Mr. Van Valkenburgh to Mr. Seward.

No. 27.]

Sir: On the 12th instant I left Hiogo, on the Monocacy, accompanied by the Italian minister and the Prussian charge d’affaires, who accepted the hospitality of Commander S. P. Carter for the trip, and we arrived at Yokohama on the morning of the 14th. Mr. Portman had been diligent and attentive to the interests of our government at that place during my absence, and I am happy to approve of his action, the result of which he has furnished to you in his several communications to the department. I found that the governor of Kanagawa had received instructions from the late Tycoon to surrender to the authorized officer of the Mikado, upon his presenting himself, the government of Yokohama, including the custom-house and all government offices, but such authorized agent has not yet appeared. After remaining a few days at that place I came here on the 18th instant, and was immediately waited upon by several of my old friends, the governors of foreign affairs, who congratulated me upon my safe arrival. They at once furnished me with a personal guard of twenty-four Yaconins, and increased my legation guard to about seventy. I am now the only representative in Yedo, and they informed me that this increase of guard was a mere matter of precaution, and not that they then apprehended any great danger, but assured me they would give me timely notice of the advance of troops upon the city. On the next day (the 19th) I received a visit from the chief of the Wakatosiyoni, or second council of the late Tycoon. He informed me that the Tycoon, having declared his intention of submitting to the orders of the Mikado, had become inkio, or gone into [Page 705] retirement. That he had tendered the succession to the Prince of Kishü; but as yet it had not been accepted by him. That the Tycoon had left his castle and gone to his temple of Wuyerio, refusing to see any of his officers, and thus proving to his people his sincerity in his submission. That the late Gorogio had all been dismissed or retired, and that the government of Yedo, Yokohama, and the provinces pertaining to the Tokugawa family, was carried on by himself and the governors for foreign affairs. Some of the Tycoon’s officers and Daimios are indignant at this course pursued by the Tycoon, and declare themselves ready to carry on the war, should the troops advance into their provinces. Some of them with their retainers have retired to their own homes, yet there are many armed men in the city. The troops of the Mikado are slowly approaching on the Tokaido, and should they meet with no resistance, will probably reach here in ten days or two weeks. This is a strange country and a singular people. I am unable to say what will occur; I think there will be slight or no opposition to their entering Yedo; yet after they have once arrived I fear much blood will be shed in street fights, and that, too, perhaps, by organized bodies of men. It will probably be a guerrilla warfare, with Ronins (outlaws) upon one side and the troops of the Mikado upon the other. I shall not remain here. During my absence, Mr. Portman caused the archives of the legation to be removed to Yokohama for safety, and I shall go there in the course of the week to remain until times are more secure.

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


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