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Лисянский Юрий Фёдорович - Voyage round the world..., Страница 12

Лисянский Юрий Фёдорович - Voyage round the world...


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ht have supposed them to be subjects of the same prince, and even members of one family.
  

CHAPTER XIV.

DESCRIPTION OF CANTON.

   Houses. Population. Commerce. Despotic and mercenary Character of those in Authority. Productions. Wretchedness of the lower Class of Inhabitants. Sumptuous Fare of the Rich. Customs as to eating. Dress. Character. Religion. Temples. Military Force. Boats. Laws. Country-house of a Mandarin. Price of Provision. Weights and Measures.
  

1806. Jan.

   The town of Canton is situated on the river Tigris. It is large, with narrow streets, which, however, are kept clean. In the part which we were permitted to visit, every house had a shop; and the streets were as much crowded from morning till night with passengers, as some of the public streets of London. The river-side is embellished with a row of handsome buildings, of which the English and Dutch factories are the most splendid* The best Chinese houses in Canton will bear no comparison with those of the European inhabitants; and the houses of the poor are mere huts, in general without windows, and having for a door only a bamboo matting. A house of the first class, beside the main building, has several square courts paved with brick, against the walls of which bowers are erected, furnished with tables, chairs, sofas, and China pots containing flowers and fruit-trees. In the middle of some of the courts, a small pond is dug, or a large porcelain bason is placed, to contain gold-fish, of which the Chinese are extremely fond. The houses are commonly two 1806* stories high. The apartments of the upper story are considered as private; since it is in these that the women of such as are not rich enough to have a separate seraglio commonly reside. Strangers are therefore not allowed to enter them. From what I could observe of the interior of the houses in general, I should suppose the inhabitants not remarkable for cleanliness. The Chinese temples, which are numerous, contribute but little to the embellishment of the town.
   Several Europeans have endeavoured to ascertain the population of Canton; but it is a task not easily effected with exactness, from the great influx of non-residents for the purposes of commerce during the shipping season; and from the number of residents who in the summer betake themselves to a distance, to work in the fields; so that there is in this respect a continual fluctuation. The number of such as live constantly in the town, is not so great as has generally been supposed. Amongst the poor, are many who have no other property, and no other habitation, than a small boat, with a covering of mats. I have been told that the number of these distressed beings is immense in China; and as for the river Tigris, it is full of such boats. Some carry passengers; others row constantly about the ships, in the hope of finding some dead animal, or offal of any kind, that may have been thrown overboard, and which serves as food; while others are employed in raking up from the bottom of the water rags, pieces of rope-yarn, and other trifling articles, which however they sell, and thus obtain the means of being able to prolong a miserable existence.
   Canton may be divided into two parts; that in which the viceroy of the province and his officers of rank reside, and that which is inhabited by the people in general. Into the first no European is allowed to enter, though persons from the East Indies, and other Asiatics, are admitted freely. For the extent of its commercial concerns, there are few towns in any quarter of the world that surpass it. Besides European and American vessels, the East Indies and all the neighbouring countries largely trade with it; and such is the state of its population, that if the ships which frequent it should be doubled, there would be no want of hands. The business of loading and unloading is effected with great expedition; unless the government interferes, when the delay is sometimes intolerable. The officers of government, instead of protecting a commerce so advantageous to their country, think only of enriching themselves, and thus injure, by plundering it. The abject state in which the people are held by their rulers is such, that every species of injustice, however great, must be submitted to. The first merchant of Canton is, in reality, little better than a steward both of the viceroy and the hopoo, whom he is obliged to furnish gratis with whatever they may want: and should he refuse, his back may suffer for his refractoriness; as it is well known, that by the customs of this country, formerly so highly extolled for its just laws, no one is exempted from the liability to corporal punishment, from the heir to the throne down to the lowest subject; and that an individual of a higher rank can inflict, at his pleasure, chastisement on one of a lower, without evidence to convict, or any formality of trial. While these things exist, there will necessarily be a passive obedience in every description of the people to their rulers, whose thirst for wealth must be satisfied: and the heaviest contributions are thus laid on foreigners, on whose goods the hongs fix whatever value they please.
