Évariste Régis Huc


Évariste Régis Huc

Évariste Régis Huc, or Abbé Huc, (1813 - 1860) was a French missionary traveller, famous for his accounts of China, Tartary and Tibet. Since the travels of the Englishman, Thomas Manning [ [http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/ref:odnb/17978 Elizabeth Baigent, "Manning, Thomas (1772–1840)", "Oxford Dictionary of National Biography"] ] , in Tibet (1811-1812) [ [http://books.google.com/books?id=w6k9pto4BGMC&pg=PP1&ots=_vRJKlPozq&dq=Narratives+of+the+Mission+of+George+Bogle+to+Tibet+and+of+the+Journey+of+Thomas+Manning+to+Lhasa&sig=wuz290sWeYSDa9lWiWVA7_2HBUc Clements Robert Markham, "Narratives of the Mission of George Bogle to Tibet and of the Journey of Thomas Manning to Lhasa," London (1876); Asian Educational Services (1999) ISBN 812061366X] ] , no European had visited Lhasa. Huc stimulated European interest in Central Asia and blazed a trail for Asian studies.

Early life

He was born in Caylus, Tarn-et-Garonne in France on August 1, 1813. When Évariste was twenty-four, he entered the congregation of the Lazarists (also known as Vincentians) at Paris. Shortly after receiving holy orders in 1839, he went out to China. He spent some eighteen months in the Lazarist seminary in Macau preparing himself for the regular work of a missionary and learning the Chinese language. He modified his personal appearance and dress in accordance with Chinese taste, then started from Guangzhou (Canton). He at first superintended a Christian mission in the southern provinces.

Moving on to Beijing (Peking), Huc gained more knowledge of the Chinese language, then settled in the Valley of Black Waters or Hei Shui, convert|300|mi|km north of Beijing and just within the borders of Mongolia. There, beyond the Great Wall of China, a large but scattered population of native Christians had taken refuge from the persecutions of Jiajing (Kia-king), in an earlier era.

Tibet

Huc devoted himself to the study of the dialects and customs of the "Tatars," for whom he translated several religious texts. Huc's intention was to travel from China to Lhasa, and from there to India [ [http://www.archive.org/details/germanwork01mulluoft Max Müller, "Chips from a German Workshop, Essays on the Science of Religion," v. I, p. 261. Internet Archive.] ] (much as Hsuan Tsang had travelled via Tashkent, Samarkand and Taxila much earlier, in the 7th century). This work prepared him for his journey to Tibet in 1844 at the instigation of the vicar apostolic of Mongolia. By September, 1844 he reached Dolon Nor and made arrangements for his journey. Soon after, accompanied by his fellow-Lazarist, Joseph Gabet, and a young Tibetan priest who had embraced Christianity, he set out.To escape attention the party assumed the dress of lamas or priests. Crossing the Yellow River, they advanced into the terrible sandy tract known as the Ordos Desert. After suffering dreadfully from want of water and fuel they entered Gansu, having recrossed the flooded Hwang-ho. By January, 1845 they reached Tang-Kiul on the boundary. Rather than take an independent four months journey to Lhasa, they waited eight months for a Tibetan embassy expected to return from Peking. Under an intelligent teacher they meanwhile studied the Tibetan language and Buddhist literature. During three months of their stay they resided in the ancient Kunbum Lamasery, which was said to accommodate 4,000 persons. In late September, 1845 they joined the returning embassy, which comprised 2,000 men and 3,700 animals.

Crossing the deserts of Koko Nor (Qinghai), they passed the great Koko Nor lake, with its island of contemplative lamas. After a difficult journey across snow-covered mountains, they entered Lhasa on January 29, 1846. Favourably received by the regent, they opened a little chapel. They had begun to establish their mission when Qishan, the Chinese resident interceded. During the Opium Wars Qishan, then the governor of Zhili province, had entered into negotiations with Captain Charles Elliot, first at Dagu, then at Canton. His action being disapproved, Qishan had been degraded, sentenced to death, reprieved, then sent to Tibet as imperial commissioner. Sensing the potential trouble if Huc and Gabet were to reach India from Tibet, Qishan expelled Gabet and Huc from Lhasa February 26, 1846 under guard. Following an official inquiry into their motives for being in Tibet, they were officially escorted to Canton in October, 1846.

