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0480 Cathay and the Way Thither : vol.1
Cathay and the Way Thither : vol.1 / Page 480 (Grayscale High Resolution Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000042
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As regards a third subject (I may add that) some of the boys whom I purchased and baptised have departed to the Lord. A fourth matter mentioned was that since my first coming to Tartary I have baptised more than five thousand souls.

In that same year of the Lord 1305, I began another new place before the gate of the Lord Cham, so that there is but the width of the street between his palace and our place, and we are but a stone's throw from his majesty's gate.

I may venture to remark that the direction in which a character is read, and not that in which it is written, is the essential distinction. Everyone has acquaintances whose characters run, if not vertically, at least in a resultant direction between vertical and horizontal ; and the Indian Munshi in writing the Persian character on a paper in his hand, according to the usual practice, does really by some natural necessity write e ccelo ad stomachum, a practice which, by becoming systematised or copied by a people to whom writing was a new acquirement, might give rise to a modified character, read as well as written vertically.

The language of the Uigurs appears to have been Turkish. So Rubruquis, who shows unusual discernment for his time in all linguistic matters, expressly testifies. Rashideddin says that Mangu Khan had secretaries to write his orders in Chinese, Tibetan, Tangutan, and Uigur. Unless the latter represent Turkish, that language, which was spoken over so great a part of his empire, was omitted altogether.

Mr. Schmidt, the translator of Ssanang Setzen, maintains against the general opinion that Uigur was Tangutan or Tibetan ; his arguments are not convincing, and his temper does not beget confidence. Whatever Uigur may have meant in Mongol authors, the people and language so called by the Western Asiatics were Turkish. The " Ugaresca" of the Genoese in the Crimea, and the Uigur character which Friar Pascal learned at Sarray (see below) could have nothing to do with Tibetan.

The knowledge of the name in Europe goes back to the seventh century, as may be seen in a passage from Theophylactes, quoted in the introductory essay.

Captain Valikhanoff speaks of the language now in use at Kashgar as being Uigur, but it is not clear whether he means that this term is known to the natives. (Russians in Cent. Asia, p. 67.)

On the original seat and migrations of the Uigurs, see D'Ohsson (i, 107 seq., and 429 seq.)

(Rubruquis, p 288, 289 ; Plano Carpini, 651; Klaproth in J. As., ser. i, tom. v, 203; Remusat, Rech. sur les langues Tart., 38, 39, 60-63; St. Martin, .Morn. sur l'Armenie, ii, 275; Schmidt, Ssanang Setzen, etc., pp. 211, 386, 396-8, 406, 412.)