THIS Province, for the Mildness of its Climate, and Fertility of its Soil, is generally esteem'd a delicious Country, and is called by the Chinese Tong hoa, that is, The Flower of the Middle, because it is situated near the middle of China. It is bounded on the North by the Provinces of Pe tcheli and Chansi, on the West by Chen si, on the South by Hou quang, and on the East by Chan tong ; it is watered by the River Hoang ho, Besides the Forts, castles, and Garrison Cities, it contains eight Fou, or Cities of the First Order, and 102 of the Second and Third Orders.
The Chinese say that Fo hi, the First Founder of their Monarchy, kept his Court in this Province ; some of their Authors affirm that he began his Reign 2952 Years before the coming of Christ : If their Opinion be true, it confirms the Chronology of the Septuagint. The Air of this Country is very temperate and healthful ; it abounds with Corn, Rice, Pasture, Cattle, Oranges of all sorts, Pomegranates, and all kinds of Fruits as Europe does. The whole Province is a Champaign Country, excepting towards the West, where there are Mountains covered with Forests ; but towards the East it is cultivated like a Garden , the Chinese call it The Garden of China. It is also well watered with Fountains, Brooks and Rivers, which make it very pleasant. There is a Lake in it remarkable for giving an inimitable Lustre to Silk, with which this Country abounds. In one of the Cities named Nang yag, there is a kind of Serpent, whose Skin is speckled with white Spots, which the Chinese Physicians steep in a Phiol nil of Wine, and give it as a Remedy for the Palsy.
THIS is a large, rich, and populous Place, situated in a fine Country, in the middle of a large and well cultivated Plain, within two Leagues and a half the River Hoang ho, it hath this Inconveniency, being situated in a Bottom, that the River is higher the City.
To prevent the Inundations they have made great Dikes of more than thirty Leagues long ; in the Year 1642 this City was besieged by the Rebels, whose Army consisted of upwards of 100,000 Men ; the City had endured a Siege of six Months , the General of the Army, who was come to succour the City, finding it impracticable to relieve it, ordered the Dikes f the great River Hoang ho to be broke open, in order overflow the Country. The Inundation was so violent that it drowned the City, and 300,000 inhabitants perished.
Cai fong was then three Leagues in Circumference ; it has been rebuilt since that Misfortune, but is not considerable enough to be placed in the First Rank of the Cities of China. Its District is very large, and Contains four Cities of the Second Order, and thirty of the Third.
THIS City is situated in a vast Plain between two fine Rivers ; its District contains seven Cities, one of the First Order, and six of the Third: These Cities are rich, and well peopled ; the Country is flat, and well cultivated : The Air is very pure, and the Soil fruitful in all sorts of Grain and Fruits, especially Oranges and Pomegranates.
THIS City is situated in the Northern Part of the Province, its District is not large, being straightned by the Provinces of Pe tche li, and of Chansi ; it is well watered with several Rivers, which make its Soil very fertile , they dig out of the Mountains, which are not very high, Load-stones, and they bear divers kinds of Wormwood, In the Precinct of this City there is one City of the Second Order, and six of the Third.
THIS City is built on the Bank of a River in a sandy Ground, whole Soil is not so rich as the rest of the Province ; it has in its District, but six Cities of the Third Order.
THE Territory of this City is but of a very small Extent ; it is bounded on the North by the Mountains which separate it from the Province of Chansi, and on the South it hath the great River Hoang ho ; its District contains but six Cities of the Third Order. The Air is mild, and very healthful, the Soil is equally fertile, producing all the necessaries of Life in abundance : There are great Quantities of Simples and Medicinal Plants, which supply the Province.
THIS City, which has the same Name with the Province, is situated between Hills and three Rivers. The Chinese thought formerly that it was the Center of the Earth, because it is in the Center of the Earth. The Soil about it is fertile, and the City is very large and populous ; its District is of great Extent, and contains one City of the Second Order, and thirteen of the Third. One of these Cities, called Tengfong hien, is remarkable for the Tower which the famous Tcheau kong built, and in which he used to observe the Celestial Motions ; there is yet remaining an Instrument with which he used to take the Altitude of the Sun at Noon, in order to find the Latitude : He lived upwards of l000 Years before the Birth of Christ ; the Chinese pretend that he invented the Mariners Compass.
THE Country about this City is very fine, large, and of a wonderful Fertility ; the City is situated on the Banks of a small River, being neither large, rich, nor populous, and is surrounded with Mountains ; some of them have the Lapis Lazuli, There are also Serpents spotted with White, as I mentioned before, and which the Chinese Physicians use for the Cure of the Palsy. The Jurisdiction of this City is vastly great, and comprehends two Cities of the Second Order, and six of the Third.
THIS City is situated upon the Banks of the River Yu ho. The Country within its District is very large, and is partly flat, and partly mountainous, especially to the North and South ; it is watered with several Rivers, which renders the Soil very fruitful. There are two Cities of the Second, and twelve of the Third Order under, its Jurisdiction .