Indo-China, the most easterly of the three great peninsulas of Southern Asia, is bounded on the north by the Mountains of Assam, the Plateau of Yun-nan, and the Mountains of Kwang-si; on the east by the Province of Kwang-si (Canton), the Gulf of Tong-king, and the Sea of China; on the south by the Sea of China, the Gulf of Siam, and the Strait of Malacca; on the west by the Gulf of Martaban and the Bay of Bengal. This territory is divided politically into: Upper and Lower Burma, which belong to Britain; the Malay Peninsula, which England shares with Siam; the Empire of Siam; and French Indo-China, which includes the Colony of Cochin China, the vassal Kingdoms of Cambodia and Annam, the Tong-king and Laos Protectorates, and—although not geographically included in Indo-China—the Territory of Kwangchau-wan, leased in 1898 for ninety-nine years from the Chinese Government. The length of the peninsula from the Chinese frontier to Cape Cambodia is about 1200 miles; at its widest point, between the Gulf of Tong-king and the Bay of Bengal, its breadth is 1000 miles. Its approximate area is 735,000 square miles, or about one-fourth the area of the United States. Its population is estimated at 34,000,000, that is 46 inhabitants to the square mile. In the present article, only general reference will be made to the British territories and Siam, for particulars concerning which the reader is referred to the articles India and Vicariate Apostolic of Siam respectively in THE CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA.
PHYSICAL FEATURES, ETC.—While manifesting a certain degree of uniformity in its physical formation, in the ethnographical relations of its inhabitants, and, to a lesser degree, in its fauna and flora, Indo-China lacks that political unity which characterizes its sister peninsula, Hindustan. As both this want of unity and the comparatively deserted state of the Indo-Chinese peninsula are almost entirely due to the configuration of the land, a clear exposition of the natural formation of the peninsula must necessarily precede every attempt to treat intelligently of its history, civilization, peoples, and produce. In Indo-China we have a vast tract of territory almost four times the size of France, blessed with a soil capable of producing almost any crop, free from the barren wastes which mar so many countries in the same latitude, richly watered by innumerable rivers and streams, possessing a mineral wealth not greatly inferior to its agricultural possibilities, endowed by nature with numerous superb harbors, the natural rendezvous of traders between the West and the Far East, situated in the midst of an ocean of vast islands—many of which are unexcelled for the richness of their soil—and yet exhibiting in spite of all these natural advantages a backwardness difficult at first to understand. Though perhaps referable to some extent to the character of the inhabitants, the cause of the backward state of Indo-China compared with Hindustan, as already stated, is primarily a geographical one. Francis Garnier, the famous explorer of the peninsula, compared the territory to the human hand with extended fingers. The fingers serve to indicate roughly the courses of the five great rivers which rise in the high plateau to the north of the peninsula: the Song-koi (Red River) flowing through Tong-king, the Me-kong through Laos and Cambodia, the Me-nam through Siam, and the Salwin and Irawadi through Burma. The upper basins of these rivers are effectually separated from one another by lofty mountain ranges, the geological continuation of the Great Tibetan Plateau. As one descends towards the south, the river-valleys widen, the soil falls rapidly, and consequently the variation of climate, soil, animals, and plants is much more abrupt than that occasioned by a mere change of latitude. Thus, while the mountains between the river basins were an effectual bar to the development of a feeling of national unity among the tribes occupying the upper courses of the great rivers, the difficulties arising from the rapid change of climate served as an almost equally effectual check to their natural tribal growth, which in ancient times was effected by migration along the banks of the rivers. In India on the other hand, where all the great rivers, except the Indus, run parallel to the equator, this natural growth of the population could take place without the necessity of encountering absolutely novel climatic and agricultural conditions.
The principal mountain ranges are the mountains of Assam (the Blue Mountain, 7100 feet) and Arakan-Yoma between the Brahmaputra and the Irawadi, the Shan-Yoma between the latter and the Salwin, which rises to the height of 10,500 feet; the Tanentaung-gyi Mountains between the Me-kong and the Salwin (Lai-pang-ngoun in the Shan Country, 8100 feet). The mountains between the Me-kong and the Song-koi continue southwards as the Annamite Coast Range between the Me-kong and the sea, turn westwards on reaching the south of the peninsula, and, thus describing a figure which may be compared to a rude S, have a very important influence on the climate of the different countries. Another chain runs parallel to the western coast, many peaks of which exceed 7000 feet.
ETHNOLOGY AND NATIVE HISTORY.—The early periods of the history of Indo-China are shrouded in a darkness illumined only by such stray gleams of information as can be obtained from a comparative study of its peoples, languages, civilizations, and customs. It is now universally accepted that its primitive inhabitants were savage tribes of Malay origin, probably from the islands of the Pacific, and that they are represented today by the numerous wild tribes scattered over the great eastern range of mountains from Yun-nan to Cochin China. They are variously named in the different localities: Mois in Annam, Pnongs in Cambodia, Khas in Laos, etc. They probably occupied at first the greater portion of the peninsula, but were driven by the invading races into the mountains, where they lead today a wretched, if practically independent existence. They are in general small (about five feet), dolichocephalic, of a swarthy complexion, and wavy hair. The difference of type found among them is due mainly to intermarriage with members of the invading races who fled to the mountains to evade war, justice, or creditors. They represent every degree of civilization from the almost absolute savagery of the Khas and Souls on the banks of the Se-banghieng on the western slopes of the Annamite Range to the half-civilization of the Muongs in the northeast of Tong-king and of the Thos of the River Langson. The Muongs are possibly more nearly related to the Laotines (see below): their writing is phonographic, as distinct from the ideological characters of the Chinese and Annamites, while their language bears more than the usual resemblance to Laotine. As one proceeds southwards the mountain tribes become less and less civilized—a phenomenon traceable to the increasing dread of the people of seeing their women and children carried off by bands of kidnappers from the plains to be sold as slaves in. the markets of Laos, Siam, and Cambodia. This form of slave-hunting is practiced mainly by the Laotines. The various tribes of the Annamite Range name themselves Phou-tays, Souls, Bahnars, Stiengs, Mois, Kouys, Pnongs, etc.: almost all are of Malay origin, and their language always resembles Laotine.
At a very remote period two great floods of immigration poured into Indo-China. The first of these currents consisted of the tribes of Aryan race coming from Northern India via Burma and Siam—a tradition of the royal house of Cambodia makes the neighborhood of Benares the cradle of the Khmer people. Driving the primitive inhabitants to the mountains the Aryans possessed themselves of the districts known today as Laos, Siam, Cambodia, Cochin China, and Central and Southern Annam. That all these territories were once included in the mighty Khmer Empire seems established by the numerous existing monuments and inscriptions, by the striking similarity between the constitutions of Cambodia and Siam, and by the many resemblances between the characteristics, legends, and languages of the Khmers and Ciampas. It seems impossible to fix definitively the date or sequence of the Aryan and Mongol invasions of Indo-China. We are, however, justified in supposing that the Khmers anticipated the peoples of yellow race, unless indeed the organization of their realms was much more rapid.
The second early current of immigration was that of the Mongols from the plateau of Southern China. Establishing themselves first in Tong-king, they later proceeded southwards, occupied North Annam, and founded the Annamite Empire. If credence is to be attached to local legends, these invaders—whom we may henceforth call the Annamites—intermingled freely with the primitive inhabitants and gradually absorbed them. A reference to the Annamites as the Giao-chi (i.e. the “big-toed “—the wide separation of the big toe from the others is still a distinctive characteristic of the Annamite), found in the Chinese Annals in 2357 B.C., affords us a faint clue to the great antiquity of the Annamite race, which some ethnologists believe not descended from, but coeval with the Chinese. According to Annamite legends, however, their first rulers were descended from the royal house of China, and the Chinese dynasty ruled Annam as vassals to the Celestial Empire until 257 B.C. From 257-110 B.C. the Annamite Empire was governed by two native dynasties, both feudatory to China, but in the latter year China occupied Annam, and from 110 B.C. to A.D. 939 Annam was administered by Chinese governors, except during the domination of a few short-lived native dynasties.
It is also to the Chinese Annals that we are indebted for our earliest documentary information concerning the Khmer Empire. From these we learn that early in our era China reduced the Khmers to a state of vassalage, though the entire absence from Chinese records of all mention of Angkor until 1296 seems to suggest that the suzerainty of China may perhaps have been of a shadowy kind. As their subjugation by China must be taken as the first indication of Khmer decadence, our documentary information concerning the Khmer Empire, meager as it is, relates only to the period of its decline. What the history of Khmer civilization may have been is still a mystery, but its glorious remains are ample evidence of the mightiness of Khmer power in its day of greatness. Only a nation, to whom fear of invasion was unknown, could conceivably have undertaken public works of such magnitude; a prolonged era of peace was indispensable for the completion of such monuments, and for the evolution of that high standard of civilization, whose existing remains indicate a culture unsurpassed in the Far East. The striking resemblance of the carving and of the features of the statues to the productions of Hindu art demonstrate clearly that the artistic greatness of the nation was contemporaneous with Aryan predominance, and the decline of the Khmers is probably to be attributed to the weakening of the Aryan element in the population occasioned by intermarriage with the surrounding yellow races and Malays. A second indication of Khmer decline was the establishment of the Kingdom of the Ciampas in Central and Southern Annam about the fifth century. That the Khmers and Ciampas belonged to the same race is now undisputed, although some hold that the latter belonged to a later Indian immigration than that of the Khmers.
Concerning the first nine centuries of our era we have little historical information about Indo-China. About the beginning of the tenth century the Anna-mite chiefs revolted, cast off the Chinese yoke, and set up a native dynasty, although China continued to exercise a nominal suzerainty over Annam until the intervention of France in the nineteenth century. At this period Annamite influence extended only over Tong-king and Northern Annam, but henceforth, unembarrassed by China, Annam directed all its forces against the Ciampas. The vigorous opposition offered to the Annamite advance may be judged from the fact that, notwithstanding the almost incessant warfare, Hue was still the capital of the Ciampese Kingdom as late as the fifteenth century. Forced subsequently into the southern provinces, the Ciampas chose Chaban as their head-quarters, but, towards the close of the fifteenth century, Chaban also was seized by the Annamites, and by the end of the seventeenth century the Kingdom of the Ciampas had disappeared. The ruin of the Khmer Empire occurred about the same period. In 1658 the King of Cambodia was defeated by the united Annamites and Ciampas on the northern frontiers of Cochin China, and compelled to acknowledge himself Annam’s vassal. Civil war having broken out in his territories, Annam interfered in 1675 to reestablish peace, and, on the pacification of the country, set up one king at Odong and another at Saigon. In 1689 Annam took advantage of a new revolution in Cambodia to establish in the country a royal commissary, who colonized various districts with malefactors from Annam. The Empire of Annam now included all the territories which constitute the modern countries of Tong-king, Annam, and Cochin China, and was furthermore suzerain of Cambodia. Southern Annam and Cochin China formed one province, administered by a governor of the Nguyen family.
The last decades of the eighteenth century are notable for the great insurrection called the Tay Shon Thong Tac (the War of the Great Mountains of the West), which has given the name of “Tay-shons” to its leaders—two brothers of the Nguyen family, Nguyen van Nhac and Nguyen van Hue. The rebellion was at first entirely successful, the last member of the royal family of Le being forced to take refuge in China. Subsequently Nguyen-an, hereditary governor (chua) of the southern province, succeeded in eliciting French assistance, seized Saigon in 1789 from the Tayshons, and Hue in 1801. In 1802 he entered Ke-so (Hanoi), the capital of Tong-king, and had himself declared emperor under the title of Gia-long—a name he was destined to make famous.
