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ART. VI.-JAPAN AND THE JAPANESE.

Japan : an account, Geographical and Historical, from the earliest period at which

the islands composing this empire were known to Europeans down to the present time, and the Expedition fitted out in the United States, &c. By CHARLES Mac FARLANE, Esq., Author of "British India,” “Life of Wellington," &c., &c. 12mo. New York : George P. Putnam & Co.

UNTIL the year 1542, although the nautical enterprise of the Portuguese had planted their colonies and their faith along the shores of India and China, no European had visited Japan. Marco Polo, who travelled through China in the latter part of the thirteenth century, had gathered some hints respecting the Island Empire; but the since-verified narratives of the celebrated Venetian, respecting a civilization in many respects beyond that of his own age in Europe, found but little credit. At the date above mentioned a Portuguese ship, driven from her course by storms, came at length to anchor at the Island of Kinsju. The tempest-tost mariners were received with respect and kindness, and, although vigilantly watched, were allowed free intercourse with the people. Struck by the apparent wealth and civilization of the country, they obtained permission to send a ship annually. Seven years afterwards a youny Japanese found his way to the Portuguese settlement at Goa, and, having been converted from idolatry, was baptized into the Church of Rome. Ile showed the merchants how extensive and profitable a market was offered in Japan for European and Indian commodities, and in his zeal for the new faith urged the Jesuits to the easy task of Christianizing his countrymen. The enterprising traders resolved at once to occupy the new field; and although fearful dangers hung around the path of those early navigators along stormy and barbarous coasts, yet the spirit of the apostolic Xavier, which had electrified the shores of India by its fiery zeal, disdained that charity should falter where avarice could press on. He himself, with a band of devoted followers, sailed in a ship laden with rich presents and valuable merchandise, and arrived safely at the port of Bungo. The Islanders gave them all a hearty welcome. They travelled throughout the country and visited the various ports. The nobles of the country vied with each other in sumptuous hospitality. The goods sold for double their value, and the exports taken in return brought rare profits again at home. It is not surprising, therefore, that commercial intercourse rapidly increased, and the Portuguese residents became very numerous, more especially as the general toleration which prevailed, and a singular coincidence between some traditional notions and the facts of the Christian Scriptures, facilitated the conversion of the natives. At first, when the impatient missionaries attempted to procure translations of their written sermons from unpractised interpreters, the effort to read homilies in bad Japanese, written in Latin characters, afforded much amusement; but when longer intercourse had made them familiar with the language and character of the people, their success was astonishing Xavier, with the preternatural quickness of a mind strung to its highest tension by one absorbing idea, mastered the language in a few weeks. Leaving his fellow-labourers on the coast, and among those whose commercial relations inclined them most favourably towards the strangers, he penetrated the interior of the country. Driven from one city by the angry mob whose voluptuousness he denounced, and from another by the violence of a besieging rebel faction, he plunged through forests heaped with snow-drifts, and climbed over mountains of barren rock, unmurmuring and without a groan; until, attended only by a native convert, who followed with astonished and mechanical devotedness, he reached the capital, his eye still gleaming from his emaciated countenance with the fire of a heavenly mission. Such heroic energy betokening his personal conviction of the truths he asserted, such an evident vision of eternal realities above the sensual life which he rebuked, gave to his appeals to the slumbering conscience of the nation a resistless power. His humble colleagues at the sea-ports were visiting the sick and relieving the poor, with all that constancy of self-denying piety which marked the early years of the successive monastic orders. Thousands were converted and baptized. Three of the hereditary nobility made an open profession of Christianity. Xavier even had a public disputation with the champions of the Buddhist sects in the presence of the emperor, who strongly favoured the missionaries. An embassy of Japanese converts was sent to bear the homage of the rising Church to the feet of His Holiness at Rome; and although Xavier had left Japan and died on the shore of China before they returned with the blessings and honours of the Supreme Pontiff, the progress of the faith was so rapid that his successor, who died in 1570, is said to have founded fifty Churches, and to have baptized with his own hands thirty thousand converts. The Jesuits, after giving a careful education to a number of promising young native converts

, admitted them into their order. The irritated priesthood of the ancient religion at length extorted from the court a proclamation that no native should be baptized or profess Christianity under pain of death. It was, however, seldom enforced in a country

where the toleration of indifference had long prevailed, and where, as yet, Romanism had not affected any political interest. When the bonzes of all the sects concurred in a petition to the emperor Nobunanga, that he would expel the Jesuits and all Romish monks from Japan, that prince, annoyed by their importunities, inquired how many different religions there were in Japan. “Thirty-five,” said the bonzes. “Well,” said the emperor, “where thirty-five religions can be tolerated, we can easily bear with thirty-six : leave the strangers in peace.” The event proved his mistake. But meanwhile the Portuguese increased in numbers, and gained a stronger hold on the affections of the people. Many of them married ladies, baptized of course, from the first families in Japan; and traces of their civilization, then the highest in Europe excepting the Italian, still linger, blended with the forms of oriental culture.

