Wednesday, November 24, 2010

1859: California Governor Weller and the Opening of Japan and China

The February 5, 1859 edition of Honolulu’s Polynesian newspaper (Page 1, col. 4) featured some revealing comments by Governor Weller of California. The subject of his comments was the opening of China and Japan to foreigners. His comments were delivered to the California State Legislature:

“The recent treaties made between the U. States and the Chinese and Japanese Empires, must have a powerful influence in sending the blessings of civilization into immense regions where for centuries Paganism and superstition have held undisputed sway. The opening of some of the principle ports of a country swarming with a population of four hundred millions, must increase our commerce and add immensely to the trade of the Pacific.

“Give us a railroad across the continent, a line of steamers from our shores to Asia, and ere the present century closes there will be more commerce floating upon the Pacific Ocean than upon the Atlantic. California will then stand among the richest and most powerful States of the Union, and America will command the commerce of the world.

“We have cause to rejoice that an immense Empire is at last subjected to the jurisdiction of the law of nations, and we cannot doubt that the great maritime powers with whom these treaties have been made, will see that they are observed. With Western Europe and America on one side, and Russia on the other, each striving for the control of Asiatic commerce, it is quite probable that the car of civilization may travel more rapidly than the poor, benighted Chinese and Japanese can bear, and millions may be crushed in its onward course. It may require ages to civilize and Christianize the debased Asiatics, but, in the Providence of God, it will be accomplished, and the field where the Fisherman of Galilee labored, will again be filled with the teachers of the holy religion of our Saviour.”

Friday, November 19, 2010

Brawls With The Japanese.

Pacific Commercial Advertiser (Supplement). Thursday, January 19, 1860.

By way of the bark Onward, in autumn 1859 -the time the Pacific Commercial Advertiser of Honolulu published news that Commodore Tatnall and the crew of the Powhatan would take the Japanese Embassy to the United States- news of an incident. Some of the crew of the Powhatan who were ashore on liberty had a fight with some Japanese. During the melee, a Japanese was killed. This has created quite a feeling against Americans, and the commander of the Powhatan is much blamed for allowing his men liberty under the circumstances.

A Chinaman was murdered by the Japanese a few nights before the Onward left.

On the day the Onward left, there was a rumor current that the English Consul had ordered all British citizens to go armed, as threats had been made against them by the Japanese.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Powhatan Arrives in Hong Kong, Tatnall and Battle of the Taku Forts and Japanese Infighting

The Polynesian’s September 3, 1859 edition reported that the U.S.S. Powhatan had arrived in Hong Kong on May 10.

“The U.S. steam-frigate Powhatan arrived at Hongkong, May 10, with Gen. Ward, the American Minister. The Powhatan leaves for Tien-tsin [Tianjin today], and will be the first to test the reported obstructions at the mouth of the Pei-ho. It is supposed the Russians will have a steamer of light draft awaiting the arrival of Gen. Ward.”

In the same story is this: “There is a report that the Russian Government has given eight thousand pieces of cannon to the Chinese in consideration of land cessions at the Amoor.”

I was looking for specific references to Commodore Josiah Tatnall’s coming to the aid of a British ship during their military exchanges with the Chinese. None were found.

More details of the “disastrously defeated” British naval forces were prominently featured in the October 8, 1859 edition of the Pacific Commercial Advertiser, published in Honolulu. “The British naval force at the mouth of the Pei-ho made an attack upon the Chinese on the 25th of June, and were disastrously defeated with terrible loss of life.” More detailed were featured on the first page of the October 15 edition of the paper.

The January 12, 1860 edition of the Pacific Commercial Advertiser provided further details through a published letter from R.S. Maclay on the third page, dated September 21, 1859 from “Fuhchau, China.” Despite the battle at the Pei Ho the following is reported regarding American Minister Ward:

“Mr. Ward, the American Minister, arrived at Pekin about the 28th of July, 1859, and remained there fifteen days with his suite. The President’s letter was delivered at Pekin, and the exchange of the treaties took place at Pehtang, a town at the northern entrance of the Peiho.” But still no mention of Commodore Josiah Tatnall. Go to this link to see the connection.

