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Delavan L. Pierson 

Verbeck of Japan 


The Mikado's Empire. 

Corea, the Hermit Nation. 

Japanese Fairy "World. 

Japan : In History, Folk- Lore, and Art. 

The Religions of Japan. 

Matthew Calbraith Perry. 

Townsend Harris. 

The Romance of Discovery. 

The Romance of American Colonization. 

The Romance of Conquest. 

The Pathfinders of the Revolution. 

America in the East. 

Brave Little Holland. 

The Student's Motley. 

The American in Holland. 

Dr. Verbeck in 1897. 

Verbeck of Japan 

A Citizen of No Country 

A Life Story of Foundation Work 
Inaugurated by Guido Fridolin Verbeck J 



Author of **The Mikado's Empire," « The Religions o/Japan^" 
" The American in Holland." etc. 

f T R^ 


New York Chicago Toronto 

Fleming H. Revell Company 

Publishers of Evangelical Literature 

Copyright, 1900 











chap. page 

Preface " 

I. A Glance in Perspective 17 

II. The Koppel 39 

III. In the Land of Opportunity 48 

IV. A Glance at Old Japan 69 

V. In Nagasaki : First Impressions 80 

VI. Political Upheaval 100 

VII. The Doors Opening "S 

VIII. The Revolution of 1868 142 

IX. Trip to Osaka I57 

X. Called to the Capital .180 

XI. The Biographer in Tokio 217 

XII. Among All Sorts and Conditions of Men . . 240 

XIII. The Great Embassy to Christendom . . .255 

XIV. Decorated by the Emperor 277 

XV. Preacher and Translator 3°' 

XVI. A Man Without a Country 3^7 

XVII. "Weary with the March of Life" . . .348 

List of Illustrations 

Dr. Verbeck in 1897 Frontispiece, 


GuiDO AND Maria Verbeck 62 

Messrs. G. F. Verbeck, S. R. Brown, and D. B. 
Simmons 66 

Students in the Government School at Nagasaki 122 

Wakasa, His Two Sons and Retainers, 1866 . 

First Science Class, Imperial University, 1874 

A Japanese Graduate of Rutger's College . .172 

Imperial University of Japan, 1871 186 

Imperial University in Tokio, 1874 272 

Japanese Bible with its case ) 

[ 284 
Jewel of the Order of the Rising Sun . . . j 

Synod of the Union Church, 1887 324 

Passport for Dr. Verbeck and Family .... 330 

Monument of Dr. Verbeck, erected by the 
grateful japanese 356 


At the direct and urgent request of the friends 
of the late Dr. Guido Fridolin Verbeck, "Ver- 
beck of Japan," the greatest, under God, of the 
makers of the new Christian nation that is com- 
ing and even now is, I have written the story of 
his life, in my own way. I had no desire, nor 
was any desire expressed by others that I should 
paint in words the picture of an immaculate 
saint, or set forth a being of supernal powers. 
Neither have I the taste or the ability to enter into 
the minutiae of ecclesiastical politics. Let others 
write of these, or do justice to his work as a 
churchman. I have told in outline the story of 
one of the "nursing fathers" of a nation, even 
of Christian Japan. I have striven to portray a 
faithful brother-man and a child of God, one 
whose tender love to his Father was shown in a 
life hid with Christ and a constant ministry of 
service to his fellow-men. I have wrought not 
for those who knew Verbeck, but for those who 
knew him not. 

I knew Verbeck of Japan during four years of 
intimacy in the Mikado's empire. Thrice visiting 
his birthplace, Zeist in Holland, I learned many 
facts about his early life and his unconscious 
preparation for wonderful work in the Far East. 


I have had access to the file of his letters, from 
i860 to 1898, written home to the secretaries of 
the Board of Missions of the Reformed Church 
in America, and to many of those sent to his 
own relatives, as well as to his own diaries, note- 
books, and to other documents lent me by his 
daughter. Nevertheless, Verbeck was mightier 
in work than in word, and left relatively com- 
paratively little writing of a personal nature. To 
all who have in any way aided me, I return sin- 
cere and hearty thanks. 

The bulk of the book treats of what God gave 
Guido Verbeck to do, as quietly and as unseen as 
if he were leaven hid. Verbeck's work belongs 
less to the phenomenal than to the potent. It 
was just when men were asking "do missions 
in Japan pay ? " and even when good people in 
the Reformed Church, almost weary in welldo- 
ing, were hinting at abandonment of their Japan 
Mission, that God by means of true servants 
wrought His most wonderful work of educating 
the Japanese for their new life. 

Vigorously suppressing my own opinions and 
views of things ecclesiastical, I have let Dr. Ver- 
beck tell his own story, and, also, show his own 
powers and limitations. With other things and 
persons, Japanese and foreign, I have been more 
free in comment and criticism. In the Introduc- 
tion, I have sketched briefly Verbeck as a man of 
action, rather than of words. His was the life of 
one willing as bridge builder to toil in the caissons, 
unseen, as well as on the cables in view of all, to 


fight as a sailor in the turrets, not knowing how 
the battle went, as well as on deck or in the con- 
ning tower. 

In my text and quotations, I have used the 
standard spelling of Japanese names and avoided 
as far as possible the use of Chinese forms. 

May Christians and missionaries like Verbeck, 
ever faithful to Jesus the Christ abound, to con- 
found and convince all those who ask "do mis- 
sions pay?" 

W. E. G. 

Ithaca, N. Y» 



A star's serene radiance is better than a me- 
teor's whizz and flash. The quiet forceful life of 
a missionary like Guido F. Verbeck makes con- 
temptible the fame of a popular idol, admiral, or 
general, who may have caught the fancy of the 
public and the newspapers. Such a life, as un- 
known to general fame, as the leaven in the meal 
is out of sight, was that of Verbeck of Japan. 

For nearly forty years he gave the best powers 
of mind and body for the making of the new 
state which we behold to-day and the Christian 
nation we see coming. He was a destroyer of 
that old hermit system in which barbarism, pa- 
ganism, cruelty, intolerance, ignorance, sensual- 
ism, and all things detestable ran riot. He was 
a conserver of that ''Everlasting Great Japan," 
which has in it, and, let us hope, always will 
have within it, so many things lovely and of 
good report. He was one of "the beginners of 
a better time," working for liberty of conscience, 
for righteousness, for brotherhood, and for the 
making of that new man in Christ Jesus which is 
yet to dominate the earth. 

Guido Verbeck was willing to do his work, as 
God gave him to do it, in silence and shadow, 


Verbeck of Japan 

even in secrecy if need be. He was a "Jesuit" 
of the right sort. Never for one moment con- 
cealing his identity, his character, his mission, 
protesting against persecution, oppression, and 
suppression, he stood for free thought, free 
speech, and the open Bible. He respected the 
individuality of every man from the Eta to the 
emperor. Ever modest and retiring, apparently 
shy and timid when giving his own advice, he 
was bold as a lion in doing what seemed right. 
Brave as the bravest conqueror of cities, he con- 
trolled himself and knew when to keep still. He 
feared the face of no man. 

Surrounded often by spies and traitors, ruffians 
and assassins, living amid dangers and pestilence 
in the old days, he was never touched by malig- 
nant man or contagious disease. Never robust, 
he was able by care, exercise and temperance to 
preserve his splendid powers of mind and body 
to the last year of his life. Coming to Japan in 
the old days of the repression of truth and light, 
when the whole country was under the clamps 
of despotism, when the spy, the informer, and 
the liar were everywhere, Guido Verbeck seemed 
to the Japanese to be sheathed in light and to 
bear one invincible weapon, truth. Since he al- 
ways told them just what he believed about 
them, and about their present and future, and 
the great realities of time and eternity, and since 
he always kept self in the background, they came 
to trust him implicitly and to believe him fully. 
The novelty of meeting a plain man of truth 


A Glance in Perspective 

amid so many polished liars, had an effect on the 
Japanese of the early sixties, at once electric, 
tonic, self-revealing. Here was a man whom 
they likened to what in material form they prized 
so highly — the flawless crystal sphere, that seems 
first to gather and then to diffuse abroad the sun- 

So it came to pass that almost from the mo- 
ment of his landing in Japan, this "American- 
ized Dutchman," as he called himself, disarmed 
the old suspicions, winning new confidence. 
Becoming the servant of servants, as teacher and 
helper, he attracted to himself the humble and 
the great. In the days of their impressible youth, 
he taught those who were to be statesmen and 
councillors of the emperor and in their manhood 
he was their guide, philosopher, and friend. Men 
nearest the throne, yes, even the Mikado himself, 
in the most hopeful of Asiatic countries have ac- 
knowledged freely and gratefully their obliga- 
tions to Guido Verbeck. A citizen of no coun- 
try, they gave him a home and protection, award- 
ing to the untitled missionary an honor unique in 
the history of the empire. When Verbeck of 
Japan lay ** dead in his harness," titled statesmen 
and nobles came to pay unstinted honors to their 
friend who had helped to make Japan great. 
Japan's soldier veterans with their laurels won in 
continental Asia still fresh on their flags, by im- 
perial order, escorted his body to the tomb. The 
emperor, who had already decorated the servant 
of his people, gladly paid the expenses of the 

Verbeck of Japan 

funeral. The authorities of the city of Tokio 
deeded to his family the lot honored by his grave. 
Japanese friends, pupils, and admirers reared the 
granite shaft that marks the spot, beneath which 
his dust mingles with that of the land he loved so 
well, and to which he gave his best endeavor. 

Yet Guido Verbeck loved truth more than he 
loved Japan, or the United States, or the Nether- 
lands, — the countries in which his three homes 
were. He never flattered either Japanese or 
Americans or Dutchmen, no matter how much 
he loved them or was willing to serve, or work, 
or die for them. During his long life and in the 
shadow of death, he feared, indeed, to lessen his 
influence by rude and unnecessary criticism or by 
blurting out truths better told later. Yet even as 
"it is the glory of God to conceal a thing," so 
Verbeck was wise in withholding, while never 
afraid at the right time and place to utter his con- 
victions. He spoke the truth in love. He knew 
what was in man and especially in Japanese man, 
genus, species, variety, and individual. Yet 
knowing, he did not despise. Sometimes he 
pitied, oftenerhe helped, admired, or encouraged. 
He saw possibilities and cheered on. 

He told me once, in one of many confidences 
whose seals I feel now at liberty to break, that 
he thought he knew the individual Japanese bet- 
ter than he knew himself. He believed in Japan 
and in her possibilities. He did not, like so many 
men from abroad, think that he knew the Japan- 
ese people, because he was well acquainted and 


A Glance in Perspective 

even intimate with a few scholars and thinkers. 
On the contrary Verbeck knew the peasant as 
well as the prince, the outcast as well as the citi- 
zen, the people in the mass, as well as those who 
wear decorations and gold-embroidered coats. 
In his eyes all men were the children of the 
Father, and nobles were no more. When some 
thought that missionary effort should be directed 
more toward " the upper classes," Verbeck said, 
" It is the people we must reach, the people." 

Hence, it was never possible, either in the craft 
or state, or church, by old politician or fresh mis- 
sionary, by dogmatist or the polemic, wolf dis- 
guised in the sheep's clothing of " liberalism" so- 
called, to deceive this master of men and ideas. 
With him, names were nothing. 

Verbeck of Japan had his limitations, which 
some of us knew well. He was not a business man 
and could not always see eye to eye with those 
trained in the canons of commerce. Inheriting 
from his father some old-fashioned prejudices re- 
garding a mind bent only on pecuniary profits, 
and never having had the elements of practical 
business principles taught him, he sometimes 
offended when he meant to be generous. It 
would have been better, too, for his household, 
perhaps, had he given a little more attention to 
that "filthy lucre," a careful use of which so 
sweetens the relations of life and saves from un- 
due anxiety. However, none more than himself 
grieved over this lack in his make-up. Had he 
been better trained commercially, he would not 


Verbeck of Japan 

have been plundered so often by rascals, both 
pagan and pseudo-Christians. Generous to a 
fault, he was often imposed upon. 

His humor was keen, sometimes to the point 
of cutting. After he had been in Japan some 
thirty years, one day he walked the platform at a 
country station, waiting for the train. A kilted, 
barelegged student eyed him for a time, then 
concluded he would patronize this innocent alien 
and air his English. With that superb assurance 
which is the unfailing endowment of Japanese 
schoolboys, this eighteen-year-old colt swaggered 
near and shouted: ** When did you come to our 
country ? " Dr. Verbeck adjusted his benevolent 
spectacles, and, after a calm survey, responded, 
in choice vernacular: ** A few years before you 
did, sir/' It is said that the student retired. 

In his character and service as a missionary, 
Verbeck possessed in a high degree the gift and 
power of mental initiative. He knew how to 
begin. There was no Macawber in him. He 
waited not when work called. He turned things 
up. I have often heard him glory even to exulta- 
tion in the glorious freedom and the power of 
independent work possessed by a pioneer mis- 
sionary. As a builder of the true church of Christ 
in Japan — the church of souls, of faith and of 
righteousness, rather than of corporations, names, 
and creed limitations, Verbeck was sometimes a 
trial to his own brethren. He was not only a 
cosmopolitan linguist and scholar, but his Chris- 
tianity was more of a continental than of an in- 


A Glance in Perspective 

sular type. He was " at the call of any or all of 
his brethren of whatever Evangelical Mission." 
He saw things through and through,— the cosmic 
currents down in the deeps, rather than the *' un- 
numbered laughings " on the surface,— in their 
issues rather than in their temporary relations. 
At the same time Verbeck was a conservative 
both in theology and organization, and here he 
had marked limitations. It will be generally 
agreed, I think, that he was the master mission- 
ary in evangelism and in the importation of light 
and life, a very Fuji Yama in the loftiness of his 
gifts and powers as teacher, preacher, prophet, 
and statesman. 

Yet all this said, his abilities as actual organizer 
belong on a lower level. He did not possess, or 
apparently wish ever to gain, those gifts of manip- 
ulation and adjustment, or that organizing fac- 
ulty which enables a man to turn his profound 
connections into institutions. He cannot be said 
to have left behind him pupils upon whom his 
mantle fell. He was innately sociable and his 
sociability increased with his years, yet he had no 
one very close intimate among his friends. God 
called him to do great and mighty work in the 
high places of the Spirit on Sinai, rather than in 
Canaan, and this work he did well. 

The Hfe of Guido Verbeck covers three periods. 
The first of childhood and youth covering twenty- 
two years, from 1830 to 1852, was spent at Zeist, 
in the Netherlands. His early manhood as civil 
engineer and theological student from 1852 to 

Verbeck of Japan 

1839 was passed in the United States, the former 
part in what was then " the West " and the latter 
in what was then " the East." The third period 
extended, with occasional brief intervals of ab- 
sence, through nearly thirty-nine years, from 1859 
to 1898. 

In Dai Nippon, three distinct epochs of his life 
are also to be noted. The first decade, spent at 
Nagasaki, was as the toiling of a miner in the 
deep and dark places. The second decennium in 
the new capital, Tokio, was passed as educator 
and translator in the service of the Japanese 
government. Then followed nearly two decades 
of Bible translation and the direct preaching of 
the gospel, chiefly in evangelical tours. For over 
twenty years he supported himself and his fam- 
ily on his salary paid him by the Japanese govern- 
ment, so that he was during this time at his own 
charges, costing the Mission Board nothing. In 
later years, as a laborer under the Bible societies 
and Mission Board of the Reformed Church in 
America, he was worthy of his hire. 

Guido Verbeck was a many-sided man. His 
intellectual and spiritual inheritances were great. 
He was engineer, teacher, linguist, preacher, 
educator, statesman, missionary, translator, 
scholar, gentleman, man of the world, child of 
his own age and of all the ages. Among 
those in Japan, who seemed to have the most 
confidence in and respect for him, were persons 
of rank and very old and very young people who 
are thoroughly conservative still as to habits and 

A Glance in Perspective 

opinions. Among these were bigoted Bud- 
dhists and Shintoists. who knowing Verbeck to 
be an uncompromising Christian missionary, yet 
always honored and trusted him as a gentleman. 
Guido Verbeck was also the father of a family 
of seven children, five sons and two daughters, 
six of whom, surviving to-day, do their country 
honor, serving abroad under the flag as soldier or 
as missionary, teacher, or at home as artist, or in 
business. Amid paganism, he represented Christ 
and Christendom to them. 

One secret of his power among Japanese, high 
and low, was that he always regarded the self- 
respect of each individual with whom he came 
into contact. One of his traits of character was 
an extreme unwillingness to exercise his will in 
influencing the will of others. He respected the 
right of each individual to act independently too 
much to use undue influence over them. Con- 
sequently, as a missionary even, he would never 
try to force Christianity on a Japanese. With 
his own children even, he avoided, after they had 
reached a certain age, as much as possible, giv- 
ing a direct command. " He would give advice 
to us," said one, -but rarely, even if needed, a 

command." j u +u 

Verbeck's is one of those names honored both 

by foreigners and natives. Though he was a 

citizen of no state, three countries claim him as 

their son. u u w 

Verbeck was a man who believed with ail his 
heart in the sufficiency of the gospel, the good 

Verbeck of Japan 

news of God, proclaimed by Jesus Christ. He 
was too honest to explain it away. In him the 
historic spirit was too strong to dissipate it in 
vague theories, or put it on a level with anything 
which the ancient or ethnic teachers have ex- 
pounded. He believed that twenty centuries had 
added nothing to what Jesus had taught of God 
and man, or in their relations one to the other. He 
did heartily believe that nineteen centuries, and 
especially his own century, had added vastly to 
the sum of man's knowledge in other subjects of 
inquiry and revelation. Denying himself other- 
wise many luxuries and personal enjoyment, he 
never hesitated to possess himself of the best 
works in philosophy, science, and language, so 
as to keep abreast with the best thought and real 
knowledge of the age. 

Verbeck knew well the shams of the period. 
He had no use, in the transmission of his message 
from God, for what some men imagine to be 
necessary ; such, for example, as a detailed knowl- 
edge of the method, manner, and results of 
what is so vulgarly misunderstood and also called 
the higher criticism, or of comparative religion, 
though he was a hearty believer in the legitimate 
use of both. He was a consummate master in 
the art of literary analysis and criticism. He was 
once engaged during many months in elaborate 
researches, with the idea of publishing a book 
upon literary or higher criticism. He was asked 
more than once by prominent American inquirers 
and scholars whether for successful missionary 


A Glance in Perspective 

work, especially in preaching, he did not feel it 
necessary to study thoroughly the native religions 
of Japan. His one answer was, that he had never 
considered it worth while to spend time in prov- 
ing to the Japanese that two and two did not 
make five. He found it was more economical in 
time and labor, and ultimately far more effective, 
to demonstrate that two and two make four, and 
this he kept on doing for nearly forty years. 

Yet Dr. Verbeck was very far from under- 
valuing native thought, history, customs, or be- 
liefs. Indeed, one thing that made him a past 
master in the art of public discourse, able to hold 
his Japanese audiences spellbound for hours, and 
to keep their eyes, ears, yes, and even their 
mouths, wide open, and this often in one place 
night after night, was his profound knowledge 
of the heart and thought of his audience. He 
could use with tremendous effect their own 
proverbs, gems of speech, popular idioms, and 
the epigrams of their sages. Often he "carried 
them to Paradise on the stairways of surprise " 
by showing how their own great men had groped 
after the essential, even as he was leading them 
to the historic, Christ. He threw great floods of 
light on themes otherwise abstruse by opening 
the windows of illustration from their own 
national history. I once heard him praise glow- 
ingly Nicolai, the Russian archimandrite, (now 
bishop) for his effective use of Hideyoshi's gourd- 
banner in illustration of the magnetic power of 
the cross. Verbeck's method was like the sliding 

Verbeck of Japan 

back at daydawn of the shoji, (house-shutters) so 
as to till with glorious sunshine and perfumed air 
the room of night and sleep. 

Others might be content with mere fluency or 
a superficial knowledge of things Japanese. Dr. 
Verbeck always kept himself familiar with the 
best native writing and the classic forms of 
modern speech. While many others would be 
enjoying social relaxation, or the newspapers, 
Dr. Verbeck would have in hand, whether sitting 
on the porch or walking in the garden, a copy of 
some standard Japanese author, usually Kaibara, 
reading it again and again in order to master 
literary graces as well as lines of thought and ar- 
gument. He knew the language well, both in 
its ancient, mediaeval, and modern form. He 
loved it in its native purity, freshness and power, 
even more than in its reinforcement and adorn- 
ment, yes, even its weakening and degradation 
by Chinese infusion and adulteration. 

Hence his absolutely unique position as evan- 
gelist and preacher and, possibly, we may even 
add, as translator. With emphasis the natives 
called him Hakase, professor, or most learned 
man. In his methods of turning the sublime 
Hebrew and plastic Greek into a clear dignified 
and enjoyable Japanese, he was like Luther and 
Tyndale. These had in mind not only the 
scholar but also the plowboy. Verbeck knew 
the speech of the plain people as well as of those 
who dwell in palaces. He could confound and 
humble the Chinese pedants. Seeing them in his 

A Glance in Perspective 

audience, these lovers of " words of learned length 
and thundering sound," he usually made them 
wonder how " one small head could carry all he 
knew." Then after a little fun of this sort he 
preached the gospel in plain, clear, fluent, elegant 
language "understanded of the people." I re- 
member once coming to Tokio, after a year's 
stay in Echizen, with ears well attuned and re- 
sponsive to local lingo, and noting at once the 
easy, elegant, and dignified colloquial of the 

Hence it is that above the ranges and table-land 
of the diction of the Bible in Japanese — one of 
the most successful missionary translations ever 
made — the work of Guido Verbeck on the 
Psalms, is like that of peerless Fuji. Other peaks 
are indeed noble, but reach not the highest of the 
**no two such." 

Yet here again, we note human limitations. 
As Verbeck, always mightier in work than in 
word, wrote far fewer letters than his friends de- 
sired or even perhaps justly expected, so also he 
committed to writing few if any of those ser- 
mons, which, like the tempest or the soughing 
of the wind among the leaves of the forest, 
moved the hearts of men to righteousness. Did 
these but exist in print, how helpful would they 
be to those who admired his inimitable style, and 
hearing, despaired. Yet had they now the text 
to study and analyze, many might become what 
so few foreigners are, or can be, either fluent or 
eloquent preachers in Japanese. 


Verbeck of Japan 

Several times, when living in Boston, my 
genial neighbor and friend Dr. Edward Everett 
Hale, the author of "A Man Without a Country " 
honored me by calling to learn the latest news or 
earliest light upon the most interesting of Asiatic 
countries. He was particularly eager to learn the 
secret of Japan's wonderful renascence, and to 
find out why her people showed such a Uking 
for what we usually associate with "Anglo- 
Saxon " inheritances. Possibly this sketch of Dr. 
Verbeck's life may help in solving the fascinating 
riddle. At any rate, let us see how and why 
Verbeck of Japan, a man without a country, 
while receiving citizenship of none, was honored 
in three lands and by one uniquely. 




The name Verbeck, or, more properly Verbeek, 
is a contraction of Van der Beck, van der Beek, 
meaning, from the brook or rivulet. The name 
is essentially Dutch, the prefix ver being con- 
tracted from van der. In tracing the ancestry of 
the Verbecks we find them in both Holland and 
Germany. They moved back and forth, east 
and west, between the Dutch and the Deutsch. 
In one or two instances they married in the land 
of Luther, though belonging to the land of 

The Verbeeks are found allied by wedlock with 
the Van Laer and Van der Vliet families. The 
latter furnished several ministers to the Reformed 
Church and at one time dwelt in Embden, where 
they had fled before Alva's persecution. On 
their tombstones in the church at Embden are the 
coats of arms of Cornelius and Samuel Van Laer, 
who died in 1654 and 17 12 respectively. 

The Van Laer family was strong in religious 
culture and character. Count Von Zinzendorf, 
leader of the Moravians, was the guest at the 
house of Jan Van Laer in Amsterdam during 
several of his visits. In 1773, when the Count 

would found a Moravian settlement in the 


Verbeck of Japan 

Netherlands, Cornelius Renatus Van Laer (1731- 
1792), who greatly favored the plan, bought 
Zeist from his wealthy cousin Schellinger, and 
generously assisted the Brethren. 

The fact that Zeist with over two thousand 
acres of land and some hundreds of houses on it, 
was once in the possession of the Schellingers 
and kter the Van Laers, shows the well-to-do 
conditions of the two families. Jacob Van Laer, 
born in 1663 was Burgomaster of Zwolle, the city 
of Thomas a Kempis, in which also " The Imita- 
tion of Christ" had been written. In 1725 he 
was Commissioner of the Admiralty in Amster- 
dam and in 1736 a member of the States-General. 
An older member of the family held the same 
office, and was director of one of the six sections 
of the mighty East India Company, whose huge 
buildings remain to this day at Delft, their sea- 
port being Delfshaven, whence sailed the Pilgrim 
Fathers to found Massachusetts. The Verbeeks, 
were prominent and wealthy merchants in Am- 
sterdam. Through their alliances with the Van 
Laers, they were drawn also to Zeist, where one 
of them built a house on the square. In later 
generations, some of the Verbeeks adhered to 
the Moravian Community, while others were 

Zeist is a pretty little town of about six thou- 
sand inhabitants, of whom about thirty-five 
hundred are settled inside the village boundaries. 
It lies in the province of Utrecht, a few miles to 
the westward of the university city of the same 


The Koppel 

name, the village being reached from the larger 
city by both steam, and tram or horse cars. As 
early as a. d. 838, this village is known to have 
existed, being just on the western border of a 
large stretch of woodland. In 1667 **the house 
of Zeist" now called *'the Castle," a "deftig ge- 
bouw " as the Dutch say, was built by William 
of Nassau, the lord of Odijk and Cortgene. This 
magnificent old mansion, still standing among 
lordly trees and with a superb park attached to 
it, was bought in 1746 by Mr. C. Schellinger and 
in 1767 by Marie Agnes, Countess of Zinzendorf 
and second daughter of the famous Count, who 
afterward married Maurice William, Count of 
Dohna. Since 1862, this lordly mansion has 
been possessed by the late Mr. C. B. Labouchere, 
and since 189 1, many are my happy memories of 
the courtesy and bountiful hospitality of the host 
and hostess and their brilliant and accomplished 
sons and daughters, who move within the first 
circles of Holland's social life. Theirs was a 
typical home, rich in character, ability, and piety. 
Yet further down the avenue was once another 
home, more modest and less known to wealth 
and fame, which God made a storage battery of 
spiritual power for the re-vitalizing of a nation. 

In 1776 the Moravian Community, which had 
been begun at Ijsselstein, was fixed at Zeist. To- 
day their houses, of the sisterhood on one side of 
the great wide avenue of planted trees and of the 
brotherhood on the other, form the chief feature 
of the place. In this community, besides the 


Verbeck of Japan 

cultivation of pure and undefiled religion, in- 
dustry is a striking characteristic. 

Tlie Verbeeks, as tlie older and proper form of 
the name and as chiselled on the tomb in Tokio, 
may be traced far back into Dutch history. Suf- 
fice it to say that when the Moravian settlement 
at Zeist wsls formed in 1776, the year of Ameri- 
can independence, there were two brothers Jan 
and Pieter, sons of Jacob. The descendants of 
the latter are found in nearly all the Moravian 
congregations in Germany. Jan did not remain 
in such friendly feeling with Moravian church 
government and though he did not himself leave 
the community his children and grandchildren 
did. He went to Germany, but later the family 
returned to Holland, as we shall see. 

Jan Verbeek (1709- 1763) married Anthonia 
Van der Vliet (1709- 1744). Their grandson Hen- 
drik Jan Verbeek (1769-1817) living in Saxony 
with the Moravian Community, withdrew from 
it and married Dorothea Elizabeth Henning (1773- 
1848) of Celle, Hanover. The couple settled at 
Cholsdorf, where their older children, including 
Carl Heinrich Willem (1769- 1864), father of Ver- 
beck of Japan was born. Later they moved to 
Hamburg and obtained a livelihood from a vine- 
gar factory, which in the siege of the city by 
Napoleon was destroyed. The parents then fear- 
ing to lose their son by military conscription, sent 
him to their relatives in Zeist. So Carl grew up 
in his father's sister's house in the Moravian 


The Koppel 

At "the castle "then lived Anna Maria Jaco- 
mina Kellerman, the daughter of Coenraad Wil- 
lem Kellerman, a famous Patriot. Carl Verbeek 
and Ann Kellerman, parents of Guido Verbeek 
were married in 1818, and lived at Rysenburg, a 
little village southeast of Zeist, of which the hus- 
band, Carl Verbeek was Burgomaster, and here 
four of their children were born. In 1827 they 
moved to Zeist, occupying the house called " the 
Koppel," in which four more of their offspring 
saw the light, the second one in this second 
group of four being Guido Herman Fridolin Ver- 
beek, who was born January 23d, 1830. 

From his father, a gentleman of fine feelings, 
diffident and retiring, the future maker of New 
Japan inherited his simplicity and modesty. To 
those who did not know his lion heart, these at 
times seemed to border on timidity. With both 
father and son, it was Jesus-like gentleness that 
made great. Guido's love of poetry and music 
came from his mother, a woman of refinement 
and culture. Besides the piano and organ, Guido 
Verbeek played well on the violin and guitar, 
often accompanying his sister on the harp. At 
the mother and the ancestral roots that nourished 
her being, let us look. 

The Kellermans originated in Italy, where cen- 
turies ago they had borne the name of Paravium. 
Accepting early the doctrines of the Reformation, 
they were persecuted as heretics and fled for 
their lives. One of them, while being searched 
for by the inquisitors, hid during several days in 

Verbeck of Japan 

a cellar at Strasburg. On emerging, to baffle his 
pursuers and secure greater safety, he secured 
asylum under the name of Kellerman, in the land 
in which he, the Anabaptists, the Pilgrim Fathers 
and the Huguenots, as well as Jews and Catholics 
had heard and found that ** there was freedom 
of conscience for all men." 

In 1788, at the time of the civil strife be- 
tween " Patriots " ^ and "Prince- Adherents," Mr. 
Coenraad Willem Kellerman, one of the descend- 
ants of the Italian Bible Christians, was living in 
the castle at Zeist. Having taken the side of the 
Patriots or Anti-Orangists, he had to leave the 
Netherlands when the Prussians invaded the 
country. He went to England. He was twice 
wedded. From the second marriage with Maria 
Wilhelmina van der Vliet, was born Anna Maria 
Jacomina Kellerman, the mother of Guido F. 
Verbeck. Thus in the veins of the child destined 
to be "the foremost teacher of the Japanese" 
were blended Southern fire and Northern energy. 
The best inheritances of Latin and Germanic 
Christendom met in the man who gave the 
Japanese one of the types of Christianity in a life 
at once broad and deep. The ancestors of Ver- 
beck of Japan were strenuous in that one com- 
mon faith which is to win and hold Japan also. 

The hardiness of the race is shown in Guido's 
Aunt Miesje (Cornelia Marie Kellerman), who 
lived to be nearly a century old. Though she 

» See De Patriottentijd, by Dr. H. T. Colenbrander, Hague, 


The Koppel 

was very small in stature, her mind was bright 
and dear until the last. For more than thirty 
years she was the lady principal or inspectress of 
the Moravian Young Ladies' Boarding School in 
Zeist, beloved and respected by a host of friends, 
parents, scholars, and teachers. In her latter 
years though quite blind, she knitted many a 
stocking for those in need. When sight failed, 
touch was revived and she learned to read the 
Bible by the finger with the help of raised 

The youngest of the eight children and the 
only one now (in 1900) living, has furnished 
the biographer with reminiscences of the Koppel, 
the pretty little home, in which Guido Verbeck 
was trained for his life's noblest work. Another, 
and a young relative who has called it *'a sort of 
El Dorado," has richly reinforced the notes 
gathered during several visits to Zeist, its com- 
munity, and its castle. The Koppel stood on a 
gentle knoll well embowered among trees, with 
the characteristic canal and bridge not far away 
and with dumb domestic creatures generally in 
sight and feeding on the rich grass. A dovecote 
prominent in the foreground was of royal di- 
mensions and contained seven hundred pigeons. 

The word "Koppel" occurs in many places 
on Dutch maps. Besides Koppeldijk, Koppel- 
rust, and Koppelsteeg in the Netherlands, we 
have no fewer than eight towns or villages with 
the same name. 

The word "Koppel" is the same as the Eng- 


Verbeck of Japan 

lish "couple." It means a brace. Two objects 
linked together in idea make a pair. There are 
two Koppels on a map of Utrecht and environs 
now before me, and also the Koppeldijk and 
Koppelvaart, the names being given because 
they connect two water or land paths. If there 
is a crossing of two canals, with different levels 
of water there must be a lock or sluice near by. 
This means waiting, — with patience also. Al- 
most as a matter of course, there springs up in 
due time an inn for the boatmen or passengers, 
and for their accommodation and refreshment. 
The name *' Koppel " is thus indicated for a sign. 
Did the house at Zeist take its name from the old 
inn on the dike, in times long gone, the name 
being much older than the house? Or, is 
''Koppel" the popular corruption of "Koepel," 
meaning a pavilion, kiosk or summerhouse in a 
garden ? We incline to the former view. 

To make their eight children as happy as pos- 
sible on earth and to fit them for the largest use- 
fulness in life, was the chief concern of the par- 
ents. After purchasing the Koppel, the next aim 
was to make it lovely. This with the aid of a 
most faithful serving man, true to his master 
during thirty-six years, they were able to do. 
The Creator and his servants wrought together 
to make beauty. The house and home, the 
Koppel and its surroundings, became very lovely 
to the eye. Besides the elm-trees reared for 
shade, forming a perfect bower, there were the 
choicest pear-trees and flower and vegetable 


The Koppel 

gardens, surrounded by a double hedge. Thus 
there were fruit, vegetables and nuts in abun- 
dance and in the large stable was the hay loft. 
Although their place was not a farm, the Ver- 
beeks, besides garden, orchard, and meadow 
had two cows, two donkeys with cart and sad- 
dles and a white mare, "Fatima," that carried 
the father of the home and the Burgomaster of 
Rysenburg to his daily tasks. 

Guido's favorite pets were the two colts, 
''Hector" and "Sylvan." He had also rabbits, 
geese, ducks, chickens, and a most gorgeous 
peacock and hen. Nor must the faithful watch- 
dog "Castor," which on one occasion when 
Guido was absent, went out and searched for 
him two days and returned home disconsolate, 
be forgotten. On one of the branches of the 
large English walnut-tree there was a swing. In 
the boathouse, which was roomy enough for all 
the children to get into, there was a rowboat. 
As a Dutch rural home would hardly be complete 
without a stork, there was on the top of the two 
high elms at the side of the house a stork's nest. 
As sure as March returned, so did the storks, 
heralds of summer. Eight times also did the 
magic stork of fairy tale visit the home and fill 
the cradle. The Verbeeks believed in the bless- 
ings of Psalm cxxvii., and their quiver was full. 

In this home of love and affection Guido Ver- 
beck passed nearly twenty-two years of his life. 
These were "the days of heaven upon earth." 
Years afterward from Green Bay, Wisconsin, he 


Verbeck of Japan 

sent a letter to his youngest sister, giving a mem- 
ory-picture in transfiguration of the Koppel. As 
he was very fond of putting down his thoughts 
in verse his epistle took the form of sixteen 
verses of eight lines each, a verse being devoted 
to father, mother, and to each of his sisters 
and brothers. In after years, as his eye of 
memory ranged along that perspective of the past 
which had its farthest end at the Koppel, he 
wrote, "We lived like Jacob did, in the free 
Temple of Nature, enjoying the garden, the fruit, 
the flowers, with joy, on green benches between 
green hedges. And after sunset when the stars 
were sparkling, then we brothers and sisters 
went lovingly arm in arm and passed our time in 
garden, wood, or quiet arbor enjoying each 
other's happiness and God's peace. 

"The winter days we spent mostly on the ice, 
but toward evening in the cozy twilight we 
gathered around the warm stove, to enjoy with 
all our heart our Koppel happiness. Then father 
told us many a story, and we sang many good 
and favorite songs, after lamps were lit we all en- 
gaged in reading, ate apples, nuts, and pears." 

Yet this was a home without luxury, most of 
the household work being done by the inmates 
themselves. It was plain but high living. Edu- 
cated, as most Dutch boys in well-to-do families 
are, to use fluently and exactly the four languages, 
Dutch, English, French, and German, Guido Ver- 
beck was able all his life long to use these freely. 
He chose one or the other, as he desired, for the 


The Koppel 

particular purpose of conversation, business, de- 
votion, or the expression of the heart's deepest 
feelings. For this last, he always employed Ger- 
man. In after life it was a puzzle to Guido Ver- 
beck that some people with very little culture 
could put on great airs, because perchance they 
might have a little money or employ servants. 

In after life one who knew Verbeck of Japan 
by daily intimacy wrote: "I have often heard 
Mr. Verbeck say that the Koppel spoilt him for his 
after life. In reading books of old-fashioned 
country life such as described by Jane Austen in 
her novels, and Mrs. Gaskell in Crawford, I have 
often heard him remark how much they reminded 
him of the social life in Zeist in his childhood. 

" He had a sweet and gentle attractiveness that 
babies and all animals and birds found irresistible. 
He loved children and was happy in their com- 
pany. He could entertain them with charming, 
old-fashioned little fables and stories he had 
heard in his boyhood. He condemned severely 
cruelty to animals, and said that in his family the 
children had been taught from infancy just how 
to handle and treat domestic animals. He often 
said when feeding a cat or a dog, ' We are as a 
god to these poor animals; they depend upon us 
and look up to us as we do to a deity.' His love 
of nature, and the beauties of nature, was strong. 
He loved to go out into Nature and commune 
with her, but he did not prefer a permanent 
abode in the country. As he grew older his 
sociability seemed to increase. He liked small 


Verbeck of Japan 

companies of friends, but disliked large public 
gatherings or entertainments. He enjoyed games 
of all sorts in the evening. In his own family in 
boyhood he was accustomed to pleasant social 
gatherings and evening card parties. Passion- 
ately fond of music, he was a good critic of it 
too, and delighted in finished execution. He 
was a good chess-player. He did not care for 
riding on horseback, but was extremely fond of 
watching the motions of a fine horse, and of see- 
ing trained horses perform. His father had been 
a good horseman, and in his youth he himself 
had had opportunities of riding a good deal." 

The happy years sped on golden wings. Then 
parting, sickness, and death broke up the home. 
The Koppel passed into the hands of strangers. 
After some years the grounds were turned into 
ordinary meadow land. Nothing of house or 
home now remains except a few trees and a new 
pigeon house. 

Such changes in Holland are less common than 
in a new country and the loss of his home was a 
great grief to Guido, especially, who had hoped 
to make it his own and keep his father in com- 
fort all his life. He wrote in after years, — in a 
strain not to be interpreted too literally by those 
who know little or nothing of the Fifty-first 
Psalm or "conviction of sin," "I, oh I was full 
of hopeful expectations, how I did dream of 
great and noble deeds. To me life was all beauty, 
light, and goodness, and oh! what use did I 
make of these gifts? Until to-day, they only 


The Koppel 

brought to me sin and disappointment and cares 
to those I should have supported. But thanks to 
the Father, whose earnest voice still calls me to 
His love and truth," 

So happy a childhood was not very eventful. 
Nevertheless, it is a chronic mystery how boys 
are reared. Is it not a wonder that any of them 
escape the consequences of their daring and ever 
come to mature life ? Baby boy Guido had one 
hair-breadth escape. In Holland the landscape is 
marked off by ditches instead of fences, for here 
the earth is like a sponge. When only two years 
old, Guido fell into one-of the many trenches on 
the Koppel, tumbling off the little bridge that led 
to the meadow, where his brother, with the donkey 
then was. Happily for Japan and humanity, 
the well-soused baby was picked up half frozen 
and almost drowned. Put to bed with his 
mother, he was warmed and fondled until the 
doctor arrived. 

Though Guido Verbeck's father had been born 
in Germany, and he and many of his relations 
were Lutherans, yet there was no Lutheran 
church in Zeist. Attendance at worship was al- 
ways with the Moravians among whom also were 
many relatives. The five elder Verbeck children, 
one after the other, were sent in due time to their 
uncle, a Lutheran minister in Amsterdam, to be 
instructed and confirmed, but Guido and his 
younger brother had the privilege of being con- 
firmed together in the Moravian church at Zeist 
and there admitted to the holy communion. This 


Verbeck of Japan 

was much more congenial to his taste, as from 
his infancy he had attended that church, literally 
imbibing from her bosom his missionary spirit. 

To show how nobly committed to take Jesus 
seriously and obey His commands, the Moravians 
were and are, it was no unusual thing for pupils 
in the Zeist school to have their teacher suddenly 
receive a call to go to Labrador, or Greenland, or 
the West Indies. It was also as inspiring as it 
was interesting to see and meet the veteran 
missionaries returning from their distant fields, 
often bringing a dozen children from other mis- 
sionaries with them to be taken to Germany to 
school. Thus they were to be separated from 
their parents for years. Such lives of self-denial 
made deep impressions upon the Verbeck chil- 
dren. Gutzlaff of China was especially inspiring 
to young Guido. 

As soon as they were old enough to cross 
"the ten ditches " on their way to school, they 
were sent to the Moravian Institute to be taught. 
Very happy were those school days, during 
which Guido made rapid progress in all his 
studies, especially the three languages, Dutch, 
French, and German. As many of the boarding 
scholars, both boys and girls, were English, the 
Verbeek children picked up that language, before 
they began studying it in books and the English- 
speaking children were often guests at the 
Koppel. Guido took particular care with him- 
self and younger sister to get a good pronunci- 
ation. One of his favorite sentences, oft re- 


The Koppel 

peated in order to train the tongue from slipping 
from the soft th to the hard / was this, which he 
made his sister also repeat over and over again: 
"I thrust the thistle in my side and the thorn in 
my thumb," or " Theophilus Thistle thrust three 
thousand thistles into the thick of his thumb." 
Hence it was that in after years in America, few 
people suspected that the brother and sister had 
been Hollanders. 

The Koppel was a hospitable home and many 
were the guests, both friends and strangers, as 
well as relatives from Zeist and neighboring 
cities. There was always room for more at the 
large mahogany table indoors, through the nine 
months of cool weather, or around the green 
table set out under the large old English walnut- 
tree before the house, where in summer the 
morning and evening meals were enjoyed. In- 
deed, both the Koppel and the Koppel family 
were centres of popularity. 

Every season had its attractions. The coming 
of the storks, the sweet smelling flowers, life 
under the trees, the delicious Dutch vegetables, 
the luscious berries, such as Holland only can 
produce, marked the spring and early summer. 
Then in summer and autumn, the ripening fruits, 
the baskets full of nuts, and the roasted pigeons, 
ducks, and geese were shared with city re- 
lations. In the outdoor games both young and 
old joined, while in the beautiful moonlight even- 
ings the sweet Dutch and German songs and 
music made, with a wonderful variety of other 


Verbeck of Japan 

delights, a round of enjoyment such as only can 
be found in a large family. 

The winters were no less attractive. From 
early childhood the children watched the weather 
vanes to see if the north wind would blow, so 
that they might have ice to skate on. If, after 
the ice was strong enough to hold them, the 
snow would fall to disappoint, how glad they 
were to see their faithful servant with his big 
broom clear off enough space to skate on. All 
in the family, except the mother, could glide 
over the ice on steel. They were taught and 
obliged to skate gracefully, as it was the father's 
motto, " whatsoever is worth doing at all, is 
worth doing well." In times of severe frost, 
when the rivers were frozen over, the young 
folks and sometimes the whole family would 
start out in the morning with friends and move 
gaily over many leagues of ice, returning in the 
evening '* without ever being tired." It was the 
custom with the Verbeeks to celebrate with 
plenty of fun and gifts the birthday of each one 
in the family. 

One of Guido's summer delights was in walk- 
ing. When young city cousins were staying at 
the Koppel, he made quite long expeditions. 
About two hours' tramp from Zeist, there was a 
high mound which the soldiers of Napoleon had 
reared during the French occupation. The boy 
Guido proposed a stroll thither, in order to see 
the sunrise. The lads and lassies had to start 
very early, while it was yet dark, and the high- 


The Koppel 

way was not only very lonely, but the greater 
part of it lay through gloomy woods. Yet the 
more the mystery, the more the fun. To cheer 
up his companions and beguile the time, the 
young leader proposed telling stories. These, 
whether fairy tales or extemporaneous, were in 
harmony with the environment, so that as the 
woods grew thicker and darker, the lore became 
more sober and mysterious. This made the 
young folks draw all the closer to their guide and 
protector. At last the pyramid was in sight and 
after climbing to the top, these young dwellers 
in the flat land of the European Egypt, saw the 
sunrise in all its glory. Then after rest and re- 
freshments, they reached home in time for break- 
fast, full of admiration for the courage of Guido. 

Probably no body of Christians hold more 
beautiful and impressive, albeit simple services, 
appropriate to Passion Week, than the Moravians. 
At each recurring anniversary of the Saviour's 
rising, at Zeist as at Bethlehem in Pennsylvania, 
the early morning found them at break of day, 
first in the church and then in the cemetery. 
The young hearts of the children were filled with 
peculiar joy and expectation, when the Easter 
music burst upon the air as the sun greeted their 

The happiest day of the year was the day of 
the birth of the Son of Man. After the early 
Christmas Eve service, held especially for the 
children, each of whom received a lighted candle 
and sang Hosannas in response to the choir, they 

Verbeck of Japan 

walked home full of expectations as to what 
they should find. They were never disappointed. 
There was the Christmas tree glorious with lights 
and pendant with glittering decorations. Beneath 
the tables were spread the many presents. 

Although the Verbecks at Zeist, of the male 
line, had no German blood in them and were 
true Dutch people, using the vernacular fluently 
and correctly and, when away from home, writ- 
ing to each other in Dutch, they always spoke 
German at home, for many of their relatives and 
most of the Moravian people at Zeist were Ger- 
man-speaking people. It was no smattering of 
language that the Verbecks received. Guido, the 
future translator of the Code Napoleon and of 
Bluntchli, as well as of the Book of books, mas- 
tered, also the literature of each tongue. He was 
all his life especially fond of poetry. It is no 
wonder then that Guido called German his heart 
language. Yet it was conscientiously and with 
delight that the Verbeeks often sang: 

" Wien Neerlandsch bloed in de aderen vloeit, 
Van vreemde smetten vrij." » 

Enough has already been made manifest, of 
Guido Verbeck's early home life, to show how 
therein he was grandly fitted for the amazing 
polyglot labors of nearly forty years in Japan, 
and to reveal the secret also of his resources of 

1 Whose Netherlandish blood flows in his veins, free from 
alien stain. 


The Koppel 

Guido Verbeck was born in the year 1830, sig- 
nalized by the construction of the first railway in 
Europe. This marked the beginning of a new 
era in mechanical engineering. "A few years 
later, when the time came for deciding upon a 
future profession for the boy Guido, a family 
council was called, and it was unanimously 
agreed that engineering was the 'coming pro- 
fession' and the one for which he should be 

After graduating from the Moravian School, he 
entered the Polytechnic Institute of Utrecht, com- 
ing especially under the care of Professor Grotte. 
He had a short experience in the foundry at Zeist, 
for the production of bronze, brass, and artistic 
iron work. He made also some attempts at im- 
proving the methods of coffee roasting. Prob- 
ably in his opinion, as in that of most Americans, 
the Dutch overdo the browning of the berry, even 
to blackness. Yet after all, Zeist seemed to the 
expanding ambition of the young Dutchman a 
pent-up Utica. America, the land of opportu- 
nity, beckoned and he saw and heeded. 




It was through the suggestion and invitation 
of his brother-in-law, Rev. George Van Deurs, 
backed by the Rev. Otto Tank, son of a Scandi- 
navian nobleman, who had been a Moravian mis- 
sionary in the West Indies and who was living at 
Green Bay, Wisconsin, that Guido Verbeck set 
his face toward America. Mr. Tank having mar- 
ried a wealthy Dutch lady in Zeist ^ intended with 
his means and opportunities to establish near Fort 
Howard, across the Fox river, a model town. 
Being very benevolent, he hoped to do a great 
good by helping young Hollanders to larger op- 
portunities of life. 

Guido left Holland on the 2d of September, 
1852, and was met on his arrival in New York 
by Mr. Tank who induced him, with two other 
promising countrymen of his, to go to Tank- 
town, near Green Bay, Wisconsin. They were 
to employ their talent in the foundry which Mr. 
Tank had set up with the idea of building ma- 
chinery for steamboats to help in developing the 
West. Guido's letter in Dutch written to his 

^ The Tank Home for Missionary Children at Oberlin, Ohio, 
and the Tank Library of Dutch Literature at Madison, Wis- 
consin, take their name from Mrs. Tank. 

In the Land of Opportunity 

sister Aline from Fort Howard, opposite Green 
Bay, and dated January 19th, 1853, tells of his 

"Passing through Auburn, N. Y., I spent a 
happy fortnight with Minna (his sister who lived 
there. She had left home a year before and was 
married to Mr. P. C. Van Laer.) On Saturday 
the first of November, I left Auburn for Buffalo, 
much admiring the country through which I 
passed. I was astonished to find a seaport a 
hundred miles inland, with many steamers and 
two- and three-masters." 

Waiting until the 6th of November, the young 
Dutchman got on board a steamer for Green Bay. 
After a stormy day on Lake Erie, she had to re- 
turn, starting again the following Monday, ar- 
riving at Cleveland on Thursday, leaving that 
same night, but getting into a gale that carried 
off the smoke stack and the rudder chains, leav- 
ing the vessel to drift helplessly during four days. 
With land only two miles away but without 
any possibility of reaching it, the passengers and 
officers were every moment on the lookout for 
help. To have crossed the Atlantic Ocean to be 
drowned upon a lake was a prospect that im- 
pressed Guido both solemnly and ludicrously. 
The errant steamer was finally taken in tow by 
an iron government warship and brought back 
to Cleveland. From this city, first by steamer 
and rail, and then by wagon and sleigh over the 
worst roads imaginable, the weather beaten voy- 
ager arrived on the 23d of November, very much 

Verbeck of Japan 

out of pocket, but with a warm welcome by 
Mr. Tank. 

He soon found, however, that Tanktown was 
not the place for him to stay in always. He 
writes: "I must see more of America and be 
where I can improve myself. I am determined 
to become a good Yankee." Thus early, he was 
in process of becoming an ** Americanized Dutch- 
man," a product that often in sterling qualities, 
excels the average original element in either 
Holland or America. 

This he further proved in one way, as thou- 
sands of Netherlanders and other Continental 
Europeans in England in the sixteenth and seven- 
teeth centuries did before him, and as thousands 
do now in the United States. He made his name 
quickly intelligible to American eyes as well as 
ears. Tired of repeatedly pronouncing his name 
in proper Dutch style, he changed the spelling 
from Verbeek (which sounded as Verbake) and 
made its orthography to suit English-speaking 
people. " Verbeck" was the nearest in sound to 
the original. So ''Verbeck" he continued to 
use, sacrificing history to convenience. It is cer- 
tain that the Japanese were all the more able to 
apprehend and pronounce his name because of 
the modified orthography. It is Verbeek, that is 
sculptured upon his monument in Tokio, but in 
history it is Verbeck of Japan. 

In other ways not a few, and almost invariably 
for the better, Guido became "an Americanized 


In the Land of Opportunity 

On November ist, 1853, he came to Brooklyn 
where his sister Selma was living as the wife of 
Reverend George Van Deurs. He was in hopes 
of finding something in New York more con- 
genial to his taste, but, shortly after, receiving an 
offer to go as an engineer to Helena, Arkansas, 
he accepted the offer. He went first with his 
brother-in-law to Philadelphia, spending a week 
there in seeing the wonders of that great city 
founded by the son of a Dutch mother. 

His initial letter from Helena, Arkansas, written 
on the 4th of November, 1853, shows him busily 
engaged in drawing plans of bridges and in 
making maps and various kinds of engineering 
calculations. When he saw the poor slaves, 
working in the cotton fields all day and even on 
Sundays, his growing Americanism received a 
chill. He longed for more food for the soul, 
hungered for good preaching of the gospel. He 
declared he would gladly walk twenty miles to 
hear Mr. Beecher or Dr. Wadsworth preach. He 
saw much that was genuine and inspiring in 
American religion, but he noted that much also 
was done for show. He did not enjoy the hot 
climate of Arkansas. 

The doctor warned him that when summer 
came he would be sure to get congestive fever or 
chills, but he answered by saying that before this 
should happen, he would jump on a steamer and 
escape. Nevertheless on the i8th of June the 
stalking fever reached him. He had to go to 
bed, remaining there until the 24th of July, sutTer- 


Verbeck of Japan 

ing reduction to the similitude of a skeleton. He 
sunk the little capital which he had accumulated 
in doctors' bills and nursing, yet he was very 
grateful for his recovery, for many young men 
around him had died of cholera. 

This sickness was a turning point in Guide 
Verbeck's career. As he more than once told his 
relatives, he promised God that if restored to 
health, he should consecrate his life to service in 
the missionary field. How well he kept his 
vow, all know. 

When able to walk again, he decided to return 
to Wisconsin, where his sister and brother-in- 
law were living. He was not able to leave 
Helena for Green Bay until August ist. He came 
without any formulated plans for the future, but 
largely because his sister and brother-in-law 
were anxious to have him with them. After a 
long rest, which he greatly enjoyed, he accepted 
charge of Mr. Tank's foundry, spending the 
winter of 1854 and 1855 very happily. Then 
came the call, from no earthly master, to a differ- 
ent sort of service. 

Let us now look at the other end of the earth 
and see what that service was. 

The Crimean war, which in Europe was chiefly 
confined to the shores of the Black Sea, had its 
echoes in Japanese waters, even in Nagasaki 
harbor. The French and British fleets had en- 
tered the Black Sea January, 1854, and war was 
declared late in March. Early in September, 1854, 
Rear-Admiral Sir James Sterling came to Naga- 


In the Land of Opportunity 

saki with men-of-war. Intimating that hostili- 
ties might take place in the waters of Japan he 
requested also the privilege of obtaining supplies. 
Permission was given by the Bakufu, or Yedo 
Government, to make the ports of Hakodate in 
the north and Nagasaki in the south, ports of 
call and supply. Lord Sterling remained in the 
harbor somewhat over a month, during which 
time there was intense excitement among the 
Japanese, and the Bakufu was as anxious to pre- 
vent any of their people from getting out as to 
hinder foreigners from getting in. 

To guard the coast and keep up both the policy 
of exclusion and inclusion, the daimio or baron 
of Hizen was given charge of the work of de- 
fence and surveillance. He appointed one of his 
karo, or ministers, named Murata, a brave and 
trusty officer whose title was Wakasa no Kami, 
that is, the honorary lord of Wakasa. In those 
days titles did not mean necessarily either rank, 
revenue, or office. Murata posted his troops at 
advantageous points, and set a cordon of boats 
around the harbor, so that no hungry scholar 
eager for knowledge, or student hoping to slip 
out from Japan to see the world, could break the 
blockade and get aboard the English ships. 
Japan was then like a dwarf pine-tree, laboriously 
prevented from growing, kept only as big as 
one's fist, with tap root cut and sunshine, air and 
moisture excluded or allowed only in doles. 
Neither light nor knowledge was then desired by 
the government. Nevertheless, though Deshima, 


Verbeck of Japan 

the little island in front of the city, on which a 
dozen Dutchmen were allowed to live and trade, 
was like a horn or dark lantern, it gave Hght. 
Wakasa was powerfully impressed by a picture 
of the siege of Sebastopol given him by a Dutch- 
man. He asked many questions as to the secrets 
of power possessed by Christian nations and 
whence and how they had attained such vigor. 

Wakasa frequently went out by night and day 
in a boat to inspect personally the means of de- 
fence and of guard. On one of these excursions 
he saw floating on the water a little book, which 
in type, binding, and language, was different 
from anything he had ever seen. Curiosity at 
once seized him to know what it contained. 
After much inquiry, conducted with wariness, 
one of the interpreters, able to talk Dutch and 
read words printed in European letters, told him 
that it was about the Creator of the universe, and 
Jesus, who taught His mind and truth, and that 
there was much also between its pages about 
morals and religion. All this only whetted the 
governor's desire to know the whole contents. 
He sent one of his men named Eguchi Baitei to 
Nagasaki, professedly to study medicine, but in 
reality to find out from the Dutch more of the 
book, and they told him much. When he heard 
there was a translation of this book into Chinese, 
he sent a man over to China and secured a copy. 
Murata's home was in Saga, the castle city and 
capital of Hizen, and there with the Chinese trans- 
lation he began the study of the New Testament. 


In the Land of Opportunity 

He waited patiently for the unknown teacher to 
come, who was then in America. 

The life in Green Bay was very lonely to Guide 
Verbeck in a raw country far from the home land, 
and especially after his sister had left him. Some- 
times the homesick young Hollander would bow 
his head on his desk and shed tears, as he remem- 
bered "the Koppel." Yet the exile sang songs 
of hope in the strange land. The sensitive young 
man found company with dogs and spiders, but 
not with bears. Of Mr. Tank's large dog called 
** Watch," he made a companion. The dog fol- 
lowed Guido about wherever he went. One 
afternoon as he was walking in the woods with 
Watch only, he met, when about fifteen minutes' 
distance from the house, a large bear. Mutually 
surprised, Bruin and Guido looked at each other 
for a moment, not knowing exactly what to do. 
Then the bear, seeing the dog, retreated. The 
man, believing discretion the better part of valor, 
retreated also. Both parties turning their backs 
on each other were not desirous of meeting again. 

The laws of heredity were well illustrated in 
Guido Verbeck. His mother was peculiarly fond 
of the arachnidae, and so was he. There was a 
pet spider in his room and the young exile from 
home would not allow any one to do it harm. 
Coming back from his work, he would play the 
violin, when the spider would be sure to come 
out of its hiding-place, to Guido's great amuse- 
ment. The creature seemed to enjoy the concert 
given for its own benefit. 


