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THE

CHINESE REPOSITORY.

Vol. II.-AUGUST, 1833.—No. 4.

DESCRIPTION OF THE CITY OF CANTON.

On native maps the name of this city is written, Kwangtung săngching, that is, “the capital of the province of Kwangtung:" but when speaking of the city, the natives usually call it săngching, “the provincial city,” or “the capital of the province.” The city is built on the north bank of the Choo keäng or Pearl river; it stands inland about sixty miles from the great sea.” From Hoo-mun, (the Bogue, or Bocca Tigris,) which the Chinese consider as the mouth of this river and the entrance to their inner waters, the merchantman, pursuing the best track, sails a few points to the west of north until she arrives near the “First bar," thence her course is almost due west to the anchorage at Whampoa. From this place, after quitting your ship, you continúe on without changing your course, and leaving the city close on your right, you soon reach the foreign factories. These are situated a short distance from the southwest corner of the city walls, in latitude 23 degrees 7 minutes 10 seconds north, and in longitude 113 degrees 14 minutes 30 seconds east of Greenwich, and about 3 degrees and 30 minutes west of Peking.-Of these factories some account will be given in the sequel.

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The scenery arouud the city in the adjacent country is rich and diversified, but does not present anything bold or grand. On the north and northeast of the city, the country is hilly and mountainous. In every other direction a wide prospect opens before you. The rivers and canals, which are very numerous, abound with fish, and are covered with a great variety of boats, wnich are continually passing to and from the neighboring towns and villages. Southward from the city, as far as the eye can see, the waters considerable portion, perhaps one third part, of the whole surface. Rice fields and gardens occupy the low lands, with only here and there a few little hills and small groves of trees rising up to diversify the otherwise unbroken surface.

The city itself—including all, both withio and without the walls,—is not of very great extent; and though very populous, derives its chief importance from its extensive domestic and foreign trade.

The city of Canton is one of the oldest cities in this part of the empire, and since its foundations were first laid, hus undergone numerous changes. It is not easy, and perhaps not possible, to determine its original site and name, or to ascertain the time in which it was first built. But although it is not important to decide either of these questions, it may be interesting to the reader to have a brief account of what the Chinese themselves narrate, respecting one of their largest and most populous and wealthy cities.

More than 4000 years ago, according to the Chinese classics, the celebrated Yaou commanded one of his ministers to repair to Nan-keaou, --which was also called Ming too, “the splendid capital," and govern it and the surrounding country. Nankeaou then included the site of the present city of Canton, and belonged to the southern regions of Yang, which last formed one of the twelve states

into which the whole world (China) was shortly atter divided. These southern regions' seem to have been very extensive, and were subsequently known by different names, as Keaouche, Keaouchow, Lingnan, Kwangchow, Nanhue, Nanyuě, Pilyuě, Yuě, and Yuětung. This latter name is often used in classical writings and official documents, at the present time, to designate the province of Canton.

During the time of the Shung dynasty, which fell 1123 B. C., the inhabitants of these southern regions first began to pay tribute to the emperors of China.-Soon after the next, the Chur dynasty, took the throne, the empire was extended; many improvements were introduced; the people began to engage in agriculture ; and when the son of heaven received cribute from the four quarters of the earthi," some of the tribes of Keaouchow (which then included Canton,) “ brought crabs and frogs, others brought snakes and crickets.” These southern tribes were often very troublesome to the rulers of China.-About 630 B. C., Ching Wangyun, a virtuous and benevolent man, became master of the country of Tsoo, and sent tribute to the emperor, who directed him to subdue his disorderly neighbors on the south, that they might not disturb the tranquillity of the Middle Kingdom. Tsoo was then a powerful state, and the tribes of the south soon submitted.

The historians of Canton are able to trace the origin of their city to the time of Nan-wang, one of the last emperors of the Chow dynasty, vho reigned 2000 years ago. The city, which was then called Nan-woo ching—the martial city of the south," was surrounded by nothing more than a kind of stockade conposed of bamboo and mud; and perhaps was not very much unlike some of the modern “strongholds” of the Malays. at first of narrow dimensions, but was afterwards enlarged, and seems to have been more than once

It was

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