Account of the Journey of the Peres Boures, Fontenay, Gerbillon, LeComte, and Vesdelou, from the Port of Ning Po to Peking; with a very exact and particular Description of all the Places through which they pass, in the Provinces of Tche Kiang, Kiang nan, Chan tong, and Pe tchcli.
ON November the 26th, 1687, we set Sail from Ning Po, on our Journey to Peking, to which Place we were order'd to repair by the Emperor; we embarked in the Evening with a Mandarin, who was appointed to attend us by the Governor.
The 27th, in the Morning, we palled by Yu yao Hien: Within the Bounds of this City is a pretty high Mountain, on which there is not a House to be seen, but towards the foot of it. A little River separates the City from a Palace, which was built by Li Co lao, to perpetuate the Memory of the Father of the Emperor Van lie.
He encompass'd a large Space of Ground with Walls, which afterwards was peopled, and is become a Part of the City. There is a Communication from one Part to the other, by a Bridge of three Arches, pretty well built, near which appear seven or eight Triumphal Arches, which are placed so near each other that they seem contiguous.
The same Day in the Evening we pass'd two Dikes, and soon after we came to a Place where they hoist up the Barks, in order to convey them into a Canal, which, is nine or ten Foot higher than the Level of the River. They hoist up the Bark by means of a Slope or Declivity paved with large Stones, and when they I have got it to the Top, they let it slide down another into the Canal. There are People who wait to be, hired for this Purpose, they are not above a Quarter of an Hour about it, having the Help of two Capstans.
That Part of the Country which we saw consists of large well cultivated Plains, bounded with barren Rocks, and frightful Mountains, some of which are covered with Pine and Cypress Trees. These are the most common Trees, which we beheld, from Ning po to Hang tcheou.
The Tallow-Tree is almost as common, especially towards Ning Po, where one hardly sees any other Sort, They were then without Leaves, and the Husks were fallen from the Fruit, which looking white, seem'd at a distance to be a Tree in full Bloom. On the 28th in the Morning we pass'd a kind of a Lake, or rather an Arm of the Sea, called Tsao hou, and this was at our own Expence, for the Mandarin declar'd his Commission extended no farther, and that he could not, now we were beyond the District of Ning po, oblige the Officers to furnish us with Necessaries. For this Reason we were obliged to hire new Barks, and bear the Mandarin's Expences as far as Hang tcheou.
This Day we failed along a very fine Canal, of which P. Martini makes mention, but does not say so much of it as it deserves. This Canal is near twenty Leagues in Length, it is lin'd on one Side with large flat Stones, five or fix Foot long, two in Breadth, and two or three Inches thick; its Water is clear and sweet, the Breadth of it is generally about twenty of thirty Geometrical Paces, and sometimes forty or more; sometimes it runs a League together in a strait Line, and sometimes twice as much. On each Side of the Grand Canal are other small ones, which run along the Plains as far as the Mountain, These again are subdivided into such a great Number of others, that they seem to form a kind of Labyrinth, in a large extensive Plain, as level as the Surface of Ice.
It is in this agreeable Place that the City of Chao hing has its Situation : In the Streets are a great Number of Canals, which gives Occasion for such a Plenty of Bridges. They are very high, and generally have but one Arch, which is so slightly built towards the Top, that Carriages never pass over them ; which makes a greater Number of Porters necessary. They pass over these Bridges by a kind of Stairs, of easy Accent, and whose Steps are not above three Inches in Thickness. There are other Sorts of Bridges, made of Stones of eighteen Foot long, laid upon Piles in the manner of Planks. There are many of these over the great Canal, very handsomely built.
In the Neighbourhood of Chao hing, and from thence as far as Hang tcheou, we met with a continual Succession of Houses and Hamlets, which would make one imagine that it was one entire City. The Houses in the Country are generally better built, and kept in better Repair, than those of the common Sort in many Cities.
On the 29th we pass'd by Siao chan, a City of the third Rank ; it is supposed to be so nam'd on account of a little Mountain that is in its Suburbs : this City is also water'd with several Canals ; its Gates, as well as those of Chao hing, are cover'd with Plates of Iron.
The 30th we went, in a Calash, to within half a League of Cien tang, which we pass'd in less than an hour and a half: This River is in Breadth, at this Place, about 4000 Geometrical Paces, and there is a very high Tide in it every Year, about the full Moon, in October. When we were over, we were accommodated with very handsome Calashes, which the Christians of Hang tcheou had taken Care to send. They accompanied us in a triumphant Manner to the Church, where we found the Pere Mercetta, grown grey with the Labours of his Apostolical Function, and who was not less venerable for his Virtue and Merit, than for his great Age.
As we were going to Court we were obliged, on that Account, to make and receive several Visits out of mere Formality. As we went to the Viceroy's Palace we pass'd along a very strait Street, about twenty five or thirty Foot in Breadth : The Middle is paved with large flat Stones, the other Part after the European Manner, but without any Descent ; every House has one Story above the Ground Floor, under that is the Shop, which is towards the Street ; on the Back-side is the Canal. There are Crouds of People , great as in the most frequented Greets of Paris, but not one Woman to be seen among them : This Street is adorned with several Triumphal Arches, placed at proper distances, which make a beautiful Appearance, The rest of the Streets, especially where the Soldiers and the Tartars live, are very different from this ; the Houses for the most part are little better than Cottages, and not so well Peopled as that before-mentioned.
We visited the Christians Burying-Place : All that Quarter, which is mountainous, is strewn with Tombs for the Space of two Leagues. We went afterwards upon the Lake, called St hou, where the Christians had prepared us a Dinner, in a large Bark, that had a Hall and several commodious Apartments.
The Water of this Lake is exceeding clear, and more than a League and half in Circumference. On the Banks, in several Places, we had the Prospect of some agreeable Houses, but such as have nothing in them very extraordinary; perhaps because the Tartars, who have several times sacked this City, have demolish'd the greatest Part of the Palaces.
