THIS IS is one of the most fertile and trading Provinces of the Empire. It is bounded on the east by the Sea, on the South by the Province of Fo Kien, on the North and West by the Province of Kiang nan and Kiang si. It contains eleven Fou, or Towns of the First Order, which are like so many Provinces, and seventy seven Towns of the Second and Third Oder, without reckoning an infinite Number of Towns and Villages exceeding populous.
The whole Country is interspersed with Mountains almost all cultivated, and fruitful Fields with River and Channels, cut out either by Nature or the Industry the Chinese. These Channels are large, deep, and bank'd on each side with Free Stone, having Bridges over them at proper distances, which maintain a communication between one part of the Country and another, so that a Man may travel by Land or Water to thro' the whole Province. The Springs of fresh Water and Lakes, wherewith the Country abounds, contribute much to its fertility.
The Inhabitants are of a sweet and affable Disposition, and have a great deal of Wit and Politeness, their Silks, which are ingeniously made, and imbroider'd with Gold and Silver, are the best of any that are made in China, and so cheap, that , Garment made of the finest Silk Costs less than one of common Woollen Cloth in Europe. They have there great many Fields full of Dwarf Mulberry-Trees, which are restrain'd in their Growth, they plant and prune 'em almost like Vines. Long Experience has taught the Chinese, that the Leaves of the small Mulberry-Trees make the best Silk.
They nourish in this Province so great a Number of Silk-Worms, that one may affirm this alone is capable of furnishing Japan, the Philippines, and Europe with Silks of all sorts.
Every thing necessary for Life is found here in abundance ; the Mountains which lie to the South and West are all manured ; in other places, where they are rocky, they furnish Timber for building Ships and Houses.
In the Lakes of this Country is found the Golden Fish, of which I gave a Description elsewhere ; there is here excellent Craw-fish, and in great Quantity. In some Places there grows great Plenty of Mushrooms, which are carried over the whole Empire. After they have pickled 'em in Salt, they dry 'em, and keep 'em a whole Year ; when they have a mind to use them, they steep 'em for some time in Water, which makes 'em as good and fresh as when first gathered.
The best Hams of Bacon are made in this Province. Here is likewise found that extraordinary Tree called Ou kieou mou, which produces Tallow, and also those small Trees bearing a very white Flower, which resembles Jessamin, except that they have greater quantity of Leaves, and their Smell is far more pleasant. One of the Flowers is efficient to perfume a whole House : Therefore the Chinese have so great a Value for them, that to preserve these small Trees, they take the same Precautions that are used in Europe to defend Orange-Trees from the Rigor of the Winter.
Tho' the Fruit called Pe tci is found in other Places, yet it is most common in this Province : It grows in Fenny Ground, and is about the bigness of a Chestnut ; its Kernel is covered with a thin Skin, the Pulp is white, and full of pleasant Juice, hard, and a little fourish.
Some pretend, that if a Piece of Copper Money be put into the Mouth along with the Fruit, the Teeth can break it as easily as the Fruit it self; Per, Martini reports this as a Truth, but other Missionaries, willing to make a TriaL did not find it lb.
Throughout the whole Empire those Canes or Reeds are to be found which the Portuguese call Bamboos, but Tche kiang has greater plenty of them than any other Province ; there are whole Forests of them in it. These Bamboos are of great use in China , they are very large and hard, and tho' they ire hollow within and knotty, yet they are very strong, and will bear the heaviest Weight. The Leaves are long, and turn up at the Ends ; as hard as they are, they split easily into small Strings, and they make of them Matts, Boxes, Combs, &c. As they are naturally hollow, they are very proper to make Pipes to convey Water from Place to Place, or they may serve for Tubes of Telescopes, and other things of the same kind.
THIS is one of the richest and largest Cities of the Empire : It is chiefly considerable on account of its Situation, which is the most advantageous that could be desired, the prodigious Number of its Inhabitants, the Conveniency of its Canals, and the Trade it carries on of the finest Silk in the World.
