THE EARL OF CARNARVON
, on rising to call attention to our Relations with 510 Japan, and to move for certain papers, said: My Lords, about a fortnight ago the mail from Japan brought intelligence that Her Majesty's Chargé d'Affaires in that country had been instructed to forward an ultimatum to the Government of Japan, with a threat of immediate war unless that ultimatum was complied with. What the terms of the ultimatum may be, what the circumstances of the case, and what the intentions of Her Majesty's Government, I hope the House will bear this evening from the noble Earl the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs. It is quite true, that within the last day or so, there has appeared some intimation of a more satisfactory issue of this serious state of affairs; but, at the same time, your Lordships have been furnished with no positive information on the subject, and it is important to know what may result from the events that have occurred. Perhaps, before I make any further remarks on the case, I may be allowed to remind the House of the position in which we stand in reference to Japan. About 260 years ago a revolution and a civil war took place in that country, and the upshot was that a very successful man was raised to paramount power. His first Act was to deprive the legitimate Sovereign of all political power, though he was still surrounded with all the dignity of a court; and a rival authority was set up, and thus was raised that curious species of double Government which is so well known to prevail in Japan. As time went on, the great Princes began to re-assert their rights, and at the present moment the Tycoon appears to be the hereditary chief of the executive Government, supported by a powerful army and a multitude of agents. His power, however, is subject to certain qualifications, and he is, practically speaking, in the hands of his own Ministers. He is exposed to unceasing jealousies on the part of the legitimate sovereigns, who are prepared at any moment to coalesce against him, and to subvert his sovereignty, and he is exposed to unceasing intrigues on the part of others. Such, so far as we know it, is the state of affairs in Japan. Your Lordships are aware that that country has for the last 240 or 250 years maintained a complete commercial and political isolation. Latterly, however, owing perhaps in some degree to the European wars with China, a desire for a wider commerce and intercourse with foreign countries has sprung up. In 1853, however, an American fleet appeared in those waters, and negotiations were entered 511 into by the American Commodore, with the view of entering into a treaty. Great disputes arose at the time, a great schism arose against the reigning Tycoon for assenting to the proposals; but the Tycoon sided with the more liberal party, and finally communicated to the American Commodore that he agreed to the treaty. It is important to know that the Tycoon paid the penalty of that act with his life—he perished mysteriously in his own palace, and the party who adhered to his views were either disgraced or banished. In 1854 the American fleet re-appeared, and the treaty was signed. A few months after the signature of that treaty, Sir James Stirling, our Admiral in those waters, concluded a similar treaty with the Japanese Government for the purpose of opening the ports of Japan to British commerce, and treaties were likewise entered into with France, Russia, and Holland. Again the Tycoon underwent the fate of his predecessor, being assassinated within the walls of his palace; and so great was the antagonism of the ruling classes that the Foreign Office was attacked in daylight, and surrounded by 500 or 600 men, and one of the principal Ministers murdered. This showed how strong was the opposition of the ruling classes of the land against increased intercourse. But the feeling of opposition was not confined in its display against their own countrymen. Some years afterwards, however, on the arrival of the first European merchants there, a long series of murders was commenced, full of political significance, Russians, English, French, and Americans became in turn the victims of a systematic course of assassination. There were three great outrages in which all these murders culminated. On the 26th of June 1861, one or two assassins made their way into the English legation, and murdered two sentries. In the following year, on the anniversary of this occurrence, a much more serious assault took place. A large band, having obtained the countersign, got access to the inclosure of the legation, and great bloodshed ensued. When a remonstrance was made to the Japanese Government on the subject, they expressed their deep regret and horror, and it is but fair to say that the explanation given by the Japanese Minister was such as to impress our Ministers that his Government would do their best to prevent the renewal of such outrages and to bring the offenders to justice. However, in the month of August last year three English merchants 512 and an English lady riding along the roadside met a large body of men, who attacked them in the most violent and ferocious manner. Two were wounded; one was foully murdered; the lady having escaped principally owing to the speed of her horse. Remonstrances again were made, and again the Japanese Government expressed their abhorrence of the outrage and their determination to bring the offenders to justice. This is the stage at which the papers before us leave matters. Lieutenant Colonel Neale, writing on the 1st of October, uses these words—It remains for me only to add, that the impression produced upon myself and upon Admiral Kuper by the general tone, spirit, and demeanour of the Japanese Ministers upon this occasion was of the most satisfactory nature. The Ministers, though evidently much embarrassed by the circumstances attending the outrage under discussion (for the participators, without contradiction, consisted of the adherents and retinue of the Prince of Satsuma, one of the most powerful vassals of this empire, and invested with high privileges and quasi independent powers in his own domains), still exhibited, in their replies to my observations, the most decided intention of acting to the utmost limits of their power while directing the arrest and punishment of the perpetrators of the outrage which had been committed.On the 29th of October he again writes—The Japanese Ministers have replied to my remonstrances by a letter, the tone of which appears to me to convey a due sense of the responsibilities which weigh upon the Tycoon's Government. I have the satisfaction of adding that in respect to the adoption of every effort on the part of the Japanese Government to avert the recurrence of a similar catastrophe, there are no just grounds of complaint.That is the point at which the correspondence breaks off, and I trust the noble Earl the Secretary for Foreign Affairs will be able to explain to us what the circumstances are which have arisen and so entirely altered the complexion of this matter as to render it necessary for Her Majesty's Government to assume the grave responsibility of initiating a war with Japan. I will not argue upon an hypothesis, but, looking at the very serious nature of the consequences which may follow, I ask the House to look at this matter, not merely from an English, but from a Japanese point of view. What was the condition of Japan previous to the year 1858? For generations and generations they have maintained a rigid state of political and commercial isolation. We came in and determined to obtain a relaxation, if possible; and never was there a case in which another State more deliberately and completely forced upon a reluctant people treaties of commerce and 513 navigation than we forced our treaties upon the reluctant Japanese. For those treaties the Tycoon requires the confirmation of the spiritual and legitimate Sovereign, and we know that that confirmation was never made. We know, further, that the Tycoon, by whose authority the treaty with us was professed to be concluded, died three or four days previously, and that he was not in existence