Encounters with an Alien Culture: Americans Employed by the Kaitakushi
The sixty-six year old General Horace Capron, US Commissioner of Agriculture, agreed to head an American mission to Hokkaido. Subsequently, until its abolition in 1882, the Kaitakushi employed forty-eight Americans, in addition to seventeen Europeans and thirteen Chinese. Capron's friends in Washington agreed with him. Finding Japanese solicitation of American assistance "extremely flattering" to the United States, Secretary of the Navy George M. Robeson expressed his belief that Capron's mission would "result in cementing the friendship, and in widening and making valuable to both the intercourse between the two governments." Horace Capron, born on August 31, 1804, in Attleboro, Massachusetts, was the fifth generation in descent from a French Huguenot who emigrated to Rhode Island in 1656. His father, who had served in the Revolution in his youth, was a physician. When Horace was two, his family moved to Oneida County New York where his father erected a cotton mill and a woolen mill.