Mr. Van Valkenburgh to Mr. Seward.

No. 10.]

Sir: On the 8th instant, Hagashi Kuza Saki Noshosho, envoy of his Majesty the Mikado, arrived from the town of Hiogo, some two miles distant from the foreign concession by water, accompanied, by six officers and a retinue of about twenty retainers. He was received at the landing near to the custom-house by a guard of French and English marines, the American marines, at that hour, being on duty at the barricades and picketing the posts and streets. The foreign representatives had assembled in a large room in the custom-house, which we had caused to be prepared for the conference. The envoy was dressed in the peculiar costume of the court of the Mikado, and caused to be carried in advance of them the flag of the Mikado. His robe was of rich white flowered silk, his trowsers of the same material but of a silver color, and he wore upon his head the peculiar triangular-shaped black hat tied on with purple cords. We found him a very intelligent and quick man, evidently desirous of cultivating friendly relations with foreign powers, and continuing on the part of the Mikado the same terms heretofore existing between those powers and the Tycoon.

There were present at this interview the representatives of France, Great Britain, Holland, Italy, Prussia, and myself.

The envoy first presented a letter addressed to the representatives, which he caused to be at once translated, and a copy of which I inclose, marked No. 1. This letter announces to the sovereigns of all nations that permission has been granted to the Shogoon (Tycoon) to return the governing power according to his own request; that the Emperor of Japan would henceforward exercise supreme authority, both in regard to the internal and external affairs of the country, and that the title of Emperor should be substituted for that of Tycoon, which has heretofore been used in the treaties.

Under the circumstances I received this announcement as addressed to the President, inasmuch as the Mikado says in it “that it is desirable that the representatives of all the treaty powers should recognize this announcement,” and I attribute that reading of the text to the ignorance of the Mikado court as to the form of our government, a point upon which I shall take an early opportunity to give them information. I further understood that no slight was intended, as all the representatives were furnished with an original letter in the same terms.

Our interview then lasted some two hours. We first called the attention of the envoy to the unprovoked and outrageous attack upon the foreign residents on the 4th instant by the retainers of Matsdaira Bezen No Kami, and assured him that our present position was one of self-defense. That Hiogo and Osaka had been opened to foreigners under the treaties heretofore concluded with Japan, and that we were entitled to protection from the Japanese government; that the first thing for the Mikado to do was to give to our government ample reparation for the outrage committed. He then assured us that the Mikado would disapprove of the acts of Bezen, and asked us to reduce those demands to writing, forward them to him on the ensuing day, and he would transmit them at once to Kioto for consideration. He offered at once, if we would withdraw our forces, to assume on the part of the Mikado the entire protection of foreigners here, guaranteeing that there should be no recurrence of similar outrages. He desired us for the present to continue our occupation of the custom-house as our legations, and [Page 657] promised to appoint superintendents for Hiogo and Kobé in order that business here might at once be resumed. That in a few days a governor, having ample authority, would be appointed for Hiogo, and soon we should be re-established at Osaka.

Our conference was pleasant; the bearing of the envoy was all we could desire; his replies to inquiries prompt and to the point, and we were all very favorably impressed with him.

After the conclusion of this interview the foreign representatives held a consultation and unanimously resolved to ask the naval commanders to withdraw their forces and to resign the protection of the place to the Mikado, and also to give up the steamers which had been seized at our request.

I inclose No. 2, a copy of such resolution as signed by all the representatives, and inclosure No. 3, copy of my letter addressed to Commander Creighton, United States senior naval officer in the port.

On the same afternoon all the foreign sailors and marines were withdrawn, and the envoy substituted in their place the retainers of Satsuma and Choshin Meder, the Mikado flag. In the course of two days thereafter all the guns were removed, the barricades and batteries demolished, foreigners had reinstated themselves in their places of business, and we are now under protection of the Mikado as the head of this government here.

I inclose No. 4, Commander Creighton’s answer to my inclosure No. 3. The steamers have all been delivered up to the proper authorities and have left this port.

On the next day, the 9th instant, the foreign representatives again held a conference, at which we unanimously agreed upon the reparation which we should demand from the Mikado in consequence of the attack of the 4th instant, embodied it in a written form, signed by all the representatives, and sent it to the envoy for transmission to Kioto. I inclose No. 5, a copy of this document. On the 14th instant we received through the envoy a communication from Date Iyo No Kami and Saiyo Saki No Chinnagow, announcing that “his Majesty” considers the demands just and reasonable, and that the punishment will be inflicted. I inclose a copy of that communication marked No. 6.

