Du Halde revised and expanded In the Universal History (1759)

From the encyclopedic multi-volume compilation:  The Modern Part of an Universal History, From the Earliest Account of Time, Compiled from Original Writers - Vol. VIII - The History of China. S. Richardson, London, 1759.
(Wikipedia says: Contributors included George Sale, George Psalmanazar, Archibald Bower, George Shelvocke, John Campbell and John Swinton.)

The text about China and Korea in this volume owes much of its information to the description of Korea originally written in French by Fr. Jean Baptiste du Halde on the basis of an account composed by Fr. Jean-Baptiste Regis, published in Volume 4 (from p.529) of  Description géographique, historique, chronologique, politique, et physique de l'empire de la Chine et de la Tartarie chinoise, enrichie des cartes générales et particulieres de ces pays, de la carte générale et des cartes particulieres du Thibet, & de la Corée; & ornée d'un grand nombre de figures & de vignettes gravées en tailledouce (1736)  which is followed by an abbreviated history of Korea (from page 538) translated from Chinese sources, the source of Section II below.  Du Halde's work was published and re-published in English prior to the composition of this "Universal History": The general history of China. Containing a geographical, historical, chronological, political and physical description of the empire of China, Chinese-Tartary, Corea, and Thibet. Including an exact and particular account of their customs, manners, ceremonies, religion, arts and sciences .. Done from the French of P. Du Halde. Volume 4, second edition corrected. London: John Watts. 1739. The account of Korea is divided between a general description and a brief history from Chinese sources.

A PDF file containing a corrected text of the whole section devoted to Korea in Du Halde's volume is available by clicking on the link.

The entire Universal History was then translated into French and published as: Histoire Universelle, Depuis Le Commencement Du Monde Jusqu'A Présent: Composée en Anglois par une Société de Gens de Lettres : Nouvellement Traduite En François Par Une Société De Gens De Lettres. Histoire Moderne ; 14 : contenant la suite de l'histoire de la Chine, celle de la Corée, et partie de celle du Japon, Paris: Moutard, 1783 (the section on Korea begins on page 387)

A transcript of the section in the Universal History devoted to Korea

[page 520 of Volume 8 of the Universal History]


APPENDIX to the Chinese History; (images of original)


Containing the Description and History of the tributary Kingdom of Korea.


WE have had frequent occasion, in this and some of the preceding volumes, to remark, that the Chinese empire had three considerable kingdoms, which were either tributary vassals, or paid only a kind of tributary homage to it, without any farther subjection. Of the latter sort are those of Tung-king [page 521] and Cochin-china, which, for that reason, and to avoid as much as possible our deviating from the geographical order we have prescribed to ourselves in this Indian history, we have already give an account of about the end of the preceding volume. This therefore of Korea, and indeed the most considerable of the three, is the only one of consequence we have left to speak of in this place, as being not only contiguous to some part of China on the north, but as being likewise held in stricter subjection by the Chinese than any other, but more especially by the Tartar monarchs, since their conquest of that empire, as will be more fully shewn in the sequel of this appendix.




KOREA, or Corea, called by the inhabitants Tio-cen-koak, by the Tartars Solko, or, as others write it, Solgon, and Solho Kuron, and, by the Chinese, Kau-li-que (A), is a large oblong peninsula, situate in the most eastern part of China, between it and the Japanese islands. It hath by some late writers been supposed an island; but is allowed now, by the most recent authors, to be contiguous, on the north, to the eastern or Manchew Tartars, as it is on the north-west to the Chinese province of Lyau-tong. It is divided from the rest of the Chinese empire by the Whang-hay, or Yellow Sea; from Tartary by a strong natural rampart, consisting of a long ridge of high and inaccessible mountains; and on the east, from Japan, by the sea of that name; and, on the south, is bounded by the Chinese ocean. Its extent from south to north is from 34° to almost 43°, and breadth from 8° 10' to 14° east longitude from the meridian of Peking(a). Its utmost extent northward is bounded by the river Tu-men-ula, which name is common both to the Koreans and Manchews, and answers to the Chinese name of Wang-li-kyang, or river of 10,000 lis, or Chinese stades, which falls into the Japan sea. It was likewise parted from the Manchew Tartars, and part of the province of Lyau-tong, by a strong wall, not much inferior to that of China, elsewhere described(b); but some part of it was in a great measure destroyed


(2) Baudraud, La Martinière. Regis ap. Du Halde, vol. ii. & al. plur. (b) See before, p. 289, & seq.


(A) The words Kuron, or Kuroun, in the Manchew, and Qua or Que in the Chinese, signify a kingdom. The Chinese books sometimes give it the name of Chau-tsyen, and other nations that of Kaoli, Trozembuk, and some others not worth mentioning, besides a variety of old ones which it hath borne through the several hands and stages it hath passed (1).

(1) Regii Observ, Geogr, in Korea, ap. Du Halde, vol.ii.


[page 522]

by the Manchews in their irruptions into that peninsula, which they made one of their first conquests. The rest, especially on the more northern side, was still standing, and almost intire (B), till about a century past, since which it is become daily more and more ruinous(c); however, there is no going into Korea, either from Tartary or China, without express permission from the emperor.

The whole country hath been differently divided by the Chinese monarchs, whose tributary it is pretended to have been from time immemorial. At present it consists of eight provinces which contain in all forty Kyun, or grand cities; 33 Fus, or cities of the first rank; 58 Chews, or cities of the second; and 70 Hyen, or cities of the third rank; in all, 201; besides a vast number of fortresses and castles dispersed in most parts of the country, and chiefly built upon hills, all which are well garrisoned by a proportionable number of officers and soldiers. The first or chief of the eight provinces is situate in the centre of the kingdom, and is called King-hi, or the province of the court. The next on the east of it is styled Kyang-ywen, or source of the river,


(c) Regis ap. Du Halde, vol. ii. & al. plur.


(B) Korea, on the side of Lyau-tong, or, as it was also called, Quau-tong, was parted from it by a wooden palisade, called from thence the palisade of Quau-tong, which was a kind of barrier between them; but, whether built before its conquest by the Manchews, or since, is hard to guess. However, after that time it was agreed that a space of land between the Manchew Tartars and this peninsula should be left uncultivated to serve as a boundary between them.

Father Regis concludes his description of the latter with a curious conjecture, which is not at all improbable, viz.. that it was formerly contiguous to the province of Pe-cheli, till the Whang-hay, or Yellow Sea, formed that large gulph which lies now between them. The reason on which he founds it is, that, in the Chinese abridgement of chorography, intituled, Quang-yu ki, the city of Chau-tsyen, where Ki-pe, then king of that territory, resided, is in the territory of Yong-ping-fu, a city of the first rank in the province of Pe-cheli. From which he rightly concludes it improbable, that that prince should fix his residence out of his dominions, especially with such a large sea between them. He confirms his conjecture with some other speculations no less curious, which we cannot dwell upon. The reader may see them in that author; and by the map of that country, and the situation of the city of Yong-pin, may easily convince himself of the probability of the sea having, in aftertimes, made that large chasm between that city and the opposite coast (2).


