Mr. Van Valkenburgh to Mr. Seward.

No. 31.]

Sir: I have addressed a letter, copy of which I herewith transmit, inclosure No. 1, to Mr. Stahel, our consul at Kanagawa, desiring him until farther notice to issue no passports to American citizens to visit Yedo.

That city was to be opened to the citizens and subjects of the treaty powers on the 1st instant, but in concert with my colleagues we arrived at the unanimous conclusion, that in the present unsettled state of affairs in this country, the duration of which cannot even be estimated, it would be unsafe to allow our respective citizens and subjects to visit places where we do not command the means fully to protect them.

This also applies to Ne-egata, which was to have been opened on the same day.

From inclosure No. 1 of dispatch No. 25 of this series, you will have perceived that the Mikado’s commissioners, in reference to the cause of the murder of the unarmed Frenchmen at Sakai, frankly admitted that in their opinion this outrage was attributable to the “general and savage hatred” existing against foreigners indiscriminately.

As there appears to be as yet no government sufficiently strong in this country to prevent outbreaks of that nature, or to be held responsible in cases of outrages on foreigners in whatever part of Japan they may have been committed, I beg to submit that I was justified in assenting to the postponement of the opening of Yedo and Ne-egata, and that both those places should remain closed until the lives and property of American citizens can be amply protected there.

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


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

Mr. Van Valkenburgh to Mr. Stahel.

No. 43.]

Sir: The troubles existing in Japan at this time would render it unsafe for the citizens of the United States at present to locate in or visit the City of Yedo or the port of Neegata. In consequence thereof, you will decline to give passports under the arrangements made for the opening of Yedo until you receive further information from me.

I am, sir, respectfully, your obedient servant,

R. B. VAN VALKENBURGH, Minister Resident in Japan.

General J. Stahel, United States Consul, Kanagawa.