Verbeck of Japan 

It is written by a sacred poet '* The Lord looseth 
the prisoner. The Lord openeth the eyes of the 
blind." There is a reason why the caged bird born 
of migratory parents will beat its breast bloody 
in its attempt to obey the law of its being and fly 
northward or southward with the changing sea- 
sons. As matter of prose fact, Guido Verbeck 
was as the blind who had not yet won vision and 
as the prisoner who had not gained deliverance. 
In some such mood, as the caged eagle feels, he 
wrote from Green Bay, December 15th, 1855, 
"There is not much to communicate from these 
peculiar quarters. It is Saturday evening and the 
week's troubles are once more endured. We are 
fast striding toward the end of the year and I hope 
to enter into a better one than the last one was. 
It seems to me as if I were going backward in life 
— with its manifold relations — instead of forward, 
but perhaps I do not deserve a better fate. Oh, 
I wish I were an old man. Then I should be joy- 
ful and cheerful. I always loved the fall — the 
autumn best. I am sometimes led to think with 
Cowper — your poet friend — that ' if I were as fit 
for the other world as I am unfit for this, I would 
not change with a saint'; but God forbid that I 
should speak lightly about so serious a subject. 
I think I have lonely and dull moods as most feel- 
ing men have, and now I am in spite of all cir- 
cumstances in my low mood. I feel as if I could 
do anything, at least in some directions. . . . 
I don't make any plans for the present or the 
future and act only from momentary impulse and 


In the Land of Opportunity 

as circumstances require, but these being in a 
rather critical state it is hard telling what may 
happen. You need not be alarmed about any- 
thing, as all will end pretty well whatever may 

The question will naturally arise as to how and 
why Guido Verbeck's mind was led from his 
career as civil engineer to that of the ministry of 
the gospel, and on this subject we have not all 
the light or information which we desire. Yet 
the missionary yearning and aspiration had been 
very strong in the young man from his childhood, 
and, as we shall see, it did not need much outside 
pressure or influence to turn the channels of 
Guido Verbeck's activity. Besides, were not 
Murata's prayers for light and a teacher, heard of 
God? It is to be noted too, that the year of 
Guido Verbeck's sickness was that in which the 
American Expedition under Commodore M. C. 
Perry's peaceful armada had been dispatched to 
Japan. The news of the treaty, made between 
the government of the United States and that of 
Japan, had already reached Green Bay. After the 
happy summer of 1855 Mr. and Mrs. Van Deurs 
left Green Bay for Auburn, N. Y., the former to 
prepare himself more thoroughly for the ministry 
in this Theological School. 

The letter quoted above shows that Guido's 
mind was ready for an entire change of life. All 
that was necessary was to open the cage. Then 
the bird would fly. It required very little urging 
indeed from his brother-in-law to take the step 

67 . 

Verbcck of Japan 

that would open to him the glorious prospect of 
carrying the good news of God to lands far away. 
It required little urging from Mr. Van Deurs to 
Guido to come to Auburn to pursue the studies 
preparatory to entering the ministry. The late 
William E. Dodge was also one of the friends who 
encouraged and gladly promised aid. In due time 
the young Dutch American appeared before the 
Faculty, was examined and accepted as a student. 
Guido Verbeck enjoyed his life as a student in 
Auburn. He had also the company of his two 
married sisters who then lived in this city. He 
lived in glowing anticipation of work for God 
and man in lands afar. 

/ Having a deep rich tenor voice, he joined the 
Seminary quartette of singers. One who was a 
schoolgirl then and a busy mother now remem- 
bers the pleasure his singing gave, at her father's 
home on Thanksgiving day, 1858. Quiet in 
manner, reserved almost to shyness, he played 
his own accompaniment and forgot himself in 
giving pleasure to others. Not the least of the 
victories of Guido Verbeck throughout his life 
was the conquest of self. He overcame shyness 
when the good of others was in view. 

* One day he came from the Seminary and with 
beaming face and sweet rich voice sang the 
hymn, already, from 1841, old to Americans, 
though to him quite new, " I am a pilgrim and 
I'm a stranger." Both the singer and the song 
seemed never more in unity. 
While absorbed in study at the school of di- 

In the Land of Opportunity 

vinity, the student found exercise of his powers 
in preaching in German to the people from the 
Fatherland, who met for worship in the Seminary 
Chapel. His heart went out to a maiden, Miss 
Maria Manion, to whom he was betrothed and 
in due time married. Meanwhile at Owasco 
Outlet, a beautiful spot near Auburn, his future 
colleague, Rev. Samuel R. Brown was pastor of 
the Reformed Dutch church. This genial pioneer 
of Christian education in China had been at Can- 
ton from 1838 to 1847 in the missionary service 
of the Morrison Education Society. Having re- 
turned home on account of his wife's illness, he 
had been settled at Owasco Outlet since 1851, 
hoping for an opportunity to return to mission- 
ary work in the Far East, or, shall not we Ameri- 
cans say, our New West beyond sea ? 

Let us look again beyond the Pacific, and see 
how prayer and works wrought together, even 
while Murata waited for his teacher. Japan 
needed true Christianity. 

Nagasaki lies in the province of Hizen in the 
western part of the Kiushiu or the Island of the 
Nine Provinces. Its geographical situation makes 
it the most important port in southwestern Japan 
and the gateway from China and Korea. Not 
being easily accessible to the large open country 
beyond, it can never become a great centre of 
commerce, but must ever be an important coal- 
ing station. Near by are the coal mines and not 
many leagues away is one of the chief national 
navy yards. 


Verbeck of Japan 

Until 1568, Nagasaki was a mere fishing vil- 
lage. Then Hideyoshi wrested it from the local 
baron and made it a part of the imperial domain. 
It may be called the birthplace of Christian mis- 
sions, both of the Roman and of the Reformed 
order. The Portuguese merchants and mission- 
aries made this their centre of influence, while 
trade and conversions multiplied so that the city 
is one of great historical prominence in the story 
of Japanese Christianity. Early in the seven- 
teenth century, the representatives of southern 
Europe were driven away and the Dutch were 
ordered to leave the island of Hirado and their 
factory there and come to Fore Island or Deshima 
in front of Nagasaki. Out in the bay, and in 
sight of the city, at the entrance of the long land 
locked harbor, is Pappenburg, from which, in 
1643, after the uprising at Shimabara, the native 
Christians were, according to tradition, driven 
into the sea. As "geography is half of war," so 
also has it much to do with shaping of mission 
work in every land. Hence the rebirth of Chris- 
tianity, this time not of the Roman but of the 
Germanic type, was at Nagasaki also. From the 
city on the Long Promontory, the call for mis- 
sionaries was first sent to America, and at this 
city they first arrived. The origin of the missions 
is thus stated in The Life and Letters of S. Wells 
Williams, p. 284, by himself: 

"I was much impressed with what Mr. Don- 
ker Curtius, the Dutch envoy, who had just 
signed a treaty, then said: that the Japanese 


In the Land of Opportunity 

officials had told him they were ready to allow 
foreigners all trading privileges if a way could be 
found to keep opium and Christianity out of the 
country. There were also then at Nagasaki (on 
the United States Steamship Minnesota), Rev. Mr. 
E. W. Syle and Chaplain Henry Wood, and we 
three agreed to write to the directors of the Epis- 
copal, Reformed, and Presbyterian Mission Boards, 
urging them to appoint missionaries for Japan 
who could teach the people what true Christianity 
was. Within the coming year we all had the 
pleasure of meeting the agents of these three so- 
cieties in Shanghai." 

In a word, these three Christian men saw that 
it was simply ignorance, pure and simple, on the 
part of a Japanese governor to consider Chris- 
tianity an evil on a par with opium. They re- 
solved then and there to have the Christianity 
founded on an open Bible brought into the coun- 
try. One agreed to write to the Episcopal, the 
other to the Presbyterian, and the other to the 
Reformed Church in America, urging them to 
send missionaries to Japan. 

When the letter of Dr. S. Wells Williams 
reached New York, the Board of Foreign Missions 
of the Reformed Church in America, true daughter 
of the church in the Netherlands, began to con- 
sider their duty in the matter. The appeal from 
Japan was presented to the monthly concert of 
prayer for the spread of the gospel, held in Feb- 
ruary, 1859, in the now vanished South Reformed 
church edifice at the corner of Fifth avenue and 



Verbeck of Japan 

Twenty-first street. '* As the Japanese had long 
been friendly to the Hollanders, and were now 
well disposed toward the Americans, the Re- 
formed Church of America, representing both 
Hollanders and Americans, was above all others 
the church to carry the gospel to this nation of 
thirty millions of souls." Two elders of this 
South Reformed church agreed to give each eight 
hundred dollars annually for the support of a 
missionary in Japan, and the church as a church 
agreed to support a third. The board thankfully 
accepted the offer and began to look for brave 
and true men who must be willing to go into the 
caissons, as it were, to work quietly and almost 
unknown for years, and probably without any 
signs of success. One medical and two clerical 
missionaries, one of whom must be an "Ameri- 
canized Dutchman " were needed. Even before 
the secretary had secured a dollar or begun to 
sweep the horizon for the right men as pioneers, 
Dr. S. R. Brown's offer to go came and even then 
he was inquiring for a companion. 

Let ' ' The Missionary Journal of Guido Verbeck " 
in his own handwriting tell how the *' American- 
ized Dutchman " was sought, found and sent. 

'* About the middle of January, 1859, Rev. Mr. 
Charles Hawley, D. D., of the First Presbyterian 
church, Auburn, first told me that an Ameri- 
canized Dutchman was looked for by the Re- 
formed Dutch Church, to go as a missionary to 
Japan. About a week after Mr. Hawley had rec- 
ommended me to Dr. Scudder, Rev. S. Brown 


GuiDo AND Maria Verbeck. 

In the Land of Opportunity 

came to see me on the same subject, and on the 
22d January told me I was invited to join him 
in a visit to New York before the Reformed Dutch 
Missionary Board. On the 20th I had sent a let- 
ter to Dr. Isaac Ferris, corresponding secretary, 
and on Friday, the 28th, went to New York with 
Mr. and Mrs. BrownT/ On Saturday I went on to 
Philadelphia and returned with George Van 
Deurs to New York on Monday, 31st January, 
when we had a meeting of the board at 3 p. m. 
On my return to New York, I stopped at Mr. 
William E. Dodge's, George with the son of Mr. 
Doremus. George returned on Tuesday, and I 
returned to Auburn on Thursday, 3d February. 

" Under date of i6th February I received the ap- 
pointment by Dr. Ferris with directions for ordi- 
nation, etc. 

''On the 22d of March I was licensed and or- 
dained an evangelist by the Presbytery of Cayuga, 
at the Second Presbyterian church, at 1 130 and 7 
o'clock p. M. Sermon by Dr. Condit, charge by 
Dr. Hall. Many of the Reformed Dutch clergy 
were present, and some took part in the exercises 
of the day. 

"On the next day at eleven o'clock I was re- 
ceived as a member of the Reformed Dutch 
classis of Cayuga. From the 28th to the 31st of 
March I was at Albany to secure my American 
citizenship from the legislature,"^ which he 

> A letter from the deputy secretary of state, June 6, 1900, 
states that « this office has no records showing anything relative 
to the application of Rev. Guido F. Verbeck to secure Amer- 

Verbeck of Japan 

found could not be done. So he went forth, a 
citizen of no state. 

Thus for one night, Guido Verbeck was a 
Presbyterian minister. The classis of Cayuga, 
named after the queen jewel in the tiara of lakes 
that adorns the Empire State, covered a region 
rich not only in Iroquois and Colonial lore, but 
famous for the number of Christian missionaries 
in that glorious number, already in the thousands, 
sent from New York, including J. L. Nevius and 
S. Wells Williams, born and reared within its 
borders. With his betrothed, communion was 
enjoyed at the Sand Beach church at Owasco 
Outlet. Bidding farewell to his German congrega- 
tion, and to professors and friends, he left Au- 
burn, April 15. A large party of students and 
friends wafted good-bye to the pioneers. In 
Philadelphia, on Monday, April 18, at 11 a. m., 
Guido Verbeck and Maria Manion were united in 
marriage by Rev. George Van Deurs. The bride 
of 1859 became for nearly forty years the devoted 
wife, and is yet living, the honored and beloved 
mother of the eight children born to bless 
the union. A bridal trip was made up the 
lovely Schuylkill Valley, then just putting on the 
first green tints of springtime, to Morristown, 
near the historic Valley Forge. The world re- 
members the camp and the sufferings of 1778, 
even though they know not the city. 

ican citizenship. We have examined the State and assembly 
journals and documents of 1859 and also the session laws and 
find no reference to Mr. Verbeck." 

In the Land of Opportunity 

The missionary party, in which were Verbeck 
and his wife, sailed from New York in the ship 
Surprise, at noon of Saturday, May 7, 1859. They 
were bound for Shanghai, depending on the wind 
to waft them. Rev. S. R. Brown, D. D., who 
won an honored name as missionary, translator, 
and teacher, whose Japanese pupils have nobly 
adorned their country's history, and Duane B. 
Simmons, M. D., who made an imperishable 
mark in the annals of medical science in Japan 
and in the invaluable study of Japanese private 
law, continued by Professor Wigmore, with their 
wives, were also in the party. 

*'How well I remember the sailing of the good 
ship 'Surprise,' May, 1859, from New York 
harbor, with flags flying, and amid firing of can- 
non when the first missionaries to Japan, three 
men and their wives, set sail on an embassage of 
mercy to the far-famed Zipangu! How well I 
remember the youthful face and blonde hair of 
the tall, sedate, and thoughtful Guido F. Ver- 

So spoke his co-laborer. Rev. James H. Ballagh, 
on March 12, 1898. Ashe said further: ''Alas, 
that youthful form after exhausting labors, 
. . , is to-day to be borne by devout men to 
his peaceful resting-place in 'The Evergreen 
Mount,' Awoyama! " 

Nagasaki is in our day distant, in time, from 
New York, about three weeks. Then the voy- 
age required months. In thirty-one days they 
crossed the equatorial line, and on June 30 were 


Verbeck of Japan 

at the cape of Good Hope. They celebrated the 
4th of July and reaching Anjier in Java on the 28th, 
spent two days on land. Here they found a per- 
fect paradise and enjoyed the luscious fresh fruit. 
It was not until the 25th of August, on account of 
baffling winds, that they stepped on shore at 
Hongkong, where they met the Rev. William 
Ashmore, now the veteran Baptist missionary, 
whose face and form at the Ecumenical Council 
of Missions in New York in May, 1900, those 
present remember so well. 

On account of the storms and the ship's need- 
ing repairs they were detained a whole month, 
at Hongkong, during which time Guido Ver- 
beck visited the Scotch, German, and the English 
missionaries and also the cathedral of the Church 
of England. Those whom he admired most of 
all were the German missionaries, Genaehr and 
Winnes, of whom he wrote: 

" Oh ! what a difference between their warmth, 
love and sympathy, and that of the English or 
American! I see anew that if a German is a 
Christian, he is one with his whole soul. The 
Germans here are also considered the hardest 
workers, the plainest livers, and they count some 
of the best Chinese scholars. The great diffi- 
culty is here, the hardness of the language. It 
takes a very long time of dry hard studying be- 
fore one is able to preach in Chinese, sometimes 
many years. Yesterday I saw a German mis- 
sionary with a sword cut across his face which 
he received of a Chinese who tried to strike off 


Messrs. F, Verbeck, S. R. Brown, 
AND D. B. Simmons. 

In the Land of Opportunity 

his head last year, in order to secure the one 
hundred dollars premium which the governor of 
Canton had promised to pay for the head of 
every foreigner, but he was very providentially 
saved. Another one was attacked by an in- 
furiated mob of about two hundred Chinese and 
had to bargain a whole day (with swords over 
his head and knives at his heart) for his life, but 
he beat them down from four thousand dollars 
to one hundred and forty dollars. He was 
rescued by an English steamer, but still he hon- 
estly paid the price. That was brother Winnes. 
But now peace and safety are established." 

At Shanghai on the 17th of October, Guido 
Verbeck met Rev. C. E. Bridgman, Rev. E. W. 
Syle, S. Wells Williams and Chaplain Henry 
Wood of the United States Steamship Powhatan 
— all names of fragrant memory. After consulta- 
tion it was thought most expedient that Dr. 
Brown and Dr. Simmons, leaving their families 
at Shanghai, should go on to Kanagawa at once. 
Finding a vessel sailing thither on October 21st, 
they set sail, arriving there October 21st, being 
met, welcomed, and taken in by Dr. j. C. Hepburn 
in his house, or rather his temple. Strangely 
enough the government authorities and the priests 
themselves opened the temples for Christian 
missionaries to lodge in. Drs. Brown and Sim- 
mons soon had houses prepared to receive their 
families. Leaving Shanghai on the 17th of De- 
cember, the wives joined their husbands on the 
29th of the same month, and so the right wing, 


Verbeck of Japan 

as it were, of the Reformed Church mission took 
position in Japan. 

In order that the missionaries should not all so 
crowd into one place as to alarm the Japanese at 
the invasion, Mr. Verbeck thought of staying 
first in Shanghai for a while through the winter 
to study the language, expecting to go to Nag- 
asaki in the spring. However, on taking coun- 
sel of Dr. Williams and others, he decided to go 
at once. 

On November 4th, leaving his wife behind and 
going ahead as a prospector and pioneer, he 
reached Nagasaki harbor on the night of Novem- 
ber 7th. The next morning after a journey from 
New York of one hundred and eighty-seven 
days, he beheld the land of promise. Everlasting 
Great Japan, and touched its sacred soil with his 




Thus far we have looked at the young mis- 
sionary following the lead of the Divine Spirit 
and making his home in that corner of the em- 
pire of Japan which had thus far been best known 
to the world at large. Until the days of Marco 
Polo, the existence of the Japanese Archipelago 
was almost as unknown to European people as 
was that of Australasia. Except to the geogra- 
phers and map-makers, it had only a shadowy 
existence, for the European peoples had not only 
not come into full geographical consciousness of 
their own continent, but were ignorant of the as 
yet unveiled outlines of Africa and Asia. Hence 
Zipangu, or Japan, was almost as mythical to the 
average European, as were the Antilles or the 
Seven Cities of Cibola, and to many even less 

As Marco Polo was dubbed "Signor Million" 
because he used that term in arithmetic so often 
and was ridiculed therefor, so Mendez Pinto, 
who first from Europe, in 1539, landed in Japan 
was punningly dubbed the ''Mendacious" Pinto. 
After Pinto, there followed about fourscore years 
of mercantile and missionary contact between the 
Iberian peninsula and Japan. During this period, 

Verbeck of Japan 

Christianity of a certain type had great vogue in 
the islands. The number of adherents including 
prominent men and local rulers was very great, 
possibly a million, and these ** converts" were 
found not only in central, southern, and south- 
western Japan, but even up in the north as far as 
Sendai. The labors of the Jesuit Fathers, in- 
augurated by Xavier, seem prodigious. The his- 
tory of these fourscore years (i 540-1620) is very 
wonderful and the details of organization, and 
later of disaster and martyrdom, are sufficiently 
interesting. As to the material and tangible suc- 
cess, as of the mustard seed becoming a great 
tree with much lodging of a variety of fowls in 
the branches, with the noises of report and re- 
joicing, there seems to be no lack of evidence 
and the literature on the subject is large and full. 
Yet on the other hand when we come to in- 
quire into the dynamic influence of the Portuguese 
and Spanish missions in Japan in the sixteenth 
century, we naturally ask how far was the nation 
leavened. What transformations were made? 
Did Christianity, as then presented, influence the 
Japanese people in their literature, art, or ethics, 
or in those things which make the Japanese man 
what he is ? Surely, the phenomenal in mis- 
sions, though temporarily seeming of vast im- 
portance, is as nothing compared to the renovat- 
ing and transforming power which true Chris- 
tianity, though hid as leaven, exerts. Though 
the martyr roll of Japan is a shining one, and 
though there were here and there attempts made 

A Glance at Old Japan 

to resist unto blood, notably in the insurrection 
at Shimabara in 1637, yet it seems wonderful that 
after such triumphs of Christianity throughout 
the islands, so little should have remained to in- 
fluence the national life, that the native extant 
records and monuments and relics should be so 
scanty, that the mark on the thought and intellect 
of the people should be so slight. 

After critical research and even at the risk of 
being immediately considered bigoted and sec- 
tarian, one must come to the conclusion that the 
religion preached by Portuguese and Spaniards in 
Japan was more of the church and the corpora- 
tion, than of the Heavenly Father and of His Christ. 

Let us realize what the situation was, as 
known and unknown to the young missionary, 
Guido Verbeck, in the early sixties, when the 
Civil War was raging in the United States, and 
the war clouds were gathering in Japan. What 
was the religious and political situation ? 

Japan at this time had about thirty million souls 
within her borders. The population had stood 
stationary for over a century. The suppression 
of Christianity, the expulsion of foreigners from 
southern Europe, the confinement of the Dutch 
to Nagasaki and the limitation of all intercourse 
with outsiders to that port, the exclusion of all 
foreign ideas and influences and the inclusion of 
the people within an order of things expected to 
be permanent, was contemporaneous with the 
rise of the Tokugawa family, as founded by 
lyeyasu, in 1604. The development and con- 

Verbeck of Japan 

solidation of feudalism went on with its centre in 
the Tycoon at Yedo. While the nominal foun- 
tain of authority was at Kioto, the sword and 
purse were at Yedo. The power of the Tycoon 
at Yedo weakened according to* the distance from 
the capital. In the far off provinces, the barons 
or daimios had practically full control of their 
hereditary domains. In some, as in Satsuma, no 
agent of the Yedo government was allowed to 
enter. The great island of Yezo in the north 
was occupied only on the southern edge, the in- 
terior being practically unknown. The Kuriles 
were but rarely visited by government officers 
and occupied only by a few fishermen or sol- 
diers. Saghalin, though nominally part of Japan, 
rarely saw a Japanese face. Further south, the 
Bonin and other outlying islands were unclaimed 
and uncared for, except as used for places of 
hopeless exile for political offenders. In the 
south the Luchu or Riu Kiu Islands received an 
annual visit of one junk from Satsuma, to receive 
the marks of nominal vassalage. Formosa was 
the far-off land, shadowy in mythology and 
known in fairy tales. There centuries before, 
Japanese buccaneers had won fame and glory. 
Indeed Japanese pirates, during the three cen- 
turies before lyeyasu, had been making them- 
selves lively and famous from Tartary to Siam. 
It is no wonder that as late as 1894, a Chinese 
emperor should, even in an official document 
speak of the Wo-jin, or "dwarf pirates" of 
Japan that had for centuries impressed them- 

A Glance at Old Japan 

selves on the Chinese imagination, especially in 
the nursery, very much as the Normans in Europe 
had upon their minds of civilized people. On 
both continents the raids left their mark in many 
a blackened ruin and devastated and depopulated 
coast, as well as in litany, in nursery tale, and the 
frightening of rebel children by their maternal 
suzerains. Traditionally Korea belonged to 
Japan, for myth and legend, reinforced by in- 
vasions, notably the great one of 1592- 1597, de- 
clared the peninsular kingdom to be but an 
appanage of Nippon. The country alleged to be 
of Japanese ownership was not only the land of 
tigers, of art, of wealth, and the fatherland of 
Buddhism, but also of the exploits of Kato and 
Konishi. Korea, in Japanese eyes, existed only 
by the suffrances and mercy of Japan. 

Nevertheless at that one place of Nagasaki, the 
single window and gateway through which 
Japan looked upon the world, there was suffi- 
ciency of government, with constant scrutiny. 
The '* walls had ears" and the velvet paw had 
claws within it. Here was the one place of 
foreign intercourse, trade, and traffic with Europe 
and China. The Dutch ships brought news, 
science, and apparatus, as well as material com- 
modities from Europe, germs for the soil both 
earthly and spiritual. The Chinese junks made it 
possible for an occasional Japanese to slip away 
to China, or for Chinese to bring books. In the 
masonry of the Tycoonal system these messen- 
gers of the sea were as birds that dropped seed, 

Verbeck of Japan 

which growing up with roots, threatened to dis- 
locate the structure. Despite all the contempt 
and ridicule of the Deshima Dutchman, power- 
fully exaggerated through the jealousy and covet- 
eousness of other and envious traders, these men 
taught the Japanese seekers after wisdom their 
language and science. Already in the empire, 
unknown to Mr. Verbeck or to other foreigners, 
there were hundreds of men of inquiring spirit, 
seeking knowledge through the Dutch language, 
practicing medicine according to the European 
principles and even seeking the light of Chris- 
tianity through Dutch books, Chinese versions of 
the New Testament, the whole Bible, or such 
publications of Christian missionaries in China as 
were brought over from time to time by the 
Chinese sailors. There were also men, probably 
already thousands in number, politically opposed 
to the duarchy or division of power between 
Yedo and Kioto, who were bitterly hostile to the 
Tycoon. These were eagerly looking, awaiting 
the day when there should be revolution and 
change, through the overthrow of the Yedo gov- 
ernment. They could not foresee just how this 
was to come, and in most cases the idea of each 
clansman was that his own clan should be para- 
mount, even as that of the Tokugawa clan had 
become supreme and held power during two 
centuries or more. In many ways the desire for 
more light was showing itself and men were 
eager to know and possess the secrets of power 
held by the nations of the West. 


A Glance at Old Japan 

In alliance with the political usurpation in 
Yedo, for historically, we can call it nothing less, 
was the great Buddhist hierarchy and popular 
religion. Although divided up into sects and 
denominations, beside which even American 
Christianity has no need to blush, yet, priestcraft 
is one and the same thing the world over, for the 
priest stands by the fact, the thing done, the 
power invested and yielding revenue, and cares 
little for the truth, and especially for new forms 
and institutions. In Japan the Buddhist priests 
were united against any foreign religion that 
would curtail their power and they raged against 
a form of life like that of Christianity which, in 
its normal development, does away with priest- 
craft. To them was committed, by the govern- 
ment in Yedo, a business very much akin to that 
which within slavery's domain, in the old United 
States, was done by blood hounds and slave 
drivers. The system of inquisition in Japan, 
which ended in torture, imprisonment, crucifixion, 
and empalement of Christians on the bamboo 
cross, had been in vogue for centuries. By long 
experience in personal cunning, treachery, and 
power of espionage, many of the Buddhist 
priests had become experts in tracking out ''be- 
lievers." Furthermore, with the abundant ma- 
terial of fanaticism among men who to traditional 
erudition joined the frightful ignorance of insular 
hermits, there were always plenty of them ready 
to turn assassins, and to kill the foreigners, think- 
ing thereby they were doing the gods service. 


Verbeck of Japan 

Soon the humble missionary scholar in his 
home, and the armed escort of the diplomatist, 
were to feel the presence both of the spy in the 
pay of united Japanese Caiaphas and Herod, and 
of the sword unsheathed by the order of Church 
and State. Thus together, like the ill assorted 
ox and ass drawing the plow, were to be found 
in Mr. Verbeck's classes, the sincere and admir- 
ing student eager for knowledge and the traitor- 
priest as destitute of principle as was his skull 
of hair. In the intellectual history of Japan, the 
priest first and then the samurai or gentlemen 
have been the leaders and usually the sole in- 
tellectual workers, furnishing the noblest and the 
vilest characters. With them is associated all 
mental initiative and monopoly of literary culture, 
the facts of the case being much the same in 
1900 as A. D. 1600. 

For a thousand years the Japanese have had 
writing and literature, intellectual culture, and 
mental discipline. From the time of the revival 
of learning in the last half of the seventeenth 
century, the samurai, or literally, servants of the 
emperor, have nearly monopolized intellectual 
culture. Bred alike to letters and to arms, the 
samurai was the gentleman and the soldier, in 
one person. Not as in China, separated in his 
interests, the military from the civil functions of 
life, he was equally at home with the sword and 
the pen, was trained to bodily exercises and ac- 
complishments and to the powers and delights 
of scholarship. The samurai families comprised 

A Glance at Old Japan 

about one-tenth of the whole people. In a word, 
they formed an element large enough and pow- 
erful enough to swing the nation out of the 
ancient grooves of thought and policy into the 
new road and upon the new levels of the world's 
life in the nineteenth century. It was and it is 
the samurai, from whose ranks come the warmest 
friends and the bitterest enemies of Christianity. 

Yet, while the impartial critic must award all 
due praise to the Japanese intellect and the rec- 
ord of its power and achievements, as manifested 
in a thousand years of its literature, yet the total 
output of the national thought is not of a kind or 
quality to be ranked either with the great nations 
of antiquity, or with the work of the leading 
European nations. It is very certain that the first 
intellectual attacks of Japanese writers against 
Christianity were not of a kind to command re- 
spect for the Japanese intellect. They seem even 
now more often like the work of children than 
of reasonable men. 

Guido Verbeck was destined to be the target 
of one of the first shafts sped by an archer in the 
ambush of his own garden. 

As soon as diplomatic relations had been es- 
tablished by the American envoy, Mr. Townsend 
Harris, and Kanagawa had nominally, and 
Yokohama really, become a place of foreign 
trade and residence, July i, 1859, it seemed as 
though the signal was given for the long-wait- 
ing haters of the Tycoon and of foreigners to 
begin their work with torch, spear, and sword. 

Verbeck of Japan 

The breach between the emperor and the Shogun, 
between Yedo and Kioto, the court and the camp, 
widened daily. The emperor and Kioto court 
having refused to sign the treaties admitting 
foreigners, the regent, li, took the responsibiHty 
and signed the Harris treaty. Then, after the 
death of lyesada, the Shogun, assuming high 
power at the Yedo court, li secured the election 
of his own nominee and punished severely the 
men who had favored the expulsion of foreigners. 

Such severity developed the assassin and the 
incendiary, as heat and moisture make the weeds 
spring up. Since the old-style patriots — "the 
frogs in a well" — considered the emperor per- 
sonally insulted and that such gods as the Japa- 
nese had, were angry, the cry was raised *' Honor 
the Mikado and expel the barbarians." To a 
majority of the Japanese clansmen, who in the 
quantity of light enjoyed were little better than 
moles, a European or American was a ** hairy- 
faced barbarian," fit only to die inujini (in a 
dog's place). 

So long as these men, so eager to try their 
swords on foreigners, drew their rice and pay 
from the feudal masters, they were under con- 
trol. Now, however, thousands of turbulent 
clansmen severed their connections of loyalty, 
ceased to be salaried gentlemen and became 
tramps, that is, ronin or wave men. While 
among these wandering and unsettled foreigner- 
haters there were the brave and true sons of 
honor, the majority of them were arrant cowards, 


A Glance at Old Japan 

assassins, sneaks, and ruffians, morally no better 
than the roughs and toughs of Manhattan Island. 
It is true that in the Old Japan, which Ver- 
beck aided so powerfully to destroy, the people 
often glorified assassins and murderers, hailing 
them as martyrs, and piling flowers upon their 
graves. But this was nothing wonderful in a 
civilization founded on the morals of Confucius, 
which forbid one to live under the same heaven 
with the murderer of his father or lord, and 
where blood revenge and the vendetta were 
recognized as regular and popular forms of pro- 
cedure. Nevertheless we note in all the days of 
the barbarian-expelling temper of Japan no 
mobs, as in China, but only individual instances 
of violence. 



It was on a charming moonlight night that 
the vessel bearing Guido Verbeck steamed up 
the beautiful bay of Nagasaki, so rich and so 
sombre in its memories of the past. Contenting 
himself with only a partial view of the city and 
surrounding hills from the deck, his heart was 
full of gratitude that having passed the many 
dangers of the deep he was on the eve of per- 
mission to set foot on the long longed-for land. 
He wrote: 

''With the first dawning of the day I cannot 
describe the beauty that is before me. I have 
never seen anything like it before in Europe or 
America; suppose yourself to be on deck of a 
steamer within a port as smooth as a mirror, 
about sixteen neat vessels scattered about here 
and there, before you that far-famed Deshima, 
and around it and beyond, an extensive city with 
many neat white roofed and walled houses, and 
again all around this city lofty hills, covered with 
evergreen foliage of great variety, and in many 
places spotted by temples and houses. Let the 
morning sun shine on this scene, and the morning 
dews gradually withdraw like a curtain, and 
hide themselves in the more elevated ravines of 


In Nagasaki : First Impressions 

the surrounding mountain, and you have a very 
faint picture of v^hat I sav^." 

With the Japanese servant of the United States 
Consul, he quickly sought out the tw^o young 
American Episcopal missionaries, of about his 
own age, who had been in China several years, 
but had been transferred to Japan the previous 
summer. They were both bachelors— the Rev. 
John Liggins, English by birth but educated in 
an American Seminary, and the Rev. M. C. Wil- 
liams, afterward the beloved bishop of Japan. 
They offered the newcomer, for whom they had 
long been waiting, shelter and hospitalities. 
Registering under the United States Consul's 
protection, though as yet Mr. Verbeck was not 
a naturalized American citizen, he next sought 
for a house. Not finding one he desired in a 
foreign quarter, he tried to get one among the 
Japanese, who, though they did not absolutely 
refuse to furnish shelter, did all they could to 
weary out the stranger by vague promises and 
delays, so that he had to run about from place to 
place like a much-befooled apprentice among 
journeymen old in the craft of deception. He 
finally rented a very good house for six months 
at sixteen dollars a month. 

There was no animosity felt against the new 
American because he was a missionary, for 
scarcely one of the natives knew that he was one. 
Furthermore the feeling of the lower classes 
toward Christianity was that of fear, rather than 
hatred. The fact is, at that time, the Japanese 


Verbeck of Japan 

considered their civilization finished. Time was 
a drug in the market. In their eyes there was no 
hurry, nor any need of it. They were uncertain 
and suspicious of all foreigners. Above all, they 
were in no haste, while the Americanized Dutch- 
man was in earnest. Investing about twenty- 
five dollars in repairs, including cash for fifty 
panes of window-glass to take the place of paper 
pasted over lattice work, and setting carpenters 
and wall-paperers at work, he soon had a place 
fit to live in. He was amused, as I have heard 
him tell, in recognizing on the lips of the 
Japanese, several Dutch words, such as briki for 
(blick, tin), giyaman (diamond), karata (chart or 
card), the names of medicines, rauda (laudanum) 
and various Spanish and Portuguese words, such 
as andon (lantern), bidoro (vidrio, glass), castira 
(sponge cake or Castile cake), shabon (sapon, 
soap), etc. 

He ordered some foreign furniture made by 
native joiners. The product of their deft fingers, 
very cheap and exquisitely beautiful to the eye, 
went so quickly to pieces, through shrinkage and 
scamp work, that no doubt the young Dutchman 
often longed for one plain honestly made kitchen 
chair from home. Besides the tendency of pretty 
looking but flimsy things to divide and collapse, 
he found that Japanese servants are not in all 
respects delightful. 

Soon a nice little study was fitted up, together 
with a good sleeping-room, and there was even 
a prospect that by summer there would be two 


In Nagasaki: First Impressions 

good second floor bedrooms. He wrote "Our 
kitchen is large and clean, with Japanese cook- 
ing apparatus. The whole house is beautifully 
matted with the celebrated Japanese mats, 
which spring as you walk on them." On the 
5th of December he moved into his new quar- 
ters, at the foot of the hill, his two fellow- 
missionaries being at the top. He wrote ** Both 
our houses are situated about a mile from the 
foreign settlements and at the opposite side of 
the city so that we live very undisturbedly, the 
only thing reminding us of Europe or America, 
being the shipping which we see from our 

Having written to his wife, she arrived from 
Shanghai on the 29th day of December, on the 
same date that the other ladies reached Kana- 
gawa, so that the mission of the Reformed 
Church in America was fairly established in 
Japan just before the close of 1859. They all 
spent a happy Christian New Year on their new 
field of labor. 

The young missionary's birthday fell this year, 
i860, on the Japanese New Year's Day, when the 
streets were bright with color and happy humanity 
showed that it was a time of rejoicing. The 
weather was very lovely, but while the new- 
comer enjoyed the new land and people, his 
memories went back to **the Koppel " and to his 
friends in America. 

Housekeeping was begun with a Chinese 
servant man, who did all the cooking and 


Verbeck of Japan 

housework at three dollars a month, boarding 
himself, with a Japanese boy, to help in the 
kitchen and go errands at a little less than half 
that amount. The new missionary housekeeper 
wrote : **We could keep two Japanese for one 
Chinaman, but the Chinamen are excellent cooks 
and workers and faithful, whereas Japanese are 
ignorant of our way of cooking and living, 
besides being slow, dishonest, and very inde- 
pendent. Yet next year, when I can speak with 
them, I intend to try them without Chinamen." 
This Mr. Verbeck did, employing Japanese serv- 
ants all his life of thirty-nine years of active 
service in Japan, and finding many of them nobly 
faithful and honest. 

A letter on the subject of domestics opens a 
window into the morality of the Japan of the 
early sixties. Let us hope that there has been 
improvement since. 

"In your before-last letter you ask something 
in regard to the source from which missionaries 
were to get their servants, as mentioned by Mr. 
Alcock. 1 do not remember the place in Alcock, 
but it does not refer to us. We get our servants, 
usually young boys and girls, from among the 
people, without the least difficulty or hindrance. 
As a safeguard against pilfering, we usually get 
our teacher or other person of some standing to 
go security for the servants. Generally speaking, 
they make good servants, soon learn to cook for- 
eign fashion, and are fond of children. At Kana- 
gawa, I think, servants are obtained by application 


In Nagasaki: First Impressions 

at the Custom House, where a register is kept of 
them, and security given. It is possible that some 
of the missionaries wishing to get female serv- 
ants were directed by the natives to public houses 
as the right source, but I never heard of such a 

"When Messrs. Liggins and Williams first \ 
came here, visitors would sometimes express their 
wonder that these brethren did not " keep girls " 
as others do. My being married precluded any 
native speculations of this kind. As a specimen 
of native notions on this subject: — the other day 
I walked alone along a country path, and fell in 
with a pretty respectable looking woman, who 
with another woman (a kind of servant) and two 
young girls was busily gathering tea-leaves from 
the bushes by the wayside. After talking a few 
words with them and picking a handful of the 
tender leaves for their basket, I asked the woman 
whether those young girls were her daughters. 
She answered in the affirmative, and immediately 
proposed that I might have the elder daughter, 
adding however that perhaps I would think her 
too young, as she was only just thirteen. And 
this she said quite seriously and in the presence 
of the whole company! And this is nothing 
uncommon in town or country! Oh, what de- 
gradedness, what moral gloom! Christian coun- 
tries are not quite free from similar immoralities; 
but it is in darkness, a work of darkness and 
shame. Here vice stalks about at noonday; the 
people seem to be literally blinded and hardened, 


Verbeck of Japan 

and all moral discernment lost! Of all the com- 
mandments, the fifth is the only one that is 
strictly inculcated and observed, and it is no 
doubt on this account, that their days have been 
thus long upon the land which the Lord their 
God gave them. 

''But thanks be to God that the gospel will 
surely restore this people to holiness. Just as 
there was a proper * fullness of time ' for Israel 
when the Saviour and His gospel should be 
imparted to them, so I suppose every other 
people has had and still has its proper ' fullness 
of time.' For Japan, this comes late, but not 
too late, and no doubt it is to be now; the Lord 
will hasten it in His time. And yet, with all this 
present vice and this darkness, when once sub- 
mitted to Christ, I am sure this people will be a 
'peculiar people' indeed; I think one cannot fail 
to discover in them capabilities of the highest 
order, the germ of affections most amiable, which 
the new birth will bring forth." 

One letter tells of daily diet. 

"Of eatables we have an innumerable variety 
of fish, large and small, good goat mutton (we 
always call it mutton), liver, chickens, ducks, 
and rather tough beef, all of it tolerably cheap. 
Besides we can get eggs, many kinds of vege- 
tables, especially nice sweet potatoes. Of fruit 
we have fine Japanese oranges, very cheap, per- 
simmons, pummelos, etc., etc. We can get good 
sugar, good salt, but neither milk nor butter. 
The bakers bake excellent bread, sponge cake, 


In Nagasaki: First Impressions 

and many kinds of cookies. We take three 
meals a day, about the same hours as with you." 

Mr. Verbeck thought that he had the advantage 
over the more northern port, "for Kanagawa is 
but a small place where one may be easily con- 
spicuous, and become the subject of watching 
and spying, but in this large city (of Nagasaki) 
we seem to be unnoticed among the multitude, 
and are more unmolested in our operations, be- 
sides in course of time we shall have a much 
larger field of labor among so many thousand." 

Neither Mr. Verbeck, nor others, not even 
Townsend Harris or Dr. J. C. Hepburn then fore- 
saw that the splendid city of Yokohama would 
arise on Mississippi Bay to dwarf Kanagawa. 

Nagasaki, or rather the island of Deshima in 
front of the city, had long been occupied by a 
company of Dutch merchants. Of these Mr. 
Verbeck wrote : "Of the Dutch residents at this 
place, I have only seen one or two, but am ac- 
quainted with none, nor am I very desirous of 
their or they of my acquaintance. I should in- 
deed like to be of service for good to them, but 
much rather desire to be what I am called to be 
exclusively, a missionary of Christ to the Japa- 
nese; and missionary labor, and the preparations 
for it are so different from a pastor's labors, that 
it is difficult to be pastor and missionary at once. 
This is the general opinion of missionaries in the 
field, and I find it so." 

Later he wrote of his once fellow-countrymen: 
•*The influence of the Dutch residents is not so 


Verbeck of Japan 

formidable as has been supposed abroad. Cer- 
tainly they have exerted and are still exerting an 
influence most injurious to the Christian name 
and cause; but adventurers of other nations have 
done the same here and in other places of Japan; 
and as for the Dutch opposing an American Mis- 
sion, I do not suppose they have the intention, 
influence, or power; at least I have been here 
now nearly three months, and as yet Nagasaki 
has been to me as though there were neither 
Deshima nor Dutch in it, and it may be so as 
well for the future. I should indeed rejoice to be 
of spiritual benefit to my former countrymen, 
but much more do I rejoice to be exclusively 
what I have been called to be: a messenger of 
the gospel of Christ to the Japanese." 

It is only fair, however, to state, as Mr. Ver- 
beck afterward found his grief, that it was not 
the Dutch only ^ who were either the Gallios or 
'*hostiles." No bounds of nationality marked 
off the opposers, of either the commands of 
Jesus or of those who obeyed Him. 

So in patient waiting, unable to preach the 
gospel, because dumb as to the Japanese lan- 
guage and bound by treaties and authorities 
restraining open propagation of a banned re- 
ligion, the young missionary possessed his soul 
in hope. He wrote: *'We look forward to 
years to come with warm hopes of success un- 
der God's blessing, knowing that the time must 

*For the author's estimate of the Dutchman of Deshima 
see " The Religions of Japan," pp. 363-366. 


In Nagasaki: First Impressions 

surely come when His word shall have free 
course here, and the name of Jesus shall be 
magnified, and then humanly speaking, we shall 
have a good soil to sow in, for with all their 
present heathenish darkness and practices, the 
Japanese are a vigorous people, have a good ap- 
preciation of moral excellence and are willing to 
adopt what they can be made to understand to 
be better than what they have, and are." 

It was an experience that seemed to open the 
windows of heaven into their home when, three 
days after its father's thirtieth birthday, the first 
Christian baby born in Japan since "the reopen- 
ing " of the country saw the light of the day 
amid the camphor trees and bamboo groves and 
blossoming plum trees of Nagasaki. They called 
the little stranger **Emma Japonica." The story 
of her life is soon told. Let us read it in the lan- 
guage of the father's heart. "On the 26th of 
January, [i860], we were rejoiced by a dear little 
daughter, the first Christian infant born in Japan 
since its reopening to the world. After one week 
of apparent health, and another of ailing and 
drooping, the Lord in His wisdom took her little 
soul to Himself, on the 9th inst. On the Sabbath 
before her death, I baptized our daughter, * Emma 
Japonica,' the first Christian baptism in Japan for 
centuries. Our sorrow at this sudden bereav- 
ment is deep indeed! How many hopes disap- 
pointed and prospective joys turned into mourn- 
ing! The harder to bear in a heathen wilderness 
and solitude." 

Verbeck of Japan 

The Japanese New Year's Day, on that year, 
1 86 1, which was to see our civil war break out, 
fell on the loth of February. According to na- 
tive reckoning, the event was in the era of 
Man-en, and on its first and only year, the fifty- 
seventh of the sixty year cycle. Not till 1872, 
did the Japanese adopt the Gregorian or Occiden- 
tal calendar, at which time, also, it was decided 
that there should be only one year period in each 
emperor's reign. '* The Cycle of Cathay" is no 
longer in use in Japan, though a purely senti- 
mental starting-point, based on mythology is that 
of the foundation of the Japanese empire, cor- 
responding to B. c. 660. 

His letters find him absorbed in the tedious 
and arduous work of mastering the language, 
which, he says **is as difficult as the Chinese, 
with some additional difficulties. Instead of go- 
ing to preach the gospel, you are obliged to ob- 
serve silence and almost keep it a secret what 
you are accustomed to proclaim as it were in the 
streets and from the house-tops, and then comes 
the plodding over a grammar and a dictionary 
instead. Nevertheless, I feel happy in my work, 
trusting that the fruit will come soon or late. 
Ours indeed is now to learn to labor and to 
wait." Their only visitors were good Christian 
friends among the officers on board the British 
war vessels on the China station. During mid- 
summer and indeed for several months it was 
rare for one to go out of the house between 10 
and 5 p. M., the hours being occupied in study. 


In Nagasaki: First Impressions 

In October he wrote: " A journal of my daily 
life would be as tedious, as brief to the reader 
and would run about thus: * My teacher came 
this morning; went to study till a little after 
noon; took a short recess; continued studies till 
the time for exercise arrived, and so on day by 
day, perhaps now and then a Japanese visitor, 
or somebody to get a book from the Shanghai 
or Ningpo Missionary Press, and very seldom a 
pleasant change made by a visit of some or other 
missionary brother from the neighboring field of 
China.' " 

Services of Christian worship begun by the 
Bishop of Victoria, were continued by Mr. Wil- 
liams. At first the foreigners met in the Bud- 
dhist temple, the walls resounding in the solemn 
notes of our beloved Old Hundred. Then they 
were held in a large upper room above a ware- 
house on Deshima, ''so that the first Christian 
service held on Deshima, since more than two 
centuries, are English services and held by an 
American." About this time Mr. Verbeck began 
to ''load and prime" the vanguard of the in- 
numerable army of writers who have each " per- 
petrated a book" upon Japan. Some of these 
knights of the notebook were merciless in their 
quizzing, as if Mr. Verbeck were an encyclo- 
paedia of knowledge concerning the Japanese 
and their country. 

Times were peaceable in Nagasaki as compared 
with those at Kanagawa which, like Yedo, was 
becoming a political storm centre. Mr. Verbeck 

Verbeck of Japan 

was glad that the missionary secretary and the 
Board of Missions of the Reformed Church in 
America had officially approved of his location at 
Nagasaki. It was also intimated that possibly a 
new missionary, Rev. James H. Ballagh, might 
be sent out in reinforcement. In February, 1861, 
he enjoyed a visit from that grand missionary, 
the apostle of Shantung, the Rev. John Nevius 
and his wife. 

Along with this sunshiny experience, lay the 
dark shadow of the news of the assassination on 
January 15th, 1 861, in the streets of Yedo of Mr. 
Heusken, Mr. Townsend Harris's secretary and 
the Dutch interpreter of the United States Lega- 
tion. This tragic event was followed by the re- 
moval from Yedo of all the foreign ministers to 
Yokohama and of all the foreign consuls, except 
the American, from Kanagawa to the same place. 
Mr. Harris remained in Yedo keeping the stars 
and stripes afloat. For nearly ten years Japan 
felt the humiliation and all the world wondered 
at the strange spectacle of foreign legations in the 
country but not at the capital. Yet none of these 
events disturbed the quiet life at Nagasaki. 

Though the clouds of civil war were gathering 
over Japan, things went on as usual in the sunny 
south. Mr. Verbeck wrote, "We pray that a 
general war may be averted and safety be re- 
stored at the North without bloodshed." Neither 
he nor any other foreigner then knew the real 
political history of Japan, nor was able to discern 
the signs of the times, which portended revolu- 

In Nagasaki: First Impressions 


tion and a new birth of national life. In a lecture ] 

delivered in Tokio, in 1898, a few months before \ 

his death, he said: ! 

''Present Japan — this beautiful Japan came : 

from beyond the sea. I, by saying this, have i 

not a bit of mind to shame you, but am rather | 

one of those who admire the wisdom of having \ 

implanted, within the short time of thirty years, \ 

all the western things, which have been the re- \ 

suit of several hundred years' labor. \ 

*' Generally speaking, the people in those times ' i 
seemed not to know anything of patriotism, so; ^ ' 
much spoken of at present. The word chugi\(^^^^ 
was always on the mouth of the then warriors, ; v ^ ^, 
by which they meant fealty to their lords, self- \ ^^ 

surrender to the cause of their masters. Those i 

samurai knew of the existence of their clan, but \ 
nothing about Japan." 

His first year's report as missionary was a faint \ 
cry, de profundts— just the kind which furnishes 
sport for all the Philistines, ancient and modern, 

who jeer over foundation work and sneer at the ■ 

labor of bridge-builders, who invisibly toil in the \ 

caissons, as waste and ask with jibes "do mis- i 

sions pay?" ] 

The civil war in the United States cast its cloud j 

over the Americans in Japan. The Episcopal ] 

mission feared, as Dr. Verbeck did, that their j 

medical missionary Dr. Schmid might, for lack | 

of means, be called home from Nagasaki. This i 

was because their supporters lived both above \ 

and below the slavery line. The Reformed j 


Verbeck of Japan 

Dutch Church, more happily situated, never hav- 
ing any connection with the controversy which 
rent other churches, steadily maintained its mis- 
sion without halt or break. Even after civil war 
had begun, the Reformed Church sent out, on 
the first of June, 1861, two missionaries to China 
and one, Rev. J. H. Ballagh, to Japan. The latter 
settled at Yokohama, seven years later in 1868, 
meeting Mr. Verbeck at Osaka. 

Mr. Verbeck's experience of living at the foot 
of the hill in Nagasaki showed him that the situ- 
ation was not as salubrious as that on the hill slope. 
During the rainy season in Japan, when all or- 
ganic textures quickly gather mold, through 
combined heat and moisture, the house was un- 
wholesomely damp. Finding a desirable location 
on the hill, whence a fine view over the city and 
harbor was obtained, they moved thither. Some 
of the pupils helped to move their goods. It 
was amusing — alas, sorrowful and exasperating, 
also — to see how the natives packed up things. 
Happy indeed is the foreigner who can think 
without woe and grief of these early days of 
packing, when if one did not watch, the bronzes 
would get on top of the porcelain and heavy 
things worth a penny would smash precious 
things worth many pounds. Mr. Verbeck soon 
found he was not living in the Garden of Eden, 
nor in the imaginary Japan of those rhapsodists 
who, at the end of this century, picture the 
Japanese as guileless or nearly immaculate. In 
short he was robbed, the burglars coming into 

In Nagasaki: First Impressions 

his bedroom, noiselessly and very effectively. 
One of his pupils visiting a pawnbroker's shop 
and seeing the name ''Guido F. Verbeck" on a 
telescope, recovered this article and also a clock, 
spoons, forks, and knives which the pendulards 
had stolen six months before. 

These were the days of the unreformed prison} 
system in Japan when justice, such as it was, 
was administered, according to Chinese codes of/ 
laws, when the torture of witnesses in court to 
obtain testimony was the rule. How different 
to-day when Japan has not only a prison system 
excelling that of some European states but has 
influenced Korea and China to like reforms. 
Hear Mr. Verbeck tell how, hearing cries for 
help, he chivalrously rallied forth and wisely in- 
terfered not. 

''There were no lawyers but a kind of petti- 
fogger, which went by the name of kujishi. 
They never defended clients at court but gave 
advice privately. 

" How dirty the prisons were, words fail to 
describe. Gomon (examination of prisoners by 
torture) was always employed. It was at a cer- 
tain night during my sojourn at Nagasaki, that I 
heard a plaintive cry, the remembrance of which 
is still a shock to me. Wondering what that 
was, I stole out of my house, and looked down, a 
musket in hand, far beneath, when I found that 
several warders were whipping the prisoners, 
who were the subjects of that cry. I, who was 
yet young was about to aim at the cruel officials 


Verbeck of Japan 

with my musket, but was restrained from this 
by myself." 

All over the land in city, town, and village, by 
ferry and in market, we must remember the anti- 
Christian edicts hung with the other ko-satsu, or 
little notice boards in plain view of all. We give 
the text of 1862: 

" The Christian religion has been prohibited for 
many years. If any one is suspected, a report 
must be made at once. 


" To the informer of a bateren (father), 500 
pieces of silver. 

''To the informer of an human (brother), 300 
pieces of silver. 

" To the informer of a Christian who once re- 
canted, 300 pieces of silver. 

"To the informer of a Christian or catechist, 
300 pieces of silver. 

'' To the informer of a family who shelters any 
of the above, 300 pieces of silver. 

*' The above rewards will be given. If any one 
will inform concerning his own family, he will 
be rewarded with 500 pieces of silver, or accord- 
ing to the information he furnishes. If any one 
conceals an offender, and the fact is detected, 
then the head man of the village in which the 
concealer lives, and the 'five-men-company* to 
which he belongs, and his family and relatives, 
will all be punished together." 

Seeing that he could not openly preach the gos- 


In Nagasaki: First Impressions 

pel, Mr. Verbeck was diligently disposing of 
Bibles in Chinese, which the educated samurai or 
wearers of two swords could read. Under his 
oversight, two young officers were already dili- 
gently perusing this version of the Bible and try- 
ing to understand it. 

New cause for gratitude to God came into the 
missionary home, for a little baby (now Colonel 
William Verbeck, Head Master of St. John's 
[Military] School at Manlius, N. Y.) had made 
his advent upon earth. His father writes of him, 
''Willie is big and strong and affords us great 
pleasure and company. . . . Poor fellow, 
he does not know with which (language) to be- 
gin, English or Japanese, or even perhaps Ger- 
man, which I should like most of all." In the 
missionary home, the children not only had to be 
reared and protected against the contamination of 
paganism, but also against the diseases, such as 
smallpox and measles, then very prevalent and 
but slightly controlled, for the Japanese were 
then but slenderly equipped for the mastery of 
these contagious diseases. It was quite common 
for smallpox patients to roam around freely, the 
only notice to a stranger of infected children 
being the wearing of a pink cap. Dr. Kitasato 
was not yet. The procession of physicians 
trained by Dr. J. C. Hepburn, now a host, was 
just beginning to mark time. 

By request from New York, Mr. Verbeck made 
researches and forwarded, with other matter, a 
note on epidemics in Japan. 


Verbeck of Japan 

"According to information received from a 
Japanese physician, the smallpox first appeared 
in this country a. d. 731. Ancient chronicles 
state that a renowned native scholar was on a 
visit to China for the purpose of studying Chinese 
sciences, when on his return home in the above 
year, he brought the smallpox with him. Euro- 
pean vaccination was first introduced in 1846, 
and is more and more adopted. The measles, 
originating at Nagasaki, in 1471, are supposed 
likewise to have come from China. Of cholera, 
there occurred a few cases at Nagasaki about 
thirty years ago [1832]; and its introduction is 
also ascribed to the Chinese traders at this port. 
But it was not till 1858 that it began to ravage the 
country as a sweeping epidemic. Cholera, ap- 
pearing soon after the opening of Japan to for- 
eigners, is perhaps correctly supposed to be a 
source of antipathy to foreign intercourse. In 
nearly all the principalities, public or government 
hospitals for the free treatment of these and other 
diseases have been established. The European 
treatment of diseases finds great favor, and in 
spite of the opposition of a host of old-school 
(Chinese) doctors and a superstitious populace, 
its ultimate triumph over the Chinese method is 
clearly to be foreseen. And shall not in like 
manner the gospel of Christ prevail over Bud- 
dhism and heathen philosophies! " 

Guido Verbeck was a true prophet. He cared 
not to predict, but he saw the truth clearly. He 
knew what was in man, read the Japanese heart 

In Nagasaki : First Impressions 

through and through and could often foresee the 
fruits of a course of action, so that often men 
looked at him in reverence, supposing he had 
some magic power. Yet his was an open secret 
such as lies in two old proverbs, as pre-ancient 
as copy books. These are "Knowledge is 
power," and " Truth is mighty and must prevail." 
Streams of influence were uniting. The Bible 
class at Saga in Hizen was still kept up by 
Wakasa, who needing more light and detailed in- 
struction, sent his younger brother to Nagasaki. 
*' Accidentally," shall we say.^ the seeker for 
truth found Mr. Verbeck and became his pupil. 



On January 24th, 1862, twenty-four days before 
the last day in the last year in the cycle of sixty 
years, the Japanese New Year, beginning Febru- 
ary 1 8th, Mr. Verbeck wrote encouragingly, 
though his eyes were red with inflammation 
from poring over Chinese and Japanese char- 
acters. At the Episcopal church he led the sing- 
ing and played the harmonium, but it was a good 
congregation when fifteen or twenty people were 
at church, for devoutness and love of worship 
are not the shining characteristics of the foreigner 
at the treaty port. Unusually the average Chris- 
tian from home becomes a Demas when abroad. 
The extreme worldliness and secret or open im- 
morality of people in the new treaty ports, who 
would be accounted highly respectable at home, 
is one obvious and sufficient reason why there is 
not usually much harmony or sympathy between 
the mercantile and missionary classes. As Mr. 
Williams was soon to move into the foreign 
settlement, the Verbecks and Dr. Siebold, " who 
was half a Japanese himself," were the only ones 
outside the foreign quarter, and the rents were 
one-fourth what he should otherwise have to pay. 

In one of his letters concerning some curiosities 

Political Upheaval 

sent home to his brother, it is very evident that 
American appreciation of Japanese objects, either 
artistic or flamboyant, had not then reached the 
point of either a fad or a craze. The market was 
not overstocked and the unknown was the mag- 
nificent. Many things were appraised in New 
York at ten or twenty times their real value. 

Another of his letters has some wholesome 
criticism of our country and people. He wrote : 
"My thoughts were much with you when in 
Zeist. Shall I ever re-visit that dear place ? Oh ! 
how I should enjoy once more to move 
among many of those dear people who knew 
nothing of that exterior show, with interior hol- 
lowness and coldness, so common in America. 
I love America, and I think God has great things 
in store for it, but if 1 were to choose a home for 
happiness in this life, an exchange of true affec- 
tionate feelings, I should not choose it in America. 
I do not wish to be misunderstood ; I consider 
America as a young giant, a country in a restless 
state of development. I love its institutions and 
should wish to see them established all over the 
world, but it is not in the bosom of such a fer- 
menting country that I should look for what I 
consider real social happiness." 

How that preparatory work went on, by which 
at Nagasaki he was fitted for his life in Tokio of 
nearly thirty years, as the nursing father of a new 
nation, is shown in his letters. Guido Verbeck 
began his great work as teacher in Japan, with a 
Bible class of two young men, of whom one was 


Verbeck of Japan 

Ayabe, a younger brother of Murata, Wakasa 
no Kami. 

