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The letter written by Adams to his friends reached Bantam about the year 1612; and in the following year an English vessel, commanded by captain John Saris, arrived at Japan. Adams exerted his influence at court expeditiously and effectually, to establish a friendly intercourse between Japan and his country. The emperor granted the English an unrestrained trade to his dominions, and accompanied this permission with presents to the king of England, and a letter, in which he observes, “I acknowledge your majesty's great bounty in sending me so undeserved a present, such as my land does not produce, and I have never seen before, which I receive, not as from a stranger, but as from your majesty, whom I esteem as myself; desiring the continuance of friendship with your highness, and that it may please you to send your subjects to any port in my dominions, where they shall be most heartily welcome. I applaud much their worthiness in the admirable knowledge of navigation, not being terrified with the distance of so mighty a gulf, nor greatness of such infinite clouds and storms, from prosecuting honourable discoveries and merchandising, wherein they shall find me to further them according to their desires. I return unto your majesty a small token of my love, desiring you to accept thereof as from him who rejoiceth in your friendship.” Captain John Saris appears to have been a sensible, plain man; and his remarks on Japan are still amongst the most valuable which we have respecting that extraordinary country. He passed through several cities, as Fuecate, Osaca, Suranga, and Meaco, all which he describes to be as large as London, which, in his time, had a population of at least 550,000 souls. The river at Osaca appeared to him to be as wide as the Thames at Greenwich, and had numerous fine wooden bridges over it. Meaco was the largest city in Japan, and a place of immense trade. The streets were all regular, and the mechanics were distributed in different quarters according to their employments; for order and arrangement are conspicuous in all the habits of the Japanese. The great temple of Meaco appeared to be as long as St. Paul's, and not inferior to it in height. Long rows of columns, adorned with paper lanterns, which are lighted every night, conduct to the entrance of the temple. The English were kindly treated by the people, who begged of them, nevertheless, not to introduce any padres or priests among them; fearing, no doubt, a repetition of those religious persecutions of which the Portuguese Jesuits had been the cause. Saris, though well pleased with the success of his voyage, does not appear to have been sanguine with respect to the profits likely to be realised by the Japanese trade. He entered with difficulty into the views of Adams regarding its future direction, as he still looked upon him merely as an English pilot, and as one disposed to over-estimate the advantages that might result from a correspondence with the country to which he had become attached. Adams died in Japan in 1631, retaining to the last the favour and esteem of the prince and people. During the revolutions which shortly after took place in Japan, the persecutions by which the Portuguese were expelled, and the contemporaneous troubles in England, the trade with Japan was unaccountably discontinued; and it is impossible to ascertain precisely the date of its cessation. But it happened that in the year 1673, some time after our commerce with Japan had been thus intermitted, an English ship arrived at that country: the captain was immediately called upon by the authorities to explain why his countrymen had ever abandoned the Japanese trade, and he of course was unable to clear up this historical difficulty. . He was then asked whether Charles, the king of England, had not married the daughter of the king of Portugal: to which he could not help replying in the affirmative ; and on this circumstance was chiefly grounded the emperor's peremptory refusal to admit English merchants into his dominions: and as an imperial edict in Japan is, by a maxim of state, irreversible, no explanation was allowed to take place, and thus the Dutch remained sole masters of the trade of that country. The most profitable trade in Japan is that which is carried on with China and the Corea; the latter country had been often conquered and over-run by the Japanese. When Saris visited these people the popular animosity against the Coreans was at its height, and no regular communication existed between the two countries. But in the year 1653, one of those accidents which have occasionally so much contributed to enlarge our knowledge of the globe made Europeans acquainted with the Corea. In that year a Dutch vessel bound to Nangasaki was wrecked on the island of Quelpaert or Sehesure, which is about twelve leagues to the south of the Corea. The Dutchmen were made prisoners by the natives, who pillaged the wreck; they were treated, however, with kindness and humanity, though never permitted to go at large. What gratified them most was the meeting with a fellow-countryman named Wettevree, a native of Ryp in Holland, who had been shipwrecked on the coast of Corea in 1627, and who was now sent to them from the court, where he was liberally maintained, to serve as interpreter. The Dutch, after a captivity of some years, were forced to enter the royal life guards, and were much caressed by the nobility. But the information which we receive from them respecting the country and its institutions is by no means proportioned to the opportunities they enjoyed. After rising to this degree of favour and independence, their fortune was again chequered by the wars and commotions that agitated the country. They were a second time reduced to miserable slavery, and deemed it a favour to be allowed to beg. At length, in 1666, eight of them purchased a bark under pretence of gathering cotton in the neighbouring islands, and effected their escape to Japan, whence they returned to Holland. The Dutch describe the country of Corea as fruitful; but the cold in winter is intense, and the quantity of snow that falls so prodigious that passages are made beneath it to go from house to house. The people are
* Harris, vol. i.
