Mr. Van Valkenburgh to Mr. Seward.
Sir: I have the honor to transmit to you, marked inclosure No. 1, copy of a memorandum made by all the representatives of foreign powers, and bearing upon my order to Mr. Portman to delay the delivery of the Stonewall. This matter was fully discussed by us in our conference of the 18th instant, at which our notices of neutrality were agreed upon, but the memorandum was only signed to-day.
The position of affairs is, as near as I have been able to learn, as follows: The government of the Mikado is in the hands of Satsuma, Chos-hui, Tosa, Etchizen, Owari, and several other Daimios. The southern or western portion of the country submit to his authority, while east of the Hakim Mountains the Tycoon’s party is strong. It is said to-day that the Tycoon has become “inkio,” or retired from power, and that the Prince of Kiusiu has been declared head of the Yokugawa family and successor of the Tycoon.
I have no reason to doubt this report, as it comes very well authenticated from Yedo, What effect this will have upon the present position it is impossible to tell, but I trust through it may be found an end to the war. If the Prince of the Kiusiu submits, all will be well.[Page 678]
Mr. Roches, the late minister of France, yesterday returned to this port with four French vessels of war. What this advent portends I cannot say, as he has been, during his recent absence from here, in consultation with the late Tycoon at Yedo. Perhaps he may again resume his functions as minister, and it may be that he is only en route to France.
Yesterday we received from Higashi Kuse Saki No Sho Sho a letter announcing that the punishment of the officer ordering the fire on the foreign residents at this place, on the 4th instant, will be inflicted soon at Hiogo. I inclose a copy, marked No. 2. The apology of the Mikado’s government, I presume, will accompany this act.
We believe it will have a good effect upon this government. Since the opening of the country to foreigners the Tycoon has never been able to punish any retainer of a large Daimio who committed an offense against a foreigner, and if now we have found a power equal to such an emergency, it is certainly something new and worth cultivating.
The foreign legations are being prepared for us at Osaka. After receiving the reparation we have demanded we shall probably re-establish ourselves at Osacca for a brief period, and then, I hope, return to Yedo or Yokohama, to watch the progress of affairs. It has been intimated to us that we will be invited to an audience with the Mikado at Kioto, but such invitation has not yet been received.
I have the honor to be, sir, your obedient servant,
Hon. William H. Seward, Secretary of State, Washington, D. C.