There are occasional N.W. gales, accompanied with storms of dust from
the neighbouring plains. Slight frosts occur. Temperature, 61° to 31°.
mxsB and r AUi of BlTor. — ^At Hankow the river rises in summer from
42 to 60 feet above its winter level. A register was kept from January 1st
to November dOth, 1866, and the following table exhibits the progressive
"rise and subsidence for that year :— *
March - -
tS?! : :
June - - -
The water was at its lowest level about the end of January, and attaSned
its highest level on the 10th of August. In that year the water fell
nothing during January, but more commonly it falls 10 feet during that
elseif (getClientWidth() > 430)
month, and commences to rise the first week in February. It will be
♦ Treaty Ports of China, p. 449, from which much other matter relating to Hankow
has been transcribed.
t In April the water sometimes &Ils. In 1873 it fell 5 feet in the first 8 days of the
month. The subsequent rise is generally so much the greater.
Digitized by VjOOQIC
CHAP. Tin.] EISE OP BIVEB — ^AKCHOBAGE. 416
remarked that the subsidenoe is more gradual than the rise, which may be
attributed to the influence of the dry season, whilst on the contraiy the
great fluctuations in the rise are probably due to the varying periodidties
of the rainy seasons in those regions through which the upper courses of
the Yangtse and its tributaries flow. Heavy rains may cause a rise of
2 feet in a single day, and it has also been remarked * that the slower the
Telocity of the stream, the greater has been the rise of the river, amounting
on one occasion to 2 feet in 12 hours. A sudden thaw when the hills are
covered with snow also raises the level. See Appendix, p. 578.
The country surrounding Hankow is generally under water from July
to September, leaving the three cities like islands with water around as far
as the eye can reach, and in some years the water is so high as to cause
almost an exodus irom the city, the richer portion of the inhabitants
removing to Wuchang, and the poor to the neighbouring hills, whilst those
wlio remain have to inhabit the upper stories of the houses. The foreign
settlement has also been under water. The river bank at Hankow is
composed of sandy soil, and the river of late years has made great
encroachments on the city.
Velocity of tlie Current. — This has been variously estiaiated. At
Hankow, during a freshet^ it was found by repeated measurements to be
5^ knots, but its general rate was from 2^ to 3 knots and sometimes less.
During the first ascent of the Yangtse in December, the current was found
by the surveying officers to run from 1^ to 4 knots, the latter rate pre-
vailing only in particular localities. At the tinchorage 100 yards off the
bund it has been estimated as 3^ to 4 knots in August, 2 J to 3 knots in
October, 1^ to 2 knots in November, and ^ knot to IJ knots in December.
In summer the strength of the current is stated to be from 5 to 7 knots,
but the latter rate is only obtained in some of the passes. In the latter
season a diminished rate will also be found in the cut-off channels.
During the latter part of June 1865, the freshes out of the Han river
were so great that the steam vessels in port had to use steam to prevent
their driving, and many junks and timber-rafts which were anchored off
the mouth of the Han parted their cables, and drove ath wart-hawse of the
vessels anchored off the Concession. Much damage also resulted from the
fouling of the foreign vessels. The current was estimated at from 5 to 8
knots, and at such times it is recommended to shift berth to the opposite
side of the river where the current is moderatcf
AVCBOBACn. — The anchorage is off or a little below the settlement in
about 7 to 10 fathoms, soft, sandy mud, at about 1^ cables from the bank.
In the high level season it is very bad indeed, but must be made the best
♦ Remark Book of H.M.S. Slant^. t Wm. King, Master, B.N., 1866.
Digitized by VjOOQIC
416 THE TAKGTSE KIAKG. [csiLP.vm.
of. Sewodj a fthipi it is aad,* remains there without losing one or more
•achorsi for besides the strength of the eorrent and the natore o£ the
bottom, many broken anchors are scattered about this part of the bed of
the river. It is necessary to sight the anchors constantly, or ihey become
so imbedded in the soft mnd that they cannot be weighedf The beat
position is jost below the Concesaon and between it and the defence wall
lately erected for the protection of the place, where the ground is more
free from lost anchors, and less tenacious ; a yessel lying here is also less
liable to be disturbed by the timber rafts which frequently, during freshets,
break adrift from the banks higher up where they are moored. These
rafts are of immense size, fi^uently covering an area oi half an acre,
and drawing 15 feet water, so that should one get athwart-hawse, a vessel
might b^ carried miles down the river before she could be got dear.
