How it continued.
On October 23, 1666 Mr. Volger left with seven ships from the bay of Nagasaki. We were very sad when we saw the ships leave. Because we had hoped to leave together with the chief to Batavia. This was us however not granted by the governor of Nagasaki. So we were forced to stay one year longer on Deshima.
From what is mentioned above, it appears that the "distressful wanderings" of Hendrick Hamel and company did not end in October 1666. They were obliged to stay exactly one more year on Deshima. That can't be such a pleasant stay. Deshima was a very small artificial island in the bay of Nagasaki. It was connected by a bridge to the mainland. The Hollanders were only allowed to pass this bridge with the permission from the Japanese. And this permission was rarely granted. Only when the Japanese wanted to ask the Hollanders something or wanted to say something, a small delegation was allowed to pass the bridge. Deshima was exactly one hectare big. It was a long, small piece of land, on which there was one street, with houses on both sides. It was constructed by the Japanese in 1635-36, especially with the purpose to accommodate foreigners - barbarians- with whom the Japanese wanted to trade. (Click here for a detailed map of Deshima)
The isle was originally meant for the Portuguese. These however, were driven out in 1638, because they had tried to convert the Japanese to Christianity. Some years later it was assigned to the Hollanders because they declared not to be Christian, or at least not to nourish the intention to undertake any missionary activities.
Till 1641 the Hollanders owned a factory on Hirado. This is a much bigger island which is North of Nagasaki. In the archives of the VOC, this is called a lodge. This term is being used more often and seems to mean something like an enclave. The Hollanders were on this island for 38 years, from 1603 till 1641. They had much more liberty to move over there.
But in 1641 the Hollanders had to move to Deshima. The removal lasted from 12th till 24th of June and on June 25, 1641 the chief Le Maire of Hirado came for once and for all to Nagasaki. The isle was completely packed. There were offices, warehouses and furthermore houses for the handful of servants of the VOC, who stayed for a longer period of time on the isle. The leading person was the chief, who was assisted by a second person and an assistant. The chief lived in a rather spacious accommodation, which was beautifully furnished. The rest of the servants lived in little houses, which were more like barracks.
There were some guest houses as well, destined for the officers of the ships of the Company which were moored in the port. In one of those houses Hamel and his companions were accommodated. Probably they didn't have much space and little privacy and that it was a boring place to stay appears from the following: "... come previously mentioned ships here for Schisima or the Compagnie's residence to drop anchor" (Daily Reg. Japan August 14, 1646).
The Hollanders were not allowed to practice the Christian religion on Deshima. Thus there was no church and no minister. They were not even allowed to bury their deceased. There was hardly any space for that as well. Deceased had to be thrown over board, five miles off the coast. From each ship which moored in the roadstead, the sails and the rudder had to be handed over to the Japanese. This to prevent that they would leave without permission. The bibles and guns had to be handed in as well. The pieces of artillery on board were locked.
Provision was partly supplied by the ships of the Company and partly bought from the Japanese, amongst others chickens, fish, fresh vegetables and fruits. On Deshima they were most likely not troubled by scurvy. They were troubled however by venereal diseases. The chief proclaimed in one of his official documents to Batavia, that the servants of the Company got these diseases from the Japanese prostitutes, who crossed the bridge regularly. In a daily report from the chief, dated August 19, 1641, is written: "De Japanders verordonneerden dat geene Hollanders sonder vragen van't Eiland vermochten te gaan. Dat wel hoeren, maar geene andere vrouwen, Japanse papen noch bedelaers op 't Eiland mochten comen" (The Japanese ordered that no Dutchman was allowed to leave the isle without permission. Whores were allowed, but no other women, Japanese clergymen nor beggars).
The stories, which these, as from the air descended
fellow countrymen could cough up, were pre-elementally suitable to
appeal to one's imagination and were a joy to hear. They knew after
all to tell something about an eastern country where, as far as one
knew, no other European has been. The castaways could however tell
about their thirteen-year experiences, during which they had almost
complete freedom, the story of the lives that they and their companions
had lived. Starting with the shipwreck and the life they lead on the
island and after that about their lives on the mainland of Korea.
