Mr. Van Valkenburgh to Mr. Seward

No. 1.]

Sir: I have the honor to inform you that I left Yokohama on the 21st day of December, in the Shenandoah, for this port, reaching the anchor [Page 610] age at Hiogo on the afternoon of the 23d. We there found Rear Admiral Bell in the Hartford, and the Iroquois and Aroostook of his squadron. The Monocacy arrived on the 25th, and the Oneida on the 28th. We also found seven English vessels of war, the English admiral arriving in the Salamis two days afterwards. Quite a number of Japanese vessels and steamers were at anchor in the harbor. Paul Frank, esq., consular agent for Hiogo, accompanied me in the Shenandoah.

The Japanese government had been diligently at work in preparing the site selected for the foreign settlement, and in the erection of the necessary bonded warehouses and custom-house, pursuant to the arrangements made in May last, a copy of which I then transmitted to you. Although these works were all in a state of forwardness, they were not completed, and my first business on landing was to urge the governor having the work in charge to renewed exertions. I secured there, for our consular agent, comfortable temporary accomodations in a temple near to the foreign settlement, and gave him an introduction to the official authorities of the port.

On the 28th of December I came up to this city, the Shenandoah anchoring off the mouth of the river, eleven miles only from her previous anchorage at Hiogo. On the morning of the 29th, I landed under a salute from the Japanese fort, which was returned by the Shenandoah, and took possession of the temple of Unlygee, which had been set apart for me as a temporary legation, being the same one I occupied when here in May last. The representative of Great Britian, in her Britannic Majesty’s vessel Adventure, left Yokohama upon the same day with the Shenandoah, and, coming directly to this city, reached it on the evening of the 23d of December.

The minister of France, in the Laplace, arrived about the 30th, and those of Italy and Prussia on the 31st. The representative of Holland is now at Hiogo, but is expected here daily. The site selected for the foreign settlement at this city, under the supervision of Matsmoto Indiyu, (one of the commissioners recently visiting the United States, and who has been promoted to the office of assistant governor of Osaka,) is nearly completed, and a few days, I think, will be sufficient for getting it ready and laying out the lots preparatory to the sale.

With reference to the upset price, and the terms of sale of both these lots and those at Hiogo, no arrangements with the Japanese government have as yet been completed; but negotiations are nowin progress, and I hope to be able to transmit to you the result by the mail which conveys this dispatch.

The consular agent appointed for this city, W. H. Morse, esq., has not yet arrived; he is at Hiogo, and will be here in a few days. I have engaged for him a small Japanese house adjoining the foreign settlement, which will make a very comfortable consulate. He is a young man of good character and qualifications, who has resided in Yokohama a number of years as a clerk and merchant, and now comes here for the purpose of establishing a mercantile firm.

At mid-day, on the 1st instant, the Japanese flag was saluted by the American, English, and French vessels, both at Hiogo and Osaka, such salutes being returned from the fort at Osaka, and the Japanese vessels in the harbor at Hiogo. This was the only ceremony observed upon the occasion of the opening of these places.

Immediately upon my arrival here, in conjunction with her Britannic Majesty’s representative, I met Itakura Iga No Kami, the prime minister of the Tycoon, who came from Kioto for that purpose, and settled upon the arrangements and regulations necessary for the opening of this [Page 611] city and the port of Hiogo. These were concluded on the last day of December, have been assented to by all my colleagues, the Japanese government, and myself, and were published on the first day of Januuary. I have the honor to transmit copies as follows:

No. 1. Inclosure No. 1, “Regulations for the trade and residence of foreigners at Osaka.

No. 2. Inclosure No. 2, “Regulations for the establishment of a tow-boat, lighter, and passenger boat service between Hiogo and Osaka.”

No. 3. I also transmit inclosure No. 3; copy of a notice issued by me on the 1st day of January, informing the citizens of the United States that the port of Hiogo and the city of Osaka were opened to them from that day.

Trusting that my action in this matter will meet with approval, I have the honor to be, sir, your most obedient servant,


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

No. 1.

Regulations for the trade and residence of foreigners at Osaka.

Article 1. As Osaka is not an open port, no foreign merchant vessel can anchor there. Until arrangements shall be made for the establishment of a custom-house at Osaka, foreigners wishing to import goods into that city must enter them at the customhouse at Hiogo, according to the regulations of trade attached to the treaties, and must pay duty there, unless duty has already been paid on the same at some other port of Japan. In the same way all goods exported from Osaka by foreigners must also be cleared from and pay duty at Hiogo, before they can be shipped on board any foreign vessel at that port.