The prevailing winds in the early part of the year are from ]S[.E., and if
not moored during fresh winds ships are liable to foul their anchors by
overrunning the current, which is fit>m 1 to 1^ knots.
The squadron in December, 1868| anchored in 3 to 7 fathoms just above
the month of the Han on the tail of the middle ground which lies abreast
Hanyang hill, and in some seasons stretches nearly across the river. This
sandbank is usually formed in autumn, and is left for the most part dry
from December to March, but sometimes disappears in summer altogether.^
The Tangtse has a depth of 10 fathoms off the month of the Han in
December, decreasing to 6 fathoms off the custom house ; but as the river
rises 6 fathoms by July, the inconvenient depth at that season and the force
of the current cause an anchorage in the Han to be preferred, in which the
stream is less rapid and the depth 18 £Eithoms.
DESCENT OF THE YANGTSE.
xjurxowto xnnuAvck — ^The downward voyage from Hankow is
at all times one of danger and difficulty. In the summer months the
excessive velocity of the current renders necessary the utmost degree of
skill and caution, the time of rapid subsidence (see page 414) being an
especially precarious period and the 'occasion of many wrecks, for should
* Remarks of Archibald Miller, Second Master B.K., H.M.S. Slaneyt 1866.
f The anchors of H.M.S. Shmey were sighted twice a week, and sometimes, after
heing only three days down, it was with the utmost difficulty they were started. The
anchors were supposed to be buried under the allurial matter which is deposited here in
large quantities. In July 1865, after heavy freshes out of the river Han, some vessels
were 'unable to weigh their anchors at all, and several lost one or more during the
% In the summer of 1861, this bank was entirely swept away in one night by the
Digitized by VjOOQIC
ceAP.vm.] DESCENT OF THE EIVER. 417
A vessel ground there is little hope of her escaping total shipwreck. In
summer the banks for many miles are under water and the channel is only
visible by its turbid and turbulent appearance, and when the maximum
strength of the current has abated, the river has greatly fallen and new
dangers are encountered in the natural obstructions and shoals, some of
which may be newly formed, and the alterations which take place from
year to year are so great that the most experienced pilots are often at
fault ; still if a pilot can possibly be procured no vessel should attempt
the descent of the river without one.
Shortly after the establishment of the port hopes were entertained that
:sea-going vessels would h^-ve been able to load at Hankow and sail du'ect
for England, but the loss* of many valuable cargoes arising from the
difficulties of the navigation caused the insurances on vessels descending
tlie river to be raised to almost prohibitive rates, and led to the introduction
of a class of powerful river steamers which now convey the teas and other
•exports to Shanghai for trans-shipment.
In connexion with such accidents it has been suggestedf that a ship
should be towed down alongside the steamer, stern foremost, with at least
three bower anchors ready for letting go. By this plan the vessel with tha
additional assistance of the steamer backing astern would be brought up
In the season of inundation, the banks for miles are under water, though
in most places the position of the land may be distinguished by the still
glassy appearance of the water, compared with the turgid yellow of
the main stream. Indeed it may be taken as a rule throughout the
river, that where rough, broken looking waler is seen, there is the best
After leaving Hankow, nothing can be seen distinctly for the first
6 miles, then some houses appear which mark the beginning of the
Kinshan shoals, abreast the shoalest part of which- the left bank is plainly
seen for about 2 cables, and its position more or less shown for about
6 miles farther by a number of clumps of trees and houses. The water
here shoals from 15 fathoms near the left bank to 3 fathoms on the other
side. Approaching Yanglo, (neither bank being visible though the beacon
light on Low point is a guide,) steer E. ^ S. for a tree on the end of a
♦ The Guinevere, in June 1866, with a cargo of 9,000 chests of tea, became a total
wreck about 50 miles below Hankow, and this calamity was followed by the stranding
ttnd loss of several other vessels in dififerent parts of the nwer,— -Treaty Ports of China,
t Published at Shanghai in June 1866.
J Archibald G. Miller, Second Master, R.N., H.M.S. Slaney, and the author of the
following directions for descending the Yangtse at the period of inundation.
30251. D D
Digitized by VjOOQIC
418 THE YANGTSB KIAKO. [chap. vm.
point to the left of the highest part of the range. After passing Tanglo
keep it nearly right astern, steering abont S. by E. ^ E. for where the
westernmost shoulder of White Tiger hill joins the next low hummuck to
the westward of it, making of course allowance for the current. Bouncer
island is seldom entirely under water, some patches of grass being Yisible,
and after passing this the principal difficulty is over, as one bank or the
other is almost always visible.
