This is one of the most common of sedan chairs, used by the peasantry; though there are others still meaner, and without any covering over head. The wages of labour are so low, and the price of provisions so cheap, that any man above a common labourer can afford to be carried in his chair.
This machine, like a baker’s cart, is the kind of wheel carriage which is most common in the country, and such as even the high officers of state ride in, when performing land journies in bad weather, and the driver invariably sits on the shaft in the aukward manner here represented. They have no springs, nor any seat in the inside, the persons using them always sitting cross-legged on a cushion at the bottom. In these carts the gentlemen of Lord Macartney’s embassy who had not horses, were accommodated, over a stone pavement full of rutts and holes. When ladies use them, a bamboo screen is let down in front to prevent their being stared at by passengers, and on each side, the light is admitted through a square hole just large enough for a person’s head.
The grand canal of China, or rather the water communication between the northern and southern extremities of the empire by a succession of canals and rivers, is certainly the first inland navigation in the world. The multitude of vessels, of every size and shape, is not to be estimated. The large one in the print is one of those which carried the British embassador and his suite up the Pei-ho to the neighbourhood of Pekin, which were in every respect comfortable and commodious. On passing bridges, which are very frequent in the neighbourhood of all towns and villages, the masts are usually lowered down; but many of the bridges are lofty enough to admit the smaller kind of barges to pass underneath with their masts standing. The bridges are almost as various in their shape and construction as the barges, and some of them by no means destitute of taste.
Some millions of Chinese live entirely on the water, in boats and barges of various kinds, some occupied in carrying articles of provisions and merchandize, others in conveying passengers, some in feeding and rearing ducks, and others in fishing. Some of these vessels have masts and sails, others are forced forwards with large sculls or pushed on with poles, some are dragged along by men, and others, but very rarely, by horses. Near the head of each vessel is suspended in some convenient place, one of those noisy instruments well known in this country by the name of gong, which is used to regulate the motions of the trackers, and to give notice to other vessels of the approach and intentions of the one that beats the signal.
The vehicles of this description are nearly as various in the different provinces of China, and among the different ranks of inhabitants, as their boats and barges are. The one here engraved belongs to a person in a certain `rank` of life, probably an inferior mandarin. It will be observed that, instead of carrying the poles in the hands, as we do, the Chinese carry the chairs on the shoulders by means of a cross-bar fixed to the poles by straps: but different kinds of chairs are carried in different ways.
A Porter carrying goods
A Pack Horse
A Flat Boat
Another illustration of his [Robert Fulton] inventive gift belongs to his boyhood days. He and one of his playmates used to go out fishing in a flat boat which they propelled by the use of long poles. Getting tired of this method of navigation, Robert made two crude paddle-wheels, one for each side of the boat, connecting them by a sort of double crank, which the boys united in turning. They could then easily propel the boat in their fishing trips to various parts of the lake, and keenly enjoyed this novel and easy way of going a-fishing.
Fulton returned in 1806 to America, where, with money furnished by his friend Livingston, he began to construct another steamboat which he called the Clermont, after the name of Livingston's home on the Hudson. This boat was 130 feet long and 18 feet wide, with a mast and a sail, and on each side a wheel 15 feet in diameter, fully exposed to view.
One morning in August, 1807, a throng of expectant people gathered on the banks of the North River at New York, to see the trial of the Clermont. Everybody was looking for failure. People had all along spoken of Fulton as a crack-brained dreamer, and had called the Clermont "Fulton's Folly." "Of course the thing would not move." "That any man with common-sense might know," they said. So while Fulton was waiting to give the signal to start, these wiseacres were getting ready to jest at his failure.
Finally, at the signal, the Clermont moved slowly, and then stood perfectly still. "Just what I have been saying," said one onlooker with emphasis. "I knew the boat would not go," said another. "Such a thing is impossible," said a third. But they spoke too soon, for after a little adjustment of the machinery, the Clermont steamed proudly up the Hudson.
One of the largest sailing-ships afloat is the French five-master, La France, launched in 1890 on the Clyde, and owned by Messrs A. D. Bordes et Fils, who possess a large fleet of sailing-vessels. In 1891 she came from Iquique to Dunkirk in one hundred and five days with 6000 tons of nitrate; yet she was stopped on the Tyne when proceeding to sea with 5500 tons of coal, and compelled to take out 500 tons on the ground that she was overladen.