If we believe the Chinese Proverb, it is the Terrestrial Paradise : It is almost of a round Form, and about forty Lys, or four Leagues in Circumference, without including the Suburbs ; These Lys ought to be 360 Paces. From the East Gate to the North, they reckon ten Lys ; one of our Missionaries, in counting the Steps of the Chairmen, readily judged that a Lys has that Measure.
As to the Number of Inhabitants, it amounts to more than a million of Souls. A Christian Gentleman assured a Missionary that resided there, that within the City alone, without comprehending the Suburbs, which are very large, the Officers who levy the Tax have upon their Lifts about 300,000 Hou, or Families ; this Number is called in the Chinese, San che voan, which signifies thirty times 10,000.
The Walls of Hang tcheou are very high and thick : The Water in the Canals of the City is not clear, and there is upon those of the Suburbs a prodigious Number of Barks, where whole Families dwell as in a Canton. The Streets are very narrow, but the Shops are convenient, and the Merchants are reckoned very rich.
These Streets are adorn'd with Triumphal Arches, but chiefly in Places of great Resort ; there are many Monuments raised in honour of such Mandarins as had distinguished themselves in the Discharge of their Office, or were advanced to the chief Dignities of the Empire : You see there also four great Towers of several Stories. There are 7000 Men in Garrison under the Tsiang kiun, or Tartarian General, and. 3000 under the Fou yuen, or Viceroy.
Tho' there are large Gardens in the City, and the Houses have but one Story, it is surprising how populous it is : The great Streets are crowded like thctfe of Paris J with this Difference, that you fee no Women there : The Tartarian Troops have a Fortress, which is separated from the City by a Wall. The River Tcien tang kiang runs close by the Walls, and in this Place it is a large League in breadth.
We may say, without an Hyperbole, that Hang tcheou is properly the Region of Silk, because that is the chief Commodity that is wrought there. They pretend they have 60,000 People at work within the Walls ; and if so, there must be many hundred thousands in the adjacent; Parts, and Places depending upon Kia hing fou, and Hou tcheou fou, since there is scarce a little Village where Silk is not wrought.
The flower'd Taffetaes, and Satins called Lin tse. and others quite plain, but close worked and even, called Lao fang se, which are made in this City, are counted the best in the whole Empire, and most in request : But that which renders this City delightful is a small Lake hard by, called Si hou, which is about two Leagues in Circumference, the Water of which is as limpid and clear as Crystal, so that you may see the smallest Stones at the bottom ; the Sides, where the Water is shallow, are all covered with the Flowers of Lien hoa. There are laid upon Piles in this Lake handsome Walks, which are paved with large square Stones, for the Conveniency of those who pass on Foot. There are likewise Causeways made, and lined with Free-Stones, with Openings for Boats to pass through, over which there are Bridges.
In the middle of the Lake are two small Islands, where People commonly resort after they have taken their Pleasure upon the Water, in one of which there is a Temple built, and proper Houses for Entertainment : The Sides of the Lake are likewise adorned with Temples, and large Monasteries of Bonzes, together with fine Houses, among which there is a small Palace for the Emperor's Use, who lodges there when he makes a Tour into the Southern Provinces.
ALL this Country is watered with Lakes and Canals cut by the Industry of the Chinese ; the City is large, populous, and carries on a good Trade; its Suburbs are of great Extent, and there are several Bridges over the Canals and Ditches : There is not a House where they don't breed Silkworms.
Canals are cut thro' all Parts of the City,whose Sides are lined with fine Free-Stone, and in all the Street there are handsome Piazzas, under which one may walk free from Rain; there are many Triumphal Arches, both within and without the City, and fifteen Marble Towers on the Sides of the Canal that lies to the West of the City, by which all the Barks pals.