The 19th of December we took Leave of the Mandarin, and after we had caused our Trunks to be put on board the Barks, we went to Prayers in the Church where the Christians were assembled ; they furnish'd us with Calashes as before, and conducted us to the Bark which was design'd for us.
We pass'd about 200 Paces eastward, thro' a very strait Street, in the Suburbs ; but as we turn'd out of it, before we came to the End, I could not tell how much farther it might extend. This Street is narrower than that which I spoke of before, the Houses are of two Stories, but very scanty; the Streets were crouded with People like the other, but there was not one Woman among them all.
The Bark we went on board of, though but a Third Rate, was very large, and extremely neat and commodious ; it was more than sixteen Foot in Breadth, about seventy in Length, and ten or twelve in Height. We had a Hall, and four convenient Rooms, without reckoning the Kitchen, and the Place where our Attendants retired upon the same Deck, Every Room was adorn'd with carved Work, painted and gilt ; the rest was beautifully varnish'd, and the Cieling, consisting of divers Pannels, was painted after the Chinese Manner.
We have seen some of these Barks of the Burden of 200 Ton, and much more commodious for the Reception of entire Families, than most of their Houses. There were at least 400 Barks in the Canal that we sail'd in. It lies North West of the City, and runs above a League in a strait Line. The Breadth of it is about thirty Yards : It is lin'd on each Side with Free-Stone : On the Banks are Rows of Houses, not more spacious than those in the Streets, and as full of People, The Barks, which lie on each Side of the Canal, are also crowded much in the same manner.
We were stop'd in our Bark till the 20th, because we were obliged to wait the Coming of the Viceroy, who intended to visit us, and bring us our Passport, which contained an Order for our being supply'd with all Necessaries, whether we travelled by Land or Water, till we should arrive at the Court. It was therefore, the 21 st, in the Morning, that we parted from Hang tcheou. When we were out of the Suburbs, we found the Stones placed only on one Side of the Canal, on which there was also a Path paved with Free-Stone, for the Convenience of those who draw the Barks along, and in the low and marshy Places, there is formed a kind of a Causway, with Stones of about eight Foot long, laid across each other by threes. These also serve for Bridges over the small Canals which run into the great one.
About four Leagues from Hang tchecu, we cross'd a Village call'd Tan si ; it is built on both Sides of the Canal, on which are also two Keys, about four or 500 Geometrical Paces in Length ; they are formed of the same Free-Stone which lines the Sides of the Canal: There are Stairs for the Conveniency of every House, which are much better built, and more uniform than those in the City. In the midst of the Village is a fine Bridge, with seven large Arches : That in the middle is forty five Feet wide ; the rest diminish in proportion to the Descent of the Bridge. These are two or three great Bridge of one Arch only, and several smaller Canals, with Houses on each Side, About two Lys from the Village there is an Island in the canal, in which is erected a very handsome Pagod.
The 22d, after having pass'd several Bridges, We found that the Canal grew narrower. We then arrived at a City, call'd Che men Hien, ten Leagues from Hang tchheou. Hitherto our Passage was generally North-East, and the Country flat, hill of Canals and Bridges : Houses and Hamlets were also very numerous, as well as Mulberry-Trees, of a dwarf Kind, planted almost every where in Plots like Orchards.
The 23d we arrived at Kia hing fou: we saw in our passage a handsome Pagod upon the Bank cf the Canal, and another in the Eastern Part of the Suburb. The City is large, well peopled, and has a great Trade.
On the 24th, early in the Mornings we enter'd a very fine Canal, twenty five of thirty Paces Wide, the Waters of which were exceeding clear. We cross'd a great Village, of Country-Town, caird, Qvan kiang king, of large Extent : One Part communicates with the other, by the means of a Bridge of three great Arches very curiously built: The Mid Arch is forty five Foot wide, and twenty Foot high.
About twenty Lys from the Village that we quited, we pass'd near another, on our left, call'd, Hoan kia kien tchin: It is in the Province of Kiang nan. We took it at first Sight for a City, it is so very large: It is divided and surrounded with Canals, quite cover'd with Barks; the Fields are well cultivated, and full of Hamlets, The Multitude and Largeness of the Canals, join'd to the Evennese of the Plains, which have not so much as the least Eminence, make it probable that the Country has been formerly quite under Water, and that the Chinese, who are extremely laborious, have drained it off, by making these Canals and Sluices, and and by that means render'd it the most fertile and pleasant Country in the World.
Ten Lys farther we arriv'd at Pin vang, which signifies an even Prospect: It is a large Town, which We took at first for a City, On account of the Multitude of Houses and Inhabitants. Several Canals are cut through the Streets, on which are a great Number of Barks, and also Bridges, very well built : These Canals receive their Water from a great Lake on the West Side of the Town.
Beyond this Town, the Canals extended farther than one can see, in a Right Line: with a Causway of fine Free-Stone along the Edge of it. On East appears another Lake, and these two Lakes reach as far as Ou kiang. About a League on this Side, we observ'd the Causway was seven Foot high, cover'd on all Sides with Free-Stone, which appear'd like a solid Bridge. At proper distances there were small Arches made through it, for the Water to pass into the Fields, which were sown with Rice, and at this Time quite flooded. This Night ushering in the festival of the Nativity, we said Mass in the Hill, which was as steady as if the Bark had stood still.
On Christmas-Day we found our selves at the Foot of the Walls of Suo tcheou, in a Canal near forty Foot broad: It lies North and South, in a Right Line, along the Side of a Wall, at least a League in Length; Our Bark was stop'd over against a great Arch of a Magnificent Bridge, under which is a Passage into a great Canal, which runs towards the West.
