HC Deb 18 March 1870 vol 200 cc203-4

said, he wished to ask the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Whether he has received any official information as to the correctness or otherwise of the statements in the "London and China Telegraph" of the 7th and 14th instant of the expulsion by the Japanese authorities of the native Christians from the Treaty Port of Nagasaki; and, whether Her Majesty's Minister Plenipotentiary unavailingly endeavoured to induce the Governor of Nagasaki to postpone their expulsion for twenty days to give Sir Harry Parkes time to confer with the Representatives of the other Treaty Powers and the Superior Authorities at Yedo?


replied, that the Government had received official information on the subject referred to in his hon. Friend's Question, and he regretted to say that the statement it contained was substantially correct. This was the more to be regretted because at the beginning of last year Her Majesty's Government were informed by the Japanese Government that, the authority of the Mikado being now established, it was their intention to pursue a lenient policy towards the native Christians. Sir Harry Parkes was thereupon instructed to convey to the Japanese Government the satisfaction of Her Majesty's Government at finding that such a policy was to be pursued. It appeared that in the month of January last Sir Harry Parkes was on a visit to Nagasaki, and was informed by the Consul there that the Governor of the place was proceeding to deport the native Christians into the interior. Sir Harry immediately called upon the Governor, remonstrated with him, and urged him to abstain from carrying out this deportation until the authorities at Yedo could be communinated with. The Governor, however, stated that his instructions were peremptory. Sir Harry Parkes then proceeded to Yedo, and the Representatives of all the Foreign Powers there addressed a Note to the Japanese Government on the subject. Her Majesty's Government had reason to believe that this representation on the part of all the European Powers would bring about some effect on the Japanese Government. They said they had no intention to persecute Christianity as Christianity; but that the converts were disorderly persons, who adopted a foreign religion in order to obtain foreign protection. The result of the representation made to the Japanese Government was that orders were sent to stay proceedings at Nagasaki, or rather at the place in the neighbourhood at which these Christians resided, which was not within the terms of the treaty. Her Majesty's Government, he was sorry to say, had reason to believe that those orders arrived too late, as 2,800 Christians had been deported, and only about 200 allowed to remain.