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thrown back inland, and may easily be cut off, by custom-house regulations, from a free intercourse with foreigners; but Japan consists of a number of islands, and is indented and intersected on all sides by innumerable bays, creeks, inlets, roadsteads, ports, harbours, and channels, which would enable trade to touch almost everywhere the heart of the population. Another circumstance highly favourable to our views is the enterprising character of the people, which would at once lead them, if set free by their government, to avail themselves to the full of the advantages of intercourse with Europeans.

Nor are the products of the islands few or insignificant. In the great island of Niphon there are mines of gold which were once thought to be no less productive than those of California. During the existence of the Portuguese trade immense quantities of this precious metal were exported annually to Macao, which, as we have already said, was erected as if by magic with resources drawn entirely from Japan. Afterwards the working of the gold mines was stopped by imperial ordinance, from the fear, as some believe, that the supply would be otherwise speedily exhausted, though many are of opinion that the reason of the decree is to be sought for in the apprehension that, if some measure were not put to the search after the ore, the relative value of gold and silver would be destroyed, which, according to the theories and fashion at Yedo, might prove a serious misfortune to the human race.

Silver mines are said likewise to be plentiful, though it is for its copper that Japan is now chiefly celebrated among the Netherlanders. This metal is said to be of so rare a fineness and beauty, that it may be used in the most delicate watch-work, and in various ways in which no other copper in the world would be of the least service. Pearls of a red colour are found on the coast; the rice cultivated in the marsh-lands is the most excellent in Asia; and there are extensive coal-fields, which, when steamnavigation shall be introduced, will be considered invaluable. Silk of extraordinary beauty is manufactured in several provinces ; while the tea is in many respects superior to the best imported from China. The quantity of this last article at present grown is very considerable, because it is in general use among the people. But supposing the trade with Europe to be open, the amount would probably be increased tenfold.

On a mountain near Meaco a particular sort of tea is cultivated, for the exclusive

use, it is said, of the imperial court. The accounts transmitted to us of this branch of Japanese industry are no doubt distorted and extravagant; but making due allowance for the exaggeration of travellers, and for the prejudices or fancies of those who supplied them with information, enough of what is really extraordinary will remain. The trees, it is said, are planted at a due distance from each other, and form long avenues, stretching up to the summit of the mountain, and then again leading on the other side down to its base. From the whole area the turf has been pared away: no plant, not even a blade of grass, is permitted to grow; and the entire space is kept so carefully swept, that not a fallen leaf remains many hours on the ground. When in spring the time for gathering the young tea has arrived, persons with gloves on their hands and respirators on their mouths are employed in picking, so that the delicacy of the princes and grandees may not be offended by the supposition that vulgar persons have even breathed on this costly article of luxury. Several specimens of Japanese tea—though not, it is to be presumed, of the imperial kind were a few years ago brought to England, and sold at the India House, where, probably on account of their rarity, they fetched three guineas a pound. This is the To-kay of the tea-table; and its cups, which cheer but not inebriate, would scarcely make less inroads on a man's fortune than Esterhazy's vintage.

But the great consideration is not what we could obtain from Japan, but what in the way of merchandise we might supply to it. In former times it received from Europeans damask, satin, velvet, and cloth of gold, pepper, broadcloth, and ivory. The Chinese brought whole junks laden with sugar; and among the other imports were Brazil-wood, tin, Bantam pepper, cast-iron, gunpowder, soccatrine aloes, fowling-pieces, calico and chintzes, Chinese silks, benzoin, and silks from Cochin-China. In order to interest the Hudson Bay Company in throwing open the trade of Japan, we may observe that nearly throughout the empire, but especially in the northern and more mountainous provinces, great quantities of fur are worn. Red felt is

from China; and it can scarcely be doubted that the more expensive sorts of carpets would meet there with ready sale, together with all sorts of rich stuffs and muslins of bright patterns.

We have already related briefly the steps by which the Dutch came to be confined on the island of Dezima, in the harbour of Nangasaki. Their trade, which at first brought them in large profits, is now reduced to a small compass, and is carried on in one ship despatched annually from Batavia, in the island of Java. As might naturally be expected, the Dutch, despised for their meanness and avarice, which make them submit to the most degrading conditions, are regarded with extreme contempt by the Japanese, who heap upon them all kinds of affronts and insults, well knowing that for gain they will cheerfully submit to them all. When, after a voyage of about five or six weeks, the eager idolaters of mammon approach their destination, they immediately obtain a foretaste of what they are afterwards to endure: a boat is sent out with orders for them to cast anchor on pain of being treated as enemies, and to demand such explanations as the authorities may deem requisite. While they are waiting permission to proceed to their prison, the employment in which they are engaged proves them to be in the dominions of victorious heathenism. They put their religion, together with all possible insignia of it-such as Bibles, prayer-books, pictures or prints representing sacred subjects—in a chest, and make up their minds willingly enough in most cases to conform to the laws of their new existence. To put it out of their power to be rebellious, the Japanese at the same time take possession of their guns, ammunition, and arms of all kinds, and convey them, together with the religious chest, ashore, where they are kept during

their stay.