After passing Porpoise bluff steer straight for Fau-hia-ki cliffs, and when
northward of them and abreast two trees and fiye or six huts lying togetlier
on the left bank, commence to cross over for the channel west of Wills island,
which as well as the low island south-west of it, betweeit wbieh the channel
is formed, are under water with the exception of a clump' of trees about the
middle of the latter. The course for the channel is E.S.E. hauling very
gradually to the southward in 7 to 8 fethoms round the bight of Wills
island which is steep-to,* until a very coBspicuous tree on the bank of the
river southward of Gravener island comes open of a dump of trees on the
island, when steer nearly right for it, S.S.E. After passing Wills island
skirt round Gravener, the submerged bank of which is indicated by the
houses, keeping a clump of trees inside a rocky point on the right bank
neaiiy right ahead, and making due allowance for the current, which here
runs nearly 5 knots.
Below Gravener island both banks are visible for 6 miles, after which
they begin to be flooded, principally the right, the left only partially so
near Whang-chau, below which town they are again visible all the way
down to Collinson island. Aft«r passing Boulder rock keep close to the
right bank till a conspicuous house at Paho on the left bank bears N. by E.,
when commence to round the point of Yangki at 1^ cables, increasing the
distance gradually to 3 cables abreast a conspicuous, thin, withered tree,
being then in 5 fathoms, haul in again gradually till abreast a small village
with some bushy trees right on the edge of the bank, with 8 fathoms
close to. Keep still along the right bank passing a small rocky bluff, and
afterwards a small joss house with two large trees ; then steer S. by E. ^ E.
for two small red hummocks or cliffs lying to the left of a noticeable tree
on the edge of the river bank, and which lies in line with the most re-
markable part of the high land behind it. Collinson island is almost entirely
covered, only showing where the middle channel branches off wbere it is
rather high and sandy, and also near its lower end where patches of grass
are visible at intervals. The right bank opposite its lower end is also
marked by a few trees, and the point opposite Whuy-lung-ki also shows.
* The island south-west of Wills island has a shelving bank.
Digitized by VjOOQIC
OHAP. vm.] DESCENT OF THE RIVER. 419
After passing Collinson island the principal difficultiee have been got oyer
and none of any consequence are encountered between it and Kiukiang^
for although the banks in some places are submerged thej are dis-
tinguishable, and with ordinary caution may be avoided. The light-boats
also and the beacon lights which are now established are effectual guides.
KzmLKAJro to CBZirxzAiro. — Oliphant island presents the first
difficulty after leaving Kiukiang, for at its lower end where the various
channels meet, both banks are flooded. Affcer passing the bar, a clump of
trees in the hollow between two hill tops kept right ahead will lead through,
and the east point of the island is marked with beacon and light. The
only other difficulty is at the lower part of Christmas island, where the
country, very flat and without trees or houses, is flooded ; but Eagle island
on the east side of the channel shows, from which a N.E, by N. course
leads down towards Nganking. The low points, as a rule, are all flooded ;
and as regards the bights, it hsTs been observed that the flatter the bend
the less is the overflow, and the sharper the bend the greater the overflow.
CBzirxiaaro to tbe ssa. — The highest rise in summer being 14 feet,
the river banks are less submerged. Plover point is sometimes inundated,
but as the channel of the river is buoyed, its navigation is not affected
thereby. See also page 372.
Note, — ^The Toyage up to Hankov is accomplished, by the fine class of fast steam
ships which trade regularly between Shanghai, Hankow, and the intermediate ports, -in
from three to five days, inclusive of stoppages of from one to six hours at each of the
treaty ports, whilst the journey down occupies from 40 to 50 hours. Fares are charged
at the following rates from^Shanghai:— To Chinkiang 20 taels, to Kiukiang 60 taels, to
Hankow 60 taels ; or for the voyage to Hankow and back 100 taels.
Digitized by VjOOQIC
420 THE UPPEE TANGTSE. [cwap. rm.
THE UPFEB TANGTSE.
HANKOW TO YOHCHAU.
Vabiatiox in 1874, O** 2® East
The further navigation of the Yangtae* to Yohchau, at the entrance of
the Tung-ting lake, 122 miles above Hankow, presents no difficulty if the
track indicated hj the soundings on the chart be followed, the depths of
which refer to the level in March, when the river had risen about 6 feet.
