THE KOREA REVIEW

 

Volume 2, 1902

 

 

Homer B. Hulbert A. M., F. R. G. S..

Editor.

 

 

 

Seoul: Methodist Publishing House.

 

 

Contents

JANUARY 1902. 6

FEBRUARY 1902. 45

MARCH 1902. 84

APRIL 1902. 121

MAY 1902. 157

JUNE, 1902. 197

JULY, 1902. 235

AUGUST, 1902. 274

SEPTEMBER 1902. 312

OCTOBER, 1902. 350

NOVEMBER, 1903. 388

DECEMBER 1903. 425

 

 


 

 

INDEX OF THE KOREA REVIEW *

             *Articles by the Editor unless otherwise indicated

 

1902.

 

 

A Beggar’s Wages 8

A Celebrated Monument 102

A Convert to Buddhism 404

A Cuttle Fish Story 17

A Hunter’s Mistake 19

A Government Stock Farm 306

A Jade Bowl 352

A Korean Canute 165

A Leaf from Korean Astrology 491, 529

A Look Beyond 261

A Maker of the New Orient 502

A School for the Native Character 63

A Snakes Revenge 208

Aesculapian Episode, An 345

Ai-go 113

Alliance, Anglo-Japanese 69, 71

Alphabet, Remusat on the Korean 198

An Aesculapian Episode 345

An Island without a Sea 59

Ancient Kingdom of Karak, The 541

Ancient Korea, Note on 13

Appenzeller, Memoir of Rev. H. G. by Rev. W. C. Swearer 254

Apricots 344

Archery, Expert 453

Astrology, A leaf from Korean 491,529

Attack on foreigners, Japanese 262

Banking in Korea 250

Beggars Wages, a 8

Bell, The Great 387

Belt, The Jade 387

Bible Society Sunday 223

Bribery began, How 164

Buck-wheat 301

Buddha, The Golden 388

Buddhism, a Convert to 404

Buddhist Monastery, A 26

Budget for 1902 120

Burial Customs 241, 294

Cabbage 302

Canute, A Korean 165

Cats and the Dead 401

Cave felem 306

Celebrated Monument, A 102

Chang-ot, The 21

Chestnuts 393

Cholera Epidemic 406, 506

Christmas among Koreans Rev. G. H. Jones Ph. D. 61

Collbran, Miss, (Obituary) 502

Convert to Buddhism, A 404

‘Correspondence 24, 440

Council of Missions 414

Count di Malgra, The D. Pegorini Esq 462

Crab-apples 345

Crow-talk 403

Currency, Depreciated 116, 125

Currency, Korean 337, 389

Cuttle-fish Story, A 17

Donkey-maker, The 20

Doom deferred, The 352

Editorial Comment 23, 69, 116, 166, 211, 262, 310, 355, 406, 453. 504, 549

Electric Shocks 164

Embargo on rice export 23, 166

English and Japanese Alliance 69,71

Essence of Life, The 209

Expert Archery 453

Export of rice, Embargo on 23, 166

Exposition, The St. Louis 311

Famine conditions 123

Feudalism in Korea 354

Fiction, Korean 286

Flutes, The Twin Jade 386

From Fusan to Wonsan 529

Ginko 395

Ginseng 26

Glass-works 27

Globe-trotter, Korea a la

Golden Measure, The

Good Old Age

Good Policy

Goose that Laid the Golden Egg, The 307

Greetings 22

Hair at Weddings 22

Hazel Nuts 395

History of Korea 33, 81. 129, 177

225, 273. 21, 321

369. 417, 465, 513, 561

Hanging Stone, The 18

Hospital, The Severance 357, 510

How Bribery began 164

Hunter’s mistake, A 19

Independence Club, The 216

Indian came from. Where the 159

Island without a Sea, An 59

Jade Bowl, A 352

Japanese Banking in Korea 250

Japanese Attack on foreigners 262

Jujubes 394

Karak, The ancient Kingdom of 541

Kato, Esq. M., Adviser 212

Korea, a la Globe-trotter - 161

Korean Currency 337, 389

Korean Fiction 286

Korean History 33, 81, 129, 177, 225, 273, 321, 369, 417, 465, 513. 561

Language, The Korean 433

Laws, ordinances &c. W. H. Wilkinson Esq. 174

Look beyond, A 261

Male and female principles in Plants 354

Marks of Royalty, The 351

Memoir of Rev. H. G. Appenzeller by Rev. W. C. Swearer 254

Memoir of Count di Malgra by D. Pegorini Esq. 462

Meteorological Observations 272, 320 V. Pokrovsky M. D., 368, 416, 464. 512, 560

Military School, Trouble in 29

Millet 205

Mission Meetings 407

Monument, A Celebrated 202

Murder in Chemulpo 126

Native Character, A School for the 63

Necessity the Mother of Invention 193

News Calendar 25. 71, 118, 167, 212, 265, 313. 359, 4 9, 459. 505, 553

North and South Winds 115

Not dead yet 452

Notes on Ancient Korea 13

Oats 205

Obituary Notice, Miss Collbran 502

Obituary Notice, Count di Malgra 462

Obituary Notice Rev. H. G. Appenzeller 254

Odds and Ends 17, 65, 112, 164, 208, 261, 306, 351, 401. 450, 546

Old Age, Good iS

Onions 303

Origin of Korean People Dr. E. Baelz 440

Origin of Korean People 453

Pagoda. The nine story 388

Pak-tu-san, Volcanic? 361

Peaches 344

Pears 343

Persimmons 341

Phonetic System for China 356

Pine nuts 396

Plums 345

Postal Service 396

Potatoes 301

Products of Korea 49, 103, 203, 307, 341, 393

Queen of Quelpart 458

Question and Answer 21, 66, 115, 308, 353

Railway, The Seoul- Eui-ju 206, 21 1

Remusat on the Korean Alphabet 198

Revenge, A snake’s 208

Reviews 159, 304, 458, 4 >8

Rice 49

Rice export. Embargo 23

Sacrificing at City Gates 353

Sak-sun, The Works of Geo. H. Jones Ph. D. 55

School for the Native Character 63

Seoul Chemulpo Tennis Tournament 408,411

Seoul Electric Company 217

Sesanmm 300

Severance Memorial Hospital 357, 510

Slavery in Korea 149

Snake’s Revenge, A 208

Sorghum 204

Status of Woman i, 53, 97, 155

Sticking Stone, The 67

Stock farm, a Government 306

Stones, Water-worn 305

Submarine Adventure, A 145

Tadpoles 351

Taxation in Korea 481

Telegraph Service 396

Tennis Tournament, Seoul 358

Tennis Tournament, Seoul-Chemulpo 408, 411

Text of Anglo-Japanese Alliance 71

The Ancient Kingdom of Karak 541

The Chang-ot 21

The donkey- maker. 20

The doom deferred 352

The Essence of life 209

The Golden Buddha 388

The Golden Measure 385

The Goose that laid the Golden

The Great Bell 387

The Hanging Stone 18

The Jade belt

The Jade flutes

The Korean Language 433

The Louisiana Purchase Exposition 311,313

The Marks of Royalty 351

The Nine Story Pagoda 388

The North and South Winds 115

The Origin of the Koreans Dr. E. Baelz 440

The Origin of the Koreans 453

The Products of Korea 49, 103, 203, 300, 341, 393

The Queen of Quelpart 4 58

The Seoul Chemulpo Tennis

Tournament 408,411

The Seoul tennis tournament 358

The Seoul Eui-ju Railway 206. 216

The Severance Memorial Hospital 357, 516

The Status of Woman 1, 53, 97, 155

The Sticking Stone 67

The Treasures of Kyöng-ju 385

The Twin Jade flutes 386

The White Buddha 66

The Works of Sak-eun

Geo. H. Jones Ph. D. 65

Things are not what they seem 450

Trade Report of Korea II98

Travel in Eastern Korea 529

Treasures of Kyöng-ju 385

Turnips 302

Walnuts 393

Water Worn Stones 308

Wheat 203

Where the Indian Came from 159

White Buddha, The 66

Winds, South and North 115

Woman, The Status of i, 53, 97, 155

Works of Sak-eun Geo. H. Jones Ph.D. 65

Wreck of the Kuma-gawa 247, 261, 266

 

 

 

 


 

 

THE KOREA REVIEW

 

JANUARY 1902.

 

The status of Woman in Korea.

 

(SECOND PAPER.)

 

In a former paper we discussed briefly the question of the seclusion of woman. We now come to the second division of our subject, namely, the occupations open to women in Korea. And before attempting to enumerate them we should observe in a general way that the chief occupation of the Korean woman, whether of the high or low class, is motherhood. Like the ancient Hebrew woman, she says “Give me children or I die.” This springs from the instinct for self-preservation. The Confucian code renders male offspring a sine qua non of a successful life and a woman who brings her husband no children is doubly discredited. There is no more valid cause for divorce in Korea than barrenness. There are no old maidsin this country. It becomes a matter of public scandal if a girl passes her eighteenth or twentieth year without settling in a home. Of course in the case of cripples or incompetents it is a little difficult to arrange, but many a young man takes his bride home only to find that she is a deaf mute or cross-eyed or humpbacked, or partially paralyzed. This is a triumph for the old woman, the professional go-between, who “works off” these unmarketable goods without the groom or his family knowing anything about the deformity until too late. But the balance is even as between the brides and the grooms, for a nice girl as often finds herself tied to a drunk- ard or a case of non compos mentis. The Korean woman’s main business then is wifehood and motherhood, but even so [page 2] there are many opportunities for her to help along the family finances and supplement the wages of a husband who is too often shiftless and dependent, or worse.

Remembering that there are three social grades in Korea, the high, the middle and the low, our first question is: What occupations are open to women of the upper class, who from necessity or inclination desire to earn an honest penny?

Strange as it may seem, the only kind of a shop such a woman can keep is a wine-shop. Of course she never appears in person but if her house is properly situated she can turn a portion of it into a wine shop where customers will be served by a “clerk” or bar-maid, perhaps the lady’s slave or other servant. No lady will ever sell cloth or vegetables or fruit or anything, in fact, except wine. Silk culture is a very common industry in which ladies take a prominent part if they are living in the country. The care of the eggs, the feeding of the worms, the manipulation of the cocoons and the spinning of the silk are methods by which the wife of the gentleman farmer passes many pleasant hours and adds materially to the finances of the household.

As in China so in Korea it used to be customary for the king to come out one day in the year and go through the form of plowing thus indicating the high regard in which agriculture is held. At the same time the queen used to come out and gather mulberry leaves with her own hand and feed the silk-worms, to indicate that this is one of woman’s highest forms of industry. And, as might be expected, weaving, sewing and embroidery are forms of labor common to the highest ladies, though the best embroidery is not done by them.

Many Korean ladies of restricted means act as tutors to the daughters of their more fortunate sisters. They teach the Chinese character and literature, letter-writing, burial customs, music, house-keeping, hygiene, the care of infants, obstetrics, various ceremonies, religion, fiction, needlework, embroidery and other things which the little girl should learn. All these forms of useful learning are taught by lady teachers quite commonly in the home of the well-to-do gentleman. Of course the teacher is not seen by the gentleman of the house.

In the country the tending of bees falls to the lot of the lady of the house and it is not beneath her dignity, however high her [page 3] position may be. She may also help in the care of fruit trees but especially of the jujube tree. Nor is it considered lowering for her to engage in the making of straw shoes. It seems a little singular that the Korean lady should be able to make the commonest and lowest kind of footwear when it would be entirely beneath her dignity to make the better kinds of shoes, such for instance as those which her husband would wear in town.

In Korea there are many blind people and not a few of them make a living as exorcists. If an inmate of a house is sick someone will run for a blind exorcist who will come and drive out the evil spirit which causes the disease. But men are not the only ones who ply this curious trade. Any Korean blind woman, no matter what her rank, can become an exorcist. A lady exorcist, as might be expected, is in demand among the upper classes almost exclusively.

Korea is the fortune-teller’s paradise. Superstition is so prevalent that .scarcely any undertaking is begun without first consulting the fortune-teller. Fully as much of this is done among the upper classes as among the lower, for the former can better afford the luxury. Indigent ladies do not hesitate to enter the ranks of the fortune-tellers. It is an easy, graceful, lucrative form of labor and carries with it an element of adventure which probably appeals strongly to some natures.

But a higher form of labor to which the Korean lady is eligible is that of the physician. Most of the forms of labor enumerated above are open to women of the middle class as well as to ladies but no Korean woman can be a physician except she belong to the highest class. The science of medicine, or I might better say, perhaps, a science of medicine, has received great attention from Koreans for many centuries. The Korean pharmacopoea has been celebrated even in China; and it cannot be denied that it contains certain crude drugs which are often effective. But however this may be, Korea has many native lady physicians who administer their extract of centipede or tincture of bear’s gall (which are not, by the way, among the effective remedies above referred to) or decoction of crow’s foot or whatever else the symptoms of the patient seem to demand. They are said to be very skillful at acupuncture which together with the application of the moxa forms [page 4] the extent of Korean surgery. The Korean lady doctor is used more especially in obstetric cases where the Korean patient could not possibly be attended by a male physician. A rather good story is told of a certain queen who was taken ill. Unfortunately no lady physician could be found, and the distinguished patient grew rapidly worse. Male physicians were at hand but of course they could not see the patient. Suddenly there appeared at the palace gate a venerable man who said that he could prescribe for the queen. When asked how he could diagnose the case without seeing the patient he said “Tie a string around her wrist and pass it through a hole in the partition.” It was done and the old man, holding the end of the string, described her symptoms exactly and wrote out a prescription which quickly brought her round. Compared with this, Marconi’s recent triumph in wireless telegraphy seems—but how did we come to digress like this? Let us get back to our subject.

In time of war Korean ladies formerly made themselves useful by constructing bows and arrows. There was a special kind of bow, only fifteen inches long, which would throw an iron arrow, like a needle, with great force. Women themselves sometimes helped to “man” the city walls and would make effective use of these little bows.

Large quantities of hemp are grown in Korea and a coarse kind of linen is extremely common. The Korean lady is privileged to take a hand in the preparation of the hemp and the making of the linen.

In different parts of the country special customs prevail, as in Ham-gyŭng Province where ladies often engage in the making of horse-hair switches with which elderly gentleman supplement their thinning locks in making up that most honored sign of Korean citizenship, the top-knot.

We must now pass on to occupations that are open to Korean women of the middle class. As might be supposed, a descent in the social grade widens the field of the Korean woman’s work. The middle class woman can engage in all the occupations of her higher sister except those of the physician and the teacher of Chinese literature, but besides these there are many other openings for her.

She may be the proprietress of any kind of a shop, [page 5] although she will not appear in person. She can “take in washing” which means, in Korea, carrying it to the nearest brook or well-curb where the water she uses speedily finds its way back into the well. She can act as cook in some well-todo family; she can tend the fowls and the pigs, as farm wives do at home, and thereby earn her own pin money. Concubines are procured exclusively from this middle class. Many middle class women are comb-makers, head-band makers and tobacco pouch makers. They are allowed certain fishing rights as well, though they are restricted to the taking of clams, cuttle fish and beche de mer. The women on the island of Quelpart held, until lately, a peculiar position in this matter of fishing. The men stayed at home while the women waded out into the sea and gathered clams and pearl oysters. As the women were always nude there was a strict law that men must stay indoors during the fishing hours. So these modern Godivas were the bread winners and, as such, claimed exceptional privileges. It is said that the island of Quelpart bade fair to become a genuine gynecocracy. But it was all changed when Japanese fishermen appeared and began to fish off that island. The women’s occupation was gone and the men had to go to work again.

Another important field of labor that is monopolized by women of the middle class is that of wet-nurse. Women of the upper class often act in this capacity but as a matter of friendship—not for pay. Buddhist nuns all come from the middle class but it is considered a great drop in the social scale. That peculiar class of women called na-in or palace women are all of the middle class. They are in some sense the hand-maidens of the queen. They engage in embroidery and other fancy work under the eye of Her Majesty. Foreigners often suppose that this position is a disgraceful one but these palace women are entirely respectable members of society and any delinquency on their part is severely dealt with.

Many women of the middle class are innkeepers. Travel on Korean roads is so slow that inns are very numerous and women of the middle class very frequently find this a successful means of livelihood. The hostess has little trouble about keeping the accounts. All she has to do is to watch [page 6] the rice bowls and the bean bag; for food and fodder are the only things charged for in a Korean inn. Sleeping room and stable room are thrown in gratis. If the hostess had to keep an eye on these things as well it would be impossible for her to preserve any semblance of seclusion.

The making of shoes and of fish nets also devolves upon women of this class. Ladies of the upper class can make straw shoes only but middle class women can make any kind.

Of all these occupations of middle class women there are only two in which low class women cannot engage, namely that of palace-women and tobacco-pouch makers.

We now come to the lowest class of all. While middle class women are thoroughly respectable, women of the low class are looked upon as entirely outside the social pale. They have practically no rights at all and are at the mercy of any one into whose hands they fall.

There are first those unfortunates called dancing-girls. The northern province of Pyŭng-an takes the lead in supplying women to fill the ranks of this degraded class. The girls are taken when very young and trained to their profession. These women are never veiled and go about as freely as men. In the Korean view they are unsexed and are social outcasts. They are not necessarily women of bad character and many are the stories illustrative of their kindness, charity and patriotism. And yet, if the estimate of their own countrymen can be accepted, such goodness is the very rare exception. In early days there were no dancing-girls, but boys performed the duties of this profession. In course of time, however, a gradual weakening of the moral tone of the people let in this unspeakable evil. The dancing-girl is a protegé of the government; in fact, the whole clan are supported out of government funds and are supposed to perform only at public functions. They do not by any means constitute that branch of society which in western countries goes by the euphemistic name demi monde. The dancing-girl usually closes her public career by becoming the concubine of some wealthy gentleman.

As in Ancient Greece the heterai had greater oppotunities for education than respectable women had, so in Korea the greater freedom of the dancing-girl gives her an opportunity [page 7] to acquire a culture which makes her intellectually far more companionable than her more secluded but more reputable sisters. This of course is a great injustice. There is a very wide distinction made between dancing-girls and courtezans, of which latter Korea has its full share.

There are also female jugglers, tumblers, contortionists and professional story-tellers. Their occupation describes them. The mudang or sorceress is much in evidence in Korea. She is the lowest of the low; for besides an entire lack of character she is supposed to have commerce with the evil spirits. The p’an-su or blind exorcist is the enemy of the evil spirits and, by a superior power, drives them away. But the mudang is supposed to secure their departure through friendly intercession. This of course determines her unenviable position and few women in Korea are more depraved than the mudang.

The female slave is very common in Korea. She may have been born a slave or she may have been made one as a punishment or she may have sold herself into slavery in order to help some relative or to liquidate the claims of an importunate creditor or she may have been made a slave because of her husband’s crime. The condition of the slave is rather better than that of many of the poor people of Korea for she is sure of food and shelter, which is more than many can say. As a rule the slave is treated fairly well and does not particularly excite our pity. She will be seen carrying water home from the well and not only will her face be uncovered but there is usually an hiatus between her very short jacket and her waistband which leaves the breasts entirely exposed.

The professional go-between who acts in the capacity of a matrimonial bureau is one the peculiar excrescences on the body politic of Korea. It is her business to find brides for the bachelors and husbands for the maidens. Her services are not absolutely necessary, for the parents or relatives of the eligible young man or woman are usually able to arrange an alliance; but there are many cases where the services of the go-between are of value. If an undesirable young man or woman fears that he or she will not draw a prize in the matrimonial lottery the chung-ma is called in, and it is made [page 8] worth her while to find an acceptable partner for her client. So it comes about that she is always well worth watching and her description of a prospective bride or groom should be verified if possible by occular evidence. A case has just come under my notice where a nice girl was provided with a husband by a Chung-ma, The girl’s relatives went to see the prospective groom and found him handsomely dressed and living in a fine house, but when the wedding ceremony was over he took her home to a wretched house where his father and mother and a large family lived huddled together like rabbits in a hole. The deception was a most cruel one, for the girl had been accustomed to a life of comparative luxury.

Occasionally these go-betweens are brought to justice for these felonious acts but generally the girl would rather suffer in silence than have the matter made a public scandal.

Besides these members of the low class we also have those women who are professional attendants at the wedding parade and with huge piles of false hair on top of their heads follow unveiled in the nuptial procession. Besides these there is only one class to mention. These are the women butchers at the Confucian School at Seoul. At no other place can women act as butchers, but these women are supposed to be descended from a wild tribe which swore allegiance to Korea and some of whose members were given this position as an hereditary one. It is said that, contrary to the usual order of things, these people get their upper teeth before the lower ones. This I have not verified, nor is it of any consequence.

The foregoing is not a complete list of all the occupations open to the Korean woman but the most important ones will be found here.

 

(To be continued).

 

 

A Beggar’s Wages.

 

He was no beggar at first, nor need he ever have been one; but when the monk met him in front of his father’s house and, pointing a bony finger at him, said “you will be a [page 9] beggar when you are fifteen years old” it simply frightened him into being one. I’ve forgotten his name but we can call him Palyungi, which name will do as well as any. He was twelve and the only son of wealthy parents. How the snuffling monk knew that he was going to be a beggar is more than I can say but perhaps he envied the boy his good prospects and was sharp enough to have learned that you can frighten some folks into doing most anything by just telling them that they are destined to do it.

Palyungi was a sensitive lad and he never thought of doubting the monk’s word. He reasoned that if he stayed at home and became a beggar it would mean that his parents also would be reduced to want, while if he went away and became a sort of vicarious beggar it might save them.

How he induced his parents to let him go is not told but sure it is that one day he set out without a single cash in his pouch, not knowing whether he would ever see his father’s home again. He wandered southward across the Han through Ch’ung-chŭng Province; across the lofty Cho Ryŭng or Bird Pass begging his way from house to house. So sensitve was he that he hardly dared sleep under any man’s roof for fear his evil fortune would be communicated to it. His clothes were in rags and he was growing thinner and thinner, eating sometimes of the chaff and beans which the horses left in the corners of their eating troughs, sometimes dining with the pigs.

At last one night he was limping along the road toward a village, when his courage gave out and he sunk in a heap beside the road and gave up the struggle. He fell into a light, troubled sleep from which he was awakened by the sound of a galloping horse. It was now almost dark, but rising to his knees he saw a horse come pounding down the road with halter trailing and no owner in sight. On the horse’s back were two small but apparently heavy boxes. As the horse passed him he seized the trailing halter and speedily brought the animal to a stand-still. These heavy boxes, what could they contain but money. For a moment the temptation was strong but the next moment he gave a laugh as much as to say “I’m not fifteen yet, what good would the money do me if I am to be a beggar anyway?” So he tied [page 10] the horse to a tree out of sight of the road and walked along in the direction from which the horse had come. He had not gone a mile before out of the darkness appeared a man evidently suffering from great excitement and running as fast as he could go. He fairly ran into Palyungi’s arms. His first word was “Have you seen my horse? I am undone if I cannot find him. He was loaded with the government tax from my district and if it is lost my head will be taken off and all my family reduced to poverty.” The boy asked him the color of the horse and other particulars and, when sure that this was the owner of the horse he had caught, led him to the spot where he had tied it. The owner was so delighted that he fell to crying, and opening one of the boxes took out a silver bar and tried to make the boy accept it, but he would not. After urging him in vain the man went on his way with the horse and the treasure.

So Palyungi’s wanderings continued for two years more. He slept under no man’s roof for fear of bringing it evil fortune but made his bed in the stable or under a pile of straw or m any nook or corner he could find.

At last fortune led him to the village of Yang-jil late in the autumn when the frosts of winter were coming on. Someone invited him in to spend the night but he refused as usual telling them that he might bring bad luck. As he turned away someone said:--

“There is a fine house up the valley among the hills and no one lives there. It is said to be haunted. Every person that lived there was killed by the tokgabis. Why don’t you go and stop there?”

Palyungi thought it over. Here was a chance to sleep in a house without injuring anyone. He accepted the proposal and after obtaining precise directions as to the position of the house started out in great spirits. The tokgabis surely would not have any interest in injuring him. At last among the trees he spied the tile roof of a fine mansion. He entered the gate. All was silent. The open windows gaped at him. The silence was depressing, but Palyungi entered bravely. It was now nearly dark and everything was gloomy and indistinct, but the boy groped about till he found a cozy corner, and after munching a handful of broiled rice that he had [page 11] brought in his sleeve rolled up in paper, he lay down and went to sleep, oblivious of ghosts and goblins.

It might have been midnight or later when he started up, as wide awake as ever in his life. There was no apparent cause for this and yet he felt in the darkness about him an influence that was new to his experience. As he sat listening in the dark he heard a little rustling sound and something soft and light brushed across his face like the wing of a butterfly.

This was too much. He was willing to meet the tokgabis in the light but it was unfair to attack him in the dark. So he felt about in his pouch till he found his steel and tinder and struck a spark. This he applied to some little resinous splinters which he had brought for the purpose and immediately a tiny flame sprang up. Holding this above his head he peered about him into the darkness. He was in a large room or hall and the beams and rafters above him were concealed by a panelled ceiling across which rainbow colored dragons were chasing each other. Out toward the middle of the room he saw two long snake-like things hanging down from a hole in the ceiling. He shrank back in dismay for this was worse than tokgabis but lighting some more of his sticks he soon perceived that these two things were not serpents but rope ends moving in the breeze. It was the frayed end of one of these that had brushed across his face in the dark.

Now this was a very curious sight and Palyungi was eager to learn what connection these ropes had with the tragedies that had been enacted in this house. So he boldly grasped one of the ropes and gave it a violent jerk. Down it came, accompanied by a clang like that of iron. On the end of it hung an enormous key. Well, of course a key always suggests a money box and a money box always suggests a miser, and misers in Korea are the special victims of tokgabis so putting two and two together Palyungi thought it would be worthwhile looking about a bit. Now, misers in Korea do not go and dig a hole in the ground and bury their money, perhaps because they are too lazy to dig it up every time they want to count it, but they often put it in a box and hide it among the beams above a ceiling. So Palyungi hunted about till he found an old ladder and then crawling up through [page 12] the hole in the ceiling was rewarded by finding a small but very heavy box tucked away among the rafters. He gave it a push with his foot and sent it crashing down through the flimsy ceiling to the floor below. The key fitted, of course, and he found himself the possessor of a pile of silver bars, enough to make him enormously wealthy. There were at least four thousand dollars’ worth—good wages for four years of begging! How would he ever be able to spend all that money?

It was now growing light and shouldering his treasure trove he trudged down the valley toward the village. Before he entered it he hid his box under an overhanging bank. He then went into one of the houses and begged for something to eat at the kitchen door. The wench in charge bade him come in and warm his toes at the fire. It seems that it was a feast day at that house and as the boy sat there in the kitchen on the dirt floor he heard the host in the neighboring room telling his guests a remarkable adventure he had once had. He was carrying the government tax up to Seoul when the horse ran away and all would have been lost had not a beggar boy caught the horse and restored it to him. Palyungi pricked up his ears at this. It sounded familiar. The man concluded by saying:

“Ever since that I have been seeking for that boy and I have laid aside for him one third of all my income since that day, but I cannot find him.”

Palyungi knowing that he would not now be dependent upon the man’s bounty opened the door of the room and made himself known. The gentleman clasped him in his arms and fell to crying, he was so glad. After a time he told the boy that he had been provided for and should never need money again, but Palyungi smiled and said:

“I shall not need your money for I have three times as much as your whole property is worth.”

He then led them to the place where he had hid the box and disclosed to their amazed eyes the treasure it contained. He was now sixteen years old and the prophecy had been fulfilled. So he went up to Seoul on his own donkey like a gentleman and found that his father and mother had suffered no calamity through him.

[page 13] He married the daughter of the man whom he had befriended and the last heard of him was that he was holding the portfolio of Minister of Ceremonies-a position which his period of mendicancy had eminently fitted him to enjoy if not to fill.

 

 

Notes on Southern Korea.

 

Ma-han

 

Anything that bears upon the condition of southern Korea in ancient times and that helps to throw light upon that complicated question, the composition of the Korean people, must be of interest to all Who wish to gain an intimate knowledge of Korea as she is.

I have lately come across a work entitled Sak-eun-chip (索隱集) or “The Works of Sak-eun.” This Sak-eun is not the man*s name but his nom de plume and I have not as yet been able to identify him nor to determine the date at which he wrote. What he says, however, is so striking that it is worth preserving for future reference. He says, in effect:

Anciently in south-western Korea there were three tribes or communities called respectively Wŭl-la-gol (越羅骨), Sammu-hol (森茂忽) and Ku-ri-ch’ul-myo (xxxx). In course of time I-yang (xx) the chief of Wŭl-la-gol, succeeded in uniting them under one government including fifty-four villages. This kingdom, if it may be so called, was bounded on the north by Chosŭn; on the east by Măk (x) and Pyön-han (xx); on the south by Im-na (xx) and on the west by the Yellow Sea. When Ki-jun fled south from Chosŭn he came to Keum-ma-gun (xxx) which was in Wul-la-gol. The fiftyfour towns, which had already been united by I-yang, bowed to Ki-jun and he became the king. The country was called Ma-han, not (xx) but (xx), the ma meaning not “horse” but “to soothe,” to quiet,” which to Ki-jun may have meant “to civilize.”

 

We will notice that among the three tribes which I-yang [page 14] united one was called Sam-mu-hol (xxx). Now this last character hol is the same as in the word Mi-ch’u-hol (xx x) the ancient name of Chemulpo, and supposed to be a northern name. At least it helps to prove that the word hol was a native word meaning town or village or settlement. If this Sam-mu-hol was the most northerly of the three tribes then it may be that it was of northern origin while the others were of southern origin. In so far as it goes it is against the theory of a southern origin for southern Koreans in ancient times. We find here also that the fifty-four towns which comprised Ma-han were connected under one government before the arrival of Ki-jun. We have mention of that interesting tribe called Im-na in the extreme south which gives us one more kingdom or tribe whose name ends in na (x) which I believe to have been the base of the modern word na-ra or “kingdom.” Of course in these names the Chinese characters are used merely to transliterate and the meanings of the characters have no significance.

We should much like to know what I-yang called his united kingdom but that we are not told. He may have called it Ma-han himself, before Ki-jun came, but we have nothing definite about it.

This statement also helps us to locate the boundaries of Ma-han which seem to have been in the vicinity of the Han River in the North and to have followed pretty closely the eastern line of the present Ch’ŭng-ch’ung and Chŭl-la Provinces, but keeping probably to the west of the southern branch of the Han River, as far as this goes.

 

Chin-han.

