THE AMBIGUITY OF VIOLENCE: IDEOLOGY, STATE, AND RELIGION IN THE LATE CHOSŎN DYNASTY by FRANKLIN DAVID RAUSCH B.A., Indiana University (Bloomington), 2000 M.A., Indiana University (Bloomington), 2002 A THESE SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY in THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES (Asian Studies) THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA (Vancouver) September 2011 © Franklin David Rausch, 2011 ii Abstract My dissertation focuses on the violence associated with two Korean Catholics from the late Chosŏn dynasty. My first subject, Alexius Hwang Sayŏng, wrote a letter during the anti- Catholic suppression of 1801 to the bishop of Beijing proposing that a Western armada invade Korea to force the Chosŏn state to tolerate Catholicism, only to be arrested and executed for treason. In 1909, my second subject, Thomas An Chunggŭn, assassinated Itō Hirobumi, the first resident-general of Korea, in hopes that his death would lead to the restoration of Korean independence. Through the study of their writings, interrogation reports, court records, public pronouncements, newspapers, missionary letters and journals, I reveal the different types of violence they sought to justify, suffered, and were reacting to. While Hwang and Neo-Confucian officials both believed that violence could be legitimately deployed in order to actualize the worldviews mandated by their respective religions, the centrality of religion had largely been eclipsed by the secular ideologies of nationalism, Social- Darwinism, and Pan-Asianism, by An‟s time. This situation led to a struggle within and between An and foreign missionaries over the proper relationship between nation, state, and religion, and eventually to An‟s decision to kill Itō for both religious and secular reasons, even as the Catholic Church forbade violent resistance to Japan‟s colonial project. Through a comparison of the violence associated with Hwang and An, I show that religion can both encourage and discourage violence at the same time, and that its influence can be shaped, magnified, or diminished by secular worldviews, proving the difficulty in simply labeling violence as “religious” or “secular,” and the essentially ambiguous nature of violence. I therefore propose that, in contravention to scholars who argue that religion is somehow more violent than secular ideologies, it is not so much whether a type of violence can be labeled as secular or religious, but the contents of that worldview, its relationship with other worldviews within an individual, and the historical context in which it is actualized, that is more important in determining its propensity for violence. iii Preface Chapter 2 contains some material published in my article, “Wicked Officials and Virtuous Martyrs: an Analysis of the Martyr Biographies in Alexius Hwang Sayŏng‟s Silk Letter.” Kyohoesa yŏn’gu [Research Journal of Korean Church History], no. 32 (July 2009): 5-30. Chapters 5 and 6 contain material published in my article, “Chonggyo wa p‟ongnyŏk chŏngdangsŏng [Religion and the Justification of Violence].” In An Chunggŭn yŏn’gu ŭi sŏnggwa wa kwaje [Issues in the Study of An Chunggŭn], edited by An Chunggŭn Ŭisa Kinyŏm Saŏphoe, 207-31. Seoul: Ch‟aeryun, 2010. Chapters 7 and 8 contain material published in my article, “Saving Knowledge: Catholic Educational Policy in the late Chosŏn Dynasty.” Acta Koreana 11, no. 3 (December 2008): 47-85. I translated Hwang Sayŏng‟s Silk Letter, as well as some sections from his interrogation records, in collaboration with Professor Don Baker. I also translated selections from An Chunggŭn‟s autobiography and A Treatise on Peace in the East in collaboration with Jieun Han. Our translation of A Treatise on Peace in the East has been published online at the University of Toronto Centre for the Study of Korea‟s website (http://www.utoronto.ca/csk/prize.html) and as “A Treatise on Peace in the East.” Asia 6, no. 1 (Spring 2011): 48-75. My co-translators and I are currently in the process of preparing both of these translations for publication. Translations of these sources appearing in this dissertation are the ones I undertook with Don Baker and Jieun Han. iv Table of Contents Abstract……………………………………………………………………………………..........ii Preface…………………………………………………………………………………………...iii Table of Contents………………………………………………………………………………..iv Acknowledgements………………………………………………………………………………v Dedication………………………………………..........……………………………..…………..vi Introduction…………………………………………….……………………………………...…1 1 Hwang Sayŏng, the Chosŏn Dynasty, and Catholicism in Korea………………………....33 2 Violence and the Silk Letter…………………………………………………….………...….66 3 Hwang Sayŏng, the Silk Letter, and the Chosŏn State’s Persecution of Catholicism.…94 4 Transitions…………………………………………………………………………………..128 5 World Reactions to the Assassination of Itō Hirobumi…………………………………..154 6 The Trial and Execution of An Chunggŭn………………………………………………..191 7 An Chunggŭn Tells His Story…………………………………………………………...…232 8 An Chunggŭn, Religion, and Violence…………………………………………………….275 9 Conclusion…………………………………………………………………………………..309 Bibliography………………………………………………………………………………….. 319 v Acknowledgements Writing a dissertation is impossible without the help of many people. In particular I would like to thank my adviser, Dr. Don Baker, and my committee members, Drs. Nam-lin Hur and Tsering Shakya, for their guidance and insightful criticism, as well as their patience with the rather length comprehensive exams and dissertation chapters that I have afflicted them with. I would also like to thank Drs. Steven Lee and John Cooper who sat on my defense. Professor Cho Kwang kindly acted as my adviser while I was in Korea doing research and the Korea Foundation and the Vancouver Korean-Canadian Scholarship Foundation provided me with generous funding. I wish also to express my heart-felt appreciation to Fulbright Korea, which made possible ten months of study in the country with a wonderful community of scholars in the comforts of its own apartment building. I would also like to thank the governments and peoples of Canada and Korea for their kind support and for the friendships my family and I have formed in both those countries during my graduate career. Professors Bruce Fulton and Ross King helped me to develop my Korean language skills and Professors Francesca Harlow, Harjot Oberoi, and Peter Nosco helped me to grow as an aspiring academic. Many people assisted me over the course of researching and writing this dissertation. Yicheng Yeh helped me to decipher Chinese handwriting in some of the primary sources I used, Jeffrey Newmark and Woobinn Kim helped me to understand some tricky passages in Japanese newspapers, and Dongkyu Kim and Kangri Park did the same with some Korean ones. Jieun Han helped me to translate some of An Chunggŭn‟s materials. Fathers Yŏ Chinch‟ŏn and Kim Chinso provided me with important sources and guidance, and Dr. Eugene Park assisted me with some questions I had about genealogy and the military exam system. Several members of the vi Han’guk Kyohoesa Yŏn’guso (Korean Church History Institute), especially Drs. Yi Changwu, Ch‟oe Seonhye, Pang Sanggŭn, and Cho Hyŏnbŏm, provided me with a great deal of help and support. I am especially indebted to the institute for giving me the opportunity to present and publish my work. Dr. Sin Unyong and the An Chunggŭn Ŭisa Kinyŏm Saŏphoe (Association for the Commemoration of An Chunggŭn) provided me with similar opportunities. The staff of the An Chunggŭn Ŭisa Kinyŏmgwan (An Chunggŭn Memorial Hall) were also very helpful. A fellow graduate student at Korea University, Kim Kyŏngt‟ae, kindly provided me with a source that I was in desperate need of. I must also express my thanks to the Newburgh Public library system for having been able to obtain more books than I can count for me, enabling me to write my dissertation at home. There are many more people who I am sure have helped me without my direct knowledge, and I would like to thank them as well. Finally, I would like to thank my mother (Linda), father (Francis), wife (Arlene), and son (David) for their kind support, patience, and prayers. vii Dedication This dissertation is dedicated to the people it treats, in hopes that in some small way, it might help bring something good from the suffering they endured. God grant them rest and peace. 1 Introduction Violence is by nature ambiguous. There is something grotesque in the shedding of blood, the breaking of bones, and the destruction of bodies that demands explanation from the highest of moral authorities, such as religion, ideology, and the state, in order for it to be accepted as legitimate. To further our understanding of the relationship between violence and these three sources of moral authority, both in general and in the history of East Asia, this dissertation will take as its subject the lives and times of two Korean Catholics who lived during the latter half of the late Chosŏn dynasty (1392-1910). Specifically, I will examine how they justified violence, how violence was justified against them, and how their stories were used in narratives to legitimize the authority of the states that executed them. This study‟s first subject, Alexius Hwang Sayŏng (1775-1801), wrote a letter to the Bishop of Beijing during the great anti-Catholic suppression of 1801 asking for help. In his letter, Hwang proposed several plans that he hoped would win tolerance for the Catholic Church in Korea, including inviting a Western armada to invade Korea and threaten the life of the king. Hwang justified his actions by appealing to the authority of the “Lord of Heaven” and his representative on earth, the pope, as well as to the spiritual salvation and earthly benefits Catholicism would make available were it tolerated in Korea. Unfortunately for Hwang, he was informed on, arrested, and the letter was seized. The government justified his execution, and that of his fellow Catholics, by pointing to the threat they posed to the state and to the Confucian morality upon which it rested, and portrayed the foiling of his designs as a great victory, illustrating the government‟s devotion to Neo-Confucian orthodoxy and legitimizing its rule. 2 A century later, Thomas An Chunggŭn (1879-1910) found himself in a situation very different from that of Alexius Hwang Sayŏng. He faced, not a sustained persecution of the Catholic Church, but the destruction of his country‟s independence by the Japanese Empire. An hoped that the Catholic Church would aid him as he pursued non-violent means to build up Korea‟s strength and secure true autonomy, but his efforts were rebuffed. Though he kept the faith, he found himself increasing alienated from the French missionaries who led the church in Korea. As Japanese power on the peninsula grew, An turned to violent means, joining a guerilla army and then assassinating Itō Hirobumi (1841-1909), the first resident-general of Korea. An hoped that by killing him he would draw attention to the damage he believed Itō was doing to Korea and the region. He believed that once they knew the real situation on the peninsula, either the Japanese emperor would change his country‟s policy in Korea or the Western empires would intervene on its behalf. In public, An justified his actions by arguing that he was a member of a Korean army who killed Itō in order to win back his country‟s independence and safeguard peace in East Asia. Privately, he believed that God approved of and directed his actions. However, An failed to even gain a sympathetic hearing for his ideas from Japan or the Western empires, let alone policy reform or intervention. An Chunggŭn was born more than three quarters of a century after Hwang Sayŏng was executed into a very different Korea. How then is it possible to make a meaningful comparison between them? In fact, it is precisely this chronological gap that promises to make for a fruitful study, as an examination of the violence surrounding the lives of these two men will illustrate the constants and changes in the moral authorities of religion, ideology, and the state in the latter half of the late Chosŏn dynasty. In particular, it is during this time that religious modes of thought, dominant in late eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century Korea, declined in favor of secular 3 ideology. 1 This transformation is of great importance to this study, as it goes to one of its central theoretical questions of whether there is a difference between the type and intensity of violence justified by religious sources of authority as opposed to secular ones in the Korean context of this time. The cases of Hwang and An are ideal for comparison because, despite the different times in which they lived, they both faced similar situations that led to the production of neatly parallel sorts of historical records. Both men produced, in their own writings, some of the clearest statements justifying violence to be found in the late Chosŏn dynasty. Likewise, both Hwang and An were interrogated by the very states that they had sought to oppose with violence, and the representatives of these states used the violence Hwang and An justified to legitimize their executions and construct narratives that justified state authority, leaving behind similar historical records that can be examined comparatively. Such parallel records reflecting their similar cases, as well as Hwang and An‟s common faith, enable a meaningful comparison, while differences, the fact, for instance, that they opposed two different states, a native Korean one in the case of Hwang and a Japanese colonial government in that of An, will make the comparison fruitful, sharpening contrasts and revealing similarities that the apparent differences obscure. Theoretical Considerations In order to carry out a comparative study it is necessary to define terms clearly. This is especially true when discussing religion, as there are sharp differences among scholars over what religion is and whether or not there even exists such a category that possesses a single essence 1 For an overview of the changes experienced by the Catholic community in Korea see Don Baker, “From Pottery to Politics: The Transformation of Korean Catholicism,” in Religion and Society in Korea, ed. Lewis Lancaster and Richard Payne (Berkeley: Institute for East Asian Studies, University of California, 1998), 127-168. 4 that would enable the formulation of a universal definition applicable to all times and places. One thoughtful attempt at creating such an essentialist, universal definition of religion was that of the anthropologist Clifford Geertz, who described religion as: 1) a system of symbols (2) which acts to establish powerful, pervasive and long- lasting moods and motivations in men (3) by formulating conceptions of a general order of existence and (4) clothing these conceptions with such an aura of factuality that (5) the moods and motivations seem uniquely realistic. 2 This definition, while certainly deepening our understanding of religion when carefully used, contains, as Talal Asad has argued, serious problems intrinsic to its claim to accurately define religion as a universal category. As Asad shows, this understanding of religion as primarily being about meaning and belief arose during the West‟s transition into modernity and is founded on its historical experience with Christianity, a religion that places great importance on creeds that define orthodoxy. Therefore, the very idea of “religion” as a category arose out of a specific historical context and in connection to a particular “religion,” and to apply that label universally to other times and places that lack the characteristics of that context, or worldviews that emphasize aspects other than metaphysical doctrine, such as ritual or ethics, might lead to inaccuracies and misunderstandings. 3 For instance, the focus of popular Japanese religion on obtaining practical benefits through prayer might be categorized as simply a degenerate form of Buddhism mixed with native Shintō practices, leading easily to its dismissal as superstition, or at best, its acceptance as a lesser religion, obscuring its true meaning and importance in the religious life of Japanese people. 4 2 Clifford Geertz, Interpretation of Cultures (New York: Basic Books, 2000), 90. 3 Talal Asad, Genealogies of Religion: Discipline and Reasons of Power in Christianity and Islam (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1993), 27-54. 4 For an excellent study of popular Japanese religion, see Ian Reader and George J. Tanabe, Jr., Practically Religious: Worldly Benefits and the Common Religion of Japan (Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1998). 5 William Cavanaugh, in The Myth of Religious Violence, builds on Asad‟s insights, relating them to the study of religion and violence. Cavanaugh points out that, on one side, there are many scholars like Asad who argue that there is no essentialist category of religion and that the concept of “religion” grew out of the unique historical context of post-Reformation Europe and therefore cannot simply be applied in toto to the experiences of other places and times. On the other side, there are scholars who argue that because religion is absolutist, divisive, and irrational, it has a special propensity towards violence. Problematically, such scholars frequently treat religion as an essentialist category that is fundamentally the same in all times and places without actually providing a definition of what they mean by religion, or if a definition of religion is provided, it typically does not adequately differentiate religious and non-religious worldviews. For example, the definition of religion put forward might be broad enough to include nationalism. Despite this, nationalism itself will be excluded because it is “secular,” but when it becomes overly absolutist, divisive, irrational, that is to say, illegitimately violent, it will be classified as a religion. Thus, what is meant to be proven is assumed from the outset. 5 In order then to study the connection between religion and violence I need to show that the concept of religion is a useful analytical tool and provide a definition of religion that differentiates it clearly from other worldviews. I agree with Cavanaugh‟s and Asad‟s critique that there exists no reliable essentialist definition of religion. However, positing a working definition of religion is not necessarily essentialist. For instance, William Alston has provided a list of characteristics that scholars have normally associated with religion and contends that when enough of them are present, making that worldview closer to a religion than some other category, 5 William Cavanaugh, The Myth of Religious Violence: Secular Ideology and the Roots of Modern Conflict (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009), 3-56. 6 we can speak of it as a religion for the purposes of comparison and study. 6 In a similar vein, John Hick has applied philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein‟s concept of “family resemblance” to the study of religion. In explaining this concept, Wittgenstein pointed out that, while what we call “games” lack a single essential feature that identify them as belonging to one specific category and not another, we can still think meaningfully of such a category because what we refer to as “games” share an overlapping network of similar characteristics that allow us to conceptualize them all as the same sort of thing. Hick argues that we can think of religion in the same way. 7 Thus, as long as we are clear about what we mean by religion, the term itself serves as a useful tool that helps us better understand our subject of study and to compare it to other worldviews I will therefore develop a working definition of religion in accordance with the questions my dissertation asks. Central to my work is the question: “How have religions and other sources of moral authority been used to justify violence in the Korean context of the latter half of the late Chosŏn dynasty, both in terms of the arguments themselves, as well as how they are put forward and shaped by the particular circumstances of the person or people advancing them?” My second question flows from the first, “Is there a difference in the kind and intensity of violence justified by appeals to religious sources of authority as opposed to non-religious ones in the Korean context of the latter half of the late Chosŏn dynasty?” To answer these questions it is necessary to make clear what I mean when I label a worldview as religious or non-religious, that is, secular. Since my focus is on the question of 6 The characteristics given by Alston can be summarized as follows: (1) belief in a supernatural being, (2) distinguishing between the sacred and the profane, (3) ritual acts focused on sacred objects, (4) moral code sanctioned by the gods, (5) religious feelings connected to rituals and/or the gods, (6) prayer, (7) worldview in which there is a purpose and an individual has a place, (8) an organized way of life connected to this worldview, (9) and a social group bound to it. See William P. Alston, The Encyclopedia of Philosophy, ed. Paul Edwards (New York: Macmillan Company & the Free Press, 1964), s.v. “Religion.” 