Owing to a bar of 15 feet, 90 miles above Hankow, vessels only of 15 feet
draught can pass up at the middle of March, but the rise of the river at
that period is very rapid. The river rose 20 feet at Yohchau between the
17th March and 25th June.
After passing the walls of Wuchang leather closely, so as to avoid the
extensive sandbank above the mouth of the Han, the vast plain which forms
the valley of the upper Yangtse is entered, which on its northern side,
from above the low range crossing the river and terminating in the flat-
topped Ta-kin-shan or Great Golden hill on the left bank, about 14 miles
above Hankow, is unbroken by a single eminence for some hundreds of
miles. Below this range are the Siau-kin-shan or Little Golden hill, and
some low grassy hills on the river side 7 miles above the city ; both shores
are otherwise low, large tracts being partially flooded in the middle of
March, and in June the whole country is under water. The large town
of Eing-kau stands on the right bank, 1^ miles above Ta-kin-shan, and
the large sand-bank off" it, dry in March, will be avoided by passing close
along the opposite shore.f
OAVTZOV. — If at anchor or proceeding by night, beware of the
numerous large rafts of timber floating down the stream. The river is
frequently crowded with junks and boats of all descriptions.
VARMBR BSITB. — ^The general direction of the river is south-west,
but at 25 miles above Hankow it takes an extraordinary bend of 25 miles,
doubling back upon itself to within half a mile. The neck thus formed
can be crossed in June, when there is a passage of 4 to 10 feet, with a
strong current setting through. In the bend, a shallow spit off Ashby
island narrows the passage considerably, and the steep bank close in to the
♦ See Admiralty Chart of the Yangtse kiang. Sheet 5:— Hankow to Yohchau, No.
2,849, scale, m=0*5 of an inch.
t There are banks at intervals between Wuchang andKing-kau, on the bank off which
latter place there was only one foot water in December. Just off the hills I observed
tw& rocks, in mid-channel. Remark Book of Lieut, and Com. Geo. Morice R.N.
Digitized by VjOOQIC
CHAP.TOi.] HANKOW TO TOHCHAU. 421
bight of shore must be kept. The north-east shore of Ashby island is also
steep, with deep water close to the island, but it is very shoal along the
BOPB BSACB. — ^The village of Hau-chin-kwang stands on a point of
the left bank at the south extreme of the bend, 14 miles above Ashby
island, and in turning out of the bend pass close to the point, as it is the
deep water shore, and follow the left bank through Hope reach, which has
several middle grounds, crossing over when approaching the village of Kuchi
at its upper end, 15 miles above Hau-chin-kwan, standing on some low
red earth cliffs, and keep this shore for 10 miles, till past both the broad
openings of a shallow roundabout channel on the left bank, off which are
extensive sands. The village of Lu-tsi-kau is above the first opening, and
one mile above this is Shi-ta-kau, where there is a ruined temple, and good
and cheap fish can be obtained. After passing the small hills 3^ miles above
these villages, keep mid-stream or rather towards the left bank, where a
brick kiln may be observed, above which, off the point, and north of a
small range, is a 15-feet bar, the only obstruction in the river between
Hankow and Yohchau.
8ZVOTZ S&A.CB. — Singti, 94 miles above Hankow, and 5 above the
bar, is the most important town on the river between Hankow and
Yohchau. It has a custom-house where all junks coming down the river
pay tolL The great number of these and the large piles of timber along
the shore, imply considerable mercantile prosperity; but at the end of
June Singti is submerged with the whole country to the north, the only
signs being the tops of some embankments, clumps of trees, and roofs of
houses, while on the other side, the flooded valleys of the Kiun range and
its extension look like arms of the sea.
Opposite Singti is a large dry middle ground, to avoid which keep the
lefti bank aboard throughout Singti reach. The remarkable yellow bluff,
on the right bank, 10 miles above Singti, has a rock off it which must be
avoided. The upper part of this reach, 13 miles above Singti, narrows to
half a mile between cliffs of red sandstone.
TOBCBAV B&A.CB. — ^Entering Yohchau reach by these narrows, keep
the right bank' aboard close to the cliffs to avoid Cha-hau-che island, a
large bank of mud ; and 3 miles higher up keep the same shore aboard
dose to the white sand cliffs (the only ones in the neighbourhood) off which
is the Mopanshih rock,* dry 4 feet on 15th March. This rock, which is
very dangerous until suflSciently covered for vessels to pass over it^ would
* Capt. BlaJdston, R.A., describes this rock as lying nearly in mid-channel.