(2) Reg. Observ. geogr. on Korea, ubi sup ad fin.


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and was antiently the country of the Me's; the third, on the west, hath its name from the Whang-hay, or Yellow Sea, and includes part of the old kingdom of Chau-tsien, and country of the antient Mahan. The 4th, or northern, styled Ping-ngan, or the pacific, was formerly another part of the Chau-tjyen kingdom; and 5. Tswen-lo, on the south side, was the residence of the Pyen-hau. 6. Chu-sin, or the faithful and pure, on the south-western side, is the antient Mahan, Kye-king, or the happy. 7. That on the north-eastern was the antient dominion of the Kau-kiu-li. And, 8. King-shan, on the south-eastern side, was formerly the seat of the Chiu-hau. Some late authors are of opinion, that the sea of Korea hath a communication with the northern ocean, because whales are sometimes caught in the former with European hooks, and harping-irons sticking to their flesh. To which one of our authors adds, that, upon asking some of the Korean mariners, What countries lay on the north of theirs? they answered, None, nor any thing but a boundless ocean *. But we shall find a more proper place to make a farther inquiry into that pretended communication between the northern and Japan sea.

The cities both in the inland and on the sea-coasts are built and walled much after the same manner as those of China, though much inferior in largeness, populousness, beauty, and richness. The houses are much in the same style, one story high; in the cities of brick, and in the country mostly of earth. The metropolis of the whole peninsula is situate almost in the centre of it, and is by the inhabitants styled King-ki-tau, but

by the Chinese Kong-ki-tau , because they reckon the word King of too great a dignity to be given to any court but their own. We know but little of it, except that the Chinese maps place it in latitude 37° 38' 20", which is about five degrees and a half from the northern boundary, and its longitude about 11 degrees east of Pe-king.

KOREA hath but two rivers of any note, viz. the Ya-lu and Tu-men, called by the Chinese Ya-lu-kyang and Tu-men-kyang; and, in the maps, by the Manchew names of Ya-lu-ula and Tu-men-ula; the words Ula and Kyang signifying each, in its particular language, a river. These two rise out of the same mountain, said to be one of the highest in the world, and called by the Manchews Shan Alin, and by the Chinese Chang Peshan, that is, the ever-white mountain; but take opposite courses, the one running westward, and the other eastward : they are both deep and rapid, and full of


* Hamel Journal, in Collect. of Voy.


[page 254]

exceeding good water. As for the others, which are less considerable, the reader may see their course marked in the map, according to the Korean Observations.

The northern part of Korea is but barren, woody, and mountainous, full of wild beasts, and but thinly inhabited. It neither produces rice, nor any other corn but barley, of which the inhabitants make a coarse kind of bread. But the southern is rich, and fertile of every necessary of life; breeds great quantities of large and small cattle, besides fowl wild and tame, and great variety of game. It likewise produces silk, flax, cotton, and other such commodities, all which are manufactured among them, except the silk, which they know not how to weave, but send abroad unwrought, either to China or Japan, the only two countries they have any commerce with. The passage to either is short, tho' not equally easy and safe at all seasons. The Korean coasts are no less difficult of access, they being full of rocks, shelves, &c. which make the sailing along them very dangerous to those who are not used to them : and what makes the Japan sea still more so, if what the Dutch relation says be well founded, is, that there is a current that comes from another and greater sea on the north-east, in which are caught whales in great number, some of which are found with hooks and cramp-irons, such as the Dutch and Greenlanders use in the striking of them. This, if true, shews that there must be a passage or communication between Korea and Japan, which answers to the streights of Veygatz; but whether so or not, we dare not affirm upon that bare authority. However that be, the Koreans drive a considerable trade with those two neighbouring countries; and, besides the raw silks above-mentioned, export silver, lead, and some other coarse metals, rich furs which come from the north parts; and, above all, the famed root Jin-seng we have elsewhere described(d), which grows here in great plenty, and of which they make no small gain, besides their paying part of their tribute to the Chinese emperors in that valuable commodity(e). The last-quoted relation tells us farther, that they have mines of gold; and that their seas produce pearls, and variety of fish; and that the inland is infested with a kind of crocodile of a monstrous length, some of them being 18 or 20 Dutch ells long. They have likewise some very venomous serpents in the southern parts, and great variety of wild beasts in the northern, particularly


(d) See before, p. 98, (C). (e) See the Dutch relation, printed An 1670, and Collect. of Voyag. printed at Amsterdam, Anno 1718, by Bernard, vol. iv.


[page 525]

bears, wolves, and wild boars. They use their oxen for plowing, and their horses for carriage. The people are commonly very stout and industrious, bold and warlike, and equally trained to the plough and to the sword (C), to domestic trades and to navigation (D), and yet are generally affable and civil to those that trade with them. Their manners, customs, and religion, nearly resemble those of the Chinese. Their dress, like that of the Chinese under the Tay-ming dynasty, is a gown with long and wide sleeves, a high square cap, a girdle, wide breeches, and leather boots; but the better sort wear this last of linen or sattin, and their gowns of silk or cotton; tho' the poorer sort are forced to take up with coarse hempen canvas. The northern provinces produce the stoutest men and best soldiers. The rich commonly wear fur caps and brocade clothes; and the women wear a kind of lace on their upper and under petticoats. The men of the highest rank, both in the northern and southern parts, affect to appear in purple-coloured silk; and, on public occasions, their clothes are adorned with gold and silver. The learned are distinguished by two feathers in their caps, and the whole nation in general are well-shaped, sprightly, and courteous, lovers of learning, and fond of music and dancing.


(C) The Dutch relation above quoted tells us, that every province in the kingdom is obliged to to send once in seven years all the freemen that are able to bear arms to his court, to do duty there for two months. Each province hath its general, who hath four or five colonels under him, and each of these as many captains, every one of whom hath either the government of some city, town, or fortress. The very villages have some inferior officer, who hath a proportionable number of men under him; and these, as well as the rest, are obliged to give an account every year of the people under their government; so that the king always knows what

number of people he can raise upon any emergency,


(D) Three sides of the peninsula being surrounded by the sea, every maritime city is obliged to maintain a vessel, or galley, ready equipped, and furnished with all necessaries, at its own charge. These vessels have commonly but two masts, and about 30 oars, with five or six men to each oar, besides other common sailors, the whole amounting to about 500 each. They have likewise some few pieces of small cannon, and a large quantity of wild-fire, to serve upon an attack. Each province, therefore, is obliged to have its yearly admiral, who takes a particular review of all the vessels under him, and sends an account of it to the high admiral, who conveys it to the king.


