Hamel established some items to explain in his report,
sometimes he mentioned several cultures in several areas.
|* Special products and herbal medicine
°‹ This country achieves self-sufficiency of food. It
is rich in rice and other grain and cotton and hemp
cloth. Although it raises many silkworms, weaving technique
to make quality silk is not developed.
°‹ Silver, iron, and lead are produced and other many
special products are produced including tiger skin or
the root of ginseng.
°‹ Although it is possible to heal disease with native
herbs, it is not very available around town. It is because
Oriental doctors work for high officers and they cannot
care for common people who cannot afford to pay their
°‹ Common people visit the blind or fortunetellers instead
of doctors and obey their medical advise or prescriptions.
°‹ The size, length, and volume units merchants use
in this country are united throughout the country. To
cheat weights and measure is an everyday occurrence
between common people and bad merchants. Sellers and
buyers often have a quarrels. For example, while buyers
often claim too light or too small, sellers often claim
too heavy or too many.
°‹ Although local governors control such a thing strongly,
people use a ruler or a balance at their convenience,
so there is no way to root out such acts.
°‹ This country only puts one paper much such as Jeohwa
in circulation. Jeohwa is passed current only in the
border on China.
°‹ Silver is in circulation by weighting. Like Japan,
there are big and small silver bars.
°‹ Typical animals in Joseon are horses and cattle. Bulls
are not castrated and they raised intensively.
°‹ Rural people use cows and bulls to plow dry or rice
fields. Travellers or merchants carry their goods using
°‹ A tiger is very common in Joseon and its skin is exported
to China and Japan. There are many animals such as bear,
deer, wild boar, pig, dog, fox, and cat. Poisonous animals
such as a snake are common. There are many kinds of
fowls or birds such as swan, goose, duck, white stork,
white heron, crane, eagle, crow, cuckoo, dove, snipe,
pheasant, skylark, bullfinch, thrush, lapwing, and buzzard.
They are rich in number.
°‹ The language of Joseon is very different from any other
It is very difficult to learn the language because one
thing can be expressed in several or different ways.
°‹ People speak gently and slowly, especially high officers
°‹ Joseon had three kinds of letters. The most important
letter is used to print books like in China and Japan.
Official documents are all printed in this letter.
°‹ The second letter is shaped like the cursive style
of my country and usually wrote scribbly and quickly.
High officers and local governors often use this letter
in the decision or a resolution of petition. It is difficult
for common people to read it.
°‹ The third letter is the most inferior letter, often
used by children or women and common people. It is very
easy to learn and can express everything. Even if you
have never heard during your lifetime, you can indicate
its sound more accurately than the above-mentioned letters.
°‹ These letters can be copied skillfully by a writing
brush. Joseon keepsa number of copied or printed historical
literatures. King's brothers or prince should supervise
them. Their copies and printing plates are kept in several
towns and castles to protect them from getting lost
or become missing brought about by fires, accidents
°‹ The calendars and similar almanacs are made in China
probably Joseon has no knowledge of making them.
°‹ Printed materials are made with the use of wood-blocks.
Each piece of paper is printed with a different plate.
°‹ Joseon people take measurements with a long bar similar
to our counter.
They do not have a system of record keeping such as
commercial bookkeeping. If they buy something, they
first mark its balance. In the end, they subtract the
total remaining from the purchase price. Then they judge
whether they yield a profit or suffer a loss.
According to Hamel, there were three ways to write
a letter. The first letter was used for all books and
official documents. It refers to Chinese characters.
The second letter, which was scribble, refers to a cursive
style of writing Chinese characters. A cursive style
was frequently used by the nobility (Yangban) or those
who know Chinese characters. The third letter refers
to Hangul which is now used. Hamel valued highly the
effectiveness of Hangul. He may feel that learning Hangul
was much easier than learning Chinese characters. In
fact, Hangul can express any pronunciation or word.
Hangul was a system of writing for common people and
it was used habitually. To date, it exists as a immortal
letter of Korea.
More interestingly, Hamel knew the existence of°ļJoseon
Wangjo Sillok°Ľ. According to him, letters were copied
skillfully by a brush and printed historical literature
was kept separately to protect them from becoming lost
or missing due to accidents or disasters.
Printing matters made a print from a wood-block. Each
piece of paper was printed with a different plate.
°‹ When the king goes out, all noblemen follow him.
°‹ Cavalry and infantry soldiers are at the head of a
procession and all of them wear a full uniform, hoisting
the flag, playing music.
°‹ The Royal guards of the king follows them, which consist
of high ranking and Seoul-born noblemen.
°‹ Among them, the king rides in a small gold palan-quin.
At that moment, people become quiet enough to hear the
sound of breathing or hoof-beats.
°‹ A secretary(Seungji) or one subject rides horseback
immediately before the king with a locked small box
carried. . . . It is an appeal box.
°‹ Both sides of streets where an array of a royal carriage
passes over are completely blocked. No one should open
the door or the window. Moreover, looking in the wall
or over the fence is prohibited.
°‹ When the king passes by government officials or soldiers,
they should stand with their backs turned and should
not look back or cough. For this reason, soldiers hold
a branch between the teeth as a horse takes the bit.
|* Visit of an envoy of the Ching China
°‹ When an envoy of the Ching China visits Joseon, the
king goes out to meet him with his subjects. After making
a bow, he should directly shows him into his quarter.
°‹ Dancers and acrobats perform, walking in front of an
envoy. Many native antiques made in this country are
exhibited at the head of parade.
°‹ While an envoy stays in Seoul, the street between his
quarter and a royal palace is blocked by soldiers.
°‹ Two or three soldiers take charge of relaying letters
which are delivered from a quarter of Chinese envoy
for the king to understand his situation every moment.
°‹ To be brief, the Joseon government takes all steps
to treat him with great respect and give him hearty
welcome. It aims at paying its respect to the Chinese
Emperor and preventing him from complaining after returning