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est degree, the highly entertaining work of Mr. M'Leod; our opinion of it has been already pronounced; and in observing the interest which he has communicated to his account of the Loo-choo people, we may safely add that the whole narrative of the unfortunate loss of the Alceste, and the transactions of the crew on the uninhabited island of Gaspar, could not possibly have been drawn up with greater effect than as they appear in the pages of Mr. M'Leod-but to our present author.


Where there is so much good matter to be found we are not disposed to quarrel with a title-page; but, strictly speaking, the 'voyage' was not one of discovery,'-though a discovery was accidentally made by the Alceste and Lyra standing over to the coast of Corea, where an archipelago of innumerable islets, occupying a space of not less than two hundred miles from north to south and sixty miles from east to west was found to usurp the place of what had hitherto been laid down on the charts as the main land of Corea. Our navigators having landed on one of these islands, or rather peaks, ascended to its summit, which was estimated at about six hundred feet above the level of the sea, and from which the main land was just discernible in the east. From this point they endeavoured to count the islands lying around them in thick clusters as far as the eye could reach; but differed in their computation, from one hundred and twenty to one hundred and seventy. When it is considered that the point of view was neither very high nor very centrical, some idea may be formed of the multitude of detached masses, chiefly granite, as it would seem, which compose this hitherto unknown archipelago.

The western coast of Corea had never, in fact, been even seen by Europeans, though parts of the interior had been visited by some shipwrecked Dutchmen. It was intended by the Emperor Kanghé that Corea, as well as Northern Tartary, should be included in the able and laborious Survey of the Chinese empire by the Jesuits; but owing to the extreme jealousy of his Corean majesty, and his urgent entreaties that no missionaries might enter his kingdom, the emperor sent in lieu of them a Tartar mandarin, accompanied by a Chinese doctor of the board of mathematics. From their report, Père Regis says, was derived all the information which they were able to obtain respecting the geography of Corea; and which, in fact, differs not essentially from the account given by Hendrick Hamel, who was wrecked in the yacht Sparwer, on the island of Quelpaert, and, with the rest of the crew, detained for thirteen years in different parts of the country. In the French collection of voyages a doubt is thrown on the authenticity of this curious narrative, but without the slightest reason, it having been completely verified by internal as well as external evidence. The Dutchmen were by no means

ill-treated, but were given to understand that it was the custom of the country to detain all strangers and never to suffer them to depart. The governor ordered boiled rice and arrack to be given to them, and was particularly attentive to the sick; 'so that' (observes Hamel) it might be said we were better used by this idolater than we should have been, in the like situation, by Christians.' On their march to the capital the people behaved civilly to them, and every where the upper ranks invited them to their houses; 'the women and children especially (says the narrator) had great curiosity to see us, because it had been rumoured that we were monsters, and that when we drank we were obliged to hold our noses on one side out of the way.'

Hamel's description of the extraordinary measures of precaution taken by the Corean government to prevent all communication between the Chinese ambassador (on his entering the capital) with the Coreans, agrees with that of Père Regis. All the streets between the palace and his hotel were lined with soldiers, who were stationed within ten or twelve feet of each other; and two or three men were always in waiting under the windows of the hotel, whose business it was to watch for and take up the billets that were thrown from thence, and to forward them to the king, that he might continually know what the ambassador was doing. This extreme caution respecting foreigners will sufficiently explain the conduct of the Corean chief, and his followers, towards our navigators: with every disposition to be kind and friendly, they were obviously under the influence of terror, lest, by permitting any communication with the people on shore, their heads should be endangered. Captain Hall has contrived to give a considerable degree of interest to the character and conduct of the chief of the district bordering on Basil Bay.

'On coming closer, we saw a fine patriarchal figure seated under the umbrella (the symbol of authority); his full white beard covered his breast, and reached below his middle; his robe or mantle, which was of blue silk, and of an immense size, flowed about him in a magnificent style. His sword was suspended from his waist by a small belt, but the insignia of his office appeared to be a slender black rod tipped with silver, about a foot and a half long, with a small leather thong at one end, and a piece of black crape tied to the other: this he held in his hand. His hat exceeded in breadth of brim any thing we had yet met with, being, as we supposed, nearly three feet across.'-p. 14.

Unfortunately, the ships had no other interpreter than a Chinese servant, who could neither write his own language, nor speak that of Corea. The old gentleman seemed to be considerably annoyed at this.

'At length, however, he sat down on his mat, and began talking with



great gravity and composure, without appearing in the smallest degree sensible that we did not understand a single word that he said. We of course could not think of interrupting him, and allowed him to talk on at leisure; but when his discourse was concluded, he paused for our reply, which we made with equal gravity in English; upon this he betrayed great impatience at the harangue having been lost upon us, and supposing that we could, at all events, read, he called to his secretary, and began to dictate a letter. The secretary sat down before him with all due formality, and having rubbed his cake of ink upon a stone, drawn forth his pen, and arranged a long roll of paper upon his knee, began the writing, which was at length completed, partly from the directions of the Chief, and partly from his own ideas, as well as the occasional suggestions of the bystanders. The written part was then torn off from the scroll and handed to the Chief, who delivered it to me with the utmost confidence of its being understood: but his mortification and disappointment were extreme on perceiving that he had overrated our acquirements.'-p. 16, 17.

Wherever a party landed, it met from the natives an unwelcome reception, and all means were employed to make them comprehend how anxious they were to send them back to their ships. One man held up a piece of paper shaped like a sail, blew upon it in the direction of the wind, and pointed to the vessels; and whenever the visitors happened to turn their faces towards the boats, instant marks of joy appeared on every countenance. They took our hands,' says Captain Hall, and helped us over the slippery stones to the beach; and on perceiving one of the boats aground, several of them stripped and jumped into the water to push her off.' The description which our author gives of a Corean village on the principal island of Sir James Hall's group' is not of the most inviting kind; and, upon the whole, we are not surprized that they quitted (as they say they did) the coast of Corea without much regret.'

'The village consists of forty houses rudely constructed of reeds plastered with mud, the roofs are of all shapes, and badly thatched with reeds and straw, tied down by straw ropes. These huts are not disposed in streets, but are scattered about without order, and without any neatness or cleanliness, and the spaces between them are occupied by piles of dirt and pools of muddy water. The valley in which this comfortless village is situated is, however, pretty enough, though not wooded; the hills forming it are of an irregular shape, and covered at top with grass and sweet-scented flowers; the lower parts are cultivated with millet, buck-wheat, a kind of French bean, and tobacco, which last grows in great quantity; and here and there is a young oak-tree.'—p. 5, 6.

In their progress to the southward they fell in with Sulphur Island, on which, unfortunately, they found it impossible to land, on account of the violent surf which broke on every part of the beach.

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'The sulphuric volcano from which the island takes its name is on the north-west side; it emits white smoke, and the smell of sulphur is very strong on the lee side of the crater. The cliffs near the volcano are of a pale yellow colour, interspersed with brown streaks: the ground at this place is very rugged, as the strata lie in all directions, and are much broken; on the top is a thin coat of brown grass. The south end of the island is of considerable height, of a deep blood-red colour, with here and there a spot of bright green: the strata, which are here nearly horizontal, are cut by a whin dyke running from the top to the bottom of the cliff, projecting from its face like a wall.'-pp. 58, 59.

The volcano, which appeared to be in a state of activity, is probably the westernmost of a chain of volcanoes stretching far eastward into the Pacific. One of these was passed by Captain Gore, in latitude 24° 48', and longitude 141° 12': he gave it the name of 'Sulphur Island, as it exhibited (he says) various colours, and as a considerable part of it was conjectured to be sulphur, both from its appearance to the eye, and its strong sulphureous smell.'


Kæmpfer mentions an island to the southward of Satzuma, under the name of Iwogosima, which signifies, he tells us, Sulphur Island.* It is not above a hundred years,' he says, the Japanese first ventured thither. It was thought, before that time, to be wholly inaccessible, and by reason of the thick smoke which was observed continually to arise from it, and of the several spectres, and other frightful uncommon apparitions, people fancied to see there chiefly in the night, it was believed to be a dwellingplace of devils, till at last a resolute and courageous man offered himself, and obtained leave, accordingly, to go and to examine the state and situation. He chose fifty resolute fellows for this expedition, who, upon going on shore, found neither hell nor devils, but a large flat spot of ground at the top, which was so thoroughly covered with sulphur, that wherever they walked a thick smoke issued from under their feet.' Sulphur is a very considerable article of export from Loo-choo to China.

Of the two great agents in the formation of new lands in the Pacific, the fabricators of the coral reefs are by far more productive than the sub-marine volcanoes, and, at the same time, more dangerous to the navigator. The Lyra, which led the way, had nearly been wrecked upon reefs of this kind more than once, on their approach to the Loo-choo islands. We have often, in our pages, adverted to this extraordinary and almost inexplicable process of the creation of new lands; and as all additional facts respecting those immense labours of minute worms may be considered as so many accessions to science, we willingly transcribe

From his vague account of its position, this may, or may not, be the island seen by the Alceste and Lyra, which the Loo-choos call by the name of Lun-huan-shan, which also signifies Sulphur Island.

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Captain Hall's observations on a coral-reef formation, on the western side of the great Loo-choo island.

The examination of a coral reef during the different stages of one tide is particularly interesting. When the tide has left it for some time it becomes dry, and appears to be a compact rock, exceedingly hard and ragged; but as the tide rises, and the waves begin to wash over it, the coral worms protrude themselves from holes which were before invisible. These animals are of a great variety of shapes and sizes, and in such prodigious numbers, that, in a short time, the whole surface of the rock appears to be alive and in motion. The most common worm is in the form of a star, with arms from four to six inches long, which are moved about with a rapid motion in all directions, probably to catch food. Others are so sluggish, that they may be mistaken for pieces of the rock, and are generally of a dark colour, and from four to five inches long, and two or three round. When the coral is broken, about high water mark, it is a solid hard stone, but if any part of it be detached at a spot which the tide reaches every day, it is found to be full of worms of different lengths and colours, some being as fine as a thread and several feet long, of a bright yellow, and sometimes of a blue colour: others resemble snails, and some are not unlike lobsters in shape, but soft, and not above two inches long.

The growth of coral appears to cease when the worm is no longer exposed to the washing of the sea. Thus, a reef rises in the form of a cauliflower, till its top has gained the level of the highest tides, above which the worm has no power to advance, and the reef of course no longer extends itself upwards. The other parts, in succession, reach the surface, and there stop, forming in time a level field with steep sides all round. The reef, however, continually increases, and being prevented from going higher, extends itself laterally in all directions. But this growth being as rapid at the upper edge as it is lower down, the steepness of the face of the reef is still preserved. These are the circumstances which render coral reefs so dangerous in navigation; for, in the first place, they are seldom seen above the water; and, in the next, their sides are so steep, that a ship's bows may strike against the rock before any change of soundings has given warning of the danger.'-p. 107 -109.

On approaching the great island of Loo-choo, they fell in with several canoes; and one man, appearing to be aware of what they were in search, directed them, by signs, to the quarter in which the principal harbour was situated. The conduct of the people in these canoes was singularly friendly; one handed up a jar of water, another, a basket of boiled sweet potatoes, without asking or appearing to wish for any return. Their manners,' Captain Hall says, 'were gentle and respectful; they uncovered their heads when in our presence; bowed whenever they spoke to us; and when we gave them some rum, they did not drink it till they had bowed to every person round. All this promised well, and was particu larly grateful after the cold repulsive manners of the Coreans.'

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