7 John Hick, An Interpretation of Religion, 2nd ed. (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2004), 3-5. 7 whether or not specific acts of violence are legitimate, I will define what I mean by religious and secular worldviews based on morality. By morality I mean what are considered ideals that are good and worth pursuing for their own sake and the rules that state what ought and ought not to be done in order to achieve them. 8 I will therefore define what constitutes a religious worldview as opposed to a secular one based on the type of moral authority a worldview recognizes and how the nature of that moral authority determines the content of the morality the adherent of a religion or secular ideology is expected to follow. According to my definition, in a religion, the content of morality is determined by a moral authority that is taken to be the ultimate ground of reality. Because this moral authority constitutes the ultimate ground of reality, the morality derived from it is understood to transcend time and place and therefore to be always true, that is applicable, always and everywhere. I will refer to non-religious (secular) worldviews as ideologies, which I define as a worldview in which moral authority arises from the human community, with the content of that morality being fundamentally determined within the context of that community without necessarily referring to the ultimate ground of reality. What a person ought and ought not to do is based on whether those actions contribute to the realization by the human community of the ideal called for by the ideology. My definition of religion might be criticized as one-sided and inadequate because it focuses on the issue or morality even though religions are often understood to include other characteristics, such as ritual and prayer. However, I have chosen to focus on the issue of morality because it is closely connected to my question about the differences in the kind and intensity of violence justified by appeals to religious sources of moral authority as opposed to 8 See Patrick H. Nowell-Smith, The Encyclopedia of Philosophy, ed. Paul Edwards (New York: Macmillan Company & the Free Press, 1964), s.v. “Religion and Morality.” 8 secular ones. As previously noted, religion is often understood to be more conducive to violence than other, secular worldviews because it is considered to be absolute, divisive, and irrational. I have therefore framed my definition of religion and ideology in such a way as to emphasize these characteristics in the worldviews I label religions so that I may test this hypothesis in the Korean context of the late Chosŏn dynasty. In order to show that this moral approach to defining religion is appropriate for my subject, I shall briefly expand on the various points that are made to support the argument that religion is particularly violent because it is absolutist, divisive, and irrational. First, it is claimed that, since religions base morality on the ultimate ground of authority, an absolute, which by its very nature transcends time and place, the morality derived from it cannot change. Religion is therefore inherently conservative—it cannot move with the times. Therefore, when the historical context in which religious people live transforms and threatens their religious views, they are more likely to lash out with violence in their efforts to bring the world back into line with them. In contrast, because ideologies base their morality on the human community their moralities can change as the community does. In addition, because of the absolute nature of religious morality, those who are deemed to violate it are judged more harshly than they are if they transgress the demands of a secular ideology, which, because its morality is relative, is more tolerant towards deviations and has more realistic expectations of human behavior. Second, some insist that religion also encourages violence because it is divisive. Adherents to a religion understand themselves as being absolutely right and those who disagree with them as being absolutely wrong. This division between the angelic self and the demonic other makes violence easier to justify and to appear all the more necessary. Moreover, in a struggle against the demonic other, religious adherents might see no need to follow moral norms 9 in how they treat their opponents. For example, they are more likely to justify violence against innocent civilians or to take an approach that the ends justify the means. In contrast, because ideologies focus on the human community, even when their adherents are involved in violent conflict, since they do not base their morality on an absolute ultimate reality, they are less likely to see the other as demonic and themselves as angelic, or at least not to the same degree as religious adherents, and therefore the violence they use will be less intense. Moreover, because ideologies focus on a human community, they are more likely to emphasize a shared humanity, and therefore to treat their opponents in accordance with moral norms, for instance, by following the civilized rules of warfare. Finally, it is argued that religions are fundamentally irrational because they, and the claims they make, cannot be empirically proven and are therefore impossible to verify. 9 Therefore, religious adherents are willing to continue fighting battles that they cannot possibly win for goals that, if they focus on this world, they will likely never obtain, or, if on the next, cannot be verified. In contrast, ideologies, because they focus on the human community and are realized in the here and now, can be measured empirically and, if they do not bring the results that they promise, discarded. In addition, because religious adherents focus on a non-empirically provable ultimate reality for their absolute morality, they are unable to rationally engage and compromise with those they disagree with to the same degree as those following secular ideologies. In fact, because religious adherents focus on the non-empirical, they think very differently from normal human beings, leading them to act irrationally. 10 9 Hector Avalos, Fighting Words: The Origins of Religious Violence (Amherst: Prometheus Books, 2005), 17-20. 10 Charles Selengut, Sacred Fury: Understanding Religious Violence, 2nd ed. (Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, INC., 2008), 44. 10 An example of such thinking that combines all three of these factors can be seen in Mark Juergensmeyer‟s theory of “cosmic war.”11 Juergensmeyer argues that concepts of cosmic war develop when human beings understand themselves to be locked into metaphysical conflicts between good and evil. All religions contain this concept, which comes to the fore and leads to real violence when the historical context is right. While Juergensmeyer seems to view secular worldviews as also having the possibility of producing narratives of cosmic war, he understands the concept as playing a greater role in religion, writing that “What makes religious violence particularly savage and relentless is that its perpetrators have placed such religious images of divine struggle—cosmic war—in the service of worldly political battles.”12 An example of such thinking that combines all three of these factors can be seen in Mark Juergensmeyer‟s theory of “cosmic war.”13 Juergensmeyer argues that concepts of cosmic war develop when human beings understand themselves to be locked in metaphysical conflicts between good and evil. All religions contain this concept, which comes to the fore and leads to real violence when the historical context is right. While Juergensmeyer seems to view secular worldviews as also having the possibility of producing narratives of cosmic war, he understands the concept as playing a greater role in religion, writing that “What makes religious violence particularly savage and relentless is that its perpetrators have placed such religious images of divine struggle—cosmic war—in the service of worldly political battles.”14 According to Juergensmeyer, because religious adherents can link political struggles with the concept of cosmic war, elevating them to a transcendent, metaphysic level, they easily come 11 Mark Juergensmeyer, Terror in the Mind of God: The Global Rise of Religious Violence, 3rd ed. (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2003), 148-218. 12 Juergensmeyer, 149-50. 13 Mark Juergensmeyer, Terror in the Mind of God: The Global Rise of Religious Violence, 3rd ed. (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2003), 148-218. 14 Juergensmeyer, 149-50. 11 to see themselves in a conflict of good versus evil, making it difficult for them to compromise with their opponents. The very otherness and cosmic wrongness of their enemies also allows religious adherents to ignore ordinary rules of morality, thus making it easier for them to see innocent civilians as legitimate targets. Moreover, Juergensmeyer contends that those who accept a scenario of cosmic war and use terror to achieve their goals often engage in symbolic acts that, while making themselves feel powerful, do not actually help them obtain the results they desire. These acts are therefore fundamentally irrational. Thus, while Juergensmeyer sees a positive role for religion, as it can be useful because it “gives spirit to public life and provides a beacon for moral order,” it first “needs the temper of rationality and fair play that Enlightenment values give to civil society.”15 Religion is therefore dangerously emotional, that is, irrational, until it is properly tamed by secular ideology. Having defined religion and ideology, I will now classify the worldviews this study will be examining into one of the two categories. According my definition, Catholicism is clearly a religion, but what about Neo-Confucianism? In response I must make clear that in this dissertation, by Neo-Confucianism I mean only that form of the tradition that state officials drew upon to justify the suppression of Catholicism in the late Chosŏn dynasty. In this form of Neo- Confucianism, the state was understood to have the duty to actualize the workings of the cosmic pattern (li/理) within the geographic borders it ruled. This immaterial cosmic pattern formed the universal ground of reality, governing everything from proper human relationships to natural phenomena, such as the movement of the moon and stars. In fact, the two were connected: when human beings behaved poorly (that is, against the cosmic pattern), weather patterns would change and natural disasters would strike. And, as we shall see, one of the main reasons the 15 Juergensmeyer, 248-49. 12 Chosŏn state sought to suppress Catholicism was because Catholics violated moral norms that arose, not from the human community, but from this cosmic pattern that gave birth to the universe and determined its proper workings. 16 Thus, according to my definitions, Neo- Confucianism is closer to a religion than an ideology, and therefore will be classified as the former. The secular ideologies I will examine will consist primarily of civilization and enlightenment thought, social-Darwinism, pan-Asianism, and nationalism. I will discuss the first three in greater detail in chapter four, but for now will note that in referring to nationalism, I will utilize Anthony Smith‟s definition of it “as an ideological movement for the attainment and maintenance of autonomy, unity, and identity on behalf of a population some of whose members deem it to constitute an actual or potential „nation,‟” and nation “as a named human population occupying a historic territory and sharing common myths and memories, a public culture, and common laws and customs for all members.”17 I will also use Max Weber‟s definition of the state as, “a human community that (successfully) claims the monopoly of the legitimate use of physical force within a given territory.”18 By violence I will mean the purposeful infliction of bodily harm on an individual against that person‟s will. Thus, according to my definition, cutting off a man‟s arm to save his life by stopping an infection from spreading is not violent, but cutting it off as punishment for a crime, providing he does not will it, is. Moreover, I must stress that in using the term “violence” to refer to various acts, I am not making a value judgment. My use of that word should be taken as 16 See Don Baker, Korean Spirituality (Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 2008), 47-54, 65, 95, and 113; Keum Jang-tae, Confucianism and Korean Thoughts (Seoul: Jimoondang Publishing Company, 2000), 3-10. 17 Anthony D. Smith, Chosen Peoples: Sacred Sources of National Identity (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003), 24-25. 18 Max Weber, “Politics as a Vocation,” http://www.ne.jp/asahi/moriyuki/abukuma/weber/lecture/politics_vocation.html (accessed August 12, 2010). 13 morally neutral, with the adjectives, illegitimate, legitimate, justified, and unjustified marking whether it is “good” or “bad” violence from the perspective of the subjects of this study. Thus, I will examine how Hwang and An argued that the violence they proposed was justified and that inflicted on their communities was illegitimate, and how the states they opposed argued the opposite, and not whether such violence was truly legitimate or not. Having established definitions that clearly differentiate religion from ideology, I will, after presenting the data in the intervening chapters, argue in my conclusion that the classification of a worldview as religious or secular, at least in the Korean context, does not appreciably help us to differentiate the intensity or kind of violence being legitimized. Instead, as we shall see in the Korean context of the late Chosŏn dynasty, secular, religious, and other factors, such as various understandings of the role of the state and the relationship its members should have with it, shaped, along with historical context, how violence was justified, and together formed the kind of violence that was utilized and determined its intensity. I will then suggest, looking at the similarities in how different people justified violence in the Korean context, ways that we can better understand violence in other contexts. In particular, I will argue that central to understanding violence is recognizing the rationality of those who justify it, in particular, as revealed in the stories they tell that explain why they believe violence is necessary. 14 Violence and Korean History Hwang Sayŏng and the Suppression of 1801 In the hundred and fifty years after Hwang wrote the Silk Letter, he was heavily criticized by Confucian elites, who edited and circulated their own editions of his missive, as well as by Paul Chŏng Hasang (1795-1839), a devout Catholic and Hwang‟s kinsmen. Charles Dallet (1829-1878), the compiler of The History of the Catholic Church in Korea, and Bishop Gustave Mutel (1854-1933), the head of the Catholic Church in Korea in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, while stating that Hwang‟s intent was good, criticized him as reckless, immature, and unrealistic. During the colonial period, a Japanese Catholic priest argued that Catholicism in Japan was superior to its counterpart in Korea because during the time of anti- Catholic persecutions in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries Japanese Catholics did not invite a Western armada to invade their country. Similarly, the work of the Japanese historian Yamaguchi Masayuki, who was active during the colonial period (1905-1945), saw in the Silk Letter incident proof that Korean factionalism had destroyed effective government and only an outside force, such as the Japanese colonial state, could reform the country. 19 More recently, North Korean scholars have been very critical of Hwang and Catholicism. For example, one publication described Hwang‟s missive as a “secret letter that sold out the country” and the Chinese priest Father Zhou Wenmo (1752-1801) as the “vanguard of French capitalism” who wrote to the French (actually Portuguese) Bishop of Beijing (referred to as nom, a derisive term meaning “low-class person”) to ask that an invasion force be sent to obtain 19 Yŏ Chinch‟ŏn, Hwang Sayŏng <Paeksŏ> yŏn’gu: wŏnbon kwa ibon pigyo kŏmt’o [The Silk Letter of Hwang Sayŏng: a comparative investigation of the original and alternate versions] (Seoul: Han‟guk Kyohoesa Yŏn‟guso, 2009), 19-25. 15 religious “freedom” (quotes are in the original and likely denote sarcasm). This was presented as evidence that Catholics had always sought to invade Korea. 20 South Korean historians, while not being as harsh in their criticism, have similarly attacked Hwang from a nationalist standpoint and accused him of committing treason. 21 Many Protestant scholars also criticize Hwang in a similar way, asserting that their own Christian tradition has better nationalist credentials than Catholicism.22 However, not all take this position. Some, while not justifying Hwang‟s actions, attempt to explain the difficulties he faced and his attempt to save the “church” (kyohoe).23 One Protestant, Yi Chŏngnin, even praised Hwang as a martyr who sought to open the eyes of the masses (minjung) to faith so that they would know God and be freed from superstition. Moreover, Yi argued that had Hwang‟s hoped-for armada actually arrived then Korea would have been opened to Western influence in 1801, giving it a head-start on Japan and providing the country with adequate time to modernize, preventing both its colonization and division. Hwang‟s actions were therefore not only justified, they were a prophetic act of faith aimed at saving the nation. 24 Korean Catholic understandings of the Hwang and the Silk Letter have changed over time. The Korean Catholic historian Yu Hongnyŏl treated the Silk Letter in 1949, and again in 1962. While seemingly defending Hwang‟s actions by stressing the difficult situation he faced as he 20 See Sahoe Kwahak Ch‟ulp‟ansa, Ryŏksa sajŏn [Historical Dictionary] (P‟yŏngyang: Sahoe Kwahakwŏn Ryŏksa Yŏn‟guso, 1971), 2:1101, quoted in Hŏ Tonghyŏn, “Hwang Sayŏng Paeksŏ-e taehan kŭnhyŏndae hakkye ŭi p‟yŏngga [Evaluations of Hwang Sayŏng‟s Silk Letter in modern and contemporary scholarship],” in Sinyu pakhae wa Hwang Sayŏng Paeksŏ sakkŏn [The 1801 Persecution and the Hwang Sayŏng Silk Letter incident], ed. Ch‟oe Ch‟anghwa (Seoul: Han‟guk Sun‟gyoja Hyŏnyang Wiwŏnhoe, 2003), 216-17. For a general overview of North Korean perspectives on the Silk Letter, see the same article, 172-77. 21 See Hŏ Tonghyŏn, 163-171. 22 For examples, see George Paik, The History of Protestant Missions in Korea (1927; repr., Seoul: Yonsei University Press, 1980), 38; Wi Jo Kang, Christ and Caesar in Modern Korea: A History of Christianity and Politics (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1997), 7. 23 See Kim Sŏngjung, Han’guk Kidokkyosa [History of Christianity in Korea] (Seoul: H‟anguk Kyohoe Kyoyuk Yŏn‟guso, 1980), 36, quoted in Hŏ Tonghyŏn, 206. 24 Yi Chŏngnin, Hwang Sayŏng Paeksŏ yŏn’gu [A study of Hwang Sayŏng‟s Silk Letter] (Seoul: Ilchogak, 1999), iii-iv, 4-8, and 229-33. 16 wrote the Silk Letter, Yu spent little time on Hwang‟s proposals, instead using the incident to criticize the Chosŏn dynasty for the “toadyism” (sadae sasang/事大思想) it displayed towards Qing China in resolving the incident. This same work also praised the Silk Letter as being of great historical importance as it revealed the thought of the Catholic Church and Chosŏn dynasty Koreans of the time. 25 The preface to the 1959 translation of the Silk Letter by Kim Ikchin, serialized in a journal for Catholic youth, emphasized that Hwang was seeking religious freedom (chonggyo ŭi chayu) so that the Gospel could be spread without fear. The author drew upon anti-Communism to justify Hwang‟s actions, comparing Hwang‟s attempt to obtain military help to stop the murder of Christians by a “tyrannical dictatorship” to the UN‟s intervention on behalf of the Republic of Korea in order to repulse the Communists and the violent tyranny they sought to spread. At the same time, the author still showed some discomfort with Hwang‟s views, pointing out that they were simply his private opinion, arose in part because he was a reckless youth, and that he had only sought to use the threat of violence, not violence itself. 