Now undisputed master of all the territories (except Laos) embraced in the present French Indo-China, Gia-long devoted his whole energy to the organization of the country. To him the peninsula is indebted for numbers of its canals and roads, especially for the great road, which, starting from Saigon, traverses Annam and Tong-king, and, passing through Hue and Hanoi, terminates at Langson on the Chinese frontier. Minh-mang (1820-41), Gia-long’s successor, was as notable for hatred of, as his father had been for benevolence towards Europeans. During Minh-mang’s reign (1834) Siam snatched Cambodia from Annam, and made it tributary to the Siamese government, annexing the provinces of Battambang and Siem-reap (see below under Cambodia) to Siamese territories. It was the policy initiated by Minh-mang that led finally to French intervention, the history of which is so closely bound up with Christianity that it may be more properly considered under that heading.
The center of the Indo-Chinese peninsula had meanwhile been the theatre of a third invasion. Whether the Thais or Shans (both terms signify the “Free”), the last of the great invading races, came originally from the northeast of China or the plateau of Southern China is still disputed: they first appear in history about the beginning of our era, when they occupied the upper basin of the Irawadi. As in the case of the other invading races, our information concerning the history of the Thais is very meager. Having established themselves in the territories known today as Laos and the Shan States, they began their march southwards about the end of the sixth century, and before 1160—a date established by an inscription—had extended their dominion to the Gulf of Siam. They early split up into two branches: The Thainyai—the “Great Thai” or Shans proper, of whom the Laotines are the direct descendants—and the Thainoi—the “Little Thai” or Siamese, whose history will be more fully treated under Vicariate Apostolic of Siam. The Shans were the first to found a powerful empire. According to their own historians, all the early conquests of the Thais until the end of the thirteenth century are to be attributed to the Shans. Later their power began to wane, while that of the Siamese increased. Incessant wars with Burma and China between the fourteenth and the sixteenth centuries resulted in a great diminution of the Shan territories, and at the close of the seventeenth century Shan power was represented mainly by the Laotine kingdom with Vien-tian as its capital. Enfeebled by protracted quarrels with the hill-tribes, the Laotines were so unfortunate as to invoke the aid of Siam. From this moment Siam gradually extended its dominion over the Laos states, and by the middle of the eighteenth century Laos was a Siamese dependency. The Laotines made an attempt to shake off the Siamese yoke in 1767, after the Burmese had sacked Ayuthia, but their effort was unsuccessful. In 1820, exasperated by the merciless pillaging of the Siamese officers connived at by Siam, the King of Vien-tian made a final attempt to break the fetters which bound his nation. The Siamese general, Praya Mitop (to this day the bugbear of Laotine children), was at once dispatched against Vien-tian, seized and destroyed the town, burnt numbers of the people alive, and, in obedience to true Oriental ethics of warfare, performed every imaginable barbarity to impress upon the people the awfulness of Siamese wrath. Luang Prabang, after Vien-tian the principal Laotine center, showed more prudence on this occasion, and, though having to submit to the numerous indignities always heaped by Orientals on subject native races, is still the principal center of the Laotine nation. Eastern Laos (see below) became a French protectorate in 1893.
Neglecting the wild tribes which occupy the mountainous districts the distribution of races at the present day is as follows: (I) the French Colony of Cochin China, for which alone proper statistics are forthcoming, includes in its population 1,968,000 Annamites, 232,000 Cambodians (Khmers), 92,000 Chinese, 7,800 Europeans (including about 2,500 French troops); (2) in Annam and Tong-king the population is almost exclusively Annamite; (3) Cambodia is peopled by the descendants of the ancient Khmers and Ciampas, and some Annamite and Chinese colonies; (4) the people of Laos (the Laotines) are probably the purest race in Indo-China, and the direct descendants of the Thai or Shan nation.
FRENCH INDO-CHINA, which embraces the whole of the eastern and a large portion of the northern and southern sections of the peninsula, is bounded on the north and northeast by the Chinese provinces of Yunnan and Kwang-si, on the east and southeast by the Gulf of Tong-king and the Sea of China; on the southwest by the Gulf of Siam; on the west by a conventional line between Siam and Cambodia and then by the right bank of the Me-kong, which separates it from Siam and Burma. Its area has been estimated at 262,000 square miles, but this does not include (a) the provinces of Battambang and Siem-reap restored to Cambodia in accordance with the terms of the Franco-Siamese Treaty of 1907; (b) the neutral zone 25 kilometers wide (roughly 15i miles) on the right bank of the Me-kong, which is placed under French control; (c) the new region between the basins of the Me-kong and Me-nan, estimated approximately at 77,000 square miles, lately conceded to French influence. The Annamite Range extends from the extreme north, where it branches out into numerous steep and rugged ranges, to Cape St. Jacques in the south. It is covered for the most part with thick forests, and towards the center and south approaches so close to the sea that it seems at times to rise abrupt from the waters. This range separates the basin of the Me-kong from the river systems of Tong-king and Annam. French Indo-China has a coast-line of about 1,500 miles. Beginning from the north, the first 375 miles of its shores are washed by the Gulf of Tong-king. For about 100 miles the sea is studded with islands—Ke-bao, Kak-ba, and the Pirate Islands, long the haunt of Chinese corsairs, being the most notable. To the south of Kak-ba, the coast is low-lying and marshy, and characterized by the numerous mouths of the rivers Thai-bing, Song-koi, Song-ma, Song-ka, whose alluvium has formed the delta of Tong-king as well as the fertile plains of Thanh-hoa and Nghe-an. From Cape Bung-kwiva to Cape St. Jacques steep promontories—the termination of minor chains thrown off by the Annamite Range—alternate with low sandy plains formed by the numberless short rivers which rush down from the mountains into the Sea of China. The principal harbors are that formed by the River of Hue (at Thuan-an), the Bay of Turan, the Ports of Kwi-nhon and Song-kau, the Bays of Van-fong, Nhatrang, Kam-rang, and Fan-thiet.
Prom Cape St. Jacques to Ha-tien the coasts are again low and intersected by the numerous embouchures of the Me-kong, to the alluvial deposits of which this fertile section of Indo-China owes its existence. From Ha-tien to the conventional Siamese frontier cliffs and sandy plains again alternate. The Me-kong, the great river to which Indo-China owes so much of its fertility and territory, rises in the central plateau of Asia and on entering the peninsula is already a mighty river. Owing to its numerous rapids, the river can be used for purposes of navigation only on restricted stretches, until below the Rapids of Khone. Even later there are some minor rapids which are not, however, an insurmountable obstacle to traffic. From Pnom-penh, where the river divides into two branches, the navigation is easy. These branches—known to the French colonists as the Fleuve anterieur and the Fleuve posterieur—subdivide in turn, and form the network of streams which are the chief means of communication between the various commercial centers of Cochin China and Cambodia. Other rivers of importance will be referred to later in treating of the separate political division.
Climate and Hygienic Conditions.—Although the climate of Indo-China is, in general, like that of other intertropical countries, characterized by great heat and dampness, there exists a great difference in the climatic conditions of the various districts. In Cochin China the wet and dry seasons succeed each other with the utmost regularity, and correspond with the monsoons. The period of the northeasterly monsoon, which blows from October to April, is the dry season, during which the thermometer registers between 78.8° and 80.6° by day and 68° by night. About the middle of April the monsoon changes to the southwest, the temperature rises to 98°, and the season of daily rain begins. The climate of Cambodia resembles in general that of Cochin China, except that, deprived in the north of the sea breezes, the heat is much more rigorous. In Annam the climate is less regular. The heavy rains do not coincide with the southwest monsoon, which is intercepted by the Annamite Range, but fall usually during the season of the northeast. In Hue they begin in September and last until December, the temperature falling below 60°, and so consistent and heavy is the downpour that it is often impossible to leave the house for several successive days. The other seasons are by no means rainless; there is, however, no regularity in the intervals between the showers, which are very heavy but last only a few hours. Tong-king has two clearly defined seasons corresponding with the monsoons: a winter from October to April, and a summer during the remaining period of the year. April and October are themselves months of transition, and resemble somewhat our spring and autumn. During the winter the temperature is comparatively low, the thermometer falls to 42° or 40°, and instances of white frost have been recorded. During this season the wind blows from the northeast, but, when it chances to veer to the south, the thermometer rises suddenly 12, 15, or even 20 degrees. The weather is most changeable, being now bright and clear and now foggy and rainy. Heavy rains are, however, rare, and the length of the winter allows one to recuperate one’s strength after the exhausting summer. A fine rain falls almost unceasingly from January to April. In the latter month the wind changes to the southeast, and the temperature rises to 75°. In July and August, the hottest months, the temperature varies between 80° and 86°, although not infrequently the thermometer rises to 95°, 100°, and even 104°, and remains there for days. As the wind usually falls away at sunset, the nights are often as hot as the days. During the summer the rains are rare, and usually very heavy and accompanied by violent storms. The heaviest showers fall between May and August, and a rainfall of four inches within twenty-four hours has been recorded in the latter month.
Between the climatic conditions of Northern and Southern Laos there is a marked difference. In general there are two clearly defined seasons: the dry from October to March, with very occasional rainstorms, and the wet from April to October, during which period there are abundant and almost daily rains. In Northern Laos the temperature during the former season is relatively low—43° (even lower in the more elevated districts) in December and January. During the summer, especially in April and May, the heat is overwhelming: the thermometer often rises to 100° and 104°, and there is little difference between the day and the night readings. The climate of Southern Laos is much more tolerable, and is free from the rapid variations of temperature common in the north. The northern territories of Indo-China, particularly Tong-king, are frequently visited by typhoons, the southern sections very rarely. Two kinds are distinguished: (I) the continental cyclones, which originate in Siberia and Eastern China and advance towards the sea; (2) the typhoons which originate in the Pacific Ocean. Though frequent during both seasons, the typhoons are much more violent in winter. When the barometer falls to 28.5°, a typhoon may be confidently predicted. Notwithstanding the terrific rapidity of its rotary motion, the typhoon advances with comparative slowness, and warning is usually received by telegraph from the observatories along the southern coast of China in ample time to permit shipping and inhabitants to seek shelter before its approach. The typhoons of 1851 and 1882, when the sea invaded the southern coasts of Tong-king, are the most violent recorded. Father Legrand de la Lyraie relates that 10,000 perished in 1851 in consequence of the inroads of the sea. In 1882, the sea rose twenty-seven feet above its ordinary level at high tide, and 40,620 corpses were recovered, 205 having entirely disappeared.
