THIS Province, which is the First and the Chief of the whole Empire, is bounded on the East by the Sea, on the North by the Great Wall and by a Part of Tartary, on the West by the Province of Chan Si, from which it is separated by some Mountains, and on the South by the Provinces of Chan tong and Ho nan, its Figure is Triangular, It is divided into nine different Countries, which have each a Fou, or principal City of the First Rank, on which several other Towns are dependant. These Towns are 140 in Number, twenty of which are Tcheou, or Towns of the second Rank, and 120 are Hien, or Towns of the third Rank; not to mention an infinite Number of Boroughs and Villages, some of which are as large as Cities but have not that Name, because they are not enclosed with Walls or Ditches.
The Air is temperate; yet, tho' its greatest Latitude does not exceed forty two Degrees, the Rivers are frozen four Months in the Year, viz. from about the middle of November to the middle of March : Unless , the Wind blows from the North, the Frost does not cause that piercing Cold which is felt in Europe at such a Time, which may be attributed to the nitrous Exhalations which rise from the Earth, especially when the Weather is clear, which is so constant that during the Winter the Sun is very seldom obscured ; the rainy Season is only towards the End of July and the Beginning of August ; it seldom rains at any other time, but the Dew which falls in the Night: moistens the Earth, which is observ'd to be dewy every Morning. This Moisture dries at the Rising of the Sun, and is succeeded by a very fine Dust , which penetrates every where, and gets into Rooms which arc shut up with the utmost Care. Those who have tender Eyes, when they travel on Horseback, wear a loose Veil which covers their Faces, and is a Defence from those Whirl winds of Dust which rise all around them, or they use other Precautions, which I shall mention another Place. The Country is plain, but sandy, and not very fruitful; it produces less Rice than the Southern Parts, because it has but few Canals, nevertheless, besides what is sown along the Sides of the Rivers, there is some sown dry in several places, which grows very well, but is harder, and therefore not so easily dressed as the other Sort.
In other respects it plentifully produces all other sorts of Grains, and chiefly Wheat and Millet, all sort of Cattle, Pulse, and great Plenty of Fruit, such as Apples, Pears, Plums, Chestnuts, Walnuts, Figs, Peaches, Grapes, &c.
The Rivers were full of Fish, and excellent Crayfish. The Mountains furnish a great Quantity of Pit-Coal, which is burnt instead of Wood, it being very scarce, Considering the space of Time which these Minos have given Fuel to this Province, they must certainly be inexhaustible.
Among the different sorts of Animals of this Province, there are a particular sort of Cats which the Chinese Ladies are very fond of, and which they kept very tenderly as they have long Hair, and hanging Ears.
But what renders this Province the most considerable is, that the Riches of the whole Empire are brought hither, the Northern and Southern Provinces striving to outvy each other in furnishing it with every thing they produce, that is most uncommon and delicious.
The People in general are not so polite, nor so apt to learn the Sciences, as those of the Southern Provinces; but they are stronger, more warlike, and better able to undergo the Fatigues and Hardships of War. In this they resemble the other Chinese who inhabit the Northern Provinces.
The first City, Peking, or Chun Tien Fou, the Capital of the Province, and of the whole Empire.
THIS Capital of the whole Empire of China, and the ordinary of the Emperors, is situated in a very fruitful Plain twenty League distant from the Great Wall. It is called Peking or the Court of the North, as the Capital of the Province of Kiang Nan was named Nan king, which is the Court of the Souths when the Emperors resided there formerly: But at that time the Tartars, a restless and warlike Nation, who made continual Irruptions into the Empire, obliged this Prince to remove his Court to the Northern Provinces, that he might be nearer at hand to oppose them with the numerous Troops which constantly attend his Person.
The City is an exact Square ; it is divided into two Cities : That which contains the Emperor's Palace is called Sin tching, the New City y it is also call'd the Tartar City, because the Houses were given to the Tartars, when the present Monarchy was establish'd.
The second is nam'd [Lao tching] the Old City : it may be also call'd the old Chinese City, because when the Chinese were expelled the other City, some of them retired into this, whilst others fled towards the Northern Provinces, and were at length obliged to quit the Country, because not only the Houses of the New City, built heretofore by Yang lo, about the Year 1405, when the Court left Nan king, but the Lands adjoining to the City, and to the neighbouring cities, to a certain Distance, were distributed amongst the Tartars, with a perpetual Exemption from all Taxes whatever. In less than eighty Years the Tartars are so greatly increased, that they occupy almost all the New City ; the Chinese possess the Remainder, so that there is no Place empty in this, altho' there is a Vacancy in the Old City.
