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Nevertheless,
nothing worthy to be called commercial intercourse was allowed by the
Bakufu, and it was not until Mr. Harris, with infinite patience and
tact, had gone to Yedo alter ten months' delay that he secured the
opening of ports other than Nagasaki to international commerce. In
this achievement he was assisted by Hotta Masamutsu, successor to the
great Masahiro, and, like most of his colleagues, a sincere advocate
of opening the country.

Japan has been much blamed for her reluctance in this matter, but
when we recall the danger to which the Yedo administration was
exposed by its own weakness, and when we observe that a strong
sentiment was growing up in favour of abolishing the dual form of
government, we can easily appreciate that to sanction commercial
relations might well have shaken the Bakufu to their foundations. It
was possible to construe the Perry convention and the first Harris
convention as mere acts of benevolence towards strangers, but a
commercial treaty would not have lent itself to any such
construction. We cannot wonder that the shogun's ministers hesitated
to take an apparently suicidal step. They again consulted the
feudatories and again received an almost unanimously unfavourable
answer.

In fact, history has preserved only one unequivocal expression of
consent. It was formulated by Matsudaira Yoshinaga, baron of Echizen.
He had been among the most ardent exclusionists in the first council
of feudatories; but his views had subsequently undergone a radical
change, owing to the arguments of one of his vassals, Hashimoto
Sanae--elder brother of Viscount Hashimoto Tsunatsune, president of
the Red Cross Hospital, who died in 1909. "Not only did this
remarkable man frankly advocate foreign trade for its own sake and as
a means of enriching the nation, thus developing its capacity for
independence, but he also recommended the fostering of industries,
the purchase of ships and firearms, the study of foreign arts and
sciences, and the despatch of students and publicists to Western
countries for purposes of instruction. Finally, he laid down the
principle that probity is essential to commercial success." Such
doctrines were then much in advance of the time. Nevertheless, Harris
achieved his purpose. He had audience of the shogun in November,
1857, and, on the 29th of the following July, a treaty was concluded
opening Yokohama, from the 1st of July, 1858, to commerce between the
United States and Japan.

This treaty was concluded in spite of the failure of two attempts to
obtain the sanction of the Throne. Plainly the Bakufu shrank from
openly adopting a policy which, while recognizing its necessity, they
distrusted their own ability to force upon the nation. They had,
however, promised Mr. Harris that the treaty should be signed, and
they kept their word at a risk, of whose magnitude the American
consul-general had no conception. Mr. Harris had brought to this
conference exceptional diplomatic skill and winning tact, but it
cannot be denied that he derived assistance from contemporaneous
events in China, where the Peiho forts had just been captured and the
Chinese forced to sign a treaty. He was thus able to warn the
Japanese that the British and the French fleets might be expected at
any moment to enter Yedo Bay, and that the best way to avert irksome
demands at the hands of the British was to establish a comparatively
moderate precedent by yielding to the American proposals.

THE THIRTEENTH SHOGUN, IESADA (1853-1858)

Between the conclusion of the Harris commercial treaty and its
signature, the Bakufu prime minister visited Kyoto, for the purpose
of persuading the Imperial Court to abandon its anti-foreign
attitude. His mission was quite unsuccessful, the utmost concession
obtained by him being that the problem of the treaty should be
submitted to the feudatories. Another question raised on this
occasion in Kyoto was the succession to the shogunate. The twelfth
shogun, Ieyoshi, had died in 1853, and was succeeded by Iesada, a
physically incompetent ruler. Iesada had been married to the daughter
of the Satsuma feudatory, as planned by the former Bakufu premier,
Abe, who hoped thus to cement friendly relations with the great
southern baron, a hereditary enemy of the Tokugawa. There was no
issue of the marriage, and it being certain that there could be no
issue, two candidates for the shogunate were proposed. They were
Keiki, son of Nariaki of Mito a man of matured intellect and high
capacities, and Iemochi, son of Nariyuki of Kii, a boy of thirteen.
Public opinion supported the former, and his connexion with the house
of Mito seemed to assure an anti-foreign bias. Chiefly for the latter
reason, the Court in Kyoto favoured his nomination.

