Short Account of the Province of Gilan.

THE whole of the districts of Gilan, especially the town and territory of Lahijan, whether for verdure and delightful scenery, or cultivation and abundance of inhabitants; for plentifulness of the finest flowers, or superfluity of waters and rivers; or for intricacy of trees and fruit-plants both of hot and cold climates, are without like or equal in the inhabited quarter of the globe, and form a world apart, whereof no resemblance is to be found. Gilan contains several considerable and populous cities, with lofty and ornamented edifices and strongly fortified castles. Having been always since the most ancient times covered with inhabitants and made the abode of august princes, it has been for the most part divided among three powerful kings. The air of this province is exceeding fresh and temperate. The good living of its tenantry and their enjoyment of every delicacy are to a degree of perfection, that surpasses the lot of every other country in the world. For no sort of comestibles or variety of clothing, for none whatsoever of the necessaries of life is there any kind of want to this king­dom from without. What in other countries is not to be grown or manufactured, here is so obtainable and easy of production, that it bears no price or value. In most of the forests, the passage of birds and beasts is become impos­sible through the close intertwining of the trees with one another; and the power of vegetation is so great, that in the mountain is to be found no portion of rock, on the plain no handful of soil, clear of trees, or grass, or flowers. From the multitude of trees without autumn,* such as the oak,* cypress, orange, shaddock* and the like, the hills and vallies are of a perpetual emerald hue; and though trodden by crowds of foot and horse men, the public roads to the towns and villages are always covered with flowers and verdure.* The number of delightful spots and places abound­ing with game is beyond computation; and the various kinds of prey, which both land and sea furnish, are incalculable. The natives are well known for their abundant vivacity and ingenuity, and their continence and hospitality are cele­brated. This province has always been replete with learned and eminent men; but, as it is near the shore of the Caspian sea, it mostly hap­pens, that in the course of an age, through the corruption of the sea-air, the plague spreads its contagion more or less through the towns, and multitudes of its inhabitants are destroyed. The humidity also of the atmosphere being excessive, in such sort that it is dangerous to sleep in the open air at night, by reason of the heavy dew, it is not unusual for it to disagree with the consti­tutions of foreigners.