[page 526]

Their language is different from the Chinese, or rather is a mixture of that and the Manchew Tartar; but they use the Chinese characters in their writings and books. They have some learned men among them who admire the doctrine of Confucius, and despise the superstitions of the bonzaic sect; but that doth not hinder that monkish tribe from being numerous all over the country : their idle life, and the gain and respect they extort from the people, invite them to it; and still more so, as they may renounce it when they please. As for the common people, they scarce have any religion; and all the worship they pay to their idols is only lighting a stick of some odoriferous wood before them, and making a very low bow to them at parting. Their temples and monasteries are numerous; but are not suffered to be in their towns, but in the country, and mostly upon or by the side of their hills, and some of them contain between 400 and 600 monks. The same sort of worship runs through the whole peninsula; so that they seldom fall out about religion, except that the wiser and genteeler sort rather shew a contempt for those idols and temples; yet one common notion runs among them, that he that doth well shall be happy, and he that doth ill shall be punished, in another life. As for Christianity, there is not the least appearance of its having ever got footing in this country, even when the missionaries were in such high favour with the Chinese emperor, without whose leave they durst not have attempted to introduce it; much less likelihood is there of its ever gaining admittance there, since the Chinese court made such severe laws against it.

The Korean government is altogether monarchical and despotic; for though, as hath been already observed, their kings are tributary to the emperors of China, yet, excepting the tribute and homage he is obliged to pay to them, he governs with an absolute sway, and hath neither prime ministers, nor any other counsellors, that dare to controul or even advise him, unless he desires them. His council chiefly consists of the governors and general officers mentioned in the two last notes, who are obliged at proper times to attend the court, and to be every day there within call. These, though they have held the highest dignities, and many times to a very great age, yet dare not offer their counsel unless it be asked, nor meddle with any affair of state unless they be appointed to it by him. There are few of them, except by a particular favour, that hold their posts above three years, especially among those of the subaltern rank; and many of them are turned out before that time, for some fault or other, the king having his spies everywhere to inform him of their [page 527] conduct; so that the fear of incurring his displeasure obliges them to concur with him in every thing, and to conceal their dislike to whatever he orders or doth.

He suffers neither lords, nor any other grandees, to hold cities or towns, or even villages, by right of inheritance, but only during their lives, after which they revolve to him; so that their chief revenue consists only in certain lands which they hold of him during pleasure; and a great number of slaves, which they keep to cultivate them; whilst the lands and places, which they enjoy under him, intirely depend on his will, and revert to him after their death. His chief revenue consists in a tenth, which the people pay to him yearly out of the product of their lands; and some customs laid on the commodities either imported or exported; other taxes are

not known among them, except on emergent occasions.

What their laws are we know not, except that Ki-tse, one of their first monarchs, of whom we shall speak in the sequel, compiled a set of them out of the Chinese Shu-king, which he reduced into eight, and caused them to be published in his new kingdom; and that they had so good an effect on his subjects, that theft and adultery were crimes unknown unto them, nor did any of them shut their doors at night; and though many revolutions, which that kingdom hath gone through since, have made them deviate, yet our author(f) assures us, they may be still justly looked upon as a pattern to other nations (E). They are not indeed so eminent for their continence; since they abound with loose women, and the young men and maids are very familiar with each other. They marry without making such presents to each other as they do in China, or using any other ceremony. The princes and princesses of the blood always match with each other, and the grandees follow the same rule in their families.


(f) Vide Hamel Journal in Collect. Voy. vid. & Chevr. hist, of Korea, Art. V.


(E) This is in a great measure contradicted by the Dutch relation often quoted, which represents the Koreans as so naturally given to pilfering and stealing, that he says they are forced to have very severe laws against it. The reader may see an account of their several punishments in that author, amongst which that against adultery is one of the severest, except such as the king in some cases causes to be inflicted on traitors and obnoxious persons, which are commonly arbitrary, and against which it would be equally dangerous to make any objection or demur (2).


(2) See vol. iv. of the Relat, above-mentioned, printed at Amsterdam by Fred. Bernard, 1718.


[page 528]

They keep their dead three years unburied, and so long wear mourning for their parents, but for a brother only three months. When the bodies are interred, they place by the side of the grave the clothes, chariots, horses, arms, &c. of the deceased, and in general whatever they were fond of in their life-time, which are carried off by those who assist at the funeral. They are for the most part very superstitious, as are all the worshippers of Fo(g), and abhor the depriving of any creature of life. Their punishments are commonly of the mild kind; and such crimes as are esteemed capital in other countries, are punished only with banishment into some of the neighbouring islands. Petty crimes are punished with bastonading on the back; but those who are guilty of ill language are put to death. When a criminal is to be punished, they commonly throw a sack over his head, which comes down to his feet; by which means they conceal his shame, and hold him faster in their power.

Their houses have but one story, and are very plain, and thatched : they have no beds, but lie on mats. They use plates and dishes, and most of their furniture is plain. They are moderate in eating and drinking; and are commonly healthy, and take no physic. Their wine is made of a grain which they call Paniz, which we take to be a coarser kind of rice, fitter for that purpose than for eating. We do not read of any vines, or of those exquisite fruits, and odoriferous gums and woods, among them, which are so plentiful in the warmer soil of China; but they have a tree not unlike the palm, whose gum makes an excellent varnish, and of so beautiful a yellow, that it looks like gilding. They make a sort of cotton paper, which is stronger and more lasting, and bears a greater price, than any in China. They have few natural rareties, except a breed of horses not above three feet high, and a sort of hens whose tails are three feet in length. Their common weapons were cross-bows, and long sabres without ornaments, but they have since learnt the use of fire-arms from the Chinese.

They are wholly ignorant of the liberal sciences; and their literati know so little of geography, that they divide the whole world into no more than 12 kingdoms, antiently all subject to that of China, but since become independent, and their maps extend no farther than that of Siam; so that, when they hear Europeans talk of the many kingdoms which that and the other three parts of the world contain, they cannot forbear asking them with a smile, How it is possible for the sun to enlighten


(g) Vide sup. p. 108, et seq. 114, & seq.


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them all, unless indeed they give the name of kingdom to such contemptible countries, or inconsiderable islands, as hardly deserve that of a district, or barren hamlet. This is indeed very different from what we are told by other writers, that some of their books affirm, that the earth contains above 80,000 different countries; but this last they probably had from the Chinese.*




Origin, Antiquity, and History, of the Koreans.


WE can say little concerning the origin and antiquity of the Koreans, except that it is as dark, impenetrable, and, according to some of their own accounts, as fabulous and absurd as that of any other eastern nation; they making no scruple to cry up the heads of their several hords or tribes as the miraculous offspring of some god, demigod, or hero, after the manner of the old fabulous Greeks (F). They are however allowed by most Europeans to be of Tartarian extract; and their country to have antiently been inhabited by various tribes of them, the principal of which were the Me, the Kaw


* De hoc, vid. sup. vol. viii. p. 6, & (D)  vid. & Hamel, ubi sup. & al. mult.