In the Field, not far from the Bank, we beheld a kind of square Pavillion, or Edifice, with a double Roof, covered with Yellow Tiles, and encompass'd with a Wall, with Holes through, towards the Top, and adorn'd with Variety of Figures : It is a Monument which the Mandarins erected in Memory of the Honour done them by the Emperor Cang hi, when he visited their City without that splendid Equipage and Pomp which belonged to his Dignity. There is engrav'd, on a Stone of this Edifice, the Inftrudlions which were given by him to the Viceroy, for the Government of the People.
Early in the Morning we enter'd the City, through the West-Gate, and after having past about five or six Lys on different Canals, we arriv'd at our Church, where we found the Pere Simon Rodorigues, who presided over a numerous and zealous Society of Christians. Near the Gate, through which we enter'd, we saw a Tower six or seven Stories high ; and in the Suburbs, about a League from the Walls, another of the same Height. The Figure was a Polygon.
This Day we received a visit from Hiu laoge, Grandson of Paul siu, a most zealous Advocate for the Christian Religion : He is a Hamlin, that is, a Doctor of the highest Rank. He was chosen by his Majesty to be near his Person, for his Skill in Composing and Printing. This renders him a very considerable Person : His Billets of Invitation are wrote in the same manner as those of a Viceroy. This illustrious Christian, notwithstanding our Opposition, fell on his Knees to salute us, and beat his Forehead against the Earth, to shew the Respect that he bore to the Preachers of the Gospel. On the 26th we visited the Viceroy of the Province, who rides in this City, who received us with a great deal of Civility and Politeness.
The 28th we left Sou tcheou, past along the great Canal about two Miles Northward, and then turned into one more small, towards the West, still continuing in the Suburbs for a League together.
* Ten Lys make a League. .
After I had beheld the Walls of Sou tcheon on one Side only, and had consider'd the Largeness of the Suburbs, and the Multitude of the Barks, I easily persuaded my self that the City might be, as they assert, more than four Leagues in Circuit, and that it contains several Millions of Souls.
As soon as we left the Suburbs, the Canal grew considerably larger, and was extended in a Right Line the Space of ten Leagues, as far as Voussie hien, a City of the Third Rank. We went close by the Walls, which are twenty four Foot high, but not very strong : There is a Foffe, or Canal, which encompassed the City, the Space between which and the Walls is very ' neatly kept, and affords very agreeable Walks , besides, the Canals crossing each other in several Places, form Variety of little Islands, which are famous for Tea that is sent from thence all over the Empire. From hence the Canal runs North West through Fields extremely well cultivated, and as level as a Bowling-Green. There appears a continual Succession of Hamlets and Villages, which yield a very agreeable Prospect, there being nothing to intercept the Sight : But the most delightful Scene of all is, when the Prospect is bounded by some large City.
On the 30th of December in the Evening we arriv'd at Tchan tcheou fou, a very famous City, and of great Commerce. We only past a small Part of the Suburbs of about half a League : The Barks were so numerous that they quite covered the Water. This Evening they surpriz'd two Thieves, who by Favour of the Night crept into our Bark, one of them found means to make his Escape, and we hindered the other from being carried before the Mandarins ; so that when he was let go, he made the best of his Way to a little Bark, where there were several of his Accomplices, with whom he disappear'd in an Instant: It is said that these Thieves burn a sort of a Pastil, the Fumes of which procure Sleep,
The 31st in the Morning we left Tchan tcheou, and found that the Canal was much narrower, being but twelve Foot broad ; the Banks were seventeen or eighteen Foot high, and perpendicular : About forty nine Lys farther, the Canal runs in a strait Line quite out of Sight ; the Sides were lin'd to the Height of Ten or Twelve Foot, with fine Square Pieces of grey Marble of the Colour of Slate.
About two Leagues on this Side Tan yang we were obliged to quit the Canal, and continue our Journey by Land : At this Place they were making the Canal of a greater Depth, that the Barks, which transport the Tribute to Court, might pass with Safety. Though the passage had been closed but one Day, we found an infinite Number of Barks stopt, and those who belonged to them, like us, pursuing their Journey by Land Carriages.
The Mandarin of Tan yang, who had Notice of our coming the Day before, lent us Calashes, Horses and Porters to conduct us to Aching kiang fou. Those who carry'd us and our Baggage travelled at the Rate of a good German League an Hour, so that in two Hours Time we arriv'd at Tan yang ; on this Side of which, near the Canal, we saw a Tower seven Stories high, and over two large Bridges of Marble with only one Arch : The Suburbs of this City are pav'd with Marble, and the Walls are of Brick twenty four foot high, and built on a Marble Foundation.
On the North of this City lies a Lake five or six Leagues in Circumference, on the Side of which we travelled about a League before we arrived at Malin; it is a Town near two Leagues beyond Tan yang, We there pass'd the Night in a House that the Christians had prepared for us : Though this Town consists of one Street only, yet we were assur'd that it contains more than 200,000 Souls. It is pav'd with Marble, as all other Towns were, as far as Tching tiang fou; in several Places we saw Pieces of white Marble six Foot in height, on which were several Figures in Relievo, but wretchedly done.
The second of January we arrived at Tching kiang: We pass'd about 1300 Geometrical Paces along the Suburbs, all paved with Marble, the Pieces of Marble, wherewith the Middle of the Street is paved, are three Foot long, and two broad. After we had passed above a League by the Side of the Walls, which arc thirty Foot high, and in good repair, we turned over a Marble Bridge into another Part of the Suburbs, where we met with such a Concourse of People, that a passage could not be open'd for us without some Difficulty.
The City of Tching kiang is none of the largest, for it is only a League in Circumference ; but it is very conderable for Commerce, and being so near the Sea, may be reckoned the Key of the Empire. Its Distance from the Sea does not exceed two Days Journey: It is also a fortified Place, there being a large Garrison, and eighteen Pieces of Cannon which command the Port.
