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between government troops and the robbers, occupying Satsuma's yaski, has been that a considerable number of the latter were killed and made prisoners. Only a small party of them succeeded in escaping on board one of the Satsuma's steamers, lying in the bay of Shinagawa, which was, however, pursued and engaged by a government steamer as soon as she left her anchorage.
The governors of Kanagawa trust that, in view of the unsettled state of the country and the difficulties which the government has at this moment to surmount, foreigners will, for some time, abstain from their excursions into the country, or, if it be found necessary to proceed beyond the settlement, that they will at least take more than ordinary precautions against all possible danger.
Mr. Portman to Ogasawara Iki No Kami. No. 6.]
LEGATION OF THE UNITED STATES IN JAPAN,
(Kanagawa,) Yokohama, January 20, 1868. The events in Yedo on yesterday, of which I have this day been officially informed by the governor of this port, being acts of overt war between the government of his Majesty, the Tycoon, and a combination of Daimios, of which the Prince of Satsuma is said to be the chief, are of such importance that it is my duty to request your excellency to furnish me with detailed information concerning them at your earliest convenience.
On the 25th instant the United States mail steamer will leave Yokohama for San Francisco, and from that port I shall cause the latest intelligence to be at once transmitted by telegraph to Washington, where it will be received in about twenty-two days from that date, and one or two days later it will reach London and Paris, also by telegraph. By thé American route, therefore, the present state of affairs in this part of Japan will be known at the three capitals named within from three to four weeks sooner than by the other routes.
Your excellency will undoubtedly acknowledge, therefore, that it is important that I should be furnished with full and authentic information at the earliest moment, and, if possible, before the 25th instant, the date of the departure of the American mail steamer.
The government of the United States, being sincerely desirous to cultivate and increase the friendly intercourse so happily existing with Japan, will, I feel sure, in view of the faithful and liberal execution of the treaty by the government of his present Majesty, Aotsbasi, be pleased to take the important intelligence about to be conveyed into favorable consideration, and to regulate their action and use their influence with the great western powers in a sense best calculated to promote the interests and prosperity of your country.
I shall send a copy of this letter to the American minister at Osaka, and beg to request your excellency to send a copy translation of the same to your colleagues in that city.. With respect and esteem,
A. L. C. PORTMAN. His Excellency OGASAWARA IKI NO KAMI,
Minister for Foreign Affairs, f'c., f'c., fc., Yedo.
Mr. Portman to Mr. Seward.
Yokohama, January 25, 1868. SIR: I have this moment received an official reply from Yedo to my letter of the 20th instant, copy of which formed inclosure No. 3 of my dispatch of the 23d instant.
The mail closes within half an hour, and I have no time, therefore, to transmit a careful translation of that letter by this opportunity. The only points of additional interest conveyed are the admission that the Satsuma steamer effected her escape, and that several hundred men were killed or taken prisoners.
There is reason to believe, I am happy to say, that the number of prisoners is largely in excess of those that lost their lives, as this induces the inference that the fights have been conducted, to some extent, not in accordance with precedent, but with the rules of civilized warfare.
I have the honor to be, sir, very respectfully, your most obedient servant,
A. L. C. PORTMAN. Hon. WILLIAM H. SEWARD,
Secretary of State, Washington, D. C.
Mr. Seward to Mr. Van Valkenburgh.
DEPARTMENT OF STATE,
Washington, January 27, 1868. SIR: Your dispatch of the 2d of December, No. 68, has been received. The telegraph had previously prepared us in some degree for the formal and definitive information which is contained in your dispatch. Upon a first view of the transaction, the Tycoon's resignation of his powers into the hands of the Mikado would seem to be occasion for regret, although we could hardly expect anything less than serious political changes as a consequence of the sudden entrance of Japan into relations with the other nations.
Your dispatch presents the difficulties of the political situation in the empire with great clearness. I shall await with interest the progress of revolution, hoping that the projected reforms may be concluded peacefully, and that the new policy of friendly intercourse with foreign powers will not be seriously obstructed. The crisis is one, however, in which you will be required to exercise all your skill and ability for maintaining the treaty rights of the United States. I am, sir, your obedient servant,
WILLIAM H. SEWARD. R. B. VAN VALKENBURGH, Esq., &c., &c.
Mr. Seward to Mr. Van Valkenburgh.
