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form a dangerous shoal under their keel. The great to-morrow, on which we sail for Japan, will next dawn upon us. We go to bed, and dream, not "o' green fields," but of blue water and rattling sea-breezes, bearing us fresh health and strength.
The sun's rays were making a gallant fight with the malaria-laden yellow mists of the Yang-tsi-Keang Valley as we weighed for the once fabled shores of Cipango. A sleepy display of ensigns from the men-ofwar of different nations showed that their officers of the watch recognised the departure of the British ambassador, the Earl of Elgin and Kincardine, with an escort of two steamfrigates, a corvette, and a gunboat. Down a winding reach, through miles of turbid water, and past fleets of junks and boats, we sped, until the flat shore dropped abruptly out of sight astern. Then a solitary rock or storm-swept islet appeared in sight, and as quickly disappeared, as we rattled on to the east at a pace which made the fisherman, in his rickety craft, drop his line, and watch us with face indicative of wild astonishment.
The reader knows assuredly what it is to suddenly come on sweet grass, and under cool trees, after a weary walk over a dusty highway. That same sensation of relief and pleasure was generally felt and expressed as we gradually left the muddy waters of a great river, which carries suspended in its stream, they say, earth enough, were it suddenly deposited, to form another England. The emerald green of the deeper portions of the China sea steadily darkened in tint, until we again, on the morrow of our leaving Shanghai, saw dear mother ocean clad in her glorious robes of blue!
"Once more upon the waters! yet once more !
And the waves bound beneath us, as a steed
That knows his rider."
After months-nay, more than a
year-pothering about in the narrow rivers, creeks, bays, and dirty water of China, it was pleasant again to see blue, bright blue water, sparkling, laughing, and showing its white teeth under a rattling breeze; and oh how cheering to look again upon a clear sky, and loose, fleecy, tradewind clouds sailing athwart it! The charm of novelty, too, enhanced the feelings we experienced. Our cruise to Japan was not avowedly one of discovery, but, after all, it was very like one. We were going upon a coast imperfectly surveyed. The only chart of it was by a German, Dr Siebold, who, whilst forming part of the Dutch commercial establishment closely imprisoned at Nangasaki, had compiled, from Japanese authorities, a very fair map and chart of the empire, though but poorly adapted for purposes of navigation. We were going to Jeddo, the capital of Japan; though it was said we never should approach it nearer than ten miles; and one clause of Admiral Stirling's treaty of 1854 stipulated that British ships should only go to Nangasaki, at the one extreme of the empire, and Hakodadi at the other. ambassador was going to Jeddo to present a yacht from our Queen to an Emperor, who we heard was, by the rules of his empire, never allowed to go beyond the walls of his palace ; and then he was, by moral force, to induce him to make a fresh treaty, in the face of a clause in that same Stirling Treaty which runs as fol. lows: "7th Art.-When this convention shall have been ratified, no high officer coming to Japan shall alter it." So that we might say there were quite as many unknown rocks and quicksands ahead of the diplomatic portion of the expedition as there were in the track of the executive.
Information of the geography of Japan was most scant. Kampfer and Siebold, though most trustworthy in all respects, were ignorant upon the point on which we as seamen most anxiously sought for in
*The squadron of his Excellency consisted of the steam-frigate Retribution, 28 guns, Captain C. Barker; the steam-frigate Furious, 16 guns, Captain Sherard Osborn, C.B., on board of which ship his Excellency and suite were embarked; the gunboat Lee, Lieutenant Graham; and the yacht Emperor, Lieutenant Ward.
formation. The ponderous volumes of the American expedition to Japan had little new in them beyond information about Jeddo gulf. Had Marco Polo, in August 1858, sprung from his grave, it is true that he might have been pleased to find that we did not, like his foolish conntrymen, smile with incredulity at his wondrous tale of Zipangu or Cipango, but he would have been much astonished to find that, after a lapse of five centuries and a half, Europe knew very little more about Japan than he did when, in the year 1295, he pointed to the eastern margin of the Yellow Sea, and said, "there was a great island there named Zipangu," peopled by a highly civilised and wealthy race, who had bravely rolled back the tide of Tartar conquest in the days of Kublai Khan.
