However we don't need to accept without doubt what Hamel writes about "the customs of that nation and the location of th' country". That China was held in esteem and had a lot of political influence in countries like Korea, Thailand, Vietnam, Ryu Kyu islands, Japan, Burma has had the consequence that the Chinese civilization put it's stamp there. Often institutions are taken over and the original customs were often changed.
"Like the Japanese, and all the nations of eastern Asia, the Coreans have always bowed down before the greatly superior mental power of the Chinese; and have borrowed from them some of their customs, more of their words, and, perhaps, all the principal books in use between the Yaloo and the western shores of the Pacific" (Ross, History of Corea, page 300).
"Whatever noteworthy knowledge the Japanese and other nations possess, they obtained from China, while she has always been self-contained" (Ross, the Manchus (1891) page XV).
That influence of the Chinese empire on the neighboring countries had lasted already for centuries when Hamel was in Korea and it's therefore not strange that in his description the similarities between China and Korea can be observed. With these similarities one can judge how reliable and meticulous Hamel has been, since there is enough data known about China in previous times. Korea had maintained its policy of seclusion after Hamel's escape. That Korea did so has prevented that far-reaching changes have occurred in cultural structures. Only in the end of the 19th century Korea was forced to open its harbors for foreigners (1876), therefore it became possible to compare what one found there with what Hamel wrote. That test works out splendidly for Hamel! His description didn't seem out-dated at all, but was still completely in concordance with the situation two centuries later. Sufficient proof for the conservatism of Korea and also a splendid certificate for the credibility of Hamel.
"It was not until the seventeenth century that Europeans came in contact with Coreans, when some unfortunate Dutchmen were shipwrecked on the coast and held captive for years. The narrative of the Dutch supercargo Hamel, written towards the close of the seventeenth century, gives a graphic account of Corean manners and customs, and, as read at the present time, conveys an exact picture of the people and country. Place after place which he mentions in their captive wanderings have been identified, and every scene and every feature can be recognised as if it were a tale told of today. So strong is native conservatism both in language and habits that Hamel's description of two hundred years ago reproduces every feature of present Corean life" (Scott, Stray. notes on Corean History etc., Journal China Branch, A. S. New Ser. XXVIII, 1893-94 page 215).
"Hendrik Hamel was plainly a shrewd observer, and much of his description of the country and the people and their customs tallies well with our own experience of the last thirty years, though one would not care to subscribe to every one of his statements" (Foreword of M. N, Trollope in the edition of Hamel's Journal in Transactions Corea Branch R, A. S. IX, 1918, page 94).
Hamel's Journal was the first solid source of the knowledge of the country and people of Korea. We can see that in many publications in the beginning of the 20th century:
".... it's the only ancient work known which gives the first class source of important details concerning la Coree & his inhabitants" (Tiele, Memoire bibliogr., page 275).
"The fate of H. Hamel from Gorcum... is instructive as a view in the inner life of the Korean State and People, and his notes about the same are undeserved, been neglected till now, since they, with the Korean stationary circumstance, haven't aged till even now, and [have] the same authority which those [mentioned] above have brought forward, which unpretentious statements of the reasonable Hollanders were confirmed or even essentially completed" (C. Ritter, die Erdkunde von Asien, III, 1834, page 637 - 638).
And one would expect that those who have made a later study of the same subject would have consulted his description. It's therefore strange that two authors of fame don't even mention him in their works about Korean. (Rev. J. Ross, History of Corea, ; and Ch, Dallet, Histoire de l' Eglise de Coree 1874) One of them gives the merit of being the first Europeans in Korea to the so much later arriving catholic missionaries who have made themselves acquainted with the Korean institutes and customs.
"One has never preached the Christian religion in Coree though some Coreens have been baptized in different times at Peking" (Observations geographiques sur le royaume de Coree tirees des Memoires du Pere Regis, in Du Halde, Description, etc. IV (1736) page 532).
"The first attempt of a foreign missionary to enter the hermit kingdom from the west was made in February 1791" (Griffis, Corea, 1905, page 353).
"... the missionaries are the only Europeans who have stayed in that country, who have spoken there language, who could, while living for long years with the autochthones, know seriously their laws, their character, their prejudices and their habits" (Dallet, Histoire, etc. I, page IX),
The contacts with their neighbors: Chinese, Tartarians and Japanese, have been fatal for Korea's independence and as a consequence China became its suzerain to which it had to pay tribute (Ao 1369).