   Spanish dollars are the best article that can be brought here for commercial dealings, as goods may be purchased with them at a cheaper rate than with any thing else; and they have the further advantage, that they cannot be undervalued by the bongs.
   Furs vary so much in value, that it is difficult to form an estimate of the price that may be expected for them. Such immense quantities are imported by American ships, that the market is often glutted with them. During the present season they imported no less than twenty thousand sea-otter skins, which were sold at from seventeen to nineteen Spanish dollars a skin. We received for some of ours, the last price, in exchange for tea only; and for others the first, taking half in tea and half in money. Another reason of the little profit of furs to the importer, arises from the plundering system of the hopoo, who appropriates to himself a certain number of the best out of every ship, or makes a bargain with the merchant who buys the cargo, to receive a sum of money instead. Mr. Lucqua, who purchased ours, gave him seven thousand dollars, and thought himself well off. This abominable extortion, together with the heavy duty on measurement, and other unavoidable expenses, reduce the price of furs so much, that the gain reasonably to be expected by the commander of a vessel is greatly diminished.
   If this system does not soon change, the European merchants must suffer greatly. It would seem, indeed, as if the Chinese themselves were desirous to put a stop to European commerce; for a year scarcely passes in which they do not invent some grinding law to its prejudice; imagining, no doubt, that no quarter of the world can exist without the productions of their country.
   In Canton no stranger can furnish himself with any thing he may want, either on board his ship or on shore, without employing a compador, who charges whatever he pleases for every thing he buys; and, when he has cheated as much as he can in this way, requires a handsome present for his trouble. In a word, fraud and deceit are the prevailing practice here; and the misfortune is, that, to whatever extent it may be carried, no justice can be obtained: for a European cannot see the Viceroy of the province; nor, without extreme difficulty, get a letter conveyed to him. This regulation is productive of incalculable mischief; and if any European power should have influence with the court of Pekin, it could not be more beneficially exerted than in attempting to remove the evil.
   This country abounds in every thing that can be wanted by matt, whether flesh, fowls, fish, fruits, or vegetables; and every thing is excellent in its kind. The common food of a Chinese to rice* Which grows in great plenty. This nourishing grain is equally necessary for the rich and poor. The rich Consume great quantities of it, while the poor are satisfied with; ari allowance of two or three pounds a day.
   The Chinese have a drink called shamshoo, which is extracted from rice. The best is palatable enough; but the inferior, disagreeable to the taste, and, when drank to excess, very pernicious, The common beverage, however, is tea, which is used in general without sugar or other mixture. It is made in cups with covers, answering the purpose of our tea-pots, and drunk at all hours of the day.
   It has been said by many that China is extremely rich; yet, judging from what I saw, and from what was related to me, there is not a people on the globe among whom such misery is to be found, as amongst the lower class of inhabitants of this vast empire. Besides the poor families I have mentioned, who are obliged to pass their lives in small boats, and gain their livelihood as they can, the streets of Canton are always crowded with beggars. This poverty does not arise from the imposts of the government, as there is hardly a nation in Europe that pays fewer taxes; and is, in my opinion, ascribable to the oppressive nature of the laws, and the corresponding oppression of those who execute them. There is scarcely any production in nature, that the human stomach is capable of digesting, which this wretched class of the Chinese do not sometimes eat. Rats are even esteemed as a delicacy. On the contrary, the officers of government and rich merchants live in the extreme of luxury. They have large houses, fine gardens, and sumptuous tables. At their public dinners, not less than forty or fifty different dishes are served up, some of which are very costly. They are particularly fond of all sorts of stimulative dishes; as, for example, the fins of the shark, and the nests of a particular species of bird, both of which are extremely rare. An entertainment, on any extraordinary occasion, without these, would be thought mean; and they must be obtained, at whatever price. Their method, as to their meals, I did not like. They dine at separate small tables, in parties of from four to six. All their viands are served in small basons, one for each, out of which the party at the same table eat together. Each person has two bone sticks, called at Canton chop-sticks, which are about a foot long, and serve both for knife and fork. A Chinese is very expert in the use of them; and will empty a bason of rice with them in as short a time as he would with the best spoon in the world. He has, however, a china spoon, and by his side is a small cup, containing shamshoo, of which he drinks after every dish* The rice is generally served up in separate basons. Table-cloths are not used; and in place of napkins small pieces of paper are substituted, which often serve the purpose also of a pocket-handkerchief. Mr. Panquequa, the first merchant in Canton, always wiped his nose with such scraps of paper; which was to me the more disgusting, as he was much in the habit of taking snuff.
