THIS is one of the least, and yet one of the richest Provinces of the Empire; its Situation is commodious for Navigation and Commerce, the Climate is hot, but the Air is very pure and healthy ; As Part of it borders upon the Sea, they take there a great Quantity of Fish, which are dried and salted in order to be carried into the Midland Provinces of the Empire : Its Shores are very uneven, by reason of the Number and Variety of its Bays ; there are many Fortresses built there to guard the Coasts : It contains nine Fou, or Cities of the First Rank, and sixty Hien, or Cities of the Third Rank : Among the nine Fou is reckoned Tai ouan, Capital of the the of Formosa : Its Mountains, by the Industry of the Chinese are almost every where disposed into a kind of Amphitheaters, with Terrasses placed one above another, and all covered with Rice ; the Fields are watered by great Rivers and Springs that issue from the Mountains, which the Husbandmen conduct in such a manner as to overflow the Rice when they please, because it grows best in watery Ground , they have got the Secret of raising the Water to the Top of the highest Mountains, which, they convey from one Mountain to another. by Pipes of Bamboo, which,is found in great Quantities in this Province.
Besides that the Province of Fo kien abounds with every thing that grows in most other Provinces of the Empire, the Commerce which the Inhabitants have with Japan, the Philippines, the Island of Formosa, Cambya, Siam, &c. renders it extremely rich : They have Musk Precious Stones, Quicksilver, Silk, Hempen-Cloth, Gallico, Steel, and all sorts of Utensils wrought to the greatest Perfection ; and they import from other Countries Cloves, Cinnamon, Pepper, Sandal-wood, Amber, Coral, and many other Commodities of this Nature : Its Mountains are covered with Trees fit for building of Ships. They have Mines of Lead and Iron ; 'tis, supposed they have also Gold: and Silver, but it is forbidden to dig for these under Pain of Death. As for Fruit it produces excellent Orange, larger than common, which have the Taste and Smell of Muscadine Grapes ; the Peel of these Orange Comes off easily, it is thick, and of a Golden Colour ; preserve them with Sugar, and, send them to other Provinces : Besides these there are fine red Oranges, of which we have given a Description in another place. The most remarkable Things that grow here, as well as in the Province of Quang tong are two sorts of Fruits peculiar to China, which are highly valued, viz. Li chi and Long yuen, which are mentioned in the Beginning of this Work : I only add, that there is hardly any Fruit in the World to be compared to Li chi for its Deliciousness, especially if it be that Sort which has a small Stone or Kernel in it. The Plant called Tien boa which grows there, and the Dyers use to dye Blue, is much more esteemed than that which grows in other Provinces.
Every City there has its particular Dialect, different from the rest, which is very incommodious to Travelers : The Mandrine Language is generally spoke by all, except by a few of the learned Men in this Province: Besides they have naturally a good Genius, and apply themselves vigorously to the Study of the Chinese Sciences : For this reason you see great Numbers of good Scholars come out of this Province, who arrive to great Preferments in the State.
THIS is the first and most considerable City of the Province, nine Cities of the Third Order are under its Jurisdiction ; besides the Viceroy, the lntendant General of this and the Province of Tche Kiang resides there ; it is chiefly famous on account of its Situation, Commerce, Multitude of learned Men, the Fertility of its Soil, fine Rivers that carry the largest Barks of China almost up to its Walls, and lastly for a surprising Bridge consisting of more than 100 Arches, all built with fine white Stones across the Bay ; all its Hills are filled with Cedar, Orange, and Limon-Trees.
Throughout the Extent of its Jurisdiction they make exceeding fine Sugar : They have a great many of those Trees that bear the Fruits Li chi and Long yuen ; the first is so agreeable to the Taste, that when you eat it you know not when to have done ; the second is very good, but less esteemed than Li chi : They dry these Fruits, and send them to all Parts of the Empire, and no doubt they are as agreeable when they are dried as when fresh gathered; besides they are very wholesome, and are given often to sick People
THE Situation of this City is most agreeable,, and makes it a place of very great Trade ; it is built upon a Promontory, and almost surrounded with Water ; the largest Barks enter within its Walls ; it has in its Jurisdiction seven Cities of the Third Rank ; all these Cities are very populous, and carry on a great Trade ; the Houses arc likewise convenient, the Streets paved with Brick, including two Rows of square Stones, and adorned with Triumphal Arches : There is one Temple among the rest that deserves particular Notice, having two Towers built of Stone and Marble, each of which has seven Stories, and round every Story there are Galleries jutting out to walk in.: Not far from the City there is a Bridge, which is extraordinary for its Magnificence and Beauty; it is built with a kind of black Stone, and has no Arches, but is supported by above 300 Stone Piers, that terminate on each Side in acute Angles, the better to break the Force of the Current : This Bridge was built at the Expence of a certain Governor of the City, who, being concerned to fee an infinite Number of Boats overset by the Violence of the Tides, was desirous of preserving his People from the continual Danger of being drowned : We are told this Work Cost him 1 ,400,000 Ducats. From this, and other Cities in its District, a prodigious Number of Vessels go out every Hour, in order to traffick among foreign Nations.
