The Second Province of China, Kiang Nan

THIS Province is one of the most fruitful, the most trading, and of course one of the richest Provinces in the Empire ; it is bounded on the West by the Provinces of Ho nan and Hou quang, on the South by the Provinces of Tche Kiang and Kiang si, on the East by the Gulph of Nan king ; the rest borders up; on the Province of Chan tong.
Here the ancient Emperors always kept their Court, till they were obliged for Reasons of State to remove nearer Tartary , and chuse Peking for the Place of their residence. It is of vast Extent, and contains fourteen Cities of the First Order, and ninety three of the Second and Third Order : These Cities are very populous, and of the greatest Note in the Empire, especially for Commerce ; it is the Rendezvous of all , the great Barks, for the Country is full of Lakes, Rivers and Canals, either natural or the Effect of Labour, which communicate with the great River Yang tse kiang that crosses the Province; here are few Mountains, but towards the South.
The Silks, the Japan’d Goods, the Ink, the Paper, and in general every thing that comes, as well from Nan king as from the other Cities of the Province, which carry on a surprising Commerce, is much more esteem’d, and bears a greater Price than , what is brought from the other Provinces. In the single City of Chan hai, and the Towns belonging to it, there are reckoned above 200,000 Weavers of plain Cottons and Muslins : There are many Salt-works along the Sea Coast, and the Salt they produce is distributed almost thro’ the whole Empire ; here is also found a great Quantity of Marble. In short, this Province is so plentiful and rich, that it pays the Emperor annually about 32,000,000 of Taels, without reckoning the Dues of Imports and Exports, for the Receipt whereof several Officers are establish’d.
The Inhabitants of this Province are very polite, they have fine Sense, and an extraordinary Disposition to learn the Sciences ; and indeed it sends out a great Number of Doctors, who obtain by their Merit the Employments and Dignities of the Empire.
The Province is divided into two Governments ; the Eastern, whose Governor resides at Sou tcheou fou, and the Western, whose Governor has his Residence at Ngan king fou : Each Government includes seven fou, or Cities of the First Order.

The First City, Capital of the Province, Kiang ning fou or Nan king.

