William H. Seward's Travels around the World

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

CHAPTER XII.
UP THE YANG-TSE-KIANG.

The Mississippi of China.--Ching-Kiang.--Large Freights.--Nanking.--The Porcelain Tower.--A Specimen Brick.--Abundance of Game.--Scenery on the River.--Ku- Kiang.--Conversation with Mr. Drew.--Policy of the United States.--Han-Kow.-- Ascent of the Promontory.--Magnificent View.--Cheerful Aspect of Han-Kow.-- Excursion to Woo-Chang.--A Disagreeable Adventure.

December 9th.--The Yang-tse-kiang has its sources in the mountains of Thibet, side by side with those of rivers which flow through Siam, Burmah, and Hindostan, into the Bay of Bengal. In reaching the Pacific, it traverses the central region of China, a distance of nineteen hundred miles, which the sinuosities of its course lengthen to three thousand miles. Though this navigation may not be longer than that of the Mississippi River, extended by the Missouri River, the Yang-tse-kiang greatly surpasses the great American river in depth, breadth, and volume. Often, in its course, it spreads into broad bays or lakes, and, losing its own name, takes on local ones, just as the mighty St. Lawrence does.

In a distance of eighty miles from the sea, the river gradually shrinks from a breadth of some thirty miles to that of one mile-- the banks level, densely inhabited, and perfectly cultivated.

At midnight we fastened at the wharf of Ching-Kiang, the southern terminus of the Imperial Canal. This populous and important town was nearly destroyed during the Ta-ping rebellion. The mercury had gone down to twenty-eight degrees. A heavy dew was falling. It was no time to go ashore. Our captain

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