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No. 22.]

Mr. Pruyn to Mr. Seward.


Yedo, May 26, 1862.

SIR: I have the honor to inform you that on the 11th instant I received a letter from Kudse Yamato No Kami, minister of foreign affairs, informing me that his colleague, Audo Tsusima No Kami, had been promoted to the rank of Tamari Dsumi Kakee, (entitling him to meet in the hall of Tamari,) and honorably discharged as minister for foreign affairs, and that Midsuru Ídsumi No Kami and Itakura Suno No Kami had been appointed minister of foreign affairs. There are now, therefore, three ministers for foreign affairs.

It is to be regretted that this change has been made, as Audo Tsusima No Kami held the office for more than two years, and, besides being a man of extraordinary ability, he is regarded as extremely favorable to the treaty powers. I was very much impressed in his favor during the first and only interview I had with him.

This is the minister on whom the attack was made, described in despatch No. 9, of the 6th March. I transmit enclosure No. 1, being translation of a paper found on the person of one of his assailants who was killed at that time.

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This paper was brought to Mr. Harris on the eve of his departure, and was regarded by him as authentic.

It appears from this paper that the attack was made on him because he was disposed to be the friend of foreigners, and therefore an enemy of his cou try. I have delayed this despatch until I had some opportunity of observing whether any change should be apparent in the conduct of the officers of gov


And while it is obvious that I have had but little time to form a correct judgment, yet I feel gratified to be able to say that thus far I can perceive no change in the conduct of the governor for foreign affairs or any of the officials.

It would be impossible for them to be more friendly. I have had no business interview with the minister since the change alluded to, but the whole ceremonial attending my audience of the Tycoon, and the formal interview I subsequently had with the Gorogio, were in all respects courteous and friendly. I can only hope that the change may have been dictated by motives of policy, affecting simply the government of Japan, and that the effect will be to enable the present ministers to grant without question that which the former ministry could not safely do, because of the suspicion which attached to all their meas


It is worthy of notice, also, that this is the first instance which has occurred of any such change having been communicated to the ministers of foreign powers at the time of its occurrence. The process heretofore has been, when one of the ministers absented himself from the meeting of the Gorogio, to attribute his absence to sickness, to give the same excuse at subsequent interviews, and finally to announce, after the expiration of months, the appointment of a successor, the continued sickness of the minister having compelled him to ask to be relieved.

Some doubt exists as to the real character of this promotion. My colleagues

regard it as an honorable dismissal of an able, rich, and powerful minister, and the office as merely nominal. But since my return to Yedo I have sought information on the subject, and have arrived at the conclusion that Audo Tsusima No Kami will still exercise a supervisory power connected with foreign affairs. I have no idea, however, that there is attached to the office he now holds any executive power.

Everything is so enveloped in mystery here that it is extremely difficult, and in some cases impossible, to arrive at the truth. An amusing instance of this is associated with the assassination of the Gotairo, (the regent,) whose head was cut off in a public street. The British minister was led to believe that he was in a fair way to recover from his wound, and his proffer of his surgical services was courteously declined.

I ride almost daily through the streets of Yedo, attended by Yankonians or officers of the government, and never carry arms. I have never been molested, nor seen any evidence of hostility on the part of its population.

The ministers of Great Britain and France have, respectively, a guard of soldiers and marines. I was visited a few days since by the minister and several attaches of the French legation and two of the attaches of the British legation. All were armed with sabres and revolvers.

It has appeared to me that any such exhibition of arms will only provoke hostility.

The British and French ministers continue their residence at Yokohama. The consul general of Holland resides at Nagasaki, and the consul general of Russia at Hakodadi.

I am the only minister who resides in Yedo.

I have the honor to be, sir, very respectfully, your most obedient servant, ROBERT H. PRUYN,

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SIR: Agreeably to your instructions contained in despatch No. 7, of the 5th of February, I addressed to Lieutenant Colonel E. St. John Neale, her Britannic Majesty's chargé d'affaires and consul general during the absence of Mr. Alcock, a letter, of which enclosure No. 1 is a copy, and also transmit No. 2, his reply.



I have as yet received no reply to a letter addressed by me to the minister of foreign affairs on the same subject.

I have the honor to be, sir, very respectfully, your most obedient servant,



Minister Resident.

Secretary of State, Washington.

No. 70.]

Yedo, June 6, 1862.

