THIS Province is the most considerable of the Southern Provinces of China ; it is bounded on the North East by Fo kien, on the North by Kiangsi, on the West by Quang si, and the Kingdom of Tong king; the other Part is encompassed by the Sea, and has several considerable Havens on the Coast. It is divided into ten Countries, which contain ten Cities of the First Order, and eighty four of the Second and Third Order, besides Forts and Garrisons, together with the Town of Macao, and the Ilse of Sancian, of which I shall give an Account, both being now well known in Europe.
The Country consists of Vallies and Mountains, and is so fertile as to yield two Crops of Corn yearly : Whatever can contribute to the Pleasures of Life abounds here ; as also Gold, Jewels, Silk, Pearls, Pewter, Quick-Silver, Sugar, Brass, Iron, Steel, Salt-Peter, Ebony, and several sorts of odoriferous Wood. There is also plenty of all sorts of Fruits, as Pomegranates, Raisins, Pears, Prunes, Chestnuts, and Peaches, which tho' they do not ripen very well make pretty good Sweat-Meats : There are others that are excellent, as the Bananas, the Ananas, the Li tchi, the Long yuen, with Oranges and Limons of all sorts.
There is a particular kind of Limon, which grows upon Trees as thorny as the Citron-Tree, but is much larger, its Flower is white, and of an excellent Odour , when distilled it yields a very agreeable Liquour , the Fruit is near the Size of a Man's Head, the Rind nigh the same Colour as other Oranges, but the Fruit is either reddish or white, and the Taste is between sweet and sour.
These is another fort of Fruit, larger than common Which grows out of the Trunk of the Tree; its Bark is very hard, and within it has a great number of little Cells, which are full of a yellow Pulp, very sweet and agreeable when the Fruit is ripe.
Fish is very plentiful on the Coast , there are all sorts of Oysters, Lobsters, very good Crabs, and Tortoises of an extraordinary Size. The Chinese make very fine Works of their Shells : There are abundance of wild and tame Peacocks, which are fern to other Provinces.
There are prodigious Numbers of tame Ducks ; they hatch the Eggs in the Oven, or in Dung, and put the young ones in Boats, and carry them to the Sea-shore at Low-water, where they feed on Oysters, and other Shell-Fish : Several Boats go together, and consequently several Flocks of these Ducks are intermixed upon the Shore ; but as soon as they strike on a Bason each Flock returns to its own Boat, as Pigeons do to their Houses.
There is a remarkable Tree in this Province, which the Portuguese call Iron-Wood, resembling Iron not only in Colour, but also in Hardness and Weight, which last prevents its Swimming upon the Water. There is another sort of Wood, called Wood of Roses, it is between Black and Red , the Chinese make Tables, Chairs, and other Household Goods of it.
There are Crab-fish taken out of a Lake in the Isle of Hai nan, which when taken out of the Water become as hard as Stones, and are a good Remedy against Fevers.
The Mountains are covered with a vast Quantity of an admirable kind of Osiers or Willows, which arc the Size of one's Finger, and which creep upon the Ground, and produce very long Sprigs, resembling twisted Cords ; they are very limber, and not easily broke ; they make of them Cables and Ropes for Ships, Baskets, Hurdles, Seats, and very commodious Matts, on which the Chinese lie in Summer, they being very cool.
The People of this Province are very industrious, and tho' they are not quick at Invention, they are very skilful in imitating any sort of Work that is shewn them from Europe, and which they improve to great perfection.
As the Province of Quang tong is a Maritime Province, and the furthest distant from the Court, its Government is one of the most considerable of the Empire : The Tson tou of it is also that of the Province of Quang si ,and resides at Tchao king, which is the Dearest to the Court.
THIS City is called by the Europeans, Canton ; and is one of the richest and most populous Cities of China ; it carries on a great Trade with the neighbouring Kingdoms, as also with Europe.
It is seated on the Banks of one of the finest Rivers of the Empire, called Ta ho, which comes from the Province of Quang si, it meets another River, which is deep enough to bring up large Vessels from the Sea to the City, and is carried by Canals into several Provinces, its Mouth is very wide, and more remarkable for its Name, which is Hou men, that is Gate of the Tiger, than for its Fort , which have been built to prevent Chinese Pirates. The Countries bordering on it are well cultivated, and full of Rice, or of a fort of Trees which are always green.
