician to the embassy, comprises a sixth of the population. The portion of Tartary in which this malady rages is not unlike many of the cantons of Switzerland and Savoy.

The valley of Zhe Hol, where the emperor possesses a summer palace and garden, was at length reached. This residence is called "The abode of pleasant freshness," and the park surrounding it is named the "Garden of innumerable trees." The embassy was received with military honours, amid an immense crowd of people, many of whom were dressed in yellow. These were inferior lamas or monks of the order of Fo, to which the emperor also belonged.

The disputes as to prostration before the emperor begun in Pekin were continued here. At last Tchien Lung consented to content himself with the respectful salutation with which English nobles are accustomed to greet their own sovereign. The reception accordingly took place, with every imaginable pomp and ceremony.

The narrative says,—

"Shortly after daybreak the sound of many instruments, and the confused voices of distant crowds, announced the approach of the emperor. He soon appeared, issuing from behind a high mountain, bordered with trees, as if from a sacred grove, and preceded by a number of men who proclaimed his virtues and power in loud voices. He was seated in a chair carried by sixteen men; his guards, the officers of his household, standard and umbrella bearers, and musicians accompanied him. He was clothed in a robe of sombre-coloured silk, and wore a velvet cap, very similar in shape to that of Scotch mountaineers. A large pearl was conspicuous on his forehead, and was the only jewel or ornament he wore."

Upon entering the tent, the emperor mounted the steps of the throne, which he alone is allowed to ascend. The first minister, Ho Choo-Tang, and two of the chief officers of his household, remained near, and never addressed him but in a kneeling position. When the princes of royal blood, the tributary princes, and state officers, were in their places, the president of the customs conducted Macartney within a foot of the left-hand side of the throne, which in the Chinese court is considered the place of honour. The ambassador was accompanied by the minister plenipotentiary, and followed by his page and interpreter.

Macartney, in accordance with the instructions given him by the president, raised above his head the magnificent square golden box studded with diamonds, which contained the King of England's letter to the emperor. Then mounting the few steps leading to the throne, he bowed the knee, and, with a short prefatory compliment, presented the box to his Imperial Majesty. The Chinese monarch received it graciously, and said, as he placed it on one side, "that he experienced much satisfaction at the token of esteem and friendship offered by his Britannic Majesty in sending to him an embassy with a letter and rich gifts; that, for his part, he had the like friendly feelings towards the King of Great Britain, and he hoped the same harmony would always continue between their respective subjects."

After a few moments of private conversation with the ambassador, the emperor presented gifts to him and to the minister plenipotentiary. They were then conducted to cushions, in front of which were tables covered with a number of vessels containing meat and fruits. The emperor also partook of these, and continued to overwhelm the ambassadors with expressions of regard and esteem, which had a great effect in raising the English in the estimation of the Chinese public. Macartney and his suite were later invited to visit the gardens of Zhe Hol. During their walk in the grounds, the English met the emperor, who stopped to receive their respectful salutations, and order his first minister, who was looked upon as little less than a vice-emperor, and several other grandees to accompany them.

Chinese Prime Minister
Chinese Prime Minister.
(Fac-simile of early engraving.)

The Chinese conducted the English over a portion of the grounds laid out as pleasure-gardens, which formed only a small portion of the vast enclosure. The rest is sacred to the use of the women of the imperial family, and was as rigorously closed to the Chinese ministers as to the English embassy.

Macartney was then led through a fertile valley, in which there were many trees, chiefly willows of enormous size. Grass grows abundantly between the trees, and its luxuriance is not diminished by cattle or interfered with by mowing. Arriving upon the shores of an irregular lake, of vast extent, the whole party embarked in yachts, and proceeded to a bridge which is thrown across the narrowest part of the lake, and beyond which it appeared to stretch away indefinitely.

Upon the 17th of September Macartney and his suite were present at a ceremony which took place upon the anniversary of the emperor's birthday. Upon the morrow and following days splendid fêtes succeeded each other, Tchien Lung participating in them with great zest. Dancers on the tight-rope, tumblers, conjurors (of unrivalled skill), and wrestlers, performed in succession. The natives of various portions of the empire appeared in their distinctive costumes and exhibited the different productions of their provinces. Music and dancing were succeeded by fireworks, which were very effective, although they were let off in daylight.

The narrative says,—

"Several of the designs were novel to the English. One of them I will describe. A large box was raised to a great height, and the bottom being removed as if by accident, an immense number of paper lamps fell from it. When they left the box they were all neatly folded; but in falling they opened by degrees and sprung one out of the other. Each then assumed a regular form, and suddenly a beautifully coloured light appeared. The Chinese seemed to understand the art of shaping the fireworks at their fancy. On either side of the large boxes were smaller ones, which opened in a similar manner, letting fall burning torches, of different shapes, as brilliant as burnished copper, and flashing like lightning at each movement of the wind. The display ended with the eruption of an artificial volcano."

