Mr. Pruyn to Mr. Seward
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.[Page 457]
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equivalent to a declaration of war, and that it was extremely important, therefore, that the letter should at once be withdrawn; that it would be too late to do so after expenses had been incurred by the treaty powers in consequence of its receipt; and though it might be too late to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,
Hon. Willam H. Seward, Secretary of State, Washington.