On the 10th instant we had a second interview with the envoy at the custom-house, which passed off as pleasantly as the former one. He assured us that foreigners should be protected in all of the dominions occupied by the Mikado, and that the treaties with foreign powers should be faithfully executed on the part of his government. That the Tycoon was in rebellion against the supreme government, and unless he submitted, force would be used to subjugate him. That he had received and forwarded to Kioto our demand made the day previous, that it was reasonable, and should be replied to immediately. That superintendents should be immediately appointed to conduct the necessary business at Hiogo, until a governor should arrive to relieve them. That in a few days quiet would be restored at Osaka, legations would be provided for us there, and we would be invited to return to that city. He desired, however, that foreigners should be cautious against going to Nishinomia, a little village about nine miles east of here and on the road to Osaka, for the reason that there was encamped a body of Bezen’s retainers, and some assault might be made upon them. He also assured us that Nagasaki would pass into the hands of the Mikado without trouble, as the Tycoon’s officers had left it.

At the envoy’s suggestion, we then appointed a committee of two of [Page 658] our number, the English and Prussian representatives, to explain to the envoy and furnish him with copies of all the treaties, conventions, and agreements heretofore made by the foreign powers with Japan.

On the 11th instant we received from the envoy a letter announcing the appointment of Mashita Sajremon, Ito Shinsooke, Nakajima Sakootaro, and Krajima Tozo, as superintendents in the custom-house (Kobé) Hiogo; a copy translation of this communication I inclose, marked No. 7.

On the same day (the 11th instant) our committee, Sir Harry S. Parkes and Mr. Van Brandt, held their first conference with the envoy, for the purpose of furnishing to him copies of the several treaties, conventions, and agreements. It was an interesting conference, and I send you, inclosed, marked No. 8, a full and complete memorandum thereof.

On the 14th instant they held their second and last interview with him, the memorandum of which I also inclose, marked No. 9.

On the 13th instant we received from Yoshiakira, at Kioto, a letter announcing the appointment of himself by the Mikado, as chief administrator of foreign affairs, to be assisted by Sanjo Saki No Chinnagow, Higashi Kuze Saki No Shosho, (the envoy,) and Date Iyo No Kami. This is a step in the right direction, and will, I hope, bring us in connection with officers of higher rank than has heretofore been assigned to the discharge of the duties of the foreign affairs. Yoshiakira is a prince of the blood and of the second rank.

I inclose a copy translation of this communication, marked No. 10. It also contains the distinct statement that all engagements are to be observed.

This afternoon, the 17th instant, we had a united conference with the envoy, when he expressed his determination, in consequence of advices received, to return immediately to Kioto. He informed us that in the course of three or four days he should receive news from the Mikado, announcing the time of the execution of Bezen’s officer who directed the attack upon the foreigners, and inquired whether the apology of the government should be delivered before or at the time of such execution. We informed him that the acts should be simultaneous. He also informed us that about the first of the month the Mikado had sent two envoys to the Tycoon at Yedo, asking his submission; that they were accompanied by a body of troops, who were to remain in the province of Mino until the determination of the Tycoon was made known to them. If it was opposed to such submission, the troops would press on towards Yedo. That more recently they had send another envoy, but as yet no information had been received from any of them; that the foreign representatives should be immediately informed upon the reception of any news from Yedo or its vicinity, and that the foreign community at Yokohama would not be disturbed by the Mikado’s forces.

He left the conference, and went directly by steamer to Osaka, on his way to Kioto.

I inclose, marked No. 11, copy translation of a notice posted in Hiogo and Kobé on the 8th instant, and signed by three or four superintendents appointed at Kobé. It shows the good intentions of these men.

Since the withdrawal of our forces, we have had no disturbance or difficulty, and all now seems quiet at this place.

Trusting that my action will be approved, I have the honor to be, sir, your very obedient servant,


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

[Page 659]


The Emperor of Japan announces to the sovereigns of all foreign nations, and to their subjects, that permission has been granted to the Shogoon Tokugawa Yoshuiobu to return the governing power in accordance with his own request. Henceforward we shall exercise supreme authority, both in the internal and external affairs of the country. Consequently, the title of Emperor should be substituted for that of Tycoon, which has been hitherto employed in the treaties.

Officers are being appointed by us to conduct foreign affairs. It is desirable that the representatives of all the treaty powers should recognize this announcement.



Present the representatives of France, Great Britain, Italy, the Netherlands, Prussia, and the United States of America.

