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fence, and trade with China, British India, and the Indian Archipelago. The exports are chiefly sugar, raw silk, spices, cinnamon, dye-woods, ivory, pearls, hides, horns, gum-lac, gold dust, and the precious metals. Among the imports are coarse cottons, woollens, &c. The population of the empire is variously estimated from ten millions to fifteen millions.
Indian Archipelago. Borneo, Celebes, Papua, and the other independent islands of the Indian Archipelago, offer an immense field for the profitable extension of American trade and commerce in those seas, where Mr. Palmer recommends as one of the objects of the proposed mission to select some suitable island, or port, as a mart for American trade, and resort for American traders and whalers. The Arru Groupe, inhabited by indepen. dent native tribes, situated in the vicinity of Papua, and about 250 miles from the north coast of Australia, are represented to be in a tolerable state of cultivation, and from their favorable position and many local advantages, would seem to be peculiarly eligible for such purposes ; and no difficulty is apprehended in obtaining the desired permission by amicable negotiation with the native chiefs.
The Arru Groupe is composed of the islands of Wokam, Warkey, Wal. lada, Wammer, and Trana. The latter is the largest, and has two ports, Niagom and Terange. The valuable products of the east coast of Papua, Ceram, Goram, and Ceram Laut, and the islands east and northeast of Timor, are to be found there ; consisting, among other articles, of pepper, cloves, mace and nutmegs, scented woods, ebony, ivory, horns, hides, tortoise shell, sharks' fins, edible birds nests, gold dust, benzoin, camphor, betel, wax, cotton, wool, tripang, bird of paradise and argus-pheasant fea. thers, cowries, pearls, pearl shells, and the products of the whale-fishery, &c. Trading vessels from the British East India possessions, the Dutch from Java, Buji Prahus, from Celebes, and Chinese junks, together with a considerable number of American vessels, annually resort thither to pro. cure such products in exchange for manufactures of the United States, Europe, and Continental India, chiefly for the China market. The trade is known to be highly profitable, and of increasing importance.
The English and Dutch are making unceasing efforts to control and monopolize the trade with the natives of all those islands. In Borneo, the Dutch have long had establishments at Banjarmassin, Pontiana, Sambas, and Coti; and the English, after breaking up the haunts of the pirates in those seas, have lately obtained from the Sultan of Borneo-Proper, the cession of the island of Labuan, one of the satellites of the northwest coast of Borneo, abounding in coal of an excellent quality, where they have es. tablished a trading mart and depot station, for a monthly line of steamers between India and China, touching at Singapore, commencing in January, 1845. The island is six miles long, four wide, twenty from the mouth of Borneo river, 707 from Singapore, and 1,009 from Hong Kong. The harbor is safe, anchorage good, and it is found to be one of the most secure ports of refuge on that coast, for vessels navigating the China seas. The Sultan has also granted permission to James Brooke, Esq., an enterprising English gentleman of fortune, confidential agent of the British government in Borneo, to form a trading settlement at Sarawak, on the same coast, extending from Tanjong Datu, to the entrance of the Samarahan river to the eastward ; about sixty miles on the coast, and forty in the interior.
The principal products of the island of Borneo, are gold dust and gold, diamonds, tin, copper, antimony, coal, ebony, aloes-wood, and other woods of the finest descriptions for ship-building and other purposes, canes, rat. tans, nutmegs, pepper, sago, beeswax, edible bird's nests, benzoin, cam. phor, and camphor oil, rice, &c. The annual amount of gold dust and gold, obtained principally by the Chinese, is estimated at about five million dollars.
Among the products of Celebes, are gold, coffee, estimated at about 80,000 piculs* annually, tortoise shell, mother-of-pearl, nutmegs, beeswax, &c. The Bujis of Waju, are the most numerous of the native tribes of the island ; an active and enterprising maritime race, wholly devoted to
commerce, who carry on a considerable traffic with the principal islands · of the Indian Archipelago and Singapore. They have a written code of
" Maritime Laws," and a court of “ Admiralty Law,” administered by native judges. The reigning Rajah of Waju is Laputongei, Prince of Laduka.
The English have completed their survey of Torres Straits, and marked out with buoys the channel, which they found sufficiently deep, and perfectly safe for the largest ships ; and have also erected beacons for the direction of vessels sailing through it, with the view of opening steam communication between Sydney and Singapore by that route, where severe gales of wind are not prevalent at any season. The steamers are to touch at Port Essington, a British settlement, made a few years since; on the Cobourg Peninsula, northern coast of Australia, as a commercial empo. rium for the trade of the Indian Archipelago, and their Australasian colonies. It is about 2,160 miles from Sydney, by the east coast. The harbor is large, perfectly safe, accessible at all seasons, and one of the finest in all the east. Depots for the steamers are to be made at Serawatty Islands, at Macassar, on the island of Celebes, and at the island of Billiton --the distance from Port Essington to Singapore being about 1,890 miles. The population of the whole Archipelago is estimated at upwards of twen. ty-five millions.