It is the usual custom for the Emperor of China to conclude his birthday festivities by hunting in the forests of Tartary; but in the present case advancing age rendered that diversion unwise, and his Majesty decided to return to Pekin, the English embassy being invited to precede him thither.

Macartney, however, felt that it was time to terminate his mission. In the first place, it was not customary for ambassadors to reside long at the Chinese court; and in the second, the fact that the Chinese emperor defrayed the expenses of the embassy naturally induced him to curtail his stay. In a short time he received from Tchien Lung the reply to the letter of the King of England, and the presents intended for the English monarch, as well as a number for the members of his suite. This Macartney rightly interpreted as his congé!

The English went back to Tong Chou Fou by way of the imperial canal. Upon this trip they saw the famous bird "Leutzé," fishing for its master. It is a species of cormorant, and is so well trained that it is unnecessary to place either a cord or ring round its neck to prevent it from swallowing any of its prey.

"Upon every boat or raft there are ten or twelve of these birds, ready to plunge the instant they receive a sign from their masters. It is curious to see them catch enormous fish, and carry them in their beaks."

The famous bird Leutzé
"The famous bird Leutzé."

Macartney mentions a singular manner of catching wild ducks and other water-birds. Empty jars and calabashes are allowed to float upon the water for several days, until the birds are accustomed to the sight of them. A man then enters the water, places one of the jars upon his head, and advancing gently, seizes the feet of any bird which allows him to come near enough: he rapidly immerses it in the water to choke it, and then noiselessly continues his search until his bag is full.

The embassy visited Canton and Macao, and thence returned to England. We need not dwell upon the return voyage.

We must now consider that portion of Asia which may be called the interior. The first traveller to be noticed is Volney.

Every one knows, by repute at least, his book on Ruins; but his account of his adventures in Egypt and Syria far surpasses it. There is nothing exaggerated in the latter; it is written in a quiet, precise manner, and is one of the most instructive of books. The members of the Egyptian Expedition refer to it as containing exact statements as to climate, the productions of the soil, and the manners of the inhabitants.

Volney prepared himself most carefully for the journey, which was a great undertaking for him. He determined to leave nothing to chance, and upon reaching Syria he realized that he could not possibly acquire the knowledge of the country he desired unless he first made himself acquainted with the language of the people. He therefore retired to the monastery of Mar-Hannd, in Libiya, and devoted himself to the study of Arabic.

Later on, in order to learn something of the life led by the wandering tribes of the Arabian desert, he joined company with a sheik, and accustomed himself to the use of a lance, and to live on horseback, thus qualifying himself to accompany the tribes in their excursions. Under their protection he visited the ruins of Palmyra and Baalbec, cities of the dead, known to us only by name.

"His style of writing," says La Beuve, "is free from exaggeration, and marked by singular exactness and propriety. When, for example, he wishes to illustrate the quality of the Egyptian soil, and in what respect it differs from that of Africa, he speaks of 'this black, light, greasy earth,' which is brought up and deposited by the Nile. When he wishes to describe the warm winds of the desert, with their dry heat, he compares them 'to the impression which one receives upon opening a fierce oven to take out the bread;' according to his description, speaking of the fitful winds, he says they are not merely laden with fog, but gritty and powdery, and in reality full of fine dust, which penetrates everything; and of the sun, he says it 'presents to view but an obscured disk.'"

If such an expression may be used in speaking of a rigid statement of facts, Volney attained to true beauty of expression—to an actual physical beauty, so to speak, recalling the touch of Hippocrates in his "De Aere, Aquis et Locis." Although no geographical discoveries can be imputed to him, we must none the less recognize in him one of the first travellers who had a true conception of the importance of their task. His aim was always to give a true impression of the places he visited; and this in itself was no small merit, at a time when other explorers did not hesitate to enliven their narratives with imaginary details, with no recognition whatever of their true responsibility.

The Abbé Barthélemy, who in 1788 was to publish his "Voyage du jeune Anacharsis," was already exercising a good deal of influence on public taste, by his popularity in society and position as a man of science, and drawing special attention to Greece and the neighbouring countries. It was evidently whilst attending his lessons that De Choiseul imbibed his love for history and archæology.

Nominated ambassador at Constantinople, De Choiseul determined to profit by the leisure he enjoyed in travelling as an artist and archæologist through the Greece of Homer and Herodotus. Such a journey was the very thing to complete the education of the young ambassador, who was only twenty-four years of age, and if he knew himself, could not be said to have any acquaintance with the ways of the world.

