Imatges de pÓgina

and that the land appeared to recede from us, we hauled in for it, and presently we saw four squarerigged vessels riding at anchor under the land. When they bore N.W. by compass, we steered for them. The soundings commenced to diminish steadily, but it mattered not, for where there was water for those vessels there must be very nearly enough for us, and at any rate the bottom was a nice soft unctuous mud if we did happen to stick our keel in it. Our hopes were not doomed to be disappointed, for up out of the sea, and out of the mist, rose one startling novelty after another. Huge batteries, big enough to delight the Czar Nicholas-temples-the Imperial palace-Yedo itself curving round the Bay-all for the first time looked upon from the decks of a foreign man-of-war! The four square-rigged vessels proved to be Japanese menof-war, and when we brought them, as well as the batteries, thoroughly under command of our guns, the "Furious" and the "Retribution' anchored in twenty-four feet water, as well as the little yacht "Emperor," that under a press of sail and steam had been fruitlessly trying to overtake the larger vessels, since we entered the gulf.

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Shade of Will Adams! at last the prayer of the earnest old sailor, that his countrymen might reap wealth and advantage from commercial relations with Japan, was about to be fulfilled! Two hundred and fiftyeight years had elapsed since he, and his half-wrecked ship, had lain nigh the very spot in which we were; and now his countrymen had come in earnest. They held the empire of the East, and had won the wealth of all the Indies; and the arms of England, and the skill of her ambassador, had thrown down all the barriers set up by China against foreign trade or intercourse. Great Britain, in those two hundred and twenty-five years which had intervened since her cessation of commerce with Japan, had carefully paved the way up to the point at which it was no longer possible to tolerate the exclusiveness of an important and wealthy empire; and an English squadron and an English ambassador were now off the

capital of Japan, the bearers, it is true, of a message of good-will, but yet to show, in a way not to be mistaken, that the hour had arrived for Japan to yield to reason, or to be prepared to suffer, as the Court of Pekin had done, for its obstinacy.

A strong gale blowing direct upon the shore prevented all communication during the afternoon, and gave us ample time to consider the four Japanese vessels which rode at anchor close to us. Could one of them be the "Erasmus," the "talle shippe" of stout Admiral Jacques Mayhay? Impossible! but then this ship must have been built on the model of that, or possibly on that of the craft of eighty tons which Will Adams tells us he had to construct during his detention in Yedo: he, poor fellow, being neither ship-builder nor carpenter! To add to the grotesqueness of this ghost of a ship of ancient days, it was painted of a lively red throughout. We afterwards learnt that this quaint argosy, as well as another one painted black, which seemed to have a strong tendency to float on her broadside were objects of great pride and self-complacency with some very high Japanese authorities, as proofs to what perfection native shipbuilding had arrived, though there were some who thought that the sum of money thus wasted would have paid for two line-of-battle ships in Europe. The other two vessels under Japanese colours had been purchased from the Dutch: one was a paddlewheel steamer, the other a screw; both tolerably armed, and looking efficient, and entirely manned, officered, and commanded by natives.

Towards evening the breeze was still so fresh that only one Japanese boat had left us for the shore, with a communication from Lord Elgin to the authorities. A cloud of government boats were seen coming up the bay, and we learnt, as they each boarded and worried us to death with questions, that they were the guardboats that ought to have boarded and reported upon us at the many stations in the Gulf. They had had a long sail, and had a long way to go back; yet they were rather inclined to laugh than be cross at the wicked trick we had practised upon them. Among

the first to board us was Yenoske, a linguist of inferior rank, who had some knowledge of the English language, and had been stationed a long way down the Gulf to intercept us. He had had nearly a thirty miles chase after us, yet laughed heartily after he got on board at the joke, and spoke of our proceedings as in the highest degree original, gently suggesting at the same time that, in our haste, we had made a mistake, which would of course be rectified on the morrow by our going back to Kanagawa! It was our turn to laugh now, but Yenoske still smiled, no doubt determined to think it very improbable we should remain where we were; and so we left him to collect answers to all the questions his report upon our ship required.

