National Geographic : 1900 Sep
THE GREAT WALL OF CHINA matter. Here is a statement of definite facts and of conclusions drawn from them in clear and simple words, marking a new step in the statistics of forests in this country. Undeterred by the evident paucity of information, and with a degree of skill of which I cannot speak too highly, Mr Gannett has given us the best there is in the most practical form. He has had the cooperation and assistance of an admirable corps of men in his own division, of whom Graves, Sudworth, Ayres, and Leiberg are of national reputation in forestry, but he has succeeded in obtaining results from other sources so extensive that without them his work would have been altogether impossible. To the men who have supplied these results, and especially to Mr Thomas Cooper, of the Northern Pacific Railway, it is but fair to acknowledge our debt. GIFFOR) PINCHOT. THE GREAT WALL OF CHINA* The great wall of China was built at a time when the wild tribes of north eastern Asia were pressing forward into the lowlands, whither their kinsmen had gone centuries before. It most probably consisted originally of a line of detached earthworks, which some able ruler or captain strengthened and con nected so as to present an unbroken line to the public enemy. It is said to have been finished 205 B. C. by Tsin Chi-Hwangti, and to be nearly 1,600 miles long. The Chinese call it the "Ten-thousand-li wall," and if it really had any such length, it would be something over 3,500 miles long. It is from 25 to 30 feet high, 15 to 20 feet thick, and revetted, outside and in, with cut-granite masonry, laid in regular courses, with an excellent mortar of lime and sand. It is surmounted by a parapet or battlement of gray burned brick 18 or 20 inches thick, covered with moss, and pierced with crenelated openings for the defenders, whether archers or matchlockmen, to fire through. The rear or inner revetment wall is also furnished with a lower parapet, but it is not crenelated. The top is paved with a double layer of brick about a foot square. The inside of the wall is made of earth and stone well rammed in. Every 200 or 300 yards there is a flanking turret 35 or 40 feet high, projecting beyond and overlooking the face of the wall in both directions, and near each turret is a stone staircase leading down between the walls to a door opening upon the ground to the rear. The most astonishing thing about it is, however, that it climbs straight up the steepest and most rugged mountain sides, courses along their summits, de scends into gorges and ravines, and, rising again, skirts the face of almost in accessible crags, crosses rivers, valleys, and plains in endless succession from one end of the empire to the other-from the seashore on the Gulf of Pechili to the desert wastes of Turkestan. No spot is left unguarded or uncovered, and, no matter how fierce and active were the wild tribesmen who assailed it, or how innumerable were their armies, it is evident that it could, if well de fended, even by men armed with nothing better than stones, defy the world up *From China, by James H. Wilson. New York : D. Appleton & Co.