In view of the assurances received this day by the undersigned from Hegashi Kuse, envoy of the Mikado, as to the ability and willingness of the government of the Mikado to insure the protection of the persons and property of all foreign subjects and citizens at this port, and to give effect to the treaties concluded between foreign powers and Japan, consider that they should mark their confidence in these assurances by requesting the respective naval commanders who have been charged with the defense of this port since the attack made upon the foreign community by Japanese on the 4th instant, to withdraw their forces as soon as it may be convenient to them to do so, and also to release all the Japanese steamers detained by authority of the undersigned.


Mr. Van Valkenburgh to Commander Creighton.

No 23.]

Sir: I have the honor to communicate to you a copy of the resolution just arrived at by all the foreign representatives now in Hiogo, after a conference held this afternoon with the minister for foreign affairs appointed by the Mikado, viz:

“Hiogo, February 8, 1868.

“Present, the representatives of France, Great Britain, Italy, the Netherlands, Prussia, and the United States of America.

“In view of the assurances received this day by the undersigned from Hegashi Kuse, envoy of the Mikado, as to the ability and willingness of the government of the Mikado to insure the protection of the persons and property of all foreign subjects and citizens at this port, and to give effect to the treaties concluded between foreign powers and Japan, consider that they should mark their confidence in these assurances by requesting the respective naval commanders who have been charged with the defense of this port since the attack made upon the foreign community by the Japanese on the 4th instant, to withdraw their forces as soon as may be convenient to them to do so, and also to release all the Japanese steamers detained by authority of the undersigned.







You will please, therefore, consult with the commanding officers of the English and French vessels of war in port who have acted with you, and in concert with them take measures to withdraw the forces on land and to deliver up to the Japanese the steamers which were detained.

I have the honor to be, sir, your obedient servant,

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

Commander J. B. Creighton, Senior United States Naval Officer, Hiogo.

[Page 660]

Commander Creighton to General Van Valkenburgh.

Sir: Your communication of the 8th instant is received; all of the United States forces have been withdrawn, and the Japanese steamers are ready to be delivered over when proper authority arrives to receive them.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

J. BLAKELY CREIGHTON, Commander and Senior United States Officer, Present.

General R. B. Van Vankenburgh, Minister Resident of the United States in Japan.


The undersigned, having yesterday informed his excellency Hegashi Kuse Sakino Soshio, envoy of his Majesty the Mikado, of the treacherous and murderous attack made upon them and the foreign community at this port on the 4th instant by the retainers of Matsdaira Bezen No Kami, while passing through Kobé and the foreign concession, and having been requested by his excellency to state in writing the reparation which they consider should be made for this grave outrage, in order that the same may be laid before his Majesty the Mikado, have now the honor to communicate to his excellency the following formal demands:

1. A full and ample apology for this unprovoked attack upon the lives of the foreign representatives, subjects, and citizens, to be made in writing by the government of his Majesty the Mikado to each of the undersigned, for transmission to their governments, together with a solemn assurance that all the foreigners in the dominions of his Majesty the Mikado shall be protected in future from similar aggressions.

2. The capital punishment of the officer who gave the order to open lire on the representatives and the foreign community generally, the sentence to be carried out in the presence of officers from the different legations.

The undersigned trust that they may soon be informed that the justice of these demands is admitted by the government of his Majesty the Mikado, as it is only by the prompt and signal punishment of the offender that the commission of such lawless violence can be prevented in future and friendly relations be preserved between the governments of the undersigned and that of his Majesty the Mikado.



The undersigned has the honor to acknowledge receipt of the dispatch of the six representatives, dated February 9, 1868, and begs to inform them that he has received this morning the inclosed communication, agreeing to the settlement of the affair of Bizen’s retainers demanded by them.

The letter containing the apology of our government will be forwarded afterwards.

With respect and consideration,


His Excellency R. B. Van Vankenburgh, American Minister.


His Majesty considers that the demands of the foreign representatives for the punishment of the outrage committed by Bezen’s retainers are perfectly reasonable, and will inflict that punishment. You will communicate this at once to the foreign representatives.


Hegashi Kute Saki No Shosho Dono.

[Page 661]

[Translation of a letter received February 11, 1868.]

I have the honor to communicate the following:

I washita Sajiemow, Ito Shinosoke, Nakajima Sakootara, and Tevajima Toza have been appointed to be superintendents in the custom-house of Kobé in Hiogo.

