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regarded himself as the slave-architect of the Japanese monarch. To every application for permission to leave, evasions of all kinds were returned ; in fact, his hopes of once more beholding his native shores had now wholly perished ; but though the prospect was gloomy, the present had become much brighter. The Portuguese factors, finding they could not destroy Adams, resolved to profit by his clevation, and were anxious to ingratiate themselves with the man whose destruction they had sought. To his praise it must be recorded that he returned not evil for evil, but used his influence to preserve peace between the traders and the Japanese authorities. Thus
year passed away, until at length twelve years had been numbered by him in this distant land. The year 1611 was an eventful one: a Dutch ship touched at Japan, the arrival of which determined Adams to make an effort to communicate with his distant country. By careful contrivances he transmitted a letter by this vessel to England, directed to “ Limehouse, near London, or Gillingham, Kent.” The letter thus concludes :- "I am constrained to write, hoping by one means or another, in process of time, I shall hear of my wife and children, and so with patience I wait the will of Almighty God, desiring all those to whom this my letter shall come, to use the means to acquaint my good friends with it, that so my wife and children may hear of me, by which means there may be hope that I wife and children before my death, the which the Lord grant to his glory and my comfort. Amen.-Dated in Japan, 22nd October, 1611." From this letter it appears that Adams had no expectation of escape: he only expresses a hope that he might hear from his wife and children before his death. Thus a grave in Japan seemed the only termination to his captivity. Two or three years before this, however, he had been able to effect the liberation of the captain of his ship and a brother officer, who both reached the Dutch East India settlements : the condition of Adams was there made known; but the Dutch merchants in those parts were far more anxious to use his influence in Japan as the means of promoting their interests, than intent on effecting his liberation. Probably some among them reckoned him of much greater use in Japan than elsewhere. A Dutch ship had
hear of my
reached these isles in 1609, and Adams at once procured: for her captain liberty of trading with the natives : thus the very object which the Dutch had designed to accomplish by sending out Adams from Holland, was now effected by the same man in his state of imprisonment. This privilege soon brought another ship from the Netherlands, which anchored in a Japanese harbour in 1611. Adams was, of course, more anxious to use his influence in behalf of his old friends the Dutch, than for the Portuguese who had formerly sought his destruction. He therefore procured from the emperor permission for the Dutch to erect a factory on the coast, and thus the first step was made towards the establishment of their commerce in Japan. In the meantime no prospect of escape was opened to Adams; and even had it been possible for him to have escaped on board some Dutch or Japanese trader, he would have been deterred by the apprehension of serious consequences to the Europeans in Japan. The king would in all probability have avenged his loss upon the factors by expelling them from the island. But for this dread some opportunity for escape might have been seized ; these chances must, however, have been rare, as it was not likely any merchant would risk the loss of a capital trade by aiding in such an attempt. The imprisonment of Adams was now to be the instrument of introducing a third nation to Japan, from which he might reasonably hope for aid to effect his rescue.
The letter which had been sent to England fell into the hands of some English merchants at Bantam in Java, in the year 1612, at which place a British factory had been recently established. resolved to send a vessel to Japan, where the merchants hoped the influence of their countryman would procure them the same trading privileges which had already been granted to the Dutch : accordingly an Indiaman was despatched in the beginning of the year 1613, with presents from James I. to the Japanese emperor. The vessel reached her destination in June, but July came before Adams had an interview with his countrymen, from whom he learned the state of his long lost country, and to whom he imparted all the details connected with his long residence in Japan. The influence of Adams was now put forth in behalf of the English traders, and permission obtained for the establishment of a factory in
the coast : thus, by what seemed an accident, two nations were introduced to the commerce of Japan, notwithstanding all the exclusive caution of the Portuguese and the jealousy of the natives.
