« EelmineJätka »
Prince. Attached to this province there are no fewer than 1016 islands. One of these, Firando, is interesting to us, from the fact that, in the year 1613, an English factory was established there, which however, after a brief existence, failed, in consequence of a combination of adverse circumstances to which it is not necesary here to allude, more especially as we have no reason to anticipate that they will again arise to nip in the bud the commerce that is rapidly growing in those regionsSimabarra is another port of this province possessing historical interest. Its siege forms a celebrated but melancholy episode in the history of Christianity in Japan. Thirty-five thousand Roman Catholic Christians, who had taken refuge within its waters were bombarded by the Dutch at the behest of the Japanese Government, and utterly exterminated.
In former days Nagasaki was comprised within the limits of Fisen, and even now the defence of the city, in time of war, devolves upon the prince. The revenue of this high dignitary is stated to amount to about £360,000 a year. His territory is one of the most productive in the empire, which will account for this enormous
Besides rice, and various descriptions of grain, it produces tea, tobacco, and cotton, with fruit of divers sorts. Among the most important of its products, however, should be mentioned the vegetable tallow, one cargo of which has already reached this country, and been disposed of at a large profit. Among its mineral productions are iron, sulphur, cinnabar, and marble. There is a coal mine' at Wukumote which some of the Dutch Mission have descended. They describe the mine as being well and judiciously worked, and the coal as being bituminous in its nature, and made into coke for use. Old Rainipfer tells a story (by way of illustrating the volcanic nature of the country) of a coal mine in this province which, through the carelessness of the miners, took fire, and has been burning ever since. The nearest coal mine is not more than seven miles from Nagasaki. Another very extensive one is situated in Tsekugen, about one hundred miles distant. A very excellent description of porcelain clay is also found here, and the European deruand for eggshell China, which is sold in great quantities at Nagasaki, is chiefly supplied by the subjects of the princes of Ligon and Satsuma. The raler of Ligon is, so far as we could learn from our Dutch informants at Nagasaki, a man of toler. ably advanced views, and favourably disposed towards foreigners. He has already adopted many of our wisest inventions, but has not succeeded in thoroughly divesting himself of old prejudices. This was illustrated a short time prior to our visit, by his refusal to allow the Dutch to enter his territory to put up a steam engine which he himself had ordered out from Europe, to pump water out of one of his coal mines. But the Prince who has distinguished himself most notably by his progressive views is his Highoess of Satsuma. Unfortunately, since our return to this country, we have received intelligence of the death of this most enlightened nobleman. A map of the highest rank, of enormous wealth, of great political influence, the Prince of Satsuma was ever ready to advance the interests of for eigners, and to introduce into his own State their arts and inventions. I was informed by a Dutch gentlemen who had visited him that he had established an electric telegraph between his castle and Hagosima, the chief city of his province, a distance of about three miles. He has also extensive glass factories, and cannon foundries, in which 800 workmeu are employed.
Some idea may be formed of the scale upon which his establishment was conducted, from the fact that he possessed nine town houses in Yedo, and always travelled to that city with an escort of several thousand men. He was nearly connected with the Royal Family, his daughter being married to the late Tycoon, or Temporal Emperor, whose demise took place about the period of our arrival at Yedo.
A former Prince of Satsuma, was the conqueror of the Lewchew Islands. The Province of Satsuma contains great quantities of sulphur, which may form an mportant item in our trade with Japan. At its southern extremity is situated the Island of Loogasina, or Sulphur Island, which is said to burn incessantly. We did not pass within sight of it however. The mines of the island yield the Prince of Satsuma an annual revenue of 200 chests of silver.
The whole of the Island of Kiusin is eminently volcanic, notwithstanding its general fertility and varied products. Parts of it are wild and barren ; the aspect of its shores and general character of its mountains would betray its origin, even did not incessant volcanic action exist to put the matter beyond a doubt. There are no less than five volcanoes active in this island—they are, Mitake, in the Province of Satsuma; Kirisima Yamma, in Fingo; Asoyammo, in Figo; Wunzler, in Fizen ; and Tsurminyanma, in Bungo.
The most celebrated of these are the Kirisma Yamma and Wunzler, or the “High Mountain of Warm Springs.” I find, on referring to the Chinese Repository, that in 1793 the summit of the mountain suok entirely down; torrents of boiling water issued from all parts of the deep cavity which was thus forined, and the vapour arose like thick smoke. In one of its eruptions, it is recorded to have destroyed the ill-fated city of Simabara, when 38,000 persons are said to have perished There are also many hot and sulphurous springs, which are used as baths, and accounted to have great medical qualities. To some of these, curious superstitions are attached. They are considered departments for punishment in the infernal regions. To one which is covered at the top with a white cream like froth, are consigned pastry.cooks and confectioners who practised adulteration while in life ; while deceitful brewers pass a miserable existence in a spring as thick and muddy as the beer and sakee they sold their customers. The Island of Kinsin is well watered ; a hardy and industrious population inhabits its fertile valleys; its lofty mountain ranges contain scenes of great grandeur and sublimity, while its shores, indented with deep aud secure harbours and feathered with wood, owe much of their picturesque beauty to the numerous islands which stud those inland waters.
