صور الصفحة
PDF
النشر الإلكتروني

Kashkar is remarkable for its uniformity and levelness. It is named Pamer, which in the Toorkee of Yarkund signifies “the plain.” It appears to be drained west, and probably into the Jaxartes chiefly. The road to Yarkund extends across it for about 60 miles or less, but in length it is said to be double. It is bounded to the south-west by the mountains above Keerategin, and to the north-west by those near the heads of the Jaxartes. Both are of the Belur chain, which is in fact to be considered as the steep termination of that broad upland tract which extends from the longitude of 69° to that of 93° east.

8. In this view of the subject Hindookoosh would be considered as a branch sent from this broad tract still further west. This lofty mountain has also its inferior branches spreading in many directions. A very considerable branch appears to extend from the Belur where in its greatest height it gives source to the Oxus and Jaxartes, and proceeding first west and afterwards south-west, separates Keerategin, Wukheeka, and Durwuz, which are drained into the upper Oxus, from Kohun and other places drained into the Jaxartes, as also from some part of the middle of Toorkistan, the waters of which hold their course to the Oxus in its inferior progress. I presume that all the hills of Toorkistan between those great rivers are to be traced to the Belur. That inferior range only called A w, and which lies between Sa. markand and the Jaxartes, seems distinct and insulated. With respect to the hills in the Kuzzak and Kirghiz countries beyond the Jaxartes, I know not what is their exact situation or direction. The former people indeed inhabit a tract generally level on the right of the lower Jaxartes. The Kirghizes pasture the Pamer, but have lower and more hilly grounds to the north-west. Geographers mention under the name of Alak, a range which joins to the Belur and continues in the same direction, that is towards the north, dividing the great and little Bucharias of some authors, here called independent and Chinese Toorkistan. Between Hokun, a city to the left of the Jaxartes in its upper course, and Yarkund in Chinese Toorkistan, one route at least leads over a high mountain, and in the latter country all the waters run to easterly instead of westerly points. The Alak range contains some of the sources of the Jaxartes, and in a higher latitude is said to originate the Neelum which, like the Jaxartes, runs to a westerly point. On the other side arises the Kizlsoo, or river of Kashghur and Yarkund, which, however, seems to be fed also from the grand tract of uplands already mentioned to the south, and from a chain of mountains far to the north, which geographers lay down from east to west and call the Altaian chain. Their latitude may be supposed to be 46°,

and that of Yarkund being by Lieutenant Macartney's construction 40° 30', the medium breadth of Chinese Toorkistan will be at least 400 English miles. Beyond the Altaian chain the waters run north into Siberia and the

ozen ocean.

All those of Chinese Toorkistan are lost in itself or in the country immediately to the east (which is also subject to China); to this quarter alone does it slope, while in all others it is bounded by land much higher. Thus false is the common opinion of its forming part of what has been called the table land of Asia ; the climate alone is sufficient to convince us of the contrary. Though in a higher latitude than any part of Tibet, the climate is much warmer, a fact we need not be surprized at, since we are informed by merchants who have travelled through great Tibet from Kushmeer to Yarlound that at a certain distance beyond Ludakh begins a descent to Yarkund.

9. There prevails in Europe, or did prevail, an opinion that the Caucasian mountains extend uninterruptedly on the south of Geelan and Mazunduran, and through Khoorasan to a junction with the Hindookoosh. It is highly probable the continuity is not broken until we reach a certain distance into the last country, but afterwards we find for a considerable distance only detached hills, seldom of very considerable altitude; or if there be any chain, or chain of hillocks dividing the rain water and the spring torrents, giving source to no rivers. To treat such as a continuation of Caucasus and Hindookoosh is a manifest abuse of terms. It is moreover aiming at a simplicity of arrangement which is excessive, and tends to darken the subject, not to elucidate it; for by such modes of reasoning ranges might be easily traced from any point, and all the hills and mountains of a continent proved to form parts of one range or of its branches. When generalizations so forced are made, nothing can be affirmed or denied of the whole which shall not be untrue of a considerable number of the facts ; and recourse must at length be had to sub-divisions of moderate comprehension, which alone conduce to brevity, perspicuity, and the easy development of facts.

10. There even occur cases where though a connection must be allowed to exist, such is the dissimilarity of character in mountains, that they cannot conveniently be made to pass under one name, or treated of except separately; such is that of a chain which though it have no connection with Caucasus, has an undoubted one with Hindookoosh. We have seen that this famous mountain lies nearly due north of Cabul; but in a west or north-west direction from the valley, the roads to Toorkistan lead over a mountain which the natives

1

.

I say

frequently call by the same name, and which is undoubtedly connected with it. The course of the mountains thus appears to change from west to south-west, and thence to almost due south, giving rise in that quarter to the Helbund, the greatest river of Khoorasan. The future course of the central and chief ridge it is difficult to ascertain with much minuteness, but its general course seems to be almost due west to the longitude of Hirat. The branches are numerous and extend to considerable distances, being visible from Candahar, and approaching still nearer to Mimuna, Undkho, and Bulkh in the northern directions. These are the mountains which the ancients seem generally to have distinguished by the name Paraparnisan. generally, because doubtless quotations might be brought forward in which the term is applied to others. Disregarding such instances, I propose to restrict the term to this range. The Paraparnisan is not so lofty as the great northern chain. Except the mountain called Shadeean, from a village of that name at its foot in the environs of Bulkh, I know no well-ascertained instance of continued snow on any one of them, though it is possible several such exist. They also rise more gradually from their bases than the other chain. Their abruptest descent seems towards Bactria. At their commencement, where they form the tract inhabited by the Gavee Huzaras, they have on the east a gradual descent to the high valley of Cabul, but towards Bactria so rapid, that we soon arrive at climates considerably warmer than Cabul. The table land of Ghuznee, still more elevated than Cabul, bounds to the east the main body of the Paraparnisan which gradually rise from it; to the south-west and north-west the descent into Khoorasan is also in general gradual.