 

This work gives a very different account of the origin of Chin-han from the generally accepted one which affirms that Chinese refugees came to Ma-han and were sent by the Ma-han authorities to the eastern part of the peninsula. The book under review gives many more particulars of this Chinese immigration and it is here that its chief value is found The account is as follows:

 

Anciently the people in south-east Korea lived along the shore in the valleys. There were two communities named [page 15] Myŭng-go-heul (xxx) and Hŏ-ga-whal (xxx) they lived by fishing and hunting, though they also cultivated the ground a little. During the ancient Chosŭn dynasty in the sixteenth year of Kyong-sun, the twenty-third year of Hyön-wang (x x) of the Chu (x) kingdom in China, corresponding to 346 B. C. a wild chieftain from the far north beside the Heuk-yong River (xx) came and did obeisance to the king of Chosŭn. For this he was driven out of his tribe and came to Chosŭn. His name was Ang-ni Ko-han-gil. With a few companions he wandered southward into what is now Kyöng-sang Province until he reached Hŏ-ga-whal. The people received him well and gave him a place to live in what was called O-ch’ŭn (xx) now the town of Yŭn-il. Being superior to the Hŏ-gawhal people in intelligence he soon gained an ascendency among them and the two communities broadened out into six, with him at their head.

The years sped on until the time of king A-wang of Chosŭn and his seventh year, the thirty-second year of Chin-euiwang (xxx), 215B.C. The kingdom of Yŭn (x) in northern China had been overcome by Chin-si-wang and he compelled the people to build the Great Wall. A considerable portion of the Yun people were walled out. This displeased them much. One of the Yun men who was a superintendent of the work of building the wall decided that he would run away rather than submit to this. His name was Chin-hon (xx)’ He with 60,000 followers sailed from the vicinity of Shan-hai-gwan and came to Korea where they landed at the mouth of the Păk River (xx) which is now called the Păkma River or (xxx). It is the town of Pu-yŭ in Ch’ungchŭng Province. They could not understand the speech of the people there, but they had the good luck to meet a man who knew their tongue. He said his name was Chin-hun (xx) and that he had been driven to Korea by a storm seven years before. He was from the Chu (x) kingdom. He advised the immigrants to go eastward where they would find a pleasant place to settle. He offered to guide them. They went eastward crossing the mountain range at Cho-ryung or Bird Pass, the most celebrated mountain pass in Korea. They were the ones to discover and use it first. Arriving at the six settlements or communities above described they entered one of them [page l6] named Yŭn-ch’ŭn Yang-san (xxxx) of which one Kol-gari (xxx) was chief. They were given a place to live to the east of this place and after two years they were comfortably settled. It was not long before Chin-hun had obtained control of the whole neighborhood and the six communities all recognized him as leader. The added numbers raised the number of the towns to twelveAfter Chin-hun died it was not long before Ma-han gained control of all this section of the country by conquest, after getting control of Pyön-han (xx). It was at this time that the name Chin-han began to be used. Ma-han governed Pyön-han by sending a Chin-han man Chinwan, (xx) the Son of Chin-hun as governor and he governed Chin-han by placing there as governor a Pyön-han chief named Ang-nong-gon (xxx). Pyön-han had received that name from Ma-han.

In the second year of the Ma-han king Wŭn-wang (xx) the first year of the Han emperor Sun-je (xx) B.C. 57. in the fourth moon of the year a Chin-han man of Yŭn-ch’ŭn Yang-san named Kol-ga-hol (xxx) a descendant of Kol-gari had a son named Hyŭk-kŭ-se and he was made king of a new kingdom called Sŭ-ra-bŭl, afterwards called Sil-la. A legend about it states that Kol-ga-hol formed a liaison with a fox on Nang-san (xx) which had assumed the shape of a woman. The fruit of this union was a child which Kol-ga-hol wanted to get rid of; so he cut a large gourd in two, hollowed out the center placed the child inside, and threw it away. Some one found it and thus the story of the egg originated.

Such is the account given by Sak-eun and it differs so radically in some respects from the other accounts that it is worth studying. We should notice that according to this account (1) The Chinese immigrants came long before the founding of Ma-han, as indeed they must if they came at the time of the building of the Great Wall. (2) That they discovered Cho-ryŭng or “Bird Paws” (3) That since they came 215 B.C. and Ma-han was founded in 193 B.C. the conquest of Chinhan by Ma-han might very well have occurred in the time of Chin-hun’s son. The dates agree remarkably well, (4) That both Chin-han and Pyön-han were so named by Ma-han, the han being apparently a generic word while the Chin and the Pyon were suggested by local conditions, Chin being the [page 17] family name of so many of the rulers of the former and Pyon being a sound that enters so largely into the names of the different communities of the latter.

 

Pyön-han.

 

At first there were four communities on the west bank of the Nak-tong River in Southern Korea. They were called Sŭl-gol-t`a (***) Ka-gal-Ung-jin (****) Ch’ŭl-wulch’ul-jin (****) and Hal-ga (**). They spoke the same language and were practically one. They had no calendar. The wisest among them became the leaders, a sort of patriarchal government. In ancient times a part of the Whang-i (**) tribe, one of the nine wild tribes that inhabited northern Korea before Ki-ja’s time, came southward and overcame these four communities and made twelve towns in all. Later they became subject to Ma-han. At the time of the Ma-han invasion the chief of this district was Ang-nonggön (***). He surrendered to Ma-han and was sent as governor to Chin-han. The land was bounded on the north by Măk (*) on the east by Chin-han on the south by the sea and on the west by Ma-han. Ma-han named it Pyön-han. This ends the few notes that are given about Pyön-han. They bear evidence to the existence of an original southern stock and mention, as few other accounts do, their dealings with the north. The invasion of the Whang-i tribe if it actually occurred must have been at an extremely early date, at least 1000 B.C.

 

 

Odds and Ends.

 

A Cuttle-fish story.

 

Everyone should know that the octopus or cuttle-fish can be captured only by unmarried girls. The fish will fly the presence of a man or a married woman but in the presence of young girls they are quite tame. Such at least is the Korean notion. One time there was a wedding in a fishing village and the bridegroom had taken his bride home and they were seated in their room. It is the custom for the bride to be very quiet and not say a [page 18] word or lift her eyes for several days after the ceremony. So the bride sat silent and demure before her liege lord. The house stood just beside the sea and a full moon was just rising over the eastern waters. A shadow appeared on the paper door. It looked like the shaven head of a monk. Suddenly the girl rose to her feet dashed at the door and ran down to the beach and threw her arms about something which the husband took to be the monk. After a time the bride returned and before she could explain her action the husband upbraided her for her immodest action and declared he would not live with her. She silently departed to her father’s house, but the next day the old woman who acted as go-between came to the angry groom and said that the girl had only run out to catch an octopus which had raised its round head and the moon casting its shadow against the door made it look like the shaven head of a monk. The girl caught the octopus but was ashamed to say anything when her husband charged her with evil conduct. So the quarrel was made up.

 

 

The Hanging Stone

 

In Sun-heng, Kyŭng-sang Province there is a monastery called Pu-sŭk Sa or The Monastery of the Hanging Stone. It stands half way between Tă-Băk San (***) and So-băk San (** *). It is a very ancient monastery. Behind it is a great boulder on the top of which stands another stone like a roof, but a peculiarity of this upper stone is that there is everywhere a space between it and the under stone so that a rope can be readily passed between them! This rivals the rock in the Mosque of Omar, in Jerusalem, which is supposed to hang between heaven and earth.

 

 

Good Old Age

 

At this same monastery there is a curious stalk of bamboo. In the days of Silla a great sage, Eui Sang, after reaching the summit of goodness at this monastery went to India and visited the Chŭn-ch’uk Monastery, (***) the most celebrated in the world. When he came back he brought a bamboo staff and planting it beside the door of his room at Pu-sŭk Monastery he said, When I am gone this staff will put forth leaves and when it dies you may know that I am dead. He started away and immediately the bamboo put forth shoots, and to the present day it has not withered. In the days of Prince Kwang-ha [page 19] about the middle of the seventeenth century an audacious governor cut it down, saying that he would make himself a walking stick of it. But immediately two shoots sprang up from the stump and attained the original height of the plant. It is called the Pi-sun-wha (***) or The flower of the Spirit flown.

 

 

A Hunter’s Mistake

 

He was a great hunter. If a cash piece were hung at a distance of ten paces he could put his arrow head into the hole in the cash without moving the coin. One day as he sat at his door three geese flew by high in air. One of the bystanders said You cannot bring down all those geese at one shot”. He seized his bow and shot as the ancient mariner shot the albatross. The three geese came floundering to the ground. That night the hunter dreamed that three fine boys came to him and said We are going to come and live at your house.Sure enough, that winter his wife presented him with boy triplets. He was inordinately proud of them. They grew up strong and handsome but on their tenth birthday they all fell ill with the small-pox and a few days later at the same hour died. The old man was inconsolable. He wrapped the bodies in straw and tied them as is customary to the branch of a tree on the mountain side to let the evil humors of the disease dry up before burying them; so that when buried the bodies would easily decay. Then in his grief he took to drink and would go about half drunk bewailing his loss. One night a crony of his in his tipsy ramblings stumbled along the mountain side and fell asleep right under where these three bodies hung tied to the tree. Late at night he woke and the moon shone down upon him between the bodies. It was a gruesome sight. Just then the sound of a wailing cry came up from the village below where the sorrow-stricken father staggering homeward gave vent to his grief. The man listened. A murmuring sound came from overhead. Was one of the corpses speaking? Listen! Brothers, we have our revenge on the wicked hunter. Hear his wailing cry. His life is wrecked. As we flew through the sky, three happy geese, he laid us low at one wanton stroke, but now we are even with him. Sleep in quiet, brothers, our work is done”. The next day when the hunter heard of this he broke his [page 20] good bow across his knee and never shot another arrow.

 

 

The Donkey Maker

 

When the celebrated Chöng Mong-ju, the last of the Koryŭ statesmen, was a young man he went up to the capital to attend the national examinations but did not succeed in passing. On his way home in company with six young fellow-travellers he entered the outskirts of Ma-jŭn in Kyŭng-geui Province. They were all very hungry and seeing an old woman sitting beside the road selling bean bread they eagerly purchased a piece to stay their hunger till they should reach their inn and get a good meal. Chöng Mong-ju never did things in a hurry. He always preferred to wait and see how things turned out before experimenting. He noticed that the old woman did not give them the bread that was in the tray before her but reached around and produced another batch of bread from which she cut generous portions and gave to his companions. Thdy ate it with great gusto, but before they had finished they began to act very curiously, wagging their heads and acting altogether like crazy men. Chöng saw that something was wrong. He suspected that the bread had been medicated in some way. Looking intently at the old woman he perceived that her face wore a very curious, unhuman look. Going close to her he said: “You must eat a piece of this bread yourself or I shall strike you dead on the spot”. There was no escape and Chöng evidently meant what he said; so she had to take a piece and eat it. The effect was the same as on his companions. She began to go wild like them. Turning he was amazed to find that his six fellow-travellers had all turned into donkeys. He leaped toward the drivelling old woman and said fiercely: “Tell me the antidote instantly or I will throttle you”. The old woman had just sense enough left to point to the other bread and say “That will cure them”, before she too was transformed into a donkey. Chöng put a straw rope through her mouth and mounting drove furiously up the hill, lashing the donkey with all his might. It did not take long to tire her out. When she was exhausted, Chöng dismounted and facing the animal said: I charge you to assume your original and proper shape.

[page 21] The poor broken donkey began to wag her head this way and that and soon her form began to change to that of a white fox. Before the transformation was complete Chöng seized a club and with one blow crushed the animal’s skull. This done, he hurried back to his six unfortunate companions and fed them with the bread which the old woman had said was the antidote. A few minutes later they had all turned back into men. That night these six young men all dreamed the same thing, namely, that an old man met Chöng Mong-ju on the road and charged him with having killed his wife, and struck him on the head so that the blood flowed down on his shoulder. In the morning, strange to relate, it was found that there was a wound on the young man’s temple. The dreams proved prophetic, for when at last Chöng Mong-ju met his death at the hand of an assassin on Sön Chuk bridge in Song-do the blow that felled him was delivered on that very spot on his head.

 

 

Question and Answer.

 

(1) Question, What is the original significance of the Chang-ot (쟝옷) with which Korean women cover their faces on the street?

 

Answer. This custom came from China about 450 years ago. It was in common use among the women of the Ming Empire. At that time and for many years after, the turumagi or outer coat was not worn by respectable Korean women and the chang-ot was made to serve two purposes, first that of a head cover and second that of cloak. The sleeves were added to make it look like a coat. The story that the sleeves were put on in order that when men were called away to war their wives might give them these cloaks to wear as coats is entirely mythical. The chang-ot is so named because it was first used by women in going to market. The country fairs or markets are called chang and so these garments are market clothes.” That the custom came from China is shown by the fact that a common name for chang-ot is Tang-eui or (**). [page 22] And, by the way, the use of this character shows that those things in Korea named tang, as tang-p’an, tang-sok, tang-je, tang-na-gwi, tang-yo-ka, tang-sŭ etc. did not necessarily come into Korea at the time of the Tang Empire in China. In fact this tang is a general name for China, used ever since the time of the great Che-yo To-tang-si (*****). The sseul-chima of Song-do is practically the same as the Seoul chang-ot, but it has no sleeves. In Pyŭng-yang instead of these the women wear enormous bell shaped hats that come down so that the face is practically hidden. This hat is called the sa-kat because made of sa a kind of reed, and is said to have come down from the time of Ki-ja, 1122 B.C.

 

(2) Question, Why do palace women and attendants at weddings wear so much hair?

 

Answer, It is said that a certain princess living in Songdo during the last dynasty had a deformity of some kind on her head, and to cover it she put on a large amount of hair. And this set the custom; just as the deformity of a certain queen in the west gave rise to the reprehensible habit of wearing bustles. Another explanation is, that, in carrying boxes on the head at weddings, instead of using a cloth pad to protect the head, it came to be considered good form to use a pad of false hair.

 

(3) Question. The other day I saw two men bowing to the ground before each other in the muddy street; what might be the occasion of this?

 

Answer, When a man’s father dies he goes into deep mourning and is not supposed to see or visit his acquaintances for a hundred days. After that when he meets a friend for the first time both of them bow to the ground, the friend in honor of the dead man and the mourner in reply to the low salute of the friend. But this is not often seen in Seoul for the custom is mostly confined to Kang-wŭn Province. The men who were seen bowing thus were probably from that province.

If a slave has been manumitted for any reason and after a long interval should happen to meet his former master he will bow to the very ground, but of course the master will not bow. In the case above cited both men bowed, so the explanation must be that given above.

 

 

[page 23] Editorial Comment.

 

In the Kobe Chronicle for Dec. 18th the editor comments on what he is pleased to call our ignorance of political economy in that we affirmed that the embargo on the export of rice from Korea was injurious to the country. We would like to call his attention to the fact that political economy is not an exact science like mathematics and, unfortunately for his contention, the book knowledge of political economy which he quotes so glibly was made for enlightened countries where there are good facilities for transportation, where the people have easy access to foreign markets and where the general intelligence of the people makes it possible to take advantage of foreign markets. Those so-called laws are not universally applicable. Let us take for instance an inland town in Korea where there is enough rice to feed the local population. The local magistrate forbids Korean agents of the rice merchants in Seoul from buying up this rice but when a Japanese agent arrives, who has no treaty right whatever to buy a grain of rice in the interior, the magistrate cannot control him. He buys the rice, transports it to the neighboring river and floats it down to the sea at little or no cost. The Koreans have the money but they have no rice. They cannot eat money. The editor of the Kobe Chronicle says that with their money they can send away and import rice and be as well off as if they had not sold. If this is not ludicrously untrue on the very face of it, it will not take long to show that it is. Even if the Koreans knew where to buy, which they do not, and had agents who knew how to buy, which they have not, and foreign rice were pleasing to the Korean taste, which it is not, even then it would cost the Koreans much more; for their middle men must be paid and instead of floating the rice downstream at practically no expense it has to be laboriously towed up stream to its destination. Our book-learned cotemporary is perhaps laboring under the idea that Korea is a thoroughly developed country, covered with a network of railroads which make the cost of transportation equal in either direction. We would [page 24] suggest that the editor of the Kobe Chronicle examine into the condition of affairs in Korea and lay his book on the shelf a while before criticizing the statement that the embargo on the export of rice from Korea was a prime necessity. One might as well talk about the margin of cultivation among the Esquimaux or the balance of trade between the Apache and Ute Indians as to talk about applying the canons of political economy, as developed in Europe, to the primitive conditions of Korean rural society.

 

 

Correspondence.

 

The Presbyterian Church of Manchuria.

 

Liaoyang, Manchuria.

 

Dec. 15th 1901, To the Editor of The Korea Review

 

Dear Sir,

 

At a meeting of the Presbytery of Manchuria held at Newchwang last month, -the first since the Boxer persecution, --the elder Wang Cheng Ao of Liaoyang made a statement to the court of the circumstances under which he and other Christians fled to Korea last year, and of the most brotherly way in which they had been entertained by the Korean Christians and by the missionaries all along their line of flight from the Yalu to Chemulpo. His account was received with feelings of profound gratitude to God for the way in which He had raised up friends for His people when scattered abroad in their day of adversity. I was thereupon instructed, in the name of the Church of Manchuria, to convey heartfelt thanks to all concerned for the ungrudging hospitality thus shown, and for the spirit of courtesy and brotherliness that was willing to receive those who were in bonds as bound with them. The Lord reward them in that day when before all nations He will recall how once, when He came to them as a stranger, they took Him in! [page 25] May I rely upon your kind aid in conveying, in the widest way you know how, this expression of gratitude from The Presbyterian Church of Manchuria to the Church in Korea.

 

I am,

 

Your obedient servant,

 

George Douglas, Moderator of Presbytery.

 

 

News Calendar.

 

Through the Chinese Minister in Seoul Chinese fishermen have secured a license to fish off Whang-hă and P’yŭng-an Provinces. An animal license fee is paid.

 

In Ye-an, Kyŭng-sang, Province, is the shrine of the great scholar Toé Gye. It was recently rifled by thieves and the tablet was carried away. It caused an immense stir among the people. The governor took the severest measures to detect the culprit but without success. The Emperor has given $1000, to repair the shrine and replace the tablet by a new one.

 

The following fact is given to show what the Koreans consider to be the greatest injury one man can do another. An ajun or yamen-runner in Kim-ha in the south made bold to bury his father too near the grave of the ancestor of one Yi Yu-in. The latter, having been appointed prefect of the district promptly dug up the ajun’s grave and destroyed it. The ajun paid him back by digging up the prefect’s father’s grave and scattering the bones to the four winds. After which he naturally left for parts unknown.

 

His Majesty, recognizing the great suffering caused by the severe cold sent out a policeman to look up needy cases in order to offer them help. The policeman made out a list of his own acquaintances and friends and left out all others. The result is that he is now suffering in a cold prison cell the just punishment for his misdeeds.

 

On the fifth of last month when the streets were so dangerously slippery many painful accidents occurred but there was only one fatal accident. A woman going to a ditch to wash some clothes fell heavily and was so severely injured that she died on the spot.

 

During the present winter about ninety people in Seoul have frozen or starved to death.

 

Seven foolhardy highwaymen, armed to the teeth, attacked an official at Tong-jak on the Han River near Seoul. He was travelling with a retinue. The official and his suite had to say good-bye to their money and most of their clothes. The robbers took their booty and went to Kwa- [page 26] Ch’ŭn. On the road they met some horses loaded with government revenue and escorted by five soldiers. The thieves did not reckon on much resistance and attempted to steal the government money, but the five soldiers gave so good an account of themselves that the seven robbers are now cooling their wits in jail.

 

In Ok-ch’ŭn, Chŭl-la Province, on the nineteenth of December a government building was burned and its contents, consisting of $3624 of government tax, was lost. About the same time $3900 of government tax was lost in the same way at Chŭng-eup. We fear that something may be read between the lines here.

 

On the fifth instant the magnificent new office building of the Seoul Electric Company in the center of Seoul was destroyed by fire. Only three days before, the company had opened the building by an entertainment which was attended by a large number of foreigners and natives. The fire is said to have originated in a defective flue in which the workmen had left a piece of scaffolding. We understand that the building was insured and that the company will recover $48,000. With characteristic American energy the company will begin the reconstruction of the building immediately and they hope to have it ready for occupancy again in six months. The ponderous fireproof safe “was uninjured by the heat. The paint inside the safe was not even cracked. The contents of two fireproof” Japanese safes were found in ashes. It was discovered that between the outer and inner plates of these safes nothing had been used but sand.

 

On New Years day His Majesty received the diplomatic and consular bodies, and the foreign employees of the government in audience.

 

Last autumn the ginseng crop amounted to 28,000 lbs. of red ginseng and 35,000 lbs. of wet ginseng, or undried ginseng. The whole crop was sold to Yi Yong-ik who, after marketing the crop in China, was to have paid the farmers for it. He now claims that the farmers deceived him as to the amount and he says he will pay them one dollar a pound instead of eight dollars which is the usual price. This will be a saving of some $350,000. Naturally the farmers do not acquiesce in this arrangement and 195 of them have come up to Seoul to secure redress.

 

Prince Yi Chă-sun has been appointed special envoy to attend the coronation of Edward VII of England. A better appointment could hardly have been made, for the Prince has seen a great deal of foreigners and his magnificent physique cannot but attract attention.

 

The government is building an enormous Buddhist monastery about a mile outside the East Gate. It is intended that this will be the head monastery in Korea and will hold the same relation to Buddhism in Korea that the Vatican does to Roman Catholicism throughout the world. It will contain between three and four hundred kan of buildings and the plan is the same as that of the great Ch’ŭn-chuk Monastery in Thibet. The ceremonies connected with the commencement of this work took place on the fourth instant. Monks from all over the country to the number of 800 or more congregated at this spot together with Japanese [page 27] monks from the Japanese quarter in Seoul. An immense crowd of Koreans surrounded the place to view the scene.

 

The Seoul Fusan Railway will prove an inestimable blessing to the Korean people, but the Chöng family are not able to see it just now, as the projected road passes close to the tomb of their great progenitor near Tong-nă. A great number of that family are besieging the Foreign Office to have the railroad go by some other route. If that railroad were to keep clear of all the graves between here and Fusan it would be a thousand miles long rather than three hundred.

 

The Japanese local paper says that the revenues of the Household Department for 1902 will be as follows

 

From sale of Ginseng                                  $300,000 rice tax                                         500,000 mining licenses                  500,000               fisheries and salt                           100,000 minting                             500,000 sale of offices                                 1,000,000 Emperor’s private purse 750,000 gifts for the Queen’s tomb              500,000                                                                    -------------4,050,000

 

The government contemplates the erection, just east the Imperial Altar of a large stone tablet commemorative of the achievements of the present reign. As the present condition of the exchequer does not permit of an appropriation for this purpose out of the public funds an invitation has been extended to all officials of whatever grade to contribute toward this object. It must be plain to all that the events of the present reign have been momentous enough to warrant such a monument. The opening of Korea was one of the great events of the nineteenth century, for the Far East.

 

Pak Che-sun, whose place in the Foreign Office was filled by Min Chong-muk during his absence in Japan, has resumed the duties of Minister of Foreign affairs.

 

A telegraph line has been completed from Vladivostock to the town of Kyung-sung which is about 150 li south of the Tuman River. The matter of connecting this with Wonsan has not yet been decided upon but of course it will be done before long.

 

Several Russian agents interested in the manufacture of glass have arrived in Seoul with the intention of looking into the feasibility of manufacturing glass in Korea. The Russian authorities have asked the government for the loan of a portion of the imperial mint in which to carry on the experiments. In view of the fact that in the early eighties Von Mollendorf brought experts here for this same purpose and failed, it will be interesting to note whether this new venture will be a success. There certainly is enough sand about here but the question is whether it is the kind of sand which can be utilized for the making of glass. It will be a distinct advantage if this sand can be made useful. Those who remember the days when we had to tramp across the “little [page 28] Sahara” on the way to Chemulpo will be glad to have their revenge on that terrible strip of sand.

 

Heretofore the government has been accustomed to supply the students in the various schools with their tiffin and also to supply paper, pens, ink, etc. for the work, but as the public finances are so low it has been decided to discontinue this practice and the students will have to provide their own materials and their own food. In one school the students study continuously from ten till three without any intermission at noon.

 

To help out the funds for completing the great Buddhist monastery which the government is erecting outside the East Gate each of the seven main government departments and of the three secondary departments are asked to contribute five million cash each. It will amount to $20,000, Korean money.

 

Yi Hak-yŭn a “strong men” of Nam-yang, forty miles from Seoul distinguished himself the other day and proved that the Korean stock is by no means played out. Crossing Pinul-chi Pass he met three armed brigands who demanded his pelf. Though he was entirely unarmed he made a dash at the nearest one, knocked him down, secured his sword and with it killed the other two. The third one he bound and brought in and delivered to the police.

 

The Foreign Office has applied to the Finance Department for the funds necesssary for sending the new minister, Min Yong-chan, to France. He will probably start in February.

 

Nam Yang is so infested with bands of robbers that more than half the houses are deserted and things are in a chaotic condition. A company of police are to be sent to restore order.

 

A fire in Su-wun on the fifth of January unfortunately resulted in the death of an entire family. On the same day a family of five people living outside the South Gate froze to death.

 

In P’yŭng-gang, Whang-hă Province, there has been an outbreak of vandalism among the Korean gold-miners. They have formed a marauding party and terrorized the whole district stealing women, cattle, food and money. The government is asked to send troops at once.

 

In Eui-rng they had last summer all the rain that was lacking everywhere else in Korea. Over twenty miles of irrigation works were washed away and it will require the entire revenues of the district to repair them.

 

The “gold brick” has appeared in Korea. A crafty gentleman gave his friend two large pieces of gold and received in exchange the deeds for valuable rice-lands. The next day the man who sold the fields found that he had only a couple of gilded stones to show for them.

 

It is reported that the Korean government has consented to the request of the U. S. government relative to a further occupancy of the present legation grounds in Peking, until the end of the current year.

 

The Chief Commissioner of Customs has informed the Foreign Office that if the Superintendents of Trade at any of the ports persistently absents himself from his post his pay will be stopped.

 

[page 29] At the new monastery outside the East Gate there will be placed one director, one assistant director, one secretary, one assistant secretary, nine clerks, two accountants, four messengers, fifteen kisus, five policemen and fifty “soldier monks”.

 

On the ninth inst. the grandson of Prince Yi Chă-sun was married to the daughter of Sim Kon-t’ăk. His Majesty the Emperor made them a present of one thousand dollars.

 

Two more regiments are to be enlisted one of which will be stationed at Kyŭng-ju and the other at Chin-ju both in south Kyŭng-sang Province.

 

We learn ftom H. J. Muhlensteth, Esq. that he has received from His Majesty an appointment as an adviser to the Foreign Ofiice. This appointment has not been officially announced. We understand that this does not affect the position of Mr Sands as Adviser to the Foreign Office.

 

There has been serious trouble in the Military School. The students supposed that they would be given the preference in the selection of officers for the army but as outsiders were continually being appointed instead these students were much dissatisfied. Nine of them took the lead in a demonstration against the authorities. They made out a written complaint to which four hundred and eighty out of the five hundred and forty students verbally subscribed. On the night of the ninth instant they presented this petition in a body to a captain who was on duty at the school. He refused to receive it saying that it should be presented to someone higher in rank than himself. Upon this the irate young men proceeded to act in a riotous manner smashing windows and making themselves generally obnoxious. Then they all left the place and went home or wherever they pleased. This fact was soon comnunicated to the authorities of the school Who came in hot haste to quiet the disturbance but found only about sixty men at the school. Shortly after this thirty two of the men who had been away returned to the school having been persuaded to this course by their parents and friends.

 

When His Majesty learned of the trouble he gave orders for the arrest of the unruly students. This becoming known, almost all the recalcitrants hurried back to the school for fear of something worse. The military authorities looked into the matter the next day and the nine men who led in the revolt were landed in jail at the War Office and the sixty men who had not run away and the thirty two penitents who came back immediately were all given the rank of captain. Most of these were not members of the highest class in the school. The four hundred and twenty men who are left declare they will not study, though they have come back.

 

The local papers tell us that in the appointment of superintendents of the work of building the Queen’s tomb at Keum-gok the four political parties have been considered. From the No-ron party 800 have been appointed, from the So-ron party 500, from the Nam-in party 400 and from the Puk-in 300. This makes 2000 superintendents in all! We are not told how many workmen there are.

 

[page 30] A Korean telegraph line has been lately completed between Masanpo and Chin-ju, the capital of South Kng-sang Province.

 

The Department of Agriculture, Commerce, etc. has remitted to the Finance Department the license money received from Korean miners. Each mine pays six and three quarters ounces of gold per month.

 

The people of Kwe-san have voted to raise a monument in honor of Kim Sang-il a former official who lives in that district. He has opened his private storehouse and fed many poor people and has supplied many with arms to defend themselves against brigands. No one appreciates kind and generous treatment more quickly than the Korean.

 

Full reports have come in as to the damage done by the the fearful storm in Chŭlla Province on Sept. 24th. They are late in arriving but are vouched for as being correct. The storm raged from the 24th until the the end of month. The damage was as follows.

 

In Kwang-ju                      920 houses In Na-ju                        967 houses and 17 lives In Chang-sung                     310 houses and 85 lives In Yung-gwang             530 Tam-yang                   206 Nam-py’ŭng               251 Chang-py’ang              90 Ko-ch’ang                    128 houses and 5 lives Kok-sŭng                 209 houses and 3 lives Ok-kwa                    195 houses and 5 lives Ham-py’ŭng                          103 Heung-dŏk                 21 Kwang-yang                 82                                    -------------------------4012 houses and 116 lives

 

News comes for the first time of the wreck of a Korean junk at the month of the Tuman River. It had been to Vladivostock on a trading trip and returning was overtaken by a storm and was wrecked. Of the crew five escaped and the remainder, ten in all, were drowned. This occurred on Oct. 29th.

 

The Prefect of Kil-ju was ordered by the Home Office to stop the collection of taxes but through excess of zeal he collected $6,000, more. For which reason he is ordered to resign.

 

The native paper states that the question of Japanese colonization in Korea is all the talk in Tokyo and it is said that Japanese agents have made a careful examination of portions of southern Korea noting the topographical, agricultural and social conditions carefully.

 

Yun Su-pyŭng, having studied sericulture in Japan, has returned with the necessary apparatus for teaching this important industrial art.