The Circuit of the Walls of the two Cities together, without taking in the Suburbs, has been measured, and does not excess fifty two Chinese lys, so that it is less than Nan king ; but there is a vast Difference between the Height, the Breadth, and the Beauty of the Walls of these two Cities : Those of Peking are grand, and worthy of the Capital of the greatest Empire of the World ; but those of Nan king are narrow, and do not seem to have exceeded those of the Old City of Peking, which are no better than the Walls of the common Cities of the Empire. A Horseman may ascend the Walls of the New City by a Ramp of a great Length ; in several Places there are Houses built for a Corps du Garde : The Towers are built within bow-shot of each other ; one of which, after a certain Number, is much larger than the others, in which may be placed small Bodies of Reserve. The Gates of the City, which are high and well vaulted, support very large Pavillions nine Stories high ; each Story has Openings either of Windows or Portholes ; the lowest Story forms a large Hall, where the Officers and Soldiers retire who come off the Guard, as well as those who are to relieve the Guard, Before each Gate there is an open Space left of above 360 Feet, which serves for a Parade, surrounded by a semicircular Wall, equal in height and breadth to that which indoses the City, into which Parade the Entrance is always on that Side which does not face the great Road which. comes into the City ; this Way is again commanded by another Pavillion like the first, so that as ) the Cannon of one can demolish all the Houses of the Town, the Cannon of the other commands the neighbouring Country.
All the Gates of the City, which arc nine in Number, have a double Pavillion built alike on the Platform of the Walls, and furnish'd with Artillery : Any other Fort or Citadel would be needless, for these Fortifications are more than sufficient to keep the People in Obedience.
The Streets of this Great City are strait, almost all laid out with a Line, at least a League in Length, and about 120 Feet wide, with Shops for the most part on both Sides of the Way : 'Tis Pity there is such a Difference between the Streets and the Houses, which are poorly built in Front, and very low. It is surprizing to see the innumerable Multitude of People who crowd these Streets, and not a Woman amongst. them, and the Confusion caused by such a vast Number of Horses, Mules, Asses, Camels, Carts, Waggons and Chairs, without reckoning the various Crowds of 100 or 200 Men in the Streets, at some distance from each other, who gather about some Fortune-Tellers, or Players at Cups and Balls, or Ballad-Singers, or to hear some Fellow who reads or relates a comical Story to make them merry , or else to hear a sort of Quacks, who distribute their Medicines, and explain their admirable Effect with Rhetorical Flourishes : Persons of Distinction would be stopt every Moment, if they had not a Horseman to go before and clear the Way. All the Riches and the Merchandizes of the Empire are continually pouring into this City : It is usual either to be carried in a Chair, or more commonly to ride thro' the Streets, it is easy to find Hackney-Horses or Chairs in many Places; for twelve or fifteen Pence one may hire a Horse or a Mule for a whole Day ; and as the great Crowds of People fill all the Streets, the Owner of the Horse or Mule often leads his Beast by the Bridle in order to make way, these People know exactly the Street and House where any considerable Person lives : There is also a Book sold, which gives an exact Account where every Person lives that has any publick Employment.
The Governor of Peking, who is a Mantcheou Tartar of Distinction, is called [Kiou men titou] the General of the nine Gates ; and the People, as well as the Soldiers, are under his Jurisdiction in every thing that relates to the Civil Government and the Publick Safety.
This Policy cannot be exceeded, and it's surprising to see the perfect Tranquillity that is maintained amongst such an almost infinite Number of Chinese and Tartars. It seldom happens in many Years, that any House is broke open by Thieves, or that any Murder is committed : There is indeed such exact Order observ'd, that it is next to impossible that such Crimes should be committed with any manner of Impunity.
All the great Streets, which are drawn by a Line from one Gate to another, have several Corps de Garde. Night and Day the Soldiers, with their Swords by their Sides, and Whips in their Hands, are ready to chastise those who make any Disturbance ; they have power to take into Custody whoever resists or creates any Quarrel.
