« ZurückWeiter »
and cavities, made in them for that purpose, causes strange and uncommon sounds. They introduce into these scenes, all kinds of extraordinary trees, plants, and flowers, form artificial and complicated echoes, and let loose different sorts of monstrous birds and animals.
In their scenes of horror they introduce impending rocks, dark caverns, and impetuous cataracts rushing down the mountains from all sides; the trees are ill-formed, and seemingly torn to pieces by the violence of tempests; some are thrown down, and intercept the course of the torrents, appearing as if they had been brought down by the fury of the waters; others look as if shattered and blasted by the force of lightning; the buildings are some in ruins, others half-consumed by fire, and some miserable huts dispersed in the mountains serve, at once, to indicate the existence and wretchedness of the inhabitants. These scenes are generally succeeded by pleasing ones. The Chinese artists, knowing how powerfully contrast operates on the mind, constantly practice sudden transitions, and a striking opposition of forms, colours, and shades. Thus they conduct you from limited prospects to extensive views; from objects of horror to scenes of delight; from lakes and rivers to plains, bills, and woods; to dark and gloomy colours they oppose such as are brilliant, and to complicated forms simples ones; distributing, by a judicious arrangement, the different masses of light and shade, in such a manner as to render the composition at once distinct in its parts, and striking in the whole.
Where the ground is extensive, and a multiplicity of scenes are to be introduced, they generally adapt each to one single point of view: but where it is limited, and affords no room for variety, they endeavour to remedy this defect, by disposing the objects so, that being viewed from different points, they produce different representations; and sometimes, by an artful disposition, such as have no reseinblance to each other.
In their large gardens they contrive different scenes for morning, noon, and evening; erecting, at proper points of view, buildings adapted to the recreations of each particular time of the day: and in their small ones (where, as has been observed, one arrangement produces many repre. sentations) they dispose in the same manner, at the several points of view, buildings, which, from their use, point out the time of day for the enjoying the scene in its perfection.
As the climate of China is exceedingly hot, they employ a VOL. III.
great deal of water in their gardens. In the small ones, if the situation admits, they frequently lay almost the whole ground under water; leaving only some islands and rocks: and in their large ones they introduce extensive lakes, rivers, and canals. The banks of their lakes and rivers are variegated in imitation of nature; being sometimes bare and gravelly, sometimes covered with woods quite to the water's edge. In some places flat, and adorned with flowers and shrubs; in others, steep, rocky, and forming caverns, into which part of the waters discharge themselves with noise and violence. Sometimes you see meadows covered with cattle, or ricegrounds that run out into the lakes, leaving between them passages for vessels; and sometimes groves, into which enter, in different parts, creeks, and rivulets, sufficiently deep to admit boats; their banks being planted with trees, whose spreading branches, in some places, form arbours, under which the boats pass. These generally conduct to some very interesting object; such as a magnificent building, places on the top of a mountain cut into terraces, a casine situated in the midst of a lake, a cascade, a grotto cut into variety of apartments, an artificial rock, and many other such inventions,
Their rivers are seldom straight, but serpentine, and brought into many irregular points; sometimes they are narrow, noisy, and rapid; at other times, deep, broad, and slow. Both in their rivers and lakes are seen reeds, with other aquatic plants and flowers; particularly the Lyen Hoa, of which they are very fond. They frequently erect mills, and other hydraulic machines, the motions of wbich enliven the scene. They have also a great number of vessels of different forms and sizes. In their lakes they intere sperse islands; some of them barren, and surrounded with rocks and shoals; others enriched with every thing that art and nature can furnish most perfect. They likewise form artificial rocks; and in compositions of this kind the Chinese surpass all other nations. The making them is a distinct profession; and there are at Canton, and probably in most other cities in China, numbers of artificers constantly eme ployed in this business. The stone they are made of comes from the southern coast of China : it is of a bluish cast, and worn into irregular forms by the action of the waves. The Chinese are exceedingly nice in the choice of this stone, insomuch that I have seen several tael given for a bit no bigger than a man's fist, when it happened to be of a beautiful form and lively colour. But these select pieces they use in landscapes for their apartments; in gardens they
employ a coarser sort, which they join with a bluish cement, and form rocks of a considerable size. I have seen some of these exquisitely fine, and such as discovered an uncommon elegance of taste in the contriver. When they are large they make in them caves and grottoes, with openings, through which you discover distant prospects. They cover them in different places, with trees, shrubs, briars, and moss; placing on their tops little temples, or other build. ings, to which you ascend by rugged and irregular steps cut in the rock.
When there is a sufficient supply of water, and proper ground, the Chinese never fail to form cascades in their gardens. They avoid all regularity in these works, observ-, ing nature according to her operations in that mountainous country. The waters burst out from among the caverns and windings of the rocks. In some places a large and impetu. ous cataract appears; in others are seen many lesser falls. Sometimes the view of the cascade is intercepted by trees, whose leaves and branches only leave room to discover the waters, in some places, as they fall down the sides of the mountain. They frequently throw rough wooden bridges from one rock to another, over the steepest part of the cataract; and often intercepı its passage by trees and heaps of stones, that seem to have been brought down by the violence of the torrent.
