The Sixth Province of the Empire , China, Hou quang.

THIS great Province is placed in the middle of the Empire, between the Provinces of Ho nan, Kiang nan, Kiang si, Quang Tong , Quang si, Koei Tcheou, Se tchuen, and Chen si ; the great River, Yang tse kiang, runs cross it from East to West, dividing it in two Parts, the Northern and Southern, 

The North Part contains eight Fou, or Cities of the First Order, and sixty Cities of the Second and Third Orders, without reckoning the Towns, Villages, and Cities of War. 

The greatest Part of this Province is a flat open Country, watered in all parts with Brooks, Lakes, and Rivers , there are great Numbers of all kinds of Fish, and great Plenty of Wild-Fowl upon the Lakes. 

The Fields nourish Beasts without number ; the Land produces all sorts of Grain and Fruits, especially Oranges and Citrons of all kinds , the Mountains contain great Plenty of Simples and Medicinal herbs , some of them abound with Talk, and others are covered with large old Pines, fit to make the great Pillars which the Chinese Architects make use of in their finest Buildings. 

In the Sands of the Rivers and Brooks which descend from the Mountains they find Gold ; there are Mines of Iron, Tin, Tottenague, and such like Metals, also great Quantities of Paper, made of the Bamboos which grow there : In the Fields there are great Numbers of little Infects that yield Wax, as well as Bees which produce Honey. 

In a word, there is such great Plenty of all forts of Commodities, that it is commonly called the Magazine of the Empire ; and it is a Proverb among the Chinese, That the Province of Kiang si may furnish China with a Breakfast, hut none but Hou quang can wholly maintain it. 

There was formerly in this Province a great Number of Princes descended from the Royal Family of Hong vou, but this Family is now almost extinguished by the Tartars. 

The North Part of the Province of Hou quang. 

The Ftrst City, and Capital of the Province, Vou chang fou. 

THIS is both the Capital of the Province, and the North Part of it, called Hou pe, where resides the Tsong tou of both Parts of this Province , it has under its particular Jurisdiction one City of the Second , Order, and nine of the Third. 

Vou chang is almost in the Centre of the Empire, and situate in a Place which may most easily communicate with the rest of the Provinces. This City joined to Han yang, from which it is separated only by the Breadth of the River Yang tse kiang, and the little River Han forms a Place the best Peopled, and of the greatest Resort in China ; one may compare the Extent of this City to Paris, and Han Tang to Lyons, or Rouen: Add to this, an incredible Number of Barks of all Sizes, which lie some in one River, some in the other, for the length of French Leagues, to the number of eight or ten thousand Vessels, among which there are hundreds every way as large as the most part of those that lie at Nantz. Certainly, if one considers nothing else but this Forest of Masts which are upon the fine River Yang tse Kiang, about a League broad in this Place, tho' it is 150 Leagues from the Sea, and deep enough for the greatest Vessels, it will justly raise our Wonder; but when one gains the Top of any Ascent, and discovers such a vast Extent of Ground covered with Houses, we should scarcely believe our won eyes, or at least must think it the finest Sight in the World.

One may judge, by the Number of Rivers and Lakes with which this Province is watered, how fruitful it is, and how easily the Trading with the rest of the Empire, by means of the great River Yang tse Kiang, must needs inrich it. 

What is farther worthy of Observation, is the fine Cristal which is dug out of the Mountains, the plentiful Crops of the best Tea, and the extraordinary Demand for Bamboo Paper, which is manufactured here.

The Second City, Han Yang fou 

THIS City, which is separated from the Capital only by the River Yang tse Kiang, is also situated on the Banks of the River Han, from whence it derives its name, and has within it Walls, and without, several very venomous Lakes, whereon great Quantities of Wild-Fowl are taken: Its situation, and the great Resort thither to purchase Merchandizes, render the Inhabitants extremely rich.

There are several Sorts of Oranges and Citrons, but they never grow to be perfectly ripe. It is remarkable for a very high Tower, formerly erected to the Honour of a Maid, whose Innocence and Virtue were cleared in a miraculous manner. Han tchuen hien is the only City in its District, which is quite surrounded with Lakes and Rivers.

The Third City, Ngan Lo fou

THIS City stands upon the Banks of River Han, in a vast Plain, equally plaeasant and fruitful; its Trade with the famous Cities, which I have just spoken of contribuites greatly to the Riches and Welfare of its Inhabitants; besides this there is nothing worth mentioning: It has in its District two Cities of the Second Order, and five of the Third.

The Fourth City, Siang Yang fou.

THIS City is situated on the Banks of same River Han, and has the same Advantages as the preceding, with respect to commerce and all the necessaries of Life. A great Quantity of Gold is gathered out of the Sands of its Rivers, and it's very likely that rich Mines might be found in the Mountains, if it was not prohibited.