The September 3 edition of the Polynesian also reported infighting in the Japanese government, casting doubt on the Japanese Embassy visit to the United States:

“THE MINISTER FROM JAPAN TO THE UNITED STATES. The latest number of the China Herald has this paragraph: There seems to be considerable doubt if the proposed embassy to the United States will take place. The conservative party, who are opposed to all innovations, are determined to prevent this infraction of the law which prohibits Japanese from leaving their country. The two delegates who have been named for Washington are themselves anxious to go but their departure will certainly be delayed for the present at least. A council for foreign affairs has been established at Jeddo, consisting of five princes.”

"Observed of All Observers"

After the Japanese Embassy arrived in Honolulu the following remarks were published in the March 8, 1860 edition (second page) of the Pacific Commercial Advertiser:

“THE JAPANESE. –With the natives, and we may say with the foreigners, too, there has been nothing to talk about but our distinguished visitors. Wherever they go about town, they are the “observed of all observers.” It makes no difference, whether, it be a store or private dwelling, curiosity prompts them to enter. There need be no fear of their pilfering; they are probably as honest, perhaps more so, than their more civilized brethren. Each one carries a sword, some of which are the finest workmanship-the blades of beautifully burnished steel, with an edge as sharp as a razor. Some of the officials carry a short dirk, which we understand to be a mark of rank.”

U.S. Consul to Hawaii Abner Pratt Steps Down

In December news reached Honolulu’s American community that U.S. Consul Judge Abner Pratt would be temporarily stepping down due to ill health. He was succeeded by Vice-Consul Thomas T. Dougherty.

The December 15, 1859 edition of the Pacific Commercial Advertiser reported his upcoming departure on page 2, column 4. The Friend also reported this news in its January 2, 1860 edition:

“We learn that Judge Pratt contemplates visiting the United States during the coming spring and summer on account of his health. The friends of the Judge deeply sympathise with him that he should be so much of a sufferer, and as having failed to have recovered his health, the primary object of his having come to this distant part of the world.

“In his Consular career he has sustained that reputation which he had acquired upon the Bench. The official duties of a United States Consul, in a port like Honolulu, are often very onerous and perplexing, requiring an intuitive perception of a knotty and delicate point which is not unfrequently presented. Judge Pratt’s decisions have been prompt and correct, and such as did not need revision.

“The case of the French sailor in the fall of ’58, might be cited as an example. At times a little touch of the Jacksonian way of doing business is the best. It saves a world of trouble and official correspondence. Judge Pratt’s manner of dispatching business has not unfrequently reminded us of the way “Old Hickory” was accustomed to decide matters.

“Every one knowing the character of seamen is aware of the fact that, upon legal questions, shipmasters and sailors generally take opposite sides, yet we have known both classes to come from the Consul’s office satisfied with his decisions. The captain has been heard to say, “the Consul is our man,” and Jack has found him his man.

“We hope a trip home may prove in the highest degree beneficial to the Consul’s health, and in the fall he may return recruited and rejuvenated.”

A lengthy story was carried in the January 19, 1860 edition of the Pacific Commercial Advertiser on its third page. Outgoing-Consul Pratt was presented with a flag at the American Consulate. An address by A.J. Cartwright was featured in full, followed by a “communication from the ship-masters” dated November 29. The final section is devoted to a lengthy and patriotic reply from Mr. Pratt.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

U.S. Consul General Townsend Harris

One of the earliest mentions of Townsend Harris was in the March 5, 1859 edition of the Polynesian. The front page section entitled ‘Foreign News’ features the following excerpt:

“By the arrival of the clipper ship Rambler, Captain Lathrop, in 13 days from San Francisco we have received Atlantic dates to January 22, European do to Jan. 5:

“The Senate went into executive session to-day, and confirmed a large number of appointments. They confirmed Townsend Harris as Resident Minister to Japan. A special messenger will leave here to-morrow for the purpose of carrying out important depatches to Mr. Harris, and also his commission as Minister.”

New York-native Townsend Harris was born in Hudson Falls (formerly Sandy Hill) in Washington County. The opening of China to trade enabled Harris to run a successful importation business in New York City.

The New York City Board of Education included Harris starting in 1846; he served as the Board’s first president until 1848. He is credited as founding the City College of New York, in those early days known as the Free Academy of the City of New York. Its mission was to offer educational opportunities for New York’s working people.

It was President Franklin Pierce who named Harris to be the first American Consul General to Japan in July, 1856. Harris opened the U.S. Consulate in the Gyokusen-ji Temple, located in the city of Shimoda, Shizuoka Prefecture. This occurred shortly after Commodore Matthew Perry opened trade and relations with Japan in 1853.