at the date of the treaty. We know as a matter of fact that by their constitution, which is one of great antiquity and sanctity, the presence of all foreigners is denounced, and that it is enjoined as the duty of all Japanese to abstain from dealing with them. But, assuming that the Treaty of 1858 was validly executed, it cannot be unilateral. Every treaty is a compact between two parties, and each is bound to fulfil the obligations which it engages to perform. But if the Japanese Government, whether de jure or de facto, have departed from the spirit of the Treaty of 1858, I do not think we come into court altogether with clean hands. I have the authority of a gentleman who knows the Japanese better than any other Englishman—I mean Sir Rutherford Alcock—for saying that over and over again acts have been committed by us which, although very trifling in appearance, convey to the Japanese the idea of the direst insults, He says, that nowhere has there been a greater influx of rude and dissolute foreigners than into Japan; and that nowhere have the foreign Consuls and agents a greater difficulty in restraining the people of their respective countries. By sailors and by the less respectable of the merchants every advantage has been taken in matters of currency, trade, and social life. One of the first instances in which the Japanese and English came into collision was one in which an English merchant was deeply in the wrong. Access to a certain portion of the domain of the Tycoon is forbidden. An English merchant went there to shoot a certain description of wild fowl, which were invested with a character of great sanctity. He was stopped by the police in the strict execution of his duty. He was not treated violently or roughly; but he lowered his gun and shot the policeman, who was merely doing his duty. The offender escaped with impunity, and I shall be glad to hear from the noble Lord what steps have been taken to visit him with punishment. I have so doubt that in time, if we preserve our relations with the Japanese, we shall secure all the advantages 514 which we have in view; but unfortunately it so happens that at this moment we have nothing to give to the Japanese which they care to have, and the Japanese themselves require the articles with which we wish to be supplied; and there are thus absent in that case all the usual elements of a flourishing trade. There is in Japan, as compared with this country, an extraordinary disproportion between the relative values of silver and gold, and gold was in consequence exported by our merchants at a premium of 200 or 300 per cent. These operations frightened the Japanese traders, and drove the Japanese Government almost to a state of desperation. It is true that we carry on a more legitimate commerce in oil, silk, and other articles; but these are not articles of luxury to the Japanese. They are positive necessaries of life, and consequently their enhanced price has been severely felt by persons of small income and the lower class of officials. It is all very well to say it is very unreasonable on the part of the Japanese people to object to trade, but we are bound to make allowances for a nation who are 300 years behind us in the knowledge of political economy. I doubt very much whether England, 300 years ago, would have borne with such patience as Japan so sudden and so violent a revolution of previous notions as to trade, commercial intercourse, government, and constitution. Lastly, there is ample evidence in these papers that in attempting to fulfil the terms of the treaty the Japanese executive Government have no easy task in hand, and that they are systematically countermined and intrigued against by the great feudal chiefs. In March of last year Sir Rutherford Alcock writes—That the Government of the Tycoon has real difficulties of no ordinary kind and actual dangers to contend with, threatening the dynasty and the existence of the Government, I am quite satisfied. That they believe this, with means of information to which no foreigner can pretend, has been placed beyond all doubt in my mind by what has transpired during these negotiations and my present sojourn in Yeddo. Against the assaults of their enemies they feel weak, it is plain, and to strengthen their position would risk or concede much.He states that certain concessions have been made, and proceeds—It is necessary to have lived in Japan, I believe, to have seen daily and hourly the suspicion and jealousy of the ruling powers in all that concerns unrestricted intercourse with foreigners, to understand how much is involved in such a step.And he further says— 515They feel at this moment so vehemently pressed between two great dangers, the one from within and the other from without, that their unwillingness to guarantee anything, I think the best trait in the character of those at the helm I have known, for I am certain it arises from a conviction of utter powerlessness to answer for the future.We ought, under these circumstances, to be somewhat forbearing, and to strain a point in favour of the party in Japan which is favourable to us. It is possible that we may be obliged to go to war—though I, for one, do not admit that it is a necessary and proper remedy for the state of things which I have described. But I will assume, for the sake of argument, that it may be necessary to go to war, and I appeal to Her Majesty's Government not to commit us to hostilities until they have calmly and deliberately calculated all the contingencies. It is a standing reproach to our foreign policy that we never receive explanations until we are committed to an Eastern war. Often we never hear of the circumstances which have brought on hostilities until the Chancellor of the Exchequer comes down to Parliament and presents us with a formidable Bill. Let us first understand distinctly what we are committing ourselves to, and then, if you please, go to war. There is a great discrepancy in the accounts of the character and resources of this people; but all agree that they are numerous and warlike, passionately addicted to the profession of arms—in fact, they closely resemble the Sikhs in this respect; and your Lordships know how critical, dangerous, and costly was our war with that people. They are a people among whom a strong feeling of exclusive nationality prevails, and they are hound together by a rigid system of feudalism and unlimited devotion to their chiefs. I do not pretend to say that the issue of a conflict between England and Japan would be doubtful, but there are elements which, in counting the bloodshed and the expense of such a war, no reasonable man would pass over. From the very nature of the case, such a war must be costly, because you will have to carry on land operations. Your ships are practically of little use to you: you may sail round the coast and destroy a town or two, and ravage the territories of those who are your best friends there; but you will not advance a step towards the attainment of your abject. Such a mode of carrying on the war would be suicidal—it would be aiming your blows at the executive Government 516 of the Tycoon, which is the one party friendly to you. The noble Earl the Secretary for Foreign Affairs, in one of his despatches, said, "Better a hundred times that the palace of the Tycoon should be destroyed than that our treaty rights should be violated." Such language as that, I think, is to be deprecated, not only because of the stimulus which it gives to our Admirals and Generals—always too ready to act in these cases—to commit such acts, but because it prejudges the question, and to act upon it would be a most suicidal policy. If you go to war, you must either support the Tycoon and enable him to triumph over his antagonists, and so gain your object through him, or you must declare a war of extermination against the Daimios. I suppose the Government would not adopt the suicidal policy of attacking the Tycoon, our single friend in Japan. But if we were to attack the Daimios, you must march inland; and if you march inland, you must have a powerful force. That force—10,000, 15,000, or 20,000 as the case may be—you must either