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There is something not a little ludicrous in the idca of several hundreds of Japanese and Kuriles assembled together to seize seven Russians, and yet not venturing to come into contact with thein, until they had ascertained that they were without means of either flight or defence. 'In the same spirit of cowardice, when they had got their prisoners in their power, we find them binding them with small cords, as carefully as the Lilliputians fastened down the Man-Mountain, and even in this state, they were deemed objects of suficient terror to require conductors fully armed, and an inspection of their bonds every quarter of an hour. Much that appeared cruelty to the Russian's on their first acquaintance with the Japanese, proved, herever, on a farther intercourse, to be only the effect of that excessive caution which is the offspring of timidity and ignorance. On ascending a bill in their way to the place of their final destination, these unfortunate men beheld their resse! uoder sail, upon which Chlebnikoff, who, however, never suffered either murmur or reproach to break from his lips, exclaimed · Wassly Michailovitsch ! take a last look of our Diana! It is impossible not to sympathize in the feelings which these words awakened in Captain Golownin, who in addition to every other cause of anxiety, suffered all the torments of self-reproach and ineffectual regret, under the thonglat that his own misfortunes, and those of his companions, were all attributed to his ill-judged confidence in the Japauese. Nothing, however, could be more honourable and generous, than the manner in which they uniformly acted towards their comivayder and each other, with the exception of Mr. Moor, who, there can be little doubt, acted under the influence of an intellect disordered by long confinement.
The Japanese are represented as having treated their prisoners with a delicacy and kindness, well worthy of imitation in more refined countries. During a long march, every attestion was paid to their comfort, except in regard to the tightness of the ligátures which were considered as requisite to their safe keeping. Every accidental manifestation of abuse of power, or undue curiosity, was immediately reprimanded and repressed by those who were superior in command. When any thing of an unpleasant nature was to be communicatell, it was always, we are toll, preceded by the addition of some little delicacy to their bill of fare, as if to testify their disposition to mitigate it as far as lay io their power. After a journey of nearly a month, attended by inach personal safering and fatigue, our travellers arrived at the city of Chakodade, on the outskirts of which they were met by vast numbers of old and young, of both sexes.
• We observed several men on horseback in silken dresses, which, as well as the rich harnessing of their horses, proved that they were persons of rank. In the afternoon, the procession begun to move with great pomp. Both sides of the road were crowded with spectators, yet every one behaved with the utmost decorum. I particularly marked their countenances, and never once observed a malicious look, or any signs of hatred towards us, and none shewed the least disposition to insult us by mockery and derision.' Vol. I. p. 123.
The sight, of their prison somewhat shook the philosophy of these unfortunate men; particularly as at tirst they had reason to apprehend that they were to be separated from each other, and kept in solitary confinement. Their first appearance before the Governor was not adapted to raise their spirits. Each was bound, and preeeded by two grey-haired men in the common Japanese dress, bear, ing staffs to the ends of which lance-headed axes were affixed, and followed by three Nambu soldiers, with sabres in their girdles; an imperial soldier marched by the side of each prisoner, and a Japapanese behind him, having hold of the rope with wlrich he was bound. In this condition they were brought into a kind of hall, which from its being ornamented entirely with instruments of punishment, they very Naturally concluded to be a place of execution or torture. The civi? lity and gentleness, however, with which they were received, scon quieted tl.er apprehensions on that head : after the customary compliments were exchanged between them and the Governor, Captain Golownin was asked his name, and family name, a question which nearly baffled the efforts of Alexei the Kurile, who acted as interpreter, in the very first outset.' " What tail has your name,” he enlo quired, for in the Kurile language there is only one word for tail and ending. We could not comprehend what he meant, until at last, by a happy thought, be explained his meaning by an example :"I am called Aldrei,” said he, “but my name has the tail Mak. simytsch, what Ytsch have you got?” We had great difficulty with other questions, and often, after an hour's explanation with liim, we remained just as wise as we were at first. Vol, I. p. 136.
