Mr. Pruyn to Mr. Seward

No. 21.]

Sir: It has long been my opinion, as you are aware, that internal troubles in the empire are occasioned by the struggles of the Daimios to share in the profits of foreign trade, now wholly monopolized by the Tycoon, and I have [Page 249] reason to believe that the true sentiments of the Daimios, if not systematically misrepresented by this government, are at least withheld from our knowledge.

The Prince of Satsuma, once represented to be the head of the Sako or anti-foreign party, is now known to favor an extended trade. I believe such has already been his preference. When Nagasaki was only open to a very restricted trade with Holland, Satsuma imported largely from China through his princely domain, the Lew Chew islands. The highest-priced and most largely used cotton fabric is called Satsuma, partly manufactured in and partly received through his dominions.

Letters from Nagasaki now represent it as undoubtedly true that Choshu was equally favorable to an enlarged trade with foreigners, and is determined to participate in such trade, even if obliged to do so clandestinely.

These letters are simply confirmatory of what we have otherwise learned of his purpose, and every Daimio in Kin Sin and Sikoku, save one, openly advocate the immediate opening of ports in the Inland Sea.

The ports now open are in imperial territory, where the retainers and merchants of Daimios are subject to arbitrary arrests. Toguno Sagonou, one of Satsuma’s physicians, has been confined in prison nearly three years, because a letter was found in his possession from a foreign merchant to his Daimio, advocating the policy of trade with foreigners.

At Osacca, the Daimios of the empire enjoy privileges of trade, secured to them by ancient laws and customs, which would enable them to meet the foreign merchants on a footing of great equality with the Tycoon. The many vexatious restrictions on trade which can be maintained in the now open ports would be loosened in that city, and another advantage, equally important, can be only secured in that commercial centre of the empire. The great merchants and the bankers can be met face to face. Here, irresponsible men are the factors. Advances cannot be safely made on produce to be delivered. Large sums have thus been lost. At Osacca they could be safely made, if needful, and with the enlargement of trade at this great entrepot of manufactured goods and native produce, attended as if will be by more intimate relations with a better class of Japanese, a more friendly feeling will prevail, and greater security be obtained for life and property.

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


Hon. William H. Seward, Secretary of State, &c., &c, &c.