THIS Province is bounded on the North by that of Kiang nan, on the West by Hou quang, on the South by Quang tong, and it has on the East Fo kien and Tche kiang , the Mountains which it has to the South, and which join to those of the Provinces of Quang tong and Fo kien, are almost inaccessible ; but we may discover afterwards very fine Vallies, and the Country thereabouts is very well cultivated.
Nevertheless it is so well peopled, that, tho’ it is so very fruitful, it does not yield much more Rice than what is sufficient to nourish its Inhabitants: Besides they are accounted of a very sordid Disposition, and their covetous Humour draws upon them the Jest of the Chinese of the other Provinces: Otherwise their , have an excellent Genius, and this Province furnishes, a great many Learned Men who obtain the Degrees, and advance themselves in the Magistracy.
Kiang si is watered with Brooks, Lakes, and Rivers, which abound with all manner of Fish, especially with Salmon, Trout, and Sturgeon. The Mountains, with which the Province is surrounded are either cover’d with Wood, or famous for their Minerals, Simples, and Physical Herbs. The Soil produces all the Necessaries of Life in great Plenty, and is very rich in Mines of Gold, Silver, Lead, Iron and Tin. They make here very fine Stuffs; and their Wine, which is made of Rice, is reckon’d delicious by the Chinese. It is above all famous for the fine China Ware which is made at King te Tching, and for the Rice it produces, which is much esteem’d in the Empire ; at Kiag si they load many of the Imperial Barks with it.
The Flower Lien hoa, which is valued in China, is found almost every where, but grows chiefly in Lakes, like the Nenuphar in Europe, which is found in Standing-Waters, but it is very different from Nenuphar both in Root, Blossom, and Fruit: Nothing is more agreeable than to see whole Lakes full of Flowers, improved and renew’d every Year by the Seed which they sow; the great Lords, keep these Flowers in little Ponds, and sometimes in great Vessel, filled with Mud and Walter, which they place in their Gardens and Courts, by way of Ornament.
This Flower, which rises above the Water two or three Cubits, is not unlike our Tulips, and has a little Ball supported by a small Filament, like that which is found in Lilies ; its Colour is either Violet, or White, or part Red and part White ; its Smell very agreeable, the Fruit is as big as a Nut, and the Kernel which it includes is white and of a good Taste : The Physicians esteem it, and think it is of nourishing and strengthening Nature, therefore they prescribe it to those who are weak, or those who after a great Sickness recover their Strength with Difficulty. Its Leaves are long, and swim upon the Water, communicating with the Root by long Strings ; the Gardeners use them to wrap up their Goods ; the Root is knotty, like that of Reeds, and the Pith and Pulp are very white ; it is reckoned very good, and much eaten, especially in Summer, because it is very cooling. There is nothing in this Plant but what is useful, for they make of it even a kind of Meal, which is employ’d for different Purposes.
The River Kan Kiang divides the whole Province into two Parts, which contain thirteen Cities of the First Order, and seventy eight of the Second and Third Orders.
THIS is one of the best Cities which are situated on the Banks of fine Rivers : It was formerly destroy’d by the Tartars, whole Yoke it refused to bear ; for which reason they burnt it, and there remained nothing of it but the Walls ; but it is since rebuilt.
The Circumference of the Walls is not very great ; the River is pretty deep in the Harbour , but that which makes it so great a Trading-Place are the Canals and Rivers, from whence they may land on all Sides: It is not far from the great Lake Poyang. At the end of this Lake the River passes, which comes from the Southern Extremity of the Province, after having received almost all the Rivers of this Country into its Channel.
The China Ware, which is made in the District of lao tcheou fou, built upon the Eastern Side of the same Lake, is the Merchandise on which all its Commerce depends, and which draws hither a great Number of Merchants from all the Provinces ; for that sort of China Ware, which is made at Canton in the Province of Fo kien, and in some other Places, is not so much esteem’d in China, as Earthen Ware is in Europe : Strangers cannot be mistaken in it, for it is as white as Snow, does not shine, nor is stain’d with any kind of Colour.
It is likely that the Water of the Place, where they make this China Ware, contributes to its Beauty and Goodness, for they do not succeed so well in other Places, although they make use of the same Materials. These Materials are not only found upon the Confines of this Province, but in a like Place upon the Confines of the Province Kiang nan, but what Sort of Earth, and how it is to be work’d, shall be shewn in the Sequel of this Work : And as a Description only is not sufficient to distinguish exactly the Stones and Earth which they make use of, I have had some Samples sent me from China of these different Materials, which are in the Possession of the learned Mr. De Reaumur, one of the illustrious Members of the Academy of Sciences, who is very capable of finding the like, if there is any in France.