After negotiation the Treaty of Amity and Commerce Harris reportedly relocated the U.S. Legation to Zenpuku-ji Temple.

It is said that Townsend Harris held a very favorable view of Japan as it opened its relations with the rest of the world.

The famous treaty that bears his name –the “Harris Treaty,” or "Treaty of Peace and Commerce” was concluded in 1858. This agreement secured trade and commercial relations between the United States and Japan. It also facilitated increased Western influence in Japan in economic, political and religious activities. The Japanese Embassy sent in early 1860 traveled to the United States owes its purpose to this treaty.

Harris departed Japan for the United States in 1861. He died in New York City and is buried in Greenwood Cemetery.

1859: Bullocks, Japanese Ambassadors, Cholera in Northern Japan and European Ladies in Japan

The April 23, 1859 edition of the Polynesian featured a summary of news from Japan. Quoting the North China Herald of January 15, it contained news from Nagasaki to December 31. Among the features:

“The Japanese of that port now have permission to sell bullocks to foreigners, and they do so at three Mexican dollars a head.”

“The Japanese Commissioners appointed to proceed to Washington to exchange the ratification of the American treaty are Nagaai Genba no Kami, Governor of Accounts and Minister of the Navy, and Twa Say Higo no Kami, Imperial Inspector. The former is said to be a learned and intelligent man, instructed by some officers of the Dutch Navy and Desima, in algebra, mathematics, and navigation. In 1857 he conducted the steamer Soembing, the first ever possessed by the Japanese, from Nagasaki to Yeddo with Japanese engineers and sailors, and without any European aid. He was one of the commissioners engaged in negotiating the late treaty.”

“Cholera has been raging in the northern part of Japan to a frightful extent. At Yeddo alone the deaths are reported at one hundred and fifty thousand in one month.”

“It appears that there are some European ladies residing in Japan. The Russian Consul-General and his Secretary, with their wives, are dwelling at Hakodadi and Ionya, on the side of the bay opposite Desima, at Nagasaki; the merchant commanders who took the two steamers Yeddo and Nagasaki, from Holland to Japan, are residing there with their wives. The Russian steam-frigate Askold is undergoing repairs at Nagasaki.”

"No thank you" to a Five-Gun Salute from the U.S.S. Powhatan

The January 22, 1859 edition of the Polynesian, edited by Charles Gordon Hopkins in Honolulu, featured news from Japan that included a mention of Commodore Josiah Tatnall of the U.S.S. Powhatan. This is the same ship that would bring the Japanese ambassadors and their entourage to the Hawaiian Islands and to San Francisco in 1860.

The news quotes the Hong Kong Mail dated October 29, 1858 in which the Shogun (referred to as the “Temporal Emperor” or “Siogun” or Shogun) “disemboweled himself, because he had received a wigging from the Spiritual Emperor for having concluded the treaty with Lord Elgin without previously consulting him.”

“The U.S. steam frigate Minnesota returned to Shanghae on the 7th October from Nagasaki, where Mr. Reed, the U.S. Minister, had been on a short visit. While there the official announcement of the death of the Siogun, or [Temperal] Emperor, at Yedo, on the 16th September, was made by the Governor of Nagasaki. The Siogun was 36 years of age at his death, and had been ailing from dropsy for some months, of which he died. Though rumors were current that he committed suicide by disemboweling himself, according to a frequent Japanese custom, in consequence of some of the provisions of the treaties lately signed, this was peremptorily denied by some officials. He had reigned twelve years, and having no heir, had adopted a successor.”

Regarding Commodore Tatnall, the story continues. “When the Governor of Nagasaki reported the demise to Commodore Tatnall, the Commodore proposed to fire minute guns from the Powhatan, explaining the object and usage of western nations on such occasions. The Governor politely declined this mark of respect, saying that the custom of the Japanese was to mourn in silence.”

Friday, November 12, 2010

U.S.S. Powhatan

(Picture credits: Friends of Macdonald; Navy Department Library; Fitzwilliam Museum.)

Henry Ward Beecher stated an interesting observation about ships at sea. Honolulu in the 19th century was a major whaling port.