Reflections

Abbé Gabet returned to Europe in late 1846 in the company of Alexander Johnston, secretary to John Francis Davis, British minister plenipotentiary to China. Davis reported Gabet's exciting information with its strategic significance about Central Asia to Palmerston. [ [http://books.google.com/books?id=5ls8ZzcGWSUC&pg=PA1&lpg=PA1&dq=littell+living+age+huc&source=web&ots=4Z01jV8vt3&sig=n5wFHIYg57c9_folmcvlqDqlhz8 Littell's Living Age] XXX no. 372, pp. 1-11 (July 5, 1851). Article from the "Edinburgh Review."]

Huc remained at Canton for nearly three years, writing his account of travels in China and Central Asia. "Souvenirs d'un voyage dans la Tartarie, le Thibet, et la Chine pendant les années 1844, 1845 et 1846" appeared in Paris in 1850. It was soon published in English, in 1851. A German translation appeared in Leipzig in 1855, followed by Dutch, Spanish, Italian, Swedish, and Russian editions. [ [http://books.google.com/books?id=_SwPAAAAIAAJ&pg=PA2119&lpg=PA2119&dq=the+chinese+empire+a+sequel+to+recollections+of+a+journey+through+tartary+and+thibet&source=web&ots=R-Xs1hLYzX&sig=mp24iKczjnGDqj-BREWMYHqFIXw#PPA2119,M1 Henri Cordier, "Bibliotheca sinica: Dictionnaire bibliographique des ouvrages relatifs à l'Empire chinois," p. 2119. E. Guilmoto (1907).] ] Popular editions followed, including an illustrated, simplified story text for schoolboys. It was abridged and translated by Julie Bedier as "High Road in Tartary" (1948).

Huc's works are written in a lucid, spicy, picturesque style, securing for them an unusual degree of popularity. However, his esteem for Tibetan manners and religion was not welcomed by his Church: "The late Abbé Huc pointed out the similarities between the Buddhist and Roman Catholic ceremonials with such a naïveté, that, to his surprise, he found his delightful 'Travels in Thibet' placed on the 'Index'." [ [http://www.archive.org/details/germanwork01mulluoft Max Müller, "Chips from a German Workshop, Essays on the Science of Religion," v. I, p. 187. Internet Archive.] ]

The "Souvenirs" is a narrative of a remarkable feat of travel. Huc was unjustly suspected of sensationalizing his travels. Although a careful observer, he was by no means a practical geographer. The record of his travels lacks precise scientific data. The authenticity of Huc's journey was questioned by the Russian traveller, Nikolai Przhevalsky, but vindicated by others [Henry Yule, in Nikolai Przhevalsky, "Mongolia, the Tangut Country and the Solitudes of Northern Thibet," London (1876)] . Of course, both Huc and Gabet had written brief reports of their journey from 1847 on for the "Annales de la Propagation de la Foi" and the "Annales de la Congrégation de la Mission". More recently, Huc's writings have been criticized for presenting negative stereotypes of the Chinese.

The sequel, "The Chinese Empire" (1854) is a more comprehensive compendium of the religion, laws, usages and institutions of China, ["Dublin Review," pp. 134-169. (1855)] followed by a multi-volume history of Christianity in China and Central Asia.

Gabet went on to Rio de Janeiro, where he died soon afterwards. Huc returned to Europe in poor health in 1852. In his last years he took an active role in events in Cochin China [ [http://en.wikisource.org/w/index.php?title=Catholic_Encyclopedia_%281913%29/Evariste_R%C3%A9gis_Huc&oldid=343267 Henri Cordier, "Evariste Régis Huc", "Catholic Encyclopedia," (1913). On line.] ] He urged Napoléon III to take action, saying, "The Far East will soon be the theater of great events. If the emperor wills, France will be able to play an important and glorious role there." [ [http://links.jstor.org/sici?sici=0022-2801(194009)12%3A3%3C334%3ATDOIFA%3E2.0.CO%3B2-S R. Stanley Thomson, "The Diplomacy of Imperialism: France and Spain in Cochin China, 1858-63", "The Journal of Modern History," v. 12 no. 3 (Sept., 1940).] ] Napoleon took the first steps to establish a French colonial influence in East Asia. He launched a naval expedition in 1858 to punish the Vietnamese people for their mistreatment of French Catholic missionaries and demanded that the Vietnamese cede the port of Tourane and the island of Poulo-Condor, under an old treaty of 1787, which had never been used. This eventually led to a full-out invasion in 1861.

