The Rhyming Tao Te Ching (Great book rendered in rhyme 1)
During those civil wars the native Christians embraced, like Cato, the weaker side ; the conse- quence was this persecution. Persecution of native Christians, with the penalty of death denounced against all who refiised the test of tramp- ling upon the effigy of the Virgin and the infant Redeemer, was even then the law of the land, and would naturally afford both the pretext and the means of a newly-appointed heathen ruler's tyranny and extortion. Be this as it may, after a long struggle, the Prince of Arima drove the insurgents, who have been estimated at 70,, into the penin- sula of Simabara; and finding himself unable there to subdue them, he, with the full sanction of the Zioffoon, called upon the Dutch to bring their armed vessels and artillery to his assistance.
This compliance with a Japanese requisition to act as auxiliaries against their fellow-Christians, the Dutch writers vindicate upon the plea of the civil war not having been a religious war, although they do not deny the Christianity of the unhappy rebels shut up on Simabara.
The real apology probably lies in their not irrational dread that their own lives might pay the forfeit of disobedience to a mandate sanctioned by the emperor. It is not unlikely that this very compliance, by satisfying the govemmentof the truth of the assertion, that though the Dutch were Christians, their Christianity was not the Christianity of the Portuguese, won their exemption firom the general exclusion.
They were, however, then removed firom Firato and liberty to the vacated Portuguese prison, Dezima. When the Japanese were weary of torturing and slaughtering — and such weariness seems as little appertinent to the national idiosyncrasy as mercy — the remaining multitudes were locked up in prisons, there kept to hard work upon wretched fare, and annually ofiered wealth and freedom as the price of abjuring Christianity in the prescribed form.
Even to the present day, every native Japanese, or, according to Doeff, only every native of Na- gasaki and the adjoining principaUties, is required thus to prove his non-Christianity. But the regular ceremony is now confined to natives, and upon other occasions the trampling appears to be only used as a test to ascer- tain the religion, or rather the non-Christianity, of strangers. So fair from any member of the Dutch factory being required to participate in this revolting rite, we are positively assured, that those among them who felt curious to witness an abjuration of Chris- tianity, concerning which they had heard so much, have been unable to gratify their wishes ; and all that is told upon this subject in the recent publi- cations is given purely on the authority of Japanese acquaintance.
In addition to these statements, an anecdote is told relative to this matter, which oc- curred soon after DoeflTs arrival, and is highly illustrative of the kindly feeling now entertained by the Japanese towards their Dutch guests, as well as of their habitual forbearance with respect to religion, and of their general politeness.
It is thus narrated by the President. Mak and D. Letske, to attend the examination in the govern- ment house. Hereupon the Governor requested all the Hollanders who were present to withdraw for a moment.
They thought this strange; but soon afterwards learned from the chief interpreter, that the Governor not knowing these people, was bound by his orders to make them trample upon these images; and to avoid giving the Hollanders offence, had wished that it should not be done in their presence. This cere- mony over, the Hollanders were invited to return.
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Hence it is manifest that the Japanese know and respect our religious opinions. Although it was clear that the brig's crew were Roman Catholics, the Governor, out of compassion for the shipwrecked wretches, sent the Malays and the Papoe to us, in Dezima, coiifining them, however, in an old house, inclosed with bamboos, and watched by a Japanese guard ; whilst the Chinese and Cochin Chinese.
It there, appeared but too certain, that the brig had sailed from Timor for Macao, and that the above-named crew had murdered the capr tain and other officers, in order' to. They were thereupon sent to Macao, where they suffered the punishment of their crime. CHAP, n. It is, that a Japanese grandee, from the tank of a gcbanyosi upwards, never speaks directly to a Netherlander, but always through the medium of an interpreter. This might be supposed an un- avoidable inconvenience, the parties being unable otherwise to understand each other: but such cannot be the cause.
There have been plenty of' presidents who, having applied diligently to the Japanese language, had acquired sufficient know- ledge to express themselves intelligibly. There have even been some who, passing by the inter- preters, have directly addressed the high Japanese dignitary, in Japanese; but in vain.
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I conclude hence, that this custom is a point of Japanese etiquettey not intended to do the highest honour to the Netheiianders ; and I am confirmed in this suspicion by the increase in the number of intermediary speakers in the president's audiences of the governor. This is the regulated dialogue always repeated on these occasions.
I also owe thanks for the assistance which his lordship has again this year afforded the Nether- landers in matters of trade, and, therefore, in the name of the Lord Governor-general of Batavia, are the goods offered as a present to his lordship, which, according to old custom, are destined for his lordship, and enumerated in the list that I have already delivered. As the.
It is an honour to me that the Lord Governor has accepted the present offered him. I shall take care that the ships are speedily ready for their departure, and not neglect to make it known to the Governor as soon as they are ready. It is gratifying to me to see Messrs. We also are glad to see the President well, and wish him so to continue.
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They may, however, under colour of waiting for a fair wind, lie yet awhile at anchor under the Papenbeig, and there take in what is still wanting of their cargo; although the moment their guns are re-embarked, they must set sail whatever be the weather. The au- dience of departure, therefore, always takes place on the 18th of the ninth Japanese month.
It is satisfactory to me that the ships are ready to sail, and the President is desired to let them depart on the coming 20th. I will now read what, according to the imperial commands, the President has to do fiirther, and the President will listen attentively. These imperial commands you Vill duly observe, and the President will moreover command the Netherlanders who re- mam behind to behave well. I shall duly observe the imperial commands made known to me, and communicate them to the High Government at Batavia.
Moreover, I will command the Nether- landers who remain behind to behave well. This may complete the sketch of life at Dezima; and a few words only need be added touching death there, which is permitted to the Dutch, though not to the Japanese. They pay a yearly sum to the temple, but rather in the form of a gratuitous offering than as the price of their privilege. The forms of burial are, of course, not Christian ; but the dead are treated with respect.
ExcTirBions permitted. It has been said, that the Dutch cannot pass either of the gates of Dezima without the express per- mission of.