by George Smith, Bishop of Victoria
Smith, George (Bishop of Victoria):
Lewchew and the Lewchewans; Being a Narrative of a Visit to Lewchew or Loo Choo, in October, 1850, London, T. Hatchard, printed by G. J. Palmer, 1853 (1856), 12mo (4 1/2 x 7 in - 11.6 x 17.7 cm), blue blindstamped cloth with gilt title on front board, black and white engraved frontispiece showing the "Residence of Dr. Bettelheim, Loo Choo," i~viii, 36 pages of publisher's advertisements at the rear, 95 pp.
George Smith, D.D. was the Lord Bishop of Victoria (Hong Kong). This is probably the most comprehensive English language account relating to Okinawa published prior to the narrative of American Expedition to Japan headed by Commodore Perry which arrived in Okinawa more than two years after Smith's visit. This book is Bishop Smith's account of his efforts, supported by the British Government, to obtain better treatment of Dr. Bernard Bettelheim. Bettelheim, a medical missionary, had been sent to Okinawa in 1846 by the British Loochoo Missionary Society. His presence on Okinawa was unwelcome by the authorities and his activities were constantly limited and hindered. Both Bettelheim and the Okinawan authorities complained about his situation but an impasse had developed. Neither side appeared to be willing to give in. Bishop Smith's visit was intended to show the Okinawans that the full authority and power of the English government supported Bettelheim's continued and unrestricted presence on Okinawa. Bishop Smith's account of his visit, which spanned the period from Oct 3 - Oct 10, 1850, provides exceptional insight into the conditions under which Bettelheim conducted his medical mission. It is an important account of Okinawa as it stood positioned at the leading edge of the relentless push by the Western powers to force Japan to open to outside trade and contacts. In addition to describing Dr. Bettelheim's mission, Bishop Smith provides insight into the geography, culture and political structure he found.
The publisher's advertisements are dated November, 1856 and printed by G. Barclay. While the book carries a publication date of 1853 on the title page, it was obviously assembled later. This edition was probably distributed in late 1856 as a result of the intense public attention on Japan and Okinawa that resulted from the successful American expedition to Japan.
Bishop's Smith's Report contains a 6 page (pages iii~viii) introduction which outlines the circumstance surrounding the mission and the reasons for the visit.
A PDF file containing the introduction and the first 20 pages of text (20 of 95) is here.
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