Japan. With regard to Japan, Mr. Palmer procured from official sources in Holland, personally, in 1839—from the journals and reports of the latest Dutch residents at Nangasaki, and missions to Jeddo, and from other reliable accounts and narratives—a variety of interesting facts and particulars attesting the superior intelligence, refinement and civilization of that remarkable people, above all the surrounding Asiatic nations.
Japan is a feudal empire, the Mikado, residing at his Daïri, or Imperial residence, Miako, being the nominal Proprietor as well as Sovereign and Pontiff thereof; the Ziogoon, his Deputy, Vicegerent, or Premier, holding his court at his vice-regal residence, Jeddo. The more official routine of duties and ceremony, the rigid observance of prescribed etiquette, the receiving of homage or compliments and presents from those permitted and bound to offer both, on frequently recurring festival days, so entirely engross the time of the Ziogoon, as not to leave him leisure, if he were dis. posed, to attend to the business of the government, which is considered as wholly unworthy of engaging his thoughts. The real executive power is exercised by a Grand Council of State, composed of five princes of the Imperial blood, and eight princes of the highest rank; the President of the Council is styled the Governor of the Empire, and exercises the functions of Minister of the Home Department, Commerce and Foreign Affairs.
* A picul is 1333 pounds.
The present Ziogoon Teenpaou is represented to be an able, energetic, and enlightened prince. The government take great interest in the progress of science and political movements in western nations, and maintain å board of competent linguists at Nangasaki, thoroughly versed in the prin. cipal European languages, to translate and publish, in their own Japanese Encyclopedias and periodicals, all the latest discoveries in science, and improvements in the arts, together with notices of important political events, which they derive from the Dutch journals, and through the Dutch residents at that port, for the information of their people. Among their translations of the most celebrated European writers on science, are several of the works of La Place,
The language is polysyllabic, with an alphabet of forty-eight letters, soft, euphonious, and the most polished and perfect of any of the languages of Eastern Asia, and has no affinity with the Chinese, or any other Asiatic dialect, except the Corean. Their syllabary dates from the eighth century, and may be written in four different sets of characters. These are the katakana, appropriated for the use of men, the hirakana, for the use of women, the manyokana, and the yematokana, the difference between which is not explained. It written in columns from the top to the bottom, like the Chinese, and begins from the right side. The ideographic characters of the Chinese language are, however, used by them in a certain class of their standard works, which they originally derived from the Chinese ; hence a previous knowledge of that language is considered indispensable to a proficiency in Japanese literature. One of their Encyclopedias consists of six hundred and thirty volumes; they possess, besides, numerous works on history, Japanese and foreign, geography, voyages and travels, sciences and arts, poetry, and polite literature ; and the president of the " Imperial Academy,” at Jeddo, is reputed to be well versed in the higher branches of mathematics and astronomy. The Imperial library at that capital contains upwards of 150,000 volumes.
Dr. Von Siebold, the latest authority, states that at the Imperial resi. dence, Miako, literature is most diligently and enthusiastically cultivated; the poets, historians, and philosophic moralists most universally admired by their countrymen, are to be found amongst the male and female mem. bers of the Daïri, of whose lives literature is both the business and the pleasure.
The Dutch have always found their trade with Japan to be very profitable, and in order to secure the exclusive monopoly thereof to their factory at the island of Dezima, in the harbor of Nangasaki, it has been their uni. form policy to oppose and frustrate all attempts of other nations to open intercourse with that country. The people evince an increasing desire for more enlarged intercourse with foreigners, and the government has gradually relaxed its arbitrary and rigid restrictions on their trade and intercourse with the Dutch and Chinese, since the opium war with China, and the opening of the privileged ports of the latter, by treaty stipulations with Great Britain, France, and the United States. It is a well-authenti. cated fact that the supreme government, a few years since, consulted the chief of the Dutch factory upon the possibility of sending young Japanese to Holland, to be instructed in ship-building.
The Southern Islands teem with most of the productions of the tropics, whilst the Northern yield those of the temperate zones.
abound in mineral wealth of every description, and the volcanic regions in sulphur.
În agriculture, they are very diligent and successful. The whole country is highly cultivated, producing rice, esteemed the best in Asia, wheat, barley, beans of all sorts, culinary vegetables, a great variety of fruits, and flowers of the most brilliant hues and exquisite fragrance. The mulberry is reared solely for the silk-worm. The principal object of cultivation next to rice, is the tea plant; tea being the universal beverage of all classes, as in China. Their gardeners possess the skill of dwarfing and gigantifying trees and shrubs. The rivers, lakes and seas abound in a great variety of fish, which is the principal food of the inhabitants.
The internal trade is very considerable ; by land, merchandise is conveyed on pack-horses and pack-oxen, over good roads, by which all the large islands are intersected; but the principal transportation is by water, in coasting vessels from 50 to 200 tons burden. The Prince of Satzuma, Island of Kiusiu, has a number of vessels, some of them of 100 to 200 tons burden, trading to different ports of the empire and its dependencies. At Sinagawa, the port of Jeddo, a thousand vessels are sometimes collected, some bearing taxes from different parts of the empire, others laden with produce, merchandise or fish. The great mart for foreign goods brought by the Dutch ships and Chinese junks to Nangasaki is Ohosaka, a large and populous city at the mouth of the river Yedogawa, Island of Niphon, distinguished for the great wealth, mercantile enterprise, and manufacturing industry of its citizens.