The great Quantity of Money, which is brought here from foreign Countries, draws the Merchants from all the Provinces to this Port, where all the Curiosities of the Empire are to be bought : Nevertheless the Manufactures of this Town are not much esteem'd at Peking, excepting the Silk-Stuffs called Cha, which are the best of the kind, especially those that are strew'd with Flowers with Holes in it like Lace, which are very much used in Summer, being very cheap and neat.
The Number of Tradesmen in this City is almost incredible, and yet not sufficient to supply the Trade which it hath : They have established a great many Factories at Fo chan, which have rendered that Borough very considerable.
Fo chan is within four Leagues from Canton , its Circuit is upwards of three Leagues , it is in no wise inferior to Canton, in respect either of Riches, or Number of Inhabitants, which by report is upwards of a Million of Souls.
The residence of the Viceroy is at Canton ; the District of this Capital comprehends seventeen Cities, one of the Second Order, and sixteen others of the Third.
The Prospect of this City and of the adjacent Country is the finest that can be, for in going up the River that runs to this City the Country on both Sides perfectly smiles, being fine Green Fields as far as the Sight can extend, intermixed with pleasant Groves, and little Hills one above another, which are like an Amphitheatre, Rocks covered with Green Moss, Villages in little Woods, and Islands cut out into Canals, the whole making a beautiful Landskip.
The City is very large, and made of three different Towns, separated by fine Walls very high, but so nearly join'd together, that the same Gate that serves to go out of one serves to go into the other : The whole forms a Figure something like a Square.
The Circumference of this City is very near to that of Paris, tho' there are no void Spaces nor large Gardens, but some very beautiful Squares.
The Streets are long and straight, and paved with hewen Stones very hard, tho' they are but narrow, excepting a few which are a little wider ; from Place to Place there are Triumphal Arches : There are likewise covered Places, which have the finest Shops under them. The Houses are not magnificent, the generality of them being level with the Ground, built with Earth, with some Ornaments of Bricks, and covered with Tiles. The Streets are full of Shops, extremely neat. The Quality and Gentry are carried in Chair, but the common People walk the Streets barefooted, and often bare-headed, or else with a Straw Hat of a vast Circumference, and an odd Figure, to defend them from the Sun and Rain. There are no Carriages for Goods, but all sorts of Merchandises are carried by Porters.
The Idol-Temples, surrounded with the Cells of the Bonzes, are remarkable ; as also the Hall of Confucius, and the Academy where the Learned meet.
The Ya men, or Palaces of the Mandarins, are remarkable for their Beauty and Magnitude : The River is covered with a Multitude of small Barks, which contain an infinite Number of Persons, and appear like a floating Town : These Barks are placed in Ranks, and form Streets; each Bark contains a Family, and is divided into different Apartments like Houses; the common People, who inhabit them, go a Fishing early in the Morning, or to the Rice Harvest, of which they have two Crops a Year : The Number of the Inhabitants of Canton is computed to exceed a Million of Souls : At the end of each Street there is a Barrier, which is shut every Evening soon after the Gates of the City, so that every body is oblig'd to be at home early at Night ; this Method prevents a great many Disorders in China.
THIS City is situated at the Confluence of two navigable Rivers, one comes from the Town of Nan hiong, and the other runs from the Province of Hou quang. The Bank of one of these Rivers, which is to the Westward of the City , is joyn'd to it by a Bridge of Boats, and is well inhabited.
This Country is very thick set with Villages, and very fertile in Rice, Pastures, Fruit, Cattle, and Fish, but the Air is not healthful, and very often, from the midst of October to the Month of December , Diseases reign there, which (weep away great Numbers of the Inhabitants. There are six Cities of the Third Order within its Jurisdiction, near one of which grow black Reeds, which look like Ebony, and of which they make musical Instruments.
Within a League of Chao tcheou there is a Monastery of Bonzes, which, as they say, formerly contained a thousand of them ; its Situation is the finest that can be, all the Country adjoining belongs to this Monastery, which was founded between eight and nine hundred Years ago. The Founder of it, whose Body is greatly revered, lived in extreme Austerity, and wore an Iron Chain always round him, which corrupted his Flesh, and bred Worms ; he was so set upon mortifying himself, that he pick'd up the Worms as they fell off, and replaced them, saying, that there was still something to prey on. His Successors, the Bonzes, followed his Example but very ill, professing Charity, and yet practicing all manner of Debauchery. Formerly the Pilgrims complained that they used to rob and plunder them, but now there are Orders to prevent it.
