Mr. Harris to Mr. Seward.

No. 50.]

Sir: I have the honor to inform you that, agreeably to a previous appointment, I yesterday had an interview with Kudsi Yamato no Kami and Ando Tsusima no Kami, ministers for foreign affairs, who were assisted by some members of the second council of state.

After an interchange of the usual compliments, I informed the ministers that the President had been pleased to give me discretionary powers in regard to the question of postponing the opening of the cities of Yedo and Osacca, and the harbors of Hiogo and Neegata; but that I had been expressly instructed by you to demand full satisfaction for the murder of Mr. Heusken, the interpreter of this legation, before I entered on the consideration of their requests.

Ando Tsusima no Kami answered that they were willing to give me any satisfaction that might be in their power, and asked me what I required.

I replied, that the arrest and punishment of the murderers of Mr. Heusken was all that I desired.

The minister then said that those criminals should be arrested and punished, but whether that could be done in a month or a year was more than he could foresee. He then recapitulated what had been done by the government to secure the arrest of the assassins, and his statement corresponded with the detail I had the honor to give you on this head in my despatch of the 23d instant, (No. 49.) He continued by quoting the case of the regent, and stating their inability to arrest his murderers, as a proof that their present failure was not an exceptional case. The minister reiterated his assurance that no effort on his part should be wanting to bring these men to punishment, and concluded by saying that if this assurance was not satisfactory, that he wished I would tell him what I further required of them.

I replied that Mr. Heusken was the only child of his widowed mother, who, by his death, had been deprived of her sole means of support. I would therefore propose that they should pay her a sum sufficient for her support, either in annual payments or in a sum sufficient to purchase a life annuity equal in amount to the income she received from her late son. I stated, very emphatically, that they must not consider this a proposition from me to sell the blood of Mr. Heusken, or that the payment of any sum of money could atone for his murder.

After a few explanations had been asked and given, the ministers promptly agreed to pay me the sum of $10,000 for the benefit of Mrs. Heusken. They then stated that they did not consider that the payment of this sum in any way released them from their obligation to bring to punishment the murderers of Mr. Heusken.

It was after much reflection that I concluded to adopt the above mode of [Page 807] settling this question; and I trust that my action in this matter will meet with your approbation and receive the approval of the President.

I have delivered your letter to the ministers for foreign affairs, and requested them to appoint a day when I can have an audience of his Majesty the Tycoon, for the purpose of delivering the President’s letter.

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

TOWNSEND HARRIS, Minister Resident.

Hon. William H. Seward, Secretary of State, Washington.