**I proceeded," he writes under date of June 
5th, 1862, "in my studies about as usual, but 
have, at the same time, a beginning of opportuni- 
ties for doing real missionary work. Again, I 
must say, the beginnings are small; yet, may we 
prove 'faithful in a few things,' and more will 
be entrusted to us. A short time ago one of my 
English pupils surprised me by saying, that he 
had bought an English Bible, but found it very 
difficult to understand. I told him I would come 
to his house the next day (Sunday), and would 
gladly help him read his Bible. When I went 
there, I found him and another of my pupils try- 
ing to decipher the contents of a small volume of 
the American Tract Society, entitled 'A Pastor's 
Counsel to the Young.' The book being of a 
merely religious character, made him think it 
was a Bible, perhaps thinking this to be a general 
term for religious books. Of course 1 corrected 
his error, promised, and afterward gave him a 
real Bible. 
^ " It is remarkable how every kind of Christian 
knowledge has vanished with a people among 
whom Christianity had its thousands of follow- 
ers, but a little over three hundred years ago, even 
though in a corrupted form — another proof of how 
thoroughly the work of eradicating every vestige 
of our blessed religion has been done. We are 
sometimes surprised to hear a man ask, whether 
Jesus was an Englishman, or another, whether 

Political Upheaval 

the places mentioned in the Scripture are at all 
known to modern geographers, and whether we 
now know of the persons of the Bible, if they ' 
were born and lived in Holland, or England, or 
Spain. Such ignorance is common with the edu- 
cated as well as the uneducated, since their 
sources of information on such questions have, 
been cut off entirely for the last three hundred ; 
years. \ 

*' For the two Bible students above mentioned, 
I am now preparing a kind of 'helps to the 
Scriptures ' in English. I give it to them from 
week to week in single sheets, which they bring 
to their regular lessons, when I have a further 
opportunity to explain by means of English, 
Dutch, and Japanese such points as seem still 
difficult for them. These men have their English 
lessons with me at different times, that is sepa- 
rately ; but every Sabbath they meet together for 
the re-reading of the explanatory sheets. These 
sheets are as yet only introductory to the reading 
of the Bible itself, but by and by I hope to lead 
these men on in reading it also. This, my first 
Japanese Bible class, is the more interesting to 
me, as it originated at the suggestion of the pu- 
pils, one of whom, though otherwise an exceed- 
ingly nice man, I had not thought of having any 
wishes in this direction. God grant that these 
two Bible students may be among the number of 
the first fruits of Japan unto Christ. 

**Now and then I give away a copy of the 
Holy Scriptures in Chinese, but have not had as 


Verbeck of Japan 

many opportunities since the beginning of the 
present year as I had during the last three months 
of the past year. One reason may be that all my 
immediate acquaintances are now supplied. The 
proposed serial, [of which Mr. Verbeck had sug- 
gested the publication] if it be brought about, 
will also be the means of bringing many more 
people to my house than at present, even now 
people sometimes come to me for a number of 
the old Ningpo or Shanghai serial, though both 
of these have been discontinued for more than a 
year. And many people will want the Bible to 
learn more of the subjects, which the serial 
can only treat of in a fragmentary form. The 
serial is to form a kind of stepping stone to 
the reading of the Scriptures and religious 

We must glance again at the political back- 
ground, now so clear in the perspective of history, 
but then crowded with figures and events in such 
confusion, that no foreigner could see clearly or 
interpret intelligently. 

In Yedo the regent had roused the ire of his 
political enemies and all reactionaries and fanatics 
by signing on his own responsibility the Harris 
American Treaty and opening the ports to foreign 
trade and residence. In Old Japan, government 
was "despotism tempered by assassination." 
A band of ronin desperadoes determined to 
*'move a vote of censure" in the good old- 
fashioned way — by the sword. 

On March 23d, i860, a determined band of 

Political Upheaval 

seventeen of these ronin suddenly attacked the 
regent's escort while he was on his way to the 
castle and near the Cherry Field Gate. In the 
bloody battle which ensued, in the snowstorm, 
his followers being taken by surprise, had to 
draw so quickly that for the most part they 
fought at first with sheathed swords, until the 
splitting of the wooden scabbards freed their keen 
blades. Nevertheless, despite these drawbacks, 
no fewer than eight of the assailants were killed 
or died of their wounds. Of the escort, twenty- 
three were put hors de combat, of whom eight 
died. The Premier li was speared in his palanquin 
and then beheaded. For a generation his name 
was execrated and his reputation lay under a 
cloud of aspersion, until cleansed and made to 
shine with honor through the scholarly labors, in 
Japanese, of Mr. Shimada Saburo,^ editor of the 
Yokohama daily newspaper, and of Mr. Henry 
Satoh,' who has condensed the story of vindica- 
tion into flowing English periods. In fiction, the 
episode has been gracefully treated by Mr. Arthur 
Collins Maclay in " Mito Yashiki." 

The danger to foreigners after the signing of 
the treaties was very great, especially in eastern 
Japan, and there were several murderers of 
Europeans and of their Japanese servants. The 
foreign diplomatists, missionaries, and merchants 
were warned against the two-sworded tramps, 
but early in 1861 the secretary of the American 

» Kai-koku Shimatsu. • Agitated Japan. 


Verbeck of Japan 

legation, Mr. Heusken^ was cut to pieces in 
Yedo. All the foreign ministers, except Mr. 
Harris, then struck their flags and retired to 
Yokohama, leaving the American alone, with the 
stars and stripes, in the feudal capital. 

The emperor's sister was married to the 
Shogun, and for a while Yedo was peaceful, gay 
and festal, but again the epidemic of assassination 
and incendiarism broke out, participated in by 
some of the men who afterward, at the end of 
the century, became high officers in the Imperial 
Government in Tokio. Their sincere purpose was 
to embroil the Tycoon with the Treaty Power in 
order that he could be overthrown and the Mikado 
restored to supreme power. Opposed to the 
Shogun's government, also, was the powerful 
prince of Mito in the northeast, besides the 
maritime daimios in the southwest. The latter 
soon began to arm and fortify, especially at 
Shimonoseki, against the Yedo ruler. When the 
Satsuma and Choshiu clans met together at 
Kioto, where they were joined by hundreds of 
ronin, things began to look very threatening, for 
a conspiracy was formed to take the castle of 
Osaka by assault, burn the castle of Hikone or 
Baron li, on Lake Biwa, and put to the sword the 
garrison of the castle of Nijo, or the Shogun's 
residence, in Kioto. The inflamed patriots hoped 
then that the emperor would come out of his 
retirement, and set forth in person to conquer 

^ See the author's " Townsend Harris, First American Envoy 
in Japan." 


Political Upheaval 

and drive out "the barbarians" from the sacred 
soil of Japan. Then the upright men who were 
in captivity, on account of their hostiUty to for- 
eigners, should be released. The ** Phoenix Car " 
would be carried over the Hakone Pass to Yedo, 
and the Tycoon and his minions be punished for 
their crimes. 

The British Legation in Yedo was attacked, 
June 26th, 1862, and two marines killed, for 
which the Japanese government in Yedo were 
compelled to pay fifty thousand dollars indemnity. 
The Satsuma clansmen petitioned the Tycoon to 
drive out the foreigners, close up the treaty 
port, ''appease the sacred wrath of the Mikado's 
divine ancestors " and restore tranquillity to the 
empire. The document embodying these absurd 
demands now reads very strangely, stuffed full, 
as it is, with ancient rhetoric and Chinese illus- 
trations. It was presented by the court noble 
Ohara and the notorious Shimadzu Saburo. They 
were escorted by six hundred armed men, who 
marched to Yedo in all the bravery of flags, 
umbrellas, boxes, and other truck, now bric-a- 
brac, like old armor and spinning wheels. The 
result was that the eminent men made prisoners 
under the late regent's orders were restored to 
honor. Hitotsu Bashi, (literally Mr. One or First 
Bridge) or, in Chinese, Keiki, was appointed 
guardian of the young Shogun, and the prince of 
Echizen became supreme exerciser of the govern- 
ment authority. Meanwhile the Japanese envoys 
sent to London had secured from the British gov- 


Verbeck of Japan 

ernment a delay in opening further ports to foreign 

The prince of Satsuma was for some reason in 
a very angry humor when returning from Yedo, 
on the 14th of September. In his train were about 
a hundred men, who preceded him in a single 
file on either side of the road. All wore swords, 
according to custom. Three English gentlemen 
and a lady were riding along the road and were 
attacked by the Satsuma clansmen, two of the 
Englishmen being severely wounded and the 
other cut to death. The wounds were dressed 
by Dr. J. C. Hepburn of the American Mission. 
Mr. Richardson was so badly wounded that he 
fell from his horse to the road. His body was 
afterward hacked and speared, for it was then 
the common custom for the two-sworded men 
to practice with their weapons upon dead bodies. 
Concerning this altercation, Mr. Verbeck wrote 
on September 29th : 

'* At first view it would seem rather strange 
that so many murders and attacks should be per- 
petrated at Yedo and Kanagawa, and not in a 
single instance at Nagasaki; yet I think this 
difference can be accounted for. The nearness 
of Kanagawa to Yedo, with its hosts of arrogant 
officials and petty nobles; its nearness to the 
Tokaido, the great highway of the empire, fre- 
quently thronged by travelling princes with their 
numerous retainers; the probable desire of the 
government to see all foreign trade carried on at 
the greatest possible distance from the two cap- 


Political Upheaval 

itals, perhaps at Nagasaki rather than at any other 
port in the empire; the foreigners' general want 
of appreciation of the higher classes and nobility 
among Asiatics, and the consequent seeming (to 
the natives) or real overbearing conduct of 
foreigners toward natives of high rank; the 
probably decided antipathy of a few princes at 
or near Yedo against all foreign intercourse 
whatsoever, all these, and perhaps a few minor 
circumstances more, sufficiently account for the 
frequent collisions between foreigners and na- 

In mid-July he wrote: 

" My little Bible class of two goes on encourag- 
ingly ; one of the scholars translates my notes on 
the Scriptures into Japanese. He told me some 
days ago, that he thought that the exclusiveness 
of his country and any past misunderstandings 
with foreigners, were owing to a want of 
knowledge of the nature and tendency of the 
Christian religion, and that the best preventive 
of future troubles would be to acquaint his 
countrymen with these, and that therefore he 
would write out my explanations in the com- 
mon popular style of writing." 

The Bakufu now began to go to pieces. The 
compulsory residence of the daimios in Yedo 
was abolished. The Shogun was summoned to 
Kioto, arriving at the end of January, 1863. In 
the swing of the political pendulum, the old 
party in favor of foreigners had fallen into dis- 
grace and those wishing to expel foreigners and 


Verbeck of Japan 

close the ports had risen on the arc. At vast 
expense, the edifices of the British legation were 
built by the Yedo government, on the hill of 
Goten, but the ronins burnt them to the ground. 
Kioto now became the gathering place of the 
clans. The Shogun entered with his train on 
April 2 1 St, 1863, making handsome presents to 
the emperor and the nobles to an extent that 
greatly curtailed his exchequer. When the 
troubles thickened between the British and Sat- 
suma, and the Bakufu and Choshiu, it looked as 
though the foreigners at Nagasaki and other 
ports were to be slaughtered. Ayabe came with 
a message from Murata warning Mr. Verbeck to 
fly for his life, as he and his household were 
certainly in danger. Leaving his city home on 
the hills, the missionary father moved with wife 
and children to Deshima the island in front of 
the city, writing as follows: 

"Nagasaki, Japan, 28 April, 1863. 
"Deshima, Kaempfer's House. 
"Dear Brother: — 

" From the above heading you see. that we 
(the family) have been moving, and indeed to a 
historic place: the house of the historian of Japan, 
Dr. Kaempfer. This is not however the iden- 
tical house and rooms occupied by honest old 
Kaempfer; yet from my window I see his name 
and that of the hardly less celebrated Thunberg 
engraved on a miniature rock in the garden, an 
indication that our present dwelling stands very 
nearly on the spot where his once stood. But 
why do we come to this place? is a more im- 
portant question with a less doubtful reply." 

Political Upheaval 

The next letter is dated in Shanghai. It shows 
how he proposed to spend his precious moments 
even in exile from his post, in studying the 
Chinese characters, so necessary for the read- 
ing of ordinary Japanese books. It eventu- 
ated that Mr. Verbeck was of great benefit in 
getting under way facilities for printing Japanese 
script. In a sense, he was, with Mr. Gamble, 
the founder of the printing press of Japan. 

At the first opportunity he returned to Japan, 
reaching Nagasaki, October 13th, making his 
home for awhile on Deshima. 

The volcano of Japanese politics now devel- 
oped a fresh crater of war. 

While negotiations for indemnity between 
Yedo and London were going on, the three great 
clans, Satsuma, Choshiu, and Tosa, made that 
combination which lasted under the popular 
name of *'Sat-Cho-To," until the dawn of Con- 
stitutional Japan and government by party, in the 
late nineties. The year 1863 had opened with an 
exodus of natives from Yokohama, terrorized by 
the ronins and the fear that the foreign squadron 
might bombard the place, but the British fleet 
went to Kagoshima. The American legation 
suffered from fire, probably from ronins on May 
24th. Yedo and Kanagawa being rid of foreign- 
ers, steps were taken to confine them in Yoko- 
hama, but the Shogun reported to the emperor 
that the foreigners could not be expelled. The 
Choshiu clansmen, raising the flag inscribed "In 
obedience to the Imperial Order," erected, on the 

Verbeck of Japan 

rocky and woody heights overlooking the nar- 
row straits of Shimonoseki, batteries of heavy 
guns. They began indiscriminate firing on every 
foreign vessel that passed through, American, 
Dutch, and French, and even, by mistake, on a 
Satsuma vessel, in foreign style. After fruitless 
conferences, the British sent their squadron to 
Kagoshima and seized three steamers. Being 
fired upon, they bombarded and burnt part of 
the town. This took place between August 12th 
and 17th while Mr. Verbeck was in China. 

Although the bombardment was condemned 
even in Parliament, it had the seasonable effect of 
bringing the Satsuma men to their senses. In- 
deed, this taste of foreign fire and iron was a 
turning point in the history of this most warlike 
of the clans. It opened the eyes of brave but 
narrow minded men, who had been educated 
under a ferocious system of morals. With that 
respect which a well thrashed bully looks upon 
the man that has administered chastisement, the 
Satsuma men thought better of the "hairy for- 
eigners " and began to introduce foreign machin- 
ery and appliances. Soon they became, what 
they long were and continue to be, leaders in the 
material part of civilization, especially in matters 
of war, in the army and the navy. They paid 
their indemnity in cash. In modern Japanese 
statecraft, the men of Choshiu excel in civil, and 
those of Satsuma in military, affairs, thus making 
a superb combination. 

The Choshiu men went to Kioto and attempted 

Political Upheaval 

to carry off the Mikado and were foiled, but 
Sanjo and six othier Kuge or court nobles, who 
wore amazing large flowing garments and black 
caps that looked like bricks tilted endwise on 
their heads, went back to Choshiu with the clan. 
They were deprived of their honors and titles. 
The expulsion of foreigners was postponed, even 
though the Shogun visited Kioto a second time. 

After the failure of the Choshiu men in Kioto, 
October, 1863, let us see how the situation ap- 
peared at Nagasaki, to which Mr. Verbeck had 
just returned from China. His letter is dated 
November 14, 1863. 

** In my letter from Shanghai, I stated our de- 
parture from that place. After a long but pleas- 
ant trip of nine days, we safely reached our 
desired haven in Japan (13 October). I cannot 
describe our joy at again seeing and setting foot 
on this fair country. All things around looked 
very much as when we left, only there were a 
few new batteries, and more activity around and 
in them. Business had come to nearly a dead 
stop, and although there was no danger for the 
time being, yet the greatest uncertainty prevailed. 
On the whole, however, the prospects of peace 
seemed brighter; and at all events, the general 
opinion was and is, that the Japanese, though they 
are acknowledged to have fought well, have had a 
sufficient trial of foreign warfare to convince 
them that they are not able to cope equally with 
foreigners. They also have learned to respect 
the lives of foreigners, since they see that they 


Verbeck of Japan 

cannot endanger or take them with impugnity. 
The delays on both sides in these troubles I 
think, have been rather for good, as it has given 
the native government time to think and arrange 
its own internal confusions. The ronins, who 
were the perpetrators of all the murders and at- 
tacks at Yedo, and who at various times caused 
a good deal of apprehension here also, have 
nearly all been seized, and many of them put to 
death. The Prince of Choshiu, who so irregu- 
larly fired on ships of all nations at Shimonoseki, 
is to be, or is perhaps by this time, degraded and 
punished. And the Prince of Satsuma is said to 
be very sorry for his encounter with the British 
forces at his capital. Yet with all this, we have 
no certainty of anything. Nearly everything we 
hear comes in such different forms, with such 
contradictory variations and from so many (often 
doubtful) sources, that it is hard to get at the 
truth. Much is supposition, because hoped for. 
Political news you must look for from Kanagawa, 
though even that is often contradicted by later 




*' Behold, I have set before thee an open door," 
seemed to be the Heavenly Father's message to 
Guido Verbeck at the opening of the year 1864, 
despite the turmoil of impending civil war. 

In the ebb and flow of the fortunes of the 
Bakufu, it looked as though the foreigners and 
the Yedo government had triumphed, for the for- 
eigner-haters and fanatics were in disgrace. 
Choshiu became the rendezvous of ronins and 
runaways from every clan in the empire. A body 
of these regular and irregular clansmen marched 
upon Kioto, with the idea of seizing the em- 
peror's person. In Japanese politics, whoever 
possesses his sacred body makes the government, 
while those who resist are traitors. A terrible 
battle took place in Kioto. After fighting and 
cannonading, with much loss of life and awful 
destruction of property in the war-fire, the 
Choshiu men were defeated though still defiant. 

The combined squadrons of four nations, Great 
Britain, France, Holland, and the United States, 
gathered at Shimonoseki in September to chastise 
these audacious clansmen who attempted to fight, 
on the one hand, the mighty Tycoon and all his 
host, and the foreigners with their fleets on the 


Verbeck of Japan 

other. We shall see what happened, what good 
medicine of chastisement they took, and how 
they too, like Satsuma, repented and turned their 
faces in the direction of progress. Let us note 
how Nagasaki harbor revealed to Mr, Verbeck 
what was going on. To him Choshiu seemed 
like an old mediaeval baron "with his brigand 
band." He wrote in August: 

** The renewal of Choshiu troubles, and the ex- 
pedition now fitting out for Shimonoseki, have 
brought eight native steamers and a large number 
of people from all parts of the empire to this 
port, and I get my share of inquisitive visitors. 
The troubles and expedition are entirely civil, 
not foreign. The Prince of Choshiu, after ap- 
parently submitting to the necessity of circum- 
stances for a time, has again broken through the 
nets and seems determined to stand his own 
ground. An ultimatum has been sent to this ob- 
streperous prince by the Taikun, and the general 
expectation is that its terms will be refused and 
war ensue. There is not supposed to be any 
danger threatening foreigners. Surely, war is a 
sad thing anywhere; but if ever good is to be 
hoped for from such a cause, it is in Japan, I 
think. These people, in many respects, live yet 
in middle-age darkness and institutions, from 
which it may be doubted whether they can 
emerge without at least one hard, it may be, san- 
guinary struggle. The mighty Lord overrule. 

"There is an extensive inland and coast trade 
carried on from this port, which continually 


The Doors Opening 

brings strangers from all parts of Japan, but es- 
pecially from this inland Kiushiu, to this port. 
Thus we come in contact daily with strangers 
as well as residents. The great majority of the 
people who come to see us in our house, in 
quest of books or for other information, are 
visitors whom trade or curiosity brings thither, 
so that our influence, especially when the coun- 
try will be more open, but even now, is by no 
means limited to this place (of about 80,000 in- 
habitants). That our names and characters are 
thus carried much farther than we might super- 
ficially expect, was shown me the other day in 
rather an amusing manner. A steamer belong- 
ing to the Prince of Higo came into port, with a 
brother of the Prince on board, and stayed about 
a week. I did not know that either Higo steamer 
or Prince was here, when two days before their 
departure a Higo man, who got a Chinese New 
Testament and some books from me three years 
ago, came to see me and told that a high officer 
of his Prince wished to see me. When this 
officer came, he stated that he wished me to as- 
sist him in getting a steamer for his master. 
These people were strangers in this town, and 
when it was known that they came to purchase 
a steamer, they were so beset by a corrupt set of 
brokers and runners (natives) that they became 
as it were bewildered, not knowing whom to 
trust. In this extremity they applied to me. 
That they applied to me may also partly be 
owing to my sometimes having assisted native 



Verbeck of Japan 

scholars or engineers in the solution of difficult, 
at least for them difficult, problems, especially in 
mechanics or engineering. In such cases the 
profession of my younger years, that of civil and 
mechanical engineering, proves useful even after 
years. In the present instance, however, I could 
give these gents but small comfort, as of course 
I told them that such business lay quite outside 
of my province, that I could do no business 
transactions of any kind, and that my business 
was to teach the doctrine. After some delibera- 
tion, I agreed so far with them that I would 
recommend them to the American Consul, Mr. 
Walsh, who no doubt would gladly undertake 
to get them new steamers from New York. 
They left with warm expressions of thanks, and 
I was glad to rid myself of customers of this 
kind. I did not expect perhaps to ever see them 
again, because they must have been disappointed 
that their last refuge proved so unavailable. But 
the next day a still higher officer called with this 
same request; yet, though he was one of the 
highest officers of his state, a karo or minister, I 
could but give him the same answers. They left 
much pleased with their visit on the whole, nor 
have I seen them since. The gratifying part is 
the manifestation of confidence in our character. 
Where one ran down the other, to whom should 
they go.? To a missionary of the gospel! Oh, 
that they would come with weightier questions! 
But they will. The time will come, when we 
shall welcome them and say: You are the men 

The Doors Opening 

we have been waiting for these years; it is to 
you we were sent. Come and welcome. Ask 
the way and we will show it youl And then, 
may they go away comforted instead of disap- 
pointed. May the Holy Spirit open their hearts 
and Christ give them peace." 

Before unchaining the dogs of war, the olive 
branch was tendered. Two British ships, the 
Barrosa and the Cormorant with two young 
Japanese natives of the province were sent to 
treat with the daimio of Choshiu. These were 
two out of the five young men who in 1863 had 
escaped the vigilance of the Tycoon's officers and 
had been sent by the Prince of Choshiu to Eng- 
land to be educated. Having seen the power of 
Europeans at home, these samurai wished to 
warn their master of the folly of measuring re- 
sources with the foreigners. With them went 
two young Englishmen, Messrs. Enslie and 
Satow as interpreters. Yet although the two 
young men were landed and had an interview 
with their feudal lord, they returned to the ships 
with no written answer and only an unsatis- 
factory verbal reply from the daimio. This was 
to the effect that he was acting upon orders re- 
ceived from both the Mikado and the Tycoon. 
In total ignorance as to the value of time, for 
the Japanese language then contained no word in 
the ordinary vernacular, for either minute or 
second, the daimio asked for three months' delay, 
promising to go to Kioto and get the Mikado, if 
possible, to change his mind. 


Verbeck of Japan 

At the present writing both of these young 
Japanese are still living, one being the Mar- 
quis Ito, who has been the Mikado's premier 
and repeatedly summoned in grave crises to form 
a cabinet, and who is probably the ablest all- 
round Japanese statesman, and at this writing in 
June, 1900, called for the fifth time to the premier- 
ship. The other is Count Inouye, who has been 
also for many years one of the purest statesmen 
and cabinet ministers. One of the young British 
interpreters is, and has been for many years, 
the Minister Plenipotentiary of Great Britain in 

The Japanese sick man had now to take his 
medicine in the form of shot and shell. On the 
5th of September, 1864, at 2 p. m., the combined 
squadrons of Great Britain, France, Holland, and 
the United States, numbering seventeen vessels, 
in three divisions, with two hundred and eight 
guns, and seven thousand five hundred and 
ninety men, began the bombardment. The bat- 
tle was bravely contested on both sides but the 
superior force and skill of the foreigners silenced 
the batteries. These were captured and de- 
stroyed by landing parties and the guns removed. 
On her sea front Choshiu was now completely 

It must be noted that in the previous year, 1863, 
American skill and valor were amply vindicated 
by an act which ranks among the most brilliant 
in the long and glorious history of the United 
States Navy. On the i6th of July, 1863, Captain 

The Doors Opening 

David McDougal, then in command of the United 
States Steamship Wyoming, a corvette of the 
same rate and force as the Kearsarge, that is, 
with two eleven-inch pivot guns and four thirty- 
two-pounders, being then in pursuit of the Con- 
federate man-of-war Alabama, entered the straits 
of Shimonoseki. Instead of passing along 
through the channel, which was duly staked out 
along its edges for the benefit of the Japanese 
gunners, McDougal daringly ran his ship in 
toward the shore, and under the fire of six bat- 
teries, drove the Wyoming between two armed 
steamers flying the Choshiu flag. He engaged 
these and the six batteries, blowing up the 
steamer and sinking the brig formerly called the 
Lanrick. In the seventy minutes' fight, the cap- 
tain fired fifty-five rounds and had five men 
killed and six wounded. The Wyoming was 
hulled eleven times, receiving thirty shots in 
mast, rigging, and smokestack. The ship 
grounded, but came off safely, having performed 
a most wonderful exploit. 

In 1864, the only national ship we had on the 
Japan station was the old sailing vessel James- 
town. The American minister, Robert H. Pruyn, 
chartered the steamer Ta Kiang, and Captain 
Price detached Lieutenant Pearson, with a party 
of thirty marines and sailors, with one Parrott 
gun, which was served most handsomely by the 
squad. After the battle. Lieutenant Pearson, 
having the swiftest ship, conveyed the wounded 
quickly to Yokohama. 


Verbeck of Japan 

All testimony since the events at Shimonoseki 
in 1863 and 1864, and it has been sufficiently 
abundant, was to the effect that the chastisement 
was most wholesome. The Choshiu men then 
and there resolved not to oppose the foreigners, 
but rather to learn the full secrets of their power 
and make friends with them for the good of the 

It was very evident, also, that, apart from po- 
litical reasons, the jealousy of the great daimios 
of the Tycoon's monopoly of foreign trade and 
their desire to share its fertilizing streams which 
have so enriched and transformed Japan, were 
potent causes of both the imminent and the actual 
hostilities. During the negotiations, it transpired 
that Choshiu desired to open Shimonoseki as a 
port of commerce. The foreign ministers would 
gladly have remitted indemnity if new ports had 
been opened, but the Yedo government preferred 
to borrow in London at ten per cent, and to pay 
down the money, rather than open new ports. 
So the indemnity of $3,000,000 was ultimately 
paid, in the main, by the Mikado's government 
in Tokio. The share of the United States amount- 
ing to $750,000 was, after some years' delay and 
discussion,^ by order of Congress, returned to 
Japan, and there used for educational purposes. 

During all this time, in a strange land, where 

» See pp. 593-595 of the first edition of " The Mikado's Em- 
pire," 1876. For several years the author sent copies of these 
pages stating the facts, historical and financial, to every member 
of Congress, until the money was paid back to Japan. 


' ¥. 

:^^ / 



The Doors Opening 

there were no newspapers or telegraph, the lone 
missionary at Nagasaki, like a sentinel on a distant 
picket line, could learn what was going on in 
the country only by fitful reports, through 
rumors and exaggerations often told one day 
and contradicted the next, the wish being usually 
the father of the thought. Like the trailing 
shadows of moving clouds, his letters reflect 
his own moods and the thoughts of himself and 
those around him. This year was rich in oppor- 
tunities and in opening doors of usefulness, as 
we shall see by quotations from his correspond- 
ence. He was even invited to come to other 
provinces and teach. All Japan seemed to be in 
a ferment. A newborn hunger for knowledge 
had seized many. 

The first teaching of young men outside of his 
own house, by Mr. Verbeck, was in a school 
which the governor of Nagasaki established for 
the training of interpreters. On coming back 
from China, Mr. Verbeck found that the two 
young men to whom in i860 he had taught some 
English, had been twice promoted. The happy 
students to show their gratitude to their precep- 
tor presented Mr. Verbeck with two black suck- 
ing pigs. Their idea was that foreigners were 
especially fond of pork. The governor of Naga- 
saki was so pleased with the attainments of the 
young men that, on going to Yedo, he proposed 
to the Shogun's government that a school of 
foreign languages and science be founded and 
that Mr. Verbeck be rrade the principal. 


Verbeck of Japan 

In due time the official application was made 
through the United States Consul, and Mr. Ver- 
beck accepted, to be head of the school at Naga- 
saki, agreeing at first to teach two hours a day 
for five days in the week. The salary was 
$1,200 a year. Happily for the good of Japan 
and the furtherance of true Christianity, the 
Board of Missions in New York gave its hearty 
assent to this opportunity of influencing for good 
the promising young men of Japan. From this 
time forth, until 1878, Mr. Verbeck was a self- 
supporting missionary. 

A schoolhouse was built and was soon filled 
to overflowing, with over one hundred pupils, 
Mr. Verbeck taking only the advanced classes. 
By June loth, 1866, the two nephews of Yokoi 
Heishiro, *'Ise" and '^Numagawa," were started 
to America, the first of a host, and the beginning 
of a procession of five hundred or more, who, 
with Mr. Verbeck's introduction, were helped in 
various ways, when in America, by the Reformed 
Church and Mission Board. 

The samurai not only from Hizen and the 
southwestern provinces, but from many parts of 
the empire, including two sons of the court noble 
Iwakura, who afterward became Prime Minister of 
the empire, flocked to Nagasaki to get under the 
care of a man whose name was already magnetic, 
potent, and to some apparently magical. Indeed 
the long sealed doors seemed now opening on 
every side. 

The two great documents, expressed in English, 


The Doors Opening 

which Mr. Verbeck taught most and longest to 
the most promising of his pupils, including such 
future members of the emperor's cabinet as 
Soyeshima and Okuma, were the New Testa- 
ment and the Constitution of the United States. 
Here at the feet of this modern Gamaliel sat by ■ 
the score other young men also, who in the 
Meiji period (from 1868 until the present day) 
have directed the destinies of Japan. Mr. Ver- 
beck's pupils have become the new sort of j 
orientals, in a new kind of Asian state that has | 
voluntarily placed itself under the leading of the f 
two great Anglo-Saxon nations. 

Yet even more joy was given to Mr. Verbeck by 
hearing that his as yet unseen friend and pupil, 
♦' Wakasa," had resigned his office and, now free 
from the cares of state, proposed to visit his 
teacher and in native phrase * ' hang on his eyelids." 

When Mr. Verbeck returned from China he 
found that Ayabe had moved from Nagasaki to 
accept a government appointment. It seemed 
then, at first, as though all his prayers and labor 
had been in vain, but soon after Mr. Verbeck 
was made happy by the advent of Motono. He 
came as the messenger from Murata, to get 
explanations of difficult portions of Scripture 
which could not be understood without a 
teacher, and also to secure other Christian lit- 
erature. For nearly three years Motono vibrated 
like a pendulum, making the two days' journey, 
between Nagasaki and Saga. Now, teacher and 
pupil were to meet. 


Verbeck of Japan 

On the 14th of May, 1866, to the joy and sur- 
prise of Mr. Verbeck, Murata appeared, with his 
brother Ayabe, Motono, his two sons and a train 
of followers. He was tall and dignified, a gentle- 
man of frank, ingenious mien, and about fifty 
years old. After his greeting, which was in the 
impressive manner of ancient Japanese courtesy, 
he said to Mr. Verbeck: 

"I have long known you in my mind, and 
desired to converse with you, and I am very 
happy that, in God's providence, I am at last 
permitted this privilege." 

In the course of their conversation, this seeker 
^ rafter God said : 
f^-'"\ "Sir, I cannot tell you my feelings when for 
the first time I read the account of the character 
and work of Jesus Christ. I had never seen, or 
heard, or imagined such a person. I was filled 
with admiration, overwhelmed with emotion, and 
taken captive by the record of His nature and 

Murata showed great familiarity with the 
Bible, quoting from it with ease and point. He 
was ready to believe all that Jesus taught and to 
do whatever He required. The conversation 
lengthened into hours. Then Murata asked bap- 
tism for himself and Ayabe. The missionary 
warned them that there was no magic in baptism. 
All superstitious notions they might have as to its 
efficacy must be laid aside. Those who received 
the rite assumed sacred obligations of service. 
Explaining the form of baptism as used in the 


The Doors Opening 

Reformed Church, they were asked to decide as 
in the presence of God. Without faltering they 
renewed their request, only asking that the act 
should not be made public. They knew too well 
that not only would their own lives be in danger, 
but that their families would have to die with 
them. Death by crucifixion on the bamboo cross 
for a commoner, hara-kiri for a samurai was the 

In full confession of sin, with vital faith in 
Jesus as the Christ of God, loyally desiring One 
whom they had long before acknowledged as 
Master, they took the step. On the next Sun- 
day, the evening of May 20th, the three men, 
Murata, Ayabe, and Motono, were baptized in 
Mr.^ Verbeck's parlor. Then, joyfully they 
obeyed the further command of Jesus, "this 
do in remembrance of Me." After the sacra- 
mental meal Murata told the story of the Moses 
of his deliverance, — the book ''drawn out" of 
the water twelve years before. Then the three 
men went away happy. 

Mr. Verbeck wrote out an account of this his 
first baptism of Christian converts, but no publi- 
cation was made of the fact at home, and for a 
long time there were but few persons who knew 
it. At Saga, Murata reported the fact to his 
feudal lord, who knowing the character of the 
converts made no further inquisition. One of 
Japan's Christian samurai wrote in 1863: 

"The Imperial Government on hearing of Wa- 
kasa's conversion commanded the prince to 


Verbeck of Japan 

punish him. The only semblance of obedience 
to this order was, to burn some of the subject's 

"Murata Wakasa no Kami's last years were 
spent calmly, he having retired to a villa in 
Kubota, where in rural quietude, surrounded by 
the most beautiful scenery, he lived in the sweet 
embrace of nature. It is said that in those days 
he was engaged in translating the Bible from 
Chinese into Japanese. At the end, he, praying 
for the future victory of Christianity in Japan, 
smilingly left this world in 1874, being sixty years 

" His memory is deeply cherished by Christians 
still living, who in earlier days, felt the power of 
his earnest personality. In his own family tree 
there are good and fruitful branches that are 
green and flourishing in Jesus Christ." 

Space does not allow of our telling the story 
of Mr. Verbeck's visit to Saga in 1868 and of his 
royal entertainment by the daimio, or of his own 
impressions and pleasures. Nevertheless, his 
wonder grew to inquire why, with all the charms 
of the Japanese character, the nobility of human- 
ity seemed an idea unknown in Old Japan. In 
the public bath-houses, so carefully graded ac- 
cording to classes, one pool was for "beggars 
and horses," while the common numeral term 
for laborers was the same as that for animals. 
Etiquette seemed to be the sufficient substitute 
for both religion and virtue. 

Along with some relics of Roman Christianity 


The Doors Opening 

recovered in Kiushiu and sent home as curiosi- 
ties, Mr. Verbeck, having photography to help 
him, enclosed some ''living" documents. 

He wrote: " Herewith inclosed you will please 
find a picture of a crucifix, and one of Christ 
with the crown of thorns. They are exact copies 
of the two pieces that for about two hundred 
years have been used in the annual ' Ceremony 
of trampling on the Cross ' in the vicinity of this 
place. It will be something to show in addresses 
on missions, etc. The ceremony is mentioned in 
nearly every book on Japan, as you know; but I 
think writers on Japan have much mistaken the 
object of the shameful wicked act. It was not 
so much, if at all, to abuse and disgrace the 
Saviour, as to find out who were Christians and 
who not. It was known that no good Christian 
would trample on the image of Christ; therefore, 
at the annual census of the people, these images 
were produced to discover secret Christians. 
This ceremony was discontinued a few years 
ago. If you paste the pictures on a card, they 
will last better. By this mail too I send you a 
larger photograph of the elder of the converts. 
He sits between his two sons, in front. Those 
standing around are some of his vassal servants 
that accompanied him to this place. His name is 
Kubota Wakasa.^ Will you kindly forward the 
photos as directed on the back ? When do you 
send me a colleague ? There is room for more 

^ Murata, Wakasa no Kami, lived at this time at Kubota, in 


Verbeck of Japan 

than one. An experienced young minister who 
has had charge of a congregation at home and 
knows active service would be desirable." 

Unable as yet to preach Christ openly, the 
young missionary being in the spirit of willing 
service, was alert to do all and whatever work 
came to hand, in and out of season, and too 
often in time that ought to have been given to 
recreation. Young men came to him asking him 
to teach them Dutch or English and this he at 
once began to do, little thinking at the time per- 
haps that he should in later years, at the head of 
the Imperial University, direct the course of the 
streams that are still fertilizing the national intel- 
lect. He may not then have foreseen that he 
should lay the foundations and plan out in detail 
a national educational system for the empire. 

In 1898, a Japanese scholar, Rev. G. Ogimi 
wrote what he knew to be the facts told him by 
many witnesses among his own countrymen: 

"After the Doctor (Verbeck) came over to 
Japan, in a short time young men who were 
somewhat acquainted with foreign civilization 
came from various provinces, one by one to 
Nagasaki, and desired, in the use of English or 
Dutch, to investigate the sciences and arts. 
Since, with the exception of medicine, none of 
the sciences and arts could be learned from any 
one but the doctor, they received his instruction, 
bringing to him such books as they had, even 
books on astronomy, navigation, mathematics, 
surveying, physics, chemistry, and fortifications! 


Wakasa, His Two Sons and Retainers, iS66. 

First Science Class, Imperial University, 1S74. 

The Doors Opening 

Just to learn English, they bought such as these, 
and, using them as text-books, formed classes. 
Men like Mr. Kantaro Yanagiya, chief of the 
patent office, studied fortifications with the 
doctor, so he said himself." 
On September 7th, 1867, Mr. Verbeck wrote: 
" Last month the Prince of Kaga placed a fine 
steamer at my disposition to visit his country. 
He is the wealthiest of the Japanese princes, and 
wishes me to come to his state to establish a 
school similar to the one at this place. I have 
invitations more or less direct to the same effect 
from the puissant Prince of Satsuma, the Prince 
of Tosa of the island of Shikoku, and the Prince 
of Hizen of Kiushiu. These four are among the 
foremost princes of Japan, all wishing to go for- 
ward on foreign principles. Wish it were on 
Christian. During the last twenty-four months, 
I have had visits from relations of three power- 
ful princes and of two Imperial governors. 
Without boasting, I can say that the name of 
your missionary stands high. I am sorry only 
that a lone missionary is almost under the neces- 
sity, in speaking of these and some other things, 
to offend against Prov. xxvii. 2, and hope and 
pray that our Master in time will grant us some- 
thing better than mere name and fame." 

A careful study of his environment had pre- 
pared Guido Verbeck to make the right choice as 
to the location and continuance of his educa- 
tional labors. We can see also how all his previ- 
ous training, of head, of heart, of mind, and 


Verbeck of Japan 

hand came to be valuable and useful. In the 
modern world, the engineer and the lin- 
guist make superb combination for largest use- 

After the official changes wrought by the Rev- 
olution of 1868, at which we shall glance in the 
next chapter, by which Nagasaki became an im- 
perial city, the government school came under 
the auspices of the daimio of Hizen. Or, rather 
the two schools continued side by side, Mr. Ver- 
beck teaching on alternate days in each one. A 
still more influential class of students now began 
to come under Mr. Verbeck's care. He had the 
immense advantage of having friends in both the 
old and the new government, so that the trans- 
fer of ownership and sovereignty was made 
without the loss of a day. 

The photograph of the teacher and his classes, 
which he sent home, forms an illustrative docu- 
ment of the highest value to the historian of 
Japan. In this group of young men we can recog- 
nize many who afterward became powerfully 
influential in various government offices as heads 
of departments, as cabinet ministers, as diploma- 
tists abroad, and even in the premiership of the 
empire. Among a few, whom the biographer, 
without assistance from book or person, can 
recall from memory or recognize in the picture, is 
Prince Iwakura and his brother; Count Okuma, 
whose potency in the new national life of Japan 
during forty years has been recognized as head of 
the treasury and the foreign department, and as 


The Doors Opening 

founder of a college of literature, and whom,vv^ith 
Soyeshima, the Mikado's envoy to China in 1874 
and minister of foreign affairs, Mr. Verbeck es- 
pecially instructed in the constitution of the 
United States, besides making them familiar with 
the fundamental laws of most of the western na- 
tions; Kentaro Yanagiya, the chief of the Patent 
Office, besides many others who were members 
of the great embassy in 1874 to the nations of 

Most of the pupils of Mr. Verbeck, proved true 
and faithful to him, showing in the Japanese 
character a capacity for " friendship the master 
passion," but one vile exception was shown in 
the author of a virulent and lying anti-Christian 
pamphlet which was published inYedoini867 
and greatly disturbed the object of the slander. 
It was proved by Mr. Verbeck that the author 
had been one of his own pupils, to whom he had 
given many hours of unrewarded toil. 

It happened in 1863, that Mrs. Verbeck, for her 
own health and that of the children, went to 
China for a short respite. During this time, it 
was uncertain whether or not all foreigners 
would have to leave Nagasaki, or the place be 
occupied by English and French troops. Her 
absence was made the ground of the most out- 
rageous and scurrilous charges, and the idea of 
Christian doctrine held by the anonymous writer 
was one which only a very sensually-minded 
Buddhist priest could conjure up or entertain. 
The pamphlet was translated by Mr. E. M. Satow 

133 J 

Verbeck of Japan 

now the British Minister in Tokio. Mr. Verbeck 
wrote July i6th, 1868: 

*' The internal evidence makes it pretty certain 
that it is written by a priest. And there is no 
priest in Japan who knows the things, such as 
names, numbers, etc., mentioned in the pam- 
phlet, but the said priests, who possess volumes 
of notes taken in my study. I wonder he did not 
put in the names of all my children, with the age 
of each and further particulars, for the old fellow 
evidently knows the rogues' principle that a few 
undoubted truths, especially truths of detail, 
will give the color of truth to a large number of 
lies strung on them. In reading it over for the 
first time, I was struck at once with many things 
that had been the subjects of conversation be- 
tween the old man and myself. 

** In my own mind there is not a doubt about it, 
yet as two of the old man's pupils still continue 
coming to me three times a week, I shall put 
them to the test on the first opportunity, and I 
expect that, although they are not likely to show 
their true feathers, I shall be able to elicit suffi- 
cient proof to settle the matter definitely. I shall 
however do nothing rashly, and give them a fair 
chance to defend themselves or prove themselves 
innocent if they can. They are certainly a 
strange set of men, if my suspicions are founded ; 
for they have bought whole boxes of Chinese 
Bibles and Christian books and tracts, in fact, 
hundreds of volumes, and all, as they said, for 
the purpose of teaching their scholars. These 


The Doors Opening 

books, perhaps got for bad purposes only, may 
yet turn out a blessing to many, and under the 
divine blessing, quite contrary to the wicked in- 
tention. For any one comparing the pamphlet 
with the original sources of all Christian knowl- 
edge must see what a bold and wicked perversion 
of the truth has been practiced. 

"As to the contents of the pamphlet, many 
things about the Roman Catholics are sadly true 
enough, and the account of the Urakami perse- 
cution is correct in the main facts. But I am sure 
that what is said about ' conventicles ' is nothing 
but a most wicked invention. They may have 
had night worship, but nothing licentious. That 
the native so-called Christians (they are so only in 
name) should have resisted by main force, is a 
great injury to the Christian cause in Japan gen- 
erally, and quite inexcusable. That these people 
were finally released from prison was not for the 
reason stated in the pamphlet, but entirely at the 
pressing instance of the French Minister at Yedo. 
This the author took good care not to mention. 

** As to my wife's going to China, as I wrote 
you at the time, the object was a change of air, a 
recruiting of physical health, not of missionary 
forces, and of weaning a baby that had been at 
the breast too long. Other ladies in the East, or 
most of them, have their babies attended and 
brought up by wet nurses. My wife nurses them 
herself and none less than ten or twelve months. 
And this wicked fellow must try to give a most 
natural event the looks of a violation of what he 


Verbeck of Japan 

calls 'the social relations' or 'the five virtues.' 
y But what hurts me most is the blasphemous ac- 
count he gives of the Saviour. I cannot imagine 
how he invents the foul stuff, unless it be at the 
instigation of the Father of lies himself. Shall I 
issue a crushing reply, or had I better keep silence ? 
I shall let you know by next mail." 

On reflection, Mr. Verbeck preferred golden 
silence to silver speech or iron ink. Disliking 
controversy, able to be silent in several languages 
and always anxious to present the positive side 
of truth, he kept on the even tenor of his way in 
teaching and satisfying inquirers. Indeed, Mr. 
Verbeck very rarely, if ever, entered upon argu- 
ment with contumacious men of inferior mind 
S- or character. 

Yet here again, comes out clearly the radical 
difference in the type of Northern, or Germanic, 
as compared with Roman, or Slavonic Christian- 
ity, both at home and in missionary aim and 
work. The prime object of the latter is to make 
churchmen. There is, too often, an oceanic dif- 
ference between a churchman and a Christ-man. 
The former conforms to the corporation. The 
latter seeks his life out of himself in God. Re- 
formed Christianity touches and re-creates art, 
literature, philosophy, and ideals individual, so- 
cial, and national. It rebuilds anew in Christ 
Jesus. None knew and felt this more than Guido 
Verbeck. He wrote: 

"What the author says about Protestants has 
reference to me only, for he never met any 


The Doors Opening 

others; and that he considers me more dangerous 
or injurious to the country than a large number 
of Roman Catholic priests with a host of nomi- 
nal converts, rather flatters me than otherwise. 
The fact is, the priests see that I begin to get a 
stand with the higher and ruling classes of so- 
ciety, with whom themselves have no show at 
all, and by whom they are looked down upon. 
It is an indirect concession on the part of an in- 
telligent native to the fact that my way of pro- 
ceeding is more likely to tell in the end than the 
rash course [/. e., political opposition and interfer- 
ence] the Roman Catholics have chosen to follow. 

"As an offset to the above, I have quite lately 
had another case of also a priest who had actually 
given up his priestly office, emoluments, and 
duties with the set purpose henceforth to serve 
the Lord. He has already felt the hand of per- 
secution on this account and yesterday left me to 
go and live a while with a friend in a retired 

In retrospect of the nine years' residence at 
Nagasaki, and especially during the turmoils of 
1868, he wrote: 

"We have not however escaped without se- 
rious and well grounded fears for our safety. 
We have been threatened with fires, attacks from 
the notorious "loonins" [ronins] or professional 
bravos, and even expulsion from the country. 
When I say we, I mean foreigners generally. As 
to ourselves, except in a general outbreak, I did 
not fear any personal violence, as I had numerous 


Verbeck of Japan 

good friends on both sides of the question, and 
as our pacific character and calling are too well 
understood by all. But not a few of the foreign- 
ers, as I afterwards heard, had their valuables 
packed ready for shipment. All I did at the 
critical time was to reload an old revolver, so as 
to be ready for common thieves or robbers, who 
might avail themselves of the general confusion 
to try their wicked chance and who would prob- 
ably be frightened off by the mere report of fire- 
arms; but especially did I commend ourselves to 
Him who is mightier than any that might be 
against us. By the mercy of God, we are now 
through the worst and there is not even the 
probability of personal danger. From a Tycoonal 
town we have become an imperial city. Our 
new governor is daily expected from Miyako, 
[Kioto] the imperial capital, and on account of 
my position of teacher at the Government 
School, which goes on as heretofore, I hope to 
meet him. On the whole we hope that all these 
great changes in the empire will lead to more 
liberal views on the part of the authorities, es- 
pecially in regard to our religion. On the face of 
the thing, however, this is not at all self-evident; 
for these very emperors claim, or at least are 
from old held to be descendants of the gods and 
the supreme pontiffs of the empire. But I think 
we may reasonably hope that Japan is ready to 
give up such nonsense as antiquated, and show 
itself willing to receive a more reasonable, the 
most reasonable faith." 


The Doors Opening 

"During the years immediately preceding the 
restoration of the Imperial power," writes a vet- 
eran missionary, " Dr. Verbeck received numer- 
ous visits from the clansmen of Satsuma, Choshiu, 
Tosa and other provinces, who were then con- 
tinually travelling back and forth via Nagasaki, 
engaged in discussing with each other what was 
eventually realized in 1868. Among these 
visitors, most of whom had never before met a 
foreigner, may be mentioned such men as Ko- 
matsii, the elder and younger Saigo, Soyeshima, 
and many others who distinguished themselves 
in those critical times." 

At home the Reformed Protestant Dutch 
Church had by vote of the General Synod 
dropped the term "Dutch," and adopted as its 
name style and title, that of "The Reformed 
Church in America." Concerning this act, "the 
Americanized Dutchman" in Japan wrote: 

"1 suppose as missionaries, we are supposed 
to keep quite clear of anything approaching 
party politics ; but where there is so much una- 
nimity as in our late * change of name,' I dare 
say we may express our opinion without com- 
promising our character for impartiality. I, for 
one, hail the change as a good thing on mission 
ground. The name of a foreign nation in the 
very body of the name of a denomination cannot 
but do harm in a country to the church that 
bears it, and I only wonder that the foreign name 
has been so long retained by our Reformed 


Verbeck of Japan 

Verbeck had the historic and true progressive 
conservative spirit. The ancient name of the 
church, since it had reformed its Hfe, doctrine, 
morals, and government, by purging out the 
accretions from Rome, had been The Reformed 
Church in the Netherlands, and its name was but 
a "return," in spirit and fact, and not a depar- 
ture from New Testament principles. 

It has been well said that "the history of the 
Reformed Church Mission in Nagasaki for the 
first ten years is entirely that connected with the 
personal experiences of the founder" who, 
many years afterwards, wrote as follows : 

" We found the natives not at all accessible 
touching religious matters. When such a sub- 
ject was mooted in the presence of a native, his 
hand would almost involuntarily be applied 
edgewise to his throat, to indicate the extreme 
perilousness of such a discussion. If, on such 
an occasion, more than one native happened to 
be present, the natural shyness was, if possible, 
still more apparent, for there was little confidence 
between man and man, chiefly on account of the 
abominable secret spy system, which we found 
in full swing when we first arrived and for 
several years after. It was evident that before 
we could hope to accomplish anything in our 
appropriate work two things were essential; we 
had to gain the general confidence of the people 
and we had to master the native tongue. 

" As to the first, by the most knowing and sus- 
picious, we were regarded as people that had 


The Doors Opening 

come to seduce the masses from their fealty to 
the 'god-country,' and to corrupt their morals 
generally. These gross misconceptions we had 
to endeavor to dispel by invariable kindness and 
generosity, by showing that we had come to do 
good to them only and on all occasions of our 
intercourse, whether we met in friendship, on 
business, on duty, or otherwise; a very simple 
Christian duty this ! 

"As to the other pre-requisite to successful 
work, we were in many respects not favorably situ- 
ated, and our progress was correspondingly slow. 
We had none, or hardly any, of the helps for 
studying the language that have been so abun- 
dantly furnished to those who arrived at later 
dates. The discovery of a new part of speech, 
or of a new construction, seemed to us often 
like the discovery of a new land and often was 
the source of great joy. 

"As to myself, 1 may say that, as an auxiliary 
in my endeavors to secure the above two requi- 
sites, I early commenced to give gratuitous in- 
structions at my home in the English language, 
and various other useful branches. This course, 
under Providence, led to my being early identi- 
fied with educational matters, and did much to 
give shape to my career in this country." 




The intellectual movement of a century and a 
half in Japan was now nearing its culmination. 
What would issue? In the presence of aliens 
and of the forces of modern civilization, would 
there be collision and disaster or a union of 
forces ? 

It is easy now to see clearly what did happen. 
It was very far from being visible in 1868. Yet 
there were in Japan on the 27th of June, 1865, 
two men who were to influence mightily the 
issue. One was Sir Harry Parkes, the British 
envoy, a stalwart whose one idea in life was to 
"make England great." The other was Guido 
Verbeck, citizen of no country, whose consum- 
ing aim was to win disciples for the Master, 
whom each followed. Both were pupils of 
Gutzlaff of China and made so about the same 
time. In Zeist, this apostle had inspired Guido 
Verbeck. In Macao he trained Harry Parkes in 
the most difficult of languages. 

Sir Harry Parkes reached Nagasaki from 
Shanghai, June 27th, 1865. With his coming, a 
new era in diplomacy opened, for Parkes, as he 
once told me at his own home, at the British le- 
gation in Yokohama, at once set about to find 


The Revolution of 1868 

out who was master in Japan and where and 
what the government was. He "took precau- 
tions," as he told me, and then interviewed 
various high official figureheads and clan leaders. 
Aided powerfully by Satow and the other students 
of Japanese history at the British legation, he 
began to see the real facts. There was only one 
fountain of authority— the Mikado. Alone among 
all the foreign ministers, who wished to support 
the Shogun, Parkes held to the Mikado's side. 
He advised the loan of British money and other- 
wise encouraged the new government whose rise 
we shall describe. He served in the East forty- 
three years, with vigor in Japan from 1865 until 
1883, and in China from 1883 until 1885, dying, 
of overwork in Peking. He was often made the 
target of abuse and even of slander. He was a 
stalwart for British interests, as Verbeck was for 
freedom of conscience and Christianity. Of both 
Verbeck and Parkes, the Japanese confessed that 
none was ever able to do what they so often did 
to other foreigners— twine them around their 

In the military campaign on land, following 
the naval battle at Shimonoseki, the prestige of 
the Bakufu was ruined and that of Choshiu was 
increased. When the Shogun died, Hitotsubashi 
became head of the Tokugawa clan, and of the 
Yedo government. But by this time, the agita- 
tion for national unity, begun a generation or 
more ago and made perhaps a logical necessity 
from the study of native history and literature a 


Verbeck of Japan 

century and a half previous, took phenomenal 
form in the combination in the southwestern 
clans. It was their desire to abolish the duarchy 
and have one source of authority, the Mikado, to 
be the sole ruler of Japan. Early in 1867, when 
the emperor Komei died, he was succeeded by 
his son Mutusuhito, now and since 1868, the sole 
ruler of the empire. 

The new Tycoon, then a young man in his 
early thirties (now, in 1900, a hale and hearty 
gentleman living privately in Tokio) met the 
foreign ministers at Osaka. The interview was 
very satisfactory. Sites for the new settlement of 
Kobe and Osaka were determined upon and the 
west coast was inspected to see what harbors 
were best suited for foreign trade. Nevertheless, 
while relations between the Yedo government, 
which was the government de facto, and the 
foreigners were improving, yet opposition be- 
tween the Tycoon and the vassal daimios was 
ripening into hostility. At this time the relations 
between the various landed feudal lords and the 
Tycoon was much like that of the various states 
of Europe, with such suzerainty as might be in- 
volved in a congress of powers, and it was held 
that the action of the emperor and Tycoon 
against Choshiu disturbed the balance of power. 
The clans of Satsuma, Tosa, Echizen, and Uwa- 
jima had therefore taken action in memorials to 
the rulers in Kioto and Yedo, the Throne and the 
Camp, looking to a change in the order of things. 

The ex-prince of Tosa declared in a memorial 

The Revolution of 1868 

that the East and the West had risen in arms 
against each other, and that Japan had long been 
the stage of civil war, the effect being to draw on 
the Japanese the insults of foreign nations. The 
reason for this state of affairs was that the 
administration proceeded from two centres, and 
"the empire's ears and eyes were turned in two 
different directions." The march of events had 
brought about a revolution and the old system 
could not be obstinately persevered in. "We 
should restore the governing power into the 
hands of the sovereign, and so lay a foundation 
on which Japan may take its stand as the equal 
of all other countries." The clans hostile to the 
Tycoon, eager for foreign trade, and wishing a 
united country, now began to press matters so 
strenuously that the new Shogun, seeing the state 
of affairs, in a characteristic document resigned 
his office on the 9th of November, 1867. He did 
this with the understanding that a general council 
of daimios should be convened in Kioto to de- 
liberate and settle the basis of a new constitu- 

The 15th of December was the day fixed upon 
for the opening of the assembly, and the air at 
once became heavy with schemes of reform and 
programs to be discussed. Yet it was noticed, 
that on all roads to Kioto, instead of the coun- 
cillor and the statesmen, armed men were mov- 
ing, the troops from Yedo arriving by land and 
sea from the east, and various bodies of daimios' 
retainers, ronin and soldiers of Satsuma and 


Verbeck of Japan 

other clans, were entering from the southwest 
and the north. Soon the City of the Ninefold 
Circle of Flowers was full of the flower of 
Japan's warlike men. All wondered what was 
to happen. A few determined men believed that 
they knew. On the first of January, 1868, the 
flags of the United States and the European 
nations were hoisted at Osaka and Hiogo, city 
and port, salutes were fired and commerce began. 

In Kioto, the soldiers of the combination, 
Satsuma, Tosa, Echizen, Owari took possession 
of the palace gates, surrounded the emperor with 
a new set of nobles and councillors favorable to 
their views, and on the 4th, the next day, 
obtained the emperor's decree, abolishing the 
Bakufu, establishing the new government, and 
admitting the Choshiu troops to the capital. 

Meanwhile the troops of the Tokugawa family 
occupied the castle of Nijo, and each garrison 
kept watch upon the other. The Tokugawa men 
considered the action of the 3d of January as a 
coup d'etat and were annoyed at being excluded 
from the new government. Listening to the 
advice of his retainers, Hitotsubashi proceeded at 
the head of his troops to Osaka on the night of 
the 6th. This action was deemed so highly 
suspicious by the new government, that it pro- 
hibited the two clans most closely connected 
with the Tokugawa family, Kuwana and Aidzu, 
from reentering the capital. 

The new form of government, or constitution, 
and the laws issued in the emperor's name were 


The Revolution of 1868 

published in the spring of 1868 in the official 
gazette, a newspaper ^ established by two of the 
young officers engaged in the revolution, or 
restoration. In Yedo, the great yashikis of the 
Satsuma clan, reputed to be the hiding-place of 
ronins and robbers, were attacked and burned. 
This increased the bitterness between the two 
clans of Satsuma and Tokugawa. The new gov- 
ernment finding itself without money resolved 
on contributions from the Tokugawa and other 
clans, and sent the ex-princes of Owari and 
Echizen to Osaka to get the adherence of the late 
Shogun and make him a gijo or supreme councillor, 
one of the second highest officers in the govern- 
ment. He agreed, but, afterward, persuaded by 
the daimios of Aidzu and Kuwana, he started for 
Kioto with hostile intent with all his following, 
probably ten thousand men, the clansmen of 
Aidzu and Kuwana being in the van. This 
action the court considered was in direct defiance 
of its order and the troops of Satsuma and Choshiu 
were sent to the two principal roads to block the 
way of the Eastern army. A battle broke out on 
the 27th, and continued four days. It was now a 
fight between the 'Moyal army " and the " rebels," 
or, about two thousand young men, armed chiefly 
with American rifles, lightly clad, and drilled in 
the modern style of war, against men for the 
most part cased in antique armor, with spears 
and swords and old-fashioned guns. The 

1 The beginning of the journalism of Japan, in which there 
are now nearly eight hundred serial publications. 

Verbeck of Japan 

Satsuma and Choshiu clansmen making excellent 
use of artillery, entrenchments, and flanking 
attacks, won the victory. On the 30th the whole 
eastern army broke, fled, and were pursued to 
Osaka, which was entered and the foreign lega- 
tions were burned or sacked. 

