Billeder på siden
PDF
ePub

the streams involved secured as accurately as possible. It has been surprising to me to see how often the railway engineers have erred in China, from their inadequate attention to this factor of river history, and after costly experience have had to redetermine the level of their tracks when flanking a river or lake or to rebuild their bridges crossing a stream.

Another example of Chinese engineering skill employed in protecting the land from the "misbehavior" of rivers is the great sea wall along the north side of Hangchow Bay, of which I have elsewhere given a full account, and is, considering the difficulties under which it was built, one of the finest pieces of such engineering to be found anywhere.

3

The Hangchow bore is caused chiefly by the funnel-shaped character of Hangchow Bay, combined with extensive mud and sand bars that occupy its mouth so that the tide in coming up the by instead of gradually rising, banks up near the entrance. The difference in level is such that a great wall of water anywhere from 10 to 30 feet in height rushes up the bay and up the river at a speed which sometimes equals that of an ordinary express train. This occurs twice a day and always amounts to a considerable wave, although sometimes it is much larger than others. Of course, an exceedingly strong wall is required to keep out such a mass of rushing water from the surrounding country which, as a matter of fact, is in many places below the level of the river. Some 750,000 taels are spent each year for the upkeep of this wall. It is built of heavy granite blocks joined together with double iron wedges and besides the wall which is ordinarily 30 feet in height, there are two granite platforms or ledges each edged with a multiple series of long piles driven into the sand, constituting one of the strongest sea footings that could be secured to keep the wall from being undermined. At intervals of about half a mile for a good part of the wall, there are pakwerk buffers to deflect the current of the bore.

As if these two cases of the devastating forces to be overcome were not enough to develop resourcefulness and hardihood in the people compelled to face them, the coast of

8 Popular Science Monthly, February and March, 1908.

China is subject also to frequent typhoons, many of which are destructive of life and property in the extreme. I shall attempt no description of the typhoon and its origin, but wish by my pictures to call attention to the tremendous destruction caused by such storms.

In order that there may be more timely warnings, there are needed more observatories and better coördination in the work of existing observatories throughout the Orient. There are, at the present time, well-established observatories at Zikawei near Shanghai, maintained by French Jesuit missionaries; at Hong Kong, maintained by the British colonial government, and at Tsintau, the German concession on Shantung promontory. These observatories are more or less in receipt of communications from the observatories at Manila and Tokio, and there are also observations of more or less regularity at various light house stations along the China coast and at some of the ports by the harbor masters in the customs service. But, there is a great deal more than this to be done, and the whole work needs to be put upon a sound basis in its scientific work and in its administration.

One of the best things that Sir Robert Hart did in connection with the customs service was to give the China coast its needed light houses, so that today it has a chain of such that will rival those found anywhere.

The country at large needs also a weather service. While this is primarily the government's duty, missionary colleges at the present time have a real opportunity to assist China in this connection. The physics department of each of the colleges throughout the land should make adequate and systematic meteorological observations so that when the time comes when the government is able to organize a service on its own basis, there will be qualified observers available and an accumuation of valuable data upon which valid generalizations as to the meteorological forces in China may be based. All this is closely connected with re-forestation, extensive farming and the control of rivers. There should be a thorough meteorological survey as a necessary preliminary if these problems are to be adequately solved, for it will require at

least twenty years to gather the data that will render generalization valuable.

Partly as a preliminary to this, the Carnegie Institution of Washington has for over six years been carrying on magnetic observations throughout China in accordance with plans which I submitted to them to be carried out in connection with their magnetic survey of the North Pacific, and I shall treat briefly of the aims, scope and results of this magnetic survey as a distinct contribution to the solution of China's physical problems. The results of such a survey are necessary to the land surveyor and to the navigator in order that when a magnetic compass is used either to steer a ship at sea or to run the lines of a survey on land, the user may know the amount accurately by which the needle deviates from the astronomical or true north. At each station, the observer determines latitude and longitude by astronomical observations; the compass deviation or declination, the dip of the magnetic needle and the intensity of the earth's magnetic force at that place. All these elements are necessary in order to predict the way in which the magnetic declination from the north will vary with the years. The Carnegie Institution of Washington has extended its operations to China as a part of its plan to supplement the work of the constituted governments, who have not yet organized scientific services. Already fifteen of the provinces have been traversed and about a hundred stations have been occupied at intervals varying from 25 to 100 miles. The results for the years 1905-1910 are just being published and had previously in part been made available to those chiefly interested. Only three of the most western provinces and the greater part of Mongolia remain to be covered in this preliminary reconnaissance.

