Mr. Pruyn to Mr. Seward.
Sir: I have the painful duty to inform you of another shocking murder.
This afternoon, at 2 o’clock, Lieutenant Camus, 3d battalion d’Afrique, was riding on a pleasant road leading to the village of Kanagawa, and when about two miles and a half distant from this place was attacked by three two-sworded men, and most frightfully cut to pieces.
Intelligence of the wounding of a foreigner was given to all the consuls by the governor of this place, and mounted men, of both the British and French guard, were despatched to the spot. Our consul, Colonel Fisher, attended by Mr. Banks, the acting United States marshal, and accompanied by Dr. Jenkins, of the British consulate, under the guidance of Japanese officers, reached the place nearly half an hour in advance of the guard.
The body was found surrounded by numerous Japanese officials. The right arm, with a portion of the bridle over it, was found several feet distant from the body. The flesh of the left arm was sliced off to the bone; another wound cut off the left side of the face, and passed down through the left shoulder, leaving the arm attached to the body only by a small portion of the flesh, reached clear to the region of the heart. One wound severed the jugular vein; another, from the other side of the neck, severed the spinal column. The face was so awfully disfigured as scarcely to admit of recognition. These details I would gladly omit, but you then could have no idea of the true character of these two-sworded men.
The body was borne to the house of the minister of France, and when I visited him I saw it. I hope I may be spared another such sight.
Lieutenant Camus was entirely unarmed. He had remarked, shortly before riding out, that he had found the Japanese always friendly; that he had never been molested, and thought it unnecessary to carry any arms. It appears quite certain that the rein was in his right hand, and that he had no chance of defending himself, even had he been armed. He was an officer of great promise, a friend of the family of Admiral Jauries, and had been highly distinguished in the Italian campaign. Being unarmed, and of an unusually amiable disposition, it is not possible he could have given any provocation.
The mail has closed; but Colonel Neale having kindly offered to place this despatch in the Foreign Office bag, I am enabled to send it by the steamer which leaves to-morrow.
I this evening received a letter from the minister of foreign affairs, asking me to delay my return to Yedo. I will send a copy of the letter by the next mail, and ask your instructions.
I have the honor to be, sir, very respectfully, your most obedient servant,
Hon. William H. Seward, Secretary of State, Washington.