   The Chinese might be called in general a sober people, if they were not so greatly addicted to sensual pleasures, to which they are perfect slaves. The rich spend vast sums in the purchase of women, of whom each has a seraglio, containing as many as he is able to support.
   The Chinese are of an olive complexion, the northern inhabitants excepted, who are tolerably fair, but have none of the carnation in their cheeks that distinguishes Europeans. They have small black eyes, the form of which is rather long. Their hair also is black; but they shave it all off, except a small portion on the crown of the head, which is platted and hangs down behind: its length constitutes its beauty.
   Their dress consists, first, of long trowsers and a loose garment, made of thin stuff, instead of a shirt: next, a sort of cassoc with long narrow sleeves, and over this another with short but broad sleeves. This dress belongs alike to persons both of the first and middling rank; but the poor and labouring class wear only trowsers and jackets. These jackets are increased according to the weather, some wearing even five at a time. In the winter many line the whole of the upper garments with furs, while others are satisfied with a fur collar and lappels. For this they use chiefly the furs of the sea- and river-otter and sea-bear: the skin of a sea-otter is preferred in China to every other, but is used only by the opulent; who, on common occasions, wear white lamb-skins. Foxes' paws, which, when sewed together, make a strong and warm fur, are greatly in vogue amongst the middling class of people.
   The head-dress is very simple; it consists of a black satin cap, resembling those worn by the Jews, with a small silk ball on the top, which is black, red, or blue. They have a hat also, the upper part of which is covered with light blue silk, and the rims underneath lined with black velvet From the crown hangs a tassel of red silk, over which is fixed a ball of gold, or of white, blue, or red glass. By these balls the ranks are distinguished. The red is considered as belonging to the first class; then follow in order the blue, the white, and the gold, or rather the gilt. The mandarins, besides this, wear on their breasts and back pieces of silk about six indies square, embroidered with different figures. These also show the class to which they belong, and may be distinguished at a great distance.
   Their boots and shoes have a square shape; the sole is an inch thick. Boots are worn only by the higher class. They are made of black satin, lined with nankeen, and have worsted or bamboo under the soles. Shoes are chiefly worn by the lower class: they are often made of embroidered silk, and are worn over a stocking, the foot of which is of nankeen, and the upper part, or leg, of silk stuff. The Chinese are very fond of finery. Even servants are often seen dressed in silks from head to foot; and the middling class of the people seldom wear any thing else. Nankeen, of different colours, however, is the staple article throughout the empire. The generality of the people are clothed in it all the year round, and great quantities of it ape therefore consumed in the country.
   The Chinese women of the better class are guarded in so strict a manner, that I found it impracticable to get a sight of them. I cannot therefore say much about their dress. The poorer class wear loose trowsers, and an upper garment with broad sleeves, not unlike that worn by the men, and tie their long hair in knots behind. Their feet are curious. I saw some that were not more than six inches in length; and the Chinese say that the feet of their ladies of fashion do not exceed four inches. To this I could scarcely stretch my belief, though several shoes that had been worn, were brought to me of that measure, in confirmation of it. The real cause of this ridiculous custom is not known to us; unless it originates in jealousy. The women, however, are rendered such cripples by it, that they can scarcely walk. All their toes, except the great toes, are so bent under the sole of the foot, that the foot receives the form of a wedge; and to keep it in that form it is tied tight round, even beyond the ancle, from infancy. The Tartar women of China alone let their feet grow in their natural form.
   In the arts of cunning and deceit, no nation can equal the Chinese; at the same time they have better qualities of the understanding. If they are ignorant as to matters that do not immediately concern them, it proceeds from their education: respecting what really concerns them, they are sure to have the requisite knowledge; and every one is master of whatever business he may follow. There is nothing they cannot imitate with astonishing accuracy. At Canton many copies of things maybe found, executed with such delicacy and precision, that they cannot be distinguished from the originals. In their behaviour they are extremely polite; and their obedience is beyond example. Every thing is reduced to a rule, from which they cannot in the smallest degree deviate. All kind of novelties are forbidden, under the heaviest penalties; and as this originates in the policy of government, no one thinks of aiming at invention. Accordingly, their ships, guns, muskets, and various other things, are nearly in the same state, as when the use of them was first introduced.
