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A History of the Japanese People by F. Brinkley

Both shipps being full of souldiers

ENGRAVING: GREEN-ROOM OF A THEATRE (In the Middle of the Tokugawa Period)

On the other hand, there were not wanting feudatories who, judging that zeal in obeying the edict would prove a passport to official reward, acted on that conviction. Notably was this true of Hasegawa, who received the fief of Arima by way of recompense for barbarous cruelty towards the Christians. Yet it is on record that when this baron sent out a mixed force of Hizen and Satsuma troops to harry the converts, these samurai warned the Christians to flee and then reported that they were not to be found anywhere. During these events the death of Ieyasu took place (June 1, 1616), and pending the dedication of his mausoleum the anti-Christian crusade was virtually suspended.


It has been frequently alleged that if the Spaniards and the Portuguese endeavoured to bring the Hollanders into bad odour, the English and the Dutch intrigued equally against the Portuguese and the Spaniards. The accusation cannot be rebutted. Cocks, the factor of the English commercial mission to Japan, has himself left it on record that, being at the Yedo Court in the fall of 1616, "I enformed the two secretaries that yf they lookt out well about these two Spanish shipps in Xaxama [Satsuma] full of men and treasure, they would fynd that they were sent off purpose by the king of Spaine, having knowledge of the death of the ould Emperour [Ieyasu], thinking som papisticall tono [daimyo] might rise and rebell and so draw all the papists to flock to them and take part, by which means they might on a sudden seaz upon som strong place and keepe it till more succors came, they not wanting money nor men for thackomplishing such a strattgin." The two vessels in question were "greate shipps arrived out of New Spaine, bound, as they said, for the Philippines, but driven into that place per contrary wynd, both shipps being full of souldiers, with great store of treasure, as it is said, above five millions of pezos." It is true that a Spanish captain sent from these vessels to pay respects to the Court in Yedo "gave it out that our shipps and the Hollanders which were at Firando [Hirado] had taken and robbed all the China junks, which was the occasion that very few or non came into Japan this yeare," and therefore Cocks was somewhat justified in saying "so in this sort I cried quittance with the Spaniards." It appears, however, that the Spaniards were not believed, whereas the Englishman could boast, "which speeches of myne wrought so far that the Emperour sent to stay them, and had not the greate shipp cut her cable in the hawse so as to escape, she had been arrested." It was this same Cocks who told a Japanese "admirall" that "My opinion was he might doe better to put it into the Emperour's mynd to make a conquest of the Manillas, and drive those small crew of Spaniards from thence."

In fact, none of the four Occidental nationalities then in Japan had any monopoly of slandering its rivals. The accusation preferred by Cocks, however, must have possessed special significance, confirming, as it did, what the pilot of the San Felipe had said twenty years previously as to the political uses to which the propagandists of Christianity were put by the King of Spain, and what Will Adams had said four years earlier as to the Imperial doctrine of Spain and Portugal that the annexation of a non-Christian country was always justifiable. The "greate shipps out of New Spaine," laden with soldiers and treasure and under orders to combine with any Christian converts willing to revolt against the Yedo Government, were concrete evidence of the truth of the Spanish sailor's revelation and of the English exile's charge. It has always to be remembered, too, that Kyushu, the headquarters of Christianity in Japan, did not owe to the Tokugawa shoguns the same degree of allegiance that it had been forced to render to Hideyoshi. A colossal campaign such as the latter had conducted against the southern island, in 1587, never commended itself to the ambition of Ieyasu or to that of his comparatively feeble successor, Hidetada. Hence, the presence of Spanish or Portuguese ships in Satsuma suggested danger of an exceptional degree.

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