We had not gone the Length of a Street in this Quarter, but we perceived a little Mountain, the Top of which affords one of the most agreeable Prospects in the World. On one Side appears the City of Tching kiang, on the other the large River Yang tse kiang, which the Chinese call the Son of the Sea, or Ta kiang, the Great River, or, more simply, Kiang, The River; and indeed it is so very large, that one would take it to be an Arm of the Sea. On the opposite Banks we beheld Koua tcheou, which, though not a City, has all the Privileges of one, and is a Place of great Trade : At the Foot of this Hill is the Port, where there is always a prodigious. Concourse of People, who make no small Bustle and Noise.
'Twas here we cross'd the River, which at this Place is more than a League over ; about 700 Paces in the River is a Place which looks like an enchanted Island, the Natives call it the Golden Mountain. It is about 600 Foot in Circumference ; on the Top is a Tower several Stories high, encompass'd with Pagods and the Houses of the Bonzes.
On the other Side of the River we enter'd into a Canal, and pass'd Koua tcheou in the Night Time. Early in the Morning we arrived at Tan thoufou ; it is a fine City, is well peopled, and has a great Trade. It is said to contain 2,000,000 of Souls.
The l0th of January, at six in the Evening, we proceeded in Litters, and took up our Lodgings about four Leagues and a half from thence at Chao pe, a large Town : We travell'd great Part of the Way on a fine Causeway, on the Side of a Canal. The nth, after having travell'd seven Leagues without flopping, we arrived at Kao yeou tcheou : This Country is flat, and almost all under Water : We travelled upon a Causeway of about thirty Foot broad, and ten or twelve high, covered in some Places with Marble, especially on the Side towards the Canal, which we le't on our Right Hand.
Beyond this appeared a great Lake, a League in Breadth, which is parallel to the Canal. The Country on the Right Hand is likewise overflowed, excepting a few Spots which are sown with Rice, and on which appear several Hamlets, whose Houses are covered with Reeds, and the Walls made of Cane daub'd with Clay : The vast Number of Barks, under Sail, and rowing through the Fields, yielded a very diverting Spectacle.
We were informed that Yao yeon tcheou is a fine City, but we did not see it our selves, we only passed by the Side of the Walls about 1200 Paces. In the Suburbs we saw a Tower seven Stories high, and another square Edifice near the same Height, whose Dimensions decreased like a Pyramid, but did not, like it, end in a Point : The Suburbs were large and well built.
The 12th in the Morning we travelled six Leagues on the Causeway, which lies between the Lake and the Canal : Here the Lake appeared like a vast Ocean, with an infinite Number of Barks under Sail. We also saw large Flocks of Wildfowl, which, when they were upon the Wing, seem'd to darken the Sky : In the Afternoon we travelled six Leagues farther to Pao king hien, our Road lying still between the Lake and the Canal. On the Right the Country is flat and well cultivated, but a great Part of it is under Water.
On the 14th, after having gone eight Leagues farther, we came to Hoai ngan fou, which seem'd to us to be a more considerable City, on all Accounts, than Yang tcheou. The Grand Master of the Waters, Canals and Rivers, has his residence here, who then took up the publick Inn, where those whom the Emperor fends for ought to lodge, insomuch that we were obliged to content our selves with a wretched Hut made of Mats and Reeds, notwithstanding the Coldness of the Season, and the Snow, which drove into the Places where we lay. Three Mandarins lodged with us, who were greatly pleased with the Sight of some of our Books, and the Images of Paper which they found therein: We made them a Present of a French Crown, for which they returned us the same Weight in Silver, and invited us to drink Tea in their Apartment, where they regaled us with several kinds of Fruits.
On the 15th in the Afternoon we went to lodge at Tchin kiang fou, a large Town about three Leagues farther : The Country is flat, well cultivated, and in some Places half under Water, which renders it fit for bearing Rice: Here are Plenty of Geese, Wild Ducks, Pheasants, &c.
We did not leave this Place till the I7th, which: was almost entirely taken up in crossing Hoang he, or the Yellow River, on account of the Ice which retarded our Passage. The River at this Place is no more than 450 Toises, or 900 Yards in Breadth, the Mouth of it being twenty five Leagues distant : The Channel is indifferently straight, the Banks are of a yellowish Clay, which mixing with the Water makes it of the same Colour, whence it derives its Name. If this River was not kept within its Bounds by Dikes, it would make dreadful Havock in the Country, for which Reason they are very careful to keep them in Repair.
We took up our Lodgings in a Country Town ; the Road to it was exceeding smooth and pleasant, the Plains well cultivated, and, full of Hamlets, some not fifty, and none more than 200 Paces distant from each other. About a League from the River we met with a Causeway discontinued in one Place, over which is a kind of a Wooden Bridge, supported by large Stones of ten or twelve Foot high. The Bridge is about 300 Paces in length, paved very handsomely with square Stones, We afterwards pass'd a Canal parallel to the Yellow River, which runs directly North, and took notice of three other fine Causeways as we pass'd along, which are the common Roads to different Cities.
Hitherto we had not met with one Flock of Sheep In our Journey, but we had seen Plenty of white Goats, and black Hogs, but few Cows and Buffaloes, a great many small Mules, Asses, and a sorry kind of Horses, which are generally used for Travelling. The People are so numerous that they perform the Offices of Beasts of Burden themselves, even to the carrying each other ; and tho' the Land is very fruitful and well cultivated, yet it would not suffice to yield Sustenance both for Man and Beast. The houses of that Suburbs and Country Towns, beyond Hoai ngan, are made of Reeds and Earth, and cover'd with Straw
The 18th we travell'd eleven Leagues to Sou tsien hien; the Country still continued flat and level, with sereral large Causeways, the Descent or Slopes on each Side of which are kept in good Repair : These Causeways are commonly ten or twelve Foot high, and twenty five or thirty broad, which renders Travelling very commodious and pleasant.