 (F) To give our readers one instance, for all, of this their vanity, the Kau-kyuli, who are descended from the Fu-yu, a people of eastern Tartary, give the following account of one of their antient heroes : A daughter of the god Ho-hang-ho being detained in close confinement by the king of the Kau-kyuli, conceived one day by the rays of the sun, and was afterwards delivered of an egg as large as a bushel, wherein was found a male child; who, when grown up, was called Chu-mong, or good archer, and made overseer of his studs. Chu-mong starved the good horses, and fattened the bad, by which means the king chose the latter, and left him the former. One day, as they were hunting, his majesty gave him leave to shoot what game fell in his way; and he slew so great a number of fallow deer, as made the king think of cutting him off. Chu-mong, perceiving his intention, fled; and, being closely pursued, and coming to a large river which he could not cross, cried out, Ah! shall I, who am the offspring of the sun, and the grandson of the god Ho-hang-ho, be prevented by this river from escaping? He had no sooner ended, than a vast multitude of fishes, binding themselves together, made a bridge, over which he passed to the other side, where he met three persons, one dressed in hempen cloth, the second in a quilted garment, and the third with sea-weeds. These three accompanied him to the city of Kyi-shing-ku, where he took the name of Kau, to signify that he was of the Kau-kyulian race (3).


(3) Regis ubi supra.


[page 530]

kyuli, and the Hau; the last of which were again divided into three hords, viz. the Ma-hau, the Pyeu-hau, and the Chin-hau. We have lately mentioned the several parts of the country which they inhabited, in speaking of their eight provinces, at which time they were governed by their respective princes, till in process of time they all coalesced into one kingdom, and were at length subdued by the Chinese(h).

The Chinese annals pretend, that the Koreans have been subject to them ever since the reign of Yau, their eighth emperor from Fo-hi, and continued so till the tyranny of Tau-kang, the third monarch of the Hya, or first dynasty (who, according to their chronology, began his reign in the year before Christ 2188) caused them to revolt. Kye, who ascended the throne 1818 before Christ, obliged them to become tributary to him; but his oppressive sway soon caused them to revolt, and even to seize on part of his dominions. Kye, being dethroned by Chin-tang 1766 years before Christ, reduced them soon after his becoming head of the Shang, or second dynasty. They again attacked China in the reign of Chong-ting, which began 1562 before Christ, and continued sometimes submissive, sometimes rebellious, till the year 1324 before Christ, when, through the weakness of the emperor Vu-ting, they subdued the provinces of Kyang-nan and Shau-tong, and kept possession of them till they were again subdued by Tsin-chi-whang.

These times, however, are allowed to be obscure hitherto; , and the Chinese history, confirmed by the calculation of several eclipses therein mentioned, begins not the foundation of this Korean monarchy till the time of Ki-tse, a prince famous for his wisdom, and uncle to the then emperor Chew, the last monarch of the second dynasty*, who caused him to be imprisoned, for the sound and free counsels he ventured to give him. Ki-tse, however, was soon after restored by Vu-vang, the founder of the next or third dynasty, who mounted the throne 1122 years before Christ, to whom he delivered the instructions contained in the Shu-king, book iv. c. 6.; but, being unwilling to live under a prince by whom his own family had been dethroned, he retired into that part of Korea then called Chau-tsyen, where, by the emperor's assistance, and his own merit, he was made king, and introduced the Chinese politeness; and, by his singular wisdom, so firmly settled himself on the throne, that his posterity enjoyed it successively till Ching-tsi-whang, who came to the Chinese crown in the year 246 before Christ, made Chau-tsyen dependent on Lyau-tong, allowing only to the descendants of


(h) See p. 522, & seq.  * De hoc, vid. sup, p. 392, & seq.


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Ki-tse the title of Hew, or Earls, till Shun reassumed that of Vang, or King, about forty years after.

He did not, however, enjoy it long, before he was defeated at several encounters by Weyman (G), who at length put an end to the family of Ki-tse, and seized upon that crown. He was afterwards, though after several refusals, confirmed in it by the emperor Wey-ti, or rather by his mother, who governed during his minority, and by degrees brought the Me, the

Kay-kyuli, and the rest of the Koreans, under his government. Yew-kyu, his grandson, about the year before Christ 110, having put to death the Chinese ambassador, the emperor Vu-ti sent an army against him, but without success; but it was not long before Yew-kyu was assassinated by his own subjects, who voluntarily submitted to the emperor; upon which Chau-tsen was reduced into a province, and called by him Tsang-hay; and Korea divided in to four more, viz. Chin-fau, Ling-tong, Lo-lang, and Huen-tu; and the emperor Chau-ti, who began his reign Anno 86 before Christ, since reduced Korea into two provinces.


About sixty years after, the emperor Quang-vu-ti reduced the kingdom of Chau-tsyen, and made it dependent on that of Lyau-tong, then under the government of Chyi-tong, famed for his wisdom and probity. In the mean time the king of Kau-kyuli conquered the Me, Hau, Fu-yu, and some part of Japan; but still continued tributary to the Chinese emperors, till Kong carried his arms into China for the first time, took the city of Huen-tu, and killed the governor of Lyau-tong in battle. Kong was however defeated in his turn by a son of the king of Fu-yu; and was succeeded by his son Swi-chin, who restored Huen-tu to the emperor, and paid him the usual tribute. But, in the weak reigns of Whan-ti and Ling-ti, he again invaded the country of Huen-tu, whence he was afterwards expelled by Kew-lin, governor of that province; part of his own kingdom was likewise taken from him, and the remainder destroyed under a succeeding dynasty.

But here it will not be improper to observe, that the Chinese annals make not the least mention of the conquest which the Japanese made of this peninsula about the year 201 after


(G) Wey-man, or, as others call him, Nyan, was a native of Pe-cheli, and took advantage of the confusion that then reigned in China, whilst Kau-tsu, alias Lyew-pang, founder of the Han

or fifth dynasty, was reducing all the several kingdoms into which China was divided under his government (4), to enter Chau-tsyen at the head of some disbanded soldiers, where he defeated and killed Chun, and destroyed the rest of the royal family (5).


(4) See before, p. 392, & seq.   (5) Regis, ubi supra.


[page 532]

Christ, under their emperor Tsin-ai, or rather of his martial empress Dsin-gu, a celebrated heroine, who assisted him in it; for, that monarch dying soon after his entering upon that expedition, left it to be completed by her; which she did with such success and speed, that the whole Korean kingdom was in a very few years reduced, and made tributary to the Japanese empire. How long they continued under that subjection, the Japanese history doth not inform us; but owns, that in process of time, and by the assistance of the eastern Tartars, they found means to shake off the yoke, and restored their government to its antient form, till again subdued by the Chinese. From that time the Japan emperors have made frequent attempts to recover it, sometimes with, but oftener without, success; so that they were glad at last to let them continue unmolested for a considerable space. Tay-cho, the secular monarch of Japan, was the first, who, after that long interval, revived his pretensions, but disguised them under the colour of designing to invade China, and desiring their assistance; but the Koreans seeing through his views, and having murdered his ambassadors, a war was renewed, which lasted seven years, and of which we shall give a farther account in a proper place.

