Biography of Percival Lowell

By A. Lawrence Lowell | Go to book overview

CHAPTER V
THE COUP D'ETAT AND THE JAPANESE MARCH TO THE SEA

ONE more event in Korea interested him deeply, for it meant life or death to some of his nearest native friends, and under the title of "A Korean Coup d'Etat," he gave a graphic account of it in the Atlantic Monthly for November 1886. Although not himself present, since it took place in the December after he had left, it was not unconnected with the Mission to America of which he had been a member; for the policy of opening Korea to the world had not met with universal favor among the officials, and all those who had gone on the Mission did not take it very seriously. In fact the two groups rapidly drew apart, one side seeking to extend foreign contacts and the use of foreign methods, the other preparing to resist this. The latter began to strengthen themselves by enrolling what they called a militia,--really a rough body of men devoted to their interests,--until the progressionists, as their opponents were called, saw that they would be crushed unless they struck quickly. Among their leaders was Hong Yöng Sik, who had been especially attentive to Percival during his stay in SU +00F6ul, and he with his partisans decided to get control of affairs by the method whereby changes of ministry are often effected at a certain stage of political evolution, that is, by removing objection-

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