They get from thence Lapis Lazuli, and Green Stone much used in Painting: There are a great many old Pines, fit for the Pillars of large Buildings: The Mountains with which one Part of the District is covered, render the Country very rough, and the Roads difficult to travel in. There grows a great deal of House-leek and Simples used in Physick: One City of the Second Order, and four of the Third depend upon its Jurisdiction.

The Fifth City, Yuen Yang fou

THIS is the most Northern City of the Province, and the nearest Chen Si: It is built upon the Banks of the River Han, in a Plain sufficiently large; it is surrounded with Mountains of easy Ascent, which renders the Country very agreeable. 

The Mountains produce several Sorts of Medicinal Herbs, and great Quantity of fine Tin: The Soil is fertile in every Part, and there grows here a very uncommon Shrub not unlike Ivy; it creeps up the outside of Trees as that does, and produces Flowers of yellowish White; the Extemities of Branches are as fine as Threads of silk.

This City hath six Cities of the Third Order under its Jurisdiction; and of them, called Tcheou chan hien is on the Banks of a River that discharges it self into the Han, its Water is useful to take Spots out of Silk, and to sharpen Edge-tools; beyond all question there are certain Salts mixed with the Water that give it this Virtue.

The Sixth City, Te ngan fou. 

THIS City is not far from the River Yang tse kiang, is situated on the Banks of a River that runs into it, and which communicates by several Branches with divers Lakes which lie near it : Six Cities of the Third Order are in its District. The Country is enclosed on the North by Mountains, and on the South , by Rivers, which render it very fruitful : There is nothing particular belongs to it, but a kind of White Wax, produced by little White Insects, which do not require any Care like Bees, but are found in the open Fields : They make Candles of this Matter, which is whiter than Wax, yields a clearer Light, and while burning a more agreeable Scent. 

The Seventh City, Kin tcheou fou. 

THE District of this City is considerable, it contains thirteen Cities, two of the Second Order, and eleven of the Third ; it makes a fine Appearance, the Lakes which are round it do not a little contribute to render the Land fruitful and pleasant ; besides it hath a great Trade, is well built, and is not less populous than the Capital : It is divided by a single Wall into two Parts, one of which belongs to the Chinese, the other to the Tartars, of which the Garrison consists. 

There are Plenty of Oranges of a little sharpish Taste, the different Lakes furnish Variety of the best Fish. The Reason why the Tartars have built a Cittadel in this Place, is to keep the Government of the City in their own Hands, the Situation of which renders it of great Consequence ; it's commonly said that those who are possessed of Kin tcheou have the Key of China. 

The Eighth City, Hoang tcheou fou. 

THE Situation of this City is on the Banks of the River Yang tse kiang ; its small distance from the Capital, and the Number of Lakes which surround it, render it a most agreeable Place for Habitation ; it is extremely well peopled, and for Trade gives place to few other Cities. There come there daily a surprising Number of Barks, loaded with all forts of Merchandize. 

The whole District is admirably well cultivated, I and agreeably diversified by the Rivers and Brooks that Water it, as well as by the Mountains which bound it on the North ; some of these Mountains are covered with Trees, which are of great service to the Inhabitants ; there are also Fountains, which have the Property of giving Tea a delicious Taste. 

There are taken in the River near the City great Numbers of Tortoises, some great, some small, which the Nobility keep in their Gardens for Diversion, and also at their Pleasure-Houses. They make excellent Arrack, which is very strong, and takes Fire in an Instant, and hath no bad Smell ; there are also very good Chestnuts, and very large. Its District: contains nine Cities, one of the Second Order, and eight of the Third. 

The South Part of the Province of Hou quang. 

The First City, and Capital of the South Part, Tchang tcha fou. 

THIS is the Capital of the South Part of the Province, called by the Chinese Hou nan : It is situated on a large River, which hath Communication with the great Lake Tong ting hou : The Rivers and Lakes wherewith the Country is watered, and the ease with which Husbandmen convey the Waters into their Grounds by Machines, of which I have elsewhere spoken, renders the Soil rich and fruitful, insomuch that there is no fear of Famine in Seasons of the greatest Drought. There is great Plenty of Fish in the Rivers, and especially of very fine Lampreys. 

The Country is partly flat, and partly mountainous, from which they get fine native Cinnabar, and plenty of Chalk, which the Chinese Physicians turn into Lime, and mix with their Wine, which they pretend is excellent to preserve Health. This Capital hath in its District one City of the Second Order, and eleven of the Third. 

The Inhabitants of this City have given occasion to a great Festival, which is celebrated in the fifth Month throughout the Empire : The Mandarin who governed this City, and was much esteemed and beloved by the People for his Probity and Virtue, happening to be drowned in the River, they instituted a Festival to his Honour, which is celebrated by Sports, and Feasts, and Fights upon the Waters, as if they intended to search for the Mandarin, the Object of their Love and Grief: This Festival, which was at first particular to this City, came afterwards to be observed throughout the Empire. 

