Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



Document Type



In this dissertation, I show how British merchants and statesmen in the early nineteenth century attempted to initiate trade with Tokugawa Japan and persuade the British government to establish a trading agreement before the arrival of Commodore Matthew C. Perry’s Expedition in 1852. Through their various campaigns and missions these British merchants and statesmen attempted to persuade the British government to send a formal diplomatic mission to negotiate a trading agreement with Tokugawa Japan. The East India Company also considered reopening trade with the Japanese. These efforts were unsuccessful. Until the mid-nineteenth century Japan was not considered strategically important for Britain’s imperial influence in the broader Indian Ocean network. By examining records from the East India Company, personal missives, and published personal narratives, this dissertation shows how British perception of Japan changed from the seventeenth to the mid-nineteenth century, when the United States and, later, the British government viewed Japan as a point of imperial interest and strategy. Britain’s need to secure the position of the Royal Navy in East Asia during the Crimean War, not a desire for trade, led to the first Anglo-Japanese diplomatic treaty.



Committee Chair

Veldman, Meredith



Available for download on Monday, May 13, 2030