The Shogun, in disguise, with some of his 
followers, abandoned the castle, and on the 31st 
crossed the bar in a boat. He was received on 
board the United States steamer Iroquois, though 
it was not known at the time that so high a per- 
sonage had fallen so low in fortune. Reaching 
his own steam corvette, the Kayomaru, he left 
for Yedo. The next day the magnificent castle 
of Osaka, famed for its ramparts and towers and 
gates, and the astonishing size of the stones in its 
walls, was set on fire, all the woodwork being 
turned to ashes and the wounded men inside of 
it perishing miserably. Now began the civil 
war, which lasted for two years, ending in the 
complete triumph of the Imperial army. Envoys 
from the emperor met the foreign representatives 
and signed the treaty in the name of the Mikado. 
In spite of the murderous swords of fanatics and 
assassins, the foreign ministers entered Kioto and 
had audience with the Mikado, who, on the 6th 
of April, proceeded in person to the castle of 
Nijo, now turned into an office for the Council of 
State, and took an oath in the presence of the 
court nobles and daimios to establish the founda- 
tion of the empire according to the five principles 
laid down, which were as follows : 


The Revolution of 1868 

1. Government based on public opinion. 

2. Social and political economy to be made the 
study of all classes. 

3. Mutual assistance among all for the general 

4. Reason, not tradition to be the guide of 

5. Wisdom and ability to be sought after in 
all quarters of the world. 

It was this last provision making education the 
basis of progress, and the quest for talent and 
learning everywhere, to create a new order of 
ideas, that opened the way for the entrance into 
Japan of a great army of teachers, engineers, 
physicians, scholars, and experts in every depart- 
ment of human energy and achievement. They 
came from Christendom, excelling even that won- 
derful precedent of the Czar Peter the Great, in 
seeking from Holland the brain and skilled muscle 
for the making of a new civilization. 

The new government found itself in a position 
of great difficulty. It had floated into power on 
the two ideas of the restoration of the Mikado 
and the expulsion of foreigners. Unable to ac- 
complish the latter aim, they found themselves 
obliged gradually to come to some compromise 
between the foreigners, to whom they were con- 
stantly making protestations of friendship, and 
the fanatical and ignorant natives, to whom 
Christianity meant sorcery, witchcraft, and alli- 
ance with foxes and badgers, and who wished 
the defiling aliens driven into the sea and drowned. 


Verbeck of Japan 

The troubles of the Japanese ministers were very 

Instead of the old edicts against Christians and 
the apparatus of inquisition by the Buddhist 
priests, the Council of State now issued a fresh 
defamation of Christianity and proclaimed a ban 
against believers in ** the evil sect" of which the 
following is a translation. It was published in 
March and republished in October, 1868. 

"The Evil Sect called Christian is strictly pro- 
hibited. Suspicious persons should be reported 
to the proper officers, and rewards will be 
given." Dai Jo Kuan (Supreme Council of the 

These edicts were published with India ink on 
notice boards which were hung up under roofs 
or sheds, set up upon a platform of masonry in 
every city, town and village, near ferries, 
markets, highways, and places of public assem- 
bly. The idea was not only to ban, but to stamp 
out the new doctrine. 

The first outward activity was seen in the 
proclamation of June, 1868, which gave the anti- 
Christian and anti-foreign parties great glee. 
About four thousand Japanese Christians, living 
mostly in Urakami, a village near Nagasaki, were 
ordered to be distributed among the various 
provinces, many of them being actually sent out 
into lonely and remote places. They were to be 
employed as laborers or kept as prisoners, during 
the space of three years, by no fewer than thirty- 
four daimios. If during this time they repented, 


The Revolution of 1868 

they were to be set free, if not, they were to be 
beheaded. The Christians were torn from their 
homes, tied together hke so many bundles of fire 
wood, and arrayed in the red suits of criminals, 
were distributed throughout the empire. Kido, 
called "the pen of the Revolution," arrived in 
Nagasaki in June, 1868, to carry out this decree. 
He declared to the foreign ministers of state that 
the government was simply taking precautionary 
measures to preserve order between the Christian 
population and the lower classes of the Japanese. 
Kido, like most of his countrymen, brave and 
comparatively enlightened as he was, then shared 
the common superstition, of the more savagely 
ignorant of his people, that a missionary was a 
person sent to Japan to break the laws of the 
country. Of this notion, Kido learned later to be 
heartily ashamed. It was reserved in after years 
for Guido Verbeck to be the most potent personal 
force in Japan, using reason alone in paralyzing 
the arm of persecution. . 

Guido Verbeck, who was one of the noblest 
representatives of the land of William the Silent, 
and Hugo Grotius, was a champion of freedom 
of conscience and of the brotherhood of man. 
Ardent, doughty, wise, patient, far seeing, he 
delved in the mine or mounted the watch-tower 
of observation as occasion called. In the new 
movement for nationalism, he saw his opportu- 
nity. He would plunge into the crater of politics 
and war, if need be, to secure freedom of reli- 
gion, the adoption of international law, the sending 

Verbeck of Japan 

of more native young men abroad to study, and 
the introduction of more Christian gentlemen into 
Japan. As soon as news of the decisive battle of 
Fushimi reached him he wrote home for approval 
of a visit to Osaka, not forgetting things nearer 
home, for the canny and aesthetic Japanese have an 
eye for material advantage, as keen as a Yankee's, 
and wanted wealth by mining, as well as by 
commerce. He wrote: 

** By the way, have you among your acquaint- 
ance perhaps a good scientific and practical 
miner? The Prince of Hizen wishes to explore 
and open his mines, especially coal, and I was de- 
sired to inquire for a suitable man to undertake 
this job. He would be sure of a good salary and 
it would be a fme thing to have a good Christian 
man occupy such a position; there are alas too 
few of these here. It is not as yet a sure thing, 
and I am not authorized to promise anything; 
yet it would well be worth to consider the in- 
quiry. If we could succeed in placing one such 
a person satisfactorily, there would probably be 
a demand for more in time, and it would be well 
worth some trouble to supply the country with 
active Christian men in the various pursuits of 
life. You have no idea how the name of 
Christian is disgraced by most foreigners in 
Japan, and it would almost pay just to hire good 
Christian families and to make them live in vari- 
ous parts of the country to exemplify and adorn 
the doctrine. This too would put a stop to much 
of the open wickedness and immorality now prev- 


The Revolution of 1868 

alent among foreign residents of all nationalities 
and ranks. 

"In compliance with your suggestion, I shall 
start to-morrow on a trip to Osaka, the heart and 
headquarters of the empire (i. e., taking Miyako 
[Kioto] into account), and shall try my utmost to 
bring about the desired objects touching the 
young men, — imperial appointment to the Naval 
Academy and suitable support. As soon as 1 got 
your letters, I began my preparations, and have 
reason, I think, to expect a good welcome from 
my numerous acquaintances at the capital. It is 
no easy task I am about to undertake, and I 
should not think of entering on it so extensively 
unless at your express wish. My going North 
involves the suspension of my schools here (a 
vacation to about sixty or more studious youth), 
considerable expense (not chargeable in full to 
the mission), my leaving my home and my family 
alone among strangers. For five years I have not 
been outside of a circle of a radius of four miles 
and very seldom to the periphery of that. On 
the other hand, besides the advantages hoped for 
if I succeed, my trip gives me an opportunity to 
spy out the land in view of missionary enterprise 
and location. 

" If a favorable opportunity offers, I shall not fail 
to impress upon leading men the reasonableness 
and importance of toleration of our faith in 

"There is a good deal of preparatory work to 
be done, which, like the scaffolding used in rear- 


Verbeck of Japan 

ing a new building, need not be publicly exposed, 
but which the master builders ought to know, 
and which the public will only appreciate after 
the building is ready for general inspection." 

We have already seen that Mr. Verbeck had 
started a few students on their way to the United 
States, and that this was the beginning of a 
mighty movement. Most of those, to whom he 
gave letters of introduction to the missionary 
secretary Rev. John M. Ferris, D. D., were 
courteously assisted in one way or another, 
often at the expense of money, time and 
trouble — all most gladly given. In 1885, for the 
production of my pamphlet '* The Rutgers Grad- 
uates in Japan," I wrote to Dr. Ferris for data 
and received with other information the follow- 
ing. It will be seen that the young Japanese 
financially stranded in America, by the revolution 
in Japan, were handsomely tided over all diffi- 

" When the movement was at its height, the 
revolution which deposed the Tycoon, began in 
Japan. Some of the students were soon out of 
money. They called on me and stated their case. 
I visited a few gentlemen and wrote to others. 
A company was quickly formed which engaged 
to furnish money as I might call for it, until the 
result of the attack on the Tycoon should be 
reached. The following persons were the con- 
tributors: Jonathan Sturges, James Schieffelin, 
James A. Williamson, D. Jackson Steward, Gen- 
eral Robert H. Pruyn, and Mrs. Anna M. Ferris. 

The Revolution of 1868 

When the revolution of 1868 was decided, the 
advances, for which the students had given due 
bills, were repaid. When the last company of 
commissioners from Japan, led by Mr. Iwakura 
visited this country, they prepared a paper recog- 
nizing this generous kindness and saying that it 
had had more effect in confirming the friendly 
regard for the United States by the government 
of Japan than any event in their intercourse with 
this country. Some of the contributors advanced 
five to six hundred dollars. 

*' My impression is that three or four gentlemen 
besides those I have named, assisted in providing 
for the emergency, but I was at the time obtain- 
ing money for various objects and cannot speak 
of them positively. The chief contributors were 
those I have named. John M. Ferris. 

''New York, Dec. 30, 1885." 

We also produce in English the august docu- 
ment sent by the imperial envoys, Iwakura, court 
noble and premier and Okubo of Satsuma, of 
whom we shall hear further in our narrative. 

Official Acknowledgment of the Mikado's Am- 
bassadors, Iwakura and okubo. 

•« Secretary's Office of the Japanese Embassy, 

« Boston, August 5, 1872. 

''Rev. J. M. Ferris, D. D., 

"Dear Sir: — The Ambassadors, being on 
the eve of their departure from the United 
States, desire again to convey to you this expres- 
sion of their thanks for the interest which you 


Verbeck of Japan 

have (for many years) invariably manifested in 
their people and country. 

''The kind assistance and encouragement which 
were so generally extended by you to the Japa- 
nese students who studied in this country during a 
crisis of such importance in our national history, 
will long be remembered by us. These students 
are now far advanced in knowledge, and are very 
useful to our country, and the Ambassadors feel 
it is mainly due to your instrumentality. 

" Until recently an impression has prevailed in 
Japan, that many foreign nations did not enter- 
tain kindly feelings toward our people. 

"The generous conduct exhibited by yourself 
and other gentlemen in this instance, as well as 
in all matters of educational interest pertaining to 
the Japanese youth, will do much to correct this 
impression, and will do more to cement the 
friendly relations of the two countries than all 
other influences combined. 

"Please extend to the gentlemen this renewed 
assurance of the Ambassadors' high appreciation 
of their kindness, and they will likewise, on re- 
turning to Japan, explain the matter satisfactorily 
to our government. 

"We remain yours very truly, 





As we have seen, the great political upheaval 
of 1868 gave the alert missionary an opportunity, 
which seeing, he was not slow to seize. He had, 
months before, written home asking leave of 
absence from Nagasaki, to go where activities 
were more potent and promising. Happy in 
having a chief, who could discern the signs of 
the times, and who instantly wrote him from 
New York to go to Osaka, Mr. Verbeck with his 
body servant Koide, sailed at 2 a. m. on Saturday, 
October i8th, 1868. On Sunday, he passed the 
famous island of Hirado, where in the sixteenth 
century the Dutch had their first factory and set- 
tlement. At 7 p. M. he entered the historic straits 
of Shimonoseki, seeing the lights of the city but 
nothing more. Early on deck next morning, he 
enjoyed to the full the ravishing sight of the In- 
land Sea, with its enchanting coasts and islets, 
and its Island Without Death. 

For nine years, with the slight exception of 
flight to China, and a visit to Saga in Hizen, 
Verbeck had been shut up to the hills and water 
view of Nagasaki. He now revelled in the wider 
expanse, as his eyes enjoyed the sight of what is 
probably the most beautiful water passage in the 


Verbeck of Japan 

world. At eleven o'clock at night, anchor was 
cast in front of Hiogo or rather Kobe, and he 
landed early next morning. 

The harbor of Hiogo had been defended, or 
was supposed to be, by two miniature martello 
towers, made of wood, and already beginning to 
decay. Built by Katsu Rintaro, each was ex- 
pected to mount twelve guns, but not being 
armed and already crumbling, they were not very 
formidable, and about as useful as the forts in 
Yedo bay. At the Hizen House, he breakfasted 
on rice, eggs, and soy, eating as one in the 
chairless room, from a table five inches high, 
must perforce do, while resting on one's " hams 
and heels." On trying to rise he found himself 
very stiff in the knees. Whereupon the hotel 
servant laughed, to the great amusement of his 
own servant Koide. 

As in old Japanese style, the travelling barber 
came to the house with his brass-bound box of 
scraping tools, having many drawers and a 
hopper-shaped top, to shave Koide's head and 
face. In those days the Japanese had on their 
noddles from the forehead clear back to the 
occiput a great central avenue of space kept bald, 
over which, the long-grown hair of the cultivated 
area, duly stiffened with camellia pomatum, was 
gathered up. The resulting stick of hair, rigid 
enough to remain one of a Roman lictor's fasces, 
was first tied at the angle where bent, and then 
laid on the top of the head. As stiff as a ram- 
rod, and in shape like a gun cock, the whole 


Trip to Osaka 

suggested an old-fashioned musket on a small 
scale. The razors were in shape like Japanese 
sword ends. The chief emollient used, or the 
only one, was hot water. There were also 
curved and hooped tools of steel for excavating 
the ears and nose. When man or woman in 
Japan is shaved, the process extends all over the 
face, around the eyebrows and down the neck 
under the hair. The work is thoroughly, as well 
as neatly and comfortably, done. Already men 
were beginning to show their politics and prefer- 
ences, radical and conservative, by the style of 
hair-dressing which they favored, while the 
street songs reflected the change of fashion. 

The baggage and servants coming later, Mr. 
Verbeck and Koide set out on foot, the owner 
and the stuff meeting about ten miles from 
Osaka, at a place called Nishinomiya or the 
Western Shrine. One ri further, they came to 
Amako, where was a pretty, old-fashioned castle, 
with moat full of water, sloping stone walls, 
flanking towers, water gate, pine-trees planted 
inside, and the regulation white walls or ram- 
parts built at the top of the masonry. Over one 
hundred of these feudal castles existed in the 
empire, and the aggregate amount of labor and 
engineering skill expended upon them had prob- 
ably exceeded that spent upon the Great Chinese 

Taking boat and poling, drifting with the cur- 
rent, or sculling, they moved along in the dusk 
through the slough, bayous, and swamps in a 


Verbeck of Japan 

wonderfully zigzag way, gradually approaching 
Osaka. They heard the noise of drums and 
trumpets on land and water, quite continuously, 
for this was indeed war time. Landing at nine 
o'clock, they looked in vain for a foreign hotel, 
for the new settlement arranged for by treaty had 
been just laid out and was but half finished. 
The traveller was impressed on his river voyage 
with the richness of the fields and vegetable 
gardens, the general air of prosperity in the 
houses, clothes, and looks, of the country and 
townspeople, and the roads which were lively 
with many travellers. He was not now in a 
corner, but in the heart of Japan. 

Osaka was the greatest commercial city of old 
Japan. In it most of the clans had their yashikis 
and trading-houses. After a long ride through 
the canals and under the long bridges, of which 
there were about eleven hundred in the city, Mr. 
Verbeck was attracted to the Hizen inn. This 
typical old native hostelry had its courtyards, 
fish ponds, and a great matted parlor, with 
bronze, keramic ware and kakemono wall- 
pictures in the alcove. After a good supper our 
traveller slept soundly and safely. 

The next morning he rose and strolled all over 
the foreign settlement, in the afternoon spending 
the time among the book shops. He was pleased 
with the politeness of the shopkeepers and 
people, though he had one encounter with a rude 
Japanese. He priced the great encyclopaedia San 
Sai Dzu Yo, (which in 1900 we see is under re- 


Trip to Osaka 

vision and to be brought down to date), then 
costing only ten or twelve rio. Both he and 
Koide had forgotten their umbrellas, one of silk, 
the other of oiled paper, but the next morning 
walking along the boatman called them and re- 
turned these ''portable roofs." This honesty 
mightily impressed Mr. Verbeck, who in Naga- 
saki had met with plenty of thieves, but not 
with the honor which the proverb doubtfully 
ascribes to them. He thought that the streets of 
Osaka were much quieter than those of Yedo— no 
jolting, singing of coolies, horseback riding, 
carts, etc. The reason of this lay in the rivers 
which like great arteries ramify the city, and the 
multitude of water courses on which most of the 
traffic and transport are done. On the same ele- 
ment also most of the pleasure was taken by 
parties large and small. At Nagasaki no attempt 
seemed to be made to save room, but at Osaka 
the wood was piled up for seasoning on the roofs 
and on the sheds, saving space and gaining sun 
and air. Like a genuine engineer, Verbeck 
notices, describes, and reproduces in drawing a 
teapot like a flue boiler, tobacco pipes that un- 
screwed in two parts, with two branches for two 
persons to smoke from the same pipe head, or, to 
be shut up and carried in the pocket. He noted 
a syphon for the pouring of soy, the condiment 
which forms the basis of various "shire" sauces 
of England, and a dish for holding this same 
Japanese product of salt and wheat. He found * 
out how men raised up old piles out of the river 


Verbeck of Japan 

by using boats and the ''camel" principle, and 
he made diagrams of the "house-boats." His 
journal shows that he could not help noticing in 
Osaka what he and I together noticed later in 
Tokio, in ostentatious and prodigious quantity, 
the various forms and adaptations in art, use, 
and material, of the phallus. Until foreigners 
came in large numbers to Japan, the phallic cult 
had reached a frenzy that had ecclesiastical and 
commercial, as well as religious phases. Priest, 
shopkeeper, and deluded victim of superstition 
were alike interested in keeping up what, in 
civilization, is a caricature of religion. 

The people of Osaka were polite and ready, 
but at Sakai less so. This latter port was the 
seat of the tragedy of March 8th, 1868, when 
eleven French sailors were shot to death by Tosa 
clansmen, and reparation made by eleven Japa- 
nese, out of the twenty doomed to vengeance, 
committing hara-kiri. The people of Sakai were 
said to call out, what they thought to be a Eu- 
ropean word "peke, peke," a Malay term which 
means "get out" or "go away." 

In the foreign settlement most of the new- 
comers were from Nagasaki, very few coming 
from Yokohama. At the latter place the opening 
of Osaka was rather ignored, but the project 
could not be hindered. The location of the for- 
eign settlement seemed well chosen, being on 
high land, accessible to native craft and capable 
of expansion. Yet while at Nagasaki, the native 
shops were full of "Ranguchi," foreign goods, 


Trip to Osaka 

or literally, " Dutch notions," and women dressed 
in foreign stuff, often after a certain approach to 
a European cut which made absurdities, here 
there were few shops or wearers, of such impor- 
tations. The customhouse officers, interpreters, 
merchants, laborers, and other natives in the new 
settlement were Japanese from Nagasaki. With 
the aid of a kind and friendly Tosa officer, who 
gave him his card, he and his companion Mr. John 
Milne, who afterward became the authority on 
earthquakes in Japan, paid a visit to the castle, 
the woodwork of which had recently in the 
civil war been reduced to ashes. He admired its 
dimensions and shape, and the enormously large 
stones, which rival if they do not excel the won- 
ders of the Egyptian pyramids and suggest like 
problems of engineering. The view from the 
castle, despite the haze and gloom, was fine. 
The splendid stonework had been greatly affected 
by the fire. 

On his way back, he saw a large silk shop 
with a miniature bamboo grove growing at the 
entrance. At this time the governor of Osaka 
was Goto Shojiro. Other friends whom he met 
were young Mr. Pignatel and Mr. Ga Kinosuke, 
who brought bows and arrows for the children, 
silk for Mrs. Verbeck, and maps for himself. He 
told Mr. Verbeck that very soon in Tokio an 
English school would be required. Mr. Yoshida, 
formerly a pupil of Mr. Goble of Yokohama, and 
afterward in the United States as student, and 
later Minister from Japan at Washington, was in 


Verbeck of Japan 

Osaka, inquiring about teachers and schools for 
his native province of Satsuma. Visiting Mr. 
Lowder, Mr. Verbeck was impressed with the 
fine premises of the British Consulate. By in- 
quiry he learned that much business was being 
done and "that Yokohama with its banks and 
big houses would not believe in Osaka, but they 
would change their minds too late and confess 
their error." Even Hartley, the bookseller, 
boasted of a good deal of business, for young 
Japan was ravenously hungry for the new 
knowledge of the West. 

It is everywhere the custom in Japan for the 
natives to send their friends pleasant little re- 
membrances, in the form of presents, oranges, 
eggs, etc. In Nagasaki Mr. Verbeck received 
from one admirer, a pig. In Osaka a basket of 
eggs was sent him. He gave them to the hotel 
servant who in a few minutes came back asking 
whether he should boil them all. The Japanese 
had an idea that the foreigners, whose drinking 
utensils were so enormously larger than the little 
cups of the Japanese, were very heavy guzzlers 
and devourers. In their late mythology and art 
are representations of red-headed Bacchuses and 
bibulous devotees who lounge by the seashore, 
ladling out by means of big dippers the inebri- 
ating fluid from large jars, which they drink from 
huge beakers. Perhaps the servant thought also 
that a foreigner could actually eat as he tradition- 
ally drank. 

Next day Friday the 23d was spent among the 


Trip to Osaka 

book shops. He was impressed with the fact 
that Osaka being a large city, particular streets 
could be devoted to particular products, such as 
crockery, tobacco pipes, books, etc. Three sets 
of the great encyclopaedia with some other books 
were bought. One set in eighty-one volumes 
was for the Rev. James Summers in London, one 
for Rev. James H. Ballagh, and one for himself. 
The vast size of the temples, the splendid carving 
and imposing furniture impressed the visitor. 
On the pagoda he met some Satsuma soldiers. 
While Mr. Ballagh was talking with Captain 
Bonger and another gentleman, the laborers, not 
over polite, kept their head cloths on. Mr. Ver- 
beck smilingly dropped a hint in praise of native 
politeness, when off went the scalp cloths. 
Whereupon, the old lady at the pagoda, became 
voluble in compliments at his being able to talk 
Japanese that could be understood both by Sat- 
suma soldiers and the Central-country ** coolies." 
In one temple he found the Five Hundred Rakan 
or primitive disciples of the Buddha, represented 
by as many idols distributed in three shrines, 
some of them two or three feet high. 

There were many soldiers from the different 
clans roaming about the city, not a few of whom 
had foreign dress and arms. There was no real 
danger from these men of war, fresh from the 
battle of Fushimi, though the raw fellows were 
not nice to meet. On the road to Umeda he saw 
at a distance a number of people dressed pecul- 
iarly in white. These, he thought, were per- 


Verbeck of Japan 

haps ronin, that had consecrated themselves to 
deeds of valor against any and all "foreign bar- 
barians." In such case, what chance would he 
stand against so many men armed to the teeth. 
Yet even '* supposing these strange looking ob- 
jects were only sheep," wrote he, "I was not 
like Quixote bound for trouble. On the contrary 
I was bound to keep out of it as much as possi- 
ble, but after all, my supposed ronin turned out 
to be quite as harmless as Quixote's sheep. . . 
As I was walking along remembering that I had a 
band of bravos at my back, all of a sudden turning 
a corner I came upon another body of the identical 
white dressed people, and what should they turn 
out to be but mourners in a funeral procession! 
At once I faced about again and followed at the 
rear of the mourners. My doing so drew others 
of the villagers along so that my following 
swelled the original procession to twice its num- 
ber, making in all about sixty heads. 

"I entered at once into conversation with the 
nearest, and it gave great satisfaction to the com- 
pany that the foreigner went along. They told 
me the dead was to be burned, the teeth and 
some part of the bones alone being returned to 
the family as relics for worship. There are five 
or six such places for burning the dead and this 
Umeda burned daily eighteen or twenty. The 
body, exhibited a few minutes at the temple and 
prayer said, was then brought to the burning hall 
— a kind of vault with two doors. As we came in 
with our corpse, three fires were burning from 


Trip to Osaka 

previous bodies. Our coffin was placed in the 
central place and a light mat of straw hung over 
it. Then the friends came in, saying prayers in 
which 'Amida' (Boundlessly Merciful Buddha) 
and * Gokuraku ' (Paradise) were frequently 
audible. Then each took a whisk of straw and 
set fire to the mat covering. Then the outside 
case took fire. Just at this interesting stage of 
the performance, a bad, rough looking fellow 
bade all go out and close the door. By and by I 
sidled up to the side door and actually saw 
ghastly white knees and thighs jutting out from 
the debris of burning straw and wood. But 
again the operator told us to leave and he shut to 
the door. How he could stand it inside is hard 
to say, for where we first entered there was a 
disgusting smell of burnt human flesh. But soon 
the time came for the next comer and the doors 
were thrown open once more. 

"I was anxious to see how far our corpse had 
by this time proceeded and horrid was the sight. 
The back was turned toward the front door and 
invisible on account of the fuel that covered it. 
But the fire contracting the arms and muscles, 
just as I looked, a white arm and hand holding a 
rosary came slowly moving out of the flame. 
Nobody seemed to care. Men and children (no 
women) stood around perfectly unconcerned and 
talked with me about my dress and other things. 
I told them about our mode of burying. I was 
the first foreigner ever seen at the temple, they 
said. Children played about and men laughed. 


Verbeck of Japan 

After we had had a long talk, finally I said 
'come, let us go now,' to the great amusement 
of the crowd. Another coffin arrived before we 
left, and we met one more on our way through 
the village." 

Arriving at his lodgings, Mr. Verbeck found 
Koide. He had returned from Kioto, saying that 
Soyeshima would call upon him next day. That 
night he enjoyed a walk in the moonlight with 
Mr. Ballagh. 

The next day he learned from Ga that the son 
of Katsu would be appointed to the naval acad- 
emy at Annapolis. Meeting Soyeshima, he was 
told that there would be no difficulty in appoint- 
ing the six men (elect Japanese students) to the 
Naval Academy. The Vice Minister of Foreign 
Affairs, Komatsii, would settle the details of the 

"Soyeshima wanted me to accompany Ko- 
matsu to Yedo to see the United States Min- 
ister about the delivery of the ' Stonewall iron- 
clad,' pleading that foreign neutrality was no 
longer applicable to the case of Japan, since there 
was no war between Yedo and Miyako, the 
former Tycoon himself being at peace and one 
with the Mikado's government. The last news 
from the seat of war was that Aidzu's forts had 
been taken, that his forces had fallen back to 
Sendai, and that those still resisting the govern- 
ment were a mere collection of outlaws now 
established in two places only. 

By this time many United States naval officers 


Trip to Osaka 

were in Osaka and a number of Japanese in the 
government service had called, asking for Mr. 
Verbeck. After the usual earthquake and heavy 
rains, he spent the evening writing out copies of 
permission for the Yokoi brothers to enter at 

The next morning a guide being sent him, Mr. 
Verbeck went to call upon Mr. Komatsu who 
promised to give the appointment to the two 
Yokoi young men. Mr. Komatsu then stated the 
desire of the government to establish a school in 
Yedo for three hundred scholars, with three 
teachers besides Mr. Verbeck, one of the depart- 
ments being for the study of Dutch. When Mr. 
Komatsu asked Mr. Verbeck about the Stone- 
wall, the latter answered: "I told him he must 
convince the Minister of the fact that the oppos- 
ing party are only a small faction, in no way able 
to affect foreign intercourse and commerce in the 
empire. An American naval officer had been en- 
gaged at a thousand dollars a month but dis- 
missed after fifty days' service. He demanded 
twenty-five thousand dollars indemnification. 
They mean to offer ten thousand dollars and pas- 
sage home." 

From Komatsu's house, for passage to his own 
lodgings, Mr. Verbeck went on one of the fa- 
mous Cha-bune, or house-boats, with three boat- 
men to pole him along, going swiftly with the 
current, which gave him a good chance to study 
the varieties and possibility of the native shipping. 
He noticed that all the dirt and garbage of the 


Verbeck of Japan 

city was carried out in boats, nothing being 
thrown in the river. Everywhere at the landings 
along its banks were good broad flights of stone 
steps reaching down to the water. Riding to 
Sumiyoshi he noticed great stacks of straw look- 
ing at night like giants on guard. The cows 
were used for draught. Horses were larger and 
dogs rarer than at Nagasaki. Tea and cotton 
were very common in the fields. 

Calling on Iwasaki, he was informed that the 
real mover in the affair of the school was Goto 
Shojiro, but he also learned that appointments 
had been made of Sugiura to military study, Mat- 
sumura and Nagai to the navy, Ohara to political 
science, Yoshida to criminal law, and Nagasawa 
to medicine. He also learned that the Mikado 
was to go up to Tokio on the 20th (Japanese) 
day of the month, but that it was doubtful 
whether he would be able on account of lack of 
funds. Already there was a tendency in the gov- 
ernment to be conciliatory, even to their enemies, 
for peace and national consolidation were desired. 
The new paper money made in Echizen^ was 
beginning to circulate, but counterfeits were al- 
ready in vogue. Reports of its inflammability 
were very much exaggerated, as Mr. Verbeck 
found by experiment. 

After seeing various matters of interest in 
Osaka, they took kago which seemed very amus- 
ing and ludicrous to Mr. Verbeck. One had 
either to tuck up feet and legs under him or 

» Mikado's Empire, p. 425. 

Trip to Osaka 

let his limbs dangle down, with feet near the 

This ended Mr. Verbeck's trip to the central 
port and province of Japan. After coming to 
their home in the south, Koide, on his way to 
Hizen from Nagasaki, fell off his horse and died 
soon after, from concussion of the spine, while 
Mr. Verbeck's life was spared for further and 
more glorious usefulness. He was now busy in 
moving forward the long procession of young 
men from Japan, whose faces were set toward 
Christian nations. Of one from Fukui, in Echi- 
zen, whom I knew at New Brunswick so well 
and who was soon, to *'fall on sleep" in Wil- 
low cemetery there, Mr. Verbeck wrote May 
4th, 1868: 

*' As to Kusakabe, I have put his affairs in train 
too, and I think we may hope for a good result. 
I was much pleased to see that his aptness for 
study attracted attention, and I must say that, 
although I know any number of what I would 
consider— humanly speaking — better men, I know 
but ten or a dozen that I would call smarter than 
Kusakabe,* among my Japanese acquaintance, I 
mean. It is encouraging to observe the general 
intelligence of these people, their avidity for for- 
eign attainments, and their thirst for knowledge 
generally. Let the edicts against Christianity be 
removed, and I think we shall have one of the 
finest and most prosperous mission fields in the 

^ See Mikado's Empire, p. 430, 431. 

Verbeck of Japan 

Of the young men who were sent to America 
to study, the two Yokois, Kusakabe and scores 
of others, and much information about the stu- 
dents and men of 1868, one may read in the 
author's pamphlet: "The Rutgers Graduates in 
Japan," an address (with notes and appendices) 
delivered at Rutgers College, June 16, 1885. 

Verbeck's Americanism has the true ring. He 
believed he had found his work, in becoming all 
things to all men that he might lead some, and 
as he certainly did lead many to Christ. He 
wrote : 

" It is said that the American and Presbyterian 
Boards of Missions refuse to send out foreigners, 
even naturalized foreigners, under their auspices, 
because they think that such men are not fully 
imbued with the American spirit, and will not 
sufficiently uphold, stand up for, and propagate 
this spirit. As a general rule, these Boards may 
be right in using it; but in making no exceptions, 
as I found on inquiry they did, I humbly think 
they err. Some of the best linguists and mission- 
aries of the American Episcopal Mission, are for- 
eigners. There is, or rather was, Schwartz, and 
a large number of really illustrious German mis- 
sionaries in the employ of the English Church 
Mission. In speaking of myself, I would do so in 
all humility, giving all the glory and praise, if any 
there are, to God the giver of all, and counting 
all things but loss and worse than worthless that 
do not directly or indirectly, in their results re- 
dound to the glory of our Lord and Master, and 


A Japanese Graduate of Rutger's College. 

Trip to Osaka 

to the advancement of His cause. Now I claim 
to have more of the true American spirit than any 
Americans in this part of the Japanese empire, 
and claim that as an American, I am more 
looked to and respected by the natives than any 
other of our countrymen here. In one sense, if 
you know how immorally all foreigners, Ameri- 
cans (alas!) not excepted, live here, you would 
not think this much of a boast; but I refer more 
to our general institutions. Further, as most of 
the Japanese are great admirers of our glorious 
Washington and of the institutions which he 
helped establish, I have many inquirers, especially 
at the present time, into these matters. Now, al- 
though I never lose sight of our Master's saying: 
'My kingdom is not of this world,' and though 
I know that missionaries ought to avoid getting 
mixed up in political affairs, yet, when these 
people come and sincerely inquire after the most 
likely measures that would conduce to the wel- 
fare of their country, I do not feel at liberty to re- 
fuse them a hearing and advice, in a place where 
honest advisers are few, if at all extant. I am of 
course careful in such cases to state clearly that 
properly such matters are beyond my province, 
to avoid all party spirit and feeling, and to im- 
press the idea that my private desire and hope are 
only for the welfare, not of a section, but of the 
whole country." 

Which of our readers recalls the scene at Pe- 
king in 1873 when Soyeshima was received by the 
Chinese emperor as an envoy plenipotentiary 


Verbeck of Japan 

from Japan, the first of any nation that ever stood 
in the presence of the " Son of Heaven " ? Who 
can but remember the long and illustrious services 
of Okuma ? yet both of these makers of New 
Japan were Mr. Verbeck's pupils. He wrote 
early in 1868: 

** More than a year ago I had two very promis- 
ing pupils, Soyeshima and Okuma, who studied 
through with me a large part of the New Testa- 
ment and the whole of our national constitution. 
The former of these is now a member of the new 
parliament, lately formed at Miyako, to revise 
the ancient constitution of the empire. The 
latter is a member of the privy council of the 
Governor-General of Kiushiu, and is to start in a 
few days for the capital, Miyako, in connection 
with the revision of the constitution. On Satur- 
day last, I was invited to a special meeting of 
some leading members of the said privy council 
to be consulted on matters in regard to the re- 
vision of the national constitution, and to-morrow 
a similar meeting is to take place. You may be 
sure that my friends and pupils above named 
will work hard, for not only the repeal of the 
ancient edicts against Christianity, but if possible 
for universal toleration in the empire. The meet- 
ing for consultation was very interesting and 1 
may be able to give you a sketch of it and to- 
morrow's in a future letter. It was interesting to 
see how their own reasoning, with a little guid- 
ing touch here and there, led these men to the 
conclusion that at the bottom of the difference 


Trip to Osaka 

in civilization and power between their own 
country and such countries like ours and Eng- 
land, lay a difference of national religion, or 
theology, as one of them, who speaks a little 
English, termed it." 

What with his journey to Osaka and his trip to 
Saga, the Nagasaki teacher was beginning to be 
a traveller, as well as sedentary resident in the 
empire which he afterwards traversed so 
thoroughly as evangelist and proclaimer of the 
good news of God to his Japanese children. On 
January 22d, 1869, he wrote to a friend: 

" You see that, although it is a long time since 
you had any lines from me, I am still at the old 
stand, by the great mercy of God. Yet of late I 
have done more in the way of locomotion than 
for several years past, and indeed I begin to stand 
quite loose in my shoes here. 1 mention this 
here at the outset, because my apology to you 
for my long silence rests on these very circum- 
stances. After waiting long for letters from you, 
at last they came; but then also came my mi- 
gratory turn and such a multiplicity of engage- 
ments that I barely managed to get ready the 
monthly letters to the Secretary, and those at long 
intervals to my own relations." 

He refers jocosely to the philosophers and 
artists whom he had met on his trip to Saga. 
For amusement, he translates literally some of 
the Japanese names. 

"As a specimen of Japanese table-talk during 
the last trip, [to Saga] allow me to mention only 

Verbeck of Japan 

one of those little incidents that my notebooks 
are full of; this, however, was the best thing 
said. On Tuesday p. m., paid a visit to Mr. 
Marble, who for my entertainment had called 
Mr. Heavenprint, a painter of a good deal of 
celebrity in Hizen. Mr. Heavenprint soon 
squatted down and really performed astonishing 
things with his brush, by a few bold strokes, and 
lighter lines and shades, producing most power- 
ful effects. Within half an hour he finished half 
a dozen paintings of natural objects on paper six 
feet long; besides one of a rat eating a hole into 
a big turnip, painted with his little finger and 
nail only. Toward the end of the artist's 
performances, just as he had finished a fine crane 
and was doing the ground under the bird's long 
legs, Admiral Leftyard, who was with us as usual, 
said with the greatest ease and oflf-handness: 
'Mr. Heavenprint is quite a creator; there he 
makes storks, horses, trees and flowers while 
we stand looking on, and now again this beauti- 
ful crane; — but there is a difference: the Great 
Creator made the earth first, and then peopled it 
with living beings, whereas this creator makes 
his animals and birds and trees first, and then 
puts terra firma under them.' This was prob- 
ably in its way the best thing said on the trip; 
but is it not fine and could it be excelled by any 
of us.?" 

Japanese art being a subject of deep and abid- 
ing interest, it may be well to quote Mr. Ver- 
beck's opinion of some phases of this develop- 


Trip to Osaka 

ment of the national genius. The passages we 
quote are from his long and masterful review of 
Professor Basil Hall Chamberlain's volume on 
The Classical Poetry of the Japanese in " The 
Chrysanthemum" for 1881, Vol. I. 8, 9, 10: 

** Art, in Japan, is exceedingly artificial. It is 
strange that it should be so with a people who 
apparently have an intense love of nature. Their 
birds, insects, and flowers, whether painted or 
carved or otherwise made, are generally true to 
nature; yet it is not uncommon to see even these 
disfigured by unnatural lines and touches. Their 
larger quadrupeds are almost without exception 
outrageously unnatural. Streaks of clouds run 
right through the foreground of many of the 
older pictures of scenery. All their singing is in 
an artificial voice. Once asking a connoisseur of 
native art (he had himself taken lessons in oil- 
painting at the Hague, nearly twenty years ago) : 
' How is it, Mr. Uchida, that your artists, who 
do so well in flowers and insects, fail so utterly 
in quadrupeds, and notably in horses.^ How 
unnatural, for instance, the horse on yonder 
screen.' * Ah, you must not judge of them 
in this way,' replied my friend, 'they do not 
attempt to imitate nature in painting horses and 
some other animals. Years ago a celebrated 
artist painted a horse which was considered the 
perfection of equine beauty, and now all artists 
take that as their model; whoever succeeds most 
nearly in reproducing that ancient model is the 
best artist. It may be that the introduction of 


Verbeck of Japan 

photography will help to correct the error.' — 
Something like this, I think, is applicable to the 
poetry of Japan: it is exceedingly artificial. Mr. 
Chamberlain has taken a number of such stand- 
ard horses and transformed them into as many 
fine English steeds. 

"Japanese art has recently gained (or, as some 
think, lost) much by an accession of foreign 
elements. But in nearly all departments of 
European art, too, more particularly in the 
pictorial and decorative, may of late years be 
noticed distinct traces of notions peculiar to 
Japanese art. It would almost seem as if the 
European artists' kaleidoscope, having refused, 
after the exhaustive use of ages, to show new 
combinations of form and color, had suddenly 
been given a fresh turn, bringing to light wholly 
unexpected and hitherto unthought of notions, 
and patterns, and nuances. The result of the 
mingling of elements so foreign to each other is 
sometimes surprising, often agreeable, always 
Referring again to his trip to Saga, he says: 
"I wish I could freely write about some very 
touching circumstances in connection with some 
native believers for the interior of the country; 
but you know my bump of cautiousness is 
rather largely developed, and I really think that 
publicity in such matters would injure our, the 
Master's cause, and jeopardize — under the exist- 
ing laws of the empire — the very lives and prop- 
erty of those who have entrusted their all to my 

Trip to Osaka 

discretion. But I trust the time is not far off 
when we can * publish in the papers ' full numbers 
and names for the encouragement of the churches. 
Till then excuse me, unless I should see you again 
face to face before that time." 

Mr. Verbeck's reference in this letter is to his 
baptism of Wakasa's mother in her home at 
Saga. Years afterward, his daughter received 
the same rite at Nagasaki, and now four gener- 
ations of Christians in this one household have 
illustrated the beauties of Christian holiness and 
have strengthened the prophecy of a Japan over 
which Christ shall rule. 



Mr. Verbeck was now to have his field of 
labor changed from Nagasaki, "the quietest and 
safest place in Japan," in the extreme south- 
western part of the empire, to Tokio, the Eastern 
Capital, (Saikio, or Kioto, being then called the 
Western Capital), and the nation's centre. The 
restoration of 1868, with its accompanying revo- 
lution, was essentially a student's movement, but 
in its origin it must be referred to the early part 
of the eighteenth century. Many streams fed the 
flood which floated the Mikado to power and 
made a new nation. Native scholars began 
reexamining their ancient history, both on its 
religious and its political side. The revivalists of 
pure Shinto studied, wrote, and published, show- 
ing what Japan was before Chinese influence 
had been felt. The Mito scholars had compiled 
their great history, (Dai Nihon Shi). Rai Sanyo 
had published his volumes, (Nihon Guaishi) 
which were being studied by Japanese gentle- 
men in every province and shaping their political 
opinions. For a century the intellectual leaven 
from the Dutch at Deshima had been helping to 
transform the national mind. Foreign influences 
from without, and especially the work of Guido 

Called to the Capital 

Verbeck and his co-workers from within, were 
bringing to head and to union all the latent 
forces. The signs of upheaval and change were 
as manifest as in the hour before earthquakes or 

When in Kioto, in 1868, the coalition of the 
progressive clans, in which native and foreign 
learning had been most active, had been formed, 
the decisive battle of Fushimi had been fought, 
the new government organized, and the whole 
train of gathered forces were in momentum 
toward a new Japan, the situation may be thus 
roughly outlined: 

Theoretically a union had been made between 
the Throne and the People, by abolishing the old 
and putting in new intermediaries who were first, 
the kuge, or court nobles, men of immemorial 
rank and high prestige; and, second, daimios, 
or landed noblemen of uncertain abilities; and 
third, a large number of young men full of eager- 
ness, with their eyes set on the future, but with- 
out much experience and in matters of dealing 
with foreigners little better than children. In 
Kioto these young statesmen, most of whom 
had been students under Mr. Verbeck, or had 
learned a little in various ways from other for- 
eigners, were fortunate in having the advantage 
of the wisdom and experience of Yokoi Heishiro. 
This man, who sent the first Japanese students to 
America, was, among his younger colleagues, 
very much as the aged Franklin was among our 
constitutional fathers in Philadelphia in 1787-9. 


Verbeck of Japan 

But on coming to Tokio, where should the 
young Japanese statesmen get advisers, in order 
to "reestablish the foundations of the empire," 
and to deal and cope successfully with aliens? 
Whom could they trust ? Naturally they, that 
is, several of the leaders and scores of those 
rising in power, turned to their old teacher and 
called him to their aid. Mr. Verbeck, alert and 
ready, breaking up his home in Nagasaki, took 
steamer for Yokohama. We find him in Tokio 
writing under date of June 21st, 1870, and again 
under date of June 29th, 1870, where we see him 
under that terrible strain of work which continued 
for so many years, surprising those who, like my- 
self, saw it going on in his own home. As we 
know well, the course of convalescence is not a 
straight one, nor is the path suddenly taken from 
medisevalism toward modern national life one of 
easy ascents. There was ebb, as well as flood, 
in the tides of political progress. Let us see how 
our hero's letters record them and his own feel- 

Let Mr. Verbeck's own letter tell how the 
invitation came to him from the Imperial Gov- 
ernment to leave his " few sheep in the wilder- 
ness " and assume larger duties, even as it proved, 
to the shaping of the course of a nation: 

"Herewith you will find two enclosures. 
One, a letter to Mr. Brown, which after perusal I 
request you to forward to him ; the other, as you 
see, implying great changes in regard to myself. 
On the 13th inst., there came to me a high official 

Called to the Capital 

of the Imperial government, now located at Yedo, 
who had been specially sent to this port to call me 
to the Eastern Capital, Yedo. As far as I know 
now, the chief object is to get me to establish a 
university, or something of the kind. I am not, 
however, given to understand much of the detail 
of the object of my call ; only I am assured that 
some of my former pupils, now in the new gov- 
ernment, are to meet me there and to arrange '^ 
matters satisfactorily. As you see from the en- 
closure, the government wants me forthwith, 
next month, and I did not feel justified to refuse 
the invitation. You have no idea what emula- 
tion there is in this country, from the Ministers 
of all nationalities down to the commonest sub- 
jects, to get in with the men now in power in 
the Imperial government; besides, the Romanists 
exert themselves to the utmost for the same ob- 
ject, and under these circumstances it would 
never do to let such an opportunity as is now 
offered me pass by unnoticed or unprofited." 
His answer was as follows: 

"To Yamaguchi Hanzo, Esq., 
"Dear Sir: 

** Having duly considered the proposi- 
tion of the Imperial government in regard to my 
going to the Eastern Capital by the middle of 
next month, which you kindly transmitted to me, 
I have the pleasure to communicate to you that I 
shall be happy to accept the same." 

And so, in the tenth year of his life in Japan, 


Verbeck of Japan 

Verbeck obeyed, seeing "the city that hath foun- 
dations." "He went out, not knowing whither 
he went." He had faith and saw Providence in 
the call. Like a tree that in autumn strips its 
branches in order to wrestle the better with 
winter's storms, he sent his family to California, 
not hearing from them for two months. How 
he left Nagasaki is told by his successor the Rev. 
Dr. Henry Stout: 

"When I first met Dr. Verbeck, he was under 
appointment to go to Tokio to assist in establish- 
ing a school for the Western languages and sci- 
ences, and so we were together but ten days as 
associates of the Mission in South Japan. For 
him, those days were filled with engagements 
with officials and old friends, made up of dinners 
and visits of ceremony for the exchange of courte- 
sies and leave-taking, from which little time could 
be found for preparation for his going to his new 
position and for his family's returning to America. 
But the morning of the day the steamer was to 
sail, was spent, from immediately after breakfast 
till a late lunch, closeted with a Buddhist priest. 
The explanation given at the lunch was that the 
priest was eager to have certain questions with 
regard to the Truth answered before his teacher 
should leave. Whatever else was neglected, this 
opportunity must not be lost. Lunch having 
been served, hasty final preparations were made 
for leaving. Bearers were called for the luggage 
and the start was about to be made. But some 
things yet unpacked must be taken. A blanket 

Called to the Capital 

was spread upon the floor of the sitting-room, 
and upon it went books, curios, a clock, cush- 
ions, shoes, a great medley of the last odds and 
ends of things, when the corners of the blanket 
were drawn together and tied, making a huge 
bundle, which was hoisted upon the back of the 
last man in the line of bearers hastening to the 
wharf. This was the scant consideration his 
personal affairs received. No wonder he found 
afterward that some of his most valuable belong- 
ings had been forgotten." 

It was a band of students that overturned the 
old and set up the new government. They had 
so adjusted the whole political machinery that the 
throne, the pivot of national movement was now 
at Tokio in "the far East." Now seizing oppor- 
tunity by the forelock, they were determined to 
make "education the basis of all progress." 
Hence they wanted Mr. Verbeck at once. They 
called him even when the city was still in po- 
litical confusion. History was making itself so 
rapidly that years seemed compressed in days. 
He writes under date of March 31st, 1869: 

"As regards my own special duties at Yedo, I 
do not myself as yet exactly knov^ what they are. 
I can only say that I have full confidence in the 
parties highly connected with the Imperial gov- 
ernment, who have been mainly instrumental in 
calling me hither; that the ostensible and no 
doubt ultimate object of calling me to come to 
the Eastern Capital (Yedo) is to get me to estab- 
lish something like an imperial university; that 


Verbeck of Japan 

next month the Mikado is expected to come back 
to Yedo from the Western Capital (Miyako) ; that 
most of the powerful daimios are also expected 
here for consultation on an improvement of the 
constitution of the empire and on a revision of 
the foreign treaties, as well as the probable send- 
ing of embassies to Europe and America; that 
the government wanted me to be here previous 
to these great events; and that finally I shall 
stand in need of all the wisdom, grace, and hu- 
mility that can be vouchsafed in answer to prayer. 
Such seems to be the program for the summer 
before me. I may be mistaken and overestimate 
the probable events of the year, at least in so far 
as I may be called upon to be concerned in them; 
possibly I may underrate them. Whatever hap- 
pens, I am convinced that I am not called here by 
a mere chance, and that I have a work to do, in 
the doing which, being quite aware of my in- 
sufficiency, I look to the Master for counsel and 
guidance. This confidence removes mountains 
of difficulty." 

*'My change to Yedo took place at a most un- 
propitious time. The plan which was laid before 
me was that I was to be at Yedo in the spring; 
in the summer all the daimios would meet in 
parliament, and much in regard to reforming the 
laws of the country would have to be discussed, 
in which I could act as adviser. Then in the fall 
or winter I should enter on establishing a kind of 
Imperial High School. With such a program I 
did not feel at liberty to refuse, especially as it 


Called to the Capital 

came unsought. I always make a wide distinc- 
tion between whatever originates with myself 
and that which is brought about without my 
own design; upon the former I think and act 
cautiously, as there may be too much of self in 
it; in the latter I sometimes perhaps go ahead too 
confidingly, forgetting that there may be other 
' selves ' besides my own, that may stand in the 
way of success under the divine blessing. How- 
ever, I came and found all things as had been 
represented and met a cordial reception from 
some of the high government officers. But it did 
not last long; when the northern daimios and 
others of the extreme conservative party (anti- 
foreign) made their appearance, there came a 
change in the whole engine of government. 

"Now the anti-foreign party is so strong that 
even the most liberal men are obliged temporarily 
to keep quiet till the paroxysm is past. There is 
no ill feeling against me personally, but there is 
against all foreigners. It is a temporary spasm 
in the wrong direction, such as frequently occurs 
in any process of transition and reform, and often 
followed by a proportionate stride in advance; 
yet it is disagreeable to be near the centres of 
action at such times, and daily I wish myself 
back to Nagasaki, which for several years to 
come will be the quietest port in Japan, because 
far removed from the restless political centres. 
You may say or think, why, under the circum-; 
stances, do I not go back to my old post. Well,! ^ff.-*^^ 
I should go at once, if 1 could do so without dis-i ^ Vc' 

187 ' 

Verbeck of Japan 

appointing some parties. But I am actually at 
work with translators of Blackstone, Wheaton, 
and Political Economy; besides no less than 
thirty-six of my former pupils came after me to 
Yedo, and it would not be so easy for them to go 
back as for me. So I have made up my mind to 
go on to the end of the year, if 1 can hold out so 
long, and then if matters have not improved by 
that time, to go back to my old station to work 
there permanently." 

Thus already, Mr. Verbeck had begun that 
work of putting into the language of Japan those 
great compends and introductions to the modern 
law of civilized nations and of the constitutions 
of western nations, which were educating the 
Japanese to take their place among the great na- 
tions of the world. We can hardly understand 
why the constitution, given by the Mikado to his 
people in 1889, was so liberal in its provisions, nor 
how it came to pass that Japan was so soon, that 
is in 1898, received as an equal in the sisterhood of 
nations, unless we know what Verbeck of Japan 
was doing twenty and thirty years previously. 

Meanwhile, without regarding wind or cloud, 
the sower sowed. Before the summer of the 
year 1869 had ended (on June nth), Mr. Verbeck 
had not only proposed (what took place in 1872) 
that a great embassy composed of the highest 
imperial officers should visit the United States 
and Europe, but had planned out its organization, 
itinerary, personnel, objects, and methods of in- 
vestigation. Of this we shall read further. 


Called to the Capital 

On the 2 1st of February, 1870, he wrote in re- 
gard to the Bible in Japanese, in which work, 
also, he was a pioneer, even as he wrought at its 

"I have to thank you for your kind favor by 
last mail. The principal topic in it that requires 
a direct answer is the translation of the Scrip- 
tures. What I have, or rather got done in this is 
that I have the whole of the New and a few 
books of the Old Testament translated by a good 
native scholar out of the Chinese. This, being a 
translation of a translation by one in spiritual 
darkness, is naturally a very imperfect work, yet 
of some value, as 1 found on lending it out to in- 
quirers who could not read either English or 
Chinese. In the same manner I got translated a 
number of catechisms and tracts, also lent out 
several times as above. Further, I must frankly 
say, owing to my engagements in the educa- 
tional line, I have not been able to go; nor do I 
see any chance of being able to do so as long as I 
am thus engaged, for the simple reason that in 
my present circumstances fully one man's labor 
is making constant demands on my strength and 

" Even if I had the capacity of two men, I should 
find good use for it all. It is not for ease that a 
man would undertake a post like mine. A sim- 
ple missionary, being, it is true, bound in con- 
science by responsibility to the Master and His 
Society, but at the same time at liberty to lay out 
and use his time and talents according to the nat- 


Verbeck of Japan 

ural bent of his genius, leads comparatively an 
independent life. With the same double respon- 
sibility resting upon me, I in present circum- 
stances bind myself with other parties for much 
the better part of what remains available for 
work in every day's twenty-four hours — no sine- 
cure, indeed. Sometimes I feel this so much that 
I have a real longing for being, like most mis- 
sionaries, once more master of my whole time 
and powers, to devote them to the noble work 
you referred to, which would and ought to en- 
gage all of a man's uninterrupted time and at- 
tention. But I do not say this by way of com- 
plaint, only of explanation. I have been so 
gradually, and I think providentially led into the 
path I have taken, that I feel sure I am not out of 
the path of duty in pursuing it. If I were an in- 
dependent missionary, just come into the field, 
and an offer of a position like mine were made 
me off-hand, if such a thing is supposable, I am 
sure I should consider it as one of those openings 
that sometimes providentially present themselves 
to a man, not for him to be entered on, but to be 
passed by. But my case, as you know, is 
y "I have been so gradually led toward my 
present status, through a long course of years, 
and, I wish to say it with gratitude and in all 
humility, have gained such a name, and influence 
in it, that I should consider it unwise, according 
to present light on the subject, to throw it up ex- 
cept for the clearest and weightiest reasons. If I 


Called to the Capital 

were not here, these hundreds of young people 
at the college would be under the influence of 
men openly leading immoral lives and enemies 
of God and His Word. Now the students have 
learned to like and respect missionaries, (I might 
say more) and the authorities of the school ac- 
knowledge that missionaries are their most relia- 
ble teachers. "^ 

"Only a few days ago I had a proof of this, be- 
ing requested to secure the services of another 
"missionary" (named as such) for the college; 
and they were glad, and so was I, that I suc- 
ceeded in getting the Rev. Mr. Cornes (of the 
Presbyterian mission) for one year, to enter on 
his duties next week. Besides, my position 
brings me in contact with people, high, low, 
who otherwise would be quite beyond any reach. 
But I do not like writing so much about self, and 
it is only necessity that induces me to it for your 
information. But I may take it then for granted, 
I suppose, that with the respected Board of Direc- 
tors' permission, I am for the present to continue 
as I am, at the same time not neglecting to exert 
according to ability a direct influence for the gos- 
pel of love, and always considering the great aim 
and end, the regeneration of this people. 

" In view of this state of things I have a request 
and proposition to make. Could not the board 
send out a man for the express purpose of becom- 
ing, under Providence, a translator of the Scrip- 
tures into Japanese, selected and appointed with a 
-special view to this purpose ? I take the liberty 


Verbeck of Japan 

to enlarge a little on this, speaking as one in the 
field. A man for this purpose, besides of course 
being a devoted man with a warm heart for the 
Master's work and a good constitution for hard 
labor, had best be a young man of studious hab- 
its, just out of seminary, who would be content 
to remain single for the first three or four years; 
besides a thorough knowledge of Hebrew and 
Greek, he ought to have a taste and talent for 
linguistic studies, though preaching, when he 
comes to that, would prove a good auxiliary, he 
ought studiously to abstain from everything else 
that would be calculated to draw him aside from 
his great life-work, and always look to that chiefly. 
" You may think that in asking for such a man 
for Japan, I ask for the cream of the land. True, 
that is just what is wanted, and is there not mis- 
sionary spirit enough in the land to send us tal- 
ents as well as piety, or gifts as well as graces ? 
It would be painful to think so. There is room 
in this and other fields for any number of willing 
workers without any special talents and acquisi- 
tions, and they are all heartily wished for and 
welcome; but there is an actual want of a few 
picked men, especially for the work of transla- 
tion. If anywhere there is a place to offer ample 
scope to the noblest enterprise and sanctified 
genius, it is right here and now. Are any kept 
home by a noble ambition for a wide influence 
for good, here is their place, here they find a 
great and most promising field for their holiest 
aspirations. This is no exaggeration. It is the 


Called to the Capital 

simple truth, which, I think if well understood 
by our promising young men ought to go far to 
lead some chosen man among them to throw up 
all other plans and prospects, to devote himself 
without reservation to the Lord's cause in this 
particular land. 

*' But, dear brother, I leave this matter now with 
you. I have been writing nearly all through the 
night and it is going toward the morning. I 
never have time to write long letters during the 
day. I would only add privately that, if such a 
suitable man could be found and sent out, I 
would — while I keep my present post — give him 
rooms and board free, and gladly bind myself to 
pay about a quarter of his annual expenses. At 
the beginning of his career I think I might be of 
much assistance to him in his studies and by gen- 
eral advice, though I believe in a man's working 
most profitably according to his own conscien- 
tious convictions. 

"I have no later news about the converted 
priest of whom I wrote you that he was arrested 
early in January. We pray that the God whom 
he loves may save and strengthen him in his sore 
trials. While at one end of the country there is 
temporary persecution, at our end there is quite 
a demand for the Scriptures, and I have been able 
to dispose of quite a number in Chinese, English, 
and French. 

"Dear brother, please remember us and ours 
at the throne of grace, and believe me, yours 
faithfully G. F. Verbeck." 


Verbeck of Japan 

We must now take up the thread of political 
narrative and show the framework of events 
amid which this toiler on the foundations of New 
Japan kept perseveringly on. It was like work- 
ing with sword and trowel as we shall see. 

After the formation of the confederacy of the 
northern clans, a battle between their adherents 
and those in Yedo was fought July 4, 1868, dur- 
ing which the great temple at Uyeno was burned 
to the ground. This was the day and hour, 
when the great Fukuzawa "intellectual father of 
one-half" of young Japan, decided not to take up 
sword and gun and go to the battle, but to sit 
down with a few companions to the study of 
Wayland's Moral Science. 