Therefore I beg you will confer with them on all matters concerned until the governor of Hiogo shall be appointed. One or more of these four officers will be on duty in Kobé every day except Sunday.


His Excellency General Van Valkenburgh, American Minister,


Present, the representatives of Great Britain and Prussia, and Hegashi Kuse, envoy of his Majesty the Mikado, Iwashita, Ito, and Nakesima; Mr. Sato, of her Britannic Majesty’s legation, acting as interpreter.

The general conventions and arrangements concluded since 1860 having been handed over to the Japanese commissioners, and information having been given to them that other arrangements had been concluded also between the foreign governments and their representatives, and the government of the Tycoon, they were told that a formal ratification by the Mikado, i. e., a declaration that the treaties and conventions, &c, would be executed as they stood, was thought necessary by the representatives.

On, their reply that the letter of the Mikado already contained such declaration, and that they would therefore prefer if any explanatory letter written by the first minister for foreign affairs was thought sufficient, they named as Prince Minister Ninguadsi No Mia, prince of the Mikado’s family, whose authority for that reason could not be doubted, and the representatives then declared that a letter written by this prince, by order of the Mikado, and containing the above mentioned statement, would be regarded as a sufficient explanation of the Mikado’s letter.

The Japanese commissioners promised that such a letter as well as another one, containing the appointments for the foreign ministry, should be written and sent immediately.

They then handed to the representatives letters, imforming them that Hegashi Kuse had appointed four officers to act as governors until a governor for Hiogo had been appointed. Being told that one of these officers ought to call on the consuls, and that the written notification to the ministers of the appointment of these acting governors would be thought sufficient, no written notification being necessary to the consuls, they expressed their willingness to act according to these suggestions.

The Japanese commissioners then demanded if it would not be possible for the foreign representatives to forbid foreign merchant vessels to carry troops of the Tycoon to the seat of war. It was replied to them that the foreign representatives would be enabled under the treaties only to forbid to their merchant vessels to visit other ports than those opened by treaty, and that they thought that this measure ought to be sufficient for their purpose, as the Tycoon had only two places, Hakodadi and Yokohama, in his possession, and that it was not likely that he would send troops from one of these ports to the other.

At the reply, however, of the Japanese commissioners that under the treaty the Tycoon would be at liberty to transport his troops in foreign merchant vessels to Hiogo or Nagasaki, as well as to Hakodadi, they were informed that the only way in which their desire could be fulfilled was when the Mikado issued a formal declaration of war against the Tycoon, notified it officially to the foreign representatives, and demanded that no foreign merchant vessels were allowed to carry troops, &c., of the Tycoon, declaring at the same time that he himself would abstain from similar measures.

If such a declaration was officially given to the foreign representatives they then would consult with regard to the steps they might be able to take, it being understood, however, that they would preserve a strict neutrality between the contending parties, having de facto relations with both, and that whatever measure might be adopted it would, without distinction, be applied to both parties.

The Japanese commissioners further wished to know if the officers belonging to foreign nations, and now in the service of the Tycoon as naval and military instructors, would be withdrawn from Yedo.

This question having reference only to such nations of which subjects are in the employ of the Tycoon, Sir H. Parker replied that he, for one, should certainly not allow British naval instructors to take an active part in the war, but that the question of withdrawal would have to be considered by him aud his colleagues, in a similar position, after they had learned that hostilities were to commence between the Mikado and the Tycoon, no such communication having reached, as yet, the representatives officially.

[Page 662]

A number of questions put to the Japanese commissioners with regard to the present state of affairs elicited from them the following information:

The island of Sikouk has submitted to the Mikado, with the exception of Matz Sanniowowani, at Tawamatsu, and Maz Joui Kami, at Matmyama. In Kiusin the princes of Horado, Hizen Tsewusen Satsuma, Omwra, and Hiogo, belong to the Mikado party; the retainers of Konwica have already, long ago, offered their submission. All the other princes in Kiusin are of very little importance, so that there is no resistance to be expected from them.

By news arrived to-day here, by Sho-e-lien, from Nagasaki, of the 6th, the town has already peaceably passed into the hands of Satsuina’s, Choshin’s, and Tosa’s troops, the governor having fled.

The princes of Hiogo and Isekusen hold the two sides of the bay, and a governor will be immediately appointed by the Mikado.

On Niphon there is still fighting going on, in Idsumo, but this province is to be invaded from Irvani, and will have to submit shortly. Kinetoki, capital of Sokai Utanokani, has already been taken without resistance, the garrison having left the castle. The prince of Ki, to whom a messenger has been sent, has declared that he submitted to the Mikado, and had driven away troops of the Tycoon which had come into his province.

The princes of Owari and Echizen, with all their heart, are with the Mikado, the troops of the former one having demanded instantly to be allowed to fight against the Tycoon.

Most of the Daimios west of the Hakone Mountains have submitted to the Mikado’s authority, fearing to Jose their possession if they resisted, and have joined his army. Such as have made their submission very suddenly are now sent forward as the vanguard of the Mikado’s army, (for example, Ikamonnokawri,) so that if they prove traitors they can cause no trouble in the rear of the Mikado’s army. Kuwana will remain a stout adherent of the Tycoon, but will be of little importance, as all his dominions are situated westward of the Hakone Mountains, and are, therefore, or will be very soon, in the hands of the Mikado. Aidsu, and many of the fudai Daimios, will probably also stay with the Tycoon, but Kaga may remain neutral, or even join the Mikado’s army, he being expected in Kioto.

The Tycoon has left the largest part of his revenues, only about one million of kokus belonging to him, eastward of the Hakone Mountains, but from which he has to pay about eight hundred thousand kokus to Hatamotoo, so that hardly two hundred thousand kokus remain to himself. Most of the bands of Ronins will submit to the orders of the Mikado, but there is one gang, called Sinsogume, at Yedo, which has been for a long time in the service of the Tycoon’s government, and will probably remain faithful to him.

It is not the intention of the Mikado to annihilate entirely the Tycoon and his family, but he will have to hand over, the governing power, and such part of his revenues as belonged to him at Shogoon, and not personally to him; but, of course, if he resists, he will have to be destroyed entirely.

With regard to the late events, the Japanese commission gave the following explanation:

In ancient times the government was exercised by the Mikados; afterwards they handedit over to functionaries, and finally it passed into the hands of the Shogoons. By right it has always belonged to the Mikados, and has only been exercised by force by the Shogoons. It has been very often tried to render the governing power to the lawful sovereign, but it has never succeeded until now, when we hope to arrive at this long-desired result.

It is by Tosa’s arguing, and Satsuma’s material pressure, that the Tycoon has been forced to hand over the governing power to the Mikado.

The court of Kioto had agreed that a general council should be called, a thing which happens very often, and is quite customary, and the council was to be opened on the 15th December, 1867, (20th day of eleventh month,) but the Daimios did not come, many of the fudai Daimios refusing to become direct vassals of the Mikado, an edict to this effect having been issued by the imperial court, and protesting against this decision, saying that they preferred to remain faithful to a family from which they had received many favors.

We think it may perhaps have been the intention of the Tycoon to postpone the holding of the council for a long time, to prevent things being settled definitely. Under this persuasion was the coup d’etat executed.

The Tycoon was then invited to abdicate his governing power and return to the Mikado such part of his revenue as had been only allotted to him as Tycoon; two million kokus were to be left to him. These propositions he refused to accept, offering his readiness to hand over to the Mikado a yearly income of eight hundred and fifty thousand kokus, and continue the former allowance of one hundred thousand kokus to the imperial court. He further declared that he himself was ready to submit to the orders of the Mikado, but that Aidsu and Kuwana, and some of the fudai Daimios and [Page 663] Hatamotos, resisted his wishes; he would therefore go to Osaka, dismiss Kuwana and Aidsu into their provinces, and then return to Kioto to await there the decision of the imperial court and general council.

But it appears also that he wished to conserve the right of treating with the foreign powers. We know this by a document one of the Ometske’s Tokugana Idsu had brought to the south, and which was communicated to us by Toda Yomatonokami. When Echizen and Owari went to Osaka and invited the Tycoon to return to Kioto, it was with the understanding that Kuwana and Aidsu, being hostile to the proposed arrangement, were to be dismissed into their provinces; we were, therefore, very much astonished, when we found that these, our opponents, formed the vanguard of the Tycoon’s army. We received the document setting forth the crimes of the Satsuma faction after the fighting had commenced; it was in reality brought to us on the point of the bayonet.

The so-called constitution is a genuine document, with the exception of the names and articles referring to Katsumia and the foreigners.

This article was proposed from the palace, but immediately rejected by all reasonable men. There are some men in the palace hostile to foreigners, and, wishing their expulsion from Japan, between others Ohara, Saisio, and Hase Moto Siosio; but it has been recognized that such wishes are nonsensical, and nobody can speak such things now without being blown up immediately.

The sister of Satsuma is still in Yedo.