They prepare for this remarkable Day small gilt Barks, long and narrow, one of whose Ends is of the Shape of a Dragon, whence they are called Long tchuen. Formerly they had Skirmishes upon the Water, and there were Rewards assigned to those that got the Victory , but as these sorts of Diversions were attended with dangerous Consequences, and some times were accompanied with fatal Accidents, they were prohibited by the Mandarins almost all over the Empire.

The Second City, Yo tcheou fou. 

THE Situation of this City is uncommon; it stands on the Banks of the great River Yang tse kiang, and the great Lake Tong ting : This Lake, which resembles a Sea, is remarkable for the Greatness of its Circuit, which is more than fourscore of our Leagues ; for the Quantity of its Water, especially in certain Seasons, in which the two great Rivers of the Province, swelled with Rains, discharge themselves into it, passing out on the other Side insensibly diminished, and for the astonishing Quantity of fine Fish which are caught therein. The great Number of Barks and Merchandizes which are brought thither, render it one of the richest Cities of the Empire ; its District contains one City of the Second Order, and seven of the Third ; some of these Cities are on the East Side of the Lake, and others on the West. It is every where extremely fruitful, and full of different kinds of Orange and Lemon-Trees. 

Several of the Mountains are covered with Forests of different forts of Trees, especially Pines; in some are found Lapis Lazuli, and the Green Stone, which, reduced to Powder furnishes Painters with a very beautiful Green; out of others are got Chalk, and little black Stones, which the Physicians likewise reduce into an impalpable Powder, and give it as an efficacious Remedy against Diseases of the Throat, especially the Quinsey. 

The Third City, Pao king fou. 

THIS City stands on the River Lo kiang, whose Stream runs into the Heng kiang, which hath a Communication with the Lake Tong ting. Its District consists of fruitful Vallies and pleasant Fields, which are mountainous towards the Province of Quang Si. It hath in its Jurisdiction one City of the Second Order, and Four of the Third, 

On the North of the City Ou kiang tcheau the River is dangerous, and the Barks pass along with difficulty ; its Stream passes across the Rocks with a wonderful Swiftness. There is a Column of Copper erected, to which the Barks are made sail till the necessary Measures are taken to get up the River with Safety. 

The Fourth City, Heng tcheou fou. 

The District of this City is of a pretty large Extent, it comprehends one of the Second Order, and nine of the Third, it is situated on an Angle made by two Rivers that inclose part of its Bounds. Its Mountains are pleasant and well cultivated, some of which are covered with Evergreens. The Country produces all the Necessaries of Life ; there is great plenty of Game, and several Mines of Silver, but the Opening of them is prohibited. They also make very good Paper ; in short, every thing is plentiful, and this is not one of the least Cities of the Province. 

The Ftfth City, Tchang te fou. 

IT is a large City, situated on the Banks of the River Tuen kiang, and at a small distance from the great Lake Tong ting; wherein the River discharges it self. Its Extent is small, having but four Cities of the Third Order in its District ; but the Land is the most fruitful of any in the Province, and the River, which is navigable almost throughout, causes Trade to flourish ; every thing grows there in great plenty. 

That which is uncommon, is a particular Sort of Orange-Trees, which bear no Fruit till the Season in which others bear is pass : This makes the Chinese call them Winter Orange-Trees : They have a very delicious Taste. 

The Mountains are full of Deer : There are also plenty of Cedars on them, whose Fruit is not good to eat, but they hang it up in their Rooms, because it yields a very agreeable Scent. There is also great store of Lapis Lazuli, as well as the best Manna. 

The Sixth City, Tching tcheou fou. 

THIS City is situated on an Angle made by two Rivers ; the Country is watered by a great Number of Brooks, which makes the Vallies exceeding fruitful; it is very full of Mountains, which yield, plenty of Quick-silver, Lapis Lazuli, and Green Stones for Painting : There are also Mines of Silver and Gold. 

The People Who inhabit these Mountains are not so polite as the rest of the Chinese ; on the contrary, their rude and savage Manner make them to be looked upon as Barbarians : The District of this City contains one of the Second Order, and nine of the Third. 

The Seventh City, Yong tcheou fou. 

THIS City, the most Southern of the Province, is surrounded with Mountains, whose Verdure renders a very agreeable Prospect, and is situate on the Banks of a River, which not far from thence runs into the Siang kiang. The Water of this River is so clear and limpid, that in the deepest Places you may count the Stones and Flints that are at the Bottom : There grows plenty of Bamboos in some part of this District and in others the Lien hoa, with yellow Flowers : There are eight Cities in its Jurisdiction, one of the Second Order, and seven of the Third. 

Besides these principal Cities, there are two of the Second Order, which are not subject to any Fou, or City of the First Order, and have each a Jurisdiction over other Cities : The first is called Tsin tcheou, and is on the Frontiers of the Province of Koei tcheou, it has in its District three Cities of the Third Order : The second is called Tching Tcheou, a very large and populous City, built between two Rivers ; five Cities of the Third Order are subject to it, all situated on the Frontiers of the City of Quang Tong : Tho' this City is full of Mountains, yet they do not hinder its Cultivation.