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dance the precious stones, the pearls, the silks, and the diverse perfumes of the East; scarcely a day passes that there does not arrive nearly a thousand cars laden with silk, of which they make admirable stuffs in this city.” The palace of the Great Khan is magnificently built, and four miles in circuit. It is rather a group of palaces. In the interior it is resplendent with gold and silver; and in it are guarded the precious vases and jewels of the sovereign. All the appointments of the Khan for war, for the chase, for various festivities, are described in gorgeous terms. But though Marco Polo is magnificent in his description of the provinces of Cathay and its imperial city of Cambalu, he outdoes himself when he comes to describe the province of Mangi. This province is supposed to be the southern part of China. It contains, he says, twelve hundred cities. The capital Quinsai, (supposed to be the city of Hang-cheu), was twenty-five miles from the sea, but communicated by a river with a port situated on the sea-coast, and had great trade with India. The name Quinsai, according to Marco Polo, signifies the City of Heaven ; he says he has been in it and examined it diligently, and affirms it to be the largest in the world : and so undoubtedly it is if the measurement of the traveller is to be taken literally, for he declares it is one hundred miles in circuit. This seeming exaggeration has been explained by supposing him to mean Chinese miles, or li, which are to the Italian miles in the proportion of three to eight; and Mr. Marsden observes that the walls even of the modern city, the limits of which have been considerably contracted, are estimated by travellers at sixty li. The ancient city has evidently been of immense extent, and as Marco Polo could not be supposed to have measured the walls himself, he has probably taken the loose and incorrect estimates of the inhabitants. He describes it also as built upon little islands like Venice, and has twelve thousand stone bridges,” the arches of which are so high that the largest vessels can pass under them without lowering their masts. It has, he affirms, three thousand baths, and six hundred thousand families, including domestics. It abounds with magnificent houses, and has a lake thirty miles in circuit within its walls, on the banks of which are superb palaces of people of rank. f. The inhabitants of Quinsai are very voluptuous, and indulge in all kinds of luxuries and delights, particularly the women, who are extremely beautiful. There are many merchants and artisans, but the masters do not work; they employ servants to do all their labor. The province of Mangi was conquered by the Great Khan, who divided it into nine kingdoms, appointing to each a tributary king. He drew from it an immense revenue, for the country abounded in gold, silver, silks, sugar, spices, and perfumes.

* Another blunder in translation has drawn upon Marco Polo the indignation of George Hornius, who (in his Origin of America, iv., 3) exclaims: “Who can believe all that he says of the city of Quinsai 7 as, for example, that it has stone bridges twelve thousand miles high ' " etc. It is probable that many of the exaggerations in the accounts of Marco Polo are in fact the errors of his translators.

Mandeville, speaking of this same city, which he calls Causai, says it is built on the sea like Venice, and has twelve hundred bridges.

+ Sir George Staunton mentions this lake as being a beautiful sheet of water, about three or four miles in diameter ; its margin ornamented with houses and gardens of Mandarins, together with temples, monasteries for the priests of Fo, and an imperial


vol. v.-19


FIFTEEN hundred miles from the shores of Mangi, according to Marco Polo, lay the great island of Zipangu, by some written Zipangri, and by Columbus Cipango.” Marco Polo describes it as abounding in gold which, however, the king seldom permits to be transported out of the island. The king has a magnificent palace covered with plates of gold, as in other countries the palaces are covered with sheets of lead or copper. The halls and chambers are likewise covered with gold, the windows adorned with it, sometimes in plates of the thickness of two fingers. The island also produces vast quantities of the largest and finest pearls, together with a variety of precious stones; so that, in fact, it abounds in riches. The Great Khan made several attempts to conquer this island, but in vain; which is not to be wondered at, if it be true what Marco Polo relates, that the inhabitants had certain stones of a charmed virtue inserted between the skin and the flesh of their right arms, which, through the power of diabolical enchantments, rendered them invulnerable. This island was an object of diligent search to Columbus. About the island of Zipangu or Cipango, and between it and the coast of Mangi, the sea, according to Marco Polo, is studded with small islands to the number of seven thousand four hundred and forty, of which the greater part are inhabited. There is not one which does not produce odoriferous trees and perfumes in abundance. Columbur thought himself at one time in the midst of these islands. These are the principal places described by Marco Polo, which occur in the letters and journal of Columbus. The island of Cipango was the first land he expected to make, and he intended to visit afterwards the province of Mangi, and to seek the Great Khan in his city of Cambalu, in the province of Cathay. Unless the reader can bear in mind these sumptuous descriptious of Marco Polo, of countries teeming with wealth, and cities where the very domes and palaces flamed with gold, he will have but a faint idea of the splendid anticipations which filled the imagination of Columbus when he discovered, as he supposed, the extremity of Asia. It was his confident expectation of soon arriving at these countries, and realizing the accounts of the Venetian, that induced him to hold forth those promises of immediate wealth to the sovereigns, which caused so much disappointment, and brought upon him the frequent reproach of exciting false hopes and indulging in wilful exaggerations.

* Supposed to be those islands collectively called Japan. They are named by the Chinese Ge-pen, the terminating syllable gu added by Marco Polo is supposed to be the Chinese word £ue, signifying kingdom, which is commonly annexed to the names of foreign countries. As the distance of the nearest part of the southern island from the coast of China near Ning-po, is not more than five hundred Italian miles, Mr. Marsden supposes Marco Polo in stating it to be fifteen hundred, means Chinese miles, or 11, which are in the proportion of somewhat more than one third of the fortner.


sIR John MANDEvil.I.E.

NExt to Marco Polo the travels of Sir John Mandeville, and his account of the territories of the Great Khan along the coast of Asia seem to have been treasured up in the mind of Columbus.

Mandeville was born in the city of St. Albans. He was devoted to study from his earliest childhood, and after finishing his general education, applied himself to medicine. Having a great desire to see the remotest parts of the earth then known, that is to say, Asia and Africa, and above all to visit the Holy Land, he left England in 1332, and passing through France embarked at Marsailles. According to his own ac

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