IF we may believe the old Chinese, this was the finest City in the World ; when they Speak of its Extent, they say, that if two Horsemen were to go out in the Morning at the same Gate, and were to gallop round a different Way, they would not meet before Night; it is without doubt the largest City of China ; the Walls of it are fifty seven Lys about, as they were measur’d upon taking the Plan, which amounts nearly to five great Leagues and a half, and 466 Fathom.
It is about a League distant from the great River Yang tse kiang, and Barks may enter the Town by several Canals which come from the River : On these Canals are seen a vast Number of Imperial Barks, which are almost as big as our midling Vessels.
The Plan of Nan king is irregular ; the Mountains which are in the City, and the Nature of the Ground, would not admit any other Disposition without great Inconveniences : It was formerly the Imperial City, for which reason it’s called Nan king, which signifies, The Court of the South, as Peking doses, The Court of the North: But since the six great Tribunals, which at that Time were equally kept in these two titles, are all united at Peking, the Emperor has nam’d it Kiang ning : It is still mention’d in Conversation by its former Name, but this would never be permitted in the public Acts,
This City is greatly fallen from its ancient Splendor ; it Had formerly a magnificent Palace, of which there are not the least Remains, an Observatory which is now forsaken and almost demolished ; here were also some Temples, some Sepulchres of the Emperor, and other stately Monuments, of which there remains only the melancholy Remembrance, The first Tartars, who made an Irruption into the Empire, demolished the Temples and the Imperial Palace, destroy’d the Sepulchres, and ravag’d almost all the other Monuments, to gratify their Avarice and their Hatred to the reigning Dynasty.
About a third Part of the City is quite desolate, the rest is well inhabited ! Some Parts carry on such a great Trade, and are so populous, that one Would scarcely believe there could be more Noise and Harry in any Place, which Would be more remarkable if the Streets were as wide as those of Peking, but they are not above half or one third part so broad ; yet, they are handsome, well paved, and bordered with neat Shops richly furnished.
In this City resides one of these great Mandarin, nam’d Tson, tou, to whom there lies an Appeal in all Important Affairs, not only from the Tribunals of the East and West provision, but also from the Provinces of Kiang si. The Tartars keep a great Garrison here, Under a General of their own Nation, and live in a Part of the City separated from the rest by a plain.
The Palaces of the Mandarins, whether Tartars or Chinese, are not more spacious nor better built than in the other Capital Cities: Here are no publick Buildings, which are Answerable to the Reputation of such a famous City, if we except the Gates which are very beautiful and some Temples dedicated to Idols, such as that which has the celebrated Tower of China Ware: It is 200 Foot high, divided into nine Stories, within side by plain Floors, and without by Cornishes, at the Rise of the Arches, which support little Roofs covered with Tiles varnish’d green; I have describ’d it in another Place. This Tower is without doubt the highest and the most beautiful in China, where these sort of Works call’d Ta are so common that in several Provinces there are some in all the Cities, and even in some large Towns.
This City is also famous for cultivating the Arts and Sciences, furnishing alone more Doctors and great Mandarins than many Cities together ; here are the greatest Number of Libraries, the Booksellers Shops are better flock’d with the best impressions, and the Paper sold here is reckon’d the best in the Empire.
Nothing can appear more natural, than the artificial Flowers that are made here of the Pith of a Shrub called Tong tsao, the making of these Flowers is a Trade of itself, this Art is so greatly spread in China within these few Years, that it is a considerable Branch of Trade.
The Satins of Nan king, either plain or flowered, are the best and most esteem’d at Peking, where those of Canton are sold much cheaper : There is also made here pretty good Woollen Cloth, called Nan king chen from the Name of the City ; what is made in other Places is not to be compared with this, that being almost like a sort of Felt without any West.
The Ink, called the Ink of Nan king, comes all from Hoei tcheou in the same Province, its District is full of great Villages peopled by Workmen who make it, or the Dealers that sell it ; these Sticks of Ink are often adorn’d with green, blew, or gilt Flowers : They make it in all Shapes, as, like Books, Bark of Bamboo, Lions, &c.
Nan king was formerly a very fine Port, by reason of the Breadth and Depth of the River Yang tsi kiang : The famous Corsair, who besieg’d it during the last Troubles, came up to it with ease ; but at present great Barks, or rather the Chinese Jonks, do not enter it, either because the Mouth of it is stopt up, or because the Chinese out of Policy do not make use of it, that by degrees it may be intirely unknown.
In the Months of April and May there is a great plenty of excellent Fish taken in the River near the City, some of which are sent to the Court during the whole Season ; they are kept fresh by being covered with Ice 5 there are Barks wholly employ’d for this Purpose, altho’ it is above 200 great Leagues from hence to Peking , these Barks make such Dispatch, that they get there in eight or ten Days, they keep moving Night and Day, and have Relays all the Way to draw them continually : While the Season of Fishing lasts, two Barks go off twice a Week loaded with these Fish;
Altho’ Nan king, the Capital of the whole Province, it has but eight Cities of the Third Order in its Jurisdiction.

The Second City, Capital of Y tong, the Eastern Part of the Province, Sou tcheou fou.

