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No. 41.]

[Inclosure 3 in No. 91.]

Mr. Swift to Viscount Aoki.

Tokio, February 10, 1890.

VISCOUNT: I herewith transmit to you a memorandum, in which I take the liberty of calling your attention to and correcting what seems to me to be certain misinterpretations of my part of the conversation that took place on the 23d of January last, concerning the matter of the excise tax on the article known as "Scott's Emulsion," which misinterpretation, I have no doubt, was unintentional and the result of natural difficulties of translation.

I avail myself, etc.,


[Inclosure.] Memorandum.

Mr. Swift has the honor to acknowledge the receipt of His Excellency Viscount Aoki's précis of the interview which took place at the ministry of foreign affairs January 23, 1890, in reference to the right of the Japanese Government, under existing treaties, to levy a license and excise tax upon an article of American production known as "Scott's Emulsion."

And, while satisfied in the main with His Excellency's version of the affair, which he, Mr. Swift, considers to be upon all material points substantially identical with his own précis furnished on the 23d of January, 1890, yet, nevertheless, upon certain matters immaterial to the principal question he finds that some inaccuracies, especially as to remarks attributed to Mr. Swift on that occasion, have found their way into the memorandum, doubtless owing to the misunderstanding on the part of the interpreter of the language actually used by Mr. Swift.

As to the words purporting to have been used by His Excellency Viscount Aoki, Mr. Swift has no doubt that they are accurately set forth in the précis made at the foreign office, and where the two differ will, of course, accept the statement of His Excellency as correct.

In several places the précis of His Excellency Viscount Aoki records Mr. Swift as expressing an opinion as to what his Government would think of the action taken by the Government of Japan in the construction now placed upon the treaties, and especially that the United States Government would think that the Japanese Government "had imposed upon its friendship."

Mr. Swift at no time ventured to express or intimate an opinion as to what his Government would think of the matter, nor as to the impression his report of the treaty construction would create at Washington. Mr. Swift expressed a fear that more or less of his countrymen, especially those engaged in commerce with Japan, would think that the Japanese Government had selected the United States for the initiation of a new and unexpected construction of the treaties, and would feel aggrieved with consequent results.

The following language, attributed to Mr. Swift in His Excellency Viscount Aoki's précis, leads him to think that he was not understood by the interpreter, as it is certainly inaccurate, namely:

"Mr. Swift based his objection upon the fact that the claim was violative of the treaty. He should, he declared, report the matter to his Government and inform them that Japan had violated her treaty. He thought it unfortunate that in her endeavor to get rid of her treaties Japan should select the United States, a power that had invariably manifested its friendly feeling for Japan, upon which to begin the experiment."

All of this being immaterial to the main point, Mr. Swift would not consider it of sufficient importance to call for correction, but for the general tone of disrespect to the Japanese Government which the language imports, a disrespect Mr. Swift is very far from feeling, and which would, under the circumstances, have been improper for him to express if he had entertained such feelings.

The same inexactness occurs in attributing another speech to Mr. Swift, namely: "Mr. Swift thought the Japanese Government knew exactly what they were attempting to accomplish. He repeated that Japan was violating her treaties, and he again declared that he was of the opinion that she was doing so in order to get rid of her engagements."

Mr. Swift disclaims the use of these expressions or of anything capable of such a meaning.

He did give it as his opinion that the excise duty upon "Scott's Emulsion" was in violation of the treaty, and that the ruling of Viscount Aoki in his note No. 4 of January 17, extending the ruling to all American productions, if put into force, would lead to further violations of it. He also said that His Excellency Viscount Aoki's ruling was a new and unexpected construction placed upon the treaties, and that he regretted that an article of American production had been chosen upon which to make the initial application of the new doctrine, giving for his regret the reasons above named.

He did not at any time "declare that he would report to his Government that Japan had violated her treaty;" nor did he intimate that his intention to report the facts of the case to his Government was the result of anything other than the regular and ordinary discharge of his duties in reporting this in common with all other transactions of his legation. He did not at any time use any such expression as that "the Japanese Government knew exactly what they were attempting to accomplish," nor "that Japan was endeavoring to get rid of her treaties," nor "violating them in order to get rid of her engagements."

Mr. Swift said nothing tending to impugn the motives or question the sincerity or integrity of His Imperial Majesty's Government in the construction of the treaty. What he did say was that, in his opinion, the construction was new; that it was a reversal of a construction long acquiesced in; and that he, Mr. Swift, thought it to be violative of the language and intent of the treaty. But he did not, either expressly or by implication, suggest that the Japanese Government thought it to be a violation of the treaty.

