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with flour, whereas we had our hair cut short, and did not put any flour on our heads. On our telling them that with us there was no connexion between religion and the form of the hair, they laughed out loud, and expressed no little surprise that there should be no express law on this point." In the idea of these simple people, a friseur must have been an important minister of religion, and the French must have seemed the most pious nation in Europe.

2. Connected with their kind and tolerant spirit towards others, we may mention that they appear to enjoy a greater degree of contentment, good-humour, and cheerfulness in their own minds. and societies than they have formerly been said to possess, or than we might have conjectured, from the sanguinary severity of their laws, and the arbitrary nature of their government. Industry, cleanliness, and plenty, seem to reign in their villages. Wealth, and its concomitant amusements and dissipations, prevail in the towns. There seems to be little real suffering or practical oppression. That gloom, which Raynal and others paint as hanging perpetually on the minds of the Japanese, like the vapours around their misty coasts, has been either dispelled, or never existed.

"The Japanese villages," says our author, " are neatly built, and are divided into regular streets. Every house has a kitchen-garden, and many are furnished with orchards. The cleanliness which prevails in the streets and the houses is truly astonishing. The inhabitants are extremely lively, and content and cheerfulness are painted on every countenance."

We cannot deny that there are some facts mentioned in the work which would seem at variance with this account. The Japanese guards were extremely anxious to prevent our author and his companions from committing suicide,-a circumstance which, without other evidence, would be sufficient to prove that that crime is by no means uncommon in Japan; and that it must frequently be resorted to, as a refuge from the terrific and sanguinary severity of their law. The fear of the Japanese soldiers lest the Russians should scize a favourable opportunity of giving them the slip, and the artifices they employed against such a disaster, were very ludicrous. After they had tied their hands together so tightly that they could not have employed a poniard against their own lives, if such a weapon had been in their possession, they took away the scissars and needles with which the seamen mended their clothes, lest they should make their quietus with them. Every river and ferry which they passed on their way to the capital was a fresh source of uneasiness and alarm to the conductors, who shuddered lest their charge should spring into the water; and this new species of hydrophobia led them to the most extravagant precautions.

When they allowed the sailors to smoke, they insisted on holding the tobacco-pipe with their own hands, lest they should kill themselves by breaking it and swallowing the fragments.

3. They are an improved, ingenious, and active-minded people; have made great progress in the arts; and have reached considerable attainments in the sciences. We have already introduced to our readers the academician, the geographer, and the linguist. It does not appear, however, that their medical aphorisms are such as would entitle their most eminent practitioners to a diploma from our College of Physicians. Their maxim is, that every patient should eat a great deal, and that the more he can be forced to eat, the greater is the hope of his recovery.

Though their mode of computing time is very clumsy and complicated, though their military art is very rude, and though they still do many other things in a way which might excite our contempt or ridicule, yet the general civilization and acquirements of the people are surprising. They can all read and write-and the lowest of the people were surprised when they saw that the Russian seamen could not do the same. Correspondence by letter is common with private soldiers, or the poorest classes of society. There is a festival of a month at the new year, and all write letters of congratulation to their friends at a distance.

"The Japanese," says our author, " are extremely fond of reading; even the common soldiers when on duty are continually engaged with books. This passion for literature, however, proved somewhat inconvenient to us, as they always read aloud, in a tone of voice resembling singing; much in the same style in which the psalms are read at funerals in Russia. Before we became accustomed to this, we were unable to enjoy a moment's rest during the night. The history of their native country, the contests which have arisen among them, and the wars in which they have been engaged with neighbouring nations, form the subjects of their favourite books, which are all printed in Japan. They do not use metal types, but print with plates cut out of pieces of hard wood."

Their insatiable curiosity, and the frivolous questions by which they endeavoured to gratify it, are rather marks of their total exclusion from the world, than proofs of their want of judgment in appreciating the relative importance of the things about which they were anxious to be informed. To them every thing about Russia was new-their captives came from a part of the globe where nature might have laws unknown to them-they appeared as strange as visitors from another planet. The idea which the common people entertained of Europe-this mighty Europe, with its vast nations and memorable turmoils-was, that it contained two countries of note, Oranda (Holland), and Cabo (the Cape of Good Hope). Their notion of their own power and consequence was of course in proportion to their ignorance of other states.

A Scotch Highlander once asked if Louis XIV., of whose exploits he had heard so much, was as great a man as the laird of Grant (his chief); and the Japanese, in a similar spirit, supposed that all the world must have heard of the burning of some of their villages. Nothing can correct these prejudices but a more liberal intercourse with the rest of mankind, and a reciprocal communication of arts and ideas.

