William H. Seward's Travels around the World

By Olive Risley Seward; William Henry Seward | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XVIII.
A GLANCE AT COCHIN CHINA.

The Steamer Provence.--Island of Hainan.--Our Fellow-Passengers.--The Mouth of the Saigon River.--The City of Saigon.--French Aptitude for Colonization.--French Photographs.--The Queen of Cambodia.

Steamer Provence, South China Sea, January 6th.--Wearied with our long wanderings over China, which, though interesting, were attended with much fatigue, and with the hospitalities which, however delightful, were nevertheless exhausting, we resumed our onward voyage with a feeling of relief.

We are now running down the coast of the large and prosperous island of Hainan, which is separated from the main-land of China by the Gulf of Tonquin. They speak of aborigines on the island, but, from what we learn of its subdivision into Chinese provinces, and its confessedly great trade, we are inclined to believe that its civilization does not differ materially from that of the province of Quan-Tong.

Our steamer, recently L'Impératrice, of the "Messageries Impériales," is now La Provence, of the "Messageries Nationales," changes of name which illustrate the political versatility of the French people. The tout ensemble of passengers and crew is scarcely less indicative of social movements in the East.

There are eleven young men, sons of Japanese daimios, travelling under the care of a Prussian, who has been their tutor for five years. They are now going to finish their studies; some in England, some in France, some in Germany--the larger number in the

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