There are eight Cities depending on Nan tchang, whereof seven are of the Third, and one only of the Second Order. Its Fields are so well cultivated, that they scarce find Places where their Cattle may graze. It has always furnished a great many Learned Men, and is full of Persons of Distinction.
Here the Viceroy keeps his Court, and here live several considerable Officers and Magistrates : Under the preceding Dynasty many Princes of the Imperial Family resided here, whose Fortune was incumbered, but not without Lustre : At present all the Princes are at Court, and are not permitted to retire from it.
THIS City, which has in its Jurisdiction seven other Cities of the Third Order, is very finely situated, and stands upon the Northern Bank of the Lake Poyang, and is surrounded with Rivers which run into the Lake. The whole Country is flat, and the Rivers which water it render it extremely fertile; but above all it is famous for the fine China Ware which is made in a Town in its District, call’d King te tching.
This Town, where the best Makers of China Ware live, is as populous as the greatest Cities of China, and want nothing but Walls to make it a City. These places are called Tching, that are of great Resort and Commerce, but not Wall’d. They compute in this Town more than 1,000,000 of Souls : They consume here every Day more than 10,000 Loads of Rice, and above a 1000 Hogs, without mentioning other Animals which they feed upon. The Lodgings of the great Merchants take up a vast Space, and contain a prodigious Number of Workmen.
King te tching is a League and a half long, standing on the Side of a fine River, and is not a confused Heap of Houses, as one would imagine, the Streets are very long, and cut and cross one another at a certain Distance ; all the Ground is made use of, so that the Houses are rather too much confin’d, and the Streets too narrow ; in going through them one seems to be in the middle of a Fair, and hears on all sides the Noise the Porters make to clear the Way.
The Charge of Living is here much more considerable than at lao tcheou, because they fetch from other Places every thing they consume, even to the Wood they burn in their Stoves, which at present comes near a hundred Leagues off. Yet, notwithstanding the dearness of Provisions, this Place is the Refuge of an infinite number of poor Families, who have not whereon to subsist in the Cities round about. Here is Employment for the Young and the Weak, and even the Blind and the Lame get their Livelyhood by grinding the Colours. Formerly they computed here but 300 Stoves for China Ware, now they amount to about 500.
King te tching is situated in a Plain environ’d with high Mountains ; that towards the East, on whose Side it stands, forms outwardly a sort of a Semicircle. The Mountains which are on the Side give passage to two Rivers which unite ; one is little, the other very great, and forms a fine Port near a League long in a great Bason, Where it loses much of its Rapidity : One sees sometimes in this vast Space two or three Rows of Barks following one another.
When we enter by one of the Straight into the Port, the Vortices of Flame and Smoke, which rise in different Places, cause one immediately to observe the Extent, the Breadth, and Windings of King te Tching ; at Night it seems like a vast City on fire, or like a great Furnace which has many Ventholes. Strangers are not permitted to lie at King te Tcbing; they must either pass the Night in their Barks, or Lodge with their Acquaintance, who pass their Word for their conduct, This Policy, joined to that which is observ’d Night and Day in the Town, in the same manner as In the Cities, keeps every thing in Order, and establishes perfect Security, in a Race whole Riches would excite the Desire of an infinite number of Thieves.
ALTHOUGH this City is situated in the midst of Mountains, which for the most part are very high, and of a great Extent, the Country is not the less fertile or inhabited ; a great many of these Mountains are divided into plow’d Grounds, which yield in nothing to the most fertile Plains, and contain a great many Towns and Villages. Some of the Mountains are cover’d with Forests, and others produce a fine Crystal : They make here very good Paper, and the best Candles in the Empire.
All this Country borders upon the Provinces of Fu kien and Tche kiang , it is so easy to take Refuge in the Mountains, that it gave an Occasion formerly to Thieves of committing Robberies unpunished, and the Emperor kept a strong Garrison in the City to pursue them. As the Entrance into the Province on this side is through narrow Lanes, which the Mountains lock up on both Sides, it is very easy to defend these passages, and, in case of an Insurrection of a Neighbouring Province, to secure themselves from an Invasion. The Jurisdiction of Koang sin fou contains seven Cities of the Third Order.