The little Streets, which come into the greater, have Gates made in the manner of a Lattice, which do not prevent seeing all that pass along ; they are guarded by the Corps de Garde placed over against them in the Great Street : There are also some Soldiers on Duty about the Middle of almost all these Streets : The Lattice Gates are shut at Night by the Corps de Garde, and are seldom open'd but to Persons known, who carry a Lanthorn in their Hand, and who give a good Reason for coming out, such as it would be to fetch a Physician.
As soon as the first Stroke is given by the Watch on a great Bell, a Soldier or two come and go from one Corps de Garde to the other, and as they walk along they play continually on a sort of Rattle.
They do not suffer any Person to go about at Night, and they examine those who are sent upon the Emperor's Business; if they find their Answers any way suspicious, they put them in Custody of the Corps de Garde : This Corps de Garde must also Answer every Call of the Centinel who is on Puty: 'Tis by this beautiful Order, which is observ'd with the greatest Strictness, that Peace, Silence, and Safety reign throughout the City : It must be added, that not only the Governor is obliged to walk round the Town, and comes when least expected, but the Officers also who keep Guard on the Wails, and on the Pavillions of the Gates, where they beat the Watches on great Drums of Brass, send Subalterns to examine the Quarters which belong to their respective Gates : The least Neglect is punish'd the next Day, and the Officer is broke.
This exact Discipline, which prevents all Nocturnal Assemblies, will not doubt appear very extraordinary in Europe, and will not please Persons of Quality, the Rich, and what we in general call the Grand Monde: But is it not the Duty of the principal Persons of a State to prefer good Order and publick Security to Diversions, which give Rise to an infinite Number of Attempts against the Goods and Lives of the Inhabitants? Nothing appears more agreeable to Reason,since the Tartars, a People without Learning, lately come from the midst of Woods and Forests, and who are not enlightened by the True Religion, are governed by these Principles, and by this prudent Vigilance cut off the Root of the many Crimes which are but too common in States,which arc not so well regulated. This Regulation is indeed very expensive to the Emperor, for Part of the Soldiers I have mentioned are kept entirely to take care of the Streets : They are all Foot, and their Pay is large : Besides their Watching Night and Day, it is their Duty to fee that every Person cleans the Street before his Door, that it is swept every Day, and watered Night and Morning in dry Weather, and that the Dirt is taken away after Rain ; and as the Streets are very wide, one of their chief Employments is to work themselves, and to keep the middle of the Streets very clean for the Convenience of passengers : After they have taken up the Dirt they level the Ground, for the Town is not paved, or they dry it after it has been turn'd, or mix It with other dry Earth, so that two Hours after great Rains one may go clean to all Parts of the Town.
If the Writers of some Relations have affirm'd that the Streets of Peking are commonly very bad, they must mean those of the Old Town, which are narrow and not so well kept as the other ; for in the New Town the Soldiers are continually employed to keep the Streets clean, even when ,he Emperor is absent. There is a second Wall in the New City, which is but low: and narrow, yet it is adorn'd with great Gates, where a Guard is kept : This Wall is call'd [Hoang tching] the Imperial Wall ; its Southern Gate is also the Gate of the Emperor's Palace, about 100 Fathom distance from the Principal Gate of the City, and which has the same Situation, and is call'd Sien men by the People ; tho' the true Name [Tching yan men] the Gate fronting the Mid-Day Sun, is inscribed on it in Tartar and Chinese.
This Palace is a prodigious Heap of great Buildings of vast Courts and Gardens ; it is enclosed by a Wall of Brick about twelve Chinese Lys round : This Wall has Battlements along the Courtaine, and is adorned with little Pavillions at the Angles ; over each Gate there is a more lofty Pavillion, stronger built, and surrounded by a Gallery, which is supported by Pillars, and resembles our Peristyle : This is properly called the Palace, because this Compass includes the Apartments of the Emperor and his Family.
The Space which is between the first Wall [Hoang tching], and the Inclosure of the Palace is above fifteen Lys in Circumference, and is taken up by Houses which belong to particular Officers of the Emperor's Household, or to the Eunuchs, or to the various Tribunals, some of which have the Care of providing Necessaries for the Service of the Prince, and the others are to preserve the Peace, to judge all Disputes, and determine all Causes, and to punish the Faults committed by the Servants of the Imperial Family.
Notwithstanding, in case of any flagrant Crimes fully proved, these Tribunals of the Palace, called the Inner Tribunals, fend the Criminals to the Exterior Tribunals, which are the Great Tribunals of the Empire.
