Mr. Portman to Mr. Seward
Sir: I have the honor to transmit herewith a copy of a correspondence on the subject of alleged interference in the purchase by American merchants of silk-worm eggs and cocoons at Kanagawa, and to inform you that all restrictions have been removed.[Page 260]
Enclosure No. 1, Mr. Fisher to Mr. Portman, August 14.
Enclosure No. 2, Mr. Portman to the Gorogio, August 15.
Enclosure No. 3, Mr. Fisher to Mr. Portman, September 4.
Enclosure No. 4, the Gorogio to Mr. Portman, September 7.
Enclosure No. 5, Mr. Portman to Mr. Fisher, September 7.
Enclosure No. 6, Mr. Portman to Mr. Fisher, September 9.
Enclosure No. 7, Mr. Fisher to Mr. Portman, September 11.
For several years the silk crops of France, Italy, and other silk-raising countries decreased, owing to a more or less alarming disease among the silk-worms. Renewal of the species thus became of the greatest importance; seed from China and Bengal failed, but the Japanese ova succeeded beyond expectation; and until such seed shall become acclimated in those countries they will be chiefly dependent upon Japan for a yearly supply of the same.
It would appear that the interference only complained of at Kanagawa, and not at the other open ports, was caused by the unauthorized action of the local authorities. Three American firms are alleged to have sustained losses in consequence of this interference, and their complaints are now being examined by Mr. Consul Fisher, in conjunction with the present governor of Kanagawa, whose predecessor was removed.
Should they have undoubted claims, I trust they will be of easy settlement at that port. I beg to assure you, however, that in no case shall I make any demands upon the Japanese government unless expressly authorized to do so.
I have the honor to be, sir, very respectfully, your most obedient servant,
Hon. William H. Seward, Secretary of State.