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“This courage [of the people of Canton] made the Tartars fall upon a resolution of beating down the walls of the city with their great cannon, which had such an effect, that they took it on the 24th of November, 1650; and because it was remarked that they gave to a prefect of the city the same office he had before, it was suspected that it was delivered by treason. The next day they began to plunder the city; and the sackage continued till the 5th of December, in which they spared neither man, woman, nor child; but all whoever came in their way were cruelly put to the sword; nor was there heard any other speech, but kill, kill thesė barbarous rebels. Yet they spared some artificers to conserve the necessary arts, as also some strong and lusty men, such as they saw able to carry away the pillage of the city. But finally, December 6th, came out an edict, which forbade all further vexation, after they had killed a hundred thousand men, besides those that perished several ways during the siege."
Native writers, while they differ very little from the above accounts, add other particulars, some of which we subjoin. The imperial troups were commanded by Shang-ko-he and Kang-ke-woo, two Tartar officers of high rank, who had orders first to subdue, and then to remain and govern the southern provinces. Of the rebels, Too Yung-ho was the commander-in chief, who, as soon as he saw that the Tartars were victorious, deserted his men and fled by sea to Hainan. The second in command was Fan Ching-gan, the traitorous prefect, who by plotting with the enemy enabled them to enter the city. According to a manuscript account, the whole number of slain, during the siege and the plundering of the city, was 700,000;-"every house was left desolate.” The Tartars, after they had finished this work of death, took up their quarters in the old city, where they still live, and civil officers were appointed to reside in the new city. It is said, that in the old city only one house,
built before the sacking of the city, is standing at the present time. The destruction of property, as well as of life, was very great. All prospect of escaping with their treasures being cut off, many of the people dug holes in the ground and there deposited their money in earthen jars; these are sometimes found by persons when sinking wells, or breaking up the old foundations of houses and temples.
From these ruins the city has gradually risen; and up to the present period, has increased in population, wealth, and influence. Bands of pirates and robbers, especially during those periods of misrule which generally attended a change of dynasty, have frequently harrassed the people and embarrassed their commerce. Even to the present time, lawless rovers prowl in the neighborhood of the city, and often carry off property, and sometimes human victims; but they are too few and timid to hazard any open attack on the inhabitants, Foreigners have suffered very little from the depredations of these freebooters, and are even much more secure than the natives themselves.
Without further remarks relative to the history of this city, we now proceed to take a survey of it in its present condition. In every age of the world, and in every country, large cities have exerted a powerful, controlling influence on the moral, political and commercial destinies of nations. This perhaps is true in its fullest extent in old and populous countries. The ancient cities of western Asia and of Egypt, and the metropolis of the Roman empire, did very much to promote civilization, and the cultivation of arts, sciences and literature. In modern Europe the influence of “these worlds in miniature” is very clearly seen.
Take for example the cities of northern Italy. “In spite of their bloody contests with each other, and the vices to which these gave rise, they must be considered as
having lighted the torch of modern civilization. Elsewere, and in numerous instances, the same position is illustrated. Cities--comparatively speaking--rose rapidly; "and wealth, industry, knowledge and equal laws spread from them through Europe.” In India the influence of large towns and cities is noticeable. In China it is more difficult for us to estimate accurately the kind and extent of
power which they possess and exert. That it is very great, there can be no doubt, But whether Canton is on the whole exerting a salutary or an injurious influence on the Chinese empire, can best be determined after we have surveyed its extent, and the various institutions, resources, occupations, and character of its inhabitants.
That part of the city, which is surrounded by a wall, is built nearly in the form of a square, and is divided by i wall running from east to west, into two parts. The northern, which is much the largest part, is called the old city; the southern part is called the new city. According to some foreign, as well as native books, the northern part was once “composed, as it were, of three different towns, separated by very fine high walls, but so conjoined, that the same gate served to go out from the one and enter the other." These divisions ceased long ago to exist. The new city was built at a much later period than the old. The entire circuit of the wall which now includes both divisions of the city, is variously estimated by the Chinese. At a quick step we have walked the whole distance in little less than two hours, and think it cannot exceed six English miles. On the south side the wall runs nearly due east and west, parallel to the river, and distant from it perhaps fifteen or twenty rods. On the north, where the city “rests on the brow of the hill,” the wall takes a serpentine course; and its base at the highest point on the hill is perhaps 200 or 300 feet above the surface of the river.
The walls are composed partly of stone and partly of bricks: the former is chiefly coarse sandstone, and forms the foundation and the lower part of the walls and the arches of the gates; the latter are small and of a soft texture. In several places, particularly along the east side of the city, the elements have made auch inroads on the walls as to afford satisfactory evidence, that before the prowess of a modern foe they would present but a feeble resistance. They rise nearly perpendicularly, and vary in height from twenty-five to thirtyfive or forty feet. In thickness they are twenty or twenty-five feet. They are the highest and the most substantial on the north side, evidently so built because in that direction hostile bands would be the inost likely to make an attack. A line of battlements, with embrasures at intervals of a few feet, are raised on the top of the wall round the whole city; these the Chinese call ching-jin, literally, city men; and in the rear of them there is a broad pathway. There are two “wings,” or short walls, one at the southeast, and the other at the southwest corner of the city, which stretch out from the main walls; these were designed to block up the narrow space between the walls and the ditches of the city. Through each of these, there is a gate in every respect similar to those of the city.
The gates of the city are sixteen in number; four of these lead through the wall which separates the old from the new city ; so that there are onty twelve outer gates. Commencing on the north and passing round to the west, south, and east, the fillowing are the names of these twelve gates, viz:
1. Ching-pih mun :-this is the principal gate on the north ; before it is a small semicircular space surrounded by a wall similar to that of the city; it forms the entrance for government officers and the bearers or public dispatches when arriving from Peking by land ; officers not unfrequently come to
Canton in boats, in which case they usually make their entrance at one of the southern gates.
2. Ching-se mun :--this is the only gate on the west which leads into the old city, for a Chinese city this gate is very broad and high-perhaps fifteen feet wide and twelve high.
3. Ta-ping mun :-this is the only entrance into the new city on the west; it is similar to the other western gate, but not so large.
4. Chuh-lan mun:- this is a small gate, and the first one you find after passing round the southwest corner of the city; it is the nearest gate to the foreign factories.
5. Yew-lun mun:—this is near the Chuh-lan gate, and like it seems designed chiefly for the conveyance of heavy merchandise into the city.
6. Tsing-hae mun :—this perhaps was intended to be the water gate, as both its situation and name seem to indicate.
7. Woo-seën mun :-is "the gate of the five genii,” and has nothing remarkable except its name.
8. Yung-tsing mun :-here is nothing around · this “gate of eternal purity” that can indicate such a name, but very much to suggest an opposite one; it is moreover the gate which leads to the field of blood-the royal execution ground.
9. Seaou-nan mun:—this “small southern gate” is the sixth and last on the south of the city,
10. Yung-gan mun :—this "gate of eternal rest” leads into the new city on the east, and corresponds in every respect with the Ta-ping gate on the west.
11. Ching-tung mun :-this is the only gate on the east which leads into the old city, and it corresponds with the Ching-se mun on the west, to which it stands directly opposite.
12. Seaou-pih mun:—this "little northern gate? forms a convenient entrance for bringing in water and provisions, and also building materials, to supply the northern part of the city.-Having now gone round the city we pass to the inner gates.