Mr Hewskin came on deck, and Yenoske's bright eyes glittered with delight as he recognised an old acquaintance. The puzzled physiognomies of many guard-boat officials brightened up as they hailed the wellknown figure of the only European that had been seen in the city of Yedo who could speak Japanese; and with all of them it seemed to unravel the perplexity they were in, as to why we came beyond Kanagawa. It was clearly Hewskin who had brought on them this visitation! One of these mare's nest - seekers lighted upon the strange - shaped palanquin in which Mr Harris had been seen in Yedo. A posse of them walked round it, measured it, examined it, peered into it, assured themselves by argument that it was the same; and then one old gentleman, who must have been a fac-simile of the one who unravelled the Gunpowder Plot, called Yenoske aside, and, pointing at the mysterious chair, looked most ominous things. Yenoske returned to us, surrounded by the reporters, to suggest in blandest tones in Dutch that no doubt Mr Harris was below. No! Well, then he was somewhere on board? No, was still the reply; but we laughed so immoderately, and Yenoske joined so heartily, that we feel sure every one entered in their notebooks that Mr Harris was secreted somewhere on board the "Furious;" and possibly they found relief in the supposition. Yenoske

left us soon after, with some missive for the city authorities. He proved to be an excellent little man, very civil and obliging, and, as the medium of intercourse between the Embassy and the English officers and the natives, showed wonderful tact and zeal, as well as great aptitude in improving his knowledge of our language.

Long after it was dark, and just as all were retiring to rest, a large boat, carrying handsome lanthorns, was reported to be approaching. To the hail of our sentry came the ready response, "a government boat!" She came alongside, and when the occupants were invited on board, a person walked up, bowed and introduced himself in very correct English, as "Mori-hama," then turning to Hewskin, shook him warmly by the hand. We remembered the name as that of the able interpreter spoken of by Perry. On accosting him, a fear was slyly expressed that our arrival must have put them to much inconvenience to occasion him to be about at so late an hour. Mori-hama acknowledged that it was so, for that we had rushed up the bay "like the wind." He had been despatched to Kanagawa to meet us when our entry in the bay was signaled; but before he got there we had passed, and he had but just returned to be sent off upon his present mission. Morihama then threw in some alarming hints as to the insecurity of our present anchorage-the shallowness of the water-the want of supplies-in fact, many things that should start us back again. After this, he began talking Dutch to Mr Hewskin in a very abrupt manner. We ventured to remark, that now that he was dealing with Englishmen, it would be better to adhere to their language, which he spoke so fluently. of course," said he, laughing, I always desire to converse in English, but Hewskin will speak Dutch; -a quick reply, but more quick than veracious. After pretending to be utterly surprised at this sudden arrival of the ambassador, he betrayed incidentally that a much exaggerated report of the size of the British squadron likely to visit Jan had come up from Nangasaki

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left the ship, leaving behind him a very favourable impression of his address and ability. We have been thus prolix in describing our first interview with these two Japanese interpreters, in order to show how well, in Mori-hama and Yenoske, the Japanese government was prepared to hold intercourse with England, and with what advantage to themselves. Early next day, August the 13th, we weighed and moved to an anchorage between the Japanese men-of-war and their own batteries, where we had just water enough to float at low tide. This operation over, we were able, now that the weather had moderated, to scrutinise the town, situated at the head of a bay in the north-west angle of the Gulf of Yedo. The bay is formed by two low projections of land, named respectively, Beacon Point by the Americans, and Court Point by ourselves, after the master of the "Furious." It is seven miles wide, and about as many deep, the water shoaling gradually up to the front of the city, where a bank of sand and shells,having only seven feet water upon it at high water, extends off shore to the distance of a mile, though there is a channel with deeper water, fit for native vessels, leading through this bank, and communicating with the river Toda-gawa. Along the seaward edge of this bank a series of formidable batteries has been constructed, starting from the point where the city of Yedo proper joins the suburb of Sinagawa, upon the west side of the bay. The original idea was a most ambitious one, to front the entire city at the distance of a mile with a double row of these detached fortresses, the inner line covering with their fire the interstices left in the front. Either the cash failed, or more sense came to their aid; at any rate only about one-half the front of Yedo is thus screened with forts. Nearly the entire circumference of the bay is artificially embanked, as if to guard against the action of volcanic rollers. In other places immediately upon the sea-face of the city, these embankments, which must have been constructed many years ago, for they are covered with a fine green turf, and have many nobles growing

upon them, served the double purpose of a screen from the sea, and a fortification against any enemy who might arrive by way of the ocean. Queer enough in all conscience were some of these batteries, and the most formidable thing about them was the number of guns. Here, as we had remarked at Nangasaki, there was, on the part of the Government, the most wanton expenditure of cash in cannon any Eastern people were guilty of.

