Sunday, May 29, 2016

Documents in History: Letter of President Franklin Pierce to the Emperor of Japan

President Franklin Pierce
United States Consul to Japan, Townsend Harris, met with the Shogun or Tycoon of Japan in December 1857 and handed over a letter from President Franklin Pierce to Emperor. Explore the contents of the letter bellow.

Letter of President Franklin Pierce to the Emperor of Japan

Franklin Pierce,
President of the United States of America,

To his Majesty the Emperor of Japan.

Great and Good Friend!

It has occurred to me that the existing Treaty between the United States and Japan might be so amended as to secure greater facilities for the exchange of the rich and varied productions of Your Majesty’s vast empire for those of the United States. I have accordingly made choices of the bearer of this letter Townsend Harris, Esquire, a citizen of this country who has already been accredited to Your Majesty’s Minister for Foreign Affairs as the Consul General of the United States to confer upon the subject with such Ministers or other officers as your Majesty may designate. I trust that they may agree upon the terms of a treaty which will strengthen and perpetuate the bonds of amity between the United States and Japan as well as increase the commercial intercourse between them to their mutual advantage.

I trust that Your Majesty will receive Mr. Harris with kindness, and will place entire confidence in all the representations which he may make to Your Majesty in my behalf.

I pray God to have Your Majesty in His safe and holy keeping. 

To these presents I have caused the seal of the United States to be affixed and have subscribed  the same with my hand, at the City of Washington on the twelfth day of September in the year of the Christian Era, one thousand eight hundred and fifty-five.

Franklin Pierce.

By the President

W.S. Marcy,

Secretary of State.

"Franklin Pierce to the Emperor of Japan." in National Archives Catalog. Accessed on May 29, 2016. URL:

Explore also:
The Bakumatsu (Part 1): Opening of Japan

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