No. 291.
Mr. Hubbard to Mr. Bayard.

No. 105.]

Sir: I take much pleasure in inclosing herewith, for your careful attention and consideration, an interesting article from the native Japanese press (the Jiji Shimpo) on the subject of our trade relations with Japan. The editor and proprietor of this leading representative journal, Mr. Fukazawa, is one of the ablest men of this Empire, both in natural capacity and by culture. He writes and speaks the English language, and has been a close student and practical observer of political events and institutions, and especially of the United States. He is educating his sons at our universities, and for many years has been a leader in the political and educational evangelization of his native land. He is proprietor and president besides (and for many years also) of one of the best educational institutions of the Empire, and has done as much or more for the intellectual development of this people, perhaps, than any other one man, living or dead. He has been repeatedly offered political positions of distinction and emolument, but has declined on the ground that the field in which to cultivate and advance the national civilization and dignify the national life was through the proper education of the young men and women of the Empire, in the school, the college, and through an enlightened press.

I have thus, somewhat at length, invited your attention to the history of this distinguished subject of Japan, because it serves to give importance and real interest to the thoughts which he has uttered in his daily journal in connection with the relations of trade and comity of the two countries. I express the opinion, with deference, that the publication of the views of such a represenative man, with the knowledge of his antecedents and his present position in this country as herein set forth, would be interesting and practically useful to the American people. I hope that the State Department will coincide in these opinions which I have the honor respectfully herewith to submit.

I have, &c.,

[Page 559]
[Inclosure in No. 105.]

The Jiji Shimpo has the following:

“It is now several years since we first came into contact with the nations of the West. We were on the most friendly terms with the Dutch, for whom we opened the port of Nagasaki as a trading place. It was solely through our intimate relations with them that we were enabled at that time to obtain an idea of the state of the outer world, while as yet we were in a condition of the most complete seclusion, a certain number of Japanese of the higher classes being made acquainted through the Dutch books of what other countries were like. Thirty-two years ago, however, Commodore Perry entered the Bay of Yeddo, bearing a dispatch from the United States Government, and accompanied by several men-of-war; and he induced the Government of the Shogunate, then in power, to sign a treaty of friendship and commerce. Since then country after country has entered into treaty relations with us. Several ports in addition to Nagasaki were opened for foreign trade, and as our relations with foreign states became more intimate, some of us, observing that we were beings similar in most respects to our visitors, determined to go and see those other countries. Impressed in the most powerful way by what we saw in those distant lands, a desire to be like civilized nations took shape in our minds. All attention was at once bent on the work of preparation to set out on the new path. Since then improvements and reforms have been effected in every direction—in our political system, in our military organization, in science, arts, commerce, and in our various industries, and as the result of the arduous labors of thirty years ago the Japan of to-day has been produced. No other country in the East has been able to create, as the Japanese have done, a new country on the lines of Western civilization. That this country is advanced far beyond all the countries of the East is a fact which none would attempt to dispute. More than that, there is no country in the world, except some in Europe and America, to which we must largely yield in point of enlightenment and civilization. To the South American states even, peopled as they are by emigrants from the continent of Europe, there is assigned by universal consent a position in many respects below that which Japan, much to her honor, now occupies. When we remember that it is to the United States of America that we owe our success and our advancement to our present proud position, we cannot help entertaining for them sentiments of peculiarly deep respect and esteem. But the people of the United States have endeared themselves to us not merely by the circumstance that they were our leaders and guides in the work of thirty years ago, but also by the uniform mildness and justice of the treatment that we have received at their hands since that time—treatment which sufficiently convinces us that they are not a nation which desires to profit by the misfortunes of others. There has not come to our notice a single instance of the United States betraying an unreasonable spirit in dealing with this country. It is true that they had a share in the affair of the Shimonoseki indemnity, but so soon as the Government of the United States became aware of the injustice of the transaction, they did not hesitate to correct their mistake by returning to us their share of the indemnity, an action which did not fail to effect the people of this country favorably towards them. We cannot forget either that the United States is our nearest civilized neighbor—a couple of weeks’ sail alone separating the two countries. But in national intercourse it is not enough to entertain amicable and friendly feelings towards one another; we must mutually confer in one way or another solid and appreciable benefits. Commerce is the chief means by which one country may gain advantages from its relations to another. The trade between Japan and the United States is represented by yen 15,600,000 per annum. This, to be sure, is no contemptible sum, and is certain to increase in the future. But even at the present time it would not be at all a difficult matter to increase the figure by two-fold, if a little more thought were employed. Of this total the export from Japan amounts to yen 13, 100,000, nine-tenths of which consists of two articles, silk and tea, in the proportion of silk, yen 6,000,000, and tea, yen 5,800,000. The export from the United States to this country is yen 2,500,000, of which seven-tenths is represented by petroleum (yen 1,800,000). The trade between the two countries is, therefore, made up at present of the exchange of three articles, in the proportion of 13 from this country to 2½ from the United States. Besides tea and silk, various articles are required in American markets, such as minerals and manufactured goods, so that it should be quite easy to increase the exports from Japan. Further, a great many of our enterprising men have gone from Japan to the United States, and this should also operate in increasing the demand for Japanese goods. It is clear, therefore, that this trade has a hopeful prospect before it. On the other hand the import to us from the United States consists almost solely of petroleum, and the total amount of this trade cannot be at all satisfactory to Americans. We are told that in the markets of South America the manufactured goods of the United States are to a very considerable extent driving out English stuffs; how is it then that Americans here do not think of entering into competition with the English? [Page 560] Again, we believe the Americans know that large quantities of German beer are exported to Japan. Although the trade cannot amount to a very large sum, it is still to be regretted that the brewers of the United States should permit the Germans to monopolize the trade. Then, taking railways, it is generally admitted that the simple and convenient methods of railway construction obtaining in the States would be well adapted to Japan, but as yet no American has attempted to introduce the system here. It seems as if it would be an easy matter for the Americans to increase their exports, so as, at least, to balance their imports from this country. Desirous of preserving and perpetuating the friendship between the two nations, we call the attention of the Americans to the highly unsatisfactory condition of their commercial relations.”