Of the Great Wall

Of the Great Wall, which divides China from TARTARY. 

THIS celebrated Wall was built by the famous Emperor Tsin chi hoang, with a politick View, 221 Years before Christ. It is the Northern Boundary of China J and defends it from the neighbouring Tartars, who were at that Time divided into several Nations under different Princes, which prevented their doing any Injury to China, but by their sudden Irruptions. There was then no Instance of such a Union of the Western Tartars, as happened at the Beginning of the Thirteenth Century, when they conquered China. There is nothing in the World equal to this Work, which is continued thro' three great Provinces, viz. Pe tcheli, Chansi, and Chen si, built often in Places which seem inaccessible, and strengthen'd with a Series of Forts. The Beginning of this Wall is a large Bulwark of Stone, raised in the Sea, to the East of Peking and almost in the same Latitude, being 40°. 2'. 6" ,. in the Province of Pe tcheli. It is built like the Walls of the common Cities of the Empire, but much wider, being terrass'd, and cas'd with Brick' , and is from 20 to 25 Feet high. P. Regis, and the P. who assisted him in making the Map of the Provinces, have, of ten stretch'd a Line on the Top, to measure the Bales of Triangles, and to take distant Points with an Instrument: They always found it well paved, and wide enough For five or fix Horsemen to travel abreast with ease. The Gates of the Great Wall are Fortified on the Side of China by pretty large Forts: The first, towards the East, is called Chang hai koan; it is near the Wall which extends from the Bulwark in the Sea, about a League through a Country quite level, and then begins from this Fort to rise upon the declivities of the Mountains. It was the Chinese General, who commanded in this Place, that called in the neighbouring Tartars of Leao tong : This gave them an Opportunity of conquering China, notwithstanding the great Confidence the Chinese had in this Wall, which they thought an impregnable Defence. 

The other Forts, and which are as noted, are Hi fong keou, in 40°. 26'. Tou che keou, 41°. 19'. 20". Tchang Kia keou, 40°. 5'. 15". two noted Passages of the Tartars, who are subject to the Empire, to come to Peking; and Cou pekeou, 40°. 43'. 15". which was the Way the Emperor Cang hi generally took to go to Ge ho ell in Tartar; This Place is about 40 Leagued from Peking, always ascending, towards the North: It is a mountainous Country, where he used to take diversion of Hunting; the Way to it from Peking is level'd by Hand, and as even as a Bowling-green. There this great Prince resided more than half the Year, without neglecting the Affairs of the Empire, which he governed as easily as a private Family. When he came late from Hunting, he never Went to Bed before he had dispatch'd all Petitioners, and rose next Morning before the day. It was surprising to see him, at the Age of threescore Years, tiding among his Guards, thro' the thickest Snows, in a light Dress, arm'd with his Bow and Quiver, without ever offering to make use of an empty Chaise that follow'd him. 

All these Places are terrass'd and cas'd with Brick on both Sides, in the Province of Pe tcheli; but when you enter that of Chan si towards Tien tchig ouei, the Wall begins to be only of Earth : Nevertheless on the Side of Cha hau keou, in 40°. 19'. which Place the Muscovites come to, straight from Selingisko, it is cas'd on the out Side with Brick, and some of its Towers are very large, and built of Brick on a base of Stone, but it does not always continue the same. The River Huang Ho Century-Boxes along its Bank, wherein Soldiers keep Guard continually, and supplies the Place of a Wall, towards the Bounds Which divide the Provinces cf Chansi and Chensi. 

Beyond the River Hoang Ho westward, in the Province of Chensi, the Wall is only of Earth, low, narrow, and sometimes of Gravel, for it lies in a gravelly Soil, and in some Places is quite destroy'd; but in other Places the Passage is defended by several considerable Towns, which are YuLinghien, in 33°. 15', Ning hia, Lan tchou, in 37°. 59'. Kan tcheou, 39°. Sou tcheou and Si ning; where General Officers reside with Bodies of Men. He who resides it Kan tcheou is the Generalissimo, and is call'd Ti tou; the others are only Lieutenant General, called tsong ping. 

Ning hia is the best of these Towns; it is finer, richer, and better built than most of the Towns of the Empire; it is also pretty large, for if you take both the Divisions, as making but one Town; it is at least 15 Chinese Lys round. The Industry of the Inhabitants has render'd the Country fruitful, for by means of proper Canals and Sluices, which they have made, they can water their Lands, when they want it, from the River Hoang ho. There are Springs in the Ditches of the Town, from which they make Salt; here are also Manufactures of Woollen Goods, and Carpets like those of Turkey. The Mountains are so high and steep in the District of Ning hia, that Seven Or Eight League from the Town they supply the Place of a Wall for about Ten Leagues. Sou tcheou is in 39°. 45'. 40". it is a considerable Town, but not equal to Ning, either for Trade or Beauty ; tho' it commands the Soldiers at Kia yu koan, which is the Road to Hami and in several Districts of the Tartar Halkas. The Wall is only of Earth in these Parts, but kept in good Repair, on account of the Neighbourhood of the People of Hami, who have been subject to the Emperor but a few Years. The Walls of Kia yu koan are not of Brick, but well guarded with Soldiers, who defend this important Passage. The Wall ends when you have pass'd a little Town (called Tcheuang Ian) because it is situated where two Ways meet, one of which is in the Valley which goes by Lang tcheou to Kia yu koan; the other upon the Mountain which leads to Si ning tcheou ; but instead of a Wall there is a pretty large Trench, except in the Necks near Si ning, which are walled as in the Province of Chen ft. The Town of Si ning; which is 36°. 59'. is not large, but surpasses Ning hia in Trade : All the Skins and Furs which come from West Tartary are sold in this Town, or in a neighbouring Village called Topa. This Place is of greater Worth than a large Town, although the Buildings are mean, and in a bad Situation. Here may be had almost all Sorts of Foreign and Chinese Commodities, and various Drugs, as Saffron, Dates, Coffee, &c. 

When P. Regis was here employed in making the Map of the Country, he found three or four Catholic Armenians, who kept Shop in this Place, and sold fine Skins which they fetch'd from Tartary. The Houses and Shops are much dearer in this Village than in the Town of Si ning, which is distant about four Leagues. It is remarkable, that this Village is independent of the Mandarin of Si ning ; but belongs to a Lama Bonze , who is always chosen out of the Family that owns this Territory. This Family is the most considerable of the Nation of Si fan, or Tou fan, of which I shall hereafter give a fuller Account. The Emperors of the preceding Family, thinking the better to preserve the Peace of the Nation, in making the Place impregnable where they kept their Courts had built a second Wall as strong and surprizing as the first ; It remains still entire in Pe tcheli, 76 Lys from Peking, at one of the principal Gates, named Nan keo, and from thence 10 Leagues upon the Declivity of a high Mountain, by which the Road lies to Suen hoa fou, and from thence to Tat tong in the Province of Chan si. This Wall, which is called the Great Inner-Wall, joins the other to the North of Peking, near Suen hoa fou; where there is a Garrison ; and is continued along the West pf the Province of Pe tcheli, and extends into the Province of Chan si, where it is ruinous in many Places. When we consider the Number of strong Holds and Forts built between those two Walls, with the Works on the Eastern Side, we cannot help admiring the Care and Efforts of the Chinese, who seem to have left no Means untry'd, that human Prudence could possibly suggest, for the Defence of the Kingdom, and for preserving the publick Tranquillty. 
Comments