Page:Mongolia, the Tangut country, and the solitudes of northern Tibet vol 2 (1876).djvu/316

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

288

NOTES.

insect has never been seen at Urumchi. The peculiarity in the physical formation of the country favours the presumption of the existence of an extensive depression on the northern side of the Thian Shan, like that of Lob-nor on the south.

Within the district ruined sites of towns and traces of ancient cultivated fields may be seen, evidencing ancient settlements in this country; of especial interest are the ruins near the Himus station, probably dating as far back as the Tang dynasty, and here is preserved a large stone image of Buddha, half buried in the earth; carbonized objects found here prove, in the opinion of the author of these Notes, that this ancient city was destroyed by fire.

The population of Urumchi consists of Chinese settlers who have lived here for so many generations that they may be regarded as its original inhabitants. When the Manchus conquered Dzungaria they were desirous of consolidating their empire in this remote country, and accordingly drew up a broad scheme of colonization, in accordance with which they planted military colonies of their own dynastic subjects (Manchus, Sibos, Dahurs, Solones, Chakhars, and Eleuths), with their wives and families and a few native Chinese; further, they encouraged voluntary emigration from China, supplying the colonists with money, provisions, and agricultural implements, and granting them arable land. In other ways, too, they endeavoured to increase the settled population in the nomadic districts.[1]

The military, stationed at Urumchi, consist of Manchus and native Chinese, some of the former being obligatory agriculturists, Tsi-ho, i.e. bannermen or Manchus; the latter, free agriculturists or simply Bing-hu, i.e. military.

The common people are divided into several classes: 1. Those who have voluntarily emigrated from China at the invitation of government, Nim-pu. 2. Merchants desirous of becoming agriculturists, who have inscribed them-

  1. About this time a colony of settlers from the towns of Turkestan, called by the Eleuths Tariachi (Taranchi), or colonists, was established near Ili.