THIS is one of the most beautiful and most agreeable Cities of China ; the Europeans who have been, here compare it to Venice, with this Difference, that Venice is in the midst of the Sea, and Sou tcheou in fresh Water ; one may pass thro’ the Streets either by Land or Water, the Branches of the River and the Canal are almost every where deep enough to carry the largest Barks ; they may also go thro’ the City, and from thence to the Sea, which is at most but two Days passage: It trades, with all the Provinces of the Empire, and also with Japan, from which it is separated but by an Arm of the Sea, that is cross’d sometimes by little trading Vessels in two or three Days.
This Country enjoys the finest Situation and Climate in the World, there is none more populous or better cultivated, there not being an Inch of Land without Fruit, Wheat, or Rice : There is no Country better water’d with Rivers, Canals, and Lakes, upon all which there are a great Number of Barks of all Sorts and Sizes, painted or gilt ; some full of Persons of Distinction, who have neater Apartments here than in their Houses ; others loaded with rich Merchandise, many design’d for Parties of Pleasure. This Place may be called as well as Hang tcheou in the Province of Tche kiang, a City of Pleasure; nothing is wanting here to complete the Pleasures of Life ; therefore in the Chinese Books there is an old Proverb that says, Chang yeou tien tang, Hia yeou Sou hang, Paradise is above, but below is Sou tcheou and Hang tcheou : One may truly say that these two Cities are the Terrestrial Paradise of China.
This City, like Hang tcheou and some others of the Empire, may be reckoned three ; one within the Wall, which is above four Leagues round; another the Suburbs, which extends a great Way upon the Banks of the Canals ; and a third in the Barks, which are so many floating Houses, rang’d upon the Waters in several Rows for above a League ; many of these Barks are as big as our Third Rate Ships.
It is impossible to conceive, the Pleasure of seeing all these Things together, tho’ never so well described : This great City has but six Gates by Land, and six by Water ; Upon seeing the continual Motion of the innumerable Crowds of People, who come other to buy or fell, one would imagine that all the Provinces came to trade at Sou tcheou. The Works of Embroidery, and the Brocades that are made here, are esteemed all over the Empire, because they are beautifully wrought, and purchased at a moderate Price. The Viceroy of the Eastern Part of this Province resides here : Its particular Jurisdiction contains eight, Cities, one of the Second Order, and seven of the Third ; they are all fine Cities, and are a League and half, or two Leagues in Circuit.

The Third City, Song kiang fou.

THIS City is built in the Water, and the Vessels, or rather the Chinese Jonks, enter the Town on Sides, and from thence fall down to the Sea, which is not far off: The vast Quantities of Cotton and of fine Goods of all Sorts, with which it furnishes the Empire, as well as foreign Countries, render it famous and most frequented ; these Cotton Goods are so fine, that when they are dyed they are taken for the finest Serge.
There are but four Cities in this Jurisdiction, but yet it is very rich and fertile, for altho’ these Cities are of the Third Order, they are equal to the finest for Extent, and for the great Resort of Traders, who come hither from all Parts all the Year round, to carry on various Branches of Commerce : Such, for instance, is Chang hai hien, where Ships belong to Fo Kien are continually coming in, and going out to Trade at Japan.

The Fourth City, Tching tchcou fou.

THIS is a noted City, and of great Trade ; it is situated near the Canal by which the Barks go from Sow tcheou to the River Yang tse kiang ; it is adorn’d with several Triumphal Arches, and the Banks of the Canal that leads to it are cas’d with hewn Stone: It has five Cities of the Third Order under its Jurisdiction, but they are for the most part very handsome and populous : Voussie hien, for instance, is at least a League and half round, without taking in the Suburbs, which are half a League in Length : It is encompass’d with a great Ditch like a Canal ; its Walls are twenty five Foot high, and kept in good Repair, it has great Plenty of Water, which is very good, and especially for Tea, to which it gives an agreeable Flavour that it has not in any other Place.
There are earthen Vessels made in another City of the same District, which are thought to give also an admirable Smell to the Water that is used for Tea, an which Account these Vessels are preferred before the finest China of King te tching, this City carried on a great Trade in these Vessels.

The Fifth City, Tching kiang fou.

THIS IS not one of the largest Cities of the Province, for it is not above a League in Circumference, but it is one of the most considerable for its Situation and Commerce ; it is the Key of the Empire towards the Sea, and is also a Fortress, where there is always a strong Garrison ; the Walk are above thirty Foot High in several Places, and built with Brick of four or five Inches thick : The Streets of the City and suburbs are pav’d with Marble ; it is situated on the Banks of Ta kiang, which in this Place is half a League wide, and to the East of an artificial Canal, which has been brought quite to the River, Six hundred Paces from the Shore there is a Mountain in the River, nam’d Kin Chan, or the Golden Mountain, for it pleasant Situation : On the Top of it stands a Tower of several Stories. This Island is at least 500 paces round, and is bordered with Idol Temples and the Houses of the Bonzes.
On the other Side of the River, half a League from Tchin Kiang, stands Koua tcheou. Altho’ this Place is not call’d a City, and is only esteemed a Ma teou, or Place of Trade, it is as considerable as the largest Cities : The Suburbs of Thin kiang are 1000 Geometrical Paces in Length, and as populous as the City it self ; the Communication is preserv’d by Stone Bridges : There are such vast Crowds in the Streets, and chiefly on the Port, that it is difficult to pass along : Near the City some very pleasant Hills rise in View : This Jurisdiction is of small Extent, for it has only Authority over three Cities of the Third Order.

