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instead of before, his coffee. Forster, again, was recognised as an Englishman in Cashmire from his head being flattened at the top, instead of being conical like a Mussulman's;' and we have often witnessed the agony which Europeans endure in endeavouring to sit for a few hours together on their heels, or to ride in a native saddle with their knees bent to a right angle. The crucial test under which Arthur Conolly succumbed was of another character. Professing to be a Mahomedan merchant, he betrayed himself by his readiness to purchase articles of the Turcomans at the price demanded, instead of haggling for an hour ere the bargain was completed.
Other travels in the East, which have been recently communicated to the world, would be of the utmost interest if they could be relied on as authentic and sober recitals; but at present a grave shadow of suspicion hovers over them. There have always been European adventurers in Central Asia, sometimes established in the cities as military instructors or jewellers, sometimes wandering about the country in search of mines and metals. Herat, Cabul, and Bokhara, have rarely been without such visitors, and it is a free-lance traveller of this class whom we are now about to introduce. A Mr. Gardiner, who was the son of a medical officer in the Mexican service, and who had been educated at the Jesuit College of Clongoose, in Ireland, found himself, at the close of some very strange adventures, at Herat in the beginning of 1830. He seems to have been of an essentially erratic disposition, for although his ostensible object at this period was to take service in the Punjab, he passed several years in perambulating, or circumambulating, the intermediate countries before he finally reached his destination. An abstract of a portion of his travels has been recently published in the 'Journal of the Asiatic Society' at Calcutta, and as this abstract professes to describe a route passing from Herat to Bokhara, from thence to Kundúz, and through Badakhshan to Yarkend, Ladakh and Cashmere, and beyond that point among the mountains to Kafferistan on the Cabul frontier, it ought to be full of interest and value; but unfortunately the names, distances, and bearings are so distorted and mutilated, and the descriptions of antiquities and natural phenomena are further so monstrously exaggerated, that the narrative reads like a romance rather than as a journal of actual adventure. Mr. Gardiner, however, who is still living, and who holds, indeed, a Colonel's command under the existing Seikh Government in Cashmere, is understood, now that age has somewhat tempered the exuberance of his fancy, to have re-written his travels, including his descrip
tion of Kafferistan, the original notes of which were supposed to have been lost in the pillage of Sir A. Burnes's house at Cabul; and if, as is said to be likely, Mr. Cooper, our Commissioner at Lahore, whose name is a sufficient guarantee for careful and conscientious editing, can spare time from his official duties to prepare the MSS. for the press, the public may expect to be soon gratified with the appearance, in a readable shape, of this unique record of Central Asiatic discovery. We say unique, notwithstanding that a German work, which we have reserved for the last on our list, claims to have reference to the same mysterious country of Kafferistan, as we have the most serious misgivings with regard to the genuineness of this latter record.
A question of literary authenticity is always provocative of curiosity, but in the present case it is also of real importance to the science of geography. If the manuscript,' it was recently stated to a meeting at Burlington House, 'were genuine, it was one of the most valuable contributions to our knowledge of Central Asia that had ever been given to the world; on the other hand, if it were not genuine, it was one of the most successful forgeries that had ever been attempted in the history of literature.' The subject, indeed, is one of so much interest, and the evidence for and against the German is so nearly balanced, that we shall merely state the heads of the story, and leave our readers to draw their own conclusions; or if we hazard a solution, it must be understood to be a mere suggestion unsupported by authority. It appears, then, that a few years ago Monsieur Veniukoff, an officer especially interested in geographical exploration in Central Asia, to which, indeed, he had been himself an active contributor, discovered in the archives of the Topographical Department of St. Petersburg an anonymous MS., purporting to be the journal of a German traveller, who had passed from Cashmere to the Kirghiz Steppe in the early part of the present century, and had executed a quasi-scientific survey, verified by astronomical observation, of all the regions he had visited. This MS. was duly brought under the notice of the Geographical Society of St. Petersburg, and copious extracts from it were published, with annotations, by M. Veniukoff, in the Russian 'Geographical Journal.' No one in Russia presumed to contest the genuineness of a document thus authoritatively brought forward. It was received with acclamation by the Imperial Academy, and the alterations which it introduced into the geography of Central Asia were at once transferred to the Government maps, and thus obtained circulation throughout Europe. When the Russian papers, however, were translated and came under the cognisance
cognisance of savans in London, who had made a special study of the geography of Central Asia, doubts were immediately expressed as to the genuineness of the narrative. Inconsistencies— nay impossibilities-were pointed out of a most damnatory chaProofs of authenticity were asked for, and a controversy arose between Russian and English geographers, which is still being carried on without much chance of a satisfactory issue.