transport from India, China or the Cape of Good Hope, or else you must do that which you have been doing of late years, and which I think so fatal—you must have recourse to a combined military expedition with some other Power. I object to these combined military expeditions. They answer no practical object—they do not secure the object you have in view—they commit you to acts which are not understood in England; and so far from fostering any real cordiality of action between the officers and troops of the two Powers, I believe they only engender dissatisfaction and jealousy. If you carry on this war singly, just consider the enormous cost imposed upon you. I have searched in vain through the records of Parliament for information as to the real cost of an Eastern war; but we do know that they amount to five, six, seven, eight, and nine millions. Are you prepared to incur such a cost for the sake of an export trade which now amounts to £14,000 a year? Consider the jealousy you will excite in other Powers who are parties to the treaties. It is no offence to other Powers to say that they have all their own objects in view. America, Russia, and France have never attempted to conceal that they have their own objects; and it is not likely that we may be involved in misunderstandings with them. Lastly, I ask the House, what would be the ultimate result? To my mind the ultimate result is even more 517 formidable than the war itself, and all its expenditure. Every war comes to an end some time, and sooner or later we get the last of the bill; but there is no end to the gradual acquisition of territory to which these wars lead. If you conquer—and conquer you no doubt would—you will require some indemnity from the enemy; that indemnity will have to be secured by the presence of troops. In course of time, the territory which they occupy will be found to be too small, and so will come a yearly increase of cost, bloodshed, responsibility, weakness, and danger. During the last two years we have taken a fearful stride in this direction on the neighbouring continent of Asia. Her Majesty's Government have now confidently made themselves the trustees for the government of some 300,000,000 of human beings. They cannot say that they were surprised into this act. All through 1861 they professed the most complete neutrality; but before twelve months were over we saw Orders in Council issued, under which several officers were empowered—and subsequently other officers indiscriminately were encouraged, invited, and stimulated—to take service under the Emperor of China. It is obvious, that if this course is to be pursued, China will be a second India. There things began in a very small way; but it is the history we have seen played out in India during the last two or three generations. It begins with a small handful of traders settling themselves on some small plot of territory for the purposes of trade. By-and-by they find that they want protection, and a gunboat or two is brought up—a difficulty arises—a message is sent off to the nearest naval station—ships are turned up, troops are disembarked, a collision takes place, and the little settlement expands irresistibly into universal empire. Statesmen of all parties have in vain deplored this course of action, and it behaves Her Majesty's Government in the present day to be careful not to lead this country further in that direction. If you desire to inflict punishment on the Japanese for the outrages which have been committed, exact whatever reparation you think desirable after calm consideration, if you can bring the penalty home to the real perpetrators; but do not commit this country to a long, bloody, and costly Oriental war. Extended commerce and new markets are great advantages, if they can be obtained by peaceful means and fair negotiation, but their whole value is lost when 518 they are extracted by force of arms. My Lords, I beg to move—That an humble Address be presented to Her Majesty for, Copies of any Instructions given by Her Majesty's Government to Her Majesty's Diplomatic Servants in Japan, or to the Officers in Command of Her Majesty's Land or Naval Forces to make Demands upon the Government of Japan, with the Alternative of immediate Hostilities on, the Rejection of such Demands.
§ EARL RUSSELL
My Lords, I confess I am a good deal surprised at the statement which the noble Earl has juse made. For three-quarters of an hour the noble Earl has drawn on his imagination for his facts—or supposed facts—and it was only during the last five minutes of his speech that he adverted to what is really the subject of his Motion. I do not feel it necessary to go into the question of the history or constitution of Japan, or into that of the expediency or non-expediency of making treaties with Japan;—I do not feel it necessary to defend a policy which I thought every one agreed in. I did not know that the proceedings of Admiral Stirling or those of Lord Elgin in making treaties with Japan had been disapproved by this House. I considered—when I came into office and found that those treaties had been made, that English merchants were trading in Japan, and that Consuls had been appointed—that it was my duty to see those treaties carried into effect, and to see that the persons of British subjects were protected. That may have been a very low view of mine. There was nothing romantic about it, certainly; but it was the view I took of the duty which I had to perform. Then, what are the facts with respect to those transactions in Japan? Sir Rutherford Alcock, being established in his mission, had a certain position granted to him by the Japanese Government. An attack was made at night on the Legation by a considerable number of assassins, who broke into the space surrounding the house. Sir Rutherford Alcock himself was very near being murdered, and only escaped by a mistake on the part of one of the assassins, and by Mr. Morrison having fired a revolver, which saved the lives of the members of the Legation. It is not to be expected that an occurrence like that could have taken place without giving rise to unpleasant feelings on our part in respect to our relations with Japan. The Secretary of the Legation, Mr. Oliphant, received a severe wound in the hand from one of the assassins concerned in that attack. The 519 next thing of the same kind, as the noble Earl has stated, was an attack made on two marines who were on guard near the Legation, both of whom received fatal wounds from weapons which the attacking party carried about them. Again, in the month of September 1862, three British merchants and a lady who was in their company were attacked on the high road between Kanagawa and Kawasaki. The party consisted of three gentlemen, Mr. Marshall, Mr. Clarke, and Mr. Richardson, and Mrs. Borrodaile. They were riding along the high road when they met a cavalcade which was accompanying a Japanese official from Yeddo to Miako. They drew up on one side of the road to let the procession pass, but were immediately attacked by a number of the retainers of the Prince of Satsuma. Mr. Richardson was murdered, and the lady escaped, covered with blood and having her dress in disorder, to the next town, where she reported what had taken place. Well, it appeared to me that it was my duty to ask for redress for these outrages. The noble Earl has delivered what is, no doubt, a very good philosophical disquisition on the habits of different nations. It is, I dare say, quite true that some of the Japanese have it impressed on their minds that no foreigners should be allowed to remain on the high road when one of the great Daimios is passing in procession; many of them, no doubt, think that no foreigners ought to be admitted into Japan at all; and numbers of them may be bound up in a combination, deriving its origin in religious motives, and having for its object to carry those views into effect. But are we to consider that a sufficient reason for the murder of British subjects? Are we to hold that the Japanese or any other people should be allowed to murder any British subjects they like, if it can be shown that they are banded together to commit murder through religious feelings? As well might you say, that if there existed a community of Thugs in a nation with which you had relations, you would be justified in permiting them, in execution of vows binding them together, to commit murders upon British subjects, I cannot conceive that such a proposition could be asserted by any one. We have a treaty with Japan; we have British merchants living in Japan under that treaty; and this road on which the last attack was made is one on which English subjects are allowed to walk or ride under the stipulations of that treaty. 