EIGHT Cities of the Third Order are under the Jurisdiction of this Capital City, which is situated on the Side of the River Min ho , 'tis a Place of plentiful Trade, because all Commodities that are carried up and down the River pass through it : As the River ceases to be navigable near the City of Pou tching hien, which is about thirty Leagues from Kien ning, the Goods are unloaded there, and Porters carry them over the Mountains to a large Town near Kiang tchan, in the Province of Tche kiang, to embark them upon another River: 18000 Porters are employed there to attend the Barks, who get their Living by passing and repassing continually over these Mountains, that are very steep, and Vallies that are equally low ; they have endeavoured to level this Road as much as the Nature of the Ground would permit , it is paved with square Stones, and all along there are little Towns filled with Inns for the Accommodation of Travellers; there is an Office fixed at Fou tching hien to receive Toll of all Goods, and the Revenue produced thereby is appointed for keeping the Road in repair. At the Time when the Tartars conquered China, Kien ning sustained two Sieges, and still refused to submit to the Tartarian Government ; but at length after the second Siege, which lasted a long Time, the Tartars took it, and entirely burnt it, and put all the Inhabitants to the Sword; the greatest Part of the Houses have been since rebuilt, but less magnificent than before : Hard by Kien ning stands a City of the Second Order, called Fou ning tcheou, which is pretty Considerable, because it has Jurisdiction over two Cities of the Third Order, viz. Fou ngan hien, and Ning te hien ; the Country where they are situated is of vast extent, but almost all covered with Mountains ; those towards the North are almost inaccessible, nevertheless nothing is wanting there, the Sea which is hard by furnishes if plentifully with all the Necessaries of Life.
THIS City is placed on the Side of a Hill, below which runs the River Min ho ; so agreeable a situation makes the City look like an Amphitheatre to the View of those who are upon the Water, who can see distinctly every Part of it : It is not very large, but passes for one of the most pleasant Cities of the Empire, and is naturally fortify'd by inaccessible Mountains : In this City the Water, which comes down from the Mountains, is conveyed by Pipes into every House, There is another thing for which this City is singular, the Inhabitants universally speak the Mandarine Language, which is that of the Learned; by this it is supposed that it was peopled at first by a Colony that came from the Province of Kiang nan: The Barks of the whole Province pass under its Walls. Cha hien, which is one of the Cities under its Jurisdiction, is commonly called The Silver City by reason of the abundant Fruitfulness of the Lands thereabouts ; the Soil belonging to the other Cities is not much less fertile.
THIS City is built at the bottom of the Mountains, which divide the Province of Fo Kien from that of Kiang si: Among these Mountams there are same all cover'd with Flowers, especially in the Spring, very agreeable to the Eye; in which Gold Mines might be founds if it were permitted to dig or bore for them ; others of such prodigious Height, that they are almost inaccessible. The Country abounds with every thing necessary for Life , tho' the Air is not very wholsome, and they have but little Trade there. Seven Cities of the Third Order belong to this City.
THE Name of this City signifies a Springing flower ; and it must be confess'd that it is situated in the most beautiful and fertil Country of the Province, and near the Sea; and tho' it has no more than two Cities of the Third Order within its District, yet it pays a very considerable Tribute in Rice : Throughout its Jurisdiction you see such a great Number of Towns and Villages, that you would be apt to take it for one continued City ; some of these Towns, for the Largeness and Beauty of their Edifices, might be ranked among the Cities, and great Numbers of rich Merchants dwell there, who trade throughout the Empire ; the Roads are very convenient, broad, and almost every where paved with square Stones, and the City beautify'd with many Triumphal Arches ; the Fruit li tchi is better there than in the rest of the Province ; they catch there very good Fish of all forts, and the Country likewise furnishes Silk.
THIS City, which is one of the Keys of the Province, was not very considerable in former Times, tho' it is now become such, and its Situation renders it a Place of Strength, and very commodious : It is surrounded with Forts and Strong-Places, which are not distinguishable from, common Towns, but by the Troops which are there in Garrison. In the District of this City there are Manufactures of curious Cloths, made of a kind of Hemp, which are much in request in the Empire, because they are cool in Summer, and when you sweat they don't stick to the Body ! It has no more than four Cities of the Third Order under its Jurisdiction.
THIS City, which is the most Southern of the Province, has in its Jurisdiction ten Cities of the Third Order ; it is situated upon the Bank of a River which ebbs and flows, over which, to the South of the City, stands a very fine Bridge consisting of thirty-six Arches , the Passage over it is so spacious, that both Sides thereof are filled with Shops, where they fell every thing that is valuable in the Empire, or that is brought from foreign Rations ; for it lies near Port Emouy, which is a Place of very great Trade, and all Commodities pass continually up the River that washes the Walls of tchang tcheou : This Advantage makes the City exceeding populous and famous, and they, find in the Mountains about it the finest Cristal that can be seen, whereof the Chinese Artificers make Buttons, Seals, Figures of Animals, etc. The Inhabitants are very ingenious and industrious, having a good Capacity for Trading. There grow in its Territories great Numbers of Orange-Trees, which produce Oranges far larger than any that are in Europe, and have the Taste and Smell of Muscadine Grapes ; they preserve them with the Peel, and send 'em to all Parts of the Empire, and to foreign Countries. There are found in this City some Marks of the Christian Religion ; whether they be ancient or modern, is not known; this is certain, that p. Martini saw at a learned Man's House an old Parchment-Book, wherein the greatest Part of the Holy Scriptures was wrote in Gothick Characters ; he offered a Sum of Money for it, but the Person, tho' he knew nothing of the Christian Religion, would not part with it, because it was a Book that was preserved in his Family a long time, and which his Ancestors regarded as a rare and valuable Piece of Furniture.
THIS is a famous Sea-Port, call'd Emouy from the Name of the Island which forms it, for it is properly a Place for Ships to ride at Anchor, and one of the best Harbours in the World ; it is hemm'd in on one Side by the Island, on the other by the Continent, and by abundance of other Islands, which are very high, and shelter it from every Wind; it is so spacious withal, that it can contain many thousands of Vessels, and the Sea there is so deep, that the largest Ships may come up close to the Shore, and ride there in perfect safety : You fee there, at all times, a great Number of Chinese Barks, which are on their Voyage to the Countries bordering upon China : About twenty Years ago you might see there many European Vessels, but now they come thither but seldom, and all the Trade is removed to Canton. The Emperor keeps fix or seven thousand Men there in Garrison, under the Command of a Chinese General.