The Fruit called Pe tche, which I mentioned before, grows every where in Standing Waters and Moorish Ground, In Autumn they catch little Birds, which they preserve in Wine made of Rice, and fell all the Year , they take likewise very good Cray-Fish.
In the Neighbourhood of the City Hai yen, which is upon the Sea-Shore, there are Salt-Pits, from which they gain a great deal of Salt ; and on all sides you see little else but Silk Manufactures ; The Country is flat, and hath not so much as one Mountain ; the Jurisdiction of this City contains seven Cities of the Third Order.
THE great Lake, on the Banks of which this City stands, gives it the Name of Hou tcheou ; it is one of the greatest and most considerable Cities in China, with Respect to its Riches, Trade, Fertility of its Soil, and the Beauty of its Canals and Mountains.
The Quantity of Silk which is manufactured there is inconceivable ; the Tribute which one City in its Dependance [Te tsin hien] pays alone, amounts to 500,000 Taels or Ounces of Silver , this is also the chief Place in China for making Writing-Pencils, and the Crop of Tea is here very plentiful ; it has under its Jurisdiction one City of the Second Order, and six of the Third.
NING PO, which the Europeans have called Liam po, is a very good Port on the Eastern Sea of China, over against Japan ; it is a City of the First Order, and has four of the Third under its Jurisdiction : It is situate on the Confluence of two small Rivers, which, after their Union, form a Channel reaching to the Sea, and is deep enough to bear Vessels of 200 Tun ; one of these Rivers, which the Chinese call Kin, comes from the South ; the other, named Yao, from West North-West : These Rivers water a Plain surrounded almost on all sides with Mountains, and form a fort of an Oval Bason, whole Diameter from East to West (drawing a Line across the City) maybe about ten or twelve thousand Toises, the Chinese Toise being, as I have already said, ten Foot : That from North to South is much greater.
The Plain; which resembles a Garden for its Levelness and Cultivation, is full of Towns and Houses, and divided by a great Number of Canals made by the Waters which fall from the Mountains ; the Canal, upon which one Part of the Suburbs is situated, reaches to the Foot of the Mountains, is separated into three Branches, and is about five or six thousand Toises long, and six or seven broad.
Within this Extent of Ground there are reckoned sixty-six Canals on the right and left Sides of the principal one, some of which are broader than the principal itself : This vast Quantity of Water, conduced with Art, renders the Plain exceeding fruitful, and causes it to yield two Crops of Rice ; besides the Rice, they also sow Cotton and Pulse ; there one may also behold a great Number of Trees which bear Tallow.
The Air is also every where wholesome, and the Country pleasant and open. The Sea supplies a great Quantity of Fish, all Sorts of Shell-Fish, and good Lobsters; among others, in the beginning of the Summer, they catch a Fish called Hoang, that is to say, the Yellow Fish, which are much sought after on account of their delicate Taste ; but as they will not keep long out of Water, they take care to put them into Glasses, and by this means transport them throughout the Empire.
The Walls of Ning Po are 5074 Geometrical Paces in Circumference , and from the Eastern to the Western Gate, through a Street which lies almost in a direct Line, there are reckoned 5274 large Paces : The Walls built of Free-Stone are in good Repair, and capable of refitting every thing but Cannon-Balls.
There is an Entrance into the City through five Gates, two of which are towards the East, because the Port is on that Side ; not to speak of the two Water-Gates, so called by the Chinese, which are two great Arches that open through the Walls to give passage for the Barks in and out of the City, it being divided by several Canals. On the South-West Side thereof there is not one Building which is worth our Notice ; but there is a Tower several Stories high, built with Brick ; and before the Eastern Gate, which lies most Southward, there is a Bridge over the Kin made of sixteen flat-bottomed Barks fattened together with Iron Chains, which may be about forty Toises long.
That which is most agreeable to the Rules of Architecture, is what the Chinese call Pai leou, or Pi fan, and we Triumphal Arches. The Streets, which are very narrow, appear more so on account of the Penthouses which are over the Shops, insomuch that two of our large Coaches could not pais without Difficulty. This City was plundered and fack'dduring the late War, but for some Years past begins to flourish again ; it is a large Garrison.