An eminent American, who goes off occasionally on the wings of that dreadful eagle with its claws armed with the lightning, and which is ever soaring over the Rocky Mountains, or sweeping across the western waters, &c. &c., seems to insist that it is the high mission of the United States to do chaperon to Japan, and introduce her to the ken of the western world, all because Christopher Columbus--
who, we maintain, was not the first American citizen, and cared no more for the Declaration of Independence than he does for General Washington discovered the American continent in endeavouring to reach that Cathay and Zipangu, of which Marco Polo had written, but in which Columbus had alone the wit, in after years, to believe. However that may be, it is sincerely to be desired that, if she believes in her mission, the United States may go earnestly about it, and send her commodores, flag-officers, consuls, missionaries, and envoys to do the work steadily and well, forbidding them to fly to and from China-of which we believe we have for a while heard enough; and when Congress, revelling in surplus revenue, liberally pays the expense of publishing their servants' journals, they had best be tied down to write of Japan only, and not wander loosely to Singapore, Hong-Kong, the Cape of Good Hope, and St Helena, for the sole purpose of abusing a colonial system which still keeps Great Britain a neck and shoulders ahead of the whole world, and enables us to care but little what the opinion of the United States may be as to how we treated Napoleon Buonaparte.
The valley of deep water, four hundred and fifty miles in a direct line from the shores of China to those of Japan, delightful though it was to us river-sick seamen, is at present a very lonely sea. The interdiction of foreign trade by the Emperors of Japan acted upon China as well as Europe, and during the centuries in which the flag of Holland alone crossed the sea we were traversing, China was also obliged to confine herself to sending thirteen junks annually to and from Nangasaki. We therefore saw no vessel in our track. Then (excepting great numbers of flying fish) there was a dearth of animal life, whether fish or bird, where, from our proximity to land, it would have been natural to have found the re
On the afternoon of the 2d August, 1858, we reached a group of rocky
but picturesque islets, the outposts in this direction of the Japanese empire. Miaco-Sima, or the "Asses' Ears," they are named, because their peaks run up in a manner not unlike the ears of that famous animal. Their coasts are bold and craggy, washed by the rollers of a wild though narrow sea, whose spray has left a mark far up the polished waveworn sides; yet there was green grass and stout pine-tree immediately above the wash of the sea, and vegetation made a bold fight to reach the summits of the craggy peaks. How different from Chinese scenery! we naturally exclaimed, as our good ship sped past Miaco-Sima, and all declared themselves perfectly satisfied with this first instalment of Japan it was evident we were determined to be pleased. The mountains of Kiu-Siu Island, on which
the city of Nangasaki is situated, were next to rise upon the eastern horizon. The night proved dark and gloomy, and as in the middle watch the bold coasts of Gotto Island were seen to the northward, warning us that we were approaching Japan faster than was prudent, we had, in spite of our anxiety to be quickly into port, to order the speed to be very much reduced. Day-dawn showed us to have been right in thus acting, for the land about Cape Nomo, the southern entrance of the bay leading to Nangasaki, was on our starboard bow; and thence, stretching far away to our left, rose peak, mountain, and table-land, until lost in the distance. Away to the north, a channel, dotted with islets, was seen between Gotto and Kiu-Siu. It, we knew, led to Hirando, or Firando, that port so well known to European mariners of centuries now long gone by, when Spaniards and Portuguese, Dutchmen and the English, were struggling for a footing in Japan, and each doing his best to have his brother Christian exterminated-how they eventually succeeded, and the Dutchman turned up the trumpcard, we will hereafter relate. For the present, we must go at full speed for a mark in the land ahead, which, the charts tell us, leads us to our haven.
For a while heavy mists swept over land and sea. We could only see a mile or so ahead. It was very tantalising. Those who had not witnessed day-dawn would not believe we had seen Japan, and growled out complaints of the nuisance, to use a seaman's phrase, of "being jammed in a fog off our port." All the consolation we could offer was, that possibly the sun would master the fog; and it was so, for presently there was a play of light along the surface of the sea; the hulls of our vessels came out sharp and clear. Then Japanese junks were seen; presently their sails and masts showed
the fog was lifting, breaking, and dispersing. Down the mountains of Kiu-Siu rolled masses of cloud; out of every vale and valley came dense mists sweeping down, wrathful at the enemy that was expelling them. Poor cloudland fought at a disadvantage with
the lusty youth of a morning sun;
his fierce glance pierced her densest array, and, in sullen showers and flying squalls of wind, night and darkness passed away; whilst day, bright and beaming, burst fairly upon us with a shout of welcome. It was a glorious sight-mountain and plain, valley and islet, clothed with vegetation, or waving with trees, and studded with villages-blue sea for a foreground, crisped with the breeze, and calm spots with sandy bays; in amongst islands dotted with fishing-boats and native junks. We must not attempt it, for pen or pencil could never reproduce such a picture.