In entering into the Haven you double a Cape, or Rock, and this Rock divides the passage in two, almost as Mingant does the Port of Brest : The Rock is visible, and rises several Feet above water. Three Leagues from thence there stands a little Island, having a Hole through which you see from one side to the other ; undoubtedly for this reason it is call'd the bored Island.
THE Islands of Pong bou form a small Archipelago between the Port of Emouy and the Isle of Formosa, which is inhabited by a Chinese Garrison ; there is, however a learned Mandarin who resides there, to have an Eye upon merchandising Vessels, which go and come from China to Formosa, and from Formosa to China ; these Vessels are almost continually passing and repassing, from which a considerable Revenue arises to the State. As these Islands are nothing but Sand and Rocks, all the Necessaries of Life, and even Fuel, are brought thither either From Hia men or Formosa: There is neither Bush nor Bramble to be seen; one only wild Tree is all their Ornament. The Harbour is convenient, and sheltered from all sorts of Winds ; it has a sandy Bottom, and from twenty to five and twenty Fathom Water. When, the Hollanders were Masters of the Port of Formosa, they built a Fort at the Extremity of the large Island of Pong hou to defend the Entrance; there remains no more at present than the Name of Hong mao tchai, which signifies the Fort of the Redhair'd Men (so the Chinese call the Hollanders.) This Port, ,tho' in a wild and uninhabited Place, is absolutely necessary to Formosa, which has none of its own, where a Vessel that draws above eight foot Water can come.
I shall treat a little more largely of this Island, both because it was a long time unknown even to the Chinese, whose first Entering into it was the Reign of the last Emperor Cang hi, tho' it lies at no great Distance from them, and because the Government, Manners, and Customs of these Islanders, which are different from those of the Chinese, and the Course they took to get Possession of the Island, deserve an exact and copious relation.
The whole Isle of Formosa is not under the Dominion of the Chinese; it is divided by a Chain of Mountains into two Parts, East and West: That Part only which lies on the West of these Mountains belongs to China, and is included between 22°. 8'. and 25°. 20'. of Northern Latitude. The Inhabitants of the Eastern Part, if we believe the Chinese, are Barbarians: The Country is mountainous, and uncultivated. The Character they give of them, differs little from what is reported of the Savages of America: They describe them as more civilized than the Iroquis, and more chaste than the Indians, of a sweet and gentle disposition, loving, and mutually assisting one another, disinterested, making no account of Gold and Silver, of which 'tis said they have several Mines; but excessively revengeful, having no Laws nor Civil Government, living upon the Flesh of Beasts and Fish, without any Tokens of Worship or Religion. This is the Description which the Chinese have drawn of the People who possess the Eastern Part of Formosa: But as the Chinese are not to be thoroughly credited when they speak of Strangers, I will not warrant this Account to be true, more especially as there are no Dealings between the Chinese and these People, and they are in continual War with each other.
The Chinese knew there were Gold Mines in the Island before they conquered it, which they had no sooner done, but they search'd every where for these Mines : As they found 'em not in the Western Part, whereof they were Masters, they were resolved to seek for them in the Eastern Part of the Isle, where they were assured they might find 'em ; accordingly they fitted out a small Vessel in order to go thither by Sea, not caring to expose themselves in the Mountains, where their Lives would have been in Danger. They were courteously received by the Islanders, who generously offered them Lodgings, Provisions, and all sorts of assistance. The Chinese continued there about eight Days ; but all their Endeavours to discover the Mines were to no purpose, whether it was the Fault of the Interpreter, who opened their Design to these People, or Policy and Fear of giving umbrage to a Nation who had Reason to dread the Chinese Government : However it was, they discover'd only some Ingots in the Cottages, which the poor People had little Value for, yet these were a dangerous Temptation to a Chinese.
Little pleased with the Success of their Voyage, and impatient at the Sight of those Ingots, they bethought themselves of a most barbarous Stratagem ; they fitted out their Vessel, and these innocent People furnished them with every thing necessary for their Return. They invited their Hosts to a grand Entertainment, as they said, to testify their Gratitude ; they made these poor People drunk, and while they were fast asleep, the Chinese cut their Throats, and sailed away. This cruel Action was not long unpunished; but the Innocent suffered for the Guilty : For as soon as the Report of this was spread in the Eastern Part of the Island, the Inhabitants took up Arms, and made an Irruption into the Northern Part which belonged to China, and flew without Mercy all that opposed them, Men, Women and Children, and set Fire to their Dwellings : Since that Time the two Part, of the Island have been continually at War.
That Part of the Island Formosa, possess'd by the Chinese; certainly deserves the Name they gave it : It is a most pleasant Country, the Air is wholesome and every where serene, it yields all sorts of Grain, and is water'd by several small Rivers, that descend from the Mountains which separate it from the Eastern Part ; the Soil brings forth plenty of Corn, Rice, &c. there is reason to believe that the Ground would also produce our European Fruit-Trees, if they were planted there. You see there Peaches, Apricots, Figs, Grapes, Chestnuts, Pomegranates ; there grows a Sort of Melons, which they call Water-Melons ; these are much larger than those in Europe, oblong, and sometimes round ; the Pulp is white or red, and they are full of sweet Juice, which is very agreeable to the Taste of the Chinese. The Tobacco and Sugar that come from thence are perfectly good ; all the Trees are so beautifully ranged, that when the Rice is planted, as usual, in a Line and chequer-wise, all this large Plain of the Southern Part resembles a vast Garden, which industrious Hands have taken Pains to cultivate.