Almost all the Day our Journey lay by the Side of a small River, whose Stream is very swift ; by the Course it is probably the same we mistook for an artificial Canal the Evening before : The Land here is marshy, full of Water, and the Trees which grow in that Place resemble the Birch-Tree.
Sou tsien hien stands upon a rising Ground, the Walls are half in Ruins, and the Suburbs are much preferable to the City : Near the Walls appear'd a kind of a Palace newly built, which is a Monument in Honour of the Emperor Cang hi, who pass'd through this City on his Way to Sou tcheou. The principal Part of this Edifice is a fort of an oblong square Salon, open on all Sides, with a double Roof cover'd with Yellow Tiles.
On the 19th we left Sou tsien ; about half a league beyond it we found seven flat Bridges lying all in the same Line : They are each 1oo Foot long, with Rails on both Sides, and Triumphal Arches at each End, made of Wood ; beyond this they were building another, and still farther we found a ninth, hut not very neatly built. The Number of the Canals, which seem here to form a kind of a Labyrinth, make these Bridges necessary , the Country still continues flat, but not so smooth and level as before, nor yet so well peopled nor cultivated as on the preceding Days, the Soil is hard, black and barren, and the Houses made of Straw and Earth,
This Day and the following we travell'd but Six Leagues, and stop'd at Hong hoa pou, a pretty large Town, where the Country had a better Aspect, and the Hamlets were more frequent. We also met with a sort of Centry-Boxes for Sentinels, placed at proper distances : The Causeway reaches no farther than Sou tsien. On this Day we discover'd a Flock of Sheep, which was the first we had seen; the Reasona of this perhaps is, because they let none of their Land lie uncultivated, and consequently there must be but little Grass.
The 21st we began to see several Orchards planted with Fruit-Trees : The Road in general, beyond Tang tcheou, is extremely good and commodious ; for tho' it was the Depth of Winter, we did not find one bad Step ; there is neither Dirt, nor Stones, nor the least Inequality : After Dinner we went Six Lys farther ; on our Right we saw a Hill, whose Ridge runs North and South , we lodged at Li kia chuang.
As far as this Town we had seen lying in the Fields a great many Rollers, some hollow in the middle, some solid, which serv'd to level the Ground, and keep it smooth. On the 22d we cross'd the little River, on whose Bank the Town Hands, and four Leagues beyond came to Y tcheou, where the Aspect of the Country continued still the same, and the Roads were dry and sandy: This City seem'd to be no more than half a League in Circumference ; the Walls were of Brick, and in good Repair.
The Governor made us a visit in our Inn, and dispatch'd a Messenger to give Notice of our coming along the Road, which proved very serviceable to us, otherwise we should have found it difficult in this Province [Chan tongl to have got a sufficient Number of Porters to have carry'd our Baggage.
We pass'd into one Part of the Suburbs, over a Bridge with five small Arches ; it is of Marble, with Rails of the same, adorn'd with lions very indifferently carv'd. Without the Suburbs are a great Number of Tombs made of Earth, in the Form of a Pyramid, with Inscriptions engraved on Marble: We lodged Four Leagues beyond Y Tcheou, at a wretched Town, whose Houses were made of Earth covered with Stubble, the Soil is sandy, which renders the Road troublesome to Travellers on account of the Dust. Beyond Y Tcheou the Country is not so open, for one begins to see quick-set Hodges of a strong rugged kind of a Thorn : At the distance of every half League, we met with Sentinels in their Boxes, or Huts, which are about Twelve Foot high, made of Earth or Turf: They make Signals in the Night by putting Fire on the Top of their Huts, and in the Day by hanging up Pieces of Cloth,
The 23d we travelled Nine or Ten Leagues : In the Morning the Country was very unequal, and sometimes we were forc'd to go down very steep Descents; the Land in many Places was barren ; but in the Evening we came into a very fertile Plain, lying between two Ridges of Mountains, one on the East, the other on the West ; these latter were high, steep, and craggy, and frightful to behold on account of the naked Rocks.
The Houses of the Towns that we saw are built of Stone, in a very coarse manner, the People are generally employed in spinning or weaving the gray Silk of Chan tong. It was there we first saw the wild Silk-Worms that live indifferently on all forts of Leaves, which produce a greyish Silk, of which is made the Stuff call'd Hien tcheou ; it washes very well, and is used throughout the Empire ; tho' it is not very glossy, it is worn by Persons of Quality in their own Houses.
The 24th we travell'd all the Day between barren Mountains, but the Valleys are well cultivated and peopled. We din'd at Mong in hien, a small City, whose Walls are but Twelve Foot high, and in bad Repair: Tho' the Road was full of Ascents and Descents, it was very dry and good, but Dusty.
The 25th we went Eight Leagues, and pass'd through the Suburbs of a small City, Sin lai bien.] Our Road lay through a fine level Country, well inhabited and cultivated, and abounding with Fruit-Trees : The Ridge of Mountains still continued on both Sides, about a League from the Road ; here and there appeared an open Space, through which one might see the Country at a vast distance.
The 26th, after having travell'd three Hours among frightful desert Mountains, we came to a Plain well cultivated, and abounding with Fruit Trees. After Dinner we found the Country equally charming, till we came to Tai ngan tcheou, which lies at the Foot of a hideous Mountain, which covers it from the North-Winds : This City has a very agreeable Situation, and the Walls are Twenty five Foot high; but the Houses within are very despicable.
The 27th we rested to give Time for our Baggage, which came a different Road, to overtake us. The 28th we travelled Nine or Ten Leagues among steep craggy Mountains, where very little of the Land was cultivated, tho' the Towns were numerous enough, and well-peopled : One Third of them had large Wens or Swellings in their Necks : It is supposed that the Well-Water, which they are obliged to make use of, is the Cause.