The privileges granted to the English were not confined to the erection of a factory : the right of trading to the island for ever was conceded to their merchants by the emperor, and the vessel returned to Bantam with this highlyprized intelligence in January, 1614. The emperor sent by her a letter to the king of Great Britain, James I., knowledging the presents sent by the English monarch, and expressive of the good-will borne towards him by his Japanese Majesty. Neither Portuguese nor Dutch were pleased with the favours bestowed upon Adams's countrymen. The two nations had been previously fierce rivals, but now each saw with jealous mercantile hate another competitor in the Japanese ports.
Notwithstanding the influence exercised by Adams for the advantage of others, he was unable to obtain his own liberty. The thoughts of dying amidst pagans, far from his former home and the friends of his early life, would at times fill his soul with deep melancholy. The many years of his virtual imprisonment had not destroyed those associations which crowded upon his mind in lonely hours, when the captive thought of the well-remembered friends in England. At such periods the idea of an escape would naturally present itself ; but the difficulties and dangers were too numerous to allow the thought to be developed into a resolve. Thus in this strange captivity years passed rapidly on, till at last the habits of the exile seem to have become reconciled to his state, and the desire of visiting England gradually perished with the hope. The English traders also naturally opposed any attempt to escape, as they would inevitably fail under the suspicion of the native authorities. This apprehension may also have contributed to deter Adams from entertaining the thought ; the interest of his countrymen being ever near his heart. But he was destined to afford the most important assistance to the English factors in the latter part of his life, when the Dutch, taking advantage of some changes in the government of Japan, attacked the British factories, and subjected their occupants to the most barbarous treatment. * Adams then retained sufficient influence to protect in some degree the victims of low cupidity and mercantile rivalry. Thus, on one hand, he had the mortification of seeing the Dutch whom he had introduced into Japan persecuting his own countrymen ; while, on the other, he enjoyed the satisfaction arising from his ability to succour those who suffered. Adams appears also to have passed safely through the terrible storm of persecution raised against the native Christians and European residents in Japan. This persecution of the Christians lasted in all from 1586 to 1637, during which it is calculated that more than twenty thousand perished. His conduct at this critical period is unknown ; probably he was able to afford little aid to those native converts upon whom the hate of the suspicious pagans fell. The influence he had acquired protected him from harm during this bloody era, and he lived to mourn over the extirpation of Christianity from Japan. In his own heart its holy truths in all probability remained the only solace of his exile. This supposition is justified by the Christian tone pervading the letter sent to England, and the noble self-denial which led him to refrain from attempting at escape, lest others should suffer. It is needless to state, even if his history had been more fully written, the subsequent events of his life. It may suffice to say that Adams never left Japan ; but died there in the year 1631, after a captivity of thirty years.
The comforts which he enjoyed in this long state of imprisonment were mainly owing, under Providence, to his superior knowledge, ability, and wisdom. Without these mental riches Adams had been truly poor, when a famishing sailor he was compelled to throw himself on the compassion of the Japanese. But his strong understanding would have availed little unless directed by prudence of so high an order that it bore the various tests of a thirty years' residence amidst a bigoted and pagan race.
These adventures of Adams give us an insight into some of the causes which have hitherto prevented the due extension of all the benefits ich the intercourse of civiliz with
* The Dutch, by many tricks and degrading compliances, induced the Japanese to expel in 1634 all other European traders.
barbarous nations ought to produce. Who shall say what effects the bitter rivalry between Christian nations may have had on the minds of the pagan Japanese in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries? Such a spectacle must have given them a contempt for Christians, and may have added to the fury of that persecution which has made the name of Japan a watch-word for missionary martyrs : nor could their contempt be much lessened by the servile submission of the Dutch to every demand, however degrading to them as Christians. Such are the effects of commerce, when followed in a spirit of vulgar grasping exclusiveness.
Amidst such circumstances Adams was opportunely placed; his knowledge and superior bearing won the respect of the Japanese, and thus counteracted to some extent the evil view entertained by them of Europeans. His grave is unknown; the circumstances of his death forgotten ; but it cannot be said that his life was useless, or his labours without honour. That Japan gave him a burial-place rather than the church-yard of his native English village, cannot diminish our sympathies for this true-hearted mariner of England, nor detract from our admiration of his long-tried fortitude.