26 Increasing nationalism in the 70s and 80s meant that it was no longer possible to deflect criticism of the Silk Letter by appealing to anti-Communism or criticizing the Chosŏn dynasty. Of special importance was the rise of Minjung (a word meaning “the masses” or “the common people”) ideology, which saw the masses as the primary movers of Korean history and the repository of true Korean identity, was highly critical of any sort of foreign intervention in Korea, 25 Yu Hongnyŏl, Chosŏn Ch’ŏnjugyohoesa [The history of the Catholic Church in the Chosŏn dynasty] (Seoul: Chosŏn Ch‟ŏnjugyohoe Sun‟gyoja Hyŏnyanghoe, 1949), 1:182-187 and (Chŭngpo) Han’guk Ch’ŏnjugyohoesa [(Expanded) History of the Korean Catholic Church] (Seoul: Kat‟ollik Ch‟ulp‟ansa, 1962), 1:164-68. Both are cited in Hŏ Tonghyŏn, 185-87. 26 See Kim Ikchin, trans. “Hwang Sayŏng Paeksŏ,” Kat’ollik ch’ŏngnyŏn [Catholic youth] 13, no. 1-11 (January- November 1959). 17 and sought massive social reform. 27 Historians writing from such a perspective were not favorable to Hwang‟s attempt to invite a Western armada into Korea. One response to such criticism can be seen in a 1977 article written by the Catholic Professor Cho Kwang of Korea University. Cho argued that Hwang, like the minjung of the Chosŏn dynasty, was looking for a social revolution, which he believed would take place through the propagation of Catholicism. Because of the anti-Catholic persecution, Hwang lamentably turned to military force in order to obtain religious freedom. While Hwang was wrong to do so, he only took such actions because, like the minjung, he suffered oppression. Thus, despite Hwang‟s error, Catholics, by virtue of their suffering, essentially stood with the minjung on the right side of history. 28 Around the time of Cho‟s article, other Catholics were publishing similar defenses of Hwang for popular audiences. While rejecting Hwang‟s actions, they sought to emphasize the difficult situation that the church was in and that Hwang was sincerely looking for freedom of religion and not political power. Such treatments stressed that Hwang was a martyr who had rejected worldly ambitions to serve the church and had kept the faith despite horrible torture. Thus, Hwang was mistaken, but not a bad person. Catholics honored him because he was a martyr, not because of the Silk Letter. 29 Work by Catholic scholars on Hwang and the Silk Letter made a major leap forward with a conference held in 1998 in preparation for the two-hundredth anniversary of the 1801 27 For an overview of the Minjung movement, see Namhee Lee, The Making of Minjung: Democracy and the Politics of Representation in South Korea (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2009). For a brief summary of a Minjung historical perspective, see Gregg Brazinsky, Nation Building in South Korea: Koreans, Americans and the Making of a Democracy (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2009), 184-85. 28 Cho Kwang, “Hwang Sayŏng Paeksŏ ŭi sahoe wa sasangjŏk paegyŏng [The social and intellectual background of Hwang Sayŏng‟s Silk Letter],” in Sinyu pakhae wa Hwang Sayŏng Paeksŏ sakkŏn, ed. Ch‟oe Ch‟anghwa (Seoul: Han‟guk Sun‟gyoja Hyŏnyang Wiwŏnhoe, 2003), 257-93. 29 For examples, see Pak Tosik, Sun’gyojadŭl ŭi sinang [The faith of martyrs] (1978; repr., Seoul: Paoro Ttal, 2004), 23-26 and Han‟guk Ch‟ŏnjugyohoe 200-chunyŏn Kinyŏm Saŏp Wiwŏnhoe Sibok Sisŏng Ch‟ujinbu, ed., Sinang ŭi sŏnjodŭl [Pioneers of faith], (Seoul: Han‟guk Chŏnjugyohoe Ibaek Chunyŏn Kinyŏm Saŏp Wiwŏnhoe, 1984), 65- 74. This section, entitled “Hwang Sayŏng Alreksantel (1775-1801) [Hwang Sayŏng Alexander (1775-1801)],” was written by Yi Wŏnsun. 18 suppression of Catholicism, the proceedings of which were published in the journal of the Institute of Korean Church History (Han’guk Kyohoe Yŏn’guso). The main subject of this conference was the controversy surrounding Catholic attempts to bring Western ships into Korea, including Hwang‟s.30 While not justifying his actions, some presenters tried to place Hwang in his historical context in order to better explain his actions. For example, Pang Sanggŭn, a researcher at the Institute of Korean Church History, argued that it would be anachronistic to judge Hwang in accordance with modern-day concepts of national consciousness, which did not exist in the Korea of his time. 31 The presentation given by a professor at Suwŏn Catholic University, Ha Sŏngnae, is worth examining in detail as it provided the most explicit defense of Hwang. Ha portrayed Hwang in a positive light, noting that he bravely endured torture and forcefully confessed the Catholic faith. Ha also stressed that Hwang felt duty-bound to protect the church, and that other Catholics refused to inform on him in a large part because they shared this concern. The key question for Ha is against whom was Hwang‟s “treason” directed? Ha argued that Hwang‟s actions were not directed against the royal house or the nation as a whole, but were aimed at the powerful and corrupt Old Doctrine faction (Noronp’a), which, because of its stubborn devotion to Neo-Confucianism, prevented Korea from opening to the world and developing. Hwang, in contrast, believed that Catholicism would morally transform the country and open it to the outside world, bringing progress. Thus, Hwang was something of a prophet. Moreover, because he was acting on behalf of religious freedom and did not possess treasonous motives, he could not be defined as a traitor. Ha‟s main criticism is that Hwang put too much confidence in Westerners. Ha leaves the question of whether Hwang‟s invasion proposal was legitimate or not 30 These presentations were published as articles in Kyohoesa yŏn’gu [Studies of Church History] 13 (July 1998). 31 Pang Sanggŭn, “Hwang Sayŏng <Paeksŏ> wa punsŏkchŏk ihae [An analysis of Hwang Sayŏng‟s Silk Letter],” Kyohoesa yŏn’gu 13 (July 1998): 170-74. 19 open, only asking rhetorically whether or not Hwang‟s actions would have been judge differently if he would have been successful and Korea opened to the West, allowing its early modernization. 32 The increased interest in Hwang by Catholics arose in part because the Silk Letter is one of the few historical sources covering the 1801 persecution written from a Catholic perspective and is therefore of key importance in the efforts to have those executed at that time canonized. It was this that led the Korean Catholic Martyr Exaltation Society (Han’guk Sun’gyoja Hyŏnyang Wiwŏnhoe) to issue a collection of articles on the Silk Letter incident in 2003, many of which sought to defend Hwang in new and creative ways. For example, Hwang was presented as an intellectual revolutionary who sought to bring human rights and religious freedom to Korea. 33 Similarly, the charges of treason were reversed: it was the persecutors of the Catholics, Queen Chŏngsun (the regent for the minor king Sunjo, 1745-1805) and the Old Doctrine faction, who were the true traitors to the nation, as they governed in accordance with their own selfish interests rather than the good of the people. Hwang, a Confucian as well as a Catholic, understood the principle recognized by Mencius that the will of the people was the will of heaven, enabling them to legitimately act against the state for the good of the nation. 34 2003 also saw the publication of another work which treated Hwang Sayŏng and the Silk Letter, Wŏn Chaeyŏn‟s Chosŏn wangcho ŭi pŏp kwa kurisŭdogyo (Chosŏn Dynasty Law and Christianity). Wŏn examined the Silk Letter incident in one of the chapters of this book. He 32 Ha Sŏngnae, “Hwang Sayŏng ŭi kyohoe hwaldong kwa sun‟gyo-e taehan yŏn‟gu [A study of Hwang Sayŏng‟s church activities and martyrdom],” Kyohoesa yŏn’gu 13 (July 1998): 73-144. 33 Ch‟oe Wan‟gi, “Hwang Sayŏng Paeksŏ chaksŏng ŭi sasangjŏk paegyŏng [The intellectual background of the composition of Hwang Sayŏng‟s Silk Letter],” in Sinyu pakhae wa Hwang Sayŏng Paeksŏ sakkŏn, ed. Ch‟oe Ch‟anghwa (Seoul: Han‟guk Sun‟gyoja Hyŏnyang Wiwŏnhoe, 2003), 77-102. 34Kim Chinso, “Sinyu pakhae tangsi sŏyang sŏnbak chŏngwŏn ŭi t‟ŭksŏng [The particular characteristics of the invitation of a Western ship during the time of the 1801 persecution],” in Sinyu pakhae wa Hwang Sayŏng Paeksŏ sakkŏn, ed. Ch‟oe Ch‟anghwa (Seoul: Han‟guk Sun‟gyoja Hyŏnyang Wiwŏnhoe, 2003), 103-37. 20 framed his discussion by asking the question of whether national sovereignty or human rights are more important, and, throughout his work, emphasized that the latter takes priority, grounding his argument in such documents as the UN Declaration of Human Rights. Wŏn contended that Hwang was a proponent of human rights, specifically, freedom of religion. Furthermore, Wŏn defined Catholics as a minority group persecuted unjustly for their religious beliefs by a tyrannical and corrupt government. Like Cho, Wŏn linked the suffering of Catholics with those of other Koreans, as the persecutions were only one aspect of the injustice committed against the common people by their government. Similar to the preface of the 1959 translation of the Silk Letter, Wŏn looked to international organizations, particularly the UN, as a source of moral authority. While asserting that an actual invasion of Korea would have been illegitimate as it would have led to human rights abuses, Wŏn contended that the mere threat of violence, so long as it was not actualized, would have been legitimate. 35 In 2008, the head of the Korean Church History Institute, Yi Changwu, published an article in which he sought to reexamine Hwang, coming to conclusions very similar to that of Yi Chŏngnin.36 In his study of Hwang, Yi Changwu argued that the Old Doctrine‟s strict adherence to Neo-Confucian orthodoxy and attempts to maintain a monopoly on power led to national destruction. Against this background, Hwang attempted, by inviting a Western armada and attempting to obtain freedom of religion, to set up a new social order. He was not acting against the king or the royal family and only sought, through the conversion of Korea to Christianity, to bring positive change to the country. After Korea was opened by Japan, Protestant and Catholic Christianity became the foundation for the spread of modern ideas of reform and freedom, which 35Wŏn Chaeyŏn, Chosŏn wangcho ŭi pŏp kwa Kurisŭdokyo [Chosŏn dynasty law and Christianity] (Seoul: Handŭl Ch‟ulp‟ansa, 2003), 327-58. 36Yi Changwu, “Hwang Sayŏng kwa Chosŏn hugi ŭi sahoe pyŏnhwa [Hwang Sayŏng and social change in the late Chosŏn dynasty],” Kyohoesa yŏn’gu 31 (December, 2008): 79-108. 21 would have led eventually to democracy and modernity, had Korea not been colonized. If Hwang had succeeded in opening the country, this would not have happened and Hwang would not have been viewed as a traitor, nor would Catholicism have been open to criticism. Thus, Hwang was a martyr, for God and democracy, and a pioneer of modernity in Korea. For these reasons, Yi argued that his tomb should be recognized as a holy place. The most comprehensive work available on Hwang Sayŏng is a book published by Father Yŏ Chinch‟ŏn, director of the Paeron Holy Site (sŏngji) where Hwang actually wrote the Silk Letter. This work not only includes important biographical information on Hwang, and a detailed study of the original Silk Letter, but an in-depth comparison of all the copies of the letter made by government officials and scholars during the nineteenth century. By comparing these different versions, Yŏ shows how the Silk Letter was creatively copied in accordance with the political views of its copyists. The purpose of the book is not so much to act as a defense of Hwang, though there are some elements of that present, but to show that the study of Catholicism in Korea can make a general contribution to Korean history by showing how it was connected to important political issues and shaped by factional concerns, proving its importance in the life of the nation. 37 Most recent treatments of Hwang Sayŏng have focused on defending him, and by association, Catholicism, from nationalist critiques by arguing that Hwang had good motives and, while still essentially accepting the argument that the violence he called for was illegitimate, contending that had he been successful in his goal of opening Korea, it would have benefited the country by allowing it access to modern civilization, enabling it to become an independent nation-state that would have escaped the fate of colonization and division. This approach, while interesting, focuses on the idea of a different history leading to a different present, rather than on 37 Yŏ, Hwang Sayŏng <Paeksŏ> yŏn’gu, 19-25. 22 what Hwang himself thought and saw himself as trying to achieve. By examining the Silk Letter and how Hwang sought to justify violence, I will explore his thought within his historical context, showing that he was deeply influenced by the times in which he lived, and that while hoping that Catholicism would bring positive this-worldly changes to Korea, he did not call for social revolution, but rather for a good and moral government. He therefore sought not so much modernity, but the realization of the promises made by the proponents of Neo-Confucianism that their Way would make Korea into a sage kingdom. Where Hwang departed from their vision was not the result of modern ideas, but rather, the search for spiritual salvation in an afterlife that he grafted onto a Confucian emphasis on this world. Similarly, Hwang was not looking for religious freedom, but rather a limited tolerance for Catholicism, which, ideally, would one day come to replace Neo-Confucianism as state orthodoxy. As we have seen, there is a tendency to emphasize factionalism and the narrow devotion of Korean scholar-officials to Neo-Confucianism as the primary causes of the 1801 suppression of Catholicism, a view shared by Hwang. 38 This interpretation reinforces a general tendency to view the Chosŏn state of the nineteenth century in the worst of terms. Frequently, state officials and the royal in-law families who exercised power are treated as ineffective, corrupt and selfish, and as putting their own petty interests ahead of the good of the Korean people. Similarly, Neo- Confucianism has been portrayed as a pretext for elite dominance or as an outmoded and inflexible system of thought that prevented reform. In order to correct the imbalance of this approach, some scholars have called for a more nuanced understanding of the Chosŏn state. For instance, Anders Karlsson has argued that 38 Silk Letter, lines, 112-13. Such an interpretation might have a theological, apologetic aspect to it, as it can lead to the argument that Christians suffered violent suppression in Korea, not because Christianity was in any way incompatible with Korean culture, but because of the narrow-mindedness of elites. For an example of this view, see Tai-sik Jung, “Religion and Politics: Persecution of Catholics in the Late Chosŏn Dynasty Korea” (Phd Diss., University of California: Berkeley, 2001), 169-70. 23 nineteenth-century Chosŏn officials at times responded quickly and effectively to the needs of the common people when they were affected by natural disasters. 39 An examination of how the Chosŏn state justified violence against Hwang Sayŏng and other Catholics, and how the Silk Letter incident was incorporated into such efforts, will build on such work by showing the importance of religion in the suppression, in particular, how Neo-Confucian ideals, while at the same time justifying the torture and execution of Catholics, limited violence against Catholics in important ways. I will therefore argue that while factionalism did play a role, Hwang misjudged the situation, and the suppression arose in a large part because the very different religious worldviews of Catholicism and Neo-Confucianism led Chosŏn officials to see Catholics as truly representing a danger to the highest ideals of elite Koreans, a threat that was confirmed in their view by the discovery of the Silk Letter. An Chunggŭn An Chunggŭn has been remembered very differently from Hwang Sayŏng. In the immediate aftermath of his assassination of Itō, Chinese newspapers carried editorials praising him and Korean expatriates in Vladivostok and Hawaii raised money to hire him a lawyer. 40 After his execution, sympathetic Koreans met in secret and held memorial services for him. 41 Korean and Chinese anti-Japanese resistance fighters carried his picture as they went into battle. Socialists, Anarchists, Communists, and anti-Communists have all extolled his virtues, and he is 39 Anders Karlsson, “Royal Compassion and Disaster Relief in Chosŏn Korea,” Seoul Journal of Korean Studies 20, no. 1 (June 2007): 71-98. 40 Sin Unyong, “An Chunggŭn ŭigŏ-e taehan kugoe ŭi insik kwa panŭng: chaeoe hanin ŭl chungsim-ŭro [The consciousness of and reaction to An Chunggŭn‟s righteous act outside the country: focusing on overseas Koreans],” in An Chunggŭn yŏn’gu ŭi kich’o [Foundations for the study of An Chunggŭn], ed. An Chunggŭn Ŭisa Kinyŏm Saŏphoe (Seoul: Kyŏngin Munhwasa, 2009), 188-220. 41 “The Assassin,” Seoul Press, April 2, 1910. 24 considered a hero in both North and South Korea. There are even several books written by Japanese people in praise of An, including one by a Buddhist priest. 42 Despite a high level of interest in An, the lack of historical records related to him made it difficult to conduct scholarly research on his life. This began to change in the 1970‟s when copies of his autobiography, The History of An Ŭngch’il (An Ŭngch’il yŏksa) and his unfinished essay, A Treatise on Peace in the East (Tongyang p’yŏnghwaron), long thought lost, were discovered in Japan. 43 Then, in 1976, the Ministry of Veteran‟s Affairs (Kukka pohunch’ŏ) published Korean translations of An Chunggŭn‟s interrogation and trial transcripts, followed in 1978 with the publication of a compilation of Japanese Foreign Ministry documents translated into Korean. 44 Both of these volumes have become mainstays of An Chunggŭn studies and led to an explosion in books and articles that take him as their subject. 45 Recently, the An Chunggŭn Ŭisa Kinyŏm Saŏphoe (An Chunggŭn Memorial Association) has started to publish revised translations of An‟s interrogation and trial records, as well as the Japanese originals. For the most part, Korean treatments of An Chunggŭn have been hagiographical in nature, holding him up as a exemplar of nationalism and as proof that Koreans were willing, and able, to resist Japanese imperialism. Korean Catholics have taken a special interest in An. During the colonial period, the leaders of the Catholic Church in Korea officially accepted the legitimacy of Japan‟s colonial project on the peninsula, and, to a great degree, prevented Catholics from 42 For the Korean translation of his book, see Sait‟o T‟aik‟en (Saito Taiken), Nae maum ŭi An Chunggŭn [The An Chunggŭn of my heart], trans. Chang Yŏngsun (Seoul: Injidang, 1994). 43 Yun Pyŏngsŏk, ed., An Chunggŭn chŏn’gi chŏnjip [The collected biographies of An Chunggŭn] (Seoul: Kukka Pohunch‟ŏ, 1999), 36-37. 44 Han Sanggwŏn and Kim Hyŏnyŏng, “An Chunggŭn kongp‟an kirok kwallyŏn charyo-e taehayŏ [Documents related to An Chunggŭn‟s trial],” in An Chunggŭn yŏn’gu ŭi kich’o, ed. An Chunggŭn Ŭisa Kinyŏm Saŏphoe (Seoul: Kyŏngin Munhwasa, 2009), 3-34. 45 Cho Kwang, Han’guk kŭnhyŏndae Ch’ŏnjugyosa yŏn’gu [A study of modern Korean Catholicism] (Seoul: Kyŏngin Munhwasa, 2010), 3-72. This is a revised version of an article that first appeared under the same title in Han’guk kŭnhyŏndaesa yŏn’gu [Modern Korean History] 12 (2000): 180-222. 25 becoming involved in the nationalist movement. 