Mr. Portman to Mr. Seward

No. 33.]

Sir: As soon as intelligence was received here that the President had approved the Pacific Mail Steamship Company bill, I united with the minister of France and chargé d’affaires of Great Britain in applying to this government for a lot of land suitable for a coal depot for each of the three steamship companies. [Page 251] It is expected that, at an early day, the French company of the Messageries Imperiales will, like the British Peninsular and Oriental Steamship Company, make Yokohama the terminus of their line.

I have now the honor to inform you that I received a letter from this government to the effect that the governor of Kanagawa has been authorized to grant a lot for that purpose.

I am aware that our Pacific Mail Steamship Company is not expected to go into operation before 1867, but in view of the increasing prosperity and commercial importance of Yokohama, a suitable lot might not then be procurable, except at a heavy outlay.

I hope you will be pleased to approve of my action in this matter.

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

A. L. C. PORTMAN, Chargé d’ Affaires ad interim in Japan.

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