Seen in Jeonju

The Independent: July 2, 1896

18th July 2012

Continuing with my project of retyping the issues of Korea’s first English-language newspaper, The Independent, this week features the next edition, vol. 1 no. 38 from Tuesday, July 2nd, 1896. << REMINDER:  The Independent was written over 100 years ago and the opinions expressed within DO NOT reflect  my own . –tom> In this issue: A park is being planned in Seoul, insurgents overthrow Chulwon, a tidal wive strikes Japan, and the Independent gets in trouble with the Seoul police!



We note in our vernacular columns of this issue that an attempt is to be made at a public park for Seoul. A mass meeting is called of Korean officials at the hall of the Privy Council to discuss ways and means for carrying out the project.  The spot proposed for the park, while not an ideal one, seems to us to be a thoroughly good one both for its tipography and its situation.  There is no doubt that there is room between Mo-Hwa-Kwan and the Peking Pass for a very beautiful park and one that will be the most accessible for the largest number of people. As we look at the site today it looks stony and bare and cheerless enough; but imagine the stream confined between neat stone walls and spanned at intervals by bridges, a line of willows along either side with a fine drive beneath them where either carriages or bicycles could be used; then with the land on either side of the stream back to the hills, and perhaps part way up their sides, smoothed off, palnted here and there with decidious trees and shrubs, with walks or drives winding in and out, we should have something very like a park. The principal object of interest would of course be the arch which is to take the place of the one pulled down in 1894.  Then there must be a band which the Korean army ought to be able to furnish one of these days. If there were even one good drive in the vicinity of Seoul we should soon see carriages come in and there would be one form of recreation added to the small list from which the foreigners at present have to select.

It will be a splendid object lesson to the Koreans. To see a piece of ground set aside for purely aesthetic purposes, simply to be made beautiful and to be enjoyed as beautiful, would give them a new sensation.  It would be an oasis indeed in the bald utilitarianism of their lives.

The Japanese take to parks as ducks take to water. It is probable that this grew out of their constant attendance at the Buddhist temples which are found in every village and in connection with which there is always more or less landscape gardening, at least a shady place to sit and rest beneath wide-spreading trees.  But the Koreans have not had this in their lives and to it can be tarced in part the difference between the Japanese and Korean temperment. To be sure Korea does not lend itself so readily to the uses of landscape gardening as does Japan, but we hail as a good sign the attempt about to be made and we trust that even if the beginning is small it will be made.

Foreigners have reason to congratulate themselves that it is to be so near the foreign quarter. A real bit of civilized nature is something that has been long desired here and it will be highly appreciated.

Brief Notices

Capt. Cho Kwan Huen reports from Kang Neung that his troops have encountered a band of insurgents in Yang Yang district and defeated them. The insurgents lost 25 and two were taken prisoner. The insurgents are all gathered in Chun Chon district and they number over 3000.  They had cut off communication between his troops and Seoul. He sent messengers at three different times but they were killed by the insurgents.  He asked for reinforcements and the War Office dispatched another company with ample supply of ammunition.

The Ass’t Judge of the Supreme Court of Seoul wrote an official letter to the Chief of Police, but it ws rejected on the ground that the Ass’t Judge’s rank is not so high as the Chief of Police and he (the Chief) would not communicate with an inferior official even on public business.  The expounder of law was very much offended at the guardian of the peace and a retaliatory measure was inaugurated.  He would not receive the law cases that came from the Police Dep’t to the Supreme Court. We do not care how much these two dignitaries quarrel over their ranks and prerogatives, but we feel sorry for the public business which suffers greatly in the meantime.

Mr. Alexander Kenmure returned from his trip to Pyeng Yang a few days ago, and he left Seoul yesterday for Chefoo

Gov. Wm. McKinley was nominated as Republican Candidate for President of the United States.

A tidal wave in the North of Japan killed 30,000 people.

The students of the Royal English School invited the students of Pai Chai School last Tuesday to a picnic under the South Hill.  The students of both schools marched together in their uniforms and made a very pretty procession. After arriving at the place they made stirring speaches and sang patriotic songs which were composed by each school for the occasion.  Mr. Yang representing Pai Chai and Mr. Kwon of the Royal English School both distinguished themselves by able and partiotic address which they made to the scholars.  The hosts of the day provided beautiful drinkables and eatables for the guests, and they wre all in foreign style.  There was an exhibition of military drill by the English School boys under the direction of the English Seargent. Both the hosts and the guests enjoyed themselves immensely and a feeling of sympathy and fraternity sprang up between the two institutions.  The Pai Chai boys returned to their school grounds late in the afternoon and they seemed to be in high spirits.  They serenaded their teachers Mr Bunker and Mr Appenzeller with  songs and cheers.  They wound up the day by waving their national flang and shouty “long live the King” both in Korean and English.