SIR The President of the United States has heard with inuch satisfaction of the arrest and death of two more of the persons engaged in the attack on the legation of her Britannic Majesty on the night of the 5th of July last, and I am instructed in his name to felicitate

the British minister on the gratifying intelligence, so honorable to the Japanese government and so conducive to peace.

I have the honor to be, sir, your most obedient, humble servant,



Minister Resident of the United States in Japan.

H. B. Majesty's Chargé d'Affaires and Acting Consul General.

No. 7 ]

YOKOHAMA, June 7, 1862

SIR: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of yesterday's date, communicating to me that you had been instructed to felicitate the British minister in Japan, in the name of the President of the United States, on the gratifying intelligence which had reached the President, of the arrest and execution of two of the persons engaged in the attack on the legation of her Britannic Majesty on the night of the 5th of July last. I beg to assure you that this mark of sympathy and interest, coming from so high a quarter, in connexion with the event referred to, cannot fail to be gratifying to her Majesty's government, to whom I shall have the honor to transmit a copy of your despatch. The Japanese government has undoubtedly acted under wise and just inspirations in the laudable efforts it has exerted to trace out and bring to condign punishment those who escaped of a gang of assassins guilty of an unparalleled outrage on the representative of a friendly nation residing within the capital.

These instruments of a murderous conspiracy, emanating from whatever source, had only in part been exterminated; the survivors remained, a living menace, actuated by a dangerous and increased vindictiveness; for a spirit of revenge against the members of the Japanese government itself was now superadded, this government (as might reasonably be expected) having loyally interposed the public guards, and killed and dispersed those bandits while in the act of assailing the legation.

Full of trust in the natural intelligence and wise determination of the Japanese government during the future course of its now irrevocable and happily restored relations with foreign governments, and in the prudent warnings which it must derive from those highly civilized and enlightened sources to which it may turn for counsel when in doubt, for myself, I am impressed with an earnest intention, regardless of adverse rumors, to entertain an unreserved confidence in the good faith and amicable sentiments of the Japanese government, persuaded as this government must already be that peace, friendly relations, and trade are the sole and dominant objects of our solicitude.

I have the honor to be, sir, your most obedient, humble servant,


H. B. Majesty's Chargé d'Affaires and Acting Consul General in Japan.

Minister Resident of the United States, &c., &c., &c., in Japan.

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Mr. Pruyn to Mr. Seward.

No. 24.]

Legation of the United STATES IN JAPAN,
Yedo, June 9, 1862.

SIR: I have the pleasure to report to you that the most cordial relations exist between the ministers of France and Great Britain in Japan and myself.

Lieutenant Colonel Neale, the present chargé d'affaires of Great Britain, who has only been here a few days, and Mr. Winchester, who occupied that post on my arrival, I found to be frank and courteous gentlemen, animated by the most sincere desire to cultivate the most friendly relations; and Monsieur de Bellecourt, the minister plenipotentiary of France, has been unceasing in his good offices. On the departure of Mr. Harris he addressed me a private note, asking whether it would be agreeable to me that the Dordagne should salute our flag, and this courtesy was only prevented by Mr. Harris leaving in the steamer during the night. Subsequently he insisted on my visiting the Dordagne, so that a salute might be given, which would testify to the Japanese the cordial. relations which exist between our governments.

Shortly after the Dordagne left the port, and when about one hundred leagues out, encountered a terrific typhoon, which carried away her masts, nearly put out her fires, and left her, when she again reached this port, almost a wreck.

The commandant, officers, and crew exhibited such skill and bravery in saving the vessel, under the most adverse circumstances, and against every human probability of success, as to induce me to address Monsieur de Bellecourt on the subject. I have the honor to enclose No. 1, copy of my letter, and Nos. 2 and 3, copies of the minister's and commandant's replies, with translations.

I have the honor also to report to you that the most perfect accord exists between my colleagues and myself on the subjects in which our governments have a common interest. During the past month we have held two official meetings, for the purpose of deliberation and to insure harmonious action, and I entertain no doubt of the permanency of this very desirable cordiality, the result of personal good feeling coming to the aid of the desires and instructions of our respective governments.

I have the honor to be, sir, very respectfully, your most obedient servant, ROBERT H. PRUYN,

Hon. Wм. H. SEWARD,

Secretary of State, Washington.

Minister Resident in Japan.

No. 74.]

Yedo, June 6, 1862.

SIR: I scarcely know whether to express my regrets to your excellency, or to offer my congratulations, on the recent disaster to the Dordagne.

