Mr. Van Valkenburgh to Mr. Seward
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.