Mr. Pruyn to Mr. Seward
Sir: I have the honor to transmit a translation of the reply of the ministers of foreign affairs to my letter in relation to the murder of two of the guards at the British legation, (enclosure No. 1.)
I have no doubt that it is written in sincerity, and that the government feels deeply pained at the occurrence.
I regret to say that many idle rumors are constantly agitating the foreign residents at Yokohama, many of whom are too ready to believe everything to the prejudice of the Japanese.[Page 1041]
For my part I am amazed, when I consider that two centuries of isolation have moulded the customs and opinions of this people, that there is so much freedom of intercourse and so little appearance of hostility.
That many powerful daimios continue opposed to foreign trade is not questioned. The party in favor of the old customs and laws may, indeed, be more powerful than the party of progress. With time the latter will triumph. Meanwhile the government, I think, have accepted the present condition of things as a political necessity. It is sustained by a large body of daimios, and by the entire mercantile class, which is destined to rise into importance and power, and the masses of the people are unmistakably and decidedly friendly.
Some of my colleagues apprehend that the policy of the unfriendly daimios is to elevate the Micado at the expense of the Tycoon, and thus arouse the prejudices and the political and religious intolerance of the people and array them against the government of the Tycoon.
An ambassador of the Mikado to the Tycoon is now at Yedo. Of this I have been informed by the government, but the effect of this mission has not been disclosed.
I have the honor to be, sir, very respectfully, your most obedient servant,
Hon. William H. Seward, Secretary of State, Washington.