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otherwise with barbarians, especially when they long to be delivered from the inconveniences of an immemorial practice, and are prepared to reckon among their best friends the authors of their emancipation.

The citizens of the United States—with ideas of simplicity entirely suitable to their form of government, and congenial indeed to freedom in all its modifications—proceeded to Japan as they would have gone from one state of the Union to another, without the slightest affectation of display. Admiral Cecil, though not then representing a republic, followed pretty much the same policy. Regarding these proceedings from the platform of their own idiosyncrasies, the Japanese imagined themselves to be slighted; and firmly, though with as much show of politeness as they could command, refused the concessions demanded of them by the strangers. A civilised government, familiar with the grandeur and resources of the great American republic and the French monarchy, would have laid comparatively little stress on the size of the ships in which the negotiators were conveyed : yet we do not find, even in the most refined communities, anything like a philosophical indifference to the rank, character, and appointments of ambassadors. On the contrary, these things are allowed to have great weight; and if such be the case among nations that pique themselves in bestowing more consideration upon realities than appearances, can we wonder that a people still barbarous, and rendered doubly prejudiced by its isolation from human intercourse, should suffer itself to be influenced by the pomps and vanities of diplomacy?

If it be supposed that when the Japanese government determined to exclude all Europeans from its dominions it was able completely to accom. plish this purpose, no notion can be more erroneous—the accidents of the ocean, storms, calms, currents, want of fresh water or provisions, and even the passions and caprice of navigators, would suffice to defeat such a project. Accordingly, it has constantly happened that the intercourse 60 fiercely prohibited is still carried on; that foreign ships do put into Japanese ports; that strangers from Europe and America do actually land from time to time on the coast, procure refreshments and merchandise by exchanging presents with the natives, and that the inhabitants of the secluded empire are able to furnish irrefragable proofs that they desire nothing so earnestly as to be restored to their rights as members of the great human family. The visits of the American ships Morrison and Himmahleh, and of the English frigate Samārang, under Captain Belcher in 1845, brought out into strong relief the sympathy of the natives with the rest of mankind.

In the case of the last-mentioned ship, it may perhaps be said that its commander slightly misunderstood the feelings and intentions of the authorities; that they may have been less friendly than they appeared; and that the slightest attempt to transgress the limits established by diplomatic etiquette would have produced a conflict between the Samārang and the forces assembled at Nangasaki. From the details of his own narrative we think it extremely probable that Sir Edward Belcher drew many inferences not at all authorised by facts; that he interpreted too literally expressions of mere politeness and civility; that he persuaded himself to believe what he wished to be true; and that, had he remained, as he was invited, fourteen days, the answer brought from court might have been as unfavourable as that vouchsafed to Commodore Biddle and Admiral Cecil.

But this proves nothing, because Captain Belcher proceeded unauthorised to Japan, and was of course therefore not the bearer of


letters or presents from the British government. It must have been clear to people much less acute than the Japanese that his was a mere chance visit, and that any civilities they might shew him must be set down to their innate sense of hospitality, or to their respect for the British nation in general. Nevertheless they permitted him to enter the roads of Nangasaki, and would not have objected to his casting anchor in their harbour itself; suffered him to land and make observations by night, and winked at his sounding the harbour; for that the persons employed on this service eluded their vigilance is not to be credited. Without interpreting too strictly the language of compliment, we may believe that the great officers of government in Japan, who boldly attributed their own feelings to the emperor, do really regret that the English should have ever interrupted their intercourse with that country, and that they would heartily rejoice to see an end put to a state of things which cannot by any possibility be either agreeable or profitable to them.

Other circumstances had long ago rendered it unquestionable that the Japanese people earnestly desire the renewal of their intercourse with Europeans. Many ships engaged in the South-Sea trade, by accident or otherwise touching at Japan, have generally met with a hearty welcome. According to the old-established laws of the empire, trade with strangers is prohibited: whatever they need must be furnished them gratis, and they are to be desired at their departure not to return. But the officers intrusted with the execution of these laws, not at all comprehending the utility of them, but rather believing them to be extremely pernicious, are little disposed to act in conformity with their spirit. Commerce is an indestructible want of humanity. It is a law of our nature that we should delight in buying and selling, in exchanging the commodities we possess, and of which we have a surplus, for those in the possession of others, and in cultivating friendly relations with strangers and foreigners, who approach us with the olive-branch in their hands.