The Sixth City, Hoai ngan fou.

THIS City, which is situated in a marshy Soil, and enclosed with a triple Wall, is wealthy, tho’ not very populous ; it is in danger of being overflown by an extraordinary Rise of Water, for the City lies lower than the Canal, which is confin’d in many Places by Dikes of Earth ; but at two Leagues distance there is a Town in its Jurisdiction, named Tsing kiang fou, which is like the Port of the River Hoang ho, and is very large, populous, and full of Noise and Hurry. In this Place resides one of the great Mandarins call’d Tong bo, which signifies Surveyor-General of the Rivers, or Grand Matter of the Waters : This Mandarin has a great many Officers under him, who have each their District, and are station’d at convenient Places.
On the other Side of the Hoang ho there are some Cities upon the Canal, which the Mahometans have endeavour’d to improve, by bringing a Trade to them, but without Success : Their Mosques are very high, and built entirely different from the Chinese Taste: After such a long Series of Generations they are still look’d upon as People of a foreign Original, and are now and then insulted on this Account, but a few Years since at Hang keou in the Province of Hou quang, the Populace, being incensed by some rash Mabomitans, demolish’d the Mosque that was built there, tho’ the Magistrate endeavour’d to stop their Fury.
Marble is very common in the District of this City, whose Fields produce Rice and Wheat, and are watered, with Rivers and Lakes, which yield all Sorts of Fish ; Its Jurisdiction includes eleven Cities, two of the Second Order, and nine of the Third.

The Seventh City, Yang Tcheou.

THE Air of this City is mild and temperate, the Country pleasant and fruitful ; it is built on the Bank of the Royal Canal, which extends from the Ta kian, northwards to the River Hoang bo, or the Yellow River : It carries on a great Trade in all manner of Chinese Works, and is rendered extremely populous, chiefly by the Sale and Distribution of the Salt that is made on the Sea Coasts of this Jurisdiction and the Parts adjoining, and which is afterwards carried along small Canals made for this Purpose, which end in communication with the great Canal before mentioned.
On the rest of the Canal from hence to Peking, there is no Town that can be compared to this ; a great many rich Merchants transport this Salt into the Heart of the Empire, at a vast distance from the Sea : The City is divided into several Quarters by several Canals of fresh Water; there is such a Multitude of People in the Streets, and the Canals are so crowded with Barks, that there is but just Room enough to pass : Here is also a Tartar Garrison : Over against the East Side there stands a Bridge and a large Suburb ; the Crowd is always so great at this Place, that the Bridge proved too narrow for the passengers, so that it was found absolutely necessary to keep a large Ferry-Boat about thirty Paces distance, which is scarcely sufficient to carry all that come, tho’ this Water is but twenty Paces wide. Yang tcheou is two Leagues in Circuit, and is reckoned to contain 2,000,000 Souls ; it has but six Cities of the Third Order in its Jurisdiction. The Inhabitants are much inclined to Pleasure ; they educate with great Pains many young Girls, and learn them to sing, to play upon Instruments, to paint, and every thing that is requisite to complete a genteel Education, and then sell them at a dear Rate to great Lords, who make them their Concubines, that is to say, their second Wives.

The Eighth City, Capital of the Western Part of the Province‚ Ngan kiang fou.

THIS City is finely situated, it borders upon three Provinces, and tho’ but five Days Journey distant from the Capital, it has a particular Viceroy. This Mandarin keeps a great Garrison in a Fort that Commands the Lake Poyang, at the Entrance of the Province of Kiang si, and of the River Yang tse kiang : It is very considerable for its Trade and Riches, and is the Thoroughfare for all that comes to Nan king : All the Country of this District is very pleasant, open, and fruitful ; it contains six Cities of the Third Order.