   Though the Chinese are educated from the cradle in notions of the most implicit obedience to the government, they have nevertheless a sovereign contempt for their present Tartar masters, and they never fail to show that contempt whenever they can do it with impunity. When the Tartars conquered China, they embraced the laws and customs of the conquered; yet are they obliged, for their own safety, to surround themselves with their own countrymen, who, in consequence, enjoy the highest offices, both civil and military, throughout the empire,- a preference which is regarded by the native Chinese with jealousy, and occasions great dissatisfaction.
   The religion of China is idolatrous. It is divided into three sects; that of Confucius, that of Fo, and that of Taotsé. The court, however, and the Tartars, follow that of the grand Lama. It consists chiefly in different offerings to their gods, and in the casting of lots. This last is done by means of a set of small sticks, which are resorted to as oracles in every doubtful case. The Chinese burn candles before their idols, and sandal-wood in metal pans, which are placed at the entrance opposite the altar in every temple. Occasionally animals are presented as sacrifice; and there are also burnt-offerings, consisting of sandal-dust wrapped in paper, on the outside of which a piece of foil is stuck. A Chinese, on every instance of good fortune, thinks it his duty formally to thank his gods, either in his house or in the nearest temple. He likewise presents offerings of one kind or other, when he wishes to succeed in any undertaking. The commencement of the year is the grand day, when offerings are made through the whole empire. On that occasion every person is expected to offer something to their deity; and the rich, a sacrifice of value. At Canton, every house and every shop has a corner appropriated to its idols, before which candles are kept constantly burning, especially in the morning; an attention which seems to prove that its inhabitants are sincerely attached to their religion. This circumstance interested me the more, as it reminded me of the devout zeal of my own countrymen, by whom the same practice is observed towards their saints.
   The largest temple which came under my observation, was one standing on the right side of the river Tigris, nearly opposite to the European factories. It had many divisions, or separate places of worship, the three principal of which were in the middle of a long court. It was laid out, in great measure, like a monastery. I passed several hours there, and was much pleased with the air of cleanliness and propriety that every where prevailed. The places of worship were full of idols. In some, there were three in the middle, and twelve on every side; in others, only one in the middle, and three or four on the sides. These idols were all gilded and lackered. Those in the middle were about ten feet long, and were represented in a sitting posture. Candles, of the dust of sandal-wood, burn always before them; and every person who comes to pray, makes some offering. My guides entered with their heads covered, and seemed to pay little respect to the sanctity of the places; though they endeavoured to persuade me, that, by making offerings to their gods, prosperity of every kind would attend me through life. One of them, pointing to a particular statue, told me, that if I would pray to him, I should not fail to have a pleasant voyage to Russia.
   After examining the different temples, my guides led me to the apartments of the fraternity, who were in a large room at dinner. Each had a bason of rice before him. The members of this fraternity, I was informed, take an oath to renounce all commerce with the female sex, and to abstain both from flesh and fish; and that a violation of this oath is punished with death. I was next introduced to a very different party, consisting of twenty large hogs, of which every possible care was taken. My guides informed me that these animals had been presented to the temple by different inhabitants, and were considered as sacred. They are well fed, and are kept till they die a natural death. One of them, which could hardly crawl, was represented as being about thirty years old. Near to the {dace in which these hogs were confined, is a large piece of ground, producing all sorts of vegetables. Towards the upper part of it is a burying-ground. In this burying-ground, the bodies of such of the fraternity as die, are burned, and the ashes and bones preserved in a place set apart for the purpose. I did not inspect this place: I saw, however, some bones where the burning is performed; but they were so disfigured by fire, that it was impossible to judge to what species of beings they had originally belonged. On coming out of the temple, I passed a place where stood a group of five statues dressed in red garments, and a candle burning before them. These were monuments erected to the memory of certain individuals of the fraternity, who had been distinguished for their exemplary lives.