Now commences a struggle between the cunning of the Dutch and the watchfulness of the natives. But a superior police officer is stationed on Dezima, to superintend the landing of the cargo as well as the personal examination of the whole crew, which is conducted in the most offensive manner-partly to ascertain that there are no women disguised among them, and partly to prevent smuggling, to which, it is well known, the islanders are immoderately addicted. Some years ago the most ludicrous means

were resorted to for eluding the vigilance of the Nangasaki custom-house officers. Taking advantage of their reputation for physical development, and not caring how queer they looked provided they could cheat the emperor, all the ships' crew, both officers and men, used to put on a suit of wadded clothes, which gave them the appearance of so many Sileni. When about to go on shore the wadding was taken out, and its place supplied by such merchandise as they desired to smuggle into the country; after this the wadding was again assumed, and worn till their departure, notwithstanding the sweltering heat and all the inconveniences it occasioned them. Then, again, the wadding made way for contraband goods; after which the heavy Netherlanders collapsed to their natural dimensions, and returned shrunken and shrivelled to Batavia.

It is not to be imagined that this astute device really imposed upon the custom-house officers of Nangasaki, who doubtless winked at the strange travestie for a handsome consideration. At length, however, the Dutchmen became too fat, and the stratagem exploded. Whether or not the transgressors of the law were punished or mulcted we forget, but from that time to the present the Mynheers have been constrained to submit to a strict humiliating search, from which the chief of the factory is alone exempt. The island of Dezima, on which the Dutch have vegetated for more than 200 years, is in reality a sort of pier or breakwater, 600 feet long by 240 broad, built on the waves at a short distance from the shore. Its whole surface is covered with houses and warehouses, and it is connected with Nangasaki by a narrow causeway, terminating in a guard-house at the end. The commercial prisoners are eleven in number—the chief of the factory, a warehouse-master, a book-keeper, a physician, five clerks, and two warehousemen. European servants they have none; but they are attended during the day by Japanese domestics, who enter the island at sunrise and quit it regularly at sunset.

But the Netherlanders are not left entirely to their own devices during the hours of darkness. Japan abounds with courtezans, and of these any number would appear to receive permission from the government to reside with the Dutch in Dezima as servants. Without their aid, as one of their writers pathetically expresses it, the unhappy captives would not be able to boil their tea-kettles or support confinement during the dreary years they are condemned to pass at a distance from their homes. The children born of these women, in conformity with the provisions of the Roman law, belong to the country of their mothers, who are not suffered to bring them into the world in Dezima. When the interesting period approaches, they are hurried across the causeway into Nangasaki, in order that the future citizens of the empire may not inhale with their first breath the degrading servitude of their fathers. When the women are sufficiently recovered to return, they are nevertheless permitted to take their children along with them; so that the little semi-Dutchmen can almost fancy themselves in Amsterdam. But when the period for education arrives, it is of no use for any of the captives of Dezima to have a heart, for, like it or dislike it, his children are torn from him to be trained, disciplined, instructed, or debauched, as it may seem fit to the authorities of Nangasaki. What becomes of the daughters is not stated. In all likelihood they are permitted to belong to the class of their mothers; while the sons are provided for by

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being placed at the fathers' expense in some low office under government. Much may no doubt be said in defence of these Netherlanders, but there are in the world many persons who would rather dispense altogether with wives and children than submit to such infamous and insulting regulations.

If to be born in Dezima be a crime for a Japanese, to die there is no less so. As soon as any woman or child, therefore, is seized with any complaint likely to prove mortal, she or he is hurried away to some place where, according to the language of the country, they may lawfully die. But even in Dezima death is sometimes extremely unceremonious, making as light of Japanese laws as of the passions and desires of Dutchmen. When this is the case, the Buddhists of the empire have a contrivance for saving their honour; which is to take the dead body over the causeway, and swear it is alive, which satisfies both the magistrates and the laws. Truth is a joke in Japan, especially where imperial edicts are concerned; and therefore it is fearlessly affirmed that no Japanese ever died or was born in Dezima.