DEPARTMENT OF STATE,
Washington, January 27, 1868. SIR: Your dispatch of the 20th of November, No. 66, has been received and submitted to the President. We learn from it, with satisfaction, that the Japanese government has taken measures to open communication, if possible, with the government of Corea, and that we may indulge an expectation that the United States may be able to avail themselves of the good offices of the proposed Japanese legation to impress upon the Coreans the necessity of a due respect to the power of the United States. The wrong we have sustained is unendurable, and cannot be overlooked. We are nevertheless anxious that our proceedings in the case may be conducted with such moderation as shall not bring in question the dignity and liberality of the United States in their intercourse with such communities in the East as are still remaining rude and unorganized. We look forward with much interest to the further proceedings of the Japanese government in instituting diplomatic communications with Corea. I am, sir, your obedient servant,
WILLIAM H. SEWARD. R. B. VAN VALKENBURGH, Esq., &c., &c.
Mr. Van Valkenburgh to Mr. Sevard.
LEGATION OF THE UNITED STATES,
Hiogo, February 3, 1868. SIR: As I anticipated in my last communication to you, war has actually commenced between the Tycoon and Satsuma representing the Mikado's government. I have no doubt that the Mikado has by decree abolished the office of Shogoon, (Tycoon,).and that the powerful Daimios having possession of him intend subduing the Tycoon by force of arms.
I have as yet received no communication of any kind from the Mikado or his government, and all information is derived through the Tycoon's officers, probably colored by the medium through which it passes. The events, however, which have transpired since my last dispatch from Osaka, have satisfied us all that the Tycoon is arrayed against the supreme government, and that many of the Daimios are united for his overthrow.
Up to and including Monday, the 27th of January, our conferences were daily held, and we were engaged in making arrangements for the conditions of sale, divisions into lots, form of lease, time and manner of sale, upset price, and annual rent, of the lands in the foreign settlements located both at Osaka and Hiogo, and, so far as the foreign representatives were concerned, unanimously agreed to the same.
They awaited only the approval of Itakura Iga No Kami, the prime minister of the Tycoon, to be published for the information of our citizens.
On the 230 January, by invitation, I had a private and social interview with the Tycoon, at which was present the Prince of Etchizen.
It was merely social, and no business was transacted, the conversation being almost entirely led by the Tycoon, upon the form of government of the United States and England, and the purchase of the Stonewall, which he seemed to be anxious to receive.
Etchizen and Owari, two of the principal Daimios of Japan, had been sent by the Mikado to urge the Tycoon again to return to Kioto.
On Sunday, the 26th January, the Tycoon sent in advance towards Kioto a portion of his retainers, who had been armed as troops with rifles and muskets; about twenty-five miles from Osaka, at Fusima, they fell into an ambush of Satsuma's troops, were fired upon, and after a short but decisive conflict were compelled to fall back. Thus the war commenced. At Yodo, a small village this side of Fusima, they made a stand, re-enforcements were sent them, but they were again defeated by Satsuma's troops, and continued fighting and retreating during the 27th, 28th, 29th, and 30th. In the night of the 30th, about 12 o'clock, Heri Yama Desho No Kami, a member of the second council, called at my legation and gave me the news that the Tycoon's troops were retreating, and he also informed me that he could no longer protect American citizens, and I must take such measures as I deemed necessary for the safety of myself and my countrymen. Fortunately, from the top of my house, in the distance I had seen the burning fires of the yaskis and villages, in the march of the retreating army, and had made ready to leave my legation at a moment's warning, with all the Americans who were then in Osaka. The citizens of Osaka for three days before had been moving out into the surrounding country with their goods and families, and this also had given me reason to be partially prepared for a hasty leave. The yaskies and property of Satsuma, situated in Osaka, had been seized and burned by the troops of the Tycoon on the night of the 27th. All was excitement in the streets, and the places of business were closed for some days before the 30th.
The United States steamer Iroquois had arrived off Osaka, but some eight miles distant from my legation, two or three days previous, for the purpose of taking myself and suite to Yokohama, when we should be prepared to leave. Knowing this fact, Heri Yama came at the request of the Tycoon, to ask permission for himself the Tycoon, to go on board the Iroquois that night, and to remain there until his vessel, the Kai-o-mar, a Japanese frigate, should arrive early in the morning to take him to Yedo.
I wrote a note to Commander English, of the Iroquois, and the Tycoon evacuated his castle at Osaka, about two o'clock in the morning of the 31st January, accompanied by his prime minister and other high officials, went on board the Iroquois by Japanese boats, remained there for about two hours, and then was transferred to his own frigate, which arrived at daylight, and upon which he sailed for Yedo.