   The population of this extraordinary empire, is reckoned by the Chinese at three hundred million of souls; and its military force at nearly two millions of men. These accounts, however, are both very questionable. So immense an army would, in any other country, be very formidable; but in China, while it adds greatly to the expenses of the government, it is doubtful whether it would be able to defend its vast dominions, were they to be attacked with vigour by the neighbouring powers. From inspecting the cannon, muskets, and other implements of war which I saw at Canton, I may affirm, that, if aided only by these, the Chinese military force, however numerous it may be, would never alarm an European general, commanding an army of a few thousand disciplined troops. Compared with the artillery of Europe, their match-locks and cannon are contemptible. The naval force of the empire, for any effect it can produce, is also very insignificant. It consists of ill-built boats, some of which are armed with three or four small guns, while others carry long iron pipes or tubes, resembling those of muskets, fixed in a block of wood on the fore part of the vessel. The boats have commonly two masts, with sails made of mats, like all the vessels of this country. They resemble in form an arch or crescent. The rudder is fixed, like ours, or suspended, to act in the manner of a back-oar; but in both instances it is ill formed, and so badly fastened, that it is in danger of being struck off by the first heavy sea. The junks, which are of several tons burthen, are the largest of the Chinese vessels: but, like the others, have two masts only, with sails made of mats. The extent of their navigation is to Batavia, Japan, and Cochin China; and as these voyages are always performed in the beat season of the year, they are in general tolerably successful. At other seasons, it would be dangerous to go out to sea in them; as, should a typhoon take place, which will try the stoutest European ship, the danger would be extreme. When a typhoon occurs on the river Tigris, it blows with great violence. About the time when we encountered the tremendous typhoon off the Marianne Islands, a similar one prevailed here, by which many vessels were driven ashore, and some of the streets of Canton deluged by the overflow of the river which it occasioned. The Chinese anchors are no better than their rudders. In form they. resemble ours, but are made of wood. Instead of a proper stock, a strong pole of wood or bar of iron is driven through the shank, at a little distance from the arms, which are also of wood, and fastened to the shank by cords. The flooks, or points of the arms, are sheathed with iron. Though the river boats do not differ from the sea boats in their construction, they answer the purpose they are intended for extremely well. They draw but little water, carry great burthens, and sail pretty fast. In calm weather they are rowed by four or six oars, and steered by one or two long ones, suspended from the stern; which, from being worked from side to side, greatly increase their velocity. The oars are not managed with the same regularity as in European boats, every waterman rowing as he pleases, without regard to order or method. The Custom-houseboats, however, are an exception, and are built also in the European manner. For the river boats, the matting sails are better than canvass ones, as they shake less during light airs.
   The European missionaries, in their account of China, speak highly of its laws. I know not what policy there may be in this; but sure I am, that there is no country in the world where the people are so much oppressed as in this great empire. The insolence, or rather cruelty of office, is such, that many bear their wrongs with patience, rather than apply for justice to mercenary and despotic mandarins. It often happens, that a person of rank takes a liking to some article of value belonging to an inferior, and appropriates it to his own use without ceremony. I was assured by one of the first hongs, that his reason for not wearing a watch was, the fear of its being taken from him, for he had already suffered once in that way. The viceroy of the province of Canton happening to see in his hands a handsome repeater, desired to look at it, when, making an inclination of the head, he put it into his pocket, telling the proprietor, with great gravity, that he would keep it as a mark of good will towards him. Mean as this conduct might appear, Chinese politeness required that the hong should kneel, and thank the plunderer for his condescension in accepting it, though at the same time he must detest him in his heart.
   I had no opportunity of witnessing any of their capital punishments; but to judge from the drawings publicly sold at Canton, they appear to be very cruel. The most common are those of strangling and beheading. The former is effected by a rope passed two or three times round the neck, two men pulling it by the ends, a foot of each resting on the victim. The latter is performed with a sabre, and is seldom accomplished in less than three strokes. For capital offences against the government, still more barbarous punishments are inflicted; such as cutting off the arms and legs, and quartering the body. From this it would appear, as if the Chinese, who boast of having been enlightened when Europe was plunged in barbarism, have made but slow; advances since in improvement. Another proof of the defective nature of the Chinese laws, is the great number of poor unprovided for in this vast empire. Of these, many, having no means of livelihood, are obliged to turn pirates, and whole fleets of them swarm at present on the coast, and commit terrible depredations. Whilst we lay at Whampoa, a fleet of three hundred boats belonging to these plunderers, at tacked a fortified place in the vicinity of Canton, and entirely destroyed it.