Altho' the Architecture of the Imperial Palace is entirely different from the European, yet it strikes the Eye, by the Grandeur and regular Disposition of the Apartments, and by the Structure of the Roofs, which have four sides, and rise very high. The whole is covered with varnish'd Tiles of such a beautiful Yellow, that at a Distance they appear almost as bright as if they were gilt : Another Roof as bright as the former springs from the Walls, and ranges all round the Buildings, and this is supported by a Forest of Beams, Joists and Spars, all japan'd with gold Flowers on a green Ground : This second Roof, with the Projection of the first, make a sort of Crown to these Structures, which has a very fine Effect: Whatever difference there may be in the Gout of Architecture, it is certain that these Apartments, with their Courts surrounded by Galleries, and ranged one after the other in regular Order, form one entire Structure, which is extremely grand, and worthy the greatest Empire of the World.
The Terraces upon which the Apartments are built, contribute very much to give them that Air of Grandeur which strikes the Eye : These Terraces are about fifteen Foot high, cas'd with white Marble, adorn'd with Ballisters of pretty good Workmanship, and open only at the Steps placed on each Side, and in the Middle and Corners of the Front : The Ascent in the Middle is only a Slope of Marble consisting of one of two Blocks, having neither Steps nor Landing place; No Person is permitted to pass this Way into the Apartments, the Emperor alone is carried thro' in his covered Chair upon Days of Ceremony; These Terraces, before the Windows of the Apartments, mate a broad Platform, paved with Marble, which in their length from East to West always project seven or eight Feet beyond the Building ; such is the Apartment where the Emperor resides, and such is that which is more to the South, and which is open to all the Mandarins of the Empire, it is call'd [Tai ho tien] the Hall of the Grand Union.
The Mandarins range themselves in the Court of this Hall on the Days appointed for the Ceremonies, which are fettled by the Laws of the Empire, to renew their Homage: These Ceremonies are performed as well in the Absence of the Emperor, as when he is present ; it is very common to strike the Forehead on the Ground before the Gate of the Palace, or before one of the Royal Halls, with the same Ceremonies and Respect as before the Emperor himself seated on the Throne.
This Hall is about 130 Foot long, and almost square ; the Ceiling is carved Work japon'd green, and charged with gilded Dragons ; the pillars within, which support the Roof, are about six or seven Feet in Circumference at the bottom, incrusted with a kind of Paste, and japan'd with Red ; the Pavement is partly covered with an ordinary sort of Carpets, imitating those of Turkey; the Walls are destitute of ill Ornament, very well whited, but without Tapestry, Looking-Glasses, Sconces, or Paintings.
The Throne, which is in the midst of the Hall, consists of a lofty Alcove, very neat, but not magnificent, and without any Inscription but the Word Ching, which several Authors have translated by th Word Holy ; but it is not always us'd in that Sense; for it is sometimes better interpreted by the Latin Word Eximius, and by the English Word Excellent, Perfect, Wisest : On the Platform before the Hall are faced great and massy Vessels of Brass, in which perfumes are burnt during the Ceremony, and Candlesticks made in the Shape of Birds, large enough to hold Flambeaus : This Platform in continued beyond the Hall [Tai ho tien,] extending towards the North, and has two other lesser Halls, but which are hide from Sight by the [Tai ho tien ; ] one of these smaller Halls is a very pretty circular Room with Windows on all sides, and shining with Japan of various Colours. Here the Emperor (as it is affirm'd) reposes some time before and after the Ceremony, and changes his Habit.
This circular Hall is but a few Paces distant from a second, that is longer than wide, the Door of which stands towards the North. The Emperor is obliged to pass thro' this Door when be comes from his Apartment to ascend the Throne, and there to receive the Homage of the whole Empire : He is then carry'd in a Chair, by Chairmen dress'd in a long red Vest embroidered with Silk, and wearing a Cap with a kind of Plume of Feathers.
The Court which is before this Imperial Hall [Tai ho tien] is the largest in the Palace ; it is at least 300 Feet long, and 250 wide ; Upon the Gallery which surrounds it are the Emperor's Magazine of all valuable Goods, for the Treasure or Finance of the Empire are kept in the Sovereign Tribunal [Hou pou :] These Magazines are open'd on certain Occasions, as upon creating an Heir to the Empire, or an Empress, or Queens, &c. One contains vases and other Works of different Metals ; a second has a vast Quantity of the finest Sort of Skins ; in a third are kept many Habits lined with various Furs of Foxes, Ermine, or Zibeline, which the Emperor sometimes bestows on his Servants ; there are some of Precious Stones, of uncommon curious Marble, and of Pearls which are found in Tartary : The greatest Magazine consists of two low Stories, and is full of Chests of Drawers, which hold all manner of Silks that are made on purpose for the Emperor, and his family at Nan king, Hang tcheou, and Sou tcheou : These are the best Silks of the Empire, because they are made under the Care and Direction of a Mandarin, who presides over those Works, and who would be punished if they were not in the greatest Perfection.
