« EdellinenJatka »
It may not be superfluous to insert an account of the mode in which the Dutch conduct their commerce with Japan, as given by the accurate Thunberg, who visited Japan in 1775:
"On anchoring at the entrance of the harbour, all the prayer-books and Bibles belonging to the sailors were collected, and put into a chest, which was nailed down. This chest was afterwards left under the care of the Japanese, till the time of our departure, when every one received his book again. This is done with a view to prevent the introduction of Christian or Roman Catholic books into the country.
"A muster-roll of the ship's company, consisting of about 110 men and 34 slaves, was made out, mentioning the age of every individual, which roll was given to the Japanese. The birth-place of each individual was not marked in the list, as they were all supposed to be Dutchmen, although many of them were Swedes, Danes, Germans, Portuguese, and Spaniards. According to this muster-roll, the whole ship's company is mustered immediately on the arrival of the Japanese, and afterwards every morning and evening of such days as the ship is either discharging or taking in her cargo, and when there is any intercourse between the ship and the factory. By these precautions the Japanese are assured that no one can either get away without their knowledge, or remain in the factory without their leave.
"As soon as we had anchored in the harbour, and saluted the town of Nangasacki, there came immediately on board two Japanese superior officers (banjoses) and some subaltern officers, as also the interpreters and their attendants. The business of these banjoses was, during the whole time of our ship's lying in the road, to take care that all the wares, and the people that went on shore, or came on board, were strictly searched; to receive orders from the Governor of the town; to sign all passports and papers which accompanied the merchandise, people, &c.
"After having several times fired our cannon, in saluting the Imperial guards, and on the arrival and departure of the Dutch principal officers, we were obliged to commit to the care of the Japanese the remainder of our powder, as also our ball, our weapons, and the above-mentioned chest full of books. For this purpose were delivered in a certain quantity of powder, six barrels full of ball, six muskets, and six bayonets, which we made them believe were all the ammunition we had remaining. All these articles are put into a storehouse till the ship leaves the road, when they are faithfully restored by the Japanese. They have of late years had the sense to leave the rudders of our ships untouched, and the sails and cannon on board. They were likewise weary of the trouble with which the fetching them back was attended, and which was by no means inconsiderable.
"The Japanese having thus, as they suppose, entirely disarmed us, the next thing they take in hand is to muster the men, which is done every day on board, both morning and evening, when the vessel is discharging or taking in her lading. Each time the number of men that are gone on shore, is set down very accurately, as well as the number of the sick, and the number of those that remain on board.
"On all those days, when any thing is carried on board, or taken out of the ship, the banjoses, the interpreters, clerks, and searchers are on board till the evening, when they all go on shore together, and leave the Europeans on board to themselves. On such occasions, the flag on board the ship is always hoisted, as well as that on the factory; and when two ships arrive here safe, business is transacted on board one or the other of them, by turns, every day. The ship's long-boat and pinnace were also taken into the care of the Japanese, so that both the people and the merchandise are carried to and from the ship by the Japanese. To prevent the Dutch coming from the ship, or the Japanese from going to it, and trafficking, especially under cover of the night, and when no Japanese officers are on board, several large guardvessels are placed round the ship, and at some distance from it; and besides this, there are several small boats ordered to row every hour in the night round the ship, and very near it.
"A great number of labourers were ordered to attend to the discharge and loading of the boats, and bringing them to and from the ship, others being set as inspectors over them. The Dutch formerly took the liberty to punish and correct with blows these day-labourers, who were of the lowest class of people; but at present this procedure is absolutely, and under the severest penalties, forbidden by the Government, as bringing a disgrace upon the nation.
"When an European goes to or from the ship, either with or without any baggage, an officer is always attending with a permit, on which his name is written, his watch marked down, &c.
"On those days when there is nothing done towards discharging or loading the ship, no Japanese officers, nor any other Japanese, come on board, neither do any of the Dutch themselves go to or from the ship on such days. The gate of the island also, towards the water-side, is locked at this time. Should an urgent occasion require any of the officers to come on board of the ship, such as the Captain or the surgeon, which is signified by the hoisting of a flag, in such case leave must be first obtained from the Governor of the town; and should this be granted, still the gate towards the sea-shore is not opened, but the person to whom leave is granted, is con
ducted by interpreters and officers through a small part of the town to a little bridge, from which he is taken on board in a boat, after having gone through the strictest search. The banjoses and interpreters, who accompany him, do not, however, go on board the ship, but wait in their boats till he has transacted his business on board, from whence he is conducted back to the factory.