   Having expressed a wish while at Canton to see the form and fashion of some country-house of a rich Chinese, with its appendages of courts and garden, my friends procured me an opportunity of breakfasting with Mr. Panquiqua, whom I hare mentioned before. To arrive at his house we bad to cross the river Tigris, and then row up a canal that led directly to the outer door. The door was locked, and could not be opened till the master was made acquainted with our arrival, and had given orders for us to be admitted. From this door we were led, through a narrow passage, into a large square, on the left side of which was a very handsome building, and thence into a spacious garden, by a grand circular opening in a brick wall. Before we had reached the first arbour, Mr. Panquiqua made his appearance in his ordinary dress, or dishabille, that is, without the upper garment usually worn; but he had a mandarin's hat on his; head, with a blue ball on the top of it. When the first civilities, of which the Chinese are profuse, were over, he led. us through the garden, ordering that breakfast should in the mean time be prepared. The novelty of the objects, and the taste displayed in the arrangement, so different from ours, engrossed my aitention. The walks were paved with bricks to the very trees, between which, on stands, were a great number of china vases, containing flowers and fruit-trees. In vain did my eyes search every where for a lawn: nothing of the kind was to be seen in this extensive place; the best parts of which, instead of containing, as in Europe, grass-plots variegated with beds of flowers, were taken up by ponds of stagnated water, which occasioned no very agreeable smell. The artificial stone-work of the garden pleased me extremely. It represented, on a small scale, precipices, and different excavations of mountains, with astonishing accuracy. During our walk we entered many arbours or summer-houses, which were only one story high, and open oil one side. They were all furnished alike, chairs and tables being placed on the sides, and a couch opposite the entrance covered with thin matting or silk. On the middle of the couch was a table with short feet. In every corner hung a lantern of horn or painted paper. The horn lanterns were very curious, from their size. They were each more than a foot in diameter, and appeared to be made of a single piece of horn. The Chinese, I understand, have the art of expanding horn till it becomes as thin as writing paper;
   Mr. Panquiqua, whose politeness induced him to show us every thing belonging to his establishment, led us to the arbour in which he sometimes sleeps. It differed from the rest, in being two stories high. In the upper story we saw a narrow bedstead, on which was a thin mattress covered with coarse blue woollen cloth, and over that a mat At the foot of the bed were eight coverlets of different colours, placed there to be used, one or more at a time, according to the coldness of the weather. The Chinese, our host told us, never use either sheets or pillow* cases: in warm weather, they sleep in their shirts on mats, and in cold weather on woollen cloth. He told us also, that the inhabitants of Nankin, when they go to bed, take off every article of clothing and lie perfectly naked: a custom that implies little sense either of delicacy or cleanliness.
   Having finished our walk through the garden, and partaken of a very sumptuous breakfast, Mr. Panquiqua introduced us into his seraglio. On passing a large gate ornamented with garlands, we entered a gallery terminated by a balcony, adjoining to which was a long spacious hall, the roof supported by a double row of columns, between which chairs were placed. The chairs were covered with English scarlet cloth, embroidered with silk, and the walls hung with china pictures. Near the walls were drums and other instruments for theatrical representations, of which, as well as of all sorts of spectacles and games, the Chinese are very fond. At the upper end of the hall was a sort of cupboard, with a candle burning before it Mr. Panquiqua opened this cupboard, which contained five small boards fixed on pedestals, with Chinese characters on them. They were placed there, he observed, in commemoration of so many of his ancestors; and he added, that on certain days, established by religion, he made offerings to them. On turning round, from some noise I heard while engaged in this scene, I saw at a side door, which was open, three very handsomely dressed women looking at us. As soon, however, as my eye met theirs, they vanished. It was manifest, that the curiosity common to the fair sex was awake in them; for the same door was opened and shut several times; and when we came from the hall into the gallery, two of the females made their appearance with less reserve. One was of a certain age, the other young; but the faces of both were so daubed with paint, that they were more like pictures than the living countenances of human beings. After we had seen the seraglio, our host proceeded to show us his domestic economy; but as this differed but little from our own, I shall not trouble the readers with a description of it.
  

