Mr. Gorham to Mr. Fish.
The Hague , March 7, 1873. (Received March 27.)
Sir: The Japanese embassadors are now in Holland, making the Hague their headquarters.
The day after their arrival an audience was accorded them by the King, who received them with more than ordinary demonstrations of respect, if judged by the display of royal troops and carriages employed in escorting them to and from the palace. No entertainment has been offered them at the royal residence, however, nor will there be, as His Majesty has since retired to his favorite “Loo,” whence he will not come, probably, during their stay. They have been handsomely entertained by Prince Frederic, the minister of foreign affairs, and others, so that thus far they can have felt no lack of civility on the part of their ancient friends.
It is not commonly known that they had any motive in coming apart from their general object in touring through Europe, unless it might have been to notice specially the drainage system of the country, in [Page 713] which they manifest an interest, though I have some reason to suspect that, encouraged by the generosity of the American Government, they had some expectation of procuring a relinquishment of the whole or a part of the 750,000 florins of indemnity still due from their country to this. They will meet with little encouragement, however, the government being in no humor for such a concession.
The commercial relations between the two countries are now inconsiderable, and the future by no means assuring.
It is somewhat humiliating that, after enjoying a limited but almost exclusive commercial intercourse with Japan for more then two hundred years, and after aiding to open the way for more extended relations, the Dutch should witness the decay of their prestige and see others enjoying that whitfh they had helped to secure mainly to themselves.
The Dutch dialect, even once somewhat familiar to a portion of the Japanese, has been supplanted by the English, so that their distinguished visitors know nothing of the former, while they communicate quite freely through the medium of the latter.
The embassy will spend about ten days in Holland, and then pass on to Berlin.
They profess to have had an agreeable experience in the United States, and to entertain great expectations of future intercourse.
I have, &c.,