We shall hand to the representatives a statement, representing the facts as they have really taken place, and a genuine copy of the constitution.

The residences of the ministers are in preparation at Osaka; we shall inform them as soon as they are ready.

With regard to merchants, they can return immediately to Osaka, but we wish permission to place a guard on or in the vicinity of the settlement, as there are now Tycoon lonius in Osaka, as there were formerly Satsuma, Cho Ronius.

The commissioners were told that the question of residences at Osaka for merchants and consuls would be taken up after the Bezen affair had been settled, after which the conference separated.


Memorandum of an interview between the representatives of Great Britain and Prussia and the Japanese commissioners. Nakasima and Yodai. Mr. Satow, of her Britannic Majesty’s legation, acting as interpreter.

The Japanese commissioners handed to the representatives a letter of Hegashi Kuse, inclosing the instructions he had received on the subject of the Bezen affair, stating that the Mikado had recognized the justice of the demands of the foreign representatives, and had ordered the punishment to be awarded to the culpable. The commissioners added, at the same time, that no reply having been received from Bezen, they were unable to state when the execution was to take place, but that, if Bezen submitted, as was very probable, they would be able to give a definite reply in one or two days; whereas, if he resisted, the troops of the Mikado would immediately march against him, and it would then take several days before the question was settled.

The commissioners stated further that, Hegashi Kuse having only received one letter, had only replied by one addressed to all the representatives, but that, as the wish was expressed that a reply should be given to every representative, they would send the letters to-morrow.

To their demand that the execution and the transmission of the apology ought to take place at the same day, or the latter before the former, the representatives, considering that the Japanese might perhaps think that, having tendered the apology, the execution might be put off for some indefinite period, replied that both acts, forming part of the same demand, ought to take place at the same time.

The Japanese commissioners then delivered to the representatives a letter of Migradie No Mia, stating that the Mikado was prepared to execute all the engagements as they stood, and informing the representatives of his appointment to the post of prime minister for foreign affairs, as well as of some other appointments with regard to the foreign ministry.

They further delivered a letter containing the declaration of war against Tokugawa Yoshi Nobu, as well as the demand that the foreign representatives should forbid their merchant vessels from carrying troops of the Tycoon, and the sale of arms, ammunition, and men-of-war.

On the demand of the representatives, if the Mikado would be content if the same rules were applied to him, they replied in the affirmative, stating at the same time that they made this demand especially because they did know that a similar one had been made by the Tycoon’s government. They added that the great pressure of business had prevented them from having already furnished their statement with regard to the political facts and the new constitution, but that they would transmit these documents in a few days to the representatives.

[Page 664]

At a demand if it would be safe for foreign merchants to return to Osaka, they replied in the affirmative, demanding, however, that time should be left to them till the day after to-morrow, in order to enable them to give a definite answer, adding, at the same time, that the Mikado had already issued a proclamation to all the Daimios, stating that he would observe the treaties, and that foreigners ought to be treated, accordingly, with politeness.

They further transmitted the other originals of the Mikado’s letter of the 3d instant.

After the representatives had expressed to the Japanese commissioners their high sense of the zeal and energy shown by them, the conference separated.


The Emperor having assumed to himself the treaty-making power, I have received his mandate that all the engagements hitherto existing are to be observed. I have been appointed chief administrator of foreign affairs, and Sanjo Saki No Chinnagow, Hegashi Kuse Saki No Shosho, and Date Iyo No Kami, assist me. I beg to communicate this for your information.

YOSHIAKIRA NIHON SHUINO, Prince of the blood, second rank.

His Excellency R. B. Van Vankenburgh, American Minister.

[Translation of a notice posted in Hiogo and Kobé on the 8th day of February, 1868.]

The envoy of the Mikado has been sent to announce to the ministers of foreign nations that the former treaties shall be preserved without any alterations. Therefore we proclaim that no one shall behave improperly towards foreigners. On the other hand, when foreigners behave improperly towards Japanese subjects, it shall be reported to the office of the Japanese authorities. In due time further proclamation will be issued. This proclamation is made in order that the magistrate of Kobé may inform those principally concerned, that they may give it an obedience. The office of the Japanese authorities will be temporarily at the houjin, (hotel.)

Satsuma and Choshin have been authorized to restore order among the inhabitants of Kobé in the port of Hiogo. Therefore we order the naunshi and shoya (the head men of a village or street) of the town to inform the inhabitants of the villages, as well as those of the town, to carry on their respective business without any fear of interference.