But to return from this necessary digression, Chan, or Kau, the great grandson of Song, lately mentioned, being made king of Chau-tsyen by the emperor Tong-kya, the kings of Korea continued to be created to that dignity during the dynasties of Tsin, Song, Tsi, the latter Wey, and Chew, till the seventh year of Yang-ti, the second emperor of the Swi dynasty, when Ywen, then king of it, invaded Lyau-tong at the head of an army: for this, Yang-ti summoned him to appear before him; and, upon his refusal, marched against him in person; but, the Koreans taking shelter in their cities, and defending themselves stoutly in them, the emperor was obliged to retire, for want of provisions. He attempted thrice more to reduce them, but without success. Kyen-vu, the son of Ywen, succeeded his father, and was honoured with the title of Shang-chu-que, or the pillar of the state, by the founder of the Tang or thirteenth dynasty. At this time Korea was divided into five governments; viz. that of the court, or middle; and the other four respecting the four points of the compass; and Kay-su-ven, of the family of Ywen, then governor of the eastern canton, and a brutish and treacherous person, assassinated Kyen-vu his sovereign, used his body with the utmost indignity, and set up Tsang, a younger brother of the deceased, on the throne, but only under the title of Molichi, and reserved the power in his own hands. This traitor pretended to be the son of a river-god, [page 533] in order to secure a particular regard from that superstitious people.

In the mean time the emperor Tay-tsong, being informed of his murder and treason, marched against him at the head of a powerful army, and was joined by the kings of Ki-tau-hi, Pe-tsi, and Sim-lo, took several towns from him, and sat down before that of Lyau-tong, which he took by stratagem, reduced to a city of the second rank, and called it Lyau-chew. He next took the city of Ngan-shi, to the relief of which two brave Moko generals came, at the head of 150,000 of their troops. These the emperor attacked in their trenches, and routed them. The generals, upon their submission, were kindly received; but he ordered 3000 of the Moko of Pin-jam to be buried alive; and caused a monument to be erected on the mountain at the foot of which he had incamped, in memory of this victory. Not long after Kay-suen, dying, was succeeded as Molichi by his son Nan-seng; but a discord arising between him and his younger brothers, they came in person to the emperor Kau-tsong, who was then sending some forces to the assistance of the Siu-lo, against whom the Koreans and Moko had declared war. That monarch sent an army against the Koreans, under the command of his general Li-tsing; and inquiring of the Kya-yeu-chong, or censor of the empire, his opinion of that expedition, was answered, that the secret memoirs declared, that the dynasty or race of Kau should not reign full 900 years, and that it would be ruined by a general aged 80 years. Now, continued the censor, this is the 900th year since the family of Kau succeeded that of Han, and the generalissimo Li-tsing is fourscore years old. Besides, the people are divided among themselves; and so distressed by famine, that the very wolves and foxes appear in their cities; by which prodigies they are intimidated, so that the destruction of the Kau dynasty is at hand. Accordingly the Chinese general besieged Pin-jam; and Tang, the titular king of Korea, with about 100 attendants, surrendered himself to him, and met with a kind reception; notwithstanding which, Nan-kyen defended the city with singular bravery, till one of the gates was betrayed to the imperial forces, and he was made prisoner. Then was Korea again divided into five provinces, consisting of 170 principal cities, and 690,000 families.

In the reign of the empress, or rather usurperess, mother of Vu-hew(k), Pay-ywen, the grandson of Tsang, last king of this country, was created king, of the second rank, of Chau-tsyen, to which Korea had changed its name, instead of Kau-ti. In this state the government of it continued till the reign of one of its kings named Van-kien, who assumed the dignity of king, subdued


(k) See before, p. 445, & seq


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the kingdoms of Pe-tsi and Sin-lo, and removed the court from Pin-jam eastward to the foot of the mountain Song-yo. However, his three successors paid homage to the Chinese emperors, till the last of them, named Chi, was obliged to pay it to the Kitan Tartars, who had conquered the north parts of China, which were called Lyau, and taken six towns from Vang-sun, the succesor of Chi, and obliged him to remove his court further from them: but he, making an alliance with the Newche Tartars (H), who destroyed Lyau, and fixed themselves in the north of China, expelled the Kitans out of his dominions, and paid homage again to the Chinese monarch, and, for his bravery was highly honoured by him. His successors were no less favoured by them; and indeed, considering the then reigning contests between the northern and southern monarchs of China, in which the Koreans were courted by both sides, their alliance was so considerable, that they might make their own terms with either; and the emperor Kau-tsong, upon his mounting the throne, was so afraid of their joining with the Kin, or northern family, that he sent them a grand ambassy, to gain them to his side but he was disappointed by the Kin's sending thither Vang-chu with the title of king. Some time after Che, then king of Korea, sent his son Ching to pay homage to the emperor Li-tsong; but, his father dying about the time, he returned to take possession of his kingdom, and had it confirmed to him by that monarch. This prince had paid tribute 36 times, when Shi-tsu, as the Chinese, or Hu-pi-lay, as the Tartars, call him (the son of the famed Jenghiz Khan, and the Koblay of Marco Polo the Venetian traveller)(k), was meditating the conquest of Japan, and designed to pass through Korea thither. In pursuit of which project he sent an ambassador to Japan, whom he ordered to pass through Korea, and to take his guides from thence; but, the Koreans not consenting to it, the emperor so highly resented it, that though Ching had never neglected to pay his tribute to him, yet he seized upon Si-king, or Pin-Jam, and called it Leng-nin-fu. But, upon


(k) See before, vol. iv. p. 515, & seq.


(H) These had formerly been subject to the Koreans, and had in their turn subdued them. Their princes had assumed the title of emperors, and give the name of Kin to their family, though they are not reckoned among the dynasties, because they never were sole master of China, the emperors of Song family still keeping possession of the southern provinces, as we have seen in the Chinese history. As to the farther particulars of the Newche Tartars, Kitans, &c. their various names, tribes, territories, &c. we shall refer our readers to the Tartar history.*


* See before, p. 462.


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Shin's succeeding his father Ching, he married a daughter of the emperor, and received the seal of the emperor's son-in-law, with the title of king of Korea. He then took the name of Kyu, and his third successor was called Song, and from Vang-kyen to Song are reckoned 28 kings of Korea, of the Vang family, within the space of 400 years. When Hong-vu, founder of the Ming or twenty-first dynasty, mounted the Chinese throne(l), Kyu or Chew, then king of Korea, sent an ambassy of homage and congratulation to him, and was by him created king of Kau-li (or Korea), and was presented with a silver seal, and the antient privilege of sacrificing to the gods of the rivers and mountains of that kingdom. But, in the seventeenth year of that emperor's reign, the king's ambassadors having joined in a conspiracy against him, the Koreans were declared enemies of the empire. The matter, however, was soon after compromised, and that monarch satisfied, by a new ambassy and submission; upon which he sent to Korea to buy horses; and, the king refusing to take any money for them, Hong-vu had them valued, and paid for them; but at the same time ordered him to deliver up the towns of Lyau-yang and Shin-ching, which they had seized in the province of Lyau-tong. Soon after this, Kyu, then on the throne, was deposed; and Vang-chang raised to it by Li-jin-jin, then prime minister of Korea, whose son Li-ching-que dethroned Vang-chang, and set the crown upon Vang-yau's head, and in a little time after took it from him, and placed it on his own. And thus ended the line of Vang-tan.