THIS is a large trading City, seated at the Foot of a Mountain, which separates the Province of Quang Tong from that of Kiangsi, from which run two great Rivers, one towards the South, and the other to wards the North ; this City has but two Cities of the Third Order under its Jurisdiction. Between Nan hiong, which is the last City of the Province of Quang tong, and Nan ngan, which is the first of the Province of Kiangsi, there is a high Mountain call'd Mei lin, over which there is a remarkable Road. The Distance from one Place to the other is ten Leagues , and the Passage over the Mountain is somewhat more than a League, being surrounded on both Sides with Precipices ; but as it is Very wide, no unhappy Accident has been yet known.
From the Top of the Mountain one may see a great Way into the two Provinces : There is a kind of Temple erected in honour and to the Memory of the Mandarin who contrived this wonderful Road, which is the most remarkable of all China, being the grand Passage for whatever comes either from the East or South, and is throng'd at all times almost as much as the Streets of great Towns.
THIS City is almost surrounded with Water, and is built in the most fertile Part of the whole Province. It hath eleven Cities within its District: one of the Second Order, and ten of the Third. All sorts of fish are very plentiful in this Country, as Oysters, Craw-fish, Lobsters and Crab , as also Tortoises of a monstrous Size. There are two remarkable Bridges, one of which has forty Arches, and joins, to the Eastward, the Banks of the two Rivers which meet there , the other is to the West upon a little Lake which waters the Walls of the town. This Lake is but one League in Circuit, and is lined with Stone quite round , the Shore is beautify'd with fine Gardens and Trees. There are two Islands on this Lake, where they have built Pleasure-Houses, which have a Communication one with another by means of a beautiful Bridge.
In one of the Mountains of this District there is a particular kind of Butterfly, which, on account of its Beauty and Size, is sent to Court, and made use of for certain Ornaments, which I have describ'd elsewhere.
THIS City is seated near the Mouth of the River Han kiang, and the Tide ebbs and flows here . it has a fine Bridge on the East, which is very long and proportionably wide. There are eleven Cities of the Third Order in its District ; this Country is separated from the Province of Fo Kien by Mountains, and is generally very fruitful.
THIS City, according to the Opinion of the greatest Judges, is the best built and the finest in the whole Province, and is the Place of residence of the Tson ton of the two Provinces of Quang tong and Quangsi: It is seated on the River Taho ; there is a Tower of nine Stories high at the East of the City ; the Haven is very spacious, and is at a Place where three Rivers or Canals meet, one of which runs to Canton. From Tchao King to Canton both Sides of the River are lined with Villages, and so near to one another that they seem to make but one. There is one upon the Left Hand of an extraordinary Length, containing near 200 Houses, which appear like so many square Towers, There is also the Village of Fa chan, in which it is computed that there are 1,000,000 of Souls. There are upwards of 5000 Barks upon the River, which are longer than our small Vessels, in each of which there is a Family ; besides a vast Number of Fishing-Boats, and Canoes to cross the River with, there being no Bridge over these great Rivers. In this Country there are abundance of wild and tame Peacocks ; as also China Wood, and the Wood which the Portuguese call Pao de Rosa, as likewise the Iron-Wood, which I have already mentioned. There is one City of the Second Order, and five of the Third within the District of Tchao king.
THE Tide flows and ebbs as far as this Town, so that the Chinese Barks go up to it ; the Country is very fruitful. This City has within its District one City of the Second Order, and five of the Third. This District is surrounded on one side by the Sea, and on the other by Mountains ; there are a great Number of Peacocks, and other sorts of Birds of Prey. There is also a kind of Stone like Marble, which naturally represents the fall of Waters from the Mountains, and Landskips ;they cut it in Leaves, and make Tables and other curious Household goods of it. There is a kind of Crawfish like the common sort, but when they are out of the Water, they petrify without losing their natural Form. The Chinese Physicians use them for a Remedy against burning Feavers.
THIS City is a very convenient Harbour for the Chinese Barks : It has but one City of the Second Order, and two of the Third within its District: This Country is on the Borders of the Kingdom of Tong King, from which it is separated by inaccessible Mountains : There are great Numbers of Peacocks : They fish up Pearls out of the Sea ; and there are abundance of fine Works made of Tortoise-Shells.
