Mr. Pruyn to Mr. Seward

No. 74.]

Sir: I have the honor to inform you that the Gorogio on the 9th instant sent to me three governors for foreign affairs, to induce me to persuade my colleagues to visit Yedo, to hear the reasons which induce them to desire the closing of this port.

I took advantage of this visit to say that I had great cause of complaint, because, while the government invariably sought my assistance when in difficulty, it had not even acknowledged the receipt of letters giving advice, which they had subsequently by their action admitted to be friendly and wise.

I had urged them in two different letters to withdraw the letter of Ogasawara, and the Gorogio had not even shown me the courtesy to acknowledge their receipt. Yet their present proposal to negotiate for the closing of one port was a practical acknowledgment that the government were guilty of a grievous error in announcing its settled determination to close all the ports. They said it had been intended to make that letter the basis for further negotiations. To this I replied, that nothing had been left for negotiation, but a determination to close the ports had been announced as the settled policy and purpose of the government.

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I then remarked I had informed the government that the treaty powers had a right to regard that letter as equivalent to a declaration of war, and that it was extremely important, therefore, that the letter should at once be withdrawn; that it would be too late to do so after expenses had been incurred by the treaty powers in consequence of its receipt; and though it might be too late to withdraw it now, and escape that danger, it would be extremely hazardous to defer it longer.

I have the pleasure to enclose No. 1, copy of a letter addressed to me, as the result of that interview, and No. 2, copy of my reply.

I have the honor to be, sir, very respectfully, your most obedient servant,

ROBERT H. PRUYN, Minister Resident in Japan.

Hon. Willam H. Seward, Secretary of State, Washington.

No. 1.

The Gorogio to Mr. Pruyn

We have to state to your excellency that, at present, the former opinion of our government having changed, it is desirable that the letter which Ogasawara Dsusio-no-kami recently, when in office, addressed to you in relation to the closing of the ports, be soon returned.

Which we have to state, with respect and esteem.





His Excellency Robert H. Pruyn, Minister Resident of the United States of America, &c., &c., &c.

No. 2.

Mr. Pruyn to the Gorogio

No. 129.]

To the Gorogio:

I have received your excellencies’ letter in relation to the withdrawal of the letter of Ogasawara with much satisfaction, and I thank your excellency for having promptly followed the advice I gave you a few days since.

Your excellencies will recollect that I have written several letters urging this step, and while I regret that you have not acted earlier, I hope the delay will not prove prejudicial. I presume you do not wish to have the letter delivered to you, but to have it considered as withdrawn.

To this I assent, and will send you the letter itself if desired.

With respect and esteem,

ROBERT H. PRUYN, Minister Resident of the United States in Japan.