Perry adopted a tactic that was different from those used by people who had hitherto visited Japan. He demanded, as a matter right, acts of courtesy which were due from one civilized nation to another. He assumed a resolute attitude towards the Japanese government.1 Perry held the view that the more exclusive he could be, the more unyielding he might on insisting his declared intention, and the more respect he could command from the Japanese. Perry felt that "in Japan, as the representative of his country and the accredited guardian of the honor of that flag which floated over him . . . it was well to teach the Japanese . . . to respect the country from which he came, and to suspend for a time their accustomed arrogance and incivility toward strangers".2 So far the situation had proved Perry's tactic was working: his squadron was left free from any interference, an unprecedented event in the past two centuries.3 Early in the next morning, 9th July 1853, a Japanese boat approached the Susquehanna. These people were artists who made sketches of the squadron and had no intention of coming on board. At 7 am two boats came, with the interpreter who spoke Dutch announcing that the highest ranking official in the city had arrived. At that moment Perry wanted only to speak to the counsellor of the Empire and therefore he asked his assistants to receive this official, although with the presence of Perry. This Japanese official said that their laws made it impossible to receive Perry's presential letter at Uraga or to give any reply to it here. At this point Perry, through his assistance, made it clear that "if the Japanese government did not see fit to appoint a suitable person to receive the document in his possession addressed to the Emperor that he, the Commodore, whose duty it was to deliver them, would go onshore with a sufficient force and deliver them in person, be the consequences what they might". 4 (to be continued)
1. Perry, Matthew Calbraith ed. by Sidney Wallach. Narrative of the Expedition of an American Squadron to the China Seas and Japan. NY: Coward-McCann, 1952, page 50.
2. Ibid., page 51
3. Ibid., page 52
4. Ibid., page 55