 

On Christmas day twenty-four houses and a large amount of grain were destroyed by fire in Cho-gye.

 

The case of Yi Ch’ang-geun is a curious one. He went to America to engage in trade! While there he says he met a brigand who relieved him of all his spare cash, and was forced to apply to the U. S. Government [page 31] for money to secure his passage back to Korea. The name of the place where this occurred is, in the language of Mr. Yi, Ruguri (?)

 

There are large copper mines in the town of Kap-san in the far north. The native paper says that recently a disastrous landslide occurred there which entombed 600 (!) men. It seems impossible to accept these figures.

 

Three masked burglars broke into the Law Department buildings on the night of the 12th instant and bound two of the clerks and looted the place carrying away some $600. worth of plunder.

 

The friends of Dr. A. D. Drew will be glad to learn his present address which is 1262 7th Ave. Oakland, California.

 

The strenuous effort on the part of the Finance Department to make former prefects disgorge their illgotten gains has resulted in the arrest and imprisonment of eleven ex-prefects, who at different times had charge of the important districts, Su-wun, Hong-ju, Kong-ju Kang-neung, Chŭnju, Whe-ju, Yun-an, P’ung-geui, Po-sŭng, Chin-hă, Ulsan, An-dong, Chik-san, -nam, Hyŭp-ch’ŭn, Hă-mi, Nam-wŭn and Mu-jang.

 

The criminal laws of Korea which have been under revision have now been finished and will be published shortly.

 

An inspector of country prefectures named Hyŭn Yŭng-un who was supposed to go down to the country and see that things were being properly conducted in various districts has been having a very gay time of it. In Ulsan he seized seventy-three men and extorted $2,700 from them; in Yang-san he seized fifteen men and extorted $1,500; in Eun-yang from five men he took $1,000; in Kyöng-ju from ninety-four men he took $24,000; in Yong-ch’ŭn from twenty-two men he took $4,400. A crowd of people from those districts have come up to Seoul to try to get back their money.

 

Chemulpo is bringing Korea more and more in touch with the world at large. We used to think of Korea as the last corner of the world but now all that is changed. For some time the great steamship lines across the Pacific and from the East to Europe have been represented by Holme Ringer & Company of Chemulpo, and now we learn that E. Meyer & Company of Chemulpo have been made agents of the magnificent North Ger man Lloyd Steamship Company. They have on view in their store in Chemulpo elaborate plans of the vessels of that line and they quote figures on trips to any part of the world. In fact one can buy a ticket at that office which will take him clean around the world without the purchase of any other ticket whatever. Between these two firms the foreigner in Korea can have his choice of all that is best in the way of travel that the East has to afford. We look forward to the time when these great lines shall have direct connection with Chemulpo. That ought to be a reasonable hope in view of the fact that one of the eastern termini of the Siberian Railway will be at the head of the Yellow Sea.

 

It has been decided not to build the barracks in Song-do which were contemplated and the large amount of timber which was brought there for that purpose is for sale.

 

Dr. Richard Wunsch who lately arrived in Seoul as court physician [page 32] has begun his work in the palace, and three Koreans from the Imperial German Language School, which is under the efficient direction of Prof. Bolljahn, have been appointed as his interpreters.

 

On the arrival of the Chinese Emperor in Peking the Emperor of Korea sent a telegram congratulating him on the auspicious event. The Emperor of China answered in a fitting manner.

 

As His Majesty enters upon his sixth decade he has ordered every government official in the land to compose two poems in honor of the event.

 

The Foreign Office has informed the Home Office that in future foreigners who are found travelling in the interior without passports will be fined.

 

During 1901, ninety-three men-of-war entered Chemulpo, of which there were thirty-five Japenese, twenty-one English, fifteen Russian, eleven French, five Austrian, four German one Italian and one American. Of merchantmen there were 454, of which there were 298 Japanese, 124 Korean, 26 Russian, 3 English. 1 Norwegian, 1 German and 1 Chinese. Compared with 1900 there were forty-seven more men-of-war and thirtyone more merchant vessels.

 

The native papers tell us of a fierce fight that took place in December in the border town Hu-ch’ang on the Amnok or Yulu River between 500 mounted Chinese bandits and a Korean force composed of tiger hunters and soldiers. Thirty houses had been burned and hundreds of others looted; one Korean had been killed and forty-four beaten till nearly dead. Then the tiger hunters and local soldiery attacked the marauders and in a running fight twenty Chinese were killed, thirty-seven captured while several others froze to death. The remainder were driven across the Yalu.

 

We deeply regret to have to announce the death on Jan. 31 of Anna, the infant daughter of Rev. and Mrs. H. O. T. Burkwall. The funeral service was held on Saturday, Feb. 1st.

 

For the Emperors use at the festival called Nap-pyŭng (from which, by the way, the last month of the Korean year is named) the people of Kim-sŭng sent up two tigers, one bear, and twenty or more deer and smaller game.

 

A wealthy man of Kang-wha named Whang Pong-heui has given to the poor people of his neighborhood 200 bags of rice. The government has recognized his generosity by conferring on him the rank of chu-sa.

 

The Fusan paper states that the Japanese population of that town has grown from 6094 in 1900 to 7014 in 1901 an increase of almost a thousand, or over 16 per cent.

 

The Famine Relief Commission, heretofore mentioned, has sent to all the prefectures for statistics of needy parties. It has already distributed to needy people in Seoul 1000 cash apiece, or forty cents.

 

On December 6th at San Francisco a daughter was born to Dr. and Mrs. A. D. Drew. On January 18th a daughter was born to Rev. and Mrs. G. H. Jones of Chemulpo. In January a daughter was born to Mr. and Mrs. Luhrs of Chemulpo.

 

 

[page 33] KOREAN HISTORY.

 

MEDIEVAL KOREA

 

The king decided that there was no possibility of ridding himself of this incubus but by sending the crown prince to China. The escort consisted of forty men, and there were three hundred horse-loads of gifts. In good time all arrived at the court of the Mongol emperor. Gen. Cha however did not enjoy his triumph, for at this very time he sickened and died.

When the prince arrived at the Chinese court the emperor was away on a campaign against the Sung Empire in the south; so he announced himself to the official in charge at the capital, Song Kil. The latter asked if the king had as yet gone back to Song-do, to which the prince replied in the negative, but added that the king would go as soon as possible if the emperor demanded it. Song Kil rejoined How can we recall the soldiers so long as the king does not leave Kang-wha?” The Prince replied Gen. Cha said that if I came the troops would be recalled. If they are not recalled the people will have no hope except in flight. When Song Kil heard this he countermanded an order which had been given for additional troops to be sent into the peninsula. Word was sent, instead, ordering the destruction of the palaces on Kang-wha. The order was obeyed and it is said that the fall of the buildings sounded like distant thunder. But the aged king who had suffered so many vicissitudes of fortune was not to survive this great shame, and in the summer of 1259 he passed away.

Koryŭ was now without a king and the crown prince was far away in China. It was decided to form a regency to act until the return of the prince. At first it was conferred upon the second son of the deceased king but the officials, remembering that the dying king had said Put my grandson in as regent until the prince returns, made the change, and the crown prince’s son, Sun, became regent pending his father’s return.

[page 34] As the Mongol troops continued their depredations in the north an envoy was again dispatched to the emperor’s court. As the latter was still away campaigning in the south the envoy made bold to follow him up. He passed Chŭk-san and finally found the emperor at Hyŭp-ju and delivered his message. The emperor said If you profess to be friendly with me why are you always talking about my troops being in the way? Yet since the crown prince has come to China I am willing to show you this favor. He thereupon sent an order for the retirement of all Mongol troops from Korea.

Some busybody told the emperor that Koryŭ had no desire to hold faith with China and in consequence an envoy came in haste to Song-do demanding why the people who had fled to the islands did not return to their homes. The reply was that the detention of the prince in China was a cause of uneasiness and that even if he returned it would take at least three years to get the people back to their homes; how much less could it be done with the prince in China. This then became the standing complaint of the Mongols, that the Korean people would not come back to the mainland.

By this time the uncertainty of affairs and the fact that the central government was weak and the Mongols still numerous caused great instability in the north. The people were easily induced to revolt on the slightest provocation. It became a regular custom for the people, if they did not like their prefect, to kill him and transfer their allegiance to the Mongols. The central government did not dare to punish them, for this would provoke the Mongols, and reprisals would be in order. At the same time there was trouble in the south, for pirates from both Japan and the Sung kingdom of southern China kept ravaging the island of Quelpart. An official was sent from Song-do to take in hand the defense of the island but the people found him worse than the pirates had been.

It was in 1260 that the crown prince followed the emperor southward, but soon after reaching the emperor’s camp the latter died in the town of Hap-ju and Gen. A-ri Pal-ga took the reins of power arbitrarily. The prince knew that the great general Hol-pil-ryŭl (Kublai) would doubtless become emperor in spite of this seditious movement on the [page 35] part of A-ri Pal-ga; so he secretly effected his escape from the latter’s camp and struck directly across the country to Kang-nam where he found Hol-p’il-ryŭl in charge of an army, and, informing him of the emperor’s decease, they both hastened toward Peking. It was not till the crown prince returned to Peking that he learned of his father’s death and he hastened to assume the mourner’s garb.

The emperor, Kublai Khan, sent him back to Koryŭ with great honor, believing that, as he was to become king of Koryŭ, the vassal power would thus become more closely united to China. Two Mongol generals came with him as escort. These were Sok Yi-kă and Kang Wha-sang. On the way these generals were told by a Koryŭ renegade that the crown prince would change the capital to Quelpart. They asked the prince to face this man and deny the charge but he assumed a royal attitude and exclaimed I would cut off my hair and become a slave before I would meet the villain”. The generals were ashamed to press the matter. As they approached Kang-wha the prince’s son, the acting king came with a great retinue to meet them at Che-jung Harbor, where they all took boat and crossed to the island. As the Mongol generals strongly urged the king to go back to Songdo, the latter sent many of the officials back there in order to make it appear as if he would follow shortly. All Mongol soldiers were now recalled from Koryŭ and all their prefects as well. The emperor likewise gave the king a present of seals, clothing, bows, arrows, silks and other articles of value. The king so far conceded to the wishes of his suzerain as to remove from Kang-wha to Tong-jin on the adjacent mainland, from which, however, it was but half an hour’s sail across to the island again. In addition to this the king sent the heir apparent to China with gifts, of which, in view of the depletion of Koryŭ’ s treasury, the officials gave the greater part out of their private means. The main request preferred at Kublai ‘s court was that he would not listen longer to the representations of Koryŭ renegades whose one object was to stir up strife and keep the countries at war with each other. The emperor assented to this.

In 1261 the emperor made a requisition upon Koryŭ for a large amount of copper and lead. The king did not have [page 36] the copper and yet did not dare to refuse; so he sent to A-to in China and bought copper and delivered it as ordered, but told how he had procured it. The emperor charged him with lying and claimed that he was remiss in her duties as a vassal. He moreover ordered that the king take a census of Koryŭ, establish a horse relay system, train soldiers and prepare provisions for an army. The king was unable to comply and an estrangement grew up between him and the emperor which was unfortunate for both. Hong Ta-gu, a Koryŭ renegade, took advantage of this to charge the Koryŭ prince, who was then in Peking, with having insulted the Mongol crown prince. The emperor believed the charge and cut off the Koryŭ prince’s revenues and treated him with marked coldness. Hong also poisoned the emperor toward Koryŭ by intimating that she would soon attempt to throw off the yoke of China. But by the following year the relations seem to have become cordial again, for when the king asked that the tribute be remitted on the ground of the heavy expense of rebuilding palaces at Song-do, the emperor not only consented but sent a present of 500 sheep. Koryŭ was also fortunate in the sending of an envoy to Japan, for he returned with a large amount of rice and cloth from Tsushima, which had been stolen by Japanese corsairs.

In 1263 the king was ordered to repair to Peking. A long discussion followed, some of the courtiers advising one thing and some another. The monks at this time said, in effect, I told you so”, for they had long ago promised the king that if he would favor them he would not be called to Peking. But go he did, leaving his son to administer the kingdom in his absence. Sun, whom we will remember as the Koryŭ gentleman who had married a Mongol princess and who was thoroughly Mongolized, told the emperor that there were 38,000 troops in Koryŭ and that someone should go and bring them to China where they could act as allies for the Mongols in their conquests. To this Yi Chang-yung, who was in the king’s retinue, answered. Formerly we had that number of soldiers but many have died and few are left. If the emperor cannot believe this let him send Sun with me to Koryŭ and we will review all the troops and learn the truth.” This was a telling blow, for Sun knew that if he once crossed [page 37] into Koryŭ territory his life would not be worth an hour’s ransom; so he discreetly held his peace. The king came back to Song-do in December of the same year.

In 1264 the Japanese pirates made another descent upon the shores of southern Koryŭ but were driven away by the royal forces under Gen. An Hong.

In 1265 the seed was sown that led to the attempted invasion of Japan by the Mongols. A Koryŭ citizen, Cho I, found his way to Peking and there, having gained the ear of the emperor, told him that the Mongol power ought to secure the vassalage of Japan. The emperor listened favorable and determined to make advances in that direction. He therefore appointed Heuk Chŭk and Eun Hong as envoys to Japan and ordered them to go by way of Koryŭ and take with them to Japan a Koryŭ envoy as well. Arriving in Koryŭ they delivered this message to the king and two officials, Son Kun-bi and Kim Chan were appointed to accompany them to Japan. They proceeded by the way of Koje Harbor in Kng-sang Province but were driven back by a fierce storm and the king sent the Mongol envoys back to Peking. The Emperor was ill satisfied with the outcome of the adventure and sent Heuk Ck with a letter to the king ordering him to forward the Mongol envoy to Japan. The message which he was to deliver to the ruler of Japan said The Mongol power is kindly disposed toward you and desires to open friendly intercourse with you. She does not desire your submission but if you accept her patronage the great Mongol empire will cover the earth.” The king forwarded the message with the envoys to Japan, and informed the emperor of the fact.

Meanwhile the emperor was being worked upon by designing men who were seeking to injure Koryŭ. They succeeded so well in their designs that he sent an envoy bearing a list of specified charges against the king. (1) You have enticed Mongol people to Koryŭ. (2) You did not feed our troops when they were in Koryŭ. (3) You persistently refuse to come back to the capital. (4) When our envoy went to Koryŭ you had a spy watch him. (5) Your tribute has not been at all equal to the demand we made. (6) You brought it about that the Japanese did not accept our offer. The emperor’s [page 38] suspicions continued to increase until finally he sent a general, U-ya Son-dal, to demand that Yi Chang-yong and Kim Chun, two of the most influential officials of Koryŭ, together with the father and son of the latter, be brought to Peking. Kim Chun, on learning of this, advised that the envoy be promptly killed and that the king remain in some island, out of harm’s way. But the king knew that such a course would be suicidal and firmly refused. So Kim Chun himself put Gen. U-ya Son-dal to death and then announced the fact to the court. The king and court were dumbfounded at his temerity but dared not lay hands on him, though they all felt sure they would suffer for his rash act. Fortunately for them, however, other events of great importance were happening which distracted the attention of the emperor and secured immunity from punishment. These events we must now relate.

The Mongol and Koryŭ envoys, upon reaching the Japanese capital, were treated with marked disrespect. They were not allowed to enter the gates, but were lodged at a place called T’ă--bu, outside the west gate of the city. There they remained five months, and their entertainment was of the poorest quality. And at last they were dismissed without receiving any answer either to the emperor or to the king.

Kublai Khan was not the kind of a man to relish this sort of treatment and when he heard the story he sent a messenger straight to Koryŭ telling the king I have decided to invade Japan. You must immediately begin the building of one thousand boats. You must furnish four thousand bags of rice and a contingent of 40,000 troops.” The king replied that this was beyond his power, for so many of the people had run away that workmen could not be secured in sufficient numbers. The emperor, however, was resolute and soon sent an envoy to see if his orders were being carried out, and to make a survey of the straits between Koryŭ and Japan, in the vicinity of Heuk-san Island. The emperor could scarcely believe that the Japanese would dare to treat his envoy so disrespectfully as had been reported and he suspected that it was some sort of ruse that the king of Koryŭ had been playing on him; so he decided to send his envoy Heuk Chŭk once more to Japan. This time also he was accompanied by a Koryŭ envoy, Sim Sajŭn.

[page 39] Meantime Kim Chun finding that his foul murder of the Mongol envoy went unpunished, became prouder and more headstrong. His son stole two boatloads of vegetables intended for the king’s own table. This roused the ire of the king. Kim Chun might kill all the Mongol envoys he wished but when it came to stealing from the king’s table something must be done. There was only one official, Im Yun, who hated Kim Chun worse than he feared him and the king selected this man for the work in hand. Sending away all the other officials to a neighboring monastery to sacrifice to Buddha for his health, he summoned Kim Chun and, when he had him at his mercy, let Im Yun fall upon him with a club and take his life. Kim Chun’s brother likewise fell the same day and the household of the offender was broken up. The usual impotence of the king was illustrated here by the very trick to which he was forced in order to rid himself of his traitorous subject.

The spring of 1268 opened, and still the envoys had not returned from Japan. The Koryŭ people managed to capture some Japanese from Tsushima who had come near the Korean coast. They were sent to Peking together with an envoy. The emperor was delighted, showed the captives all over the palace and reviewed the army before them. After showing them all the grandeur of the Mongol court, he sent them back to tell their king about it and to urge him to make friends with the great Yuan empire. This same year the crown prince went to the Mongol court.

Im Yun, whom the king had used as an instrument for the removal of the obnoxious Kim Chun, did not intend to go without his reward. He began to plan how he might become a king-maker himself. He desired to depose the king and put another in his place who would be quite subservient to himself. To this end he began to banish those who might oppose him in this scheme, and at last when he had cleared the way and deemed the time ripe, he surrounded himself with a powerful guard and called all the officials to a council. He told them that the king desired to kill him, but rather than die tamely he was resolved to do something desperate. He asked them if they agreed, but no man dared to open his mouth. Then putting on his armor he led the way to the palace and proclaimed Chang as king. This Chang was a distant relative of [page 40] the king. He also made all the officials bow to him. The records say that this deed was accompanied by a tremendous storm of rain in which the deposed king was driven forth on foot. Im Yun and his lewd followers then proceeded to loot the palace.

The parvenu Chang, at the instance of Im Yun, sent an envoy to the Mongol court saying that the king had handed over the reins of government to him. The king’s son, who had gone but lately to the Chinese court, was now on his way home. He arrived at night on the farther bank of the Yalu River and was there met by a secret messenger who had crossed in the dark to tell him that Chang had usurped the throne and that soldiers had been stationed at Eui-ju to kill him when he arrived. So the Prince turned and hastened back to the emperor and a letter was immediately dispatched demanding the reinstatement of the rightful sovereign. After two such appeals had remained unanswered the emperor threatened to send an army to enforce the demand. The officials thereupon became afraid and reluctantly put the rightful king back upon his throne. The emperor then ordered both the king and the man who had deposed him to go to China in order that the matter might be investigated. The king went but Im Yun refused and sent his son instead. The emperor ordered the king to write out the cause of the trouble but the latter feared that if he did so it would make trouble for him when he went back, for Im Yun was a powerful and unscrupulous man. He therefore told the emperor that he was troubled with a lame hand that prevented his writing. Later however, in private, he made the matter bare before the emperor and as a consequence Im Yun’s son was thrown into prison. Before returning to Koryŭ the king asked the emperor to bestow upon his son, the crown prince, the hand of one of the Mongol princesses, to give him a Mongol escort back to Koryŭ, to place a Mongol governor at Pyŭng-yang and to return to the control of Koryŭ the northern districts of the peninsula. The emperor consented to all but the last of these requests. When the king came back to Song-do, Im Yun attempted to oppose him but was speedily put down and decapitated.

Arriving at the capital the king went into camp outside [page 41] the walls to await the completion of the palace which was in course of construction. The troops oppressed the people, and when the king ordered them to disband they marched out in a body and went by boat to Chŭl-la Province and began to act in a rebellious manner. A royal army, sent against them, chased them into the island of Chin-do where they forced the people to join their standards. Mongol and Koryŭ troops were sent against them, but the people hated the Mongols so heartily that this rather added to the difficulty than otherwise, and the disaffection, spreading with increased rapidity, began to assume serious proportions. The emperor learned of this and, believing that the king was hardly equal to the task of managing the affairs of the government, sent a commissioner to assume control at Song-do.

Matters stood thus when in 1270 the emperor determined to send another envoy to Japan. Cho Yong-p’il and Hong Ta-gu were appointed to this important mission and they were joined in Koryŭ by the representative of that country, by name Yang Yun-so. This embassy was charged with the somewhat dangerous task of demanding the submission of Japan. The emperor did not anticipate success in this, as is shown by the fact that he had rice fields made in Pong-san, Koryŭ, to raise rice for an army of invasion which he intended to launch upon Japan. For this work he ordered the king to furnish 6000 plows and oxen, as well as seed grain. The king protested that this was quite beyond his power, but as the emperor insisted he sent through the country and by force or persuasion obtained a fraction of the number demanded. The emperor aided by sending 10,000 pieces of silk. The Koryŭ army had dwindled to such a point that butchers and slaves were enrolled in the lists. The rebel army had been driven out of Chin-do, but a remnant had crossed over to Quelpart where the kingdom of Tam-na still flourished. Many of these rebels had been captured on Chin-do and had been taken as captives to China. Now at the request of the king they were sent back to Song-do for punishment. A curious complication arose in connection with this. These rebels, when they first went to Kang-wha had stolen the wives of many of the officials there and had carried them south. These women accompanied their newly acquired husbands to China; but [page 42] now that they were all returned to Song-do many of them again met their former husbands. Some were received back gladly while others were not wanted, owing to new arrangements which were quite satisfactory. But the king commanded that all officials who found their former wives should take them back.

The emperor, influenced by evil-minded men who exaggerated the wealth of the peninsula, demanded that Koryŭ send a large amount of timber to China, but the king answered that he could not accomplish impossibilities. The commissioner who had been sent was a capable man and was well liked by the people in spite of his Mongol nationality. The commissioner fell ill and was fast approaching his end. The king sent him some medicine but he refused to take it, saying that if he took it and yet died the emperor might charge the king with having made away with him by poison. So the disease ran its course and the commissioner expired amid the lamentations of the people. Their appreciation of this Mongol’s kindness shows how badly they were accustomed to being governed. Their high appreciation of his mild and just government overcame even their prejudice against his birth.

It was in this same year that Kublai Khan proclaimed the name of his empire Yuan.

When the Mongol and Koryŭ envoys returned from Japan they were accompanied by a Japanese envoy. The king hurried them on to Peking where they were received by the emperor with great delight, who hoped that he had now gained his point. But he did not relax his preparations for an invasion, for he commanded the king to hasten the construction of boats and the collection of provisions. Everything however was hindered by the rebels on Quelpart who built there a strong fortress and made it a center from which to harry the southern islands and even parts of the mainland. The exchequer was exhausted and the people could not endure further taxation. Many of them fled from their homes to escape the exactions of the government. It is said that one day the king himself had to get along without any side dishes or condiments.

The land seemed doomed to misfortune. A marauding party of Japanese landed at Keum-ju and the people, in fear of their lives, treated them well and gave them whatever they [page 43] asked for. This the renegade Hong Ta-gu told the emperor with embellishments of his own and averred that Koryŭ was making friends with Japan with a view to an invasion of China. The action of the people of Keum-ju made this seem probable. This fed the emperor’s suspicions of Koryŭ’s bad faith and added materially to the overwhelming difficulties under which the land was already staggering.

The matter of the Quelpart rebels came to an issue when they began ravaging the coast of Chŭl-la Province, burning at one place between twenty and thirty ships and carrying away a number of Mongol soldiers as prisoners. The follow* ing spring a strong body of Mongol and Koryŭ troops crossed to Quelpart, overthrew the stronghold of the rebels and placed there a garrison of 500 Mongol and 1000 Koryŭ troops.

The eventful year 1273 opened with a vigorous demand on the part of the emperor that the king prepare 300 vessels, for which he was to supply not only the labor but the materials as well. At the same time the vanguard of the army of invasion, 5000 strong, came to Koryŭ, perhaps to see that the commands of the emperor were promptly complied with. They brought 33,000 pieces of silk to use in purchasing supplies for their maintenance. Silk was the very last thing that the poverty-stricken people of Koryŭ wanted, but it was forced upon them and they had to buy whether they wished or not. The king in attempted obedience to the Emperor’s demands assembled 3500 carpenters and other artisans necessary to the building of the boats, and the work was begun.

The Mongol governor who had been placed at Pyŭngyang was a man of dark and fierce aspect and he was universally feared and hated. He also demanded the society of the fair sex and seized women right and left. Famine stared the capital in the face and the emperor was obliged to send 20,000 bags of rice to relieve the distress. In spite of the inauspiciousness of the times the crown prince who had been plighted to a Mongol princess was sent to Peking where the nuptials were celebrated. No sooner had this been done than the emperor sent to Koryŭ the main body of the army which was to cross the straits and attack Japan. It consisted of 25,000 men. Thus slightingly did the great conqueror gauge the prowess of the Island Empire.

[page 44] King Wŭn-jong died while the prince was in China and the emperor hastened to confer upon the latter the insignia of royalty and send him back to take charge of affairs at home. This prince’s name was Ko, posthumous title Chungryŭl. The princess, his wife, did not accompany him to Koryŭ at first but waited to follow at leisure. When the young king arrived at Song-do has first act was to send an escort to bring his Mongol queen to him.

The events above recorded had followed thick and fast upon each other and now the great and long contemplated invasion of Japan was about to become an accomplished fact. The entire army of invasion rendezvoused on the southeastern coast of Korea, opposite the islands of Japan. It consisted of 25,000 Mongol troops under Generals Hoi Ton, Hong Ta-gu and Yu Pok-hyong; and 15,000 Koryŭ troops under Gen. Kim Pang-gyŭng. The flotilla that was to carry this army across the straits consisted of 900 boats. Sailing from the shores of Korea the fleet made for the island of Iki near the mainland of Japan. Entering the harbor of Sam-nang they found a small garrison stationed there. Generals Kim and Hong attacked and routed this outpost, returning to the fleet, it is said, with 1000 heads. From this point they approached the mainland, landing at several points for the purpose of making a general advance into the country. The Japanese however attacked them briskly and checked the advance, but were themselves checked by a Koryŭ General, Pak, whom the Mongols praised highly for his valor.

It was a foregone conclusion that the allied Koryŭ and Mongol forces must retire sooner or later. Forty thousand men could do nothing on the Japanese mainland. So they retired slowly back to their boats. Nature aided the Japanese, for a storm arose which wrecked many of the boats and many more were scattered, so that the total loss to the allied forces was something over 13000. The scattered remnants of the fleet rendezvoused as best they could at the harbor of Hap and from there made their way back to Koryŭ. So ended the first attempt to subdue the Land of the Rising Sun.

Meanwhile events were not at a standstill in the peninsula. The king went as far as P’yŭng-yang to meet his bride. Escorting her back to the capital he gave her a palace of her [page 45] own, fitted up according to her fancy. The records say that she had sheep skins hanging in the doorways. This would probably be in accord with Mongol ideas. The former Queen was lowered to the position of second wife or concubine. The Mongolizing tendency had now gone so far that the king ordered the officials to adopt the Mongol coiffure. The order was not obeyed until after long and heated debate, but at last the conservatives were voted down and all submitted to the new style. At the same time the Mongol dress was also adopted.

An amusing incident is reported as having occurred about this time, A courtier named Pa-gyu observed to the king, The male population of the country has been decimated but there are still plenty of women. For this reason it is that the Mongols take so many of them. There is danger that the pure Koryŭ stock will become vitiated by the intermixture of wild blood. The king should let each man take several wives and should remove the restrictions under which the sons of concubines labor.” When the news of this came to the ears of the women they were up in arms, as least the married portion; and each one read to her spouse such a lecture that the subject was soon dropped as being too warm to handle. When the king passed through the streets with Pa-gyu in his retinue the women would point to the latter and say There goes the man who would make concubines of us all.

In spite of the failure of the plan of invasion, the emperor could not believe that Japan was serious in daring to oppose his will and so sent another envoy demanding that the Japanese sovereign come to Peking and do obeisance. We may well imagine with what ridicule this proposition must have been received in the capital of the hardy islanders.

 

Chapter VIII.

 

A Queen huntress....general tax.... a jealous Queen....tribute....a thrifty Queen....lack of filial piety....a termagant....Mongol influence at its zenith....second invasion planned....corrupt court ....preparations for the invasion....expedition sets sail....difficulties [page 46] ....terrible catastrophe....survivors retreat....new preparations....the plan given up....corruption....famine in China.... northern cannibals....at last driven back....a son’s rebuke.... Timur Khan makes changes....king abdicates....family difficulties ....an abject king....new slave law....king goes to Peking... Chung-sŭn ascends the throne....a disgusted courtier....a kingless country....eunuchs elevated....reconstruction....king of Mukden....pander to the Mongol court....king’s father banished.... silver coin.

 

The sporting proclivities of the Mongol queen of Koryŭ were an object of wonder and disgust to the people, for she was accustomed to accompany the king in his expeditions and was as good a horseman as any in the rout. It may well be imagined that the finances of the country were in bad shape, and it was found necessary to reconstruct the revenue laws to meet the constantly recurring deficit. For the first time in the history a general tax was levied on all the people, high and low alike. Hitherto taxes had been levied only on the better class of people. This tax was called the hop’o which means house linen, for the tax was levied in linen cloth. This shows that although coin circulated, barter was as yet the main method of interchange of commodities.

The custom of dressing in white must be a fairly ancient one for we learn that at this time the government ordered the use of blue instead of white, as blue is the color that corresponds to east. The birth of a son to the king’s Mongol consort was the signal for great rejoicings and festivities. Everyone offered congratulations, even the discarded queen.

It is said that the king paid some attention to this former queen and that it aroused the fierce jealousy of the Mongol queen. She declared that she would write and complain to the emperor that she was being ill-treated. She was dissuaded from this by the earnest entreaties of the officials. At the same time a further concession was made to the Mongolizing tendency by changing the names of official grades to those in use among the Mongols.

The emperor had not given Up his plan of subduing Japan, and for this purpose he began the preparation of boats in the south of Korea, calling upon the Koreans to supply all the requisites. But this was not the only use to which he put his Koryŭ vassal, for he also demanded women and [page 47] pearls; the former were taken from the men and the latter from the women; and both were sent to the Mongol court.