As the Country was not inhabited till of late Years, but by a savage People, and under no Government, Horses, Sheep and Goats are very rarely seen there ; even Hogs, which are so common in China, are dear there ; but they have great Numbers of Hens, Ducks, and Geese, and likewise abundance of Oxen, which, for want of Horses, Mules and Asses, serve for common Riding ; these are Disciplined betimes, and they go as good a pace and as swift as the best Horses ; they have Bridles, Saddles, and Cruppers, which are often times of great Value. You see there a great many Stags and Apes, but few Deer ; and if there are any Bears, wild Boars, Wolves, Tigers, and Leopards, as in China, they are in the Mountains of the Eastern Part ; you see none of them in the West. There are out few Birds ; the most common are Pheasants, which the Fowlers will scarce suffer to multiply. If the Water of the Rivers, was as good to drinks as if is to make the Land fruitful, there would be nothing wanting in this Island.
The Chinese divide the Lands which they possess in the Isle of Formosa into three Hien, or subordinate Governments, which depend upon the Capital of this Isle. Each of these Governments have their particular Magistrates, who are immediately subject to the Governor of this Capital, and all to the Viceroy of the Province of Fo Kien, whereof Tai ouan, or Formosa, makes a Part. The Capital, which is called Tai ouan fou, is very populous, and a Place of great Resort and Commerce ; it is equal to most of the best and most populous Cities of China. You find there every thing that can be desired, either what the Island itself furnishes, as Rice, Sugar, Sugar-Candy, Tobacco, Salt, hunted Venison, which the Chiniese much admire. Fruits of every kind, Cloaths of various Sorts, Wool, Cotton, Hemp, the Bark of certain Trees, certain Plants which much resemble Nettle, great quantity of Medicinal Herbs, many of which are not known in Europe ; or what is imported thither, as China and India Cloaths, Silks, Varnish, China Ware, the several Manufactures of Europe , &c. There are but few Mulberry-Trees in this Island, and consequently there is but little Silk made in the Country, If the Chinese had Liberty to go into Formosa and settle there, many Families would gladly do it : But before they can go thither, they must have Passport from the Mandarins of China, which are obtained with Difficulty, and they must give Security besides. When they arrive in the Island, the Mandarins there are very diligent in examining those who come in, or go out, and some of them exact Money underhand. This Excess of Caution is the Effect of good Policy, to hinder all Sorts of Persons from passing over to Formosa, especially when the Tartars were Masters of China. Formosa is a Place of great Importance, and if a Chinese should seize it, he might excite great Troubles in the Empire, therefore the Emperor keeps there 1000 Men in Garrison, commanded by a Tsong Ping, or Lieutenant-General, two Major-Generals, and several inferior Officers, whom he takes care to change every three Years, or oftener if there be Occasion.
The Streets of the Capital are almost all drawn in a Line, and all covered seven or eight Months in the Year, to defend them from the Heat of the Sun. They are from thirty to forty Foot in breadth,. but some of them are almost a League in length. They are almost all lin'd with Shops of Silk, China Ware, and other Commodities in admirable Order, in Which the Chinese excel. 'Twere a Pleasure to walk in these Sheets, if they were better paved, and less crowded by Passengers : The Houses are all covered With Straw, and built for the most part with Clay and Bamboo ; but that Disagreeableness is out of Sight, by reason of the Tents that cover the Streets, so that you can see nothing but th Shops. Tai ouan fou has neither Fortifications nor Walls : The Tartars do not entrench their Forces, nor confine their Courage within a Rampart, but love to fight on Horseback in the open Field. The Harbour is sheltered from every Wind, but the Entrance into it becomes more difficult every Day : Formerly there were two Ways to enter into it, one called Ta kiang, where the greatest Vessels floated with ease, and the other Loulb men, the Bottom of which is Rocky, and not above nine or ten Foot deep at high Water. The First is now unpassable ; in some Places there are no more than five Foot Water, and no where above seven or eight ; the Sand which the Sea drives thither, fills it up every Day : By this Ta kiang the Dutch Vessels formerly entred into the Harbour, and in order to prevent the coming, in of strange Ships, they erected a Citadel on the Extremity of the Island, to the South of Ta kiang, which would have been much admired, if it were not built upon the Sand ; but however it was very necessary for their Defence against their most formidable Enemies, the Chinese and the Japanese. That Part of Formosa, which is subject to the Chinese, is composed of two different Nations, the Chinese and the Natives , the former for Lucre's sake came thither from several Provinces of China. T'ai ouan fou, Fong chan hien, and Tchu lo hien are inhabited only by Chinese , for the three Hien or Governments I mentioned before are all in the District of the Capital : The Natives serve as Domesticks, or rather as Slaves. Besides these three Cities, the Chinese have many Villages, but not one considerable Fort except Ngan ping tcinng : This Fort stands at the Foot of the castle of Zeland, for that is the Name which the Hollanders gave the City I spake of. There are at Ngan ping tching four or five hundred Families, and a Garrison of 2000 Men, commanded by a Major-General. The Government and Manners of the Chinese at Formosa differ nothing from those of China, so that I shall only observe what is the Genius of the Natives of the Island, and the Nature of their Government. The People of Formosa, who are subject to the Chinese, are divided into forty five Towns, or Plantations, which they call Tche, thirty fir in the North, and nine in me Southern Part. The Towns of the North are very populous, and the Houses little different from those of the Chinese. Those of the South are only a heap of Cottages made of Clay and Bamboo, covered with Straw, railed upon a kind of Terrafs three or four Foot high, built in the Form of a Funnel inverted, and from fifteen, twenty, thirty, to forty Foot in Diameter ; some are separated by Partition-walls. They have in these Huts neither Chairs, Bench, Table, Bed, nor, any