"In 1368.... the warrior monk was enthroned in Peking, emperor of all China. Next year... the king of Corea, sent an ambassador with letters of congratulation to the new emperor, to his new capital of Nanking, and the pleased emperor formally acknowledged him king of Corea" (Ross, History of Corea, page 268).
Moreover we see that the Japanese who nestled in the harbor city Pusan on the East coast of Korea (1)(Ao 1592). Pusan was even in the beginning of the 20th centuries called Fusan in imitation of the Japanese
"Fifty years previous to the Manchu conquests, Japan had overrun Corea in a war of pure conquest; and though, with Chinese assistance, she was ultimately driven out, she never abandoned her foothold in the port of Pusan, which has always remained, under the daimios of Tsushima, as a port of commercial intercommunication" (Parker, China Past and Present, page 340).
In 1619 Korea became as a vassal state of China at war with the Tartarians or Manchu's. They experienced then that these intruders and later conquerors of China, were also superior at war. "Corea has subjected itself to the Tartar " (Gen. Miss. January 21, 1622). See also: Parker, The Manchu relations with Corea (Transactions Asiatic Society of Japan XV, 1887, page 93). As a consequence the King was forced in 1627 to sign a treaty with these enemies. When this was not observed on the side of Korea, the Manchu's invaded successfully in 1637. Both of Weltevree's companions were killed during these raids. They forced the king to ask for peace, which were granted on terms that were so mild that the Koreans admitted that by erecting a memorial pillar. (Ross, History of Corea, page 276 - 286. - C, I. Huart, Memoire sur la guerre des Chinois contre les Coreens de 1618 a 1637 (Journal Asiatique, 7e Series, XIV, 1879, page 308 and further). - W. R. Carles, A Corean monument to Manchu clemency (Journal North China Branch R, A. S. XXIII, 1888, page 1). Because of this the Manchu ruler became suzerain of Korea instead of the emperor of China.
"Ever since the Manchus established themselves in China, Corea has paid regular tribute to Peking, and been a most faithful vassal. There was, until fifteen years ago (1883), absolutely no interference on the part of China in her internal administration: all she had to do was to send as tribute a few local articles of nominal value at fixed periods, for which she received a liberal return; and to apply for recognition when a demise of the Royal crown took place and a successor inherited" (Parker, China Past and Present, page 340).
Complying the demands of the Shogun Korea sent regularly envoys to Japan, we find this mentioned already in 1617, amongst other in the Diary of Richard Cocks (Publication Hakluyt Society 1883) I, page 255, 301, 304, 311, 312 313; and C. J. Purnell, The Log-Book of William Adams 1614 - 19 (Transactions of the Japan Soc. of London, XIII, 1916, page 178) ("Shogun is simply the chinese tsiang-kun or generalissimo, being the word "Imperator" in its original military significance") (Parker, China, 1917, Glossary),
The first Korean envoy arrived in Japan in 1608, the second in 1617.
"From this time down to the year 1763 Korea sent ambassadors to Japan on the occasion of the appointment of a new Shogun. Altogether such missions arrived in Japan eleven times" (I. Yamagata, Japanese-Korean relations after the Japanese invasion of Korea in the XVIth century, Transactions Korea Branch R. A. S. IV 2 (1913) page 8).
That the new Shogun was not the only cause for sending the envoy appears from this notice in Dagr. Japan 1643 on May 6:
"Mentioned Lord [of Hirado, who owed money to the V.O.C.] would have paid according to his own statement, 4 to 5 chests with, were it not that the ambassador of Korea, who traveled to Jedo to wish the Imperial Majesty [read the Shogun] luck about the birth of the young Prince, through or near the outer poles of his manor, at which opportunity mentioned Lord had to spent several chests of money for expenses."
About which the representatives of the V.O.C. wrote regularly:
"The Coreese Ambassador has returned in April to Coree with excellent presents, in coming and going kept free everywhere [meaning didn't have to pay anywhere] their request has been assistance against the Chinese, about which they complained that they made a lot of inconvenience; it seems that they received good hope for assistance. One let loose a big rumor of preparation for war, which went up in smoke shortly after their departure; it seems that this Kaijser is more inclined to keep his lords poor with building castles than to make them rich by foreign war" (Chief Hirado to Batavia dated November 17, 1625. - 1,2).
Hamel and his companions were not acquainted with this, though these court visits in their time were not abandoned yet:
"in the following year 1655, is in Japan nothing special occurred, only there have been three ambassadors from Corea at the Court with a retinue of three-hundred people to do homage; being those of Corea used to do every three year" (Mr. P. van Dam's Beschrijvinge, Book 2, volume 1, caput 21, fo 289).