About this time Holland began to acquire that maritime power in the East, before which the ascendency of Spain and Portugal gradually waned. In the year 1598 a fleet of five vessels sailed from the Texel to attempt the unfrequented passage of Cape Horn, with no definite port in contemplation, but for the purpose of extending trade and national influence. Disease, shipwreck, and the cruelty of savages and cannibals left but one lonely vessel to struggle on through strange oceans, until, after two years wandering the pilot and his diminished crew reached the harbour of Bungo. They were at once boarded by the junks which filled the bay, and the emaciated forms and listless eyes of the unfortunate voyagers gave

free license to the covetousness that robs the weak. Soon, however, soldiers came on board to protect the property, and the sick mariners were assigned a comfortable house on shore, and their wants well supplied. Some Portuguese friars, coming from Nangasaki, visited them and almost wrought their destruction. The Papal and Protestant countries of Europe had long waged bitter warfare, and cherished religious and national animosities. The Pope had, a century before, delegated to Spain and Portugal exclusive right of empire over what proved to be two-thirds of the globe, and thus a shadow of just resistance to an invasion of sacred rights sanctified the selfish hatred of rival traders. The Dutch sometimes retaliated fearfully when their vessels, always armed, could conquer a galleon from the peninsula ; so the Portuguese priests represented the strangers as pirates, and roused the hatred of the native converts by terming them heretics and blasphemers. But, fortunately, the case was carried before the imperial court, and the emperor commanded Adams the pilot, and one sailor, to be brought before him.

This Adams was a fine specimen of the honest, straight-forward, manly English sailor, and his shrewdness and simplicity commended him to the king. With no barbaric contemptuousness or insult, but with a nice curiosity and consideration, the prince questioned him in regard to his native land and Holland, and all the natural characteristics and the political and artistic progress of the Western world. In repeated interviews, during a long confinement, the pilot answered the royal questioner, and showed him on a chart their passage through the Straits of Magellan. “At length the emperor gave the Jesuits and Portuguese this answer: "That as yet we had done no hurt or damage to him, nor to any of his land, and that therefore it was against justice or reason to put us to death; and if our countries and theirs had wars one with the other, that was no cause that he should put us to death. The emperor answering them thus, they were quite out of heart that their cruel pretence failed; for the which, God be praised forever and ever!" Adams was released; but the emperor, unwilling to tempt a further intercourse with these powerful nations, or esteeming Adams too valuable a man to be lost, dismantled the ship and forbade him to leave the empire. To the sailors he gave a liberal pension, but Adams enjoyed every honour and luxury accessible to any but the native nobility. At the emperor's command he superintended the building of a ship of eighty tons, on the European model, the Japanese shipwrights being admirable workmen and requiring only his general direction; and some time after he built one of a hundred and twenty tons burthen. He taught the king "geometry and the mathematics,” and became the medium through whom even the Portuguese sought to gain imperial favours. Through his influence, also, two Holland ships, which arrived in 1609, were kindly received; and the officers, after being well entertained at court, received permission to trade on favourable terms. During the next ten years they succeeded, amid much opposition from the Portuguese, in establishing a factory at Firando.

We now approach that melancholy period from which Christianity has been a loathed and persecuted thing in the scenes of its former triumphs, and the once welcomed nations of Europe have been driven from these shores.

Persecution had commenced before the arrival of William Adams, and appears to have been hastened by the dissensions which sprung up between the rival monastic orders. The blind zeal of the old fraternities who poured in from India and the Philippines, could not abide the cautious policy of the Jesuits, but persisted in fanatical denunciations, and in public processions, and even in the erection of a church in the Holy City, contrary to an express cdict. It is asserted that the faithful protest of the Church against the

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licentiousness of the nation provoked the revenge; but the general testimony is, that the arrogance of the Romish hierarchy became insensible of the duties of common civility to even the nobility. It was the pride that goeth before a fall. The Japanese had not been tutored to brook the spirit of Hildebrand. In 1597 twenty-six professing Christians were executed on the cross, the churches were razed, the schools closed, and the faith declared infamous and subversive of civil authority.

This persecution raged with varying intensity during thirty years. Tortures, terrible as those which tried the integrity of the early Church, illustrated the sincerity and constancy of multitudes of Japanese converts ; but at length an event occurred which at once determined the immediate extermination of all Christians, and the rigid exclusion of foreigners. Treasonable letters, written by a principal Japanese convert to the Portuguese, were intercepted. These papers disclosed a widely-organized conspiracy between the priests, Portuguese residents, and native converts, to secure assistance from Europe, and, after overthrowing the ancient rule of the empire, to establish a Christian government consecrated by the Pope's benediction. The agency of the Jesuits was clearly proven. The scheme was plausible, and perfectly in accordance with the political morality of a Church which acknowledges no rights that would impede her progress, and whose settled policy it is to secure the control of the secular power, and so compel submission to her dictates. The indignant emperor immediately issued a proclamation, decreeing,

4. That the whole race of the Portuguese, with their mothers, nurses, and whatever belongs to them, shall be banished forever; that no Japanese ship, or boat, or any native of Japan, should henceforth presume to quit the country, under pain of forfeiture and death ; that any Japanese returning from a foreign country should be put to death ; that no nobleman or soldier should be suffered to purchase anything of a foreigner; that any person presuming to bring a letter from abroad, or to return to Japan after he had been banished. should die, with all his family, and that whosoerer presumed to intercede for such offenders should be put to death, &c.; that all persons who propagated the doctrines of the Christians, or bore that scandalous name, should be seized and immured in the common jail,' &c. A reward was offered for the discovery of every padre or priest, and a smaller reward for the discovery of every native Christian.”

Such was the ordinance of 1637-an indignant precaution against the treachery of wolves in sheep's clothing, which has been in effect ever since. Its provisions in regard to the Portuguese were at once enforced. The native converts, although bereft of their accustomedi teachers, nobly refused to abjure their faith, and, ròused by despair. gathered in open rebellion in the city of Simabara. The imperial

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