misunderstands his text, and puts the place on the south side of the
Here Van Braam notices that there passed in the course of the day more
than fifty great rice-boats, most of which could easily carry more than
300,000 lbs. of rice. And Mr. Alabaster, in 1868, speaks of the canal from
Yang-chau to Kwa-chau as "full of junks."
[Sir J.F. Davis writes (Sketches of China, II. p. 6): "Two ... days ...
were occupied in exploring the half-deserted town of Kwa-chow, whose name
signifies 'the island of gourds,' being completely insulated by the river
and canal. We took a long walk along the top of the walls, which were as
usual of great thickness, and afforded a broad level platform behind the
parapet: the parapet itself, about six feet high, did not in thickness
exceed the length of a brick and a half, and the embrasures were evidently
not constructed for cannon, being much too high. A very considerable
portion of the area within the walls consisted of burial-grounds planted
with cypress; and this alone was a sufficient proof of the decayed
condition of the place, as in modern or fully inhabited cities no person
can be buried within the walls. Almost every spot bore traces of ruin, and
there appeared to be but one good street in the whole town; this, however,
was full of shops, and as busy as Chinese streets always are." - H.C.]
NOTE 2. - Rashiduddin gives the following account of the Grand Canal spoken
of in this passage. "The river of Khanbaligh had," he says, "in the course
of time, become so shallow as not to admit the entrance of shipping, so
that they had to discharge their cargoes and send them up to Khanbaligh on
pack-cattle. And the Chinese engineers and men of science having reported
that the vessels from the provinces of Cathay, from Machin, and from the
cities of Khingsai and Zaitun, could no longer reach the court, the Kaan
gave them orders to dig a great canal into which the waters of the said
river, and of several others, should be introduced. This canal extends for
a distance of 40 days' navigation from Khanbaligh to Khingsai and Zaitun,
the ports frequented by the ships that come from India, and from the city
of Machin (Canton). The canal is provided with many sluices ... and when
vessels arrive at these sluices they are hoisted up by means of machinery,
whatever be their size, and let down on the other side into the water. The
canal has a width of more than 30 ells. Kublai caused the sides of the
embankments to be revetted with stone, in order to prevent the earth
giving way. Along the side of the canal runs the high road to Machin,
extending for a space of 40 days' journey, and this has been paved
throughout, so that travellers and their animals may get along during the
rainy season without sinking in the mud.... Shops, taverns, and villages
line the road on both sides, so that dwelling succeeds dwelling without
intermission throughout the whole space of 40 days' journey." (Cathay,
The canal appears to have been [begun in 1289 and to have been completed
in 1292. - H.C.] though large portions were in use earlier. Its chief
object was to provide the capital with food. Pauthier gives the statistics
of the transport of rice by this canal from 1283 to the end of Kublai's
reign, and for some subsequent years up to 1329. In the latter year the
quantity reached 3,522,163 shi or 1,247,633 quarters. As the supplies of
rice for the capital and for the troops in the Northern Provinces always
continued to be drawn from Kiang-nan, the distress and derangement caused
by the recent rebel occupation of that province must have been enormous.
(Pauthier, p. 481-482; De Mailla, p. 439.) Polo's account of the
formation of the canal is exceedingly accurate. Compare that given by Mr.
Williamson (I. 62).
NOTE 3. - "On the Kiang, not far from the mouth, is that remarkably
beautiful little island called the 'Golden Isle,' surmounted by numerous
temples inhabited by the votaries of Buddha or Fo, and very correctly
described so many centuries since by Marco Polo." (Davis's Chinese, I.
149.) The monastery, according to Pauthier, was founded in the 3rd or 4th
century, but the name Kin-Shan, or "Golden Isle," dates only from a
visit of the Emperor K'ang-hi in 1684.
The monastery contained one of the most famous Buddhist libraries in
China. This was in the hands of our troops during the first China war,
and, as it was intended to remove the books, there was no haste made in
examining their contents. Meanwhile peace came, and the library was
restored. It is a pity now that the jus belli had not been exercised
promptly, for the whole establishment was destroyed by the T'ai-P'ings in
1860, and, with the exception of the Pagoda at the top of the hill, which
was left in a dilapidated state, not one stone of the buildings remained
upon another. The rock had also then ceased to be an island; and the site
of what not many years before had been a channel with four fathoms of
water separating it from the southern shore, was covered by flourishing
cabbage-gardens. (Guetzlaff in J.R.A.S. XII. 87; Mid. Kingd. I.
84, 86; Oliphant's Narrative, II. 301; N. and Q. Ch. and Jap. No. 5,
OF THE CITY OF CHINGHIANFU.
Chinghianfu is a city of Manzi. The people are Idolaters and subject to
the Great Kaan, and have paper-money, and live by handicrafts and trade.
They have plenty of silk, from which they make sundry kinds of stuffs of
silk and gold. There are great and wealthy merchants in the place; plenty
of game is to be had, and of all kinds of victual.
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