The other Magazines are for Arrows, Bows, and Saddles, whether they are made at Peking, brought from foreign countries, or presented by great Princes, and design'd for the Use of the Emperor and his Children, There is one also where they collect all the most exquisite Sorts of Tea that are to be found in China, with various sorts of Simples, and other Drugs which are most in esteem.
This Gallery has five Doors, one to the East, another to the West, and three more in the South-Front, but those in the middle are never open'd but for the Emperor : The Mandarins, who come to perform the Ceremony before the Imperial Hall, enter by the Side-Doors.
There is nothing extraordinary in this Front ; it has a large Court before it, the Descent to which is by a Stair-Case of Marble, adorn'd with two great Lions of Copper, and a Balustrade of white Marble ; the Steps are made in the Shape of a Horseshoe, on the Bank of a little Serpentine River that runs thro' th Palace, over which there are Bridges of the same Matter. It would be endless to describe all the Edifices of this Palace ; these are the most magnificent in the Opinion of the Chinese and the Tartars, and are sufficient to give an Idea of this Work.
The Palaces of the Emperor's Children, and the Other Princes of the Blood, are very neat within, extremely capacious, and built at a great Expence ; the same Design runs thro' the Body of the Work, and in the Ornaments, viz. , Row of Courts, adorn'd with Buildings on the Sides, and in Front a Hall japan'd, and raised on a Platform three or four Feet high, border'd with Great Blocks of hewn Stone, and pav'd with large square Tiles : The Doors, which generally open into some By Streets little frequented, have no other Ornament than two Lions of Brass or white Stone of but indifferent Workmanship, without any Order of Architecture, or any Sculpture in Stone, such as there generally is in the Triumphal Arches.
I shall enlarge no farther here on this pompous Edifice, which is the only one of this great City that; deserves our Attention, because I shall speak of it in another Place , what I shall say of it in the Sequel, with what I have here described, will give all the Knowledge of it that can be desired.
The Tribunals of the Sovereign Jurisdictions are also of vast Extent, but ill built, and worse repaired ; they are no ways Answerable to the Majesty of the Empire : I have already said there are Six, which I shall just mention, became I shall hereafter Speak of them more particularly.
The First, which is the Lii pou, recommends the Mandarins, who are to govern the People.
The Second [Hou pou] superintends the Tribute.
The Third [Li pou] is to maintain the Rights and Customs of the Empire.
The Fourth [Ping Pou] has the Care of the Troops, and of the Posts which are in the great Roads, and which are maintained at the Emperor's Expence.
The Fifth [ King pou ] determines all criminal Causes.
The last [Kong pou] has the Inspection of all publick Works.
All these Tribunals are divided into different Rooms, among which the Business is distributed, there are not the same Number of Rooms in each Tribunal, some having much more Employment than others. These are several inferior Tribunals under these fix Sovereign Courts ; for Instance, the Tribunal of the Mathematicks [Kin tien kien] is depend,t on the third I mentioned : It is also divided into two Rooms, of which the principal and most numerous, [Li ko] has the Care of calculating the Motions of the Planets, and of every thing that belongs to Astronomy : The other [Lu kou] besides its proper Business, is employ'd to determine the Days most convenient for Marriages, Funerals, and other Actions of the Civil Government, about which they take but little Trouble, copying generally an ancient Chinese Book, in which these things are already settled, according cording to the current Year of the Sexagenary Cycle, or Chinese Century.
These six Sovereign Courts do not meddle with Affairs of State, but when they are referred to them by the Emperor, who commands them to deliberate upon such Affairs, or to put them in Execution; Upon these Occasions, as they Hand in need of each other, they are obliged to agree together, to the end that the Money, the Troops, the Officers, and the Equipages may be ready by the Day appointed ; except in these Cases every Court is confined to their own proper Business, and they have undoubtedly Employment enough; In such a vast Country as China , the Care of Repairing the publick Works; the Government of the Troops, the Regulation of the Finances, the Administration of Justice, and especially the Choice of Magistrates, being different Functions, Were united under one Tribunal, it would certainly produce a Confusion in their Resolutions, and a Slowness in Action, that would ruin every thing ; hence it Was expedient to create such a Number of mandarins, both at Court and in the Provinces.