PRICES OF DIFFERENT ARTICLES OF PROVISIONS DURING OUR STAY AT CANTON.

Tiles.

Mices.

Candarins.

   For a picul of rice

3

9

0

   For a ditto of the best white flour

6

0

0

   For a goose, per catty

0

1

4

   For a capon, per ditto

0

1

5

   For a duck or fowl, per ditto

0

1

4

   For beef, per ditto

0

0

7 1/2

   For mutton, per ditto

0

3

6

   For pork, per ditto

0

1

4

   For sweet potatoes, per ditto

0

0

4

   For European potatoes, per ditto

0

1

0

   For a salad, per ditto

0

0

4

   For greens, per ditto

0

0

4

   For green peas, per ditto

0

0

8

   For butter, per ditto

0

5

0

   For a cabbage

0

1

5

   For half a pint of milk

0

0

6

   For twelve eggs

0

0

8

  

MONEY OF CHINA.

  
   A tale contains ten maces; a mace, ten candarins; a candarin, ten cash; a Spanish dollar, seven maces and two candarins.
  

WEIGHTS AND MEASURES.

  
   A catty is twenty-one ounces and a quarter; a pecul, a hundred catties, or a hundred and thirty-three pounds English.
  

CHAPTER XV.

PASSAGE FROM CANTON TO CRONSTADT.

   Departure of the Nadejda and Neva from Canton. Islands and Straits in the Chinese Seas, Advice to Navigators respecting them. Island ff Two Brothers. Make the Islands of Java and Sumatra. Erroneous Situation of several Places rectified. One of the Crew of the Neva dies. Strait of Sunda. The two Ships separate. Navigation round the Cape of Good Hope. Currents. Make the Western Islands. Pass immense Quantities of Sea-weeds. Arrival and Stay at Portsmouth. Arrive at Cronstadt. The Ship visited by the Emperor Alexander and the Empress-mother. Honours and Rewards conferred on the Officers and Crew.
  

