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of Asia.” The chief productions of Corea are sable skins, jinseng, and a strong paper used by the Chinese for windows in lieu of glass.
Cochin china, including Tonkin, bordering on Kuang-sy province, had its limits fixed as a separate state about A.D. 250, by a brass pillar, which remains to this day, and of which the situation is marked in the Jesuits' map. The tribute of Cochinchina, as well of Siam, is sent periodically to Canton, whence it is forwarded in charge of the ambassadors to Peking, and the vessels claim exemption from portcharges and duties. The late war, however, between Siam and Cochin-china has interfered with the regular transmission of tribute from both countries.
Lewkew, or Loo-choo, has been made in some degree familiar to us by the relations of Captain Basil Hall and Mr. M‘Leod, since when it has been visited by Captain Beechey. There is every reason to suppose that the people of those islands are a jealous and suspicious race, and that their anxiety to exclude Europeans from their country was veiled, on the occasion of the Alceste and Lyra's visit, under a cunning and plausible semblance of courtesy and good-will, --for hospitality it could hardly be called. The King of Loo-choo derives his investiture from the Emperor of China, and sends an embassy with tribute about once in two years. Those islands seem to have had little or no intercourse with China before the Yuen or Mongol dynasty ; and there is reason to suppose that the unsuccessful expedition sent by Koblai Khan against Japan, may have had some communication with them, and originated the relations which have since existed.
According to the Chinese account of Loo-choo, (printed at Peking with moveable types) the island was formerly divided into three nations or tribes, which were subsequently united into one. It is stated
that they have a written character of their own, (identical with that of Japan,) in which is recorded the ancient history of the country, but that they also use the Chinese character. So far from the people of Loo-choo having no weapons, the same account relates that the foundation of the kingdom was laid by military force, and that, in the temple dedicated to the conqueror, there is to this day an arrow placed before the tablet where his name is inscribed, in conformity with his will, to show that his kingdom was established by arms. They have also a copper coin of their own, but, as the metal is scarce on the island, it exists in no large quantity; and this may perhaps account for the first English visitors having seen none. The Chinese say they sometimes use their copper coin, and sometimes that of Japan, both of which are introduced in trade. Loo-choo, in fact, lies equidistant from both countries, and is tributary to both.
According to the same authority there is a nominal king of Loo-choo, but the real power is exercised by a minister, who is absolute. They have borrowed from China the gradation of nine ranks, and compiled a system of law from the penal code of their great neighbour. They likewise borrowed from China its best institution-a national education, with district schools, and public examinations for promotion. They venerate the memory of Confucius, and study his works, with the notes of his great commentator Choofootse. Their religion is that of Fo, or Budh, and they have all the subordinate idols attached to that persuasion. Among other articles of food, the Chinese say that the Loo-chooans make a sort of pemmican, composed of meat and pulse pounded and pressed together, which is dried in the wind, and keeps a long time. Their dislike of foreign visitors no doubt arises in some measure from fear of giving offence to the Chinese, on whom they are dependent ;
a consideration which likewise influences the people of Corea, in their exclusion of strangers.
The intercourse of China with Japan from the earliest ages seems to have been little better than an infliction of mutual injuries, the latter country being too independent and proud to yield the homage which was demanded by the former. The Mongol conquerors of China, urged by the spirit of universal dominion, made the most frequent and determined attempts, first to persuade the Japanese to send tribute, and then to subdue them ; but all without
The missions appear to have been principally on the part of China, the Japanese sometimes receiving them, and sometimes refusing to communicate ; but making few or no returns, and not only denying the homage which was so much coveted, but demanding it from the other party. At length an armament of 15,000 men was sent by the way of Corea, but they only plundered the coast and returned. Six years afterwards an envoy was again despatched, who, with his whole retinue, was murdured by the Japanese. This led to an armament of no less than 100,000 men being despatched from China by Koblai Khân, for the conquest of the country. On their arrival upon the northern coast, a storm arose, which destroyed the greater number of the vessels; and the Japanese attacking them on shore in several engagements, either killed or made captives of nearly the whole force, of which it is said that only three individuals ever returned to their own country. This agrees in the main with the account given by Marco Polo.
The Chinese dynasty of Ming, which drove out and succeeded the Mongols, suffered severely from the predatory attacks of the Japanese on the coast, in return for the hostilities which the latter had experienced from the family of Koblai Khân. Envoys