Untitled Document

 

   

 

 
HOME > Hamel Pavilion > The escape from Yeosu and Japan > Interrogation of the Nagasaki ...



Report of the interrogation by the Japanese.

On October 25, we were taken by the interpreter from the island and brought to governor of Nagasaki. Here were a number of questions being asked, which we answered to our best knowledge. Here under follows a truthful report of this interrogation.

1. What kind of people are you and where do you come from?

We are Hollanders and come from Korea.

2. How and when did you come to Korea

We ran aground with the jaght the Sperwer on August 16, 1653, as a result of a storm which had lasted five days.

3. Where did you run aground?

How many men did you have on board and how many pieces of artillery? On the coast of an island, which we call Quelpaert and the Koreans Cheju We had 64 men on board and 30 pieces of artillery.

4. How big is the island Quelpaert and how far is it from the mainland?

The island of Quelpaert takes up about 15 miles in the round. It's very fertile, densely populated and is about 10 or 12 miles from the south of the mainland.

5. Where were you coming from and which ports did you call at?

On June 18, 1653, we left from Batavia with Taiwan as destination. We had Mr. Caesar on board, who was to replace Mr. Verburgh as ruling chief of Taiwan.

6. What kind of cargo did you have on board and what was the purpose of that?

We had deerskins, sugar, alum and other goods on board. The destination of these was Japan. Mr. Coijet was ruling chief of Deshima in those days.

7. What has happened with the crew, the artillery and the cargo of the Sperwer ?

At the shipwreck, 28 men drowned. From the artillery some pieces were dredged up. They were severely affected by the sea water. From the cargo only a part was salvaged. We don't know where these goods are now.

8. How have you been treated by the Koreans after the shipwrecking?

We were well treated. We were being accommodated, and given food and drinks.

9. Did you have orders from the authorities to privateer the Chinese and other junks, or to undertake raids on the coast of China ?

We didn't receive such kind of order. Our assignment was to sail straight ahead to Japan. But because of the storm we were off course and ended up in Korea.

10. Did you have Christians or people of other nationality on board?

The crew consisted only of servants from the Company.

11. How long have you been at that Island of Quelpaert and where have you been brought to after that?

We were about ten months on Quelpaert . From there we were brought to the residence of the king. This is located in Seoul .

12. How far is Seoul from Quelpaert and how long did the journey take?

Seoul is about 90 miles north of Quelpaert . The strait between the island and the mainland is about 10 to 12 miles wide. From the South point of the mainland we traveled another fourteen days on horseback

13. How long have you been in Seoul, what did you do there, and what did you do for a living?

We were appointed as bodyguard of the king and received a ration of 70 ounces rice per month. We have lived in Seoul for three years.

14. How did there come an end to your stay in Seoul and where did the king send you?

Our chief coxswain and another mate approached the Tartarian envoy. They wanted to try to come home through China. This failed, and we were exiled to the province of Chollado .

15. What happened to the two mates who approached the Tartarian envoy?

They were thrown immediately in prison. Later we heard that they died. But how they met their end, is not known to us.

16. How big is the kingdom of Korea?

We estimate the length of the country from the north to the south at about 150 miles and from the east to the west 80 miles. The country is divided in eight provinces and counts 360 cities, and many big and little islands.

17. Are there in Korea also any Christians or people with another nationality?

We didn't meet any Christians. We did meet another Hollander, Jan Janse Weltevree. He was captured in 1627, together with some mates when he ended up in Korea, with a jaght from Taiwan. There were furthermore some Chinese, who fled their country, because of the war.

18. Is this Jan Janse still alive end where did he live?

That we do not know. We didn't see him for ten years and he wasn't that young anymore. He lived in the court of the king.

19. How is the army of the Koreans armed?

With muskets, swords and bow and arrow. They also have some pieces of artillery.

20. Are there any castles and fortresses?

Near every city, which itself is indefensible, there is a fortress or a walled enforcement, most of the time on a high mountain. These always have food and ammunition for three years.

21. How many war junks do the Koreans have in navigation?

Every city has to maintain a war junk. Every junk has a crew of 200 to 300 men, oarsmen and soldiers, and is equipped with some small pieces of artillery.

22. Are the Koreans at war with any country and do they pay tribute to any country?

They are not at war, but pay tribute to the Tartarians, whose envoy comes three times a year to collect the tribute. They pay furthermore a tribute to Japan. How much is not known to us.

23. Which religion do the Koreans profess and do they try to convert you to this religion?

They have, we presume, the same religion as the Chinese. They do not try to convert others.

24. Are there many temples and statues and which function do they have in the ceremonies?

In the mountains there are many temples and monasteries situated, in which there are many statues. These are, as we presume, worshiped in the same way as in China.

25. Are there many monks and how do they look like?

Monks are there in abundance. They make a living with working and begging. Their dressing is the same as the dressing of the Japanese monks.

26. How are the Koreans dressed?

In the Chinese way. They wear hats of horsehair, or of cow hair and sometimes of bamboo. They wear shoes and socks.

27. Does there grow a lot of rice and other grain?

In the south of the country grows a lot of rice. But in the dry period the crop fails and a famine starts. In the years 1660, 1661 and 1662 many thousands died of hunger. Furthermore there grows cotton. In the north they also grow barley and millet.

28. Are there many horses and cows? 

There are very little cows, but very many horses. Since about three years the number of cows decreased strongly, as a result of some contagious cattle decease.

29. Are there any foreign nations which are coming to trade with Korea?

The only people that trade in Korea is the Japanese. They have an enclave in the country.