These stories will have been followed with suspense. The story of
the experiences, their adventurous flight and especially their meeting
with a fellow countryman, who stranded a quarter century before them
in Korea, will have made a deep impression.
In the official everyday life, the Japanese behaved themselves correctly but with a haughty air. From Japanese sources is known that they considered the Hollanders as unmannered barbarians, who smelled unpleasantly. As seemed from the correspondence, which they had with the Korean administrators, they considered Holland as a vassal state, though they had only a vague idea where the country was located. Civilians from a vassal state ought to behave themselves like that. They had to approach the Japanese humbly and respectfully.
This was already the case when the Hollanders were still
on Hirado. In an Instruction from the Heeren
XVII of May 31, 1633, to the presiding chief Nicolaes Couckebacker
Most of the chiefs succeeded in making themselves "beloved and pleased" by buttering up the Japanese. When, from their reports it seemed that there were frictions, then the chief in question was replaced quickly.
There is a world of difference between the conduct of the Dutch on Deshima and their attitude towards the locals elsewhere in southeast Asia. The contracts which the Company entered the local chiefs into, were mostly only advantageous for the Company and, if they were good contracts, they were dishonestly carried out. Extortion and corruption were common practice and if the 'savages' dared to resist violently against the Company, it hit back hard-handedly.
On the island of Formosa, the Chinese had attacked the Dutch settlement 'Provintien' and killed eight servants of the Company. As an action of revenge the military was sent out and in twelve days time a true massacre was performed amongst the Chinese. An official statement of December 24, 1652, says the following; "Soo werden in den tijt van 12 dagen tusschen de 3 a 4 duisendt rebellige Chineesen in wederwraeck van het verghoten Nederlants Christenbloet on 't leven gebracht." (And so in a time of twelve days, between the two and three thousand Chinese were killed as a revenge for the shredding of Dutch Christian blood)
Nevertheless the results from the trade of Deshima were not less advantageous for the Company than the trade of Taiwan. The different approach the Hollanders had towards the Japanese didn't do any harm to the Company. In several reports one can read that the trade with the Japanese was 'seer profijtelijck' (very profitable). So with buttering up, one could make obviously as much profit as with blood shedding.
One may wonder why the Japanese didn't allow Hendrick Hamel and his companions to leave as fast as possible. This was in connection with what the chief called "den Japanchen precisiteyt" (the Japanese preciseness). The castaways had hoped they could leave on October 23, 1666 with the Esperance to Batavia. But despite repeated oral and written requests by representatives of the Company, the required permission stayed out.
Only on October 22, of the following year this license was handed out, which made an end to the second imprisonment of Hamel and co. On the same day they boarded on the moored ship the Spreeuw (starling). This fluitschip (= kind of freighter with three masts) arrived on at Batavia November 28, 1667.
Why did the permission for Hamel and co. to leave from Nagasaki stayed out so long? What did the Japanese authorities do in the meantime? The written report of the interrogation which was taken from the Hollanders, was sent by the governor of Nagasaki to Yedo to get the required permission. Only the transportation of this report took some time.
The state government didn't react immediately. They wanted to verify the answers which the castaways had given. Therefore they started a correspondence with the Korean government. This was a time-consuming procedure. The complicated protocol made it impossible that the Shogunate corresponded directly with the Koreans and as an intermediate the Daimyo of Tsusima was appointed. This was obvious because he already traded for a long period of time with Korea. The Daimyo owned a small enclave in Pusan. There was a small harbor, near Tongnae, where to the Daimyo was allowed to send yearly 21 ships.
What the Japanese would like to know, was if there were any Christians hidden amongst Hamel and co. That's why the Daimyo sent a letter to the authorities in Pusan.
We have respectfully received a lofty command (from Edo) to dispatch en envoy to ascertain the real circumstances of these people. Considering that they have long dwelled within your honorable boundaries, it must be surely known to you whether they are proper people or heathen......... Other details have been entrusted to our junior messengers Tachibana Narutomo and (Fujiwara?) Naramasa to deliver orally.
This official report had first to be translated into Korean, which took some time. Then the authorities in Pusan had to contact the governor of the province, because they didn't have the right themselves to have written contact with the Japanese. The governor sent the letter to Seoul , where it caused a lot of concern. It took a lot of thinking how to respond to the letter. At that moment it was not known in Seoul that the Hollanders had escaped. The governor of the southern province had kept the news of the escape behind as a way of precaution. One had assured him that the Hollanders would never succeed in reaching Japan in such a small boat. They would vanish without trace.
