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0158 Cathay and the Way Thither : vol.1
Cathay and the Way Thither : vol.1 / Page 158 (Grayscale High Resolution Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000042
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discovery and in the perusal of the old travellers, attention became again directed to CATHAY, as a region distinct from these new found Indies, so that it might be considered yet to hold an independent place in geographical history. Cathay had been the aim of the first voyage to the north-west of the Cabots in 1496, and it continued to be the object of many adventurous English voyages to the north-west and the north-east till far on in the succeeding century, though in the later of these expeditions China no doubt had assumed its place. At least one memorable land journey too was made by Englishmen, of which the investigation of the trade with Cathay was a chief object ; I mean of course that in which Anthony Jenkinson and the two Johnsons reached Bokhara from Russia in 1558-9. The country regarding which they gathered information at that city is still known to them only as Cathay, and its great capital is still as in the days of Polo Cambalu and not Peking.'

  1.  Other narratives of Asiatic journeys to Cathay are preserved by RAMUSIO, and by AUGER GISLEN DE BUSBECK. The first was taken down by the Venetian geographer from the lips of HAJJI MAHOMED, an intelligent Persian merchant whom he fell in with at Venice ;2 the second was noted by Busbeck, when ambassador from the Emperor Charles V to the Porte (1555-62), from the narrative of a wandering Turkish dervish.3 Large extracts from these last words about Cathay will be found in the notes to this essay.'

  2.  We arrive now at the term of our subject in the journey of Benedict Goes, undertaken in 1603 with the specific object of determining whether the Cathay of old European travellers and modern Mahomedans was or was not a distinct region from that China of which parallel marvels had now for years been recited. Benedict, "seeking Cathay found Heaven," as one of his brethren

1 Such is the case also in the narrative of the Russian Embassy of

Jacowitz Boicof in 1653 (Voyages au Nord, iv, 150).

2 Preface to the 2nd vol. of the Navigationi.

3 Busbequii Epistolce, Amsterd., 1660, pp. 326-330. The letter containing this narrative was written at Frankfort, 16th December, 1562, after the ambassador's return.

4 See Notes XVIII and XIX.