Sensible of his shortcomings, he surrounded himself with learned and scientific men, amongst them the Abbé Barthélemy, the Greek scholar, Ansse de Villoison, the poet Delille, the sculptor Fauvel, and the painter Cassas. In fact, in his "Picturesque History of Greece" he himself merely plays the rôle of Mæcenas.

M. de Choiseul Gouffier engaged as private secretary a professor, the Abbé Jean-Baptiste Le Chevalier, who spoke Greek fluently. The latter, after a journey to London, where M. de Choiseul's business detained him long enough for him to learn English, went to Italy, and was detained at Venice by severe illness for seven months. After this he joined M. de Choiseul Gouffier at Constantinople.

Le Chevalier occupied himself principally with the site of Troy. Well versed in the Iliad, he sought for, and believed he identified, the various localities mentioned in the Homeric poem.

His able geographical and historical book at once provoked plentiful criticism. Upon the one side learned men, such as Bryant, declared the discoveries made by Choiseul to be illusory, for the reason that Troy, and, as a matter of course, the Ten Years Siege, existed only in the imagination of the Greek poet; whilst others, and principally the English portion of his critics, adopted his conclusions. The whole question was almost forgotten, when the discoveries made quite recently by Schliemann reopened the discussion.

Guillaume-Antoine Olivier, who traversed the greater portion of the Western hemisphere, at the end of the last century, had a strange career. Employed by Berthier de Sauvigny to translate a statistical paper on Paris, he lost his patron and the payment for his labours in the first outburst of the Revolution. Wishing to employ his talent for natural history away from Paris, he was nominated, by the minister Roland, to a mission to the distant and little-known portions of the Ottoman Empire. A naturalist, named Bruguère, was associated with him.

The two friends left Paris at the end of 1792, and were delayed for four months at Versailles, until a suitable ship was found for them.

They only reached Constantinople at the end of the following May, carrying letters relating to their mission to M. de Semonville. But this ambassador had been recalled, and his successor, M. de Sainte Croix had heard nothing of their undertaking. What was the best thing to do whilst awaiting the reply to the inquiries sent to Paris by M. de Sainte Croix?

The two friends could not remain inactive. They therefore decided to visit the shores of Asia Minor, and some islands in the Egyptian Archipelago.

The French minister had excellent reasons for not supplying them with much money, and their own resources being limited, they were unable to do more than make a flying visit to these interesting countries.

Upon their return to Constantinople they found a new ambassador, named Verninac, who had received instructions to send them to Persia, where they were to endeavour to awaken the sympathy of the government for France, and to induce it to declare war against Russia.

At this time the most deplorable anarchy reigned in Persia. Usurpers succeeded each other upon the throne, to the great detriment of the welfare of the inhabitants. War was going on in Khorassan at the time that Olivier and Bruguère arrived. An opportunity occurred for them to join the shah in a country as yet unvisited by any European; but unfortunately Bruguère was in such bad health that they were not only forced to lose the chance, but were detained for four months in an obscure village buried amongst the mountains.

In September, 1796, Mehemet returned to Teheran. His first act was to order a hundred Russian sailors whom he had taken prisoners on the Caspian Sea, to be put to death, and their limbs to be nailed outside his palace walls—a disgusting trophy worthy of the butcher tyrant.

The following year Mehemet Ali was assassinated, and his nephew, Fehtah-Ali Shah, succeeded him, after a short struggle.

It was difficult for Olivier to discharge his mission with this constant change of reigning sovereigns. He was forced to renew his negotiations with each succeeding prince. Finally, the travellers, realizing the impossibility of obtaining anything definite under such circumstances, returned to Europe, and left the question of alliance between France and Persia to a more favourable season. They stopped upon their homeward journey at Bagdad, Ispahan, Aleppo, Cyprus, and Constantinople.

Although this journey had been fruitless as regarded diplomacy, and had contributed no new discovery to geography, Cuvier, in his eulogy of Olivier, assures us that, so far as natural history was concerned, much had been achieved. This may be the better credited, as Olivier was elected to the Institute as the successor to Daubenton.

Cuvier, in academic style, says that the narrative of the voyage published, in three quarto volumes, was warmly received by the public.

"It has been said," he continues, "that it might have been of greater interest if the censor had not eliminated certain portions; but allusions were found throughout the whole volume, which were inadmissible, as it does not do to say all we know, especially of Thamas Kouli Khan.

"M. Olivier had no greater regard for his assertions than for his fortune; he quietly omitted all that he was told to leave out, and restricted himself to a quiet and simple account of what he had seen."