It is true that Mr. Swift declined to discuss the question of treaty construction, but he gave as a reason for refusing that, until he could ascertain the views of his Government, he did not feel at liberty to do so. Mr. Swift did not pretend to know what his Government would think; in fact, at the outset of the interview he announced that he wished to inquire as to the exact position of the Japanese Government, in order that he might, as it was his duty to do, correctly report that position to his own Government.

From the précis of His Excellency Viscount Aoki, it appears that he suggested to Mr. Swift that it was apparent that they had reached a point in the discussion where they could no longer agree, and that, in future, arguments be reduced to writing, etc. Mr. Swift has no doubt that Viscount Aoki used precisely that language, though he, Mr. Swift, does not remember to have had it translated to him or to have understood it.

He will, however, cheerfully follow the suggestion, and, should further discussion be found necessary, which he can only determine after hearing from his Government, he will follow that plan so far as it can conveniently be done.


Tokio, February 10, 1890.

No. 106.]

Mr. Swift to Mr. Blaine.

LEGATION OF THE UNITED STATES, Tokio, March 18, 1890. (Received April 15.) SIR Some time since Mr. V. Marshall Law, a citizen of the United States residing in Tokio, informed me that he had in his possession a section of rope made of human hair which had been used as an ordinary cable in lifting building material in the construction of a Buddhist temple at Kioto, in Japan, which he desired to transmit as a free gift to the Smithsonian Institution for final deposit as an object of general public interest. He at the same time inquired if I could in any manner facilitate the transport of this curious rope to its place of destination, inasmuch as for him to do so would involve on his part some outlay of money and other inconveniences more or less difficult to overcome. As I understood Mr. Law to say, the priests of the temple only consented. to part with the piece of rope upon the positive assurance from him that the rope was not for Mr. Law, but for the American nation, and that it would be placed in the Smithsonian Institution as a public

deposit, and, in fact, that they intended it as a gift to the people of the United States, positively declining to allow any private person to have what they regarded as a sacred thing.

Under these circumstances, I have thought it proper to assist in its conveyance and delivery and to utilize the return dispatch pouch to transmit the rope to the United States, in the belief that you will consider this curious relic worthy of being so officially fowarded and approve my action.

I have the honor, therefore, to request that you will cause the section of human hair rope, with the accompanying photograph of the entire rolls of cable still remaining at the new Buddhist temple at Kioto, as well as the papers and documents, including a copy of the letter from Mr. Law, to be delivered to the Smithsonian Institution in such manner as you may deem suitable and proper.

I have, etc,

[Inclosure in No. 106.]

Mr. Law to Mr. Swift.


TOKIO, March 6, 1890.

HONORABLE AND DEAR SIR: The writer sends you to-day a section of rope made of human hair, also a large photograph of all the remaining hair cables in existence at this time, a table of the names of provinces of the donors showing the size and length of each of the ropes used in the construction of the eastern Hon-gwan-ji temple at Kioto, and a lithograph drawn to scale of that famous Buddhist edifice, with the request that if it meets with your approval it may be forwarded to the Smithsonian Institution in the United States, with such of the latter-named documents as may, in your estimation, be of interest to the patrons of that institution.

These articles came into my possession under the following circumstances: Last July the writer visited Kioto, and while looking over that ancient city of Japan visited the Hon-gwan-ji temple, then almost completed. His attention was particularly drawn to the numerous black hair cables lying about, all of which were or had been in use for elevating heavy timbers, etc. Upon inquiry he learned that these ropes were made from the hair of men and women who were the followers of Buddha, and who had sacrificed their long hair that these ropes might be made. The writer was impressed with the fact that these hair ropes told an eloquent story of the self-sacrificing devotion of the followers of this religion, and he at once made efforts to secure pieces of the ropes to send to the Smithsonian Institution. Every effort made at that time failed, and the best he could do was to request that his application be placed "on file" and brought before the council of Buddhist priests. As many sight-seers had already made efforts to beg or buy pieces of these ropes to no purpose, the writer suffered many a quiet "smile" from his friends, who, while they were astonished at the writer's audacity, felt that they knew perfectly well that he would never get a piece of those ropes under any pretext whatever. But at last, after more than 7 months, the leading Buddhist priest of Japan, Hiramatz Rei, has delivered to the writer the section of the largest cable called for, along with the photograph and printed tables of length and weight, the two latter having been especially provided by them, in order that Americans might the better judge of the enormous quantity of hair furnished them for the making of these ropes. The writer can not rid himself of the idea that the religious people of America can learn a lesson of personal sacrifice and devotion from these followers of Buddha in Japan. How many churches would be built in Christendom if the rank and file were cailed upon to sacrifice their hair for the manufacture of the necessary ropes and cables?