The Mongol queen of Koryŭ was a thrifty woman and let no small scruples stand in the way of the procuring of pin-money. She took a golden pagoda from one of the monasteries and melted it down. The bullion found a ready market. She also went into the ginseng raising business on her own account, taking people’s fields by force and marketed the crop of ginseng in Nanking, where it brought a good price. She thus turned an honest penny. But it all went against the aristocratic tendencies of the king. That the queen was not without a touch of superstition is shown by the fact that she desisted from accompanying the king to the grave of Wang-gon when told that the spirit of the founder of the dynasty was a strong one and that if she went she might be attacked by some dangerous disease.

When someone hinted to the queen that the former queen was plotting against her life she promptly had her seized and put to the torture, and it would have cost her her life had not the officials interfered and won the inquisitors over to clemency. But her oppression of the people went on unchecked and she sequestered so much of their property that hundreds of people were driven into actual mendicancy. Even when news of her mother’s death reached her she stopped feasting but a short time, to shed a few conventional tears, and then resumed her revels. This was perhaps her greatest offence in the eyes of the people of Koryŭ. But her affection for her husband was very real for we learn that when he was taken sick and she was told that it was on account of her lavish use of money, she stopped building, sent, away her falcons and restored a gold pagoda to the monastery from which she had taken it. She had ideas of her own as to the proper treatment of women by the sterner sex, for when the king preceded her in one of the processions she turned back and refused to go. The king went back to pacify her but she struck him with a rod and gave him a round scolding. She was meanwhile doing a stroke of business in sea-otter skins. She kept a large number of men hunting these valuable animals, but when she found they were squeezing” half the catch she imprisoned the offenders.

[page 48] It was not till 1279 that all the officials, high and low, military and civil, had adopted the Mongol coiffure and dress. It was now that the Mongol influence was at its zenith in the peninsula. In this year the whole royal family made a journey to Peking and it was the signal for a grand festival at that capital. It put an end once for all to the suspicions entertained by the emperor relative to the loyalty of the king of Koryŭ. The busybodies therefore found their occupation gone. On their return the queen resumed building operations, seized over 300 of the people’s houses and had a thousand men at work erecting a palace.

Meanwhile what of the Mongol envoy who had been sent to Japan with his daring demand that the Japanese sovereign go to Peking and do obeisance? He had been promptly killed, as might have been anticipated. When the king sent word to Peking that the emperor’s envoy had been killed, another invasion was immediately decided upon; and the king was charged with the duty of preparing 900 vessels to transport a great army of invasion across the straits. The king was hardly prepared for such an undertaking. He was spending his time in revelry and debauchery. He called to Song-do all the courtezans, sorceresses and female slaves and had them join in singing obscene songs for the delectation of his guests. His manner of life was in no sense worthy of his position. It is not surprising therefore that famine found its way to Koryŭ the following year, and the emperor had to give aid to the extent of 20,000 bags of rice.

The king wanted to lead the army of invasion, and so the emperor called him to Peking to discuss the matter. But Hong Ta-gu talked the emperor over and secured the post of general-in-chief himself. He raised 40,000 regular troops and another general raised 100,000 more among the vassal tribes. The king advised that only the men from the dependent tribes be sent, but that their number be increased. To this the emperor did not consent, and soon the king came back to his capital where he went to work preparing the 900 boats, 15,000 sailors and 10,000 bags of rice, together with many other things that would be needed. The emperor sent Hong to superintend these preparations and the king, being thrown completely into the shade, could do nothing but obey orders.

 


 

 

THE KOREA REVIEW

 

FEBRUARY 1902

 

The Products of Korea.

 

It is my intention to give, in a series of papers, a brief account of the chief products of Korea and the places where each is produced most abundantly or to best effect. In order to do this it will be necessary to follow some logical order. We will therefore consider the cereals first, then the fruits and vegetables, then the minerals, and then the animals, fishes, reptiles and other living products; after which will come the leading industrial products.

It is hardly necessary to say that the chief cereal of Korea is rice. The Koreans say that it originated in Ha-ram (**) in China in the days of the Sil-long-si (***) a dynasty that existed from 2838 B.C. to 2698 B.C. The name Sil-long itself means Marvelous Agriculure The name was doubtless given at a later time. The first rice was brought to Korea by Ki-ja in 1122 B.C. together with other cereals. Before that time the only grain raised in Korea was millet. At first, of course, rice was confined to the north-western part of Korea, but the Whang-I (**) tribe which Ki-ja found occupying portions of the Whang-hăe Province of to-day became split up, and a portion fared southward until they reached the four tribes which later became Pyön-han. They were the first to introduce rice into southern Korea. This may have happened between 600 and 1000 B.C. or even earlier. When Pyön-han was taken by Ma-han, about a century before the Christian era, rice went into south-western Korea and almost simultaneously into Chin-han in the south-east. After the founding of the [page 50] Kingdom of Sil-la in 57 B.C., envoys from the kingdoms of Ye (*) and Măk (|g) just to the north, took back seed rice, and thus introduced it into what is now Kang-wŭn Province. But while rice flourished remarkably in the southern portions of the peninsula, the central eastern portion was too mountainous and sterile. For this reason rice has never flourished in the province of Kang-wŭn excepting in the prefectures of Wŭn-ju, Chun-chŭn, Kang-neung and portions of Whe-yang. It is the poorest rice coUntry in the peninsula. Rice worked its way north from Ma-han and south from Chosŭn until the interval between them was spanned, namely the present provinces of Chung-ch ŭng and Kyŭng-geui. About 600 A.D. envoys from the Suk-sin tribe, which lived just north of the Tuman river, brought presents to the court of Cho-sŭn in P’yŭng-yang. They carried back, among other presents, some seed rice; but they had to pass through the territory of the Ok-jo (**) tribe which occupied north-eastern Korea. They were attacked by Ok-jo people and robbed of half their seed rice. Thus it came about that the present province of Hamgyŭng was supplied with rice. But rice does not grow well there. Ham-gyŭng stands next to Kang-wŭn Province in this respect. The only districts in this province where rice grows well are Ham-heung, Kyöong-heung, Yöng-heung, Tukwŭn and An-byŭn.

There are three kinds of rice in Korea. First, that which is grown in the ordinary paddy fields. This is called specifically the tap-kok or paddy-field rice. This is used almost exclusively to make pap the ordinary boiled rice. Then we have the chŭn-gok or field-rice. This is the so-called upland rice. This is a drier rice than the paddy-field rice and is used largely in making rice flour and in brewing beer. The third kind is the wha-jŭn-gok or fire-field rice”. This is grown exclusively on the slopes of mountains. It is more like a wild rice. The term fire-field” probably comes from the fact that most of it is grown in the south and wha or fire is the element corresponding to south; so instead of saying south-field rice they say fire-field” rice. It may be also because it is grown almost always on the south side of a mountain, which of course has the most sun. This rice is smaller and harder than the other kinds and for this reason [page 51] it is mostly used to supply garrisons, since it withstands the weather and will last much longer than the lowland rice. Under favorable circumstances the lowland rice in store will last five years without spoiling but the mountain rice will last ten years or more.

The enemies of rice are drought, flood, worms, locusts, blight and wind. It is the most sensitive to drought while on the other hand the fact that the best fields are the lowest in the valleys makes it most susceptible to injury from floods. The worm attacks the rice only occasionally but is extremely destructive when it comes, even as cholera is among men. The only way this plague can be averted, so the Koreans believe, is for the king to go out into the fields, catch one of the worms and bite it and say Because of you my people are in danger of starvation; begone!” At the same time sacrifice is made to Heaven. Such a plague occurred during the reign of Yŭng-jong (1724-1776). The king went outside the north-east gate and sacrificed on the north altar. It was terribly warm and the ground was literally parched. He would not allow the officials to support him to the altar but walked unsupported and his head uncovered. He knelt and besought Heaven to avert the plague, while the perspiration flowed down his back and dropped from his beard. He arose and walked down into the fields and taking a worm between his teeth pronounced the formula. No sooner had he entered the gate of the city than the rain came down in torrents, so they aver, and the year turned out to be a fat year. They also say that since that time, however many worms there may be in other parts of Korea, that field has never been molested. If there is a plague of locusts the same ceremony takes place, or did take place, except that instead of biting a worm the king took a blunt pointed arrow and shot it among the flying locusts, at the same time adjuring them to depart. There is also the chi-han or ground-drought” to be contended against. This sometimes happens in spite of rain and is attributed to some kind of fire in the soil which destroys the roots of the grain. In this case the king was accustomed to go out to a rice field in the palace enclosure, make a fire of charcoal before the field and sacrifice. The charcoal, made of oak wood, is supposed to have power to draw to [page 52] itself any evil humor which may be in its neighborhood. Perhaps the Koreans may have had some notion of the disinfecting properties of charcoal.

The finest piece of rice-land in Korea is a board plain situated in the two districts of Keum-gu and Man-gyŭng in Chŭl-la Province. The two districts were named from the plain which is called Keum-gu Man-gyŭng Plain (****) and means The Golden Valley a Boundless Sea of Waving Grain”. It is said that when the monk Mu-hak, who had so much to do with the founding of the present capital, neared his end he asked to be buried in the midst of this vast rice plain. He, being a monk, had no son to perform the sacrificial rites before his grave and so he asked that the people living there each give one gourd of rice a year and with the combined amount purchase the materials for sacrificing to his departed spirit.. The place of his grave is today unknown but every year the people give their rice and sacrifice to Muhak the monk. Here is a pretty combination of Buddhism and Confucianism.

The following is a free translation of perhaps the most celebrated Korean poem on rice.*

 

The earth, the fresh warm earth, by Heaven’s decree,

Was measured out, mile beyond mile afar;

The smiling face which Chosŭn first upturned

Toward the o’er-arching sky is dimpled still

With that same smile; and nature’s kindly law,

In its unchangeability, rebukes

The fickle fashions of the thing called Man.

The mountain grain retains its ancient shape,

Long-waisted, hard and firm; the rock-ribbed hills,

On which it grows, both form and fiber yield.

The lowland grain still sucks the fatness up

From the rich fen and delves for gold wherewith

To deck itself for autumn’s carnival.

Alas for that rude swain who nothing recks

Of nature’s law, and casts his seedling grain

Or here or there regardless of its kind.

[page 53] For him the teeming furrow gapes in vain

And dowers his granaries with emptiness.

To north and south the furrowed mountains stretch,

A wolf gigantic, crouching to his rest.

To East and west the streams, like serpents lithe,

Glide down to seek a home beneath the sea.

The South warm mother of the race pours out

Her wealth in billowy floods of grain.

The North Stern foster-mother – yields her scanty store

By hard compulsion; makes her children pay

For bread by mintage of their brawn and blood.

 

*The original of this was written by Yun Keun-su (***) at about the time of the great Japanese invasion. He was thirteen years old at the time and it is said of him that he could write so well that rough paper would become smooth beneath his brush pen.

 

 

The Status of Woman in Korea.

(third paper.)

 

In the last paper we mentioned some of the more important occupations that are open to women. The list there given could be supplemented by many more of a local nature. For instance the women of Kwang-ju are celebrated for their skill in glazing white pottery. They do it much better than men. The women of Whang-hă province are also skillful at glazing the sak-kan-ju, a kind of brown jar. Most of the crystal which Koreans use for spectacles comes from Kyung-sang Province, and women are much more skillful than men in selecting the stone and in determining the quality of crystal before it is cut. Women are also very skillful in preparing ginseng for the the market. This is done mostly in the vicinity of Song-do. The women of Sŭng-chŭn in P’yŭng-an Province far excell the men in raising and curing tobacco, and Sŭng-ch ŭn tobacco is celebrated as being by far the best in Korea. Women are also good at making medicine, at certain processes connected with paper making, at making pipe-stems, at splitting bamboo, at cutting mother-o’-pearl for inlaying cabinets, at spinning thread and at a thousand other lesser arts which do not in themselves constitute a livelihood.

We next come to the question of the relative wages which women receive. And first, without comparing them with the men, let us inquire what forms of female labor are most remunerative. It is rather difficult to determine, for remuneration [page 54] depends entirely upon skill and there is no such thing as a regular salary for any woman worker. But as a general rule it will be found that next to the dancing girl the pay of the lady physician is about the highest of any. Next in order we might perhaps put the female acrobat or juggler, although the fortune-teller might receive about as much. The go-between, or matrimonial agent, gets good pay, though it is a precarious living. The same may be said of the wet-nurse or milk-mother. The woman who is skillful at putting on cosmetics is also well paid. The teacher or tutor in a gentleman’s family receives no pay whatever, although she may be given a present now and then. Among female artisans the pay depends so largely upon the amount that a woman can do and the quality of her work that no rule can be laid down, but the sewing woman, the comb maker, the head-band maker and the weaver are most likely to make a good living.

As to the amount of money actually received we can say but little, as all female work is piece work; for while a female physician may make anywhere from ten to forty dollars a month, an acrobat’s pay may be as low as four dollars or as high as sixty dollars. The lady physician would get her chair-coolie hire and about a dollar for each visit. The acrobat’s work is very uncertain. She would probably get four dollars a day while working. The fortune-teller gets eight cents for each fortune she tells and it takes from an hour and a half to two hours. But in certain cases she might receive as high as twenty dollars for a single forecast.

The go-between gets from five to eight dollars for each case, but her income is determined entirely by her thrift and honesty. The woman who applies cosmetics to the face of a bride gets from ten to sixteen dollars for each job and anyone who has seen a Korean bride in her stucco will say the money is well earned.

A good seamstress would earn about a dollar a day and a comb-maker or head-band maker would make about the same. The wet-nurse receives about forty cents a day besides her food, but the foreigner has to pay twenty and support her lazy husband.

In comparing the wages of women with those of men we find somewhat less of difficulty. In sewing, weaving, [page 55] comb making, fishing, head-band making, doctoring, glazing pottery, preparing ginseng, salt making, shoe-making, exorcism and many other forms of labor the wages of men and women are the same. In fact if a woman can make a thing as quickly and as well as a man she will receive as high pay. In this respect the Korean woman has the advantage of the American or European female artisan.

There are other forms of work in which the woman receives less than a man. For instance in farming, shop-keeping, fortune-telling, tobacco raising, and in general in whatever other forms of labor men and women are both engaged the woman as a rule will receive less than the man, but it is not because of her sex. It will be because a woman has not the requisite strength or ability to do work equal to a man*s work. But the matter of relative wages is complicated by the fact that in the different provinces different rules prevail; for instance in the southern provinces of Chŭl-la, Kyŭng-sang and Chung-ch’ung, women’s wages compare more favorably with men’s than in the northern provinces. We may lay it down as a rule in regard to the common day laborer’s wage in Korea that a woman will receive practically as much as a man.

             But rather more interesting than all this is the question of female education. The relative degree of education as between men and women is not thoroughly understood by foreigners, judging from what we see about it in print. It is commonly believed that education is almost wholly confined to the male portion of society, but I think this opinion must be somewhat modified. Among Korean gentlemen there are practically none who have not at some time or other studied the Chinese character more or less thoroughly. It is probable that out of an average lot of Koreans who have studied Chinese not more than five in one hundred can take up a Chinese work and read it intelligently at sight as an English boy of fifteen would take up ordinary good English prose and read it. This opinion is not mine merely but has been verified by reference to many well-informed Koreans. As for women of the upper class, it is estimated that about four in ten study at least through the Thousand Character Classic, but the proportion of those who can read a Chinese book is much smaller than among the men . Perhaps one per cent of ladies who study Chinese [page 56] gain enough knowledge of it to be of actual use in reading. As we have before said, girls of the upper class are taught only by their fathers or brothers or by a female tutor. Among the middle and lower classes there are practically no women who ever study Chinese. Among the men of the middle class very many study a few Chinese characters but they seldom get enough to read more than the mixed script of the daily paper in which the grammatical construction is purely Korean. Almost all ladies who study Chinese at all know enough of it to read the paper, for this requires only a knowledge of the meaning of about 1500 Chinese characters.

The Korean native alphabet or on-mun is often called the woman’s writing.It was not so intended when it was made but such has been the result. The knowledge of this magnificent alphabet is extremely common among Korean women. Practically all ladies know it. If one of them is lacking in this she will be looked upon much as a western lady would be who should speak of George Elliot as a gentleman. Among middle-class women something less than half are conversant with the native character; perhaps thirty per cent. Among the lower class there is practically no knowledge of any writing.

So much for the basis upon which an education is built, though we recognize that education does not all depend upon books and book knowledge. We next ask what the Korean woman reads and studies. The one work that Korean women must master, without fail, is the Sam-gang Hang-sil (** **) or The Three Principles of Conduct.” These three principles are (1) Treatment of Parents, (2) The Rearing of a Family, (3) House-keeping. We humbly submit that while this curriculum would not result in what we might call a liberal education, it forms a magnificent basis for an education. A woman deserves and needs as good an education as a man, but the three subjects above given are indispensible in any scheme which looks toward preparation for a successful life. While we cannot but praise the Koreans for insisting upon these, we have reason to complain that they too often stop there. Many women of the middle class also study this work and many, who cannot read, learn it by proxy. The book is written in Chinese and in Korean on alternate pages. [page 57] Next to this comes the O-ryun Hang-sil (****) or The Five Rules of Conduct. This is also written in Chinese and Korean and is the same as the Chinese work of the same name with very few additions from Korean history. This is studied nearly as much as the Sam-gang Hăng-sil, by the women of Korea. There is one other important work, the Kam-öng-p’yŭn (***) A Book of Interesting and Proper Things,” being a mass of anecdotes illustrating the various virtues and vices. There are also the five volumes of So-hak (**) or Primary Literature. They include the same subjects as the O-Ryŭn Hang-sil, namely the relation between father and child, king and subject, husband and wife, old and young, friend and friend; and also all kinds of good maxims and exhortations to virtue. They contain also arguments in favor of education and the pursuit of letters.

We must not forget to mention the Yŏ-eui Chöng-jŭng (****) or “Female Physician Remedy Book. This is a sort of domestic medical work dealing with pre-natal conditions, parturition and infants’ diseases. It is studied only by a select few of the highest classes.

These are the books regularly studied by women, and ignorance of their contents is looked upon with a species of contempt among women of the upper class, and to a less extent among women of the middle class. But besides these books there is a very extensive literature in the native script. It contains many historical works on ancient, medieval and modern Korea, poetical works books of travel, epistolary productions, biographies, hunting and other sports, and a vast range of fiction which includes fairy tales, ghost stories, tales of love, hate, revenge, avarice, ambition, adventure, perseverance, self-sacrifice, and all the other passions and appetencies which human nature possesses in common the world over.

The palace women are the best masters of the native character. They acquire great skill in writing and they prepare on-mun copies of current news, government enactments and general matter for the queen and other members of the royal family to read.

Of all these books those in the first four classes, which are regularly studied, are secured only by purchase; but as for [page 58] novels and story-books Seoul abounds in circulating libraries where books are lent at two cents or less a volume, to be returned within five days. They may also be bought if so desired. They are all printed in the running or grasshand.

Now an important difference between the education of men and that of women in Korea is that while a man’s education is almost entirely from books the woman studies and learns many other things. Of course her theoretical study of housekeeping and other domestic arts is supplemented by actual experimentation, in which she has the advantage of her brothers. But entirely outside of books there is a wide range of study for her.

As for purely ornamental arts they are not much studied by women in Korea. For instance music is studied almost exclusively by the dancing-girls, at least vocal music; and of instrumental music the Korean lady seldom learns more than the use of the ku-mun-gŭ which we may call, in the absence of a better term, the Korean guitar. Music has always been considered in the Far East, and indeed in the whole of the orient, as a meretricious art. And for the same reason the art of dancing is confined to a special class, and that a degraded one. The art of embroidery is the only purely ornamental art studied by Korean women and this is naturally confined to the favored few who have money and leisure. The best embroidery, however, is made by the palace women and by men who learn it as an industrial rather than an ornamental art.

As for the industrial arts we hardly need say that sewing, weaving, fishing, head-band making, cooking and all the rest of them have to be learned, but we could not include this line of study in our present review of woman’s education without tiring the reader.

Such is an imperfect and fragmentary account of what constitutes a woman’s education in Korea. The fact that there is practically no such thing as a girls’ school in Korea, outside of those instituted by foreigners, and that girls are taught almost exclusively those things which will be of practical use to them within the walls of their own homes, is necessarily narrowing to the intellect and makes the woman [page 59] a companion to man only in a physical and domestic sense. The influence which this has upon society is too well known to need discussion here; but we cannot forbear to say that it is the experience of many foreigners who have had to do with Korean girls that these long centuries of narrow training have not impaired their intellectual capacity. It has simply lain dormant, and whenever given an opportunity it has shown itself to be easily equivalent to that of the men.

 

 

An Island without a Sea.

 

Near the center of Korea, where the provinces of Kyŭngsang, Chung-chung and Kang-wŭn touch each other, rises the lofty Pi-bong Mountain (***) or Mount of the Flying Phoenix. Approaching it from the west by one of the deep valleys between its spurs, one’s way is blocked by a high cliff which anciently afforded no means of ascent. About fifty feet up the side of this cliff there was an opening like the arch of a small gate leading apparently into a cave. The Koreans held the place in awe deeming it to be the home of some great serpent or some mountain spirit. Only once had it ever been known to be entered by man and he was a wandering monk who managed to effect an entrance, and was never seen again.

But at last the mystery was solved by the great scholar U T’ak (**) near the close of the Koryŭ dynasty. He had been sent to Nanking on some mission and there he first saw the great Chu-yŭk (**) or Book of Changes, ten volumes in all. The Ming emperor let him take it to read. After two days he brought it back and said that he had mastered it. The emperor laughed at his presumption, as if, forsooth, a man could master the Book of Changes in two years, to say nothing of two days; but U Tak stood before the emperor and repeated the contents of all ten of the books from memory. For this almost superhuman feat the emperor did him great honor and sent him home loaded with gifts.

On his arrival in Korea his first care was to transcribe on paper the great classic whose contents he had brought in his [page 60] head. It was thus that the Book of Changes was first introduced into Korea. But we have wandered from our proper story.

U T’ak looked upon the debauchery and excess of the last days of Koryŭ with disgust. He felt that the capital was no place for self-respecting men. And yet he knew that his departure would attract attention by its implied censure of the wicked court and that he would be pursued and killed. So, having made all his preparations, he left the city secretly and by forced marches reached the town of Tan-yang long before anyone could catch him. It was here that this cave existed high up the side of the cliff. This was his native town and he had determined to explore the dreaded place in search of a sure retreat from the minions of Sin-don the monk who held the king in his sleeve, as the Koreans say. Near to the cliff there grew a tall tree whose branches, swaying in the wind, swept the threshold of the gloomy orifice which led no one knew whither.

He boldly climbed the tree, crept out on one of the branches and swung himself across to the narrow ledge. He took a candle from his pocket and with flint and steel struck a light. Looking down at the crowd of villagers who had assembled to see the rash man throw away his life he waved his hand to them and then plunged resolutely into the cave. A few feet brought him to a sharp turn, a few feet further another turn, another, and a burst of sunlight dazzled him. He found himself in a broad mountain valley hemmed in on all sides by lofty mountain walls. The only access to it was the cave opening through which he had come. The whole floor of the valley was one field of waving grain while the higher slopes beneath the encircling cliffs were covered with fruit trees of all descriptions, laden with their treasure. The only way he could account for it was on the supposition that the monk who had been seen to enter the cave, over a century before, had brought seeds and planted them; for now the whole valley blossomed like a veritable garden. Before long the villagers below were amazed to see him rolling out bags of rice from the cave and pitching them over the precipice. But first he took the precaution to cut the limb of the tree which gave a means for ascending to his retreat. The people sent him such [page 61] things as he needed by means of a basket which he let down with a straw rope. But he did not tell them the secret. They supposed some friendly dragon had taken him into partnership. His enemies came to apprehend him but he poured out a shower of rice on their heads that nearly smothered them. They knew that if they persisted rocks might follow the rice, so they gave up the chase.

In time he brought his family up to his retreat, built a magnificent house and lived in affluence. Generations passed and gradually the place filled up with dwellers and a rocky stairway was built up the cliff. It is there to-day and the valley inside the rocky arch is called the To-dam-dong (***) or “Island Pond District.” Before U T’ak died he was made magistrate of the whole prefecture and because of his benign influence the Koreans say that never has that district produced a traitor, a spendthrift, a robber or a beggar; that it has never known famine or pestilence or flood; and the only thing that prevents its being an earthly paradise is that it is very hard to get salt-fish.

 

 

Christmas among the Koreans.

 

Among the Christian people of Korea the anniversary of the birth of our Lord is a great festival. Crowds attend the Christmas services in the churches, in the cities and the country alike. In the preparations for the festival nearly the entire membership is enlisted. Some raise the funds, others secure the tree and the evergreens for decoration. Each Christian family provides at least one lantern for the light display at night. The secret of its success lies in the unanimity with which the entire church enters into the spirit of the event.

The churches are decorated in truly oriental style. Arches of pine branches span the approaches. Lanterns hang from lines along the pathways and the church itself is redolent with the sweet smell of pine and cedar. Banners of red silk with gold letters and green margins tell of Jesus of Bethlehem. [page 62] White is conspicuous by its absence. It is the symbol of mourning and would not be appropriate at this time of universal joy.

The Christmas tree is especially popular with the Koreans. The pine is the only tree that abounds in Korea and to the Korean it is the symbol of long and vigorous life. So to the Korean Christian it symbolizes the undying love of Christ and gives a hint at the promise of immortality.

Giving is a prominent feature of the Korean Christmas, but it is done mostly at the church and not in the family. Koreans do not wear stockings like ours and if Santa Claus should come down a Korean chimney and reach the fireplace he would still find himself out of doors and probably very much the worse for wear.

One church made an innovation this year in the way of presents by giving each member a calendar. It is hard for foreigners to realize fully how useful a gift this is to a Korean, The regular government calendar is full of pagan notions about luck and ill-luck and gives no hint of the Sabbath. A Christian calendar is published each year, showing which days are Sabbaths according to the Korean count.

As might be expected, crowds of people are attracted to the vicinity of the church by the lights and the festive air that pervades the whole neighborhood, and advantage is taken of this to impress upon them a few of the fundamental truths of our religion.

Korean Christians remember the poor on Christmas Day. They do it as naturally as though their ancestors had been Christians for fifteen hundred years. This last year special attention was paid to the poor at our Christmas service. Last summer the greater part of Korea was visited by a terrible drought which utterly ruined the crops and brought thousands to the verge of starvation. The month of December was marked by extreme cold which added to the suffering of the needy, and among the destitute are many Christians. The story of the suffering of the Koreans this year is a pitiful one but cannot be told here. In Korea it does not take a very large sum of money to spell the difference between life and death. For instance one yen will buy enough of their fuel for a month, and yet over one hundred persons froze to death in [page 63] Seoul during the recent cold. Many sad instances come to our ears, A family found its fuel gone. They made an appeal but unsuccessfully. That night they lay down to sleep under a small coverlet and the next day the neighbors found them, father, mother and two children, frozen to death. A mother with her child was driven by hunger from her home. They tried to reach a large town and, night overtaking them when almost there, they sat down to rest, presumably, by the wayside. They went to sleep and the next day the men of the city found them sitting hand in hand, dead in the icy embrace of the frost. But this is only one side of the story of the destitution which afflicts Korea. The following incident will illustrate a phase of it. One family, a mother and three children were several days without food, when a neighbor took pity on them and gave them some wheat. They made porridge and of this they partook, the children eating so ravenously that it resulted in the death of all three the same day. .

This year famine relief was the object in our churches in the afflicted region. The First M. E. Church, Seoul, raised a fund and on Christmas morning distributed rice and fuel to over four hundred of the destitute in the capital. The same thing was done at Chemulpo. Other churches raised funds, some larger, some smaller, for the same purpose, but whether large or small the amount of good done cannot be estimated; for, as above noted, it takes only a small sum of money to tip the balance between life and death in Korea. And this money given in the name of Jesus added to His glory in this land.

 

Geo. Heber Jones.

 

 

A School for the Native Character.

 

The causes which brought about the establishment of the new School of the Native Character, or (언문학교), are extremely interesting. It was necessary to make some repairs at the Government Medical School. The carpenters had been at work but had stopped to have a smoke, as we know they sometimes do, when one of the school teachers overheard a conversation between two of the workmen.

[page 64] How is it, anyway, that some people have plenty of money and leisure and others have to work all day long to get enough to live?” said one of them. It seems to me that Heaven is unfair to apportion the good things so unevenly among men.”

Not at all,” answered the other, it is not Heaven that is to blame but we ourselves. Heaven does not give success or failure. It only gives opportunities, and just in proportion as we improve them or throw them away we are successful or the reverse.

It astonished the teacher to hear an ignorant man talk with such wisdom, so he came near and said.

I see that you are an educated man. You evidently have studied the Chinese characters diligently.”

“No,” replied the carpenter, “I never studied them at all.”

“But how else could you speak with such wisdom as you just did if you have not studied the great books? Have you been connected with foreigners?”

Yes,” said the carpenter. “I am a Protestant Christian. The missionaries have put many good books into the native character and it is as easy to learn of these things through the native character as through the Chinese. In fact it is easier. It takes ten years to get even a little Chinese, fifteen to learn to read well and twenty to become a mun-jang; as you yourself know. But how many of us common people can do that? If a man wants to eat honey cakes he must have plenty of money and a high position like yours, but as for us we have to buy Japanese biscuits at three for a cent. Just so with the books; you can read the Chinese because you have money and leisure while we have to put up with the on-mun; but, look you, we can get as much good out of the Japanese biscuits as you do out of the honey cakes and they are much better for the digestion.”

The teacher stared at him in amazement. The truth of the argument was as plain as day. He for the first time grasped the fact that if there ever is to be an enlightened Korea it must be by the use of the native character which a child can learn in a month. He bid the man good-bye in polite language and went to the Department of Education. He [page 65] related the incident to the Minister and the latter was greatly impressed and agreed that there must be a school for the native character. The teacher then went to Kim Ka-jin, one of the most liberal-minded of Korean statesmen, and laid the matter before him. He took it up vigorously. Backing was found for a school, a building was secured and a beginning has been made toward revolutionizing the whole structure of Korean education. This is the entering wedge. Today it is small but, once started, the wedge will split the dense mass of Korean ignorance and some day the Chinese character will be as great a curiosity as are the hieroglyphics of Egypt. We have always believed that, to be permanent, this movement must start among the Koreans themselves. It has so started and one of Korea’s highest officials and a thorough student of the Chinese character has given it his warm approval and personal help. Now is his opportunity to put his name upon the page of history as Korea’s intellectual liberator by starting a general movement throughout the country in favor of the native script -a movement like that which liberated England from the intellectual thraldom of the Latin, which gave modern Italian its first classic at the hand of Dante and which in Luther’s Bible opened the eyes of the Germans to the splendid possibilities of their mother tongue.