Early in the forenoon, H.M.S. Furious was entering the charming series of channels leading through islands to Nangasaki. Cape Nomo was now hidden from view, whilst on either hand lay the lovely spots known by the native names of Fwosima and Kamino-sima, "Sima" being Japanese for island. They looked like pieces of land detached from the best parts of the south coast of England. It is impossible, we believe, to pay them a greater compliment! Their outline was marked and picturesque, clothed, wherever a tree could hang or find holding-ground, with the handsome pine peculiar to the country. the country.
Villages and richly cultivated gardens nestled in every nook, and flowers, as well as fruittrees, were plentiful. To our eyes, the multitude of guns and extraordinary number of batteries which covered every landing-place, or surmounted every height, on these islands, did not enhance their beauty; and we regretted to see all the male population, and many more men besides, entering the batteries as we approached. We suspected then, what afterwards proved to be the case, that our Transatlantic friends had taken great care to work upon the fears of the Japanese, by spreading some marvellous tales of what we Britishers had done in China, and intended to do to them. The garrisons of the batteries appeared desirous only of showing us how prepared they were; and having gone to their guns, quietly sat down to smoke their pipes, while the officers, seated on the parapets, gracefully fanned themselves. Yet it will
be well for all the world that the Japanese are jealous of their liberty; and now that we have seen Japan, we can only hope its people will, if need should arise, gallantly defend the beautiful land God has given them.
It would be hazardous to say how many guns are mounted on the islands and points commanding the approach to Nangasaki; some of them may be of wood-merely quakers; but we saw hundreds that decidedly were not. The majority were of brass, some of iron, all mounted on wheeled carriages, and looked, from the gungear about them, well found in stores, and efficient. The batteries were evidently very solid, and there was a queer mixture of European and Japanese ideas in their constructionthe result being, that although the lower portions would have stood a great deal of hammering from an enemy, the unfortunate gunners would have been too much exposed to have stood long to their guns.
Our attention was now called from the land to a number of government boats, which were dotted about the water ahead of us: they were always in pairs, one, doubtless, selon les règles, watching the other. It was desirable to have no communication with these guard-boats-for such we easily recognised them to be-lest they should hand us the copy of some British Treaty, or Convention, by which some one had pledged Her Most Gracious Majesty's subjects not to do this, or not to do that. We happened to have found in an old book-the only old thing, except sound port, that we ever liked-a Treaty of Peace and Amity between the Emperor of Japan and James the First, of Great Britain, dated as far back as the year of grace 1613. By it, right of intercourse, commerce, and suchlike, was secured to us for ever; and as only two centuries and a half had elapsed-a
mere flea-bite in the records of such countries as Japan and China-it seemed natural we should still adhere to the privileges secured by bold Captain Saris, of the good ship Clove of London, belonging unto the Honourable and Worshipful Company of Merchants trading to the East Indies-and ignore the
folly of those who, in later years, had lost the birthright their ancestors had won for them. In happy ignorance of any treaties made by Admiral Stirling and others, H. M. ships steamed on, pretending perfect unconsciousness of the existence of guard-boats and officials. However, it was soon very evident that if they could not stop us, it was quite as much as their lives were worth not to be able to report correctly upon, who, and what we were; for just as we had put the helm hard down to escape one pair of boats, two others skilfully tumbled into the wash of our paddle-wheels, and the most expeditious short-hand writers at home could not have made their quills fly faster than did these Japanese in noting down facts that one of their party, who stood on tiptoe to peer into the ports, shouted out for their information. Next day we learnt that the spies had given a very excellent account of H.M.S. Furious, and had only missed one gun in the list of her armament.