The Ninth City, Hoei tcheou.

THIS is the most Southern City of this Province, and one of the richest in the Empire : The Air at this Place is healthful and temperate, altho’ it is surrounded with Mountains; its Jurisdiction comprehends only six Towns of the third order: Its Inhabitants are reckon’d very skillful in Traffick ; there is no Town of the least Commerce without some Merchants of Hoei tcheou, nor any Bank or Fund in which they are not some of the principal Persons concern’d.
The commonT People are frugal, and contented with a small Matter ; but they are bold and enterprizing in Commerce : There are some Mines of Gold, Silver, and Copper. in these Mountains, and it is said that the best Tea grows in this Country.
This City also makes the best Indian Ink in China, and with which the Dealers of Nan king furnishes them selves.
The Art of making Ink, as well as all the Arts which any way relate to the Sciences, is accounted honourable in China, where the Dignities of the Empire are only attained by Skill in the Sciences. The Japan’d Works which are made, at Hoei Tcheou, are prefer’d before all others, because they are most beautiful and better finished than in any other Places: Also upon its Confines, which join to District of Iao Tcheau, in the Province of Kiang si, there is found the Earth which is partly carried to King te Tching to make China-Ware.

The Tenth City, Ning koue fou.

THIS City stands upon a tolerable River, that runs into the great River Yang tse kiang: The Country about it is very uneven, being surrounded by Mountain, hut its Hills are very pleasant, and the Mountains cover’d with Woods produce excellent Physical Herbs. Here are many Manufactures of Paper, which they make of a sort of Reed ; it has six Cities of the Third Order under its Jurisdiction.

The Eleventh City, Tchi tcheou fou.

ON this City depend six others of the Third Order ; it is situated on the Banks of die Great River Yang tse Kiang, and tho’ environ’d with Mountains the Soil is nevertheless fruitful, and produces plentifully the Necessaries of Life ; if it should happen to want any thing, it might be supply’d by the Kiang, which bears continually the Riches of several Provinces.

The Twelfth City, Tai ping fou.

THIS City is very opulent, and well situated for Trade, standing upon the great River Kiang, where it receives three Arms of other Rivers, which make it look like an Island ; its Territory is also water’d by two Lakes, and contains only three Cities, of which Vou hou hien is the richest.

The Thirteenth City, Fong yang fou.