Moveable; in the middle is a fort of Chimney, or Stove, raised two or three Foot or more from the Ground, where they dress their Victuals. Their common Food is Rice, small Corn, and any Game they can take, which they do either by running or with Arms. Their Swiftness is surprising, they will outrun Horses that go full speed, which proceeds, as the Chinese say, from their Custom of binding their Loins and Knees tight and hard, till they are fourteen or fifteen Years old. For their Arms they use a kind of Dart or Javelin, which they hurl the distance of seventy or eighty Paces with the utmost Exactness ; and tho' their Bows and Arrows are Very , ordinary, yet they can kill a Pheasant flying as fare as they do in Europe with a Gun. They are very slovenly in their Meals, using neither Dishes, Plates, Spoons, Knives nor Forks : They place what is provided upon a piece of Board or Matt, and use their Fingers to eat with, as the Apes do. They eat Flesh half raw, and the less it is roasted the more agreeable it is to them. Their Beds are the fresh Leaves of a certain Tree very common in the Country, which they gather and spread upon she Ground, or on a Board in their Cottages, and there lie down to sleep. Their Habit is only a piece of Cloth, which they wear from the Waist down to the Knees. Pride, so rooted in the Heart of Man, finds a Way to indulge it self even in Nakedness ; it puts these People to more Expence and Trouble, than those who are more civilized, and addicted to Luxury and Magnificence. Some borrow the Hair of Beasts, and the Silk of Worms, which they imbroider with Gold and Silver ; some are content with their own Skin, in which they imprint many odd Figures of Trees, Beads, Flowers, &c. The Operation is so excessively painful, that it; would certainly kill 'em, if it were done all at once ; they are imploy'd in it many Months, some a whole Year. Every Day during the (Operation they must put themselves to some Torture, and all this to satisfy the Desire they have of distinguishing themselves from the Multitude, for it is not permitted indifferently to all sorts of Persons to wear these Marks of Distinction. This Privilege granted only to these who, in the Judgment of the most considerable Men of the Town, have excelled others in running or Hunting: But all are allowed to blacken their Teeth, wear Earing, Bracelets , above the Elbows and Wrists, Collars, and crowns made up of small party-coloured Beads, disposed in several Ranges ; the Crown terminates in a Plume of Feathers, either of Cocks or Pheasants, which they carefully join together. Let us imagine these fantastical Ornaments upon a Man of a fine slender Shape, olive Complexion, with his Hair hanging negligently upon his Shoulders, armed with a Bow and Arrows, his Garment no more than a Piece of Cloth two or three Foot long, round about bis Body from the Waist to the Knee, and we have a true Portrait of a Beau of the South Part of the Isle of Formosa.
In the North Part, where the Climate is less warm, they clothe themselves with the Deer-Skins which they kill in Hunting, of which they make a Garment without Sleeves, not much unlike a Dalamatick. They wear a Cap in the Form of a Cylinder made of the Stalks of Banana Leaves, embellished with several Crowns placed one above another, and tyed tight together with Fillets and small party-coloured Strings. On the Top of the Cap is stuck a Plume of Feathers of Cocks or Pheasants, in the same Manner as is done in the South.
Their Marriages are agreeable enough , they don't purchase Wives as they do in China, nor have any mercenary Views on one side or the other ; perhaps the Parents may have some small Interest to consult. When a young Man is inclined to Matrimony, and has found a Lass whom he likes, he goes for several Days after with a Musical Instrument to her Door ; if she contents to have him, she goes out to meet him, they agree together upon Terms, and last of all acquaint their Parents with their Intentions. The Wedding Entertainment is prepared at the House of the young Woman, where the young Man abides afterwards, and returns no more to his Father. From that time the young Man looks upon the House of his Father-in-law as his own, and he is the Support of it ; as for his own Father's House, he regards it no more than the Women in Europe do, who quit their Fathers House to go and live with their Husbands. Therefore here they think it no Happiness to have Male Children, they desire only Daughters, who procure them Sons-in-law, that will be helpful to them in their Old Age.
Tho' these Islanders are entirely subject to the Chinese, yet they preserve some Remains of their ancient Government. Every Town makes choice of three or four of the oldest Men, the most distinguished for Probity, who by this Choice become the Heads and judges of the rest of the Town : These finally determine all Differences ; and if any one refuses to abide by their Judgment, he is instantly turned out of the Town, without Hopes of ever returning thither, and no other Town dares to receive him.
They pay their Tribute to the Chinese in Corn, in Tails pr Skins of Deer, or in other things of this Nature that are easily found in the Island. To regulate what concerns the Tribute, there is appointed in every Town a Chinese, who understands the Language, to serve as an Interpreter to the Mandarins. These Interpreters, who ought to procure the ease of the poor People, and hinder them from being oppressed, are so many petty Tyrants, who exercise the Patience not only of the Islanders, but of the Mandarins also, who are forced to continue them in their Employs to avoid greater Inconveniences. Of the twelve Towns which were subject to the Chinese in the Southern Part, there remain but nine ; three have revolted, and drove away their Interpreters, paying no more Tribute to China, but have united themselves with the East Part of the Isle. Under the reigning Emperor many of the Towns have submitted, and 'tis hoped that by degrees others will follow their Example. tho' these People pass in the Account of the Chinese for Barbarians, they seem to approach nearer to true Wisdom than many Philosophers of China. By the Confession of the Chinese themselves, there is amongst 'em no Cheating, Thieving, Quarreling or Law-suits, except against their Interpreters ; they are just and affectionate one to another : If any thing is given to one of them, he dares not touch it, till they who have shared with him in the Labour and Toil partake also of the Reward.