THE Territory of this City is the finest and the most fertile of all the Western Cities of this Province : It is almost all surrounded with the Sea, and is separated from the Island of Hai nan by a small Straight. There are many Villages whose Inhabitants live by Fishing : Here grow those long Osiers which I have already mentioned, with which they make Ropes, &c. Within the District of this City there are only three Cities of the Third Order.
Hai nan signifies South of the Sea, and is a large Island, bounded on the North by the Province of Quang si which may be seen in calm Weather ; on the South by the Canal which is formed by the Bank of Paracel, and the Eastern Coast of Cochin China ; West ward by part of this Kingdom, and part of Tong king, and Eastward by the Chinese Sea.
Its greatest Length from East to West is between sixty and seventy Leagues, and its Breadth from North to South is between forty and fifty Leagues : The whole Circuit is near 160 Leagues.
The Soil of the Northern Part of the Island is a Plain, reaching from the Seaside about fifteen League, into the Country ; on the contrary the Southern and Eastern Parts are very Mountainous. There are some Valleys in the Centre of the Island which are cultivated, the rest being mostly barren Land , yet there are two Crops of Rice every Year, which supply the Necessities of a numerous People.
The Climate of the Northern Part is very unhealthful, especially on account of the Water ; the Inhabitants are obliged to boil the Quantity of Water in the morning, which they design to life all that Day.
The Island is in the District of the Province of Quang tong ; Kiun tcheou, its Capital, is built on a Promontory, and Ships lie at anchor under its Walls. Two sorts of Mandarins command here, as in all other Parts of China, that is Mandarins of Learning, and Mandarins of Army, or Officers. There are three Cities of the Second Order, and ten of the Third under its Jurisdiction, and they are all near the Seaside.
The greatest part of the Island is subject to the Emperor of China, except the middle called Li mou chan, or ,chi chan, which is independant, and is inhabited by a free People, who have never been conquered, nor have submitted to the Authority of the Mandarins ; but they have been obliged to abandon their Plains and champaign Country to the Chinese, and to retire into the Mountains in the Centre of the Island, where they are shelter'd from their Insults.
Formerly these People used to trade with the Chinese, and exchange Gold, China Wood, and China Wood for other Commodities, which brought immense Profits to the Chinese Governors; but the Emperor Cang hi, hearing what great Quantity of Gold his Mandarins used to get by it, forbid them on pain of Death to trade with these People. However sometimes they carry on a clandestine Trade with them, but this has been very inconsiderable within this thirty Years to what it used to be.
These Islanders never appear, unless it be sometimes when they make Irruptions into the Villages which are nearest to the Chinese ; but they are such Cowards, that fifty Chinese will put to flight a thousand of them. Nevertheless there are other Islanders more tradable, and have submitted to the Chinese who live in the Plains, having no Communication with those of the Mountains ; others are Shepherds to the Chinese, and labouring Men : There are great Numbers of them in the Eastern and Southern Part of the Island : They, are generally deformed, very short, and of a reddish Colour,
Both Men and Women have their Hair in a Ring over the Forepart of the Head, and upon it a little straw Hat, ty'd under the Chin with two Strings. Their Habit is a Piece of Cloth made of Cotton, which is either black or of a deep blue Colour, which covers them from the Girdle down to the Knees ; the Women wear a short sort of Waistcoat of the same Stuff, they likewise paint their Faces, from their Eyes downward, with blue Streaks made with Indigo. Both Sexes wear Pendants to their Ears, either of Gold or Silver made in the Shape of a Pear , and very well wrought.
Their Arms are Bows and Arrows, in which they are not very skilful , they have also a kind of Hanger which they carry in a little Basket ty'd behind them ; It is the only Instrument which they have to do all their Carpenters Work with, and to cut Sticks and Briars when they cross Forests. Brides the Gold Mines which are in the midst of the isle, there are in the Northern Part Mines of Lapis Lazuli, which is carried to Canton to paint the blue Porcelain ; the finest Wood, both for Scent and Sculpture, is taken from the Mountains of Hai nan. The choicest Wood, next to that of China, is the Hua Li, called by the European Rose-Wood, or Violet-Wood, because of its Scent. There is a yellow Wood which is very fine and incorruptible ; Columns of a certain Size made of it are sold , ,a very dear late, ,d kept as well as the Hoa ti for the sole Use of the Emperor.