Art. 2. Lighters, tow-boats, and passage boats, propelled by steam or sails, and belonging to foreigners, may ply between Hiogo and Osaka for the conveyance of cargo and passengers under the regulations hereto annexed, and subject to the provisions of the regulations of trade attached to the treaties.

Art. 3. Foreigners living at Osaka shall be free to go where they please within the following boundaries, namely: On the south of the Yamatogawa, from its mouth as far as Funabashimura and a line drawn from that place through Kiokojimura to Sada. The town of Sakai is outside the limits, but foreigners will be at liberty to visit it. The road between Osaka and Hiogo lies outside the limit of ten ri from Kioto. No obstruction shall be opposed to the free circulation of foreigners, either by land or water, in every part of the city of Osaka open to the Japanese public.

Art. 4. The foregoing articles may be revised at the end of six months, or earlier should it be deemed necessary.

No. 2.

Regulations for the establishment of a tow-boat, lighter, and passage-boat service between Hiogo and Osaka.

1. No foreign lighters, tow-boat, or passage-boat may ply between Hiogo and Osaka unless furnished with a license by the Japanese authorities.

2. Whenever application is made for a license, the governor of Hiogo and the consul of the nation to which the boat belongs shall consider the application, and determine whether a license shall be granted. Each license must be signed by the governor and countersigned by the consul, and must contain a full description of the boat in their respective languages.

3. Each license must be canceled or renewed, as the governor and consul may determine, at the expiration of each year, and a fee of one ichibu per ton measurement, payable to the Japanese government, will be charged on the issue or renewal of each license.

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4. No license shall be issued to any foreign boat or vessel drawing more than eight feet of water.

5. The Japanese government may put custom-house officers on board any licensed boat whenever they may think proper, or may appoint officers to accompany the said boats on the passage between Hiogo and Osaka

6. All goods taken on board a licensed boat at Hiogo must be accompanied by duty-paid or duty-free certificates, and all goods landed at Osaka without such certificates will be liable to seizure and confiscation.

7. A licensed boat may only take in and discharge goods at Hiogo or Osaka at the wharves indicated by the Japanese authorities, or by means of boats authorized for the purpose by the Japanese government.

8. No licensed boat may be employed in any other way than for the conveyance of goods and passengers, or the towage of licensed boats between Hiogo and Osaka, nor may they communicate with any other place, or with any native or foreign vessel, on the passage.

9. The foreign crews of licensed boats or vessels, with the exception of the masters, will not be allowed to land at Osaka.

10. Any breach of these regulations, or of any other regulations that may subsequently be made on this subject, may be punished by forfeiture of license in addition to such penalty as may be imposed by the consul of the nation to which the boat belongs, under the powers vested in him by his government for securing the observance of treaties and conventions by his countrymen.

No. 3.


Citizens of the United States are informed that, in pursuance of treaty stipulations existing between the governments of the United States and Japan, the port of Hiogo is this day opened to them as one of the ports of Japan, and that the city of Osaka is also Opened to them “for the purposes of trade.”

In carrying out the “arrangements” made in this city in May last, the Japanese government have prepared the site at Hiogo for the foreign settlement. They have also designated a suitable place at Osaka, within which Americans may hire houses, and, beyond the requirements of the treaty, they have set apart and prepared a site in this city within which they may lease land for building purposes. The arrangements for the sale of this land at Osaka and Hiogo are not yet completed. Notice of the time will be given.

The “regulations under which American trade is to be conducted in Japan,” attached to the treaty, and such other regulations as may have since been made, are in effect at Hiogo from and after this date.

Regulations with regard to trade at Osaka, and the intercourse between that city and Hiogo, have just been concluded, and will be published.

By the terms of the treaty, Americans are permitted to go ten ri in any direction from Hiogo, except in the direction of Kioto, which city shall not be approached nearer than ten ri.

The crews of vessels resorting to Hiogo shall not cross the river Enagawa, which empties into the bay between Hiogo and Osaka.

Paul Frank, esq., has been appointed consular agent at Hiogo, and W. H. Morse, esq., consular agent at Osaka.

R. B. VAN VALKENBURGH, Minister Resident of the United States in Japan.