But as in such a Multitude it would be difficult to find the proper Person to apply to upon particular Business, to remedy this Inconvenience there is a Book sold, which may be call'd, The State of China, which contains all the Officers Names, their Surnames, their Employments, and distinguishes their Degrees of Doctor, Batchelor,&c and whether Tartar or Chinese: It also shews in particular the Changing of the Officers of the Amy, as well those that are in Garrisons, as those that are in the Field ; and to denote these Changes without reprinting the Book, they make use of moveable Characters.
All the Tartar Families live at Peking, of in its Neighbourhood, and are not suffer'd to remove from thence without the special Order of the Emperor ; hence it is that all the Tartar Troops, who compose the Emperor's, are always in a manner near his Person ; here are also some Chinese Troops, who formerly entered into the Service of the Tartars, and who are called on this Account the Tartaris'd Chinese ; they are well paid, and always ready to fly, on the first Order, to extinguish the Fire of Sedition wherever it breaks out, which is performed with wonderful Secrecy and Expedition.
These Troops are divided into eight Bodies, each of which has a Banner distinguish'd by the Colours, viz. Yellow, White, Red, and Blue; or by the Border, viz. yellow with a red Border, white with a red Border, red with a white Border, and blue with a red Border. The Green belongs to those Troops that are entirely Chinese, which are therefore call'd [Lou ki] The Soldiers of the green Banner. Each Banner of the Tartars has a General, call'd in Tartar Mantcheeu Cou Santa : This General has under him several great Officers [Meireintchain] who are like our Lieutenant-Generals, and on whom depend several other Officers subordinate to each other : As each Body is at present compos'd of Mantcheoux Tartars, Mongol Tartan, or of Chinese Tartaris'd, the General has under him two Officers of each Nation: Each Body has l0000 effective Men, divided into l00 [Nu rous] Companies, each of l00 Soldiers; so that if we reckon the Emperor's Household, and those of such a Number of Princes, who have their Attendants [Po jo nu rous] with the Pay of Officers and Soldiers, we shall readily allow the Truth of that common Opinion, That there are always 100,000 Horsemen maintained at Peking. By this we may judge of the Forces of the Empire ; for besides the Cavalry I have mentioned, if we should reckon the Foot-Soldiers that are at Peking, those along the Great Wall, in the vast Number of Forts built to defend it (tho' they are not so numerous as when they fear'd the Irruptions of the Tartars) with the other Forces scattered thro' the Empire, it would be found that the Number will amount to 600,000, as it is affirmed ; so that we may say, that China keeps up in time of the most profound Peace, an Army able to refill the most formidable Powers, and that only to maintain the publick Tranquillity, to provide against Seditions, and to extinguish the smallest Sparks of a Revolt.
Such a vast Body as China must necessarily be terribly agitated upon any Commotion, therefore all the Policy of the Chinese Magistrates is exerted to prevent, and stifle immediately all publick Disturbances : There is no Pardon to be expected for a Mandarin whose People revolt; let him be never so innocent, he is at least look'd upon as a Person of no Talents, who ought to be deprived of his Employment (if punish'd in the most gentle manner) by the Tribunals of the Court, to which these Matters are always referred by the Viceroys and Governors of the Provinces : These Tribunals deliberate upon the Information, and present their Opinion to the Emperor, who confirms or rejects it.
Th, Sovereign Courts have no Superior but the Emperor, or the Grand Council : When this Prince thinks convenient to call one upon some important Affair which has been already decided by one of these Courts , they present their Opinions in Writing on the Day appointed, and often treat with the Emperor himself, who confirms or rejects them by signing them with his own Hand : If he retains them, they wait some time for his Orders, and 'tis then the Business of the great Mandarin, call'd in Chinese, Colao, and in Tartar, Alia gata, to learn his Pleasure.