46 Korean Catholics are therefore quite proud of An and see him as proof that one could be both a devout Catholic and a patriot at the same time. 47 However, in order to claim An and his impeccable nationalist credentials for the Catholic Church, it was necessary to justify his use of violence in Catholic terms, as he had been publicly criticized by the leaders of the church for the assassination of Itō, and to show that his Catholic faith was an integral part of his nationalism. This was accomplished through a symposium dedicated to him in 1993 held by the Institute of Korean Church History. Three university professors and one priest, the head of the institute, made presentations. Hong Sunho, a professor at Ehwa University, gave a paper on An‟s A Treatise on Peace in the East, praising it as a prophetic work that was still relevant today and arguing that it could not be properly understood without considering An‟s Catholicism.48 Cho Kwang and No Kilmyŏng, professors at Korea University, both argued in their presentations that An was a devout Catholic and that his faith heavily shaped his participation in independence activities, for example, making him a nationalist who was deeply concerned with ethics. No praised him in especially high terms as working for the realization of “God‟s love, peace, and justice.”49 In addition to praising An as a devoted nationalist and a devout Catholic, presenters critiqued the official response of the Catholic Church to his assassination of Itō. Cho was critical 46 See Yun Sŏnja, Ilche ŭi chonggyo chŏngch’aek kwa Ch’ŏnjugyohoe [The Japanese empire‟s policy towards religion and Catholicism] (Seoul: Kyŏngin Munhwasa, 2002). 47 For an overview of how Catholic perspectives on An have changed, see Yun Sŏnja, “An Chunggŭn ŭigŏ-e taehan Ch‟ŏnjugyohoe ŭi insik [Catholic understandings of An Chunggŭn‟s righteous act],” in An Chunggŭn yŏn’gu ŭi kich’o, ed. An Chunggŭn Ŭisa Kinyŏm Saŏphoe (Seoul: Kyŏngin Munhwasa, 2009), 221-52. 48 Hong Sunho, “An Chunggŭn ŭi „Tongyang p‟yŏnghwaron [An Chunggŭn‟s A Treatise on Peace in the East]‟” Kyohoesa yŏn'gu 9 (November, 1994): 37-60. 49 See Cho Kwang, "An Chunggŭn ŭi aeguk kyemong undong kwa tongnip chŏnjaeng [An Chunggŭn‟s patriotic enlightenment movement activities and the war for independence]," Kyohoesa yŏn'gu 9 (November, 1994): 65-96; No Kilmyŏng, “An Chunggŭn ŭi Kat‟ollik sinang [An Chunggŭn‟s Catholic faith],” Kyohoesa yŏn’gu 9 (November, 1994): 5-30. 26 of Catholic leaders for following too strict of a policy of separation of church and state that prevented them from speaking out against the Japanese colonial regime. No traced the condemnation of An by the French missionaries, who led the church, as arising from their ethnocentrism. Moreover, he argued that conflict was unavoidable as An was a pioneer of Catholic thought far ahead of his time. Father Ch‟oe Sŏgu‟s presentation, which focused on the Catholic Church‟s reaction to An‟s nationalist activities and his killing of Itō, elaborated on and deepened this criticism, calling for the church to re-evaluate An. 50 The primary purpose of these presentations was to show that An‟s Catholic faith was intrinsic to his nationalist as well as his modernizing activities, in other words, that An was not simply a nationalist, but a Catholic nationalist. Thus, his life and thought could not be adequately understood without taking his Catholicism into account. Little attention was paid by the presenters to the explicit justification of An‟s violence and the only theological argument was made by Father Ch‟oe who contended that the fifth commandment against murder did not prohibit An‟s use of violence. Instead, theological comment was left to Cardinal Stephen Kim Suhwan (1922-2009), the head of the Archdiocese of Seoul, to make during his homily at a Mass following the symposium. In his homily, Kim stressed how hard it was as a Korean to understand why the “institutional church” had taken an essentially pro-Japanese stance. 51 In fact, as a representative of the Catholic Church, this made him sick at heart. Kim stressed that not only was it necessary to apologize and atone for the poor treatment of An, the facts had to be set straight. The Cardinal then quoted from the beatitudes, stating that the ones referring to the “poor in spirit,” those who 50 Ch‟oe Sŏgu, “An Chunggŭn ŭigŏ wa kyohoe ŭi panŭng [An Chunggŭn‟s righteous act and the church‟s reaction],” Kyohoesa yŏn'gu 9 (November, 1994): 97-119. 51 Cardinal Kim‟s homily can be found in “An Chunggŭn ŭisa ŭi saenge wa aeguksim [An Chunggŭn‟s life and patriotism,” Kat’ollik sinmun [Catholic news], August 29, 1993. 27 “thirst for righteousness” and the “peacemakers” could all be applied to An.52 Kim stated that through the presentations, he could see that An was a model Christian (Kŭrisŭdogyoin) who had devoted his life to the evangelization of Korea, the establishment of the Kingdom of God, the restoration of national sovereignty, the realization of love of neighbor and justice, and peace not only in the East, but in the entire world. Cardinal Kim next turned to the question of whether An‟s use of violence was justified. He first stressed the difficulty of the times, noting that the people (minjung) were threatened both by corrupt officials and imperialism. The Japanese Empire had denied Koreans freedom of speech and freedom of the press. There was therefore nothing An and other patriotic Koreans could do but flee the country and fight against Japan. As An was a soldier in a Korean “righteous army” (ŭibyŏng) and Itō was the leader of Japanese efforts to colonize Korea, his assassination was a legitimate act of war. Kim contended that Catholic teaching supported An‟s actions, referring to section 79 of the Pastoral Constitution of the Church in the Modern World (Gaudium et Spes), promulgated by Pope Paul VI in 1965 as part of the Second Vatican Council, which reads: Contemplating this melancholy state of humanity, the council wishes, above all things else, to recall the permanent binding force of universal natural law and its all-embracing principles. Man's conscience itself gives ever more emphatic voice to these principles. Therefore, actions which deliberately conflict with these same principles, as well as orders commanding such actions are criminal, and blind obedience cannot excuse those who yield to them. The most infamous among these are actions designed for the methodical extermination of an entire people, nation or ethnic minority. Such actions must be vehemently condemned as horrendous crimes. The courage of those who fearlessly and openly resist those who issue such commands merits supreme commendation. 53 52 This is a reference to the beatitudes Jesus proclaimed in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:2-10 and Luke 6:20-26). 53 Second Vatican Council, “Pastoral Constitution of the Church in the Modern World,” accessed online at http://www.vatican.va/archive/hist_councils/ii_vatican_council/documents/vat-ii_cons_19651207_gaudium-et- spes_en.html (accessed May 10, 2010). 28 Kim, after quoting selections from this paragraph, stated that it immediately brought to mind Nazi Germany, Adolf Hitler, and the attempt to exterminate Jews and other ethnic groups. Because An used violence to prevent Koreans from suffering such genocide, his actions were justified. Just as it would have been legitimate to assassinate Hitler, so too was it just to kill Itō. The scholarly presentations on An and Cardinal Kim‟s homily were published in Catholic media and have filtered down to the average Catholic, becoming the official Korean Church narrative. Moreover, there is even an effort to have An Chunggŭn canonized a saint. In 1997 Father Ch‟oe Sŏgu presented a paper that compared An Chunggŭn to Saint Joan of Arc at an Institute of Korean Church History public lecture series. He drew this comparison as part of an argument that just as France could have a soldier as a patron saint, so too could Korea. This then led to another conference sponsored by the Institute of Korean Church History in 2000 dedicated to An. 54 The 1993 An Chunggŭn conference had sought to show that An was a devout Catholic whose religious beliefs deeply shaped his thought and independence activities. As such, most of the presenters were history professors. The one exception, Father Ch‟oe Sŏgu, had historical training and headed the Korean Church History institute. In contrast, the 2000 conference was addressed chiefly to a Catholic audience in order to promote An‟s canonization and therefore featured more priests and theologians as presenters. This led to the further development of Catholic justifications for An‟s use of violence. For example, An‟s struggle against Japanese colonialism was compared to that of Judas Maccabeus, who led Jewish resistance against the Seleucid kings who persecuted them and sought to destroy their culture. 55 Likewise, Pope John 54 “An Chunggŭn ŭisa yŏngsŏng ŭl ch‟atcha [Let‟s find An Chunggŭn‟s spirituality],” Kat’ollik sinmun, October 19, 1997. 55 See the introduction to the first chapter of First Maccabees found in the New American Bible. This introduction can be found online at http://www.usccb.org/nab/bible/1maccabees/intro.htm (accessed May 10, 2010). 29 Paul XXIII‟s encyclical Peace on Earth (Pacem in Terris) was cited to show that it was right to actively resist sinful policies, even if they were instituted by the government, and because Japanese imperial policy qualified as such, it was legitimate to fight against it. 56 Similarly it was asserted that An‟s actions met the criteria for a just war.57 October 26, 2009 and March 26, 2010 marked respectively the one-hundredth anniversaries of An‟s killing of Itō and his own execution. This has led to a renewed interest in An among Catholics, including the movement for canonization, which had not progressed much since the 2000 conference. 58 Similarly, there has been a spate of new books and conferences dedicated to An. While most still examine his life from a hagiographic perspective, there has been a shift to try and use the historical sources connected to An to learn not only about him, but the historical context in which he lived. 59 In other words, typically Korean history has been used to illuminate An‟s life, but recently, there is a greater emphasis to see what An can tell us about Korean history. I hope that, through a critical study of An, which has not been undertaken in English, I will be able to continue this trend. I plan to do this in two ways. First, by taking a critical, rather than hagiographical approach, I will explore, by studying An‟s justification and use of violence, the ambiguities inherent in his life and thought that have heretofore been neglected. In particular, I will show that the relationship between An‟s nationalism and his Catholicism is far more 56 Chŏn Taryu, “An Chunggŭn Tomasŭ ŭi sinang kwa tŏkhaeng [Thomas An Chunggŭn‟s faith and virtue],” Kyohoesa yŏn'gu 14 (June, 2001): 57-82. 57These criteria are (1) “the damage inflicted by the aggressor on the nation or community of nations must be lasting, grave, and certain,” (2) “all other means of putting an end to it must have been shown to be impractical or ineffective” (3) “there must be serious prospects of success,” (4) “the use of arms must not produce evils and disorders graver than the evil to be eliminated.” See paragraph 2309 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. 58 Nam Chŏngryul, “An Chunggŭn ŭisa sibok ch‟uchin [The movement for An Chunggŭn‟s canonization],” P’yŏnghwa sinmun [Peace news], June 13, 2010. 59 For an example, see Cho Hyŏnbŏm, “An Chunggŭn ŭisa wa Pillem sinbu: kijon saryo ŭi chaegŏmt‟o rŭl chungsim-ŭro [An Chunggŭn and Father Wilhelm: a reexamination of the basic sources],” in An Chunggŭn yŏn’gu ŭi sŏnggwa wa kwaje [Issues in the Study of An Chunggŭn], ed. An Chunggŭn Ŭisa Kinyŏm Saŏphoe (Seoul: Ch‟aeryun, 2010), 349-78. 30 complex than has previously been understood, answering Kenneth Wells call for Korean history to be written from perspectives that consider not only nationalism, but religion and human universals such as death. 60 Second, in addition to the traditional sources on An‟s life, I will also include English- and Japanese-language newspaper coverage of the assassination and his subsequent trial and execution. Thus far, these sources, which raise and answer important questions about how his use of violence was perceived, have not been adequately utilized in studies on An Chunggŭn. For example, newspaper accounts show that the people An sought to win over by his act of violence reacted negatively to his assassination of Itō, contrary to his expectations, raising the question of how An misjudged their reactions so completely. This question will then be answered by showing, using these sources and An‟s own writings, how he and the members of the Western and Japanese empires had radically different understandings of what constituted legitimate violence. By explicitly including religion I hope to add to the insights of Andre Schmid from his book Korea between Empires. In this work, Schmid shows how nationalism and civilization and enlightenment thought were “consciously globalizing” discourses that shaped how Koreans saw themselves and their place in the world. 61 I plan to build on Schmid‟s thesis by showing what role Catholicism, another “globalizing discourse,” played in the relationship between these two ideologies in the thought and life of An Chunggŭn, and thereby to further include religion, particularly Catholicism, into the complex dynamic that constituted elite Korean worldviews in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Similarly, I will seek to advance the work 60 Kenneth Wells, “The Failings of Success: The Problem of Religious Meaning in Modern Korean Historiography,” Korean Histories 1, no. 1 (2009): 60-80. 61 Andre Schmid, Korea between Empires, 1895-1919 (New York: Columbia University Press, 2002), 4-5. 31 begun by Alexis Dudden in her book, The Japanese Colonization of Korea. 62 In this study, Dudden examines, in part through court cases and newspaper coverage, how Japan used law to justify its empire in Korea in the international arena and successfully muted Korean dissent. I will follow a similar approach, and hope to build upon her insight that colonizers define themselves against the colonized and in so doing justify imperialism by looking at how the proponents of the Japanese colonial project in Korea utilized religion and Korean violence to justify Japan‟s empire in Korea, and how An unsuccessfully sought to oppose colonization on those same grounds. Plan of Dissertation In chapter one I will discuss the life of Hwang Sayŏng and the historical context in which he lived, focusing on Chosŏn state policy towards religion in general and Catholicism in particular. I will examine how Hwang Sayŏng justified the use of violence in the Silk Letter, showing that he was influenced not only by Catholicism but by understandings of what constituted legitimate violence and the state that already existed in Korea in chapter two. Moreover, we will also see in that chapter that he sought, not religious freedom, but tolerance for Catholicism, which he hoped would lead to the realization of both spiritual salvation in the next world for the people of Chosŏn Korea and the good government in this world that Neo- Confucianism had promised to bring. In chapter three I will examine how the Chosŏn state carried out the suppression of 1801, justified the use of violence against Catholics, and used the Silk Letter incident to strengthen its own legitimacy, as well as how its commitment to Neo- 62 Alexis Dudden. Japan’s Colonization of Korea: Discourse and Power (Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 2005), 74-89. 32 Confucian ideals shaped these efforts. My fourth chapter will act as a transition, describing the fate of the Catholic community in Korea following the suppression of 1801 and giving the background information necessary to understand An Chunggŭn‟s life and times. In my fifth chapter I will begin with An‟s assassination of Itō, showing, through an examination of public reactions to the incident, how and why his hopes that his use of violence would win Korean independence failed to materialize. In chapter six I will examine An‟s interrogation, trial, and execution, showing not only how the proponents of the Japanese colonial project thwarted his attempts to challenge Japan‟s image as an enlightened nation undertaking a legitimate civilizing mission on the peninsula, but actually turned his use of violence into one more justification for it. My seventh chapter will describe An‟s attempts, in his own prison writings, to justify his use of violence, both through rational arguments, and through the telling of his own life story in his autobiography. Finally, in my eighth chapter, I will examine the role Catholicism, which An did not directly and publicly appeal to in order to justify his use of violence, played in convincing him that violence was a practical and legitimate means to overcome the problems he faced. In particular, I will focus on An‟s relationship with church authorities and the role they played in his decision to utilize violent means. My conclusion will compare and contrast how Hwang, An, and their adversaries justified violence, and by locating their differences and commonalities, will build a basic model of how their violence was justified which will help us to better understand Korean history and will also hopefully be exportable to other times and places for further comparative work. 33 Chapter 1: Alexius Hwang Sayŏng, the Chosŏn Dynasty, and Catholicism It is necessary to examine the historical context in which Alexius Hwang Sayŏng and representatives of the Chosŏn state lived in order to understand how they justified violence. Therefore, in this chapter, we will first look at the life of Hwang, his conversion to Catholicism, and what he believed as a Catholic. We will then examine the Chosŏn state‟s policy towards religion, the general difficulties the government faced, and the challenges Catholicism posed. Finally, we will survey the history of Catholicism in Korea, with a focus on state suppression of the religion from 1785 to 1801. Alexius Hwang Sayŏng Alexius Hwang Sayŏng was born in 1775 in Ahyŏn (located in modern-day Seoul), the child of Hwang Sŏkpŏm (1747-1775) and Yi Yunhye (nd).1 Sŏkpŏm had been posthumously adopted by Hwang Sayŏng‟s great uncle, Hwang Chaejung (1717-1740), who had died without a son. Chaejung‟s father (Sŏkpŏm‟s uncle) Hwang Chun (1694-1782) passed the highest civil- service exam (munkwa) in his 70‟s and was made minister of public works, though this appears to have merely been an honorific posting owing to his advanced age. 2 Sŏkpŏm showed promise as an official, first holding a post in the Office of Diplomatic Correspondence (Sŭngmunwŏn) 1 Though it is not clear when Hwang‟s mother died, the fact that she was exiled for her son‟s crimes proves that she was alive at the time of the Silk Letter incident. See Sŭngjŏngwŏn ilgi [Daily records of the royal secretariat], vol. 98, 23 (Sunjo, yr. 1, 11. 7. kyŏngsul). 2 According to the court records he was assigned an assistant, who likely did the real work of the post. See Chosŏn wangjo sillok [Veritable records of the Chosŏn dynasty], vol. 45, 326 (Chŏngjo sillok [Veritable records of King Chŏngjo], yr. 6, 8. 18. imin). Hwang Chun in fact passed a special exam for the elderly. See Chosŏn wangjo sillok, vol. 44, 326 (Yongjo sillok, yr. 45, 5. 28. kich’uk). 34 and then serving as a court diarist. However, like his adopted father, he died an untimely death. 3 Hwang Sayŏng would continue this family tradition of dying young: he was executed in 1801 at the age of 27. 4 As a young scholar, Hwang Sayŏng showed great promise. He passed the first exam needed for an official career in 1790, earning his chinsa (licentiate) degree at the young age of sixteen. Not only did he receive the brushes, ink, and paper customarily bestowed on successful candidates, it was said that Hwang so impressed King Chŏngjo (r. 1776-1800) that the monarch told him to come back when he was twenty and he would give him an official post. Supposedly the king even took him by the hand, an exceptional honor, which Hwang commemorated by tying a red silk thread around his right wrist. 5 Whether this actually happened, the fact that Hwang was a gifted scholar, was a member of a family that was part of the capital elite with a tradition of office holding, and belonged to the Southerner (Namin) faction that enjoyed the favor of the king, who turned to them as part of his “magnificent harmony” policy to balance the powerful Old Doctrine faction (Noron), seemed to promise him success in an official career. 