Extracts of texts about Korea
taken from various sources dating from the centuries prior to the country's opening

These were used to compose the anthology of travelers' tales "Brief Encounter" (Seoul Selection  2016, ISBN: 9781624120787)

(a) The short texts about Corea published by Jan Huyghen van Linschoten (1596/8)
(b) An English version of the account of Korean culture etc by Martino Martini from the Novus Atlas Sinensis (1655)
(c) Johan Nieuhof: the English version of a single page devoted to a description of Corea from An embassy from the East-India Company of the United Provinces, to the Grand Tartar Cham, emperor of China (1669)

PDF text file of the account of Korea (based on records by Fr. Jean-Baptiste Régis) found in du Halde's The general history of China. Containing a geographical, historical, chronological, political and physical description of the empire of China, Chinese-Tartary, Corea, and Thibet. (1739)
(b) The account of Korea from The Modern Part of an Universal History, From the Earliest Account of Time (1759)
The account of Korea in French from Abrégé de l'histoire générale des voyages (1780) by Jean-François de La Harpe.
The account by Lapérouse of his journey past Korea in 1787 (in French)
A 1797 survey  of Quelpart (Jeju-do) by William Robert Broughton was described in his A Voyage of Discovery to the North Pacific Ocean  and I have made a PDF file of
his rather dull account
Chapter Two of Basil Hall (1788-1844), Voyage to Loo-Choo, a visit to Korea in 1816
Charles Gutzlaff's
description of their visit to some islands on the Corean coast in 1832.
(h) Sir Edward Belcher
relates his visit to Quelpart in 1845
Arthur Adams (1820-1878)'s fine account of the natural History of Quelpart  in  Vol 2 of Belcher's account.
(j)  Frank Marryat's account of the visit to Jeju Island (Quelpart) during Belcher's expedition, where he was a midshipman.
An account of  an expedition to rescue French sailors shipwrecked off Jeju Island in 1851.

In June 1865 Captain Allen Young presented a paper to the Royal Geographical Society about the potential interest of Korea
"Une Expedition en Coree" (links to scanned PDF file; click here for a pure text file and here for an English translation) by Jean Henri Zuber, about the French expedition to Ganghwa-do in 1866.
The account of Corea from:
Alexander Williamson Journeys in North China, Manchuria, and Eastern Mongolia With Some Account of Corea. Volume 2.  London: Smith, Elder & Co, 1870.
"Journey Through Eastern Mantchooria and Korea." By Walton Grinnell. A journey made in the autumn of 1870, not entering Korea but learning much from Korean settlers in Manchuria.
A complete text (in French) of  the Introduction to Dallet's Histoire de l’Eglise de Corée section by section.
Report of a visit to Port Hamilton in 1875 by a British battleship, written by Cyprian Bridge, a naval officer (later Admiral Sir Cyprian Bridge)
Description of Korea including Seoul written by John Carey Hall who visited Seoul briefly in 1882.
"Notes on the Capital of Korea" by  H. A. C. [Henry Alfred Constant] Bonar of the Japanese consular service who visited Seoul in the spring of 1883.
White Paper Report of a Journey by Mr. Carles in the North of Corea and a shorter paper by Carles Recent Journeys in Corea (1885/6)
A paper, A Journey in Manchuria By H. E. M. James (Henry Evan Murchinson James) published in: Proceedings of the Royal Geographical Society and Monthly Record of Geography. Volume IX., No. 9, September 1887.
A government paper published the report of the Manchurian expedition led by James written by Harry English Fulford (PDF file) 
Charles William Campbell  "A Journey through North Korea to the Ch'ang-pai Shan". Proceedings of the Royal Geographical Society and Monthly Record of Geography. Vol. XIV., No. 3. March, 1892,
A lengthy account (in French) by Charles Varat of his journey from Seoul to Fusan in 1888, Voyage en Corée, published in Le Tour du Monde 1892.
Section I,   Section II,   Section III,   Section IV,  Section V  Click here for an English translation of: Section 1; Section 2; Section 3; Section 4; Section 5.   Also the engravings.
Joseph Walton, a coal-dealer who had recently (1897) been elected Liberal M.P. for Barnsley, visited Japan, Korea, then China in 1899. He then published China and the Present Crisis with Notes on a Visit to Japan and Korea (1900).  His short chapter on Japan and Korea (with hostile references to Russia) indicates well the attitude that a liberal Englishman might adopt regarding Japanese intentions toward Korea and Korea's future in 1900: 1919, Captain Arthur de C. Sowerby "The Exploration of Manchuria" (The Geographical Journal)
In October 1892 Marquess Curzon of Kedleston (then the Hon. G. Curzon) made a journey to the Diamond Mountains, which he evoked much later in In the Diamond Mountains : Adventures Among the Buddhist Monasteries of Eastern Korea, published in the National Geographic Magazine of October 1924, with a number of photos of Korea in general.