The city of Yedo, and its two southern suburbs, Sinagawa and Omagawa, curve round the bay for nearly ten miles; and subsequent comparison of our remarks upon its extent landward, with a native plan, now in the possession of Mr L. Oliphant, Lord Elgin's private secretary, confirmed the belief that the area of Yedo might be considered as a square, every side of which was seven miles long. Of course the whole of this area is not closely built over; indeed, in no capital that we know of has more care been taken to preserve fine open spaces, especially round the palaces of their emperor and princes, and the neighbourhood of their temples and tea-houses, both of which are the constant resort of all classes in Yedo. Within the limits of the city are several hills of moderate elevation, as well as gentle slopes; in all cases they were but thinly built upon, and extensive gardens, with many magnificent trees, principally adorned their sides. a hill which rises from the heart of the city and from a mass of densely crowded buildings, the imperial palace is built with a crenellated wall, half hidden by green banks and shady trees, within whose limits the ruler of this kingdom is immersed for life, as the sad penalty of his high position. The houses look very neat and comfortable, and are principally of wood, stone and brick being avoided as much as possible, in consequence of the frequency. of earthquakes. No walls enclose the city, whose site is admirably adapted to admit of almost unlimited increase in extent, without interfering with drainage, supplies, intercommunication, or ready access to the waters of the bay, which insures to those liv



ing upon its shores cleanliness, sea air, and an easy highway. A river, the Toda-gawa, flows through the heart of Yedo; we could see one fine bridge spanning it near its mouth, and there are two others farther up. Besides the Toda-gawa, some smaller streams intersect the town and suburbs. The absence of all imposing edifices, and the general want of elevation in the ground upon which the city stands, render the view from the sea by no means imposing; but its extensive sea-front, the throb of life evident in the fleets of boats and vessels passing and repassing, the batteries and guns which frowned upon us, the hum as of a multitude at hand that was borne to our ears when the breeze came off the land, all impressed us with the fact that we were at anchor off one of the largest capitals of the world.

In the afternoon four officers, deputed by the Japanese Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, waited upon Lord Elgin. Mori-hama was their master of the ceremonies, aided by Mr Hewskin. They were received by the officers and a guard of honour, and Mori-hama was asked if they would object to the salute, and rather astonished us by replying that the Commissioners would like it very much, and by mentioning the number of guns to which they were entitled. Our visitors would furthermore have liked us, they replied, to salute the national flag of Japan with twentyone guns; but as they said our salute could not be returned, the subject was dropped.

The Commissioners then had their interview with Lord Elgin, and being one in which no state secrets were to be discussed, they were allowed to take into the cabin their usual retinue of reporters. Each Commissioner had a scribe, who upon his behalf wrote down, most minutely, all that was said and done during the interview then there was one government reporter, who wrote his version of the same story; and besides this, there was an individual who was all eyes and ears, to report verbally up

on both scribes and Commissioners. After a few complimentary and commonplace preliminaries, the business they had come about began. They first wished for some particulars as to Lord Elgin, his rank, titles, and office. They seemed to understand that he could be the Earl of Elgin, but where was his Lordship of Kincardine? And when their error was explained, they enjoyed the joke as much as any one. Then they wanted to induce Lord Elgin to go back to Kanagawa, and land there, as all the other ambassadors had done. To this they got a firm refusal, yet each commissioner in succession offered some childish arguments upon that head. It appeared to us that they talked as much for the reporters as with any hope of attaining their object. After discussing some other minor points, the party adjourned to lunch, where, in conversation and in manners, the Commissioners showed themselves gentlemanly well-bred men. Mori-hama, whose rank obliged him to be on his knees before his superiors during the transaction of business, was now allowed to take his place as the guest of the Ambassador; and with his experience in lunches and dinners with Americans and Russians, he was a very useful fugleman to his less expert masters in handling knife, fork, and spoon. In answer to some remark that Yedo Bay was a remarkably fine one, one of the Commissioners asserted that it was very insecure as an anchorage, yet could not explain under such circumstances why the Japanese men-of-war, and so many native vessels, rode at anchor in it. They bemoaned the impossibility, in consequence of our distance from the shore, of getting off the supplies we so much needed, and urged that at Kanagawa bazaars and stores had been established for the express purpose of supplying the Americans and Russians. The consolation we offered in reply was, that if the supplies reached the beach, we could embark them ourselves, and if they did not come to the beach, we could always