6 Shortly after Hwang passed the exam he married into another Southerner family, a common practice among those with factional allegiances. His bride was Chŏng Myŏngnyŏn (nd), the third daughter of Chŏng Yakhyŏn (1751-1821) by his first wife. This marriage was to have an important influence on his life for it connected him to many of the first Korean Catholics. 3 For biographical information on Alexius Hwang Sayŏng see Yŏ, Hwang Sayŏng <Paeksŏ> yŏn’gu [A study of Hwang Sayŏng‟s Silk Letter], 37-39, as well as the introductions to the translation of the Silk Letter by Kim Yŏngsu in Hwang Sayŏng, Hwang Sayŏng Paeksŏ [The Silk Letter of Hwang Sayŏng] (Seoul: Sŏng Hwang Sŏktu Luga Sŏwŏn, 1998), 10-19. 4 Traditionally Koreans were considered one-year old when they were born and to age one year on the first day of the New Year. Thus, a child born the day before the year changed would be two years old on the first day of the New Year. Unless otherwise noted, all ages will be given following the Korean style of counting. 5 The remains of a piece of red silk thread were found in a pot in Hwang‟s tomb, seeming to give some credence to this story. See Ha, 80-82; “Hwang Sayŏng chonghab t‟oron [Comprehensive discussion on Hwang Sayŏng],” Kyohoesa yŏn’gu 13 (July, 1998): 203-12. 6 For a comprehensive study of this policy, instituted by Chŏngjo‟s father, Yongjo, see JaHyun Kim Haboush, The Confucian Kingship in Korea (Columbia: Columbia University Press, 2001), 117-65. 35 Yakhyŏn‟s three younger brothers, Yakchŏn (1758-1816), Yagyong (1762-1836), and Yakchong (1760-1801), were all at one time Catholics, though only Yakchong, who had been baptized with the name Augustine, was active in the faith when Hwang married into the family. Moreover, Myŏngnyŏn‟s mother was an older sister of Yi Pyŏk (1754-1786), who played a key role in the initial spread of Catholicism. Peter Yi Sŭnghun (1756-1801), whose baptism in 1784 is traditionally taken as the beginning of the Catholic Church in Korea, married Yagyong‟s elder sister. 7 While Peter Yi Sŭnghun left and rejoined the Catholic Church several times, limiting his possible influence, Hwang did identify Peter as providing him with Catholic books. 8 Considering his continued role in the Catholic Church, family relationship, and Hwang‟s praise of him in the Silk Letter, it must have been Augustine Chŏng Yakchong who encouraged him the most to convert. 9 Hwang would later say under interrogation in 1801 that he had converted to Catholicism eleven years previously, and that the year after that, King Chŏngjo strictly forbade the religion, meaning that he become a Catholic in 1790, just before the Chinsan incident of 1791. 10 He was so devoted to his new faith that though he continued to take the official exams, he only handed in 7 The very first Korean Catholics were likely babies baptized by Japanese Catholic soldiers during Hideyoshi‟s invasion in the 1590‟s and Koreans who had been taken back to Japan as slaves. See Juan Ruize-de-Medina, The Catholic Church in Korea: Its Origins, 1566-1784, trans. John Bridges (Seoul: Royal Asiatic Society, Korea Branch, 1991). 8 The original version of Hwang‟s interrogation reports has been reprinted in Sŏ Chongt‟ae and Han Kŏn, ed., Ch’ŏnjugyo sinja chaep’an kirok [The interrogation records of Catholic believers], vol. 1 (Seoul: Kukhak Charyowŏn, 2004). A modern Korean translation can be found in Pae Ŭnsa ed., Yŏksa ŭi ttang, paeum ŭi ttang: Paeron [Land of history, land of learning: Paeron] (Seoul: Paoro Ttal, 2002). When citing Hwang Sayŏng‟s and his companions‟ interrogation records I will first gave the name or names of the people being interrogated, the date on which the interrogation took place, and the page numbers for the original records and then those for the modern Korean translation. For this reference see Hwang Sayŏng‟s interrogation record for 1801-10-11, 749/267. 9 For the family backgrounds of the Chŏngs, Yi Pyŏk, and Yi Sŭnghun, see Jai-Keun Choi, The Origins of the Roman Catholic Church in Korea: An Examination of Popular and Governmental Responses to Catholic Missions in the Late Chosŏn Dynasty (Norfolk: The Hermit Kingdom Press, 2006) 73-81. For more on Chŏng Yagyong‟s departure from Catholicism see Don Baker, “Tasan between Catholicism and Confucianism: A Decade under Suspicion, 1791-1801,” Tasanhak, no. 5 (2004): 55-86. For Hwang‟s connection with the Chŏng family, see Yŏ, Hwang Sayŏng <Paeksŏ> yŏn’gu, 39-45. 10 See Hwang Sayŏng‟s interrogation record for 1801-10-10, 728-729/254-55. 36 blank sheets of paper, choosing religious devotion over an official career. 11 His intelligence and scholarship made him an effective teacher. He often lectured on Catholic doctrine, even over meals at his own house, and supported himself by teaching the children of believers. 12 He was a skilled missionary, and despite early family opposition, converted two of his uncles and three of his brothers-in law to Catholicism. 13 He also proved himself a capable leader and was made the head of a cell in the Myŏngdohoe (Society for Illuminating the Way), an organization for the most active Catholics devoted to worship, mutual exhortation, and missionary work. 14 His high position in the church put him in frequent contact with figures such as Father James Zhou Wenmo, the only priest in Korea, Augustine Yu Hanggŏm (1756-1801), an important church leader in Chŏlla province with whom Hwang had sought to bring a Western ship to Korea before the Silk Letter incident, and Columba Kang Wansuk (1760-1801), who also held a position of authority in the Catholic community and was responsible for the safety of Father Zhou and the guidance of a community of perpetual virgins. 15 The Shape of Catholic Doctrine in Korea Alexius Hwang Sayŏng was a zealous Catholic and an able leader in the Korean church. But when Hwang converted, Catholics had been active on the peninsula only since 1784, or for just about six years. How much about Catholicism was he able to learn? What was the shape of 11 See Kim Yŏngsu‟s introduction to his translation of Hwang Sayŏng‟s Silk Letter, 11-13. 12 Cho Kwang, Chosŏn hugi Ch’ŏnjugyosa yŏn'gu [A study of the history of the Catholic Church in the late Chosŏn dynasty] (Seoul: Kodae Minjok Munhwa Yŏn'guso, 1988), 35-44. 13 Ha, 86 and Ch‟oe Sŏgu, “Sahak chingŭi rŭl t‟onghaesŏ pon ch‟ogi Ch‟ŏnjugyohoesa [History of the early Catholic Church as seen through the Sahak chingŭi],” Kyohoesa yŏn’gu 2 (April 1979): 41-45. 14 For more on the Myŏngdohoe, see Pang Sanggŭn, “Ch‟ogi kyohoe-e issŏsŏ Myŏngdohoe ŭi kusŏng kwa sŏnggyŏk [The composition and characteristics of the Myŏngdohoe in the early church]” Kyohoesa yŏn’gu 11 (December 1996): 213-26. 15 For information on the leadership of the early Catholic Church in Korea see Cho, Chosŏn hugi, 64-82. 37 his Catholic faith? These questions are worth asking because the willingness of Koreans to risk torture and death for the new religion did not mean that they understood everything about its doctrines. For instance, in 1787 the leaders of the Korean Catholic Church, realizing that they needed to partake in the Mass and the sacrament of confession, elected their own bishop and priests who then began performing these rituals. This was a clear violation of Catholic teaching, as only bishops with apostolic succession can ordain other bishops and priests. 16 Chinese Roots In order to discern the shape of Hwang‟s Catholicism we must first examine how the new religion came to Korea. Jesuit missionaries began to arrive in China in the late sixteenth century. Realizing the importance of Confucianism and the pride Chinese had in their culture, they sought to accommodate as much as they could within the bounds of Catholic orthodoxy. Jesuits dressed as scholars and wrote books in Classical Chinese that were designed to appeal to a Confucian audience. Many Catholic missionaries were educated in the sciences and sought to use such knowledge as part of their evangelistic efforts. For instance, Jesuits hoped that their skill in astronomy and knowledge of the heavens would convince the Chinese that they were also right about the existence of “The Lord of Heaven” (ch’ŏnju/天主), the name they used for God. Their mastery of astronomy won them positions at court, as such knowledge was necessary for the production of an accurate calendar and prediction of eclipses and comets, which were taken as proof that the dynasty was in harmony with the cosmos and therefore still possessed the Mandate 16 For more on the false hierarchy see Jai-Keun Choi, 36-41. 38 of Heaven. 17 Service at court provided important government support and prestige, allowing the mission to expand, even if it gained few converts directly. 18 Jesuit missionaries also drew upon Confucian philosophy to make a case for the Catholic faith. For example, they took the descriptions of an anthropomorphic Heaven that appeared in the ancient Classics to argue that originally Confucians had been theists. This allowed them to assert that Neo-Confucianism, with its non-theistic cosmology that understood such passages to be symbolic, had actually departed from the true Confucian way, and that Catholicism was therefore the fulfillment of Confucianism. 19 Matteo Ricci pioneered this approach in his True Meaning of the Lord of Heaven, first published in 1603. In this work, Ricci quoted the Confucian Classics to argue that a true Confucian ought to be a Catholic. He also, out of consideration for his Confucian audience, focused on morality and played down the more supernatural aspects of the religion. Thus, while Ricci sought to prove from reason that God and an eternal soul existed, he scarcely mentioned the doctrine of the Trinity, the Crucifixion and Resurrection, or the nature and importance of the sacraments. This was because The True Meaning was intended as an introductory text only. 20 Ricci wanted to show that the foundations of Catholicism accorded with human reason and Confucian ethics before discussing those 17 I will capitalize “Heaven” when the meaning of the word is something similar to “God” and use the lower-case form, “heaven,” when it refers more to something like the sky. 18 See Andrew Ross, A Vision Betrayed (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1994); Arnold Rowbotham, Missionary and Mandarin, (New York, Russel and Russel, 1966); Liam Matthew Brockey, Journey to the East: The Jesuit mission to China, 1579-1724 (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2007). 19No Kilmyŏng, Kat’ollik kwa Chosŏn hugi sahoe pyŏndong [Catholicism and social change in the late Chosŏn dynasty] (Seoul: Kodae Minjok Munhwa Yŏn‟guso, 1988), 56-61. 20 For information on this division see Cho Hangŏn, “<Chyugyo yoji> wa hanyŏk sŏhaksŏ wa ŭi kwan‟gye [The relationship between the Chyugyo yoji and Western books in Chinese translation],” Kyohoesa yŏn’gu 26 (June, 2006): 8-11. 39 supernatural elements of the faith based on Christian revelation that would have been more difficult for Confucian scholars to accept. 21 A different approach, seeking to interest people in Catholicism by promising help in moral cultivation, ideally the primary occupation of a Confucian gentleman, can be seen in the Seven Victories (Ch’ilgŭk/七克), written in 1614 by Father Didace de Pantoja, a Spanish Jesuit. 22 Pantoja described how seven virtues could be used to overcome the seven deadly sins and gave practical advice on moral self-improvement. He differed from Ricci in that he did not shy away from the supernatural. For example, the section on “chastity conquering lust” contains a story in which Saint Cecilia convinced her husband through the help of an angel that they should live together as perpetual virgins. 23 In another story, a man, who had married to please his parents but lived with his wife as a perpetual virgin, went to a monastery where his mere presence drove out a demon that a holy monk was unable to exorcize. 24 Such tales of the supernatural would have been anathema to the more rationalistic literati and the emphasis on male virginity would have seemed bizarre and immoral to Confucians who saw the primary purpose of marriage as the production of sons and the continuance of the patriline. However, de Pantoja‟s stories would have encouraged Confucians who found that they could not live up to their strict moral ideals by their own power to turn to Catholicism and the supernatural help it offered. 21 For an English translation, see Matteo Ricci, The True Meaning of the Lord of Heaven, trans. Douglas Lancashire and Peter Hu Kuo-chen, ed. Edward J. Malatesta (St. Louis: Institute of Jesuit Sources, 1985). 22 Park Hee-bong, Chol Du San Martyr’s Shrine (Seoul: Catholic Press, 1987), 71. 23 Didace de Pantoja, Ch'ilgŭk: ilgŭk kaji sŭngni ŭi kil [The seven conquests: seven roads to victory], trans. Kim Chinso, Kim Hyŭnung, and Pak Wansik (Ch‟ŏnju: Ch‟ŏnju Taehakkyo Ch‟ulp‟an, 1996), 252-54. 24 See de Pantoja, 235-36. 40 Catholicism Comes to Korea The Jesuit mission in China produced a large number of books in Classical Chinese, a language that elite Koreans could read. These books began to trickle into Korea in the seventeenth century through the various tribute missions to Beijing. While many Koreans, like their Chinese counterparts, admired the Western science contained in these books, they overwhelmingly rejected Catholicism itself. 25 At the same time, developments in Korean Neo- Confucianism, such as the 4-7 debate and the consequent elucidation of T‟oegye Yi Hwang‟s (1501-1570) understanding of moral self-cultivation, eventually led a handful of scholars to take the new religion seriously. T‟oegye‟s thought could play such a role because it emphasized human moral frailty and the consequent difficulty in becoming a virtuous person, which he attributed to ki‟s obstruction of the working of li. Thus, he tended to elevate immaterial li and denigrate material ki, leading him to view the body as an obstacle to moral self-cultivation. His views were therefore not too dissimilar from the Catholic understanding of human moral frailty. 26 T‟oegye‟s moral philosophy heavily influenced members of the Southerner faction, including Sŏngho Yi Ik (1681-1763). As a practical learning (sirhak/實學) scholar, Sŏngho was interested in acquiring new techniques for cultivating virtue, even if it meant turning to sources outside the Neo-Confucian tradition, such as Buddhist monks. 27 This led Sŏngho to take 25 Donald Baker, “Confucians Confront Catholicism in Eighteenth-century Korea” (Phd. diss., University of Washington, 1983), 27-72. 26 See Don Baker, “Danger within: Guilt and Moral Frailty in Korean Religion” in Acta Koreana 4 (July 2001); Don Baker, “Sinyuhak ŭi todŏk kwa hyŏngisanghak [Morality and metaphysics in Korean Neo-Confucianism],” in Chosŏn hugi yugyo wa Ch’ŏnjugyo ŭi taerip [The confrontation between Confucianism and Catholicism in the late Chosŏn] (Seoul: Ilchogak, 1997). 27 For the relationship between sirhak and Catholicism see Don Baker, “The Use and Abuse of the Sirhak Label: A New Look at Sin Hu-dam and his Sŏhak Pyŏn," Kyohoesa yŏn’gu, no. 3 (1981): 183-254; Cho Kwang, “Sirhak ŭi 41 seriously the writings of foreign missionaries rather than dismissing them out of hand. Thus, while criticizing the supernatural aspects of the Seven Victories, he praised the techniques it provided for moral self-cultivation. Part of Sŏngho‟s openness to such ideas was connected to his own understanding of Confucianism. Sŏngho, influenced by T‟oegye, was more pessimistic about the ability of human beings to act virtuously than other Confucians, and blaming this tendency on the body, emphasized asceticism and self-denial in order to master it and act morally. Thus he taught that people should end their meals while they were still a bit hungry, and that they should abstain from sex after having produced heirs. 28 These developments in Neo-Confucianism prepared the way for some of Sŏngho‟s disciples, who desperately wanted to become sages but were frustrated by their inability to do so, to convert to Catholicism. T‟ogeye‟s and Sŏngho‟s explanation for their difficulties, which placed much of the blame on the physical body and looked towards ascetic practices to tame it, was not too far from Catholicism, which encouraged self-mortification, identifying the “flesh” (along with the world and the devil), as an enemy of virtue. Catholicism also contained the doctrine of original sin, which helped to further explain why it was so difficult to be good. 29 Moreover, unlike Neo-Confucianism, Catholicism promised help in overcoming these moral difficulties in the form of God‟s grace. Thus, to some scholars, the new religion seemed to accurately explain the difficulties they found in trying to live out their own worldview in a way that resonated with it, while at the same time, offering a novel solution to those problems, encouraging them to accept this new teaching. palchŏn [The development of sirhak],” in Han’guksa [Korean history], ed. Kuksa Pyŏnch‟an Wiwŏnhoe (Seoul: Kuksa Pyŏnch‟an Wiwŏnhoe, 1998), 35: 207-71. 28 Baker, “Confucians Confront,” 286-88. 29 Baker, Korean Spirituality, 65. 42 Sŏngho‟s willingness to take ideas outside of Neo-Confucian orthodoxy seriously led some of those influenced by his thought to do the same and to challenge accepted interpretations of the Classics. 30 For instance, Tasan Chŏng Yagyong read references to an anthropomorphic Heaven, not symbolically as impersonal li, as in traditional Neo-Confucianism, but literally as referring to a personal God. 31 Tasan might have been influenced by another Southerner Neo- Confucian philosopher, Yun Hyu (1617-1680). Yun emphasized the anthropomorphic qualities of Heaven as personified in the “Lord-on-High” (Sangje/上帝) who, “responded with joy or anger to the affairs of human society.”32 He also believed that li had not always existed but instead had been created by Heaven, which he also identified as the source of morality. While this was not quite the Catholic concept of God—Yun reverenced Heaven and stood in awe of it, but does not seem to have worshipped it—his ideas represented a trajectory of thought among Southerner Neo-Confucians that likely played a role in making some open to Catholicism. 33 Not all of those influenced by T‟oegye, Yun Hyu, and Sŏngho became Catholics; many in fact were serious critics of the new religion. However, it was those whose thought was shaped by their scholarship who would first embrace Catholicism. One of these scholars was Yi Pyŏk. In 1784, when he heard that Yi Sŭnghun would travel to Beijing on a tribute mission, Yi Pyŏk urged him to visit the Catholic missionaries there, receive baptism, and obtain Catholic books. 34 30 Donald Baker, “Confucians Confront,” 286-301 and Baker, Korean Spirituality, 64-65. 31 Don Baker, “A Different Thread: Orthodoxy, Heterodoxy, and Catholicism in a Confucian World,” in Culture and State in Late Chosŏn Korea, ed. JaHyun Kim Haboush and Martina Deuchler (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1999), 215-16. 32 JaHyun Kim Haboush, “Constructing the Center: The Ritual Controversy and the Search for a New Identity in Seventeenth-century Korea,” in Culture and State in Late Chosŏn Korea, eds. JaHyun Kim Haboush and Martina Deuchler (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1999), 79. 33 Mirua Kunio, “Orthodoxy and Heterodoxy in Seventeenth-century Korea: Song Siyŏl and Yun Hyu,” in The Rise of Neo-Confucianism in Korea, eds. Wm Theodore de Bary and JaHyun Kim Haboush (New York: Columbia University Press, 1985), 430-31. 34 See Hwang Sayŏng‟s Silk Letter, lines 43-44. 43 When Yi, now with the baptismal name Peter, returned to Korea later that year he began to baptize others, establishing an active Catholic community. 35 The Ancestor Rites Controversy By 1790, there were approximately 4,000 Catholics in Korea. That same year they learned that the Catholic Church forbade them from conducting ancestor rites, rituals in which people bowed and offered food and wine to wooden tablets representing their forbears. Ostensibly the ancestors came into the tablets and partook of the spiritual nature of the meal offered them while their descendents ate the material part when the ritual was complete. It was not required to actually believe this—some Confucians explicitly stated that they did not. Such skepticism was not a problem because it was the social function of ancestor rites, which expressed and encouraged filial piety and familial solidarity, that Confucians were concerned about, and the rites performed these functions regardless of whether ancestral spirits existed or not. 36 The state had an interest in encouraging the proper performance of such rituals, not only because filial piety was important in its own right, but because it was connected to the virtue of loyalty to the monarch (ch’ung/忠). A filial son or daughter was also likely to be a loyal subject, and an unfilial child, a disloyal one. The prohibition of ancestor rites led those who had converted to Catholicism primarily to become better Confucians to abandon the religion. Others chose to remain within the Catholic Church. One of these, Paul Yun Chich‟ŭng (1759-1791), a yangban from southwestern Korea, went beyond the ban on the performance of the rites and burned the ancestor tablets in his 35 Cho Kwang, Chosŏn hugi, 20-82. 