"In 1710 a special gateway was erected in the castle at Yedo to impress the embassy from Seoul, who were to arrive next year, with the serene glory of the sho-gun Iyenobu... The intolerable expense at last compelled the Yedo rulers to dispense with such costly vassalage, and to spoil what was, to their guests, a pleasant game. Ordering them to come only as far as Tsushima, they were entertained by the So fami1y of daimios" (Griffis, Corea, 1905, page 151).
They did know that the Japanese had a lodge in Pusan (see *), however they have not been in touch with it. It was also explicitly forbidden. Obviously the Koreans knew to prevent this possibility very efficient, that the castaways couldn't even send a message to their countrymen in Nagasaki. The invasions explain why the Koreans wanted to do as little as possible with foreigners. De consequences of opening their country for Westerners would have been clear to them after what had happened in Japan. There the appearance of the Portuguese and their attempts to convert the population to Christianity, had given cause to severe riots. Foreigners, who tried to sneak into Korea and of whom the disguise was discovered or betrayed, were tortured and killed; the castaways on the other hand were treated with gentleness but kept in the country. Many Catholic missionaries had to pay their eagerness to convert with their life. Moreover have some of the crewmembers of the "Sperwer" felt personally what happened if they made an attempt to flee the country. The foreign trade of Korea was limited to the exchange of goods with China alongside a border crossing in the north and with the Japanese in their lodge in Pusan, where there was a complement of the Daimyo of the island Tsushima, who profited of the revenues of this monopoly
"... the keeping of the junks.. on [costs of the] state ... by the Lord of Tsussima (with licenses or passes of the emperor and exercising the trade on Corea with certain number of junks) has now already for some years the previously mentioned passes, both from the Keijser to the Coreesen as from the High [and mighty] in Corea to the Keijser, to keep up and to write others, according to his pleasure and most profit" (Missive Chief Couckebacker, Edo April 23, 1635).
In vain both the Dutch as the English have tried to draw that trade to themselves, or at least get a part of it. Long before the other Europeans, the Portuguese have sailed with their galliots and navettes the seas of the Far East and maintained commercial relations with the countries there. Since the first half of the 16th century they visited Japan (1542).
"Our trade there is still young compared in regard to the Portuguese, Japan having frequented over 100 years" (Patr. Miss, August 31, 1643).
There they must have heard from the neighboring realm Korea. Dirck Gerritszoon Pomp, nicknamed "Dirck China" a Dutchmen, also in service of the Portuguese, went to sea in 1584 aboard the Portuguese ship "Santa Cruz". This ship was richly loaded with merchandize and sailed via the trade post in Goa, India to Macao, and from there to Japan. He arrived in 1585 in Nagasaki and was probably the first Dutchmen to set foot on Japanese soil. (Willem van Gulik, Nederlanders in Nagasaki 1998 Publisher Terra Incognita Amsterdam) Dirck gave oral information to Jan van Linschoten. This was also the case with the information from Portuguese seafarers and missionaries, which Linschoten conveyed in his Itinerary (1595):
"From this corner off, so stretches the coast [from Japan] again to the north, recedes after that inward, northwest ward, to which Coast coming those of Japan traffic with the People of those parts, which one calls Cooray, and one has there Harbors and inlets, have a harness of small and not tight woven work, which the Japanese come to trade there, of which I have good, wide and truthful information, as well of the Navigation to this Land, from the Pilots, who have inquired into it and sailed there, as follows, From this corner from the bight of Nanquin, 20 mijlen southeastward on, are located several Islands on the end, of which, to know on the eastside lies a very big and high island inhabited by many people, by foot and on horseback. These Island were called by the Portuguese As Ylhas de Core, or the Islands of Core: but the previously described big Island is called Chausien, has from the northwest a small inlet, having an Islet in the mouth, which is a harbor: but has little depth, here has the Lord of the country his residency: from this Island on, 25 mijlen southeast on, lies the Island of Gotô, one of the Islands of Iapon, which lies from the corner of the bight of Nancquin of, east to north seaward 60 mijls to go or a little more." (Jan Huyghen van Linschoten, Reys-Gheschrift van de Navigatien der Portugaloysers in Orienten etc. , page 70).