The Island not only produces the same Fruits as grow in China, but also Sugar, Tobacco, and Cotton; Indigo likewise is very common here. Besides their is a Harvest of the Nuts of Arequier, and a Crop of Ratan : They catch abundance of all sorts of Fish, which are salted and sent abroad. In short, the Island of Hai nan, considering its Situation, Magnitude and Riches, may be placed in the Number of the most considerable of the Asiatick Islands,
In the North of the Island there is a Port where all the Barks of Canton come, which is formed by a wide River, whose Mouth is defended by two little Forts, and has but ten or twelve Foot Water : Within two Leagues of this Port is the Capital, between them is a large Plain, in which are a great many fine Chinese Sepulchres, among which there is a Cross raised on the Tomb of an Italian Jesuit, who was the first Missionary that came into this Island,, There is a fine Fort to the Southward of the Isle at the Bottom bf a great Bay, where there is near twenty Foot Water ; on the Shore of this Port there are abundance of maritime Plaits, and of *Madrepores of all kinds : Thar are Trees which yield Dragons-Blood, and many others of different Sorts which distil, an Incision being made, a white Juice, which as it hardens turns red, but is not at all of a Consistence like Gum or Rozin. This Matter being thrown into a Perfuming-pan burns slowly, and diffuses a Smell weaker but more agreeable than Incense.
Among the Rocks in the Sea there is a little kind of blue Fish resembling a Dolphin, in greater Esteem among the Chinese, than the Golden Fish which is in their Rivers ; this blue Fish lives but a short time out of its Element.
Among the Animals of this Island there is a remarkable kind of great black Apes, whose Physiognomy resembles very much that of Mankind, having Features well made ; but this Kind is very scarce : There are others that are grey, and very ugly, but very common.
All sorts of Game are very plentiful here, there is is very fine Hunting of all kinds , besides Wood-Hens, which are excellent, there are abundance of Turtle-Doves, as also both kinds of Wood-Pidgeons : Stags are also very common here, and Maron Hogs, which are a kind of Wild-Boars.
There are also several sorts of curious Birds, as Ravens with white Circles about their Necks like a Neck-cloth, and Starlings which hive the Resemblance of the Moon upon their Bills. There is also a kind of Bird, not unlike a Blackbird, of a deep blue Colour, with long yellow Ears about half an Inch long, which speak and whistle in perfection. There is likewise a small Bird, of the Size of a Linnet, the Colour of which is a fine bright red, and another whose Feathers imitate Gold; and tho' these are of a different Kind they flock together.
there are serpents and Snakes of a monstrous size, but they are thought not to be dangerous, for the Inhabitants carry no Arms to defend themselves against them; besides they are so shy, that the least Noise frights them away.
What some authors have publish'd concerning a Lake, which they affirm is to be found in this Island, of a petrifying Quality, is a Mistake.
THE Portuguese have been in Possession of this Port upwards of 100 years, and formerly they had a great Trade here, when they were Masters of a considerable part of India, but now they have only a Fort with a very small Garrison.
The City is built upon a peninsula, or small Island, being separated from the Continent by a river. As for the Houses, they are built after the same manner as in Europe, but very low: The chinese are more numerous than the Portuguese, who are mixt with People of different Nations, and are born in India, or at Macao. They are not very rich, and but little esteem'd by the Chinese.
The Fortifications of Macao are pretty good, and well stock'd with Cannon, but the Garrison is but poorly maintain'd by the Chinese, who are Masters here. There is a Portuguese Governor, as well as a Chinese Mandarin, to take care of the City and neighbouring Country; the Palace of the latter is in the middle of the City, and the Portuguese Governor is oblig'd to obey his orders, especially where the Chinese are concerned.
The Portuguese became Masters of this Port by the following Accident: In the Time of Hong tchi, the Europeans traded at Canton, or at Ning po, in the Province of Tche Kiang, but in the Time of Kia tsing there was a Pirate called Tchang si lao, who took Macao, and besieged the Capital of the Province; the Mandarins desired the Masters of the European Ships that were there to lend them Assistance, which they did, and pursued the Pirate to Macao, and kill'd him there. The Tsong tou having inform'd the Emperor of this Victory, he publish'd a Decree, in which he gave Macao to the European merchants, that they might establish themselves there.
St. Francis Xavier, whom the portuguese call the Apostle of India, is buried in this Island, where he died, and his Sepulchre is at the Foot of a Mountain. This Island is not desolate, as some have affirm'd, for there are five villages in it inhabited by poor Fishermen, who live upon what they catch, and a little Rice which they sow. Here is a pretty Chapel, which was built about thirty Years ago by some Portuguese Jesuits.