The climate of Indo-China is very unhealthy for Europeans, who can never become acclimatized. As a rule the mountainous and wooded regions are the most insalubrious—a phenomenon attributable partly to the vast accumulation of animal and vegetable detritus in the dense brushwood undisturbed for centuries, and partly to the dampness caused by the nocturnal mists and the excessive density of the vegetation. Here intermittent fevers (e.g. the terrible wood-fever) and dysentery menace the inhabitants at every season, and spare neither colonist nor native. Reasonable exploitation of the timber, for which however proper modes of conveyance are still wanting, or the clearing away of sections of the vast forests which cover the land, should have a beneficial effect on the hygienic conditions of these regions. The low, cultivated plains are the least unhealthy, for, though even here intermittent fevers are by no means rare, they have not the severity one witnesses in other localities. In no district can the European escape dysentery and anemia, but, by avoiding heavy exercise and every excess and by guarding against the extreme heat of the day and the dampness of the night, he can evade all the more serious attacks of the maladies. Periodical sojourns in less rigorous countries to recuperate his strength are of course indispensable. The maritime districts are the most tolerable for Europeans: the regular breezes from the sea counteract to a great extent the injurious effects of the climate, and facilitate sleep. The winter in Tong-king, which necessitates warmer clothing and even the artificial heating of the houses, allows the settler to recover his strength after the exhausting summer. The hot season is, however, terrible, and intermittent fevers, affections of the liver, and cholera make great ravages among the French troops. To engage in industrial or agricultural labor is always fatal for Europeans. Thanks to its favorable situation along the coast the summer heat in Annam is less extreme, and the maladies are neither so frequent nor so serious as in Tong-king. Of all the divisions of Indo-China, the heat of Cochin China and Cambodia is the severest test for foreigners in consequence of the unvarying elevation of the temperature, especially in districts remote from the sea. Only the most careful avoidance of mid-day heat and all unusual exertion can safeguard the European. He must also take great care to guard against changes of temperature, for even the slightest variation at night often suffices to occasion attacks of dysentery almost impossible to cure. Wooded and mountainous, Laos is in general very unhealthy, and the climate is rendered the more intolerable for foreigners by the privations necessitated by the absence of proper or regular communication with Tong-king and Annam.
Government of French Indo-China.—The authority of the French Republic is represented by the Governor-General, whose powers have been defined by decree of April 21, 1891. Having the sole right to correspond with the French Government, he is in direct communication not alone with the ministers in France, but also with all the French diplomatic representatives in the Far East. He has complete control of the land and sea forces in Indo-China, and, only in case of an emergency which demands immediate action, can any military or naval operation take place without his authorization. He is also entrusted with the organization and administration of the native police and all public services. All or any of his powers may be delegated to the Lieutenant-General of Cochin China, or to the Resident Superior of any other of the political divisions. The Residents Superior, in addition to their political and diplomatic relations with the sovereigns of the vassal territories, have charge of the local bud-gets and the general administration of the political divisions to which they are appointed. The Governor-General is assisted by two councils, the Conseil superieur of Indo-China and the Conseil de defense. To the former belong the Governor-General (president), the commanders-in-chief of the French naval and military forces, the Lieutenant-General of Cochin China, the Residents Superior of the other divisions, the heads of various councils, and two indigenous members appointed annually by the Governor-General. This council sits each year to consider the general budget for Indo-China (including Kwang-chau-wan since 1900), and the local budgets for the five constituent territories, to make the necessary naval and military appropriations, and to discuss in general matters of public interest. The place of assembly lies in the discretion of the Governor-General. The Conseil de defense, which also sits under the presidency of the Governor-General, is attended by the chiefs of all the important divisions of the land and sea forces, its deliberations being mainly concerned with measures for the preservation of peace within the territories. Though all ‘effective authority is thus vested in the French representatives, certain local powers are exercised in matters of purely native interest by the native sovereigns.
Administration of Justice.—On taking possession of its Indo-Chinese territories, France found itself confronted with a very serious judicial problem. The natives had naturally to be judged in conformity with their own laws, which were not merely completely unknown to Europeans, but were either written and not translated, or customary and not formulated. The:appearance in French of many excellent treatises on native law having made its study possible for Europeans, a decree of July 25, 1864, declared that thenceforth the Annamite Law should regulate all civil and ‘commercial conventions and litigations between natives and Asiatics in general, while all other causes were to be decided by French Law. The chief law officer for the French possessions is the Procureur General at Saigon. At present there is one Supreme Court of Appeal for Indo-China with three chambers, two at Saigon and one at Hanoi. To decide civil disputes three mixed tribunals have been instituted—at Saigon, Hanoi, and Haiphong. There is one general court of first instance at Saigon; tribunals of first instance (first class) at Mytho, Vinh-long, Hanoi, and Hai-fong, and (second class) at Bentre, Chaudoc, Travinh, Long-xuyen, Cantho, and Pnom-penh. In Cochin China the French tribunals are competent to decide even purely native disputes, and here remains no trace of the ancient indigenous justice. Of the native courts some mention will be made in treating of Annam.
Public Education.—In spite of the increasing tendency to centralize all the fundamental offices of government, the organization of public education in the various divisions is still entrusted to the five territorial Conseils. A short description may be here given of the educational system in Cochin China, where alone it is at present properly developed. The direction of education in this colony is entrusted to a Directeur, immediately responsible to the Lieutenant-General. Every village of any importance has its ecole cantonale (primary school), at which the native children above six years are first instructed in French and quoc-gnu, and elementary arithmetic. The ecoles d’arrondissement (district schools) impart secondary education, and are directed by a European professor, assisted by native teachers. The Ecole professionelle at Saigon aims at producing expert workmen for various industries (e.g. bookbinders, leather-workers, coach builders, etc.), a special staff of professors giving the practical instruction, while the scientific is supplied by the staff of the College Chasseloup-Laubat. This last-named college, together with that at Mytho, are the leading educational institutions of the peninsula. Ecoles de caracteres chinois, in which the Chinese and Annamite idealogic characters are taught, are kept by old native scholars in almost every canton. Save in the case of these alone education in Indo-China is free. In imitation of the native custom throughout the Far East the French make no provision for the education of the native women. For the daughters of European or European and native parents, the Institution municipale has been instituted, as also an Ecole maternelle. The mistresses and staff of both these institutions are appointed by the Mayor of Saigon. In 1899 the Ecolefrangaise de l’Extreme-Orient was founded at Saigon for the study of the history, races, languages, and religions of Indo-China, while, within the last few years, a Grande ecole has been instituted at Cholon to supply the young Chinese with the education which they had previously sought in Japan. The recent organization of a Conseil superieur de l’enseignement indigene for Indo-China is another instance of the growing desire of France to respect the ancient civilization of the people, while imparting to them a. proper acquaintance with Western learning. The numerous schools carried on by the various religious orders will be dealt with under the heading of Christianity.
Political Divisions of French Indo-China.— (I) Cochin China.—This term, which was formerly applied to the territories of the Annamite Empire (Tong-king, Annam, and Cochin China proper), is now confined to the French colony in the southeast of the peninsula. Cochin China proper is bounded on the north and northeast by Cambodia and the Province of Binhthuan (Annam), on the east and south by the Sea of China, and on the west by the Gulf of Siam. Its area is estimated at 23,000 square miles; its population at 2,973,128 inhabitants (1909). For purposes of administration, the colony is divided into 21 arrondissements (districts), comprising 207 cantons and 2,425 communes. Each arrondissement is administered by a French functionary known as the administrateur des affaires indigenes, and, through its conseil d’arrondissement, votes a special budget, called the budget regional. The Islands of Poulo Condore are included in Cochin China, the largest being used as a penitentiary for criminals whose sentences are at least ten years. Cochin China is represented in Parliament by one deputy. Situated on the route from Europe and India to Japan and China, Cochin China seems destined by nature to play a leading part in the development of the Far East. Its plains, watered by the various arms of the Me-kong and numberless canals and arroyos (sc. natural channels) which connect them, must be reckoned among the most fertile in the world. More than one-fourth of the whole surface is devoted to the cultivation of rice, of which 2,000,000 tons are produced annually. After rice the chief crops are arecanuts, earth-nuts, peppers (the cultivation of which has greatly increased of recent years), betel-nuts, pine-apple, mulberry, maize, cotton, and indigo. River and sea-fishing provides occupation for a great number of natives, over 75,000 boats being engaged in this industry. Cochin China being one of the greatest rice-producing countries of the world, its principal export is naturally rice ($30,000,000 in 1907). Rice is shipped principally to China, Manila, Japan, France and other European countries. The other important exports are fish and fish oil ($2,000,000), pepper ($1,-385,000), live animals, cotton, gamboge, indigo, hides, silks, and woods (bamboo, iron-wood, rotang, tamarind, etc.). There are some important salt mines at Bien-hoa and granite quarries at Bien-hoa and Chaudoc; to the last-mentioned Cochin China is indebted for the stone necessary for the construction of roads.
Saigon, the former capital of French Indo-China, is situated on the Saigon River about forty miles from the coast. It has a population of 50,870 inhabitants, of whom 5,500 are French. Owing to the great depth of the river, ships of the largest tonnage can sail up-stream to the Port of Saigon, from which 824 ships of 1,290,430 tons cleared in 1907. Under the French Saigon has assumed the aspect of a European city. Its streets are wide, well-planned, and decorated with gardens and monuments. It possesses a celebrated collection of the flora and fauna of Indo-China in its botanical and zoological gardens, while its government palace has an architectural fame throughout the Far East. Saigon is one of the seven chartered cities of French Indo-China. The mayor is elected according to a restricted franchise: its Conseil municipal also includes ten French members and four native councilors. Cholon, the chief commercial center (163,000 inhabitants), is situated about four miles to the southwest of Saigon. It is inhabited mainly by the Chinese, who, here as elsewhere throughout the peninsula, almost monopolize the commerce. It is the center of the rice trade, the rice being here prepared and put in sacks. Cholon is connected with the capital by a steam railroad and by an arroyo. The former passes through the celebrated “Plain of the Tombs”, a vast deserted wilderness of imposing mausoleums and modest tombs. This is the Annamite cemetery, and the mournful appearance of the scene is increased by the treeless and almost verdureless character of the landscape. The mayor of Cholon, nominated by the Governor-General, is assisted by three deputies—one French, one Annamite, one Chinese—and nine councilors, three being from each of the representative races. The French are nominated by the Lieutenant-General; the Annamite and Chinese by the notables (see below under Annam) among the inhabitants. Mytho (226,000), the chief town of the homonymous arrondissement, was the ancient capital of the Anna-mite Province of Dinh-Tuong. It is situated on the left bank of the northern arm of the Me-kong, at a distance of about 23 miles from the sea and 44 miles from Saigon, with which it is connected by railway and by the boats of the Service des Messageries fluviales. The center of a rich rice-producing district, it is an important port of call for trading vessels.
(2) Annam, which formerly contained nine of the thirty-one provinces constituting the Annamite Empire—Tong-king being composed of sixteen and Cochin China of six—embraces today twelve provinces, Thanh-hoa, Nghe-an, and Ha-tinh having been added to its territories by the Treaty of June 6, 1854. Its coast line extends from Cape Bake in the south to the Tong-king frontier about twenty-six miles northeast of Thanh-hoa—that is about 810 miles. It is bounded on the north by Tong-king, on the west by Laos—from which it is separated by the Annamite Range—and Cochin China, while on the south and east it is washed by the Sea of China. Of its number-less rivers only the Song-ma and Sonb ka, which water the rich alluvial plain in the extreme north of the territory, are of importance. The mountainous regions between Annam and Laos—known as the Territories of the Mois, Pou-euns, and Phou-tays—are direct dependencies of Annam. The distance between the sea and the foot of the mountains varies from eighteen to fifty miles. The area of Annam is about 52,000 square miles, and its population, according to a recent estimate (1909), 7,096,465 inhabitants. Although the people of the Annamite dependencies are receiving increased attention of recent years, even an approximate estimate of their numbers is impossible; the area of their territories is about 37,000 square miles. Hue (population 100,000), the capital of Annam, is situated on the left bank of the river of the same name. It has two distinct divisions: the citadel fortified according to plans supplied by French engineers and occupied by the French and Annamite administrations and French troops, and the districts occupied by the natives. The principal ports in Annam are Turan, Kwi-nhon, and Xuan Day.