30. Have you ever been in the Japanese enclave?

We have never been there, because this was strictly forbidden to us. To the Chinese they sell ginseng roots and other goods.

31. What kind of trade do the Koreans have?

 In the capital the well-to-do trade with silver , the commoner trades, as in other cities with pieces of linen according the value, rice and other grains.

32. What kind of trade do the Koreans have with China? 

From the Chinese they obtain the same kind of goods that as we Hollanders deliver also to Japan. Furthermore they get silk from China.

33. Are there any silver mines or other mines in Korea?

The Koreans exploit already since many years some silver mines. A fourth part from the proceeds, is to the benefit of the king. As far as we know there aren't any other mines.

34. Where does the ginseng root come from, what's its purpose, and where is it exported to?

The ginseng root comes from a plant which is growing in the north of Korea. They use it as a medicine. A part of the harvest is being given to the Tartarians, as part of the tribute. Furthermore the root is being exported to China and Japan.

35. Is it known to you if Korea and China are connected with each other?

We were told that the two countries are connected by means of a mountain range. In wintertime these mountains are impassable, because of the severe cold and in summertime because of the game who lives there. That's why they use the sea as a link between the two countries, in summertime by boat and in wintertime on horseback on the ice.

36. How does the appointment of the governors take place in Korea?

Stadtholders are being appointed for one year, and normal governors for three years.

37. How long have you lived in the province of Chollado, what did you do for a living and how many of you have passed away there?

We have lived for about seven years in the city Pyongyong. We received a monthly ration of 50 ounces of rice. In that time eleven mates died.

38. Why have you been relocated to other cities and what were the names of those cities?

Due to the extreme drought in the years 1660, 1661 and 1662 there was a lack of food, so that the governor couldn't give us our monthly ration. That's why the king divided us over three places: in SaesOng twelve mates, Sunchon five and Namwon also five.

39. How big is the province of Chollado and where is it situated?

In the utmost south of the mainland is the province of Chollado. It contains 52 cities, is densely populated and very fertile.

40. Did the king send you out of the country or did you flee?

We fled with eight men, because we knew that the king would never let us go. We rather risked death than live for the rest of our lives in that country.

41. With how many were you at that moment and were the ones who stayed behind acquainted with your departure?

We were sixteen in number. We left with eight of us, without informing the others.

42. Why didn't you inform the others?

We didn't inform them, because they couldn't come with us. By turns only eight of us had permission to go out.

43. How can the ones who stayed behind, still leave the country?

If the emperor of Japan makes a written request for their release, he will not refuse it. After all the emperor sends the Korean shipwrecked persons back to their country.

44. Did you ever make another attempt to flee?

We have tried it twice. The first attempt failed because we didn't know the rigging of a Korean fisherman's boat, that's how the mast broke two times. The approaching of the Tartarian envoy wasn't successful because the king bribed the envoy.

45. Did you ever request the king to let you go and, if yes, why did he refuse that?

We have requested it repeatedly, to the king as well as to the crown council, to let us go. It was always refused with the argument that Korea never let foreigners leave, because one doesn't want Korea to be known to foreign countries.

46. How did you get the barge?

We have bought it with our own hard-earned money and money we begged together.

47. Was this the first ship that you have bought?

No, it was the third one. The two previous ones appeared to be too small for the crossing to Japan.

48. From which place did you flee?

From SaesOng, where five of us lived, and from Sunchon, where the other three lived.

49. How big was the distance to Nagasaki and how long did it take you?

We estimate the distance between SaesOng and Nagasaki at about 50 miles. From SaesOng to Goto it took us three days. We stayed there four days and went then in two days to Nagasaki. So in total the journey took nine days.

50. Why did you go to Goto, and why did you want to flee when they wanted to stop you?

We have been hiding there for the storm, and when it laid down, we decide to continue our journey.

51. How have you been treated in Goto, and furthermore was something charged you there?

Two of our mates were taken away for interrogation. For the rest we have been treated well, without that something has been charged for that.

52. Has somebody of you ever been in Japan, and, if no, how come you knew the way?

Nobody has ever been in Japan. A few Koreans, who have been in Nagasaki, told us how we had to sail. Furthermore we remembered what the coxswain had told us.

53. What are the names, the functions and the ages of the eight mates who stayed behind in Korea?

1. Johannis Lampen, assistant, 36 years old;

2. Hendrick Cornelisse, sub officer in charge of the rigging; *

3. Jan Claeszen, cook, 49 years old:

living in the city of Namwon;

4. Jacob Janse, quartermaster, 47 years old;

5. Anthonij Ulderic, gunman, 32 years old;

6. Claes Arentszen, cabin boy, 27 years old;

living in SaesOng.

7. Sander Basket , gunman, 41 years old;

8. Jan Janse Pelt, junior boatswain, 35 years old.

54. What are the names, the functions and the ages of the eight mates who made it to Nagasaki?

1. Hendrick Hamel, bookkeeper, 36 years old

2. Govert Denijszen, quartermaster, 36 years old;

3. Mattheus Ibocken, petty barber, 32 years old;

4. Jan Pieterszen, gunman, 36 years old;

5. Gerrit Janszen, idem, 32 years old;

6. Cornelis Dirckse, sailor, 31 years old;

7. Benedictus Clercq, cabin boy, 27 years old;

8. Denijs Govertszen, idem 25 years old.

Thus answered truthfully by us, at September 14, 1666.







Untitled Document
Untitled Document