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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 7.djvu/685

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FOR upward of ten years, the Abbé Armand David, a Catholic missionary, has devoted himself to studying the fauna and flora of regions in the Chinese Empire previously unvisited by any European naturalist. He has enriched the Paris Museum of Natural History with collections of great value, representing a number of species either new to science, or not known to have their habitat in Eastern Asia. The Abbe David came to Peking in July, 1862, and in the following year made his first remittance to the museum, of natural history specimens collected and prepared by himself. In 1864 he spent several months at a point 125 miles north of Peking, collecting there fresh materials. Two years later he was in Mongolia, where he spent several months. In 1868 he explored the province of Kiangsi, in Central China, discovering several new species. Toward the end of that year he ascended the Yang-tse-kiang, on a steamer, as far as the city of Hanyang. Thence he made the voyage to the ancient city of Ichang, on a junk, navigating a series of lakes and canals. After a week of difficult navigation he again reached the Yang-tse-kiang, and embarked on a junk of greater tonnage for the province of Szchuen; but, landing at Chungking, he left his baggage on board the junk, and himself cut across-country, reaching Chingtu, the capital of Szchuen, after twelve days' travel. Here M. David spent two months, hunting and botanizing in the surrounding country. Toward the end of February, 1869, he was on the road again, traveling westward over a rugged country, till he reached the border of Moupin, an independent principality, situated on the frontier of China proper. Most maps of Eastern Asia make no mention of Moupin, which is inhabited by the Mantzes, a race differing from both the Chinese and the Tibetans, though they resemble the latter rather than the former. This country lies between Kokonor, the K'ham country, and H'lassa, and is separated from Nepaul, Bhotan, and Assam, by the main range of the Himalaya. But the country really forms a part of the Himalaya region, being covered with lofty mountains whose summits are clad with perpetual snow. Hence, though the centre of Moupin is situated between the thirty-first and the thirty-second degree of north latitude, that is to say, in the latitude of Egypt, its winters are extremely cold, the snow persists in the valleys for several months, and, during the rest of the year, the rain and snow fall with great frequency. This constant humidity of the atmosphere gives rise to a very abundant vegetation; on all sides are to be seen magnolias, laurels, and rhododendrons, which often attain a considerable size; and the mountains