Mr. Pruyn to Mr. Seward
Sir: * * * * * * * * It is possible that the Tycoon will decide before I leave whether he will prefer to tender a port or to pay the money for indemnity and expenses. My impression is that he will not be disposed to open another port, though it is possible Simonoseki, after being occupied as imperial territory, may be opened to trade. I have the statistics of the commerce of that port, which show a very large trade, and I shall meanwhile endeavor to obtain information as to the trade of other ports favorably located.
It may not be impossible for me to remark that I think, even should a port be tendered, that a portion of the indemnity agreed to be paid should be exacted.
The governors for foreign affairs have replied to a note which I directed Mr. Portman to write, asking information as to the projects of the expedition against Choshu, that some of them would come to this place at an early day to make a detailed statement on the subject[Page 239]
The forces of the Daimios of Kin Sin gathered to subdue Choshu are stationed at Kokwea, on the south side of the straits. The Niphon Daimios are assembled near Kioto; the troops of the Tycoon, 16,000 of whom are armed with rifles and uniformed and equipped in foreign style, are commanded by the Prince of Matsmai, of the island of Yesso. The whole army is commanded by the Prince of Owari, of the imperial family. Ohoshu will not resist. It is difficult to hear what has transpired, or, rather, to form a correct judgment, in consequence of conflicting statements. I am inclined to believe, however, that Mori Daizen, Prince of Ohoshu, has abdicated, and assumed, as is usual in such cases, the garb and character of a priest. One of his ministers, descendant of a follower of Taico Sama, has taken the direction of affairs, and the heads of Ohoshu’s chief minister and of five of his chief retainers have been successively sent to Owari, who shakes his head and keeps silence, thereby intimating that atonement has not yet been made for the sacriligious attempt of Ohoshu to seize the sacred person of the Mikado. This is the cause assigned to the Japanese for the crusade against Ohoshu, not his hostility to foreigners.
The best opinion I can form of the probable result is, that Ohoshu will be shorn of a part of his territory, probably the province of Suoro, and that, as his submission has been prompt, and his humiliation deep, the province of Nagato may be ultimately left to his son, now called Nagato, who, though at present, like his father, in priestly garb, may be spared to represent the ancient house—older than the family of the Tycoon, and, before the rise of his dynasty, supreme in seven provinces of the Mikado’s empire.
This is said to be the policy of the powerful Prince of Satsuma, and may be sustained by the other Daimios. The magnitude of the preparations is too great to warrant the belief that the expedition will be abandoned without large sacrifice of territory and treasure by the refractory prince. This induces me to believe that it is intended to pay the indemnity, and thus provide for it, and inclines me to recommend that in any event payment of a portion of it should be required.
I have the honor to be, sir, very respectfully, your most obedient servant,
Hon. William H. Seward, Secretary of State, &c., &c., &c.