The following quote was published in the December, 1860 edition of Rev. Samuel C. Damon’s monthly newspaper The Friend:

“A ship is the most ingenious and mighty fabric which human hands have ever wrought. Nothing else is half so strong, neither pyramids, nor temples, nor cathedrals of stone, which, before printing, gave opportunity for the human heart to express itself, gave forth the thoughts, and the sublimest feelings and aspirations of the greatest thinkers. There is not one of these things that does not easily fall to pieces. They can be moved by earthquakes as easily as the seed globe of a dandelion by winds that puff at it. But a ship caught by the winds, and tossed about like a ball is unharmed. It is smitten and whirled. It is rocked on waves as a cradle is rocked by a mother’s foot. It rears up like a frightened steed. It plunges again like war horse in battle. But though winds chase it, and storms reach out black hands after it, and waves forever beat it, and it needs roll and plunge, it seeks its centre again, and comes upright the moment the airy hands let go.”

The U.S.S. Powhatan witnessed a great deal of history. This was the steam-powered frigate that brought the Japanese Embassy to the Hawaiian Islands on its voyage to San Francisco in the United States. But there is much more.

Built at the Norfolk (Virginia) Navy Yard, the Powhatan’s keel was laid down on August 6, 1847, and the ship was launched on February 14, 1850. The engines of this steam frigate –one of the largest every built- were constructed by Mehaffy & Company of Gosport, Virginia. The cost of constructing the Powhatan was $785,000. Its tonnage was 2,425 long tons with a displacement of 3,765 long tons. The Powhatan’s length was 253 feet and eight inches; its beam was 45 feet. The ship’s draft was 18 feet, six inches. The used side paddlewheels and could reach a speed of 11 knots, or 13 miles per hour.

Powhatan was named for a Native American chief from eastern Virginia. The Powhatan was commissioned on September 2, 1852 with Captain William Mervine, commanding.

From 1853 to 1860 the U.S.S. Powhatan was assigned to the East India Squadron. The ship’s voyage took it to East Asian waters via the Cape of Good Hope off the coast of South Africa, arriving on June 15, 1853. This was important time since the Powhatan’s arrival coincided with Commodore Matthew Perry’s negotiations with the Empire of Japan. In addition to serving as Commodore Perry’s flagship on his November, 1853 visit to Whampoa, China, the Powhatan and the East India Squadron entered Tokyo Bay (Yeddo Bay) on February 14, 1854. The Convention of Kanegawa was signed on board the Powhatan on March 31, 1854. The Powhatan is considered one of Perry’s famous “”Black Ships.”

On July 29, 1858 the U.S.-Japan Treaty of Amity and Commerce –also known as the Harris Treaty (negotiated by first U.S. Consul Townsend Harris)- was signed on the deck of the Powhatan.

Under the command of Commodore Josiah Tatnall and Captain Pearson, the Powhatan accompanied the Japanese warship Kanrin Maru from Yokohama, Japan. Vice-Ambassador Muragaki Norimasa recorded this description of the U.S. S. Powhatan in his journal on February 9, 1860:

“U.S.S. Powhatan is a steam frigate of 241 5 tons. She was launched in 1855 at Gosfort, Virginia, U.S.A. She ranks as a first class frigate and is a magnificent ship one of the best in the American Navy. Her dimensions are: length 250 feet, beam 45 feet, hold 26 feet, and she carries eleven guns on deck. Three of us have cabins on the lower deck; for the other members of the party several large temporary cabins have been built on the gun deck, necessitating the removal of several guns. The officers and men of the ‘Powhatan’ are as follows: Commodore Tattnall, Captain Pearson, Captain Taylor of the Marines, six lieutenants, one Chief Engineer, seven assistant engineers, three doctors, a purser, a Chaplain, a gunner, a carpenter and a crew of hundred men.”

Though the Kanrin Maru continued on its journey to San Francisco nonstop (though the ship stopped in Honolulu on its return voyage to Japan), the Japanese ambassadors stayed on board the Powhatan. Both ships endured heavy seas due to a particularly violent typhoon.

Upon reaching Honolulu Vice-Ambassador Muragaki Norimasa recorded in his journal:

“Commodore Tattnall told us that the " Powhatan " would remain here for about ten days to repair the damage done by the storm, and to coal, and he suggested that we should go ashore and stay at an hotel where he had already engaged accommodation for us, adding that, during our stay, the American Minister would look after us.”

