Certain Old Geographers, We May Observe, Did
Follow That Indication, And The Results Were Curious Enough, As We Shall
Notice In Next Note But One.
Marsden's observations are so just that I
have followed Pauthier in substituting Champa for Java in the text.
NOTE 2. - There is no reason to doubt that these islands are the group now
known as that of PULO CONDORE, in old times an important landmark, and
occasional point of call, on the route to China. The group is termed
Sundar Fulat (Fulat representing the Malay Pulo or Island, in the
plural) in the Arab Relations of the 9th century, the last point of
departure on the voyage to China, from which it was a month distant. This
old record gives us the name Sondor; in modern times we have it as
Kondor; Polo combines both names. ["These may also be the 'Satyrs'
Islands' of Ptolemy, or they may be his Sindai; for he has a Sinda
city on the coast close to this position, though his Sindai islands are
dropt far away. But it would not be difficult to show that Ptolemy's
islands have been located almost at random, or as from a pepper castor."
(Yule, Oldest Records, p. 657.)] The group consists of a larger island
about 12 miles long, two of 2 or 3 miles, and some half-dozen others of
insignificant dimensions. The large one is now specially called Pulo
Condore. It has a fair harbour, fresh water, and wood in abundance.
Dampier visited the group and recommended its occupation. The E.I.
Company did establish a post there in 1702, but it came to a speedy end in
the massacre of the Europeans by their Macassar garrison. About the year
1720 some attempt to found a settlement there was also made by the French,
who gave the island the name of Isle d'Orleans. The celebrated Pere
Gaubil spent eight months on the island and wrote an interesting letter
about it (February, 1722; see also Lettres Edifiantes, Rec. xvi.). When
the group was visited by Mr. John Crawford on his mission to Cochin China
the inhabitants numbered about 800, of Cochin Chinese descent. The group
is now held by the French under Saigon. The chief island is known to the
Chinese as the mountain of Kunlun. There is another cluster of rocks in
the same sea, called the Seven Cheu, and respecting these two groups
Chinese sailors have a kind of Incidit-in-Scyllan saw: -
"Shang p'a Tsi-cheu, hia-pa Kun-lun,
Chen mi t'uo shih, jin chuen mo tsun."
"With Kunlun to starboard, and larboard the Cheu,
Keep conning your compass, whatever you do,
Or to Davy Jones' Locker go vessel and crew."
(Ritter, IV. 1017; Reinaud, I. 18; A. Hamilton, II. 402; Mem. conc.
les Chinois, XIV. 53.)
NOTE 3. - Pauthier reads the name of the kingdom Soucat, but I adhere to
the readings of the G.T., Lochac and Locac, which are supported by
Ramusio. Pauthier's C and the Bern MS. have le chac and le that, which
indicate the same reading.
Distance and other particulars point, as Hugh Murray discerns, to the east
coast of the Malay Peninsula, or (as I conceive) to the territory now
called Siam, including the said coast, as subject or tributary from time
The kingdom of Siam is known to the Chinese by the name of Sien-Lo. The
Supplement to Ma Twan-lin's Encyclopaedia describes Sien-Lo as on the
sea-board to the extreme south of Chen-ching. "It originally consisted of
two kingdoms, Sien and Lo-hoh. The Sien people are the remains of a
tribe which in the year (A.D. 1341) began to come down upon the Lo-hoh, and
united with the latter into one nation.... The land of the Lo-hoh consists
of extended plains, but not much agriculture is done."
In this Lo or LO-HOH, which apparently formed the lower part of what is
now Siam, previous to the middle of the 14th century, I believe that we
have our Traveller's Locac. The latter half of the name may be either the
second syllable of Lo-Hoh, for Polo's c often represents h; or it may
be the Chinese Kwo or Kwe, "kingdom," in the Canton and Fo-kien
pronunciation (i.e. the pronunciation of Polo's mariners) kok;
Lo-kok, "the kingdom of Lo." Sien-LO-KOK is the exact form of the
Chinese name of Siam which is used by Bastian.
What was this kingdom of Lo which occupied the northern shores of the Gulf
of Siam? Chinese scholars generally say that Sien-Lo means Siam and
Laos; but this I cannot accept, if Laos is to bear its ordinary
geographical sense, i.e. of a country bordering Siam on the north-east
and north. Still there seems a probability that the usual interpretation
may be correct, when properly explained.
[Regarding the identification of Locac with Siam, Mr. G. Phillips writes
(Jour. China B.R.A.S., XXI., 1886, p. 34, note): "I can only fully
endorse what Col. Yule says upon this subject, and add a few extracts of
my own taken from the article on Siam given in the Wu-pe-che. It would
appear that previously to 1341 a country called Lohoh (in Amoy
pronunciation Lohok) existed, as Yule says, in what is now called Lower
Siam, and at that date became incorporated with Sien. In the 4th year of
Hung-wu, 1372, it sent tribute to China, under the name of Sien Lohok. The
country was first called Sien Lo in the first year of Yung Lo, 1403. In
the T'ang Dynasty it appears to have been known as Lo-yueh, pronounced
Lo-gueh at that period. This Lo-yueh would seem to have been situated
on the Eastern side of Malay Peninsula, and to have extended to the
entrance to the Straits of Singapore, in what is now known as Johore."
In 1864, Dr. Bastian communicated to the Asiatic Society of Bengal the
translation of a long and interesting inscription, brought [in 1834] from
Sukkothai to Bangkok by the late King of Siam [Mongkut, then crown
prince], and dated in a year 1214, which in the era of Salivahana (as it
is almost certainly, see Garnier, cited below) will be A.D. 1292-1293,
almost exactly coincident with Polo's voyage.
Enter page number
Page 138 of 360
Words from 139877 to 140945