520 Under those circumstances, I think it was my bounden duty to demand redress, But the noble Earl seems to suppose, that because I demanded redress for these outrages, that I sent out orders to declare immediate war. That is entirely the creature of his own imagination. In the first case what I asked for was that the criminals should be punished. That was done, and three persons said to be implicated were executed. In the second case we demanded a large pecuniary fine for the families of the marines who had been slaughtered. With regard to this case, the deed was done openly in the day time, and no person has been brought to justice or even arrested for those murders. The noble Earl at the end of his speech said that it was just to ask for reparation. That is exactly what we have done. It was just possible that reparation might be refused, and therefore it was necessary for Her Majesty's Government to send instructions to prepare for such an event. I am not prepared to communicate those instructions to the House at present, because I am in daily expectation of an answer to our demand. At the time the last accounts left, a certain number of days had been given for the reply of the Government of Japan, and the time had nearly expired. We have gone upon the principle that the Tycoon Government is, at all events, the de facto Government with which the treaty was made—it was the Government with which Lord Elgin and the British Government treated. The general character of our demand is this—that the Tycoon's Government shall pay a considerable sum of money in consequence of our treaty rights having been violated. We have not asked the Tycoon, whose power we know is limited, to punish the offenders in the last attack; but as these men were in the retinue of the Prince of Satsuma, we have directed the Admiral to take measures to obtain at the hands of that Daimio the punishment of those murderers. This great Daimio has a castle on the coast, in which, as we are informed, he is not only protecting the assassins, but boasting of the murder which they have committed. We have thought it right to make him responsible; and in a country like Japan I know no other principle on which the British Government can proceed, except we are to be entirely indifferent to the murder of British subjects. The noble Earl, having assumed that we were about to make war, proceeded to tell us about the difficulties of carrying 521 on war in such a country as Japan. He explained to us, that if we destroyed all the towns on the coast, that would not bring the Japanese Government to reason, and that we could not send a land expedition into the country without resolving on the conquest of Japan, the fatal result of which he also took the pains of pointing out. These are all matters which your Lordships may consider at a future time, if any proposition which the Government may put forward should make them bear upon the case. But we have no such projects. We have simply demanded reparation; and the last rumours from Japan are to the effect that reparation will be made. When we receive the answer of the Japanese Government, the whole of the instructions shall be laid before your Lordships. For my own part, so far from desiring to destroy the authority of the Tycoon, as the noble Earl says, I shall be very glad to see the authority of the Tycoon maintained, and the authority of the Daimios diminished. At the same time, it is not for us to say which shall be the more powerful party in Japan, or which part of their feudal institutions shall remain, and which shall be done away with. What we endeavoured to perform is a very plain duty—to ask whoever has the chief authority in Japan to redress the injuries of British subjects; and when murders have been committed, to ask for the punishment of those who have committed them. The noble Earl described the commerce of Japan as not very important. But it is a growing commerce, and I think their exports have already amounted to £700,000. The exports of tea and silk are very valuable, and the Japanese generally have not the abhorrence of foreign trade which is described; on the contrary, they seem satisfied of the advantage of selling their products to such excellent customers as the English. As to our original policy in Japan, I think it a right one, but I am not bound to maintain it. What I am bound to do is to require that our treaties with the Japanese should be observed. But to say, "Some of the Japanese have a prejudice against trade, and therefore we will abandon the country and leave our merchants to shift for themselves,"—that is not the duty which I am called upon to perform. The noble Earl has talked of what has taken place in China. When the present Government came into office, we found that a fleet which was convoying a Minister sent to ratify a treaty had been attacked an discomfited, 400 or 500 men 522 being killed and wounded. We took measures to put the British Power on a better footing than it then appeared to have, and to have the treaty ratified which the Chinese Government had made. No doubt it was a costly expedition, but no expedition has better answered its purpose; and I think it was a wise course on our part. Lord Elgin may have thought that the force was greater than was necessary; but, in my opinion, it was wise to send such a force as could not be resisted by the Chinese. We went to Pekin; we took the capital; the treaty was ratified; the Government of China felt our power, and at the same time, by the prudent and judicious conduct of Sir Frederick Bruce, who is now our Minister at Pekin, the advantages of friendly intercourse have been explained to the Chinese Government, No doubt there have been some cases in which our merchants, too eager to push trade, have violated the regulations which have been made by the Chinese Government; but in every case Sir Frederick Bruce has said, "If you make a complaint to me, I will take care that English merchants shall not attempt by force to obtain anything which is not our right by the treaty, and which we cannot fairly claim; and if you seize an English vessel in the act of smuggling or of breaking your trade regulations, I will not employ an English naval force to assist in supporting any wrong done to the Chinese authorities." I believe that that is the right course to pursue. I believe, that while you ought to exact a reparation for every wrong and for every personal injury, you ought not to support your merchants and traders, some of them very speculative and ready probably to employ not very scrupulous agents, in violating the Chinese laws or in doing anything opposed to the treaties. Proceeding upon these principles, Sir Frederick Bruce has acquired the entire confidence of the Prime Minister and Regent of China; and where one of the treaty ports was assailed we have, in concert with Prince Kung, defended British property and at the same time protected Chinese interests. The consequence is that we are on terms of peace and friendship with a country of 400,000,000 of people, and are carrying on a most profitable trade with the empire—a trade which brings into the revenue of the British Custom-house many millions a year. That is a successful and also a just policy. It is agreeable to the rights we have obtained by treaty, and it inspires confidence 523 in the Chinese. With regard to the Motion of the noble Earl, as soon as these answers arrive from the Japanese Government I will produce them, and my noble Friend will then have the power of correcting his impressions by seeing what are the real facts of the case.
