Royal Reels: Gambling


The pink ‘ONE PENNY’ Tasmanian Postcard (H & G #3A) had an additional orange ½d ‘Tablet’ QV stamp paying the correct rate from Hobart to Japan. It had a duplex HOBART/ A/ FE 11/ 1897 with TASMANIA obliterator, as well as a transit HONG KONG/ MR 13/ 97 postmark. It was addressed to Consul Muller-Beeck, Nagasaki, Japan. The reverse was not seen but it had an arrival backstamp of Nagasaki (Figure 1).

In the early days of the foreign settlement, Prussian merchants had to seek protection from one of the other foreign powers in Nagasaki, because Prussia (and later Germany) did not have a treaty with Japan. In 1865, Louis Kniffler, a local German merchant headquartered at No. 4 Dejima, became the first German Consul. For the next twenty-four years, the position of German Consul rotated among a number of German merchants in town, including Richard Lindau (1866-1868), G.A. Schottler (Acting Consul, 1869-June 1870), Max Militzer (June 1870-June 1873), George Westphal (Acting Consul, 1872-1873), Hermann Iwersen (1874 and 1877-January 1889) and E. Von Leesen (1875).

In January 1889, F. George Mullerbeeck became the first German foreign service officer appointed Consul at Nagasaki. He served in this position until 1906. Initially, the consulate was located at No. 4 Umegasaki, but on April 16, 1900 it was transferred to No.11 Oura. Juris G. Specks replaced Mullerbeeck as consul in1907 and remained in office for two years. Specks was followed by A. Mudra (1909), K. Mechlenburg (July 1910-October 1911) and E. Orht (October 1911-April 1913). Specks came once more in April 1913 but remained only a year before the outbreak of World War I. At that time, the German consulate in Nagasaki was closed and it never again reopened. The building at No.11 Oura was purchased in 1929 by R.N. Walker & Co. and used by that company until its forced closure in 1941.

On April 21, 1861, a meeting of the Land Renters in Nagasaki was held, and George Morrison, British Consul, was named chair. The meeting’s main purpose was to select a Municipal Council to supervise the administrative affairs of the foreign settlement. The residents were given votes depending on their rent: $50-$100 got one vote, up to those with rents above $200 got four votes. In May 1862, the Council was said to be doing poorly because it had tried to do too much too soon. The Council languished for a time, before it was reestablished in 1872. The Land Renters wanted the new Municipal Council to take over some of the duties that had been held by the Consuls. In May 1876, the Tentative Committee of the Municipal Council resigned, meaning in practical terms that there was no Council. There continued to be a debate as to the necessity of a Municipal Council, but it never again became an important administrative factor in the foreign settlement.

F. George Muller-Beeck, a career diplomat, was well traveled, and he was a member of the Geographical Society in Hamburg, Germany. His publications from 1881-84 included papers concerning Kyoto Japan, the Malay Archipelago and Liu-kiu Island (black arrow, one of the Ryukyu Islands at the extreme south of Japan). The position of the city of Nagasaki, Japan is shown by the red arrow in Figure 2.

Categories: Postcards