We do not understand the arguments of those who would continue to teach Koreans the Chinese character. If they are right, then Cadmus was wrong. The Korean alphabet is capable of conveying every idea that the Korean mind can grasp. We would not oppose the etymological study of those words which have been borrowed from China. By all means let them be studied, but phonetically. What we object to is the shameful waste of time in acquiring the ideograph.

 

 

Odds and Ends.

 

“The Works of Sak-eun.”

 

In the very interesting Notes on Southern Korea” which appeared in the last issue of the Review, the author states that he had not been able to identify the author of the work from [page 66] which the Notes” were translated (the Sak-eun-chip) or determine the date at which it was written, possibly the following may throw some light upon the matter.

A work frequently quoted in Korean histories is the Sageui Sak-eun **** From the similarity of names it would seem that the work from which the notes were taken might be either an edition of the Sa-geui Sak-eun or a redaction based on it by some Korean scholar. This the happy possessor of the work may be able to determined by examining into it from this stand-point.

The Sa-geui Sak-eun was written by Sze Ma-cheng a famous scholar of the Tang dynasty in China who lived about A. D. 720. Mayers tells us that Sze Ma-cheng devoted his life to the study of the epoch-marking Historical Record” of Sze Ma-tsien (***) which was written about B.C. 91. In was on these Historical Records that Lze Macheng based his Sa-geui Sak-eun or Elucidation of the Historical Records.” This together with various critical comments and additions made from time to time by various literati comprises the collection known in Korea as the Sa-geui Pyŭng-nim **** which is the basis of many of the citations from Chinese history found in Korea.

If the above identification prove true the Notes translated will then represent the historical information prevailing in China in the eighth century concerning Korea.

 

Geo. Heber Jones.

 

 

Question and Answer.

 

Question (4) What is the history of the white Buddha”?

 

Answer In the days of king Mŭyng-jong (**), 15451567 A.D., there was a high official named Kim Su-dong (***) who was so celebrated that it was a common saying among Koreans If a son is born like Kim Su-dong the father will be a blessed man.” He was one of the finest looking men that Korea ever produced. In the matrimonial market he secured anything but a prize. Whether it was the fault of a Chung-ma, or bride finder” is not told, but the fact remains that when the bridal paste was taken off her face he found that her face was twice as broad as the canons [page 67] of Korean beauty permit, that the pock marks in her face were as big as thimbles and that her eyes sloped down, giving her a most ugly expression.

When Kim Su-dong realized the truth, whatever his feelings may have been, he made no complaint whatever but bore his misfortune with the greatest equanimity. Not so his mother. With the exaggerated prerogative of the Korean mother-in-law she treated the unfortunate woman brutally. Her husband expostulated, saying that it was not the girl’s fault that she was born ugly; but the mother would listen to no excuse. She kept the girl in a dark room where no one could see her and made her work night and day. Not content with this she hunted up the go-between or “bride-finder” and had some exciting passages at arms with her, which, it is hinted, had a decidedly depilatory effect.

This went on for a couple of years during which time a son was born to the unfortunate woman. At last the mother-in-law could stand it no longer to have such a fright of a daughter-in-law about, so one day when Kim was away she drove the woman from the house with the child. The young woman had borne everything patiently but this was too much. In a terrible passion she went away to a little hovel and deliberately starved herself to death. Of course Kim could do nothing for her as long as his mother hated her so.

The night she died she sent a message to her husband and said: I am dying and all I ask is that you bury me beside some running stream where the fresh water flowing over my body will cool my fevered spirit.”

He paid no attention to the request but buried her on a hill-side. A few nights later her spirit appeared to him in a dream and reproached him for not heeding her request, but he answered that if a body is buried beside water it will be very bad. because, as everyone knows, if water gets into a grave the dead man’s body will smell and the result will be that his relatives will swell up and die.

But the woman’s ghost persisted, and begged to be buried beside the stream which runs through the valley outside the Ch’ang-eui gate, below the water gate called Hong-wha gate. Kim told it to the king and the latter gave him a spot beside the stream and told him to obey the spirit’s mandate.

[page 68] So Kim buried her in the bed of the stream beneath a great boulder and on its surface carved her semblance. It was called the Ha-su (**) or Ocean Water which had been the woman’s name. In time it came to be considered a sacred place and people in passing would pray for good luck or even bring food and offer it. Some monks seeing this built a little house, confirmed the holy character of the place -and ate the rice.

 

This caused an addition to the name of the two characters Kwan-an (**) or “Hall of Peace.” So it is known to-day as The Ocean Water’s Hall of Peace.” It is the presence of the monks that has made foreigners call this the White buddha.” The face is that of a woman and an examination of the dress will show that it is a woman’s garb.

They say that however high the water of the brook may be it never wets the image but flows around it like a whirlpool.

 

Question (5) What is the significance of rubbing a stone on a slab, set for the purpose before a shrine?

 

Answer. After careful inquiry we are unable to answer the question in this form. Well informed Koreans say that there is no such custom in this part of Korea but as the question came from a subscriber in the country it may be a local custom. It is just possible that the questioner may be referring to what the Koreans call 붓침바위 or sticking boulders” which are common enough though there is no shrine near them. They are boulders beside the road with little shallow hollows scooped in their sides and people take little stones and try to make them lie in these hollows without slipping off. They try and try again and the motion looks very much as if they were rubbing the boulder with the smaller stone. They do this for good luck. If the stone sticks it is a good sign and if not it is a bad sign so they keep on trying again and again. If they succeed finally in making it stick it cancels all previous failures. This is done more by boys than by men. The little wood gatherers will set their loads down and take turns trying the sticking stone” and if one succeeds he will cry, “O, I shall sell my load of wood quickly today.” Rather pathetic, isn’t it?

 

 

[page 69] Editorial Comment.

 

That which was inevitable has come at last, namely a definite understanding between England and Japan as to the question of the continued autonomy of China and Korea. There has been a general understanding among all the powers that the dismemberment of China is out of the question, but general understandings not binding. The present guarantee of the independence of China and Korea could hardly have been effected by a conference of all the powers together. It was necessary that two of them, any two perhaps, whose interests were large enough to count for much, should start the movement looking toward a definite settlement of the question. This convention is inimical to none of the powers nor is it a threat. Russia has stated in plain terms that she desires the independence of China and of Korea and this convention simply voices the same idea. It only goes a step further and shows that England’s and Japan’s interests are so vitally involved in establishing this proposition that they are willing to commit themselves definitely to its establishment. The autonomy of China and Korea means more to some powers than to others. The reasons for this are geographical, commercial, political, social and racial.

The question which all will ask is, how will this effect the Russian occupation of Manchuria. We see no reason to doubt Russia’s good faith in her definite promise to give Manchuria back to China. But even if there were those who doubted it their fears would be set at rest by the publication of the terms of this convention which takes it for granted that the promise will be kept and that the markets of Manchuria will remain open to the trade of the world.

No fair-minded person can look otherwise than with satisfaction upon the building of a branch line of the Siberian Railway to tide-water on the Yellow Sea. It will prove an immense advantage to Manchuria as well as to Siberia. Russia’s development of the vast resources of Siberia is as sacred and binding a duty as is the development of Canada by [page 70] Great Britain and if the Manchurian Railway facilitates this development no one can complain. But of course this does not necessitate the alienation of Manchuria from the Chinese crown. Russia has distinctly disclaimed any such intention and the present convention is only an added guarantee that China will remain intact in all her borders.

It has been pretty well demonstrated that a condition of stable equilibrium does not conduce to the welfare of the Korean people. None of these eastern countries, not even Japan herself, was able to break forth from her medieval status into nineteenth century enlightenment without help from foreign sources. What has been lacking in Korea all along is some definite policy, some ideal toward which to press. Her progress has been spasmodic and uneven. From the time when the first treaty was made with Japan in 1876 until the overthrow of Chinese suzerainty in 1894, Chinese influence was paramount and the progress made was almost purely commercial. From the summer of 1894 till 1896 Japanese influence was predominant and other ideals were introduced many of them useful but others untimely. Then came the inevitable reaction and a new set of ideas came to the fore. Since that time the conflicting interests of various powers, each unable to give its own impress to the government, have resulted in a state of equilibrium which leaves more or less to be desired in the way of economic growth, financial stability and general prosperity. If, as seems probable, the signing of this convention, which makes England and Japan coordinate guarantors of the independence of Korea, results in a preponderance of Japanese influence in the peninsula, it is reasonable to suppose that with foreign help the Government will adopt some definite policy looking toward the rehabilitation of the country’s finances, the definition of the powers and prerogatives of the different branches of the Government service, and whatever else may be needed to increase and develop the prosperity of the people; for it is only by such development that Korea can become most useful to herself as well as to the world. Such influence would not imply the power to assume a dictatorial attitude. The very propose of the convention is to guarantee the independence of the two countries, China and Korea. It does not imply the right to use Korean territory [page 71] to carry out extensive schemes of colonization, for this would evidently contravene the express terms of the convention. In concluding this convention England and Japan undertake grave responsibilities not only to each other but toward China and Korea, In guaranteeing independence to Korea and China they are morally bound to guarantee that the independence of these two counties shall be made to mean better things for themselves (Korea and China) than any other condition would. If such is the case and they live up to their responsibilities this alliance means no mere stolid opposition to agencies of disintegration in China and Korea but an active, vigorous campaign of helpfulness which will result sooner or later in putting both these empires in a position where native initiative alone shall suffice to keep them on the track of progress.

 

 

News Calendar.

 

The following is the text of the Anglo-Japanese Convention signed in London on Jan. 30th 1902: --

 

The Government of Japan and the Government of Great Britain, being desirous of maintaining the present condition of peace over the whole situation in the extreme East, and being desirous of preserving the independence and integrity of both the Empires of China and Korea, and also in view of the existence of special relations of inteiest in these two countries for conferring equal advantages in behalf of commerce and industry on all countries, have hereby decided upon the following agreement: --

 

Art. 1. -Both High Contracting Parties, in view of their recognition of the independence of China and Korea, declare themselves to be entirely uninfluenced by any aggressive tendencies in either country, but considering the special interests of both Contracting Parties, that is, Great Britain being specially concerned in China, while Japan, in addition to her interests in China, has particular political and commercial interests in Korea, in the event of the above mentioned interests being inimically affected by any aggressive action of other Powers, or by the outbreak of a disturbance in either China or Korea requiring interference for the protection of lives and property of the subjects of either of the Contracting Parties, it is hereby agreed that either of the Contracting Parties shall be authorised to take necessary measures for the protection of the aforementioned interests.

 

[page 72] Art. 2. -If either Japan or Great Britain, for the purpose of protecting their respective aforementioned interests, proceed to declare war against other Power or Powers, the other one of the High Contracting Parties shall observe strict neutrality, and in addition to this, shall endeavor to prevent other Power or Powers from going to war against the allied Power.

 

Art. 3. -In the case aforementioned, if any other Power or Powers go to war against the allied Power, the other High Contracting party shall proceed to give assistance to the allied Power and shall jointly participate in the war, and peace shall also be arranged on the mutual consent of the two allied Powers.

 

Art. 4 -Both Contracting Parties hereby agree not to conclude with other Powers any agreement likely to inimically affect the aforementioned interests without consultation with the other Contracting Party.

 

Art. 5-When either Japan or Great Britain recognises that the aforementioned interests are in danger, the Governments of the two countries shall communicate the matter to each other sufficiently and without reserve.

 

Art. 6. -This Agreement shall be put in force immediately from the date of the signing of the same, and it shall be effective for five years. If neither of the Contracting Parties announces its intention of discontinuing the Agreement twelve months before the termination of the aforementioned five years, the Agreement shall be held effective until the end of one year from the day when either of the Contracting Parties announces its intention of abolishing the Agreement. But if either of the allied Powers is still engaged in war at the time of the termination of the period, the present alliance shall be continued until the conclusion of peace.

 

In witness whereof, the undermentioned being vested with full power from their respective Governments, have affixed their signatures hereto.

 

Done in duplicate in London on this 30th January. 1902. (Signed) Hayashi. Lansdowne.

 

 

At Hong-ju in Ch’ung Chŭng Province a rich vein of coal is said to have been found and an attempt is being made to organize a company to open it up.

 

The Japanese whaling company made a catch of four whales within a single week, the aggregate weight being 100,000 lbs., so says the local Japanese press.

 

Nickel blanks to the number of 40,000,000 have been imported by order of the Korean government through the firm of Collbran, Bostwick 6t Co. , but now that the goods have arrived the government repudiates the order. Of course the matter will be settled properly in time.

 

The tomb-keeper at the Tong-neung has received a polite note requesting him to be sure and deposit the trifling sum of 1,000,000 cash at [page 73] Manguri Pass or “Danger Pass” on a certain day or else the population of Korea will be suddenly lessened by one. Five policemen have been sent down to witness the demise of the faithful grave-keeper.

 

A gentleman named Kim living in Ta-dong, Seoul, got up one morning and found that his Sin-ju or ancestral tablet had been stolen. This terrible calamity completely destroyed his peace of mind but later in the day he received a letter saying that if 2,500,000 cash were deposited at a spot near the Independence Arch at a certain hour the Sin-ju would be returned At the appointed time he carried 300,000 cash to the appointed place, and it was received by a suspicious looking individual who declared that the balance must be forthcoming or else the gentleman’s house would be burned and his life taken. Mr. Kim on the following night carried 200,000 cash to the rendezvous but as the villain stooped to pick it up he threw himself upon the fellow and secured him. At the police headquarters the culprit was tortured into giving up his accomplice and the two forthwith expiated their crime at the end of a rope.

 

In view of the serious falling off in the revenues of the country owing to the famine it was determined that it would not be well to make out a regular budget for the year 1902 but apportion the money between the different departments as it happened to come in. However, His Majesty ordered that this course be not pursued but that a regular schedule be made out as usual. It was found that instead of a regular income of $12,000,000 the government would receive this year only $7,000,000. The ministers of the various departments met at the Finance Department to discuss the matter of apportionment between the different departments. The ordinary appropriation to the army of $4,800,000 was cut $1,000,000; all other military appropriations wiped out: The entire appropriation for the War Department, of $356,000, to be discontinued and the department closed; The Education Department appropriation of $300,000, to be cut $50,000. The Minister of Education said that the salaries of foreign teachers could not be cut and if the appropriation is to be lessened he desires that the salaries of these gentlemen be paid directly from the Finance Department. The Council is to be discontinued. There was serious difference of opinion, especially from the direction of the War Department and things are still largely in abeyance. Meanwhile the January salaries have none of them been paid, pending a settlement of the question of apportionment. The finance minister suggested that the amount of $30 a month given to foreign employees for house rent be cut off but the minister of education very pertinently remarked that sums already contracted for could not be easily cut down.

 

The Educational Department having arranged for the opening of a School of Mines and a School of Trade, has determined to postpone the latter but as the foreign instructors for the former are on the ground it must be begun.

 

A young Korean named Cho Man-sik was enticed by a Korean stopping in Japan to pawn his father’s house and go to Japan. The father [page 74] followed and applied to the Japanese government to seize the Korean who had induced his son to run away and to send him back to Korea. This was done and the man is to be severely punished as an example to those Who would lead young men astray.

 

Colonel Yi Kwan-ha who lives just west of the Kyong-bok Palace was visited by burglars on the night of Jan. 26th. He was bound and gagged and the household were frightened into silence, after which the burglars made a clean sweep of the house carrying away several thousands of dollars worth of goods and money.

 

A man fell dead in the street near the ancestral Tablet Hall on Jan. 24th. Someone saw him fall and, in order to find out who he was, examined the contents of his pouch which contained a pawn ticket. This showed that the dead man was Choe Yong-bo of Wha-ga ward.

 

A Korean named So Chung-ak graduated from Tokyo University in 1900 and since that time has been connected with the Finance Department there and has learned the methods of government finance. He has lately returned to Korea.

 

The Home Department instructed the Mayoralty Office, the Famine Relief Commission and Police Department to make a list of needy persons in the five great divisions of Seoul. The numbers were discovered to be as follows.

The East Division, 3484 West, 5929 South, 2397 North, 6952 Central, 1901

making in all 19753

 

As Korea is now an Empire instead of a Kingdom the name of the Temples of the God of War outside the South and East Gates have had their names changed from Kwan-wang-myo to Kwan-je-myo.

 

In Nan-yang there are 373 deserted houses and in Kim-p’o there are 524.

 

It is reported that Kim Ka-jin, who has held many ministerial offices, is intending to start a private school for the study ol the native Korean character or alphabet, called the on-mun. This is a step in the right direction for just so surely as English took the place of Latin as the Literary language of England so surely will the splendid native alphabet of Korea drive out the ideograph, and the sooner the better for all concerned

 

A Chemulpo merchant was “held up” on the road in Pu-pyung and robbed. A few days later he recognized the robber at the station outside the South Gate. He called a policeman and had the robber arrested. The crime was proved and the fellow was promptly strangled.

 

According to the Chemulpo paper there are 1064 Japanese houses in Chemulpo with a population of 4628 which is an increase over last year cf 74 houses and 413 people.

 

The Whang-sung Sin-mun says that the Law Department has sent an order to South Ch’ung-chŭng Province to arrest and send to Seoul [page 75] five men who represent themselves to be propagaters of the Greek Catholic faith and in this guise have been oppressing villagers in Hansan and Nam-po.

 

The telegraph system has been extended to the two prefectures of Kwang-ju and Mu-an. The former is near Nam-han.

 

As the Finance Department has not been able to turn over to the Famine Relief Commission the $ 20,000 granted by His Majesty, 300 bags of Annam rice have been distributed, instead, to the poor of Seoul.

 

The attempt to make the students who have left the Foreign Language schools and the Middle School without cause pay back the money expended on them by the government has resulted in the receipt of fines to the amount of $175.

 

The districts of Nam-yang, Su-wŭn, Chin-wi and In-chŭn are infested with bands of robbers many of whom seem to have a rendezvous or a retreat on the island Ta-bu-do about thirty miles south of Chemulpo. They have a black boat in which they ply between the mainland and their island. The government has placed officers with boats to intercept and capture them.

 

The governor of Quelpart has been fined one month’s salary for not sending in his monthly reports, as is customary.

 

About the first of February several hundred mounted Chinese entered the prefecture of Kap-san in the extreme north and committed serious damage. They were opposed by the border-guard but as the latter wore long hair the Chinese thought they were not regular soldiers and so treated them with contempt. Thereupon the soldiers cut their hair off in order to make the Chinese think they were properly drilled soldiers from Seoul. They then attached the Chinese fiercely and secured a signal victory, driving the marauders across the border.

 

Nine merchants of Quelpart in crossing to the mainland late last December were driven in a storm to the coast of Japan in the vicinity of Nagasaki. They were cared for by the Japanese authorities and sent back to Korea about January 18th.

 

Korea has lately bought from English firms six maxim guns four field guns, eight mountain guns, and several gattling guns. The total cost was $200,000. It is said that an English engineer is employed to teach Koreans the use of this artilery.

 

The Minister of Agriculture, etc sent a note to the Foreign Office about the end of January stating that unlicensed Chinese fishermen were fishing off the coast of northeastern and northwestern Korea ard asking that steps be taken to put a stop to it. A request was thereupon sent to the Chinese Minister asking that the matter be attended to.

 

A curious story comes from Ch’ŭng-ju. When the new prefect Yi Heui-bok arrived at his post the ajuns or yamen-runners paid over to him government taxes which they had collected, but one of them who had collected a large amount, but for reasons best known to himself was not able to produce it, brought several bags of rice and some money to the prefect and asked him to accept it as a gift and let him have time in [page 76] which to pay up the debt. At this attempt to bribe him the prefect became very angry. He locked up the culprit, called the other ajuns and ordered them to bring a basin of water. In their presence he washed his ears very carefully saving that he could not afford to have his ears defiled by such evil talk.

 

The following provincial governors have been lately appointed; Yi Keun-ho to South Chŭl-la, Cho Chung-heui to North Kng-sang, Cho Keui-ha to South Pyŭng-an, Min Yong-ch’ŭl to North Kyöng-sang.

 

A former governor of Kang-wŭn Province who was in arrears to the government, fearing arrest, sent in his card to the Finance Minister and asked to be given a little time in which to refund the money but Yi Yong-ik had him arrested on the spot, confiscated his house and other property and recovered the lost money.

 

At a meeting of the cabinet on Feb. 18th it was decided to recall all the government inspectors from the three southern provinces, also all special tax collectors, also all gold mine inspectors and to order no more gold mines to be opened up anywhere except in Kang-wŭn and P’yŭng-an Provinces.

 

A large number of people in North P’yŭng-an Province have petitioned the government to send back their late governor Yi To-, but if rumor is correct he has more important work to do in Seoul.

 

The Emperor of Korea has conferred upon His excellency Leon Vincart the Belgian Representative a decoration of the first order.

 

It is reported that M. Kato, Esq. former Japanese Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary to Korea will shortly arrive in Seoul to assume the advisership to the Household Department.

 

On Feb. 20th Yi Yu-seung, who held many high positions under the government previous to the Japan-China war, memorialized the throne urging that the project of erecting a stone to commemorate the achievements of the present reign be reconsidered.

 

Yi Yong-ik resigned the vice Ministry of the Finance Department on Feb. 20th and became Treasurer of the Household Department, Cho Chung-mok was made Vice Minister of the Finance Department, Yi Kon-myting was made governor of Kyŭng-geui Province, Ko Yong-heui was made Vice Minister of Education.

 

The Russian Minister on Feb. 17th informed the Foreign Office that in case a Japanese subject was made Adviser to the Household Department Russia would expect the government to invite K. Alexeieff Esq. to become adviser to the Finance Department

 

On Feb, 20th Han Kyu-sŭl was appointed Minister of Law and Sim Sang-hun Minister of Finance.

 

On Feb. 21th the Foreign Office was notified of the fact that His Excellency A. Pavloff had been raised to the position of full Minister to Korea.

 

The Japanese paper in Chemulpo says the recently 900 sheep arrived from Chefoo. It is not known whether they are to be used in sacrificing at the Royal tombs or to stock a farm in Pu-pyŭng belonging to some enterprising Koreans.

 

[page 77] The rumor is abroad that in view of the Anglo-Japanese alliance the Independent Club is about to be revived in Seoul.

 

The Russian government has intimated to the Foreign Office that the attempt to interrupt the completion of the Telegraph line from Vladivostock to Wonsan will be looked upon as an unfriendly act and will result in strained relations between the two governments.

 

It is stated that W. F. Sands Esq. Adviser to the Household Department has made a communication to the Emperor consisting of ten different recommendations. Their nature is not stated but it is naturally surmised that they have to do with the new conditions which the government is called upon to face in view of the Anglo-Japanese alliance.

 

At Sam-gă on the Han River near Seoul thieves are exceedingly bold and ply their trade day and night; on the night of the 21st they entered a house and killed its master and mistress and then made away with the moveables. The police authorities have threatened the policemen with severe punishments if the criminals are not apprehended.

 

J. McLeavy Brown Esq. the Chief Commissioner of Customs has left Seoul en a trip around the coast in the interests of a lighthouse scheme for Korea. From Fusan he will return on the new steamer “Ang-jŭngwhan” lately purchased by the government from a firm in Japan.

 

Korean fishermen on the coast of Ch’ung-ch’ŭng Province have appealed to the government to put a stop to the actions of armed Japanese fishing-boats in driving Koreans off the fishing grounds.

 

A very unfortunate shooting affray occurred in the small hours of the morning of the 24th inst. It appears that a French subject named Rabec got into an altercation with Chinese and in the course of the struggle he drew a revolver and shot a Chinese policeman through the chest which resulted in his death. There are so many versions of the story that we will wait until official investigation has established the facts before giving the particulars

 

On or about the 24th inst a son was born to Rev. and Mrs. Bull of Kun-san.

 

If anyone wants to see a fine line of sporting goods especially in the line of shot-guns he well do will to examine the stock of R. Fujiki & Co. of Chemulpo. They have been made agents of the M. Hartly company, successors to Hartly and Graham of 313-315 Broadway, New York, U. S. A., who have a world-wide reputation. F’ujiki & Co., are carrying an excellent line of double and single-barrelled shot guns, both hammerless and with hammer. Also a full line of ammunition, loaded and unloaded shells, No. 12 gauge and No. 10 gauge. The loaded shells carry either smokeless or black powder as the purchaser may prefer.

 

We have received from E. Meyer & Co., of Chemulpo a handsomely illustrated pamphlet describing minutely the unsurpassed accommodations of the steamships of the Norddeutscher Lloyd line. We do not remember to have seen anything prettier than this in the way of advertising. We advise our readers to be careful in examining this work of art or they may be tempted to start right off on a trip to Europe for no other [page 78] purpose than to get a ride on these boats. They are positively seductive.

 

Chi-ri San is one of the most celebrated mountains in Korea. It lies between the districts of Nam-wŭn and Un-bong in Chŭl-la Province. The Government of Korea, last autumn, began the erection of an enormous monastery at the foot of this mountain. Owing to the falling off of the revenue the carpenters and other workmen have not been paid for their work, and there are fears of an uprising among them as they number several thousand.

 

The sea between Fusan and Masanpo has been a favorite fishing ground with the Japanese, but of late the plying of so many steamers through those waters has largely diminished the numbers caught. And yet at present the annual catch is 10,000,000 herring and 500,000 cod. The herring used to be caught in great numbers near Chemulpo but they have entirely deserted the place since it became a frequented harbor.

 

Kim Chŭng-sik, the Superintendent of Trade at Chinnampo, has been appointed to oversee the repairs on the West Palace in Pyeng-yang.

 

The Cabinet has ordered the Minister of War to divide the garrison of 400 which is stationed at Ko-sŭng in Kyöng-sang Province into two parts, sending 200 men to Chin-ju and to supplement the remaining 200 by enlisting 200 men locally; Also to send 100 of the 200 who are at Ul-san to Kyöng-ju and to supplement the reminder by enlisting 100 men from the immediate vicinity.

 

At the Government Medical Bureau the number of cases treated during the year 1901 was 18390. This bureau is called the Kwang-je-wun. (***)

 

The Japanese Minister to Korea arrived in Seoul on the 8th of February.

 

Kim Man-su the late Korean Minister to France has arrived in Seoul and his successor Min Yong-chan left for his new post on the 20th inst.

 

The leaders of the insurrection in the military school have been tried and sentences have been imposed as follows. Cho Sung-whan to life imprisonment and twelve others to a year and a half imprisonment.

 

A joint Korean and Japanese company has been formed in Fusan with a capital of 50,000, for the purpose of erecting a rice-hulling mill.

 

On the tenth of February a man living in Tă-mu-kol, Seoul, was presented by his wife with four boy babies.

 

A pitiable tale comes from South Ch’ung-ch’ŭng Province giving the details of the suffering there. There have been many deaths by freezing. Half the houses are deserted. The roads are full of people half starved and pulling at the dried grass beside the road, to eat the roots. One witness says that the sights and sounds along the road are so painful that only the most determined man would care to travel on them.

 

On Feb. 7th a rocket, fired in the palace, landed in a government lumber-yard immediately to the south of the palace and a fire ensued which burned seven houses and $8000 worth of government lumber. On the 9th a fire at A-o-gă destroyed ten houses, and on the same day a large house in Sa-jik-kol was burned.

 

[page 79] On February 22nd the native papers gave the contents of a convention between the Russian and Korean Governments which was entered into in 1900. Up to the present time it has remained more or less of a secret hut now that England and Japan have entered into an agreement which includes Korea in its purview the Korean authorities have evident ly determined that the publication of the terms of the agreement between Russia and Korea relative to the harbor of Masanpo and the island of Ko-je is rendered necessary. The terms of this convention provide:

 

( 1 ) That none of the land about Masanpo harbor or its approaches shall be permanently ceded or sold to any foreign power; but portions of the land may be leased to other powers for purely commercial purposes, not as naval stations.

 

(2) That the same provisions shall hold in regard to the island of Ko-je which lies in the mouth of the harbor.

 

Such in brief are the terms of the convention; and Koreans determination to publish them as widely as possible must be interpreted in the light of events which have occurred since the secret ratification of this convention.

 

The Government, through the Department of Agriculture, Commerce and Public Works is making a determined effort to check the destruction of forests in Korea. A government rescript, in stringent terms, has been sent to each prefect throughout Korea to the following effect:

 

The preservation of forests is important for five reasons, (1) The existence of forests helps to ensure a sufficient rain-fall. (2) They help to preserve the fruitfulness of the soil. (3) They conduce to health in man. (4) They afford material for use in many important trades. (5) They add to the wealth of the country. Therefore it is ordered that throughout Korea beginning with the second moon of next year, 1903, the owners of every first-class house set out each year twenty trees, owners of second class houses set out fifteen trees and owners of third-class houses ten trees. Any man caught cutting down a tree without government warrant shall be compelled to plant two trees for each one cut down. Every year the local authorities shall keep strict account of the numbers planted and report all evasions of the law. Governors shall have cognizance of the matter and punish all local magistrates for dereliction of duty in this regard.

 

The few Korean residents on the island of Ul-lung or Dagelet or Matsushima have sent an urgent request that the government compel the Governor of the islands, who has absented himself for more than a year, to remain on the island, and that troops be sent to help the people in their efforts to prevent the despoiling of the forests on the island by Japanese.

 

The Educational Department has given its consent to the establishment of a Native On-mun School with Kim Ka-jin as superintendent, Prince Eui-yang as assistant superintendent, Cho Tong-wan as principal and Chi Sŭk-yung as secretary.

 

[page 80] On Feb. 15th the Russian Minister communicated with the Foreign Office to the effect that as Korea was granting Japan the right to lay telegraph cables along the shore of Korea, Russia would expect to receive the acquiescence of the Korean Government in her plan of connecting the Korean telegraph system north of n-san with the Siberian system at Vladivostock. The Korean Government replied that this could not be done, and it sent a company of men to demolish any telegraph line that may have been begun between Wŭnsan and the Tuman River. We imagine that if this commission attempts to carry out this programme in the presence of Russian telegraph constructors in the north something more than telegraph lines will be demolished.

 

At a great ceremony at the new Wŭn-heung monastery outside the East Gate on the 11th inst. 8000 monks from monasteries in the vicinity of Seoul took part. The crowd of spectators was so great that it is described by native witnesses as a “Sea of men.”

 

On the Korean New Years day, all men in prison for minor offences were pardoned out leaving in prison a total of 136 men.