The Inns are very inconvenient, the Beds are only Prick Forms of the Length of a Man : The Entertainment is also very bad, tho' Pheasants are not much more than a Penny a piece. The Mountains,, which I mentioned before, are not extremely high, but they are generally without any Trees: Some of them are cover'd with Earth, and were formerly cultivated 4 and their being neglected now, is the only remaining Sign of the Ravages of War that we have hitherto perceiv'd Any other Kingdom would have been exhausted of Men, after so many unheard of Massacres, for it is scarcely credible how many Millions of Men have perish'd by Famine and Sword, since the last Emperor of the Dynasty of Ming. The Decline of this Dynasty began by an almost general Famine : This Calamity was favourable to a great Number of Banditti, whose Intention was to live by open Violence ; they entered. Sword in Hand, into the Towns and Cities, and taking from thence the choicest young Men, they massacred the rest of the Family, to the end that they having neither Father, nor Mother, nor House, nor Home, might remain firmly attach'd to their Interest.
The Heads of these Banditti made away with each other, till at length there were but two left, one of whom was so ambitious as to aspire after the Empire; to facilitate which Design, he made himself Master of Peking, and obliged the Emperor to hang himself thro' Despair ; even whole Provinces were depopulated ; to which if you add the War made by the tartars, who were invited to suppress the Banditti, and the last Civil War, it will be no hard Matter to conclude, that no Empire but China could undergo such Devastations without being intirely ruin'd.
The 29th we traveled three Leagues between Mountains as rugged and craggy as before : We pass'd by one in Shape of a Cone, on whose Top was a small Pagod, to which they ascended by very difficult Stairs of about 200 Steps. Soon after there appeared in view an extensive Plain, wherein we travell'd the rest of the Day, very much incommoded with Dust, otherwise the Road was extremely good. At the end of Nine Leagues we took up our Lodging ; but about two Leagues before we arriv'd, we pass'd near a small City call'd Tchang tsin hien ; we were oblig'd to pass over a Bridge built before the Gate of the City, across a River which was then dry.
This Bridge consists of Nine Arches, supported by very large Square Stone Piers, which make the Arches but Small : The Posts which support the Rails are rudely carved in the Shape of Animals; the whole is made up of a kind of blackish Marble, quite rough and unpolish'd, and the Pavement of the Bridge is of the same. We found a great deal of this Marble in the two Provinces that we pass'd thro', but especially in this of Chan tong, wherein we are , and it is probable that the Mountains ,which we saw consist of it, because in those Places where the Earth was wash'd away, they had the same Appearance.
The 30th we traveled Ten Leagues in a champain Country, well cultivated, and abounding with large Hamlets or Villages, which one might easily mistake for Country-Towns. The Road is Dusty, which incommodes Travellers very much: In every Town are several Pagods, which are the only Edifices built with Brick ; all the rest are of Earth and Straw : The Roofs and Parts near them are full of Ornaments, such as Foliage, Birds, and Dragons, and are covered with red and blue japan'd Tiles.
In the Country we beheld, from time to time, several Tombs made of Earth, in the Form of a Pyramid ; and there are generally in these Places small Groves of Cypress, with a flat Leaf, which look very pretty. Before Noon we pass'd near Tu tching hien ; it is a square City, whose Walls are made of tempered Earth mix'd with Straw ; and, in several Places, of Bricks hardened by the Sun, and roughcast with Potters Clay ; the Publick-Houses, or Inns, are the most wretched we have yet seen.
Besides a great number of Towns which lie across the high Road, we often meet with Inns on the Borders of it ; these are miserable Huts made of Reeds, or at best a kind of Cottages, with Walls made of Mud and Earth, much frequented by the Vulgar: On the greatest Part of the Towers may be seen Iron Bells, very inartificially cast.
The Extent of our Journey on the 31st was Twelve Leagues : Within two Leagues of the Town where we lodg'd, we saw on our Left the City Pin yuen Men, which seem'd to be about two Leagues in Circumference, We saw in the Suburbs we pass'd thro' an infinite Number of People, and a great many Timber-Yards full of Wood, for which there appeared to be a great Demand.
Eight Leagues from this City we found Te tcheou, a large City, situate on the great Royal Canal, and encompass'd with fine Brick Walls : That Part of the Suburbs through which we pass'd, appeared like a City for Extent and Number of People. From Te tcheou the Road, which was before a little hollow, became level with the Ground about it, and, excepting the Dust, was exceeding pleasant. The Plain is as level as a Garden, full of small Towns surrounded with Fruit-Trees, and diversify'd with Groves of Cypress planted near the Tombs, which form a very agreeable Landscape; the Soil is a kind of Potters Clay, but somewhat more gray and soft, and the Carts are drawn by Oxen, in the same manner as by Horses in Europe, the Houses are mostly made of Earth, and are very low, with almost flat Roofs. They are compos'd of Reeds covered with Earth, and supported with Mats which lie upon the Spars and Joists. One may judge by this Specimen of the Goodness of the Inns, which are not so well built by much. They use no Fire-Wood ; their principal Fuel is Pit-Coal, and that cannot be cheap, for in the Inns they burn a great Quantity of Reeds and Stubble, of which there is abundance.
The Royal, Canal, which lies to the North of this City was frozen up, on which for half a League together we saw a Row of Barks, which lay so near each other, that they seem'd to touch. Beyond Hang hoa pou we saw frequently a sort of square Towers made of Brick, consisting of two Stories : Their Height is about Forty-five Foot, their Length Fifty or Sixty, and their Breadth Eighteen or Twenty, with Seven Battlements on one Side, and Three on the other : Their Towns are inclosed with little Mud-Walls, with two Gates at each Extremity of the chief Streets, and over these Gates are the Pagods, or Idol Temples.