The mandarins on the coast, therefore, with an ingenuity which does them great credit, generally instruct their visitors in the course proper to be pursued, compromising themselves as little as possible. Captain Jones is strictly cautioned against coming back, and it is also intimated that the Marianne of Hull or Sunderland must no more be seen in those parts; but if Captain Jones should think proper to transform himself into Captain Morgan, and if the Marianne should present herself as the Good Endeavour, how is any mandarin to be able to pierce through these disguises and confusion of names ? By a little management the same captain and the same ship might return annually for ten or twenty years without any infraction of the laws, or any danger of bowel-ripping to the authorities. No exact record is indeed kept of these irregular transactions, but in various ways we discover that they take place. Besides, when at wide intervals foreign ships put into the harbour of Nangasaki, nothing can repress the disposition on the part of the people to make known their desire for intercourse with the strangers : they crowd in innumerable boats about the adventurous interlopers; and though chased and driven back by what we may denominate the imperial coast-guard, they incessantly return, till all


chance or hope of effecting their purpose is removed by the departure of the vessels.

Occasionally, in other parts of the empire, the mandarins under courtinfluence affect a dread of punishment which they evidently do not feel Europeans, therefore, who have any object to accomplish by transgressing the ancient laws of the empire, are beginning to treat their fears as groundless; and there can scarcely be a doubt that the unavoidable accidents of commerce will of themselves force the Japanese to abandon their inhospitable system. Humboldt is of opinion that this will only take place when the Isthmus of Panama shall have been cut through. Unquestionably, as this will bring us 6000 or 7000 miles nearer to Japan, the difficul. ties of preserving its isolation will be greatly multiplied; but it will be a mere wanton sacrifice of commercial advantages to abandon the enterprise to the fortuitous course of events. Policy should take the matter out of the hands of accident. That the Japanese are brave we admit, and that their government might exhibit some little obstinacy we allow to be probable; but if Great Britain were to signify in an intelligible manner its wish for the renewal of our ancient intercourse, the court of Yedo would

give way.

Some may perhaps infer, from the circumstances attending one of the very last visits of a British ship to any part of the group, that hostile feelings are still cherished towards Europeans. Our readers shall themselves judge. In the year 1849 the commander-in-chief in the China seas ordered Commander Mathison, in the Mariner, to visit the coast of Japan. He accordingly proceeded and anchored off the town of Oragawa, twenty-five miles from the capital of the empire, and three miles farther than any other vessel of a foreign nation had been allowed to proceed. The Mariner sounded all the way across and along the shores. 'The Japanese interpreter on board having informed the authorities of the object of my visit, I sent my card, written in Chinese, ashore to the governor, requesting him to receive my visit; to which he replied, that out of courtesy to me, and curiosity to himself, he would have been delighted to have paid me a visit, and also entertain me ashore, but that it was contrary to the laws of the country for any foreigner to land, and that he, the governor, would lose his life if he permitted me to proceed any farther up the bay. When about eight miles from Cape Misaki, which forms the south-west end of the bay, ten boats, manned with twenty armed men and five mandarins in each, came alongside. I allowed the mandarins to come on board, when they presented me a paper written in French and Dutch, directing me not to anchor or cruise about the bay. Finding, however, I was determined to proceed, they offered, when within two miles of the anchorage, to tow me up, which I accordingly accepted. Several boats were stationed around us during the night, forts were lighted up, and several hundred boats were collected along the shore, all fully manned and armed. In return I had my guns loaded, and requested their boats to keep at a respectful distance during the night. Othosan, the interpreter, was in great dread, saying that in case we landed the Japanese would murder us all, and as for himself, he would be reserved for a lingering death by torture. Oragawa appears to be the key of the capital, and contains 20,000 inhabitants. All the junks going and returning to Yedo must pass the custom-house

here: and with a moderate force the whole trade of the capital might be stopped. With an armed steamer the passage up to Yedo might be surveyed; and I was informed that a ship could approach within five miles of the city. Between the capital and the port an excellent road exists. The mandarins here appear to be of an inferior class, treated us civilly, and were anxious to gain any information from us, but would give none in return. They took sketches of different parts of the ship, sent us some water, vegetables, and eggs, and then were continually inquiring when I intended to depart. Mr Halloran, the master, having made a survey of the anchorage, I weighed and proceeded to Semodi Bay, of which an accurate survey was made. I landed at this place, but the mandarins immediately followed, entreating me to return on board. They supplied us with plenty of fish, and sent fifty boats to tow us out. The governor of the province came on board at this place; he lives at a town called Miomaki, thirteen miles off, and was evidently a man of high rank from the respect shewn him by his suite. The Dutch interpreter from Oragawa likewise came on board with two mandarins to watch our proceedings. They were, however, doubtless acting as spies on each other.'