The March 5, 1860 edition of the Honolulu’s Pacific Commercial Advertiser reported the arrival of the U.S. Powhatan in Honolulu. The Polynesian, also published in Honolulu as the official news source of the Hawaiian Government, reported the Powhatan’s arrival two days later. The officers and crew of the ship were welcomed and honored by Honolulu citizens along with the Japanese Embassy. The Powhatan’s officers and the Japanese Embassy were officially welcomed and granted an audience by Kamehameha IV and Queen Emma in the old Iolani Palace.

After refitting and repairs were completed at Mare Island, California, the Powhatan brought the Japanese Embassy to Panama, where it crossed the isthmus for its voyage to the Atlantic and the east coast of the United States.

The Powhatan saw action throughout the Civil War. The ship decommissioned June 2, 1886, and was eventually sold and scrapped on August 5, 1887.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Union Missionary Meeting (March 1860) and Japanese Missionary Samuel Sentharo

Union Missionary Meeting: The Friend: March 1860, Page 21

A peculiar combination of circumstances brought together a highly respectable audience, Monday evening, Feb. 27th, at Fort Street Church, to hear addresses from missionaries of three different missionary societies, and three different denominations of Christians. The meeting was opened by singing. Then followed the reading of the closing versus of the gospel of Matthew, including our Savior’s last command, “Go ye therefore and teach all nations.” Prayer was offered by the Rev. L. Smith. The presiding officer then introduced the Rev. J. Goble, Baptist missionary, on his way to Japan.

Mr. G. briefly referred to his visit to Japan while connected with Perry’s exploring, and to his interest in that people. He then spoke of the civilization, refinement, superstitions and government of the Japanese, -touching upon these points briefly, and yet in a most instructive style. Having told the audience of his willingness to go and labor for the spiritual welfare of that people, he introduced Samuel Sentharo, a native of Japan.

“This man,” said Mr. Goble, “went with me to the United States, has lived in my family while I was pursuing my studies at Hamilton, and I hope has also become a true follower of the Lord Jesus Christ. He is, so far as I know, the only Japanese who has ever truly embraced the religion of the Bible.”

The Japanese, when requested by the presiding officer, sung a song in his own native language, and then addressed a few broken sentences to the audience, and although most that he uttered was difficult to be understood, still such words as these fell upon the ear: “I hope in Jesus. He save my soul. The Holy Spirit make my heart new. I go back to Japan to tell my people about Jesus.”

The following stanzas of a hymn were then sung:

There is a voice upon the wind,

A voice that comes from far,

A voice from where the ancient groves

And perfumed breezes are!

‘Tis not the song of triumph –no,

Nor scream of heathen rage;

But ‘tis the cry for Gospel light,

The echo of the age.

The Karen, from his rocky hills,

And natives of Japan,

Unite their voices with the sound

That comes from Hindostan.

Round the whole earth the echo flies;

The Isles wait for His law.

Obey, ye saints, your Lord’s command;

Go preach my gospel –go.

The Rev. R.L. Lowe, minister of the Church of England, and missionary under the patronage of the Columbia Mission, of England, was then introduced. The reverend speaker adverted to the manifest neglect of British Columbia on the part of both the British government and British Christians, until about two years since, when the discovery of the gold mines attracted public attention. The spiritual welfare of the colony was then distinctly brought before the consideration of the British public, by the munificent donation of Miss Burdett Coutts, who gave L25,000 for the establishment of the Bishopric. He furthermore stated that the most excellent Divine, the Rt. Rev. G. Hills, D.D., had been appointed bishop. As he had not been upon the ground, Mr. Lowe very appropriately and modestly dwelt upon the importance of giving to the rising community the means of religious instruction.

This speaker was followed by his associate missionary, the Rev. A.C. Garrett, who boasted that he came from the Emerald Isle, the best country in the world! The brief space which our small sheet affords renders it quite impossible to furnish even a meager sketch of his eloquent remarks, sometimes humorous and at other times serious. He dwelt upon the rising importance of the colony, its vast internal resources, the motley elements of society there gathering, and the importance of moulding and cementing those elements by the subduing, transforming, purifying and ennobling influences of the Gospel.

