Mr. Bingham to Mr. Frelinghuysen
Japan, Tokei , August 27, 1882. (Received September 25.)
Sir: Herewith I beg leave to inclose for your information an extract from the report of Sir James Bain, ex-lord provost of Glasgow, and recently made by that gentleman to the Glasgow Chamber of Commerce, together with the words of approval thereof by the British Mercantile Gazette, as published in the Japan Gazette of the 24th instant.
Sir James Bain, you will please observe, was appointed the representative of the Glasgow Chamber of Commerce to the Yokohama Chamber of Commerce, and was requested to gather information concerning the commercial relations between Great Britain and the countries of the East. The extract from his report which is inclosed treats only of Japan, and points out the disadvantages to commerce arising from the erritorial restrictions of existing treaties.
Referring to the desire of the treaty powers to open the empire to foreign trade, Sir James reports that he was informed by the Japanese minister for foreign affairs that the Japanese Government might grant the liberty of trading everywhere in this empire, but only on condition of foreigners becoming amenable to the native tribunals; but adds that the foreign powers insist upon the privilege of general trade without the condition. The Mercantile Gazette remarks:
We are disposed to agree with Sir James in considering such an arrangement perfectly equitable, more especially as the laws of Japan are now based on those of England and France, and as the system of administering justice, and their police, postal, and educational arrangements, bear favorable comparison with those of most other countries.
When the actual condition of Japan comes to be better understood by foreign states—her wonderful progress in the knowledge of good government and judicial administration—it seems to me that just men everywhere will concur with Sir James that the proposition of Japan is perfectly equitable and ought to be accepted by the treaty powers.
It is clear to my mind that the European states do not intend to release Japan, China, or any of the Oriental nations from European rule and European government so long as they can prevent it. It is not uncommon to see in European journals the announcement that the proposition to relieve Japan at any time, however remote, from the existing foreign control of her affairs, is not to be entertained by the great powers.[Page 378]
The world moves, knowledge advances among men and nations, and through its resistless power the people of the East must regain their lost liberties.
I have, &c.,