~~ The Eastern Seas ~~

by Captain Bonham W. Bax, 1875


Bax, Captain Bonham W.:
The Eastern Seas: Being a Narrative of the Voyage of HMS "Dwarf" in China, Japan and Formosa, With a Description of the Coast of Russian Tartary and Eastern Siberia, from the Corea to the River Amur, London, John Murray, 1875, Bradbury, Agnew & Co., printers, Whitefriars, large 12mo (5 1/2 x 8 1/4 in), blue cloth, paneled in black on front and back covers, gilt decoration on front cover, lettered in gilt on the spine, one lithographed folding map of Formosa with color outline, 13 black and white woodcut illustrations (counting the frontispiece) which include 4 full page plates and 9 text illustrations, i-x, 287 pp with an additional 32 pages of publisher's advertisements. Bonham Ward Bax (1837-1877) was the Captain of the British gunboat HMS Dwarf. In this capacity he spent over three years (May 1871- November 1874) in Asiatic waters representing British interests in the region. This book is a chronological account of his experiences during this period. The narrative presents important contemporary and first hand account of the situation in China, Japan, Formosa, the Loo-Choo Islands (Okinawa), Hong Kong and the Russian Possessions in Tartary and Eastern Siberia. A significant portion of the book is devoted to Japan. The HMS Dwarf made numerous calls in Yokohama and Nagasaki and Bax recounts his travels (including a trip to Mt Fuji) in Japan during those visits. The ship spent over four months in Nagasaki. On one call she protected foreign residents during the Sega Rebellion. The Dwarf was in Nagasaki in May of 1874 when the Japanese launched a punitive expedition against the Bootan tribesmen in Formosa out of that port and those events are discussed. She subsequently sailed to Formosa in June and Bax met with the Japanese commanders of the expedition. The book contains an account of a visit in the Loo-Choo Islands where the Dwarf made a 2 day call (10-12 Sept 1871) in Naha, Okinawa. At this time, written Western accounts of Okinawa were seldom seen. The section covering the call in Okinawa can be reviewed here.

Title Page:

Folding Map - facing page 37

"Island of Formosa" (2 folds out, 20 x 27 cm)
Lithograph with Outlines in blue ("Edwd Weller, litho")

Full Plate Illustrations (4):


"Fusi-Yama Mountain, From Hocone"

"The Capture of Amoy by the Mandarin Forces, 1853" - page 57

"Pappenborg Island, Where the Christians were Thrown Over the Cliff, A.D. 1636" - page 153

"Vladivostok, Eastern Siberia"

Table of Contents:

  • Chapter I. Departure from England, and Passage out in H.M.S. "Tamar," April,, 1871 - St. Vincent -Ascension - St. Helena - The Cape - Natal - Mauritius - Singapore - Hong Kong - H.M.S."DWARF" Commissioned July 18, 1871 - Typhoon at Hong Kong - Amoy - Swatow - Takow in S. Formosa - Journey to Baksa - Tai-Wan-Foo. ends at page 36
  • Chapter II. The History of Formosa. ends at page 56
  • Chapter III. The Neighbourhood of Amoy - Journey Up the North River - Dragging a Schooner Off the Beach in Formosa - Visit to the Mission Stations S.W. of Amoy The Foo Chow Station - Kelung - Sar-O-Bay - The Loo-Choo Islands - Tam-Sui. ends at page 104
  • Chapter IV. Wreck of the "Yeddo" - Monastery on the Cushan Mountain - Disturbance at Twa-Tu Tia in Formosa - Visit to the Savage Tribes in the Interior - Fete at the Arsenal at Foo-Chow. ends at page 137
  • Chapter V. Search for a Lorcha - Chin-Chew - Arrive at Japan - Accompany the Commander-in-Chief to Kobe and Nagasaki. ends at page 156
  • Chapter VI. Voyage to the Russian Possessions in Tartary and Eastern Siberia - The Island of Yesso. 192
  • Chapter VII. Ascent of Fusi-Yama Mountain in Japan. ends at page 216
  • Chapter VIII. Kobe - Shanghai - the Homes for Seamen - Rebellion at Saga in Japan - Search for the Crew of a Schooner that had Foundered - Kite Flying Festival. ends at page 246
  • Chapter IX. The Japanese Expedition to Formosa - the Arrival of Three Canoes at Kelung from the Pellew Islands - Japanese Camp at Liang-Kiou, S Formosa. ends at page 274
  • Chapter X. Nagasaki - Effects of Typhoon, August 20th, 1874 - Shanghai - Ching-Kiang - Nanking - Ningpo - Hong Kong - Relieved by the New Ship's Company, November 30th, 1874. ends at page 287

List of Illustrations:

  1. Fusi-Yama Mountain, from Hacone* - frontispiece
  2. Beating Out the Rice - page 19
  3. Peppo-Hoan Woman and Child, Baksa - page 29
  4. "Catamaran," Formosa - page 35
  5. The Capture of Amoy by the Mandarin Forces, 1853* - page 57
  6. Pumping Water into the Rice Fillds - page 61
  7. Potted Ancestors, Amoy - page 64
  8. Savage Man and Woman, Formosa - page 124
  9. Pappenborg Island, Where the Christians were Thrown Over the Cliff, A.D. 1636* - page 153
  10. Vladivostok, Eastern Siberia* - page 160
  11. Wedge-Shaped Procession of Girls - page 163
  12. Japanese Mountain Coolie - page 199
  13. Japanese Junk - page 222

13 woodcut illustrations (counting the frontispiece), 4 full page plates* and 9 text illustrations.


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