While the soil of Annam is most fertile and admirably adapted for the cultivation of the most varied crops, its advantages are marred on the one hand by the terrible droughts of the dry season—which, as distinct from the climate of Cochin China, is also its summer—and on the other by the devastating inundations of the rivers which rise in the mountains and hurl themselves after a short course into the sea. At present, although two crops are sown annually, one in every three harvests fails, and the rice produced is insufficient to satisfy local needs. To overcome these obstacles to cultivation proper systems of irrigation and protective measures against the inundations must be instituted on a large scale. Tea and coffee, the planting of which is a comparatively recent experiment of Europeans, are now extensively grown, and the excellence of the former leads one to believe that Annam will rapidly develop into a serious rival of India and China in the production of this commodity. The other agricultural products include maize, sugar, potatoes, cotton, earth-nuts, mulberry, ricinus communis (castor-oil plant), indigo, cocoa, areca-nut, tobacco, and cinnamon. Apart from agriculture the chief industries of Annam are the threshing and winnowing of rice and the extraction of the oil, the shelling of cotton, and the preparation of jute, indigo, and tobacco. Silk is manufactured everywhere, but little pains are taken to produce a high quality. Of more importance is crepon, in the manufacture of which the Annamite excels the Chinese. The river and the sea fishing are both of great importance, dried fish forming an important article of diet here as elsewhere in Indo-China. The sugar-industry is monopolized by the Chinese. The salt-mines of Kwi-nhon, Phu-yen, Binh-thuan, and Ha-tinh supply a sufficient surplus over local needs to permit of the exportation of more than 1,000,000 tons of salt yearly. Pure anthracite coal is mined at Nong-son in the province of Turan; the mine is situated about forty miles from the coast on the banks of a river, whose mouth is unfortunately obstructed by a bar. Copper mines are found at Duc-bo and gold at Bong-nieu.
The latter, which were worked for centuries by the natives, are being at present exploited by a French company. The domestic animals are the buffalo, ox, horse, and pig. In the unpopulated districts of the interior, the tiger, leopard, elephant, stag, peafowl, and numerous species of reptiles abound. The wild game includes teal, snipe, wild-goose, and quail.
A little space may be devoted to a description of the domestic organization of Annam, which formerly extended (and still extends with modifications, more or less serious) also to Tong-king and Cochin-China. The whole constitution is patriarchal, i.e. the sovereign—the “son of heaven”, the “infallible one “—is regarded also as the father and high-priest of the community. The emperor thus enjoys at least theoretic-ally absolute authority; his acts may no more be questioned by his subjects, than the actions of parents by their children. He is assisted by a Co-mat, or secret council, without whose advice he gives no important decision. Apart from this idea of absolute authority, rather sentimental than really operative, there is complete equality among registered citizens; all are eligible for public office, and the only social distinctions are the adventitious ones of fortune and office. The inhabitants are divided into two classes: the registered (inscrits, Dzan-bo) and the non-registered (noninscrits, Dzan-lan). By the latter are meant the citizens who are considered too poor to be placed upon the roll of tax-payers. The registered citizens alone enjoy civil rights, and only of their number does the government keep a record. It is on these lists of tax-payers that every estimate of the population is based, the ratio between the assessable and the non-assessable citizens being accepted as one to fifteen. Only the registered citizens can become “notables” (i.e. hold office). According to the importance of their offices, the notables are divided into two classes, major and minor. The notables, who are appointed by their predecessors for a fixed period (though varying in different localities), constitute the Conseil de commune, in which the minor notables may advise but have no vote. In addition to his duties as councilor, each major notable fulfils some special function in the community. The mayor, who is nominated by the major notables, is the only official whose election must be submitted for the sanction of the government. He is neither the head nor president of the council, but merely its agent. It is his duty to execute all the orders of the Government respecting his commune, to collect taxes, and, as chief of the communal police, to bring to justice all delinquents. The constitution of the higher councils is analogous to that of the communal, and their powers are strictly defined by law and custom.
In Annam legislative and judicial powers are never separated. Every legal action, criminal and civil, begins in the commune and is first investigated by the communal administration, which, having heard the evidence, either pronounces sentence, or, if the matter be grave, refers the case to the tribunal of the sub-prefecture or of the prefecture. The competence of every court is carefully defined by Annamite Law. Very grave matters must be referred to the governor of the province, and every penalty of death must receive the emperor’s sanction before being put into execution. In civil matters disputes between members of the same family are usually decided by the head of the family, against whose decision there is rarely an appeal.
There are very few countries in which education is held in higher esteem than in Annam, and very few in which the instruction is less scientific and less practical. Almost every village possesses its school, and illiteracy is extremely rare among the natives. Although all state functions are open to public competition, the instruction is confined to the history, customs, and laws of the country, and the tenets of Confucianism.
Even among the most accomplished there is an absolute and universal ignorance of our physical, mathematical, and natural sciences. Although attendance is not compulsory, few children absent themselves from the communal schools kept by private teachers dependent on the contributions of parents. On leaving these primary schools, those who wish to continue their studies attend the district schools, the principals of which are appointed by the state. Provincial examinations (Khoa) are held periodically, and successful students are exempted from portion of the military service.
The Annamite is of low stature; his limbs are short, his body well-made but ungraceful, his hair black and coarse, his mouth big, his lips thick, his nose flat, and his nostrils dilated. His skull is short and rather wide, his cheek-bones protrude, his eyes are lozenge-shaped, his complexion varies from brown to yellow. In Annam both men and women wear their hair rolled up in a chignon, but in Tong-king the women wear their hair in coils around the head. The great blot on the Annamite character is an overpowering propensity toward deceit and dishonesty, which Christianity—as attested by hostile French officials—has done much to remove. In general sober and industrious, the Annamite is greatly attached to his family and his home, and, though naturally of a gentle and timid disposition, exhibits on occasion a courageous scorn of death. Devoted to song, poetry, the theatre, and feasts, his literature is composed mainly of ballads, dramas, romances, and legends—almost all of which are borrowed from the religious traditions of the Khmers—and countless philosophical treatises. Though theoretically the Annamites, as Buddhists, should not believe in a God (at least in the Western acceptation of the term), they pray to the Ong-phat (the Supreme Being), the Governor of the world, whose image one remarks on the altar at the hearth in almost every home. Nor are they free from superstition, the fear of maleficent genii dominating even the most highly-educated. Today, indeed, the absolute idea of the Buddhist Nirvana exercises as little influence among the masses of the people as Confucianism does among the rich. The real religion of the Annamite is ancestor-worship. Every house has its altar consecrated to the ancestors, before which on fixed occasions (e.g. the beginning of the new year, on the anniversaries of the death of his paternal ancestors for four generations) the head of the family prostrates himself in the presence of all his kinsmen, and on which he burns offerings of wine, rice, and odoriferous twigs. These ceremonies are performed in the morning, when the manes are supposed to arrive, and again in the evening, when they take their departure. At Tet—the beginning of the year—they are performed on three consecutive days. In rich families a certain portion of their property is reserved for the necessities of this worship, and the greatest concern of the Annamite is to leave a son—since females are ineligible to officiate—to discharge his obsequial honors.
Polygamy is recognized by Annamite Law, but the first wife alone is married officially and with all the formal rites. Should the first wife die, the husband may take another official wife, even though he has wives of second rank still living. On the death of the husband the whole management of the family devolves upon the official wife, except in the matter of the sacrifices, which are performed by the eldest son. Even on his marriage the son seldom leaves the house of his parents: to leave home without his father’s permission is contrary at once to the laws consecrated by custom and those enacted by the State. It is this very principle which constitutes the sharp distinction between Annamite and Western legislation. To the Annamite legislator individuals and their interests are no concern—the defense and preservation of these he leaves to the family and the commune. The office of the laws of Annam is to watch over the family and society, to secure obedience to the parental and royal authority.
(3) Tong-king is bounded on the north and northeast by China, on the east by the Gulf of Tong-king, on the south by Annam, and on the west by Laos. Its area is about 46,300 square miles; its population is estimated variously between ten and fifteen millions. Its surface may be divided into three distinct sections: (I) the flat alluvial plain (the Delta) to the south and east, which constitutes about one-seventh of the total surface; (2) an intermediate plateau of about 15,000 square miles, and (3) the mountainous and mineral region bordering China. The Delta, which alone contains about 10,000,000 inhabitants, is the great center of industry, and, both in the fertility of its soil and in the number of its waterways, bears a striking resemblance to Cochin China. The principal rivers are the Song-koi (Red River), which rises in Yun-nan, and its two great tributaries, the Song-lo and Song-bo (the Clear and the Black River). Linked by a myriad of canals and arroyos, these afford an easy, if slow means of communication between the various commercial centers, but their utility is greatly impaired by the violence of their currents during the wet season, and by the bars, shelving ridges, and shallows, which obstruct their courses. The remarkable absence of large trees in the Delta is attributable to the typhoons: the great forests of the interior are still practically unexploited owing to the lack of proper means of transport. It is a noteworthy fact, for which no scientific explanation seems yet forthcoming, that along the coast of Tong-king there is but one tide daily for the greater portion of the year. This is believed to be the only part of the world where this phenomenon occurs.
As elsewhere in Indo-China rice is the principal crop. It gives two harvests annually, but periodical failures, here as in Annam, contrast unfavorably with the constancy of the harvests in Cochin China. Maize, sugar-cane, buckwheat, millet, sorgho, and tea are also extensively cultivated. All the European vegetables thrive in the country, and experimental plantations of coffee have met with a most gratifying success. The gardens surrounding the villages are filled with banana, orange, papaw, tamarind, cinnamon, and pine-apple trees. Cotton and mulberry-trees are cultivated everywhere along the banks of the rivers, while the cultivation of jute has greatly increased of recent years. Some of the mines of Tong-king are of great importance, although the disturbed history of the country has prevented their development. Along the coast is a large bed of anthracite of excellent quality, which is at present being worked at Hongay and on the Island of Ke-bao. The mountainous regions contain almost every variety of mineral, but little attempt has yet been made to exploit them. Lead, argentiferous copper, sulfur, tin, cinnabar, and niter have received attention; the gold-mines, however, are almost abandoned, and on the silver and iron mines work has ceased.
Although the administration of Tong king bears a great resemblance to that of Annam, there are some marked differences, all tending to inflate the influence of France. In Tong-king the office of France is not confined to a general direction of the central government and public services as in Annam: the Treaty of 1884 entitles her to appoint, side by side with the Annamite functionaries, residents in all important centers, where their presence should be deemed desirable. Although these officials take no part in the details of the local administration, they control the acts of the district mandarins, and have thus the virtual direction of the political, judicial, and financial administration of the interior. Hanoi (106,260), the chief town of Tong-king, replaced Saigon as capital of French Indo-China on January 1, 1902. It is situated on the right bank of the Song-koi about eighty miles from the coast.