A journey from Persia to Russia is not difficult; and was less so in the eighteenth century than to-day. As a matter of fact, Russia only became an European power in the days of Peter the Great. Until the reign of that monarch she had been in every particular—manners, customs, and inhabitants—Asiatic. With Peter the Great and Catherine II., however, commerce revived, high roads were made, the navy was created, and the various tribes became united into one nation.

The empire was vast from the first, and conquest has added to its extent. Peter the Great ordered the compilation of charts, sent expeditions round the coast to collect particulars as to the climate, productions, and races of the different provinces of his empire; and at length he sent Behring upon the voyage which resulted in the discovery of the straits bearing his name.

The example of the great emperor was followed by his successor, Catherine II. She attracted learned men to her court, and corresponded with the savants of the whole world. She succeeded in impressing the nations with a favourable idea of her subjects. Interest and curiosity were awakened, and the eyes of Western Europe were fixed upon Russia. It became recognized that a great nation was arising, and many doubts were entertained as to the result upon European interests. Prussia had already changed the balance of power in Europe, by her victories under Frederick II.; Russia possessed resources of her own, not only in men, but in silver and riches of every kind—still unknown or untested.

Thus it came to pass that publications concerning that country possessed an attraction for politicians, and those interested in the welfare of their country, as well as for the scientific men to whom descriptions of manners and customs foreign to their experience were always welcome.

No work had hitherto excelled that of the naturalist Pallas, which was translated into French between 1788-1793. It was a narrative of a journey across several provinces of the Russian empire. The success of this publication was well deserved.

Peter Simon Pallas was a German naturalist, who had been summoned to St. Petersburg by Catherine II. in 1668, and elected by her a member of the Academy of Sciences. She understood the art of enlisting him in her service by her favours. Pallas, in acknowledgment of them, published his account of fossil remains in Siberia. England and France had just sent expeditions to observe the transit of Venus. Russia, not to be behindhand, despatched a party of learned men, of whom Pallas was one, to Siberia.

Seven astronomers and geometers, five naturalists, and a large number of pupils, made up the party, which was thoroughly to explore the whole of the vast territory.

For six whole years Pallas devoted himself to the successive explorations of Orenburg upon the Jaik, the rendezvous of the nomad tribes who wander upon the shores of the Caspian Sea; Gouriel, which is situated upon the borders of the great lake which is now drying up; the Ural Mountains, with their numberless iron-mines; Tobolsk, the capital of Siberia; the province of Koliwan, upon the northern slopes of the Atlas; Krasnojarsk, upon the Jenissei; and the immense lake of Bakali, and Daouria, on the frontiers of China. He also visited Astrakan; the Caucasus, with its varied and interesting inhabitants; and finally, he explored the Don, returning to St. Petersburg on the 30th of July, 1774.

It may well be believed that Pallas was no ordinary traveller. He was not merely a naturalist; he was interested in everything that affects humanity; geography, history, politics, commerce, religion, science, art, all occupied his attention; and it is impossible to read his narrative without admiring his enlightened patriotism, or without recognizing the penetration of the sovereign who understood the art of securing his services.

When his narrative was once arranged, written, and published, Pallas had no idea of contenting himself with the laurels he had gained. Work was his recreation, and he found occupation in assisting in the compilation of a map of Russia.

His natural inclinations led him to the study of botany, and by his works upon that subject he obtained a distinctive place among Russian naturalists.

One of his later undertakings was a description of Southern Russia, a physical and topographical account of the province of Taurius—a work which, originally published in French, was afterwards translated into English and German.

Delighted with this country, which he had visited in 1793-94, he desired to settle there. The empress bestowed some of the crown lands upon him, and he transported his family to Simpheropol.

Pallas profited by the opportunity to undertake a new journey in the northern provinces of the empire, the Steppes of the Volga, and the countries which border the Caspian Sea as far as the Caucasus. He then explored the Crimea. He had seen parts of the country twenty years before, and he now found great changes. Although he complains of the devastation of the forests, he commends the increase of agricultural districts, and the centres of industries which had been created. The Crimea is known to be considerably improved since that time—it is impossible to foresee what it may yet become.

Enthusiastic though he was at first in his admiration of this province, Pallas was exposed to every kind of treachery on the part of the Tartars. His wife died in the Crimea; and finally, disgusted with the country and its inhabitants, he returned to Breton to end his days. He died there on the 8th of September, 1811.

He left two important works, from which naturalists, geographers, statesmen, and merchants, were able to gather much trustworthy information upon countries then but little known, and the commodities and resources of which were destined to have a large influence over European markets.