(l) De hoc, vid. sup. vol. v. 60, & seq. viii. 471, & seq.




The Sequel and Conclusion of the Korean History.


LI-CHING-QE, who then changed his name into that of Vang-tang, failed not to dispatch a pompous ambassy, with considerable presents, to Van-lye, then emperor of China, with a petition to be confirmed on his throne; but both that and his presents were rejected; and Ching-se, who had drawn the petition, banished by the emperor. Soon after that, Tau resigned the crown to his son Fang-ywen, who obtained a confirmation from the emperor Yang-lo, who mounted the throne Anno 1403; and sent him 10,000 oxen by way of tribute, in order to stock certain lands which that monarch had assigned to the garrison of Lyau-tong. Tau, the son and successor of Fang-ywen, sent his tribute in gerfalcons, or sea-eagles; but the emperor refused them, saying, that jewels and rare animals were not what he liked. We find little in their history, worth taking notice of, till the reign of  [page 536] the emperor Van-lye except that one of their kings, named Van-ky-whang, prevailed upon the emperor Shi-tsong, alias Kya-tsing, the twelfth monarch of the Ming dynasty, to erase out of the book of the antient customs of the Ming, the article in which Ching-que was recorded for having deposed his lawful sovereign, and usurped his crown; because, said the Korean king, it was done at the solicitation of the grandees, and of the people. But, in the twentieth year of Van-lye, the fourteenth emperor of the Ming dynasty, Korea was invaded by Ping-syew-kyi, chief or king of Japan (I).

This conqueror, according to the Japanese history, finding, in the annals of that empire, that Korea had been formerly subdued, and made tributary to it, and being now raised to the height of secular power, thought it a proper time to revive his pretensions to that peninsula, not without a farther view of opening to himself a way to the conquest of China. He sent accordingly an ambassy thither, to demand of the Koreans a passage for his army through their country; and at the same time that they should acknowlege the emperors of Japan as their sovereigns, and pay homage to them. But the Koreans, instead of an answer, killed his ambassadors, and, by that hostile act, highly provoked him to hasten the war which he had premeditated against them. The Chinese, however, without taking notice of either of these circumstances, only pretend that he was induced to this invasion by the small distance there is between the mountain King-Shang in Korea, and the island Twi-ma-tau, belonging to Japan, and then in


(I) This conqueror is said to have been originally a slave, and afterwards a retailer of fish; and, being found asleep under a tree by a Japanese Quan-pe, or governor, who was then hunting, and was just going to kill him, awoke, and spake to him in such a taking manner, that the Quan-pe took a liking to him, and made him overseer of his studs, giving him the name of Ping-syew-kyi, or The man from under the tree. He soon after gave him some lands, and made him his chief confident; but, being a little after assassinated by one of his counsellors, Ping syew-kyi put himself at the head of his master's troops, under pretence of revenging his death, which he did by killing the murderer; but presently after raised himself to the dignity of Quan-pe, and made himself master, by fraud or force, of about 60 small provinces. This is the account which the Chinese and Koreans give of the great Tay-cho, who raised himself by his valour and merit to the secular empire of Japan. But we shall find a proper place, in the next chapter, to do him that justice which his noble actions deserved. In the mean time we thought it not improper to give this one instance, among many more, of the Chinese pride, and the contempt they have of the Japanese, by the disadvantageous light in which they have set one of their greatest heroes and conquerors


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his possession (K); for, by the commerce carried on between them, he was informed, that Li-seu, who then reigned in Korea, was a prince so wholly devoted to his pleasures, that he might be easily surprised. Accordingly Kyi sent two of his generals, with a numerous fleet, to attack it; who, landing their forces unperceived, took the city of Son-te, and several others, the Koreans being so softened by a long peace, that they fled upon the first approach of the enemy; and the king, leaving the government in the hands of his second son, retired first to Pin-yang, and next to I-chew, in the province of Lyau-tong. From thence he sent an ambassy to the emperor, to beg his assistance against the invaders, to receive him as his subject, and promising to make Korea a province of the empire; but, whilst that was transacting, the Japanese had already demolished the sepulchres, plundered the treasury, taken the mother, children, and officers, of the king, and made themselves masters of the greater part of the kingdom. They had likewise fortified the capital, and posted their troops in the most important passes; and pretended still, that they had no design on the empire, but only to make the river Ta-to-kyang the boundary of their conquests; but were still moving nearer towards Lyau-tong, insomuch that he was forced to remove farther from I-chew to Ngay-chew. All this while he was dispatching couriers upon couriers to the Chinese court, to hasten the succours which came but slowly on; and some of them that arrived had been defeated and cut in pieces by the Japaners.

At length Song-ing-chang was sent at the head of 60,000 Chinese forces, and with the quality of King-lyo, or generalissimo; and dispatched Li-yu-song, a general under him, with those forces, through Lyau-tong, and the difficulty which their cavalry found in crossing the mountain Song-wang-shang was such, that their horses are said to have sweated blood. However, Li-yu-song had sent beforehand a proper general before him, to try to over-reach that of the Japanese, by endeavouring to persuade him that he was not coming with an intention to oppose him, but to create his master a king, for which he was invested with full power from the emperor. Hing-chang, that was the Japanese general's name, readily swallowed the bait, and sent twenty


(K) These two are said by some to be situate within sight of each other, and, by others, within three days sailing with a fair wind; however near enough they are to carry on a commerce, and even intermarry, with each other; by which means Kyi came to learn, that the Koreans, and their king, lived in such peace and pleasure, that the conquest of them might be easily atchieved (f).


(f) See Regis, Kaempfer, & al. ubi sup.


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officers to meet Li-yu-song, who had ordered a party to take them prisoners; but they defended themselves so stoutly, that three only of them were taken. This action might have opened Hing-chang's eyes; but, being told that it happened through a misunderstanding of the interpreters, he was caught a second time, and sent a fresh message to compliment the Chinese general.