represented as pusillanimous in the extreme, ignorant, and licentious. The French also followed the general example at the commencement of the seventeenth century, and endeavoured to seize a share of the Indian trade ; but their progress was more slow and faltering than that which was made by states in which greater liberty was allowed to individual enterprise. The first East India company established in France, in 1604, never attempted to carry into execution the objects for which it was incorporated; and the origin of the French East India trade may be dated from 1611, when the royal patents were granted to a company of merchants, who nevertheless allowed four whole years to elapse before they equipped a single vessel for the voyage. Some spirited individuals, however, of the Norman seaports, had in the mean time ventured to try their fortune in the East. In 1601, a vessel sailed from St. Malo, on board of which was Francis Pirard de Laval, a merchant of that port. This ship, it is remarkable, had an English pilot. The voyage was prosperous until they reached the Maldives, where the ship struck on a reef. Shipwreck was inevitable ; and the seamen, throwing off all subordination, began to get drunk, in order, as they said, that they might render the approach of death as easy as possible. “This filled me with horror,” says Pirard, “ and convinced me that most sailors leave their souls and consciences ashore.” They contrived, nevertheless, to reach one of the inhabited islands ; and the narrative of Pirard continues to this day to be the best account we have of that remarkable archipelago. So long as the Frenchmen were thought to have money, they were compelled to buy the provisions from the natives at so high a rate that they were at length reduced to great extremities. “In the mean time,” says Pirard, “I made it my business to learn their language; and, by being able to discourse with them, insinuated myself into favour with the governor of the island, who sent me to Male with recommendations to the king; and both the king and his queens were so well pleased with my saluting them in their own tongue, and according to the customs of the country, and with the account I gave them of the things that were taken out of our ship, the manners of the French ladies, &c., that they took particular care of me in a fit of sickness that lasted for many days. In a word, I rose by the king's favour and bounty to a competency; and having, by virtue of a long stay in the country, an opportunity to inspect their constitutions, customs, and laws, I am now going to gratify the public with what I have learned upon that subject.” These islands, he informs us, are said to amount to 12,000 in number; but many of them are only hillocks of sand without inhabitants. The natives assert that the daily increase of the sea-sand diminishes the number of the cultivated islands and the inhabitants, and that islands of considerable size are frequently subdivided by channels gradually worn through them by the sea. The Maldives, collectively, are surrounded by a great ridge of rocks, which breaks the shock of the sea, and raises a prodigious surf. The whole group is divided into thirteen provinces, called attollones, each of which comprehends a great multitude of small islands. The channels which divide the islands of each attollone are so shallow, that they might be waded across at low water, if the sharpness of the rocks did not prevent this mode of communication. Many of the uninhabited islands are covered over with crabs of great size, and crayfish, or else with penguins, which are so numerous, that at some seasons it is impossible to walk without treading on their eggs or young ones. The sand is extremely white and fine, and so hot as to hatch the penguins' eggs. The attollones are separated from each other by deep channels, or arms of the sea; but of these there are only four in the whole archipelago that can be safely mavigated by large vessels: and our author assures us that he saw them laid down with great exactness in the sea-charts of the natives. The cocoa-tree constitutes the real wealth of the Maldives; and of this useful tree, which alone might supply