Page:Journal of the Royal Geographical Society of London, Volume 1 (2nd edition).djvu/267

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Notice on Khoten. ?$5 as were there procured: and, 3. Papers transmitted regarding Cashmere, its soil, productions, manufactures, trade, ?c., several of which are very curious and interesting. Selections from each will be published in future volumes of these Transactions, as may be found expedient; and, in the mean time, one extract is subjoined. .Notice o? Khotm. g Dated l?eh, April 15, 1812. ' Marco Polo calls Kotan (Khoten) the principal city of the province of that name. The Chinese general, who conquered the couutry of Kashgar in 1757, appears to regard it (Khoten) as a place of small consequence; when, in writing to the emperor from the camp before Hashat (Kashgar), he says, "Je suppli? votre Ma'est? de ne rein exiger cette annie de Horfien (Khdten), d ?ksou, de Smhm. de Koutche, et des antres petites viiies de ces cantons. Elles sont presqu'enti?rement ruin?es."?Mem. tom. i. p. 392. Maraden's Marco Polo, p. 154. ' From information given by a respectable Tooranee merchant, who is acquainted with all the places just mentioned, it appears that Aksou (Aksoo) and its district contain about thirty thousand houses; Sarlien (Saceram) only from two to three hundred; whilst Koutche (Koochar) has about six thousand houses. It is not only possible that the meaning of the Chinese general may have been somewhat strained by the French translator, in causing the former to represent Khoten as one of the small towns in this country; but it is rendered probable by Aksoo and Khoten, districts containing each, upon the lowest calculation, a population greatly exceeding a hundred thousand individuals, being classed in the same rank with Saceram, which contains not more than two thousand inha- bitants. But Khoten might have stood in need of repose from taxation after having experienced the presence of a Chinese army as an enemy, when countries visited by one as a friend recover not the effects of its rapaciousness, even within thirty years. It may appear audacious enough, after what has been said by Marco Polo r? ecting the city of Khoten, much later by the Chinese general, whose opportunmes of obtaining local information must have been ample, and even in the present century, by respectable English writers, that I should venture to express a doubt of such a city as Khoteu being in existence. But it is not clear that the Venetian traveller did actually visit Khoten. The meaning of the Chinese general may have been perverted, or carelessly expressed by him- self; or, accusiomed to see cities of immense populousness, he may have considered those of which the inhabitants could not be numbered by laks, as of little importance; and our travellers must have gleaned their information regarding a country so far removed Digitized by Google