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so absurd, burdensome, and difficult to be followed, that there are probably few people who are pious, and at the same time strong enough to perform even the half of what this religion commands. On this account there are more bad people, as well among the clergy as among the laymen in this religion, than in any other in Japan.
3: The religion of the Chinese, as it is called in Japan, or the doctrine of Confucius, which is highly esteemed by the Japanese. The greater part of the Japanese men of learning and philosophers follow this doctrine.
4. The adoration of the heavenly bodies. They consider the sun as the highest divinity, then follow the moon and stars. Almost every constellation forms a separate divinity: these divinities contend with each other and make peace : form alliances by marriage : seek to outwit and to injure each other; in short, according to the belief of the Japanese, they have all human weaknesses, and live like men, only with the difference that they are immortal, and assume any shape they please. This religion gave origin to a sect who adore fire, and consider it as a divinity derived from the sun.'
Captain G., however, confesses that the Japanese answered all questions on religious subjects very unwillingly, and often pretended not to understand the inquiries, or gave unsatisfactory and unintelligible replies.
In his chapter on the government of the empire, the author has thrown some light on the apparent singularity of a regime admitting two sovereigns, the one spiritual and the other temporal; and he condemns the vague manner in which they have both been called by the same name, Emperors, by Europeans; the temporal sovereign being in fact the only person to whom that title is suitably applied. There are, nevertheless, a temporal power and an ecclesiastical power, nominally independent of each other in the exercise of their functions, but the latter being virtually subservient to the former. Every reader will acknowlege some analogy to this system in the history of the Romish papacy, where the legate at the court of temporal sovereigns has often exercised more real domination than a Japanese Kin-Rey.
The dignity of both these Emperors, to use a faulty but conventional name for them, is inherited by the eldest of their male descendants. The spiritual is by far the more antient potentate, and appears originally to have exercised the double Office, but to have been shorn of one-half of its beams by the successful insurrection of military chiefs; who, it is conceived, have not enjoyed hereditary sway much more than two centuries. The power of the spiritual ruler is said to extend over all the priests of every sect in Japan; although in the same sentence it is asserted of him that he is the head of a religion which is
professed only by one portion, and not by any means the largest, of the population. We confess it does seem to us that this fact offers some grounds for the belief, that a closer connection subsists between these different Pagan modes of worship than writers have usually allowed: or it appears very extraordinary that his spiritual highness should be so very unlike all persons who have exercised similar authority, as never to have attempted to produce uniformity by the ultima rutio regum," or some other means.
The arrangement of the executive government looks well on paper : but how far it realizes its theoretic dispositions can scarcely be known by visitors in a state of captivity.
Chapter VI., on Laws and Manners, opens a wide field, on the verges only of which have we time to tread, without the intention of proceeding farther. Presuming on a fair degree of accuracy in Captain Golownin's relations, we must admit that his perseverance in inquiry, under circumstances most unfavourable to investigation, has been as laudable as his researches seem generally to have been well directed.
The division of the population is thus given :-“1. Damjo, or reigning Princes; 2. Chadamodo, or Nobility; 3. Bonzes, or Priests; 4. Soldiers ; 5. Merchants; 6. Mechanics; 7. Peasants and Labourers; 8. Slaves.' The Editor has attempted to trace resemblances between the nobility of Japan and our own old feudal barons, with much ingenuity. Respecting their residences, he gives us this note:
• The castles, or residences of the princes and powerful nobles, are situated
the banks of rivers or upon lofty eminences, and as with us, occupy a large extent of ground. Most of them have three enclosures, each with its fosse, and a wall either of earth or stone, with a gate well fortified. The lord lodges in the centre in a square white tower of three stories, with a small roof in form of a crown or garland. In the second enclosure are lodged the principal officers of the household; whilst the outer one is occupied by soldiery, the domestics, and other persons of similar rank. The empty spaces are either cultivated as gardens or sown with rice. The white walls, the bastions and gates surmounted by turrets, and the central tower, covered with paint and varnish, of which there is always a profusion, present a very fine appearance at a little distance: and the fortifications, though not very strong, are yet sufficient for a country where cannon are scarcely in use. a law of the Empire, the proprietors are obliged to keep their castles in good repair; but if any part falls down, they are not permitted to rebuild them without an express permission from the Emperor ; a permission seldom given, the policy for the last century not allowing any new ones to be erected.'
In speaking of ecclesiastics, we regret to see Captain Golownin descending to the trite and vulgar sneer against the clerical profession in Christian countries, of the reformed as well as the Catholic church. The ecclesiastics of all nations, he says, "enjoy idleness and luxury at the expence of others.' This naval Captain must know little of the laborious and scantily provided clergy in the northern nations that border on his own, if he could make such a remark; and no man, who has observed the painful anxiety and the rigid economy exercised by our own parochial clergy, in at least one-half of England, in order to enable them to rear and educate their offspring, would be willing to predicate of them generally that they were a luxurious race. - The whole number of classes, into which the population of Japan is divided, consists of eight; of which two gradations of nobility precede the ecclesiastics, who form the third, and are succeeded by the military profession. The fifth class is that of the merchants, an extensive and rich set, but held in no honour. * The sixth comprehends artists and mechanics, between whom no line of distinction prevails in Japan, so that the sculptor and the mason appear to be in the same degree of respect. This may be the case as far as instituted distinctions are concerned : but surely the empire is supplied with too many of the embellishments of life, to allow us to suppose that these classes have as much of practical effect as of nominal discrimination. The seventh and last free class consists of peasants and labourers, including all who work for hire. The Editor quotes from some author that the profession of tanners is held in the lowest estimation of all; since, besides skinning dead cattle, they serve the office of hangmen, and are not permitted to mix with other society, but confined to small spots in the vicinity of places of execution. This representation, however, would not contradict Captain G. ; for these persons could not be sufficiently numerous to be ranked as a distinct body in the classification, although they may be regarded
be regarded as a more degraded portion of the lowest class of all, - The slaves come last: a race descended from prisoners taken in times when foreign war was less unusual ;
** The merchants have a religion of their own, and worship three gods. The first is represented as seated upon a globe made of rice, with a hammer in his hand; and they believe that whenever he strikes with his hammer, every thing comes forth of which they may have any need. The second they worship only at the commencement of the year, expecting from him complete success in all their speculations. The third is seated with a most capacious belly; and from him they expect health, riches, and children.Ep.