THIS City, which has in its District but four Cities of the Third Order, is situated upon the Banks of the celebrated Lake Po yang. This Lake is thirty Leagues long, and about forty broad ; it affords all sorts of excellent Fish, and divides into two Parts this District of the Province : The Fields produce great Quantities of Rice, Wheat, Fruits, and Pulse. The Mountains are partly cultivated, and partly covered with thick Woods, some whereof are five Leagues in length : A sort of Hemp grows about the City, of which they make Cloaths very convenient for Summer.
THIS is a large and very great trading City ; it is situated upon the Southern Bank of the River Yang tse kiang, and nigh the Place where the great Lake Po yang unites with the River ; so that it is incompassed with Water on the North and East. It is the Rendezvous of all the Barks which go and come from the other Cities of this Province, and the Provinces of Kiang nan and Hou quang. Although it is a hundred Leagues distant from the Sea, they take in the River, which washes its Walls, Salmon, Dolphins and Sturgeon : It ebbs and flows every New and Full Moon, and its Waters glide so slowly from the City to the Sea, that its Current is scarcely perceivable.
THIS City stands upon the Frontier of the Province Fo kien, in a pleasant and fruitful Country. Five Cities of the Third Order are dependant on it ; it is now famous, but was much more so formerly. The Wine which they make here of Rice is pretty good, but the common Rice is little valued, and the People of Note fetch it for their own Use from an adjacent City , yet they have a sort of red Rice, which is pleasant to the Taste, and very wholesome. They make here a sort of Cloth of Hemp, which is esteem’d and made use of during the Heat of Summer.
THIS City is situated upon the Bank of a River, in a great and pretty fertile Plain ; the Circumference of its Walls is larger than any City of France, except Paris : Its Jurisdiction reaches twenty or five and twenty Leagues , six Cities of the Third Order belong to it.
If one may judge of it from what remains, it was before the late Wars one of the most flourishing Cities in the Empire ; but since it was sack’d by the Tartars, it is nothing but a Heap of Rubbish, among which there are here and there some Houses, which they endeavour to repair, and which form forts of Hamlets, Villages, and Towns, within the Circumference of the City, except on the East Side, which is well built, where most of the Mandarins Tribunals are situated.
They reckon in the City and Suburbs there are near forty or fifty thousand Souls . The Country is likewise very populous, and very well improv’d. In many Places they have two Crops of Rice every Year, and it is from the District of this City that they take, most commonly, the greatest Part of the Rice, which the Province is oblig’d to furnish every Year to the Emperor : The Rice hereabouts is very good, and white as Snow. The Air is fine and very wholesome , nothing can be more pleasant than its Mountains, from whence issue several Brooks and Rivers, which water the whole Country, and render it fruitful. They have also Provision in abundance : Figs grow here, very well. A Missionary in this Place planted Vines in his Garden, which bore very good black Grapes, of which he made Wine ; but as for other Fruits they hardly come to Perfection, probably because the Soil is too moist.
IN the Jurisdiction of this City, and at three Leagues distance upon the Bank of a great River, which coming from the South runs through all the Province , there stands a Tching or Town , in which there is a great Trade for Drugs and Simples, because it is a noted Port, where the Barks loaded with Medicinal Herbs, of which they compose their Remedies, resort from all the Southern Parts, and where they come from other Provinces to purchase them. As for the City itself, it is but thinly peopled, has but little Trade, and they live very Sparingly therein ; and they say of it, by way of Derision, that one Hog serves the whole City two Days. There are but four Cities, and those of the Third Order, dependant on it.
It is situate two Leagues and a half from the Great River, and stands upon the Banks of the River Yu ko. Its Soil is good, and the Climate wholesome : they have excellent Oranges, which they transport into the adjacent Provinces, and is the chiefest Branch of their Commerce. The Mountains round about are either covered with great Trees, or are cultivated in the manner of Terras-Walks, Rising one above another.
NINE Cities of the Third Oder are under the Jurisdiction of This, which is situated on the Banks of the River Kan Kiang. It is here that one begins to perceive the Danger of going down this River; the Water running with great Swiftness amongst Rooks, which lie just beneath the Surface of it, one runs the Risk of perishing, without a skillful Pilot , those Barks which have none provide them in this City to guide them through these dangerous Places, at least they hire Men to assist in navigating the Bark ; for there are eighteen Currents, which require much Strength and Dexterity, either going up or coming down : They call it Che pa tan : Although the Country is uneven, the Vallies and Fields are nevertheless agreeable and fertile. They say that the Mountains afford Mines of Gold and Silver.
