Ourknowledge of the relations of the West with the Far East goes back to before the Christian era. Even before our ancestors had entered upon their struggle with the Roman Empire, the annals of the Chinese Emperors contain accounts of Roman doings.1 During the Middle Ages communication with China by way of the interior of Asia was always maintained. Marco Polo's famous account of his travels gives us a vivid picture of these relations at the height of that period.2 But it was the discovery of the sea passage to the East Indies that first brought about that more intimate connexion with the legendary 'Cathay' which during the following centuries became more and more firmly established. Some-years earlier, Christopher Columbus had sailed forth in the hope of reaching the Far East and its fabulous riches. And, after his landing in America, he continued to believe that the countries which he had discovered were continuous with the Kingdom of Cathay. The island of La Juana seemed to him so vast that he took it for a province of Cathay. In his letters he expresses his delight at having found in Zepangu, i.e., Cuba, much cotton-wool which he hoped to sell at a good profit in the populous cities of the Great Khan. Columbus had learnt about Cathay—China—from Marco Polo's book. His copy of it with his marginal notes is preserved in the Bibliotheca Columbina in Seville.