Page:Journal of the Royal Geographical Society of London, Volume 1 (2nd edition).djvu/268

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?$6 Notice on Khoten. from the path, under great disadvantage. It is not uncommon for the natives of Asia to call the principal city of a country by the name of the co,ntry itself, notwithstanding the former has a different appellation; as, for instance, an inhabitant of Delhi, on being asked the name of his residence, will occasionally answer Hindoostan; and thus the name of Khoten may incidentally have been applied to one of the'cities of the country. But setting aside further endearours to reconcile accounts with facts, I must observe, that my scepticism is founded upon information given by a traveller who has twice visited all the cities of Khoten in the calmacity of a merchant, and who asserts that no city of the name of Khoten is now to be found in the country so called; and his testimony is supported by the inte!lige.nce procured respecting Khoten from a native of this province ,n 181?, by Meer Izzut Oollah Khan, at Yarkund, which agree? in all its main__points with that related by my informant. If ever a city called Khoten did exist, its name must have been changed, no extraordinary occurrence in China, or it must have been destroyed by some disaster. It is a matter of notoriety to travellers in Khoten, that a large city there is buried under a drift of sand; and my infor- mant speaks positively of this fact, although unacquainted with its name, or with the period or manner in ?vhich the event took place. This indifference in an individual, extremely inquisitive and intelligent, is produced in a great measure by the policy of the Chinese government, which punishes severely any person who ventures to dig on the site of the city in search of treasures, and even inquiries are not unattended with risk. ' Such a catastrophe as the sudden overwhelming of a large city by a sand drift, is no more uncommon in these sandy countries than the overwhelming of cities in Europe, as Herculaneum, Pompeii, &c., by eruptions from a volcano. Meerza Hydur, the cousin of the emperor Babur, and the general of Rasbeed Khan, a descendant of Chungiz Khan, reports that Saceram was sud- denly buried by a mass of sand. ' The present cities of Khoten are six in number, viz. Kara- kash, Eiechee, Yooroong-kash, Cheera, Kurreea, and Yungee- kishlak. ' Karakash,' or city of the Black River, so called from being situated upon the banks of this stream, is the first met with on the road from Yarkund, in the direction of east, and at the distance of seven days'journey. It contains three thousand houses, without numbering those of the district which belongs to it. �The second city on the same road, distant from Karakash ten or twelve kos, and likewise to the east. is Elechee, containing about six thousand houses. Two Umbaus, or Chinese residents from Peking, with five hundred troops, are constantly stationed at this Digitized'by Google