"Custom-houses are not known, either in the interior of the country or on its coasts, and no customs are demanded on imports or exports of goods, either from strangers or natives. But that no prohibited goods may be smuggled into the country, so close a watch is kept, and all persons that arrive, as well as merchandise, are so strictly searched, that the hundred eyes of Argus might be said to be employed on this occasion. When any European goes ashore, he is first searched on board, and afterwards as soon as he comes on shore. Both these searches are very strict; so that not only travellers' pockets are turned inside out, but the officers' hands pass along their bodies and thighs. All the Japanese that go on board of ship, are in like manner searched, excepting only the superior orders of banjoses. All articles exported or imported undergo a similar search, first on board the ship, and afterwards in the factory, except large chests, which are emptied in the factory, and are so narrowly examined, that they even sound the boards, suspecting them to be hollow. The beds are frequently ripped open, and the feathers turned over. Iron spikes are thrust into the butter-tubs and jars of sweetmeats. In the cheese a square hole is cut, in which part a thick-pointed wire is thrust into it towards every side. Nay, their suspicion went even so far, as to induce them to take an egg or two from among those we had brought from Batavia, and break them. The same severe conduct is observed when any goes from the factory to the ship, or into the town of Nangasacki, and from thence to the island of Dezima. Every one that passes, must take his watch out of his pocket, and shew it to the officers, who always mark it down whenever it is carried in or out. Sometimes too, strangers' hats are searched. Neither money nor coin must by any means be brought in by private persons; but they are laid by, and taken care of till the owner's departure. No letters to be sent to or from the ship sealed; and if they are, they are opened, and sometimes, as well as other manuscripts, must be read by the interpreters. Religious books, especially if they are adorned with cuts, are very dangerous to import; but the Europeans are otherwise suffered to carry in a great number of books for their own use; and the search was the less strict in this respect, as they looked into a few of them only. Latin, French, Swedish, and German books and manuscripts
pass the more easily, as the interpreters do not understand them. Arms, it is true, are not allowed to be carried into the country; nevertheless, we are as yet suffered to take our swords with us.
"The Dutch themselves are the occasion of these over-rigorous searches, the strictness of which has been augmented on several different occasions, till it has arrived at its present height. Numerous artifices have been applied to the purposes of bringing goods into the factory by stealth; and the interpreters, who heretofore had never been searched, used to carry contraband goods by degrees, and in small parcels, to the town, where they sold for ready money. To this may be added, the pride which some of the weaker-minded officers in the Dutch service very imprudently exhibited to the Japanese, by ill-timed contradiction, contemptuous behaviour, scornful looks, and laughter, which occasioned the Japanese in their turn to hate and despise them; a hatred which is greatly increased upon observing in how unfriendly and unmannerly a style they usually behave to each other, and the brutal treatment which the sailors under their command frequently experience from them, together with the oaths, curses, and blows with which the poor fellows are assailed by them. All these circumstances have induced the Japanese, from year to year, to curtail more and more the liberties of the Dutch merchants, and to search them more strictly than ever; so that now, with all their finesse and artifice, they are hardly able to throw dust in the eyes of so vigilant a nation as this.
"Within the water-gate of Dezima, when any thing is to be exported or imported, are seated the head and under banjoses, and interpreters, before whose eyes the whole undergoes a strict search. And that the Europeans may not scrape an acquaintance with the searchers, they are changed so often, that no opportunity is given them.
"This puts a stop to illicit commerce only, but not to private trade, as every body is at liberty to carry in whatever he can dispose of, or there is a demand for, and even such articles as are not allowed to be uttered for sale, so that it be not done secretly. The camphire of Sumatra, and tortoiseshell, private persons are not permitted to deal in, because the Company reserve that traffic to themselves. The reason why private persons prefer the smuggling of such articles as are forbidden to be disposed of by auction at the public sale, is, that when wares of any kind are sold by auction, they do not receive ready money for them, but are obliged to take other articles in payment; but when the commodities can be disposed of underhand, they get gold coin, and are often paid twice as much as they would have had otherwise.
"Some years ago, when smuggling was still in a flourishing state, the
greater part of the contraband wares was carried by the interpreters from the factory into the town; but sometimes they were thrown over the wall of Dezima, and received by boats ordered out for that purpose. Several of the interpreters, and other Japanese, have been caught at various times in the fact, and punished with death.
"Smuggling has always been attended with severe punishments; and even the Dutch have been very largely fined, which fine has of late been augmented, so that if any European is taken in the fact, he is obliged to pay 200 catties of copper, and is banished the country for ever. Besides this, a deduction of 10,000 catties of copper is made from the Company's account; and if the fraud is discovered after the ship has left the harbour, the Chief and the Captain are fined 200 catties each.
"The Company's wares do not undergo any search at all, but are directly carried to the storehouse, on which the Japanese fix their seal; where they are kept till they are all sold and fetched away.
"The interpreters are natives of Japan, and speak with more or less accuracy the Dutch language. The Government permits no foreigners to learn their language, in order that, by means of it, they may not pick up any knowledge of the country; but allow from 40 to 50 interpreters, who are to serve the Dutch in their factory with respect to their commerce, and on other occasions. These interpreters are divided into three classes. The oldest, who speak the Dutch language best, are called head interpreters; those who are less perfect, under interpreters; and those who stand more in need of instruction, bear the denomination of apprentices, or learners. Formerly the Japanese apprentices were instructed by the Dutch themselves in their language; but now they are taught by the elder interpreters. The apprentices had also, before this, liberty to come to the factory whenever they chose; but now they are only suffered to come when they are on actual service. The interpreters rise gradually and in rotation to preferments and emoluments, without being employed in any other department. Their duty and employment consist in being present, generally one, or sometimes two of each class, when any affairs are transacted between the Japanese and Dutch, whether commercial or otherwise. They interpret either vivâ voce or in writing, whenever any matter is to be laid before the Governor, the officers, or others, whether it be a complaint or request. They are obliged to be present at all searches, as well as those that are made on board ship, as at those which take place at the factory, and likewise to attend in the journey to Court. They were formerly allowed to go whenever they chose to the Dutchmen's apartments; but now this is prohibited, in order to prevent smuggling, excepting on certain occasions. They are always accompanied