§ EARL GREY
My Lords, my noble Friend began his speech by expressing his surprise that my noble Friend near me (the Earl of Carnarvon), in dwelling upon these matters, had drawn entirely from his imagination. Now, having listened attentively to the discussion, as far as it has hitherto proceeded, it appears to me that there never was a speech more properly called forth by the circumstances in which we are placed than the speech of the noble Earl. It was, it seems to me, effective, appropriate, and directly addressed to the facts of the case. When we know from the newspapers that Her Majesty's Government are pursuing a course which may involve this country in a bloody and costly war, I think it is time to ask what is the policy by which they are guided, and what are the ends at which they are aiming. In the old time, whenever the Crown took measures likely to lead to hostilities, the invariable practice was for the Crown formally to communicate with both Houses, and ask for support in the measures which were thought necessary. So now, when we may be involved in war with Japan, it seems but reasonable to expect from Her Majesty's Government some account of their policy. I regret, however, to find that my noble Friend the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs has declined to give us any information whatever. He says, "Our only object is to enforce the observances of treaties." He adds, that he never heard anybody object to the treaties concluded with Japan, that they have been broken, and that it is our duty to press for reparation and redress for the wrongs done to British subjects. Now, I agree with my noble Friend that it is the duty of Her Majesty's Government to obtain redress for wrongs inflicted on British subjects, and to enforce the rights of this country against foreign nations. But I must say that his statement of the facts is somewhat defective. The noble Earl near me (the Earl of Carnarvon) asked whether we came into this business with clean hands. Now, this is a most important question when we have to consider whether we are justified in going to war, and I must beg to call 524 your attention to the facts that bear upon it. I state them on the authority of Sir Rutherford Alcock, and I know of no higher authority. In the first place, we compelled Japan by direct fear to conclude a treaty to which she was averse. Sir Rutherford Alcock, in his despatches, but more so in his book, over and over again says that this was not a voluntary treaty on the part of Japan, but it was a treaty extorted from Japan under fear and by force. The American Minister, by making skilful use of the terror caused by the operations of the British and French forces in China, obtained from Japan a treaty; and having made this concession, when our Ambassador came to demand a treaty, supported by an armed force, the Japanese could not refuse to give to us privileges which, if withheld, would, they were led to believe, be extorted from them by force. In his account of a conversation with the Ministers of Japan, Sir Rutherford Alcock says:I explained to them that the time had come when the alternative was their agreeing to friendly intercourse with Western nations or being sooner or later subjected by one of those nations.He distinctly put to them that that was the alternative, and under that impression Sir Rutherford Alcock tells us the treaty was obtained. Well, we dictated the terms of the treaty, and by it we totally ignored the interests and the fair rights of the Japanese. We inserted, in the first place, the clause which is known by the barbarous name (I do not know who invented it) of the extra-territoriality clause—that is, a clause by which the Japanese Government gives up all authority to enforce Japanese laws upon subjects of the treaty Powers, they, on their side, undertaking to enforce obedience to law and order on the part of their own subjects. There was also an important clause relating to transactions in the currency of Japan, Advantage was taken of this last-mentioned clause by some British merchants to make preposterous demands for supplies of Japanese coin; one merchant demanding at a day's notice from the Director of Customs no less than an amount equal to 250,000,000 of dollars, and another followed up that by insult as great as the injury, these demands naming an impossible sum. To make the were made under all sorts of absurd names such as "No Nose," &c., which could not but be most offensive to the Japanese authorities. That was the beginning of a course which alienated and alarmed the Japanese. Then came the difficulties aris- 525 ing from the extra-territoriality clause, and the setting at defiance all the laws and usages of Japan. The treaty Powers had entered into a solemn obligation by that clause that they would provide ample means to preserve the peace and enforce obedience to the laws of Japan on the part of their own subjects. But of that duty Sir Rutherford Alcock has said that the exemption from Japanese laws is a reality, but the performance of the corresponding clause on our part is a fiction. He tells us that in scarcely any other country in the world, except, perhaps, in some of the gold fields, can there be found so large a number of reckless and lawless individuals; and he describes these men as claiming all the benefits of the treaty, but setting aside all regard for the law of that country, and committing every kind of outrage—even our men-of-war's men, who are apt to get drunk when let on shore without control, being, I am sorry to say, among the offenders. My noble Friend (Earl Carnarvon) has referred to one case of a gentleman who chose to indulge his taste for shooting. In spite of a prohibition against shooting within a certain distance of the residence of the Tycoon, he pursued his sport, and shot a wild goose, which gave as much offence to the feelings or prejudices of the people as if he had violated the national law. He then returned in the open day with the bird in his hand. Having shot this goose, he came back in broad day with his servant carrying the bird. A policeman endeavoured to arrest his servant, not being bold enough at first to arrest a European; but, the master interfering, he was also arrested. The master resisted, and, deliberately cocking his gun, threatened to fire, and in the scuffle his gun did actually go off, and the unhappy policeman was desperately wounded. Now, what became of the man who did this? He was proceeded against in the Consular Court, and the inadequate sentence of a fine—2,000 or 3,000 dollars—and banishment from Japan was pronounced. Sir Rutherford Alcock, by his own power, added three months' imprisonment. To show the animus of the British population, I may state that the English community in Japan raised among themselves a subscription to pay the fine, and Sir Rutherford Alcock was afterwards prosecuted in the court at Hong-Kong for a technical fault in the judgment, and damages were given against him, the man who had really committed the offence only suffering to the extent of 120 526 hours' imprisonment. Now, it is a remarkable circumstance, that although the papers on the table contain statements of every outrage on the part of the Japanese, there is no mention of these facts in those papers.
§ EARL RUSSELL
said, that there was no objection to produce the papers relating to that case; but it was not deemed right to do so while there was an appeal pending to Hong-Kong.
§ EARL GREY
That appeal was ova-two years ago. I want to know, is it fair or just to lay upon the table all the papers that can tend to excite our feelings against the Japanese, and at the same time not to produce documents of this nature showing injuries done to the Japanese by our fellow-subjects? That is a circumstance which my noble Friend has but imperfectly dealt with. We have entered into a treaty with Japan containing stipulations most injurious to the people and Government of that country, and also containing stipulations on our side to do certain things. The stipulations on our part have not been fulfilled, but we are pressing the Japanese strongly for the fulfilment of their engagements. But we must consider what is the condition of the Japanese Government. They have, I believe, done everything in their power to carry out the treaty; and I find the American Minister, in a correspondence with the representatives of foreign Powers, after the first outbreak, expressed his strong opinion that the Japanese Government bad done all in their power; but he added—and I think the remark is a sensible one—that it must be remembered Japan is not a civilized State, but hardly semi-civilized, in very much the same condition as European countries were in the middle ages; and to ask the Government of Japan to enforce its laws in the same way as we do here is to ask a simple impossibility. I find, too, that in commenting upon the statement he observes that the representatives of the different Powers doubted the efficacy of the means rather than the good faith of the Japanese Government. As my noble Friend (Lord Carnarvon) has pointed out, the Japanese Government has gone so far to meet our wishes that they have brought themselves into great difficulties with their own people. Two Tycoons and one Regent have been murdered. The Foreign Minister was set upon, and seven out of his eight attendants were killed, he himself being severely wounded. The angry feelings of the people make it difficult, if not impossible, for the Government to comply with all the 527 terms of the treaty, especially when we consider how much has been done by our fellow-subjects there to increase the hostile feeling against us. I must say, it appears to me a gross inconsistency and a violation of all the rules of justice to hold the Government and people of Japan responsible for not doing what the American Minister calls a simple impossibility, When popular feeling runs high, it is impossible, even in the most civilized countries, always to punish offenders. The American Minister referred to a case of a Minister of France being set upon by a mob; and I may remind your Lordships that at a time when the conduct of Austria in relation to her revolted Hungarian subjects was very unpopular in England a distinguished Austrian officer was set upon in London, and severely handled by a mob. The Austrian Government applied for redress; but my noble Friend opposite, who was then at the head of the Administration, said orders would be given to the police, and the offenders would be dealt with if they could be found. Well, the police set to work, but never found the offenders. That was exactly the case in Japan. It is impossible there, against a strong popular feeling, to obtain evidence that will convict the culprits. Having made these observations upon the speech of my noble Friend, I now come to a more serious question. What is to be our real policy in Japan? It is all very well to say we must require reparation for injuries done to our fellow-subjects, and must enforce our treaty rights. Your real Object is to take such measures as may obtain security for British subjects resident in Japan, with a view to the extension of our trade. Has my noble Friend considered how far these objects are likely to be promoted by the policy which he seems to recommend? These outrages upon our subjects, like those upon the Government of Japan, are only the symptoms of a feeling of hostility which has been engendered in the minds of the Japanese, partly by old traditions, and partly by the action of this country during the last few years. While that hostility exists, you may make any stipulations you please with the Japanese Government; but, however anxious they may be to fulfil their engagements, you will not obtain security. What you really want to do is to remove this hostile feeling. Will coercive measures, at all events coercive measures unaccompanied by other influences, effect 528 that? I wish you to consider how serious are the difficulties in which you may be involved by the adoption of coercive measures. The noble Earl the Secretary of State said, that my noble Friend (the Earl of Carnarvon) drew upon his imagination when he described the policy of the Government as tending to the annexation of Japan. I do not think that he at all drew upon his imagination for that description. My firm belief is that you are taking those small steps which lead yon one by one to annexation as their necessary result. My noble Friend has properly said that a naval force can accomplish but little. It may burn dwellings and destroy property, but it will have no effect in bringing coercion to bear upon the Government. But, having taken the first step, you will be committed in honour to go on. We know what is the disposition of the people of this country, and how resolutely whenever they have entered upon a course they pursue it. In some of the papers it is already stated that a military force of at least 10,000 or 15,000 men from India will be required. Can we calculate what will be the cost of such an expedition as that, operating at so great a distance from our resources? We have been told by the Chanceller of the Exchequer that the last Chinese war cost us £8,000,000; but that was a contest with an Empire almost in a state of disorganization; and Sir Rutherford Alcock hag in his hook drawn a wide distinction between Japan and China, and shown, that when supported by the popular feeling, the Japanese Government is a very effective and energetic one. The Japanese Government have also, it is notorious, been for a long period preparing for the contest which they have foreseen to be inevitable. They have been purchasing large quantities of European arms, and removing their property from the more accessible places. Therefore, if you embark in this war, you must be prepared for no child's play. It will be a war of a most costly character—costly both in blood and in treasure; and, after all, what is it to do? Are you going to conquer Japan to hold it? If not, how is the war to be ended? Why, sooner or later by a treaty. You will get another treaty, with more stringent stipulations—that is the ordinary course of all these Oriental proceedings—and probably a money indemnity for the past. How much will you be the better? This treaty, like the last, will be fulfilled so long, and 529 so long only, as there is force to compel the performance of its stipulations. Even in Europe treaties extorted by force are not worth the paper upon which they are written any longer than the force by which they were dictated is maintained. How many treaties did the first Napoleon impose upon the different nations of Europe, and did not those nations continually rise and endeavour to cast off their obligations, until at last they overthrew their oppressor? A treaty will be of no use whatever. It will be simply a pause in the course upon which you are entering. It must lead to renewed war. There is another consideration which we ought not to overlook. If we embark upon this policy, it is almost certain that the defeats which the Japanese Government will experience from our superior force will have this effect:—Their finances will be thrown into disorder, the whole organization of their government will be thrown into confusion; first losing their physical resources, they will soon be deprived of their moral power, and the consequence will be that Japan, which Sir Rutherford Alcock described as presenting an extraordinary picture of prosperity and happiness, and as a country which its 30,000,000 inhabitants had by their industry made like a garden of Eden, will fall into a state of anarchy. Bloodshed and disorder will spread over those plains which have hitherto been so peaceful, and inhabited by so prosperous a population, and from one end to another of the country we shall see the most frightful misery and ruin. In all Eastern nations this is the tendency which is observed—when the arm of authority is weakened, their rises up a disposition to plunder and outrage which it is scarcely possible to repress, and therefore you must calculate upon these results attending the policy which you are now pursuing. We have an instance of this in the case of China. My noble Friend (Earl Russell) referred with a satisfaction which astonished me to the state of affairs in China. I was surprised to hear my noble Friend, who in 1857 made such eloquent speeches upon, the duty of acting towards the Chinese with humanity and justice, and treating them as we should wish to be treated by them, express his satisfaction with the present state of that empire. Because, what is the state of China? You have the Chinese Government in a state of absolute and humiliating dependence upon the British Minister 530 —totally powerless; the Taeping rebellion in one quarter, another in the vicinity of Tien-tsin, the Canton provinces equally disordered, and the whole government falling into a state of absolute decomposition. Why, things are so bad that you are endeavouring to arrest the progress of events by having recourse to irregular means and irresponsible agents, virtually placing the empire of China under the Government of England. You have placed the customs department under an Englishman, with a great probability of coming into collision with other countries. You are now going to organize the navy, and I believe the army also, by means of Englishmen. These are well-known steps in the disorganization of a great empire. China is undergoing that process, and it is the direct result of the measures we have adopted during the last twenty-five years. It is our assaults upon the Government, by which we have weakened its authority and destroyed its power over its own subjects, which have been the real cause of the state of things which we now see. And I do wish that your Lordships would take the trouble to read the accounts which appear from time to time in the newspapers published in China. There you see accounts of cruelties committed by lawless and reckless persons, under no control whatever; you find that whole districts are depopulated; and that this state of things is gradually becoming worse and worse. How my noble Friend can find in such an aspect of affairs a subject of satisfaction I, for one, am completely at a loss to understand. But what I now contend for is that you are taking the first steps towards bringing about a similar state of things in Japan. This is no new view which I am now advancing. My noble Friend says nobody ever objected to the provisions of the treaty with that country. Now, my Lords, I have no right to complain that any observations of mine should have appeared of too little importance to my noble Friend to be remembered by him; but I must remind him that I, at least, have from the first objected to the terms of the treaty, and it is only two years since I ventured to point out to your Lordships that the course which we were then pursuing would lead to the consequences which have since taken place. The course now before us is, in my opinion, a very simple one. We have merely to act towards Japan with ordinary justice. We unfortunately do not come into court with clean hands; and 531 you have, I contend, no right to exact redress for the wrongs we have to complain of without, at the same time, tendering reparation for those we have done on our side. If France had a right to say that French subjects should not be punished for offences committed in England save by the French authorities, when France had no tribunal here, you would not, I maintain, preserve London from plunder for twenty-four hours; and it is, it appears to me, our plain duty, having found this provision of the treaty to be impracticable, to admit that Englishmen and Japanese should be subject to the authority of the native Government. It does not follow because you do this that you abandon your subjects and withdraw from them all security, for you might say that you expect to obtain from the Japanese Government security for the due administration of the law as regards British subjects. I see no reason why you might not stipulate, that within the limits of the principal ports there should be established a system of police deriving its authority from the Government, and charged with the duty both of protecting and controlling Europeans. You have no right to protect British subjects unless you at the same time control them. But if you took the course which I suggest, a tribunal being at the same time established by which offenders might be punished by the Japanese Government in a manner satisfactory to us, you would by these simple means get rid of the causes of mutual irritation on both sides. If you did this within the limits of the ports, you would, in my opinion, do right to leave British subjects beyond those limits to act at their own risk. You might tell them plainly, "We do not intend to govern Japan; but if for your own interest and your own purposes you think fit to go beyond those towns in which we have taken care to insure to you protection, you must do so at your own hazard, and take the consequences." By acting in this manner you would be pursuing a fair course, and would be showing respect for the feeling of the Japanese people, while, I am persuaded, you would be rendering the residence of British subjects perfectly secure in Japan. I would point out to you what kind treatment has been received from the inhabitants both of China and of Japan from those British subjects who have shown proper consideration towards them. Many of your Lordships, I have no doubt, must have read the interesting account, published 532 by Mr. Fortune, of his travels in these countries; and I believe those who behave as he did to the inhabitants would be treated as he was. But, unfortunately, too many of the Europeans who go to Japan and China act very differently. Sir Rutherford Alcock tells us that they are the scum of Europe who, under the cover of this stipulation, which exempts them from the jurisdiction of the native Government while they are placed under no other effective control, commit gross wrongs against the population. These persons, when you withdraw your protection, will be promply dealt with as they deserve by the natives, while British subjects who behave as they ought will, I have no doubt, be very kindly treated in return. If, moreover, you are content not to be in too great a hurry to get rich, and to force your trade upon a people who are not as yet fully acquainted with its advantages, I am persuaded that the Japanese on the one hand, and the English on the other, will become better friends, and that your commerce with that country will advance in a way which it can never do under the present system. It is clear from the papers before us that you have done nothing to prevent the outrages which are going on in Japan at this moment in full force, and those insults of which the people so much complain. I shall not trouble your Lordships further; but I must say, in conclusion, that I think we have a right to receive from Her Majesty's Government a somewhat clearer and fuller exposition of the policy they are pursuing towards Japan than they have as yet afforded.