 

There are some curious offences in Korea. When His Majesty was on his way to the ancestral tablet house on the 16th inst a man stood beside the road and rung a bell persistently. His Majesty ordered the apprehension of the man and the latter was asked why he disturbed the imperial procession by ringing a bell. He replied that he had come up to Seoul several months ago and had been trying every means to get an official position but without success; and he had recourse to this demonstration in order to bring himself beneath the eye of His Majesty hoping that he might be given something to do. He is now tasting the sweets of solitude in the city jail.

 

The house of Yun Ch’i-sun in To-wha-dong, Seoul, was entered by a burglar on the night of the 16th instant. He and his wife were both murdered and the house was ransacked for valuables. The criminal has not been apprehended.

 

The Mining Bureau has been removed from the care of the Department of Agriculture to that of the Household Department.

 

Before the departure of Min Yong-ch’an for France, as Korean Minister, His Majesty instructed him to represent Korea at the Peace Conference at the Hague.

 

The Police Department has again been lowered to the status of a Police Bureau.

 

The Department of Agriculture has sent throughout the country strongly advising the people to pay increased attention to sericulture and promising that the Government will give substantial encouragement in the effort to build up a strong industry in silk.

 

The Famine Relief commission has built an under-ground hut or um of forty-five kan at the barracks at Pă-o-gă for the use of the destitute, one hundred and fifty poor people are being housed there, and fed daily on rice soup.

 

 

[page 81] KOREAN HISTORY.

 

MEDIEVAL KOREA.

 

Hong was so obnoxious to the king that he requested the emperor to remove him and let Gen. Kim Pang-gyŭng superintend the work of preparation. To this consent was given.

It was in the next year, 1282, that all the troops rendezvoused at Hap-po, now Chang-wŭn, and prepared to embark. The king went down from the capital to review the whole array. There were 1000 boats in all. Of Koryŭ soldiers there were 20,070, of Mongols there were 50,000. The soldiers from the dependent tribes, of which there were 100,000, had not yet arrived. It is hard to say just who these 100,000 men were. The records say they were from Kang-nam but they are also designated by another character in the records which would imply a different origin.

Then the whole flotilla sailed away to the conquest of Japan. They made for Tă-myŭng Harbor where the first engagement with the Japanese took place. At first the invaders were victorious and 300 Japanese fell, but when the latter were reinforced the Mongols drew back with great loss. The allied forces then went into camp where it is said that 3000 of the Mongols died of fever. Gen. Hong was very anxious to retreat, but Gen. Kim said, We started out with three month’s rations and we have as yet been out but one month. We cannot go back now. When the 100,000 contingent arrives we will attack the Japanese again. Soon the reinforcements came.

The invading army now pulled itself together and sailed for the mainland of Japan. As they approached it a storm arose from the west and all the boats made for the entrance of the harbor together. As it happened the tide was running in very strong and the boats were carried along irresistibly in its grip. As they converged to a focus at the mouth of the harbor a terrible catastrophe occurred. The boats were jammed [page 82] in the offing and the bodies of men and the broken timbers of the vessels were heaped together in a solid mass, so that, the records tell us, a person could walk across from one point of land to the other on the solid mass of wreckage. The wrecked vessels contained the 100,000 men from the dependent tribes, and all of them perished thus horribly, excepting a few who managed to get ashore. These afterwards told their story as follows: “We fled to the mountains and lay hidden there two months, but the Japanese came out and attacked us. Being in a starving condition, we surrendered, and those of us who were in fair condition were made slaves and the rest were butchered.”

In that great catastrophe 8,000 Koryŭ soldiers perished, but the remaining Koryŭ and Mongol forces, beholding the miserable end of the main body of the invading army, turned their prows homeward and furled their sails only when they entered a Koyrŭ harbor.

At first the emperor was determined to continue the attempt to subdue the Japanese, and immediately sent and ordered the king to prepare more boats and to furnish 3,000 pounds of a substance called in the records tak soé The character tak means a kind of wood from whose pulp paper is made, and the character for soé means metal, especially such as is used in making money. Some have conjectured that this refers to paper money, others that it simply meant some metal.

The following year, 1283, changed the emperor’s purpose. He had time to hear the whole story of the sufferings of his army in the last invasion; the impossibility of squeezing anything more out of Koryŭ and the delicate condition of home affairs united in causing him to give up the project of conquering Japan, and he countermanded the order for the building of boats and the storing of grain.

The record of the next few years is hardly worth writing. The royal family went to Peking with 1,200 men as escort and remained there six months. Returning, they spent their time in trampling down good rice-fields in the pleasures of the chase and in seeking ways and means of making government monopolies of various important commodities, especially salt. On a single hunting expedition 1,500 soldiers accompanied [page 83] the royal party afield. The queen developed a strange propensity for catching young women and sending them to her people in Peking. A law was promulgated that before a young man married he must notify the government. This was done for the purpose of finding out where marriageable girls lived so that they could be the more easily seized and sent to China. One official cut off his daughters hair when he found that she was to be sent to China. The king banished him for this and beat the girl severely. It is said that these girls upon arriving in China became wives, not concubines.

In 1289 a famine in China resulted in a demand for 100,000 bags of rice from Koryŭ. The king was at his wits end but by great exertion and self-sacrifice on the part of the officials 60,000 bags were collected. They were sent by boat, but 6000 were destroyed in a storm and 300 men were lost.

But now in 1290 a new element of danger appeared in the shape of the wild tribe of T’ap-dan across the northern border who began to ravage the outlying Koryŭ towns. When thty had penetrated the countiy as far as Kil-ju the king sent an army against them, but more than 20,000 came swarming down from the north and seized two districts in Ham-gyŭng Piovince. They ate the flesh of men and dried the flesh of women for future consumption. The Koryŭ troops held them in check at first. The emperor sent 13,000 troops to reinforce the Koryŭ army. In spite of this, however, the king felt obliged to take refuge in Kang-wha for fear of surprise. The following year the T’ap-dan savages came as far south as Kyŭng-geui Province and all the officials and many of the people fled before them. It was a literary man of Wŭn-ju who was destined to be the first to bring them to a halt. Wŭn Chung-gap gathered about him all the strong men of the neighborhood and drove back the van of the invading force. Then the great body of the savage horde came and surrounded the town. Wŭn killed the messengers they sent demanding surrender, and sent back the heads as answer. A desperate attack was made but the little garrison held firm till by a lucky chance a rumor of some kind caused a panic among the attacking forces and in the stampede that followed every mans sword was at his neighbor’s throat. While this [page 84] was going on Wŭn and his fellows made a sudden sally and captured the savage chief To Cha-do, and sixty of his attendants were cut down. The rabble then took to their heels and from that day never dared to attack any considerable town. The spell of terror which had held the people of Koryŭ was now broken aud they found no more difficulty in keeping these savages at arm’s length. Ten thousand Mongol troops arrived and began a campaign against these freebooters and in Chung-ch’ŭng Province had a splendid victory over them, leaving, it is said, a line of thirty li of dead as they pursued the flying enemy. When the Mongol troops went back home, their general told the emperor that the war had destroyed the crops of Koryŭ and that 100,000 bags of rice must be sent. The emperor consented, but when the rice arrived the officials and men of influence divided the rice among themselves, while the people went without.

All this time the crown prince was suffering a lively feeling of disgust at the sporting propensities of his father, and now that he was about to return from Peking he wrote his father a very sarcastic letter saying, As all the public money has been used up in hunting tournaments you must not lay an extra expense upon the treasury by coming out to meet me. The king was ashamed and angry but went as far as Pyŭng-ju to meet his son and took advantage of the occasion to hunt along the way.

That Kublai Khan harbored no ill-will against the Japanese on account of his failure to conquer them is shown by his sending back to their country several Japanese whom the Koreans had caught and carried to Peking. Two Koryŭ men carried them back to Japan; but the Japanese did not return the courtesy, for the two Koryŭ messengers were never seen again .

The king and queen were both in China when the emperor Kublai died and they took part in the funeral rites, although the Mongol law forbade any outsider to participate in them. Timur Khan succeeded Kublai. He apparently had no intention of invading Japan, for of 100,000 bags of rice which had been stored in Koryŭ for that purpose, he sent 50,000 to the north to relieve a famine-stricken district. He also gave back to Koryŭ the island of Quelpart which had [page 85] been in Mongol hands since the time when the Mongol and Koryŭ soldiers had put down the rebellion. From this time dates the use of the name Ché-ju, which means District across the water,” and by which the island has ever since been known.

The king had now completed his cycle of sixty-one years and the soothsayers were appealed to to read the future. They said evils were in store and he was advised to give amnesty to all but capital criminals, repair the tambs of celebrated men, give rice to the poor and remit three years’ revenue. But gray hairs had not brought wisdom to the king. His time was spent in frivolity and sensuality. The crown prince looked with unfriendly eye on these unseemly revels and when, in the following year, 1297, his mother, the Mongol princess, died, he claimed that her death was due to one of the favorite concubines, and as a consequence the suspected woman was killed. The prince had married a Mongol princess in China and now at her summons he went back to China. The old man, bereft of both wife and concubine, wrote the emperor that he wished to surrender the reins of power into the hands of his son. The emperor consented and in the following year the prince was invested with the royal insignia, while his father was honored with the title “High King. The new queen was a Mongol and as she came to the Koryŭ capital a new palace was constructed for her. But her royal husband saw fit to follow the example of his forbears and take to himself a concubine. The queen, by her frequent exhibitions of jealousy, lost what little love her lord had ever felt for her. She was not long in letting the state of affairs be known at Peking and soon an imperial mandate arrived consigning the concubine and her father to prison. Then another came remandiug both to China. Then a high monk came to mediate between the king and queen. This proved ineffectual and the emperor commanded both king and queen to appear before him in Peking. It was done and the royal seals were put back into the hands of the aged king. The prince and his unhappy queen were kept in China ten years.

The close of the century beheld an old dotard on the throne of Kor, so incapable of performing the duties of his [page 86] high office that the emperor was obliged to send a man to act as viceroy while the old man spent his time trifling with mountebanks and courtesans. The records state that he had lost all semblance to a king.

The viceroy whom the emperor had sent was named Whal-yi Gil-sa, and one of his first proposals was to do away with slavery; but objection was raised that then a slave might become an official and use his influence to wreak vengeance upon his former master. So a law was made that only the eighth generation of a manumitted slave could hold office.

In 1301 an envoy was sent to Peking to make the audacious proposal that the crown prince’s wife should be made the wife of a Korean official named Chong. This was because the Koryŭ officials believed she had been criminally intimate with him and they were anxious to get the prince back on the throne. An official originated the scheme of having this Chong take the prince’s wife and ascend the throne himself, but the emperor ordered him thrown into prison. When this had been done the aged king sent an envoy pleading that the prince be sent back to him. As this was not granted the king himself went to Peking where he lodged at first at his son’s house, but after a quarrel with him moved to the house of the discarded princess, his daughter-in law. The emperor tried to mediate between father and son but without effect. Then he tried to send the old man back to Koryŭ; but rather than go back the aged king took medicine to make himself ill and so incapable of travel. He was fearful that he would be assassinated on the way by his son’s orders.

The emperor died in 1308 and was succeeded by Guluk Khan. This young man was the friend of the prince, and as a consequence the old king was thrown into prison, his nearest friends killed or banished and the young man was raised to a high position under the Chinese government and his friends, to the number of a hundred and eighty, were made officials. But it was the old man that the emperor finally sent back to Koryŭ to rule at the same time he making the prince king of Mukden. Though so far away from the capi tal of Koryŭ the prince was the one who really ruled Koryŭ, so the records say. The father soon died and the prince [page 87] immediately proceeded to Song-do and assumed the throne in this same year 1308, His posthumous title was Chung-sŭn.

He had been kept out of his own so long that he now proceeded to make up for lost time, and vied with his father’s record in revelry and debauchery. It is said that a courtier took an axe and went to the palace, where he asked the king to decapitate him as the sight of these excesses made him hate life. The king was ashamed, though we are not told that he mended his ways.

In his second year he revived the government salt monopoly and put the money into his private purse. Heretofore it had been divided between certain monasteries and officials. The Mongol empress made him furnish large quantities of timber from Păk-tu Mountain, floating it down the Yalu. It was used in the building of monasteries. The whole expense was borne by the king. The latter was now spending most of his time in Peking. The Koryŭ officials earnestly desired him to come back to Song-do, but he refused. There was a constant flow of eunuchs and courtesans from Koryŭ to Peking and it would be difficult to imagine a more desperate condition of affairs in the king-deserted country. How it was being governed we do not know. It was probably governing itself. The rural districts, which had been laid waste by the Mongol armies and which had been deserted by their occupants, were probably being gradually occupied again and the less they heard of Song-do the better they liked it.

In the third year of his reign the king killed his son because some busybodies told him that the young man was conspiring to drive him from the throne. This shows the depths to which the court had sunk, when kings were not sure but that their own sons were their worst enemies. Orders kept coming from Peking to make certain eunuchs Princes. These orders could not be disregarded. These eunuchs had doubtless been in Peking and were known to be devoted to Mongol interests. All this time the king was in Peking where his presence began to be something of a bore. The mother of the Emperor urged him to go back to Koryŭ. He promised to go in the following autumn, but when the time came he changed his mind and abdicated in favor of his second son.

[page 88] The new king, named To, posthumous title Ch’ung-suk, came to the throne in 1314. One of his first acts was to take a thorough census of the people. Unfortunately the result is not recorded. The revenue laws were also changed and a new measurement of the fields was ordered with a view to a more effective collection of the revenue. The king likewise had ambitions along religious lines, for he sent 150 pounds of silver to Nanking to purchase books; and 10,800 were secured. The emperor also gave 4,070 volumes. These were doubtless Buddhist books and it is more than likely that many of the books in the Sanscrit or Thibetan character, still found in the monasteries in Korea, are copies of the works introduced into Koryŭ during these times.

The king who had abdicated was sent back with his son, though he had abdicated solely for the purpose of being able to live permanently in Peking. He spent his time in attending Buddhist festivals, but when he saw into what ruins the palaces in Song-do had fallen he said, If my father had feasted less I should have had better palaces.” He soon returned to to China where he devoted himself to letters. The emperor offered to make him his Prime Minister but he declined the honor. He mourned over the lack of letters in Koryŭ and came to realise that it was Buddhism what had proved the curse of the dynasty. He accepted the post of King of Mukden and later became Prime Minister to the emperor.

The young king went to Peking in 1317 to marry a Mongol Princess, and like his father was very loath to come back. We infer that the position of king in Song-do was so hedged about by priestcraft that was it much pleasanter for the king to reside at the Chinese court. Koryŭ must have been exceedingly poor after the desperate struggles she had been through and life in Peking with his hand in the imperial exchequer must have had its attractions.

At the end of a year however the king and his bride came back to Song-do. The records say that in order to induce him to come they had to bribe the soothsayers to tell him that if he did not come he would be involved in war. As soon as he arrived he began to search for unmarried women to send to Peking. He had turned pander to the Mongol court. The men of the upper classes hid their daughters and denied their [page 89] existence for fear they would be seized and sent to Peking. He himself put in practice the principles he had imbibed at the Mongol court, and spent his days in hunting and his nights in high revelry.

The king’s father who had been made king of Mukden, made a trip into southern China, or at least as far south as Chŭl-gang and Po-ta San where he engaged in Buddhist worship. Two years later he asked permission to repeat the visit and the emperor consented. But he was suddenly called back to Peking and ordered to go straight to Koryŭ. He refused and the emperor compelled him to cut his hair and to become a monk. He was banished to To-bŭn or San-sa-gyŭl in the extreme north. This was because one of the Peking eunuchs, who had formerly been a Koryŭ man and hated the king, told the emperor that the ex-king had on foot a scheme to raise a revolt in China.

At this time there was silver money in Koryŭ in the form of little bottle-shaped pieces of silver, but it was much adulterated by an alloy of copper. The king gave thirty of these bottles and the officials contributed a number more; and with them a silver image of Confucius was made, indicating a slight reaction against Buddhism.

1322 the emperor, being deceived by the lying representations of the king’s cousin who wished to secure the throne of Koryŭ, ordered the king to Peking. The latter was glad to go, but was obliged to get away secretly by night for fear of being prevented by his officials. When he got to Peking the emperor took away his royal seal and ordered him to remain there, which he doubtless was nothing loath to do. The officials of Koryŭ joined in a letter begging the emperor to send him back, but without success, till in 1324 the emperor died and his successor proclaimed a general amnesty, of which the aged ex-king took advantage to return to Peking from his place of banishment in the north. The king and Queen returned to Koryŭ in the following year. No sooner were they settled in their palace again than they went on a pleasure trip to the Han River; but the trip ended disastrously for while away on the journey the Queen was confined and died in giving birth to a son. This shows to what extremes the passion for the chase led the court.

 

[page 90] Chapter IX.

 

Horrible excesses. . . .a royal desperado. . . .martial implements proscribed another scapegrace. . . .general suffering. . . .taxes increased . . . .emperor furious. . . .a general cleaning out. . . .the kings. . . .beginning of the great Japanese depredations.... king supplanted.... a memorial. .. .omens of the fall of the dynasty ...Buddhism ascendent.... a traitor falls. . . .costly festival trouble in China the rising Ming power restiveness under the Mongol yoke Yi Whan-jo appears upon the stage. . . .genealogy place of origin . . . . Mongol adherents try to make trouble . . . .Mongol power opposed coinage. . . .a new capital . . .divination first mention of founder of present dynasty. . . .alarming Japanese raids “the mighty fallen”. . . .a curious spectacle. . . .”Red Head robbers”. . .they invade Koryŭ... a council. . . .P’yŭng-yang taken . . . .panic at the capital “Red Heads” beaten. .. .king favors a Mongol pretender.... the dreaded Japanese. . . .king removes to Han-yang.

 

With the year 1329 begins a series of events that almost baffles description. The worst excesses of Rome in her decline could not have shown more horrible scenes than those which made the Koryŭ dynasty a by-word for succeeding generations. The king’s cousin, who was king of Mukden, was always slandering him to the emperor, for he was itching for the crown of Kor himself. Meanwile the king was building “mountains” and pleasure-houses without end and his hunters were his favorites by day and the courtezans his boon companions by night. His son was in Peking learning the ways of the Mongol court and preparing to prove as abandoned a character as his father. In 1331, at the request of the king, the Emperor made the young man king. The cares of office seem to have interfered with his debaucheries. The prince’s name was Chung, posthumous title Chung-h. He was sent to Song-do and his father called to Peking. This was well, for the young man hated his father intensely. No sooner had he assumed the reins of power then he ran to ten times the excess of riot that even his father had done. The whole of his newly acquired power was applied to the gratification of his depraved appetites and within a year so outrageous were his excesses that the emperor had to recall him in disgrace to Peking and .send back the father to administer the government. [page 91] This added fuel to the son’s hatred of his father.

             The reinstated king continued his old courses and added to his former record another desperate crime, in that he frequently stopped a marriage ceremony and forcibly carried away the bride to become a member of his harem. It was a marvel that the people did not rise and drive such a villain from the country. When he made a trip to Peking in 1336 the emperor made him carry his son back to Koryŭ. He was such a desperate scapegrace that Peking itself was not large enough to hold him.

             The following year the emperor promulgated a singular order and one whose cause it is difficult to imagine. It was to the effect that all swords, bows and other martial implements be put away from all Koryŭ houses and that no one be allowed to ride a horse; but all must go afoot. This may have been a precautionary measure to prevent the acquiring of skill in the use of weapons or in horsemanship, so as to render less probable the future use of such acquirements in an attack upon China.

At last, in 1340, the king died and it looked as if the desperate character who for one short year had played fast and loose with Koryŭ royalty would become king. A courtier, Cho Chŭk, surrounded the palace with soldiers with a view to assassinating the young man who had not yet received investiture from the emperor, and at the same time a message was sent to the deceased king’s cousin, the king of Mukden, summoning him to Song-do. The young Prince, bad as he was, had a considerable following, and a desperate fight ensued in which he was wounded in the shoulder. But Cho Chŭk’s forces were routed and he himself caught and beheaded. The emperor learning of this through the Prince’s enemies, called him to Peking and took him to task for killing Cho Chŭk, the friend of the king of Muk-den; but the facts soon came out, and the Prince was exonerated and sent back to Song-do, having been invested with the royal insignia. Unlike his father and grand-father, he did not marry a Mongol Princess but took as his Queen a Koryŭ woman. He likewise took a large number of concubines. Not content with this he had illicit commerce with two of his father’s wives. The almost incredible statement is made in the records that on one occasion, feigning [page 92] drunknness, he entered the harem of his dead father and had the women seized and violated them. They tried to escape to China but he prevented them from securing horses for the purpose. His profligate life was the curse of the country. Nothing was too horrible, too unnatural, too beastly for him to do, if it afforded him amusement. He sent 20,000 pieces of cloth together with gold and silver to purchase many things of foreign manufacture, but what these were we are not informed. One of his amusements was the throwing of wooden balls at a mark but when this lost piquancy he substituted men for the target and frequently engaged in this truly humane pastime. General distress prevailed. Many died of starvation and many ran away to distant places and many became monks in order to escape the king’s tyranny. Sons cut off their hair and sold it in order to secure food for aged parents. The prisons were full to overflowing. Suicide was a thing of daily occurence.

The king sent to Kang-neung to levy a tax on ginseng, but as none could be found the messenger levied on the wellto-do gentlemen of the place and this was so successful that the king widened the scope of his operations and made it as hard to live in the country as at the capital. Everything that could possibly be taxed was put on the roll of his exactions. No form of industry but was crushed to the ground by his unmitigated greed. When amusements failed he tried all sorts of experiments to awaken new sensations. He would go out and beat the drum, to the sound of which the workmen were building the palace. This building had iron doors, windows and roof. If the king’s pander heard of a beautiful slave anywhere she was seized and brought to this palace which was also her prison and where she spent her time in weaving in company with many other women who had been similarly honored.” Often by night the king would wander about the city and enter any man’s house and violate any of its inmates.

When this all came to the ears of the emperor he was furious. An envoy was sent to Song-do with orders to bring the wretch bound to Peking. The king came out to meet this envoy but the Mongol raised his foot and gave the wretch a kick that sent him sprawling on the ground. He was then bound and locked up and after things had been put in some [page 93] sort of shape in the capital the king was carried away to Peking to answer to the emperor. Many of the king’s intimates were killed and many fled for their lives. A hundred and twenty concubines were liberated and sent to their homes.

When the king was brought before the emperor the latter exclaimed So you call yourself a king. You were set over the Koryŭ people but you tore off all their flesh. If your blood should become food for all the dogs in the world justice would still be unsatisfied. But I do not care to kill any man. I will send you to a place from which you will not soon return.” So he was placed on a bier, the symbol of humiliation, and sent away to Ké-yang twenty thousand li away,” so the records say. No man went with him save his bearers. They carried him from village to village like a dead man. He died on the journey at Ak-yang before reaching his place of exile. When the people of Koryŭ heard of this there was general rejoicing; and a proverb was made which runs, Aya mangoji. The Aya refers to Ak-yang where he died and mangoji, freely translated, means damned.”

The heir to the throne of Koryŭ was a lad of eight years. The emperor asked him, Will you be like your father or like your mother?” The lad replied, Like my mother,” and thereupon he was proclaimed king of Koryŭ. His posthumous title is Ch’ung-mok. Orders were sent to Song-do to discharge all the servants and officials of the late king, and to put an end to all the evils which had been fastened upon the people. The iron palace was turned into a school. The examination laws were changed. Heretofore the examination had been simply with a view to ascertaining the candidate’s knowledge of the classics. Now it was made to include an exegesis of obscure passages and exercises in penmanship. This was followed by an essay on “What is the most important question of the time.” The emperor also ordered the establishment of a new department, to be called the Bureau of General Oversight.

The empress of China at this time seems to have been a Koryŭ woman and her relatives, who abounded in the Koryŭ capital, expected to have their own way in all matters. This new department, however, arrested and imprisoned many of them and a number died in consequence. The [page 94] empress therefore sent a swift messenger demanding the reasons for this. The reasons seem to have been good, for the matter was dropped. Of course the young king was not of an age to guide the affairs of state in person. We are left in ignorance as to what form of regency administered the government for him.

In 1348 the boy king died and the question as to succession arose. The king’s younger brother Chi was in Koryŭ at the time; but Keui, the son of Chung-suk, the twentyseventh monarch of the line, was in China. The Koryŭ officials asked that Keui be made king, probably because he was of a proper age to assume the responsibilities of royalty; but the emperor refused, and the following year, 1349, Chi was made king at the age of twelve, posthumous title Chungjong. Keui, the unsuccessful candidate, was married to a Mongol princess, perhaps as a consolation for his disappointment.

With the year 1350 begins a series of Japanese depredations on the coasts of Koryŭ which were destined to cover a period of half a century and which, in their wantonness and brutality, remind us strongly of similar expeditions af the Norse Vikings on the shores of western Europe. In the second year of the young king these corsairs came, but were driven off with a loss of 300 men. Soon, as if in revenge, over 100 Japanese boats were beached on the shores of Kyŭng-sang Province; the government rice was seized and many villages wantonly burned.

That same year a kingdom called Ul-lam sent an envoy with gifts to the king of Koryŭ.

In 1351 again the Japanese corsairs came and ravaged the islands off Chŭl-la Province.

The emperor, for some reason not stated, decided to make Keui, his son-in-law, king of Koryŭ. He was therefore proclaimed king at the Mongol court and started for Song-do. This was the distinct wish of the Koryfi officials and of course the boy upon the throne was helpless. He fled to Kang-wha and the next year was killed by poison, but by whose hand administered or at whose instigation is neither known nor recorded. This new king’s posthumous title is Kong-min. [page 95] The Japanese cared for none of these changes but steadily pursued their ravages, gradually creeping up the western coast.

A Koryŭ man, Yi Săk, who had studied profoundly and had passed the civil examinations in China, now returned to Koryŭ and memorialised the king in reference to five special points; to wit, (1) The necessity of having definite boundaries for the fields. (2) Defense against the Japanese corsairs. (3) Making of implements of war. (4) The fostering of study and learning. (5) The evils of Buddhism.

All during this reign, so say the records, there were signs and omens of the fall of the dynasty. There were earthquakes, eclipses and comets; worms ate the leaves of the pine trees in the capital, and as the pine tree was the emblem of the dynasty this was ominous; red and black ants had war among themselves; a well in the capital became boiling hot; there was a shower of blood; for many days a fog like red fire hung over the land; black spots were seen on the sun; there was a shower of white horse hair three inches long; hail fell of the size of a man’s hand; there was a tremendous avalanche at Puk-san, near the present Seoul. These ex post facto prophecies show the luxuriance of the oriental imagination.

In spite of the Confucian tendency which had manifested itself Buddhism had no intention of letting go its hold on the government, and we find that in his second year the king took a Buddhist high priest as his teacher, and thus the direction was given to his reign that tended to hasten it toward its fall. He also conferred high positions upon Buddhist monks and so alienated the good will of all the other officials. This hostile feeling took definite shape when Cho Il-si surrounded the palace with a band of soldiers, killed many of the leaders of the party in power together with many of the relatives of the Mongol empress, and announced himself prime minister. To screen himself he told the king that it was not he who had caused the execution, but two other men; and he even went to the extreme of putting to death two of his confiding friends in order to give color to this statement. But Cho Il-si had overestimated his strength and the king, by secret negotiations, was soon able to decorate [page 96] the end of a pole with his head. Twelve of his accomplices were also killed.

As the Mongol empress was a Koryŭ woman, the maternal grandmother of the crown prince of China was of course a Koryŭ woman. She was living in state in Song-do when her grandson came from Peking to make her a visit. It is said that in the festivities which graced this unusual occasion 5,100 pieces of silk were used in making artificial flowers. Such a feast had never before been seen at the capital of Koryŭ, however frequent they may have been at Peking.

The records state that in 1355 there was a great rebellion in China. We must remember that between the years 1341 and 1368 affairs were in a chaotic state in China. The last Mongol emperor, Tohan Timur, came to the throne in 1333 and gave himself up to licentiousness and luxury. No attention was paid to the filling of offices according to the time-honored law of literary merit but the best positions were given to Mongols by pure favoritism. This caused widespread dissatisfaction among the Chinese and from that time the doom of the Mongol dynasty was sealed. In 1355 the low-born but brilliant leader Chu Yuan-chang, at the head of the insurrectionary army, crossed the Yang-tse river and took Nanking. This was the great rebellion spoken of in the Koryŭ annals and soon an envoy arrived from Peking demanding aid in the shape of soldiers. Twenty-three thousand men were sent on this forlorn hope. In 1356 a Mongol envoy brought incense to be burned in all the Koryŭ monasteries, doubtless with a view to securing supernatural aid against the rising Ming power. At the same time great uneasiness was again caused by raids of the Japanese, which increased in frequency and extent. One gang of robbers alone carried out of Kyŭng-sang Province, at one time, 200 boat-loads of rice. This year also saw the Ming forces pressing on toward Peking and driving the Mongols back step by step. As the fortunes of the Mongols waned the loyalty of Koryŭ waned accordingly. For the mass of the Koryŭ people, the Mongol yoke had never been less than galling, and they hailed the signs of the times which pointed toward her overthrow.

 


 

 

THE KOREA REVIEW

 

MARCH 1902

 

The Status of Woman in Korea.

 

It will be impossible to discuss the property rights of women without speaking of property rights in general. It will be best to take up the general subject, in the discussion of which the property rights of women will appear.

Let us first take the case of a well-to-do gentleman in his home surrounded by his family which includes his wife, his two married sons and one unmarried daughter. He also has one married daughter who, of course, lives at her husband’s parents place. This gentleman’s property consists of ricefields, real-estate and ready money. All real-estate and land is held by deed from the government, the same as with us. His ready money is not in the bank for there are no banks, but it is locked in his strong box or is lent out to merchants at the rate of 1 per cent, or 1/2 per cent, per month, more commonly the latter; which, considering the risk of loss, which is much greater than with us, is a very low rate of interest. The first thing we want to know is whether this gentleman has absolute control of this property and, if not, what are the other factors in the case. So far as his own immediate household is concerned he has absolute control, but if he has one or more brothers and they happen to be in needy circumstances he is bound to feed them. If he refuses to do so they can go to the local authorities and complain; and the authorities will command the well-to-do brother to hand over some of his money or real-estate or at least to give the indigent brothers enough to keep them from starvation. If on the other hand the successful brother can prove that the others [page 98] are indolent and simply want to live off him he will be freed from all obligation. This obligation to feed a needy brother holds good whether the wealthy one received his money by inheritance or made it himself.

If he has sisters they are of course married and have, in a sense, left his family and joined the families of their husbands. He is therefore free from all legal obligation to them. In case they are in severe straits he will probably help them but they have no recourse to the authorities. If his aged mother is still living he must of course support her. If he does not treat her well she has instant recourse to the law and can bring the severest penalties upon him. In fact she holds the power of life and death over him. If he insults her or strikes her or is a thief or seditious she could strike him dead and the law would uphold her in the act. This is not merely theoretical for such acts have been performed not infrequently even during recent years. So long as the man treats his mother well she has no voice in the management of his money. It is hardly necessary to say that the government exercises the right of eminent domain and can condemn any property and take it over.

We next ask how a man can acquire or dispose of property. He has the right to sell or dispose of his property at will but here also his brothers check his action. If he is wantonly squandering his patrimony, or even property that he has himself acquired, his brothers can complain to the authorities and ask them to issue no deeds for property so sold. If it plainly works to their disadvantage to have the property sold they can prevent it. But we must remember that while this is the unwritten law the authorities if approached are not approached with empty hands, and to go to law does not by any means insure a just verdict or award.

When a man dies intestate his property all goes into the hands of his eldest son who is obliged to support all his brothers. If he refuses to support them they apppeal to the law and force a division of the property, in which case the property is evenly divided, no one of the brothers receiving more than another. If there are unmarried sisters the elder brother will lay aside a portion of the property sufficient for their dowry,, he himself being the judge as to how much to give them. [page 99] These unmarried sisters have no recourse to the law so long as the brother supports them and gives them a home. If he refuses this they can compel it at law. If there are married sisters the brother who takes over the dead father’s property is under no obligation to give them anything. If they are in want he may help them or not as he pleases.

Suppose a man, seeing his end approach, desires to make a will. He calls in a few witnesses, never from his own immediate family, and writes his will before them and they sign it in due form. There is no such thing as probate in Korea, and the eldest son always is the executor of the will. Ordinarily the father will have no doubt as to the sou’s good intentions and will die intestate. It is when the father fears that his son will not treat the rest of the family well that he makes a will. Supposing then that the will specifies that the widow receive a certain sum, the first son, the other sons, the daughters married or unmarried, each a certain specified sum, every person mentioned in the will has the right to claim at law the amount bequeathed to him or her, and the woman’s right is as clear as the man’s. But should the will include bequests to anyone not a relative, such as a friend, or the poor, or a monk, or anyone else, such person cannot recover the money at law. They have no redress. If however the executor, the eldest son, refuses to carry out the wishes of his father in these particulars and shows a too avaricious spirit the people of the place will compel him to sell out and move away. They will drive him from the neighborhood and the authorities will not stir a finger to help him unless -but the less said about that the better.

Now let us suppose that a man dies leaving only daughters, one married and one unmarried. In this case the great probability is that he will adopt a son before he dies, someone among his near relatives. This will be principally in order to have someone to sacrifice to his spirit after death. This adopted son has all the rights and powers of a real son and will control the property. Perhaps once out of ten times the father will fail to adopt a son, in which case the daughters take charge of the property and administer the estate exactly the same as a man would and with equal powers. These daughters are not obliged to hand the money over to their [page 100] husbands unless they wish. But the husband may of course, if evil minded, seize it, in which case the wife will probably have no redress. This however would very rarely occur, for if it were known the man would be subject to the most bitter scorn of his acquaintances and would be practically ostracized.

In case a man dies leaving only a widow she will adopt as her son the eldest son of one of her husband’s brothers and he will naturally have charge of the money. This is a hard and fast rule which is never broken. If there be no such nephew she may adopt some other boy if she desires or she can hold the property in her own name. If her husband has a childless brother she must divide the property with him, but not with any more distant relative such as uncle or cousin.

It is a very remarkable fact that among the common people a wife has greater power over her dead husband’s property than among the higher class. Even if she adopts a son she still may control the estate if she so desires. The Koreans have a queer saying to the effect that to live well in this world one should be the wife of a middle class man and when a woman dies she should wish to be transformed or reincarnated in the form of a gentleman or high class man. This is because among the middle classes the woman is more nearly on a social level with her husband, she knows more about his business and has more to say in the management of affairs than does the high class woman; also she has a much firmer hold upon her husband’s estate in case he dies. She is not so strictly bound to take an adopted son to whom she will have to hand over the property nor does she have to give so much to her deceased husband’s brother or brothers. So they say that a person to be happy should be either a man of the upper class or a woman of the middle class.

As we descend in the social scale all restrictive laws and all inequalities between the sexes are toned down so that when we reach the lowest classes we find that they are much the same as in our own lands. The Koreans say that among the very lowest classes are to be found the most unfortunate and the most fortunate women but this would not be our estimate for the Koreans mean by this that the mudang or [page l01] sorceresses and the courtezans and the dancing girls, being unmarried, are the most independent women in the land and are cared for and fed and dressed the best of anyone in Korea. Of course this is a terribly false judgment, for it looks merely at material comfort and forgets the awful price at which it is bought. On the other hand the respectable women of the lowest orders are considered the most pitiable for they are everybody’s drudge. They have no rights that anyone is bound to respect, and live or die at the caprice of their owners or masters.

The question arises as to whether a married woman has control of the wages which she may earn. In this respect the middle class woman has the advantage of her higher sisters, for while a gentleman’s wife will invariably turn over the proceeds of her work to her husband the middle class woman may or may not do so. Every act of a high born woman is subject to far closer scrutiny than that of the middle class woman and, as she can never go to a shop to buy anything, she cannot well use her money; she is a very helpless being. It is very common for middle class women to give up their wages to their husbands and the latter can take money from their wives by force without the least fear of molestation from the authorities; but by sufferance these middle class women are given more freedom in this respect than others.

If a widow is possessed of considerable property and sees her end approach, being without sons or near relatives, she may give her money to some young person and ask him to perform the annual sacrificial rites for her or she may go to a monastery and give her money and arrange to have Buddhist rites performed. This is a very common occurrence in Korea and forms an important part of the income of the monasteries. But no woman of the upper class ever does this; it is only the middle class women who have this privilege.

 

 

[page 102] A Celebrated Monument.

Marking the Fall of Păk-Je.

 

One of the most interesting monuments is buried eighteen feet beneath the ground in the town of Pu-yŭ in Chungch’ŭng Province about a hundred and ten miles south of the capital. There are very many buried monuments in this country the exact situation of which is known, but no one seems to care to bring them to the surface. This stone and its inscription are so important in Korean history and the events attending its erection worked such great changes in the aspect of Korea that the matter deserves special mention.

We will remember that for the first five or six centuries of our era three Kingdoms strove for predominance in the peninsula, Ko-gu-ryŭ in the north, Silla in the south-east and Păk-je in the south-west. Of these three Ko-gu-ryŭ was the warlike one, frequently at war with the different Chinese dynasties. Silla was the peaceful one, fostering the arts of civilization. Păk-je was neither one thing nor the other but jealous of both her neighbors. When China found it no longer possible to pit the three kingdoms of Korea against each other and was obliged to choose one with which to side, she chose Silla, and from that moment the fate of the other two was sealed. It was in 660 that the Chinese emperor, Ko-jong (**) of the Tang (*) dynasty sent a great army under the leadership of So Chŏng-bang (***) to cooperate with Silla in the overthrow of Păk-je.

The particulars of the war may be found in the pages of the history that is appearing in this magazine, but it will suffice to say that Păk-je fell before the combined forces and became a mere province of China. To commemorate this great event, for it was no light matter to overthrow a dynasty that had existed for 678 years, the emperor ordered the erection of a great monument at Pu-yŭ, which had been the capital of Păk-je. The stone was about ten feet high by seven feet wide and was covered with a Chinese inscription which is confessedly a fine piece of writing. But its literary qualities [page 103] are secondary to its historical importance. It forms one of the definite and tangible things upon which we can put our hand and say, “This is a genuine piece of historical evidence,” and the inferences that may be properly drawn from the stone and its inscription are most important. It proves (1) The former existence of the kingdom of Păk-je; (2) The union of China and Silla in her overthrow; (3) The date of the event; (4) The position of Păk-je’s capital; (5) The approximate population of the country. In all these points it agrees so well with what the ancient histories of Korea tell us that it helps to establish the credibility of those historical records.

In the following year, 661 A.D. P’ung (*) the youngest son of the banished king of Păk-je raised the standard of revolt at Chu-yu-sŭng (***) and moved on the Chinese garrisons. At first he was successful and swept every thing before him till he stood before what had been his father’s capital. He burned it to the ground and threw into the river the great monument which the Chinese had erected. There it lay till the days of king Mun-jong of the Ko-ryŭ dynsty, 1047-1084, when a great drought occurred. The waters of the Păk-ma River were so low that the people found the monument lying in its bed. It was drawn out to the bank but was not set up. It was covered up with debris and the detritus of the centuries was piled upon it till in 1886 a foreigner determined that he would see it. This foreigner was Mr. Tong now Taotai of Tientsin but then secretary to the Chinese legation in Seoul. It can be accounted little less than marvelous that after a disappearance of so many centuries the people of Pu-yŭ should have been able to show him the exact spot beneath which the stone lay. With a band of coolies he dug on the spot indicated, and eighteen feet below the surface he struck the prostrate stone. His description of the scene as he gave it to me by word of mouth was genuinely dramatic. I doubt if any gold miner ever exulted more in striking pay dirt” on the bed rock than he did in unearthing this ancient stone. He cleared off its surface and took careful rubbings. He determined to make the attempt to raise the stone to the surface. Providence ordered otherwise, for that night a terrible storm of wind and rain swept the valley, houses were unroofed, the river rose in its [page 104] wrath and swept away scores of dwellings and caused considerable loss of life. There could be but one explanation of it. The spirits were angry because the ancient monument was to be disturbed. A hundred willing hands helped to shovel back the dirt upon the stone in spite of the almost tearful remonstrances of Mr. Tong, and the next man who wants to dig that stone up will have to tunnel to it from some place so far away that the denizens of Pu-yŭ will know nothing about it.

But the precious rubbings were safe and the inscription is given below. Time and the elements have marred it but the inscription is fairly complete.*

As the English text reads from left to right, this Chinese inscription is arranged in the same order rather than in the regular Chinese order but the lines are arranged vertically as in Chinese.

 

[Chinese text]

 

[page 106] It would require too much space to give a literal translation of this inscription and even then it would be of little value to the general reader because of its frequent allusion to events and traditions which would require copious annotation in order to be made intelligible. We will therefore merely give an outline of what the inscription contains, leaving it to those who are so inclined to work out the exact meaning from the Chinese text itself. It begins with fulsome compliments to the Emperor of China, declaring that his grace and virtue [page 107] have extended to the limits of the world and even barbarians are civilized by his benign influence. It then begins a flattering account of the great generals who led the forces against the Kingdom of Păk-je. It first mentions the General-inchief of the allied Chinese and Silla forces, So Chöng-bang (***), comparing his generalship, his loyalty, his bravery, his dignity and his beauty with those of celebrated characters in Chinese history. It then describes the vitues of Yu Păkyung (***) the second in command, in much the same way that it speaks of the General-in-chief. Then come the five Generals of the Left, Kim In-mun (***). Yang Hăng-eui (***). Tong Ch’ung (**) Yi U-mun (***), and Cho Kye-suk. All of these were Chinese excepting Kim In-mun the great general of Silla. It is a remarkable tribute to his generalship that he should be put at the head of all the Generals of the Left. Of him it says that his heart had the warmth of Spring and the clearness of jade; his wisdom was of the heroic order and his virtue was as high as that of the sages, his military skill could put an end to war; his statesmanship could calm the minds of all peoples. After describing the Generals of the Left it takes up the four Generals of the Right, Tu Song-jil (***), Yu In-wŭn (***), Kim Yang-do (***), and Ma Kön (**), all of whom were Chinese except Kim Yang-do who was from Silla. Having finished this long list of compliments the inscription takes up again the name of the General-in-chief and pays him some more compliments having special reference to his work in Korea. It tells how he took the King of Păk-je, the Crown Prince, thirteen ministers and seven hundred courtiers and carried them to China. Five Chinese military governors were left to administer the Government and the country was divided into seven districts containing two hundred and fifty prefectures. There were 240,000 houses and a population of 6,100,000.* The inscription ends with a description of the blessings which this conquest will bring to Korea in the overthrow of barbarous customs and the spread of civilization.

 

*There must be a mistake here or else twenty-five lived in one house. The number of houses is probably approximately correct, giving with five to the house, a population of 1,200,000. The comparatively small Kingkom of Păk-je could not have contained 6,000,000 at that time. That territory today does not begin to contain that number.

 

 

[page 108]  The Products of Korea.

(second paper.)

 

In a former paper we mentioned the fact that there are three kinds of rice in Korea, but under each of these species there are several subdivisons. There are the following specific varieties which are described by their names: gluten rice, non-adhesive rice, unhulled rice (meaning that though hulled it looks like unhulled rice), wheat-rice, white rice (more than all other kinds combined), yellow rice, red rice and green rice.

Rice bears different names in different stages of its cultivation and use. Seed rice, or unhulled rice, is called pe and in the language of poetry it is called The Product of Haram” (because it is supposed to have originated in Haram, China); also The golden Sand” which, thrown into the sea (the fields), raises golden waves; also The Ice Pebbles” which melt into golden waters. After the seed rice sprouts and the vivid green of the young leaves appear it is called by poetic license The Bright Green Field. After it is transplanted and turns a darker green it is called The Blue-green Plain.” When the heads appear and begin to ripen the mixture of green and yellow is called “The Mottled Jade Wave.” When the field is yellow to the harvest “The Yellow-gold Wave.” When, it is being cut it is called The Golden Ice” (for the wave must be supposed to have congealed before it can be cut). When the rice is stacked ready for threshing it is called “The House of the Golden Child” and when it is threshed it again becomes pe or “Golden Sand” Hulled rice goes by an entirely different name. It is called sal. This is the common name for rice, for this is its ordinary marketable condition. It is an interesting fact that although rice was introduced from China it bears a name of purely native origin, so far as we can discover. It is said that this word is derived from the Korean radical sal meaning clean, naked, uncovered, unencumbered, as found in sal-mom, “naked body,” sal-panul unthreaded needle,” salmul-gŭn, “separate object.” So it has come to be applied to [page 109] the clean, polished, separate kernels of white rice. This is one Korean explanation of its origin, but of course it requires verification.

The Koreans hold rice in great honor, just as the Chinese hold the written character, and for this reason we find no nicknames” for it as we do for food in western countries. There is no Korean equivalent for our vulgar word “grub” as applied to food. This species of reverence for rice arises doubtless from the fact that rice plays so much more prominent a part in Korea than any one form of food does in any western country. It is illustrated by the case of a wealthy and prominent official, uncle to the late Queen Dowager Cho. As he was eating, one day, a visitor noticed that he cleaned out his rice bowl to the last kernel and picked up any stray morsels that had fallen. The friend laughed and said You should not be so particular. The old man turned angrily on him and holding up a kernel of the rice said, For this thing the whole people of Korea work from Spring till Autumn, and shall we waste even a kernel of it?” And he bid the man begone and never to appear before him again.

Next in importance to rice come the different kinds of pulse, under which heading we include all the leguminous plants, the bean and pea family. That Korea is well provided with this valuable and nutritious form of food will be seen from the following list of the commonest kinds. Of round beans, or peas, called kong, we find the horse bean, often called “bean-cake bean, the black bean, the “green bean, the “oil bean,” the “spotted bean,” or “checkered beau, the “chestnut bean,” the yellow bean, the “whitecap bean, the “grandfather bean, the “brown bean, the “red bean. There are several of the long beans that come under the name kong, such as the “South-river bean, the Japanese bean” and the “Kwang-ju bean,” but most of the beans proper belong to the family called p’al which includes the “mixed bean, a variety which produces various colors of beans in a single pod, the colors being black, red, yellow, white and blue; the “speckled bean,” the “court-dress bean,” the “white bean, the “black bean,” and the “blue bean.”

Of all these different varieties of pulse the first or horsebean” is by far the most common. It is the bean which forms [page 110] such a large part of the exports of Korea. It is supposed by Koreans to have originated in north-western China and derives its name from the fact that it is used very largely for fodder.

Of all these different varieties the only one that is surely indigenous is the black bean, as it is found no-where else in eastern Asia. Of the rest the origin is doubtful. The horse bean grows in greatest abundance in Kyŭng-sang Province and on the island of Quelpart, though of course it is common all over the country. The black bean flourishes best in Chŭl-la Province; the green bean, oil bean and white cap-bean flourish in Kyŭng-geui Province; the yellow bean, in Whang-hi Provvince; the South River bean, in Cheung Ch’ŭng Province; the grandfather bean (so called because of its wrinkles) grows anywhere, but not in large quantities; the brown bean and chestnut bean, in Kang-wŭn Province; the different kinds of P’at all grow best in southern Korea.

Of these different kinds of beans the horse bean alone is largely exported, although a few black beans are also taken to Japan.

It would be difficult to over-estimate the importance of these different species of pulse to the Korean; for they furnish oily and nitrogenous elements that are wanting in the rice. It is impossible to enumerate the different kinds of food which are prepared from beans for they are almost as numerous as the dishes we make from wheat flour. It will suffice to say that, on an average, the Korean eats about one sixth as much beans as rice. They say that the man who eats beans will be strong, and they attribute it to the oil, which is found in such large proportion especially in the round beans or kong.

The most celebrated story about beans, current among the Koreans, tells about how they saved the life of a noted Chinaman. His brother had usurped the throne of the Wei Kingdom and, as in most oriental countries, the younger brother was an object of suspicion. He was seized and brought before the King, his elder brother. The King said, From the place where you are standing step forward seven paces and if during that interval you do not compose a quatrain you will be condemned.” It is easy to believe that this threat was a spur to [page 111] Pegasus. The young man stepped forward the seven paces and spoke the following lines:

 

The bean-husks crackle beneath the kettle

The beans themselves boil in the kettle;

Both beans and husks come from the same root.

It is sad to see products of the same stem antagonize each other.

 

The brother on the throne was so struck by the truth of this that he acquitted his younger brother, whose loyalty had always been perfectly sound.

The price of beans as compared with rice may be said to be one half, as a general rule; though local conditions will vary the rule at times. There are certain kinds of beans which cost nearly as much as rice while the cheapest kinds cost only one fourth as much. The commonest bean, the horse-bean, costs about one third as much as rice.

Third in importance comes barley. This is sometimes called tă-măik {**) in contradistinction from so-măk(**) which is wheat. This designating of barley as great and wheat as small may be either because the kernel of barley is larger than that of wheat or because barley is a more important pro* duct than wheat to the Korean. The Koreans say that barley originated in Shantung and Hyŭp-sŭ (**) China, and that it was first brought to Korea by Kija. Being first introduced into Pyŭng-an Province it worked its way next into Kangwŭn Province and from there into the south. The very best barley is raised in Kang-wŭn Province the next best in Py’ŭng-an Province the third best in the far south and the poorest in Whang-h& nnd Ham-gyŭng Provinces. The other provinces yield a fair quality. It is rather surprising to learn that on the average the people of Kyŭng-geui Province eat more barley than any other Koreans. The barley used for making malt or nuruk comes mostly from the far south.

The great value of barley comes from the fact that it is the first grain to germinate in the spring and so helps to tide the people over until another crop of rice comes in. It is the great supplementary food product of Korea and in this sense may be considered almost as important as the different kinds of pulse. The uses of barley are very numerous; besides being used directly as farinaceous food it becomes malt, medicine, candy, syrup, besides a number of different side-dishes. [page 112] It is also used very largely for fodder; indeed it is the main fodder of Korea, beans being too costly to use in quantities.

The common name for barley is pŭ-ri, a word of native origin. Koreans name two kinds of barley namely Sal-pŭ-ri or rice barley, and Kŭt-pŭ-ri, unhulled barley.” The first is used only for food and the latter only for fodder.

The most celebrated mention of barley in Korea is the statement that when Kija went back to China on a visit he found the grave of his former sovereign sowed with barley, and he composed a poem upon it. In poetical parlance the Koreans call barley The fifth moon Autumnbecause it is harvested then. A celebrated poem says:

If you would know where grain grows plentifully and where it is scarce you should ask the Po-gok,* the grainbird, and he will tell you that when the south wind blows in April the barley forms a golden sea. It is the same gold you saw last Autumn and will suffice to feed the soldiers as they march on their country’s errand.

 

* As Confucius was travelling he hungered and seeing a bird upon a tree he asked it, “Where is there grain?” It answered, “In Ha-ram land grain grows luxuriantly.” From that time on this bird was called the po-gok or grain-bird.”

 

 

Odds and Ends.

 

Good Policy.

 

In a book called **** or Daily notes by Sŭ-san” under the heading Anciens and modern Miscellany” (written about 350 years ago) we find some fine character studies, of which the following is a sample. Whang-heui was prime minister to the first king of this dynasty, but long before attaining that high position he gave promise of great things. Being appointed prefect of Ma-jŭn he went down to his post in disguise in order to see how things were being done. On his way he passed a field in which a farmer was plowing with two bullocks, one of which was black and the other yellow. As the farmer came to the end of his furrow the prefect asked him:

[page 113] “Which is the better bullock, the black or the yellow one?” But the fellow answered never a word. He plowed to the end of another furrow and back and to the same question again refused to answer. The prefect wondered at it but determined to make one more attempt to get a civil answer. This time the fanner looked up at the sky and seeing that evening was at hand unyoked his bullocks and tethered them in a plot of grass nearby; then approaching the prefect he led him gently up the hillside and, when near the top, bent toward him and whispered in his ear:

The black one is just a little bit the better of the two.”

The prefect, thoroughly mystified, demanded, Why in the world didn’t you say so before? It was not necessary to drag me all the way up this hill to tell me that.”

The farmer looked grave and said, We do not know how much or how little of our language the bullocks may understand. It does not do to talk about our inferiors and compare and criticize them before their faces.”

Whereupon the prefect went on his way a wiser and a better man. The farmer had seen through his disguise and had taken advantage of his question to teach him a lesson which all governors and magistrates do well to heed.

 

 

Ai-go!

 

He was a Korean from the interior taking his first peep at the outside world. He had tramped in to Fusan from his distant country home and had stood for an hour watching the workmen on the new Seoul-Fusan Railroad. He learned to his amazement that they were going to dig these ditches through every hill and build embankments across every depression all the way from Fusan to the capital, the great Seoul, which he had heard so much about and whose wonders had been so often pictured in his fancy. He was on his way now to that Mecca which every Korean hopes to see once before he dies. For five years he had been saving up money to fulfill his heart’s desire.

As he stood gazing in admiration at a filling that was half completed, one of the foremen happened to pass.

Say, friend,” said he in a deprecatory tone, how long will it be before this railroad is finished all the way to Seoul?” He supposed it might he anywhere from ten years to twenty.

[page 114] The foreman was in a hurry and took out his watch to note the time. He glanced at the time-piece and then looked up.

“O, it will take a long time yet I cant tell just how long,” and he hurried on.

The country-fellow looked after him half angry and half amused as he soliloquized. That fellow imagines he can fool me into thinking it will take only an hour. He looked at his watch and hurried off as if he was afraid he wouldnt get back to see the road finished, but I am no fool even if I am a country boy. I have helped build paddy-field dikes and I’ll bet my hat-strings that this job takes no less than fifteen years. And on he went to the port.

There he boarded a little coastwise steamer and was rolled around the coast to Chemulpo. On board the boat he was kept so busy thinking about the disarrangement of his internal economy that he did not have time to wonder at the marvelous speed with which the steamer plowed the water, which must have been in the vicinity eight knots an hour. But when he set foot on shore again he pulled himself together, drew a long breath and said:

Ai-go!” which, being interpreted, means well more than we could put on two pages of the Review.

He boarded the train and went careering over the hills and across the valleys, at what he considered lightening speed, sitting on the edge of his seat and clutching it with both hands, and with an unformed Ai-go right on the end of his tongue all the way to Oricle, (why wasn’t it spelled Oracle and done with it?) At this point he regained the power of speech but made no use of it till he got to Yong-tongp’o where he saw some more grading going on. He turned to a fellow-passenger and asked in a most deferential tone:

Can you tell me, please, what road that is that they are building out there?

Why, that is the Seoul-Fusan Railroad.”

Uh?

The Seoul-Fusan Railroad, repeated the man. The countryman stared in a dazed sort of way and at last there came up from the very depths of his anatomy a deep and fervid Ai-i-i-go-o-o!!”

[page 115] “Why, what’s the matter? The countryman gazed out of the window and then at his fellow-traveller, and then putting his hand on the latter’s sleeve he said in a hoarse whisper:

I left Fusan only two days ago and they were only just beginning the road and now I get here I find they are finishing it. A thousand li in two days! Ai-go!!”

This is only one better than the statement of the Kobe Chronicle a few weeks ago that the road would be finished some time this spring and that trains would be running from Seoul to Fusan before the end of the year.

 

 

Question and Answer.

 

Question. (5) Why is the south wind called Ma-pung and the north wind Han-eui Pa-ram?

 

Answer. The twelve signs of the zodiac are represented in Korea by twelve different animals and these are also applied to twelve different points of the compass. Beginning with the north and passing around to the east they are, in order, the rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, fowl, dog and pig. It will be noticed that the seventhwhich corresponds to south is horse or ma, and so the south wind is called the Ma-pung ** or Horse wind.

 

The compass is also divided into eight parts or sections. The names of these parts are taken from eight stars and are named as follows beginning with the section lying between south and south-west and passing to the west, gön-chun, tătă, i-wha, chil-noé, son-pung, kam-su, kan-san and kon-chi. The first of these being gön-chun means heaven” but the pure Korean for Heaven is han-ul of which the root is han, probably allied to the Dravidian word van which also means heaven. This han-eui pa-ram is a contraction of han-ul-eui pa-ram, the eui being the possessive ending; and it means the Heaven Wind and refers not, as the question states, to the north wind to the south-west wind. It is quite likely however that in some places it has come to be applied to the cold northwest wind. Such carelessness would be quite in keeping with the Korean temperament.

 

 

[page 116] Editorial Comment.

 

The past month has been signalized by heroic attempts to stem the tide of depreciated currency and bring some sort of order out of the chaotic conditions of the present monetary system. Besides the nickels minted by the government there are more than twenty-five separate and distinct brands of nickels circulating in Korea. Until recent years counterfeiting has not been worthwhile in Korea, for the old time cash was of such small value and the metal and work together came so near to equalling the face value that there was not much profit; but one of these nickels is equivalent to twenty five of the old cash and as they can be made at a net cost of less than a cent and a half apiece it is readily seen that there is some temptation to counterfeit. This form of felony has been indulged in not only by thrifty Koreans, but many Japanese took advantage of the situation to coin large amounts and at the present moment ten Japanese are languishing in durance vile for this offense. None should be more anxious than the Japanese to prevent counterfeiting and a depreciation of the currency, for the Japanese merchants are the greatest sufferers from it. If exchange is leaping five and ten points in twenty-four hours there is evidently no possibility of stable business -except for the money-changers. Anyone with five thousand yen in his pocket can go into the street and drive exchange up or down almost at will. This city is the money-changers el Dorado, On a certain day this month paper yen were selling at a premium of ninety per cent at one point in Seoul while on that same day it changed at over a hundred per cent premium at another point. Money has to be hawked about the streets to find a good bidder. A sharp broker can buy at eighty per cent premium with one hand and sell at seventy with the other. The Koreans were beginning to catch on, when the thing was nipped in the bud by the government arresting a couple of the brokers. But it is difficult to see what good this will do. It is not the brokers who cause the rise and fall in exchange. We believe that it is caused by the fact that there are two few rather than too [page 117] many brokers. The small amount of capital involved in the brokerage business has the result that even a moderate sum of money thrown on the market causes a violent commotion. It there were a street lined with brokers establishments, as in many eastern ports, the mutual competition would prevent such rapid fluctuations. A stone thrown in a pail of water will create a greater commotion than if thrown into a pond.

On the whole the nickel is an unfortunate coin for it is cheap enough to invite counterfeiting even by people of small means and at the same time it is valuable enough to make it well worth counterfeiting. It is only by taking the most determined steps and keeping up an untiring watch that the Korean nickel can be kept anywhere near on a par with the Japanese coin. The foreign representatives have bestirred themselves in the matter and we trust that confidence in the Korean coinage will be restored and that a rate of exchange will be maintained which whether high or low will be fairly steady. It is the fluctuations that play the mischief with business.

 

*

 

It is from a mere sense of justice that we call the attention of the public to the names of those Koreans who are making great sacrifices to help their fellow-countrymen who arc in destitute circumstances. We should be happy and proud to print the name of every one of these men and we do so whenever one is brought to our notice. It is a happy sign that Koreans of wealth in various districts are sharing their money so generously with their starving fellow-men. It is not merely surplus funds that are being so distributed but fields and other property are being sold to find means for tiding the poor over the hard months of spring till the barley is ready to eat.

 

*

 

The hard unvarnished facts presented by Mr. Fenwick in this issue concerning the suffering of the people is evidence beyond cavil of the actual condition of affairs. A foreigner living in Kunsan states that a Korean came to him for food and said that his wife and children were starving at home. He could not bear to go back and listen to his children’s pleadings for food. He could stand hunger himself but he could not [page 118] bear to sit and hear the children cry for food and not be able to give them a mouthful.

 

*

 

The news that money has been appropriated for a new United States Legation building is very welcome. It is quite fitting that Uncle Sam should be housed as will in Seoul as his French, English, Russian or German cousins. It is not the policy of the United States to build when it is possible to rent but it is quite evident that one must build, in such a place as Seoul. Even in Peking the U. S. Government has departed from its usual policy and is building a Legation.

 

*

 

The theft of dynamite from the American mines is a serious affair. It will doubtless be hidden in some populous town or city where its explosion may cause fearful loss of life. It may be carried on the person where accident is still more probable. Imagine a man with a stick of dynamite up his sleeve indulging in the genial sport of pyun-sa-hom or stone fight. A pebble hitting him would cause a severe case of The boy, O where was he? and not only he alone but his whole side would be annihilated. This is only one of the pleasant pictures that can be conjured up even by an imagination of medium activity. We do hope they will keep a better watch over the stuff. There are explosive agencies enough at work in Korean society without adding dynamite.

 

 

News Calendar.

 

The native papers state that the building of the Seoul Pusan R. R. has necessitated the demolition of 321 houses in the single prefecture of Fusan.

 

At the request of the Home Department the Finance Department has issued $1,169.70 in aid of those whose houses were swept away by abnormal tides last year.