36 Boundewijn Walraven, “Popular Religion in a Confucianized Society,” in Culture and State in Late Chosŏn Korea, edited by JaHyun Kim Haboush and Martina Deuchler (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1999), 163-67. 44 possession. When his mother died in 1791 the tablets were therefore conspicuously absent during the funerary rites. Reports reached the government of this and Paul, along with his maternal cousin James Kwŏn Sangyŏn (1751-1791), was arrested.37 After attempts to induce them to abandon the practice of Catholicism failed, they were executed in what is known as the Chinsan Incident, named after the area where they lived. 38 Paul and James contended that because ancestral spirits could not partake in the food and wine offered to them it was irrational to perform such rituals. This argument made no sense to their interrogators, who insisted that they perform the rituals regardless of what they believed, emphasizing their moral value. This reflects a fundamental difference between Catholicism and Neo-Confucianism. The former prioritized metaphysical truth and based its morality upon it. The latter was willing to tolerate some metaphysical deviation so long as proper morality was observed. Moreover, the Catholic rejection of ancestor rites pointed to another foundational difference between the two religions. Catholics put their relationship with God as known through the church over that of their relationship with other human beings, as determined by the Confucian state in accordance with li, the ultimate reality, inadvertently posing a serious challenge to the state and the Neo-Confucian orthodoxy it defended. Therefore, the fact that Hwang converted to Catholicism and chose to remain a Catholic, despite his church‟s teachings on ancestor rites, indicates his willingness to radically turn away from Neo-Confucian tradition, and to risk torture and death for the new religion. 39 37 Choi, Origins, 97-103; Jung, 188-95. 38 For a more detailed account of these issues see Baker, “A Different Thread” 217-220; Don Baker, “The Martyrdom of Paul Yun: Western Religion and Eastern Ritual in 18 th Century Korea,” Transactions of the Royal Asiatic Society 54 (1979): 33-58. 39 Baker, “A Different Thread,” 217-20. 45 The Catechism of Augustine Chŏng Yakchong Augustine Chŏng Yakchong greatly influenced Hwang, who clearly admired him, as seen in his praise of his uncle in the Silk Letter. While also a leader in the Catholic Church and a member of the Myŏngdohoe, he was remembered most by Hwang as a teacher of doctrine. 40 Because the Catholic books that came from China were in Classical Chinese, a language that women and lower-class men generally could not read, Augustine Chŏng realized that a vernacular catechism was needed and consequently produced the Chugyo yoji (Essentials of Catholicism). This work, though not strictly a translation, drew heavily on various Chinese books. Augustine rearranged and edited this material and made his own additions in order to make their contents more intelligible to a Korean audience. 41 The catechism, most likely written in the late 1790s, won the approval of Father James Zhou Wenmo, appeared on a list of books confiscated and burnt during the 1801 suppression, and was copied and printed into the twentieth century, showing that its contents were known to Catholics in Korea and were considered an orthodox statement of Catholic belief. Because Hwang was close to Chŏng and Father Zhou, looking up to them as his teachers, and repeated Father Zhou‟s praise of the catechism in the Silk Letter, he was undoubtedly both familiar and in agreement with its contents. 42 Thus, by examining this work, we can understand something of what Hwang believed. The Essentials of Catholicism is divided into two sections. The first, like Matteo Ricci‟s True Meaning, focused on proving the existence of the soul and God through reason. Similarly, Chŏng sought in the same way to show that God was the all good, omnipotent, omniscient, 40 Silk Letter, lines 35-39. 41 Cho Hangŏn, 15-20. 42 Cho Kwang, Chosŏn hugi, 86-93; Silk Letter, lines 35-37; Hwang Sayŏng‟s interrogation report for 1801-10-10, 728-29/254-55. 46 omnipresent creator and redeemer of humanity. As such, people owed him a great debt similar to, but above, the loyalty and filial piety owed to king and parents. Augustine also departed from Ricci‟s approach by describing the Trinity, using metaphors to make this rather complex doctrine more readily comprehensible. 43 The second section of the Essentials of Catholicism focused on telling the grand narrative of Christianity. It began with the story of Creation, Original Sin, and how God reconciled fallen humanity to himself by becoming incarnate as the man Jesus of Nazareth and dying on the cross, and subsequently rising from the dead so human beings might have eternal life. 44 Augustine‟s descriptions are vivid, drawing bold pictures of the agony of Christ‟s Passion and the glory of his resurrection. This same vividness appears in Augustine‟s description of the Second Coming, the Last judgment, and the destruction of the world. Judgment is connected with justice—the good will be taken into heaven and the evil cast into hell. One therefore must repent and do good deeds now since death could come at any time. 45 We can see then from Augustine‟s catechism that Hwang was exposed to the central truths of Catholicism that, while containing a Confucian emphasis on morality, also included a sense of moral urgency, as well as explanations of the more difficult theological and supernatural teachings of the faith. The Appeal of Catholicism Through Hwang‟s leadership and teaching activities on behalf of the Catholic Church, and the fact that he would vigorously defend Catholicism while under interrogation, we know 43 Chŏng Yakchong, Chugyo yoji [The essentials of Catholicism], ed. Ha Sŏngnae (Seoul: Sŏng Hwang Sŏktu Luga Sŏwŏn, 1997), 11-21. 44 Chŏng Yakchong, 55-89. 45 Chŏng Yakchong, 39-42, 78-80, and 100-3. 47 that he was a zealous believer. Despite the fact that he did not leave a detailed account of what he believed, by reflecting on the character of Catholicism during his time and the story of his life, as well as by examining what he wrote in the Silk Letter and said under interrogation, we can reconstruct a reasonably accurate portrait of his faith and why he became a Catholic. Since he earned his licentiate degree, Hwang must have been well-versed in Neo-Confucian philosophy and would have understood the arguments made in The True Meaning of the Lord of Heaven, which he is known to have read. His connection to the thought of T‟oegye and Sŏngho would have led him to take seriously the Confucian-based arguments made by Catholic apologists, as well as the explanation that Original Sin accounted for the difficulty of human moral frailty and the promise that grace could help people to overcome it. He might also have, like Yun Hyu and Tasan, been open to a more literalist reading of the Classics that would have led him to accept Ricci‟s arguments for the existence of God and the soul that drew from them. Hwang does not seem to have had much of an interest in Western science, but like T‟oegye and Sŏngho, and those who were influenced by them, he took moral self-cultivation very seriously. He was known to have read the Seven Conquests and appears to have performed acts of self-mortification beyond those required by the church. 46 His Confucian interest in virtue, and the belief that morality would bring concrete this-worldly benefits, can be seen in his statement in the Silk Letter that, “Once Catholicism is tolerated, the benefits of peace and good governance, which are enjoyed by all the countries of the West because they worship the true Lord, will extend to every country in the East.”47 Similarly, Hwang asserted when he was being interrogated that Catholicism was the “orthodox way (chŏngdo/正道)” and argued that its 46 For Hwang reading the True Meaning of the Lord of Heaven see Cho Kwang, Chosŏn hugi, 86. In the Silk Letter, Hwang asks the bishop for a dispensation for an unnamed Catholic to give up the extra fasts he had promised to keep because continuing that discipline might identify him as a Catholic. This unnamed Catholic was likely Hwang himself. See the Silk Letter, lines 120-121. 47 Silk Letter, line 112. 48 teachings were in line with Confucian morality. He also stated that, despite criticism from friends and family, he had determined that Catholicism was “good medicine for saving the world.”48 Hwang, though radically departing from Neo-Confucianism in some ways, understood Catholicism in Confucian terms—as a way of bringing concrete this-worldly benefits through helping people to become more moral. In fact, it was likely in part this focus on the present world that helped convince Hwang to write the Silk Letter in the first place. If the Catholic Church was destroyed in Korea, it could not possibly carry out its function of bringing moral improvement and good government there. At the same time, Hwang‟s statement about Catholicism “saving the world” included an otherworldly aspect. Catholicism not only brought benefits in this world, but spiritual salvation in the next, as seen in the fears he expressed in the Silk Letter that the death of the only priest in Korea, and consequent loss of the sacraments, would make it difficult for souls to be saved. 49 Hwang must also have found the arguments in Catholic works such as The True Meaning of the Lord of Heaven and The Essentials of Catholicism that there really was a God whom he owed worship convincing. Likely of particular interest to Hwang was Augustine Chŏng‟s argument in the latter book that a person could know that there is a God by observing the world and seeing that it could not exist without a creator, and that therefore for someone to deny this seemingly self-evident fact was like a yubokja, a child whose father dies after he is conceived but before he is born, denying that he has a father. As a yubokja himself, this argument, and the doctrine of a loving Father-God behind it, would have appealed to Hwang both intellectually and 48 See Hwang Sayŏng‟s interrogation records for 1801-10-9 and 1801-10-10, 645 and 729/234 and 255. 49 Silk Letter, line 86. 49 emotionally. 50 Thus, Hwang was willing to give up an official career and devote himself to Catholicism, even at the risk of his own life, because he found in it a worldview that seemed true, was fulfilling on both intellectual and emotional levels, offered solutions to the problems he faced in this world, and promised eternal happiness in the next. The Confucian Reaction State Policy towards Religion The Neo-Confucianism of the great synthesizer Zhu Xi (1130-1200) held sway as the official orthodoxy of Chosŏn Korea, offering a vision of the universe in which human moral perfection and the sagely rule realized by the ancient Chinese kings was attainable through reading Confucian books and implementing the moral principles and guidelines for statecraft they contained, performing correct rituals, which had the power to engender virtue and encourage moral behavior, and by maintaining proper human relations. 51 What constituted appropriate social relationships did not arise from the human community itself, but from li, the cosmic pattern that constituted ultimate reality and governed the operation of the universe. It was the duty of the Confucian state to encourage the actualization of proper morality, derived from li, in the human community under its authority. Because not everyone could read or had access to the materials needed for proper rituals, the elite, primarily through the state, were expected to morally transform (kyohwa/敎化) society. This moral transformation was 50 Chŏng Yakchong, 40. 51 Martina Deuchler, “Despoilers of the Way—Insulters of the Sages: Controversies over the Classics,” in Culture and State in Late Chosŏn Korea, eds. JaHyun Kim Haboush and Martina Deuchler (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1999), 92. 50 understood to be a sort of civilizing process, as proper morality was the mark of a true civilization. Thus, government officials were to be the shepherds and teachers of the common people. State concern with morality and ritual allowed it to claim the right and duty to involve itself in a wide variety of areas. For instance, when the Chosŏn dynasty rose to power, reformist Neo-Confucian officials sought to radically alter Korean practices of marriage and inheritance as well as the general place of women in Korean society. Similarly, the state was able to require that elites follow Confucian rather than Buddhist funerary and ancestor rites. 52 Don Baker has termed the state‟s claim to have the right to decide who could and should perform rituals and when they could do so as “ritual hegemony.”53 That the state should possess ritual hegemony was widely accepted in Korea, even among those whose interests suffered when it was exercised. During the first half of the Chosŏn dynasty, the government removed tax-exempt status from land owned by monasteries, defrocked monks, banned, with a few exceptions, public Buddhism in the capitol, and forced the amalgamation of the many Buddhist sects into two. 54 Remarkably, the monks accepted these changes without much resistance. Rather than rising up in rebellion, some sought to convince the state to restore their lost rights and privileges through written appeals that defended Buddhism against Neo-Confucian criticism. 55 It was thus widely accepted that it was the Chosŏn 52 See Martina Deuchler, The Confucian Transformation of Korea (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1992). 53 Don Baker, “The Religious Revolution in Modern Korean History: from Ethics to Theology and from Ritual Hegemony to Religious Freedom,” The Review of Korean Studies 9 (September 2006): 262. 54 See Han U-gun, “Policies toward Buddhism in Late Koryǒ and Early Chosŏn” in Buddhism in the Early Chosŏn: Suppression and Transformation, eds. Lewis R. Lancaster and Chai-Shin Yu (Fremont: Asian Humanities Press, 2002); Kwon Kee-jong, “Buddhism undergoes Hardships: Buddhism in the Chosŏn Dynasty” in History and Culture of Buddhism in Korea, ed. Korean Buddhist Research Institute (Seoul: Dongguk University Press, 1995), 181-83. 55 See Robert Buswell, “Buddhism under Confucian Domination: The Synthetic Vision of Sŏsan Hyujŏng,” in Culture and State in Late Chosŏn Korea, eds. JaHyun Kim Haboush and Martina Deuchler (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1999). 51 government that had the right, based on its claims to ritual hegemony, to exercise control over rituals and those connected to them. Issues Challenging the Confucian State Many Koreans took pride in seeing their country as a “little China” where orthodox Neo- Confucian flourished. Though the ancient kingdoms were gone and the Ming dynasty did not always live up to their high standards, for elite Koreans, China was the center of the civilized world, and because it was ruled by the Son of Heaven, the universe itself. Thus, the fall of the Ming dynasty and the declaration of the Qing in 1644 by the Manchus, a people Koreans saw as barbarians, was cataclysmic. Korean elites reacted to this shock with increased devotion to Zhu Xi Neo-Confucianism, concluding that only greater adherence to the orthodox way would preserve Korea, the last center of civilization on earth, from falling into barbarism. In order to adhere more closely to orthodoxy, it was necessary to define what it was. At the same time, orthodoxy was deeply connected with orthopraxy, particularly with the proper performance of ritual. For example, ambiguity over how certain members of the royal family should mourn the king led to sharp and long-lasting debates, in part because the different positions officials held on these matters all said something very different about Korean identity and its relationship with Confucian civilization and the Qing Empire. Such issues were important because proper ritual was necessary if the Confucian state was to carry out its civilizing mission. Incorrect ritual could lead to the weakening and even the destruction of the Confucian civilization that Korean elites struggled to protect. 56 56 See JaHyun Kim Haboush, “Constructing the Center.” 52 The importance of orthodoxy and orthopraxy led to bitter struggles within the state as political factions sought to advance their own visions of the true way, giving Korean factionalism a sharp edge that made compromise and cooperation very difficult. Disputes were envisioned in black and white terms and divergence in views was not seen as the product of honest disagreement, but as evidence that one‟s political opponents were immoral.57 Factional struggles were further exacerbated by the fact that such ties ran very deep. People married and socialized mostly within their own factions and were often not exposed to the scholarship of other parties. 58 Moreover, issues of orthodoxy were sometimes used as pretext to seize political power by driving officials of an enemy faction from their posts, which were then filled with one‟s allies. In his Silk Letter, Hwang Sayŏng stated that there were four major factions known as the four colors (sasaek): the Southerners, Old Doctrine, Young Doctrine, and Little Northerners. These factions had also been divided by the controversy over whether King Yongjo (r. 1724- 1776) was right in having his son, Crown Prince Sado (1735-1762), the father of King Chŏngjo, killed. This led to a further split that cut across already established party lines into the “flexible faction” (sip’a), which thought Yongjo was wrong, and the “intransigent faction” (pyŏkp’a), which thought he was right. Many Southerners were also part of the flexible faction, and consequently were favored by King Chŏngjo. Hwang also stated that Catholicism had also split the Southerner faction into Catholic and anti-Catholic parties. 59 Factional struggles over ritual, national identity, and government posts made it difficult for the state to deal with the serious social and economic problems it faced in the latter half of 57 Deuchler, “Despoilers,” 92-93 and 128-29. 58 Yŏng-ho Ch‟oe, “Private Academies and the State in Late Chosŏn Korea,” in Culture and State in Late Chosŏn Korea, eds. JaHyun Kim Haboush and Martina Deuchler (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1999), 41-46. 59 Silk Letter, lines 17-18. 53 the Chosŏn dynasty. It had taken a century for the economy to recover from Hideyoshi‟s invasions in the 1590‟s and from the two Manchu invasions of 1627 and 1636, in part thanks to new agricultural technologies and land reclamation projects that ended up bringing their own problems. Only those who had the resources and ability to use the new technologies or reclaim land, such as rich yangban and chungin, as well as the wealthier and more industrious peasants, were able to profit from them. Their counterparts who were not so fortunate found themselves slipping further into poverty. Tenancy increased as peasants lost their land. Moreover, status distinctions were confused; a wealthy peasant could afford the trappings of yangban culture and might even buy the status itself while a yangban with a respected pedigree and a tradition of Confucian scholarship might be reduced to working in the fields. 60 Excessive taxation and corruption in the tax system led to increasing frustration at the government and its officials. Such corrupt practices as demanding military cloth taxes on children, the elderly, and even the deceased led to the abandonment of land as peasants fled to become slash-and-burn agriculturalists. 61 These long simmering grievances at times led to uprisings in which religion could play an important role. 62 Even though Korea did not suffer from the massive religiously-inspired rebellions that China did at this time, government officials were aware that such things had happened there, and were wary of the possibility that they might one day face such a threat themselves. 