CHAPTER SEVEN Corea; the Second Treaty

SAFE on his throne again, or comparatively so, for a moment, the King of Corea wrote to his Chinese suzerain thanking him for his succour. His letter opened in terms that even the punctilio of Peking cannot have found fault with. "In humble meditation your servant reflects on the worthless manner in which he has discharged the duties of the post to which he was appointed by your Imperial Majesty. . . ."1

As usual, the poor down-at-heel monarch was only exchanging one trouble for another. During the period surveyed above, political motives were uppermost in the treaty-making with Corea. These considerations did not disappear now. On 16 November 1882, the Foreign Office wrote to Grosvenor, having heard that a Russian was expected in Corea in search of a treaty, instructing him to collect all the intelligence he could concerning Russian activity.2 Still, the Russian menace receded enough to let us reflect at more leisure on the mercantile aspect of out bargain; and when Admiral Willes' catch came to be examined, the feeling was that it would never do. Sir Robert Hart telegraphed: "New negotiations will effect nothing and will irritate: but ratify treaty opening door and rest will follow."3 The Foreign Office thought otherwise. Annotations on its copy of the treaty show that the main

____________________
1
Copy with Grosvenor 125, 8.11. 82), 900.
2
F.O. 155 conf., 16.11. 82), 17. 894. Enomotto, Japanese Minister at Peking, told his American colleague at the end of 1882 that his Government was thinking of an international conference to neutralise Corea under guarantee. ( Treat, Diplomatic Relations etc. 164.) Evidently Japan was suffering from another attack of nerves. The Foreign Office noted: "The Japanese Government are showing a very marked interest in the status of Corea." (To Wade, 20.11. 82), 17. 897.)
3
Telegram sent to the Foreign Office by Stuart Rendell, M.P.; 17. 940.

-101-

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