It appears that there were Christians among these Islanders, when the Hollanders were Matters of the Port, There are many who understand the Dutch Language, who can read their Books, and who in Writing use their Letters, and many Fragments of pious Dutch Books are found amongst them.
These People adore no Idols, but abominate every thing that has any Relation to them, and yet perform no Act of Religion, nor recite any Prayers. Nevertheless there are some amongst them who acknowledge one God, the Creator of Heaven and Earth, one God in three Persons, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost ; and who say that the first Man was called Adam, and the first Woman Eve, that for disobeying God they drew his Anger upon themselves, and all their descendants ; that it is necessary to have recourse to Baptism for to wash off this Stain. They know even the Form of Baptism, yet it is not certain whether they baptize or no.
Tho' Formosa is not far from China, yet the Chinese according to their History, had no knowledge of it, till the Time of the Emperor Suen ti, of the Dynasty of Ming, about the Year of our Lord 1430, when the Eunuch Ouan san pao, in returning from the West was cast by a Storm upon that Island.
This Eunuch finding himself in a strange Land, where the People seemed as barbarous as the Country was beautiful, stay'd there a considerable time, that he might get some Intelligence whereof he might inform his Master : But the Effect of all his Enquiry was that he brought from thence some Plants and Medicinal Herbs, which are still used in China with Success.
In the forty second Year of the Emperor Kia tsing, and in the Year of Christ 1564, Yu ta yeou, a Commander of a Squadron of Ships, cruising, along the Eastern Sea of China, met with a Pirate named Lin tao kien, who had made himself Master of the Isles of Pong hou, where he left Part of his Men ; he was a cruel and ambitious Man, thirsting after Glory ; and to render himself famous, he no sooner perceived Yu ta yeou but he came upon him with full Sail, attacked him briskly, and had infallibly beaten the Chinese Squadron, if the Commander thereof had been a Person of less Skill and Bravery. Yu ta yeou received the first Fire with unconcern, after which he attacked in his Turn Lin tao kien ; the Engagement lasted five Hours, and the Night put an end to it, when Lin tao kien made off towards the Islands of Pong bou, in order to refresh his Men, to take the Soldiers he had left on Board, and to return towards the Enemy : But Yu ta yeou, an experienced Captain, pursued him so closely, that Lin tao kien found by Break of Day the Entrance into the Port of Pong hou blocked up by the Enemy's Ships : His Forces being much diminished in the Engagement, and Terror having seized the rest, he judged it dangerous to attempt to enter the Harbour ; he then resolved to continue his Course, and to go and water at Formosa.
Yu ta yeou pursued him thither, but meeting with Shoals, and having no knowledge of the Entrance of the Harbour, he was unwilling to expose his Ships, and retired to the Isles of Pong hou, of which he made himself Master, and taking the Soldiers Prisoners that were left, placed a good Garrison there, returning victorious to China, where he gave an Account of his discoveries and his Expedition. The Court received the News with Joy, and nominated a Mandarin of Learning for Governor of the Islands of Pong hou. Formosa, says the Chinese Historian, was then an uncultivated Place, and inhabited only by Barbarians, Lin too kien, who had grand Designs, did not think this Island, in the Condition it was in, convenient for him , therefore he massacred all the Inhabitants that fell into his Hands, add with unparallel'd Barbarity smeared his Vessels with the Blood of these unfortunate People, and presently setting sail, he retired to the Province of Quang tong, where he died miserably.
At the End of the Year of 1620, which was the first of the Emperor Tien ki , Japanese Squadron Ships came upon the Coast of Formosa : The Commander finding the Country, tho' uncultivated, a proper place to settle a Colony, took a Resolution to seize upon it, and to that End left there a Party of his Men, with Orders to get Information necessary to the Execution of his Design.
About the same Time a Dutch Vessel, in her Voyage from Japan, or in her Return thither, was forced by a Storm into Formosa, where they found the Japanese in no condition of opposing them: The Country appearing beautiful to the Hollanders; and advantageous for their Commerce, they pretended Want of Refreshment, and Things necessary for refitting their Vessel, which was damaged by the Storm: Some of them made an Excursion into the Country, and having examined it, returned on Board. The Hollanders did not work at their Vessel during the Absence of their Companions, and it was not till after their Return that they thought of refitting her. They beseeched the Japanese, with whom they had no mind to be at Variance, for fear of hurting their Commerce, to permit them to build an Habitation upon the Brink of the Island, at one of the Entrances into the Harbour, which might be serviceable to them with Respect to their Commerce to Japan ; the Japanese at first rejected the Proposal, but the Hollanders pressed the Matter so that the Japanese at last consented, when they assured them they required no more Ground than what could be incompassed with an Ox's Hide.
The Hollanders then took an Ox's Hide and cut it into small Thongs, Which they tied end to end, and therewith measured the Ground they desired: The Japanese were at first a little vexed at this Trick, but after some Reflection, they laughed at it, and were pacified, and suffered the Hollanders to do as they pleased with the Piece of Ground. Upon this Spot they built the Fort I mentioned ; over the Gate are still seen these Words, The castle of Zeland, 1634.
By building this Fort the Hollander had the Command of the Harbour, and the only passage where giant Vessels could come in : Perhaps the Japanese perceived too late the Importance of it; but however it was, whether they took Disgust at the new Fort, or did not find then Account in this Island, a little while after they quitted it entirely, and returned home.
By this mean the Hollanders became sole Matters of Formosa, for the Inhabitants were in no condition to oppose them. The Setter to secure the Harbour, they built on the other Side, over against the Fort of Zeland, a Fortification consisting of four Half-bastions.