The Papers presented by the Presidents of these Sovereign Courts, called in Chinese, Chan chu, and in Tartar, Alia gamba, ought to begin with a Title of the Subject of the Business it relates to, and end with the Opinion of the Court, whose Cognizance the Affair properly belongs to. The Emperor disposes in the same Manner of all the Employments in the Empire, without being obliged to give them to those that are proposed ; tho, he generally confirms them, after having himself examined those who have drawn their Employments by Lot, in the Manner hereafter described. As to the chief Posts of Tsong ton and Viceroy, they are always named by the Emperor himself : It will scarcely be believ'd that the present Emperor condescends to examine himself the Croud of Mandarins, of which some are advanced to superior Offices, and others entering upon the first Employments ; nevertheless it is certainly true, and this shews his great Application to the Government of the State, he will fee every thing with his own Eyes, and will trust no Person in chusing Magistrates for the People,
His Authority is absolute, and almost unlimited : A Prince of the imperial Blood cannot use the Titles, nor receive the Honours of his Rank, without the Emperor's Permission ; and if his Behaviour does not Answer the Expectation of the Publick, he loses his Quality and Revenues by the Emperor's Order, and is only distinguish'd afterwards by the Yellow Girdle, Which is worn both by Men and Women of the Imperial Family, and who have a tolerable Pension out of the Royal Treasury. There is no Remedy, by the Laws, against the Abuse of Authority, but by the way of Remonstrance ; for this Purpose the Law have establish'd Publick Censors, whose Duty it is to admonish the Emperor by Petitions, which are dispersed thro' the Empire, and which the Emperor cannot reject without hurting his Reputation; the Nation looking upon this Employment as an Heroic Bravery, the Emperor would do them too much Honour, if he should happen to use them ill, and draw upon himself some odious Names, which the Historians would with great Care transmit so Posterity.
These Censors seldom or never will be deny'd : If the Court or the great Tribunals endeavour to evade the Justice of their Complaints, by some Rebuff, they return to the Charge, and make it appear that they have not Answer'd conformably to the Laws. Some of these Censors have persevered two Years together, in accusing a Viceroy supported by the Grandees, without minding Delays and Opposition, or being frighted at the most terrifying Menaces, till at length the Court has been forced to degrade him, that it might preserve the good Opinion of the People.
But if in this sort of Combat between the Prince and the State, in whose Name the Censor speaks, the prince happens to yield, he is immediately prais'd for it in a publick manner, and loaded with Panegyricks by the whole Empire ; the Sovereign Courts of Peking return him Thanks, and what he has done for Justice is esteem'd a singular Favour.
'Tis owing to this good Order which is observ'd at Peking, and that sets an Example to other Places, that the Empire enjoys such a long Peace and Happy Tranquillity : It may also be attributed to the favourable Situation of China, which has no Neighbors but little Nations, that are half Barbarians, and unable to undertake any thing against such a vast Kingdom, while its Forces are well united under the Authority of their Sovereign. The Manteheoux, who conquer'd it, took Advantage of the Troubles of the State, which was overrun with Rebels and Robbers, and were brought in by the faithful Chinese, who desired to revenge the Death of the Emperor.
I could not help enlarging on this Capital, because it is like the Soul of this great Empire ; but I shall be much shorter in describing the other Cities, Specially those which contain nothing remarkable, I shall only add, that beside the general Jurisdiction that Peking has over the whole Empire by its six Sovereign Courts, it has also , particular District which contains twenty-six Cities, six of which are of the Second Order, and twenty of the Third.
IN this City resides the Viceroy of the Province: There are twenty Cities in its District, three of which are of the Second Order, and the other seventeen of the Third Order : The Country is very pleasant and fertile : To the South of the City there is a small Lake, famous for having a great Number of those Flowers which the Chinese call Lien hoa ; they are a sort of Flowers that resemble the Nenuphan or Nymphea, which are little valued in Europe, but highly esteemed in China, because the Flowers are double, and the Colours more lively and varied, and for several other Qualities, which I have elsewhere describ'M.
There is no Road from Peking to the Province of Chan Si, but that which passes thro' this City, but the whole Way is exceeding fine and pleasant : The Country is level and well cultivated, the Road very good, and planted on both Sides with Trees in many Places, with Walls to preserve the Fields ; it is continually full of passengers, Carts, and Beasts of Burthen loaded. In the Space of a League you pass though two or three Villages, without reckoning those that; are seen in the Country on all Sides, as far as the Eye can see ; the Rivers have very fine Bridges of several Arches.