The theatre of war shifted to the north at 
Wakamatsu, where the castle of Aidzu after a 
thirty days' siege, was besieged and taken, No- 
vember 6th. On the 7th of November, 1869, the 
Mikado's birthday was celebrated throughout the 
empire and the chronological era was changed to 
that of Meiji, or enlightened civilization. It was 
made a rule for all time, thus putting an end to 
much confusion, that for each reign there should 
be one chronological period. In response to a 
memorial of Okubo, the imperial palanquin or 
"Phoenix Car" at last moved overland and was 
carried over the Hakone mountain pass to Yedo, 
not to expel, but to cultivate friendship with for- 
eigners. The name of the City of the Bay Door, 
Yedo, was changed to Tokio, or Eastern Capital, 
and on the 26th of November the Son of Heaven 

Called to the Capital 

slept in the castle of the usurpers, whose power 
had vanished. Then all men saw that he had 
resumed his rightful place. The last Tycoon had 
returned to his ancestral seats in Shidzuoka and 
the old notions of a " spiritual " and a "tem- 
poral " emperor must now vanish like the morn- 
ing mist. On the ist of January, 1869, the 
foreign quarter of Tokio as well as the city of 
Niigata on the western coast, were opened to 

The emperor returned to Kioto to marry 
Haruko, a daughter of the princely family of the 
house of Ichijo, on the 9th of February, on which 
day the neutrality proclamations were with- 
drawn. This last action enabled the American 
minister, Van Valkenburg, to hand over to the 
new government the ironclad steam ram Stone- 
wall, which, reinforcing the fleet of the loyal 
navy, quickly made an end of the wooden war 
vessels and of the very short-lived republic in- 
augurated by Enomoto, a brilliant Japanese who 
had been educated in Holland, but who has, for 
thirty years past, as a statesman of marked abili- 
ties, been a most loyal servant of the emperor. 

During the same month the court noble 
Iwakura, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Junior 
Premier, resigned the office of prime minister on 
the plea of ill health, but while giving up the 
former he held the latter office. Though not in 
form, he was in reality the chief officer of that 
government which had been established on the 
theory of a closer union of the Throne with the 


Verbeck of Japan 

people, the intermediary being a kuge or court 
noble of bluest blood and of immemorial lineage. 
To those who knew the political methods in 
vogue, Iwakura simply followed the usual 
fashion, which was to lose the form, in order to 
gain the substance. Nearly all offices in old 
Japan were like our antiquated frigates and ships- 
of-the-line, which had painted and gilded figure- 
head at the prow, near to, corresponding with, 
or representing the name of the ship, while the 
real commander and executor stood on deck or 
was invisible in the cabin. 

Indeed, in America, it was more than once 
noted that when the young hermits of Japan 
stepped out of their clogs and sandals into the 
tight boots of civilization, their favorite amuse- 
ment in hotels was first to climb the stairway and 
then to descend on an elevator. They enjoyed 
the paradox and the sensation connected with it. 
So Iwakura and many men like him, who pre- 
ferred real power, usually descended on what 
/was really an elevator. It is highly probable that 
Mr. Verbeck took hints from what he saw and 
[gladly put himself in harmony with his environ- 
ment — remained in shadow, in order to increase 

By the end of June, 1869, the war came en- 
tirely to an end. One of the purposes for which 
Iwakura had taken a lower office or rank, in 
order to carry out a great scheme, was now 
manifest to those able to read the meaning of the 
signs of the times. 


Called to the Capital 

In reality the great restoration of 1868 was in- 
augurated and carried through mainly by a com- 
mittee of four men, Iwakura, Kido, Okubo, and 
Okuma, who, seeing the need both of money, 
unity, and power, and the necessity of a strong 
front before foreigners and the world, resolved 
to abolish feudalism and have real national union. 
The daimios of Satsuma, Tosa, Choshiu, and 
.Hizen, leading in this patriotic purpose, yielded 
up their quasi-sovereign rights, and handed over 
the lists of their possessions and retainers to the 
emperor, that he should do with them what he 
would. As usual, the figureheads knew little of 
what was going on, but the able men of inferior 
rank carried through the project. The memorial 
penned by Kido was published in the 6fficiai 
gazette on the 5th of March, 1869. The com- 
position is rich in that peculiar oriental rhetoric 
which is dominated by the Chinese classics and 
is overweighted with those peculiar expressions 
of Japanese orthodoxy, which it is even yet 
dangerous in Japan to challenge. The history of 
the empire is also given in brief epitome. Here 
are some of the sentences: 

*'Now that men are seeking for an entirely 
new government the Great Body (the Imperial 
Government) and the Great Strength (the Em- 
peror) must neither be lent nor borrowed." 

** The place where we live is the emperor's 
land and the food which we eat is grown by the 
emperor's men. How can we make it our own ? 
We now reverently offer up the list of our pos- 


Verbeck of Japan 

sessions and men, with the prayer that the em- 
peror will take good measures for rewarding 
those to whom reward is due and for taking from 
those to whom punishment is due. Let the Im- 
perial orders be issued for offering and remodel- 
ing the territories of the various clans. Let the 
civil and penal code, the military laws, down to 
the rules for uniform and the construction of 
engines of war, all proceed from the emperor; 
that all the affairs of the empire great and small 
be referred to him. After this, when the internal 
relations of the country shall be upon a true foot- 
ing, the empire will be able to take its place side 
by side with the other countries of the world. 
This is now the most urgent duty of the emperor, 
as it is that of his servants and children. Hence 
it is that we, in spite of our own folly, daring to 
offer up our humble expressions of loyalty, upon 
which we pray that the brilliance of the heavenly 
sun may shine, with fear and reverence bow the 
head and do homage, ready to lay down our 
lives in proof of our faith." 

The answer from the Throne was that when 
the emperor returned to Tokio that this matter of 
reorganizing the empire would be publicly de- 
bated in council. 

As matter of fact, Mr. Verbeck, when asked 
^by Iwakura concerning national policy advised 
that everything possible, even to army, navy, and 
administrative systems of post, lighthouses, 
education, etc., like those in the West be im- 
mediately formed. 


Called to the Capital 

That Kido was the author of this document, 
there can be little doubt, but that Iwakura backed 
by Okubo was the chief force in its promulga- 
tion, can hardly be doubted. In Mr. Verbeck's 
parlor in Tokio, I was present at an interview be- 
tween himself and Mr. Verbeck and heard 
Iwakura say, concerning the measure and the 
expectation, that coercion of some of the daimios 
would be necessary, "We were prepared to 
shed blood and expected to do it." 

Yet the bloodshed was not necessary. Ex- 
ample being so much more than precept, the 
action of the great clans was quickly imitated by 
the smaller ones. In less than six weeks, by the 
i6th of April, 1 18 out of 276 daimios of Japan had 
published memorials requesting permission to re- 
store their lands and registers to the emperor, and 
before many months the number reached 241. 
The daimios were returned to their own terri- 

It was a great and inspiring example to the 
other court nobles and to the imperial families, 
when Mr. Iwakura (well named Rock Throne) 
having long known and trusted Mr. Verbeck and 
consulted him on the gravest affairs of state, 
now, under his direction, sent his two sons, 
Asahi and Tatsu, to America for education. In 
his letter, Mr. Verbeck turns the Japanese kalei- 
doscope for us, showing the amazing changes 
during the decade. 



Verbeck of Japan 

Yedo, April 2\, 1870. 
"Rev. J. M. Ferris, D. D., New York, 

"Dear Brother: — Last mail came so un- 
awares upon me that I lost all chance of writing 
you, if the few lines are excepted that I sent you 
in behalf of the five young men, Asahi, Tatsu, 
and their companions, who started for New 
York by that mail. The fact is in the daytime 
every available moment is so taken up by all sorts 
of engagements, principally teaching, as is also a 
good part every evening, that only the quiet of 
the night is left me for writing anything like a 
proper letter. The young men above mentioned, 
1 trust, reached their destination in safety, and are 
probably now deep in their exercises and studies. 
They are an exceedingly interesting party, and 
will prove to be eminently useful to their country, 
when once they return with the advantages of a 
good education. In the meantime I am sure they 
will be liked by all who know them on account 
of their real amiableness, docility, and gentle 
manners. May the Lord bless them and lead 
them to a purer faith and higher love. 

"As I have nothing of special note to com- 
municate this time, I shall endeavor to give you a 
brief sketch of some features of progress made 
by this wonderful people in the space of about 
the past ten years. The Japanese, ten years ago, 
were in nearly all respects in the same primitive 
condition so quaintly described in the musty 
pages of old Kaempfer, purely native, in ideas as 
well as in appearance. The few articles and little 

Called to the Capital 

information brought by the annual Dutch ship of 
the hundred years preceding the reopening of 
the country found their way almost exclusively 
into the palaces of the emperors and princes, the 
people at large realizing little more than the 
highly prized (and priced) Dutch vermifuge. In 
the midst of this state of things came Commo- 
dore Perry with his bundle of huge keys to un- 
lock and open these secluded, ocean-bound ports, 
and well did he perform his work. Then fol- 
lowed the fleets of the other great maritime pow- 
ers, and after that the merchantmen of the chief 
trading nations bringing merchandise from all the 
markets of the world. 

" Yet the country cannot be said to have been 
fairly opened for trade and foreign residence un- 
til about ten years ago, in the very year that your 
missionaries were first sent hither. Even then, 
at first, we were far from enjoying free inter- 
course with the people, for it was yet the time of 
official interference, espionage, and suspicion 
which, indeed, being the old custom and inveter- 
ate habit of the nation, could hardly be expected 
to be shaken off at once. 

"Now the people had a chance, if not a fair 
one, to see and learn to know the foreigner, and 
his merchandise, and forthwith they took kindly 
to them both. The sight produced the desire of 
possession, and so things went on till now the 
open ports and their vicinity teem with shops retail- 
ing foreign merchandise; and foreign cloths,blank- 
ets (worn as shawls), flannels, calicos, hats, boots 

Verbeck of Japan 

and shoes, watches, umbrellas, and fancy articles 
are worn and used, in some form or other, by all 
classes, from the daimio to the poor "betto" or 
groom. Besides the stores kept by foreigners, 
there are at Yokohama and Yedo alone many hun- 
dreds of native shops selling foreign goods. A 
large portion of the middle and upper classes — at 
least the male portion — dress entirely in our style. 
Even old men, too old to sport the new costume, 
look with delight upon their little grandsons 
dressed in hats, boots, and what belongs be- 
tween, and take pride to show off in the streets 
their ** young Japan " thus apparelled. The Army 
and Navy are remodelled on European and Ameri- 
can systems in organization, arms, and uniforms, 
down to the common trumpet, drum, and fife. 
We have several lines of stages, hackney- 
coaches, and two steamers running between 
Yedo and Yokohama, natives and foreigners 
competing with each other on both elements. 
On the same route there is a telegraph in opera- 
tion, and a contract is said to have been made for 
the construction of a railroad from here to Osaa. 
There are two extensive foundries with foreign 
machinery in the country, and several docks. As 
to matters of diet, beef, the abomination of 
Buddhism, begins largely to be consumed, and 
bread is much liked. You would be a good deal 
surprised, if, in the very heart of the capital, you 
passed by some of our ** noiseless" sewing ma- 
chines rattling away with a will! But so far all 
is material. 


Called to the Capital 

"The desire for possession is by no means 
limited to the mere material part of our civili- 
zation. It is true, there are many, a great many, 
who fancy that a pair of high-heeled boots and 
a suit of clothes go a good way to raise them in 
the scale of beings. But there are also a good 
many who, without change of costumes, look 
deeper and desire something more potent than 
appearance. There is a wide spread demand, an 
actual thirst in many, for western learning and 
science. Here is our college with its hundreds 
of English, French, and German scholars; besides 
this there are several private schools, carried on 
by natives, for the study of chiefly English; and 
there are numbers of students who study inde- 
pendent of any school whatever, by books and 
their own efforts only. Then there are hundreds 
more at the other open ports. 

"There are three large hospitals and medical 
colleges, in which eight foreign physicians are 
engaged. Western medical science has nearly 
quite superseded the old Chinese system of quacks 
and immense doses of drugs. 

"Newspapers are pubHshed in several places, 
with their columns of 'Foreign' and * Tele- 
grams,' clipped and translated from our standard 
home papers. Book stores selling English and 
French books are seen in many places, and the 
quantity of books imported is prodigious. 

"All these and many more things are but the 
earnest expression of this thirst for western 
knowledge. And many brave young men have 


Verbeck of Japan 

left their pleasant homes to satisfy abroad, in our 
own and English schools and colleges, that thirst 
more thoroughly than it is possible for them to 
do at home, and nobly to serve their country, on 
their return, with the acquirements thus bravely 
won. On the first opening of the country, of 
course, mere language was the chief object of 
study. Gradually the object has become the 
means for further researches, so that now law, 
political economy, and even intellectual and 
moral science are embraced. Nor have the 
efforts so far made been without fruit. Several 
good books have already been translated and 
published by native scholars, and many more are 
to follow, so that even those whose age and 
circumstances preclude their learning foreign 
languages are thus enabled to get an idea of our 
useful literature. At present there is being trans- 
lated and published by our college, from the 
French, the *Code Napoleon,' from the English, 
'Perry's Political Economy,' and from the 
Dutch, ' Humboldt's Cosmos.' Of the former 
two, some parts have been already published. 
It is a real pleasure to hear a man say: *I just 
read the first volume of "Buckle's History of 
Civilization," and am going on to the second;' 
or to have a man come and request you to help 
him solve some hard passage in 'Wayland's 
Moral Science.' 

*'And of all this there was next to nothing 
only ten years ago ! What ! is this not progress ? 
Even those inveterate philosophers of the old 

Called to the Capital 

school who, in the midst of an age of chemical 
analysis, have stuck like leeches to four elements 
till there is not a drop of life-blood left in their 
philosophy, and who reduce all things material 
or immaterial — quite irrespective of their true 
nature — into just as many elements as will agree 
with the number of the fmgers of a hand or of 
two, — even those bigots begin to feel the general 
impulse and come forth to the light of day to get 
some true life, some real knowledge. Some 
celebrated ones of this class came to me the other 
day, saying that Japan was created in perfect 
harmony with the heavenly bodies, for as there 
were sixteen planets, so Japan had originally 
been created in sixteen distinct parts. When I 
told them that there never were exactly sixteen 
planets and gave them a correct list, their faces 
grew rather longer than before, and I actually 
believe they doubted themselves the harmony 
they had gloried in so much, as no doubt many 
had done before them, but fewer will do hereafter. 
"Of course, such things are transacted in a 
spirit of gentleness and kindness; but in recon- 
sidering that men capable of better things should 
spend their precious powers and time (to say the 
least) in trying to harmonize the distinct parts of 
their country (which never had sixteen such dis- 
tinct parts) with the sixteen planets of our solar 
system (which never had just sixteen planets), 
one cannot help being provoked at the waste and 
stupidity. And yet much of the old philosophy 
of the country is of a similar nature. But let 


Verbeck of Japan 

them come out of their darkness to the light, let 
the spell be broken, and forthwith they are fine, 
clever men. 

" But there has been progress on a large scale 
in departments yet unmentioned. The time 
would fail me to enlarge on government re- 
forms, the suppression of rebellion, the pacifi- 
cation of internal dissensions, the development 
of an extensive commerce properly so-called, 
etc. But there have been, no doubt, some 
drawbacks, some disadvantages to balance the 
advantages. So there have been, perhaps, 
many. Yet the general movement during the 
past ten years has been one of unmistakable, 
remarkable progress, in spite of all drawbacks. 
And those who ask for more, ought to remember 
that whatever of progress there has thus far been 
made, has been made as it were during plough- 
ing time; after that comes the blessed seed time 
and finally the full harvest home. God hasten 
the time ! 

" But dear old brother, I come to a close and 
only hope that in the above there may be some- 
thing of interest. Last mail I did not have news 
of you, so I am sure of some this time. Re- 
member us and our work in prayer, and believe 
me. Yours faithfully, 

''G. F. Verbeck." 

Mr. Verbeck found that earthquakes were more 
frequent in the north than in the south. On May 
21, 1870, he wrote: 


Called to the Capital 

" The ground under us is very shaky this sea- 
son and the northern parts of the country are go- 
ing through some severe convulsions, physically. 
A few nights ago we were waked up (at three 
o'clock) by a tremendous shock, which kept our 
house rocking and creaking for about a minute 
in an appalling manner; yet by our good Lord's 
mercy, no harm was done. The earth's crust is 
evidently not so firm in this part of its surface as 
might be desirable for comfort. The waters in 
some of the thermal springs are said to have risen 
above their usual level, and there is even a rumor 
of a new volcano having been opened in the 
northwest of the country. 

" The country is quiet at present, innovations 
and reforms are being carried on in a silent un- 
assuming way, and the general prospect is prom- 
ising. As might be expected, there is yet a 
numerous and powerful party holding to what 
they consider as * the good old times ' and oppos- 
ing reform and progress, so that those who 
otherwise would be willing and able to push for- 
ward have their hands tied. The bulk of the 
people sit as yet in the thickest darkness and 
know nothing that is good. Yet with all this 
there is a general awakening and a desire for 
larger knowledge, and as the younger generation 
grows into power we may look for great changes. 
Among these the Lord of the harvest will see 
that His gospel of love, holiness, and salvation 
shall come in for its share, and among much that 
is merely on the surface there shall be some 


Verbeck of Japan 

deeper work. In the meantime our plain duty 
seems to be perseveringly to labor and pray, 
while we practically wait and hope." 

On June 21, 1870, he wrote: 

**What with six hours daily teaching at col- 
lege, several scholars at home, and many other 
calls on my time, I hardly ever get time in the 
daytime to sit down to write without interrup- 
tion. This fall some more young men are com- 
ing to join the New Brunswick band. I hope 
they are all doing well and being educated to be- 
come eminently useful to their country. 

*'A11 is quiet in this country. Foreign dress, 
foreign wares, and foreign science are daily gain- 
ing favor among the people, and a few years 
more will make great changes. Our religion, 
alas, is still proscribed, but cannot possibly re- 
main so long. Our trust in the Lord is that all 
these changes are not and that we labor not in 

*'At last, [July 21, 1870] I have got an order 
for young men from home to come out as 
teacher, a thing I had long wished for and that 
may go on if once introduced. But in the carry- 
ing out I have again to rely entirely on your 
kindness. What is required at present is a young 
man to teach principally chemistry and natural 
philosophy and a doctor-surgeon. 

"The place is far in the interior [city of Fukui, 
province of Echizen] and he would never see a 
foreigner outside of his colleagues, except once 
a year, when in the summer vacation (of a 


Called to the Capital 

month) he could go for a fortnight to one of the 
open ports; this is in the contract. His col- 
leagues are to be two ; one of whom [Mr. Alfred 
Lucy] I have sent thither early this month. 

" He will stay a few days or a fortnight with 
me before proceeding to the interior. As I take 
whomever you think fit to send, he may consider 
himself engaged whenever you make the agree- 
ment to come sure between you and himself. 

"It is safer by far in the interior than at Yedo 
where we live, as you are among the subjects of 
one prince who maintains strict order in his own 
country, only for a lady it would hardly do yet. 
The young man ought to be smart (to use a com- 
mon word), kind-hearted, well up in his special 
branches and generally, especially in chemistry, 
of spirit enough to rely on himself, and particu- 
larly a man of firm and practical piety. The 
temptations in this country are fearful, and many 
a one has fallen who would have been safe as 
iron at home. In fact very few indeed, outside 
of ministers and missionaries, that have not 
fallen. Yet I would rather this young man were 
not a ' Reverend,' though if he be it is also right. 
We will hope and pray that the right man will 
be brought forward by the Guide of all, and all 
will go well. 

"As to the doctor, his terms are the same, ex- 
cept his salary which is to be l3,6oo. But there 
is one condition in the contract that makes me 
fear that you, with best will, may not be able to 
find in New York, though I wish you could and 


Verbeck of Japan 

it may be you can. He is to be a Dutchman, a 
Hollander; or if not, be able to read Dutch as a 
real Hollander. In case no Dutchman is to be 
found, a German who knows the Dutch language 
pretty well, would do. Can such a one be found 
with you ? If not, I must send to Holland for one. 
The doctor's prospects in Japan are always good. 

"If you can find the proper men, please let 
them come on with as little delay as possible. 
We are waiting for them. I shall make it so 
that no eventuality to myself shall effect the cer- 
tainty of their engagements. All they have to 
do is to report themselves to me at Yedo, or I 
shall meet them at Yokohama." 

It was about this time that Mr. Verbeck was 
called on to decide what language and system 
were to be Japan's medium of medical culture. 
The Rev. G. Ogimi wrote in 1898, how in 1870, 
the native doctors were asking, 

** * In the future what shall be the language of 
our science of medicine ? ' There was such a dif- 
ference of opinion that no one could decide. 
Then the doctor (Verbeck) memorialized the 
government to the effect that so far as medicine 
is concerned there is undoubtedly no better way 
than to employ German. The Council of State 
in accordance with this advice adopted the Ger- 
man science of medicine; and the result is the 
prosperity of the science as it is to-day. So our 
medical fraternity owes a great deal to the doctor, 
says Surgeon-General Ishiguro." 

This eminent officer who was in charge of the 

Called to the Capital 

Japanese army and the military operations in 
China and Korea, during the war of 1894-95 also 
wrote in the Tenchijin, a Tokio newspaper, after 
attending Dr. Verbeck's funeral: 

"Although I was not in any way an intimate 
friend, yet I felt much regret when a paper in- 
formed me of Dr. Verbeck's death. I was not in- 
vited to attend the funeral, but I went to the church 
and attended anyhow. Toward the year 1870 
or so, many agreed to the opinion that Japanese 
education should be English and American, and 
that English and American teachers should be 
employed. In those times, Drs. Iwasa, Sagara, 
Hasegawa, and I held the view that the science 
of medicine should be German. How we were 
ridiculed and criticised by the public! Dr. Ver- 
beck was already in those times respected and 
believed in by the people. One day, Dr. Sagara 
got an interview with him, and talked about the 
necessity of enforcing our opinion about the 
science of medicine. With our view this Ameri- 
can teacher expressed his sympathy. It was 
through his advice to the government that Ger- 
man professors of this science came to be em- 
ployed. The present prosperity of the science 
owes a great deal to the deceased doctor. This 
is the reason why I attended his funeral." 

On application being made to the German Em- 
peror, two of the most eminent representatives 
of the science and art preservative of human life, 
Messrs. Muller and Hoffman came to Japan, serv- 
ing long and honorably. I remember being with 

Verbeck of Japan 

them when we were together given audience of 
the Mikado. Dr. Muller laughingly remarked to 
me that he had attended emperors of three colors, 
white, black, and brown, in Prussia, Africa, and 
Japan. How honorably German science is re- 
garded in Japan may be seen in the rewards and 
dignities conferred upon Dr. Baelz in May, 1900, 
during the marriage of the crown prince, the 
doctor receiving the decoration of the first class 
of the sacred treasure. 

New openings for teachers presented them- 
selves. Concerning Higo, Mr. Verbeck wrote 
August 20, 1870: 

" Numagawa is to write to his brother about it, 
too, and by next mail will write to you. I feel 
backward about troubling you with this new re- 
quest and fear I shall exhaust your patience; but 
I really have no one else to whom I could or 
would entrust such matters of importance, and 
yet not within the direct line of your oifice. I 
consider, however, that this placing of good 
Christian men in various parts of the empire will 
operate as a very useful auxiliary to our main 
object, the Christianization of this nation, and as 
such only, would I at all dare to enlist your kind 
offices in behalf of the movement. If we could 
supply a few places with competent and good 
men, I expect there will be numerous applications 
of the same kind. At the same time this measure 
offers a fine opportunity for those of our young 
men of learning who may desire to make a 
career abroad without becoming missionaries. 

Called to the Capital 

"The government of Higo would like to get 
an ex-lieutenant of the army, and would prefer a 
married man with his wife." 

The rage for foreign travel had now seized 
upon the upper classes and we find the relatives 
of the emperor setting their faces eastward to 
the United States and Europe. Most of these 
parties I had the pleasure of meeting and often of 
entertaining, during 1868, 1869, and the early part 
of 1870 before I left home for Japan, which I did 
in the month of November, 1870. 

Mr. Verbeck wrote to Dr. Ferris from Tokio, 
Sept. 21, 1870: 

"The bearers, his Highness Kacho-no-Miya, 
and Messrs. Yagimoto, Shirane, and Takato have 
requested me to furnish them with letters of in- 
troduction to you. The officers of the high 
government, too, who feel a deep interest in the 
welfare of these young men, and who know 
your good name and the interest you so obligingly 
take in their countrymen who came to the states 
for an education, have joined in the same request, 
being assured that they have the best guarantee 
for the future good of their students while under 
your prudent patronage. 

"Knowing your invariably kind disposition 
toward and care for all students from Japan, I 
do not hesitate to commend this interesting party 
to your favor and good advice, all of which are 
always gratefully acknowledged. 

"The Kacho-no-Miya, whom in his introduc- 
tion I style 'His Highness,' is a relation to the 


Verbeck of Japan 

Mikado — the reigning emperor. He comes, how- 
ever, incog, and only intends to resume his rank 
the last year or so. He is to stay some years. 
Your name is already well known to the officers 
of the high government, and this man's meeting 
you will do the rest to get your kindness to all 
Japanese properly noticed and acknowledged by 

Soon there was not only a stream of students 
moving from Japan to New Brunswick (for 
scarcely any other centre of education in the 
United States had yet been discovered), but the 
calls now began to come for teachers from the 
daimios to organize schools and begin work in- 
side Japan. 

Naturally one of the first of the feudal lords, to 
apply and to receive permission for foreigners to 
enter this country, was Matsudaira, Lord of 
Echizen, for here the soil had been already pre- 
pared for the good seed. The ground had been 
well ploughed and harrowed by Yokoi Heishiro 
and a band of scholars from and visitors to Naga- 
saki. In Fukui, the castle-city, a medical and a 
literary school had already been established. 
Echizen being a relative of the Tokugawas and 
yet a friend to progress, very acceptable to the 
new government and holding a position under 
it, applied for a staff of five trained professional 
teachers, one of English, one of the physical 
sciences who was to be superintendent of edu- 
cation, a mining engineer, a military instructor, 
and a physician. 


Called to the Capital 

Under date of July 21, 1870, *'the second day 
of our summer vacation of a month," when Mr. 
Verbeck had assumed the principalship of the 
college, which greatly increased his duties, we 
find him writing as follows; for toleration of 
Christianity had not yet come. \ 

"What you wrote in your last I have deeply 
felt and taken to heart. The time does seem 
long and I too sometimes feel like crying out, 
how long shall the heathen rage and the people 
imagine a vain thing ? It is such a difficult thing 
to locate with precision the division line between 
human prudence and unquestioning obedience. 
Sometimes the goal seems almost within reach and 
then again recedes by several removes. Religious 
intolerance to us appears so entirely unreasonable 
and wicked that we should think it cannot last 
many days longer. Yet again, considering in 
what a maze of difficulties, political, diplomatic, 
and financial, this new government is as yet in- 
volved, it is not strange that they stave off as 
long as possible what many of those in authority 
consider as another (foreign) cloud fraught with 
danger and confusion. As to myself, however, I 
see well that a time must come when patience 
and forbearance (if 1 may adapt the word so) 
shall have had their full share, and when it will 
be proper to take a bold stand and openly to say, 
we have long enough shown you that we are 
honest men, desirous to labor for nothing "^ut 
your happiness; we have waited long enough 
for you to allow us to do the Lord's work freely 

Verbeck of Japan 

and in His appointed way ; now we must even 
disregard altogether what man can do against us 
and commit the issue to our God. 

*' Such a crisis must come of course sooner or 
later. In the meantime we use every opportunity 
to gain an influence and a good reputation, which 
will be a powerful means in the day of direct 
attack; while with many we must vindicate our 
very character and prove to them satisfactorily that 
we are not such dreadful beings as tradition and 
superstition had once taught them we were. But 
perhaps I ought not to have entered on such a 
momentous subject in a hasty note like this. It 
is no easy matter to keep seven or eight foreign 
teachers, picked up at this port and of four differ- 
ent nationalities, in order and peace. I have my 
hands full, yet do not like to complain on that 
score. I feel dreadfully lonely, and if it had not 
been necessary for our dear children, should 
never have consented to this new family separa- 
tion. Pray for us and our work, is the request 
of Yours in Christ." 




It eventuated that of the four or five men 
desired for Echizen, Mr. Alfred Lucy, from 
Birmingham, England, became the teacher of 
English. He spent some months in Fukui, 
Echizen, four of which were while the present 
writer was in that city. The faculty of Rutgers 
College, to whom the matter of the teacher of 
science and organizer of popular education was re- 
ferred, unanimously voted that the present writer, 
the biographer, was the man to fill the post. 
Nevertheless, as the idea, when first propounded, 
of going to the turbulent Japan of that day, be- 
yond treaty limits at least, seemed like ventur- 
ing into Central Africa or into the regions of 
eternal ice, the offer when first made was 
promptly declined. It was reconsidered, and 
accepted after it had been reinforced by the 
urgent wishes of the secretary of the Board of 
Missions, and then only after very peculiar and 
searching personal experiences. 

I found that the insurance companies would 
not, except at a heavy premium, insure the life of 
one going inside Japan. To this day, as if it 
were yesterday, I remember the incredulity and 
surprise expressed by business men, that "an in- 


Verbeck of Japan 

telligent young man should trust a people like 
the Japanese to keep a financial engagement." 

After purchasing Hoffman's Japanese Grammar 
in October, and learning a number of Japanese 
phrases from my friends and pupils, chiefly from 
Satsuma and Echizen, noticing even then a differ- 
ence in their dialect, I left home in Philadelphia 
early in November and crossed the country on 
the Central Pacific Railway. There were no sta- 
tions, though plenty of drinking places, between 
Omaha and Ogden, so I laid in four or five days' 
cooked provision before leaving Nebraska. At 
the stopping places I saw plenty of wild Indians 
with scalp locks, one or two scalped white men, 
others that wanted to ** rub out " all the red men, 
and squaws that not knowing what a nickel coin 
was, but not ashamed to beg, would throw away 
as a joke and fraud, the money fresh from the 
mint at Philadelphia. Herds of antelopes, mil- 
lions of prairie dogs and occasionally a bear were 
visible from the car windows. I was impressed 
with the talk of the average western man, whose 
own comment on projected schemes was uniform 
enough to make a continuous chorus, " Well sir, 
it's a fact, 2ind you' II see it." 

Leaving San Francisco December ist, in the 
roomy and comfortable old paddle-wheel wooden 
steamer, Great Republic, I landed on the soil of 
Japan, after a beatific vision at daybreak of snow- 
crowned Fuji-Yama, on the morning of Decem- 
ber 29, 1870. Among the first to greet me 
were the Rev. James H. and Mrs. Ballagh and 

The Biographer in Tokio 

Dr. and Mrs. J. C. Hepburn. I was at the New 
Year's reception given by the United States Min- 
ister Hon. Charles E. and Mrs. DeLong. At that 
time, strange as it may now seem, not only were 
the French and British soldiers camped on the 
bluffs at Yokohama, but all the foreign legations, 
including the American, were not where they 
ought to have been, in Tokio, the capital of the 
country, but at the commercial seaport. 

My first impressions, in the new wonder world 
of Japan, seemed more like those of fairy land, 
than reality. Here was a region of amazing con- 
trasts in things both lovely and horrible. Notes 
of my journey over the Tokaido to Tokio may be 
read in ''The Mikado's Empire," but let me here 
give my impressions, on first reaching Mr. Ver- 
beck's house, which was to be my home for 
seven weeks during my stay in Tokio, before go- 
ing in the interior. I felt convinced before I left 
him, that this quiet, forceful man, was then, as I 
now know, from 1859 until 1898, not the least 
among the living leaders and the actual makers 
of new Japan. Yet I imagine that " official " Jap- 
anese history will take no note of the '' Yatoi." 

From his letters, the lights and shadows of his 
life trail over the paper as clouds over the land- 
scape. In one lies a great burden of grief. The 
Japanese so quick to learn, gained their experi- 
ence often at a great cost, while handling the 
machinery of a government with new motors, 
whether of a nation or of a ferryboat. The little 
steamer, City of Yedo, had plied for several 
. 219 

Verbeck of Japan 

months, between Yokohama and Tokio, and on 
this the Rev. Mr. E. Cornes, his wife, two children 
and Japanese servant took passage. This prom- 
ising American missionary who, at Mr. Verbeck's 
request, was acting as a teacher in the new 
school of Foreign Languages in Tokio, had served 
as a soldier in a cavalry regiment in the Union 
Army during the civil war. He was about 
twenty-eight years old and his wife was four 
years younger than himself. Both were strong 
and full of hope for the future. The boiler of 
the steamer burst shortly after it had left the 
dock. In the terrible dismemberment, his heart 
was wrapped around his neck. The only sur- 
vivor of the four was the little baby boy, born in 
the May previous. With his Japanese nurse he 
escaped with some scalds. An English girl of 
fifteen was also killed. The Rev. David Thomp- 
son, since so rich in good works, took Mr. 
Cornes' place temporarily in the school. Of 
course the disappointed, the incompetents, and 
others who do not approve of missionaries, had 
their sneer about people who, coming to convert 
the heathen, turned aside to capture their shekels. 
As simple matter of fact the unsophisticated 
"heathen" soon discovered and discriminated 
between the counterfeit and reality in the men 
from " Christian " nations. 

Mr. Verbeck wrote again concerning the low 
moral grade of such waifs as he was able to pick 
up, asking also for men of pronounced Christian 


The Biographer in Tokio 

" They are an inferior set compared with what 
I might get at home (private), and this I wish to 
show the authorities. They already know that if 
they want men to trust and believe, they must 
have missionaries, and I should like to prove to 
them that our country produces honest and hon- 
orable men outside of our order who yet will 
stand by us. 

*' Great progress is made by the people in be- 
coming enlightened, but it takes time to move a 
nation of perhaps twenty-five or thirty mil- 
lions and to affect public opinion so as to 
make the people give up their prejudices and 
traditions. There are many enlightened men 
among government officials and the private 
classes; but there are more who prefer the 
old state of things to the new. Besides all, 
the government, just newly established, has 
so many vexed questions to settle in diplo- 
macy, finance, internal policy, and innovations 
of various kinds, that it is not to be wondered at 
that it staves off religious toleration as long as it 
may. But that turn will come too, and we hope 
and pray for a favorable issue at last. I am lone- 
some and dreary alone in this heathen capital, 
yet it was necessary for my wife to make a trip 
home. I only hope she can make suitable ar- 
rangements for the children and feel strong 
enough to come out again soon, to stay with me 
till 1876, when, if the Lord will, I promise myself 
the pleasure of a trip to civilization and Christian 
surroundings. Hoping to hear from you in two 

Verbeck of Japan 

or three days, and requesting an answer to the 
inquiries above, I remain, 

" I am anxious to inaugurate this new move- 
ment to their full satisfaction, because I consider 
it a fine opening for our able and enterprising 
young men, and as a means of indirectly aiding 
our missionary work by placing Christian young 
men in situations which otherwise would, nay 
certainly will, be fitted by our warmest enemies. 
If we can give satisfaction this time, there will 
be a demand for more, and later for young ladies 
in similar positions, of which I have seen some 
indications already." 

The fruition of hope for the education of 
Japanese women, was not until 1873 when the first 
school for education of the daughters of the gentry 
was established by the Department of Education, 
of which Mrs. Veeder and Miss M. C. Griffis were 
the first instructors. Out of this grew the 
Peeresses' School in which taught Miss Alice 
Bacon, the author of that delightful classic 
"Japanese Girls and Women." 

The Echizen men were especially eager about 
one point concerning the physician and surgeon. 
Dutch was then the language of science and 
medicine in Japan. Mr. Verbeck wrote, ** The 
parties who engage him have come to me two 
or three times since to say that the doctor must 
by all means be one who knows the Dutch 
language well, all the native doctors' knowledge 
and nomenclature of the medical science having 
been got by reading and studying medical works 

The Biographer in Tokio 

imported from Holland, long before the opening 
of the country and since. There are some 
thoroughly learned men among these native 

The openings for men of ability from Chris- 
tendom were multiplying. To his house 
flocked as doves to their windows, officers for 
teachers from many provinces. In the same 
letter he wrote : " Through Numagawa's exer- 
tions, I have a similar application for a young 
man to go to the Prince of Higo's country." 
By September 22, 1870, Mr. Verbeck had al- 
ready filled five similar places "with people I 
have found at Yokohama, but prefer getting 
them from home." By November 23, 1870, he 
had engaged twelve foreigners for the college of 
which he was principal. In his letter expressing 
the hope that he might be able to visit America 
during the Centennial year, he declared with em- 
phasis his desire to get regularly trained men of 
character and ability from home. 

The time is now come when the biographer 
must tell the story of how and when he first 
reached Tokio and saw Mr. Verbeck. It was on 
January 2, 1 871, at half past ten in the morning.. 
At this time Tokio had become definitely the 
capital of the empire, all the departments of the 
government being in full activity there. Twice 
the emperor, "the son of Heaven," a youth six- 
teen years old had shown his "dragon counte- 
nance " in broad daylight and in public to myriads 
of his subjects, who had never looked upon the 


Verbeck of Japan 

face of a Mikado before. Two princes of the 
blood, and scores of young men had crossed the 
ocean to lands afar, and seen how big the 
world outside of Japan was. The leaders of 
the nation were in the van of a movement toward 
foreign civilization which, despite reactionary 
conservatives could not be checked. Two years 
before, such events as were now, in 1871, of 
daily occurrence, could not have been possible. 
They would have been too shocking. The 
ancient diet of rice, vegetables, and fish, and sake 
was giving way to beef, bread, and beer, and 
the old voluminous costumes to the tight dress 
of civilization. Yet many a time, in walking 
through the quarter devoted to the nobles and 
gentry, did I see kuges from Kioto, riding on 
horseback, who seemed to me as if figures from 
a pack of playing cards had been suddenly 
turned by some magic wand into life. They 
were swathed in what appeared to my gaze 
to be damask quilts or comfortables, each with 
a black brick strapped to the top of his head and 
bound around the chin with white tape. Nu- 
merous attendants were around each rider, all 
looking like figures on a chess board, suddenly 
become animated. It took me a long time to 
get over the association of broadly figured dress 
patterns with bedclothes, and of white tape, or 
broad bands, around the chin, with cerements. 
I could not help thinking that these solemn look- 
ing grandees were as actually in physical, as 
they certainly were in political life, ** laid out." 


The Biographer in Tokio 

Henceforth in the new Japan, personal abilities 
far more than rank or birth were to count. 

At this time the members of the Privy Council 
of the cabinet consisted of the Kioto nobles, 
Sanjo, Iwakura, and Tokudaiji, who formed a 
sort of triple premiership, beneath whom were 
the ex-Prince of Hizen, Okuma of Hizen, Soye- 
shima of Hizen — all of them Mr. Verbeck's per- 
sonal friends — with Okubo of Satsuma, Hirozawa 
of Choshiu, Kido of Choshiu, and Sasaki of Tosa. 
Of this little company of ten, probably the lives 
of all were attempted by the assassins, while of 
four who saw their assailants and the weapons 
forged for their slaughter, Okubo and Hirozawa 
were killed at once and by night. Iwakura es- 
caped from a hedge of spears and swords that 
at night, in a lonely roadway inside the castle, 
cut his carriage to pieces, by tumbling down the 
grassy side of a moat, thus eluding his pursuers. 
Okuma, some years afterward, lost a leg by a 
dynamite bomb made of a gas pipe carried in an 
umbrella by a native, clad in the full evening 
dress of civilization, who afterward killed him- 
self. Arinori Mori, whom I met in 1871 and 
often afterward in Tokio, when a cabinet min- 
ister, in his official dress and in broad daylight 
and on the glorious day of the promulga- 
tion of the constitution in 1889, was stabbed 
by a young ruffian, a disappointed student, 
whose grave, though he had been executed as 
a murderer, resembled for some months, a 
Decoration Day. Katsu Awa, another cabinet 


Verbeck of Japan 

minister, was often menaced with the butcher's 

Early in January, 1871, the Satsuma men were 
in very bad humor. They considered themselves 
the chief agents in the success of the Revolution, 
and did not like it that certain men, court nobles 
who had been shut up all their lives in Kioto, 
were trying to carry on the national business, 
and that Hizen had three members of the cabinet, 
while they had but one. Hence it was that one 
clansman named Yokoyama, in approved feudal 
fashion, first offered a protest of indignation 
against this state of affairs — in which the spoils 
were withheld from the victors — and then, going 
outside of the chief yashiki of the clan in Tokio, 
he duly opened his body according to the most 
correct method of hara-kiri. The Satsuma men 
withdrew their forces from Tokio and returned 
by steamer to Kagoshima. 

It was now necessary to placate both the spirits 
of the dead and the minds of the living men in 
Satsuma. It was the fashion then, as it had been 
for ages in Japan, to manufacture gods out of 
men, by erecting innumerable shrines and giving 
high-flown pompous names to a mob of dead 
men, who were duly worshipped. One could 
watch the effigies of scores of such "gods" in 
the popular processions on festival days. Sur- 
mounting lofty structures on wheels, around 
which, in their phrensy of hilarious and often 
obscene delights, the crowds of devotees played, 
the scholar could recognize figures of men or 


The Biographer in Tokio 

women having each three names and titles, the 
first historical and human, the second posthu- 
mous and Shintoistic, and the third Buddhist 
and popular. One of these gods was Shokoku 
Daimiojin, or the Great-Named Man, Shokoku, 
who had been a daimio or head of the Satsuma 
clan and province. It seemed necessary for the 
government to send an envoy to "take an oath 
to the god to exalt the destinies of the State," 
and at his shrine to present a sword. 

So Iwakura, in company with Okubo, pro- 
ceeded with a commission from the emperor to 
Shimadzu Saburo, then head of the Satsuma clan, 
together with a letter written in the proper style 
and full of complimentary phrases culled from 
Chinese documents and precedents. The an- 
swer of the great Shimadzu Saburo, who listened 
''prostrate to the imperial decree," though "his 
bowels are rent with the effort," and he tried to 
"forget himself for the sake of his country," is 
characteristic. Read in a cold English transla- 
tion it seems diplomatically vague to the last 
degree, yet it was wholly acceptable. Did not 
Shimadzu depend upon his "Majesty's wise and 
sagacious supernatural virtue " ? Did he not 
"pray that the heavenly heart may be pure and 
transparent"? Did he not "adore his Majesty 
from afar, and with genuine fear, bowings of 
the head, and contempt for death " ? And was 
not all this according to Japanese orthodoxy.? 
Surely yes. 

Okubo, Kido, and Iwakura formed the trium- 


Verbeck of Japan 

virate or committee, which really made the new 
government, which heretofore had rested almost 
entirely on the reverence inspired by the Mikado's 
sacred name. They were successful in getting 
the three great clans Satsuma, Choshiu, and Tosa 
to furnish the central government with troops, 
which in Tokio formed the nucleus of an im- 
perial or national army. The three great men 
arrived in Tokio on the 26. of April, 1871. Early 
in 1872, Shimadzu Saburo and some hundreds 
of his loyal clansmen arrived in Tokio. I shall 
never forget either them or my feelings when, 
in a narrow street, I met a large detachment of 
the red-sworded men. Fierce and wild indeed 
seemed these swarthy fellows, with hair shaved 
off their front temples as well as from their mid- 
scalps, their tremendously long swords in scarlet 
scabbards, their wide sleeves thrown back over 
their shoulders, exposing bare and muscular arms, 
and their faces set to a scowl, they seemed the 
very embodiment of pride and jealousy — exactly 
the kind of pride and jealousy which only igno- 
rant hermits, believing themselves to be the fa- 
vored children of the gods, could cherish. They 
had rescued their own land and wished to keep 
it safe from foreign defilement. 

I had during our own civil war looked on 
Arkansas and Louisiana '* tigers," had read of 
ancient fanatics in Jerusalem, had seen Pawnees 
on the war trail, and even in Japan beheld in 
paint, at least, the face of Yemma, the Lord of 
the Buddhist hells. These had all done excel- 


The Biographer in Tokio 

lently in scowls, yet I am not certain but that I 
thought the Satsuma swashbuckler of 1870 ex- 
celled them all. 

My first arrival in Tokio took place while 
Iwakura was absent. I bore a letter of intro- 
duction to him from his own sons whom I had 
known in New Brunswick. Tokio was then 
garrisoned by the soldiers of other clans. Pass- 
ing through Tsukiji, or the foreign quarter, see- 
ing that already the new settlement was doomed 
to failure, chiefly on account of the shallow 
harbor, I passed at the limits a barrier and guard- 
house painted black and looking grim enough to 
keep out, as was intended, all ronin from enter- 
ing the settlement. To get into the main city, \ 
one had to pass by **the flowery meadow" or 
Yoshiwara, where sat hundreds of young girls 
and women, practically slaves, but fair by nature I fi^^ 
and prettily dressed or made attractive and all 
ready to ply their trade for the benefit of their 
owners. This and a customhouse were the two 
institutions supposed to be indispensable to a 
foreign port. 

With a little Japanese map in my hand, I found 
my way through the various streets, until I 
reached the great Tori, or main highway, which 
was thronged with moving humanity, including 
soldiers in every style of hybrid costume. Near 
the Nippon Bashi or Bridge of Japan, which was 
the centre of the empire, from which all distances 
were measured, I stopped to note, having already 
recognized, the anti-Christian edicts which hung 


Verbeck of Japan 

with the other laws under roof. At noon, having 
passed through, or rather along the district occu- 
pied by the castle and great Yashikis, some of them 
occupying many acres, I reached a street opposite 
the castle gateway and bridge named after the 
last of the Tycoons, Hitotsubashi, where, in the 
vast space, of old called Gojingahara, were built 
the sheds and bungalows, comprising the Kai 
Sei Jo or Place for the Promotion of Civilization, 
then called the Dai Gaku Nan Ko, or Southern 
Branch of the Imperial University. Within were 
about a thousand barefooted or sandaled, top- 
knotted and two-sworded pupils, who wore 
what seemed to me bedroom wrappers and petti- 
coats, often with slates and ink-bottles slung to 
their girdles. In the "compound" lived the 
foreign teachers. The inclosing fences were of 
the regulation official black, high, tarry, and 
gloomy. Entering through the gateway, duly 
received, and my business made known to the 
mom-ban or gatekeeper, I was escorted to the 
door of the superintendent's house. There I 
met the house "boy," a young samurai with re- 
fined face and exquisitely dainty hands and taper 
fingers, who invited me to wait in the parlor, 
until lunch was ready, which was in a few mo- 
ments. Soon my host with a face stamped in 
every line with seriousness, honesty, penetration, 
and the enthusiasm of humanity entered and 
warmly greeted me in welcome. Then began 
my six weeks' stay under the hospitable roof and 
a lifelong friendship. 


The Biographer in Tokio 

Let me first of all describe that parlor or re- 
ception room, in which, early in 187 1, I spent 
many days in study, rest, conversation with the 
host, and pleasant social intercourse with both 
Japanese and foreigners. 

Again, early in 1872, on my return from Fukui, 
I was in that same room for weeks. Often I re- 
mained, by request, when Mr. Verbeck was giv- 
ing audience to high ministers of the cabinet and 
heads of departments who came to consult him 
on grave affairs of state. 

To sit in a cozy armed chair, which afterward 
became temporarily the imperial throne, to study 
Japanese maps and books, to read the literature 
from Europe that loaded the superintendent's 
table, were privileges I counted then as delights 
and now enjoy as memory pictures. 

Often I had good opportunity to learn the eti- 
quette of the gate and the door, and to notice 
how careful this grave, serious, and spectacled 
man was to do the right thing to the right person, 
at the right time and at the right place. Yet, 
whether statesmen, to talk of imperial matters, 
or teachers and students to ask of education in 
theory or practice, or Samurai from any and 
every part of the empire to propound questions 
on every subject under the heavens, I think I can 
honestly say, all were politely and patiently 

Yet these are not the only visions now in 
memory's hall. There were also, in 1872, after 
Mrs. Verbeck had returned from California, chil- 


Verbeck of Japan 

dren in the house, for this was a home, also, and 
many a merry romp do I remember with the 
children, especially with little Guido, the pretty 
boy, who seemed as the incarnation of japan's 
sunshine — a fair bud of promise, whose petals of 
life closed at sixteen. The fact that there was a 
little maid in the house attracted other little maids 
also. More than once, it seemed like the burst- 
ing of a cherry-tree into flower, or as if some old 
man in the fairy-tale had thrown magic ashes on 
a winter tree, to see the door open and the pretty 
virgins of Nippon trip in, arrayed in all the glori- 
ous color and the dazzling dyes of silk for which 
the Sunrise Land is famous. On Japanese New 
Year's morning, such a vision unexpectedly 
greeted me, as the young daughter of the minis- 
ter Sasaki, not knowing that any one was in the 
room, was ushered in to make her congratulatory 
call. For color and brilliancy, for gorgeousness 
of hair, ornament and dress, and perfection of 
girlish loveliness, I thought I had never seen any- 
thing to equal it, though I had been in the capi- 
tals of Europe, as well as dwelt in America, yes 
even in Philadelphia, Queen City of fair women. 
Knowing some Japanese, I was able to put the 
little lady at her ease, until her girl friend de- 
scended from above stairs. 

That part of the room which fascinated me and 
was most typical both of my host's toil and of 
Japan's new era, was that just within and to the 
left of the door. There on a space, if I remember 
right, of about ten feet by four, were piled 

The Biographer in Tokio 

dictionaries, text-books, and literature in several 
languages, with files of the best periodicals of 
the West, from countries on either side of the 
Atlantic, also catalogues of publishers and instru- 
ment makers, and other material necessary for 
the head of a nascent university in which six lan- 
guages, English, French, German, Dutch, Japa- 
nese, and Chinese were taught, and in which 
courses of instruction had already been formu- 

It must not be forgotten that education and 
intellectual reform had been inaugurated by the 
Bakufu, or old government, and long been op- 
posed by the Bakufu's opponents, and that this 
institution was the development of an older one. 
To be exact, let me quote from the Historical 
Summary, in the Imperial University Calendar, 
for the year 2556-57 of the Empire, or a. d. 
1896-97, translating within brackets the Japanese 

*' Inasmuch as the Teikoku Daigaku (Heavenly 
Dynasty Country Great Learning), or Imperial 
University owes its existence to the union- of the 
late Tokio Daigaku (Great Learning), Kobu 
(Department of Public Works), Daigakko, and 
Tokyo Noringakko (School of Forestry and 
Agriculture), it seems fitting that, in tracing its 
history, reference should be made to the origin 
of these three institutions. 

** The four departments of law, science, medi- 
cine, and literature, which composed the Tokio 
Daigaku, sprang, with the one exception of the de- 


Verbeck of Japan 

partment of medicine, from an institution of some 
antiquity founded by the Tokugawa government, 
and known first as the Yogakujo (Place of 
Western Learning), and afterward as the Kai- 
seijo. This institution was, after the restoration 
of 1868, revived by the imperial government, and 
in the following year, the college received the 
name of Daigaku Nanko, and was attached to the 
Daigaku, which was then established at Yushima." 
In the year 1871, the Daigaku Nanko came 
directly under the control of the department of 
education then first established, and was called 
simply the Nanko, and in the following year, 
when the country was mapped out into edu- 
cational districts, it received the name of the 
'* First Middle School of the First Grand Educa- 
tional District." It impressed me mightily to see 
what a factotum Mr. Verbeck was, a servant of 
servants indeed, for I could not help thinking 
how he imitated his Master. I saw a prime 
minister of the empire, heads of departments, 
and officers of various ranks, whose personal 
and official importance I sometimes did, and 
sometimes did not, realize, coming to find out 
from Mr. Verbeck matters of knowledge or to 
ydiscuss with him points and courses of action. 
To-day it might be a plan of national education ; 
to-morrow, the engagement of foreigners to 
important positions; or the dispatch of an envoy 
to Europe; the choice of the language best suit- 
able for medical science; or, how to act in matters 
of neutrality between France and Germany, whose 


The Biographer in Tokio 

war vessels were in Japanese waters; or, to learn 
the truth about what some foreign diplomatist 
had asserted; or, concerning the persecutions of! 
Christians; or, some serious measure of home 


Week after week I saw Principal Verbeck at 
work and knew his routine of life. He rose 
early and wrought much before breakfast. 
Immediately after this meal, he would go to 
school, supervising details during three morning 
and three afternoon hours. Then, often, from 
four to six, he would join me in my expeditions 
in various parts of the wonderful city of Tokio, 
or its suburbs. Usually we went on horseback, 
when going some distance. We could not make 
use of the jin-riki-sha, for early in 1871 this 
vehicle was hardly known outside of Yokohama. 
Besides travel on foot or horseback, the usual 
means was by the kago or bamboo basket hung 
on a pole set on the shoulders of two men, or by 
the norimono, hung from a beam and borne by four 
men. The ba-sha, or horse carriage, was still a 
great curiosity. The locomotive and railway 
were still only in the dreams of hope, or as the 
breath of a clam— a fairy-tale clam, of course. 
When we walked out in the city or went to 
Uyeno, the scene of the battle of July 4, 1868, 
or to Asakusa or Shiba, we were accompanied 
by armed guards, who were responsible for our 
lives. Hear what Mr. Verbeck says in his lecture 
given early in 1898, to some Japanese young men, 
and thus translated: 


Verbeck of Japan 

" There were yet no soshi in those times, but 
a worse kind of persons who went by the 
name of ronin. I now remember some thirty or 
so of the people, whose lives were cruelly de- 
stroyed by these vagabonds. In the year 1869, I 
was invited to the Kaisei Gakko in Tokio, and 
lived within the compound of the school. Being 
now employed by the government, I was always 
guarded by bette (a kind of policemen). When- 
ever I went out for exercise or for business, I was 
escorted by them ; if I rode, they also rode, and 
if I walked, they also walked. How troublesome 
this must have been for them ! 

'Mtwas on a certain day that a chief of the 
bette came to me and asked me not to go out for 
some time, because many ronin had entered 
Tokio. Thus, I was obliged not to go out even 
for a short walk, and to spend about two weeks 
in weariness, when, feeling it to be unbearable, 
I called one of the bette and prevailed on him to 
let me freely enjoy fresh air. Escorted by four 
bette, though two bette were usual, I was as 
happy as a bird let out of its cage, about to leave 
my house, when two samurai of the Hizen clan 
called on me and offered themselves to follow me 
also as escorts. I, being thus assured of my 
safety by twelve swords (for each of these 
samurai and the bette wore a pair of swords 
about his waist), started for Oji. When we 
almost came to Dokan Yama, I was frightened 
by a ronin, who, seeing me, changed his color 
and touched the hilt of his sword, but, being 


The Biographer in Tokio • 

prevented from any mischievous effort by my six 
escorts, passed us, so chagrined that he grasped 
the hilt as if he was going to crush it. I was so 
much terrified by this incident that I at once 
returned home, only too glad to become again 
imprisoned within my dwelling." 

I noticed that Mr. Verbeck always looked care- 
fully to his revolver to see that it was in good 
order. He carried it in the right-hand pocket of 
his loose sack coat, for he told me that this was 
the best place to have it instantly ready. The 
murderous ronins, to say nothing of drunken 
loafers, ruffians, and wild characters of every 
sort, were numerous in the capital city and Ver- 
beck of Japan did not propose to throw his life 
away. *'The two British military officers assas^ 
sinated at Kamakura," he said, ''were killed be- 
cause they had their revolvers in their belts 
around at their back, whereas the ronins when 
they attack, rush at you as quick as lightning and 
may cut you down before you can draw your 
pistol." Mine was a Smith and Wesson's revol- 
ver, bought, just before I left New Brunswick, 
by the advice of my Japanese friends. It was 
snugly kept in a special pocket made inside the 
left lapel of my walking coat, whence it could be 
drawn quickly, as it seemed indeed more than 
once necessary. I am not certain but that the 
mere gesture of putting my hand into my bosom 
was more than once a means of impressing upon 
some scowling patriot that he had better not 


Verbeck of Japan 

"The moral uses of dark things" were 
finely illustrated in a way outside of Dr. 
Horace Bushnell's lines of thought. Soon the 
mean cowards that disgraced the name of samu- 
rai and misrepresented the untarnished repu- 
tation for valor belonging to Japan, found that 
the foreigner had teeth that would bite. The 
public decapitation of a few of these misguided 
men on the common execution ground along 
with thieves and incendiaries, after they had 
committed assassination, cooled their zeal and 
made the assassination of aliens unpopular. The 
determined attitude in private defence completed 
a needed reform and stopped the epidemic of 
murder. It soon come to be known by this gang 
of cowardly ruffians that a little lead, packed 
ready for delivery at a moment's notice, was in- 
side the alien's coat, and his species gradually 
made way for a better sort of "gentleman" and 
to the encouragement of a new model of patri- 

It is not for a biographer to revel in a flow of 
words over the glories of the imperial city of 
Tokio, its pageantry and splendors, its gala days, 
its museums, theatres, temples, and gardens, 
river delights, its scenery, the fascinations of 
glorious Fuji ever in sight, its floral attractions in 
winter and summer, its literary and social charms, 
and in time the beauties of holiness and joys of 
worship. These can only be hinted at, to sug- 
gest an environment, which, during thirty years, 
the child of God, though ever "as one that 


The Biographer in Tokio 

served," gratefully enjoyed as from the hand of 
his Father. Mr. Verbeck was not able to give 
any time, but that absolutely needed for recrea- 
tion, to what was around him, though keenly 
sensitive to the charms of nature and society. 

How the lights and shadows played over the 
landscape of his life in Tokio during the early 
part of 1870 is seen in his letters. 




A WONDERFUL Variety of human nature was 
oftentimes gathered under Mr. Verbeck's hospi- 
table roof. The host had to employ steadily 
every one of the five languages which he knew 
so well how to use, even though most of his 
guests spoke the tongue which is yet to be that 
of the wodd. The fact that the Japanese, just 
born into the worid of new thoughts and ideas, 
as constantly hungry for new food as young 
robins, kept as busy as a father bird the one man 
of all others then in the empire best able to fill 
the hungry maws. The fact that positions were 
opening for teachers with good salaries attached 
to them, brought a constant string of applicants 
from among the men who had sailed, drifted, or 
were dumped into Yokohama. The necessity 
thrown upon Mr. Verbeck to supply suddenly 
the teachers needed, was a pressing one. Yet 
while the great harvest was ripening, the labor- 
ers able to handle skillfully the sickle were few 

In the ports of the East there are now, as there 
were then, many typical specimens of the high- 
est manhood and womanhood, but there was 
also much floating wreckage of society. There 


Among all Sorts and Conditions of Men 

were men once with superb and shining abilities, 
that had buried both their talents and their nap- 
kin, and were no longer rich in power or clean in 
character. Others had been graduated out of the 
army and navy, the bar and the office, and the 
counting room because of too long dalliance at 
the cup, or for causes that spotted their moral as 
well as physical nature. Yet if they spoke and 
read the English language and were immediately 
on hand, they might serve when the Japanese 
were so eager for teachers and no others were to 
be obtained. 

It could not be surprising then, that teachers 
who would smoke their pipes in the class-room, 
swear at the students, absent themselves from 
their post because alcohol had fuddled their 
brains, or who would be found in disreputable 
rows and places, were more than common. 

Let me picture as best I can the remembrances 
of one week's experiences. At dinner time, 
noon, the table is spread for eight. At the head 
sits mine host, busily attentive to the wants of 
the hungry men, while trying to make each one 
of the varied company happy. An oval-faced, 
taper-fingered, bright-eyed young man, reared as 
a gentleman, but serving as a waiter in order to 
learn English and foreign ways, waits on the 
table. He has the assistance of a ** pudding 
face," — another servant of heavier build but 
much less intellectual face and evidently of an- 
cestors who, unlike the samurai, have not for a 
thousand years or more enjoyed intellectual cul- 

Verbeck of Japan 

ture. The first course is soup, the second is 
steak and fried potatoes, the third is shrimp 
curry and rice, the fourth, dessert. The host 
must not only supervise, provide, and teach, but 
must be hospitable out of his own charges. Yet 
there were those who wondered how the mis- 
sionary could roll in wealth and they abused him 
roundly for it. 

