Note 023
From Chapter 64 of the Decline & Fall

I depend on the knowledge and fidelity of the Pere Gaubil, who translates the Chinese text of the annals of the Moguls or Yuen (p. 71, 93, 153); but I am ignorant at what time these annals were composed and published. The two uncles of Marco Polo, who served as engineers at the siege of Siengyangfou (l. ii. 61, in Ramusio, tom. ii. See Gaubil, p. 155, 157) must have felt and related the effects of this destructive powder, and their silence is a weighty, and almost decisive objection. I entertain a suspicion, that their recent discovery was carried from Europe to China by the caravans of the xvth century and falsely adopted as an old national discovery before the arrival of the Portuguese and Jesuits in the xvith. Yet the Pere Gaubil affirms, that the use of gunpowder has been known to the Chinese above 1600 years.

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