Notwithstanding the rigid prohibitions of their laws, Japanese vessels occasionally carry on trade with foreigners, covertly, at Quelpaert's Island, the Majicosima Groupe, the Philippines, and the Loo-Choo and Bonin Islands. The latter are about 500 miles from the coast of Japan, possess safe harbors, and have been recently brought into a good state of cultiva. tion, by a small colony of English, Americans, and persons of other nations, who have made settlements there, for the purpose of trading with the Ja. panese, and furnishing refreshments and supplies to whalers, &c.
Among the products of Japan, may be enumerated diamonds, topaz, rock crystal
, gold and silver, copper, of which it has many productive mines, iron, tin, lead, tůtenag, sulphur, coal, saltpetre, salt, camphor, pearls, corals, ambergris, rice, tea, wrought silk, lacquered ware, and earthenware. Their imports comprise cotton goods, linens, woollens, raw and wrought silk, glassware, hardware, quicksilver, antimony, zinc, cinnabar, amber, hides and leathers, sandal and sapan wood, dye-woods, Malay camphor, ivory, alum, cloves, mace, pepper, sugar, coffee, seal-skins, whale-oil
, &c. The exports are chiefly of copper, camphor
, lacquered ware, &c. American cotton goods, carried to that market by the Chinese traders, have yielded a good profit
, and are increasing in demand. The population of the whole empire, according to the latest and best authorities, is estimated at about fifty millions, exclusive of its dependencies, the islands of Matsmai, Sighalien, Kuriles, Loo-Choo, &c., and the annual revenues at about $125,000,000.
In addition to the privileges of commercial intercourse with Nangasaki, the only port at which the Dutch and Chinese are permitted to trade with that country, it would be very desirable for our government to obtain permission for the numerous American whale ships employed in the lucrative sperm fishery, off the coasts of Japan, to enter any of the ports and har.
bors of the Japanese Archipelago, for repairs or refreshments only, and for hospitality and succor, in case of shipwreck.
The American whale ship Manhattan visited the port of Jeddo last year, for the purpose of returning to their country twenty-two Japanese sailors, rescued from a wreck, on a desolate island. They were very kindly and hospitably received, and the ship liberally supplied with refreshments, provisions and spars, in the name of the supreme government, free of charge. When ready to leave, it being calm, she was towed to sea by Japanese boats, and the captain told not to return again, as foreign vessels were not permitted to enter that port.
According to the latest and best authorities, the aggregate population of the countries above named, exclusive of the Comoro Islands and Madagascar, is 110,800,000.
In January, 1845, Mr. Palmer addressed a letter to the President of the United States, containing several of the details presented in the present pa. per; suggesting, at the same time, the expediency of sending a Commissioner with Plenipotentiary powers, similar to the missions of the late E. Roberts, Esq., to Siam and Muscat, and of the Hon. Caleb Cushing, to China, to open intercourse and make commercial treaties with those countries : “The mission to consist of a Commissioner or Envoy, with a Chief Sec. retary of Legation, to be fully empowered to act as Envoy, in the event of the death or other impediment of the Commissioner—a limited number of attachés, as linguists, draftsmen, &c.-a physician, who ought to be a skilful naturalist and botanist, with a suitable collection of American seeds, &c., for distribution and exchange, and to make collections of min. erals, seeds and plants, of the countries to be visited; to be provided with appropriate presents, and specimens of our American products, manufac. tures and industry, to be selected for the mission, and adapted to the wants or trade of those respective nations ; to proceed successively to Johanna, Teheran, from Bushire, Rangoon and Ameerapoora, Hué, the ports of independent Borneo, Celebes, and the other principal islands of the Indian Archipelago, and Nangasaki and Jeddo ; to touch, in the course of the mission, at Zanzibar, Mocha, Muscat, the pepper ports of Sumatra, Bata. via, Singapore, Bankok, Manilla, the privileged ports of China, the Loo. Choo and Bonin Islands; and generally to protect American interests in those remote seas and countries, and open new markets for the trade of our enterprising merchants and navigators; to return by the way of Ore. gon, California, &c. The Commissioner to use due diligence and des. patch, and conduct the respective negotiations with as little parade and ostentation as may be required for the successful accomplishment thereof."
A secret treaty of commerce, it is stated in late accounts from Batavia, has been concluded, last year, between England and Siam, by which great and exclusive privileges have been secured to the former, with the right of introducing into Siam a number of articles not heretofore permitted to any European nation; and a British Consul has been appointed to reside at Bankok. The foreign goods for which there is the greatest demand there, are cottons and silks, glass and glassware, fire-arms, perfumery, and trinkets.
The “Royal Economical Society of the Philippine Islands," was estab. lished at Manilla, 27th August, 1780, by Royal Charter, for the promotion of science, arts, agriculture and commerce in those islands. It is liberally endowed by the government, of which it is, in fact, the official organ in all