Founded during the early centuries of our era, it was until recently little more than a collection of native villages. Rid today of the marshes which disfigured it, it is rapidly becoming a charming town. Its green lawns, luxuriant shrubberies, and quaint intermixture of native and European building form a pleasing frame for the celebrated Pagoda of Vong-dinh. The railroad from Haiphong to Hanoi passes over the huge bridge across the Song-koi. In view of the extreme fierceness of the river during the period of the floods, this bridge (about l and 1/4 miles in length) must be regarded as a triumph of engineering skill. Haiphong, the principal commercial port of Tong-king, is situated at the confluence of the Cua-cam and Song-tambac, about twenty miles from the coast. Vessels of more than twenty feet draught can cross the bar only at high tide. When Haiphong was conceded to France by Annam in 1874, the town was only a small native market; it is today a prosperous city of over 20,000 inhabitants. Hanoi and Haiphong are both incorporated cities administered by a mayor and municipal council. Besides the mayor, who is appointed by the Governor-General, each council contains fourteen members—ten elected by French residents and naturalized citizens of France and four by notables. At Hanoi the four native councilors must be Anna-mite; at Haiphong two are Annamite and two Chinese.
(4) Cambodia, the center of the ancient Khmer Empire, is bounded on the northwest and north by Siam and the Laos territories; on the east by Annam; on the south by Cochin China; on the southwest by the Gulf of Siam. To celebrate the restoration of the provinces of Battambang and Siem-reap—in which territory stand the famous ruins of Angkor, the capital of the Khmer Empire—the Conseil Superieur met at Pnom-penh in December, 1907, on which occasion King Sisowath declared the deep debt of gratitude which Cambodia owed to France. The area of Cambodia is about 37,500 sq. miles; its population is estimated at from 1,500,000 to 2,500,000. The population of Cambodia is almost entirely confined to the vicinity of the ports and the banks of the rivers. The country is covered with immense forests yielding gamboge, gumlake, and cinnamon, and frequented by elephants, tigers, and countless other species of wild game. From the elevated regions in the west of the territory rush down impetuous torrents, which, on reaching the plain, develop into great rivers and after a short course enter the sea or the Me-kong. The chief agricultural products are rice, cotton, areca-nut, indigo, mulberry-trees, tobacco, cardamoms, and pepper. Successful experiments have within late years been made in tea and coffee plantation. Fishing is an important industry of the country—not alone for the fish ascending the Me-kong and along the coasts, but also for mother-of-pearl and holothures. The little port of Ha-tien has become the central market of the mother-of-pearl industry, which is practically monopolized by the Annamites. The silks woven by the Cambodian women according to a method inherited from a long-past civilization are much sought after. Cambodia possesses iron, gold, and sapphire mines, still in general awaiting development. Being a maritime country, it has a brisk commerce. This is almost entirely in the hands of the Chinese, who import European produce and export rice, pepper, mother-of-pearl, shells, and silk. Jet is found on the Island of Fu-kwok; of this the natives make charming trinkets mounted on gold, which have a brisk demand.
Cambodia is divided into fifty-seven provinces, and the administration differs little from that of Tong-king. Pnom-penh (population 50,000) on the right bank of the Me-kong is the capital of the country and the seat of the royal residence. Its mayor is always chosen by the Governor-General from the ranks of the higher civil servants of Indo-China. The municipal council also includes five French and three Asiatic
(Cambodian, Annamite, and Chinese) councilors, all of whom are appointed by the Resident Superior on the recommendation of the mayor. Kampot, situated opposite the Island of Fu-kwok, is an important port of call for coast-traders. Situated near the northern shore of Tonli Sap in the midst of dense forests are the ruins of Angkor Thom (Great Angkor), once the capital of the Khmer Empire. Its former extent can be traced from the remains of the fortifications, fifty feet broad and thirty feet high, and from the ditch 380 feet wide, which surround the ruins. There were once four entrances to the town, across bridges supported by gigantic statues. Within the walls still remain superb palaces, bastions, terraces, a glorious temple of three stories with concentric galleries, above which rise forty-two turrets (covered like the walls with delicate carvings) and a central tower 130 feet high, looming above the circular colonnades. Between these ruins and the lake stands the temple of Angkor-Wat, perhaps the vastest and most glorious monument raised by the hand of man in the Far East. It is constructed of massive blocks of sandstone, many weighing more than eight tons and fitted together with the greatest accuracy although no cement was used. The surrounding galleries, the towers, the gigantic and seemingly endless staircases, the square and round columns are covered with carvings rivaling the most beautiful remains of Hindu art (cf. Clifford, “Further India“, pp. 146-66). It is impossible to fix definitely the date at which this temple was built, but we may assume that its erection must have occurred during the golden period of the Khmer power and civilization. Whether the temple was consecrated to Buddha, or whether the sanctuary in the central tower, ornamented with gigantic statues looking towards the cardinal points, contained an enormous lingam is also disputed, but, in view of the numerous lingams found in various parts of Cambodia, the latter opinion is the more probable.
The Cambodians or Khmers, although their type is in general greatly modified by intermarriage with other races, still preserve the Aryan characteristics. Taller than the Annamite or Thai, their eyes are rarely oblique, their nose is straight, and, though their complexion is now yellow, they preserve their agglutinative or polysyllabic language intact in the midst of races speaking isolating or monosyllabic tongues. Though lazy, given to opium-smoking, and unfit for almost every employment, they have, apart from their mysterious and glorious past, a great attraction for the sociological student owing to their gentleness, courtesy, loyalty, and their naive pride which makes them prefer to submit to any misery rather than labor for another. They practice Buddhism slightly tinged with Brahmanism. Very superstitious, they believe that the noise of trumpets drives away the evil genii, and that a man seen in the open country silhouetted against the sky above the horizon is doomed to an early death. Attached to each pagoda is a college of bonzes, who are highly esteemed by every class. The bonzes are easily distinguished from the rest of the people by their shaven heads and yellow robes; they are bound to celibacy, live in community, and depend for their sustenance on the rice which they receive each day ready-cooked in the villages. At definite periods they assemble the men in the pagoda and read from the sacred books, written in a language not seldom unintelligible to both reader and audience. Besides the religious books and romances concerning the past existences of the Buddha, the libraries connected with the pagodas contain ancient works dealing with astrology, chiromancy, the vulgar Cambodian tongue, and Pali, together with works on education and historical treatises, unfortunately relating only to recent times. The bonzes are also the teachers of the Cambodian youth, and the only teaching body in the kingdom, excepting of course the Catholic orders. The Khmers are monogamous, and greatly attached to their families. Marriages, religious ceremonies, the celebration of the first day of the year, the ceremony of the first cutting of the hair, which occupies an important place in the social life, are all occasions of great rejoicing. The theatre is the great national amusement, from the Royal Theatre at Pnom-penh to the little traveling shows which play under the palm or fruit-tree. The parts are enacted by little girls of about fourteen, dressed in costumes exactly like those seen on the bas-reliefs of the ancient ruins.
(5) Laos.—The principalities of the Laos or Lawa nation included at the most flourishing period of its history the whole valley of the Me-kong from China to Cambodia, the upper basin of the Me-nam, and portion of the basin of the Salwin. Today its extent is confined to the valley of the Me-nam (Western Laos), which is subject to Siam, and the valley of the Mekong (Eastern Laos), which, being under the protection of France, alone concerns us in the present article. French Laos is bounded by China on the north, by Tong-king and the Annamite Range on the east, by Cambodia on the south, while on the west it is separated from the Siamese and British territories by the Me-kong, except that a narrow strip of country on the right bank of the Me-kong and to the west of Luang Prabang, averaging about fifty miles in breadth, is included in French Laos. Within these limits Laos has an area of 98,000 square miles, and a population of perhaps 1,000,000. The whole north of the country is occupied by a lofty and compact group of mountains, between ridges of which the Me-kong has hollowed out a narrow and rocky course. At about 18° north latitude, the basin widens and thenceforth the river pursues its course through undulating plains which keep on enlarging until the delta is reached. The whole country is covered by an immense forest, which covers the sides of the mountains, crowns their summits, descends into the deep gorges, and stretches over the plains. Almost every genus of tree grows on this wonderfully fertile soil. Teak, benzoin, cinnamon, gamboge, and cardamom are furnished by the plains, while the higher altitudes supply varieties of oak, chestnut, elm, and other trees, usually associated with countries in a more northern latitude.
The Laotines have established themselves in little villages along the banks of the rivers. Their plantations of cabbage-palm, banana, and cocoa-trees stand out in welcome relief from the gloomy background of the forest. In these little settlements, rescued from the forests, the cultivation of rice occupies the foremost place. Buckwheat, potatoes, peaches, pears, prunes, and various other fruits are also grown. Tea is produced in considerable quantities, and, as an indication of its unrivalled quality, it may be mentioned that here are grown the famous teas reserved for the Emperor of China. Laos possesses no coast-line, but its river-fishing is of great importance. The Me-kong yields a gigantic fish, called by the natives the pla-beuk, which, when dried, forms an important element of the native dietary. Another industry of the Laotines is the raising of cattle and buffaloes for the Cambodian and Siamese markets. Laos contains some very important iron mines, exploited by the natives; deposits of sapphire, copper, and gold are very numerous—gold being also found in the beds of various streams. Sulfurous thermal springs abound in the country, and there are several notable salt-mines. Many concessions have been recently given to French mining companies, but progress is at present greatly retarded owing to the almost inaccessible position of the country for commercial purposes. The construction of the long-canvassed railroad to connect Laos with the coast would afford the country an opportunity of competing in the outer markets, but a tremendous development of the country would have to be effected before a line, presenting so many engineering difficulties, could be a financial success. The Government of Laos is directed by a French administrator in the name of the king; six-thirteenths of the cost of administration is borne by Cochin China, five-thirteenths by Annam-Tong-king, and two-thirteenths by Cambodia.
The Laotine is taller than the Annamite, and more graceful if less robust. His forehead is high and narrow; his face long and oval, his complexion varies from yellow to brown. His eyes in general have the obliquity characteristic of so many of the Far Eastern races, his hair is straight and black, and he seldom wears moustache or beard. Light-hearted and indolent he limits his exertions to such as are indispensable at the moment, the fertile and inexhaustible soil of his smiling valleys making all serious struggle unnecessary. The men work but six months of the year, during which they prepare the rice-fields, fish, hunt, or ply on the Great River their trim pirogues, guiding them with a careless skill through the most dangerous rapids. The remainder of the year is spent peacefully in the midst of their families, and all labor is henceforth thrown exclusively on the women, without, however, lessening in any degree their imperturbable gaiety. In the Laotine home a word of anger, a dispute is unknown; the greatest misfortunes are accepted in a spirit of quiet resignation, the outcome equally of the attractive disposition and the religious beliefs of the people. It is at Luang Prabang, the residence of the king and the French administrator, that Laotine life may be seen under the most favorable conditions. Situated in the midst of lofty mountains clad with primeval forests, life in this town is one endless succession of promenades, choral entertainments in the cool of the evening, dances, theatres, regattas, etc. The old capital, Vien-tian, destroyed by the Siamese in 1828, is already overgrown with jungle. Apart from its historical associations it contains today nothing to attract the visitor save the remains of the palace and a pagoda, which for beauty of architecture and originality of ornamentation are still unrivalled in Laos. For the Catholic Vien-tian possesses a further interest as the scene of the first attempt to preach Christianity in the then extensive Kingdom of Laos. The Portuguese Jesuit, Giovanni Maria Leria, preached the Gospel here for five years, until, in consequence of the violent opposition of the bonzes, he was compelled to leave in December, 1647.