The Rev. Mr. Pierson, returning from his missionary labors in Micronesia to the United States, followed with a few highly appropriate remarks, expressing sorrow that sickness should have compelled him to return, with generous sympathy with the ardent, hopeful and enthusiastic speakers who had just pictured in glowing language what they had hoped to see accomplished in Japan and British Columbia. He expressed his heart-felt thankfulness to the people of Honolulu for their great kindness to himself and family, and earnestly commended to the audience the cause of missions as represented by the Rev. Mr. Goble, saying that the very fact that he was of another denomination was a strong argument for rendering pecuniary aid, for the missionary cause knew nothing of sect or denomination.

A collection of one hundred and six dollars ($106) was then taken up, and presented to the Missionary bound to Japan.

The interesting exercises of the evening were continued until half-past 9 o’clock, with no indication of weariness on the part of the audience. The addresses were uncommonly good, and appropriate. All present felt deeply interested in hearing speakers of so many different persuasions, and all giving utterance to the same elevated and Christian sentiments. Our limits absolutely prevent us from indulging in those reflections which crowd upon the soul. The exercises were appropriately closed by singing Heber’s missionary hymn: “From Greenland’s icy mountains,” &c.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Rev. Mr. Goble Goes to Japan

The Rev. Mr. Goble: The Friend: March 1, 1860

When the Japan Expedition, under Commodore Perry, was returning to the United States, it touched at Honolulu in 1855. By the Rev. G. Jones, Chaplain of the steamer Mississippi, we were introduced to a marine by the name of Goble. He represented himself as interested in the religious welfare of the Japanese, and assured us that it was his intention to visit his native country, and return to Japan as a missionary.

We were interested in the young man, but readily confess we were not very sanguine in our expectations that he would carry his good intentions into execution.

Time has passed away, and sure enough the U.S. marine, Goble, has thus far carried out his benevolent plan of life. He has returned to Honolulu, and is now en route for Japan, expecting to sail in the Zoe. During the period of his late residence in the United States, he has been diligently studying and otherwise preparing himself for his future mission at Madison University, Hamilton, New York. He was ordained as a Minister of the Gospel by an Association of Ministers in the City of New York, Thursday evening, Nov. 3rd, 1859. Introductory service, Rev. J. Dowling, D.D.; Ordaining Prayer, Rev. W.S. Hall; Right Hand of Fellowship, Rev. H.G. Weston, D.D.; Charge to the Candidate, Rev. T. Armitage, D.D.; Address of Designation, Rev. N. Brown, D.D.

The Rev. Mr. Goble has been sent forth under the patronage of the ‘American Baptist Free Mission Society.’ It affords the friends of missions in Honolulu much pleasure to form the acquaintance of this missionary, on his way to a new field of labor, for which he seems peculiarly well fitted.

Already he has visited Japan; and while there, Commodore Perry allowed his extraordinary facilities for going on shore, even more than was enjoyed by the officers of the squadron. He has acquired a tolerable acquaintance with the Japanese language, so that he can both read and write the same, and also converse in it. He has acquired this knowledge from books, and intercourse with Samuel Setharo, the Japanese who resided with Mr. Goble during his connection with the University. It is a matter of much thankfulness that this native of Japan has been led to embrace the Christian faith, and is now a member of the Baptist Church.

Most anxiously shall we watch the future operations of this mission to Japan- that great nation of over 40,000,000 of people. The time may come when not only shall Bible prophesy be fulfilled in regard to that people, but when a prediction, found in one of the ancient books of the Japanese, will be verified, which runs as follows”

“The pale faces are coming from the West,

Flying upon the wings of the wind,

Walking upon the tops of the wave,

Bringing to us a new religion,

And revolutionizing our country.”

"John Chinaman, and his Japanese cousins, are not ignoramuses..."

On the front page of the March 1, 1860 edition of Rev. Samuel Chenery Damon’s monthly intelligencer ‘The Friend’ is an interesting editorial reflecting, no doubt, Damon’s sentiments. “Do Not The Japanese Know What They Are About?” is a clear statement of respect for both the Chinese and Japanese peoples. As he states, “John Chinaman, and his Japanese cousins, are not ignoramuses which some self-inflated and self-conceited outside barbarians suppose them to be.”

He illustrates his message with remarks by an American missionary in Asia:

It is very common to hear and read statements respecting Chinese and Japanese exclusiveness, and want of a correct knowledge of outside barbarians. This may be flattering to European and American intelligence, but if the truth was known, we doubt not that those people would be found to entertain far more information respecting Europe and America than we give them credit for.

In the late battle with the English at the Peiho River, the Chinese came off victorious, but no credit is given to them, as some Russians must have been behind the breast works!

