Puslapio vaizdai
PDF
„ePub“

a

sharply defined against the sky. To the south of it stretches the "Five Peak Range.” There are in fact ten peaks distinctly outlined, but five stand out above the rest and give the ridge its name. As we descend, the river becomes less attractive; the hills recede and become small and barren. Sabbath is spent at Kwán-tsin ( ED W) a large market town, noted for its flies and its pork, but showing quite a stoical indifference to me and my books. It is the residence of the township officer. Towards evening a strange procession is seen entering the town and proceeding to the mandarin's yamen. There are about two hundred men armed with old muskets and spears, and carrying peculiar, triangular flags, black, with white and red borders. Near the head of the procession, a man in fetters is carried in a chair. It transpires that this is a thief caught in the act of robbing a house, and the whole village have turned out to carry him to the yamen, where by the loss of his head he will soon pay the penalty of his crime. They are all armed to prevent a rescue by the man's own village which proves to be no other than the redoubtable Tong-t'ong mentioned above.

From Kwán-tsin onward the river flows between low banks, and over nearly one hundred dams before the North River is reached. Immense flocks of geese feed on the meadows and along the stream. They are of a large breed, not infrequently weighing five catties when full grown. For the last six miles the river is a dreary sluggish, ditchlike stream, and it is with a feeling of relief that we escape from it, into the broad North River, which we enter at the head of the famous Tsing-ün Pass. Immediately we are in the midst of a grand defile in the mountains, six miles in extent. The river flows in a deep, clear stream, between lines of lofty hills. The charms of this pass culminate in the middle of its course, where the hills on either side rise in fine wooded slopes, those on the north extending to a height of nearly eighteen hundred feet above the water, those on the south being somewhat lower.

On the north, a series of Buddhist monasteries rise one above another in the midst of a splendid thickly wooded ravine. The groves of Fi-loy-tsze, are well-known throughout this province and need no introduction to the residents of Canton. The picturesque glen, down which the sprakling cascade leaps, the pool at its foot where the children delight to play, the cool-sweet water, praised by every visitor; the deep groves and shady-paths leading to the upper hights; the cool retreats, with massy seats, and quiet nooks, where tired nerves may rest undisturbed, the luxuriant vegetntion rich in many floral treasures; the wealth of flowering plants, prominent among which are several

fine species of rhododendron, that cover the hills with their mantle of brilliant colors; the abundance of delicate ferns, and many other attractions that we cannot now mention, combine to make it a place which all who have known its charms long to revisit; a place not merely to alight at for a moment in our hurried flight as the legend represents the Buddha to have done, but one to linger in amid its rocks and trees in the full enjoyment of its manifold delights. From Fi-loy onward our course is down the well known North River to Sam-shui, and thence by the Pearl River to the "City of Rams," the whole circuit of our journey from beginning to end, being about three hundred and fifty miles.

NOTES ON THE HISTORY OF SUCHOW.
BY REV. A. P. PARKER.

II.

THE city is an oblong square lying nearly north and south, something over four miles long by over two miles wide. The wall is nearly thirty feet high, having an embankment on the inside twenty feet wide at the base, and wide moats on both the inside and outside. As originally built by Wu Tz-sü, in the 6th year of King Wang of the Cheu, the circumference of the city, or length of the city wall, was forty-seven li and 1262 feet, equal to fifteen and one half miles. There were eight land gates, representing the eight winds of heaven. (FAA), and eight water gates representing the eight diagrams of the earth (A). It is recorded that when Wu Tz-sü set about the founding of the city he "prospected the ground, tasted the water, observed the heavens and planned the earth” (± €* F), and after taking the result of these somewhat extensive and complicated observations, he selected the site and built the great city. It is a matter of some speculation as to what was the nature of these seemingly comprehensive observations. But the ominous jingle of the characters in the sentence indicate, too plainly to be mistaken, that the famous Tz-sü employed geomancers and astrologers to assist him in selecting a site for the proposed city.

Inside the main city were two smaller cities (). One was called the Small City of Wu, and was ten li-over three miles-in circumference. In the beginning of the Ming dynasty only the south gate of this "Small City" remained-with its watch tower which was used as the office of the night patrol. It was completely demolished in the reign of Kia Tsing A.D. 1522.

The second inner city was called "Wu Tz-sü City," and was nine li and 1620 feet-about three and one half miles-in circumference.

Outside of the main city and surrounding the whole, was another wall or defence (B), nearly sixty-nine li-twenty-three miles-in circumference. There are no traces of either of these outer or inner walls remaining at the present day.

Of the original eight gates, six remain open, the other two having been walled up. The Ch'ang (J) Gate was so named to represent the Gate of Heaven () through which blows the cool Western Breeze (H). The Sü (5) Gate was named for Wu Tz-sü, under whose superintendence the city was built. The Pan (2) Gate took its name from the appearance of the water in the canal or lake near the gate, a strong eddy or whirlpool in which led to the belief that a dragon was "coiled up" () under the water. Hence it is called Coil Gate.

The following legend is connected with the Ts'i (4) Gate:— Hoh Lü, king of Wu having conquered the king of Ts'i, took the daughter of the latter for a wife for his son. She, being quite young, soon became very homesick, and wept day and night till she fell ill. Hoh Lü, in order to comfort her, opened a gate in the north side of the city and built a tower over it, to which the young lady might go at pleasure, and look toward her native land. Hence the gate was named "The Gate for Looking toward Ts'i" (Y).

