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NEWS OF 150 YEARS AGO

May-June 1860

From The Missouri Democrat, Wednesday, May 16, 1860.

Curious Facts about the Japanese.

[From the Alta California.]

A gentleman who had some communication with the Japanese, now in this port, states it is his belief that Masonry, or some institution nearly resembling it, exists in Japan. Captain Mangaroo, who acts as interpreter for the Admiral, hinted at some such an order, but did not seem to be very communicative about it, alleging that its propogation was restricted by law in his native country. Another still more curious fact is, that the Japanese think they can establish some distant relationship between the native California Indians and themselves. While the Candinmarruh was at Mare Island, an Indian lad, from the vicinity of Clear Lake, who had been domesticated as a servant in the family of Captain Frisbie, at Vallejo, was confronted with some of the Japanese, and a number of the works in his and their languages were found to be nearly alike. The boy left his tribe at so early an age that he had forgotten most of his native tongue, but many words which he could recollect, almost tallied with those of the Japanese. Some of the Japanese savants were anxious to see some chief or grown person of the tribe and establish the similarity more completely. At first, one of the officers insisted the lad was a runaway from Japan, and wished to take him back with them. There were also some physical characteristics about the boy, resembling an inferior class of Japanese. That the northwest coast was originally peopled from Asia, is no new theory; and even Mexico and Central America may have received their first inhabitants from the west. Japanese junks have visited the coast of America in times past. The wreck of one has been lately found on the coast of Lower California. The Japanese, indeed, may have reached the coast by an almost continuous land belt, formerly by the Aleutian and Fox Islands, along the fifty-first parallel of latitude. Some learned pundit might take this as the text for a pamphlet.

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