Residing in Paris, Huc died on March 31, 1860.

Works

* Huc's letters and memoirs of travel appeared in the "Annales de la propagation de la foi" and "Annales de la Congrégation de la Mission," (1847-1850). Collected and annotated edition of 76 letters by Gabet and 98 by Huc in Jacqueline Thevenet, "Joseph Gabet, Évariste Huc: Lettres de Chine et d'ailleurs, 1835-1860," Paris, Les Indes Savants (2005) ISBN 2-84654-084-5
* "Souvenirs d'un voyage dans la Tartarie, le Thibet, et la Chine pendant les années 1844, 1845 et 1846," 2 vols., Paris, A. LeClère & Co. (1850); reprint (1992); [http://classiques.uqac.ca/classiques/HUC_evariste/C20_souvenirs_voyage_tartarie/huc_souvenirs.pdf Édition électronique intégrale du livre du Père Huc sur le site de l'Université du Québec à Chicoutimi (in French)] Omnibus (2001)] ISBN 812060802X.
**English translation, W. Hazlitt, "Travels in Tartary, Thibet and China, 1844-1846," (1851) ISBN 0486254380. Chicago 1898; reprint (1998) ISBN 8120613791.
**Authorized English tr. Mrs. Percy Sinnett, "A Journey through Tartary, Thibet, and China during the Years 1844, 1845 and 1846," 2 vols., New York, D. Appleton (1852); London, Longmans (1859). ISBN 1402178794.
* "L'Empire Chinois" 2 vols., Paris (1854); "The Chinese Empire, forming a sequel to recollections of a journey through Tartary and Thibet." tr. Mrs. Percy Sinnett. London, Longmans (1855).
* "Christianity in China, Tartary and Thibet," 3 vols., London, Longman, etc., (1857—1858). "Le Christianisme en Chine", 4 vols., Paris (1857—1858).

*Huc, Evariste Regis (1855). [http://ebook.lib.hku.hk/CTWE/B36598793V1/ The Chinese Empire: forming a sequel to the work entitled "Recollections of a journey (Vol. 1)] London: Longman, Brown, Green,and Longmans. -University of Hong Kong Libraries, Digital Initiatives, China Through Western Eyes

*Huc, Evariste Regis (1855). [http://ebook.lib.hku.hk/CTWE/B36598793V2/ The Chinese Empire: forming a sequel to the work entitled "Recollections of a journey (Vol.2)] London: Longman, Brown, Green,and Longmans. -University of Hong Kong Libraries, Digital Initiatives, China Through Western Eyes

*Huc, Evariste Regis (1857-58). [http://ebook.lib.hku.hk/CTWE/B36599001V1/ Christianity in China, Tartary and Thibet (Vol. 1)] London: Longman, Brown, Green. -University of Hong Kong Libraries, Digital Initiatives, China Through Western Eyes

*Huc, Evariste Regis (1857-58). [http://ebook.lib.hku.hk/CTWE/B36599001V2/ Christianity in China, Tartary and Thibet (Vol. 2)] London: Longman, Brown, Green. -University of Hong Kong Libraries, Digital Initiatives, China Through Western Eyes

*Huc, Evariste Regis (1857-58). [http://ebook.lib.hku.hk/CTWE/B36599001V3/ Christianity in China, Tartary and Thibet (Vol.3)] London: Longman, Brown, Green. -University of Hong Kong Libraries, Digital Initiatives, China Through Western Eyes