It is separated from the Island of Nipon by the narrow Straits of Vander Capellen or Simonerki, which connect the Straits of the Corea with the Purvonadei Sea. It was originally the intention of Lord Elgin to have explored on his retorn voyage this most remarkable sheet of water, never yet traversed by foreign keel, and which must afford a most interesting field for surveys of scientific character, as also for general observation. Unfortunately, however, our time did not admit of his putting this design into execution. The South sea is thickly covered with islands, and was reported to us by the Japanese as navigable for ships of large draught. The large and important island of Sikok intervenes between it and the North Pacific Ocean with which this sea is connected, by the Straits of Bangon on
the west, and the narrow Channel of Kind on the east. Sikok is, as its name im. plies, divided into four provinces ; as, however, we did not even sight its shores we had no opportunity of obtaining any information about it. It is about 150 miles long, with an average breadth of 70 miles, and is computed to contain about 10,000 square miles.
With the Suwonda Sea, however we are more closely interested, for upon its margin is the Port of Hiogo, opened by the late treaty to the commerce of the west.
This port is situated in the Bay of Othosaka, opposite to the celebrated city of that name, from which it is ten or twelve miles distant. The Japanese Govern ment have expended vast sums iu their engineering efforts to improve its once dangerous anchorage. A break water, which was erected at a prodigious expense, and which cost the lives of numbers of workmen, has proved sufficient for the object for which it was designed. There is a tradition that a superstition existed in connection with this dyke, to the effect that it would never be finished, unless an individual could be found sufficiently patriotic to suffer bimself to be buried in it. A Japannese Curtius was not long in forthcoming, to whom a debt of grati. tude will be due in all time to come, from every British ship that rides securely at her anchor behind the breakwater.
Hiogo has now become the port of Ghosaken and Miaco, and will in all probabil. ity, be the principal port of European trade in the empire. The city is described as equal in size to Nagasaki. When Kainipfer visited it, he found 300 juoks at anchor in its bay.
The Dutch describe Ohosaka as a more attractive resort even than Yedo. While this latter city may be regarded as the London of Japan, Obosaka seems to be its Paris. Here are the most belebrated theatres, the most sumptuous tea. houses, the most extensive pleasure.gardens. It is the abode of luxury and wealth, the favourite resort of fashionable Japanese, who come here to spend their time in gaiety and pleasure. Ohosaka is one of the five Imperial cities, and contains a vast population. It is situated on the left bank of the Jedogawa, a stream which rises in the Lake of Oity, situated a day and a-half's journey in the interior. It is navigable for boats of large tonnage as far as Miaco, and is spanned by numerous handsome bridges.
The port of Hiago and the city of Osaca will not be opened to Europeans until the 1st of January, 1863. The foreign residents will then be allowed to explore the country in any direction, for a distance of twenty-five miles, except towards Miaco, or, as it is more properly called, Kioto. They will not be allowed to approach nearer than twenty-five miles to this far famed city.
As the Dutch have constantly been in the habit of passing through Kioto, it is probable that before very long this restriction will be removed, and Europeans will be permitted to visit, what is, without question, the most interesting spot in the Empire. If Yedo is the London, and Othosaka the Paris, Kioto is certainly the Rome of Japan. It is here that the spiritual Emperor resides, and that enormous ecclesiastical Court by which he is surrounded, and which is called the Dairie, is permanently fixed. It is here that the celebrated tomb of the Great Sayco Sepa, the most famous of Japanese temporal Emperors is situated; and here are
to be seen the most magnificient and imposing temples of which the Empire can boast. The population of Kioto is said to be half a million, and it has had the reputation of being the principal manufacturing town in the Empire. It is situated as nearly as possible in the centre of Dai Nipon, the largest and most important island in the Japanese group, and which now demands a brief descriptive notice. According to Kainipfer, its length measured along the middle of the island exceeds 900 miles, and its average width may be estimated at more than 100 miles-its surface may, therefore cover an area of about 100,000 square miles. It is traversed in its whole length by a chain almost of uniform elevation, and in many places crowned with peaks covered with perpetual snow. This chain divides the streams which flow to the south and east, and which fall into the Pacific Ocean, from those which pursue a northerly course to the sea of Japan. Very many of its peaks are volcanicamong the most important of these is the Fusyanuner, the highest mountain in Japan. Its elevation is estimated at about 11,000 feet above the sea level. It has been quiescent for upwards of a century; its summit was sheathed with snow when we saw it at midsummer. The volcanoe of Pries, situated on an island under which we passed, was in action. Nipon is divided into upwards of 50 separate provinces, and contains the capital city of the Empire: Yedo. The first point in it at which we touched was the port of Simoda, situated on the promontory of Idsa, and opened to foreign trade by Commodore Perry in 1852.
