Memoirs of the head of the trading post at Dejima

DOEFF, Hendrik (1777- 1835)
Herinneringen uit Japan.
Haarlem, de erven François Bohn 1833.
VIII,268,[2 publ. cat.]p. Uncut in contemp. sprinkled boards, back chipped, printed label only partly preserved. Small old stamp and shelfmark to half title and title. A fine bright copy.

First (only) edition. Hendrik Doeff was head of the trading post of the Dutch East India Company at Deshima (Dejima) from 1803 to 1817. His Recollections of Japan is one of the most important accounts of Japan and Dutch-Japanese relations. Doeff's prolonged administration met with extreme difficulties. When he arrived at Deshima he found the administration of his predecessors a chaos and a fire had destroyed part of the buildings. After the outbreak of the Napoleonic Wars the traffic with Batavia had becomen extremely difficult, ships were captured by the English or by Chinese pirates. After Holland was captured by France and the East Indies by Britain - Deshima being the only place on earth where the Dutch flag flied - only a single ship from the East Indies arrived. The Dutch trade monopoly was heavily attacked by Russia and Britain and the Phaeton Incident of 1808, an English frigate attacking Deshima, asked the utmost of Doeff's diplomatic skills. Yet Doeff was very successful in maintaining good relations with the Japanese and he has also been praised for his genuine interest in the Japanese language and civilization. Unfortunately his papers, including a Dutch- Japanese dictionary, got lost in a shipwreck on his return to Holland and his present recollections are therefore his only literary remains.
*Cordier c.488.