Opposite to mine host sits a Japanese young 
gentleman, whose younger brother is in America. 
I knew the latter as a timid, frightened looking 
boy, yet with an unquenchable thirst for knowl- 
edge. Fearfully handicapped in the race for life, 
by that hereditary disease which used to desolate 
humanity in Japan, science and surgery in Phila- 
delphia had already renovated him. Now, writ- 
ing after thirty years, we see in that youth, after 
the healing and helping of the education, abroad 
and at home, one of the leaders in industrial 
education and an honored envoy, able to martial 
and represent Japan's best products at the World's 
various expositions. 

I sat in 1 87 1, beside his brother, who had 
never handled knife or fork or occidental tools. 
With that restless Japanese eye — sure sign of 
Tartar or North Asian, not Chinese ancestry — 
that watches each detail and takes in all, this 
polished gentleman gets through the ordeal, from 
napkin opening to finger bowl, without one slip 
or fault. 

Let the American teacher stand in the shadow, 
for he is enjoying the novelty and the fun. Have 


Among all Sorts and Conditions of Men 

we not opposite to us a vast and pompous per- 
sonage who, from the lofty height of that "R. 
N." on his visiting card, looks down upon us 
ordinary mortals who have never been in the 
royal navy ? He diffuses around and beneath 
him a general air, both of mild omniscience and 
of extreme condescension, and we all of us are 
expected to think him a wonderful man. Of his 
subsequent history, I know only this, that, being 
temporarily engaged as a teacher of English, like 
the next rather modest and quiet gentleman, also 
an Englishman, who sits next to him, both are 
told that in addition to their salary, their ex- 
penses of carriage, or transportation, from their 
lodgings at the hotel at Tsukiji to the college will 
be paid. The distance was about three miles. 
Now to show the variety of interpretation, as 
well as contrast in characters, the next morning 
the simple gentleman reached the scene of his 
duty promptly in a jin-riki-sha for which the 
charge was half a bu, or about twelve cents, 
whereas the mighty man in the fraternity of 
Drake and Nelson appeared in a barouche 
drawn by four horses, with a native driver, for 
which in due time the treasury of H. I. J. M. had 
to pay. The feat was almost equal to the sale in 
Yokohama to a native of a shilling Shakespeare 
for fifteen dollars. 

Then there were two other gentlemen, once 
representatives of our gallant army and navy, and 
both possessing the fine physique which West 
Point and Annapolis secure. Each of our country's 


Verbeck of Japan 

defenders were able no doubt, to take a city or 
storm a fortress, but, alas, as events past and 
future proved, were unable to rule either their 
own spirits or those of the bottle. A mighty 
man in mathematics, and a hero on the plains, 
was he who had so long made king alcohol and 
John Barleycorn his companions, that between 
brandy and whiskey he had become a social 
exile, even as in Tokio he proved a failure. The 
man of the deck, with a history somewhat 
similar, was now hoping to recoup broken for- 
tunes and character at two hundred dollars a 
month. Various indeed were the characters met 
with in that conglomerate of humanity which 
came under my eye during my first seven weeks 
in Tokio. Some were coarsely vulgar and un- 
concealedly ignorant. Because of alcohol, osten- 
tatious sensualism, or manifest illiteracy, they 
ran through their probation and career, in periods 
varying from one to six days. It was as pa- 
thetic as it was disappointing, to discover stranded 
on the shore that in more senses than one is 
scoured by the Black Tide, the wrecks of so 
many brilliant men. 

One must not forget that Tokio was then much 
like the witch's caldron in Macbeth's tale, seeth- 
ing with manifold strange and uncanny elements. 
The old order of society had been broken up by 
a great tidal wave, caused by political upheaval 
de profundis. Much of what was good in old 
Yedo had gone out and the new wave coming in 
had not only brought new and strange things 


Among all Sorts and Conditions of Men 

afloat, but had scoured up and forced to the sur- 
face may evils long repressed. Furthermore it 
is doubtful whether vice in the chief city of Japan 
was ever more rampant than in the third quarter 
of the nineteenth century. Besides the lust and 
villainy, life was held to be cheaper than dirt by 
the swash-bucklers, ronins, and other strange 
characters and outlaws then infesting Tokio. 
With the rough soldiery of the various clans and 
thousands of young men and boys from many 
provinces then living in the city as real or nomi- 
nal students, but ever ready for adventure 
and all armed with two swords, there was a 
sufficiency of the elements of danger. Only a 
few days before my arrival, within a few yards 
of Mr. Verbeck's door, a man had been cut down 
by some sword-bearing ruffian. It was a good 
many hours before the bloody carcase was re- 
moved. How it was done let Mr. Verbeck tell 
again as he did early in 1898 : 

'There was still another thing, so cheaply 
estimated, that is, the life of the hemin-class 
(common people). It was not so serious a 
matter for a samurai to despatch a merchant, a 
farmer, or an artisan with his sword. Of course, 
this was not done without reason, and yet this 
took place very often. Suppose a young samurai 
procured a new costly sword, and you will see 
him taking a walk with his friends, when a poor 
beggar comes to him and asks for alms, and all 
at once the new blade glitters upon the beggar's 
head I When I lived at Hitotsubashi, Tokyo, I 


Verbeck of Japan 

walked out of my house early in the morning, 
and found a dead body on the ground, upon 
which doubtless a new sword was tried. After 
a little while, a certain official came to examine 
the corpse, and let two coolies bind the limbs 
and carry it with the pole running through the 
rope. They seemed as if they were going to 
bury a dead dog ! " 

We were soon to have a taste of contempora- 
neous Japanese manners and customs and the 
results of interference by foreigners. About ten 
days after my arrival in Tokio, Mr. Verbeck and 
I had planned to ride to Oji to see the flowers 
and the beautiful landscape. About 4 a. m., Mr. 
Verbeck called me, telling that great changes had 
occurred during the night and that two of the 
European teachers had been cut with swords and 
perhaps were dead. Dressing quickly, accom- 
panied by a servant carrying a lantern, we went 
through the dark streets passing the watchmen, ^ 
who as they walked by the houses jingling their 
poles with iron rings at the top on a metal tip, 
called out "look out for fire," and seeing here 
and there beggars sleeping under matting. 

» In 1898, in his lecture in Tokio, Mr. Verbeck said: " There 
were no policemen or constables but okabiki and torite (one of 
the young men in the audience did not know what these were. 
What a rapid change was made !) Since these okabiki or 
torite did not wear uniform, they could hardly be distinguished 
from common people. It often happened that the people re- 
garded ordinary folks as detectives. To the school at Naga- 
saki, in which I was employed, this kind of officials frequently 
came, but soon they disappeared." 

Among all Sorts and Conditions of Men 

In Rice Pot street, we reached a house where 
were lying two men with fair faces. Both had 
been cut down from behind. On the one the 
sword tip had cut partly into the head and down 
through the shoulder. On the other was a terri- 
ble cut, crosswise, like a great canal, from the 
right shoulder down across the region of the 
spine and loins, one of the ribs being severed. 
He had also received a heavy cut downward, on 
the other shoulder, both gashes deep and long 
and then bound together with the admirably thick 
and absorbent Japanese paper. 

I remember my strange sensations in being for 
the first time in a native Japanese house. On 
the walls hung the mask of the laughing goddess 
Uzume, and various other emblems and tokens 
of Japanese religion, enjoyment, and superstition 
were visible. The Japanese fairy-tales, which 
my college classmate, son of our American min- 
ister in Japan had told me, appeared to me in 
new lights. Out in the kitchen I could see the 
preparations for food, the cooking, and the 
household economy which was simple enough. 
Many hours during several days did I spend in 
meditation while sitting up at night with these 
wounded men and during the day assisting them, 
especially the worst wounded one of the two. 

The outward story of this affair has been told 
in Adam's History of Japan, (Vol. II., pp. 235-239) 
and in ''The Mikado's Empire " (pp. 374-377) but 
the true inwardness is better expressed in Mr. 
Verbeck's letters, which show that it was any- 

Verbeck of Japan 

thing but one-sided. It is to the credit of the 
government that they acted so energetically, 
searching every house in Tokio that might hold 
the assassins and examining every sword in the 
city to see whether it had the stain of blood upon 
it — a stain which only grinding will remove. I 
remember distinctly the sense of importance as 
well as the fun enjoyed by many of the school- 
boys who had delegations of grave inspectors 
visiting them to see their swords, which had 
never had any practice beside the common expe- 
rience which dogs and cats might furnish. The 
perpetrators of the outrage, arrested some months 
after the attack, were carefully examined. Two 
of them afterward were put to death by strangu- 
lation and the third was sentenced to ten years 
of hard labor. One interesting fact was brought 
out that the government had made a new com- 
pilation of the criminal code then in force, which 
was already printed and accessible. 
Mr. Verbeck's account by letter is as follows: 
" You will probably see in the papers that two 
of the teachers of our college were attacked and 
badly cut in the streets of this city. This is 
something that might unexpectedly happen to 
any of us here and our merciful Father defend us 
against our enemies, the haters of foreigners and 
progress. But I can privately assure you that in 
the present instance it was the fault of the suf- 
ferers, and almost a punishment. Whenever 
any of us go out we are allowed two armed 
guards to follow us. We have twenty such 


Among all Sorts and Conditions of Men 

guards belonging to the college, exclusively for 
the protection of the foreign teachers. Of late 
several of the teachers had been going about 
without guards, and only a week before the at- 
tack I had given all the teachers official notice 
that they were desired by the authorities not to 
do so. On the night of the attack two of them 
went out with guards, but dismissed them at 
seven o'clock, an hour and a half after dark, and 
were attacked from behind at eight and one- 
fourth o'clock as they walked on in the dark 
street, in the company of a native girl. It is evi- 
dent that they were on an errand that they 
wished the guards not to know of. If they lived 
a moral life, they would have been safe enough 
that night. And now they wish to throw the 
blame on me because I forbid them having such 
girls in their houses in the school lot I With all 
this, we are all of us glad that they escaped with 
wounds and are fast recovering. The attack 
was barbarous, and cowardly, made in the dark 
and from behind. The government put the 
whole city and vicinity in a regular state of siege 
for several days for the purpose of discovering 
the culprits, but so far have not got beyond sus- 
picions. It is to be hoped they will be found." 

I spent seven weeks of life under Mr. Ver- 
beck's roof, in the new imperial capital, rambling 
in the nooks and corners of old Yedo as well as 
along the highways full of the new sights and 
scenes of the shops and crowded thoroughfares 
of Tokio, riding out to visit the suburbs and 


Verbeck of Japan 

lovely rural places and the famous temples and 
gardens. 1 studied the Japanese language, his- 
tory, and geography in the morning and spent the 
afternoon outdoors, usually with mine host, in 
the evening reading or paying visits to Ameri- 
cans or Japanese friends in Tokio, but always se- 
curing an hour or so of conversation with Mr. 
Verbeck. His evenings were usually spent in 
multifarious labors, but before bedtime, he re- 
freshed his soul with music and his spirit with 
prayer. To this hour, I can remember some of 
his favorite strains on the harmonium, and re- 
call that when he played in public worship he 
liked to be behind a screen. 

The time came for my departure to Fukui. 
The contract and papers with the Fukui officers, 
the dinners and feastings in the Echizen Yashiki, 
the meetings with daimios and the famous men 
of new Japan were over. Before I left, I had 
also taught a number of Japanese in various 
ways, made many acquaintances, had seen lordly 
Fuji Yama in varied splendors of sunrise and sun- 
set time, now a pyramid of silver against velvety 
blue, now a diadem of fire, anon a table-land 
whose crest and potencies were hidden under 
defiant clouds, and again a landmark that seemed 
to wear a hood of white vapors that foretold 
storm, yet ever glorious and inspiring, though 
sometimes seeming to pour upon us mortals its 
disdain of our weakness. Coming out into the 
glorious air and under the cloudless blue sky, 
after some terrible earthquake that silenced all 

Among all Sorts and Conditions of Men 

animal nature and made the human heart sink, 
Fuji seemed to look down with cold contempt at 
human weakness rather than with tender pity. 
Fortunately before leaving Tokio I enjoyed with 
the Japanese their New Year's congratulations, 
thus revelling in the delight of two celebrations, 
one Occidental, the other Oriental. 

Mr. Verbeck wrote on the 22d of March, 1871 : 

**Our college is as prosperous as under the 
circumstances can be expected. At the opening 
of our new term a month ago, we had one thou- 
sand students minus four, more than two hun- 
dred having been refused admittance for want 
of accommodation. We have twelve foreign 
teachers besides myself, that is, for the three 
departments, English, French, and German. By 
this mail I again send a few students home, who 
will probably call on you and whom I again take 
the liberty to commend to your kind offices. 

** I consider myself highly favored by our heav- 
enly Father in having been permitted to receive 
my wife and all the children back again. I can- 
not tell you how wretched I was without them. 
We shall get a teacher for the children here and 
make a home school for them in our house. We 
feel it is too much for all of us to send children 
under twelve away from home, with the Pacific 
rolling between. We shall not soon repeat the 

I bade my host good-bye on February i6th. 
After four or five days in Yokohama and delight- 
ful visits to Kamakura, enjoying the seashore and 

Verbeck of Japan 

the storied scenery, I, with my baggage left on 
the steamer Oregonian, spending Ash Wednes- 
day and Washington's birthday on the water, 
studying also Japan's rocky and mountainous 
shore, arriving at Kobe on the 23d, to meet the 
first missionary of the A. B. C. F. M., now the 
veteran Dr. D. C. Greene. Thence by way of 
Osaka, Otsu, and Tsuruga, by horse, boat, palan- 
quin, and on foot, reached Fukui to spend in 
this feudal city, under the shadow of its castled 
towers and in this stronghold of Buddhism nearly 
a year of most varied and in the main delightful 
experiences, described in part in ''The Mikado's 
Empire." On the breaking up of the feudal 
system, I was called by the Department of Edu- 
cation to organize a polytechnic school in Tokio, 
which is referred to in Mr. Verbeck's letters. I 
made the journey overland in February, 1872, to 
Tokio, reaching again the hospitable home to 
rest, after toil, and to begin a three years' resi- 
dence in the great city, there to witness amazing 

Among those whom I called on in Tokio with 
Mr. Verbeck were Fukuzawa, the reformer, and 
Mr. Arinori Mori, afterward minister in Wash- 
ington, of whom Mr. Verbeck speaks: 

"This time, again (January 21, 1871) some of 
my acquaintances come seeking our centres of 
civilization, and as they are such intelligent and 
English-speaking men (I refer to Mr. Arinori 
Mori and his party), I must beg of you to excuse 

> See " The Mikado's Empire." 

Among all Sorts and Conditions of Men 

the shortness of this letter. Mr. Mori, the newly 
appointed Consul-General to the United States, 
and his assistant secretary, Mr. Yatabe, can tell 
you a good deal about me and my work. 

" Mr. Griffis I think will prove to be the right 
man in the right place. In a few days it is to be 
decided whether he will go to Echizen or stay 

Yatabe came to Cornell University and return- 
ing to Japan made his mark in literature, science, 
especially in botany, and lost his life by drown- 
ing in 1899. 

"I am in the midst of reforming and reorgan- 
izing the school. It is likely that after all I shall 
call Mr. Griffis here to this school." 

The last reference is to the Polytechnic School, 
a proposal to found which I had made, while in 
Fukui, to the Minister of Education. 

In Tokio, I found Mrs. Verbeck, with the chil- 
dren back in Japan and at home. A glimpse of 
the father is caught from one of Colonel William 
Verbeck's letters to a friend, in 1899: 

"Those were happy days to me. My dear 
father made my childhood and boyhood days 
more happy and beautiful to remember than it is 
the lot of many people to have. He was father, 
big brother, and chum to us all. Shut off from 
the amusements and companionships of children, 
in this country, our father was more to us than 
can be imagined. He was an ideal playmate. 
Athletic as he was, he could outrun and out- 
jump any of us. He entered with great zest into 


Verbeck of Japan 

all outdoor sports. He was a beautiful story 
teller, and he was charged with Dutch fairy-tales 
and German Black Forest robber stories. As you 
undoubtedly remember, he had a beautiful bari- 
tone voice. He had such a sympathetic voice 
that we could not easily forget his songs. I 
even remember the lullabies he sung to me in 
Nagasaki. He played chess and checkers with 
us, and did everything to amuse and interest us, 
and in his play we always learned something. 
He had a great passion for scientific toys and 
always kept us loaded down with them. With 
him as our playmate, our playtime was school, 
and our schooling under his tutelage was a liberal 
education. Knowing these things as you do, 
you can appreciate what we have lost in losing 
Vy such a father." 




Probably the most remarkable event of the 
year 1871 was the dispatch of the great embassy 
to Christendom, that is, to America and Europe, 
of which it may be said, without any exagger- 
ation whatever, that Guido F. Verbeck was the 
originator and organizer, as we shall see. 

From Tokio, November 21, 1871, Mr. Verbeck 

" Yesterday morning I rose as the clock struck 
four, was engaged all day, finishing off with an 
interview with the United States Minister and 
the Prime Minister of Japan, which lasted from 
five to eleven o'clock p. m. On Friday last, the 
17th inst., I had the honor of an audience with 
the emperor. 

"The government is going to send a very 
superior embassy to America and Europe. I 
shall give some of the members letters (special) 
to you. The ambassadors expect to sail on the 
22d December for San Francisco. The chief 
of the embassy is the father of Tatsu and Asahi 
(of New Brunswick), the Prime Minister and 
most influential man in the empire. It is my 
hope and prayer that the sending of this mission 
may do very much to bring about, or at least 


Verbeck of Japan 

bring nearer, the long longed-for toleration of 

This last was one of the first direct results of 
the embassy (which Mr. Verbeck had planned 
two years before), as we shall see. One month 
later the diligent and happy missionary who had 
already, "stood before kings," wrote to Dr. 
Ferris : 

"I also enclose a letter of introduction to Mr. 
Iwakura, who knows me very well. He is Tatsu 
and Asahi's father, the second man after the 
emperor. I have had more to do with the getting 
up of this mission than 1 could now say, nor would 
I have such a thing even distantly hinted at in pub- 
lic, unless the Japanese should choose to do so 
from their side. I like to work silently. 

" By this mail, too, I must beg of you to be 
satisfied with these scanty, shabby lines. I am 
very busy for my friends going abroad by this 
mail. In the Tribune you will see the best 
account of the embassy. Eight or nine of the 
names are of former scholars of mine. We pray 
that the results may be good, and further, under 
the Divine blessing, the boon of religious toler- 
ation. I have worked it in that direction all 1 could. 

''Would you kindly send the enclosures to 
Mrs. Doremus and Mr. Dodge with my compli- 
ments? I told Mr. Iwakura that I gave these 
letters. If Mrs. Doremus would take several 
ladies with her to plead the cause of female edu- 
cation, I am sure it would please and have a good 


The Great Embassy to Christendom 

We need only add that "female education" in 
Japan received a powerful influence because of 
the interest of Mr. Iwakura in the advancement 
of women. 

One prominent object of the embassy was to 
secure the removal of the extra territoriality 
clause in the treaties, that Japan might receive 
full recognition as a sovereign state. For this, 
however, the envoys were not, as our American 
Minister, Hon. Chas. H. DeLong, told me before 
they started, armed with full powers from the 
emperor. So after reaching the United States, 
Okubo returned to Japan to secure the necessary 
authorization. This did but give Mr. Verbeck a 
further opportunity of helping his friends. He 
wrote under date of June 22d, 1872: 

" My dear Brother Ferris, 

"Enclosed I again take the liberty to 
send you a first of exchange to go by halves to 
Mayeda and Takahasi. I am so crowded for 
time again, that I can just only fill this one page. 
For words I send you some more of my work. 
With their Excellencies Ito [now 1900, for the 
fifth time premier of Japan], Okubo and Tera- 
shima, [afterward minister at Washington,] come 
some more of my pupils, especially Dr. Okada, 
whom I hope you may meet. The Lord is lead- 
ing this people wonderfully." 

Let us now glance at the inside history of that 
great visitation of Japan's leading statesmen to 
the western countries which resulted in definitely 


Verbeck of Japan 

and permanently committing her people to vital 
union with the nations of Christendom. On 
August I, 1872, Mr. Verbeck wrote to Dr. 
Ferris : 

** I am very much obliged to you for your last 
kind letter. From it I infer that this will not per- 
haps find you at your office, though it may come 
after your vacation. I am in vacation too ; but to 
show you that vacation sometimes may mean 
extra work, I send you under other cover two 
copies of specimens of this extra work. 

"You ask me for something for publication; 
but I am sorry to say that — even if otherwise 
they were of a general interest— I can by no 
means offer either of these papers to the public. 
My usefulness in this country would be at an 
end, if I made a show of what I do. It is just 
because these people know that I do not, like 
many, tell all about what I do and know about 
them, that they have implicit confidence in me. 
One of the papers, on the 'press,' ^ is a common 
thing enough. The other is of more importance. 
It, in fact, as Iwakura, the Prime Minister and 
Chief Ambassador, told me more than once, 
' helped to help ' the government out of a great 
difficulty, and started off the embassy such as it 
passed through the States. I wish I could see 
you and tell you all, just as it happened. But I 
can give you the merest outline at present. 

** When I came to Yedo in 1869, a strong anti- 

^An elaborate plea for the freedom of the press, which 
belongs to the history of journalism in Japan. 

The Great Embassy to Christendom 

foreign feeling pervaded the nation, happily but 
for a short time. But influential friends spoke to 
me of an embassy abroad as among the proba- 
bilities of that fall or winter. This suggested to 
me the composition of the paper, which on or 
about the nth June, 1869, I privately sent to 
my friend Okuma, one of the leading men at the 
time and now. Satisfied with its having reached 
his hands, I left the matter there, never spoke or 
inquired further about it, and not hearing about 
it from the parties addressed, I gave it up as so 
much matter thrown away. In the meantime, 
time rolled on, until the government was very 
much perplexed at the near approach of the time 
appointed for the revision of all the foreign 
treaties: the 5th July, 1872. 

"On the 26th October, 1871, Iwakura re- 
quested me to call on him. After the common 
demands of etiquette were satisfied: 

'"Did you not write a paper and hand it to 
one of your chief officers ? ' was his first ques- 

" *I do not recollect; please be plainer.' 

" 'Something, a good while ago, that you sent 
to Okuma.' 

**I, reflecting: 'Ah! two years ago, or more? 
About an embassy to Europe and America?' A 
significant nod of his Excellency's head. 

** I answered, * At that time it would have been 
the thing. I hardly remember all the particulars 
now. The times have changed; it might not be 
expedient now.' 

259 , 

Verbeck of Japan 

* ' It is just the very thing now. I have not 
seen the paper yet, only heard of it three days 
ago. I am to have the translation to-morrow. 
But please tell me all you remember of it now.' 

*' And so we went on and finally appointed an 
interview three days later, the 29th October, 
to go over the whole ground once more, paper 
in hand. And so we did, clause by clause. At 
the end he told me it was the very and the only 
thing for them to do, and that my programme 
should be carried out to the letter. A number 
of interviews followed, some of them till late in 
the night. 

"The embassy is organized according to my 
paper (that I had sown in faith more than two 
years before). It sailed in two months from the 
date of my paper becoming known to Iwakura 
and the emperor. How could they get over the 
perplexity of the near revision of the treaties? 
If Iwakura was not on the spot, no revision could 
take place at all. How could they qualify them- 
selves for the great task ? By carrying out my 
program. I had the appointment of two of the 
members of the embassy, though not chief mem- 
bers. I laid out the route for them to follow. 
But all this is nothing, compared to that which 
lies nearest our hearts. I count all parts but loss 
for those that touch on our cause and toleration. 
If the Master on this and other occasions has 
given me an opportunity to show this people 
what toleration really is, and what is expected of 
them in regard to it, this is what makes me say : 


The Great Embassy to Christendom 

' Biess the Lord, Oh my soul!' And that the 
men on whom it most depends, had mistaken it, 
and understand it now, I have had many proofs 
of since. 

**You may ask, why did Okuma keep this 
paper so long to himself ? I asked so too, I was 
told that Okuma (a former pupil of mine) at the 
time I gave it, a time of intense anti-foreign feel- 
ing, (1869), was afraid to show it to any one, 
because it might have endangered his high po- 
sition, as he was already suspected by many 
conservatives to be a convert. But after a while 
he showed it to his friends and colleagues and 
thus it did its work quietly, till it reached head- 
quarters, just at the most opportune moment. 

" I assure you I felt ashamed of my impatience. 
I learned once more in a striking manner that 
God's time is not man's time. But I fear you 
will not appreciate and understand (excuse me) 
all this, because you cannot know all the circum- 
stances involved. But it will show you at least 
that, if I do not have much to say or write for 
publication, I am not wasting my time and op- 
portunities altogether, and that while I am os- 
tensibly engaged in educational pursuits, I have 
the greatest cause of all at heart and in hand, as 
God gives opportunities. 

"Now all this I only write to you and not to 
the public; for, as I said before, publishing such 
things would be directly contrary to my invari- 
able principles of operation, would ruin my repu- 
tation, and make me lose the confidence of the 


Verbeck of Japan 

people, which it has taken me twelve years to 
gain in a small degree. Besides, there is a tacit 
understanding between Iwakura and myself, that 
I shall leave the outward honor of initiating this 
embassy to themselves. And who cares for the 
mere name and honor, if we are sure to reap the 
benefits, toleration and its immense conse- 
quences, partly now, but surely after the return 
of this embassy ? 

"Moreover, there is quite a band of foreign 
ministers and consuls, who look with envy on 
me and my doings, and it would not be right or 
expedient wantonly to stir up their ire. I prefer 
to work on quietly and at peace with all. Each 
man has his sphere of action; I like to keep 
within mine without intruding myself on others. 
The name is nothing, the real results are all. 
Except to an old friend and a brother, like you, I 
would not have ventured to write the above, for 
fear of being misunderstood. Please receive it 
in charity and confidence. Dr. Williams (of 
Peking) is staying here a day or two. Ise is 
coming out this mail. Yagimoto cannot come 
at present. 

** Please excuse this hasty conclusion, and be- 
lieve me, with fraternal regards, 

** Faithfully yours, 

**G. F. Verbeck. 

" Rev. J. M. Ferris, D. D." 

The original document proposing and outlining 
the purpose of the great embassy, which so 


The Great Embassy to Christendom 

augustly introduced Japan to the world, is in Mr. 
Verbeck's own handwriting and covers twelve 
foolscap pages. In it he recommends that all 
parties, political and religious, should be repre- 
sented and full details of organization and route 
are given. It is subscribed "Sent to Okuma, 
nth June, 1869. Came up the 26th and 29th 
October, 1871." 

Probably the best book descriptive of the em- 
bassy is Mr. Charles Lanman's "The Japanese in 
America," New York, 1872. 

More mighty in work than in word. Dr. Ver- 
beck's letter of February 22, 1873, which apolo- 
gized for his long silence, showed also that he 
was longing for change and rest. 

"My silence is by no means owing to forget- 
fulness or common neglect but to an absolute 
want of time. With the supervision of a school 
having near 500 students, eighteen teachers of 
four different nationalities, with many applica- 
tions for advice or instruction at my house, with 
constantly one or other of the great topics of re- 
form in hand, for research or essay writing, and 
with a large family,— with all these to be daily 
and hourly attended to, it happens, not unfre- 
quently that I have to stint myself in my hours of 
sleep. The effect of all this is that I am become 
very nervous and inelastic. I feel the want of a 
change, if not of positive recreation, to recover 
my nerves and elasticity of body and mind. 
With this view I have applied for a seven months' 
leave of absence, to be taken between this and 


Verbeck of Japan 

the close of the year. If I can get it and can 
leave my post so long, 1 shall, the Lord being 
willing, leave in a month or two by the India 
route, spend a couple of months there, and re- 
turn by the states hither." 

; One of the first results of the embassy was the 
' opening of the eyes of these men so long ** her- 
mits in the world's market-place," or rather, 
" frogs in a well " as their own proverbs describe 
them, and as they laughingly called themselves, 
to the fact that Christianity was the force of 
forces in true civilization. With reflection came 
action. To make a long story short, the im- 
perial ministers abroad telegraphed back to the 
government of Japan their impressions. The re- 
I suit was that the anti-Christian edicts hung up on 
I the notice boards disappeared like magic. I re- 
member very well how the particular edict board 
so long hanging with the others at Nippon Bashi 
did on a certain morning "glare by its absence." 
Although 1 tried hard to get one of these as a 
curiosity, I could not succeed. Others were 
more successful. At the museum held in connec- 
tion with the Ecumenical Council of Missions in 
May, 1900, in New York, there were three speci- 
mens, one containing the text of 1683. There 
are others in the museums in Japan. The time 
for which Verbeck of Japan had long prayed and 
hoped for was coming. 

Ever alert to his opportunities, Mr. Verbeck 
had also foreseen the time when Christianity 
would be recognized as a tolerated form of faith 

The Great Embassy to Christendom 

and not as sorcery, or a thing to be outlawed. 
Religion in Japan had for ages been a political 
engine, a matter of priests and corporations, for 
revenue and control of conscience. The free, 
spontaneous action of intelligent men who formed 
religious societies in order to educate and govern 
themselves and who regulated their own property 
was a thing unknown in Japan. The idea of lay 
trustees free from the dictate of priests, parsons, 
or other religious men of the official class, was 
something wholly new to the Japanese and as I 
have reason to know, Mr. Verbeck's suggestions 
were gratefully welcomed. As we now see, 
Japanese public opinion is nearly ripe for the 
adopting of legislation that will show that in re- 
ligious freedom, they are ahead of some nations 
of Europe. 

He wrote: 

"The great and glorious event of the day is 
that, about a week ago, the edicts prohibiting the 
introduction of foreign religions have been re- 
moved by command of the government from the 
public law-boards throughout the country! It is 
equivalent to granting toleration! The Lord be 
praised ! 

" Hoping for the approach of this good time, I 
handed it to his Excellency, the Minister of Re- 
ligious Affairs — quite privately, as I usually 
manage such business with my native friends — a 
' Rough Sketch of Laws and Regulations for the 
Better Control of Church Affairs in Japan,' a few 
days before the removal of the edicts. My object 


Verbeck of Japan 

was to show what might, rather than what 
ought to be done in this direction. My sketch 
was drawn up under eighteen heads, with eighty- 
one articles in all. The heads were as follows: 
The congregation, churches, church property, 
creeds, the priesthood, clerical jurisdiction, re- 
ligious meetings, rites, ceremonies, feasts and 
holidays, religious notices, religious societies, and 
orders, seminaries, the priesthood, religious con- 
nection of children, cemeteries, charitable institu- 
tions, religious publications, miscellaneous, penal- 
ties and punishments. When I come to Europe 
and America, I intend to take a copy with me, to 
submit to good and learned men for advice and 

"I wish I could send you something to print 
(which the above is not) ; but I find it quite im- 
possible at present. I fear it is not my gift to 
write for publication, and I must beg of you and 
the respected board of directors to let me do 
things in my own silent way, for a while at 

And they did. Wise, generous, charitable, 
liberal-minded ''Calvinists," as they were, they 
shamed the "Liberals" who often made merry 
over '* orthodoxy" and '* narrowness." How 
empty are names, and how often must *' He who 
sitteth in the heavens " laugh at men who without 
light or knowledge judge each other. Mr. Ver- 
beck also wrote : 

" I inclose a small photograph of myself bow- 
ing to the emperor, when he visited our college 


The Great Embassy to Christendom 

last year. The ornamentation of the hall is my 

The occasion referred to was when the em- 
peror named of old the Mikado, "Son of 
Heaven," "Tenno," Dairi, and "Possessor of 
the Dragon Countenance " acted like a delightful 
human being and visited the University. To 
make a fitting hall and seat Mr. Verbeck spent 
anxious hours, and enwrapping one of his best 
parlor chairs with his wife's India shawl, fur- 
nished a temporary throne for the most interesting 
of Asia's monarchs. The scene absurdly ideal- 
ized to suit reactionary and imperial Prussian 
notions was duly set forth in an illustrated paper. 
h resembled the actual scene at which I was 
present during several hours as do certain Ger- 
man works in history, theology, and biography 
may be supposed to resemble reality, useful as 
they are. 

It was time now for the weary worker who 
had toiled during fourteen years, in a way to 
shame bees or beavers, to rest He had lived to 
see a nation moved, toleration won, fanaticism 
receive its deathblow, a Christian church organ- 
ized, persecution abandoned, priest-craft re- 
buked. Buddhism disestablished, and civilization 
in its thousand forms adopted, by the Japanese. 

His proposal to leave Japan for recuperation 
was duly carried out as we see by his letter dated 
Zeist, July lo, 1873. 

"You will be surprised to receive a letter from 
me at this time, or rather not ere this time, and 


Verbeck of Japan 

from this place, the place of my birth. The 
simple fact is, the past six years of actually unin- 
terrupted labor has brought me to such a state of 
nervous weakness that I could hardly write con- 
nectedly. It was therefore necessary that 1 
should leave Japan, for a short time to recover 
my health. So I obtained six months' leave of 
absence, and sailed from Yokohama for England 
(by Suez) on the i6th April. I had to tear 
myself away, to flee, as it were, from my post 
and numerous friends. On the 14th June I 
arrived in London. Thence I made a hasty trip 
to Switzerland to see his Excellency Iwakura, 
who was on the point of returning to Japan. 
Then I came here, where I have been since the 
second instant. Soon after leaving Yokohama, I 
found that I could not well travel without my 
dear wife. I therefore wrote her to come on by 
the next mail, if she possibly could. To-morrow 
I go to Southampton to see if she has come. 
Then, after attending to some school business in 
London, I return to the continent for a trip on 
the Rhine and perhaps to Vienna, in such a way 
that (d. v.) I reach New York early in Septem- 
ber, when I hope to have the great pleasure of 
seeing you." 

Sailing from Liverpool August 28, Mr. Verbeck 
arrived at Jersey City September 7, and spent 
some days in New York, seeing a few friends. 
He crossed the continent and sailed for Japan 
from San Francisco, October i. 

His first experiences on arriving upon his old 


The Great Embassy to Christendom 

field of labor were not particularly happy and for 
reasons which are best revealed in the summary 
of the situation, which I proceed herewith to give. 

I remember how early in the year 1874, a great 
change came over the administration of educa- 
tion in Tokio and especially in the management 
of the Imperial University. It was as though the 
demons of partisan politics, nepotism, and spoils 
had broken loose in a city where formerly the 
oversight of education had been kept free from 
such wasting forces. At first I could not under- 
stand it, notwithstanding that I knew that the 
government was practically administered by the 
men of one clan. In the rapacity for office, they 
had put in men who were evidently better ac- 
quainted with machine politics than with modern 
education and culture. The whole social climate 
seemed to have changed. Instead of courtesy 
and appreciation I found myself with many 
others receiving treatment far from courteous. 

One of the first things attempted to be done 
was to abolish Sunday as a day of rest to the 
foreign teachers. This was in direct violation of 
solemn promises made them and of the stipula- 
tions in the written contract. Evidently it 
seemed to the politicians in charge and to the 
men of the Department of Education who were 
behind them, that they could arbitrarily break 
faith in order to carry out their plans. As there 
were more Japanese holidays than Sundays in 
each month, it was doubtless expected by them 
that the foreigners would yield. In this they 


Verbeck of Japan 

reckoned without their quest. At least one man 
was determined not to stand such treachery. 

At the first opportunity, after notice of inten- 
tions to violate contracts had been served, I went 
to see the English-speaking teachers and profess- 
ors, both British and American. All agreed to 
protest against the changing of rest days from 
Sunday to the "Ichiroku" or the one-and-six 
days in each month, viz, the first, sixth, 
eleventh, sixteenth, and twenty-sixth days of 
each Japanese lunar month. We based our pro- 
test and refusal not only upon contracts already 
made, but upon the fact that the rest day of aF 
Christian nations, and especially of the countries 
from whence we came, was on Sunday, and we 
did not wish to expatriate ourselves while serv- 
ing in a foreign land, though perfectly willing to 
teach as we had always done, on Saturdays, 
though that too is a holiday with most schools at 

This action on the part of the American in 
Japan, though done with all courtesy, so far as 
known, immediately aroused the wrath of the 
gentleman then in control who stands in memory 
as the typical Japanese politician and spoilsman, 
about as closely resembling the American **boss" 
as any creature ever met with. The subsequent 
proceedings of this specimen politician show the 
closeness of the comparison; for, very soon 
afterward, notice was served upon the Ameri- 
can teacher that his contract would not be re- 
newed. As the American had no idea of remain- 


The Great Embassy to Christendom 

ing in the country beyond his first engagement, 
this caused no inconvenience, but to receive this 
sort of treatment from a petty underling was 
neither fair nor honorable, nor calculated to raise 
the character or reputation of the Japanese gov- 
ernment or its contracts. 

Without further communication with the lower 
authorities. I dropped a note to Mr. Iwakura, the 
junior prime minister, simply stating the case. 
The matter was very quickly settled to my satis- 
faction. Another position of equal honor and 
emolument for three years was offered me, 
which I declined with thanks. The department 
of education, with courteous consideration, de- 
sired to know my wants. I expressed them and 
received at once a new engagement of six months 
which enabled me to return home at a convenient 
period, in the summer, and after finishing my 
travels and journeys in Central and Northern 

It was not very long after this, that the Japa- 
nese government and department of education 
found that the favorites of men in high office 
were less valuable than trained educators, and 
the passionate instinct of clanship less useful for 
the administration of a great university, than 
men of intellect and scholarship. A new head 
of the university was chosen, who filled his po- 
sition with honor and ability. 

The next matter that loomed upon the horizon 
was the Formosan affair, of which Mr. Verbeck 
writes as follows : 


Verbeck of Japan 

" The country is in quite a turmoil on account 
of the presumed nearness of a war with China. 
Early in the spring an expedition of about 3,000 
landing troops was sent to Formosa. The ob- 
ject of the expedition was to punish some bar- 
barous tribes for the wanton murder of a num- 
ber of Loo-chooans, and the objective point was 
on the eastern coasts, which part of the island 
was supposed not to be under Chinese jurisdic- 
tion. In fact, according to Japanese accounts, 
Japan has previously negotiated with China about 
this matter, and China had then disclaimed sov- 
ereignty over the coasts in question; yet now 
she not only claims sovereignty there, but stren- 
uously insists that the Japanese must forthwith 
evacuate these parts. 

" In the immediate objects of the expedition, 
the Japanese were completely successful. If then 
they had immediately withdrawn their troops, 
the effect on China would doubtless have been 
very salutary, in teaching her to respect her ac- 
tive valorous neighbor. But unfortunately the 
Japanese are thought to have been allured prob- 
ably by their prompt success, to enter on plans 
of colonization, and these China very naturally 
cannot brook on an island, at least two-thirds of 
which is under her rightful sway. So the mat- 
ter now stands: both nations preparing for a 
struggle, but neither having declared war as yet. 
A Japanese ambassador is at Peking now; but it 
is supposed that he can achieve little while the 
Japanese occupation of Formosa continues. A 


The Great Embassy to Christendom 

large indemnity paid by China to Japan is one of 
the possible solutions of the difficulty spoken of. 
The alternative is war, and in that case, it might 
not be difficult to prognosticate the issue. If the 
war is a short and decisive one, Japan will prob- 
ably carry her point, whatever that be ; in a pro- 
tracted war the immense size and resources of 
China will probably carry the day. In either 
case, our hope is that the apparently unfortunate 
affair will be overruled for the good of either one 
of these nations or of both together. 

" In the meantime, progress is visible in all de- 
partments. The educational system is develop- 
ing; the native churches are unmolested; various 
modern improvements are introduced; and alto- 
gether long promise seems at last to ripen into 
execution and substantial results. 

"We have had an unusually short, but an un- 
usually hot summer, though we can hardly be 
said to be past it yet, —Dr. Talmage and family 
gave us a very pleasant call on their way to 

It was just about this time, besides enjoying at 
our home in Tokio a visit from the two daughters 
of Iwakura, my sister and I were invited to a din- 
ner at the premier's house. I shall never forget 
how, when an American lady, wife of Dr. David 
Murray, asked of Mr. Iwakura what had most 
impressed him during his travels round the 
world, the premier answered without a moment's 
hesitation: "The strength of the central govern- * 
ment at Washington. In a monarchy I could 


Verbeck of Japan 

understand it. How it could be so in a republic, 
I could not." 

It was mainly by the firmness of Iwakura that 
the Korean war project had been crushed. The 
Formosan affair also ended peacefully. Mr. Ver- 
beck wrote : 

*'The country is overflowing with rejoicings 
at the successful termination of the Formosan 
question. War, with all its horrors, has been 
happily avoided, the Japanese having carried all 
the main points: the savages of Formosa have 
been chastised; China pays an indemnity; the 
peculiar dangers of the Formosan coasts are re- 
moved for the future. By this last, Japan has 
placed all seafaring nations in these parts under 

The only comment the biographer need make 
is, that it is at least probable that had war come 
at that time, Japan with her closer unity would 
have won, for it is even yet doubtful whether 
the Chinese are a nation or only a race. How- 
ever, it was left in the course of Providence 
that twenty years should elapse until Japan had 
developed and consolidated her material and 
naval resources. Then with amazing celerity, 
quiet, secrecy, order, and precision, she sent 
armies across the sea, wiped out the naval 
power of China, and annihilated in one battle 
almost every one of the disciplined troops of 
China. After that the Mikado's soldiers fought 
chiefly mobs of soldiery gathered under the 
yellow dragon flag, and conquered a space of 


The Great Embassy to Christendom 

territory in Manchuria, larger than her own em- 

After the interference of Russia, Germany, and 
France in armed intervention which checked her 
development on the continent, she received 
Formosa and the Pescadore Islands and enough 
money in indemnity to buy a fleet of new battle- 
ships, not one of which she had ever before 
possessed, for all her men of war were cruisers 
and gunboats only. Yet the victories of war 
and diplomacy saddled her with terrible burdens. 
Japan has been obliged to enter upon a program 
of military expansion that will tax her people to 
the utmost of tolerable limits, for a decade and 
perhaps for time indefinite, crippling her educa- 
tional and other lines of development. 

Yet in all the operations by sea and land in 
1894-95, there was, we must remember, no war 
between China and Japan, but between Japan 
and three or four maritime provinces of China. 
China has never had a national army or navy. 
In spite of all her resources the Chinese have not 
unity and perhaps not even the potency of unity 
such as Japan possesses. 

/ Yet even in the matter of national defence, of 
military development, resources, and education, 
no real history of Japan can leave out the name 
of Guido F. Verbeck. It is no exaggeration to 
say that his advice was a potent factor, like 
leaven unseen, indeed, but none the less efficient, 

• in making that Japan militant which, in 1894, sur- 
prised the world. As far back as 1870, at a crit- 


Verbeck of Japan 

ical moment in the nation's history, as Mr. Verbeck 
himself told me, he was asked by Iwakura and his 

' fellow-statesmen whether Japan should seriously 
begin the formation of a national army and navy 
and the defence of her coasts, and also to give 
his reasons why this should be done. The in- 
terview was in the nature of a conclave which 
lasted several hours. 

Mr. Verbeck believing that Japan, then weak 
and divided, was in the presence of the contin- 
ually growing power of the great aggressive 
European nations, Russia, France, and Great 
Britain, advised military and naval development 
and defence of the coast. For this he gave two 
reasons, first and greatest of all, to secure na- 
tional unity and the development of the resources 
of the empire, and second to preserve the very 
existence and integrity of the Japanese nation. 
He gave his advice as a man of affairs and of this 
world, and in the sincere belief that he was do- 
ing the right thing in the sight of God, as well as 
for that which was ever his desire and end in 

\ view, the good of the Japanese people. 




It was from the beginning and has been 
throughout, the aim and purpose of the biogra- 
pher to set forth with some detail, only that part 
of Mr. Verbeck's life which is but slightly known 
to the public, or even to his missionary brethren. 
From the time he entered upon direct missionary 
work, about 1875, until his change of worlds in 
1898, his life and influence have been patent to 
all. There seems less need to show with any 
minute detail what he did in these years, for it is 
known. We need, therefore, only outline his 
labors in that latter part of his life, for which 
previous years had been a preparation. After 
the removal of the ban on Christianity, and the 
organization of Christian churches, he could 
bring all his superb powers to the building up of 
Christian Japan, and this he did. He lived to see 
hundreds of churches organized and many tens 
of thousands of members enrolled, to rejoice over 
the flood and to sorrow over the ebb of spritual 

Although he had accepted a five years' contract 
with the government, as attache to the Genro-ln 
or Senate from 1873 to 1878, by which he could 


Verbeck of Japan 

support himself, he was yet as busy as a preacher, 
as if he were also a settled pastor. For his ser- 
mons, one or two every Sunday, he made elab- 
orate preparations, soon in unction and effect on 
his hearers reaching a height and power to which 
they could find no equal among alien speakers of 
the vernacular of Japan. 

His feelings are mirrored in the letter of August 
26, 1874: 

" By last mail's papers I was agreeably sur- 
prised in finding that Rutgers college had done 
me the honor to confer upon me the honorary 
degree of D. D. I must confess that it was an 
unexpected favor — in fact quite a surprise — and 
that I feel it to be an undeserved one. I wish I 
knew whom, next to the faculty of Rutgers, I 
have to thank for this kindness. Whoever he 
be — and you are apt to know best — I should wish 
him to know that, highly as I may value the gift 
and gratefully as I accept it, I value still higher 
and acknowledge more gratefully the kind inten- 
tions of him who suggested the bestowal of it. 
God grant me grace to bear the title humbly and 

** In my present position matters are somewhat 
improving, I mean in the way of congeniality 
and usefulness of subjects in hand. But I have 
not as yet been able to see my way clear so as to 
decide on the proper course to take in the future. 
The government very kindly offered me a con- 
tract for five (5) years from the ist of December, 
last, which is a longer term than is generally 


Decorated by the Emperor 

offered to foreigners in the government service. 
Two or three years is the usual term, and four 
years the longest I have heard of. In fact, at the 
time of making my contract I was told that this 
long term of five years was offered me because 
they knew me well, and there need be no ques- 
tion of probation. Still I am not considered so 
bound, but that I can withdraw at any time from 
my engagements on due notice and for good and 
sufficient reasons. The only difficulty, then, in 
the case would be to decide on the goodness and 
sufficiency of the reasons, and there Providence 
will help." 

The work upon which Dr. Verbeck now 
entered was in continuity of that which he had 
already been doing for years. He was still an 
educator of the Japanese nation. We have seen 
him at Nagasaki training young men to read and 
understand the New Testament and the Constitu- 
tion of the United States. Now in 1874 the 
Genro-In, or Senate, the preparatory step to the 
National Constitution and Imperial Diet, formed 
in 1889, we see him as the direct adviser of the 
highest officers of the progressive government, 
not a few of whom had been his pupils. To 
sum up, as I have already written in The Nation : 
"During the decade of his Tokio service as 
unofficial attache of the Cabinet, his multifarious 
services were those which only a cosmopolitan 
linguist and scholar, absolutely trusted by a 
naturally suspicious and sensitive people, could 
perform. He translated into Japanese the Code 


Verbeck of Japan 

Napoleon, Bluntschli's 'Staatsrecht,' Two Thou- 
sand Legal Maxims, with commentary, the con- 
stitutions of the states of Europe and America, 
forest laws, compendiums of forms, and hun- 
dreds of other legal and political documents." 

It is not necessary to speak in detail of these 
great works, nor of Dr. Verbeck's part in render- 
ing them into Japanese. It may be said that the 
translator's whole life had been a preparation for 
this work, long and tedious as it was in detail. 
*' He had four mother-tongues," for work, and 
he could be "silent in six languages" when 
called to patience and waiting. His mighty 
J power of silence as well as of speech enabled 
jhim to be a true educator of a nation and its 
■leaders helping to prepare them for constitutional, 
safeguarded freedom. 

A glimpse into the manner of life of this 
busy man is given in the letter of May 21, 1877: 

" If pardonable, I ask you — not once, but seven 
times — to pardon my long silence. It is true, I 
might assign various reasons of more or less 
weightiness, but unsupported by lengthy argu- 
ments, they could all and each be readily shown 
to be insufficient. I might for instance plead 
long seasons of dejection of spirits — probably it 
would have been relieved by writing to sympa- 
thizing friends; or multiplicity and urgency of 
engagements; others are similarly situated and 
yet find time to write; or hereditary aversion to 
writing generally, — it is a vice that ought to be 
heroically overcome; or dislike of minute ex- 


Decorated by the Emperor 

planations, without which accounts from this 
distance are hardly intelligible,— but this is prov- 
ing too much, as it makes concise writing from 
distant parts a well-nigh useless labor; or want of 
interesting matter,— but what may seem com- 
monplace on the spot is often deemed to be very 
interesting abroad; or a large family and con- 
sequent heavy family cares,— so much the more 
Teason for keeping up social connections at home; 
or any number of other reasons, but all, if unsup- 
ported by details, equally capable of being 
answered off-hand. I am obliged, therefore, to 
come back to my first position, and simply and 
sincerely to beg of you to excuse my protracted 
neglect of one part of duty. This I now beg of 
you again, and further take the liberty to say a 
few words, not in full justification, but in ex- 
tenuation of my long silence. 

"Now, to revert to the extenuating matters 
above referred to, in the first place, my peculiar 
position obliges me continually to disregard the 
teacher's precept 'to attempt to teach nothing 
but what you have mastered fully yourself.' 
Almost daily, questions occur that oblige me to 
undertake much research and extensive reading. 
The wisdom or folly of continuing so long in a 
position of this kind is another question; but 
what is certain is that it involves a perhaps quite 
disproportionate expenditure of time. One good 
thing in connection with the whole matter is 
that, so far from requiring the least relinquish- 
ment of principles, all these inquiries rather favor, 


Verbeck of Japan 

nay necessitate the unvarying maintenance of the 
highest principles. 

"Besides the above, my official work, I en- 
deavor to carry on at least some purely missionary 
work, which consists in preaching once every 
Lord's Day morning, with sometimes an after- 
noon sermon in addition. But of this part of my 
work I prefer that others, especially the Rev. 
David Thompson, with whom I cooperate, 
should speak. Another consideration to be re- 
ferred to is that all this work has to be performed 
in a language that none of us can find sufficient 
time to devote to ; but this is perhaps again proving 
too much, because common to all foreign mis- 
sionary work and workers." 

That the seriousness and multifariousness of 
Dr. Verbeck's labors, during his years of service 
to the Dai Jo Kan or Supreme Government Coun- 
cil and the Genro-In, or Senate, may be under- 
stood, we need only remember that Dr. Verbeck 
for years stood to the new government in place 
of the great corps of expert advisers which were 
afterward assembled. Hence, he had to supple- 
ment the routine toil of the day by long and 
hard reading at night. As the business of the 
government became more fully reduced to sys- 
tem, distributed in departments and bureaus, and 
as able men of special abilities from abroad and 
at home were sought and found, there was less 
need of Dr. Verbeck remaining in government 
service. In his work of translation, he was nobly 
assisted by such native scholars as Mitsukuri, 

Decorated by the Emperor 

Kato, Hosokawa and others. He looked joyfully 
forward to the hour of release. 

**As to the Lord's cause throughout the 
country, it is a joyful fact that the times of mere 
hope and expectancy, that used to keep up the 
courage of us older hands, have under a gracious 
Providence been changed into times of real fru- 
ition and ingathering. 

" One piece of real news I have to communicate 
is that my long connection with the government 
is at last to come to an end, namely, on the ist of 
July next." [1877.] 

As an appropriate conclusion to his long serv- 
ices to the government, the em^peror of Japan 
bestowed upon him the decoration of the third 
class of the Order of the Rising Sun. This was, 
as he wrote, the first piece of jewelry that Mr. 
Verbeck ever owned. The central circle con- 
tains a fine large ruby and is surrounded by 
pointed rays in gold filled in with white enamel, 
the colors being those of Japan and the symbol 
that of the sun shining in its strength. Above 
the symbol is the three-leaved blossom of the 
kiri tree, the Paulownia Imperialis, the three 
flowers surmounting the leaves, all in gold, the 
leaves being in green and the flowers in purple 
enamel. The Paulownia flower is the emperor's 
family crest, the tree never growing in groves, 
but in each case by itself alone. At the very top 
of the emblem, there is a golden clasp through 
which passes a heavy white silk ribbon with 
deep red borders, and by this ribbon the decora- 


Verbeck of Japan 

tion is worn around the neck so as to hang upon 
the shirt bosom. The ceremony on presentation 
of the decoration was the same as that observed 
in the emperor's presence, but as he was at the 
time of its bestowal in Kioto, his deputy the 
Honorable Ogiu acted at court as the imperial 
deputy, conducting the prescribed ceremonies. 
The decoration was put up in a fine lacquered 
casket accompanied by a patent to which were 
affixed the emperor's signature and the great seal 
of the empire. 

/ In writing of it to the Mission secretary, Mr. 
Verbeck said: "Indirectly it is a tribute to the 
cause of missions." To his sister he wrote: **0f 
course the chief pleasure in receiving such a dis- 
tinguished honor is not, for a servant of the 
Master, in the beautiful jewel or in the worldly 
honor it confers, but in the kind intentions of 
the kind donors. My *D. D.' I hold in a similar 

y estimation." 

In the scientific name of the imperial flower of 
Japan are blended also associations with Russia 
and with Holland, and to the student of history 
the words call up the precedent of the intro- 
duction of western civilization into Russia by 
Dutchmen, scholars, engineers, and teachers in 
the seventeenth, as in the nineteenth century, 
foreigners introduced the more improved forms 
into Japan. *' Present Japan — this beautiful Japan 
came from beyond the sea." The Princess Paul- 
ownia, after whom in science and in compliment, 
this lordly tree of Japan is named, was the bride 


Decorated by the Emperor 

of King William II. of Holland. He it was who 
sent men-of-war to Japan in the early forties, 
bearing the olive branch and urging the Japa- 
nese to open their country to the world. After 
the Russian princess Paulownia, mother of King 
William III. and grandmother of Queen Wilhel- 
mina, one of the finest polders (or lands reclaimed 
from the waters) in the Netherlands takes its 
name. Since Verbeck of Japan was born under 
her rule, the associations were doubtless pleas- 
ant. Verbeck, estimating the gift at its real value, 
rarely showed it to any of his friends, and then 
usually with apologies, though appropriately do- 
ing honor to the giver by wearing it on the state 
occasions, to which he refers in his letters. To 
the last years of his life he was, on account of 
his decoration, a guest at the imperial audiences. 
To show how differently a genuine Christian, as 
compared with a mere seeker of earthly honors, 
looked upon a bauble made of gold and jewels, 
Verbeck sternly reproved any and all well-mean- 
ing persons, native or foreign, who tried to 
*'make capital" even for Christianity out of a 
decorated missionary. "My kingdom is not of 
this world," said the Master, and Verbeck, His 
loyal servant, knew it too well to allow any 
trifling even by friends. We shall read how his 
actions spoke louder than words, even though 
his words were as thunder. The lightning of 
his firm resolve struck withering all plea of fur- 
thering the gospel by material show. Rev. E. 
Rothesay Miller writes: 


Verbeck of Japan 

" I recall an incident that occurred in Shinano, 
as related to me by himself. He was expected 
to lecture in one of the large towns in that pre- 
fecture, and the lecture had been advertised as 
widely as possible. The doctor, according to his 
wont, was taking a morning walk, about the 
only kind of exercise he indulged in, and of 
which he was very fond. During these walks 
he would arrange his thoughts for the discourse 
he was about to deliver. While wandering 
• about, he came to the centre of the town and 
saw there a large poster with the notice of the 
lecture. Almost unconsciously he stopped to 
read it, when, to his surprise and chagrin, he 
saw, in very large characters, that 'Berubeki 
Hakase,' (Doctor Verbeck) who had been deco- 
rated by the emperor with the third class of the 
order of the Rising Sun, was to deliver such a 
lecture at such a time, etc. He went back imme- 
diately to the hotel and, looking up the young 
Japanese who was making all the arrangements 
for the meeting, told him that, if those posters 
were not all taken down immediately, he would 
absolutely refuse to speak: that the fact of his 
being decorated by the emperor had nothing to 
do with his speaking as a Christian missionary; 
and that, although he considered the decoration 
a greaf honor and appreciated it greatly, still it 
was not given because he was a missionary, and 
he did not speak of Christianity because he had 
been decorated by the emperor; that he was there 
that day to preach because he was a minister of 


Decorated by the Emperor 

Jesus Christ, and those who came to hear him 
must come with that understanding. At first 
there was some demur, on account of the posters 
having been already put up, but as the doctor re-' 
mained firm, men were sent out and all the ob- 
noxious bills were taken down and others posted 
in their stead. 

" The only reason why I came to be informed of 
this incident was because Dr. Verbeck was ap- 
prehensive lest it be repeated when he was to 
lecture in Morioka, and so asked that the leader 
of the meeting be told not to mention the fact of 
his having been decorated. It was well he had 
mentioned the incident, because the leader of one 
of the meetings had fully intended to make very 
prominent the fact of the decoration, and was 
much disappointed when he found that he could 
not allude to the matter in any way whatever." 

On one occasion he found his possession of 
the jewel of great practical value. Being at the 
wrong end of Tokio, in Tsukiji, when time was 
short and he had an important engagement in 
the city at the other end, while also, owing to a 
conflagration, the streets were impassable because 
of the people, he put the silken button represent- 
ing his decoration to a novel use. He had but to 
show the lapel of his coat to a policeman, when 
presto — so excellent are the guardians of the 
peace — a way was made for him and he filled his 

Hoping to get free from engagements, in order 
to have six months' rest in America, and then to 


Verbeck of Japan 

enter again upon the full work as missionary, Dr. 
Verbeck was nevertheless kept on from month to 
month as attache to the Senate. Then several 
offers having been made him for service to the 
Japanese, he finally accepted for one year, a po- 
sition, (not knowing whether or not the Mission 
Board at that time would require his full services 
or could support him) in the Nobles' School, at 
which we must look. 

It must be remembered that some years after 
the restoration of 1868 the classes of society, 
formerly four in number, with many subdivisions 
and varieties, were reduced to three, — nobles, 
gentry, and commons. In the new nomencla- 
ture, the beautiful and august word Samurai was 
dropped, and the awkward Chinese term shizoku 
substituted; while for the terms kuge, or court 
noble, and buke or landed nobility, the general 
term kuazoku, meaning flowery nobility, was in 
1886 substituted. At this writing in June, 1900, 
with the augmentation consequent upon the 
marriage of the crown prince of Japan, there are 
no fewer than 776 peers, or 243 more than there 
were originally, these with their families number- 
ing 4,523 persons. Japanese patriots begin 
already to think that a bad imitation of European 
customs has been made and that it would be wise 
to limit the transmission of certain titles to two 
or at most three generations. Fortunately for 
Japan, over against this unseemly lust for honors 
and titles, so out of harmony with the spirit of 
the age, is the noble desire of many natives who, 


Decorated by the Emperor 

in character and abilities, are higher than decora- 
tion or honors can make them and who prefer to 
remain commoners. There are even honorable 
men of Samurai blood who have voluntarily 
stepped down, or rather risen higher into simple 
manhood by becoming heimin or commoners. 