We took notice a little higher, that the Japanese had fortified themselves in the capital, and other cities, particularly in that of Pin-yang, which was besides a very strong place by its situation, having the river Ta-tong-kyang on the south-east, and a considerable eminence on the north, then guarded by a good number of their forces. The Chinese general arrived before the city on the sixth day of the first month of the twenty-first year of Van-lye's reign; and, having drawn up his forces in order of battle, began to march into the city, the Japanese, in their richest accoutrements, lining the way, and their general being placed on a tower to view the procession: but the Chinese officers behaved in such a manner, as soon alarmed the Japanese, and forced them upon their guard; upon which Li-yu-song made a feint to attack the eminence on the north side, and ordered the detachment to retire after the first charge, in order to draw the Japanese from their post; instead of which, they in the middle of the night attacked the Chinese camp, but were repulsed with loss. On the eighth day the general assault was given by break of day, and the attack made on the south side of the city, with great vigour on both sides. At length the Chinese, having scaled the walls, forced the enemy to retire to their fortress, whence a good number of them, with their general, made escape about midnight; but had near 300 killed in the action, besides a great number of others that were drowned in crossing the river : a detachment of 3000 Chinese killed 400 more of them in their flight, and took others prisoners. On the 19th they took the city of Fu-kay by storm, killing 165 of the enemy, who, by so many defeats, were now stripped of four of the Korean provinces. From that time the Chinese proved so successful against them in almost every encounter, some of which proved very bloody on both sides, that they had only the capital left to reduce, to which Ching-king, another Japanese general, had retired. The Chinese general, who was within 70 Chinese li's or furlongs from it, marched with double speed against it with his light horse, upon a false report, which he too easily gave credit to, that the Japanese had abandoned it; and thereby fell into one of their ambuscades, near a bridge within thirty li's of the place; upon which a bloody battle ensued, in which great numbers fell on [page 539] both sides; and, tho' the enemy was put to flight, yet the Chinese lost the flower of their troops. They were moreover, on their approach to the city, much incommoded by the thaw and rains in their camp; whilst the Japanese were advantageously seated on a dry eminence, with a river in front, and a mountain on their rear. The town had likewise reared high machines filled with destructive weapons, upon which the Chinese were forced to retreat to Kay-ching.

Here, on the 3d month of the same year, their spies brought intelligence that 200,000 Japaners were about the capital, and that they were plentifully furnished with corn; part of

which Li-yui-song having fortunately burnt, the enemy, fearing a scarcity, agreed to peace, and yielded the capital; which he entered on the eighteenth of the fourth month, and found in it 40,000 bushels of rice, and forage in proportion. After the surrender of the place, the Japanese sent an ambassy of submission to the emperor; and, in the seventh month, delivered up the children and principal officers of the king of Korea; and the emperor, in the twenty-second year of his reign, agreed, at the intreaty of that prince, to accept of the tribute offered by the Japanese, and to create Ping-shyew-kyi Tay-cho or king of Japan, on the following conditions :  


1 . That he should deliver up all his conquests in Korea.

2. That he should send no ambassy to China. And, 3. that he should swear never to enter into that peninsula (m).


This peace had like to have been broken both by the indiscretion of the Chinese ambassador, by whom Van-lye sent the imperial patent to the new Tay-cho, and much more by the contemptuous ambassy which the reinstated king of Korea, sent to him on his being raised to the royal dignity. The first of these, a marquis of the first rank, but a person of a very lustful disposition, had been gratified in that favourite passion, on his arrival in Japan, by the governor of Twima, who sent three of the most beautiful women of that country to him one after another; but, the marquis being afterwards informed that the governor's wife was extremely beautiful, and having made no scruple to demand her of him, he resented the affront. About the same time a Japanese of quality, named Long, having disputed the way with the ambassador, had like to have been killed by him, but was happily rescued by his own retinue, so that the marquis had no way left to escape but by flight, and leaving every thing, even his very credentials, behind him. He wandered all the night, and at length in a fit of despair, hanged himself; but was cut down by some of his followers, and fled back to


(m) See Regis ap. Du Halde, vol. ii. p. 376.


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China, where, by the emperor's orders, he was tried for his misconduct, and another ambassador sent in his room. The Chinese tell us, that Ping-shyew-kyi, having fasted and bathed three days, went in great ceremony to meet the emperor's patent, before which he prostrated himself fifteen times; after which he was created king in all the usual formalities, and expressed the deepest gratitude to the Chinese monarch for his new dignity. But soon after this, the king of Korea, being advised by one of his favourites to treat the Tay-cho with contempt, sent his compliments to him only by a deputy-governor of a city of the second order, and with a few ordinary presents of silk. Ping-shyew-kyi highly resented the insult; and said to the ambassador, Hath thy master so soon forgot that I conquered his kingdom, and have restored it to him out of mere regard to the emperor? What doth he imagine me to be, in sending me such a Present by one of your rank? Whom doth he afront, me, or the emperor? but, since he treats me in so unworthy a manner, let him know that my forces shall not stir out of Korea till the emperor hath duly chastised him. On the next day he sent with his tribute, which was very rich, two remonstrances, the one acknowleging his obligations to the emperor, and the other demanding justice against the Korean king. He waited for the latter till the 25th of that emperor's reign, for a satisfaction for the affront; but, finding him rather inclined to side with the Korean king, as the sequel shews he did, he resolved to renew the war; and accordingly invaded Korea with a fleet of 200 sail, and a powerful army under the command of his two old generals Tsing-ching and Hing-ching. These two, being thoroughly acquainted with the country, renewed the war with double vigour, and took Ngan-ywen-fu, the governor of which fled barefoot upon their first approach; and soon made themselves masters of many other considerable cities and passes on all sides, insomuch that the Chinese capital was in a great measure blocked up. The former had already fixed his quarters at Tun-sin, 600 li's, and the latter at King shang, 400 li's, from it. The Chinese, headed by Han-quey, laid siege to the latter with a numerous army; but, upon a report that the enemy had received fresh succours, fled; whereupon his forces dispersed themselves, 20,000 of them were killed, and their general punished for his cowardice.

In the ninth month of the 26th year of Van-lye's reign, Lew-ting, another Chinese general, marched against Hing-chang; and proposed to him a conference, wherein matters might be amicably adjusted. To which the Japanese general agreed; and, on the next day, went to the place appointed, attended only by fifty horse. But the treacherous Lew-ting [page 541] had laid an ambuscade for it; and, having appointed one of his officers to personate him, attended the meeting in the disguise of a common soldier. Hing-chang was received by the pretended general with the usual honours; and, as he sat at table, could not keep off his eyes from the disguised Lew-ting, and crying out, Surely that soldier has been unfortunate. Lew-ting, surprised at his speech, went immediately out, and gave the signal to the ambuscade by firing a gun; upon which Hing-chang, suspecting the treachery, mounted his horse in an instant, with his attendance, who formed themselves into a triangle, and, with a dreadful slaughter, forced their way through the treacherous Chinese, and escaped. On the next day the Japanese general sent to thank the Chinese one for his entertainment; who had no other way of excusing it, but by pretending, that the firing of the gun was altogether accidental. However, though his treachery had miscarried, it did not hinder his attacking him openly, and a fierce engagement ensued, in which the Chinese were every-where worsted. The war would in all likelihood have lasted much longer, and the Koreans have been severely chastised for their treachery by the highly incensed Tay-cho, had not his unexpected death, or, if we may believe the Japan history, some more cogent motives, induced him to recall his shattered forces; and put an end to all future hostilities, by laying them only under a tribute to him. What those motives were, will be better seen in the history of Japan; however, that brave hero died whilst his generals were on their way home; and Ijejas, whom he had appointed guardian over his son and successor, then but six years old, thought fit only to oblige them to send an embassy to him every three years, and to acknowlege him for their sovereign. And thus ended the Korean war, after it had lasted seven years; since which time they relapsed again, under the dominion of the Chinese Tartars, and drove out all the garrisons which the Japanese had left there, as far as the coasts of the province of Tsiot-sijn, which is the only place they have remaining of all their conquests in that country. The emperors of Japan seem to be satisfied with the possession of those eastern coasts, as a sufficient security to their own dominions; and keep some garrisons there to guard them, which are put under the government of the princes of Iki and Tsusima, two islands lying about the mid-way between Korea and Japan; whilst those Koreans are only obliged to send an ambassy to court, to take an oath of allegiance to every new emperor. This was the condition they were in Junio 1693, when Kaempfer was in Japan. As for the rest of the Koreans, they have continued tributary to the Chinese ever since; and, to all appearance, [page 542] been kept more strictly under them since the Tartars became masters of China. The prince that reigned there when our author wrote his account was called Li-tun, and was descended from the family of Li. In the year  1694 he presented a petition to the emperor Kang-hi, the contents and occasion of which being something curious, and confirming what we have just now hinted of their being under greater subjection than formerly, we shall give it to the reader in the sequel (L). Whenever any of them dies, the emperor immediately deputes two grandees to confer upon the successor the title of Que-vang, or king, who receives the investiture upon his knees, and makes certain presents to the commissioners, which are settled and specified, besides about 8000 taels in money. After that, he is obliged to send an ambassador to the Chinese court with the usual tribute and homage; which last is paid by prostration and knocking his forehead against the ground before the imperial throne. If the Korean king is apprehensive of any disputes arising after his death, about