1806. Feb. 9th.

   On the 9th of February, having received our passports from the Chinese government, both ships, the Neva and Nadejda, weighed anchor. As the wind was contrary, and Whampoa full of vessels, we were obliged to hire boats to tow us out.

10th.

   On the 10th, at midnight, we anchored at Bocca Tigris. Behind the second bar were a great many East-India-men, drawing upon an average twenty-five feet of water. As vessels of such burthen cannot take their whole cargo on board at Whampoa, they are obliged to come here to complete their lading. It was not our intention to have stopped at this place; on the contrary, we had resolved to take advantage of the evening tide, and pass it: but the knavery of the pilots, who clandestinely dismissed the boats that were towing us, prevented it; and as the wind, which was light, bore the ship towards the shore, we had no resource but to anchor, in four fathoms of water. The object of the pilots, in this underhand proceeding, was to extort from us more money; but instead of gaining their ends, I had the good fortune to procure for them a just and wholesome correction.

11th.

   On the 11th, at sun-rise, with the wind at north-west, we were nth. again under sail, and about eight o'clock passed an English ship of the line called the Blenheim, which was waiting to convoy a fleet homeward. As the wind freshened considerably, we were apprehensive of a bad night; however, we contrived to reach Macao in the evening.

12th.-15th.

   During the night the wind shifted to the east, and at six in the morning we sailed. Having passed Macao at nine, we dismissed our pilot, and steered for Macklesfield Bank; which we were near, as we Supposed, on the 15th; and at one in the afternoon of that day we made for the island of Poolo Sapata.

19th.

   On the 19th, reckoning the island of Poolo Sapata to be north of us, we took a course for Poolo Aroe; and at six in the afternoon had soundings in thirty-five fathoms, with bottom of gray sand.

23d.

   On the 23d the weather, which had been hazy at sun-rise, cleared about seven o'clock, and we saw the island of Poolo Teoman to the south-west The south end of it appeared first, and next the north end, the part between being buried in clouds. At nine the island of Poolo Pambilang made its appearance, and shortly after that of Poolo Aroe. They seemed to be of different elevations, but on our near approach were reduced to a level. At noon I had observations in latitude 3° 6' north, and longitude 255° 10' west; from which it appears, that the north point of the island of Teoman is in latitude 2° 59 30", and in longitude, by the chronometers, 255° 22' 30"; but taking the mean between the chronometers and the lunar observations, which gave 255° 34', the real longitude will be 255° 28' 15" west. By our bearings, the island of Poolo Pambilang is south 22° east eleven miles from the north point of Teoman; and Poolo Aroe south 33° east nineteen miles and a half. The north end of the last therefore is 2° 44' north, and 255° 16'west, or fourteen miles more to the northward than Mr. Robertson has placed it. Hitherto the depth of water had been thirty-six fathoms, oozy ground.

24th.

   On the 24th we had a light breeze at north-east, and fine weather. By the lunar observations of this day, it was proved, that the mean longitude of the north point of the island of Teoman is 255° 34' west.

25th.

   The next day the weather was still fine. In the morning we crossed the line for the third time, in company with a strange sail, which was steering for the strait of Banca. At noon I had observations in 43' south, and 253° 37' west. Totty Island then bore south 64° west about fifteen miles. Being sure of this, and having nineteen fathoms of water, over a bottom of white sand and shells, we steered for the north point of Banca. We now found that the south-east current, which has been represented as being occasionally very strong in the Strait of Gaspar, was already acting upon our vessel; for she moved forward so fast, that at half after three the north point of Banca, or Point Pesant, appeared in sight. At the same instant Totty Island was seen like a small hillock, and bore west of us. The depth of water was then eighteen fathoms, white sand and shells. A little before, I had been, surprised by the water all at once changing its colour; which proceeded, as we afterwards found, from a quantity of spawn swimming on the surface. Towards sun-set, the north point bore south twenty miles d

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