This will have been the first message that the merchants and the ship owners in Holland have heard about the realm Korea. As a result of the decision of "the Broad Counsels having gathered on the ship the Rooden Leeuw met pijlen, lying in the harbor of Firando" Jacques Specx acted on September 20, 1609 as Chief and Chief Merchant. (De Jonge, De opkomst van het Nederlandsch gezag in O. I. Vol. III, page 300; and Van Dijk, Iets over onze vroegste betrekkingen met Japan, 1858, page 29.) ("Firando = Hirado. In West Japan, H before i is pronounced F, and e is inserted before d." (The Voyage of Captain John Saris to Japan, 1900, page 78, note 4),
Jacques Specx moved on very fast (March 1610) to send one of his assistants with a cargo of pepper for Korea to the island of Tsushima. Maybe pepper wasn't a very sought-after article in those days.
"... with the Chinese in Nangasaq and those of Corea not were bought" Hirado December 3, 1634. (Opperhoofd Couckebacker to the Governor of Taiwan, Putmans).
Compare however also the following messages;
"At our returne to the English house [at Hirado], I found three or foure Flemmings there; one of them was in a Iapan habit, and came from a place called Cushma [Tsushima], within sight of Corea. I understand they sold Pepper and other Commodities there, and I thinke haue some secret trade into Corea, or else are very likely to haue " (The Voyage of Captain John Saris to Japan, page 170),
"Pepper was sold there [Japan] for 15 and 16 tael per picol; these were partly sold in Japan, partly transported to Corea" (Gen, Miss. February 3, 1626).
Maybe there would have been a better market for tin:
"Nangasacki November 3, 1610. Tin is bought much in Corea, that's why [it] is much retained here, I have requested if it were possible if we could do some trade on Corea here from Japan; for this purpose I have sent on March lastly with 20 picol pepper to the island Tuxcijma being around 30 mijlen from here, who with those of Corea, which is still another 25 mijlen from there, trade and make their journey 3 to 4 times a year hither, however previously mentioned is because of the strict laws found to be impossible, that the Governor of previously mentioned island wouldn't consent, since it would do him damage, then will previously mentioned had not taken place, have further requested since a big profit can be made, so with silk work, leather, medicine and other things which can be brought there" (To Heeren XVII; unsigned but probably from Specx. Also in translation in Nachod, Die Beziehungen etc. Enclosures 8, page XXIII).
But also if Specx would have been capable of offering this metal, would "the strict laws of the country" and the self-interest of the Daimyo of Tsushima have prevented the desired trade. Also the appeal of Prince Maurits in his letter of December 18, 1610 to "the great mightiest Emperor and King of Japan" with a request for trade to Korea, with the help of his favor and aid, was to be without result for that reason;
" Furthermore my subjects are willing to visit and trade sincerely all countries and places, I thus request Your Imperial Majesty that the same trade on Corea may favor Your Majesty's help, so that at the right time, we can sail also the north coast of Japan, thereto my particular friendship will happen" (December 18, 1610), (Van Dijk, Iets over onze vroegste betrekkingen met Japan, page 38).
The "small entrance into Corea", of which is mentioning in an English message of some years later, will have been small and of no importance
"The Flemynges... have som small entrance allready into Corea, per way of an iland called Tushma, which standeth within sight of Corea and is frend to the Emperor of Japan" (30 November 1613). (Diary of Richard Cocks (Correspondence) II, page 258)
The English competitors were not better off:
"I make noe doubt but your seruant Edward Sares is by this tyme in Corea, for from Tushina I appoynted him to goe thither, beinge incouradged by the Chineses that our broad cloath was in greater request ther than hear. It is but 50 leagues ouer from Iapann and from Tushina much less" (October 17, 1614). (The voyage of Captain John Saris to Japan, page 210).
"We cannot per any meanes get trade as yet from Tushma into Corea, nether have them of Tushma any other privelege but to enter into one little towne (or fortresse), and in paine of death not to goe without the walles thereof to the landward" (November 25, 1614). (Diary of Richard Cocks II, page 270).
"Sayer is out of hope of any good to be done there [Tushma] or at Corea" (Hirado 9 March 1614). (Letters written by the English Residents in Japan, page 130).
"Ambassadors from the King of Corea to the Emperor of Japan were attended by about 500 men and were royally entertained by the Emperor's command, by all the Tonos or Kings of Japan through whose territories they passed, and at the public charge... Endeavoured to gain speech with the Ambassadors, but was unsuccessful, the King of Tushma (Tushima) the cause, he fearing that the English might procure trade if Cocks got acquainted with the ambassadors" (Hirado 15 Feb., 1618) (Letters written by the English Residents in Japan, page 222).