The questions which were asked in the course of this official examination, were but the beginning of that singular species of torture to which the curiosity of the Japanese subjected their captives, and which, though conducted on their parts with invariable good humour and politeness, was yet carried to a heiglit absolutely insupportable. The Russians at last lost all patience, and relused to answer any more inquiries, declaring that they would rather be put to death at once than' be continually subjected to such harassing importunities. The following specimeils are given, of these tedious examinations. • Tlie saine questions were put 10 Messrs. Moor, Chlebnikoff
, and all the sailors in succession ; oilier questions followed in the saire order ; namely, how oid we were, whether our failers and mothers were living, what was the mame of the father of each of us, whether we had brothers and wbui number of the.nl, whether we were married
and had children, in what towns we were born, how many days jour. ney the places of our birth were distant from Petersburgh, what was the business of each on board of the ship, what we did when on land, and whether the force then entrusted to us was great ? All our answers were written down as before. When we had answered the question respecting our birth-place, the Japanese asked how it happened that we should all serve on board the same ship, though we were from different towns? We replied that we did not serve the towns in which we were born, but the whole country and the emperor, and that it was a matter of indifference to us whether we were employed on board the same or different ships, provided they were Russian. The secretaries did not fail 10 note down this explanation also. The question which, according to Alexei's interpretation, related to the number of men we commanded on land, gave us, in the result, considerable trouble. The Japanese wished to know exactly how many men were under the orders of each of us.
When we stated the number was very different at different times, and depended on circumstances; they still asked what rule was established with respect to these circumstances. In order to get over the difficulty, we made a comparison between our rank and the rank of the army, telling them that a major commanded à batallion, a captain a company. We now believed the affair ended, but I shall have occasion hereafter to notice the vexation which we experienced in consequence of these answers. The next questions related to the names of our ships, their burthen, and the number of cannon they carried. At length the governor desired to be informed whether some change of religion had not taken place in Russia, as Laxman wore a long tail, and had thick hair which he covered all over with Aour, whereas we had our hair cut quite short, and did not put any four on our heads. On our telling them that with us there was no connexion between religion and the form of the hair, they laughed out loud, and expressed no little surprise that there should be no express law on this point; they, however, carefully wrote down our answer.'-Vol. I.
• When I was taken I had ten or twelve keys of my bureau and drawers, and of the astronomical instruments belonging to the ship. The Bunyo wished to be informed of the contents of every drawer and every box. When I pointed to my shirt, and told him that my drawers contained such things as these, he asked me how many I had? I told him with some degree of ill-humour, that I did not know, and that it was my servant's business to keep that reckoning.
Upon this he immediately enquired how many servants I had, and what were their names and ages ? I lost all patience, and asked the Japanese why they teazed us with such questions, and what use such information could be to them, since neither my servants nor property were pear me? The Governor then with great mildness observed, that he hoped we were not offended by his curiosity, that he did not intend to force any answers from us, but merely questioned us like a friend. This kindness immediately calmed our irritation, and we reproached ourselves for the rude answers we had given.' Vol. 1. p. 201. Vol. X. N. S.
Captain Golownin then subjoins a long list of interrogatories such as the Japanese put in the course of the day, though not to a hundredth part, he assures us, of their amount. When it is considered, that out of every answer there grew fresh food for inquiry, and that the whole conversation was carried on through the interpretation of a half barbarous Kurile who knew scarcely any thing of the subjects enquired into, and whose language was continually deficient in the terms necessary to explain them, it may easily be imagined that these examinations were sufficiently provoking. These worthy people had another mode of tormenting, which was, the requesting drawings of every thing tbat was mentioned, and writing on fans and paper ; a bundred and twenty fans being brought at a time, to be manufactured into curiosities by the touch of Russian penmanship. Nevertheless, to the honour of the Japanese be it mentioned, that with them every thing was a request, nothing demanded. They never abused the power which their own dissimulation, rather than the chance of war, bad given them over their prisoners, and they with exemplary courtesy excused in them every hasty answer and peevish denial. Indeed the patience of the Japanese on all occasions was inexhaustible.