In their plantations they vary the forms and colours of the trees; mixing such as have large and spreading branches with those of pyramidical figures, and dark greens with brighter, interspersing among them such as produce flowers, of which they have some that fourish a great part of the year. The Weeping-willow is one of their favourite trees, and always among those that border their lakes and rivers, being so planted as to have its branches hanging over the water. They likewise introduce trunks of decayed trees, sometimes erect, and at other times lying on the ground, being very nice about their forms, and the colour of the bark and moss on them.
Various are the artifices they employ to surprise. Sometimes they lead you through dark caverns and gloomy passages, at the issue of which you are, on a sudden, struck with the view of a delicious landscape, enriched with every thing that luxuriant nature affords most beautiful. At other times you are conducted through avenues and walks, that gradually diminish and grow rugged, till the passage is at Jength entirely intercepted, and rendered impracticable, by bushes, briars, and stones; when unexpectedly a rich and
extensive prospect opens to view, so much the more pleasing, as it was less looked for.
Another of their artifices is to hide some part of a composition by trees, or other intermediate objects. This naturally excites the curiosity of the spectator to take a nearer view; when he is surprised by some unexpected scene, or some representation totally opposite to the thing he looked for. The termination of their lakes they always hide, learing room for the imagination to work; and the same rule they observe in other compositions, wherever it can be put in practice.
Though the Chinese are not well versed in optics, yet experience has taught them that objects appear less in size, and grow dim in colour, in proportion as they are more removed from the eye of the spectator. These discoveries have given rise to an artifice, which they sometimes put in practice. It is the forming prospects in perspective, by introducing buildings, vessels, and other objects, lessened according as they are more distant from the point in view; and that the deception may be still more striking, they give a greyish tinge to the distant parts of the composition, and plant in the remoter parts of these scenes, trees of a fainter colour, and smaller growth, than those that appear in the front, or fore-ground; by these means rendering what in reality is trifling and limited, great and considerable in appearance.
The Chinese generally avoid straight lines; yet they do not absolutely reject them. They sometimes make avenues, when they have any interesting object to expose to view. Roads they always make straight, unless the unevenness of the ground, or other impediments, afford at least a pretext for doing otherwise. Where the ground is entirely level, they look upon it as an absurdity to make a serpentine road; for they say, that it must either be made by art, or worn by the constant passage of travellers: in either of which cases it is not natural to suppose men would chuse a crooked line when they might go by a straight one.
What we call clumps, the Chinese gardeners are not unacquainted with; but they use them somewhat more sparingly than we do. They never fill a whole piece of ground with clumps; they consider a plantation as painters do a picture, and group their trees in the same manner as these do their figures, having their principal and subservient masses.
This is the substance of what I learnt during my stay in China, partly from my own observation, but chiefly from the
lessons of Lopqua. And from what has been said it may be inferred, that the art of laying out grounds after the Chinese manner is exceedingly difficult, and not to be attained by persons of narrow intellects: for though the precepts are simple and obvious, yet the putting them in execution requires genius, judgment, and experience, a strong imagination, and a thorough knowledge of the human mind; this method being fixed to no certain rule, but liable to as many variations as there are different arrangements in the works of the creation.
XXVI. A genuine Narrative of the sufferings of the Persons who
were confined in the Prison called the Black Hole, in Fort William, at Calcutta, in the Kingdom of Bengal, after the surrender of that place to the Iudians, in June, 1756, from a letter of J. Z. HOLWELL, Esq. to William Davis, Esq.
THE ill conduct of Drake, the late governor of Calcutta, who had, among other things, unjustly imprisoned a very considerable merchant of the country, whose name was Omychund, and who was a Gentoo, having drawn the resentment of the viceroy upon the factory, he marched against it in person, with a very considerable force, and laid siege to the fort.
Drake, who had brought on his misfortune, no sooner saw it approach, than he deserted his station, and left the gentlemen of the factory and the garrison to shift for themselves. As soon as Drake was gone, Mr. Holwell, from whose letter this account is taken, took the command upon himself, and resolved to defend the place as long as he could. This voluntary opposition of Mr. Holwell incensed the viceroy against him; and supposing that he would not have undertaken a work of supererogation, attended with such fatigue and danger, upon disinterested principles, he made no doubt but that there were very great treasures in the fort, in which he was deeply concerned as a proprietor; he therefore pushed on the siege with great vigour, and gained possession of the fort about five o'clock in the evening of the 20th of June, 1756.
The number of men then in the fort was 145. One Leech, who had served the company as a smith, and was the parish clerk, made his escape through a private passage, with