For the V.O.C. it had to be hard to digest that the monopoly of the trade with a country like Korea, was in other hands as hers, and she was intended to change this. The "discovery of Corea" was initially not to take place by lack of suitable ships and the idea will later have been abandoned because of the gained knowledge about the hostility of the population. (See Missives Commander Cornelis Reijersen on September 10, 1622, November 20, 1622 and March 5, 1623, as well as the Missive of the Government Batavia to Reijersen on April 2, 1624; and Gen, Miss, on September 6, 1622 and June 20, 1623.)
More of this would have gotten through to us if the journals had been saved of the ships that have been sailing in the seventeenth century between Taiwan and Japan. The hostile position and the firm action of the Korean coastguard when the ship "de Hond" in 1622 sailed in de waters of Korea produced the following notice:
"Camps advises us that the Hondt, returning back from the bight of Spirito Sancto to Japan, had fallen on Corea and jumped upon by the 36 war junks which the Coreers keep there for the liberation of her coast and furiously fought with cannons, firelocks, bows and numerous wooden lances, however without damage, after that manly have fought against the Coreers, be prepared that the ships or jaghts, which are send that way, to warn them and order them to be alert for such encounters and this or similar people not to expect too much good". (Missive Reg. Batavia to Reijersen April 3, 1623 Compare also: Instruction Martinus Sonck June 11, 1624 and Gen. Miss. June 20, 1623). (The advise to Camps was not found in the Col. Arch.).
This must have worked frightening since the crew of the flute the "Patientie" wasn't certainly treated there friendly in 1648(1). De V.O.C. will have abandoned the idea to expose her ships for these doubtful profits. In 1637 the following question about the chances about a journey to Korea was asked to the chief of Hirado:
"We understand for your honorable letters how the envoy of Corea passed through Firando with a retinue of 500 servants to Jedo to do the reverence for the Keijser. We had well wished that was written to us what [they] conducted there or [what they] requested. Also with what [kind of] presents they appeared before the Majesty; occurred occasion would be desirable to research by your honorable the location of that country, with whom [they]correspond, what trade [is] conducted there, if [they] also allow foreigners and what commodities [they] spend, if there are also gold or silver mines and the like. We have understood here that the same wealthy islands have especially silk, which we certainty consider your honorable can best learn there.. besides a description of the location and the peculiarities of abovementioned Corea with which the Compagnies service is promoted" (Missive Batavia to Hirado, June 25, 1637).
The answer to this was so discouraging that the Batavian Government couldn't bring up the enthusiasm to risk such an adventure. What this Chief then wrote about "the location of Corea" was:
".... Concerning the location of the country of Corea we could learn nowadays nothing else as your honorable from accompanying notice or notes please will have in mind..." (1) (Missive Hirado to Batavia, November 20, 1637).
"Understood also from the mouth of previously mentioned, Daniel [Reijniers, who remained with three trumpet players behind in Edo].... that last January 4, that the Coreesche envoys, being two principal Lords with their retinue being accompanied within the Imperial city Jedo by excellent Japanese nobility, were arrived and in the following way to their lodging house: First etc." (Witsen 2 edition I, page 48). (1),
"[With] what reason the envoys of Corea have arrived; have done with the State Counsels, what gifts have presented to the Majesty and finally her release have received, was in large inserted in the daily registers, where we have seen that for the Compagnie, in that land as much as is revealed, not to be retrieved." (Missive Batavia to Hirado, June 26, 1638).
Obviously he had heard this from the Japanese and in Japan living Koreans; the first message is, as far as can be seen the oldest paper about Korea what can be found in the archives of the V.O.C. and therefore certainly worth more study. From the following it appears that in the end of the 16th century Korea was not known yet in Holland:
"A little above Iapon on 34. and 35. degrees, not far from the Coast of China, lies another big Island, named Insula de Core, of which till now, not yet any document is nor about the size nor what kind of goods there are." (J. H. van Linschoten, Itinerario etc. page 37).
The on July 7, 1639 to Commander Quast given order to "discover the country Corea" has given no result either.
".... at north to turn [to] Japan, the coast of Tartarien, China as well to discover the country Corea and to understand what profitable traffic about that can be obtained for the General Compagnie...." (Instruction Quast July 7, 1639).