THIS City is situated on a Mountain not far from the Yellow River, and encloses within its Walls several Hills: This District is very extensive, for it contains eighteen Cities, five of the Second, and thirteen of the Third Order, besides a great Number of Ma teou, or Places of Commerce, settled upon the Rivers for the Convenience of Trade, and of collecting the Emperor’s Duties, This Extent is eighty Leagues wide from East to West, and about sixty Leagues in Length from North to South, which is greater than the largest Province of Europe : As this was the Birth Place of Hong Vou, first Emperor of the preceding Dynasty, he had a Design to render it famous by building a stately City here for the Capital of the Empire, which he undertook in the Year 1367. After he had driven out the western Tartars, who had rul’d China during eighty seven Years, he fix’d his Court at this Place, and call’d it Fong Yang, which signifies. The Brightness of the Eagle. He intended to make it the greatest and most celebrated of the Empire, but the Roughness of the Ground, the Scarcity of sweet Water, and the Neighbourhood of his Father’s Monument, made him alter his Resolution: By the unanimous Advice of bis principal Officers he removed the Court to Nan king, which is much more beautiful and convenient, and is but thirty two Leagues distant from Fong yang.
As soon as this was resolv’d upon, the Works which were begun immediately ceased : The Imperial Palace, which was to have had a triple Inclosure, the Walls, that were to be nine Leagues round, the Canals that were projected, were all abandoned : There were only three Monuments finished, which are still remaining, the Grandeur and Beauty of which shew how magnificent this City would have been, if the Emperor had completed his first Design.
The first remaining Monument is the Tomb of Hong Vou’s Father; it is adorn’d with every thing that the Chinese Industry or filial Gratitude could invent, that was most beautiful in its kind, and is call’d [Hoang lin, or] The Royal Tomb.
The second is a Prison built in the midst of the City ; its Shape is an oblong Rectangle, and is one hundred Foot high, divided into four large Stories, founded on a massive Pile of Brick forty Foot high, a hundred long, and sixty broad ; it is accounted the highest in China, and is seen at a great distance.
The third is a stately Temple erected to the Idol Fo, and was formerly a little Pagod. Hong vou being reduced to Want, by the Loss of his Parents, retired to this Place at Seventeen Years old, and served here several Years as Scullion; at length being tired of this lazy Life, he entred himself a Soldier under a Captain of some Banditti who revolted against the Tartars, where soon giving Proofs of his Valour, the Captain, whose Love he had gain’d, made him his Son-in-law, and soon after he was declared his Successor by the unanimous Consent of his Troops.
Upon this, seeing himself at the Head of a considerable Party, he began to extend his Views even to the Throne : His Reputation had already brought to the Army a great many People of Credit, at the Head of which he valiantly attacked the Tartars, and entirely defeating them seiz’d on Nan king and several neighbouring Cities, and continued to pursue them, till he had driven them quite out of China . He was Conqueror in all the Battles he fought, for which Reason he was nam’d Hong wu, which signifies, a Prince always victorious.
As soon as he was made Emperor he caus’d this stately Temple beforemention’d to be built for the Bonzes, who had reliev’d him in his Distress, rather put of Gratitude to Them, than for any Regard to the Idols. It was begun by a Row of five great Apartments, built like the Imperial Palace, and flank’d with several Halls and Lodgings for the Bonzes ; he assigned them a Revenue to maintain conveniently 300 Persons under a Chief of the Sect, whom he constituted a Mandarin to govern them independent of the City-Magistrates. This Pagod was call’d [Long hing se, that is,] The Temple from whence the Dragon issued, because the Emperor’s Arms are a Dragon with five Claws : It was kept up all the time of the preceding Dynasty, but afterwards, during the Civil Wars, it has been almost demolish’d, and there remain at present only five large Buildings.
The present Dynasty of the Tartars have taken no Care to repair this Temple, for that now there are not above twenty of these idolatrous Priests remaining, and they are almost reduc’d to Beggary.
There is scarce any thing worthy of Notice in Fong yang besides these Monuments, for it has been so ruin’d by the Wars, that from an Imperial City it is diminish’d to a large Village : It is pretty well Peopled, and indifferently built in the middle, but all the rest consists only of low Thatcht Houses, or open Fields that bear Tobacco, which is the only Wealth and Commerce of the Country.
In the neighbouring Mountains there is found a Great deal of Talk, and Red Wormwood, which the physicians use. This Country n made fruitful by some fine Rivers, and among others the great River Hai ho, which Rising in the Mountains of the Province of Ho nan crosses the whole Country, and after a long Course passes thro’ the Lake Hong tse, and then , discharges itself into the Hoang ho, about thirty-nine Leagues before it arrives at the Sea.

The Fourteenth City, Liu tcheou fou.

THE Country wherein this City is situated is very pleasant and fruitful ; the Lake Triao, in the midst of which there is a Mountain, yields all sorts of Fish, and waters the Fields so well, that they produce all kinds of Grain and Fruits, and especially the best Tea in great Plenty, and ’tis chiefly for the latter that this Country is famous : They make here also very good Paper. Its Mountains, especially those in the Neighbourhood of Lou kiang hien, are covered with very fine Trees ; and there is a remarkable Bridge near Lou ngan tcheou. Its District is pretty large, containing eight Cities, two of the Second Order, and six of the Third.