In Laos as in Annam, Buddhism, though its tenets have somewhat tinged popular beliefs, can no longer be regarded as the popular religion. Its philosophy, scarcely understood by a few of the bonzes and educated laity, is a mystery to the mass of the population. The Laotine of the present day is a nature-worshipper and a fatalist. Pha ya gnom phi ban, the great chief of the Phi-ba (or genii), watches over all beings on this earth, and each day sends his emissaries to distribute illness and death to men in accordance with the decrees fixed from all eternity. With a curious disregard for consistency in his fatalism, the Laotine believes that these phis, the immediate cause of all good and evil, are accessible to prayer. The supposed intervention of these occult powers is sufficient explanation for every natural phenomenon. If a native falls ill and ordinary medicines fail, the phis are the cause and the sorcerer alone can save the invalid. The sorcerer consulted proceeds, after certain prescribed prayers, to half-bury an egg in a bowl of rice. Some additional grains are then let fall on the egg, and the even or odd number remaining thereon is conclusive proof of the presence or otherwise of the phi in the invalid’s body. If present, the phi is questioned in the same manner as to his wishes. Is it the sacrifice of a buffalo or a pig that he desires? According to Laotine beliefs, spirits are everywhere and one must exercise the greatest care to preserve health and life. The Ngnuoc lies in wait for boatmen who fail to discharge their debt of prayers and offerings; the Phi-pet and the Phi-loc infest the villages; the Phi-huen can be prevented from entering the houses and insinuating themselves into the bodies of the owners only by daily offerings of water and rice placed on the little altars built for the purpose near the huts. In Laos there are certain men—the Phi-pop—who are supposed to communicate with the demons and to have marvelous powers of making themselves invisible, introducing evil genii into the bodies of men to consume their vitals, etc. Once suspected of belonging to this class, a native is no longer tolerated in the village, but is banished to one of the numerous hamlets specially reserved for the Phi-pop and avoided by all travelers. Although amulets are common in Laos, they are seldom worn on the person. The retailing of the teeth of a boar, horns of a stag, tiger-claws, and religious verses as amulets is an important perquisite of the bonzes.
(6) Kwang-chau-wan.—According to the terms of the Franco-Chinese Convention of April 10, 1898, China agreed to lease to France a bay on its southern coast, and granted to the latter country, among other concessions, the permission to build a railway—at present in course of construction—from Tong-king to Yun-nan. The group of little islands at the entrance to the bay were ceded to France in August, 1899, the total French territory having now an area of about 200 square miles and a population of 180,000. The bay is situated near Hai-nan Strait about 200 miles west-southwest of Hong-kong. It has two narrow, easily defended entrances, is about twenty miles in length, and is perfectly sheltered from storms. A large river empties itself into the bay, and on its bank stands the town of Chek-hem, an important commercial center with an extensive coast trade. The imports include cotton yarns, cottons, and opium; the principal exports are earth-nuts, mats, sacks, and sails. As the possession of the bay includes the control of the prefectures of Lei-chau, Lien-chau, and Ka-chau, the whole peninsula of Lei-chau is under French influence.
CHRISTIANITY.—There are numerous references to Indo-China—the classical Chryse, i.e. the Golden Island, as it was at first esteemed, or the Golden Chersonese—in early Western literature. In his “Antiquities of the Jews”, Josephus identifies it with the Ophir from which Solomon drew his stores of gold. Cosmas Indicopleustes, the Alexandrian monk, visited it between 530 and 550, and was the first to spread clear ideas concerning the relative positions of it and other countries in the Far East. We owe much of our earliest information concerning the customs of the natives to Blessed Odoric of Pordone, a Franciscan who journeyed through the East between 1318 and 1330. But it was only after Vasco da Gama had doubled the Cape of Good Hope in 1497 that regular communication between the West and the Far East was made possible, and the work of evangelization could be begun in earnest.
The appearance of Christianity in Indo-China may fitly be dated from the beginning of the sixteenth century, when it was preached by some Portuguese missionaries. The early missions do not seem to have made much impression on the natives, owing perhaps to the great hatred of Europeans infused into the Easterns by the cruelties of the Portuguese filibusters, but on the arrival of Jesuit missionaries in the early decades of the seventeenth century Christianity began at once to make rapid headway. Both in Cochin China and in Tong-king the Jesuits worked with incredible zeal from 1618. Between 1627 and 1630 Fathers Alexander de Rhodes and Anton Marquez of. the French Province converted over 6,000, including numerous bonzes, who, during the temporary expulsion of the Jesuits dictated by fear of their wonderful success, kept alive the Faith. So rapidly did the Christian community increase that in 1659 the spiritual administration of Tong-king and Cochin China was entrusted to Msgr. Pallu and Msgr. de la Motte-Lambert, the first vicars Apostolic of the Society of Foreign Missions. Under their direction parishes were established, seminaries built, and many foundations of the Amantes de la Croix (i.e. Votaries of the Cross) instituted. Recognizing that amicable relations with a Catholic country could not fail to inculcate a deeper respect for and knowledge of Christianity, Msgr. Pallu’s great ambition was to establish friendly commercial relations between France and Tong-king. In 1672 he urged Colbert, the French minister, to establish a French counting-house in the latter country, and later petitioned Louis XIV to use his influence to prevail on King Le-hi-tong to allow the freedom of Christian worship. Louis dispatched a letter accompanied by presents to the Annamite monarch, in which he made overtures for a commercial agreement between the countries, described the beauty and grandeur of the Christian Faith, and urged the king to protect and embrace it. Although Louis’ mission did not effect the removal of the interdiction of Catholic worship, it secured for the Christians a few years of comparative peace and the cessation of the many annoyances caused them by the avaricious and spiteful mandarins. In 1678 the Vicariate Apostolic. of Tong-king was divided into two vicariates, those of Eastern and Western Tong-king; the former was entrusted to the Spanish Dominicans, who were destined later to bear the brunt of one of the terrible persecutions, and the latter to the Society of Foreign Missions. The rapidly growing religious influence exercised by the priests and bishops soon led to a renewal of persecution, and for over 100 years the missionaries had to contend with every imaginable obstacle. Banished repeatedly from the country, they had scarcely lost sight of shore before they turned their ships towards land again. Their single-minded, unremitting zeal during this period presents none of those striking situations which constitute the frame-work of history: it was only when the day of active persecution later called for martyrs, and thousands of the Annamites a race whose name has become a byword for fickleness—gladly laid down their lives for the Faith, that we recognize how exceedingly fruitful had been the ministry of those hidden apostles.
On November 2, 1741, was born at Behaine, France, a man who was destined to influence profoundly the whole subsequent religious and secular history of Indo-China. This was Pierre-Joseph Pigneaux. After the usual preparation for the priesthood, he set out for the Far East in 1765, and there displayed such zeal that in 1771 he was named Vicar Apostolic of Cochin China and Bishop of Adran. On one of his journeys through his spiritual dependencies, he met Nguyen-an, then a fugitive from the rebellious Tay-shons. A friendship having quickly sprung up between the bishop and the exiled prince, who had already spent years of fruitless effort in trying to recover his lost kingdom, Msgr. Pigneaux offered to enlist the help of France against the Tay-shons. Nguyen-an accepted the proposal, and entrusted his young son and the grand seal of Cambodia to the bishop to serve as his credentials at the French Court. Without delay Msgr. Pigneaux set out for France, and, as plenipotentiary of the Annamite prince, signed a convention on November 28, 1787, according to which France was to assist Nguyen-an to recover his throne, and was to receive in return the Port of Turan and the Island of Poulo-Condore, as well as the exclusive privilege of trading with Cochin China. Assured of French assistance, the bishop returned to his vicariate, but on his arrival was dismayed to find that France had—owing probably to the terrible crisis at home—entirely abandoned its project of aiding Nguyen-an. Setting out immediately for Pondicherry, Msgr. Pigneaux succeeded in prevailing on 20 officers and about 500 men to accompany him. Thanks to the assistante of this force—far from insignificant when contrasted with the badly-armed, ill-disciplined Annamites—Nguyen-an succeeded not only in recovering his lost territories in Cochin China, but in making himself Emperor of Annam.
Christianity made wonderful progress throughout the Annamite Empire during the reign of Gia-long (Nguyen-an), as if in preparation for future trials. In 1819 the Christian community included 4 bishops, 25 European and 180 native priests, 1000 catechists, and 1500 nuns. Gia-long was succeeded by the cruel and profligate Minh-mang (1820-41), who immediately manifested his fierce hatred of Christianity. Having dismissed M. Chaigneau, the French Consul and Gia-long’s trusted friend, he engaged on a campaign to obliterate every vestige of Christianity within his realms. He first issued an order excluding all new missionaries and summoning those already in the country to appear at court, believing that the flock, deprived of its pastors, would be rapidly dispersed. His object was, however, defeated at once by the zeal of the missionaries, who regardless of personal danger neglected the decree, and by the venality of the mandarins, who, granted that sufficient bribes were forthcoming, were always willing to close their eyes when new missionaries arrived in port. The advocacy of the Viceroy of Cochin China, an old soldier of Gia-long who fearlessly remonstrated with Minh-Mang for his persecution of the missionaries to whom his father owed his throne, prevented the emperor from adopting more serious measures for the time, but the viceroy’s death in 1832 was quickly followed by the Edict of January 6, 1833. This ordered all Christians to renounce their Faith, and, in token of the sincerity of their recantation, to trample the crucifix under foot. All churches and religious houses were to be razed to the ground, and teachers of Christianity to be treated with the utmost rigor_ In 1836 all ports were closed to Europeans except Turan, and penalty of death pronounced against priests. Ships coming to port were submitted to a rigid examination, and all officials were commanded under threats of the severest penalties to hunt down the missionaries, for which duty special troops were also appointed. A secret clause to the edict ordered the immediate dispatch of all priests to the capital. These edicts were the signal for the outburst of a persecution, which, with short intermissions, lasted for fifty years.
In 1833 Father Gagalin, Provicar of Cochin China, was arrested and beheaded. Father Marchand was sentenced in 1835 to “the hundred wounds”, Father Cornay to dismemberment in 1837. Martyrdom awaited Msgr. Borie in 1838, in which year Bishop Delgado, then in his eighty-fourth year, died in prison, his coadjutor (aged eighty-one) being executed with numerous Dominicans and native Christians. In 1840 Father Delamotte died in prison. Flying from place to place to administer the consolations of religion and to instruct their spiritual children, the intrepid missionaries managed to keep the lamp of Faith burning during this terrible period. No little credit is due to the fidelity of the natives to their pastors: regardless of danger, they sheltered the proscribed priests, escorted them by concealed paths to their next place of hiding and ministry, and, although the prisons were filled with Christians, cases of apostasy were extremely rare. Even the unfortunate Christians, who, subjected to horrible tortures, renounced their religion, seized in almost every instance the first opportunity of becoming reconciled with the Church, which only physical weakness had led them to forsake.