The following remarks by the Rev. Dr. Macgowan, an American missionary, are exceedingly suggestive. John Chinaman, and his Japanese cousins, are not ignoramuses which some self-inflated and self-conceited outside barbarians suppose them to be:

JAPANESE BOOKS. – I spent several hours daily in a book-shop, where several curious things turned up. One of these afforded me, I confess, some gratification; it was the republication, by the late Prince of Satzuma, of my book on the Law of Storms. Persons who, like M. Huc, are guiltless of publishing anything in Chinese, and therefore beyond the reach of criticism, have sneered at the literary productions of Protestant missionaries, my own included.

Now, I submit, that if our books are as defective in style as has been represented, the Japanese would not republish them; at least it may be supposed that they were worth reading. There are probably few, if any, books published by missionaries on secular affairs, that have not been re-published by the knowledge-loving Japanese.

The largest work of the kind is from the pen of the senior missionary in China, Dr. Bridgman –a geographical and statistical account of America, issued some twenty years ago. To that book the Japanese are indebted for their knowledge of our country –a knowledge so precise as to excite surprise.

We now see how they obtained it. Those who think that no sort of truth except that contained in Holy Writ should be given to the heathen by missionaries, will think Dr. B.’s geography has done no good.

I think otherwise. I have no grounds for affirming that it contributed to prepare the way for a favorable reception to the United States expedition under Commodore Perry; but sure I am that it has taught them to understand and to respect our countrymen having relations with this land, whether political, mercantile, or missionary.

U.S. Consul to China, Mr. Ward, Meets the Japanese Prime Minister

U.S. Consul to China, Mr. Ward, Meets the Japanese Prime Minister

The Friend: March 1860, Page 21 (quoting North China Herald)

JAPAN. –Mr. Ward, the United States Minister to China, taking passage in the Powhatan, visited Nagasaki and Jeddo. While the guest of Mr. Harris at Jeddo, the Prime Minister being informed of his being in the city, and at the home of Mr. Harris, immediately informed him in the most civil and cordial terms, that he should be happy to have an interview at his residence within the Imperial enclosure, or castle, as the “Prohibited Hall” is usually called, which is about as sacred at Jeddo as at Pekin, and appointed at the same time of the day and the hour.

Mr. Ward, of course, was happy to accept the invitation, and the interview was had accordingly. The Prime Minister, upon Mr. Ward’s arrival, inquired if it would be agreeable to him to see the other ministers also and at the same time; and upon expressing his great gratification in doing it, they were introduced, and remained to the close of the interview, which lasted nearly two hours.

The Prime Minister and all the others were most courteous, and seemed at home in their new relations and duties, without annoyance, and at the same time without humiliation or embarrassment, and showing good common sense as well as an admirable simplicity in manners and habits.

The Reception hall, which was close to the Imperial palace, was remarkable only for its simplicity and neatness, while the refreshments served on the occasion were only a few sweetmeats such as the Japanese are fond of. On both sides the interview was entirely pleasant and satisfactory, however, unostentatious.

-North China Herald.

The Friend: Harris Treaty and Embassy Announced, March 1859

The following news story was featured in the January, 1859 edition of Rev. Samuel C. Damon's monthly newspaper The Friend. News reached Honolulu via a "correspondent of the Boston Herald" that a treaty between the the U.S. and Japan had finally been successfully negotiated by Townsend Harris, U.S. Consul to Japan at that time.

Honolulu residents also learned: "The Japanese Government has decided to send an Ambassador to Washington in March next, on the condition that our government will convey him and his suite to Panama in a government ship en route for the United States." This was more than a year before the Japanese arrived in Honolulu in March, 1860.

The Friend: January 1859, Page 5, col. 3.

NEW TREATY WITH JAPAN. –A correspondent of the Boston Herald, writing from the steam frigate Mississippi, at Hakodadi, says:

I presume that before this reaches you, you will have received the intelligence that our Consul, Mr. Harris, has succeeded in completing his new treaty with the Japan Government, and that it has been signed by the Emperor and sent to our Government by Commodore Tatnall. Mr. Harris has labored hard to bring about this grand result, and is deserving the congratulations of the whole American people.