The 1st of February, four Leagues from the Place where we lodg'd, we enter'd the Province of Pe tche li: We pass'd through the Extremity of the Suburbs of King tcheou ; the Walls seem'd to be made of Earth; we judg'd it to be square, like the rest of the Chinese Cities. Within the City appears an Hexagonal Tower of eleven or twelve Stories, but decreasing in Circumference as it rises higher : There were Windows on all sides of each Story. We beheld several of the smaller Towers in the North and South Parts of the Suburbs : The Inhabitants make use of these Towers to secure their Effects in troublesome Times, and when they fear an Irruption of Robbers ; The Houses of the Country-Towns are of Earth and Straw, and their Roofs are almost flat. To Speak in general, in all our Journey from Ning po we did not take notice of one Building, except the Publick ones, that was worthy of Observation : We took up our Lodging five Leagues beyond King tcheou, at a City call'd Fou tching Hen. It was there that we learned that the Empress, Mother of the Emperor Cang hi , died on the 27th of the preceding Month. In conformity to the Custom of the Empire, we took from our Caps the Tufts of red Silk ; this is accounted a Distinction or Sign of Mourning. This Ceremony is observ'd for twenty-seven Days throughout the Empire, accounting from the Time the News first arrived, and if any Person fails herein, he is liable to be punish'd.
The 2d was the Beginning of the Chinese Year; this is observ'd as a Time of Rejoicing for several Days : Besides the common Salutations, there were publick Diversions, Illuminations, and Fire-Works.
This Day, after having din'd at a large Town seven Leagues from Fou tching, when we left the Town, we pass'd over a fine Marble Bridge, about twenty Foot long ; the Rails were of Marble also, with Figures in Basso relievo, more accurately done than what we had seen before : There is a great Quantity of Marble in this Province ; the Country is level and well cultivated, full of Towns and Villages. The little Towers we mentioned before are also very numerous, insomuch that one would, at a distance, take the Towns to be so many Fortresses ; all the Houses are made of Earth, with flat Roofs, covered with Straw. We met upon the Road a great number of Couriers, with little Boxes at their Backs, wrap'd in yellow Stuff, which is the Imperial Colour, they were probably carrying the News of the Decease of the Empress to different Places . This Evening we traveled four or five Leagues ; and, after having pass'd near Hien hien, we took up our Lodging at Kie kia lin.
Our Journey the 3d was eleven Leagues : After we had travelled about two Hours, we pass'd near the Walls of Ho kien fou, which might be about two Leagues in Compass ; the Figure of it was square, the Walls and Parapets were of Brick, and in very good Repair : We took up our Lodging at a City call'd Gin kieou hien. The Face of the Country that we pass'd through, was much the fame as the preceding Days; We observ'd in divers Places Marble Monuments, with Inscriptions placed perpendicularly on the Top of a great Marble Tortoise. From Ning po we had beheld neither Woods nor Forest, but all the Land was well cultivated, except that which was Hooded, and a few barren Mountains.
The 4th we left Gin kieou hen, which is a City of an oblong square Form, about 1400 Paces in Circuit : The Walls and Parapets are of Brick, with Towers at certain Distances, and are more than thirty Foot high ; the Houses, as well as those of the Country-Towns, are likewise of Brick, whole Roofs are very handsome.
Five Leagues from this City we pass'd by a large Trading Town, in the middle of which is a Triumphal Arch; immediately beyond this Town a Causeway' begins, and a League farther we came to marshy Land, through which the Causeway is continued about 500 Paces, at the End of which is a large Town, with three Wooden Bridges over the fame Number of Canals.
Two Leagues from hence we pass'd through the City Hiong hien. The Street we went thro' is adorn'd with four Triumphal Arches; the Pillars stand upon Bases of white Marble about three Foot high, composed of four Stones bound together with Iron Hoops, and fasten'd with large Pins of the same Metal; the Pillars themselves, were of Wood.
After we left Hiong hien, where we dined, we went four Leagues farther to Pe keou ho, a large Town, where we took up our Lodging. At the two Extremities of this Place are two Gates, with Pagods built over them ; the Country-Towns being now to be more neat, and the Houses are cover'd with thick Tiles.
The 5th, at the distance of two Leagues from the Town, we pass'd several Canals ; and one League farther we cross'd Sin tching hien ; it is of a square Figure, and is no more than 12 or 1300 Paces in Compass.
After Dinner we cross'd the City Tso cheou, through the principal Street, which is very broad, and lies in a right Line. This City is 3000 Paces in Circumference, and is better peopled than the rest. The Suburbs on the North and South Sides of it are very large, the Streets handsome and straight; but the Houses are low, after the Chinese manner, none of them exceeding two Stories, At our Departure out of the North Part of the Suburbs we met with a very agreeable Prospect; on the Right was a spacious Plain, which, as far as our Sight could reach, was without the least Eminence or Inequality; on the Left was a Chain of Mountains, on the Side of which our Road lay to Peking , and which seem'd to be the Bounds of the Province Pe tche li. We came to Bridge of nine Arches, which are supported by Piers of square Stone. The whole work is solid and strong, and the Bridge is paved with large square Stones, and the Sides of it are wall'd or rail'd with large Pieces of Marble, two Foot and a Half high, which slide into Grooves in the Sides of Posts made of the same : There are sixty-two of these Posts on each Side. The Pieces of Mable in the middle are about six foot long, but they decrease gradually towards each end of the Bridge. One Part of the Bridge is joined to a Causeway made of earth, about 500 Paces in length, at the end of it is another bridge made like the former, on each Side of which are thirty-four posts. At the Entrance we left on the Right a Che Pei, that is, a large marble Stone placed in a large square Room made of Brick; it is supported by a Marble Base, two Foot and a half high, and four Paces square. It is, doubtless, a Monument erected to Memory of some illustrious person, of which we had seen several near the Road.
For three Days past the Soil was more grey and hard than usual, and we continued to meet an infinite Number of passengers going backward and forward, We took up our lodging two Leagues from Tso Tcheou, at a large Town call'd laou li ho. We travell'd this Day twelve leagues.