To complete the humiliations of the Dutch we must not omit to mention the ceremony said to have taken place annually, of trampling on a picture with the Virgin and Child which the Japanese would have regarded as a denial of Christianity, while to the Dutch themselves it would probably appear to have been a harmless stratagem. Not being Papists, they would not think it necessary to feel or to affect any reverence for the Virgin even with the infant Saviour on her lap. But many, if not all of the Dutch writers, deny that they were ever called upon to insult in this manner the mute symbols of Christianity, or at least of a very large section of it; while the Roman Catholic authors, especially the Jesuits, who have treated of Japan, are almost unanimous in the assertion of the fact. For various reasons we are inclined to accept their testimony, though it cannot be doubted that they display on all occasions a disposition to disparage the Netherlanders. In the first place, the conduct of the latter has generally been such as to give a strong colour to the belief. They stick at no means to prejudice the heathenism of Japan against their Christian rivals—not only the Roman Catholic Spaniards and Portuguese, but likewise the Protestant English; and then in the rebellion of Simabara, which, say what they will, was an insurrection of the Christians against their pagan oppressors, the Dutch lent their assistance in extirpating the professors of their own creed under no other pretext whatsoever than that of procuring commercial advantages for their nation.

And what now, after all, is the amount of their trade? The value of the merchandise shipped annually from Java to Japan does not exceed £75,000 sterling; that is to say, less by one-half than what the Chinese are suffered to import. The legal exports are almost exclusively confined to camphor and copper, though the islands abound in inexhaustible materials for commerce, which the Japanese are restrained by their ignorance from disposing of to strangers.

Of the life led by the eleven Dutchmen who conduct this miserable trade we have already given some idea as far as relates to the island of Dezima. But as perpetual confinement to the surface of that diminutive breakwater will really be too tedious even for them, they have solicited and obtained permission to make occasional excursions in the vicinity of Nangasaki.

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The way in which these rare relaxations are enjoyed is singularly characteristic and comic. When the despised captives desire to take a walk, they forward an intimation of the fact to the authorities, who, after due deliberation, consent to allow them this indulgence. It might, however, be thought derogatory to the imperial dignity if these foreign vagabonds were suffered to amuse themselves without restraint. Accordingly, it has been decreed that in their rural rambles they are always to be accompanied and watched by a host of natives, guards, interpreters, with a rabble of relatives and connections, whom the unlucky Dutchmen are condemned to entertain at their own expense; so that it becomes a more costly luxury to take a stroll than for us to enjoy a steam-voyage to Constantinople.

Still, as fresh air is a pleasant thing, and since every semblance of liberty is dear to prisoners, the Mynheers of Dezima cheerfully consent to be mulcted in order to enjoy a prospect of the country, to climb breezy hills, to recline in delicious valleys, to enter tea-houses and tea-gardens, and sip the fragrant beverage in the midst of a noisy multitude of natives, all enjoying themselves after their own way. Besides, in Japan, as everywhere else,' a great deal may be bought for fifty louis.' Mammon makes an impression on interpreters and guards; so that it is not absolutely impossible for a member of the Dezima factory to taste occasionally a few moments of delightful solitude. The views from the mountains above Nangasaki are vast and varied-over shores, bays, promontories smiling with cultivation or clothed with woods; while the blue sea, which everywhere indents the coast, is studded with sails scudding hither and thither before the breeze.

From an excursion amidst such scenery the gentlemen of the factory return well pleased to their homes and temporary wives, and phlegmatically toil on in the pursuit of gain, till weariness or the accumulation of cash induces them once more to seek the solace of the breathing fields.

Enough, we think, has been said to give our readers some idea of the relations of Europe with Japan, as well as to shew the practicability of multiplying those relations to any extent we please. The Dutch, contented with their humiliating and degraded position, will unquestionably take no step towards throwing open the commerce of the empire to the rest of the world. Exclusion and monopoly are among the chief elements of their existence; wherever they have obtained a footing, whether in the East or in the West, their constant aim has been to shut out all others: they would rather enjoy the fewest and smallest advantages by themselves than the greatest in conjunction with their neighbours. The truth of this they have demonstrated in Sumatra, Borneo, Java, and the Moluccas. On their co-operation, therefore, we can place no reliance, but on the contrary must expect from them the steadiest and most persevering hostility.

Great Britain, however, is perfectly able to dispense with the aid of Holland, or of any other community, and has only to shew herself in a proper attitude on the shores of Japan to restore that empire to intercourse with the rest of the world. There is not the slightest probability that such an undertaking would lead to war; but should that unfortunately prove the case, we have in our power the means of bringing it to a speedy conclusion. The domestic trade of Japan is immense, and carried on chiefly by sea; so that with a few war-steamers we could put a stop at once

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