Huc, Évariste Régis
HUC, ÉVARISTE RÉGIS
Missionary and traveler; b. Caylus, Tarn-et-Garonne, France, June 1, 1813; d. Paris, March 1860. He entered the Vincentians Sept. 5, 1836, and after being ordained in 1839, was sent to China. In Macau and then at a Christian mission in southern China he further prepared himself for missionary work and learned the Chinese language. For several years he labored at the Mission of the Valley of Black Waters about 300 miles north of Beijing within the newly created (1840) Vicariate of Tatary-Mongolia. There he studied the dialects and customs of the Tatars and translated various religious works.
In 1844 Huc and his fellow Vincentian Joseph Gabet (1808–53) were ordered by the Vicar Apostolic Martial Mouly to journey through Mongolia and Tibet in order to gain knowledge of the various peoples included in the vicariate. Dressed as lamas to escape attention, and with only a young Christian native, they set out in early August 1844 for Duolon in Inner Mongolia, where they obtained supplies and information for their further journey. They left there October 1 and proceeded westward, crossing the Huang-Ho and the Mu Us Desert to Dabsun-nor and Ninghsia. After reaching Gansu province, they were hospitably received at the large and famous Buddhist monastery of Kumbum. Remaining there for some months, they learned the Tibetan language, and Hue translated a small Tibetan work dealing with the 42 points of Buddha's instruction.
In October 1845 they joined at Qinghai the caravan of a Tibetan embassy returning from Beijing, and after much hardship crossing the snow-covered Bayan Kara and Tanggula Mountains, they entered Lhasa Jan. 29, 1846. There they enjoyed the favor of the Tibetan officials and began their apostolate. However, after about six weeks the enmity of the Chinese ambassador, Ki-Chan, forced their departure. At the end of September they arrived in Guangzhou, where Huc remained for nearly three years, but Gabet returned to Europe and later went to Rio de Janeiro. Huc returned to France in 1852 in shattered health and left the order in 1853.
Along with the many other writings of Huc and Gabet in the Annales de la propagation de la foi and the Annales de la Congregation de la Mission, Huc is renowned for Souvenirs d'un voyage dans la Tartarie, le Thibet, et la Chine pendant les années 1844–46 (2 v. Paris 1850), which has gone through numerous editions and has been published in eight languages. He wrote also L'Empire Chinois (2 v. Paris 1854), which received recognition from the French Academy, and Le Christianisme en Chine, en Tartarie, et au Thibet (4 v. Paris 1857–58).
Bibliography: e. r. huc, Souvenirs of a Journey through Tartary, Tibet, and China during the Years 1844, 1845 and 1846, tr. j. m. planchet, 2 v. (Peking 1931); High Road in Tartary, ed. j. bedier (New York 1948); Mémoires de la Congrégation de la Mission, v.3 La Chine (Paris 1912) 407–. r. streit and j. dindinger, Bibliotheca missionum (Freiburg 1916–) 12:230–238. h. cordier, The Catholic Encyclopedia, ed. c. g. herbermann et al., 16 v. (New York 1907–14; suppl. 1922) 7:510.
[j. c. willke]