The 6th we left this Town, and as soon as we were got out of the Suburbs, we found a very handsome Bridge, about a hundred Geometrical Paces in length, and twenty Foot in Breadth, with two large Triumphal Arches at each End. The Rails or Side-Walls of the Bridge consist of large flat Stones, some whits, others grey, which are supported by small Pillars of the lime, very much resembling Marble. These Stones are artificially cut, and adorn'd with variety of Mouldings. The Bridge is paved with large handsome flat Stones, to which is join'd a great Causeway, twenty Foot broad, and six or seven hundred Paces long ; it is paved in the same manner.
Four Leagues from leou li ho is situate Liang hiang Hien, a considerable City, but very indifferently wall'd. About a League beyond this, we pass'd over fine Bridge, the Rails or Side-Walls of which are large handsome white Stones : At the four Extremities were placed the Figures of Elephants. We saw another, the great Stones on the Side-Walk of which were carv'd like Rails. We travell'd this Day but three Leagues.
We stop'd at a Village eight Leagues on this side Peking, to wait for News from the Fathers of our society, who were at Court. We there learn'd the melancholy News of the death of P. Ferdinand Verbiest, which happen'd the 28th of January. The Emperor spared nothing that was necessary for his preservation, whom he honour'd with his Favour. One of his chief Physicians was order'd to attend, but too late, for he inform'd the Emperor, to use his own Expression, That Nine Parts of him in Ten were already dead; and he accordingly expired a few Days after.
The 7th, the Fathers at Court sent an officer of the mathematical Tribunal to conduct us to Peking.
None of them were permitted to come in Person, on Account of Mourning for Pere Verbiest, which they were obliged to observe after the Chinese manner. We set forward on our Journey about One in the noon. On this Road, which is forty Yards and upwards in Breadth, there was such a dreadful Noise caused by the Multitude of People, Horses, Mules, Asses, Camels, Chaises, Litters, and Carts, that it is impossible to give you any tolerable Notion of it.
We cross'd Lou keou kiao about three Leagues from Peking : It is a little City, about 1,200 Paces in compass, the Appearance of it was very agreeable, the Walls were extremely well built, and it had two double Gates, with a Place for Arms, and handsome room over it. At the Entrance of the City we pass'd over a bridge, the finest we had yet seen; the Arches were small, but the Walls on each Side were made of a hard whitish Stone resembling Mable. Each Stone was five Foot long, three high and ,en or eight lunches thicks supported at each End with small Pillars, adorrn'd with Mouldings, and the Figures of Lions, I reckoned, on one Side only, 147 of these Pillars. It was paved with large flat Stones, joined as exactly together as the Floor of a Hall. The Walls of the City are handsomly built, and are Forty Foot high. The Rampart is not very thick, the raised Way is broad, and artificially made, as well as the Parapet, the Battlements of which are very near each other. The Road from this City to Peking look like one continued Street, there is such a Number , People continually palling backward and forward.
Four or five hundred Paces from the farther Gate we were stop'd at the Custom-House, but our Baggage was suffer'd to pass without Examination. During our stay, a Person open'd the window of the Vehicle, and demanded if we were come to pay Tribute to the Emperor; for it is worth observing that the Chinese think themselves to be, by far, the most considerable Part of the World, and all those Nations that send Presents to their Emperors are their Tributaries. Thus they not only place Korea, Japan, Bengal, and Sarmacand in that Number, but even all the Mahometans, and the Muscovites themselves.
About a League before we arrived at Peking, we saw all the Country overrun with little Groves of pretty tall Trees, and enclosed with Walls made of Earth. These are so many different Burying-Places, About Four in the Afternoon we entered Peking, thro' a double Gate, as all the other Gates of the City are. It was quite covered with Iron Plates, fasten'd
K with a great many Rows of very large Nails. The Walls are from thirty to thirty-five Foot high, on which are placed square Towers at proper distances. , The Street thro' which we pass'd lay in a direct Line, and was in Breadth from forty-five to fifty Foot. We pass'd along it a good half League, in the midst [of an incredible Throng of People ; and yet not one Woman was to be seen among them. Every now and then we met with a kind of Mountebanks or Jugglers, with Crouds about them of fifty or sixty Men. A Stranger would naturally conclude it was the Time of some great Fair, or other publick Assembly.
We could not perceive the End of this large Street, when we turn'd short into another almost as large as the former, and the Throngs of People the same. In both these Streets the Houses are low, being nothing but a Ground-Floor ; and there is nothing to attract the Eyes, but the Shops of the great Merchants, which for Neatness and Riches excel most in Europe. The Entrance into these Shops is finely adorn'd with Gilding, Paintings, and Sculptures, in a Manner which is very beautiful to behold.
At the End of this Street we enter'd into the Second City, that is, the City of the Tartars : The Gate at this Place wa double, as before ; The second or inward Gate has t large Edifice built over it, with a double Roof; it consists of two Stories: The Tiles are japan'd, and the lower Part is adorn'd with Painting and Sculptures. The Advance-Wall in the Place, which answers to the Gate, has likewise an Edifice erected over it, much larger than the former : It is four Stories high, with twelve Square Windows in each, which yields an agreeable Prospect at the Entrance of the second Street of the Chinese City.
When we were through both the Gates, we turn'd on the right Hand to the Portuguese Jesuit's House, which is over against, and not far from the Rampart. We pass'd thro' three little Gates, into a square regular Court, on each Side of which was a handsome square Tower, the Tops of them were built in the Manner of an Observatory. In that on the right Hand was a v6ry fine Organ, and in the other a Clock with several Bells.
At the Beginning of the Chinese Year, all Peking came to see these Curiosities, and the Court was never empty from Morning till Night, during which Time the Organ play'd, and the Chimes went ; and many went into the Church, who were inform'd, by a Person appointed for that Purpose, of the Mysteries represented by the Paintings ; insomuch that several, who only fought to satisfy their natural Curiosity, met unawares with Motives for their Conversion to the Christian Faith.