63 The fall of the Ming and the rise of the Qing, along with social and economic problems, led many people in the late Chosŏn dynasty to feel that something was deeply wrong, not only 60 No, Sahoe, 43-49. 61Ch‟oe Wan‟gi, 86-98 62Ch‟oe Wan‟gi, 98-100. 63 For examples see, Don Baker, trans., “A Buddhist Rebellion” and “An Chŏngbok: A Buddha Incarnate,” in Sources of Korean Tradition, ed. Peter H. Lee and Wm. Theodore de Bary (New York: Columbia University, 1997), 2:174-77; James H. Grayson, Korea: A Religious History (New York: RoutledgeCurzon, 2002), 137-38. 54 with Korea, but with the world itself. For those elites troubled by this situation, there were essentially three possible ways they could respond: 1) reaffirming Neo-Confucianism, 2) renewing Confucianism by bringing in new ideas, and 3) giving up on Neo-Confucianism and embracing another worldview. 64 Elite Koreans who converted to Catholicism before 1791 tended to embrace option two, while those who remained within the church despite the prohibition of ancestor rites or who converted later chose option three. The state, however, was governed by kings and officials who chose the first option and sought through ritual to strengthen the Korean state and the civilization it preserved. Their passion for orthodoxy and orthopraxy had led them to harshly criticize fellow Confucians. They were even more severe in their treatment of Catholicism. Criticism of Catholicism While some Southerners were attracted to Catholicism, members of that faction, such as An Chŏngbok (1712-1791), Ch‟ae Chegong (1720-1799), and Sin Hudam (1702-1761), criticized the foreign religion in no uncertain terms, as did other Korean scholars. 65 Catholic doctrines, such as the Fall, the Incarnation, and the Atonement, even the belief in a God that created ex nihil, were considered absurd. Catholics were also criticized as being immoral. Like Buddhists, they scared people into doing good by playing on their selfishness, promising heaven 64 These divisions are a modified form of those found in No, Sahoe, 68-75. 65 Don Baker, tr., “An Chŏngbok: A Conversation on Catholicism,” in Sources of Korean Tradition, ed. Peter H. Lee and Wm. Theodore De Bary (New York: Columbia University, 1997), 2:130-133; Cho Kwang, Chosŏn hugi, 197-236; Baker, “Use and Abuse.” 55 for the righteous and hell for the wicked, rather than encouraging them to do good for its own sake. 66 The greater danger Catholicism posed to Confucian civilization than Buddhism and Shamanism became more apparent once Catholics began to appear in Korea. Catholics formed a tight-knit organization and consequently were very different from monks and shamans, who had a clientele, but typically no congregations. Furthermore, monks at least wore special clothing that marked them out as different. Catholics looked just like everyone else. In fact, they could be anyone else: yangban, chungin, commoner, low-born, man, or woman. Because Catholicism embraced all segments of society and Catholic loyalty went beyond their king to God and his representatives, the pope and the bishop of Beijing, it bound people together into an illegal secret society that could theoretically launch a rebellion, directly threatening the state. Moreover, such a rebellion would not simply overthrow the dynasty and replace it with another Neo-Confucian one, but, by bringing “evil learning” into power, destroy the civilization the Chosŏn state sought to protect. The fact that Catholics broke the law by distributing forbidden books, belonging to an illegal and secretive religious organization, and communicating with foreigners, even bringing in a Chinese priest, made them appear all the more threatening. Even if they did not rebel, Catholics were dangerous, as they ate away at the very moral foundations of the state. For example, traditionally, elite men had tended to follow Neo- Confucianism and women Buddhism and Shamanism, leading to very different forms of religious practice and beliefs. However, Catholicism brought men and women together in the same room for prayer. This led to criticism of Catholicism as lewd and indecent. Such suspicions were strengthened when it was found that Father Zhou had been hidden in the home 66 For an overview of doctrinal and philosophical criticisms of Catholicism see, Cho Kwang, Chosŏn hugi, 155-77; Kŭm Chang-t‟ae, “The Doctrinal Dispute between Confucianism and Western Thought in the Late Chosŏn Period,” in The Founding of Catholic Tradition in Korea, ed. Chai-shin Yu (Toronto: University of Toronto Press), 7-44. 56 of Columba Kang. 67 Similarly, some young men and women who converted to Catholicism even disobeyed their parents when commanded to abandon the religion. 68 Of special importance was the refusal of Catholics to perform ancestor rites, taken by the critics of Catholicism as further proof that the religion destroyed filial piety, which was itself linked with the virtue of loyalty, substantiating the charge that Catholics had “no father and no king” (mubu mugun/無父無君 ). Catholicism, by rejecting ancestor rites, prioritized the relationship between God and the individual over the individual‟s relationship with parents and king, subverting the two cardinal virtues of loyalty and filial piety and denying the state‟s claim to ritual hegemony. Catholicism thus directly challenged the Neo-Confucian civilization that the Chosŏn state was bound to protect by threatening to make the people of Korea into “birds and beasts,” wild animals with no morals. The Suppression of Catholicism, 1785-1801 To understand the historical context in which both Hwang Sayŏng and the Chosŏn state sought to justify violence, it is necessary to briefly survey the suppression of Catholicism in Korea. From the time the Chosŏn state became aware that there were Catholics on the peninsula, it sought to suppress the new religion. Peter Yi Sŭnghun began to spread the religion after he returned to Korea from Beijing in 1784, and in just a short time the Catholic community grew to approximately 1,000. Yangban believers often met together at the house of Thomas Kim Pŏmu (?-1786), a chungin translator. Meetings had gone on at the house for several months when, in 67 See Gary Ledyard, “Kollumba Kang Wansuk, an Early Catholic Activist and Martyr,” Christianity in Korea, ed. Robert Buswell Jr. and Timothy S. Lee (Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 2006), 38-71. 68 For the conflict Catholicism caused within families, see Ch‟oe Sŏnhye, “Chosŏn hugi kajong ŭi Ch‟ŏnjugyoin pakhae wa in‟gan‟gwan ŭi pyŏnhwa [Persecution of Catholics in late Chosŏn families and changes in the view of humanity],” Kyohoesa yŏn’gu 25 (December, 2005): 317-38. 57 the spring of 1785, an officer of the board of punishments, thinking that drinking and gambling were going on inside, entered to find the Catholics engaged in prayer. They were all arrested. While the yangban were simply admonished and released, Kim Pŏmu was tortured. Refusing to abandon Catholicism, he was banished, but died from his ordeal before reaching his place of exile. Even though the yangban escaped physical punishment, their families put heavy pressure on them to abandon Catholicism. One of the early leaders, Yi Pyŏk, did so when his father threatened suicide. Even Peter Yi forsook Catholicism, though he would soon return to the community. 69 In the wake of this incident, government officials called on King Chŏngjo to take action. In 1785 an order, restated in 1787, was given to ban Catholic books, which were also taken from a state library and burned. 70 Under continued bureaucratic pressure from his officials to take stronger action against Catholicism, King Chŏngjo commanded the governors to deal with the religion in their provinces in 1788. 71 Chŏngjo‟s comparative reluctance to move against Catholicism was in part connected to factionalism. The king relied on Southerners, such as his councilor, the anti-Catholic Ch‟ae Chegong, to balance the powerful Old Doctrine faction. He likely feared that the suppression of Catholicism would become a pretext for factional attacks against his allies, as most elite Catholics belonged to that faction, including favorites like Chŏng Yagyong. 72 Therefore, instead of actively suppressing Catholicism, Chŏngjo proclaimed that if the Confucian Way were properly illuminated, and were state officials to actually follow its 69 Choi Jai-keun, Origins, 92-95. 70 Cho Kwang, Chosŏn hugi, 179-85. 71 Tai-sik Jung, 169-170. 72 Cho Kwang, Chosŏn hugi, 212-15. 58 teachings correctly, no one would become a Catholic and those who had already converted would leave the religion of their own accord. 73 These half measures did little to stop the spread of Catholicism, which continued to grow. Catholics even began to communicate with Bishop Alexandre de Gouvea (1731-1808) in Beijing to learn more about their new faith and to request a priest. 74 Peter Yi became involved in the Catholic community again and was a part of these efforts, in 1789 writing a letter to the bishop in which he stated that many Catholics had been put in prison and over ten had died for their faith. 75 Yi gives no names, and as there is no corroborating evidence for these deaths, he might have simply been reporting an unsubstantiated rumor. If Catholics had in fact died at the hands of the state, they had probably done so as part of the local suppressions carried out by the governors after the king‟s order of 1788.76 It would be Bishop Gouvea‟s response to another of Peter Yi‟s letters in 1790, in which the Catholic ban on ancestor rites was made known, that would cause many Koreans to leave the church and set into motion the events that would lead to the execution of Paul Yun and James Kwŏn the following year.77 Not only government officials, but even local elites were incensed by what Paul and James had done and called for stricter measures against Catholicism. 78 Peter Yi was dismissed from office, but his second abandonment of Catholicism saved him from 73 Tai-sik Jung, 107-35. 74 Choi Jai-keun, 36-44. 75 Yun Migun, trans., Han’guk ch’ogi kyohoe-e kwanhan Kyohwangch’ŏng charyo mŭnjib [Collection of Vatican documents related to the early Korean Church] (Kat‟ollik Ch‟ulp‟ansa: Seoul, 2001), 37. 76 At the time no one was to be executed without the king‟s approval so there should have been some record if these Catholics had been. However, they could have died under interrogation, which would explain why none exist. See William Shaw, Legal Norms in a Confucian State (Berkeley: University of California, Institute of East Asian Studies/Center for Korean Studies, 1981), 61. 77 Joseph Ch'ang-mun Kim and John Jae-sun Chung, Catholic Korea: Yesterday and Today (Seoul: St. Joseph Publishing Co., 1984), 29. 78 Don Baker, “A Different Thread,” 220. 59 further punishment. 79 While at least one Catholic, Francis Xavier Kwŏn Ilsin (1751-1791), also a Southerner, died from torture, no one save Paul and James was purposefully executed. 80 This was in part because of Chŏngjo‟s resistance to the use of more violence, and because many of the early Catholic leaders who were interrogated agreed to abandon Catholicism, though some would later became active again in the church. 81 Only a handful of Catholics died at the hands of the government between 1791 and 1796. Peter Wŏn Sijang‟s (1732-1793) zeal for spreading his new faith led to his arrest in 1793. He was tortured for several months in an effort to force him to abandon Catholicism. Only after he continually refused to do so was he finally executed. 82 Three other Catholics were beaten to death in 1795 in an attempt to force them to confess the whereabouts of Father James Zhou Wenmo, who had snuck into Korea the previous year. 83 During this time, the state, while willing to execute Catholics, was hesitant to actually do so. When Catholics were executed, it typically was not simply because they were Catholic, but because they had committed some other crime. The continued failure to capture Father Zhou led Chŏngjo to order a secret search for the priest and to authorize the violent suppression of Catholicism in Ch‟ungch‟ŏng province, where he was believed to be hiding. The decision to authorize the local suppression of Catholicism in Ch‟ungch‟ŏng province, mentioned briefly by Hwang in the Silk Letter, led to a sharp increase in the number of Catholics executed for practicing their religion. 84 While it has been stated that between 1797 and 1800 upwards of one hundred Catholics died during this suppression, we only have detailed information on the lives of eight Catholics, all of whom were men. These 79 See Jung Tai-Sik, Origins, 196-97. 80 He initially refused to abandon Catholicism but gave an ambiguous statement of submission to the king when he was told his mother was sick and that if he issued such a statement he would be sent into exile near her. He died before he reached his place of exile. Joseph Kim and John Chung, 40-41. 81 Cho Kwang, Chosŏn hugi, 64-72 and 188-90. 82 Joseph Kim and John Chung, 41-44. 83 Choi Jai-keun, 44-45 and 103-7. 84 Silk Letter, line 6. 60 Catholics were tortured over an extended period of time, one for more than two years, not to force them to abjure their faith because they could not longer handle the pain, but in order to convince them to abandon Catholicism by awakening them from their errors. 85 Two died from this treatment while the other six were eventually executed after they repeatedly refused to abandon Catholicism. Of these eight men, six were either leaders of the Catholic community already known to the government, or related to other people who had been arrested. None possessed strong factional connections. Moreover, despite the fact that their families contained Catholics, some of whom visited them in prison, they were largely left alone. There are no extant records of Catholic women being executed or dying in prison during this period. 86 As the number of Catholics continued to expand, so too did the suppression of Catholicism, which spilled into Kyŏnggi province, where the capitol was located, in 1800. Hwang was aware of this, and recorded details of it in the Silk Letter, reporting that Peter Cho Yongsam (?-1801) was arrested with his father in the fourth month of 1800. 87 He also described how a large group of Catholics, led by Martin Yi Chungbae (?-1801), were arrested after an unfriendly neighbor saw them boisterously celebrating Easter and reported them to government officials. 88 In the sixth month of 1800, while they were in prison, being tortured in an attempt to make them abandon Catholicism, Chŏngjo died and his son, Sunjo, ascended the throne. As he was a minor, Queen Dowager Chŏngsun (1745-1805), a former consort of Chŏngjo‟s grandfather and a member of an Old Doctrine family, became regent. She was concerned that the young 85 For an example of this logic, see Jung, 210. 86 The information on these eight men was culled from Joseph Kim and John Chung, 49-51 and Han‟guk Ch‟ŏnjukyo Chugyohoe ŭi Sibok Sisŏng Chugyo T‟ŭkpyŏl Wiwŏnhoe, ‘Hanŭnim ŭi chong’ Yun Chich’ŭng Paolo wa tongryo sun’gyoja 123wi [„Servants of God‟ Paul Yun Chich‟ung and 123 other martyrs] (Seoul: Taekyo K‟ŏmyunik‟eisyŭn, 2003). See also Dallet, 1:399-410 and Joseph Kim, 48-49. More than these eight were probably killed, but as these are the only ones I have been able to locate information on thus far, it is likely the case that the number of one hundred is too high. For a reference to that number see Kim Chinso, “Sinyu pakhae tangsi sŏyang sŏnbak chŏngwŏn ŭi tŭksŏng,” 118-21. 87 Silk Letter, line 71. 88 Silk Letter, lines 9-11. 61 king lacked a strong power base. 89 This, combined with her dislike of Chŏngjo, who had punished members of her family, and his Southerner allies, led her to look to the Old Doctrine Faction for support, insuring its dominance in the government. 90 The arrest of Catholics continued after the five-month mourning period for King Chŏngjo had ended. On the twenty-seventh day of the twelfth month of 1800, Thomas Ch‟oe P‟ilgong (1769-1801), a former government functionary who had abandoned Catholicism in 1791, but later relapsed, was apprehended. Two days later, Peter Ch‟oe P‟ilche (1770-1801), a cousin of Thomas Ch‟oe, was arrested after a constable stumbled upon a Catholic prayer meeting in his pharmacy. On the ninth day of the first month of 1801, John Ch‟oe Ch‟anghyŏn (1754-1801), a relative of one of the three Catholics killed in connection to the Father Zhou incident and an important Catholic leader, was informed upon and arrested. 91 The following day the Queen Dowager, noting that Chŏngjo‟s policy of illuminating the way had failed to stop the spread of Catholicism, issued a proclamation that called for the suppression of the religion and stated that those followers of “evil learning” who did not abandon the cult would be treated as rebels.92 This edict would begin a suppression of Catholicism that would take between 100 and 300 lives. 93 Alexius Hwang wrote that after John Ch‟oe‟s arrest a large number of Catholics, including women, were thrown into prison and soon filled up the state jails. Early in the second 89 Jung Tai-Sik, 217-23. 90See Pyŏn Chusŭng, “Sinyu pakhae ŭi chŏngjijŏk paegyŏng-e kwanhan yŏn‟gu [A study of the political background of the 1801 Persecution]” and Yi Yŏngch‟un, “Hwang Sayŏng Paeksŏ sakkŏn-e kwanhan yŏksa sinhakchŏk sŏngch‟al [A historical-theological reflection on the Hwang Sayŏng Silk Letter incident],” in Sinyu pakhae wa Hwang Sayŏng Paeksŏ sakkŏn, ed. Ch‟oe Ch‟anghwa (Seoul: Han‟guk Sun‟gyoja Hyŏnyang Wiwŏnhoe, 2003), 35-54 and 231-56; Jung Tai-sik, 216-30. 91 Joseph Kim and John Chung, 52-59; Silk Letter, lines 22-23. 92 Sŭngjŏngwŏn ilgi, vol. 97, 287-89 (Sunjo, yr. 1, 1. 10. chŏnghae). 93 According to a letter sent by Korean Catholics to the pope in 1811, over one hundred people died in the suppression and four hundred were sent into exile (for a Korean translation of the letter see Yun Migun, 211). Hwang reported that he had heard that three hundred had been killed in the capital alone, but was not sure if he could believe it (Silk Letter, lines 74-75). It is probable that more than one hundred, but less than three hundred died. 62 month a new chief of police ordered that those who had forsaken Catholicism be released. He was reassigned to a different position and the police were ordered to recapture those Catholics he had let go. Previously, those who had abandoned Catholicism had been allowed to go free, but now they were to be punished with exile, indicating that the state would take a stronger stance against the religion. Furthermore, Catholic commoners were transferred to the state tribunal (ŭigŭmbu), which was reserved only for yangban and non-yangban rebels. This indicated that the state was taking seriously the proclamation‟s threat that refusing to abandon Catholicism was tantamount to rebellion. 94 Torture was still used to try and wake up Catholics to their errors so that they would abandon their faith. For instance, Peter Cho died on the fourteenth day of the second month from the beatings he had received in an effort to make him recant. 95 Then, on the second month of the twenty-fourth day, John Ch‟oe, Peter Ch‟oe and Thomas Ch‟oe, as well as Peter Yi Sŭnghun, Augustine Chŏng Yakchong, Paul Hong Nangmin (a Southerner and relapsed Catholic, 1751-1801), were all executed by decapitation, the punishment for rebellion. 96 Yi Kahwan (1742-1801), a former Southerner official and Catholic who had abandoned Catholicism, died around this time from the torture he had endured, as did Ambrose Kwŏn Ch‟ŏlsin (1736-1801), who had been sentenced to be executed with the others. 97 Of the eight who died, all but John Ch‟oe had some factional connection to the Southerners, either directly or through their families. None had been in government custody for long, the three Ch‟oes being arrested in either the twelfth month of 1800 or the first month of 1801, and the other five from early in the second 94 Silk Letter, lines 24 and 28-30. 95 Silk Letter, lines 70-72. 96 It is not clear what Peter Yi Sŭnghun believed when he died. See Cho Kwang, Chosŏn hugi, 64-67. 97 See Silk Letter, line 39; Chŏng Tuhoe, “Sinyu pakhae ŭi chŏn‟gae kwajŏng [The course of the 1801 persecution],” in Sinyu pakhae wa Hwang Sayŏng Paeksŏ sakkŏn, ed. Ch‟oe Ch‟anghwa (Seoul: Han‟guk Sun‟gyoja Hyŏnyang Wiwŏnhoe, 2003), 57-60. 