Two of the governors for foreign affairs arrived at my legation about two o'clock in the morning of the 31st, in great excitement, stating that the left flank of the Tycoon's army had been turned, and that Satsuma's troops were then marching upon Osaka, and after disguising themselves as common coolies, afterwards accompanied our party to the fort, a distance of some seven miles, from whence they escaped with other officials to Yedo, in one of the Tycoon's steamers. About four o'clock in the morning the representatives of Italy, the Netherlands, and Prussia, came to my legation, for the purpose of going to the French legation, a distance of about one and a half mile, as had been previously agreed upon in case of danger. Taking all my countrymen, servants, and Japanese escort, and a portion of my goods, we went to the French legation, and there found the French minister ready to leave, and learned that the English minister would meet us, with his large escort of some seventy persons, at the foreign concession, some three miles distant. My escort consisted of seven United States marines, under command of Midshipman Emory, of the United States steamer Iroquois, and eleven Tycoon's men, who had been attached to me on my arrival at Osaka by the government. At six o'clock a. m., the 31st of January, we, the representatives of France, Holland, Italy, Prussia, and myself, went on foot through the streets of Osaka to the foreign concession, and from thence to the fort at the mouth of the river, for the purpose of embarking. The English minister reached the foreign concession, and remained there over night, while the other representatives stayed near the fort until the evening of the 1st of February, when we embarked, the Italian, Prussian, Holland ministers and myself, with our respective suites and countrymen, on board the United States steamer Iroquois, the French minister on board the Laplace, and the English minister embarking on Sunday on board the Rattler. On Saturday, the 1st instant, the town of Sakai, near Osaka, was almost entirely destroyed by fire, while several fires were also burning in the city itself. On Sunday the castle of the Tycoon was destroyed by fire, and many fires were springing up in various directions. The Tycoon's troops were entirely dispersed, and the city was in possession
of the Mikado's forces. At 11.30 a. m. we sailed for Hiogo, reaching this place about one p. m., a distance of eleven miles from anchorage to anchorage. Here all was excitement; the Tycoon's troops had withdrawn, and notice had been given by the governor that he could no longer protect the foreigners, and, in fact, had chartered a steamer to leave the next day for Yedo, to carry off all the Tycoon's officials, and had also made preparations to burn the custom and bonded warehouses, in which was a large amount of foreign merchandise.
Together with the Italian and Prussian representatives, I at once called upon the governor, whom I well knew, and asked him what protection he could afford to our citizens. His answer was none; that I must take my own measures to protect them and our flag. I then asked him, as he was about to leave, to give us the custom-house and bonded warehouse as our legation, to which he at once assented, and we immediately raised upon them our flags, and are now occupying the n as legations, with a guard of United States marines from the Oveida and Iroquois.
To-day, the 3d of February, the governor and all officials have left Hiogo, and no one remains with whom to transact business. Most of the property of foreigners here has been put upon board of vessels now in port, although the advent of the foreign representatives seems to have given new confidence to them.
I deemed it prudent to leave Osaka, because it was given up to a revolutionary mob of whom we knew nothing, and from whom we had heard nothing. Our vessels of war were some eight miles from us, and there was no such thing as being protected, with a large city, and a bad and at times impassable bar between us and them. We had no Americans there except such as were attached to the legation, and there was no American property to protect. The sale of the land in the foreign settlement had not been made. . My colleagues all agreed with me, and our departure, under the circumstances and at the time, was unanimously resolved upon. Here we propose to remain for the present. Our vessels are now close in shore, and we feel confident that under almost any circumstances we can remain until communication can be had with the supreme government, whatever and whenever that may be.
It is believed that the news of the burning of Satsuma's yaskis at Yedo, by the Tycoon's forces there, and of which you have been informed by Mr. Portman, from Yokohama, hastened the outbreak near Kioto, and at once put an end to such peaceable negotiations as were then going on. Many wounded men had been brought into Osaka on the three days preceding its evacuation, and it is said about 150 were burned in the conflagration which destroyed the castle.
Whether this was the work of the Tycoon's officers, or of his enemies upon entering the castle, is not clearly understood, but my impression is, its destruction was ordered by the Tycoon, to prevent its occupation by his enemies; and in the fire and explosion of ammunition the barracks, in which these poor wounded men were, ignited and were consumed.
Inclosed I transmit No. 1, copy translation of a communication received on the 28th day of January, at five o'clock a. m., from Saki Uita No Kami, Itakura Iga No Kami, and Matsdaira Buzen No Kami, three members of the Gorogio, asking me to issue an order to Americans to confine themselves strictly to the terms of the treaty prohibiting merchant vessels from entering unopened ports, and the sale of arms and ships of war to other than the Japanese government. This was a circular letter, and was sent to each of the several foreign representatives in Osaka.