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followers of the Prophet. The whole province is rich in coal, as yet untouched for commercial purposes.
“At Chai-tang," writes Baron von Richthofen, “I was surprised to walk over a regular succession of coal-bearing strata, the thickness of which, estimating it step by step as I proceeded gradually from the lowest to the highest strata, exceeds 7,000 feet." These beds are of anthracite, a valuable form of hard coal found in other parts of the province. Silver and gold also exist, but not in large quantities; but wheat, oats, millet, pulse, and other agricultural produce are plentiful, and an immense quantity of pears, apples, plums, apricots, peaches, persimmons, and melons is brought down to Pekin.
In Shan-tung, which, unlike the last-named province, is mountainous, with fertile valleys, is situated the fountain Tai-shan, which has been famous in Chinese history for 4,000
years, and for long has been the resort of hundreds of pilgrims. But though there are fertile basins here and there, and many minerals, the province is not as a rule a productive one.
Shan-se, though rich in minerals, is so deficient in agricultural capabilities that all kinds of food command high prices; and in the mountainous districts the people are often subjected to famine, and at the best of times to semi-starvation. Professor Douglas describes meat as being a rare luxury, and even salt fish, which is the usual substitute for meat, as being consumed only by the wealthier classes.
Honan is, on the other hand, a very fine agricultural region. The province is said to contain 30,000 square miles of coal-fields, for the most part untouched. So abundant, however, are coal and labour, that the best anthracite is sold in some parts of the province for 7d. per ton at the pit's mouth. Lead is also abundant. The prefecture of Hwae-king, north of the Yellow River, consists of a fertile plain, described as “rendered park-like by numerous plantations of trees and shrubs, among which thick bosquets of bamboo contrast with the gloomy groves of cypress.” The population is extremely dense, but by no means so numerous as in Kiang-su, which, with its 38,000,000 souls, is one of the most thickly populated parts of the world. It is magnificently watered by the Grand Canal, and by several rivers and lakes, and containing scarcely any hills, and no mountains, is, throughout the greater part of its area, well fitted for agriculture. Within its bounds is the famous city of Nankin, once the seat of the Chinese Court, and at a later day the stronghold of the Taiping rebels. Two other cities are so beautiful that they have their name embalmed in the Chinese proverb wbich says that "above them is Paradise, below are Soo and Hang"—that is, Soo-chow Foo and Hang-chow Foo. Shanghai and Ching-Kiang are also well-known cities, and likely in time to rise to be places of great importance.
The province of Ngan-whi is scarcely less densely populated, nor is its agricultural wealth inferior. “ Peace and plenty" the Chinese call it, and from Baron von Richthofen's account the name is well deserved. He assures us that the exuberant fertility of the soil in the lower parts of the province is not excelled by anything he had seen in temperate climates. The embankments and system of irrigation deserve the highest praise, the result of the care exercised in utilising its natural advantages being that on the Kiang River the traveller may walk for miles through fields of hemp, the stalks of which are eleven to thirteen feet high, or through cotton patches scarcely less exuberant. The Shung-gan Kiang is the principal river of the province, and down it float to Hangchow the immense loads of tea produced farther to the north and east.
In the province of Kiang-si is grown the celebrated “Moyune” green tea ; and the black Kaisow teas are brought down from the Ho-kow district by the River Kin to Juy-hung on the Poyang Lake ; while E-ning Chow, a city in the neighbourhood of which the best black teas of this part of China are grown, can be reached by another navigable stream, the whole trade finally concentrating as in a focus at Wooching on the lake so often mentioned.
In Che-kiang there are lovely valleys, rich and well cultivated, but few minerals, and none in great quantities. On the plains along the coast is reared much silk, and on the hilly country are produced large quantities of tea. Opposite Ningpo, one of the chief cities, and a treaty port, lies the mountainous island of Chusan, twenty-one miles long, and about fifty in circumference, in no way very remarkable, except that on its south side stands the walled city of Tinghai. Ningpo, though, as early as 1522, chosen as a place of refuge by the Portuguese, who, however, were twenty years later massacred by the enraged Chinese, has proved rather disappointing as a centre of trade, many of the most valuable products of the country finding their way to the greater market of Shanghai. The settlement is, however, in favour with the Europeans as a place of residence, mainly on account of the proximity of the Chusan Islands and the lovely scenery met with in about a day's journey inland from Ningpo. Here are richly wooded islands, with fresh bracing air, which may be also enjoyed on the Tiendong Hills, thirty miles or more to the south-west, and to which the Europeans make many excursions. “These hills, where dark pine woods shade quaint monastic retreats, where crystal rivulets and foaming waterfalls abound, make a very brilliant show in spring-time when the azaleas are in bloom, for these plants grow in wild profusion all over the district, and mingle with the ferns and
flowers common to more temperate latitudes. The tea plant also flourishes in this region, but it is only cultivated to meet the wants of the inhabitants. The bamboo, too, grows in great perfection, and spreads a pleasant shade over the houses with its graceful plumes.”*
Fo-kien, though a mountainous province, is, as its name signifies, a “happy establishment.” The soil in the valleys is rich, and the hills are covered with the tea shrubs, and when they permit of this mode of culture are laid out in terraces. In Fo-kien is raised the tea which by a mis-pronounciation of the Woo-e Mountains on which it grows is known to us as Bohea, and a great number of the other characteristic crops of China, while under the soil are found gold, silver, tin, lead, iron, and salt. Some of the scenery among the Nanling Mountains is said to be unsurpassed for weird grandeur. These mountains constitute the boundary between the provinces of Fo-kien and Kiang-si, and the road connecting them crosses by the Fung-shui Pass. Here Mr. Thomson describes the track as becoming steep, narrow, and difficult of ascent, but nevertheless great quantities of tea from the district of Hokow are annually carried along the elevated defile in baskets slung on the bamboo poles of coolies hired for this purpose.