The tone in which the oral information was given by the Japanese representative in Tongnae was by far not as courteous as that in the letter. He demanded in an arrogant tone from the mayor of Pusan, that he should take care that the Japanese government should get the answers to the following questions as soon as possible:
Is it true that thirteen years ago a ship from Holland stranded off the coast of Korea and that you stole the cargo? Don't you know that every foreign ship, that strands off the coast of Korea, immediately has to be reported to the authorities of Japan? You do know that Holland is a vassal state of Japan?
The tough tone from this oral questioning was meant to speed up the Koreans. This was a procedure which was much used by the Japanese. They always sent very courteous and highly formal official reports, and ordered one of their representatives to hit the table in an oral conversation in an intimidating way. The questions were written down by the mayor and handed over to the governor of the province. Frightened, he sent them to Seoul. The Korean government answered by return.
Indeed a ship was stranded thirteen years ago, but we didn't steal the cargo. It was given back to the shipwrecked persons. In our opinion only the stranding of Chinese ships has to be reported to Japan. How could we know that Holland is a Japanese vassal state. These people were not dressed in a Japanese way. And they spoke nor understood Japanese. They claimed never to have been there.
In the year 1653 a foreign ship stranded in front of the coast of the southern island. Half of the crew drowned. Thirty-six persons survived the shipwrecking. Nobody understood their language nor could read their handwriting. They stayed here for fourteen years. They supported themselves with fishing and chopping wood. They have never been caught trying to preach the doctrine of Jesus or to pollute in any other way the people with pernicious ideas. Would this have been the case, then we would not have hesitated to inform you immediately. If these barbarians were really Christians they wouldn't have fled to Japan. They were namely told that followers of Jesus were killed instantaneously. There are still eight barbarians in our country. When you appreciate that, you can see these and if necessary, interrogate them.
Then the letter ended with the usual assurance of the
highest esteem and the deepest respect which the Koreans nourished
for their Japanese brothers. This answer satisfied the Japanese. They
were now at ease and doubted no longer that the Hollanders were
no Christians. Now they could fulfill the repeated request from the
chief of Deshima. Hamel and co. got their permission
to leave Deshima and the Daimyo wrote the following
to the Koreans:
This letter was brought to Tongnae by a Japanese messenger, where it is handed over to the Korean commander in April or May 1668. He sent the letter to the court in Seoul. The king and his Crown council were immediately willing to grant the request. They seemed to be happy to be freed from the cursed Hollanders.
Instructions were sent to Cholla, where the Hollander were residing. And a letter was sent to the Japanese. In this the following was written: Of the eight Hollanders, one died last year. Seven are still alive. These will be taken to Tongnae and handed over to your envoy.
In August 1668 the seven arrived at the island of Tsushima. Here the Daimyo took care that they were transported to Nagasaki. After a difficult journey , they arrived there on September 16. In the daily records of Deshima the names of the ones who returned are written down on that day. They are the same names as mentioned by Hamel at the end of the interrogation by the Japanese in 1666. From Jan Claeszen , cook, coming from Dordrecht, is written that he died two years before in Namwon in the south of Korea.
But in the book Noord en Oost Tartarije (North and East Tartary) by Nicolaes Witsen , 2nd print Amsterdam 1705, is written in part I on page 53, that Jan Claeszen was, at that moment, alive and kicking. He however preferred to stay in Korea. "Hij was aldaer getrouwt en gaf geen hair aen zijn lyf meer te hebben dat na een Christen of Nederlander geleek." (He was married there and declared to have no hair on his body that looked like a Christian or Nederlander [Dutchman]).
Nicolaes Witsen was an old esteemed administrator of the VOC, a scion or a jack of all trades, who occupied several functions for the VOC and was 13 times Mayor of Amsterdam between 1682 and 1705. While writing his book he consulted many written sources, which were not always equally reliable. But he also spoke with people who have been in the service of the VOC, to verify one and the other. For the description of the adventure of Hamel and his mates he used the Journael. This is proven by the fact that he has taken over, unaltered, some of the mistakes which occurred in the edition which he used. Besides that he has had contact with Meester (master) Mattheus Eibocken, who was a sub-barber in that time on board of the Sperwer. One may assume that everything which doesn't occur in the Journael, is written down by him from the mouth of this sub-barber.