But Keiki was not really an advocate of national seclusion. Had the
succession been given to him then, he would doubtless have adopted a
liberal policy. On the other hand, his appointment would have been
equivalent to the abdication of Iesada, and in order to avert that
catastrophe, the shogun's entourage contrived to obtain the
appointment of Ii Kamon no Kami to the post of prime minister in
Yedo. This baron was not less capable than courageous. He immediately
caused the young daimyo of Kii to be nominated successor to the
shogunate, and he signed the Harris treaty. A vehement outcry ensued.
It was claimed that the will of the Imperial Court had been set at
nought by signing the treaty without the sovereign's sanction, and
that unconditional yielding to foreign demands was intolerable. The
Mito baron headed this opposition. But it is observable that even he
did not insist upon the maintenance of absolute seclusion. All that
he and his followers demanded was that a delay should be imposed in
order to obtain time for definite preparation, whereas the premier,
Ii, was for the immediate opening of the country.

THE FOURTEENTH SHOGUN, IEMOCHI (1858-1866)

Iesada died in 1858, and the reluctance of the Imperial Court to
sanction the succession of Iemochi was evidenced by a long delay in
the transmission of the necessary Imperial document. During that
interval, the feudatories of Mito and Echizen had a memorable
interview with the premier, Ii, whose life seemed at that time to
hang by a thread, but who, nevertheless, advanced unflinchingly
towards his goal. The three feudatories offered to compromise; in
other words, they declared their willingness to subscribe the
commercial convention provided that Keiki was appointed shogun; the
important fact being thus established that domestic politics had
taken precedence of foreign. Ii not only declined this offer, but
also did not hesitate to punish the leaders of the opposition by
confinement and by temporary exclusion from the Court.

FOREIGN MILITARY SCIENCE

It was during the days of the thirteenth shogun that Japan may be
said to have commenced her practical study of foreign military
science. Instructors were imported from Holland, and a college was
established at Nagasaki. Among its graduates were several historical
characters, notably Katsu Rintaro, after-wards Count Katsu, minister
of Marine in the Meiji Government. A naval college (Gunkan Kyojujo)
also was organized at Tsukiji, in Yedo, while at Akunoura, in
Nagasaki, an iron-foundry was erected. There, the first attempt at
shipbuilding on foreign lines was made, and there, also, is now
situated the premier private dockyard in Japan, namely, that of the
Mitsubishi Company. Already, in 1854, the Dutch Government had
presented to Japan her first steamship, the Kanko Maru.

FOREIGN REPRESENTATIVES AND THE BAKUFU

An indirect consequence of these disputes between the Throne and the
Court nobles, on one side, and the Bakufu officials, on the other,
was to perplex the foreign representatives who were now residing in
Yedo. These representatives learned to believe that the shogun's
ministers were determined either to avoid making treaties or to evade
them when made. However natural this suspicion may have been, it
lacked solid foundation. That is proved by a memorial which the Yedo
statesmen addressed to the Throne after the negotiation of the Harris
treaty. They made it quite plain that they were acting in perfect
good faith, the only doubtful point in the memorial being that, after
the organization of a competent army and navy, the problem of peace
or war might be decided. "If peaceful relations be maintained by
ratifying the treaty," they wrote, "the avaricious aliens will
definitely see that there is not much wealth in the country, and
thus, abandoning the idea of gain, they will approach us with
friendly feelings only and ultimately will pass under our Emperor's
grace. They may then be induced to make grateful offerings to his
Majesty, and it will no longer be a question of trade but of
tribute." Something of sinister intention seems to present itself
between the lines of this document. But we have to remember that it
was addressed ultimately to the Kyoto nobles, whose resentment would
have been at once excited by the use of friendly or self-effacing
language.

There is also on record correspondence that passed between the Bakufu
premier, Ii, and certain friends of his in the Imperial capital. From
these letters it appears that Yedo was advised by the far-seeing
section of the Kyoto statesmen to simulate the policy of bringing
aliens under Japanese influence, and of using for purposes of
military and naval development the wealth that would accrue from
oversea trade. In a word, the Bakufu had to disguise their policy in
terms such as might placate the Kyoto conservatives, and this
deception was once carried so far that an envoy sent to Kyoto from
Yedo represented the shogun as hostile at heart to foreigners, though
tolerating them temporarily as a matter of prudence. It cannot be
wondered at that the foreign representatives found much to perplex
them in these conditions, or that at the legations in Yedo, as well
as among the peoples of Europe and America, an uneasy feeling grew up
that Japan waited only for an opportunity to repudiate her treaty
engagements.

INTRIGUES IN KYOTO

About this time there began to assemble in the Imperial capital a
number of men who, though without social or official status, were at
once talented; patriotic, and conservative.



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