Respectfully submitting these relics to your disposal, in accordance with a pledge made to Mr. Hiramatz Rei, the writer remains,

Yours, very sincerely,

25 Tsukiji, Tokio.

Since the 13th year of Meiji (1880), when the rebuilding of the two halls of the eastern Hon-gwan-ji, in Kioto, was begun, the faithful laymen and laywomen of every place have been unanimous in presenting to the principal temple (Hon-zan) strong

FR 90-38

ropes made of their own hairs to be used for the work. The number of these ropes reached 53 lines in all, and 29 of them were already broken or became useless from frequent using, though they were equally very strong. The length and weight, etc., of these ropes are no longer known, but there exist 24 lines. For the sake of memory of the future, therefore, we make a table of the names of the donators' places and of the length and weight of the existing 24 lines.



7th month, 22d year of Meiji (1889).

I.-A table of the names of the provinces of the donators of the hair ropes.

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II. A table of the number, length, and weight of the existing hair ropes.





1 jo 9.9421186 feet. 1 shaku 11.930542 inches. 1 bu= 1.4316650 line. pounds. 1 momme 2.4154980 pennyweights.

1 kwan 10.064575

The commas between the figures are used as we would use a ruling. Thus in the first column it reads 13 jo and 8 shaku.

Mr. Blaine to Mr. Swift.


No. 59.]

Washington, March 18, 1890.

SIR: I have to acknowledge the receipt of your No. 88 of the 5th ultimo, in relation to taxes imposed by the Japanese Government upon an American preparation known as "Scott's Emulsion." This preparation is described as a "food medicine," being composed of cod-liver oil, hypophosphites of lime and soda, glycerine, etc.

It appears that the China and Japan Trading Company, by whom the article in question has been imported into Japan, sought the advice of the United States minister at Tokio, in 1888, as to whether it would be required of them, being a firm of American merchants, to take out a license for the sale of the commodity, and that they were informed by him that it would not be necessary. Acting upon this advice, they pro

ceeded to advertise the preparation and to arrange for its importation and sale. In the early part of 1889, after the emulsion had for sometime been on the market, the Japanese retail merchants, by arrangement with whom the preparation was disposed of, were informed by their Government that they must purchase a special license for its sale. The American importers, in order to avoid delay and trouble, instructed the Japanese merchants to obtain the license, but at the same time applied to the legation to secure, if possible, by diplomatic action a withdrawal of the order of the Japanese Government. In response to this application, you addressed the Japanese foreign office a note bearing date September 13, 1889, copy of which you inclose. After this note was written another ground of complaint arose. In addition to the license tax previously required, the Japanese merchants were informed that they must pay an excise duty of 10 per cent. ad valorem upon the retail price of the preparation in the form of a revenue stamp to be placed on each bottle, and that an evasion of the order would be followed by punishment as for a misdemeanor or public offense. In consequence of this new exaction, the Japanese merchants were unable any longer to deal in the preparation and were compelled to return the stock on hand to the importers. Meanwhile, an imitation of the preparation has been made by the Japanese and is having an extensive sale, due in large measure to the previous advertising of the American commodity by the China and Japan Trading Company.

On the subject of the second exaction you addressed the Japanese foreign office a note bearing date the 4th of October last. On the 23d of that month Viscount Aoki acknowledged the reception of your two notes, to which he promised a further reply when he should have received a report from the department of home affairs. The further reply was not made until the 17th of January last, and in it Viscount Aoki defends the action of his Government on the twofold ground, first, that "Scott's Emulsion," being in the nature of a medical preparation, falls within the Japanese regulations for the sale of licensed medicines, which require a special license to be taken out for the vending of such articles; and, second, that under the treaties the Japanese Government has the right to levy internal taxes on all goods or articles of merchandise imported into the Empire. On the 23d of January last you had a conversation by appointment with Viscount Aoki at the foreign office, in regard to the question at issue, and of this conversation you inclose in your dispatch a précis.

Under date of the 7th instant, the Department received from the chargé d'affaires of Japan at this capital a note relating to the same subject-matter as your dispatch. Accompanying this note are copies of your two notes of September 13 and October 4, 1889, to Count Okuma; of the replies of Viscount Aoki of the 23d of October and of the 17th of January last; of your précis, communicated to Viscount Aoki on January 24, of your conversation with him of the preceding day, and also of a précis, prepared by the viscount, of the same interview. Copies of the note of the Japanese chargé d'affaires and of Viscount Aoki's précis of the conversation of the 23d of January are herewith inclosed. The two accounts of the interview vary in some particulars, not an infrequent occurrence where conversations are conducted through an interpreter, but into those variances it is not thought to be material or expedient to enter.

* For note of Japanese chargé d'affairs of March 7, 1890, see correspondence with Japanese legation at Washington, page 116; for Viscount Aoki's précis see inclosure 2 in No. 91, page 588.

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