[KS] Account of the 1866 French 'visit' to Ganghwa-do

Brother Anthony ansonjae at sogang.ac.kr
Sun Sep 30 22:01:25 EDT 2012

In September1866 three French ships set out from China for Korea, where nine French Catholic missionaries had been executed in the great persecution of that year. The French reached Korea at the level of Ganghwa Island, 2 ships sailed up the Han River as far as Mapo but could not establish contact with the authorities so returned to Ganghwa where they stayed until 22 November. One ensign on the Primauguet was Jean Henri Zuber, who left the navy on returning to France in 1868 and became a noted artist. He published an account of the events in Ganghwa "Une Expedition en Coree"  in the annual publication _Le Tour du monde illustr?_, 1873. T. XXV, p. 401 - 416, illustrated with engravings based on the drawings he made during his stay. 

What makes his account especially interesting is that, as he says, he "passes lightly over the military aspect and focuses instead on the geographic and picturesque parts". He describes what he saw with obvious sympathy and interest, as an artist, in considerable detail. His account includes the (now well-known) fact that the beautifully illustrated books they discovered and took with them were deposited in the French National Library. His account includes a translation of the message from the King of Korea demanding their withdrawal. 

Another eye-witness account, much briefer and rougher, was recently discovered in a letter written by Eug?ne Masson, a quarter-master on the Tardif. See:  http://france-coree.assoc.pagespro-orange.fr/histoire/expedition1866_ctx.htm

I have now included in my 'Old Books about Korea' page http://hompi.sogang.ac.kr/anthony/BooksKorea.htm  a link to a scanned PDF file of the original Zuber article http://hompi.sogang.ac.kr/anthony/zuber.pdf  (with the engravings based on Zuber's sketches), as well as a pure text file http://hompi.sogang.ac.kr/anthony/ZuberText.html

I hope that the fact that the text is in French will not be a problem

Brother Anthony
Sogang U / Dankook U / RASKB

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