THIS City is situated upon the Banks of an Arm of the Kan kiang : Two Enclosures of the Walls make it resemble two Cities, which are separated by a River that is navigable for great Bolts all the Year round, especially from February to August, when it is swell’d by the Rains.
These two Enclosures communicate with one another by two Bridges, one of Stone, which has more th, ten Arches well built, and the other is of Boats, which rise or sink according as the Water increases or decreases. In one of these Enclosures, which they call the North City, all the Mandarins of what degree soever make their Abode, Mandarins of the People, Mandarins of Arms, and Mandarins of Literature , they likewise call it the Mandarin City. The other Inclosure, which they call the South City, includes all the Families of Note, the Burghers, and the Common People , there is not one Mandarin. As the Gates of both the Cities are shut during the Night, if there should happen any Disturbance in this last, the Mandarin could not remedy it as soon as might be necessary in some Cases.
The Air is mild, and so wholesome that they have given it the Name of Happy. The Country is water’d with Rivulets, in which they find Particles of Gold and Silver. Its Fields are very fertile, and yield Rice enough, besides what they use to pay the Tribute to the Emperor, The Mountains and Forests round about make an agreeable Prospect: They get Lapis Lazuli out of these Mountains.
THIS City yields to none in regard of the Fruitsfulness of its Soil, and the Plenty of every thing which can be desir’d ; it stands upon the Banks of the River Yu ho. There is in its Out-parts a little Lake bordered with Pleasure-Houses, where its Inhabitants go often to regale themselves, it furnishes the rest of the Empire with Plenty of Vitriol and Allum ; as for the rest, its Liberties are small, for they contain but four Cities of the Third Order.
THIS is a City of great Resort, which may be compar’d for its Extent to Roan ; it is situated on the River from which it has its Name, although it receives another in this Place, which they call Tchang ho : It is almost as great a Trading-Place as the Capital.
They lay there is an abundance of Medicinal Herbs in its Mountains, as well as in those of Quang sin fou, at the Bottom of which the Chief of the Bonze Tao ssii, known by the magnificent Name of Tien se, that is Heavenly Master, has his Residence. Between Kan tcheou and Nan ngan, which I shall Speak of presently, there are nothing but Deserts ; but from Kan tcheou to Nan tchang, that is, for more than sixty Leagues by the River, the Country is delightful, populous and fertile,
A Day’s Journey from Kan tcheou is that very rapid Current, twenty leagues in length, which I mentioned in the Description of the City Ki ngan fou. When we have once past this dangerous Place, we come into a fine River, six times larger than the Seine at Roan, and so cover’d with Barks, that at any Hour of the Day one may count more than fifty Ships of Burden under Sail.
This Country bordering upon the Provinces of Hou quang, Fo kien, and Quang tong, was formerly infected with Robbers, on account of the Facility of flying out of one Province into another ; they establish’d here a Tao ye, which is a Governor of two Cities of the First Order : They erected here likewise a Custom-House, to receive the Duties on Merchandizes, which are transported on the two Rivers.
Near the Walls of Kan tcheou, and where these two Rivers unite, there is a Bridge of Boats, which are fasten’d to one another with Iron Chains : Near this Bridge is the Office, where a Receiver comes every Day to visit the Barks, and examine whether they have paid the Duty which I mentioned before : One of these Boats belonging to the Bridge is so contrived, I that they can open a passage to let the Barks through ; but it is not done till after they have been examined.
The Jurisdiction of this City extends a great Way, for it contains twelve Towns of the Third Order ; but what is most remarkable is, that its Soil produces a great many of the Trees from which the Varnish distills, and this Varnish is reckoned the best in China.
THIS is the most Southern City of the Province ; it is as large as Orleans, populous, and handsome, has a great Trade, and is a Place of much Resort : It is here that they must land all the Merchandizes which are transported from the Province of Quang, fong. Its Suburbs are larger than the City; there are but four Cities of the Third Order dependant on it.
To go from Nan ngan to Nan hiong, which is the first City you come to in the Province of Quang tong, you must go about ten Leagues by Land : At the end of two Leagues there is a Mountain, so steep that they have cut it like Stairs, at the Top of the Mountain there is a Rock about forty Foot deep, through which they were obliged to cut, to open a passage. Although These Mountains are not cultivated, the Spaces between them are, and produce as much Rice as the most fruitful Vallies.