The Island of Tsong Ming

THIS Island, which is in the Province of Kiang nan, is separated from it on the West only by an Arm of the Sea, which is but five or six Leagues over : They say it was form’d by degrees of the Earth, which the great River Yang tse kiang washes down from the many Provinces it waters, for which reason, besides Tsong ming, it is commonly call’d [ Kiang che, which signifies] the Tongue of the River, either because, being much longer than broad, it resembles the Shape of a Tongue, or because it is placed just in the Mouth of this great River. In former Ages this was a desert and sandy Country, overgrown with Reeds, insomuch that the greatest Criminals and Robbers were transported to this Island, with a View to purge the Empire ; and the first that were set on Shore found themselve under a Necessity either of Starving, or getting their Food out of the Bosom of the Earth : The Love of Life made them active and industrious so that they cleared this uncultivated Earth, sow’d the few Seeds they brought with them, and it was not a great while before they reap’d the Fruits of their Labour. At length some Chinese Families, who were ready to starve on the Continent, bethought themselves also of going to this Island, that by cultivating it they might relieve their extreme Indigence ; accordingly they went thither, and divided the Lands amongst them.
These new Comers, not being able to clear all the Land they had appropriated to themselves, call’d other Families from off the Continent to their Assistance, and yielded to them for ever a Part of the Lands, on Condition that they should pay annually, in divers Goods, a Rent proportionable to their Harvest ; the Dues exacted by the first Proprietors are call’d Quo teou, and continue to this Day.
The Island of Tsong ming is about twenty Leagues long, and five or six broad ; there is but one City in it, which is of the Third Order ; the Walls of it are very high, well terrass’d, and surrounded with Ditches full of Water ; the Country is divided by an infinite Number of Canals, that have high Banks to defend it from Inundations, for the Land is level, having no Hills ; the Air is healthful and temperate, and the Country agreeable : Here are large Towns scatter’d about the Island at convenient Distances, wherein are a great Number of Shops well furnish’d with all manner of Necessaries and Conveniences of Life, and dispers’d between each Town : There are as many Houses about the Country, as there are Families employed in Tillage ; but these Houses are not very fine, except such as belong to the Rich, and they are built with Brick, and covered with Tiles, while those of the ordinary People are thatch’d Cottages, made of little else but Reeds. The Trees planted along the sides of the Ditches full of Running Water, which surround their Houses, is an Advantage owing to Art.
The Highways are very narrow, and are bordered with little Shops that fell Refreshments to Travellers ; and indeed one would almost imagine the whole Island to be but one exceeding large Village. Here are no Wildfowl, but great Numbers of large Geese, Ducks, Hens, Hogs, and Buffaloes, but these latter are used only for Tillage. Here is but little Fruit, except large Lemons and small four Oranges proper for Sauces, Apricots, great Peaches, the Fruit nam’d Te tfe, which I describe in another Place, and large Water-Melons ; but all sorts of Herbs and Pulse may be had in all Seasons of the Year.
The Land is not alike throughout the Island, the Produce of it being very different : That towards the North is not cultivated, but the Reeds which grow here naturally produce a considerable Revenue : As there are no Trees in the whole Island, they use part of these Reeds to build Houses in the Country ; the other Part serves to burn, and supplies Fuel not only for the whole Island, but also for some part of the neighbouring Continent. The second Sort of Land is that which extends from the first quite to the Sea on the South-side ; this produces two Crops every Year, one of Grain, which is generally in the Month of May; the other of Rice or Cotton ; of Rice in September, of Cotton a little later : Their Grain are Rice, Wheat, Barley, and a fort of Beard Corn, which, tho’ it resembles Wheat, is nevertheless of a different Nature. There is a third Sort of Land, which, tho’ it appears barren, produces a greatly Revenue than all the rest; it consists of a whitish Earth found in several Parts of the North-side of the Island, from whence they get such a great Quantity of Salt, that it supplies not only the Island, but Part of the Continent. It would be difficult to give a Reason why certain Portions of Land, scatter’d up and down of Country, should be so full of Salt as not to produce a Blade of Grass, while the contiguous Lands are very fruitful in Corn and Cotton ; it also frequently happens that the fruitful Soil grows full of Salt, while the Salt Earth becomes fit to bear Corn.
These are those Secrets of Nature which Human Wisdom in vain endeavours to discover, and which ought to increase our Admiration of the Power and Greatness of the Author of Nature.