The Entrance into Ning po is difficult, especially for large Vessels, there being but fifteen Foot Water over the Bar in the highest Tides ; in coming up the River, you leave on the left Hand Tin hai hien, which is lender its Jurisdiction.
This City, which is an oblong Square, is 1000 Toises in Circumference, and is commanded by a Cittadel built on a very high Rock, by the Foot of which all Vessels must necessarily pass, at half the distance of a Pistol-Shot ; they enter in during the Space of one Tide, along a very fine River about 150 Toises broad, and seven or eight Fathom deep, having Salt-Houses on each side, with Towns, and a well-cultivated Country, which at a great distance is bounded with high Mountains.
The Chinese Merchants of Siam and Batavia go thither early to buy Silks, which they know to be the finest in the Empire ; those of Fo kien, and other Provinces, resort thither continually : They also have a great Trade with Japans, Nanga Zacha being distant from thence but two Days Sail, the Chinese carry thither Silks, Stuffs, Sugar, Drugs, and Wine, and bring back Copper, Gold, and Silver : About eighteen or twenty Leagues from Ning po is an Island called Tcheo chan ; the Port is very good, but not commodious for Trade ; and it is here the English landed by chance at their first Arrival, not being able to find the way to Ning po among the Islands on this Coast.
THIS City is situated on one of the most beautiful plains in the World ; there are Canals in every Street, and no City so much resembles Venice as this, tho' it's vastly preferable to that, because the Canals here are filled with very clear Running-Water.
We may pass and repass into any Part of the City on all sides, by the Assistance of Boats, there being not one Street without a Canal , for which reason there are very high Bridges, and many that have only one Arch.
On each side of every Canal are large clean Streets, paved with great white Free-Stones, for the most part six or seven Foot long ; and here are a great many Triumphal Arches very handsomely built. It is said to be at least four Leagues in Circumference, for which reason it is divided into two Hien or Subaltern Jurisdictions, which have their distinct Governments, one of which has the Name of Chan in, and the other Quei ki.
Several Houses which is seldom seen in the rest of the Chinese Cities are built of Free-Stone, extremely white ; these Stones are got out of an almost: inexhaustible Quarry, which is in the Mountain called Kiao men chan, two Leagues from the City; the Walls which encompass it are between two Ditches, the one within the City, and the other without ; these Ditches are fill'd with Water as clear and limpid as that as the Canal.
Chao hing is, in some sense, a City of Learned Men, and its Inhabitants are the most formidable for Sophistry In all China, being very well skill'd in the Laws ; there is no Viceroy or great Mandarin, who is not desirous of one out of this City to employ as his Secretary : There are reckoned in this District eight Cities of the Third Order.
The Wine, which is made here in great Quantities, is very much esteemed, and transported throughput the Empire. About half a League from the City is a Sepulchre, said to be that of the Grand Yu, who made his way to the Throne in the beginning of the Monarchy, by draining a great Part of the Empire which lay under Water. On the side of the Sepulchre is erected a stately Edifice, by Order of the late Emperor Cang hi, who, in the 28th Year of his Reign, went to pay due Honour to the Memory of this great Prince.
Not far off there is a remarkable Mountain, called the the Mountain of Apes, because it is something of that Shape; it is a Place of great Resort, where People go to take all kinds of Diversion : One sees there a handsome Summer-House, which serves to feast in, at the bottom whereof is a Pond exceeding deep, in which are kept Fish of an extraordinary Bigness ; they appear at the top of the Water, and Bread being thrown down from the Window of the Summer-House, they swallow it whole.