(L) This petition, for which we shall find a more proper place at the close of this appendix, was presented to the late famed emperor Kang-hi, lately mentioned, in order to obtain a permission from him for rectifying some wrong steps which he had taken with regard to his own private family, but such as one would have imagined were vastly below the cognizance of so great a monarch, and concerned only the restoring of a favourite barren queen, whom he had deposed, in favour of a concubine, who had brought him forth a son and heir. Yet this step, inconsiderable as it seems, was such as he dared not venture upon till he had previously obtained leave by a petition couched in the most abject and servile terms, and backed with the most earnest wishes and suffrages of all his Korean subjects.

Neither was this request received at court as a matter of a trivial nature, seeing the emperor was pleased to refer it to the consideration of one of his high tribunals of ceremonies; by whom it was no sooner approved, than a proper mandarin was dispatched to the Korean court, to reinstall the queen, and degrade the concubine. We shall have occasion, in the sequel, to add an instance or two more of this extreme subjection: in the mean time that which we have given above is sufficient to convince our readers, that the Korean monarchs are far enough from enjoying the same despotic sway under the Tartar which they did under the Chinese monarchs, when it was reckoned treason to controul their will in any case, provided they took care constantly to pay their homage and tribute to them. All that we shall add with relation to their present state, is, that they send yearly an ambassador to receive the almanack which is published at court the first day of the tenth month, for the ensuing year (7).


(7) Regis, ubi sup. ad fin.


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the succession, he nominates an heir to the crown, and gets him confirmed by the emperor; nor dares the royal consort assume the title of queen, before she hath obtained it from him : all which ceremonials have been so exactly regulated, that disputes can never arise; and to this is owing the peaceful state they have so long enjoyed. We shall beg leave to subjoin the afore-mentioned instance of the extreme regard which the Korean kings pay to the Chinese monarch; which will not only prove what we have said, but shew likewise how much superior the Tartars are to the Chinese, in point of governing their tributary provinces, and keeping them under a due subjection and dependence.

It happened in the 32d year of the emperor Kang-hi's reign, in the year 1694, when the prince then on the Korean throne, being dissatisfied at some changes he had made in his family, sent him the following remarkable request by his ambassador :

"I, your majesty's subject, am a most unfortunate man. I had beheld myself a considerable time without an heir, when one of my concubines was at length brought to bed of a son, upon which account I thought myself obliged to advance her to a higher rank; and, from this false step, hath sprung all my misfortunes. I obliged my queen Min-chi to retire from my court, and raised the concubine Chang-chi into her place, as I failed not then of informing your majesty: since which time, having duly considered that Min-chi was created queen by your majesty; that she hath had the government of my family a considerable while, hath assisted me in my usual sacrifices; that she hath paid her last duties to the queen my grandmother, and to the queen my mother, and hath bewailed her separation from me these three years : I am now sensible that she deserved a more honourable treatment from me, and am beyond measure concerned for my imprudent conduct towards her. 
         "In order, therefore, to yield to the earnest desires of my people, I am extremely willing to reinstate my beloved Min-chi to her pristine rank, and to reduce the other to her former low state of a concubine; by which means I shall again restore my family to its antient regular order; and the reformation of my houshold, begun there, will diffuse itself most happily through my whole kingdom.   
          "I YOUR subject, though I have had the misfortune, through ignorance and stupidity, to stain the honour of my ancestors, have nevertheless served your majesty these twenty years, and acknowlege myself indebted to your goodness for all I am and enjoy, as to my only shield and protector. I have no concerns, either public or private, which I would wish to be concealed from your majesty;  [page 544] and that is the chief motive which hath induced me to take the liberty, more than once or twice, thus earnestly to sollicit your majesty upon this point. I blush, I must confess, at my boldness in thus transgressing the bounds of my duty; but, as it is a point which is of such concern to the happiness of my family and kingdom, I thought I might venture to lay this my humble request before you, without wounding that respect with which I am," &c.


This petition the emperor referred to the tribunal of rites, and it was approved by them: in pursuance of which, a commissary was dispatched to the Korean court, to reinstate the queen Min-chi to her pristine rank; but, in the year following, that imprudent prince, whether elated at the condescension of his imperial majesty, or from what other motive unknown to us, having presumed to send a fresh address to the court of Peking, in terms less respectful than those of the former, he was condemned to pay 10,000 ounces of silver as a fine. And this may suffice to shew the extreme subjection the Korean kings are kept under by the Chinese, or rather Tartar, emperors; which severity, besides the politic maxims of that warlike nation, may have been owing, in all probability, to that noble, though unsuccessful stand, which the Koreans made, soon after the reduction of China, to shake off the yoke, and regain their antient liberty, of which we have had occasion to speak more fully in a former part of this volume(t). To which we shall only add one more instance of it; viz. that when the emperor sends an ambassador to Korea, the king is obliged to go in person, attended by all his guards, and a numerous retinue of his houshold, out of his capital, to receive him : whilst, on the other hand, those of the Korean prince to the court of Pe-king are scarce received with any ceremony, and are even obliged to give place to a mandarin of the first rank. They are lodged in some private house, and kept under a kind of honorary guard, which never leaves them, whether they go abroad, or stay at home; but are to watch over, and give an account of, all their actions, behaviour, and even of their words, to some proper officers of the court *.




(t) Sec before, p. 487.   * Regis, ubi sup. p. 377, et seq. Histoire de Core, vol. i. p. 454, & seq. Kaempfer, ubi sup. & al.