Their insupportable slowness and tediousness, of which Captain Golownin complains, seem indeed to have communicated themselves to bis own mind, so as to lay under equal contributions the patience of his readers.
The narrative, however, as it proceeds, excites a more lively interest. The Russians, worn out with the hopelessness of their imprisonment, resolve to regain their liberty, or perish in the attempt, Mr. Moor alone excepted, who adds to their distress by his defalcation from the common cause, and his treacherous endeavours to recommend himself to the Japanese, at the expense of his unhappy countrymen, whose present situation his own rashness bad principally occasioned. The account given of their escape, or rather, as it unfortunately proved, of their fruitless attempt towards effecting it, is interesting enough. To add to their difficulties, Captain Golownin had, in creeping through a fence of the prison, lamed himself so severely, that it was only with misery to himself, and detention to his compapions, he could proceed on the way, insomuch that he begged them to leave him, rather than risk, for his sake, their own safety.
The island of Matsmai is described as covered with hills. The ground is no where level except on the coast, and at short distances from the base of the chain of mountains wbich extends over the whole island. The midland parts are upinhabited ; all the Kurile and Japanese villages lie along the coast. the intention of the Russians to secrete themselves among the
most impassable parts of these mountains until they might venture to the edge of the coast, where they hoped either to get possession of some fishing-boats, in which they might be able to convey themselves to the coast of Tartary, or hail some of the numerous European vessels which were continually passing the island. With incredible labour they so far succeeded in their design, as to gain the summit of the highest hill in Matsmai, on the third day after they had effected their escape from prison. Here they kindled a fire, dried their clothes, and having collected some reeds, built a hut for their temporary comfort.
• Having eaten heartily of boiled herbs, and a portion of our store of provisions, we laid ourselves down to rest, as night had already set in. In consequence of the extreme fatigue we had undergone, we quickly fell asleep. My repose was not however of long duration ; being oppressed by the excessive heat of our hut, I awoke, and walked out into the open air. I leant myself against a tree near the hut, and the magnificent image of nature which I then beheld, excited all my ad. miration. The sky was clear, and numerous black clouds were Avating around the nearest hills. It probably rained in the plains. The snow glistened on the tops of the mountains in the distance. I never saw the stars shine with such brilliancy as on that night; a deadly stillness prevailed around me. But this sublime spectacle vanished when suddenly recollected our situation, which now presented itself to my mind in all its horrors. Six men on the summit of one of the highest mountains in Matsmai, without clothing, provisions, or even arms, by the help of which we might have obtained something to save us from starvation, and surrounded by enemies and wild beasts, wandering over a strange island, uncertain whether or not we should succeed in g:ining a vessel; and I in a state of lameness which occasioned the severest agony at every step. To reflect on so helpless a condition was indeed to be verging on despair! In the meanivhile some of my companions also awoke, and their sighs and prayers served only to increase my distress. I forgot my own misfortunes, and shed bitter tears for their unhappy fate In this situation I remained for upwards of an hour, when the cold forced me again to take reiuge in the hut. I stretched myself upon the ground, but to sleep was impossible.' Vol. ü. p. 16.
After wandering over the frightful gulfs and huge rocks of Matsmai, which he declares he cannot even at the tim of writing look back upon without horror, and which not milions of money would tempt himn to retrace even in the open riay, ne at length succeeds, togeiler with bis companions, in reaching the shore, and finding boats, they formed two sails by means of stitching their shirts together, and ropes and other appurtenances out of their woollen clothes. They now seemed on the point of reaping the reward of all their perseverance and fuelity to each other; when, in an instant, they found themselves suddenly surrounded by a party of armed men, who, it seems, bad tracked all their