Charles Lennox Richardson

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Body of Charles Richardson, 1862.

Charles Lennox Richardson (16 April 1834 – 14 September 1862) was an English merchant based in Shanghai who was killed in Japan during the Namamugi Incident. His name is properly spelled as “Charles Lenox Richardson” according to the census and family documents.

Merchant[edit]

Richardson was born in London in 1834. He relocated to Shanghai in 1853 to seek his fortune in the China trade. In 1862, Richardson announced his retirement from the world of business, and was en route back to England with his fortune when he stopped over at the treaty port of Yokohama in September 1862.

Namamugi Incident[edit]

Main article: Namamugi Incident

After Richardson met Woodthorpe Charles Clarke, an old friend from Shanghai, they joined fellow merchant William Marshall, and Marshall's sister-in-law Margaret Watson Borradaile to go on a sightseeing ride via nearby Kanagawa town towards the temple of Kawasaki Daishi. While travelling on the Tōkaidō road - the Imperial highway - through the village of Namamugi (now part of Tsurumi ward, Yokohama), the party encountered the retinue of Satsuma regent Daimyo Shimazu Hisamitsu (otherwise Shimazu Saburō) heading in the opposite direction. When Richardson approached Shimazu's palanquin too closely, the daimyo's bodyguard attacked the Englishman. Marshall and Clarke were also severely wounded in the incident. Grievously wounded, Richardson fell from his horse a short distance from the attack and was killed with a coup de grace on the orders of Shimazu.

The British government demanded reparations following the Namamugi Incident. But when Shimazu resisted the order to pay, a squadron of Royal Navy ships bombarded Kagoshima during the brief Anglo-Satsuma War the following year.

Burial[edit]

Richardson’s grave is in a private plot near to the Yokohama Foreign Cemetery between the later graves of Marshall and Clarke.

Reception[edit]

In a 2013 article,[1] Richardson was blamed for cultural ignorance, arrogance, and racism.

According to Japanese reports, he disrespectfully rode in the middle of the road and even tried to get between the regent's litter and his bodyguards.[1]

Just before the incident, after having been warned not to provoke the guards, Richardson allegedly said, "I have been living in China for fourteen years. I know how to deal with these people." Richardson's uncle was reportedly not surprised about his nephew's demise and blamed him for being reckless and stubborn. Frederick Wright-Bruce, the British envoy to China, remembered Richardson as an arrogant adventurer.[1]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Notes
  1. ^ a b c Reichert, Folker (2013). "Mord in Namamugi" [Murder in Mamamugi]. Damals (in German) 45 (3): 66–69. 
General references
  • Satow, Ernest. A Diplomat in Japan, Tuttle (1921). ISBN 4-925080-28-8
  • Rennie, David. The British Arms in North China and Japan. Adamant Media Corporation. (2001 reprint of 1864 edition) ISBN 1-4021-8184-1
  • Denney, John. Respect and Consideration: Britain in Japan 1853 - 1868 and beyond. Radiance Press (2011). ISBN 978-0-9568798-0-6

External links[edit]