At this Time China was ill in a Flame, imbroiled with a Civil War, which was the Desolation of many beautiful Provinces, and sustaining at the same Time a War against the Tartar , who at last seized upon the Empire, and founded the present reigning Dynasty, One of those who shewed most Valour and Courage in opposing the Tartars, was Tching tchi long of the Province of Fo kien, a Man raised by Fortune from a small Beginning to be the richest Merchant of China. Tching tchi long fitted out, at his own Expence a small Fleet against the Tartars , he was presently followed by a vast Number of Chinese Ships, and thereby became the Commander of as formidable a Fleet as was ever seen in these Seas. The Tartar offered him the Dignity of King, upon condition he would pay him Homage, which he refused, but did not long enjoy his good Fortune.
His Son Tching tching cong succeeded him in the Command of this numerous Fleet ; more zealous still for his Country and Fortune than his Father , he made several Attempts, besieged many considerable Cities, as Hai tching in the Province of Fo kien, which he took after having cut in pieces the Tartarian Army that came to its Relief, Ouen tcheou in the Province of Tche kiang, Nan king in the Province of Kiang nan, &c.
This first Success lasted not long, for he was at length overcome by the Tartars ; and drove out of China : Then he turned his Views and Ambition towards Formosa, resolving to drive the Hollanders out of the same, and erect a new Kingdom there. It was the 17th Year of the Emperor Chun chi the Father of Cang hi, and 1661 of our Lord, when Tching tching cong quited China in order to retire to Formosa : In his Passage he took the Islands of Pong hou. The Hollanders believing they had nothing to fear from China, which was still embroiled, took no Care to fortify Pong hou and Tai ouan : Therefore Tching tching cong soon mastered these Islands, and left there 100 Ships to guard them, and continued his Course towards Formosa, There were no more than eleven Hollanders left to defend the Fort and Harbour of Formosa , the rest of the Garrison was made up partly of India Blacks, and partly of the Inhabitants of the Country : Notwithstanding this Inequality of Forces, the Hollanders resolved to defend themselves, which they did with Courage and Bravery. Tching tching cong entered the Harbour with his Fleet composed of 900 Sail, by the Channel of Loulb men, a League above the Fort of Zeland , he landed Part of his Men with a Design to attack the Fort by Sea and Land: The Siege lasted four Months, in which Time the Hollanders defended themselves with their Cannon, with more Success than they could hope for. Tching tching cong was inraged to see such Opposition and Courage in a Handful of Europeans against an Army so numerous as his. As the Chinese had not the Use of Cannon, they could not Answer the Hollanders ; so they had no Hope of reducing them but by Famine, which would require a long Time, during which they might be relieved by their Ships coming from Batavia, or those that traffick to Japan.
Tching tching cong was sensible of the Difficulty of his Enterprize ; but he saw himself shut out of China, without Hopes of ever returning thither under the Tartars, against whom he had waged War ; he knew besides that if Formosa was not open to him, he had no further Remedy left : For these Reasons he resolved to use his utmost Efforts against the Hollanders. These had actually four Ships in the Harbour, and they had put on Board each of them one of their own Men, together with Indians to guard it , the other seven Hollanders remained in the Cittadel or Fort of Zeland. .
The Chinese Captain being determined to make a Sacrifice of some few of his Vessels, turned them into Fireships, which having the Advantage of a high Wind from the North-East, drove upon the Vessels of the Hollander ; and burnt three of them out of four. When he had thus succeeded in his Wishes, he summoned the Hollanders to surrender, declaring that he would give them Leave to depart with all their Effects, but if they refused would give them no Quarter.
The Hollanders having no more than one Ship left for their Assistance, willingly accepted the offer : They loaded their Vessel which all their Effects , delivered the Place into the Hands of the Chinese, and departed.
Tching tching cong, having now none to oppose his Designs, distributed a certain Number of his Troops in that Part of Formosa, which is at this time in the Possession of the Chinese, and placed a Garrison at Ki long tchas, a forsaken Fortress which the Spaniard formerly built. He erected a Fortress at tan choui tching, upon the Mouth of the River Tan choui, where the Chinese Vessels might lie at Anchor, and pitched upon those Places where Tchu lo yen and Fong chan hien now stand, for the Building of two Towns, which he called Tien bing hien, and Ouan nien hien : He appointed the Capital of these new erected States at a Place now called tat ouan fou, and gave to this City the Name of Ching tien fou : His Palace and Court he fettled in the Fort of Zeland. and gave it the Name, which it still preserves, of Ngan ping fou. It was then that Formosa began to receive a new Form, for he established there the same Laws, the same Customs and Government as in China: He enjoyed his new Conquest but a short Time, for he died within a Year and some Months after he took Possession of this Island. His Son Tching king mai succeeded him : As he was a Person addicted to Books, he took little Care of cultivating the Country, which his Father had procured for him with so much Toil and Labour: This abated the Courage and Zeal of the Troops for his Service.
In the twelfth Year of the Reign of Cang hi, and in 1673 of the Christian Area, the Kings of Quang Dong Fo kien revolted from the Emperor. Tching King Mai, desirous to reanimate the Ardour of his Soldiers, took a Resolution to join the King of Fo kien against the Tartar : He fitted out his Fleet, and went in order to have an Interview with him upon the Coasts of his Province. Because he would be treated like a Sovereign Prince, and the King of Fo kien would have the Precedency of him, he was so provoked that he declared War against him upon the Spot.
They fought with Resolution and Courage on both Sides ; but the Forces of Tching king mai being composed of Veteran Soldiers, so many Engagements were so many Victories. The King of Fo kien at last found himself obliged to undergo the Tonsure once more, add to surrender himself to the Discretion and Clemency of the Tartars, Tching king mai returned to Formosa, where he died soon after, leaving his Son Tching ke san, who was very young, for his Successor, under the Care of Lieou koue can, and Fong si fan, two Officers well attached to him.