The new Chief of Police took exception to the Independent’s printing an article about the change of the names of titles in the Police Department without getting permission from His Majesty and Cabinet.  He ordered the police not to admit the reporters to the Police Department.  It seems then that the Independent is not entitled to the secrets of the Department but the public documents only that are enacted by the Authorities can be had access to by the reporter. Through the medium of the press the people will know what has been done by the Goverment and it will be of mutual benefit.  The New Chief need not worry over the reporters.  We would not print anything that would cast any reflection on him as long as he does not do anything discreditable.  We advise him not to shun newspaper reporters, but conduct himself in such a way that he would rather like to have the reporters get the news and make his fair and patriotic deeds known throughout the world.

The Governor of Chung Ju reports that the band of insurgents in Che Chun and Chi Pyeng have been dispersed by the Chung Ju troops.

A mass meeting will be called by the Korean Officials at the Office of the Privy Council this afternoon for the purpose of making a public park in Mo-Wha-Kwan, outside the West gate. The park will be called 독깁 공원디 or Independent Park, in which an arch will be erected to commemberatethe Independence of Korea.  The park will be fixed up by private contributions from the citizens.  We consider this as the sign of a progressive spirit that instills into the brains of Korean Officials.  We hope the movement will meet great success as this is the first evidence of growth of public spirit in Korea.

Ex-Governor of Hai Ju, Yi Yeun Chang has been sentenced to banishment for to years in Kun San.

The Magistrate of Po Chun reports that 300 insurgents entered Chul Won district on the 27th of June and the magistrate and his subordinate officials have run away. The insurgents compel the people to offer their grain, money and clothing to the Chief of the band. If anyone resists the order he is beaten until they get what they want. The Magistrate of Yng Pyeong sent over his men to Chul Won and cut off communication between this band and another larger crowd in Yung Pyeng district by removing the ferry boats at the river. Immediate relief is required and the War Office will no doubt dispatch troops to the scene right away.

The Japanese Minister Mr Hara left Kobe last Tuesday and will arrive here in a  few days.

WC Hiller Esq. HBM Consul-General, intends to go to Japan for a vacation.  He expects to leave here within a week or so.

Next Saturday afternoon at 3 o’clock the American residents of Seoulwill celebrate thier National Holiday (the Fourth of July), in front of the Pai Chai School, Chong Dong. There will be a number of good speakers, and music.  The Committee on Invitation, through the Independent, extends a cordial invitation to all Americans and Europeans friends to be present at the exercises.– JB Busteed, MD, Chairman of Committee on Invitation.

“I don’t like his dong, ” he said, speaking of his rival. “Why, his dog once saved his life!” she exclaimed in surprise. “That is the reason I don’t like the dog,” he answered bitterly.

“This bicycle fever is a monomania isn’t it, Doctor?” “In some cases it seems to be.” “And monomania is closely allied to insanity, is it not?” “It is.” “Well then, would you call a bicycle crank a victim of a temporary insanity, recurrent insanity, or what?” “I think it would be more appropriate to call him a victim of circular insanity, don’t you?”

The total amount of the Armenian Fund recieved by the Independent is $145. This sum will be sent to US Minister Terrill in Constantinople through Minister Sill, after obtaining a London draft for the equivalent in sterling.

The committees on the celebration of the Fourth of July will meet tomorrow afternoon at 4 o’clock to report the progress that has been made by the different committees.  The meeting will take place at the Seoul Union Building. All committees are requested to be present.

Latest Telegrams

A deputation from the Associated Chambers of Commerce has aksed for the support of the British Gov’t in making trade routes to China y building or by guaranteeing the construction of railways. Lord Salisbury stated in reply that the Gov’t was unable to assist in any railway scheme outside of British territory; but that if a powerful solvent company was founded the Gov’t would do its utmost in carrying a railway to the edge of the British territory, and that done, it would no doubt be able to penetrate foreign territory whenever it should be considered necessary.

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