To educate this class into greater efficiency for 
national service, Kuazoku Gakko or Nobles' 
School was formed. To give it the right mo- 
mentum and direction, who better than Guido 
Verbeck ? So thought the projectors. 

This year of unexpected labors, for during this 
time he gave his services freely to the young 
churches also, brought Mr. Verbeck into a con- 
dition of weakness and nervousness which re- 
quired immediate rest, so he prepared to leave 
Tokio with his family July 31, 1878. For about 
a month before his departure, he was over- 
whelmed with tokens of affection from nobility, 
gentry, and commons, from official and private 
parties, from high and the low, from the Christian 
and, as this son of hope wrote, ''as yet un- 
christian." He left Japan uncertain as to whether 
he should be able to see his dear people again. 
His first purpose was to restore his own health 
and to settle his children in school in California. 
Hear what Mr. E. H. House, editor of The Tokio 
Times, a most excellent journal conducted by a 
trained journalist, wrote of Verbeck: 

"The steamer which sails for San Francisco 
next Wednesday, will carry from Japan a gentle- 
man whose name has been identified with the 


Verbeck of Japan 

educational development of this country from the 
earliest days of foreign intercourse to the present 
moment, who has enjoyed during the successive 
years of his career an unexampled degree of 
confidence throughout his large circle of social 
and official connections, and who stands almost 
alone in the possession of an esteem which has 
never been dimmed by distrust and which the 
Japanese of all ranks and conditions have united 
in according to him with a singular abandon- 
ment of the reserve that commonly characterizes 
their closest association with strangers. His long 
residence has been an unceasing benefit to alien 
dwellers of all nations, in ways of which he can 
never have been conscious; for the unexerted in- 
fluence of such men goes far to counteract, in 
time of need, the impulses of anger inspired by 
the more frequent examples of selfishness and 
prejudice which the people of this country have 
had to encounter. To the Japanese themselves, 
in numbers extending indefinitely beyond the 
region of his personal contact, it has also been an 
advantage which they recognize with a prompt- 
ness and a fullness alike just to their friend and 
honorable to themselves. His absence will be a 
real loss, — not so serious as if his departure had 
been determined upon during the unsettled days 
of the government change, domestic disorder, 
and undefined external relationship, but still one 
that will be lamented with a sense of obligation 
that words can only imperfectly acknowledge 
and acts cannot wholly requite." 


Decorated by the Emperor 

Dr. Verbeck tells the story of his old and 
his new work in his letter of July 24, 1877: 

"As I believe, I intimated to you in my last, 
my long connection with the government service 
is about to be severed. According to present 
appearances, I shall leave my attacheship to the 
Senate by the middle of September. 

'*A fair and honorable offer was made me 
some time ago, but I declined it. The Nobles 
of Japan have formed themselves into an organ- 
ized society, and under its auspices carry on 
various enterprises, among which there is a so- 
called Nobles' School (Kazokii Sakka). This is 
a large institution, chiefly intended for the edu- 
cation of the descendants and relatives of the 
' kuazoku ' or nobles. It was in this school that 
a place was rather urgently offered me. The 
chief reason of my excusing myself is that, 
though much good might be done in that institu- 
tion, I think that in the present progressed state of 
the country I could be more useful than in teaching 
the mere rudiments of an English education, un- 
less it were in a distinctively missionary school. 
There are many others as well or better qualified 
for the work in question. It is true, it was inti- 
mated to me that from time to time I would be 
called upon to lecture in Japanese to some of the 
nobles themselves ; but if that be a desideratum, 
it might be accomplished without the drudgery 
of teaching spelling and grammar. At such a 
time as the present when preaching and educating 
for the ministry can be effectively carried on, I 


Verbeck of Japan 

think that we may leave mere secular teaching to 
secular teachers. 

** As in many respects an appropriate and grati- 
fying conclusion to my long connection with the 
government, the emperor did me the distin- 
guished honor of conferring on me the decoration 
of the third-class of his Order of the Rising Sun. 
As 1 have ever borne the title of the missionary 
and have always stood forth in and for the mis- 
sion cause, and as I have always been, under 
grace, a champion of those good things that Paul 
commends in Phil. iv. 8, this honor bestowed on 
me may properly be regarded as an indirect trib- 
ute to the cause of missions. Certainly, if the 
government cherished hostile feelings toward 
Protestant missions, it would not have taken such 
a step. As to the honor itself, I hope that as a 
Christian and a minister I may know how to bear 
it. The decoration is a pretty piece of jewelry, 
the first I have ever owned. The central circle is 
a fine ruby; this is surrounded by pointed rays 
of gold, filled in with white enamel. The sym- 
bol of the sun is surmounted by the emperor's 
family crest; the three-leaved 'paulownia im- 
perialis,' with a cluster of blossoms on the tip of 
each of the leaves, also all of gold, the leaves 
filled in with green and the blossoms with purple 
enamel. At the very top there is attached a 
golden clasp, through which passes a heavy 
white silk ribbon (one and one-half inches wide) 
with deep red borders. By this ribbon the deco- 
ration is to be suspended around the neck, so as to 


Decorated by the Emperor 

lie on the shirt bosom. The ceremony on the occa- 
sion was the same as that observed in the emperor's 
presence; but as the emperor is at present at 
Miako, the Hon. Ogin had been appointed to act 
at court as his deputy. The decoration is put up 
in a fine lacquered casket and accompanied by a 
patent, to which are affixed the emperor's signa- 
ture and the state seal." 

His first letter from San Francisco is dated i8th 
of September, in which he says, "What amidst 
all the novelty and advantages of this great city 
we miss most in our daily dealings are the docile 
and kind-hearted Japanese." 

On arriving in America the reaction came. He 
was taken with an illness which lasted some 
weeks. After his recovery, to rest his mind by 
change of occupation, he gave himself to a new 
method of literary investigations, by which he 
** hoped to ascertain more scientifically and posi- 
tively than had hitherto been possible the real 
authorship of any composition." 

During this stay on the Pacific Coast he im- 
proved every opportunity to hear good preach- 
ing. Abundant proofs that he succeeded are 
found in his commonplace books, crowded as 
they are with notes, comments, analyses, sermon 
plans, hints, suggestions, seed thoughts, excerpts, 
and scraps of all kinds. It would be interesting 
to open the wealth of scholarly accumulation, or 
even to show the chips in the workshop of this 
scholar, man of affairs, and consecrated servant 
of God and man, but space forbids. Returning 


Verbeck of Japan 

to Japan, he wrote on the 9th of January, 

"Under date of the 21st May last, I wrote you, 
giving a full statement of my case; chiefly of 
the prospect of my leaving the government serv- 
ice for good, of my intention of taking about six 
months of rest and home duty; and of my readi- 
ness, at the end of this or early next year to re- 
join the active ranks of the mission, if agreeable 
to the Board." 

Meanwhile he made a new engagement as his 
letters show: 

" I did not feel myself at liberty to refuse some 
of the offers most kindly made me and I en- 
tered on a contract for a year, from the 20th 
November with the Kuazoku gakko and with 
one of the departments of the government. The 
latter is, however, a mere private arrangement 
between me and the officers of the department 
in question and not with the government itself. 
My contracts, too, do not bind me so that in an 
emergency I cannot make myself free. More- 
over, in making the above arrangements, I have 
reserved sufficient time (with a proportionate 
loss of salary, of course) to enable me to con- 
tinue my usual missionary labors and my lec- 
tures on the Christian evidences and homiletics 
in the Union Theological School." 

A year of severe, constant, and multifarious 
labors again wrought adversely upon his health 
and strength and he took a vacation in California. 
He writes June 18, 1879: 


Decorated by the Emperor 

" I am interested to hear what progress is made 
in regard to the proposed high school or college 
for Japan. If it can be brought about without 
diminishing the regular mission contributions, 
much may be said in favor of the plan, and I for 
one am ready to take an active part in it, if de- 
sired. Though, on the whole, it might be better 
in a country like Japan, if all or nearly all the 
men connected with the college were new men, 
who had never been in Japan before. I should 
prefer to work with new men. All who have 
been there any length of time have their specific 
gravity fixed upon them by the natives, and their 
usefulness in an educational career will depend 
largely on the rate thus assigned them. As to 
the influence of skeptics, I do not dread it much, 
and think that the purity of truth and morality is 
in itself a sufficient defence against its effects. 

'* The most important thing in Japan to-day is 
the gospel faithfully preached, and if this should 
be at all interfered with by the new college, as 
far as the contribution of means is concerned, I 
think it had better be left alone. The govern- 
ment does so much for secular education and its 
institutions are so complete in their various ap- 
pointments, that if an independent college is to 
be gotten up, it had needs be a very good and 
superior one. 

** During my prolonged recess here, it was nec- 
essary for me to be occupied in some quiet way, 
on the principle that a change of occupation 
amounts very nearly to rest, as well as in the 


Verbeck of Japan 

hope of perhaps producing something that might 
go to aid in supporting myself and family. For 
some years past I had had in my mind a new 
means of literary criticism. The working out of 
this idea supplied just the kind of unexciting 
work my case needed, though it has thus far 
failed to yield the more substantial benefits hoped 
for. Since recovering from my first illness which 
I was taken with soon after my arrival here, I 
have worked at it more or less, and for some 
time past worked hard. But with the best of 
wills, though I have many pages ready for the 
press, I find I cannot at once finish the work so 
as to make a complete whole of it now. In the 
prosecution of the work I am, however, encour- 
aged to hope that I have fallen upon an impor- 
tant discovery and have made some useful inven- 
tions in the way of the application of means to 
the end in view. 

"My scheme consists chiefly in a new method 
of literary investigation, by which I shall be able 
to ascertain, more scientifically and positively 
than seems to have been hitherto possible, the 
real authorship of any composition. Though my 
tests are applicable to styles of all ages and in all 
languages, they would be peculiarly so to the 
Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments. I 
have analyzed the whole of Romans and tabulated 
every one of its 9,337 words. For mere quali- 
ties of use numerically recorded quantities, thus 
arriving at positive, scientific results. Fleay, in 
his 'Shakespeare Manual' (1876), comes very 


Decorated by the Emperor 

near the idea I had in mind ; in some late num- 
bers of the transactions of the American Philo- 
logical Association, I find some faint attempts 
in the same direction; but nowhere do I find 
anything like an elaboration such as I have 
achieved. The Sermon on the Mount, some pa- 
pers of Addison, etc., I have also subjected to my 
process, as I fancy, with satisfactory results. I 
should like very much to confer with a trust- 
worthy and able philologist on my work before 
proceeding further with it." 

Right here we may glance at Dr. Verbeck's 
family. His firstborn baby daughter, Emma 
Japonica, and Guido, who lived to be sixteen, are 
no more on earth, but at this writing, June, 1900, 
there survive, five sons and two daughters. 
William, Channing, Gustavus, Arthur, Bernard, 
Emma and Eleanor. The grandson, son of Wil- 
liam, bears the honored name Guido Fridolin Ver- 
beck. Emma is married to Professor Terry and 
dwells in Japan. Two sons in the army of the 
United States follow the flag in the far east, and 
one, Gustavus, the illustrator is well known to 
all who love jolly pictures. 

The vacation in California restored him to com- 
plete health and we find him back in Tokio, 
writing September 19, 1879, telling of the warm 
welcome he had received and later giving a state- 
ment of his routine work, especially his preach- 
ing at the Koji Machi Church. 

*'As regards work, I find there is plenty of it. 
For the present I am assigned homiletics and 


Verbeck of Japan 

evidences in the theological school. This will 
leave me time enough to do a good deal of 
preaching besides. If after this there are still 
found to be unoccupied spaces there are several 
translations to be done which are urgently wanted. 
In the course of my regular work, too, I hope to 
meet with materials for longer letters and more 
frequent letters than has been my wont of send- 
ing you heretofore." 
On the 1 2th of May, 1880, he wrote: 
"It may be presumptuous to say I am very 
busy, for who is not ? In laying out my plan of 
work for the past winter (teaching in the 
theological school and preaching) I did not think 
of making allowance for a variety of extras; yet 
they have turned up so plentifully that they some- 
times sorely try the camel's back. And very 
often I feel as if the extras are not a whit less im- 
portant than the stock work. For instance, copy- 
ing from my diary: ' ist day, lecture at the Nobles' 
School, 2 to 4 o'clock p. m. 2d day, preaching 
at Koji-machi church (communion) 9:30 a. m. ; 
Do. at Shitaya church, 2 p. m. 3d day, moved 
from Miss Gamble's school to my present house; 
4th day, address before the alumni and officers of 
the old Kaiseijo of 1869 and '70 (my wife will 
send you a newspaper slip about this); 6th day, 
sermon at the dedication of the new Koji-machi 
chapel, 2 p. M. 8th day, an address at the in- 
auguration of the Japanese Young Men's Christian 
Association in the Kyo Bashi church, 2 p. m.' 
"The dedication of Koji-machi chapel was an 


Decorated by the Emperor 

interesting occasion. It took place on the 6th 
instance, Rev. Mr. Ibuka, the pastor, presiding. 
The services were opened with a hymn, after 
which Rev. Mr. Okuno read the Scriptures and 
offered up the dedicatory prayer. My sermon 
which followed next, was on Ps. cxxvii. i, 'Ex- 
cept the Lord build the house, etc. ' After another 
hymn Rev. Mr. Waddell of the Scotch Presby- 
terian Mission, made some excellent remarks on 
the name of the church, 'Koji-machi church' 
meaning 'Leaven Street church.' Rev. Mr. 
Ogawa followed with some striking exhortations 
to the church, and the services were concluded 
with prayer by Rev. Mr. Kozaki, minister of the 
Congregational church, the doxology and the 
benediction by Rev. Mr. Soper of the Methodist 

To this Koji-machi church, Dr. Verbeck gave 
much time, thought, prayer, love, and labor. 

Of Dr. Verbeck's nature and habits of gener- 
osity—and it made little or no difference what his 
salary was— we learn from what Dr. David 
Thompson wrote in 1898, when "he who never 
rested rests." 

"Afterwards he (Dr. Verbeck) came to Tokio 
to help lay the foundation of the present Im- 
perial University. While thus engaged, the first 
church of Tokio— the Shinsakai, was organized 
with eight original members. This number 
rapidly grew, and in a short time for various 
reasons it became imperatively necessary to erect 
a house of worship. Dr. Verbeck was one of the 

Verbeck of Japan 

first to see this necessity, and the first to suggest 
the possibility of securing one. He called at our 
house one evening and spoke to me, then acting 
pastor of the church, of a plan that he had thought 
of for raising funds. A few days after this he 
had set his plan to work. He brought me a sub- 
scription paper headed: *G. F. Verbeck, I50.' 
Then followed, *A friend, $50.' A third fifty 
was put down under another device, so that 
every one who saw the paper thought that Dr. 
Verbeck had given fifty instead of one hundred 
and fifty dollars. Such was his modesty. Thus 
headed, and at his suggestion, I took this paper 
to a considerable number of foreigners, principally 
professors in the university. A number gave 
liberally. This help, with the contributions of 
the native church, enabled us to put up a build- 
ing at a cost of nearly one thousand dollars, free 
of debt. Both before and after this building was 
erected Dr. Verbeck taught the whole church as 
one large Bible class for a long time, from Sab- 
bath to Sabbath." 




That decade of years, the ninth of the nine- 
teenth century was with Dr. Verbeck, then in the 
fullness of his powers, the era of Bible transla- 
tion. Arrangements were made by which three 
Bible societies, American, British, and Scottish, 
and the missionaries of the various evangelical 
societies in Japan cooperated in the production of 
a Japanese version of the Holy Scripture. Re- 
ducing his other engagements to a minimum, he 
spent for many months and years five out of 
every six days exclusively in the work of render- 
ing the holy Scriptures into the tongue of the 
Japanese people. With this work so delightful 
to his soul, he made alternation and variety by 
going on preaching tours into near and distant 
parts of the empire. For either work, both oc- 
cupations made mutual enrichment. Coming 
fresh from the mastery of the thoughts of men 
moved by the Holy Spirit and the work of ex- 
pressing these thoughts into Japanese, the man 
of God was in a sense complete, furnished unto 
every good word and work. In June, 1900, ask- 
ing one native preacher of many years' experience 
in the pulpit the secret of Mr. Verbeck's power 
over the hearts of the Japanese, he told me that 

Verbeck of Japan 

he thought it was marvellous skill in using pas- 
sages from native authors to defend, illuminate, 
and enforce Scripture truth, and show that God 
"in these last days hath spoken unto us." 

During the month of May, 1882, with the 
young preachers Komoro, Uyeda, and Naomi 
Tamura, author of "The Japanese Bride," Dr. 
Verbeck made a preaching tour in Kiushiu of 
twenty-four days, preaching or lecturing twenty- 
one times to large gatherings in eight places. 

In writing, December 22, 1880, he gives in de- 
tail a most interesting incident of a soldier, who 
secured for himself and his comrades and friends 
liberty of conscience and freedom from unfair 
assessment in the interest of paganism. 

On September 7, 1881, the household was com- 
pleted by the birth of a son and Dr. Verbeck had 
now three sons and a daughter on either side of 
the Pacific. Like so many missionaries, also, he 
owned a grave in other than the home land. In 
the same soil in which his own body was to lie, 
but at Nagasaki, lay precious dust to which 
memory often turned. 

He wrote September 9, 1881 : 

"By this time I have fairly started on Old 
Testament translation. My work hitherto was 
very various; Sunday preaching (on an average 
twice a week) ; teaching at the Union Theological 
School (evidences and homiletics); a weekly 
Bible class at home; three lectures a month at the 
Nobles' School; translations for our Presbytery; 
besides a goodly number of attendances at 


Preacher and Translator 

occasional or periodical meetings, and occasional 
missionary tours into the country. Under these 
circumstances it could not be expected that I 
should make much progress in Bible translation." 

He also kept up his connection with the 
Nobles' School, giving chiefly moral lectures. 
Already this institution, under Mr. Verbeck's 
magic name, had become the gateway through 
which not a few men had entered high govern- 
ment positions. 

**What induced the political students to ask 
for an increase of my instruction, I am quite sure 
was chiefly this. Quite recently the emperor 
issued a proclamation setting forth that in the 
twenty-third year of Meiji (1890), he would grant 
the empire a constitution, a parliament. How- 
ever well or ill-founded it may be, there is a 
general expectation among the nobles (daimios, 
large and small), that their body, or a large 
portion of it, will then (in 1890), be formed into 
something like an Upper House. I think it was 
a good deal with a view to this that an increase 
of the political lectures was desired. If I had 
been in these peoples' service and supported by 
them, nothing would have been more reasonable; 
but to ask that I should give one-fifth of my time 
for their secular interests, while being supported 
by two large religious societies, who would 
expect adequate returns at my hands, was cer- 
tainly beside all reason and right. 

"Two of my earliest political students, Okuma 
and Soyeshima, of Nagasaki times, rose very 


Verbeck of Japan 

quickly to the highest offices in the empire, 
^ ministers and councillors of state, and a great 
number of my greater pupils are now in various 
ranks in all the home and foreign departments of 
the government. Hence there v^as sprung up a 
vague notion among a certain class of people that 
the being under my tuition for a length of time is 
pretty sure to lead to official position or pro- 
motion. I have often been told so, and it may 
seem and sound very fine; in its time and place, 
too, it has had and still has the effect, more or 
less, of liberalizing the minds of some officials, of 
recommending Christianity to them in a general 
way and disposing them favorably toward it. 
But all this has under the Divine blessing been 
effected already by the sacrifice of precious years 
and long continued patient labor and any other 
good effects in the same line, now that the 
country has been so far opened and advanced, 
are, as far as 1 am aware, very small indeed. 
Our work has to change with the times." 

In declining to continue further connection 
with the Nobles' School, beyond that of giving 
lectures on ethics. Dr. Verbeck wrote to the 
Japanese director as follows: 

"When I was in the service of the Japanese 
government and Japanese friends, and was en- 
tirely supported by them, I always considered it 
my duty to give all my time and strength to 
them. Now I am entirely supported by two 
American societies, and hence it is my duty to 
give all my time and strength to their work. It 


Preacher and Translator 

is a happy circumstance that the work I have to 
do for these societies is at the same time alto- 
gether for the benefit of your countrymen. I 
love your people and like to work for them. 
But you will perceive that the above agreement 
in regard to my work will make it impossible 
for me to continue my lectures at the Kuazoku 

He wrote home: 

" To this letter I received the Director's reply 
of 8th November, herewith inclosed, marked No. 
I. I accepted the invitation to the anniversary 
on the 17th, stating the subject of my address, 
* Reasons for the Students' Diligence,' and on the 
1 2th received another answer, herewith inclosed, 
marked No. 2. 

*' Accordingly on the 17th, accompanied by 
Mr. and Mrs. Miller, whom I had invited, and 
my wife, I went to the institution, which had a 
very festive appearance. The scholars, male and 
female, and a large number of guests were 
assembled in a spacious hall. The exercises 
lasted from 1:30 o'clock p. m. till 4:30 o'clock, 
after which we were ushered into another large 
hall, where we partook of some fine Japanese 
refreshments. \ had the honor, during the anni- 
versary exercises, to address an immense audience, 
among whom were two imperial princes, (one of 
them the representative of the emperor). His 
Excellency Iwakura, and a great member of 
daimios. Mr. and Mrs. Miller seemed to be 
much pleased with the company and the exer- 


Verbeck of Japan 

cises. The musical pieces under the superintend- 
ency of Mr. Mason made a pleasant variety in the 
exercises. Mr. Mason, the Millers, my wife and 
self were the only foreigners present among the 
aristocracy of the capital. But the most grati- 
fying features of the whole was that after I had 
stated so frankly my missionary character and 
the purely Christian nature of the work, on 
account of which I declined lecturing in their 
school, yet I was expressly invited to address 
them in public on a highly festive occasion. I 
stood before the people, nobles, and princes as 
the pronounced representative of Christianity in 
Japan. Few things could show more strikingly 
that there is not a shadow of dislike or contempt 
for our Protestant Christianity. Thanks be to 

*'I said above that it would seem a pity to 
throw up the Nobles' School too rashly, and this is 
chiefly because we cannot tell what this work 
may result in, as in the course of time all classes 
of the people become more liberally minded with 
reference to Christianity. I value the souls of the 
poor as highly as those of the high and mighty, 
and love them more; yet at the same time, the 
higher classes here are so very inaccessible to 
missionaries generally that it would seem a great 
pity to sever a tie of considerable confidence and 
intimacy except for the weightiest reasons." 

The time had now come, however, when Mr. 
Verbeck was to leave his comparative isolation 
among the missionaries and enter into coopera- 


Preacher and Translator 

tion with them in direct missionary work, while 
continuing also several years of daily toil at the 
translation of the Bible, a work at which we 
can but glance. 

Let him open his heart to us and tell how he 
felt in October, 1882. Increasing honors only 
made this servant of God and man more modest 
in human society, more humble before God and 
Christ's cross. There was not a trace of snob- 
bery in this admirer and countryman of William 
the Silent and George Washington. As for the 
malignant envy of the missionary-haters in the 
seaports, or the slanders of globe-trotters or lec- 
turers on "science," these were to Dr. Verbeck, 
" like pouring water on the frog's face " of Japa- 
nese, or the "duck's back" of our own homely 
proverb. He wrote: 

"But perhaps few know so well as you the 
differences between the 'then' and 'now' in my 
particular case. Now as regards the compara- 
tively low estimate in which missionaries are 
held by the world, as well as the quite un- 
merited opprobrium often cast upon them by 
very worldly people (both foreigners and na- 
tives), I care very little for it, nay, sometimes 
rather enjoy it. Besides, in my case, there are 
pleasant exceptions to this general rule. Once 
a year, at least, I am admitted to audience, be- 
fore the emperor; several times a year I am in- 
vited to state entertainments; the authorities of 
the University (grown out of the former Kaisei 
Gakko) never omit to give me an honorable 


Verbeck of Japan 

place on occasion of the annual public exercises 
(such an invitation for next Saturday, herewith 
inclosed); the Nobles' School so likewise; all, 
without exception, of my former acquaintance 
and connections treat me with the highest con- 
sideration and respect when and wherever I meet 
them, etc. ; yet with all this, as you justly sur- 
mise, I am only a 'missionary,' and joyfully ac- 
cept the situation. That the work is congenial 
to me and that my heart is in it, I need not 

''But where I feel the difference between for- 
merly and now most of all is in this: from 1859 
to '79, for twenty years, I worked and stood 
alone, decided all matters large and small accord- 
ing to the best of my judgment: there was little 
or no occasion for collisions with brethren hav- 
ing life ideals and aspirations, though founded 
virtually on the same foundations and with the 
same hopes in view, yet so totally different that 
mutual understanding becomes at times exceed- 
ingly difficult. The fault lies probably largely 
with myself; those twenty years of solitary action 
have unfortunately made a kind of Leatherstock- 
ing or Crusoe of me, and I sometimes feel like a 
kind of rough pioneer among regular settlers. 
With the Japanese, I am happy to say, there ex- 
ists not a shadow of this feeling; for if there is 
one sense strong in me, it is that my mission is 
to the Japanese, that I am here to benefit them. 

"For years past I have been urged again and 
again to join the Asiatic Society (foreign), but I 


Preacher and Translator 

have never felt a call to do so; I have actually 
been a member of the Seismological Society (on 
special invitation, but paying the ten-dollar en- 
trance fee), and yet, though I am acknowledged 
to be one of the earliest, if not the earliest, ex- 
perimenters here, measuring the direction of the 
earthquakes by means of variously constructed 
pendulums, I have never had the pluck to attend 
the platform before a Japanese audience and feel 
perfectly at home and in my proper element. I 
do not say any or all of this by way of complaint 
(except against myself), but only to answer your 
friendly inquiry. I often wish, not that things 
around me were different in these respects, but 
that I might have more capacity to adapt myself 
to these things and to changed times and circum- 
stances ; for I feel that I sometimes sorely try the 
patience of younger men than myself. I repeat 
that I consider very lightly the aversion of the 
upper grades of society here toward missions 
and missionaries, or rather toward Christianity, 
for I am convinced it will pass away and is pass- 
ing away. I rather look upon the present time 
of labor as a preparation and qualifying of one's 
self for worthily and suitably proclaiming to 
these very upper grades the unsearchable riches 
of Christ. The Lord grant it in His time." 

Feeling the need of such a work, a movement 
among the missionaries was made to secure a 
history of Protestant missions in Japan. By 
unanimous consent, Dr. Verbeck was urged to 
attempt this task. He reluctantly accepted the 


Verbeck of Japan 

responsibility. He first prepared a carefully 
printed circular, dated November 20, 1882, in 
which he made request and presented a scheme 
of topics, historical, educational, medical, and 
literary. He spent some months in digesting 
the mass of matter received, finishing the work 
which, besides a general history and an abundant 
collection of historical sketches, gave the statis- 
tics also of the churches of the three forms of 
the faith, Greek, Roman, and Reformed. Part 
of the historical matter was read at the Osaka 
Conference of Missionaries, a famous gathering 
held in the year 1883. The work as printed con- 
tains one hundred and eighty-three pages includ- 
ing statistics. The annual summary of statistics 
is happily continued yearly by the Rev. Henry 
Loomis, of Yokohama, making an extremely val- 
tiable annual. 

Hard work in the study was alternated not 
only by preaching tours but also by attendance 
upon councils or conferences for the organiza- 
tion of churches. Wonderful to relate and a 
very rare thing in his epistolary experience. Dr. 
Verbeck wrote home a long letter of thirty pages 
about the work in Takasaki, a city in the centre 
of the silk district. Many of the old veterans 
and the new Japanese Christian leaders were 
present at this conference of organization and 
recognition. The incidents connected with the 
formation of this Takasaki Independent Church 
led to much searching of heart, exuberant cor- 
respondence, and ultimately to the proposed 


Preacher and Translator 

" plan of union " between the Congregationalists 
and Presbyterians, which however failed to ma- 
ture. After several intervening years of experi- 
ence, which did not work hope, Dr. Verbeck 
put on paper his ideas about the formation of 
churches and how the true independence of the 
native Christian churches could be secured. We 
need only summarize his opinions and views. 
Perhaps these are quite accurately reflected in his 
paper entitled "An Extraordinary Episode." 

Sure signs of the working of the gospel leaven 
to the transforming of the nation were showing 
themselves. In 1874, we had called together on 
Mr. Fukuzawa, the head founder of a college be- 
gun on the day of the battle of Uyeno, in 1869, 
when instead of going to the battle, he sat down 
with some pupils to study Wayland's Moral 
Science. From Tokio, July 10, 1884, Mr. Ver- 
beck wrote : 

" I send you a copy of the Japan Mail that has 
a rather remarkable article in it. The author, Mr. 
Fukuzawa, who has hitherto shown himself ex- 
tremely hostile to the introduction of Christianity 
into Japan and has now so completely changed 
his mind, is a kind of opportunist and has a large 
following among what may well be called 
'young Japan.' Although, humanly speaking, 
there seems to be little hope of his ever embrac- 
ing our faith himself, there can be no doubt that 
his article will exert a very extensive influence in 
favor of Christianity." 

Of Fukuzawa, ''the grand old man of Japan," 


Verbeck of Japan 

Mr. Basil Hall Chamberlain in 1891, thus draws a 
portrait, " this eminent private schoolmaster who 
might be minister of education, but who has con- 
sistently refused all office, is the intellectual father 
of one-half the young men who now fill the 
middle and lower ports in the government of 
Japan." At the opening of the twentieth century, 
being even more pro-Christian, he is vigorously 
opposed by reactionaries as the preacher of "Oc- 
cidental," that is. Christian morals. 

One of the preaching tours taken in 1885, was 
through Tosa, in Shikoku, the Island of the Four 
Provinces, which Mr. Verbeck declared was **by 
far the most lively and interesting trip I made 
since 1 came to Japan." In the large towns and 
cities the theatre was becoming more and more 
the usual place of large gatherings. Let us look 
at the situation of the modern apostles and their 
occasional experiences with the "sweet reason- 
ableness" of Japanese audiences. In one in- 

"After the opening prayer and brief intro- 
ductory remarks, a remarkable altercation oc- 
curred between a youthful ringleader of the 
boisterous portion of the assembly and the local 
evangelist. The occasion of this was that the 
introducer had ventured to request the audience 
to listen quietly and to reserve any possible dis- 
sent for inquiry and discussion at the close of the 
meeting. Upon this the young champion wished 
to be informed whether the present addresses 
were to be lectures or sermons; if the latter, he 


Preacher and Translator 

and his mates would of course abstain from noisy 
demonstrations, but if lectures, they claimed an 
inalienable right of expressing their assent or dis- 
sent by all the customary means, — which cus- 
tomary means are often sufficiently disturbing. 
Our interpellant was informed that, although 
lecturing had perhaps been mentioned in the 
public notices. Christian lecturing amounted 
really to about the same thing that he would call 
preaching. He was quite satisfied and promised 
that in this case his party would willingly listen 
in silence. And they kept the promise, except 
once or twice in the case of one of the Japanese 
speakers, when they objected loudly that he was 
wandering from his text and lapsing from preach- 
ing into lecturing! The whole thing may seem 
rather trivial, and yet it is significant and en- 
couraging. The concession in favor of preaching 
on the part of these young hotheads who have 
very little respect for anybody or anything, as 
well as the restraint they must have laid upon 
themselves to keep their part of the voluntary 
compact, was a surprise to all of us, as agreeable 
as it was novel." 

In primitive Christianity, throughout the Roman 
empire, the synagogue was the cradle of the 
faith. It furnished always to the peripatetic 
apostles a place in which to proclaim their new 
theology, that is, to show the fulfillment of the 
old kingdom, priesthood, and prophecy in Christ. 
Whether welcomed or abused and expelled, the 
disciples could at least find initiative in the syna- 


Verbeck of Japan 

gogue, which also and not the temple, furnished 
out of its own life the organization of the Chris- 
tian church. In Catholic Europe the theatre 
grew out of the church. In new Japan, the 
churches for the most part were either born in the 
theatre or found their cradles in its edifice. The 
players' home furnished the church clothing, so 
to speak, before she could walk for herself. An 
audience room ever ready, was the theatre, with 
its stage and auditorium, its aisles and its facilities 
of entrance, exit, and with its ready-made regular 
organization for the easy sitting of auditors and 
the platform for the speakers, with the personnel 
of advertisers and janitors and the material — 
pretty much everything convenient for a public 

Yet let no Occidental fall victim to his mental 
associations. Any one accustomed to the luxury 
of metropolitan theatres in America or Europe 
may be led astray by the word alone. One must 
not think of upholstery, or easy chairs, or gilded 
and decorated ceilings, walls, or luxurious loges, 
or of electric lights, or of carpets. Let one im- 
agine rather enormous barns with no intermediary 
between flesh and floor. Indeed often mother 
earth herself furnished not " standing room only," 
but even reserved seats, the actual cushions being 
what one's own bones may be clothed with. 
With some modern exceptions in the large cities, 
no signs of luxury or comfort, in our sense of 
the word are to be seen in Japanese playhouses. 
One must think rather of great wooden tents 

Preacher and Translator 

under roof, unwarmed and very poorly lighted. 
Often the kurombo, or men with blackened 
visage, held candles fixed at the end of long poles 
close up to faces of the actors, in order to show 
the play of simulated emotion. In winter these 
barn-like structures were intensely cold. To the 
average missionary, accustomed to the atmos- 
phere of air-tight houses, theatre-preaching was 
a great trial to health. Prolonged exposure both 
in travelling over rough roads and in places out 
of the way, with alternate freezings and heatings 
in the theatre-barns, helped powerfully to break 
down all too soon Dr. Verbeck s constitution. 

Nor were the audiences always tractable or po- 
lite. Often it required a good deal of skill to 
subdue the unruly element in the form of "lewd 
fellows of the baser sort," egged on or in the 
pay of Buddhist priests or fanatical Shintoists, or 
young ruffians who had lost the courtesy which 
was supposed to be so characteristic of Japan. 
Furthermore, a new character had risen in the 
form of the Soshi, who was a sort of a malignant 
ghost of the ronin of earlier days. The word 
Soshi may be roughly translated, ** stalwart." 
These political radicals, or fire-eaters, to decent 
citizens and genuine patriots and even to minis- 
ters of state and the emperor's own servants, 
were even more troublesome than they were to 
Christian missionaries. Besides being bullies, 
ruffians, and often cowards of the meanest stripe, 
they served as "heelers" to turbulent politicians, 
or were ready to do any dirty work in the name 


Verbeck of Japan 

of * ' patriotism. " They so pestered the emperor's 
lawful servants with their impudent deputations, 
remonstrances, and advice, that it was necessary 
occasionally for the government to issue procla- 
mations to disarm and to deport them from 
Tokio, — sweeping them out as housemaid would 
the vermin from her closets and kitchen. Indeed 
it was these fellows who, by their unwisdom 
and brutality, imperiled the very existence of 
that constantly increasing measure of liberty 
which was being given to the people. Good men 
in honorable political opposition had to suffer with 
the bad. It sometimes seemed that in order to 
smoke out the rats, the government was in dan- 
ger of injuring the foundations of a noble struc- 

Later on, Mr. Verbeck in company with his 
friend and colleague, Rev. Henry Stout of Naga- 
saki, went through Kiushiu and among other 
places visited Sago, the home of his first convert, 
Wakasa. Dr. Stout wrote from memory in 

" How different the circumstances on the occa- 
sion of our visit! Now we could preach the 
gospel openly. We held a great preaching serv- 
ice in an old theatre, with thousands in attend- 
ance and officials on the platform to guarantee 
order. Another night we had a service in a house 
in a remote portion of the city. Part of the floor 
gave way — not a serious matter — but a disturb- 
ance arose. On our way to the hotel some lads 
of the ' baser sort ' followed us with taunts and 


Preacher and Translator 

derisive shouts. Finding that this produced no 
effect, they began pelting us with sand and 
gravel. Finally, the doctor was struck square in 
the back with an old sandal. It was a cruel 
blow. He turned upon the boys and adminis- 
tered a reprimand, in which something of temper 
was not wanting. However, the effect was not 
unfavorable. The good man did feel the indig- 
nity keenly, and it was a long time before he 
could dismiss the occurrence from his mind." 

Another course of preaching (in 1885) was at 
Mishima in the Hakone mountains. Here the 
militant pagans tried to interfere with the propa- 
gation of Christian truth, by getting the police- 
men to come and break up the meeting. Their 
design was frustrated by Mr. Verbeck's thorough 
knowledge of human nature, whether priestly, 
official, or commonplace, and of the law, and his 
firmness demanding its enforcement. Rev. Mr. 
Yasukawa was especially useful in checkmating 
the reactionaries. 

The "upper" classes in Japan who looked 
down on the religion of Jesus and the " uppish " 
folks at the seaports who opposed aggressive 
Christianity, were chaining themselves to a 
corpse, just as the old Latins of the decadent 
Roman empire did. The new life of New Japan 
is linked with Him who came that men might 
have life more abundantly. As opposed to the 
reactionaries, both native and foreign, Christian- 
ity had begun to win the respect of the leading 
thinkers of the nation headed in popularity by 


Verbeck of Japan 

Fukuzawa, whose remarkable articles in his own 
and other newspapers attracted great attention. 
To his multifarious labors, Fukuzawa— the great 
apostle of western civilization in Japan, adds that 
of editor. He is one of the most voluminous of 
writers, his pen touching every subject with grace 
and force. Hosts of his friends on either side of 
the Pacific rejoice in the recognition of his work 
for the good of his countrymen in the gift from 
the emperor in connection with the crown 
prince's wedding, in May, 1900, of 50,000 yen, in 
lieu of a patent of nobility, which would have 
been gladly conferred, only that Fukuzawa pre- 
ferred to remain a commoner. 

Heart sorrows were happily not frequent in 
the case of this earnest missionary, but some- 
times they came with crushing force. On Jan- 
uary 26, 1885, he wrote: " I have but just time 
to let you know that last night we received the 
very sad news from California, that early in De- 
cember last we lost our darling boy, Guido, age 
sixteen." The incident turned his mind to East- 
ern America which he longed to visit with lei- 

He wrote February i, 1885, of his longings, but 
he could not go as yet, for there was just below 
the horizon the sun of constitutional Japan. Al- 
ready in the refraction of faith, Guido Verbeck 
saw the full glory and rejoiced. He saw the 
long bright day already dawning. Not in vain 
had he a generation before taught his young 
pupils, now statesmen high in office, the New 


Preacher and Translator 

Testament and the Constitution of the United 

*' There is another consideration which has a 
good deal of weight with me. The year 1890, 
which is to witness the estabhshment of the new 
constitution of this empire, and promises to be a 
period of immense importance to the Master's 
great cause and to the church and mission work, 
is gradually drawing near. In that year (1890), 
and the year preceding it, I should be very loath 
to be absent from the field and work." 

This time he must go home at the mission's 
charges, for Guido Verbeck never saved any- 
thing. Whether his salary were a thousand or 
seven thousand dollars, they were all winged, in 
some way, or put to flight by his constant gen- 
erosity, his self-forgetfulness, and lack of worldly 
mindedness and business skill. 

"Since I was first sent to Japan in 1859, this 
will be the first time that I leave it at the mission's 
expense. In 1873 I travelled at my own expense; 
and in 1878 I returned home with my family and 
lived a year with them in California, altogether at 
my own charges. It was only since my leaving 
California, in August, 1879, that I became again 
chargeable to the mission both for myself and 

Two years passed away in steady toil at Bible 
translation, evangelistic tours, on the work of 
hymnology, in teaching in the theological school, 
and in manifold labors connected with the organ- 
ization and maintenance of Christian Churches. 


Verbeck of Japan 

His special work amid many was the transla- 
tion of the Psalms, a happy task, which on 
the 19th of July, 1887, he completed, finishing 
on that day, as usual, five hours' toil in the 

Another long tour was made in Kiushiu in 
1888. When he wrote about this he was hoping 
to come to America to spend a year in one of the 
intellectual and religious centres, New York or 
Philadelphia, for his own and his family's sake. 
For nearly two years past he had suffered an 
impediment of his right hand, brought on by a 
sprain made in his daily gymnastics. This 
second Kiushiu tour was taken, leaving Tokio 
October 9th, and returning December 7th. Two 
weeks of his time were spent at Kagoshima in 
Satsuma. Everywhere he found Japanese hearers, 
as in the days of the Reformation, when Bible 
exposition was new and the message was fresh, 
ready to listen by the hour. On one occasion he 

''This endurance on the part of Japanese 
audiences (especially rural audiences), at preach- 
ing and lecturing assemblies, while it taxes to the 
utmost the powers and resources of the speaker, 
especially when he is unassisted, on the other 
hand also helps him not a little; for he need have 
no fear of exhausting the patience of his hearers. 
When there is a number of speakers, there is 
nothing in the way of having, with due notice 
beforehand, a well attended meeting from two 
o'clock in the afternoon till ten o'clock at night, 


Preacher and Translator 

with a pause of an hour or an hour and a-half for 
supper intervening. 

"In the evening we again found the same 
excessively cold theatre well filled, the audience 
being even more attentive and well behaved than 
on the previous day. Mr. Hayashi gave a spirited 
address on the Superiority of Christian Ethics; 
Mr. Miura lectured on the Person and Character 
of Christ; and finally I treated of the Survival of 
the Fittest from a Christian point of view, ex- 
plaining the fittest to be whatever is most nearly 
conformed to God's will; and inferring thence the 
survival of Christianity after the downfall of 
idolatry, Buddhism, and all false religions and 
philosophies. The lectures, though fewer in 
number, being longer than those of the night 
before, we again retired at a late hour." 

The inevitable change comes when the gospel 
message is less of a novelty. A Japanese pastor 
in June, 1900, tells me that everywhere in the 
cities the native Christians increasingly like short 

The biographer feels that he would hardly be 
forgiven if his work should not show some 
familiarity with Dr. Verbeck's commonplace 
books— "Varia," he labelled them— and sermon 
notes. In his system, pencil marks of various 
colors meant much to his own eye when preach- 
ing. The same system of mnemonics and asso- 
ciation helped him in reading. Dr. Verbeck was 
an omnivorous reader, with a memory of wonder- 
fully retentive power. Below are a very few 


Verbeck of Japan 

anecdotes, notes, incidents, and illustrations jot- 
ted down in his thesauros. 


Do not rely on the number of adherents to any 
religious faith, in order to recommend it as 
superior to others; but rather on present vitality 
(not activity only); on recent growth (in the 
presence of modern science and politics) ; on its 
predominance as a force in building up useful 
and beneficent institutions; on its spiritual faith- 
fulness; on its spiritual and material sacrifices; 
on its being a power for good in society; on its 
shining lights in the past, and especially present; 
on its history and historical development; on its 
accord with reason ; on its nearness to God's will 
and word. 


/- A man, having spent his money riotously, 
comes to a town, and having nothing special to 
do, walked about the streets sight-seeing. At 
last he begins to feel hungry, and passing a 
baker shop, he puts his hand into his pocket for 
money to buy some bread. Finding none, he 
bursts out in anger: "Bah, this is a miserable 
town ; 1 have not even a penny to buy a little loaf 
of bread! A curse upon it!!!" 

People having no intellectual coin in their heads, 
take it out in vilifying Zion, and the Kingdom! 

^ 322 

Preacher and Translator 


Mrs. D. B. McCartee sent a relation a sum of 
money to buy herself some " Satsuma vv^are" in 
New York city. After a time Mrs. McCartee re- 
ceived a letter from New York stating that the 
" Satsuma ware " had been bought and that her 
friend was exceedingly happy with its posses- 
sion. A year or two later, the relation in New 
York died, and when another year later Mrs. 
McCartee went home and called at the relation's 
house, she was shown the "Satsuma ware" 
which had given so much satisfaction, and, lo 
and behold! the ware was only a homemade 
imitation of Satsuma ! ! ! 


There is no "best plough." Different soils ^ 
require very different ploughs! So with meth- 
ods of teaching and preaching; and hence the 
use and usefulness of denominational differences! 
Plough well, plough deep,— this is the great, 
thing! / 


At a country meeting a man got up and left the 
hall saying, "Why, this is like seeing a crow fly 
on a dark night and hearing an unborn baby cry." 


An owl perched on a high roof. Two men 
were to kill or knock it down. To make sure, 


Verbeck of Japan 

one of them was to shoot an arrow from one 
side of the house, while the other was to throw 
a big stone from the opposite side. Result: The 
stone killed the archer and the arrow killed the 
stone thrower; but the owl sat still and winked 
her eyes. 


The perspective of memory is in many cases 
the reverse of ocular perspective: — the farther 
back in the past, the bigger things appear, as in 
the events and experiences of youth recalled. 

**THE WORD IS everlasting" 

In posts and sign boards in Japan, upon which 
the legend is written with China ink containing 
charcoal powder, it is often seen that the wood 
between the writing is worn away by time and 
weather of years, while the writing abides intact, 
slightly in relief above the surrounding wood. 
So the Word of God upon the tablets of the ages. 


Dr. Thompson preached on the sinfulness of 
all men, "none righteous, no not one," before a 
large Japanese audience, when a ''soshi" sprang 
to his feet, bawling out: **What! do you mean 
to say that our emperor too is a sinner ? " The 
doctor was startled and did not know, on the 
spur of the moment, what to say, or how to deal 
with this unexpected interruption, when he was 
as unexpectedly helped out of the difficulty as it 


Preacher and Translator 

had been sprung upon him. A lawyer (once a 
believer himself, somewhat under the influence 
of liquor) also sprang up and with the air of say- 
ing something quite incontrovertible (of course) 
declared that the soshi (interlocutor) was quite 
wrong, since Christianity and the emperor had 
no relation whatever with each other. 


I know a preacher who says that he dislikes to 
preach any of his sermons over again. The fact 
I believe to be, that his sermons are not prepared 
to last; they all are of a more or less "occa- 
sional " character,— have no original permanency 
in them. There are, of course, and there must 
be "occasional" addresses and sermons. But 
generally sermons should be, from the first, pre- 
pared so as to be fit for repeated use;— not in- 
deed, verbally throughout the same, but substan- 
tially. This rule will hold good especially in 
circuit and in evangelistic preaching. Care and 
time bestowed upon the first preparation of 
sermons will save much time and labor in the 

The year 1889 Dr. Verbeck carried out his plan 
of going to America, visiting a great many of 
the Reformed churches both East and West, 
speaking in Dutch and English. He remained in 
the United States until July i6th, sailing from 
Manhattan Island in the steamer City of New 
York, with his two daughters, staying at Zeist, 
but visiting in one great tour the principal cities 

Verbeck of Japan 

of the Netherlands and speaking in many of the 
churches great and small. He enjoyed intensely 
this visit to the fatherland and especially that 
made to Delft, where is the Westminster Abbey 
of Japan, containing the tombs of the princes of 
the House of Orange, and of Hugo Grotius. On 
August 1 6th, he was taken ill with a light par- 
alytic attack on his right side, but quickly recov- 
ering he fulfilled his engagements, which had 
been carefully arranged in the tour by the minis- 
ter of the great orphanage at Neerbosch. He re- 
turned to Japan via America and sailed at three 
p. M. January 13th, 1891, by steamer Oceania, 
having among his fellow-passengers to Japan, 
Dr. and Mrs. Nitobe. His letter of February 23d, 
1 89 1, says: " Here I am at work again almost as 
if I had not been away at all,— four lectures a 
week, requiring about six hours of preparation 
each, and preaching on Sundays — and I can as- 
sure you it is pleasant to have regular work 




After correspondence with the State Depart- 
ment at Washington, Mr. Verbeck found from 
Secretary of State, James G. Blaine, that he could 
not get citizenship from the United States govern- 
ment, so on arriving in Japan in 1891, he wrote 
to the Japanese Department of Foreign Affairs. 
The correspondence explains all and needs no 
comment from the biographer. Secretary Awoki 
was formerly Minister to Germany, an Enomoto 
student in Holland in the early sixties and the 
same whom we heard in 1868, later Minister to 
Russia and a statesman of great ability. 

While in the United States, Dr. Verbeck had 
endeavored to secure American citizenship, but 
there were found to be insuperable obstacles and 
Secretary James G. Blaine referred the matter to 
the American Minister in Japan to see what could 
be done. The issue is best set forth by showing 
the correspondence. Mr. Verbeck trusted the 
Japanese even to willingness to become a citizen 
of the empire and his faith was rewarded accord- 
ing to his works. 

Tokio, March 3, 1891. 
*' To HIS Excellency the Viscount Awoki, 

** Minister of Foreign Affairs. 
'* Sir:— Having recently returned to this em- 
pire after a temporary absence, I find that, having 


Verbeck of Japan 

left the Netherlands, my native country, about 
forty years ago to come to the United States of 
America, I have legally lost my original nation- 
ality, and although I took the necessary steps in 
order to be naturalized in the United States, my 
residence there was not of sufficient duration to 
mature my naturalization in that country. 

"If there existed in this empire laws for the 
naturalization of foreigners, I should under these 
circumstances gladly avail myself of them. But 
in the absence of such laws, I take the great 
liberty to request of your Excellency to be so 
very kind, if possible, to use such means as your 
Excellency may deem proper and suitable to have 
me placed under the protection of the Supreme 
Government of this empire. 

" I have but little to recommend myself to your 
Excellency's favor, unless I be allowed to state, 
for the benefit of those who may perhaps not 
know it, that I have resided and labored in this 
empire for more than thirty years and spent one- 
half of this long period in the service of both the 
former and the present government of Japan. 

" Hoping that your Excellency will very kindly 
consider my request, I have the honor to be, sir, 
your Excellency's most obedient servant, 

"G. F. Verbeck." 

" Tokio, July 4, 1891. 
"To THE Hon. Guido F. Verbeck, 

"Sir: — In consequence of your having lost 
your original status as a subject of Holland 

A Man Without a Country 

without having acquired the rights and privileges 
of a citizen of the United States of America, you 
are left without any national status; and desiring 
to live under the protection of our Imperial Gov- 
ernment, you did — in the month of March of the 
present year — make an application for this pur- 
pose to the former Minister of Foreign Affairs, 
which was endorsed by him. 

"You have resided in our empire for several 
tens of years, the ways in which you have ex- 
erted yourself for the benefit of our empire are 
by no means few, and you have been always be- 
loved and respected by our officials and people. 
It is therefore with great pleasure that I send you, 
on a separate sheet, the special passport which is 
desired and which I trust will duly reach you. 
Furthermore, the special passport above referred 
to will be of force and effect for one year dating 
from this day, and permission is granted you to 
renew and exchange the same annually. 
" Respectfully, 

" Enomoto Takeaki, 
"Minister of Foreign Affairs." 
(Translated from the original 

by Dr. D. B. McCartee.) 

Special Passport (Translation) 

"G. F. Verbeck, Order of Merit 3d class; 
Maria Verbeck; (here follows a list of seven 
children) ; — the persons above named being under 
obligation, while in this empire, to obey the im- 
perial laws, and regulations in the same manner 


Verbeck of Japan 

as the subjects of the empire, shall be permitted 
from July 4th, 1891, until July 3d, 1892, to travel 
freely throughout the empire in the same manner 
as the subjects of the same, and to sojourn and 
reside in any locality." 
(Seal of the Department of Foreign Affairs). 

* Tokio, July 6, 1891. 
*'To HIS Excellency Viscount Enomoto, 

"Minister of Foreign Affairs. 
"Sir: — This is simply to express my most 
sincere thanks to your Excellency and the Vis- 
count Awoki for your great kindness in assisting 
me out of the peculiar difficulty of my political 
status (or rather want of status) by sending me 
your Excellency's very kind letter of the 4th in- 
stant and a special passport, which places me — in 
gracious compliance with my somewhat bold re- 
quest of the month of March last past — under 
the powerful protection of the empire of Japan. 
I assure your Excellency that I cannot express 
sufficiently my obligation for this special favor 
and honor of which I shall avail myself always 
with the utmost care and prudence. I have the 
honor to be, sir, your Excellency's most obedient 
servant, G. F. Verbeck." 

The honor thus conferred upon an alien is 
absolutely unique in the modern history of Japan. 
Dr. Verbeck wrote home: 

''This solution of my great difficulty has given 
me much rest. In fact, I could not well have 

;^^ S\\ ^-^ kr'^'-' v^^^^. Y^4>^ 

A Man Without a Country 

continued in this country, unless it had been 
solved in some such way as now adopted. If 
anything I have obtained much more than was 
absolutely necessary in the case. I assure you I 
am very thankful to the divine Disposer of all 
these matters. Doubts have been finely cleared 
up and faith has been confirmed." 

The Japan Mail, the ablest newspaper published 
in Japan, thus commented upon this transaction: 

" His case is also well worth the consideration 
of those who so strenuously object to the idea of 
submitting to Japanese jurisdiction. Dr. Verbeck, 
one of the leading sinologues in Japan, has had 
exceptional opportunities, during his thirty years' 
residence, of judging the disposition of the people 
and estimating the nature of their institutions. 
Yet we find him unhesitatingly placing himself, 
his wife, and his family under Japanese juris- 
diction. The act of such a man seems to us 
more eloquent than the talk of a hundred cavillers 
who raise a barrier of imaginary perils in the path 
of free intercourse." 

Even at the risk of repetition, it is well to 
know fully of Dr. Verbeck's manner among a 
people to whom etiquette is almost a religion, and 
with many of whom it is a substitute for faith 
and worship. One who knew him well wrote 
in 1900: 

"There is no doubt that Dr. Verbeck exercised 
great tact when forced into association with a 
certain class of Japanese men— the official class— 
who are to this day, afraid of other missionaries 


Verbeck of Japan 

— afraid even now, because most of these think 
they must force religion upon every Japanese they 
meet, regardless of time, place, and circumstance. 
I am wrong to say * most of them ' — but I am 

sorry to say there are some others of the 

type, though he is the most notorious in reputa- 
tion among the foreigners. Dr. Verbeck em- 
ployed the reserve and courtesy that men of the 
world, who have savoir-faire, show in their 
intercourse with other gentlemen. This attracted 
the sincere respect and confidence of the Japa- 
nese. They were not frightened off by dread of 
insidious and too personal attacks. At the same 
time Dr. Verbeck never flattered the natives; he 
was always direct in his truthfulness; being 
polite too, always. This is admitted by all who 
knew him — natives and foreigners. It has been, 
and still is, almost impossible to reach with 
Christianity a certain class of Japanese men, but 
to gain their respect and confidence, as a Christian 
gentleman, and to be sought for advice, are great 

Another secret of his power with a people 
naturally suspicious and distrustful is revealed in 
a letter to a friend in 1871. Declining his request 
in one way. Dr. Verbeck gratified it in another by 
assuming the trouble, responsibility and expense 

"One of my principles in dealing with the 
Japanese, and one to which I attribute a large 
part of the confidence reposed in me by them, is 
'never to ask personal favors of them.' I do for 


A Man Without a Country 

them what under the circumstances I can, and am 
content with what they consider as my due in 
return. This principle, which by long use has 
become almost a second nature with me, I feel 
reluctant to lay aside. They have learned to 
trust me as a safe man, as regards asking per- 
sonal favors, and I should not like to see their 
confidence shaken." 

For about ten years, on and off. Dr. Verbeck 
taught in the Meiji Gaku-in or the College and 
Theological School supported by the churches of 
Reformed Christianity holding the Presbyterial 
system of government and doctrine. He wrote 
in 1891: 

" I shall mention my branches of study in the 
school. They are (or were, I hope): Intro- 
duction to the Old Testament; D° to the New 
Testament; Old Testament exegesis; Pastoral 
Theology and Homiletics. I taught all these in 
Japanese, although for the Old and New Testa- 
ment Introduction the students had English text- 
books. But all of these studies, except Homi- 
letics, could be taught in English and with English 
text-books, the best English student in the class 
acting as professor's interpreter." 

It cannot be said that Dr. Verbeck greatly 
enjoyed this sort of indoor work. Furthermore 
this was a period of doctrinal change, of the ever 
new theology fulfilling the old, and it is not 
certain that the grand veteran could see eye to 
eye with the younger and possibly less wise men. 
The ebb and flow of opinion in the native 


Verbeck of Japan 

churches troubled him. He was as much dis- 
turbed at the new development of thought as 
was Washington with Jefferson and Hamilton in 
his cabinet, pitted like game cocks against each 
other. How he looked at the situation may be 
best shown by his comments on a typical gather- 
ing of aliens and natives, as found in a document 
written in 1898, just before his death, and left 
among his papers, no names being recognizable. 
He heads the article as follows : 


In the History of the Church of Christ in Japan 

(After rough notes of the time— 1888) 

The thing happened at the time of the calam- 
itous courtship between the Union Church of 
Christ in Japan and the native Congregational 
Church, with the view to bring about a union of 
these two churches. In fact, it was at about the 
time that the lengthy negotiations seemed to 
draw toward a culmination, but when it was 
yet uncertain whether it would be "on'* or 
''off." . . . 

At that critical time, the leaders in this move- 
ment . . . became aware that many of the 
pastors, evangelists, elders, deacons, and of the 
laity of the Itchi-Kyokwai were still strongly op- 
posed to the proposed union with the Congre- 
gational Church. One chief reason of this aver- 
sion was known to lie in the fact that the pro- 
posed union would necessitate the relinquishment, 

A Man Without a Country 

in large part at least, of their church standards. 
These people had been sedulously taught that the 
Westminster Confession and Shorter Catechism 
and the Heidelberg Catechism contained a state- 
ment of sound Christian doctrine; they had 
adopted these as their church standards many 
years before (1879) and, as a church, had pros- 
pered by them ; they had learned to regard these 
documents as indispensable instruments for the 
upbuilding and maintenance of their church, and 
many of their best men had become warmly at- 
tached to them. On these accounts it might 
easily happen that a majority could not be gotten, 
when the Union scheme should be submitted to 
these good people for a final vote. 

In this state of things, the so-called leaders 
conceived the bright idea that a special but in- 
formal meeting should be called, for the sole pur- 
pose of instructing the deluded conservatives in 
this case, so as to show them the futility of their 
own or any other extensive church standards. 
. . . A large gathering of pastors, evangelists, 
elders, deacons, and laymen was expected. The 
meeting was to be held in the centrally situated 
Nihon-Bashi Church. Not being in sympathy 
with the object of the meeting, I at first did not 
intend to go, but at the last moment 1 made up 
my mind to attend. When I arrived at the 
church, I found it quite full of a respectable lot of 
people and all in readiness to open the meeting. 
Before I had taken a seat, Mr. Iroha moved that I 
should take the chair, which I could not well help 


Verbeck of Japan 

doing. The chief, in fact, the only speaker was 
Mr. Nihohe. . . . 

