[KS] French colonialism & interest in Korea

Brother Anthony ansonjae at sogang.ac.kr
Wed Dec 3 21:17:20 EST 2014

Regarding the possible links between Hong and Maurice Courant, Maurice Courant only arrived for the first time in Seoul coming from Beijing on May 23, 1890 to act as secretary to Victor Collin de Plancy. I do not know when Hong set out for France but according to Regamey he had spent 2 years in Japan immediately prior to that, and his decision to make the journey to France was directly influenced by a former Japanese minister, who gave him a letter of introduction to Clémenceau. Did he return to Seoul to get his passport? Perhaps, but probably only for a short time. 

One thing in this direction that I find curious is Regamey's comment that after Hong met Francois George Cogordan (whom he had seen when he was in Seoul on June 4 1886 to sign the treaty of friendship and trade) he was puzzled never to be able to see him again, because, "pour des raisons de hautes convenances politiques, la France devait ignorer complètement la Corée, les Coréens et tout ce qui les concernait" (for reason of high political considerations, France had to ignore completely Corea, Coreans and everything about them). What was going on there? Perhaps Hong was simply too junior and insignificant, and poor? 

Br Anthony

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