It results, we think, from all that has been said, that it would be extremely practicable, by the application of a little gentle violence, to withdraw the Japanese from their isolation, and restore to commerce the advantages it might derive from free intercourse with them. On the morality of the question we have no doubts whatever. Itinerant agitators, who substitute a sickly sentimentality for logic — not because they themselves possess sentiment, but because they find it palatable to their audiences — may affect to cast upon our views the charge of Machiavelism. But the nature of justice is not to be altered by declamation. It is always possible to go back to the original principles of society, and to prove by invincible arguments, whatever dealers in romance may advance to the contrary, that no community has a right to segregate itself from the rest of mankind, to avoid intercourse with them, to deny them the advantages to be derived from the use of the surplus commodities produced by their country, and thus to initiate a process which, if carried out rigorously by the entire species, would reduce the whole world to a den of wild beasts. For what is lawful for one country is lawful for all countries, for all provinces, for all individuals. And let the anti-social principle be applied universally, would it not, we ask, be a total subversion of the laws of nature which ordain the free intercourse of man with man, and of nation with nation?

To comprehend the full force of this reasoning we must perhaps bring it home to ourselves. Let us, then, imagine the existence in England of a district adapted to the rearing of bees, and that all the rest of the country was unsuited to them, so that they could not live in it. The favoured district would abound in wax and honey in such plenty that the inhabitants could not profitably make use of their whole stock. Let us, however, suppose the existence of some law acting like a wall of circumvallation round the district, preventing the people carrying forth their wax and honey, and exchanging them for wheat, for beef and mutton, for calico and woollen cloths, hats, boots, and other necessaries to be found in the surrounding districts. Let us imagine further, that the inhabitants of the neighbouring counties and parishes stood in great need of honey

and wax, which they could not possibly obtain from any other part of the world. Would they not feel and exclaim against the injustice and folly of the regulation preventing intercourse between the interdicted district and the rest of the country? And would they not forthwith, on the strength of this conviction, insist on the abrogation of the law? They would say, and with good reason, nature intended, when the owners of the wax and honey had used what was required for their own purposes, that they should accommodate their neighbours with the surplus; first, because it would otherwise be wasted and lost to the world; and, second, that in order, by promoting intercourse, men should learn to feel their relationship to each other, and become more considerate, tolerant, and humane. This was evidently the design of nature in bestowing on every country commodities peculiar to itself, that the human race, being but one family, might perceive that they stand in want of each other, and be thus by degrees united in & vast fraternal union.

If, consequently, there be a people who, through sullenness or caprice, resolve to isolate themselves, and thus defeat the beneficent intentions of nature, it is perfectly lawful for the rest of mankind to compel them to abandon their misanthropical design. No nation has a right to stand apart, since by so doing it would be commencing that process, the completion of which would be the absolute destruction of human society. We altogether disregard the sophistry of those writers or speakers who seek to direct the prejudices of the community against our doctrine. We take up our stand on the eternal principles of right and justice, not to be overthrown by the arbitrary theories or capricious practices of diplomacy. The world has been long enough the slave of routine. It is now at length time to adopt some better rule of proceeding; and perhaps the wisest of all courses would be to render our opinions and actions conformable to the original laws of our nature. It is very possible, no doubt, for fluent speakers, surrounded by unreflecting audiences, to elicit applause by a superficial show of humanity. In all ages and countries rhetoric has on such arenas been more than a match for truth. But when the aid of reflection is called in, when we examine, and ponder, and meditate-in other words, when we educate ourselves, and oppose solid instruction to voluble ignorance-we are forced back by the way we came, and constrained to content ourselves with simple truth and unsophisticated nature.

But admitting, it may be said, that the states enjoying the benefits of civilisation have a right to employ force, if necessary, to extort from the Japanese government the right to trade with its subjects, are the resources of the empire such as to justify this course of policy on the grounds of expedience? From various causes we are kept very much in the dark on several questions connected with the internal condition of Japan. No census was probably ever taken, so that we are ignorant of the exact amount of its population, which, however, has been roughly estimated at about 40,000,000. It may be more, or it may be less; but it is impossible to possess the slightest acquaintance with the country without being persuaded that it is considerable. Supposing, therefore, the whole group freely thrown open to commerce, it is difficult to exaggerate the advantages which must necessarily accrue to the industry of Europe. China possesses a long coast-line and many ports, but the great mass of its population is


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