The Liu () Gate was named after the district Liu Hien, through which flowed the Liu river. The name of this district was long ago changed. The Fung (), commonly called Fu, Gate is said by some to have been named for the Fung mountain ()—the original being afterwards changed to . Others give a different origin for the name, but there is no certainty about it.

In the eleventh month of the 10th year of K'ai Hwang of the Sui, A.D. 592, nearly two years after the imperial forces had conquered the kingdom of Chên () of which Wu formed a part, the natives of Wu rose in rebellion, headed by Shêng Yuen-hwai and others. Yang Soh, Duke of Yuih, was ordered to lead the imperial troops against the "robbers" (all rebels in China are. "thieves and robbers" in the eyes of the government). It being impossible, in the opinion of Yang Soh, on account of the character of the ground, and perhaps for other reasons, to fortify and defend the city, he memorialized the Emperor to allow the people, governmental establishments, &c., to be removed to Hungshan, about four miles west of the city. Accordingly a new city or fortified town was built at the foot of Hungshan, and the old city was evacuated and left to the rebels. This state of things lasted nearly forty years. It is related that in the construction of the

new fortifications, the mechanic was using chu (1) timber-a kind of oak—with which to make the posts of the gates. Yang Soh on seeing it asked the workman how long that timber would last. “Forty years," was the reply. "That is sufficient,” said Yang Soh, "for in less than forty years this city will be abandoned and the old city re-occupied.” Sure enough, in the reign of Cheng Kwan, about thirty-eight years afterwards, the old city was retaken and the rebels driven out. But the city was the scene of many fierce conflicts in subsequent years between the imperial forces and the natives ("robbers”) who attempted, time and again, to gain their independence. Hence in that part of the History relating to the wall, there are records of numerous breaches and demolitions of the wall and of the subsequent repairs. At one time in the reign of K'ai Hi of the Sung, A.D. 1205, the wall was almost totally destroyed, and the city moat was nearly filled with débris, and was used for caltrop () ponds and paddy fields.

There is a very minute and detailed account of the rebuilding of the wall about the end of the Yuen dynasty A.D. 1350, at the time of the insurrection of the Red Turbanned Thieves (AI NI ). But it was almost wholly destroyed again in the succeeding wars.

The last time noted in the history of its repair, was that made in the reign of K'ang Hi, A.D. 1662, by the Governor of Suchow Han Shi-k'i. He partially rebuilt and thoroughly repaired the wall.

"At present (1824)" writes the historian, “ the wall is 15 miles long (i.e. the circumference of the city) 24 feet high and 15 feet thick. There are 57 bastions, 3051 parapets, and 157 official establishments and barracks and arsenals."

Whatever breaches were made in the wall during the T'ai Ping rebellion have been long since repaired. The wall is officially inspected once a month and all' needed repairs are promptly made. From all that I can learn, I believe the present wall stands on nearly the same foundation that was first laid by Wu Tz-sü 2,395 years ago. There are considerable suburbs outside of each of the gates, containing in all perhaps 75,000 inhabitants. Probably one fifth of the area included in the walls is vacant ground, partly fields in cultivation, and partly covered with débris. A large part of the destroyed district, however, has been built up during the last fifteen years.

The population of the city proper is about 225,000. These figures are based on a sort of census made this year by the Tithing Office ( ), which though not perfectly accurate, is still sufficiently so to afford a basis for a tolerably correct estimate of the population. It is an evidence of the curious notions of Chinese historians, as to what a topography or history of a city ought to set forth, that nowhere in

[ocr errors]

the nearly 8000 pages of this Topography and History of Suchow, is any mention made of the population of the city, from the time it was founded to the time the book was published. The census taken by the Tithing Office is not so much for the purpose of ascertaining the number of inhabitants, as to provide a means of accounting for every body that lives in the city, so that vagabonds and thieves may be more easily caught. The Tithing Office is charged with the duty of obtaining the name and occupation and residence of each head of a family, his wife's parents' names, the number of sons and daughters, and servants, and opium-smokers.

If the returns to the last item are correct it indicates that nearly half the adult population of the city take opium. It may be remarked, by the way, that the efforts of the former acting Governor and present Treasurer, Tan () to suppress the opium dens have not been as permanently successful as was to be hoped. While he held the office of Fu Tai, the dens were rigorously closed and violators of the law were promptly punished. But since the present Governor came into office much laxity has prevailed, and I notice that opium dens are being gradually opened again. But the efforts of acting Governor T'an were not wholly without good results, for I have been told by an intelligent native who is in a position to know, that the amount of opiumsmoking is very sensibly less than it was before Governor Tan began operations against it.

To return. The census, though having the appearance of giving great attention to detail, is really carelessly made, and cannot be depended on for perfect accuracy. The "census takers” do not in every case take pains to get exact answers to the questions—but either make an estimate from their own general knowledge of a given family, or ask a neighbor or acquaintance about the family in question. Still, taking this as a basis, we are not far wrong in estimating the population at 300,000 including the suburbs, and hence our former guesses of 500,000 to 700,000, are quite wide of the mark. In all probability, if a correct census of the whole of China could be taken, it would appear

that the estimate of 400,000,000 population would be equally incorrect, and that there are in reality not more than 250,000,000 inhabitants in China. We frequently over-estimate the population of a Chinese city from seeing the crowds in the streets, while we do not make sufficient allowance for the narrowness of the streets, which cause a comparatively small number of people to have the appearance of a great crowd. If the streets were as wide as those of American and English cities, the crowd would be very much scattered and the appearance of a much smaller population. The crowds that pass

[ocr errors]

present

« AnkstesnisTęsti »