63 month of 1801. Thus, while it appears that an effort had been made to reform the Ch‟oes, Peter Yi, Augustine Chŏng, and Paul Hong were killed right away. As the latter three were all Southerners, factional animosity likely played a part in this, but the inclusion of people not directly connected to any of the parties indicates that factionalism was not the sole, or necessarily even the primary cause of the suppression. 98 Had Catholicism been merely an issue of factionalism, the government suppression of the religion could have ended there. However, instead of diminishing in intensity it expanded, beginning to include women for the first time. It appears that the first female Catholics to be arrested in the 1801 suppression were Columba Kang and the Catholic women she lived with. 99 After her arrest, she was tortured numerous times and then executed on the twenty-third day of the fifth month. Moreover, Columba was not the first female Catholic to die. Two princesses, Maria Song and Maria Sin, who had lived in exile because male relatives had been implicated in a anti-government plot, were given poison when it was discovered that they were Catholics, dying on the thirteenth day of the third month. 100 On the same day the two Marys took poison, Martin Yi, and his companions who had been arrested while celebrating Easter, were beheaded. They did not have any factional affiliation save for Martin, and he was a member of the Disciples faction (Soron), not a Southerner. 101 Similar executions would continue sporadically until the end of the suppression in late 1801. From 1785 to 1801, the Chosŏn state gradually broadened the scope of the suppression of Catholicism and its use of violence to that end. While factionalism and the rise of the Old Doctrine party played a role in this, the primary reason the state intensified its use of violence 98 Silk Letter, line 30-54. Hwang dwelt at length on these deaths in the Silk Letter and seems to have been deeply affected by them. 99 Silk Letter, line 21; Ledyard, 39-57. 100 Silk Letter, line 69-70. 101 Silk Letter, line 9. 64 was because more lenient and passive policies failed to halt the spread of Catholicism, which was seen as a threat to the Chosŏn state and the Neo-Confucian civilization it guarded. Evidence of this threat could be seen in the fact that Catholics burned ancestor tablets, met together secretly, and had smuggled in a Chinese priest. Much of the government violence directed against Catholics during this time was in fact directly connected to these acts. While most Catholics reacted to state suppression by trying to stay hidden and practicing their faith in secret, others responded to the increasing use of state violence against their community more actively. The near arrest of Father Zhou in 1795, and the deaths of the three Catholics who sought to protect him, convinced Catholic leaders that they needed to somehow obtain official toleration for their faith. Thus, in 1796, a group of Catholics, including Hwang Sayŏng, sent a letter to the bishop Beijing requesting that a Western ship be sent to them.102 They had heard that Catholicism had initially suffered violent suppression in China, but that a Western country had dispatched a great ship loaded with treasures, and through a combination of diplomacy and gifts to the court, won tolerance for their religion, enabling Catholics to practice their faith publicly and even build churches. Korean Catholics wondered if a similar plan might work in their country. It even seems that Yu Kwan‟gŏm (?-1801), the younger brother of Augustine Yu Hanggŏm (1756-1801), an important Church leader in Chŏlla Province, was open to the use of force for this end if peaceful measures failed. Under interrogation, the Catholic Yi Wujib (1761-1801), who had acted as a messenger for the Catholics, stated that Kwan‟gŏm had said that if gifts and diplomacy did not work, force could be used to settle the issue. 103 102 For more on these efforts, see Kim Chinso, “Sinyu pakhae tangsi” and Cho Kwang, “Hwang Sayŏng Paeksŏ ŭi sahoe sasangjŏk paegyŏng [The social thought behind Hwang Sayŏng‟s Silk Letter],” in Sinyu pakhae wa Hwang Sayŏng Paeksŏ sakkŏn, ed. Ch‟oe Ch‟anghwa (Seoul: Han‟guk Sun‟gyoja Hyŏnyang Wiwŏnhoe, 2003). 103 Ch‟a Kijin, “Chosŏn hugi Ch‟ŏnjugyo sinjadŭl ŭi sŏngjikcha yŏngip kwa yangban ch‟ŏngnae-e taehan yŏn‟gu [A study of the bringing in of priests by Catholics and the invitation of a Western ship in the late Chosŏn],” Kyohoesa yŏn’gu 13 (July, 1998): 21-27. 65 Alexius Hwang faced an even more difficult situation in 1801 than he and other Catholics did in 1796. Hwang was well aware of the increasingly violent suppression of Catholicism, recording details of many of the above executions of Catholics in the Silk Letter. Hwang knew that much of the leadership of the Catholic Church was dead, the suppression of Catholicism was expanding in intensity, and the only priest in Korea had been executed. To Hwang, who had been forced to abandon his wife and two year-old son and flee from his home, and who was close to many of those who had been killed, the situation must have seemed especially dire. While Hwang knew that the last request for a ship had been rejected—the bishop of Beijing had said it was impossible—he wondered if now the situation had changed and help could be sent.104 It seemed to Hwang that something had to be done or otherwise the Catholic community in Korea would be wiped out. Consequently, he decided to write the Silk Letter, proposing that a Western armada invade Korea and force the Chosŏn state to accept a priest and tolerate the Catholic Church. 104 Ch‟a, “Chosŏn hugi,” 52-54. 66 Chapter 2: Violence and the Silk Letter In the second month of 1801, when Hwang Sayŏng learned that his arrest had been ordered, he fled Seoul, leaving behind his wife and son. Other Catholics, including Columba Kang Wansuk, helped him escape. Eventually he made his way to Paeron, a potter‟s village, where, from the end of the second month to the last days of the ninth, he made his home in a man-made cave. Though he was a wanted fugitive, and despite the ongoing suppression of Catholicism, Hwang managed to convert several people there, attesting to his skill as a missionary. 1 Shortly after his arrival, he heard news of the execution of his uncle Augustine Chŏng. Sometime between then and the twenty-sixth day of the eighth month, when Hwang Sim visited him and confirmed what he had already heard, that Father Zhou had been executed four months previously, Alexius Hwang began to write the Silk Letter. The Silk Letter was composed of 13,384 characters in 122 lines printed neatly on a piece of silk sixty-two centimeters wide and thirty-eight centimeters tall. It was meant to be sewn inside the lining of a jacket, which is how Catholics had sent messages to missionaries in China previously. 2 This method was very effective, as none of those letters had been intercepted. Hwang‟s missive was meant for Bishop Gouvea, though Hwang did not mention the bishop‟s name. Similarly, Alexius Hwang did not use his name, but instead signed the letter “Thomas,” the baptismal name of Hwang Sim, who, unlike Alexius Hwang, was known to the missionaries. In the Silk Letter, Hwang described the course of the suppression and its causes and provided detailed descriptions of the lives of the Catholics who had died. He tried to be as 1 Pang, “Hwang Sayŏng <Paeksŏ> wa punsŏkchŏk ihae,” 151-53. 2 For information on Hwang‟s flight and an analysis of the physical properties of the Silk Letter and its divisions see Ha, 100-6; Hwang Sayŏng, Nuga, 9-22; Yŏ, Hwang Sayŏng <Paeksŏ> yŏn’gu, 45-58 and 82-89. 67 accurate as possible, noting when he was not sure if what he was reporting was true. Hwang also pleaded with Bishop Gouvea to do what he could to obtain a new priest and tolerance for the Catholic Church, through violent means if need be. He did so both by direct appeals, and more indirectly, through how he framed his hagiographies and description of the suppression of Catholicism. In this chapter, we will examine the arguments he used, as well as the hagiographical narrative that he constructed, to justify violence. And in doing so, we will see how the story he told blinded Hwang to the wide chasm dividing Catholicism and Neo- Confucianism and the consequent challenge the former posed the latter, making violence appear to be a more promising means of obtaining tolerance than it really was. Rebuilding the Korean Catholic Church Obtaining a New Priest Hwang believed that, if the Catholic community in Korea were to survive, it was absolutely necessary to obtain a new priest, explaining in the Silk Letter that “Even though the persecutions that occurred in the West in the past were worse than this, some priests survived and the sacraments were still available. That‟s how our sacred teachings managed to survive and how souls could still be saved.”3 As the Catholics lacked a priest, and therefore the sacraments, they were worse off than a sheep that had lost its shepherd, for it was still “able to find some 3 The sacraments are of great importance in Catholicism as they are believed to be the normal means through which God communicates grace and forgives sins. Without them, it is difficult, according to Catholic doctrine, to lead a normal Christian life and achieve salvation. Hwang argued that the early Christians were able to endure violent suppression because they had the divine help available through the sacraments. Since Korean Catholics did not have access to the sacraments as they had no priest to perform them (save for baptism which can be performed by laypeople), Hwang thought they could not endure persecution for much longer. For a summary of the importance of the sacraments for Catholics in Korea at this time see Baker, Korean Spirituality, 65-66. 68 grass to eat to keep alive” or even a “newborn baby” who “loses the mother that was nursing her.”4 Bringing in a priest required the money necessary to cover the expenses of guides to escort the cleric into the country and for the preparation of safe houses in which he could hide. 5 But, as Hwang explained, Korea was the poorest of countries and the Catholics had been made poorer still by government suppression. According to Hwang, it was this poverty, along with a lack of experience, which had led to Father Zhou‟s near arrest and the deaths of three Catholics in 1795. Hwang was frustrated by this situation, writing that, “Never in our wildest dreams did we expect that the survival of Catholicism in Korea and our very lives would depend on filthy mammon. 6 If it is only because of a lack of money that we are dying and Catholicism is disappearing in Korea, how can our grief at the injustices we have suffered be alleviated?” He then appealed to Bishop Gouvea to go to the countries of the “Great West” and ask them to send money to Korea. Hwang promised that they would be careful and would not repeat their previous mistakes. If Bishop Gouvea sent a priest, he would be well taken care of. 7 Hwang went on to explain the difficulties they would face in smuggling a priest into Korea. The state had set up a system in which groups of five families were mutually responsible for making sure that there were no Catholics among them. However, because there had been little Catholic activity in the provinces of Hwanghae and P‟yŏngan, the latter of which bordered China, the system was not strictly enforced there, which meant that Catholics could safely settle in those places. If a Chinese Catholic could set up a store near the Willow Palisade, a series of ditches and willow trees that separated Manchu, Chinese, Mongolian, and Korean territory, they 4 Silk Letter, line 87. 5 See Hwang Sayŏng‟s interrogation records for 1801-10-10, 737-742/261-64. 6 Mammon is a derogatory word for money. See Matthew 6:24 and Luke 16:13. 7 See Silk Letter, lines 91-97; Yŏ, Hwang Sayŏng <Paeksŏ> yŏn’gu, 129-31. 69 could easily communicate with each other, facilitating the dispatch of a priest. Furthermore, Hwang suggested that a Korean sneak into China in order to teach some young men, presumably seminarians, the Korean language. 8 This was because, despite Father Zhou‟s devotion to his flock, his Korean was very poor. Columba Kang frequently had to interpret for him when he preached or taught Catholic doctrine, and when he surrendered himself to the government, the officials could not understand his Korean, necessitating that he had to write down what he was trying to say in Chinese. 9 Hwang thought that the preparations for sending another priest could begin right away. This was because he ascribed the primary causes of the persecution to the “hateful jealousy” the Old Doctrine faction held for the Southerners and King Chŏngjo‟s desire to arrest Father Zhou. Now that the Old Doctrine faction was in power and Father Zhou was dead, the persecution might end within a few months. 10 Hwang did not see the suppression of Catholicism as arising from the challenge it posed to the Chosŏn state and its Neo-Confucian foundation, but rather to the character flaws and desires of individual actors, and was consequently rather optimistic about the possibility that the suppression of Catholicism would soon die out now that state officials had achieved their goals, enabling plans to send a priest to go forward. He could not have known that it would be nearly three decades before another cleric would enter the country. 11 8 Silk Letter, line 98. 9 See Sŭngjŏngwŏn ilgi, vol. 97, 463-64 (Sunjo, yr. 1, 3. 15. sinmyo); Ledyard, 52. 10 Silk Letter, line 93. 11 A Chinese priest, Father Pacificus Yu Hengde, would enter Korea in 1834 and work there until 1836, the same year the first French missionaries entered. See Ch‟oe Sŏnhye, “Kihae pakhae [The 1839 Persecution],” in Han’guk kyohoesa 3 [Korean church history, volume 3], ed. Han‟guk Kyohoesa (Seoul: Han‟guk Kyohoesa Yŏn‟guso, 2010), 15-20. 70 Obtaining Tolerance Hwang realized that without tolerance for Catholicism it would be impossible to guarantee the safety of the priest, for Korean Catholics to live without fear of persecution, or to spread the Catholic faith. However, he knew that the Chosŏn state would not willingly tolerate Catholicism. In fact, Hwang feared that the Korean government hoped to imitate Japan in its seemingly successful campaign to stamp out the religion. 12 Therefore he proposed several plans in his Silk Letter that he believed could obtain tolerance for the Catholic Church in Korea. In the first, he requested Bishop Gouvea to ask the pope to write a letter to the emperor of China expressing a desire to spread Catholicism in Korea, and asking him to order the kingdom, “to welcome missionaries from the West, who will teach the people to be loyal and respectful. The people will then repay with the utmost loyalty the kindness Your Highness (the emperor of China) has shown them.”13 Hwang believed that Catholic missionaries enjoyed the respect of the Qing and that the emperor would be willing to help in gratitude for the loyal service they had given him. 14 However, Hwang realized that if the emperor would not intervene in Korea out of gratitude, he might be willing to out of concerns for his own safety. Hwang wrote, referring to the Miao rebellion of 1795-1798 and the White Lotus rising of 1796-1801, that, “We have heard that bandits are running rampant in the west, that the Chinese military has suffered numerous 12 Silk Letter, line 87. Hwang believed that Catholicism had been completely destroyed in Japan. However, some Catholics continued to practice their faith in secret, staying hidden for over two hundred years before revealing themselves to French missionaries in the middle of the nineteenth century. See Ann Harrington, Japan’s Hidden Christians (Chicago: Loyola Press, 1993). 13 Silk Letter, line 101. 14 For the situation of Catholics in China during this time, see Eugenio Menegon, Ancestors, Virgins, and Friars: Christianity as a Local Religion in Late Imperial China (Cambridge: Harvard University Asia Center, 2009), 116- 53. 71 defeats, and that the empire is losing territory.”15 Hwang then explained that if the bishop knew someone whom he could trust who had access to the throne, he could have that person propose that the emperor assert his authority over Korea. Hwang believed this might work because the emperor, facing serious threats to Chinese security, might fear being driven out of Beijing. If that happened, should he control Korea, he could retreat there and use it as a base to regain his empire. Hwang argued that Korea was ideal for this purpose. It was nearby, its lands were fertile, it had plenty of timber, fish, salt, and ginseng, and most importantly, possessed strong horses and men who could be made into good soldiers. In order to gain control over the country, the emperor could establish an “Office for Pacifying the People” (anmusa/按撫使)16 between Anju and P‟yŏngyang and assign one of his relatives to head it. Not knowing that Korea‟s king already had a bride, Hwang also suggested that the emperor have him marry an imperial princess. This would make him the emperor‟s son-in-law, ensuring his, and his successors, continued loyalty to the Qing imperial house. 17 The emperor, however, had to justify his usurpation of Korean sovereignty. In order to provide him with a pretext, Hwang contended that Korea was ruled poorly. The Queen Dowager controlled the government and high officials abused their power, earning the resentment of the common people. Hwang also pointed out that Korea had minted its own coins and produced its own calendar, violations of its status as a vassal state. It would therefore be legitimate for the Emperor to establish more direct rule over Korea. Hwang argued that this would not harm the common people. In fact, it would help the dynasty, as intervention would destroy the power of the “wicked officials” (kansin/奸臣) who looked upon the king with disdain. The loss of 15 See Silk Letter, lines 103-108; Yŏ, Hwang Sayŏng <Paeksŏ> yŏn’gu, 138-47. 16 In the Silk Letter, Hwang reversed the two characters “an” (按) and “mu” (撫) and left out the “sa” (使), and so wrote, “muan” (撫按). 17 This was exactly what the Mongols had done to Koryŏ Korea during the Yuan dynasty (1271-1368). 72 sovereignty would therefore actually strengthen the royal house. Most importantly for Hwang‟s purposes, because Korean Catholics had experience in dealing with China, they would, along with their Chinese counterparts, act as intermediaries between the two countries. The Qing emperor would reward their loyal service with protection and then the number of Catholics would grow so large that the church could not be destroyed. Thus, Hwang‟s plan would “not only bring peace and stability to the church in Korea, but would also be a blessing for the country.” If the Chinese emperor could not help then it would be necessary to turn to the “Great West” for assistance. Previously Korean Catholics had asked for a single warship to come to their country in an effort to obtain tolerance for the Catholic Church. Hwang now requested an armada: [W]e can use military power to force Korea to leave Catholics alone. This can be done if we obtain several hundred warships loaded with fifty or sixty thousand elite troops, large cannons, and other dangerous weapons, along with three or four clever Chinese scholars who can write well. Put them ashore in Korea and have them deliver a letter to the King that says, “We have come to spread Catholicism. We are not here to seize your women or your wealth but have come out of obedience to the command of His Holiness the Pope, who desires the salvation of your people‟s souls. If your honorable country accepts even just one Catholic missionary, we will not make further demands and will not fire one shell nor shoot one arrow nor even disturb one speck of dust or one blade of grass in your kingdom. 18 While Hwang conjured up a fearsome image of the armada, he did not believe that the lethal weaponry he described would actually need to be utilized, writing that “Fearing destruction and desiring peace, they (Chosŏn officials) will give in to our demands.”19 This was a rather 18 Silk Letter, lines 109-112. 19 Silk Letter, line, 114. Hwang confirmed this under interrogation, stating that it was an empty threat and that he thought that the armada would be so intimidating that the Chosŏn state would capitulate and agree to tolerate Catholicism without a fight.
UBC Theses and Dissertations
The ambiguity of violence : ideology, state, and religion in the late Chosŏn dynasty Rausch, Franklin David 2011
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