from China, Corea, &c.; and from children sold by their parents who have been unable to bring them up. Whether their slavery is entailed on their posterity is a matter of uncertainty; and we have no information as to the practice or neglect of manumission, either by purchase or favour: nor respecting the power of the slave to become a possessor property. Neither are we told what impediments exist in the elevation of an individual from a lower to a superior order of society; or whether such an occurrence ever takes place. The general character of the laws is thus detailed :
· The Japanese compare their laws with an adamantine pillar, which neither climate, storms, nor time can destroy, or even shake. The government is well aware of the defects of their laws, the principal of which is the severity of their punishments ; but it is afraid of remedying them at once, lest the people should thereby be led to despise the ancient laws, and grow accustomed to innovations. The inclination of the people, to exchange ancient laws and manners for new ones, may, in the opinion of the Japanese government, prove ruinous to the empire, by causing revolutions in its political situation, the consequences of which might be civil war, and conquest by a foreign power; but that the people may not suffer by the great rigour of the laws, the ingenious policy of the government finds means to temper it, without impairing the force or the sacredness of the law. * Thus, for example, the Japanese criminal laws prescribe the use of torture, to compel the criminal to confess, when he obstinately denies it; but the judges hardly ever make use of this tyrannical expedient; nay, they are even commanded to induce the accused, by exhortations, voluntarily to confess his guilt, or to find out the truth by stratagem. If neither succeeds, and there is still a doubt respecting the crime, they must endeavour to find out reasons to justify the accused. The Japanese, therefore, use torture only when a criminal, who is already convicted, will not confess. The Japanese proceed with the same humanity, in cases where a trifling fault is to be visited with a severe punishment; the judges then endeavour to find out reasons to lesson the crime in the eye of the law, or by suppressing some circumstances to make the fault insignificant,
«* It is a curious fact that they have no books on jurisprudence; yet their orders and constitutions of society, which are not very extensive, are well drawn up and observed with great punctuality, since the slightest disobedience is severely punished, and without any appeal where there is a breach of the Emperor's ordonnances, or of the imperial laws. The princes and grandees are said to be exempt from this extreme severity, being generally sentenced to temporary banishment for petty malversations; but, if guilty of capital offences, they are condemned to death by ripping their bellies open, and all their families must perish with them, unless there is a special arret of the Emperor.'
and wholly justify the accuser. In the account of our flight from prison our readers find, in the conduct of the Japanese to our guards, a confirmation of what I have been saying."
Who does not trace in this extract, or in one part of it at least, a strong analogy to the state of our own penal code?
Patience, mildness, and habitual politeness appear to be the strongest characteristics of the manners of the Japanese. The Jesuits, the writers of the Ambassades Mémorables of the Dutch, Thünberg, and other authors cited by the Editor, seem all to concur in this view of them. Indeed, the coincidence of all the accounts relative to the Japanese, generally, is remarkable, if we consider the circumstances under which most observations have been made.
We close our report by exhibiting the light in which these people regard their restrictive and exclusive policy.
• We blamed their policy in avoiding all intercourse with other nations, and represented to them the advantages which the nations of Europe derived from their reciprocal connections ; such as, profiting by the inventions and discoveries made in other countries; the exchange of their productions, by which industry and activity are promoted; whilst the inhabitants of Europe enjoy many pleasures and comforts, of which they would be deprived, if the European sovereigns, like those of Japan, should abolish all intercourse with other countries; in short, we advanced to the praise of our system, and to the disadvantage of that of Japan, whatever occurred to us, from what we had read and heard. The Japanese listened to us with attention; praised the judicious conduct of the European governments, and seemed to be led by our arguments to be entirely of our opinion. But by degrees they turned the conversation upon war, and asked us, “ How it happened that in Europe five years never passed without war ; and why, when two nations quarrelled, many others took part in the dispute, and thus made the war general ?" We replied, that near neighbourhood and continued intercourse often gave rise to disputes, which cannot always be amicably settled ; particularly when interest or pride are concerned: but when one nation obtains too great a preponderance over another, the rest, fearing that it may also become formidable to them, join the weaker against the more powerful, which, on its side, also seeks allies. The Japanese praised the wisdom of the European governments, and asked how many states there were in Europe ? After we had mentioned them all by name, they observed, that “if Japan and China entered into closer connection with the European powers, and imitated their political system, there might be more frequent wars and more blood spilt.” -“ That might very well happen,” answered we. "If that is the case," replied they," it will, perhaps, be more advisable, for the lessening of human misery, that Japan should abide by its old maxims, and not engage in connections and treaties