Past these impediments, and avoiding some sunken rocks which lie in the channel, we had time to observe that the ship appeared as if running up against the shores of Kiu-siu, which rose boldly ahead of us until they terminated in the now cloudcapped Peaks of Hi-kosan and Tarutagama. Was it that the Furious was tired of buffeting the wide sea, and had determined, like the Bounty of Otaheitian fame, to place herself in one of the lovely nooks ahead? No: the channel will show out presently; the beautiful, but sadly notorious, island of Takaboko bars the view of the entrance to the inner harbour.
Lonely, yet wicked Takaboko— better known as the "Papenberg "how calm and smiling it looked down upon our wooden home as we swept past, almost touching it! It so peaceful, so full of repose-we all throb and noise, routine and formality! There, in that pretty nook, we should, we felt assuredly, find that rest, that peace which all men crave for, but so seldom find! battery in amongst those trees! sir," said the shrill voice of the signal midshipman, and "four brass guns
in it." Brass guns and batteries in such an Eden! what barbarism! We thought with a sigh of an equally barbarous act perpetrated by those gallant Frenchmen, who had planted Vauban batteries among the breadfruit and palm-trees of sweet Otaheite-the only spot we ever saw that excelled the scene of beauty which now surrounded us.
Beautiful Papenberg! Yet, if history spoke true, deeds horrid enough for it to have been for ever blighted by God's wrath had been perpetrated there during the persecutions of the Christians in the seventeenth century. It was the Golgotha of the many martyrs to the Roman Catholic faith. There by day and by night its steep cliffs had rung with the agonised shriek of strong men, or the wail of women and children, launched to rest, after torture, in the deep waters around the island. If Jesuit records are to be believed, the fortitude and virtue exhibited by their Japanese converts in those sad hours of affliction, have not been excelled in any part of the world since religion gave another plea to men to destroy his fellowcreature; and may it not be that the beauty with which nature now adorns that rock of sorrows, is her halo of glory around a spot rendered holy by the sufferings, doubtless, of many that were brave and good? Yes! let us think so, and forget the envy, hatred, and malice which once raged rampant upon that spot. Let us forget it, and try to be as unconscious of its past history as is that Japanese Hebe who stands on the pathway up the face of the Papenberg, and stares at the frigate sweeping past under her feet, unconscious of all the admiration and all the telescopes which are directed at her. Gentle heathen! of course she is perfectly ignorant of all the compliments her grace and neatness are calling forth; but she puts up her hand and rearranges the brilliant red flowers hidden in her mass of jetty hair. Yes! she laughs, and, throwing her head aside archly, displays such a glittering set of white teeth! That angel of the Papenberg redeems all the blemishes we might have seen in it; and, like the lovely
daughter in the legend of an Ogre's castle, shall she not perfectly reconcile all true knights to the crimes of the remorseless giants who of old held their sway there?
"Hard a-starboard, sir!" exclaims our Palinurus; and, as the spokes of the wheel fly round, the ship turns sharply into the fine channel of water leading up to Nangasaki. That city faced us, spread round the base of a hill at the farther end of the harbour, and having immediately in front of it a rude collection of hybrid European houses with a flagstaff. This we at once recognised as Decima, an artificial island adjoining the city of Nangasaki, whereon the Japanese had held the Dutchmen voluntary prisoners ever since the expulsion of the Portuguese in 1613. The poor Dutchmen endured insult, restraint, and contumely, rather than forego certain advantages in carrying out Japanese copper and retailing it to Europeans at an enormous profit. Long-suffering and enduring vendors of strong Dutch cheese, Zealand butter, and pleasant schnapps! relief came at last; the Dame Partingtons at home trundled their mops in the face of Holy Mother "Russia," when she felt her mission called her to trounce the Turk and take Constantinople. The Japanese Emperor was astonished to find the belligerents playing a game of hide-and-seek in his many bays and harbours, and wisely concluded that the orthodox old lady of Moscow, whose dominions approached suspiciously close to Japan, might one day think it as Christian-like to rob a Buddhist as a Mohammedan neighbour. He has very wisely departed from the ancient laws of his realm, and has sought for aid and protection where, strangely enough, he can find them, in the friendship of four or five nations who cordially dislike and are jealous of each other. But a truce to politics for a time-the ambition of men or nations, the crimes of the Christian and heathen, may be studied elsewhere. Let us satisfy ourselves with simply inhaling healthful pleasure from the contemplation of the loveliness nature has spread over every inch of the harbour of Nangasaki.
A long fiord of blue water stretches