The Revolt of Fo kien terminating in the Advantage of the Tartars, they abolished the Title of King, and in the Year 1682 appointed for Governor of this and the Province of Tche kiang, a tsong tou, which is a Dignity something above that of Viceroy.
The first they nominated was Tsong tou yao ; a Man of great Capacity, civil and engaging. He no sooner entered upon his Charge, but he published a General Amnesty, which reached even Formosa, for all those who would submit to the Tartarian Government, promising to procure them the same Employments, and the same Honours and Privileges they enjoyed under their own Governors.
This Declaration had the Effect which Tsong tou yao desired , the greatest part of those who had followed Tching tching cong, having abandoned their Native Country, Wives and Children, and living in a strange Land, uncultivated, and almost uninhabited, and despairing of drawing any considerable Advantage from it, were transported to find a favourable Opportunity of returning to their Families ; some did not deliberate at all, but immediately forsook Tiching ke fan to go to Fo kien.
Tsong tou yao received them with much Civility, and conferred great Favours upon them, insomuch that they were followed presently after by many others.
Tsong tou yao believed then there was a favourable Conjuncture to seize upon Formosa, and immediately sent away a considerable Fleet under the Command of a Titou, or Lieutenant-General, to reduce the Islands of Pong hou. The Titou found more Resistance than he expected ; the Soldiers with the help of the Hollanders Cannon made a vigorous Defence, but they were at last forced to yield to Numbers. The Isle of Pong hou being taken, the young Prince's Council judged it impossible, considering the Temper of his Troops, to preserve Formosa , and without waiting for the Arrival of the Titou, to attack 'em in Form, they dispatched away a Packet-boat, to carry a Petition to the Emperor in the Name of the young Prince, by which he submitted to his Majesty. Here follows the Petition, as it was translated from the Chinese.
Tching ke fan. King of Yen ping. Chief Commander of the Army, presents this Petition to the Emperor.
“ WHEN I prostrate myself at your Majesty's Feet, and reflect on the Grandeur of China, that its Reputation has always been maintain'd with Honour, that it has boasted of a very numerous Succession of Kings, I cannot but acknowledge that it is the special Providence of Tien which made choice of your illustrious House to govern the nine Earths [Note: That is to say, all the habitable World, the Chinese divide the Earth into nine Sorts ; i. Mountainous good Earths 2 Stony mountains, 3. Hills 4. Black and dry Earth. 5. Moist Earth. 6. Sandy Earth 7. Rich Earth, 8. Yellow Earth. 9 Red Earth.]. Tien had not brought about this Revolution, but for the Perfection and Improvement of the f Five VirtuesCharity, Justice, Decency, Prudence, and Fidelity , as appears plainly by the good Management and happy Success of all your Majesty's Undertakings. As for my Ancestors, they bore true Allegiance to their Sovereigns, and in this they endeavoured to testify their Gratitude for the Favours they received from the preceding Dynasty, at a Time when my Family had received none from your glorious Dynasty, This Attachment to his Prince obliged my Grandfather Tching tching cong to forsake China, to seek for Shelter in the uncultivated Lands of the East. My Father Tching king mai was a studious Man, not caring to expose himself to Dangers ; like the Kings of Ye lang, he wholly employed himself in governing and instructing his People ; contented with this Spot of Land in the midst of the Sea, he had no further Views. Hitherto I have enjoyed Advantages derived from my Ancestors, and testify my Gratitude continually, by calling to mind the Favours which they received from Heaven, without a Thought of aggrandising my self upon Earth. At present I behold your Majesty resembling the Heavens, which cover all things by their Expansion and Height, and also the Earth which by its Firmness sustains them, always inclinable to shew Mercy, and to stop the Effect of too rigorous a Justice ; which Clemency is the Foundation upon which your Government stands. Your Majesty is become like the rising Sun, which no sooner appears in the Horizon, but its Light is diffused in an instant over the whole Earth, and dissipates in a Moment the flight Mists which obscure the Surface thereof; how then dare I think but of applying myself to my Perfection, as the only Expedient of making my Life easy for the future. If I had thought of failing Westward of China, I confess I had been to blame ; for, alas ! how few remain of my Family which came to Formosa! They are become like early Dew, which vanishes at the Appearance of the Sun. How then durst I undertake any thing against your Majesty? I sincerely affirm that my Heart submits entirely to your Majesty, and my future Behaviour will make it evident, I am sensible now that I have been engaged in a bad cause, and for the future I will venture to walk freely in the Paths of Charity, after the Example of Ki Ling. I ardently wish to foe a perfect Harmony between Heaven and Earth : The poor People of this Isle desire no more than to live in a frugal Manner, they are Strangers to Gluttony and Drunkenness. If they are treated with Humanity , they will be more inclinable to Submission. It is the Natures of Fish to love the deepest Waters ; they can enjoy a long Life in the midst of the Waves of the Sea . Thus have I laid open to your Majesty in this Petition the true Sentiments of my Heart, and if not in the sincerest Manner, may I never enjoy the comfortable Light of the Sun ! ”
The Emperor, in Answer to this Petition, ordered Tching ke fan to leave Formosa, and come to Peking, Tching ke fan, who was afraid to go to Peking, signified to the Emperor in a second Petition, which he sent by some of his principal Officers, that being born in the Southern Countries, and of a weakly Constitution, he dreaded the cold Climate of the North, therefore he beseeched his Majesty to give him leave to retire into the Province at Fo kien, from whence his Ancestors came. This last Petition had no Effect; so that the unfortunate Prince, seeing himself almost abandoned, was constrained to deliver Formosa into the Hands of the Tartars, and to go to Peking, where upon his arrival at Court he was invested with the Quality of Count, in the twenty second Year of Cang hi, and 1683 of the Christian Ara.