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THE WEST COAST OF COREA AND THE LOO
H. M. S. Alceste and Lyra leave the Yellow Sea on a Voyage
of Discovery-Sir James Hall's Group on the Coast of Corea-Unsociable Character of the Natives-Hutton's Island Interesting Geological StructureAnchor near the Main Land-Corean Chief's Visit-Objections made to Strangers landing-Distress of the Chief His Character -Departure from Basil's Bay-Clusters of Islands Murray's Sound-Deserted Corean Village View from the Summit of a high Peak-Interview with the Coreans -Peculiarities of their Character-Language-Erroneous Geographical Position of this Coast-Leave Corea.
The embassy to China, under the Right Hanourable Lord Amherst, left England in his Majesty's frigate Alceste, Captain Murray Maxwell, C. B., on the 9th of February, 1816, and landed near the mouth of the Pei-ho-river, in the Yellow Sea, on the 9th of August. Shortly afterwards the Alceste and Lyra sloop of war, which had accompanied the embassy, proceeded to the coast of Corea, the eastern bounda.
ry of the Yellow Sea; for as these ships were not required in China before the return of the Embassador by land to Canton, it was determined to devote the interval to an examination of some places in those seas, of which little or no precise information then existed. The following pages give the details of this voyage.
1st of September.—This morning at daylight the land of Corea was seen in the eastern quarter. Having stood towards it, we were at nine o'clock near three high islands, differing in appearance from the country we had left, being wooded to the top, and cultivated in the lower parts, but not in horizontal terraces as at the places we had last visited in China. We proceeded to the southward of the group, and anchored in a fine bay at the distance of two or three miles from the southern island. Shortly after anchoring, a boat came from the shore with five or six natives, who stopped, when within fifty yards of the brig, and looking at us with an air of curiosity and distrust, paid no attention to the signs which were made to induce them to come along-side. They expressed no alarm when we went to them in our boat; and on our rowing towards the shore, followed us till we landed near a village. The inhabitants came in a body to meet us, forming an odd assemblage, different in many respects from any thing we had seen; their colour was a deep copper, and their appearance forbidding, and somewhat savage. Some men, who appeared to be superior to the rest, were distinguished by a hat, the brim of which was nearly three feet in
diameter, and the crown, which was about nine inches high, and scarcely large enough to admit the top of the head, was shaped like a sugar-loaf with the end cut off. The texture of this strange hat is of a fine open work like the dragon-fly's wing; it appears to be made of horse-hair varnished over, and is fastened under the chin by a band strung with large beads, mostly black and white, but occasionally red or yellow. Some of the elderly men wore stiff gauze caps over their hair, which was formed into a high conical knot on the top of the head. Their dress consisted of loose wide trowsers, and a sort of frock reaching nearly to the knee, made of a coarse open grass cloth, and on their feet neat straw sandals. They were of the middle size, remarkably well made, and robust looking. At first they expressed some surprise on examining our clothes, but afterwards took
little interest in any thing belonging to us. Their chief anxiety was to get rid of us as soon as possible. This they expressed in a manner too obvious to be mistaken ; for, on our wishing to enter the village, they first made motions for us to go the other way; and when we persevered, they took us rudely by the arms and pushed us off. Being very desirous to conciliate them, we shewed no impatience at this treatment; but our forbearance had no effect; and after a number of vain attempts to make ourselves understood, we went away not much pleased at their behaviour. A Chinese,* who accompanied us, was of no use, for he could not read what the Coreans wrote for him, though
* A servant of the embassy, left behind by accident at the Pci-ho river.