In the romantic recesses of the Woo-e Mountains are situated hundreds of Buddhist shrines, and the homes of countless hermits, living here singly or in monasteries and nunneries, the good repute of which is not universally taken for granted. Foochow is the capital, but Amoy (p. 36) is the principal port for trade and for foreign merchants, who for over three hundred years have trafficked here, though not always without opposition. The tourist who wanders among the Amoy Hills and adjacent islands may still come upon gravestones of European traders and priests who were buried there over three centuries ago. The soil in the neighbourhood of Amoy is sterile, and incapable of yielding food enough for the large population, who, in addition to poverty, have to bear a crushing load of local taxation. Fo-kien, with its 23,000,000 people, is the province which Europeans know best, and it may be taken for granted that most of the current ideas about China and the Chinese have been founded on the observations of residents in or about Amoy. Formosa (Vol. IV., pp. 295-300) is a part of this province, and contributes to its prosperity, especially in the direction of the agricultural products, in which the coast-lying mainland is deficient.
The province of Hoo-pih—"north of the lakes”—is mostly a great plain, traversed by the Han River, which joins the Yang-tse-kiang at Hankow. Cotton, wheat, rape-seed, tobacco, beans, and vegetable tallow are largely exported. Gold is also washed out of the sands of the Han River, but in quantities not more than sufficient to be barely remunerative. Every winter the supply is exhausted, but in the course of the annual flood more is brought down and deposited on what the Californian miner would call the “bars” of the river. Baron von Richthofen calculated that the washers did not make over 100 or 150 cash † per diem, so that there is no likelihood of a "rush” to the Han River diggings. Hoo-pih is the central province of China, and supports a population of over 29,000,000. Woo-chang stands on the south bank of the Yang-tse-kiang, opposite the city of Han-yang, which is, however, nowadays little more than a place of official residence, the densely
* Thomson: “The Land and the People of China” (1876), p. 33.
+ 1,000 cash are equal to about 6s. sterling. The Chinese currency is, however, in a most chaotic condition (Williamson : “ China,” Vol. I., pp. 58–62, and Williams : “ Middle Kingdom,” Vol. I., p. 234).
populated suburb of Hankow, with its foreign residences, having almost entirely monopolised the trade. Hankow is, take it all in all, a very pleasant place to live in.
It is well supplied with food, and the fine line of steamers between it and Shanghai render communication with the rest of the world easy. But it has this disadvantage, that the well-made roads in the foreign settlement are often submerged by the rising of the river at the end of the summer season. At such seasons the dwellings can only be approached by boats. “ After the novelty of aquatic visits and boating parties has worn off, when the hall stairs have been transformed into jetties, and the lower apartments and offices into swimming baths, the residents, perched for safety among their mouldy furniture on the upper floors, look down drearily enough upon the brown flood that threatens to sap the
foundations of their dwellings. It cannot be agreeable to have the poultry roosting in one bedroom and the children sleeping in the next, while a third is set apart for the accommodation of the milch cow and the native domestics." The neighbouring Chinese cities are not so pleasant. They look picturesque at a distance, but, as Mr. Thomson very justly remarks, a nearer inspection of the details reveals, as it often does in the East, the squalor and unkemptness of what looks afar off so charming. Then the mysterious effect of atmosphere softened and beautified the quaint houses ; now they dwindle down into paltry shanties, “propped up over muddy banks by a multitude of lame-looking poles and posts, and disfigured by the slimy deposit of the river. The green slopes of the hills are dotted with wretched, ruinous tenements, patches of kitchen garden, and manure heaps, and their pigs are wallowing or fighting over reeking garbage; while, as for the children, they are as numerous as the vegetables in the garden plots, and as dirty as if they had been manured for growth there.
Tens of thousands of boats are moored close