THIS City was call'd Ho kien, from its Situation between two Rivers : Its Walls are high and straight, and well repaired: It is reckoned near 4000 Paces round. On this Place depend two Towns of the Second Order, and fifteen of the Third. The Rivers are full of good Fish ; and the Crayfish, which are very plenty, are well tailed.
THIS is a large City, near 4000 Paces in Circuit, its Figure is nearly an oblong Rectangle ; the Walls are good, and flank'd with Towers at certain Distances : It is situated not far from a fine River, which runs into the Lake Pai hou a few Leagues off. Its Jurisdiction is very extensive, it contains thirty two Cities, five of the Second Order, and twenty seven of the Third ; it has Mountains on the North, where the Chinese say they find a great many Simples, and scarce Herbs for Physical Uses. There are some Monuments, or a kind of Temples built in Honour of their Heroes, and amongst others one consecrated to the Memory of the first Emperor of the Dynasty Han.
THE District of this City is but small, it contains only nine Cities of the Third Order, but they are all of Note, and very populous. The Country is very pleasent and exceeding fruitful, thro' the great plenty of Water : The Rivers produce various Sorts of excellent Fish : There is found a very fine Sand which is made use of in polishing Precious Stones, and is sold all over the Empire ; it is also used to make China Ware, but this does not come near in Goodness to what is made at King te ching, a Borough of the Province of Kiang si. Chun te fou also furnishes Touchstones to try Gold, which are accounted the best in the Empire.
THIS City is situated in the Southern Part of Peking, between the Provinces of Chan tong and Honan, it has but nine Cities of the Third Order under its Jurisdiction ; this whole Territory is water'd by several Rivers, which produce very good Fish ; the Country is pleasant and fruitful : There is nothing remarkable in this City to distinguish it from the rest of China.
THERE is nothing more remarkable in this City than in the former, from which it is not far distant, but this Country is more fruitful and pleasant, and the Rivers equally abound in Fish. Its Jurisdiction contains only one City of the Second Order, and eighteen of the Third.
THIS City is advantageously situated, but its Jurisdiction is not very extensive; it contains but one City of the Second Order, and five of the Third, it is environed by the Sea, by Rivers, and by Mountains, covered for the most part with fine Trees : This makes the Country less fertile, but the neighbouring Bay supplies its Want with great plenty of all the Necessaries of Life.
Not far from this City stands a Fort nam'd Chan hai, which is the Key of the Province of Leao tonge: This Fort is near the beginning of the great Wall; which is built for a League together in a boggy Marsh from the Bulwark in the Sea.
THIS City is remarkable for its Grandeur, for the Number of its Inhabitants, for its fine Streets, and for Its Triumphal Arches ; it is situated in the midst of the Mountains, and pretty nigh the Great Wall. Its Government comprehends two Cities of the Second Order, and eight of the Third Order, and also some Forts along the great Wall.
These Places have numerous Garrisons: In the fountains are found fine Crystal, Marble and Porphyry.
Among the Animals this Country produces there are a great Number of yellow Rats, much larger than those of Europe, whose Skins are greatly prized by the Chinese. Besides the Sort of Chan hai before mentioned, which defends the Entrance into China from Leao tong, the Gates of the Great Wall are fortified on the Inside with several pretty large Forts. The Forts are Hi fong keou, in the Latitude of 40°. 26'; Caope keou in 40°. 41'. The Emperor generally passes thro' this Gate when he goes to hunt in Tartary, Tou che keou in 41°. 19'. 20" ; and Tchang kia keou in 40°. 51' 15". These two Entrances are very noted, because the Ways lie thro' them, which the Tartars that are subject to the Empire take to come to Peking.
All these Places in this Province along the Great Wall are terrassed, and cased with Brick ,on both Sides.
I do not mention Cities of this Second and Third Order, the Particulars would be endless and tiresome, there is one however I cannot omit, that has a greater Trade, is much more populous, and richer than most other Cities, tho' it is not of the First ; and has no Jurisdiction : It is called Tien Tching Ouei, since the Map was made it is placed in the rank of Tcheou, or Cities of the Second Order ; in the Place where the Royal Canal, which comes from Lin tchin theou, joins to the River.
A great Mandarin [Yen yuen] resides here and he is a Principal of the Officers who preside over, the Salt-Works along the Sea of the Provinces of Pe tche li and Chan long : All the Vessels which bring Timber from East Tartary, after they have cross'd the Bay of Leao tong, come to unload in this Port, which is but twenty Leagues from Peking.