His Imperial Majesty has sustained a pecuniary loss by the damage to the vessel. He will also mourn the loss of a brave seaman, who died in discharge of his duty. But another opportunity has been afforded the naval officers of France for an exhibition of consummate skill and seamanship, and of heroic bravery and endurance, which will no doubt prove highly gratifying to his Imperial Majesty, particularly in view of his intense solicitude for the development of the naval power and glory of France.

The wonderful progress made in the creation of a navy, not only in respect to the number, but also to the efficiency, of vessels acknowledged to have no superiors afloat, and which is to be principally attributed to the genius of his Imperial Majesty, has attracted the attention of the world, and will add greatly to the lustre of his reign.

Will your excellency allow me, through you, to offer my most respectful congratulations to Monsieur Fancon, le capitaine de vaisseau, on his return to Kanagawa. I hear his praises everywhere, and that, under the good Providence of God, the safety of the Dordagne is to be attributed to him, and I congratulate you that his Imperial Majesty has so brave and accomplished an officer.

I avail myself of this occasion to renew to your excellency the assurances of high consideration with which I have the honor to be, your excellency's most obedient servant, ROBERT H. PRUYN,

Minister Resident of the United States in Japan.

His Imperial Majesty's Minister Plenipotentiary, &c., &c, &c., in Japan.


SIR: I received the very cordial letter, dated yesterday, which your excellency did me the honor to write to me on the occasion of the return of his Imperial Majesty's ship Dordagne, providentially escaped in the typhoon of the 29th of this month, (of last month,) and I hastened to communicate to Mr. Commandant Fancon the expression of your sympathy, upon whom, like myself, it made a deep impression; and he intends addressing your excellency, returning thanks, and also for his staff and crew

The government of the Emperor, whenever informed of this courteous attention by transmitting a copy of your excellency's letter, will, I feel fully convinced, highly appreciate,

as I do, the sentiments about his Imperial Majesty, as well as those about the French navy, from the representative of a power with whom France entertains relations of the most sincere cordiality.

Permit me, sir, while returning you my warmest thanks, to renew the assurances of the high consideration with which I have the honor to be your excellency's most obedient, humble servant,


Minister Plenipotentiary of his Majesty the Emperor of the French, in Japan.

His Excellency Mr. PRUYN,
Minister of the United States in Japan, Yedo.

DORDAGNE, Yokohama, June 7, 1862.

MONSIEUR LE MINISTRE: With a strong feeling of gratitude I read the letter which your excellency was pleased to write to Mr. the minister of France on the occasion of the disaster which the Dordagne recently experienced at sea. I have the honor to return your excellency my very sincere thanks for the kind interest shown us.

I also thank you in the name of the imperial navy for the very flattering manner in which you speak of her. These praises are the more precious as coming from the representative of a great naval power, whose navy has always distinguished itself among all others by the beautiful construction and the magnificent condition of its squadrons, testifying in every sea to the accomplishments of the distinguished seamen who command them. May it please your excellency to allow me to express how greatly moved I feel by your kind courtesy, still more increasing my strong sympathy for the United States, which, during my long career, my numerous and cordial relations with their civil or military representatives inspired.

With profound respect, I remain, M. the minister, your excellency's most obedient servant,

Post-Captain, Comd'g the ship Dordagne, of the Imperial Navy.

His Excellency Mr. the MINISTER OF THE UNITED STATES in Japan.

Mr. Pruyn to Mr. Seward.

No. 25.]

Yedo, June 21, 1862.

SIR: The 21st article of the treaty of Japan with Great Britain provides that "all official communications addressed by the diplomatic and consular agents of her Majesty the Queen of Great Britain to the Japanese authorities shall henceforward be written in English." In order, however, to facilitate the transaction of business, they will, for a period of five years from the signature of that treaty, be accompanied by a Dutch or Japanese version.

This period will expire on the 26th day of August, 1863.

In view of this article, the Japanese government have for a long time caused instructions in reading and writing the English language to be given to a large number of these officials. It is known that, while many of them can read and write with great readiness, they have made little progress in speaking the language.

I have received a letter from the minister of foreign affairs, of which I enclose translation, No. 1. After consultation with the young gentlemen attached to this legation, I sent a copy, of which I enclose copy, No. 2.

It is proper to say, in this connexion, that the Reverend S. R. Brown, of Kanagawa, a missionary from the Reformed Dutch church of the United States, had offered, through Mr. Harris, to take charge of any number of young men whom the government might send to him for that purpose; and at an interview which I had on the day of the receipt of the letter, with one of the government

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