*Kanagawa, fifteen miles southward, a spot often before mentioned. The Americans having accepted it as the seaport of Yedo, our constant difficulty in this land of precedents was to avoid being thrust into it likewise.

send ashore to purchase them-ergo, Yedo suited us just as well as any other place in Japan. They neither wished our boats to land on the beaches, nor that we should go on shore and run about to make purchases, consequently the objection to supplies was dropped.

The "Lee" gunboat came in next morning, August 14th, having es caped destruction by a perfect miracle in the heavy gale of August 6th. Lieutenant-Commander Graham had, like ourselves, sought shelter from the weather, by anchoring off the coast of Kiu-siu Island, but was less fortunate in finding a spot from whence to escape when necessary. The wind, when it veered upon the night of the 7th, found his little craft deeply embayed, and for many hours during the 8th August she was in imminent peril. Her arrival caused some sensation, and Yenoske asked whether the number eighty-two painted upon her bow in figures two feet long, had anything to do with the great fleet of eighty-four British and French vessels that a Nangasaki report (to which we have before alluded) had led the Japanese to suppose was likely to visit Yedo? The number eighty-two upon the bows of the "Lee" seemed like a confirmation of the rumour. At ten o'clock that night the ships were rocked for a minute or two in a very strange manner, and trembled as if with some sudden shock. The sea was smooth at the time, and there was nothing in the weather to account for the motion. We therefore supposed it was occasioned by some volcanic action, as the keel of the "Furious" at the time happered to be touching the mud. Those who had experienced earthquakes on board a ship in South America, fancied they recognised the motion.

August 15th brought off the Japanese Commissioners to make final arrangements as to Lord Elgin's mission; and, after a long conference, they left, having yielded the point that his Excellency might land in

Yedo and remain there whilst negotiations were pending; indeed, it appeared that they had prepared a house, and at 10 A.M. on the morrow, the ambassador would be escorted to

the proper landing-place by persons deputed for the purpose. It became likewise generally public that Count Pontiatine, the Russian Ambassador, was in Yedo, having arrived in a native palanquin from Kanagawa, in a very quiet manner, upon the self-same day that our squadron anchored off the city.

The anticipated disembarkation of the Ambassador, upon the 16th August, was postponed by heavy rain; but some of the gentlemen attached to the Embassy, who, like landsmen, would fain get ashore at any price, went boldly in spite of wind and wet. They returned in the evening wiser and sadder men. The Japanese boat which conveyed them from the ship took them to the beach of the suburb of Sinagawa, where they had to get ashore in small punts, and march up to a teahouse kept by a lady, more fair than saintlike, and then they were shown the proposed residence of our Ambassador, which was not in the city of Yedo, and was in every way unfitting. But Mr Hewskin, who had landed with the members of the suite, saw what an escape Lord Elgin had had from one of those petty affronts by which the Japanese, like the Chinese, seek to compensate themselves for concessions wrung from them by force or argument. He caused the whole of the programme, so far as the Japanese part of the landing was concerned, to be entirely changed. A series of buildings, within the enclosure of an imperial temple, situated in the city, were selected for the residence of the British Embassy; and this, though far from a very gorgeous turn-out, had the merit of being situated in Yedo, and near a reputable part of it. To prevent all cavil as to where his Excellency was to land, a wharf, from whence the high officers of state embarked,

*It is usual in the navy to distinguish gunboats by some peculiar colour of funnels or bulwarks, and, in China, ours had a distinguishing number painted upon them.

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