Seen in Jeonju

The Independent: April 23, 1896

30th December 2011

The Independent, Thursday: April 23, 1896 Vol.1, No. 8


Things you will learn from the issue:  The benefits of being a policeman, to leave your hairpins at home and that not everyone likes rice.  This issue also requires me to put a up a disclaimer;  the opinions expressed belong solely to the editor and staff of the Independent living more than 120 years ago. They do not reflect my own opinions.

Local Items

- The muncipality of Chemulpo contemplates the plan of changing the street lamps for electric lights. Hurrah for Chemulpo!

- The Taetar of Nanking is reorganizing his army on European plans and it is to be officered in part by foreigners.

- More police stations have been established in different parts of the city.

-A few weeks ago, one Chun Chiu Po, living in the southern part of the city, died of starvation. His wife and two of the children followed him to the grave for the same cause leaving one child of five years. This child is now being cared for by a servant in the Police Headquarters and the dead have been buried at public expense.

- A female servant of a man named Ko, in the southern part of the city, went to a well to draw water. While raising the vessel from the ground to put it on her head, the cushion which rests on the head fell to the ground. She requested a bystander to replace it on her head but while doing so he snatched her silver hair pin and ran away. She screamed after him and a policeman being near secured the thief, restored the pin to its owner and marched the culprit off to the police station. Moral; leave your hair pins at home.

-A Soldier’s Police has been established whose business it is to look after unruly soldiers on the street.

- Some months ago, fifty two students of the Military Academy were selected by examination and soon eighteen more will be admitted but we are told that no examination is required this time.

-We notice that the guards at the gate of the War Office smoke cigarettes or pipes while on duty. We consider this unsoldierly and hope the authorities will put a stop to it.

Foreign News

-The World of New York says that it has made a poll of every state in the Union and that as a result it predicts that Wm. McKinley will be nominated for Republican presidential candidate at the St. Louis convention.

-The United States are said to produce a good deal of shoddy material but T.H. Elliott, Secretary of the English Board of Agriculture says that out of fifty-one articles from America not one contained adulterations. On the other hand, out of 104 samples from European countries, thirty-seven were adulterated.

-Panic prevails in Crete owing to a renewal of the murders of Christians. The deputies have invoked the protection of Greece.

Government Gazette

-Police Pension Law: (1) If any Police Officer or any Policeman receives injury or suffers death while on duty, the Police Department will pay the cost of medical treatment and the funeral expenses (2) If he receives permanent injury or is crippled for life, he shall receive not less than $50 and not more than $100 (3) If he receives permanent injury though not crippled, he shall receive not less than $20 and not more than $50. (4) If he dies on account of injury received while on duty, his wife or family shall receive not less than $50 and not more than $100. If he has no wife or family, his nearest relative shall receive not less than $20 and not more than $50 (5) The cost of medical treatment will be in accordance with the gravity of the case (6) The funeral expenses will be not less than $10 and not more than $20.

-Verdict of the Supreme Court on the cases of those connected with the events of Oct. 8th and Nov. 28th. Yi Heui Wha was found guilty of entering the Palace with Japanese on the 8th of Oct. and he entered the chamber of Her Majesty the late Queen. After the death of Her Majesty, he presented himself before His Majesty and acted as secretary in the writing of the fraudulent edicts. It is evident that he knew beforehand the treacherous purpose of the Japanese who entered the chamber of Her Majesty; therefore his is accessory to the crime. We, the Judges of the Supreme Court, sentence him to be hung according to the law in such cases.


The westerner can scarcely consider it other than unfortunate that these eastern people use as the staple article of food a grain which requires so favorable conditions of climate for its growth as does rice. This grain forms the main article of food of much more than half the human race and yet of all the cereals it requires the greatest care in cultivation and suffers most from too much or too little rain. Not only must there be enough rain but it must come at a praticular time or it is useless; then from the very position of the rice fields they are the first to suffer from freshets. <Freshets are floods from heavy rains> When one takes into account the amount of time and care that are necessary in keeping the rice fields in repair and the banks in good order, in regulating the water supply and distributing it over the fileds, in the frequent manipulation of the growing grain, first in sowing, second in transplanting and third in cultivating, in reaping which must be done by hand as the grain frequently stands ankle deep in water or at least mud which must for ever render the use of machinery impossible– When we take into account these fact and also the inroads made upon the health of the people in proximity to noisome paddy fields and by the almost invariable contamination of wells, we are constrained to believe that the exclusive use of rice is the most serious bar to waht we may call the enlightenment of these people.

This may seem like an extreme statement, but let us examine it a little more closely. We cannot be going far astray when we say that a third of the people of Korea are engaged in the cultivation of rice. Of course, the cultivate other things too, but rice is the main object of care. Now if we look at enlightened countries we will see that as fast as general culture and enlightenment have advanced the condition of the peasant has been ameliorated. Machinery has come in to supplement his labor and lighten him of some of his heaviest loads, consequently fewer people are required to carry on these lower forms of labor, produce has been cheaper and larger numbers of people have thus been given leisure to engage in pursuits of a higher order, but notice that from the conditions above enumerated rice always has had and always will have to be raised by hand without the aid of machinery except perhaps in the process of threshing.  There seems to be no hope of anything better for one third of the Korean people than to wade in paddy fields and breathe the miasmatic vapors which they exhale.

Compare rice with wheat. The inner kernal is almost identically the same in each, pure starch; but while in the case of rice the husk is of such a nature that it can scarcely be eaten. The inner husk of wheat, when ground up with the kernel, makes the most wholesome article of food to be found in the world; for besides the starchy matter, we find certain other ingredients, nitrogenous, mineral and others which makie it by far more useful as a food stuff than rice.

 Then again see the contrast in the amount of labor. A farmer can plow a certain field in a day, he can spaend one day in bringing  fertilizer and one dayis sowing the wheat and then his work is all done until the time for reaping comes. To cultivate the same area in rice will require the labor of four men for at least fifteen times as many days, and in addition the hardier wheat is not anywhere nearly so dependent upon rain at stated times. In the time thus saved the farmer could busy himself in cattle or sheep raising, to silk culture or in any one of a thoushand other lucrative employment. (to be continued) < The editor’s ‘Rant Against Rice’ will indeed continue next issue>

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