References

Literature

* Jacqueline Thevenet, "Le Lama du Ciel d'Occident" Paris, Payot (2004) ISBN 2228898627
* [http://www.futura-sciences.com/comprendre/d/dossier608-3.php Jean Guillemot, "From Peking to Lhassa, an Extraordinary Adventure", "Futura-Sciences" (1/3/2006) - in French]
* C.-H. Desgodins, "La Mission du Tibet, de 1855 à 1870, comprenant l'exposé des Affaires religieuses et divers documents sur ce pays, d'après les lettres de l'abbé [Auguste] Desgodins," Verdun, Ch. Laurent (1872) ISBN 0543890236
* H. Trotter, "Account of the Pundit's [Nain Singh's] Journey in Great Tibet from Leh in Ladakh to Lhasa, and of His Return to India via Assam: Abridgement", "Proceedings of the Royal Geographical Society of London," Vol. 21, No. 4 (1876 - 1877), pp. 325-350.
* [http://books.google.com/books?id=ven0yHz15KQC&pg=PA40-IA1&dq=tibet+the+mysterious#PPP1,M1 Thomas Hungerford Holdich, "Tibet, the Mysterious," New York, Frederick A. Stokes Co. (1906) - Google Books]


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  • Évariste Régis Huc — (* 1. August 1813 in Toulouse; † 31. März 1860 in Paris) war ein französischer Entdecker und Missionar, der durch seine Durchquerung der Mongolei, Tibets und Chinas in den Jahren 1844 1846 weltberühmt wurde. Huc trat im Alter von 24 Jahren in die …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Evariste Regis Huc —     Evariste Régis Huc     † Catholic Encyclopedia ► Evariste Régis Huc     A French Lazarist missionary and traveller; born at Caylus (Tarn et Garonne), 1 June, 1813; died at Paris, 26 March, 1860. He entered the seminary of the Congregation of… …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • Evariste Régis Huc — Évariste Huc Régis Évariste Huc ou plus simplement Évariste Huc (né le 1er août 1813 à Caylus (Tarn et Garonne) mort le 31 mars 1860 à Paris) était un religieux français de l ordre des Lazaristes, qui fut missionnaire en Chine au… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Évariste Régis Huc — Évariste Huc Régis Évariste Huc ou plus simplement Évariste Huc (né le 1er août 1813 à Caylus (Tarn et Garonne) mort le 31 mars 1860 à Paris) était un religieux français de l ordre des Lazaristes, qui fut missionnaire en Chine au… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Huc, Evariste Régis — • A French Lazarist missionary and traveller; born at Caylus (Tarn et Garonne), 1 June, 1813; died at Paris, 26 March, 1860 Catholic Encyclopedia. Kevin Knight. 2006 …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • Huc, Evariste Régis — ▪ French missionary born June 1, 1813, Caylus, France died March 26, 1860, Paris       French missionary of the Vincentian (Lazarist) order whose account of his journey through China and Tibet provides a vivid picture of China on the verge of… …   Universalium

  • Regis Evariste Huc — Évariste Régis Huc (* 1. August 1813 in Toulouse; † 31. März 1860 in Paris) war ein französischer Entdecker und Missionar, der durch seine Durchquerung der Mongolei, Tibets und Chinas in den Jahren 1844 1846 weltberühmt wurde. Huc trat im Alter… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Régis-Evariste Huc — Évariste Régis Huc (* 1. August 1813 in Toulouse; † 31. März 1860 in Paris) war ein französischer Entdecker und Missionar, der durch seine Durchquerung der Mongolei, Tibets und Chinas in den Jahren 1844 1846 weltberühmt wurde. Huc trat im Alter… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Evariste Huc — Évariste Régis Huc (* 1. August 1813 in Toulouse; † 31. März 1860 in Paris) war ein französischer Entdecker und Missionar, der durch seine Durchquerung der Mongolei, Tibets und Chinas in den Jahren 1844 1846 weltberühmt wurde. Huc trat im Alter… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Régis — Regis und Régis ist ein Vor und Familienname. Inhaltsverzeichnis 1 Herkunft 2 Bekannte Namensträger 2.1 Vorname 2.2 Zweitname 2.3 Familienname // …   Deutsch Wikipedia


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