4. This is likely at no distant period to be brought about by the power, the activity, and the proximity of Russia. The most important parts of our author's narrative are those that relate to the symptoms of relaxation in the exclusive policy of Japan, which came under his observation. The people, both high and low, both governors of provinces and Kurile slaves, showed kindness and respect to the Russians, and coveted a more familiar intercourse with them, as a forbidden fruit towards which they showed an impatient longing. The only obstacle, therefore, to the establishment of new commercial or political relations, is the jealousy and the fears of government. But these fears may be removed or turned to the other side. The Dutch influence in Japan dwindled to nothing when, by the loss of the island of Formosa, Holland ceased to be formidable in those seas. During a course of interrogatories of upwards of two years' continuance, the Japanese authorities acquired a pretty competent knowledge of the power, greatness, and immediate neighbourhood of Russia. This knowledge did not, nor can it, lie inoperative. It inclined many of the first persons in the state to a Russian alliance, and procured for Russian ships privileges allowed to no nation for the last century and a half. "The members of the government having (says our author), in answer to his (the ex-bunyo's) representations, urged that they could not, without violating their laws, permit Russian vessels to enter any other port than that of Nangasaky, he made the following remarkable reply: Since the sun, the moon, and the stars, which are the creation of the Almighty, are variable in their course; the Japanese laws, the work of weak mortals, cannot be eternal and unchangeable.' By these arguments he prevailed upon the government to order the Bunyo of Matsmai, to correspond with our ships without requiring them to sail to Nangasaky." The Russians, who are every where enlarging the sphere of their power, their commerce, and their glory; whose armies have appeared on the banks of the Seine; whose ambassador is now in Persia, attempting a passage to India and the Persian Gulph; who are now treating for new privileges with their neighbours the Chinese; who are making voyages of discovery; and looking out near the Pole, and in the Mediterranean, for new openings to their trade, will not forget their proximity to the gold mines of Japan.

The last observation which we shall make refers to the govern

ment of the empire. We have heard much of the despotism of Japan; and though the present work contains no formal account of it, yet much may be gleaned from incidental expressions, or casual circumstances, to confirm our previous information. The Emperor rules with the most absolute sway; and the terror which he inspires, as in the case of other tyrants, is reflected back upon himself. He is always surrounded with guards; his palace appears like a fortress, and he endeavours to borrow additional security from a system of espionage. When speaking of some of the palaces of Europe, the Japanese asked if they were strongly fortified and defended with cannon; and upon being told that they were not fortified at all, they expressed the utmost surprise ❝at such a singular instance of imprudence." The governors of the provinces are changed every year; lest the long possession of power should generate ambition, or allow opportunities of organizing resistance. They are sent from the capital (leaving behind them their wives and families as hostages), to their respective districts, with the impression of imperial power fresh in their recollection, and recalled thither at the expiration of their charge, that they may be within the grasp of its vengeance. Informations against them during the exercise of their functions are constantly encouraged; every step they take is watched, and the abdication of their office is frequently the commencement of their disgrace. One of the bunyos (or governors) of Matsmai was disgraced, after his recall, for his attentions to the Russian captives, on the information of a spy: and his successor, during the period of his administration, was obliged, for his own safety, to require the attendance of two persons, the academician and Dutch interpreter, in the examinations of the Russians, that he might have them as witnesses against any charge from a similar quarter.

The punishment of these officers for the most trifling misconduct is of the most disproportionate severity. We hear one of them saying at Kunashier, where the Russians were treacherously inveigled into the fort, that if he allowed them to escape, his "bowels would be ript up ;" and when they actually escaped at Matsmai, another of them anticipated the operation. It was a dread of this that forced all the officers entrusted with the custody of our author and his companions to exercise that extreme severity in binding and guarding them, which appeared revolting to their own feelings, and which they willingly relaxed whenever they found the exercise of kindness towards their prisoners consistent with a regard to their own safety. No apology is received for a failure, however inevitable. The bunyo who commanded on the coast where the Russian freebooters made their descent, suffered the highest punishment for allowing an aggres sion which he could no more ward off than a thunderbolt. While these officers are thus subjected to the most frightful

responsibility, they are not allowed the least discretion. They cannot take one step, or authorize one act, without the commands of the government. They are the mere arms and limbs of a tyranny whose heart is in the palace; the mere parts of a machine whose motive power is in the hands of the sovereign. Even a letter of three lines which Captain Golownin wished to send to his friends on board the Diana, informing them of his being alive, could not be transmitted without being sent first to Jeddo, the capital, at the distance of several hundred miles; after it returned it could no more be altered in a single letter than if it had been a fundamental law of Japan. The Kuriles are kept in the most frightful state of subjection. We have seen that they cannot look upon a Japanese without terror. This measure of tyranny over their inferiors is graduated on the scale of their own slavery; for slaves in power are the most despotic masters. This monstrous system of oppression is every where supported by an armed force. We have seen how soon a very considerable body of troops was collected into the castle of Kunashier. In every village through which the captives passed on their way to Chakodade, and from that to Matsmai, they found a little garrison, and a regular organized military authority.

Japan, therefore, though in many respects more improved than the other nations of Asia, forms no exception to the general prevalence of that tyranny which every where disgraces and degrades that great portion of the globe.

We may just mention, in concluding, that there is, in the volumes before us, some very interesting information on the state of society, and of trade, in the Kurile isles (which we believe to be entirely new), and some speculations on the probability of a great commerce being established in the seas between Kamtschatka and Japan.-To neither of these subjects have we any room even to advert.

ART. XI. The Secret and True History of the Church of Scotland, from the Restoration to the Year 1678. By the Rev. James Kirkton. To which is added, an Account of the Murder of Archbishop Sharp. By James Russell, an Actor therein. Edited from the MSS. by Charles Kirkpatrick Sharpe, Esq. pp. 484. Longman and Co. London, 1817.


THIS book belongs to a class of works on which a high value is and ought to be placed. Narratives of important transactions written by contemporaries, who were either actors in, or at least deeply interested spectators of, the transactions which they relate, are not only of the greatest use to the future historian, but must

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