 

There have been signs of renewed activity on the part of the concessionaires of the Seoul-Euiju Railroad and it is currently stated that work has already begun near Song-do.

 

Three Japanese policemen have been stationed on Dagelet island to keep the peace between the Japanese and Korean residents at that isolated point.

 

[page 119] Min Pung-sŭk, the head of the Railroad Bureau resigned ou the 24th of February and Yu Keui-whan took his place.

 

Wun Shih-kei, the influential man in China, has sent a message to the Korean government speaking in high terms of the Anglo-Japanese alliance.

 

The magistrate of Pu-pyŭng asks the government for the loan of 1,000 bags of rice for famine sufferers in that district.

 

Eighteen prefectures in North Chulla Province declare their inability to pay their year’s taxes which amount in the aggregate to $217,710.

 

On the 26th of February imperial gifts of money, cotton cloth, linen, and shoes, which had been postponed from the Imperial birthday of last year, were given out, amounting in value to several thousand dollars.

 

The French minister has asked for an indemnity to cover the cost of houses and furniture lost by the French Roman Catholic priests on Quelpart during the disturbance of last spring. The amount asked is four thousand yen.

 

A man was accidentally killed on the line of the Seoul-Fusan Railway at Pu-pyung on the 26th of February.

 

There are only two telephones in use in private Korean houses in Seoul, but it is safe to say that as soon as the enormous convenience of the telephone is discovered there will be many more.

 

It has been customary heretofore to change the Japanese guard on the twelfth of May but hereafter it will be done on the tenth of April. The number is two hundred.

 

It has been decided to renew all the deeds for fields throughout Korea. Heretofore all these deeds have been merely hand written affairs and the change will be a very useful one. A special bureau will be established for this work. The new deeds will be printed on a paper made specially for the purpose. It is made of a combination of Korean and foreign paper.

 

The Chinese minister to Korea sent a despatch to the Foreign Office on March 1st in which he said that one thousand Chinese in Manchuria who had met with great misfortune at the hands of robbers and of Cossacks had crossed the Yalu and entered the prefecture of Chă-sung. The prefect Pak Hang-na received them kindly, fed them and helped them with money and other needful things and they are settling there. The minister praises the prefect very highly and declares his intention of raising a monument to him in Cha-sŭng. He also desires that the Home Office do something in recognition of the prefect’s kindly action and reward him in a fitting manner.

 

Many merchants of Ham-gyŭng Province have telegraphed the government that having paid their year’s taxes last Autumn it is unfair to allow special tax collectors to fleece them by demanding double, and they ask that these men be recalled and punished.

 

All the men who created the disturbance in the Military school have been pardoned except their leader, whose sentence has been commuted [page 120] to fifteen years, imprisonment. He was condemned to imprisonment for life.

 

The Minister of Foreign Affairs sent a despatch to the French Legation on the 2nd inst asking that, in view of the death of the gentleman who was carrying on the negotiations in regard to the French loan of $5,000,000, the original contract be returned and the transaction called off. But the French minister replied to the effect that the death of the special agent of the Annam Company did not affect the contract, the terms of which must be carried out.

 

Three hundred and eighty logs of pine which were being brought from Eui-ju by boat for use in palace buildings in Seoul have been lost through the wrecking of the boats off P’yŭng-an Province.

 

It is estimated that the revenue of the government for 1902 will be $7,586,530 (Korean currency) and the budget for the year calls for $7,585,877, leaving $653. The revenue is made up of the following items:

 

Land tax $4,488,235 House tax 460,295 Miscellaneous taxes 2 10,000 Arrears of 1901 tax 800,000 Customs 850,000 Various imposts 110,000 Minting 350,000 Balance from 1901 318,000 -------------7.586.530 And the expenditure will be as follows:

 

Imperial purse 737.361 Sacrifices 162,639

 

Household Department: Railway bureau 22010 Palace police 101,205 The Port police 97,910 N. W. Railway 18,484 Entertainment 17,378 Palace war department 65,275 Cabinet 37,510

 

Home Department: The office 35,854 The Mayor’s office 6,124 Provincial Governors 91 ,962 Vice Governors 43,074 Quelpart 4,222 Prefects 779.712 Hospital 7.512 Vaccination bureau 3,354 Traveling Expenses 730 Sacrifices 866

 

[page 121] Foreign Department: Office 26,264 Superintendents of Trade 51,154 Foreign Legations 211,420

 

Finance Department; Office 54,629 Elder’s fund 551 Customs 141,600 Mint 280,000 Pensions 1,956 Transportation 100,000

 

War Department: Office 50,766 Army 2,735,504

 

Law Department: Office 32,337 Supreme Court 15,317 City Court 8,615 Prefectural Courts 1,251

 

Police Department: Office 201,589 Prisons 22,703 Provincial police 51,42 (sic) Traveling Expenses . . 400

 

Educational Department: Office 24,187 Calendar 6,010 Government Schools 93,063 Subsidised Schools 22,580 Private Schools 5,970 Pupils abroad 15,97o

 

Agricultural Department: Office 30,968 Miscellaneous 9,924

 

The Council: Office 17,128

 

Imperial Guard 55,792 Survey bureau 7,824 Decorations 18,457

 

Communications: Office 21,330 Post and Telegraph 353,580

 

Relief bureau: Office 6,446

 

Land deed bureau 22,108 Law Revision 720 Sanitation 35,000 Repair of Prefectural buildings 10,000

 

[page 122] Capture of robbers 5,000 Fire and Ship-wreck relief 5,000 Burial of prisoners 300 Entertainment of Japanese Guard 480 Gold mine survey 1,840 Contingency fund 600,000

 

During the current month a daughter was born to Dr. and Mrs, J. Hunter Wells of Pyeng-yang.

 

Rev. and Mrs. W. D. Reynolds and family arrived from America early this month and are stopping temporarily in Kun-san. They will make their home in Mok-po. Mr. Reynolds has come up to Seoul and will be here a month engaged in Bible translation work.

 

The Russian Minister announced to the Foreign Office that the Russian Whaling Company was prepared to pay $450, as tax for the past year.

 

The Korean Minister to Japan writes to pay that the expenses of the thirty six Korean students in Tokyo from the ninth moon of last year amounting to $1,980, and $?09.25 for return expenses of thirteen sick students has been advanced by the Japanese government and should be promptly refunded by the Korean government.

 

During the past winter 113 houses have fallen in ruins because of heavy rains in the old historic town of Kyöng-ju, which used to be the Capital of the Kingdom of Silla.

 

One hundred and sixy-one prisoners in Seoul are awaiting trial, of whom eight are former prefects who have failed to pay up their arrears of taxes.

 

A curious scene might have been witnessed in front of the Home Department on the 5th inst. There is a Korean custom which consists of presenting a Man-in-san or Ten thousand man umbrella. If a magistrate has ruled exceptionally well the people of his district make a huge umbrella and write on it their praises of the prefect and a list of the names of the people who join in the memorial. This umbrella is brought to Seoul and presented to the Home Office. It appears that the prefect of Kang-neung on the easturn coast was oppressing the people and the yamen runners were making their fortunes; but the yamen runners fearing that the prefect would be driven out bribed some of the people to make a “Ten thousand man umbrella” and bring it up to Seoul. It was done, but a crowd of the common people followed and when the umbrella was presented they told the Home Department that it was simply a blind to cover unp the misdeeds of the prefect They therefore seized the umbrella and tore it to pieces before the Department.

 

Min Yong-whan has asked the government for a charter for a company which contemplates the raising of poultry on a ranch in Pup’yung near Chemulpo.

 

It is reported that when the Japanese learned that the Korean Government had replied to Russia’s demand, relative to an adviser in the Finance Department, saying that this government did not contemplate [page 123] the employment of a Japanese adviser in the Household Department, the coming of Mr. Kato as adviser was indefinitely postponed.

 

On the eighth inst. a number of soldiers of the Pyeng-yang Regiment when intoxicated created a disturbance at Chong-no firing off their guns and brandishing swords, and the gendarmes were quite unable to manage them. Unless soldiers can be kept under fairly strict discipline they become a source of danger.

 

In north Kyŭng-sang Province, in thirty four districts, the number of children vaccinated last year was 3090, for which $927, was received from the parents. The fee varies from 300 to 500 cash in the country. In Seoul it is free.

 

A gentleman of Su-wun named Yŭm Keui-rok out of pity for the starving people of that district sold rice fields equivalent to one fifth the size of Seoul and with the proceeds bought Annam rice in Seoul and fedthe inmates of 150 houses for four months, beginning last December.

 

As it is intended to make paper money at the mint a number of young men have been selected to study up this branch of industry and fit themselves for the work.

 

A man named Hong Chong-sun secured the right to manage all the ferries across the Han in the vicinity of Seoul. He immediately raised the tariff a hundred percent and made the ferry-men do the work at bottom prices. Therefore the ferrymen made a violent demonstration with clubs and stones with the result that the obnoxious Hong was driven out and things resumed their former status.

 

On the l0th inst. No Sang-uk of Kyung-sang Province memorialized the throne complaining loudly of the condition of affairs and claiming; 1) that the Anglo-Japanese alliance was necessitated by the misgovern of the Korean officials: (2) that the administration of the government is corrupt; (3) that sorceresses, exorcists and monks are much in evidence; (4) that the best men are not chosen for government offices; (5) that the people are oppressed by special and oppressive taxes: (6)the finances of the country have been thrown into confusion by the change in the circulating medium and the introduction of nickels; (7) that revision of the laws makes it impossible for the people to know what they may and what they may not do. Then follows language that we cannot venture to translate and that in any European country would subject a man to prosecution for lèse majesty. One must study the oriental mind a long time before he can understand why such things pass unnoticed when statements which to us would seem far less obnoxious would be visited by swift penalty.

 

We have received from M. C. Fenwick, Esq., who has been taking a trip through the famine districts in the south, some valuable notes on the condition of the people there. He gives the facts just as he received them from the lips of the people and without comment. He takes up nine typical cases.

 

A. This man is a tenant on one acre of rice land. He planted half of it and realized seven bags of unhulld rice and gave two of it for [page 124] rent The remainder produced forty-five pecks or mal of hulled rice. One man on short rations, eating two meals a day, consumes three pecks a month. He also had one-fifth acre of beans that yielded two pecks. He has a wife and four children. His wife weaves a little linen. His taxes are thirteen nyang a year.

 

B. This man rents one and four-fifths acres and a house. Also has a small wood patch. He planted one and three fifths acres and harvested fifteen bags of rice, gave seven for rent. The remaining eight produced seventy-two pecks of hulled rice. There are eight in the family and every grain of rice is gone already. Taxes thirteen nyang

 

C. He rents one and one-fifth acres of rice land but could not plant any of it. He has half an acre of bean field that produced twelve pecks. His taxes are thirty-four yang. He has a wife and three children.

 

D. This man rents one and three-fifths acres of rice land and planted it all. He harvested eighteen bags and gave eight for rent. The balance produced ninety pecks of hulled rice. His fuel costs forty nine nyang a year. Also harvested thirty pecks of beans. He has a wife and two children.

 

E. This man rents are acre and planted two-fifths realizing forty-seven pecks. He gave twenty-three for rent. The balance produced ten pecks of hulled rice. His taxes are twelve and a half nyang. He has a wife and one child.

 

F. He is a bachelor working one acre of government land. He is living for one year on seven pecks of rice and four pecks of beans.

 

G. This man rents four-fifths acre of rice land and he planted half of it. The owner kindly remitted the rent and left him twenty seven pecks to live on. He also had fifteen pecks of beans. He has no other means of living. His family consists of his father, mother, wife and two children.

 

H. He rents one-third acre but could not plant any. Taxes six nyang. Has paid four nyang and the government is hounding him for the other two. From one-twentieth acre of land he harvested three pecks of beans. Has a wife and two children. He has no other means of living.

 

I. This man rents seven-tenths acre of rice land and planted three tenths; harvested two and a half bags giving half for rent. He has eleven pecks of hulled rice to live on. He also harvested eleven pecks of. beans and fifteen pecks of buck wheat. His rent is twenty-five nyang. His family consists of mother, wife and three children.

 

The people in this district, it will be seen from the above, have eaten up everything they have and are in desperate straits. What they will do until the wheat crop ripens in July it is hard to say. The government has exacted the full tax in every case but that of H. who paid four out of six nyang.

 

The birthday of the Prince Imperial was celebrated on the 18th instant. The diplomatic corps, the foreign employees of the government [page 125] and the officers of the Japanese Guard were received in audience in the morning. In the evening a reception was held at the Foreign Office at which the Korean band rendered the national hymns of Korea, Japan, England, Germany, Russia, France and the United States. The remarkable progress of this band reflects great credit upon their able director Dr. Franz Eckert.

 

On the 15th inst the representatives of the different powers met in Seoul and conferred in regard to the steps necessary to be taken to rehabilitate the Korean monetary system. Seven specific points were set forth, (i) To stop the minting of more nickels and the severe interdiction of counterfeiting; (2) the severe punishment of anyone convicted of counterfeiting; (3) To make or import no more nickel blanks; (4) To punish anyone who has them in his possession; (5) As nickels are used now only in Kyŭng-geui , Ch’ung-ch’ŭng, Whang-hă and South Kyŭng-sang Provinces, they should be made legal tender in any part of Korea; (6) To destroy the counterfeit nickels now in circulation; (7) To give a reward to anyone who will give information leading to the conviction of a counterfeiter.

 

Ten Japanese who have been counterfeiting Korean nickels are now in jail awaiting sentence.

 

The government evidently does not care to have its nationals engage in the lucrative business of Exchange. Of course the fluctuation in exchange is not caused by the exchangers but it is plain that the government intends to attack the subject vigorously for it has arrested two Koreans most prominent in this business.

 

The people of Sŭng-jin the newest of the open ports of Korea are highly incensed over the joining of that town with the neighboring town of Kil-ju. The two have been merged into one. The people of Sŭng-jin affirm that if this continues they will burn every house in the district and run away. As there are over 3,000 houses in the district it would be quite a blaze.

 

A man named Pak Sang-hun proposes a new form of tax. He proposes to make every road in Korea a toll road and sell tickets without which no one can travel. One ticket will allow the bearer to go ten li, and it is proposed to charge three or four cents for a ticket. This cannot be made to apply to railroad travel, so it forms a good argument for the rapid building of railroads.

 

The finance Minister has requested all the Departments to send in any balances there may be in hand from last year.

 

A conference was held on the 19th instant between the Japanese Minister, the Foreign Minister and the Finance Minister relative to the monetary system of Korea.

 

During the past month the fluctuations in exchange have been very great, the lowest being seventy-eight cents premium and the highest about ninety-six cents premium.

 

It is proposed by the government to issue fifty-cent silver pieces and to prohibit the manufacture of silver hairpins, spoons, dishes, chopsticks, knives, etc.

 

[page 126] In Su-wun district a man named Chöng T’ă-yŭp has been giving 142 households five pecks of rice each per month during the winter. He has also paid their taxes, has sold a large number of fields and raised 3,000,000 cash with which to help others who are rendered destitute by the famine. In the same district Yŭm Keum-nok sold rice fields and is supporting ten housholds till the barley crop is harvested .

 

On the Korean bank of the Yalu river there grows a great wealth of reeds used in making mats and many other things. For the past four years the Chinese have been helping themselves to these reeds and the Korean government estimates the value to be $120,000. It consequently asks the Chinese Minister to secure the payment of this sum.

 

On account of the strenuous opposition of the Korean government the Russians have decided not to press the matter of running a telegraph line through northern Korea from Kyong-heung to the Siberian border.

 

Twenty-five houses were destroyed by fire in Ok-chun on the 20th inst.

 

Last year fishing licenses from the Korean government were held by forty-six Japanese in Chemulpo, 374 in Fusan, 40 in Kun-san, 28 in Ma-san-po, 52 in Won-sam and 112 in Mokpo, making 650 in all.

 

Yi Yong-jik in resigning the position of Ch’an-jang made some very pointed criticisms of the present personel of the government on account of which Yun Yong-sun the prime minister went outside the wall and refused to come back. The Emperor banished Yi Yong-jik for three years.

 

Yun Tuk-yung the governor of Whang-hă province raised 50,000,000 cash from the half-starved people of his province over and above the regular taxes and also 50,000 bags of grain. The people raised such a stir that he came up to Seoul whither they followed him with loud demands that he be made to disgorge.

 

We are glad to observe that in connection with the post and telegraph bureau the Department of Communications is establishing a telephone system between Seoul and Chemulpo as well as other points in the vicinity which cannot but be of great convenience to the public.

 

Japanese Buddhists who already have a monastery in Seoul are about to establish another in P’yŭng-yang.

 

A rather exciting time is reported from Chemulpo where four Koreans who were trying to exchange 8,000 yen for Korean money were taken in tow by a Japanese who said he had nickels in abundance. He took the four Koreans to a boat and plied them with vnne, took them across to an island and gave them more wine, evidently intending to victimize them. When he deemed the time ripe he proposed that they come to business. To his chagrin he found that the Koreans held only a note for the money and not the real stuff. A quarrel followed and as a result a boat floated away on the tide bearing the body of a Korean. It was picked up by some islanders and the Korean was found to be [page 127] still alive. He was brought to Chemulpo where he gave the above details and furthermore stated that the other three Koreans were killed and their bodies thrown into the sea. As they have not been seen since that night there is probably some truth in the statement and efforts are being made to find the perpetrator of the crime.

 

Kim Yung-whan of Nam-po has given fifty bags of rice to the district and in Ch’ung-yang Yi Seuug-jo sold land and bought 300 bags of rice wherewith to help his poor neighbors till the barley is ready to eat.

 

Yi Yong-ik has brought up again the question of erecting a monument commemorating the glories of the present reign and promises to see that the necessary funds are forthcoming.

 

On the 15th inst the fourth installment of Annam rice arrived. It consisted of 17,000 bags.

 

It is estimated that three hundred destitute men have come up to Seoul from the country.

 

The Railway Bureau informs the Department of Agriculture that $2510.14 have still to be paid Koreans for land taken in the building of the Seoul-Chemulpo Railway.

 

Kim Chung-geun, lately governor of Kang-wŭn Province, has been put at the head of the bureau of surveys.

 

The Chinese Minister informs the Foreign Office that the Chinese soldiers who came into Korea last Fall were refugees and not robbers and asks that they be released. It seems that they committed no depredations but the border guard seized them supposing they were robbers.

 

Leon Vincart, Esq, , the Belgian representative, left Seoul for Europe about the tenth instant. The legation is in charge of Mr. Cuvelier.

 

The Minister of Education has issued a mild reprimand to all the Korean teachers in the common and higher schools blaming them for lack of diligence and exhorting them to mend their ways.

 

In the town of Chang-sa in north Chulla Province a fire occurred which destroyed thirty-six houses and aid is asked from the government for the destitute people.

 

The Finance Department has asked the Law Department to cause the arrest of all the ex-prefects who are still in debt to the government to the extent of eighty dollars or more.

 

Sŭ Cng-sun has been appointed governor of South Ham-gng Province in the place of Kim Chong-han, resigned.

 

On the 14th inst. a dinner was given at Yong San in honor of the beginning of the construction of the Seoul-Euiju Railway.

 

There has been a theft of dynamite at the American Mines in Un San P’yŭng-an Province and the Korean authorities have been asked to use every exertion to apprehend the thieves, not so much because of the loss to the company as because of the great danger of its exploding and injuring many of the people if it remains in the hands of those who to not know how to handle it.

 

[page 128] We regret to learn from the American papers that as Dr. and Mrs. Allen were about to start on their way back to Korea, Mrs. Allen fell on the ice and broke one of the bones of the leg. They were intending to come via the Siberian Railway, but this accident prevented it. They will be welcomed in Korea by all their nationals not only on their own account, but also because the Minister has secured an appropriation for a new Legation building in Seoul.

 

The suite of Yi Cha-guk who goes as special envoy to the coronation of King Edward VII consists of Ko Heui-gyung, Kim Cho-hyun and Yi Chong-dok.

 

The writers of abusive anonymous letters to Han Kyu-sul and Yi Keun-t’ak, Ministers of Law and Police, after strenuous efforts have been arrested. The letters accused them of treason and other serious crimes.

 

The Sendai Maru was wrecked near Pusan on the 19th inst. All the passengers and mails were saved.

 

Later reports concerning the trouble between the governor of Whangha Province and the people state that the people have sued him and claim that he has stolen 400,000,000 cash or $160,000 from them.

 

On the 25th inst the recommendations of the diplomatic corps relative to the monetary reforms were presented to His Majesty.

 

There are three men in Korea who have passed their l00th birthday; two in Heung-yang, in Kyŭng-sang Province, and one in Ham-heung, in the north.

 

We are pleased to announce that Hon. H. N. Allen and Mrs. Allen arrived in Seoul on the 29th inst.

 

It will be remembered that W. H. Wilkinson, Esq., of H. B. M.’s Consular Service published a few years ago a valuable book on the governmental changes in Korea for the years immediately succeeding the Japan-China War. There will soon appear under separate cover a supplement to the KOREA REVIEW containing a continuation of that work for the year 1901. It is the author’s intention to fill in the hiatus between his former work and this, as opportunity may permit. Our next number will contain an abstract of the matter with which this new publication will deal. As a matter of record it will be of great value and importance. Notice will be given as soon as this work is on the market.

 

 

[page 129] KOREAN HISTORY.

 

In this same year, 1356, we see the first rising of the cloud that was soon to spread over the country and, breaking, clean the land of the corruption which had so long been festering at her core. This event was the coming to the capital of the father of the man who founded the present dynasty, on the ruins of Koryŭ. This man was Yi Cha-chun whose posthumous title, given after the founding of this dynasty, was Whan-jo. As his son founded this dynasty it will be fitting to inquire briefly into his antecedents. His great-grandfather was Yi Ansa, a Koryŭ official who died in 1274, and who was afterwards given the title Mok-jo. His son was Yi Hăng-yi, born in Tŭk-wun in Ham-gyŭng Province, who was compelled by the Mongols to take office under them while they held possession of the north. His posthumous title is Ik-jo. His son was Yi Chun, born in Ham-heung in Ham-kyung Province, who held rank under Koryŭ between 1340 and 1345. His posthumous title is To-jo. His son was Yi Cha-chun of whom we are now speaking. He was born in 1315 and at the time of which we are writing he was made prefect of his native place, Sang-sŭng, in Hamgyŭng Province. This part of Koryŭ had been held by the Mongols during the whole period of their occupation of Koryu until their loosening grasp let it fall back into the hands of Koryŭ and the king hastened to reorganise his government there.

The relatives of the Mongol empress still nursed the delusion that they could do as they pleased in Koryŭ, secure in the possession of such powerful friends at Peking. But they soon discovered their mistake, for their misdeeds met the same punishment as did those of others. Infuriated at [page 130] this they planned an insurrection. They thought this newly acquired district of Sang-sŭng would be the most likely to co-operate with them in this scheme; so they opened negotiations with its people. The king therefore summoned Yi Whan-jo to Song-do and warned him against these traitors. Foiled here, the empress’ relatives appealed to the country to rise in defense of the Mongol supremacy, which was being thus rudely flouted. They learned what Koryŭ thought of Mongol supremacy when they were incontinently seized and put to death and their property confiscated. The next step was the sending back to China of the Mongol “resident.” This was followed by an expedition into trans-Yalu territory which seized all the land there which formerly belonged to Koryŭ. Fearing, however, that he was going a little too fast, the king sent an envoy to Peking to tell the emperor that the local governor of the north was responsible for these reprisals and not the central Koryŭ government. Troops were nevertheless stationed in each of these newly acquired districts and fields were cultivated to provide for their maintenance.

Not long after this the important question of coinage came up. We have already seen that the medium in Koryŭ was little bottle-shaped pieces, but as these were each a pound in weight they could be used only for large transactions. Each one of them was worth a hundred pieces of linen. It was decided to change to a system of regular coinage, and so the silver was coined into dollars each worth eight pieces of five-strand linen. It is probable that in all small transactions barter was the common method of exchange although there may have been a metal medium of exchange as far back as the days of ancient Chosŭn, a thousand years before Christ.

The question again came up as to the advisability of moving the capital to Han-yang, the present Seoul. Enquiry was made at the ancestral temple but what answer the spirits made, if any, we are not told. All dishes and implements as well as tile were made black because the peninsula is nearly surrounded by water and black is the color that corresponds to water according to Chinese and Korean notions. Black was substituted for the prevailing color in dress which was at [page 131] that time blue-green, and men, woman and monks all donned the sable attire.

It was at length decided to change the capital to the other site and palaces were ordered built there. They were, so some say, probably outside the present south gate of Seoul.

It is said that in order to decide about the removal of the capital the king had recourse to that form of divination which consisted in making scrawls at random with a pen and then examining them to see what Chinese characters the marks most resembled. At first they did not favor a change, but after several trials the favorable response was obtained.

The year 1359 beheld a recurrence of the dreaded Japanese incursions. At this time the robbers burned 300 Koryŭ boats at Kak-san. An official, Yi Tal-jung, was sent to govern the great north-eastern section of the land. He was a friend of Yi Whan-jo, the prefect of Sang-sŭng. As he approached that place his friend Yi Whan-jo came out to meet him, accompanied by his son Yi Song-gye who was to become the founder of the present dynasty, and whom we shall designate by his posthumous title T’ă-jo. When Yi Whan-jo handed his friend a cup of wine he drank it standing, but when Yi Tă-jo handed him one, so the story runs, he drank it on his knees. When the father demanded why this greater deference was shown his son the guest replied, This boy is different from us,” and, turning to the young man, he continued. When I have passed away you must always befriend my descendants.

The Japanese raids had now reached such alarming proportions that an extra wall was built about Song-do and all the government granaries along the coast were moved far inland to be out of the reach of piratical parties, who would naturally hesitate to go far from their boats.

The breaking up of the Mongol power was foreshadowed by the act of a certain Mongol district Ha-yang which, with its garrison of 1,800 men, now came and enrolled itself under the banner of Koryŭ. How had the mighty fallen! Less than eighty years before the world had trembled beneath the hoof-beats of the Golden Horde.” This was followed by the submission of a wild tribe in the north called Pang-gukchin, and a Mongol rebel sent a messenger with gifts to the [page 132] court of Koryŭ. Meanwhile the Japanese were ravaging the southern and western coasts without let or hindrance. It was a curious spectacle, a country eaten up by its own excesses receiving humble deputations from former masters and at the same time being ridden over rough-shod by gangs of half-naked savages from the outlying islands of Japan,

There was one tribe in the north however, called the Hong-du-juk or Red-Head Robbers,” who threatened to invade the country, but forces were sent to guard against it. In the case of the Japanese marauders the difficulty was to know where they were going to strike next. There was military power enough left in Koryŭ had it been possible to so place the forces as to intercept or bring to action the robber gangs. The Japanese had really begun to threaten Song-do itself and the king wished to move the capital to Su-an in Whang-hă Province. He went so far as to send a commissioner to look over the site and report.

The king was not blessed with an heir, and in 1360 he took a second wife, which was the cause of constant quarrelling and bickering.

The Red-Head Robbers were led by Kwan Sŭn-sang and Pa Tu-ban. They now took the city of Mukden and, entering Liaotung, sent a letter to the king of Koryŭ saying We have now consolidated our power and intend to set up the Sung dynasty again.” The Mongols were thus beset on both sides and were in desperate straits. Three thousand of the Red-Heads” crossed the northern border and carried fire and sword into the frontier towns. A Mongol general, deserting the banners of his waning clan, took service with these people. His name was Mo Ko-gyŭng. He collected 40,000 men and crossed the Yalu. Eui-ju fell forthwith and the prefect and a thousand men perished. Chöng-ju soon fell and In-ju was invested, but a stubborn resistance was here encountered. The prefect, An U, was the only prefect in the north who was not afraid of the invaders. He made light of their power and by swift counter-marches and brilliant manoeuvers succeeded in making them fall back to Chöng-ju. In the meantime Gen. Yi An was sent north to P’yŭng-yang to take charge of the army of defense. The tide of fortune had turned again and the invaders were in full [page 133] march on P’yŭng-yang. A council of war was held at which it appeared that all the generals were about equally frightened. With a powerful force in hand and an easily defended town to hold they still considered only how best to make a retreat. Some were for burning everything behind them and retiring to some point more easy of defense; but Gen. Yi An thought they had better leave a large store of provisions in the city, for the enemy would pause and feed there until everything was gone, and this would give the Koryŭ army time to gain needed reinforcements. This course would also appear so foolish to the enemy that few preparations would be made to meet the Koryŭ troops later. This plan was adopted and the army retired into Whang-hă Province and left the gates of P’yŭng-yang open to the invaders. This caused the greatest consternation in the capital, and every citizen was under arms. The king immediately sent and deprived Gen. Yi An of the office which he had so grievously betrayed and put the command into the hands of Gen. Yi Seung-gyŭng.

The invading host was now feasting in P’yŭng-yang and the king and queen in Song-do were practicing horse-back riding with the expectation that they would be obliged to leave the capital. It was the beginning of winter and the cold was intense. The Koryŭ soldiers died by hundreds and the people were being wantonly killed by foraging parties of the “Red Heads. The records say that they left heaps upon heapsof dead in their track.

As in duty bound the Koryŭ forces went north and engaged the invaders at P’yŭng-yang. At first the latter were successful and a thousand Koryŭ troops were trampled under the hoofs of the enemy’s horses; but in the end the “Red Heads” were defeated and, retreating northwards, were hotly pursued as far as Ham-jung. There they were reinforced and attempted to make a new stand; but the Koryŭ troops, drunk with success, attacked them with such abandon that they were obliged to build a palisade within which they intrenched themselves. The Koryŭ generals surrounded this stockade and, by a simultaneous assault of horse and foot, broke through tlie barrier and put the occupants, numbering 20,000, to the sword. The leader, Whang Chi-sŭn was taken alive. A remnant fled to the Yŭn-ju River where the ice broke [page 134] beneath them and 2,000 perished. The few survivors made a desparate stand on a hill but were starved out and compelled to continue their flight, in which hundreds more were cut down along the road; and at last, out of 40,000 men who had come across the Yalu, just three hundred recrossed it and were safe.

Hardly had this happened when seventy boat-loads of these same Red Heads arrived at P’yŭng-ju and soon after a hundred boat-loads more disembarked at An-ak and scoured the surrounding country. They were, however, soon put to flight by Gen. Yi Pang-sil whom the king rewarded richly for his services.

It was at this time that the king first received an envoy from Chang Sa-sung, a pretender to the Mongol throne. The king made the first move toward breaking away from the Mongol yoke by sending an envoy in return. The Koryŭ