Welsh Journals

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day, a retired military officer. sailed alone with a small boat and reached the schooner. He climbed up to the schooner at the risk of his life, and rescued Yi Hyon-ik from detention. After Yi's escape, the crew on The General Sherman became more violent and fired their cannons and rifles at the Korean people On 31st August, seven Korean people were killed and five wounded. On 3rd September, the Korean government met in the court to formulate a counter plan against the 'invasion' of the General Sherman. They agreed that the situation was serious as it was the first time a Western vessel had come into the interior and killed natives. The conclusion of the meeting was that the incident was caused by the fact that some natives had communicated secretly with the Westerners and that there was lack of discipline in obeying the instructions of Confucianism. So their view of the problem (according to Goh) was not political, diplomatic or military, but religious. This meant that Thomas's role in the schooner was very important in the eyes of the Korean authorities, as he was the only person preaching a foreign religion to the Korean people. This also meant the Korean government had treated the whole incident too lightly until that point. The confrontation had lasted a fortnight and then the regional governor sent a report to the central government asking for permission to kill all on board and burn the ship. The king took a fortnight to reply until, on 25 August, 1866, the attack began. All the hunters around the country had been called to P'yongyang including talented hunters from the northern provinces. They fired their rifles and arrows against the cannons of the schooner. Some described the schooner looking like a hedgehog as so many arrows were stuck to it. In the face of the aggression of the Koreans, the schooner seemed to be alarmed and responded by firing more violently. The situation worsened and the schooner tried to withdraw in a hurry.but it ran aground in the shallow, subsiding, flood waters at a small island called Ssuk-som. At this point Dr Goh refers to the official history of North Korea which describes the incident in detail, devoting 13 pages with photographs and maps to it: The picture of the burning General Sherman occurs on the first page of all 33 volumes! A local hero appears who happens to be the great-grand-father of the current leader of the North Korean Communist state (1945-1994) and he is revered and honoured in the North. But no record of his name is found in the lists which were printed to honour those who had fought. According to the official records of Korea, the Governor of P'yongyang Province led the army in a special operation to kill all on board and bum the General Sherman. On 5 September 1866 he gave the order to prepare lots of scows loaded with brush, with sulphur scattered in the brush. These were set on fire and allowed to drift alongside the General Sherman until the whole became a mass of flames'. A Korean report dated 27 July, 1866, states 'A strange western vessel anchored at P'yongyang and attacked furiously shooting at random, firing cannon and killing natives. It was decided that the only way to destroy her would be to counter attack with fire. The people thus attacked the vessel with fire boats, setting her completely ablaze'. The report also describes the last moments of Thomas's life: 'Choe Nan-hon and Cho Nung-bong (Hogarth's and Thomas's Korean names) appeared on the bows of the burning ship. They pleaded for their lives to be spared but were quickly captured by the natives. Their hands were tied and they were dragged to the river