Wednesday, February 13, 2013

The Japanese Embassy Visits Hong Kong: 1861

Source: Pacific Commercial Advertiser. Honolulu: Thursday, March 7, 1861.

The Embassy visited Hongkong, in October. One of the Hongkong papers has the following, which refutes the silly report started by the Polynesian, that the Embassy consisted only of the lower orders, and embraced none of the high rank:

As for the Japanese-they are allowed to do pretty much as they like, and conduct themselves in the most exemplary manner possible. They have the whole of the poop to themselves, which is about one hundred feet long, and if the nasal organs are to be the test of cleanliness, they certainly give the lie to the failing so prevalent with Asiatics on board ship. The attendants whom we saw, appeared as happy and contended as men could be. The more intelligent among them take great interest in the progress of the ship, perfectly understanding the use of the globes, &c. One of the interpreters is a very good navigator indeed, and is allowed every facility for the gratification of his thirst for knowledge. The Commissioners themselves appear to have won the respect of all, by their undeviating affability and gentlemanly conduct.

The Governor General of Netherlands India paid marked attention to the Ambassadors during their short stay in Batavia. They were received with great honors when they landed, and after being conveyed in great state to Government house, partook of as splendid a banquet as the resources of the country could produce.

It turns out it was a mistake to suppose that the great proportion of the followers in this Japan Embassy are menials. It was imagined that such was the case when they embarked, but it has since been ascertained that out of the whole batch only three are, strictly speaking, menials. The greater number consist of young men of good families, who being seized with desire to travel, submitted to the indignity of being considered menials, and have in fact partaken of the accommodation assigned to the servants of the Embassy. This will fully account for the large number that accommodation was applied for on board the Powhatan, when she took them over.