Digitized by VjOOQIC
4S2 THB UPPBB YAKGTSE. [cHAP.Tm.
be awash about the beginning of April, and have II feet oyer it about tbe
middle of May. Thence continue along the right bank, past the confluence
of the Ta kiang, on to Yohchau fu.
J g y ^' lA— mmoTWom* — At 116 miles above Hankow, the Yangtse,
where it recetres the waters of the Tung-ting lake, winds to the nortih-
west, the outlet of the lake being 6 miles above the confluence of the
•trsams. Passing the junction the stream firom the lake runs along the low
■purs of the Kiun range, 2,000 to 3,000 feet in height, and the oouise is
along the right bank.
The Taar^ttar &ake, GO miles in length and 30 in breadth, is tiie
lai^est in China. It receives the waters of three considerable riverst^ the
Siang, Tss*, and Yuen, which drain the province of Hunan, and fiimish an
important affluent to the Yangtse. This lake is situated in the soutli-
westem part of an extensive depression in Hupeh, lying on both sides of
the river, in whidi are many similar lakes connecting with it, the whole
area being 200 miles long and 80 broad. In March, the channel through
it is said to carry 10 or 12 feet water for 10 miles; the depth then
decreases to 6 feet and becomes so narrow that its navigation is difficult
to lig^t draught junks.
YOBOSAV TV stands on the eastern shore at the outlet of the lake,
122 miles above Hankow. As a place of trade it is unimportant. It is a
walled city well situated on high ground, its chief gate on the western wall
being gained by a massive flight of steps from the water. The anchorage
is in 4 to 5 fathoms off the south end of the city wall, outside the fleet of
junks always lying there. The suburb lies along the water-side to the
south of the city, in which is a tall pagoda, and there is a low one on the
summit of a hill inland. A shoal, a mile in length north and south (diy
in March), bears from the city S.W., and about West from the large
pagoda. Beyond Hope point, a promontory on the south shore, bsx island
is seen 8 miles distant. Inland, the country is mountainous, but the
neighbouring shores are low.
The productions of Hunan are such as an agricultural country Air-
nishes, rice being the principal grain. The mountains produca timber and
minerals. The coal is said to come from Pao-king, which is approachaUte
by water from the lake. Changsha on the river Siang is the capital ; and
the town of Siangkan, below it, is sa^d to be the most important town in
A great number of sheep and goats, with a few ponies, were seen
grazing just below Yohchau ; these were the only sheep seen on the ri^er
for a distance of 1,500 miles.
Digitized by VjOOQIC
OHAF.TOi.] TUNG-TING lAKE AND JUNCTION. 423
TUNG-TING JUNCTION TO ICHANG PU.
The following directions of the navigable portion of the upper Yangtse
are compiled from the map * and description of the river by Capt. Blakis*
ton, Il.A.,f and the notes of Lieut.-CoL Sarel, corrected by the more
recent Admiralty-Survey of 1 8594 They are intended as a guide^ without
a chart ; and distances of various places are given to enable a vessel's pro-
gress to be coiTectly determined. These distances are measured from the
outlet of the Tung-ting lake, at its confluence With the Yangtse, 120 miles
above Hankow. The river was navigated by Capt. Blakiston's party in a
small junk, generally by tracking along the i)ank, but lines of soundings
were obtained whenever the river was crossed to gain the opposite shore ;
the depth of the river was then, therefore, but imperfectly ascertained. In
April 1869 Sub-Lieutenants L. S. Dawson and F. J. Palmer, R.N., made a
more complete survey by ascending the river, as far as Kwei-chau fii in
one of H.M. ships.]!
Ichang fu, 250 miles above Tung-ting junction, and 366 from Hankow,
may be considered the highest point navigable by our present steam
vessels, which would find no more difficulty in navigating this part of the
river than between Hankow and Yohchau. The easiest time to ascend
would be when the river is low, about the end of March, when not less
than 3 fathoms were found at any part of the river, which, although it
has only been very partially examined in this respect, may be regarded as
being correct ; but when the river is in flood the channels in the lower
part, for the flrst 200 miles, are difficult to trace. Two places of lesser
note, Shishow and Kin-chow, are respectively 121 and 170 miles above
the Tung-ting junction.
TUiro-TZiro nnrcTZOir to sbi-sbow. — The river now becomes