Connected with this matter of surveys is the whole problem of reform in weights and measures in China which are in utter confusion today. But while really a part of your topic, I shall not attempt here any discussion of this item.

During my survey trips I have of course come to appreciate very feelingly the problem that China has with reference to

roads. The pictures show you a few typical cases which will indicate what a boon good roads would be and how much railroads would relieve conditions at present so hard to bear. In the south there are no roads only footpaths. In the north the cart roads are so ancient and worn that in the loess regions they are veritable ruts-sometimes as deep as 70 feet below the level of the land on either side.

One reason why roads have been neglected is the prevalence of waterways, especially in the Yangtsze and Canton deltas, and throughout the whole country great use is made of even insignificant streams by boats of very shallow draft. All these should be improved by proper conservancy methods.

Of special importance in this connection is the Grand Canal, the oldest and longest of canals. As the chief artificial waterway in China I wish to present to you something of the history and present condition of this canal, illustrating this latter aspect with a number of photographs secured a few years ago when I made a trip in a house-boat all the way from the Yellow River to the southern terminus of the canal at Hangchow, about 700 miles.

The Grand Canal, called in Chinese Yü-ho (Imperial River), Yün-ho (Transport River,) or Yunliang-ho (Tributebearing river), extends from Hangchow in Chekiang to T'ientsin in Chihli, a distance of about 1000 miles.

According to the most reliable accounts, it was commenced in the sixth century B.C., and finished in only A.D. 1283. The most ancient part is that which lies between the Yangtsze and the Hwai-ho. The southern part, extending from Hangchow to Chinkiang, was constructed from A.D. 605 to 617. The upper part, extending from the old bed of the Hwang-ho to T'ientsin, was constructed by the Emperor Shi Tsu of the Yuen dynasty, and completed within a space of three years (A.D. 1280-1283). Shi Tsu then transferred his capital from Hangchow to Peking. As the northern provinces were not very fertile, and the trade along the seaboard unsafe, he was forced to get provisions from the southern provinces. He therefore resolved to complete the work left unfinished by his predecessors.

[ocr errors]

The southern portion, extending from Hangchow to Chinkiang, offers no difficulty as to its water supply. The slope is gentle and water is plentiful. Navigation on it is easy. Boats are sometimes retarded by bridges, but there are neither rapids nor locks to pass. The flood and tides of the Hangchow River are the only obstacles to overcome. Of the Bore Wall that does this, I have already spoken.

The central portion extending from the Yangtze to Ts'ingkiangp'oo is the most ancient. This part skirts several large lakes. It was formerly fed by the Yangtsze, and its stream flowed in a northwest direction. It is fed at the present day by the waters of the Hwai-ho, as they issue from the Hungtseh lake, and the stream runs in a northerly direction. The current is fairly strong. The level of the country lying to the west of the Grand Canal and called the Shangho (above the river), is higher than the bed of the canal, while the country to the east, or Hsia-ho (below the river) is lower. Waste-weirs constructed on the eastern embankment, and opening on the Hsia-ho, discharge the surplus waters in the flood season, and thus relieve the banks and hinder injury of the works. There are few bridges in this portion of the Canal, but numerous ferry-boats facilitate passing at almost every place. This part of the Canal is far from offering the same advantages for navigation, at least, when one proceeds northward, as the southern portion. Boats, however, can easily travel on it and as on the southern section launch trains are regularly maintained.

The northern portion, extending from Ts'ingkiangp❜oo to T'ientsin, is the most recent and also the most difficult for navigation, and hence the least utilized. Between the Ts'ing kiangp'oo and the Hwang-ho, the Canal is fed from the Hwai-ho and the Wen-ho. Its highest point is at its junction with the Wen-ho, just south of the Yellow River.

The current flows in a northerly direction from the junction of the Tawen-ho with the Grand Canal at Nanwang. The passage of the Hwang-ho is difficult. If the water fails to rise 7 feet beyond the ordinary level, junks are unable to cross it. If it rises higher, the current becomes too strong, and so travelers must at times wait a whole month before an

« ForrigeFortsæt »