In order not to be troubled by the Japanese the Koreans will have written down in their report that Jan Claeszen had died. For the same reason his seven mates will have confirmed this message. They wanted to avoid the risk that they would not get permission from the Japanese to return homeward. And so this fake message entered the records of the VOC. But according to Witsen, Jan Claeszen was not the only person on the Sperwer who married in that country and had children. Witsen writes: "Kinderen en wijven, die enige daer getrouwt hadden, verlieten ze." (They left children and wives, whom they have married).
Hoetink writes in the introduction to the scientific text edition of the Journael that here and there in Korea inboorlingen (natives, but in a disdainful way) have been found with blond hair and blue eyes. He considers it however not certain that these blond Koreans are descendants from the crew of the Sperwer. Hoetink keeps it in account that the possibility exists that other white sailors landed in Korea who "eveneens omgang hebben gehad met de vrouwen des lands" (also contacted the women of the country). This however is not likely. Hoetink himself is writing about "de afzondering waarin Korea heeft volhard na 't vertrek van de Nederlanders " (the seclusion in which Korea persisted after the departure of the Dutchmen) and adds that "eerst aan het eind van de vorige eeuw Korea gedwongen werd zijn poorten voor vreemdelingen to ontsluiten" (first at the end of the last century Korea was forced to open its gates for foreigners) (1876). But as mentioned before, we do know some other foreigners DID enter the country.
This opening up was only related to the trade. Puritanism, racist prejudices and hate of foreigners prevented also after this year sexual relations between Koreans and Westerners. Only during and after the Korean war children of mixed blood were born in Korea. (1950-1953) Genetically speaking, only the third generation would have the possibility of having children with the characteristics of the first generation, presuming that dark dominates light.
From this one may conclude that all blue-eyed, blond Koreans of whom the father was demonstrably not a UN-military who was in service during that war, is a descendent of the crew of the Sperwer.
This statement is supported by a research recently done
by dr. Tae Jin Kim, (Kim Tae Jin, who I met at the Dutch embassy
in Seoul ) head of the library of the Chonnam
University at Kwangju, the capital of the province of Cholla
(Thiellado according to Hamel) In an article
of the NRC Handelsblad of January 4, 1988 is written
about this research:
The newspaper article continues with the remark that 'according to the Journael of Hendrick Hamel only one crewmember stayed behind in Cholla, because he married in the meantime and he had no hair on his body which was still Christian'.
We know that this message is not written in the Journael of Hendrick Hamel but in the book Noord en Oost Tartarije of Nicolaes Witsen. The source however is less important then the contents. It is placed in the newspaper article against the remark of dr. Tae Jin Kim that the greater part of the sixteen Hollanders who lived in the province of Cholla, fathered children in the villages of Pyongyong, Sunchon, Namwon and Shinsong. He bases this theorem not only on the presence in these villages of many blond and blue-eyed Koreans, but also on the fact that most of them bear the surname Nam. Nam means in Korean South. Nam is not an unusual family name in Korea. There are three branches. Two of them already existed before the arrival of Hamel and his companions, but the third finds his roots over here.
Hamel mentions in his Journael that the Hollanders when they were placed into the bodyguard of the king, they received Korean names. From the Korean sources (Ledyard) we know that Nam was a name given at least to a few of them. Tae Jin Kim also visited burial places, where he found at least two Hollander surnames. But also corrupted first names, for instance Yon (the Dutch name Jan, pronounced as Yan, is very common in Holland)
He made pictures of the faces of members of the Nam-families
in these villages, and compared the facial features with those of
other families. Dr. Tae (most likely dr. Kim) also investigated
a social-historical research, from which it appeared that in the Nam-family
there are remarkably many lawyers, doctors, professors and high military
and civilian administrators. Unfortunately he didn't write down the
results of his research and he died without leaving any documentation
course there are still more things to investigate. In the course of
research I came upon the following things: