Of the Dutch Trade with Japan.
A Dutch chief resides at Japan, who is always a principal merchant, and is assisted by some writers in the Company’s service. The profit formerly made of this establishment by the Dutch East-India Company, frequently amounted to 80 and even 100 per cent. but has fallen off to such a degree, that they rarely make now, 1721, above eight or ten. This has been chiefly occasioned by the Chinese, who for some time past have purchased every kind of goods at Canton that are in demand in Japan, and it is even said that they have contracted with the Japanese to furnish them with all kinds of merchandize at as low prices as the Dutch. Another cause of the low profits is, that the Japanese fix the prices of all the goods they buy, and if their offer is not accepted, they desire the merchants to take them home again. This may possibly have been suggested to them by the Chinese, who used formerly to be treated in the same manner at Batavia. There is no place in all India where the Dutch have so little authority, or where their establishments are of so little consequence, as in Japan. They are allowed a small island to themselves, where they have warehouses for their goods, and a few ordinary houses for the members of the factory; but this island is a prison, in which they are completely shut up as long as they remain in Japan, not being permitted to pass the bridge that joins this island to the city of Naugasaque. The only shadow of liberty that is allowed them is, that their chief, with two or three attendants, goes once a-year as ambassador to the emperor. One great reason of this is said to have been occasioned by their using too great familiarities with the Japanese women; but the true reason is, that the Dutch have more than once given strong indications of an inclination to establish themselves in the country by force.