THIS City, which hath six others in its District, is situate on the Bank of a River, in a very mountainous Country ; tho' it is not so rich and considerable as the Cities of which I have been speaking, yet the Neighbourhood of the Sea supplies it with all things necessary. The most remarkable thing is, that they catch a kind of Thorn-back, whole Skin is proper for several Uses, especially to make Scabbards, for Cutlasses. They carry on a great Trade with them in the Country, and transport them into Japan, and throughout the Empire.
THIS City is placed in the Hearty of a Province, and on the Banks of a fine River, into which several little ones discharge themselves : It was formerly of great Extent, and famous for the Beauty of its Buildings , but the People, who are of a warlike Disposition, having long resisted all the Power of the Tartars who invaded China, were at length subdued, and one Part of the City burnt ; it is now rebuilt, as well as a large Bridge which is on the West-side, and another of Boats near the City Lang ki hieu, which is the finest of all those which the Tartars burnt.
Kin hoa hath eight Cities of the Third Order in its District ; they are partly situated in a level Country, and partly among the Mountains. Rice grows here in great Plenty, and the Wine made of it is much esteemed.
They here drive on a great Trade with large dried Plumbs, and Hams, which are much esteemed, and sent into all the Provinces of the Empire, There are almost every where seen little Shrubs, with a white Flower not unlike Jessamin, which produce Tallow that makes very white Candles, which will not stick to the Hands, nor yield any bad Smell when extinguish'd.
THE Situation of this City is agreeable enough ; it is built near a fine River, and between two others that are smaller that run into it : It is the most Southern City of the Province, and borders on the Provinces of Kiang si and Fo kien ; but the Road which leads to this last Province, which is but three Days Journey, is very difficult to travel in, because of the Mountains which there is a Necessity of passing.
This Road begins in the Neighbourhood of the City of Kiang chan hien, wherein one is oblig'd to travel near thirty Leagues on Mountains, whose Ascents and Descents are very steep ; there is one that hath Stairs on the side of it of more than 300 Steps made of Stone , the Travellers find from time to time convenient Inns. The rest of the Country hath nothing remarkable ; it hath five Cities in its District.
THO' this City is situate on the Banks of a River that runs nigh its Walls, and is near enough another which carries pretty large Barks, yet it is not to be compared to the other Cities of the Province for the Grandeur, Number, and Riches of its Inhabitants. The Hills and Mountains, of which this Country is full, render it very unequal.
There are found here Mines of Copper, and Trees that yield Varnish, which gives a Value to the Cabinet-Work so much esteemed in Europe ; when this Varnish is once dry it never melts again, and will bear boiling Water. The Paper Manufacture of this Place is in equal Esteem, and for which they have a great Demand : Six Cities of the Third Order are in its District.
THE Situation of this City is in Marshy Land, very near the Sea, and the Beauty of its Buildings gave it the Name of Little Hang tcheou. The Flux and Reflux of the Sea ascends to the very Walls, where one may see a great Number of Barks and large Vessels, that lie there in a safe and commodious Haven.
The whole Country is a Mixture of fertile Plains and barren Mountains, some of which are very craggy and steep, especially in the Neighbourhood of Fo kien , it hath five Cities of the Third Order in its District.
THIS whole Country is encompassed with vast Mountains, the Vallies are very fruitful, and. Rice is very cheap, on account of the Difficulty of transporting it else where , the City is situated on the Banks of a fine River; which is navigable as far as the Sea : The Mountains are covered with handsome Trees, and among others with Pines of an extraordinary Thickness ; there are some, as we have been assur'd, that will hold more than thirty Men in the Cavity of their Trunk , they serve for building Houses and Chinese Vessels.
The Rivulets are bordered with Forests of Reeds or Cane, called by the Europeans, Bamboos ; some grow up to the Height of thirty Foot, and the smallest are not less than ten , if they are burnt while green, there proceeds a Water from them looked upon by the Physicians as very wholesome, and is given to those who have their Blood coagulated by any Bruise or Fall, it being pretended that this Water has the Virtue of freeing the Body from this corrupted Blood. It hath ten Cities in its District.