Mr. Pruyn to Mr. Seward

No. 45.]

Sir: Agreeably to your instructions I immediately forwarded to the ministers of foreign affairs the short sword recovered in Baltimore, which had been taken [Page 1044] from one of the attendants of the Japanese embassy during their visit to that city, accompanying it with a letter, of which I enclose copy, (enclosure No. 1,) and I have now the honor to transmit No. 2, translation of the reply of the ministers.

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

ROBERT H. PRUYN, Minister Resident in Japan.

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


No. 71.]

While the ambassadors from Japan to the United States were in the city of Baltimore, in June, 1860, a small sword belonging to one of their attendants was lost or stolen.

In the month of November last it was recovered by the deputy marshal of the police at Baltimore, and I now have the pleasure to ask permission to return it to the owner through your excellencies.

The laws of the United States are framed more with reference to the certainty of the detection and punishment of crime, than to severity in the mode or extent of the punishment. The guilty may escape for a season, but the ends of justice seldom fail of accomplishment; and the vigilance of the authorities is never relaxed, when an offence has been committed, until the offender has been arrested, tried and punished. This is occasioned by our abhorrence of crime, and for the vindication of the laws and of the government, which would otherwise cease to be respected; and when this happens, they fail of the purpose for which they were created.

When fraud or violence has been committed on a citizen of a friendly power, then another motive is superadded—the sacred law of hospitality has been violated, and that must be vindicated equally with the law of the land.

With respect and esteem,

ROBERT H. PRUYN, Minister Resident of the United States in Japan.

Their Excellencies Wakisaka Nakatsaka no Tayu, Midsuno Idsumi no Kami, Itakura Suwo no Kami, Ministers of Foreign Affairs, &c., &c., &c., Yedo.


We received your letters, Nos. 71 and 73, dated the 6th of June, and understood that a short sword, which was stolen when our embassy was in the United States, from one of their attendants, having been recovered, is thereby returned, and we now tender our thanks for the trouble taken in regard to this friendly arrangement.

It was also stated that his Majesty the President had learned with pleasure that two more of the criminals engaged in the attack on the British legation had been punished, which we immediately reported to his Majesty the Tycoon.




His Excellency Robert H. Pruyn, Minister Resident of the United States of America, &c., &c., &c.