As this port is under the new treaty to be closed to foreigners, it is scarcely necessary to allude to it. At no time favourably situated for trade, and under all circumstances a dangerous harbour, the anchorage was totally destroyed by an earthquake, which took place in December, 1854. Placed at the extreme end of a mountainous promontory, to pass from which into the interior of the island it is necessary to cross a mountain range 6000 feet high, and inhabited by a poor population of fishermen, Simoda can never offer attractions to the merchant, or give us cause to regret that it is no longer available for commercial purposes. The promontory of Idsu forms the eastern shore of the Bay of Yedo. The distance from Simoda to that city is about eighty miles. At Uraga the opposite shores approach to within ten miles of each other, and the straits which are thus formed afford scenery of much picturesque beauty. Eighteen miles from Yedo, and situated in a curvature of the western shore, lies the new port of Kanagawa, affording secure anchorage within half-a-mile of the land. Connected with Yedo by 'an excellent road, practicable for wheeled vehicles, and containing a considerable population already, Kanagawa possesses many advantages as a focus of trade. As, however, we did not land here, I do not venture to describe it further, the more especially as it has now been open to Europeans for upwards of two months, and we shall doubtless ere long have a full account of it from some of the pioneers of commercial enterprise who have already gone to establish themselves there. Foreigners are permitted by treaty to go into the interior for a distance of twenty-five miles, except toward Yedo. The Logos river, distant about ten miles from this city, is their limit in that direction.
Fortunately, no such restriction applied to us, and we were enabled, during a residence of ten days in that most interesting capital, to acquire some informa
tion with reference to the manners and customs of the singular race who inhabit it, of their mode of government, and of the resources of the country generally.
Situated at the head of a bay, or rather gulf, so extensive that the opposite shores are not visible to each other, Yedo spreads itself in a continuous line of houses along its partially undulating, partially level margin, for a distance of about ten miles. Including suburbs, at its greatest width it is probably about seven miles across, but for a portion of the distance it narrows to a mere strip of houses. Any rough calculation of the population of so vast a city must necessarilly be very vague and uncertain ; but, after some experience of Chinese cities, two millions does not seem too high an estimate at which to place Yedo.
In consequence of the great extent of the area occupied by the residences of the Princes, there are quarters of the town in which the inhabitants are very
The citadel, or residence of the temporal Emperor, connot be less than five or six miles in circumference, and yet it only contains about 40,000 souls. On the other hand, there are parts of the city in which the inhabitants seem almost as closely packed as they are in Chinese towns.
The streets are broad and admirably drained, some of them are lined with peach and plum trees, and when these are in blossom must present a gay and lively appearance. Those which traverse the Prince's quarter are for the most part as quiet and deserted as aristocratic thoroughfares generally are. Those which pass through the commercial and manufacturing quarters are densely crowded with passengers on foot, in chairs, and on horseback, while occasionally but not often, an ox waggon rumbles and creaks along. The houses are only of two stories, sometimes built of freestone, sometimes of sunburnt brick, and sometimes of wood; the roofs are either tiles or shingles. The shops are completely open to the street ; some of them are very extensive, the show rooms for the more expensive fabrics being up stairs as with us. The eastern part of the city is built upon a level plain, watered by the Toda Gawa, which flows through this section of the town, and supplies with water the large moats which surround the citadel. It is spanned by the Nipon; has a wooden bridge of enormous length, celebrated as the Hyde Park Corner of Japan, as from it all distances throughout the empire are measured. Towards the western quarter of the city the country becomes more broken, swelling hills rise above the housetops, richly clothed with foliage, from out the waving masses of which appear the upturned gables of a temple, or the many roofs of a Pagoda.
It will be some satisfaction to foreigners to know that they are not to be excluded for ever from this most interesting city. By the treaty concluded in it by Lord Elgin, on the first of January, 1862, British subjects will be allowed to reside there, and it is not improbable that a great portion of the trade may be transferred to it from Kanagawa. There is plenty of water and a good anchorage at a distance of about a mile and a half from the western suburb of Linagawa.
The only other port which has been opened by the late Treaty in the Island of Nipon is the Port of Nee-e-gata, situated upon its western const. As this port has never yet been visited by Europeans, it is stipulated that if it be found