The persecution abated somewhat on the death of Minh-mang in 1841. The new emperor, Tien-tri (1841-7), had not the energy of his predecessor, and was in addition sobered by the English successes in China and the threat of France to intervene, if the persecution continued. In 1844 Cochin China was divided into the Vicariates Apostolic of Eastern and Western Cochin China, while in 1846 the Vicariates Apostolic of Western and Southern Tong-king replaced the ancient Vicariate of Western Tong-king. Cambodia and the northern provinces of Cochin China were formed into new vicariates in 1850. The accession of Tu-duc in 1848 was quickly followed by an edict setting a price on the heads of the missionaries. In 1851 a second edict was issued, accusing the Christians of conspiracy against the emperor, and ordering the European priests to be cast into the sea or the rivers and the native priests to be cut in two. The first result of this sanguinary edict was the decapitation of Fathers Augustin Schoffler (1851) and Bonnard (1852). In 1855 a universal proscription of Christians was issued: Christian mandarins were commanded to abjure the Faith within a month, all others within six months, while a reward of $480 was offered for the detention of each European, and $160 for the detention of each native priest. The persecution was now renewed with increased fury, and at last Napoleon III determined to intervene. The ships, however, which accompanied the French envoys, were separated in a storm, and, thus deprived of the force necessary to impress the native potentate, the embassy failed to achieve anything tangible. Before departing M. de Montigny, the French plenipotentiary, was seized with the unlucky thought of threatening Annam with French vengeance, if the execution of Christians continued. This only led the Annamite authorities to suspect the Christians of having invited French intervention, and thenceforth a political motive for persecution was added to the religious one. On July 20, 1856, Father Tru was beheaded, and the general massacre of Christians began. The Spanish bishop, Msgr. Diaz, was executed in 1857; in January, 1858, a town occupied by the Christians was set aflame, and all the inhabitants butchered. Roused by the slaughter of their countrymen, France and Spain took action in the autumn of 1858 to demand redress for the violences committed against the Christians of the Annamite Empire (then estimated at 600,000). On August 31, 1858, the joint expedition under Vice-admiral Rigault de Genouilly and Colonel Lanzanrote seized Turan, and defied every attempt of the Annamites to dislodge them. Having vainly awaited reinforcements for some months, Genouilly, finding that sickness was decimating his troops, changed his tactics, sailed southwards, and seized Saigon early in 1859, but, through lack of proper forces, was again prevented from pressing his advantage home. Seeing no immediate hope of reinforcements, since France was fully occupied with the war against Italy, Genouilly retained only the fort to the south of Saigon, sailed back to Turan, and resumed possession of that town.
The persecution meanwhile raged with unabated vigor: Bishop Hermosilla, and three other Spanish bishops, twenty-eight Dominicans, and thousands of Christians were tortured and executed. Two other European priests, who had been imprisoned and tortured, were only saved from execution by the Peace of June, 1862. But perhaps the greatest glory of this self-sacrificing mission lies in the number of native Christians who joyfully laid down their lives for the Faith. Within the space of a little more than four years (1857-62), the list of martyrs included 115 Annamite priests (one-third of the native clergy), 100 Annamite nuns, and more than 5000 of the faithful. This list of executions gives only a faint idea of the horrors of the time. All the prisons were filled with confessors of the Faith; eighty convents and almost one hundred towns, the centers of the Christian community, were razed to the ground, and their inhabitants scattered throughout the land. According to the most conservative estimate, of the 300,000 Christians thus dispersed, about 40,000 died of ill-treatment, starvation, and unheard-of miseries, while all the possessions of the remainder were confiscated.
The Peace of 1862, which brought to a close this terrible period, was in no way due to a change in Tu-duc’s feelings, but entirely to his fear lest the revolutionary party, which had taken up arms in Tong-king, should secure the support of France. According to this treaty Annam ceded to France the southern provinces of Cochin China (Bien-hoa, Saigon, and Mytho), paid an indemnity of $4,000,000 to France and Spain, and guaranteed freedom of religious worship, provided that no compulsion should be used to force the natives to become Christians against their will—a strange proviso in view of the “compulsion” which had been used during the preceding years. Relieved of the ban of proscription and fertilized by the blood of so many martyrs, the missions began again to yield abundant fruit. The fearlessness shown by the Christians in the face of torture and death had greatly impressed the natives, who, seeing that converts were no longer viewed with marked displeasure by the administration, now hastened to seek instruction in the Christian Faith. In 1865 the baptisms of adults numbered 1365; in 1869 the number baptized was 4005. A still greater number of Annamites came to the missionaries, and, while declaring that they themselves were too old to change their religion, begged that their children might be received into the Church. In 1863 Msgr. Miche used his influence with King Norodom of Cambodia to bring about the treaty, according to which Cambodia placed itself under the protection of France.
While the Christians in the South were thus enjoying complete freedom from interference, their brethren in other districts of the Annamite Empire were not equally favored. Removed from the center of French power in the peninsula, they were subjected to many molestations and annoyances owing to the hatred of the mandarins. The ill-feeling among the pagan natives culminated in the assassination of Francis Garnier and four companions by the Black Flags on December 21, 1873. Fearful of the consequences, the mandarins had already yielded to the influence of Msgr. Puginier and Msgr. Sohier, and expressed their readiness to sign a convention guaranteeing the freedom and security of Christians and foreigners, when a letter was received from M. Philastre, French Inspector of Native Affairs at Saigon, ordering the suspension of all negotiations until his arrival. Disregarding every dictate of prudence and the reiterated warnings and entreaties of Msgr. Puginier, this functionary ordered the immediate evacuation of Tong-king, and thus made France break faith with the huge body of Christians, who had accepted Garnier’s proposals, and promised to assist France in its endeavor to secure liberty of worship and civil recognition for Christians. Misinterpreting the French departure for weakness, as Msgr. Puginier had foreseen, the pagans now prepared to surfeit their hatred against the Christians. The whole Vicaricate of Western Tong-king was completely wrecked; that of Southern Tong-king was left a heap of ruins. In view of this system of universal butchery the missionaries had given the faithful permission to take up arms, when the persecution came to an abrupt close in a remarkable manner. In the Province of Nghe-an (Northern Annam) one of those periodical local revolts, with which Annamite history is littered, had assumed threatening proportions: the royal forces had been signally defeated in several engagements, a large tract of country had within a short period fallen into the hands of the rebels, and it needed only the defection of certain high dignitaries, then wavering in their allegiance, to ensure the complete success of the revolution. In this crisis the mandarins hastened to summon to the defense of legitimate authority the Christians, whom they had but a few days before delivered over to massacre and pillage. Reinforced by the Catholics, the regular army defeated the rebels in several successive engagements, and quickly restored tranquility throughout the territories. On March 15, 1874, a new treaty was signed between France and Annam, which guaranteed explicitly religious freedom and the safety of the missionaries. All enactments against the Christians were annulled; perfect liberty was accorded the Annamites to embrace and to practice Christianity; religion was to form no obstacle to public employment; all terms and phrases in the official codes etc., objectionable to Catholics, were to be removed; priests and bishops were accorded unrestricted freedom to move about the empire without being subjected to interrogation or espionage; all confiscated property, not yet occupied, was to be restored to its Christian owners.
From 1874 to 1882 the Christians enjoyed a period of relative peace, but in the latter year the mandarins had again begun to act with such an absolute disregard of the treaty that France was once more compelled to interfere. Finding it impossible to secure any satisfactory engagement from the mandarins, Commander Riviere seized the citadel of Hanoi on April 25 and then occupied Nam-dinh, but was slain in an engagement with the Black Flags on May 19. On May 26 Father Bechet and numbers of his catechists and flock were decapitated by the Annamites. A proposal in the Royal Council to decree a general massacre of Christians was vetoed by Tu-duc. This was one of the Annamite monarch’s last important acts, and contrasted favorably with his general policy throughout his long reign (1847-83). Stirred now from its inaction, France dispatched strong reinforcements under General Bouet and Admiral Courbet. The bombardment of Thuan-an and the capture of Hue led to the Treaty of August 25, 1883. As, however, the Black Flags still continued to massacre and pillage about Hanoi, Admiral Courbet proceeded against Son-tai, and, despite its desperate defense, captured the town on December 17. To avenge themselves for their defeats the Annamite authorities forthwith decreed a general massacre of Christians. Troops were dispersed throughout the country to rob, burn, pillage, slay, and leave no trace of Christianity in the land. The French troops meanwhile gained victory after victory; Bac-ninh, Kep, Thai-nguyen, and Hung-hoa were successively captured, and on June 2, 1884, a treaty was signed promising indemnity to the Christians and a general amnesty to those who had assisted France. But the ambuscade laid by the Annamites and Chinese for the French at Bac-le (June 24, 1884) indicated clearly what confidence could be reposed in Annamite faith. France at once attacked China, annihilated the Chinese fleet, bombarded Fouchou, seized the Pescadores, and blockaded Formosa. Such salutary terror did this prompt action cause the Chinese authorities that they hastened to conclude peace on June 9, 1885. The Franco-Annamite Treaty of 1884 was ratified on February 23, 1886. Annam became a French protectorate, and the influence which China had exercised over its affairs for more than 4000 years came to an end.
A detailed description of the sufferings of the missions during the “Great Massacres” cannot be attempted here. The following figures given in Piolet (op. cit. infra, II, pp. 470-1) will sufficiently indicate the ruthlessness of the butchery and the fierce determination of the Annamite authorities to destroy every vestige of the Christian Faith. In Eastern Cochin China the martyrs included 15 priests (7 native), 60 catechists, 270 nuns, and 24,000 Christians (out of 41,234); all the charitable institutions and ecclesiastical buildings of the mission—including the episcopal curia, churches, presbyteries, 2 seminaries, a printing establishment, 17 orphanages, 10convents, and 225 chapels—were destroyed. In Southern Cochin China, 10 native priests and 8585 Christians were massacred in the Province of Quangtri alone—the two remaining provinces supplied hundreds of martyrs; two-thirds of the churches, presbyteries, etc., of the mission were pillaged and burned. In the Mission of Southern Tong-king 163 churches were burned; 4799 Catholics were executed, while 1181 died of hunger and misery. These figures apply only to the year 1885: in 1883-4 eight French missionaries, one native priest, 63 catechists, and 400 Christians were massacred in Western Tong-king, while 10,000 Catholics only saved themselves by flight. The carnage extended even to the remote forests of Laos, where seven missionaries, several native priests, and thousands of Christians were butchered.