The MS. professed to have been written in 1806 by a German nobleman, who had been employed by the East India Company towards the close of the last century to purchase horses in Central Asia for the Indian cavalry. He had started, it was said, from Cashmere, accompanied by Lieutenant Harvey and forty sepoys, had traversed the mountains between Little Thibet and the Upper Oxus, debouching finally upon Kashgar; from that point he had returned to Badakhshan and had passed several months in the neighbouring districts, after which he had struck across the Pamír Uplands to Kokand, and had sought to return to Europe by traversing the Kirghiz Steppes. Arrested, however, in his progress northward and plundered by the Kirghiz, he was compelled to fall back on Bokhara and Samarcand, from whence he regained India by the high road of Kashgar, Yarkend, and Ladakh. A series of maps, forty in number, accompanied the Journal, and personal adventure, historical relation, geographical and statistical details, and a general description of the countries traversed, varied by notices of their inhabitants, climate, and products, were blended together in a sufficiently interesting, though inartistic manner, in this singular narrative. It was further stated in the memoir that over 1100 horses had been purchased by the German agent, 132 in the mountains near the source of the Oxus, which had been sent back to India at once under charge of Lieutenant Harvey, and 980 more from the tribesmen near Kashgar, which had also been duly forwarded to their destination. These horses, however, having been plundered by the Mahrattas in Northern India, the German, on his return to India, was unable to obtain reimbursement for his outlay from the Calcutta authorities. Thereupon arose an angry correspondence, at the close of which the agent, having cleared his honour but smarting under a sense of injustice, betook himself to St. Petersburg and placed his maps and journals at the disposal of the Russian government. An explanation was further tendered by the Russian officials that it was in consequence of this betrayal of trust, as it might be deemed, that the name of the traveller had been suppressed, and that the MS., after being allowed to remain for nearly sixty years in obscurity, had only been brought Vol. 120.-No. 240. 2 K
out when it might be hoped that all traces had been lost which could lead to the identification of the writer.*
Now, however legitimate would have been an introduction of this nature to a sensational novel, or however circumstantial and consistent the story may have seemed to the Russian academicians, jubilant with the honour of their great discovery-for if the travels were genuine they were of the utmost importance to geographical science-it did not by any means satisfy the more calm and rigid scrutiny of the English critics. Objections were taken on two grounds; firstly, that the framework and incidents of the pretended journey were impossible; and secondly, that the so-called geographical results, as far as they could be tested on the Indian side, were altogether false. Inquiries set on foot both in India and in London showed that no trace existed in the records of the East India Company of any such arrangement as that described by the pseudo-agent, either with himself or with any one else. There was no Lieutenant Harvey in the India Army List at the close of the last century; nor any cavalry force that could have required recruiting. Cashmere was then held by the hostile Afghans, amongst whom it would have been madness for a couple of officers with a party of forty Sepoys to have attempted to penetrate. Forster, indeed, the only European who had visited the valley under Afghan occupation, was indebted for his safety to disguise. The story of the horses, moreover, was manifestly fabulous. The only animals obtainable in the region indicated would have been Uzbeg ponies, utterly unfit for cavalry purposes, and when obtained at the sources of the Oxus, to have conveyed them in safety to India under the escort of a lieutenant and seven Sepoys, would have been little less than a miracle. Then in regard to geographical results, the German pretended to have passed from Cashmere to Kashgar with camels and foot soldiers in twenty-five days, whereas three months would have been a more reasonable allowance for the
Mons. Veniukoff gives the following title to the MS. in the Russian archives: Travels through Upper Asia, from Kashgar, Tashbalyk, Bolor, Badakshan, Vakhan, Kokan, Turkestan, to the Kirghiz Steppe, and back to Cashmere, through Samarkand and Yarkend;' but this title in reality can only refer to the second portion of the travels, as it omits all mention of the journey from Cashmere to Cashgar, which is, nevertheless-or ought to be the most interesting part of the narrative. Mons. Veniukoff's further description of the MS. is remarkable. The travels,' he says, form a magnificent manuscript work in the German language, accompanied by forty sketch maps of the country traversed. The text has also been translated into French in a separate manuscript, and the maps worked into one itinerary in an admirable style. The Christian name of this traveller, George Ludwig von -, appears over the preface; but the
surname has been erased.'
journey. He crossed the Indus according to his own statement on the third march, from Srinagar, with his whole caravan, the distance being nearly 200 miles, and occupying usually a period of twenty days. He passed too, as he asserted, in this interval an active volcano, no such physical feature existing in the valley. To trace his exact footsteps was obviously impossible, as there was not a single name of a town, or mountain, or river, excepting the Indus itself, on the entire route from Cashmere to Kashgar that admitted of identification; but it was known from the actual explorations of Messrs. Winterbottom and Vans Agnew beyond the Indus in 1848, as well as from the information collected by Captain Montgomerie of the march of the Seikh force in 1860, that there was in reality but one available road through the mountains in this direction-namely, that which left the Indus at Bonji, ascended the Gilgit River by Gilgit and Shirni to Yassín, crossed by a difficult defile to Mastúj in the Upper Chitral valley, then passed over the great range to Badakhshan, descended upon the Oxus, and followed up a branch of that river to the plateau of Pamír which it traversed till it reached Kashgar; and this route, although not unfrequently followed by lightly equipped travellers, was in many parts of it impracticable even to loaded mules, whilst the German pretended to have carried his camels with him throughout his journey, and did not, except on one occasion, speak of any extraordinary difficulties in the transit. Another fatal discrepancy which attracted notice was, that the inhabitants of the whole country between the Indus and the Oxus were described as Pagans, all speaking dialects of one language called the Bili, whereas in reality the Pagans, or Siyah-púsh Kaffirs, were known to be confined to the western corner of this tract, and would hardly have been met with upon our traveller's line at all; and in the second place, whilst no such language as the Bili had ever been heard of before, the dialects which would have been encountered on the transit from Cashmere to the Oxus (such as the Balti, the Dardu, the Cashcári, the Kaffir, and the Badakhshi), were essentially dissimilar to each other, and could not possibly have been all understood by one so-called Bili interpreter.
In regard to the second portion of this pretended journey from Kashgar by Badakhshan to Kokand, on the authority of which extensive modifications had been introduced into our standard maps, we may quote the following résumé from Sir Henry Rawlinson's address on the subject to the Royal Geographical Society, at their Meeting on the 26th of March of the present year :
The ascent of the Yaman-yar river, from Kashgar to the Lake of
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