§ THE DUKE OF SOMERSET
My Lords, the noble Earl (the Earl of Carnarvon) commenced his speech by finding fault with the treaty into which we have entered with Japan, and, according to his view, the stipulations of the treaty ought never to have been entertained by the British Government. Now, for that treaty I am no more responsible than the noble Earl—it was concluded several years ago—but I must say I never heard the conduct of Lord Elgin, by whom it was concluded, condemned. Nor can it, I think, be necessary to vindicate the expediency of the British Government entering into a treaty with Japan, when similar treaties have been obtained by all the leading commercial nations of the world. I was surprised to hear the noble Earl say that the treaty was obtained by force, and never ratified. This happened:—The Japanese Government 533 asked us to modify some of the terms of that treaty, and at their request some of the terms have been modified. Surely, a Government which seeks to modify the terms of a treaty must be taken to acknowledge that treaty. The noble Earl who has just spoken (Earl Grey), says that the Japanese had no wish to have any transactions or communications with Europeans. Then I want to know why they sent ambassadors to Europe. They were not constrained to send ambassadors here, however they might think that they could learn nothing from us and do little for our civilization, which I believe was the prevailing idea among the Daimios. But as they did send ambassadors, I do not think it an unfair inference that they wished to enter into friendly relations with the countries to which they were sent. The noble Earl says we ought not to have proceeded to obtain reparation for injuries to British subjects, because English subjects have clone wrong to the Japanese. No doubt it is true that certain reckless and lawless Englishmen and men of other nations have committed wanton and violent acts. But the very statement of the noble Earl shows that the English Government and the representatives of the English Government did their best to set matters right, and I do not think that any blame is imputable to them. Lord Elgin stated in this place that one of the greatest difficulties with which he had to contend was the reckless conduct of British subjects. The noble Earl to-night says the Government should tell them not to try to make money too fast, but to go on moderately. Merchants do not like that. They want to get rich at once, both in China and Japan. At Shanghai the same thing is going on. A number of reckless men from all parts of Europe and America are trying all sorts of plans to take advantage of the natives and to make money. Would it be wise or would it be possible to withdraw altogether from both China and Japan, and leave the trade to other nations? I think not. The Americans obtained a treaty. Other nations then went for a treaty, and we went with them. But the noble Earl says "You should draw a boundary, and tell your subjects, that if they go beyond that boundary, they must do it at their own risk." That is exactly what we have done. We said to the Japanese, "Give us some place for health and exercise." They gave us a road, and it was on that very road that 534 English people were murdered. It was said, with knowledge of that fact, that we ought not to ask for reparation; but, in my opinion, the Government would have been most censurable if they had not demanded reparation. The noble Earl says that naval operations will not be sufficient, and that we cannot obtain redress without sending out an enormous force and entering upon a large war. I do not see that. We do not want to acquire an inch of territory, and we have no wish to make any aggression. The person who has committed the wrong is a well-known and rich Daimio, who lives on the seashore, and has vessels of his own, carrying on trade upon the coast. He has a harbour, which one vessel of war can blockade, and he carries on a trade which it is very easy for us to intercept. Under these circumstances, I cannot conceive any difficulty in obtaining reparation from the person who has committed the wrong. Reference has been made to our doings in China. The Chinese Government got an American to drill their land force; but they had no naval force, and to supply one they proposed to hire a set of pirates, who would have plundered on their own account. To avoid that, we offered a European force to collect their customs for them, and so far from taking any power to ourselves, we asked the Chinese Government to undertake all the arrangements. We have taken no territory, except a piece of land, about 200 acres, at Hong-Kong, for the health of the officers, and I think therefore the views of the noble Earl are not justified. With respect to Japan, I do not see that in demanding reparation we are committing an act of war, or that we have done anything beyond what we were bound to do when English subjects had been murdered on the road dedicated to their use.
said, that two years ago the noble Earl (Earl Grey) delivered a speech full of the most dismal forebodings on the subject of China; but his noble Friend did not on that occasion, as he had on the present, propose a remedy. He thought it the weak point of all these attacks that nothing different was suggested—no one, either in public or in private, had suggested any other course of policy than that which Her Majesty's Government had pursued. The fact was, that here they had a weak and rich nation scattered over a large territory, with whom the European nations and America were determined to trade. We did not take measures 535 to send our merchants there, but our merchants went. If our merchants were not to go, some less scrupulous nations would trade with the country, and, perhaps, exclude us from the advantages of a lucrative commerce. We must follow our traders, and extend to them protection, and secure the administration of justice between the two nationalities as far as that was possible. The origin of the first American treaty with Japan he believed to be this—that certain American whalers on their way home were accustomed to put in at the ports of Japan, where they were hospitably received by the inhabitants; and it was for the purpose of obtaining shelter and provisions for those men that the first treaty was obtained. But what was the noble Earl's remedy? That we should deal justly with the Japanese, and the instance of injustice cited by the noble Earl was that clause of extraterritorial jurisdiction in the treaty which the noble Earl found to be so monstrous. But there was nothing more in this clause than was to be found in all similar treaties—in the treaties with Turkey, China, and even Borneo. If difficulties arose with that stipulation, a great many more difficulties would arise without it. For one war which would arise from such a stipulation ten would arise without it. Imagine the reckless men who were to be found in the ports of Japan left to the jurisdiction of a semi-barbarous Government! Imagine the sort of justice which they would receive, and the outcry which would be raised with respect to their treatment; and say whether that would be a state of things more likely to prevent war. There were but two alternatives to choose from. Either we must have no intercourse with these half civilized countries, or we must make such treaties as had been made, and insist upon their strict enforcement. As to Japan, Sir Rutherford Alcock had very clearly put the case before the Government of the Tycoon, when he told them that they must make up their minds either to be subverted by a more powerful nation, or to place themselves on terms of intercourse with the rest of the world; and he believed they would be acting by far the most wisely for their own interest if they honestly carried out this treaty. He (Lord Wodehouse) did not see that the demands of Her Majesty's Ministers need involve a great war, like that spoken of by the noble Earl (the Earl of Carnarvon). On the contrary, he believed that no instance had ever occurred, in dealing with an Asiatic Government, in which 536 a more cautious or anxious desire had been shown to avoid pushing our rights to an extremity; and he felt confident, that if war could be avoided, it would be by the very able agents whom Her Majesty possessed in Japan.
THE EARL OF CARNARVON
said, that as the noble Earl objected to the production of the papers, he would not press for them; though, if they showed that the Japanese Government had been treated with such extraordinary forbearance, he could not see why they should not be produced, particularly as there were no negotations going on at present. His object, however, had been gained by the discussion which had taken place, though he regretted that the explanations given by the noble Earl and the noble Duke had not been fuller, both as to the events which had happened since the date of the last Parliamentary papers and the real intentions of the Government. He feared it was not unlikely that Parliament would separate before it had the opportunity of seeing these documents.
§ Motion (by leave of the House) withdrawn.