By this new treaty the port of Simoda, of no account to us, will be closed and the beautiful harbor of Lanagua, only twelve miles from the city of Jeddo, is to be opened to us for commerce, &c. After the treaty is ratified, that portion will be the residence of Mr. Harris. It is a beautiful harbor, easy of access at all times of the year, well protected from all storms, and is not like that of Simoda, surrounded at its extremes by sunken rocks. It is also capable of containing a large number of ships, while that of Simoda is not large enough to allow more than three or four ships to ride at anchor at the same time. Its proximity to the Court at Jeddo will also make it convenient for Mr. Harris.

The Japanese Government has decided to send an Ambassador to Washington in March next, on the condition that our government will convey him and his suite to Panama in a government ship en route for the United States. I learn that Mr. Harris and Commodore Tatnall assured the authorities of Jeddo that it would be gratifying to the United States Government and its people to comply with this request, and that the return mail would no doubt bring orders to that effect.

Sunday, August 1st, was an interesting one at Simoda. At 10 o’clock, A.M., all the boats of the Powhatan and of this ship were seen pulling to the landing near the Consul’s residence, one miles from Simoda proper, filled with officers and men, among whom were Commodore Tatnall, Capt. Nicholson, and the Rev. Mr. Wood, Chaplain of the Powhatan. This large party, numbering four hundred, proceeded to the Consul’s residence for the purpose of attending divine worship of Almighty God on Japanese soil. Here, on the very soil from which the decree has gone forth for centuries to the world, that if the Almighty God himself, or man, or the devil should dare to step foot on Japanese soil to preach the religion of the Most High, they should pay the forfeit of their lives; here it was that, on the 1st day of August 1858, four hundred American officers and seamen worshipped the true God without being molested. Rev. Mr. Wood gave his text from 1st Thessalonians, chapter 1, versus 9 and 10, and hymns 107 and 118 from the Epsicopal Common Prayer-book were sung with much effect by the choir of the Powhatan. The discourse was listened to for an hour with the utmost silence by the American hearers, while a vast crowd of Japanese gathered around the building to watch our movements.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Japanese and American Physicians (The Friend, August 1860)

Japanese and American Physicians (The Friend: August 1860, Page 61, col. 3.)

An interesting interview occurred, a few days since, between Dr. Hillis, Superintendent of the Columbus (O.) Lunatic Asylum and the physicians of the Japanese Embassy. The following colloquy took place:

Dr. Hill –How many insane persons have you in Japan? Very few.

Have you separate hospitals for them? We have four hospitals in Jeddo for the sick, with separate wards for the insane.

Do you use force or violence in their management? We do not, but have strong rooms and guards.

Do you ever bleed insane patients? Never.

Are idiots and lunatics kept in the same hospitals? They are, but in different wards; we have but few-not more than twenty in all; there may be some in private hospitals.

How many sick do you average in your hospitals? From fine to eight hundred, but all poor.

Here the Japanese doctors became interrogators, and inquired:

How many insane?

Dr. Hill: We have three hundred in my hospital.

How many of these are insane? All.

This reply astonished the inquisitors, who raised their hands, and looked at each other.

What medicines do you use? Wines, quinine and other stimulants.

Have you hospitals for dumb and blind? Yes, but separate.

Have you medical gardens? None of importance.

The Japanese here remarked that they would like to get the seed of our plants of every description for the imperial gardens of Jeddo, and they were informed these would be furnished them by the National Agricultural Society. They were also told that they would have an opportunity to inspect the Asylum of the Insane before leaving Washington, which appeared to gratify them very much. –Med. And Surg. Rep. of Philadelphia.

U.S. Police Protection Expenses for the Embassy: The Friend, October 1860

In the October, 1860 (page 78) edition of The Friend, publisher and editor Samuel C. Damon featured the following news about police protection afforded to the Japanese Embassy while on the east coast of the United States. It was taken from an unnamed American paper.

According to the report:

“The Japanese ambassadors, before leaving this country, placed $20,000 in the hands of August Belmont, of New York, for distribution among the members of the respective police of Washington, Baltimore, Philadelphia and New York, in proportion to the number of each and the time spent in each city by the Embassy, which was intended to be an acknowledgement of the efficiency of the police in contributing to their comfort. The offer was at first declined, but the embassadors insisted so strenuously that it was finally accepted. The sum has been apportioned as follows: -Washington policemen, $2,650; Baltimore policemen, $300; Philadelphia policemen, $3,300; New York policemen, $13,750. –American newspaper.”