Mr. Bingham to Mr. Evarts.
Tokei, October 8, 1877. (Received November 9.)
Sir: Again referring to instruction “separate” of date August 20, 1877, in relation to the methods by which our trade with Japan may be judiciously fostered, I have the honor to report that a few days since I had an interview with Mr. ——, an American now here in the interests of our countrymen the Messrs. ———. Mr. ——— said to me that a large market could be secured in Japan for our cotton productions by a direct effort through intelligent agents sent hither by our manufacturers and merchants for that purpose, but he added that the trade cannot be secured to our country by mere written correspondence, and that the Japanese dealers do not and will not go abroad to select and purchase. He also said that the English watch [Page 116] this market closely, and send their agents to reside here to introduce and dispose of their fabrics. He handed me a memorandum, in which he shows the quality of cotton cloth and yarn which might profitably, in his opinion, be introduced into Japan from the United States, and which also shows the quality of cotton goods put off upon the Japanese by England and to some extent the prices paid for the worthless fabrics. I have the honor to inclose herewith for your information a copy of the memorandum.
You will observe that it is stated in his memorandum that the gray shirtings made for this market in England are of the poorest cotton grown, and so light as to be of no practical value, and yet are sold at from $1.40 to $2.10 per piece of seven or nine pounds, 39 or 45 inches in width and 38½ yards to the piece, imported in bales, compressed, of about 12 cubic feet to the bale.
Of the white shirtings Mr. ——— says they are loaded with terra alba and starch to give appearance and weight, but being washed prove to be the flimsiest material known to the trade. He suggests that the width of cotton goods wanted by the Japanese for their use should be 30 and 36 inches only, and that if such goods honestly made were sent by our manufacturers to Japan, a growing market could be made for them here at satisfactory prices. I have no doubt the same could be done with cotton prints and cheap woolen goods of the width named. If cotton yarns of the sizes and proportions used here and specified in the inclosed memorandum “well bleached and softly twisted” were forwarded by our merchants through competent agents, they would at the prices quoted laid down here find a ready sale.
I have, &c.,
Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary.