Saturday, July 31, 2010

City of Yeddo, 1860: “I was bewildered and confounded when I saw this.”

An article published by Samuel C. Damon in the July 1860 edition of The Friend describes the Japanese city of Yeddo. Today that city is known as Japan’s capital city, Tokyo.

“By the Chaplain of the Powhatan,” writes Damon, “we were presented with a map of the City of Yeddo, executed by Japanese artists. It is nearly five feel square. The streets, public squares, temple-grounds, and residence of the Princes, are drawn with great care. Yeddo is truly an immense city, and probably as large, if not larger, than even London. It is one of the three great cities of the world, viz., London, Pekin, Yeddo.”

I am curious to know what happened to the map. This is the first time I’ve seen this mentioned anywhere.

The chaplain of the U.S.S. Powhatan was Henry Wood. According to Sketches of the Alumni of Dartmouth College:

Henry Wood, A. M. the son of Eliphalet and Elisabeth (Tilton) Wood, was born at Loudon, Apr. 10,1796. He was tutor at Dart. from 1822 to 1823 ; studied divinity at Princeton, N. J. Theo. Sem. 11 months to 1824; was then Prof. of Latin and Greek at Hampden Sidney Coll. Va, 1 year; was ordained pastor of the Cong. Ch. at Goffstown, June 7, 1826 ; dismissed Nov. 30, 1831; installed at Haverhil1, Dec. 14,1831 ; dismissed Mar. 3,1835 ; settled at the College Plain Ch. at Hanover, Mar. 8, 1835 ; dismissed Dec. 21, 1840 ; founded the Congregational Journal at Concord Jan. 1, 1841; was its editor and owner for 13 years ; supplied the Ch. at Canaan during the time from 1851 to 1853 ; was U. S. Consul at Syria and Palestine from 1853 to 1857 ; travelled in both, also in Asia Minor and Egypt; became a Chaplain in the U. S. navy; was in the Powhatan frigate in the Chinese and Japanese seas from 1858 to 1860; came home in her with the Japanese ambassadors; while in Japan taught 25 young men the English language to fit them for interpreters; also introduced the first Protestant mission there. Mr Wood still retains his chaplaincy in the navy. He married Harriet Frances, dau. of John M'Gaw of Bedford, Sept. 21, 1827.

It turns out that Chaplain Wood’s voyage on the Powhatan with the Japanese Embassy was also a final journey back to the United States.

1 comment:

  1. I have a map of Tokyo that may the one referenced by Samuel C. Damon. Henry Wood, Chaplain of the U.S.S. Powhatan, is my 2nd great grandfather and I have several items that he brought back to the U.S. after sailing to Japan. They include woodblock prints, an English/Japanese-Japanese/English vocabulary, and a large (about 4'x4') folded map of a major Japanese city. The envelope it has been stored in is marked "Tokyo Map", but there is nothing in English on the map to identify it. I suspect it is the map or a second copy of the map of the City of Yeddo. I can provide photos if there is any interest.