Mr. Portman to Mr. Seward

No. 61.]

Sir: The Tycoon and his Daimios are still absent from this capital; troops are still going forward to Osacca, where the headquarters are established, and nearly all the available naval forces of this government are at anchor off Hiogo. Two armed Japanese vessels are constantly watching the Nagato coast, and occasionally other vessels are despatched on a cruise in the inland sea, for the purpose of preventing the landing of arms and munitions in Choshu. and the re-armament of the Simonoseki batteries.

The internal policy of this government is, as formerly, wrapped in almost. [Page 264] impenetrable mystery, and, as usual, rumors are plentiful. It is with the greatest caution, therefore, that I approach the subject, experience having taught that rumors should not always be utterly disregarded, as they often form a clue to what is actually transpiring in this country.

Informal communications, from educated persons not in the employ of this government, in connexion with official statements I have been fortunate enough to elicit, lead me to interpret the present state of affairs in this country as in a fair way toward an early solution, in a form acceptable to our interests, of the hitherto existing internal complications.

It appears to be beyond doubt that the Mikado and Tycoon cordially agree upon all matters of internal as well as foreign policy. The Tycoon unquestionably commands the situation. With the two prominent members of the Gorogio who accompany him I am well acquainted, and I therefore feel quite confident that as vigorous a policy will be pursued by this government as circumstances will render advisable.

The Prince of Choshu still persists in his rebellion.

In most of the provinces of this empire there are, besides the Daimios of the province, so called because he either is the lineal descendant of the founder of the princely dynasty, or his legal representative by birth, other personages, also, more or less directly tracing their origin to the founder of such dynasty, many of whom, being Daimios, or members of the high nobility in their own right, often rank with Daimios of the first class, particularly if their wealth enables them to keep a princely state and retinue.

There are known to be Daimios nearly ranking with first-class noblemen in the provinces of Lewo and Nagato, and it is supposed that the pressure now being brought to bear upon them by the united influences of the Mikado and Tycoon will lead to their abandoning the cause of action which the Prince of Choshu, the senior Daimio of those provinces, apparently compelled them to adopt; and it is expected that, as soon as he shall find himself sufficiently isolated, the submission of this rebellious prince may be obtained without further resort to coercive measures.

It is as yet uncertain when the Tycoon and Daimios may be expected to resume their residence in this capital; this is not likely to take place for some time.

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

A. L. C. PGRTMAN, Charge d’Affaires ad interim in Japan,

Hon. William H. Seward, Secretary of State.