I did not note down at the time all the argu- 
ments used to show the futility of extensive 
Creeds and Catechisms in Japan ; but they were 
such as one often hears from those who do not 
like full statements of doctrine such as are usually 
found in these documents. The general trend 
and tenor of the address covered most, if not all, 
of the following arguments, although perhaps 
quite differently or not so fully stated as here set 

That Creeds and Catechisms are not Christi- 
anity— (who says that they are ?) ;— that all that 
is in them is already supplied in the Bible— (true, 
but generally how difficult for unlearned ne- 
ophytes out of heathenism to find, rightly collate 
and comprehend!);— THAT after all the final ap- 
peal in matters of doctrine and ecclesiastical 
practice is to the Bible— (nobody maintains that 
it is not); — that they are the outcome of the 
ancient and post-reformation history of the 
church, of which the Japanese know nothing and 
with which they have nothing to do— (much of 
their value lies in the fact that they are of his- 
torical origin and not merely theoretically con- 
cocted affairs) ; — that a large part of them is in- 
tended to guard against various errors and here- 
sies of those distant ages, quite unknown in 
Japan, this large part of them being therefore 
quite inapplicable and valueless here, in fact, per- 
haps rather suggestive and dangerous — (not so 


A Man Without a Country 

unknown as Mr. Nihohe imagines, and sure to 
spring up here too, from the perversity of the 
same human nature!); — that too detailed Cate- 
chisms and Creeds are rather calculated to keep 
people out of the church — (it is not desirable, nay 
rather dangerous to have people in the church 
who are not pretty well grounded in the faith; 
besides, denominations with the most pronounced 
tenets) . . . the Episcopalians with their 
prayer-book, the Baptists with their immersion, 
the Methodists with their organic connection 
with a foreign church (that bugbear of Mr. 
Nihohe, Tochiri, Nuruwo, Wakayo & Co.), these 
denominations have in recent years prospered 
better in Japan than the Union Church of Christ, 
(comprising the Presbyterian and Reformed 
Churches) with its little skeleton of a confession. 
That there is much in them not essential to sal- 
vation — (the same may be said of the Old Testa- 
ment, and besides, what is not essential to salva- 
tion may be essential to the education, harmoniza- 
tion, and the keeping together of a well ordered 
church) ;— THAT full church standards are very 
good things for those that like them, but that it 
would not be right to force them upon every- 
body — (are they forced upon anybody in the 
United States ?) ; — that a man might be well up 
in Creeds and yet not be a Christian, and on the 
other hand, a man might not know any Creed or 
Catechism and yet be an exemplary Christian — 
(one might say the same of the Old Testament 
saints) ; — that a simple faith in Jesus Christ is all 


Verbeck of Japan 

that is requisite in order to personal salvation — 
(that is what our Catechisms teach : Shorter Cate- 
chism, question 38 and Heidelberg Catechism, 
question 21). 

As I said before, I was called to take the chair. 
Again and again, I felt like jumping up and beg 
Mr. Nihohe to stop; for I knew that incalculable 
harm was being done all the time. This I could 
clearly see in the faces of the native Christians 
present, some on one side of the question under 
discussion and some on the other, some trium- 
phant and some despondent,— one elder actually 
shedding bitter tears. I contained myself, but 
was filled with amazement, sitting on thorns, as 
it were, all the time. . . . 

More than once have I listened to injudicious 
remarks from platform or pulpit, but never to 
any so much as these of Mr. Nihohe's at that 
memorable meeting in the Nihon-Bashi Church, 
now about ten years ago, addressed to a gather- 
ing of weak believers but just emerged — if quite 
emerged — from the darkness, the uncleanness 
and the delusion of heathenism. These people 
had as yet but little knowledge of Christianity 
and of the Church of Christ, beyond what they 
had at one time gratefully gathered from those 
very church standards which were now to 
be taken away from them. It was a pitiable 
case! . . . 

How silly to judge of the educational and 
spiritual wants of Japanese proselytes by his 
own highly privileged case! Here Mr. Tsunera 

A Man Without a Country 

was far ahead of Mr. Nihohe. Mr. Tsunera had 
the gift (it almost amounts to that), very useful 
to a missionary, of placing himself in the mental 
condition of a heathen and then dealing with the 
natives somewhat from their own blank and ob- 
scure standpoint. This gift seems to be totally 
lacking in Mr. Nihohe. And then out of the 
forty millions of this nation, Mr. Nihohe knows 
only one man, a superior specimen, Mr. Tochiri 
— and him he does not know thoroughly. To 
judge of all Japanese converts by a man like Mr, 
Tochiri is foolish and can only lead to the most 
mistaken conclusions. 

A highly privileged person like Mr. Nihohe, 
the son of a godly minister, brought up in a 
pious family, educated in one of the foremost 
colleges in America, graduated from a celebrated 
theological seminary, ordained to the ministry, 
proficient in teaching and preaching, may well 
say for himself: "I don't take much stock in 
Creeds." But when he goes on to infer that 
therefore Creeds are equally dispensable to Japa- 
nese converts, most of them pretty full yet of all 
kinds of heathen notions, having as yet a very 
limited knowledge of the Scriptures, impatient 
of all mental and moral restraint or discipline, 
even in church matters, fond of a loose happy- 
go-lucky sort of way,— THIS is, according to my 
experience, the height of injudiciousness and 
very bad logic withal. 

The fluent reader may laugh at spelling-books; 
the advanced mathematician may speak scorn- 


Verbeck of Japan 

fully of the multiplication-table; the clever au- 
thor and orator may well dispense with common 
school grammars, a native or old resident of 
New York has no need of a map to find his way, 
and he who plays Beethoven and Gounod's music 
may well poke fun at piano instruction books. 
So likewise Mr. Nihohe, if he feels in the mood 
of it, may say: ''Creeds are of no use to me." 
But when he further reasons that because he can 
do very well without fully detailed church stand- 
ards, therefore Japanese neophytes can do so too, 
he makes a most egregious blunder! 

Dr. Verbeck spent many months with his fel- 
low church-builders upon the constitution of the 
Union Church in Japan, giving much time also 
to preaching tours in various parts of the empire. 
In one of these tours he traversed the ultramon- 
taine region of Buddhism on the west coast, 
his itinerary passing through Fukui in Echizen. 
Vastly changed from the romantic picturesque 
capital of a feudal principality, it is now the 
centre of the new habutai or light silk in- 

Again in 1893, he found the need of surcease 
from exhausting labors. Crossing the Pacific, he 
wrote from Alameda, Cal., August 18, 1893: 

"I was glad, how glad I cannot say, at last to 
be with wife and children once more and have 
enjoyed myself exceedingly since my arrival. 
And yet, strange to say, there are a few things I 
seem to miss here. Chief among these is the 
moisture and consequent verdure of Japan. Here, 


A Man Without a Country 

at this season, all is draught and dust, and what 
to me is real cold. At night the thermometer 
down to 50° and in the daytime seldom over 

We find him back at work again, writing from 
Tokio, November 13, 1893. His letter shows that 
the Japanese, passing through their over-con- 
scious period of unripeness, Chauvinism, and 
self-conceit, were extremely, even ridiculously, 
sensitive to criticism. The Japanese never deco- 
rate their critics who criticise publicly. None 
more than the thoroughly genuine Japanese, who 
love truth and righteousness, even more than 
wealth, offices, honors, or decorations laugh at 
this over-sensitiveness of their countrymen. It 
vividly reminds Americans also of our own 
"green apple" stage, when our grandfathers 
and grandmothers took the criticisms of trans- 
Atlantic travellers and book-makers so very pain- 

Dr. Verbeck wrote: 

"Although, of course, in many respects I 
regret not having been able to see the Columbian 
Fair, — this regret I share with tens of thousands, 
—yet if I had been present at the 'Parliament,' 
I can now see that I should have been much 
embarrassed. The difficulty that would have 
beset me there is one that sufficiently troubles 
and hampers all of us here in our regular work. 
It lies in the fact that one cannot freely and 
frankly express one's real opinion in public about 
the Japanese without giving offence to them, and 

Verbeck of Japan 

without more or less impairing one's usefulness 
among them. Everything said as well as writ- 
ten, about the Japanese in Europe or America, 
is sure to come back here in print. Under these 
circumstances it would have been very hazardous 
to correct or contradict in public the many mis- 
taken and some utterly false statements made at 
the 'Parliament'; whereas, on the other hand, 
silence might and probably would have been con- 
strued as assent or approval. All this I escaped 
by not being present." 

None of the glib statements of elegantly- 
dressed Japanese gentlemen, or priests in pictur- 
esque garb at Chicago or elsewhere, could blind 
this profound student of human nature as to the 
reality of morals and religion in Japan, and as to 
their need of repentance, faith, and a righteous- 
ness exceeding that even of " living Buddhas " 
and Shinto gods, and "divinely descended" 
rulers. Of the general situation he wrote: 

''While there is not a little to regret in the 
present state of the Japanese churches, there is a 
good deal of activity shown just now. The 
autumn is always a good time for holding all 
kinds of meetings; but this fall there is an 
unusual number of so-called series of preaching 
and Christian lecture meetings in all the denomi- 
nations in Tokio. Some of these are held every 
night for a week together, others for three or 
four nights, and so forth. Usually one foreigner 
and two Japanese speak at these meetings. I 
have attended a few, and last Saturday a church 


A Man Without a Country 

dedication, and am sure that the Divine blessing 
attended us." 

Of the less felicitous phases of church life and 
growth, and of the personal peculiarities of mis- 
sionary men and women, we need not here 
speak, except to say that Dr. Verbeck's experi- 
ence of them led him to formulate the following, 
which I find among his papers: 


The Science of Missions is (should be), based 
upon the Holy Scriptures, church history, mission 
practice, and human nature (?) 


(Based upon the Science of Missions) 

1. A mission in the foreign field should be, as 
nearly as possible, a homogeneous body, and 
should, in all matters of missionary policy and 
methods, as well as of doctrine, act as one body 
and in perfect harmony. 

("United we stand, divided we fall." '* Een- 
dracht maakt macht." " Every kingdom divided 
against itself is brought to desolation, and every 
city or house divided against itself shall not 
stand." Numerous and calamitous difficulties 
have arisen between the native church and mis- 
sions solely on account of a want of unanimity in 
some or another of the missions.) 

2. In order to this end, the Home Boards 
should ascertain of every applicant or candidate 
for the foreign field, whether he is disposed at 


Verbeck of Japan 

all time to submit to a majority of the mission to 
which he is to be sent, on all questions of mis- 
sion policy, methods and work, and whether he 
is resolved to teach and preach nothing at variance 
or in conflict with the standards of the Church 
which commissions him. 

3. All matters that cannot be satisfactorily 
arranged or settled by the mission in the field, 
shall be referred and submitted to the Home 
Board for its assent or decision. 

4. In all cases where a missionary shall feel 
himself wronged or aggrieved by the action or 
decision of his mission, he shall have the right of 
appealing (with the knowledge of his mission), 
to the Home Board, in reference to the matter in 

On the subject of the necessity of creeds and 
confessions of faith, Dr. Verbeck's convictions 
were strong. He wrote in 1898: 

** My opinion on this point is that, in a com- 
munity or nation generally and from of old 
permeated by Christianity and full of Churches, 
the Bible alone might perhaps be safely made a 
Church's sole rule of faith and life. But on 
heathen soil to endeavor to organize and build up 
with safety a Christian church without, or next 
to without, binding church symbols, seems to me 
about as wise and feasible a proceeding, as for a 
mariner to undertake to cross the Pacific ocean 
with a valuable cargo and a hundred human 
lives in his charge, and safely to enter the Golden 
Gate without compass, chart and nautical almanac, 

A Man Without a Country 

— simply by the guidance of 'that marvellous 
curtain of blue and gold,' the starry heaven over- 

On July 23, 1894, he again surveys the situ- 

*'The general results of the recent meetings of 
the Dai-Kwai [General Synod], as well as of the 
Council of the Cooperating Missions, you have 
been informed of by the usual channels. As 
regards the so-called 'Plan,' it was more than 
once loudly called for in the Council, but it never 
came under serious discussion. Of this I was 
glad, because there was no occasion for its being 
introduced at this time. The ' Plan ' has already 
done much of its intended work indirectly and 
silently. When first gotten up, it was not done 
' in a corner ' ; it was widely distributed among 
the foreign missionaries and the native pastors of 
all denominations, especially of the Congre- 
gationalists. The comparatively happy tone that 
prevailed at the last General Conference of the 
Kumi-ai Church, the three resolutions above 
referred to, and much of the action at the recent 
meetings of Dai-Kwai and Council are all more 
or less traceable to the ' Plan.' By means of the 
'Plan,' the eyes of those hot-headed brethren 
who used to talk of sending home the mission- 
aries as no more needed, were unexpectedly 
opened. They now saw what had never oc- 
curred to them before, — namely, that if they car- 
ried things beyond all reason and endurance, the 
despised foreign missionaries might themselves 


Verbeck of Japan 

solve the difficulty in a very practical though un- 
looked for way. 

" But I must stop this, for I find myself drift- 
ing into matter that should not be touched upon 
without time and space to substantiate it, and 
this would lead me back to my rejected sixteen 
pages of foolscap." 

Two or three more quotations from Dr. Ver- 
beck's letters, showing his evangelistic zeal must 
close this " record of foundation work," and then 
shall be told the story of his last days on earth. 

Under date of June 4, 1895, he wrote: 

"As doubtless you have heard ere this, Mr. 
Ballagh left Yokohama for a home furlough on 
the 17th May. At a regular meeting sometime 
previous to his departure, the mission agreed that 
I should, during his absence, take the charge and 
oversight of his evangelistic work in the country 
districts. The main part of this work lies in the 
province of Shinshu, where there are six stations, 
each of which is occupied by a Japanese evangel- 
ist. Each of these stations has its out-stations 
worked from the centre to which they belong. 
Three of the six stations (Komoro, Uyeda, and 
Nagano) lie on a railroad line and are accessible 
from Tokio at small expense. The other three 
stations, situated from thirty to forty miles south 
of the railroad line, are reached by pretty rough 
roads and mountain passes. The whole of the 
Shinshu field is geographically well defined, but 
capable of considerable extension within its own 


A Man Without a Country 

"The other parts of our country work lie 
scattered in various directions. A couple of sta- 
tions across the bay, opposite Yokohama; some 
around the base of Mt. Fuji; a few more near 
Yokohama; and one station (Seto) a dozen miles 
from Nagoya, make up the list. 

"At Uyeda I had the pleasure of meeting Miss 
Brokaw and Miss Deyo, whom I found toiling 
away zealously at their promising work among 
the women of this town and neighborhood. 

" Silk culture, like time and tide, waits for no 
man. Shinshu is one of Japan's chief silk dis- 
tricts, and its people are exceedingly busy at cer- 
tain seasons and almost quite disengaged at 
others. Hence we have to conform the times of 
our work here to this state of things. At the 
next propitious season, I hope to do some good 
work at all of the stations in a less hurried way 
than I was obliged to follow on this tour. I was 
absent from home just a fortnight and preached 
nine or ten times. May this labor, light and easy 
though it be, be not in vain in the Lord." 




Dr. Verbeck aged visibly during the last year 
of his life. He had lived out two-thirds of a 
century, years of intense activity. From the 
first, his constitution had been none of the 
strongest; and his wonderful life is another proof 
of the fact that what one accomplishes depends 
more on temperance and intelligent care of the 
health than on natural vigor. 

In October, 1897, the physician forbade evan- 
gelistic tours, and it was a great disappointment 
to the doctor that he dared not undertake a pro- 
posed trip to Kiushiu. The day after Christmas 
a complication of chronic ailments prostrated 
him, and from that time on he was never quite 
himself. Gradually, however, he seemed to im- 
prove; only there were new pains in the chest 
that were supposed to be caused by indigestion. 
He was seized with terrible paroxysms at times, 
but would not go to bed and took his regular ex- 
ercise whenever possible. In Tokio he still con- 
tinued to preach, the last time on the night of 
February 26th. 

One of the last works upon which Dr. Ver- 
beck was engaged was the preparation of an ad- 
dress in English to the emperor of Japan, on the 


"Weary with the March of Life" 

occasion of the presentation of a handsome copy 
of the Bible in Japanese, the result of many years 
of the united labors of Verbeck, Hepburn, Fyson 
and many others. 

The other work, which filled heart and hand 
within a few hours of his call to higher service, 
was his reply to the fourteen questions submitted 
in writing to him, by Mr. Robert E. Speer, on 
the present state of Christianity in Japan. 

In this paper, one of the last of his utterances, 
this unflattering truth-teller, ever loving and kind, 
gives his impressions of the Japanese man, utter- 
ing his faith also in the coming better man of 
Japan, " created anew in Christ Jesus." 

Probably one of the last, if not the very last of 
his letters, is the following: 

" Tohio, } Aoi'Cho, Feb. 24, 1898. 
'* Dear Dr. Cobb: 

"I am exceedingly obliged to you for your 
very kind assurances of sympathy with me in 
my poor state of health. Never having been sick 
in bed for a week together during thirty-five 
years in this country, I may be somewhat over- 
cowardly in being now seriously 'under the 
weather ' ; at all events, I probably feel it more 
than those who are more frequently ailing. At 
the bottom of my ailments is hypertrophy of the 
prostatic gland, consequently impending inflam- 
mation of the bladder and the like. I think that 
I should be for at least some months under a 
specialist or in a sanitarium, — very much as a 

Verbeck of Japan 

watch out of order is put in the hands of a watch- 
maker. But this is difficult to carry into effect 

" For two things I am particularly thankful. I 
never suffer from headache. If I did, this would 
be likely to knock me up sooner than almost any 
other common ailment. My head is in good and 
clear condition. And the other good thing is that 
warm weather is coming near. This last winter 
I have suffered more from the cold than in any 
former year that I remember. I am already bene- 
fited by the somewhat milder air of these last 
weeks. In fact, I feel I am now able to lay out 
plans for some near country work. The fresh 
air and exercise on country touring always bene- 
fit me much. And a little later I hope to be 
blessed with strength enough to respond to two 
calls to more distant fields : Kochi and our large 
field in Kiushiu. These two calls came to me 
within the last ten days. And then there is our 
own Shinshiu field which is never off my mind. 

"As to requesting Mr. Speer to keep my an- 
swers to his fourteen questions 'private,' it was 
and is almost a necessity. If some of the things 
in these answers were to be quoted in print and 
under my name, it would draw upon me a host 
of foes. Christian as well as non-Christian. I 
suppose you have seen my old friend Dr. Martin's 
book on China (A Cycle of Cathay) ? If a man 
should undertake to write a similar book on Japan 
and the Japanese, with but one-tenth, nay, one- 
twentieth, of its critical and personal reflections 


"Weary with the March of Life" 

in it, he had better not think of ever coming 
again to this country. It might not be safe to do 

*' As regards writing on the inner history of the 
work of missions in Japan from the beginning, 
the difficulty is that it cannot well be done with- 
out becoming more or less "personal." But I 
shall bear your kind suggestion in mind, es- 
pecially if I should be still further laid up at home. 

"One important episode in the history of the 
Church of Christ (viz, the ' proofs ' I referred to 
in my fourteen answers) I have ready and all 
typewritten to be sent off. But since . . . 
figures as the chief agent in it, I should have to 
let him see it before sending off, so as to enable 
him to defend his peculiar position in this matter, 
if he should deem it fit to do so. I could not do 
such a thing behind a man's back. 

"By this same mail I send a letter to Mr. Speer. 
I requested him to let you see it * as opportunity 
serves,' because there are some things in that 
letter I should like you to know. 

" Once more thanking you for your friendly 
sympathy, I remain, 

"Sincerely yours, 

"G. F. Verbeck." 

" Please to give my kindest regards to Dr. 

The machinery of physical life seemed to wear 
out very rapidly as the spring of 1898 approached, 
the heart and kidneys being especially weak. 


Verbeck of Japan 

On the 27th of February, with his daughter 
Emma, who for months had been his ministering 
angel, he was able to take a long ramble of about 
six miles. He went to Yokohama on the 3d of 
March to arrange with Mr. Ballagh a preaching 
tour in Idzu. On March 6th, the walk together 
of father and daughter was very short, and it was 
his last. On the 9th he sat up to dinner and 
played a game of chess with his daughter. He 
had marked ahead, in his diary, under date of 
Friday, March i8th, *' Yoko. Lit. Soc. Personal 
Reminiscences," and was to have given this 
lecture in English before the ladies and gentle- 
men of the great seaport. How they would 
have so enjoyed hearing about a Japan now 
utterly vanished and a part of very ancient his- 

It was not to be. At noon on the tenth, sitting 
in his study chair, attended by his body servant, 
he was just about to eat his usual light **tiffm" 
or noon meal, when the call to change worlds 
came and the machinery of life stopped. Ver- 
beck of Japan was dead. 

Of the last offices of affection, of "dust to 
dust," none has written so vividly as the Rev. 
James H. Ballagh, so long friend and fellow- 

**The death of our dear brother was as simple 
and as beautiful as his life. The weakness of 
the past few months developed some angina 
pectoris and his medical advisers counselled care 
and freedom from exposure. Growing restless 


"Weary with the March of Life" 

to be again in the work of visiting the field, he 
came to me a week ago to-day, with a little map 
carefully made, seeking light on the Idzu field, 
which he was desirous of visiting to make trial 
of strength for larger undertakings. In my study 
he met Dr. Fest, whose name he had down on 
his list for the purpose of consultation, if occa- 
sion offered. He narrated how that in coming up 
the bluff he had to stop several times owing to 
the sharp pain he felt in the region of his heart. 
He alluded to the fact that Dr. Brown died of 
that disease. Little did he or any of us think 
this was to be our last conference in the flesh, 
and a week later, at about the same hour, his 
body would be borne by devout men to his burial- 
place in Awoyama. 

* * All this occurred on the 26th anniversary of the 
organization of the Kaigan Church [The First 
Reformed Church organized in Japan, the edifice 
standing on Commodore Perry's treaty ground] 
when two important and largely attended meet- 
ings were in progress, one in p. m. in Van 
Schaick Hall, and the other at night in the Kaigan 
Church. Both full, if not crowded, with most 
blessed signs following. 

"It was so sudden, and now that the inter- 
ment and all is over, it appears more like a dream 
than a reality. We will come to realize our loss 
at our regular meetings, and in all counsels 
concerning mission work and in the more 
general inter-relations of all the missions, at which 
times he was looked upon as the Guiding Au- 

Verbeck of Japan 

thority. That is well illustrated in the proceed- 
ings of the last Karuizawa Council Conference 
where, although he took hardly an observable 
part, his counsels are fully reflected in the 
council's action on cooperation of missions with 
the Church of Christ in Japan, and are so faith- 
fully reflected in Mr. Speer's report ; a report I 
think that gave Dr. Verbeck more complete satis- 
faction than anything of the kind yet written." 

Much of the preparation for the funeral and 
memorial services at the Shiba Church devolved 
upon Mr. Ballagh, who went at once to Tokio on 
receipt of the telegram announcing the sad news : 

**Miss Verbeck I found very composed and re- 
ceiving Japanese and all visitors, and attending 
to a host of calls regarding invitation to officials 
and friends of the Doctor. Some one or two 
hundred such were sent out. In consequence 
we had to request the schools, and * bodies of 
people ' not to come, inasmuch as a large foreign 
audience would gather together who could not 
be refused. 

" Notice had been given to the foreign communi- 
ties of 'No flowers,' but still a number of most 
beautiful wreaths and palm branches were sent 
in. These added much to the beauty of the 
casket and hearse en route to the Shiba Church, 
and to the cemetery at Awoyama. There were 
several carriages kindly furnished by friends. 
Bishop McKim taking Miss Verbeck and Rev. 
and Mrs. Wolfe, Dr. Verbeck's cousins — whose 
presence was a great comfort to Miss Verbeck 

"Weary with the March of Life" 

and assistance in many ways. One thing of im- 
portance was the bearing of the Imperial Order 
of the Third Class, on a velvet cushion. This 
was placed on the casket in the church, and in 
consequence of the deceased being a decorated 
man, a company of soldiers escorted the body 
two whole miles to the cemetery and afterward 
saluted the grave with presentation of arms, etc. 
" The church was filled below with officials and 
foreigners, or invited Japanese guests, and the 
galleries with ministers, workers, and a women's 
side with Bible women. Rev. Wada, the pas- 
tor, read the ninetieth Psalm in Japanese, and 
was followed by prayer in English, by Dr. David 
Thompson. It was inspired with reverence, 
awe, faith, and hope. It was most helpful. A 
Japanese hymn, tune Ward, a version of the 
forty-sixth Psalm followed, and then the address 
in Japanese by President Ibuka. The latter was 
strong, succinct, and satisfactory ; giving all the 
main facts of his life. I followed in English, 
with a short appeal in Japanese at its close to the 
Japanese to follow him as he followed Christ. 
Then Father Okuno ^ poured out one of his touch- 
ing, sympathetic, and glowing prayers. The 
ninetieth Psalm ' Our God, our help in ages past, 
etc.,' sung in English, with a tribute in Japanese 
by the president of the Japanese Evangelical Alli- 
ance, Rev. T. Honda, also president of the 

> One of the earliest converts, a fluent and forceful preacher, 
poet and hymn writer, the Nestor of the Reformed Church in 

•» 355 

Verbeck of Japan 

Awoyama College, one of our original church 
members, read in solemn tone, together with the 
benediction pronounced by the Rt. Rev. Bishop 
McKim brought the church services to an end. 

"The master of ceremonies of the Imperial 
Court had sent a representative, Mr. Yamada, to 
attend to carrying the famous decoration, which 
was laid on a cushion and placed on the casket 
during the services. 

" The procession was then formed and wended 
its way to the cemetery, two miles distant, led 
by a company of infantry marching four abreast 
with arms reversed. 

''At the grave. Rev. Mr. Booth read impressively 
the burial service. Rev. Y. Ogawa, our first or- 
dained elder and minister offered prayer in Japa- 
nese. After the hymn, 'Asleep in Jesus,' in 
Japanese, the benediction was pronounced by 
the Rev. Hugh Waddell of the United Presby- 
terian Scotch Mission. The evening was grow- 
ing chilly and turning away in sadness and yet 
in a sense of gladness at his triumph and the 
great mercies of God experienced this day, I 
reached my home about 8 p. m. 

" I found the rumor of 500 yen having graciously 
been given by His Majesty, the Emperor, was 
true. It came per master of ceremonies of the 
court, Mr. Sannomiya, who has taken so lively 
and fatherly interest in Miss Verbeck in all this 
affliction. The day I first visited her, he was 
there, kindly advising her about her father's dec- 
oration and that it was right to retain it. On go- 


Monument of Dr. Verbeck, erected by the grateful Japanese. 

"Weary with the March of Life" 

ing out he was introduced to me, and said with 
tears in his eyes, * 1 am so sorry.' I replied, 
•Not for Dr. Verbeck, but for those who are 
left.' I am informed he attended the services at 
the church, though I did not observe him. 

*' I felt happy to have had two short prayers over 
my dear brother's body; one with my wife and 
Mrs. Wolfe yesterday ; and the other in Japanese 
with a number of Japanese brethren ere the cover 
was to be fastened over his noble and peaceful 
form forever, nay! till lighted up at the resur- 
rection word. 

•'The city government of Tokio sent the late 
Dr. Verbeck's family a receipt for a perpetual 
lease of the little plot in which he lies buried. 
Claimed by three nations, but a citizen of none, 
he has found for his weary body a final resting- 
place in Japan; and Japan has not failed to show 
due appreciation of the honor. 

" Dr. Whitney and others propose a memorial 
service for Dr. Verbeck should be held, owing to 
the fact many were not apprized of the death, 
and bodies of people had been requested not to 
come to the church service. It is therefore truly 
necessary to give an opportunity for expression 
of the popular and Christian grief. Miss Verbeck 
does not object under the circumstances. So we 
propose to hold it Saturday 19th, 2 p. m. at the 
Y. M. C. A. Hall, Kanda, Tokio. It is possible 
Sir Ernest Satow may consent to preside as he is 
an excellent Japanese scholar, and that would be 
suitable if the services be in Japanese. 

Verbeck of Japan 

"A very striking fact comes with peculiar power 
to me now in connection with the long delayed 
presentation of the copy of the Bible to H. M. the 
emperor. Dr. Verbeck at the request of the Bible 
Societies' committee wrote the address to the em- 
peror, and it has been beautifully engrossed in Ger- 
man text on Vellum. Now it strikes me it will 
prove a most welcome and prized gift by H. M. 
coming from one so honored by H. M. and all his 
people. Is not this a fitting sequel to a life so 
singular in humility and devotion to be able not 
only to disarm prejudice from the minds of the 
Government of Japan, but to present to H. M. 
a copy of that Blessed Word of God upon 
which all his own hopes were founded for 
eternity ? 

"Several points of interest not dwelt upon in 
account of Dr. Verbeck's funeral service in my 
notes of Saturday night may now be added. One 
is that the seating of the persons invited to be 
present was very successfully accomplished ow- 
ing to the Rev. Thos. McNair of the Presbyterian 
Mission, and Mr. Miller, Secretary of the United 
States Legation, having kindly consented to act 
as ushers, in which they were also assisted by a 
Japanese gentleman of the Imperial Household 
Department. This was the more needful, as 
several high officials of that department were ex- 
pected to be present. They were assigned seats 
in the central aisle immediately behind the fam- 
ily, as the next chief mourners. The representa- 
tives of foreign governments, of whom several 


"Weary with the March of Life" 

were present, including Hon. Mr. Buck, United 
States minister, were assigned seats in the same 
and adjoining aisle, missionary ladies and gentle- 
men also filled up these aisles. The pall-bearers, 
twelve or more in number, comprised represent- 
atives of the missions, two Hollanders, and a 
number of Japanese gentlemen, friends of the 
family, one of whom was Barrister Masujima, 
occupied seats at the right of the pulpit, and the 
choir, under direction of Miss Moulton, the oppo- 
site side of the pulpit. 

'* The intermixture, or alternation of Japanese 
and English in the service was a happy circum- 
stance. Indeed nationality faded away under the 
solemnity and sublimity, we may say, of the uni- 
versality of the grief at the loss of one whom, 
without a distinct right of citizenship, three coun- 
tries claimed an equal interest in as their rep- 
resentative; and, as President Ibuka put it, if to 
be judged by time of residence, and extent of 
labor and influence he was more of a Japanese than 
an American. It is a beautiful exemplification 
of the lives of the ancient patriarchs that having 
the promise of the whole land, they owned nought 
in it save a burial-place, because his true citizen- 
ship was in heaven. Another circumstance, 
small though it be, was happily suggestive of 
our Heavenly Father's care for His loved ones- 
even for His dear son's interment with suitable 
honors, that the request that no flowers should be 
sent, which went forth to the foreign community, 
was disregarded by the Imperial Household de- 


Verbeck of Japan 

partment, for the half dozen or more of beauti- 
ful wreaths sent by the Kunaisho added much 
beauty to the casket and decorated the hearse 
during the procession. They seemed too beau- 
tiful to be left upon the tomb to perish under the 
snow mantle and the storm that has since fallen 
upon them. Nor is this all the kindness, His Im- 
perial Japanese Majesty's Government has shown, 
for an intimation that a largess of five hundred 
yen were sent to Miss Verbeck, to defray her rev- 
erend father's funeral expenses, has reached us. 
If this be so, or not, it is evident the Japanese 
rulers and their people are susceptible of the 
highest and kindest sentiments of gratitude and 
sympathy toward any whom they can love and 

As the fitting conclusion of our story of Ver- 
beck of Japan, we reproduce some of the tributes 
of the native Japanese press, both secular and 
Buddhist, as translated for The Japan Evangelist, 
with a word or two from those who knew him 

The first is from the Yorod^u Cho published in 

"Brown, Hepburn, Verbeck— these are the 
three names which shall ever be remembered in 
connection with Japan's new civilization. They 
were young men of twenty-five or thereabout, 
when they together rode into the harbor of 
Nagasaki early in 1858. The first said he would 
teach, the second that he would heal, and the 
third that he would preach. Dr. S. R. Brown 


"Weary with the March of Life" 

opened a school at Yokohama, and with no os- 
tentation of a Doshisha, he quietly applied 
himself to his work until he died. Such eminent 
men as Mr. Shimada Saburo, Revs. Uyemura, 
Oshikawa and Honda, are the fruits of his labor. 
Dr. Hepburn healed ; famous Mr. Kishida Ginko 
made his name and fortune through him ; while 
the Doctor's dictionary will ever remain as a 
monument of patient philological work, not to be 
surpassed for many years to come. The two 
of the devoted triumvirate have joined the ' choir 
invisible' now for several years. ^ The third has 
now passed away, full of honors and good 
works. All three by their silent labors have left 
Japan better than they had found it. 

"Forty years of continued, unstinted service 
for the people not of one's own race and nation! 
Let our readers think of it. Is there any one of 
our countrymen who is thus spending and being 
spent for our immediate neighbors, the Koreans ? 
Forty years of continued unostentatious work, 
not to get money, or praise, but with an aim 
known only to himself and his Maker! Apart 
from the doctrines he came here to preach, there 
was a sustained energy in the man such that we 
might well envy and seek to possess. Perhaps 
he had in him the Dutch doggedness of his native 
land. But the joy, the contentedness, the sweet 
submission in his work seemed to imply some 
other source of strength not wholly explicable by 
physics and physiology." 

1 Dr. J. C. Hepburn is still (Oct. I, 1900) living. 

Verbeck of Japan 

The Kokumin no Tomo [The Nation's Friend] 
said : 
/ "By the death of Doctor Verbeck, the Japanese 
people have lost a benefactor, teacher, and friend. 
He was born in Holland, was educated in Amer- 
ica, and taught in Japan. The present civilization 
of Japan owes much to his services. Of the dis- 
tinguished statesmen and scholars of the present, 
many are those who studied under his guidance. 
That during his forty years' residence in this land 
he could witness the germ, the flower, and the 
fruit of his labor, must have been gratifying to 
him. It should be remembered by our people that 
this benefactor, teacher, and friend of Japan 
prayed for the welfare of this empire until he 
\ breathed his last." 

Even the Buddhists knew who was the friend 
of Japan. The Han^ei Zasshi said : 
/ **Dr. Verbeck was a missionary, who came to 
Japan before the Meiji Restoration, and rendered 
great services both to evangelization and educa- 
tion, through the long course of over thirty years. 
The doctor is surely one of those who rejoice in 
being the friends of Japan. We Buddhists who 
have no conspicuous success in foreign mission- 
work should be shamed by the example of this 
V venerable missionary." 

Here is the tribute of a true Christian woman. 
Miss Leila Winn, who, in the Master's name, 
toils in northern Japan : 

"Though for many years a member of the 
same mission with Dr. Verbeck, I never felt that 


"Weary with the March of Life" 

I really knew him until the autumn of 1897, when 
he came to Aomori to give us a ten days' series 
of lectures and sermons. The first thing that 
impressed me was what a student he was. He 
never preached at random. One could see at 
once that there had been thorough preparation 
beforehand. He called the little park at Aomori 
his 'study room.' As soon as breakfast was 
over he would go off to the park and not be 
seen again till noon. After dinner he did the 
same till evening. It was no wonder then that, 
evening after evening, he held his audiences 

''His self-effacement was another thing that 
impressed me. A compliment seemed to give 
him pain rather than pleasure. He always 
changed the subject. He wanted people to think 
of Jesus Christ, not about himself. 

"Dr. Verbeck swayed and governed those 
about him by his gentleness, rather than by 
words of fault-finding and criticism. His visit 
here made me wish to be a nobler, better woman, 
and to overcome all that was petty and belittle- 
ing in my nature. 

"One evening after one of his lectures I re- 
member finding my Bible woman in a brown 
study. When I asked what she was thinking 
about, she replied, ' I am thinking of that great 
man. Dr. Verbeck— and to think that after all he 
is human like the rest of us, and some day will 
die and be buried like any one else.' 

"Neither she nor I realized that his end was so 


Verbeck of Japan 

near,— when to use his own words, he would 
'go home to heaven, to his good father and 

Among the many notices in the newspapers of 
the United States, we reproduce that from The 
Independent, New York: 
' " We have here an illustration of what a man 
of strong nature and fme culture can do when he 
has the courage to use his concentrated powers. 
Dr. Verbeck has impressed his stamp on the 
whole future history of renovated Japan. The 
country which will give impulse and direction to 
all Eastern Asia will feel his influence and will 
hold his name in reverence through all the cen- 
turies of its future history. This plain, modest, 
forceful, learned, devoted missionary will be re- 
membered as are St. Augustine in England, St. 
Patrick in Ireland, and Ulfilas, the missionary to 
the Goths. The race of Christian heroes does 
not yet fail, nor the opportunity to serve the 
^ world." 

Let this final word close our story : 
"When all is said, his life is best summed up 
in the words: 'I determined not to know any- 
thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and Him 
crucified.' Untiring consecration to his Master's 
work ruled in all he did. His first pleasure was 
preaching, for which he had talents that would 
have made him notable in any land. I should 
say that his chief powers were the graphic vivid- 
ness with which he could portray a scene, being 
richly gifted in voice and gesture; then the re- 


" Weary with the March of Life " 

sistless logic with which he forced truth home. 
His sermons abounded in illustrations, and were 
the delight of Japanese audiences. Wherever he 
went, the people came in crowds to see and hear. 
"Without him, Japan will not seem like itself. 
Because of him Japan will grow less like itself, 
and more like the kingdom of heaven," 





Adams, C. F., 247. 
Aidzu, 146, 147, 168, 194. 

Albany, 63. 
Alcock, Mr., 84. 

Aline, 49. 

Ambassadors, 155-258. 

Americanism, 173. 

Americans, 18, 24, 48, 50, 62, 
102, 112, 120, 146, 169, 172, 
173, 202, 211, 217, 219, 247, 
250, 270. 

Amerman, Rev. J, L., 351. 

Amsterdam, 29, 41. 

Anabaptists, 34. 

Anglo-Saxon, 28, 125. 

Annapolis, 168, 169; 243. 

Anjier, 66. 

Aomori, 363. 

Arkansas, 51, 228. 

Army, 202. 

Art, 176, 177, 178. 

Asaki, 199, 200, 255, 256. 

Asakusa, 235. 

Ashmore, Rev. Wm., 66. 

Asia, 17, 28, 125, 267. 

Asiatics, 109. 

Atlantic Ocean, 49, 233. 

Auburn, 49, 57, 58, 62-64. 

Awoki, 327. 

Awoyama, 65, 353, 354. 

Ayabe, loi, no, 124-128. 

Bacon, Miss Alice, 222. 

Baelz, Dr., 213. 

Bakufu, 53, 109, no, 115, 143, 

146, 233. 
Ballagh, Rev. James, 65, 92, 94, 

165, 168, 218, 346, 352, 354. 
Bible, 22, 27, 103, 109, 126, 128, 

134, 189. 
Biwa, Lake, 106. 
Blackstone, 187. 
Black Tide, 244. 
Bluntschli, 46, 280. 
Board, Episcopal, 61. 

" American and Presby- 
terian, 172. 
Board, Reformed Church, 63, 

67, 92, 124, 191, 217. 
Bonin Islands, 72. 
Bridgeman, Rev. C. E., 67. 
British, 107, no, 115, 120, 134, 

142, 143, 164, 218, 270. 
Brown, Rev. S. R., 59, 62, 65, 

353» 361. 
Buck, Hon, Wm., 359. 
Buddhas, 342. 
Buddhism, 252, 267. 
Buddhists, 23, 75, 133, 149, 165. 

184, 227. 

Calendar, 40. 

California, 184, 231, 289, 319. 



Canton, 59, 67. 
Catechisms, 335, 337. 
Cayuga, 63, 64. 
Central Japan, 271. 
Chamberlain, Basil Hall, 177, 

178, 312. 
China, 54, 59, 112, 113, 123, 

135, 211, 272, 273, 274, 

Chinese, 26, 54, 66, 83, 107, 

III, 128, 133, 143. 157. 173. 

i89» i93. I97> 203, 227, 233, 

242, 272. 
Choshiu, 50, 106-122, 139, 143- 

149, 197, 204. 
Christendom, 23, 34, 133, 149, 

223, 255, 258. 
Christianity, 20, 60, 61, 69, 70, 

102, 128, 136, 149, 174, 215, 

256, 264. 
Christmas, 45, 46. 
Church of Christ, 354. 
Chrysanthemum, 177. 
Cobb, Rev. Dr., 349. 
Code, Napoleon, 46, 204, 280. 
Condit, Dr., 63. 
Constitution, 125-279. 
Copy of Bible, 349. 
Comes, Rev. M., 191, 220. 
Council Kariuzawa, 354. 
•* of Missions, 345. 
" of State, 148, 150, 210. 
Creator, 176. 
Creeds, 336, 337. 
Cross-trampling, 129. 
Cur tins, Donker, 60. 
Cycle of Cathay, 350. 

Dai Gaku Nan Ko, 230, 234. 

Dai Jo Kuan, 150, 282. 

Dai Nippon, 22. 

Dai Nihon Shi, 180. 

Dairi, 267. 

Decoration Day, 225. 

DeLong, Hon. Chas. E., 219, 

Delfshaven, 30. 
Delft, 30, 325, 
Department of Education, 222, 

252, 269. 
Deshima, 53, 60, 80, 87-9 1, 

no. III, 180. 
Diet, Imperial, 279. 
Dodge, Wm. E., 58, 63, 256. 
Doremus, Mrs., 63, 256. 
Dutch, 29, 46-60, 73, 74, 87, 

112, 129, 130, 139, 157, 163, 

169, 180, 201, 210, 222, 223, 

233» 254. 
Dutchmen, 17, 139, 210. 

East, 22, 143, 144, 240. 
Eastern Capital, 182-186, 194. 
Echizen, 107, 144-147, 170, 
171, 208, 214, 215, 218, 222, 

250, 253- 
Edicts, Anti-Christian, 96, 
Eguchi Baitei, 54. 
Emperor, 50. 
Empire State, 64. 
England, 34, 50, II9, 140, 161, 

English, 20, 42, 66, 108, 123, 124, 

133. 163, 175, 178, 189, 193, 

203, 204, 211, 214, 233, 251. 



Enomoto, 195, 329, 330. 

Epidemics, 98. 

Europe, 52, 60, 144, 185, 188, 

213, 231, 232, 234. 
Europeans, 54, 119, 146, 163, 

Evil Sect, 149. 

Ferris, Isaac, 63. 

Ferris, Rev. John M., 154, 155, 

200, 213. 
Test, Dr., 353. 
Foreign Languages, School of, 

220, 234. 
Formosa, 72, 271, 272, 274. 
Fort Howard, 49. 
France, 11 5- 120. 
French, 44, 112, 132, 135, 162, 

193, 203, 204, 218, 233, 234. 
Fuji Yama, 21, 27, 218, 250. 
Fukui, 171, 208, 214, 217, 250, 

252, 253. 
Fukuzawa, 194, 252, 311, 318. 
Fushimi, 152, 165, 181, 275. 

Gaskell, Mrs., 39. 
Ga Kinosuke, 163, 168 
Genahr, Rev., 66. 
Gen Ro In, 277, 282. 
German, 39, 46, 59, 64, 66, 203, 

210, 211, 212, 23 
Germanic, 60, 136. 
Germany, 29, 41, 42, 234, 275. 
Gingko Kishida, 361. 
Goble, Rev. Mr., 163. 
Gojingahara, 230. 
Gokuraku, 167. 

Goto Shojiro, 163, 170. 
Government, Imperial, 50, 1 38, 

Green Bay, 38, 48, 52, 55, 57. 
Greene, Dr. D. C., 252. 
Griffis, Miss M. C, 222. 
Grotius, Hugo, 151, 326. 
GutzlafF, 42, 142. 

Hague, The, 177. 

Hakase, 26. 

Hakodate, 53. 

Hakone Pass, 107, 194. 

Hale, Rev. E. E., 28. 

Harris, Townsend, 77, 87, 92, 

104, 106. 
Hartley, Mr., 164. 
Haruko, Empress, 195. 
Hasfegawa, 211. 
Hayashi, 321. 
Hebrev»r, 192. 
Helena, Ark., 51, 52. 
Hepburn, Dr. J. €., 87, 108, 208, 

Heusken, 92. 
Hideyoshi, 25, 59. 
Higo, Daimio of, 117, 212, 213, 

Hikone, 106. 
Hiogo, 158. 
Hirado, 60, 157. 
Hirozawa, 225. 
Historical Summary, 233. 
Hitosubashi, 107, 143, 146, 230, 

Hizen, 59, 99, 124, 131, 132, 
152-160, 171, 175, 197. 



Hoffman, Dr., 211, 218. 
Holland, 29, 43, 50, 115, I20, 

149, 195, 223. 
Hollanders, 43, 53-55, 62, 210. 
Homiletics, 333. 
Hondo, Rev. T., 356. 
Hongkong, 66. 
Hosokawa, 283. 
House, Mr. E. H., 289. 
Huguenots, 34. 

Ibuka, 359. 

Ichijo, 195, 

li. Premier, 75, 105, 106. 

Indemnity, 122. 

Independent, The, 364. 

Inland Sea, 157. 

Inouye, Count, 120. 

Iroquois, U. S. S. S., 148. 

Ise, Mr., 124. 

Ishiguro, Surgeon General, 210. 

Island Without Death, 157. 

Ito, Marquis, 120. 

Iwakura, 124, 132, 155, 156, 

195-2CX), 225, 227, 229, 256- 

261, 268-275, 305. 
Iwasa, 211. 
Iwasaki, 170. 
lyesada, 78. 
lyeyasu, 71, 72. 

Jamestown, U. S. S. S., 121. 

January, 175, 193, 226. 

Japan, 16-28, 41, 53-61, 68-80, 
95, 104, 105, 1 13-138, 142- 
164, 171-190, 192, 197, 205, 
214, 217, 219, 242, 247, 257, 
263, 265. 

Japanese, 16-28, 52-65, 72-89, 
107, 111-130, 150-170, 175- 
183, 191, 197, 200, 211, 212, 
218, 229, 232, 233. 

Japan Mail, 331. 

Java, 66. 

Jesuits, 16, 70. 

Kacho-no-MiyA, 213. 

Kaempfer, 1 10, 200. 

Kaga, 131. 

Kago, X70. 

Kagoshima, iii, 112, 226, 320. 

Kaibara, 26. 

Kaigan Church, 353. 

Kai Sei Gakko, 236, 307. 

Kai Sei Jo, 230, 233. 

Kamakura, 237, 251. 

Kanagawa, 26, 67, 77, 83, 108, 

III, 114. 
Kantaro Yanagiya, 131, 133. 
Katsu Awa, 158, 168, 225. 
Kearsarge U. S. S. S., lai. 
Keiki, 26, 107. 
Kellerman, 33, 34. 
Kido, 151, 197, 225, 227. 
Kitasato, Dr., 96. 
Kioto, 72, 78, 1 06- 1 19, 138, 

144-149, 168, 181, 195, 224, 

Kiushiu, 29, 59, 117, 129, 131, 

I74» 302, 350- 
Kobe, 144, 152, 158. 
Kochi, 350. 
Koide, 151-157. 
Koji-Machi Church, 297, 298. 
Komatsu, 139, 168, 169. 



Komei, Emperor, 144. 
Komoro, Rev., 302. 
Konishi, 73. 

Korea, 59, 73, 211, 274. 
Kubota, 128, 129. 
Kuge, 113. 

Kumi-Ai Church, 345. 
Kunaisho, 360. 
Kusakabe, 173. 
Kuwana, 146, 147. 
Kyo-Bashi Church, 298. 

Labouchere, C, 31. 
Lanman, Mr. Chas., 263. 
Lanrick, 121. 
Legation, American, III. 

" British, 107, 1 10, 142, 

Liggins, Rev. J., 81, 85. 
London, iii, 165. 
Loomis, Rev. Henry, 310. 
Lowder, Mr., 164. 
Lucy, Mr. Alfred, 209. 

Macao, 142. 

Maclay, Mr. Arthur G., 105. 

Maksumura, 170. 

Malay, 162. 

Man-en, 89. 

Manion, Miss Maria, 59, 64. 

Marco Polo, 69. 

Mason, Mr., 306. 

Matsudaira, 214. 

Mayeda, 257. 

McCartee, Dr. D. K., 323, 329. 

McDougal, Capt. David, 121. 

McKim, Bishop, 356. 

Meiji Period, 125. 

Mikado, 17, 106-123, 144, 148, 

150, 168, 170, 180, 194, 212, 

Mikado's Empire, 219, 247, 252, 

Miller, Rev. Rothsay, 385, 305. 
Milne, Mr. John, 163. 
Minister of Education, 253. 
" of Religious Affairs, 

Minister, U. S., 163-170, 183, 

Minnesota, U. S. S. S., 61. 
Minra, Mr., 321. 
Mishima, 317. 
Missionaries, 48, 52, 66, 67, 

Missionary Code, 343. 
Missions, American, 26, 60, 108, 

161, 191, 140, 172. 
Missions, English, 172. 

" Portuguese and Span- 
ish, 70. 
Mississippi Bay, 84. 
Mito, 105, 106, 180. 
Mitsukuri, 282. 
Miyako, (see Kioto), 138, 153, 

168, 170. 
Moravian, 29-35, 4'» 45* 
Mori, Arinori, 225-252, 253. 
Morioka, 288. 
Morrison, Ed. Society, 59. 
Motono, 125-128. 
Muller, 211, 212. 
Murata, 53-60, 10 1, no, I85- 




Murray, Vr. David, 273. 
Mutsuhito, Emperor, 144. 

Nagai, 170.] 

Nagasaki, 52-74, 94, 10 1, 108- 

117, 123-143, 150-188, 214. 
Nagasawa, 170. 
Nanko, 234. 

Naomi, Rev. Tamura, 302. 
Napoleon, 32, 34. 
Naval Academy, 153, 168. 
Navy, 202. 
Netherlands, 18, 21, 34, 50, 61, 

140, 285. 
Nevius, Rev. John, 64, 92. 
New Brunswick, 171, 208, 214, 

New Japan, 174, 194. 
New Testament, 54, 117, 125, 

140, 174, 189. 
New Year, 83, 100, 219, 

New York, 51-69, 118, 124, 

157, 200, 209, 264, 268. 
Nicolai, Pere, 25. 
Nihon-Bashi Church, 338. 
Nihon Guaishi, 1 8 1. 
Niigata, 195. 
Nijo, 106, 146, 148. 
Ningpo, 104. 
Nippon, 73. 
Nishinomiya, 159. 
Nitobe, Dr., 326. 
Nobles of Japan, 291, 304. 
Nobles' School, 289, 291, 298, 

303. 306, 308. 
Numagawa, 124, 223. 

Ogawa, Rev. Y., 356. 

Ogimi, Rev. G., 129. 

Ogin, 284. 

Ohara, 107. 

Okado, Dr., 257. 

Okubo, 50, 155, 156, 194, 197, 

198, 225, 227, 257. 
Okuma, 50, 125, 132, 174, 197, 

225, 259, 261, 263, 303. 
Old Japan, 128, 196. 
Old Testament, 189. 
Opium, 61. 

Order, Imperial, 3d Class, 355. 
Order of Rising Sun, 283. 
Osaka, 94, 106, 144-170, 175. 
Owari, 146, 147. 
Owasco Outlet, 59, 64. 

Pappenburg, 60. 

Paravium, 33. 

Parliament, 112. 

Parkes, Sir Harry, 142, 143. 

Passport, 329. 

Pearson, Lieut., 121. 

Peeresses' School, 222. 

Peking, 143, 173. 

Perry, Commodore M. C, 57, 

Pescadore Islands, 275. 
Philadelphia, 51, 63, 64, 181, 

218, 232. 
Pignatel, Mr., 163. 
Pilgrim Fathers, 30, 34. 
Pinto, Mendez, 69. 
Plan, 345. 

Political Economy, 187, 204. 
Portuguese, 60. 



Powhatan, U. S. S. S., 67. 

Principles, Five, 149, 

Privy Council, 225. 

Protestants, 136, 292, 309. 

Prussians, 34. 

Pruyn, Hon. Robert H., 121, 

Psalms, 27. 

Rai Sanyo, 180. 
Reformation, 33. 
Reformed Church, 29, 60, 61, 

62, 68, S3. 
Reformed Dutch, 63, 94, 1 24. 
Religion, 60, 70. 
Revolution, 226. 
Rising Sun, Order of, 286. 
Roman, 158, 310. 
Roman Catholic, 135-138. 
Rome, 140. 
Romanists, 183, 296. 
Ronin, 78, 104, iii, 114, 147,, 

Russia, 275, 276. 
Russians, 25. 
Rutgers College, 172, 217, 

Rutgers Graduates in Japan, 

156, 172. 
Rysenburg, 33, 37. 

Saburo, Shimada, 105. 
Saburo, Shimadzu, 107, 227, 

Saga, 54, 125-130, 157, 175, 

Sagara, 211. 

Sago, 316. 

Saghalin, 72. 

Saigo, 139. 

Saikio, see Kioto, 180. 

Sakai, 162. 

Samurai, 76, 77, 231. 

Sand Beach Church, 64. 

San Francisco, 218, 255, 268, 

Sanjo, Premier, 113, 225. 
Sannomiya, 357. 
Sasaki, 225, 232. 
Sat-Cho-To, III. 
Satoh, Henry M., 105. 
Satow, Mr. E. M., 119, 133, 

Satsuma, 106-117, 131, 139, 

144-149, 155, 164, 165, 197, 

218, 225, 226, 228. 
Scandinavian, 48. 
Schellinger, 30, 31. 
Schieffelin, Mr. James, 154. 
Schmid, Dr., 93. 
Schuylkill Valley, 64. 
Schwartz, 172. 
Scriptures, 103, 104, 109, 125, 

Scudder, Dr., 62. 
Sebastopol, 54. 
Sendai, 70, 168. 
Shanghai, 61, 65, 67, 68, 83, 

III, 113, 142. 
Shantung, 9a. 
Shiba, 235. 
Shiba Church, 354. 
Shidzuoka, 195. 
Shikoku, 131. 



Shimabara, 60, 71. 
Shimonoseki, 106, 1 12, 1 14, 1 15, 

121, 122, 143, 157. 
Shinano, 286. 
Shinshiu, 346, 350. 
Shinto, 23, 180, 342. 
Shirane, Mr., 213. 
Shitaya Church, 298. 
Shogun, 78, 106, 109-I14, 123, 

143. 145-148. 
Shokoku, Daimiajin, 227. 
Siam, 72. 

Simmons, Dr. B., 65, 67. 
Son of Heaven, 174, 194, 267. 
Soshi, 236. 
Soyeshima, 125, 133, 139, 168, 

173. 174. 225, 303. 
Speer, Mr. Robert E., 349, 350, 

Spider, 55. 
States-General, 30. 
Sterling, Sir James, 32, 53. 
Stonewall, 168, 169, 195. 
Stout, Rev. Henry, 184. 
Sturges, Mr. Jonathan, 154. 
Suez, 236. 
Suguira, 170. 
Sumiyoshi, 170. 
Summers, Rev. James, 165. 
Surprise ship, 65. 
Syle, Rev. E. W., 61, 67. 
Synod, General, 345. 

Takahashi, 257. 
Takasaki, 310. 
Takato, 213. 
Ta Kiang, 121. 

Talmage, Dr. John, 273. 
Tank, Rev., 48, 50, 52. 
Tatsu (Iwakura), 199, 200. 
Teikoku Daigaku, 233. 
Tenchijin, 211. 
Tenno, 267. 
T^rashima, 257. 
Thompson, Rev. David, 220, 

282, 355. 
Throne, 50, 144, 181, 195, 

Thunberg, no. 
Tokaido, 108. 
Tokio, 17, 22, 27, 33, 50, 93, 

106, 122, 144, 162, 163, 170, 

180, 184, 185, 194, 195, 199, 

219, 220, 223, 229, 23s, 236- 

256, 269, 273, 289. 
Tokio Daigaku, 233. 
Tokio Times, 289. 
Tokudaiji, 225. 
Tokugawa, 71, 74, 143, 147, 

214, 234. 
Tori, 221. 
Tosa, 50, III, 131, 139, 144, 

146, 162, 163, 197, 228, 312. 
Tsukiji, 229, 243, 288. 
Tycoon, 71, 74, 77, 106, 107, 

115-123, 138, 144, 145, 154* 

168, 195, 230. 

UCHIDA, 177. 

Ukuno, 355. 

Umeda, 165, 166. 

Union Church of Christ, 334, 

Union Theological School, 302. 



United States, i8, 22, 50, 57, 70, 
81, 93, 115, 120-126, 146, 
154, 155. >63, 168, 188, 257, 

University, Imperial, 129, 230, 
267, 307. 

Upper House, 303. 

Urakami, 150. 

Utrecht, 30, 36, 47. 

Uwajima, 144. 

Uyeda, 302. 

Uyeno, 194. 

Uzume, 247. 

Valley Forge, 64. • 

Van der Beek, 29. 

Van der Vliet, 29, 32, 34. 

Van Deurs, Rev. George, 48, 

Van Laer, 29, 30. 
Van Valkenburg, 50, 195. 
Veeder, Mrs., 222. 
Verbeck, Children, 297. 
Verbeck, Col. Wm., 97, 253. 
Verbeck, Miss, 351, 354, 357, 

Verbeck, Mrs., 133, 163, 231. 
Verbecks, ancestry of, 29-34. 
Von Zinzendorf, 29. 

Wada, Rev., 355. 

Wakamatsu, 194. 

Wakasa no Kami, 53, 64, 10 r, 

125, 127, 128, 316. 
Walsh, Mr., 118. 
Washington, 163, 257, 273, 307, 


Wayland's Moral Science, 194, 

West, 22, 48, 74, 145, 164, 198, 

West Indies, 41. 
Wigmore, Prof. J. H., 65. 
William II., 285, 
William III., 285. 
Williams, M. C, 81, 85, loo. 
Williams, S. Wells, 60-61, 64, 

67, 68, 262. 
William the Silent, 151, 307. 
Willow Cemetery, 171. 
Winnes, Rev., 66, 67. 
Winn, Miss, 362. 
Wisconsin, 48, 52. 
Wo-jin, 72. 

Wood, Chaplain, 61, 67. 
Wyoming, U. S. S. S., 121. 

Xavier, 70. 

Yagimoto, 213, 262. 

Yamaguchi Hanzo, 183. 

Yankee, 50, 152. 

Yashiki, 230. 

Yasukawa, Rev. Mr., 317, 

Yatabe, 253. 

Yatoi, 219. 

Yedo, (see Tokio) 53, 71-79, 
92, 104, 116, 122, 133, 135, 
143-149, I58» 161, 168, 169, 
183-188, 194, 200, 202, 210. 

Yezo, 72. 

Yokoi Brothers, 169, 172. 

Yokoi Heishiro, 124, 169, 1 81, 


Yokohama, 77, 87, 92, 106, 11 1 
121, 142, 162, 165, 182, 202 
210, 219, 223, 235-243, 257 

Yokoyama, 226. 

Yoshida, Mr., 163, 170. 

Yoshiwara, 229. 


Yushima, 234. 

Zeist, 21, 30-48, 10 1, 142, 267, 

Zinzendorf, Countess of, 31. 
Zipangu, 65, 69. 
Zwolle, 30. 


Date Due 




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