Present Condition of the Catholic Church in French Indo-China.—Although but twenty-five years have elapsed since it had to endure a persecution, without parallel since the fiercest days of the Reformation, the Catholic Church has never been in so flourishing a condition in Indo-China as it is today (1910). Beginning with 5782 conversions of adults in 1887, the annual figure mounted rapidly and steadily, and averages at present about fifty thousand. It will be instructive to set down here the latest statistics (at the beginning of 1909) for the twelve vicariates apostolic, into which Indo-China is at present divided, at the same time warning the reader that the vicariates are not to be taken as conterminous with the geographical territories suggested by their names:
Western Cochin China: vicar, Msgr. Mossard, titular Bishop of Medea (residence, Saigon); total population, 1,566,000; Catholics, 63,640; catechumens, 1600; priests, 134 (58 European); 50 catechists; 2 seminaries with 122 students; 72 Brothers of the Christian Schools; nuns (Carmelite, St. Paul of Chartres, Filles de Marie), 6 houses with 713 sisters; 237 churches and chapels; 122 schools with 7960 pupils; 15 orphanages with 1109 inmates; 15 hospitals; 15 pharmacies;
Eastern Cochin China: vicar, Msgr. Grangeon, titular Bishop of Utina (residence, Binh-dinh, Annam); population, 3,500,000; Catholics, 83,000; catechumens, 10,000; priests, 101 (64 European); 83 catechists; 2 seminaries with 204 students; Sisters of St. Paul of Chartres, 1 house with 6 religious; Amantes de la Croix, 10 houses with (in 1901) 238 religious; 555 churches and chapels; 42 schools with 1889 pupils; 20 orphanages with 1567 inmates; 1 hospital; 3 dispensaries;
Northern Cochin China: vicar, Msgr. Allys, titular Bishop of Phacusa (residence, Hue, Annam); population, 2,700,000; Catholics, 58,633; priests, 100 (48 European); 47 catechists; 2 seminaries with 123 students; Sisters of St. Paul of Chartres, 3 houses with 11 religious; Filles de Marie, 18 houses with 523 religious; Brothers of the Christian Schools, 1 house with 8 religious; 205 churches and chapels; 30 schools with 707 pupils; 3 orphanages with 478 inmates; 2 hospitals (I for lepers); 8 pharmacies;
Cambodia: vicar, Msgr. Bouchut, titular Bishop of Panemotic (residence, Pnom-penh); population, 2,300,000; Catholics, 36,107; catechumens, 4500; 77 priests (45 European); 95 catechists; 1 seminary with 103 students; Sisters of Providence, 168 (37 European); Filles de Marie, 32; 156 churches and chapels; 72 schools with 4235 pupils; 6 orphanages with 951 inmates; 7 hospitals; 5 pharmacies;
Laos—formerly included in the Vicariate Apostolic of Siam—erected on May 4, 1899: vicar, Msgr. Cuaz, titular Bishop of Hermopolis Minor (residence, Nong-seng); population, 2,500,000 (about one-third in French territory); Catholics, 10,682; catechumens, 1172; 33 priests (29 European); 33 catechists; 1 seminary with 8 students; Sisters of St. Paul of Chartres, 2 houses with 8 religious; Amantes de la Croix, 15; 54 churches and chapels; 35 schools with 797 pupils; 22 orphanages with 304 inmates;
Maritime Tong-king, erected on January 15, 1901: vicar, Msgr. Marcou, titular Bishop of Lysiade (residence, Phat-diem); population, 2,000,000; Catholics, 90,000; priests, 88 (33 European); catechists, 172; seminaries, 2 with 223 students; Sisters of St. Paul of Chartres, 3 houses with 12 religious; Amantes de la Croix, 6 houses with 112 religious; 356 churches and chapels; 453 schools with 10,400 pupils; 5 orphanages with 1173 inmates; 18 hospitals (2 for lepers with 324 patients);
Southern Tong-king: vicar, Msgr. Pineau, titular Bishop of Calama (residence, Xa-doai); population, 2,000,000; Catholics, 132,266; catechumens, 350; priests, 115 priests (37 European); 280 catechists; 2 seminaries with 342 students; Amantes de la Croix, 6 houses with 148 religious; 395 churches and chapels; 182 schools with 5932 pupils; 6 orphanages with 1730 inmates; 12 pharmacies;
Western Tong-king: vicar, Msgr. Gendreau, titular Bishop of Chrysopolis (residence, Hanoi); population, 2,200,000; Catholics, 140,379; catechumens, 6329; priests, 134 (42 European); catechists, 380; 2 seminaries with 288 students; Carmelite Sisters, 1 house with 17 religious; Sisters of St. Paul of Chartres, 1 house with 35 religious; Amantes de la Croix, 16 houses with 330 religious; 502 churches and chapels; 600 schools with 17,480 pupils; 5 orphanages with 2436 inmates; 5 hospitals; 2 pharmacies;
Upper Tong-king, erected April 15, 1895: vicar, Msgr. Ramond, titular Bishop of Linoe (residence, Hang-hoa); population, 2,000,000; Catholics, 21,130; 47 priests (28 European); 87 catechists; 1 seminary with 64 students; Sisters of St. Paul of Chartres, 2 houses with 12 religious; Amantes de la Croix, 4 houses with 106 religious; 117 chapels and churches; 75 schools with 1599 pupils; 3 orphanages with 165 inmates; 7 hospitals (3 for lepers); 5 pharmacies;
Central Tong-king: vicar, Msgr. Munagorre y Obyneta, titular Bishop of Pityus (residence, Buichu); population, 2,000,000; Catholics, 219,650; 114 priests (22 European); 259 catechists; 2 seminaries with 150 students; Third Order of St. Dominic, 16 houses with 427 sisters; Amantes de la Croix, 3 houses with 33 religious; Sisters of St. Paul of Chartres, 15; 615 churches and chapels; 679 schools; 5 orphanages with 500 inmates; 7 hospitals (5 for lepers with 500 inmates);
Eastern Tong-king: vicar, Msgr. Arellanos, titular Bishop of Cocussus (residence, Hai-duong); population, 2,000,000; Catholics, 54,200; catechumens, 400; 57 priests (17 European); 110 catechists; 2 seminaries with 102 students; Third Order of St. Dominic, 4 houses with 81 religious; Sisters of St. Paul of Chartres, 2 houses with 23 religious; 264 churches and chapels; 104 schools; 4 orphanages with 352 inmates; 7 hospitals;
Northern Tong-king: vicar, Msgr. Velasco, titular Bishop of Amorium; population, 2,500,000; Catholics, 31,016; 46 priests (20 European); 66 catechists; 2 seminaries with 46 students; Third Order of St. Dominic, 2 houses with 45 religious; Sisters of St. Paul of Chartres, 3 houses with 12 religious; 162 churches and chapels; 167 schools; 3 orphanages with 43 inmates; 1 hospital.
Total for the twelve vicariates (an asterisk signifies that the returns are incomplete): population (estimated), 27,266,000; Catholics, 940,703; catechumens, 24,351*; bishops, 12; priests, 1046 (443 European); catechists, 1662; 21 seminaries with 1775 students; 100* convents with 3122* sisters; 3618 churches and chapels; 80* Brothers of the Christian Schools; 2561 schools with 50,999* pupils; 97 orphan-ages with 10,808 inmates; 70* hospitals; 50* pharmacies.
Training of the Native Clergy, Religious Institutions, etc.—The native clergy are more numerous in Indo-China than in any other missionary country in the world. Their intimate acquaintance with the feelings and superstitions of their compatriots, whose mentality differs so widely from that of Western races, renders them of incalculable service to the missions. Of the solidity of their faith they have given abundant testimony during times of persecution, when their constancy rivalled that of their European apostles. Twenty-six of their number have been already declared venerable. In accordance with the regulations of the Synod of 1795 each priest chooses a certain number of the most promising boys from the leading Catholic families of his district: as the choice is considered universally among the Christian flock to confer a great honor on the family, the priest finds no difficulty in recruiting a sufficient number of neophytes. Their training usually begins between the ages of ten and twelve; they serve the priest, study the Chinese characters, and learn a little elementary Latin. At the age of seventeen or eighteen, those who have given evidence of a true vocation are sent to the seminary to follow the course of studies proper to the priesthood: the others remain with the priest until the age of twenty or twenty-two, when they are sent to the school of catechists. Each priest is expected to supply at least one candidate for the priesthood annually, but so healthy is the Christian sentiment of the people that the seminaries are unable to accommodate all who seek admission. After a course of six or seven years’ study, the candidates are subjected to a most searching catechetical examination to test their competence to teach Christian doctrine. If successful, they receive the diploma of catechist, are attached to one of the parishes—each is supposed to have at least three—and begin their real apostolate. Under the guidance of the priest, they instruct the catechumens, prepare the people for the reception of the sacraments, attend the sick, and discharge many of the minor duties of the ministry. After about six years of this valuable training, the catechists, who have been especially conspicuous for their exemplary conduct and Christian zeal, are sent to the theological seminary, where after three years’ further study they are admitted to the priesthood—usually between the ages of thirty-five and forty.
The principal religious institute for women in Indo-China is the (native) Congregation of Amantes de la Croix, who have in Cochin China recently modified their regulations and adopted the title of Filles de Marie. Founded more than two centuries ago, they evinced, like the native priests, an unflinching faith during all the persecutions, sheltering the fugitives, nursing the sick and wounded, carrying food and consolation to the prisoners, and in many cases bearing the Viaticum to those who were about to seal their Faith with their blood. The aims of the congregation are personal sanctification, the performance of works of charity, and the instruction of the catechumens. They are often called upon—since the priests and catechists are frequently unable to fulfil all the duties of the rapidly growing missions—to proceed to remote villages and instruct rude and uncultured neophytes in the truths of Christianity. This apostolate has been blessed with wonderful results: to the activity of a single religious (Sister Mieu), Father Gernot, a recent pro-vicar Apostolic at Saigon, declared he owed 1200 converts. The order has itself been the first vindication of womanhood in Indo-China. Living in the midst of a pagan society, which regards women as creatures of a lower order and their education as nugatory, these sisters have been a conspicuous illustration of the Catholic ideal of the dignity of woman. To Catholicism belongs the credit, in Indo-China as in so many other countries, of having first undertaken the education of the native women—a task with which it alone concerns itself even at the present day (1910).
The Brothers of the Christian Schools first appeared in Indo-China in 1867, but their numerous and flourishing schools were closed in 1881-82 by order of the colonial administration, which has seldom shown a proper appreciation of the great work of civilization performed by the missions. Since their recall in 1895 they have been taking an even more prominent part in the education of the natives, and now direct many prosperous schools.
The Sisters of St. Paul of Chartres and the Sisters of Providence also render important services to the missions. In addition to the military hospital at Saigon, the former have opened numerous orphanages and hospitals for lepers (e.g. at Hue); the latter have been entrusted with the principal schools of the missions in many districts, with the Orphanages of the Holy Childhood, and various native hospitals.
It is impossible to do adequate justice to the services which the Society of Foreign Missions, the Order of St. Dominic, and, in earlier days, the Society of Jesus have performed throughout the peninsula in the name of Christianity and civilization. The value of their services to the cause of religion may be judged from the present healthiness and vitality of the Church in Indo-China, while, as the pioneers of civilization, they have labored unaided for centuries to raise the lot of the natives, and are even today practically the sole civilizing agents throughout these vast territories. The widespread respect which the inhabitants feel for the Western races was won by the French missionaries, who, deserted by their fellow-countrymen, remained to face torture and death with their flock, when every dictate of prudence seemed to urge them to take flight. Judging France not by her breaches of faith in the past, nor by her unsympathetic administration (see Ajalbert, op. cit. infra, passim), but by her noble sons, who sacrificed everything at the call of duty, the native Christians have given a ready acquiescence to the French domination. To the missionaries we are primarily indebted for our present knowledge concerning the languages, history, and customs of the inhabitants. The ingenious system (quoc-gnu), by which, with the aid of certain accents and signs, we can represent the Annamite sounds in our letters, we owe to the Jesuits. This system, which has spared both Annamite and Western the infinity of pains necessary to master the complicated Annamite ideographic system, is at present taught in all the Christian and government schools. The Society of Foreign Missions was the first to issue dictionaries of the various Indo-Chinese languages and dialects; it has regularly supplied interpreters to the French Government, and has labored earnestly to foster among the natives a respect for French authority—services which few unbiased students of the history of Indo-China will declare have been yet repaid.