With regard to the moral standards, it has to be said that the Koreans are not very strict when it comes to mine and thine, they lie and cheat and that's why they can't be trusted. They are proud if they have cheated somebody and they don't think that's a disgrace. That's why they can undo the buy of a horse or a cow even after four months if it becomes clear that the buyer has been cheated. But the sale of a parcel ground or other immovable goods can only be undone if the conveyance has not taken place yet.
On the other hand the Koreans are very gullible. We could fool them with anything. This was particularly true for the monks, who liked to listen to stories about foreign countries and their people. Furthermore they are very
cowardly, as it seemed what we have heard from reliable people concerning their behavior during the Japanese invasion, when their king was killed and a great number of cities and villages were destroyed. From Jan Janse Weltevree
we heard that when the Tartarians came over the ice and occupied the country, more soldiers hanged themselves in the wood, than had been killed during the battle against the invaders. The Koreans don't consider this to be unworthy. They think that
these people who commit suicide are pitiful people, who came into an emergency situation, in which they only could escape by committing suicide.
The only people who have a trade post on Korean soil are the Japanese
who own a factory on the southeast side of the city of Pusan.
The Japanese who stay there come from the island Tsushima.
They import pepper, sapwood, alum, buffalo horn,
deer skins and more goods which are imported by us and the Chinese
into Japan. Furthermore they have some trade with Peking (=Beijing)
and the north of China. The trip to and fro takes
three months, which is very costly. That's why only the greatest merchants
can undertake these trips. At the foreign trade they usually use linen
as a means of trade. The greater merchants use also silver as a means
of trade, but the farmers and the common people use rice and grains.
The Koreans believe that there are only twelve countries or kingdoms
in the world, which were all once subordinate to the emperor of China
and had to pay tribute to him. But that all these countries have liberated
themselves in the meantime, because the Tartarians couldn't conquer
them. They call the Tartarians Tieckese (looks like
the Chinese: Chong Kwo ) and Orankaij [barbarians],
they call our country Nampankuk,
[Southern Country] which is the name which the Japanese gave
to Portugal. Because we look in their eyes the same as the Portuguese,
the Koreans give us the same name. They learned the name from the
Japanese already some 50 years ago, when they came to teach them how
to grow tobacco. The Japanese claimed that the seed of the tobacco
plant came from Nampankuk. That's why the Koreans usually
call tobacco Nampankoy. In this
country they smoke a lot, both men and women. And they start early
with it. Many a time I saw a four-year-old toddler smoke a pipe.
Vegetable and mineral products
This country can maintain in it's own needs. It has an abundance of rice and other grain. Furthermore it produces cotton, hemp and flax. There are a lot of silkworms, though the Koreans don't know the art to spin silk yarns sufficiently to weave
cloths of highest quality.
Weights and measures
There exists one uniform system of measures and weights that counts for all of the country. But little merchants and hagglers often work with inaccurate weights and measures. It's true that in each province a strict control is being practiced, but obviously the deceit that is committed with counterfeit weights and measures, is never to be wiped out. They know of no other coined money then the "kassis" and this is only accepted as a legal currency in the area close to the Chinese border. In the rest of the country for the wholesale, small blocks of silver are being used as a means of payment. These exist in various weights. Retailers manage with rice and linen as a means of payment.
In Korea there are many horses and cattle. The horses are used for the transportation of persons and goods. They use cattle to pull the plough, the cows as well as the bulls. In the north of the country there are tigers. The fur is exported to China and Japan. Furthermore there are bears, deer, pigs, boars, dogs, cats, all kind of snakes, swans, geese, chickens storks, herons, crane birds, eagles, falcons, magpies, crows, cuckoos, pigeons, snipes, pheasants, larks, finches, thrushes, lapwings, harriers and many other kind of birds.
Language and literature
Korean is very hard to learn. It doesn't look like any other language. Moreover, this language is pronounced in different ways. The important people and scholars usually speak slowly, little merchants on the contrary very fast. The common man is
somewhat in between. The language is written in three different ways: in the first place there is the script, with which the books are being printed. This script looks like that of the Chinese and the Japanese. The second type looks more like our
script. This is used by the governors and other high administrators, when they answer petitions or correspond with each other. The common man can't read this. And finally there is the third type. This is being used by women and simple men. It is very
easy to learn and one can write something with it very easily. This is done with a small pencil and they are very handy at it.
The Koreans count with wooden sticks. They have no knowledge of bookkeeping. If they buy something, they write down how much they paid for it. Underneath they write down the amount for which they sold it. By subtracting these numbers, they see how much profit or loss they have made.
The king takes a ride.
When the king takes a ride, he is surrounded by all his noblemen of the court. These are dressed in black silk garments, on which both on the front or back a coat of arms and emblems have been embroidered and over which they wear a wide sash. In
front of the parade are the horsemen and infantry with a lot of flags and music, who receive a ration from the king, dressed in their most beautiful garments. Behind them follows the body guard of the king, selected from the most
important civilians of the city. In their midst the king sits in his sedan chair which is beautifully decorated and gilded. If he passes by it becomes so silent that you only hear the stamping of the horses and foot steps of
Visit of the Tartarian envoy
When the Tartarian envoy visits the country, the king personally has to ride toward him with all his noblemen to pledge the necessary honor. He accompanies him to his accommodation. Music is made during this, while clowns show their tricks. In fact the envoy is shown more respect than the king himself, when he rides out.
In the parade which accompanies the envoy, also old pieces of arts are carried along and during the stay of the envoy, the street from his residency to the court is closed off by soldiers. These are lined up in long rows, two or three fathoms apart from each other. There are also two or three men who do nothing else then bringing notes which come from the residency to their king, so he knows any moment what the envoy is doing. Furthermore they do everything in their power to please the envoy, so he takes favorable messages about them to the emperor in Peking.