At the arrival of the first seven castaways of the "Sperwer" in Holland, they gave such a favorable impression of the prospects of the trade with Korea, that the Heeren XVII thought that they had to focus the attention of the government in Batavia to that (1). The information of the same castaways, which they had given one year before, had made a completely different impression on the General Governor and the Counsels of the Indies. In such that they couldn't have high expectations of the profits to be gained there, with an enterprise as was suggested. The rulers in China and Japan wouldn't have welcomed this. This could have been a dangerous and risky enterprise for the V.O.C. (See 1, 2, and 3). Would the castaways have been influenced in Holland by "the call of the East"? Would the memories of the distress and the discomfort which had been their share in this faraway country, already been forgotten? Or would the desire for their women and children who have been left behind in Korea, have been that strong that they judged too favorable about the prospects of a journey to Korea, for which they were eager to sign in (1)?"With the eight Dutchmen mentioned before, pretending [=saying] that on Corea for the Compagnie a favorable merchandize could be traded in such goods as we generally bring to Japan, is afterwards found not to be said this broad.... " (Van Dam, Beschrijvinge, etc. Book 2, volume 1, caput 21, f 324).
A disappointed was spared for both them and the V.O.C.; based on the advise of her representatives in Japan, the government in Batavia advised against the adventurous journey and obviously the Heeren XVII reconciled with their opinion (See 1,2). The idea for trading with Korea seems to have been abandoned altogether.
"Concerning Corea, there from the Japanders their big need of merchandize getting, is there for the Compagnie nothing to do, as a result that Island under the contribution standing of China and of Japan; those sovereigns don't want to admit any other Traders, except that one, according to the order of Japan are not to trade anywhere else outside Nangasackij" (Van Dam, Beschrijvinge, etc, Book 2, volume 1, caput 21, fol. 428).
"By Dutch seafarers the Coasts of Korai stayed unvisited from now on" (Von Siebold, Nippon, VII, page 27).
The jaght Corea, was build in 1669 for the Chamber of Zeeland (Van Dam, Beschrijvinge, Book 1, volume 1, caput 17, fol. 343). On May 20, 1669 it ran for the open sea (Patr. Miss. August 25, 1669), and arrived in Batavia on December 10, 1669 (Nat. Arch. number 1159); it was considered to be so unsuitable on Onrust in 1679, that it was decided to sell it to the highest bidder (Res. November 11 and December 2, 1679). If the plans would have taken place, then this jaght was probably destined to bring the salvaged seven back to Korea voluntarily. The country which they fled with such great peril shortly before.
It's still a pity that this opportunity was not used. In a South-Korean TV documentary that was broadcasted by the TROS on May 31, 1988, some Korean historians regretted the fact that their ancestors in 1653 didn't use the possibility to tie cultural and economical bonds through Hamel and his companions. According to them it wouldn't have been an impossible scenario. It is tempting to guess what would have happened if the Heeren XVII had put the advise of the Government in Batavia aside.
In order to sit on the fence, run with the Korean hare and hunt
with the Japanese hounds, beside some there would have been a lot of diplomacy
involved, beside some roaring of cannons and showing of flags. That wouldn't
have been troublesome since there was a lot of diplomatic talent present in
the Republic. The assignment to play Tartary against Japan would have been
right up the street of the in 1649 born
Hans Willem baron Bentinck. He played an important role in the marriage of William III and Mary Stuart, which led to the Glorious Revolution thereafter.
Hoetink finds in the beginning of the last century still the following "The present Japanese regime in Korea is doing everything in its power to suppress Korean nationality. The Government not only forbade the study of Korean language and history in schools, but went so far as to make a systematic collection of all works of Korean history and literature in public archives and private homes and burned them" (H. Chung, Korean Treaties, New-York 1919). Luckily we know now that the Japanese didn't' succeed and we could use what Gary Ledyard and Yi Pyongdo found.
Concluding Hoetink sighs "The now published text of Hamel's Journal and the unprinted documents which are used for the adaptation of that Journal, are part of the treasures of the Colonial Archives which are part of the Common States Archives in the Hague. He who looks for messages from our colonial past, becomes filled with gratitude by the richness which it contains but experiences also that his labor is burdened by the lack of a good printed inventory, which lack isn't made up by the helpful officials. It is desirable that the publication of such an inventory may not long be postponed."
In 1999 we can say that a lot has been improved, documents are much more easier to be obtained than in Hoetinks time, and the more we may value of his work. With the help of (electronic) inventories it was much easier to find the documents that were read and adapted by Hoetink. It was also much easier to find more of those documents that it must have been for Hoetink. It's a pity that the archives in Jakarta are still in more deplorable state as the Dutch ones in the beginning of the last century. It would be desirable that the several governments to preserve these treasures of the past would raise some funding.