1). Within Afghanistan we have first to notice that range which runs for the most part in latitude 34°. It is difficult to name with much accuracy its commencement to the west. The road from Cabul to south-west passes over no hill; to the eastward, however, of that line we find the valley of Cabul divided from the country to the south by the low ridge of Logur, which still more to the east rises into lofty mountains; these continue to the Indus, holding their course somewhat to the south of east. They even cross the Indus into the district of Attoc and divide (though not accurately) Chhuchh from the Khatirs. Even the hill of Husunubdal from its position and its composition almost seems a detached part of this range, which is of various altitude from the hills of the Khuttuks, seldom sprinkled with snow, to the white mountain, south of Jellalabad, ever crowned with it. The greatest altitude is about the middle, the least to the

east in this range, which is far narrower than the great northern one, is generally much lower, and supports no considerable table land; one corner it is true of the table land of Ghuznee rests on it. From this quarter (the west) the acclivity is gradual, but in most others it is rapid. The white mountain high in itself, appears still higher from its vicinity to the low lands of Jellalabad, whence it rapidly rises. The eastern hills also though so much inferior in height are usually steep, and not easily practicable. The valleys within this range are in general narrow. From its southern side, and east of Jellalabad, it sends off one or more branches to the north-east, in the direction of Swad. This minor range which though low is diffieult, forms the boundary to the north-west part of the valley of Peshawur, and all the roads leading thence to Cabul pass through it; where it unites with the great range, it is called Khybur, and the constant inhabitants are chiefly of the Upper Mihmund tribe. To the north-east, in its further progress, succeeds the Ootman-Khel tribe, and here seems to be the greatest height.

12. None of its other branches deserve notice except what may be called the salt range, which proceeds from its southern side in nearly the longitude where commences the preceding, and holds a course to the south-east. At its junction it is inhabited by the Oorukzyes. At a short distance further it forms the country of Upper Bungush, and afterwards continues to Kalabagh on the Indus, and beyond that river to the vicinity of Pind-Dadun Khan, on the right of the Vehut. Its greatest height is at its commencement, but even there it is not very great. In some places it is easily practicable, in others not.

13. Another range runs nearly parallel to that of 34° in the medium latitude of 32° Eastward it may be said to begin at the Pezoo pass, and westward it seems to end near Mookr. It supports the southeast corner of the table land of Ghuznee, and in that quarter is of gradual acclivity and a tame character, although the absolute height be considerable. To the east it is more rugged. In height this range on the whole yield to that of 34°, for it contains no mountain which bears snow throughout the summer; the eastern part however does not diminish to that lowness which the eastern part does of the range of 34o. I know of no considerable height it sends off, but we are not to forget that short range which appears to unite its western extremity with that of the range of 34°. It is the eastern buttress of the table land of Ghuznee to which it has a gradual declivity, while to the east it descends with the utmost abruptness, forming a very difficult country, in which live some tribes who quite set at naught the royal authority;

the Jadrans are the chief, and from them those mountains may with propriety be named. They are of a height on the whole not superior to the range of 32į°, unless the lofty mountain Bunseekun be considered as part of them. It lies towards their northern extremity, and is covered with perpetual snow. The longitude of the Jadran range is, by Lieut. Macartney's calculation, about 691°.

14. The southern part of Afghanistan is in all things far more obscure to us than the northern, but chiefly we are ill informed respecting the conformation of the country. It is neither well peopled nor much civilized, nor frequently traversed. It appears to be neither mountainous nor plain, but diversified with numerous small and tame-featured hills. Such a country is naturally in a warm climate but little productive. It certainly contains no mountain on which the snow does not melt before midsummer. The highest is the famous Tukhti Sooleman, called by the Afghans Kuseghur, which rising boldly from the low plain, right of the Indus, appears to the stranger a most conspicuous object, but is certainly far less elevated than the white mountain. From it proceeds a range of mountains in a direction parallel to the Indus, even somewhat beyond the most southern limits of Afghanistan. Their height is but moderate. I know not whether we can trace hills proceeding northwards from the Tukhti Sooleman and bounding Mukulwad and the Daman to the west, or whether the hills which appear from Dera Ismael Khan in that quarter be merely the ends of ridges running east and west, and among others of that of 324°. Somewhat more to the north, however, begin some hills which extend for about 30 miles nearly parallel to the Indus, ending at the right bank of the Koorm. Those hills form a double range, and between is a sandy and barren valley known in the neighbourhood under the name of Largee. It is plainly formed from the ruins of these hills which are low and friable. The most eastern range closely hems in the Indus, and little arable land is left between, yet here live the Khusor tribe of Afghans, while the western range belongs to the Murwuts. The Khusor and Murwut hills are not properly comprehended in the southern Afghanistan, which may be considered as having for its northern boundary the range of 321 or the river Gomul, or the 32nd degree of north latitude. The other hills of this tract need be but little expatiated on. The country slopes east towards the Indus, south into Bulochistan, and west into the Afghan Khoorasan, or country of the Dooranees. but it is difficult to assign the boundaries of those natural divisions, The western part, inhabited chiefly by the Kakur tribe of Afghans,

« السابقةمتابعة »