No. 420.
Mr. Bingham to Mr. Fish.

No. 44.]

Sir: It is with extreme regret that I communicate the fact that on Wednesday evening, the 14th instant, persons, as yet unknown, laid in wait for and attempted the assassination of Iwakura Tomomi, second prime minister of Japan.

The minister had been invited by the Emperor to the palace on the afternoon of that day, and left the palace for his home at about half-past seven in the evening. He was accompanied only by his coachman and betto, (runner.) Outside of the palace court-yard, when crossing the bridge over the moat near its gateway, his attendants were assailed by six or more men armed with swords. The betto was disabled, the coachman fatally injured, and Iwakura himself, after receiving two severe wounds, one on the shoulder and the other on the thigh, in attempting to escape his assailants, fell over the bank of the moat and rolled down many feet into the edge of the water, and thereby escaped, happily, further pursuit or injury, his would-be assassins being unable to find him on account of the darkness.

The betto, recovering, reported the occurrence at the palace, when the Emperor’s guards came to the relief of the minister and carried him into the palace, where he still remains. I am glad to say that I am informed that his surgeons are of opinion that Mr. Iwakura will speedily recover.

I took occasion immediately upon receipt of the intelligence to communicate by special messenger to Mr. Iwakura my expressions of sympathy for himself and his family, and my sincere hope that he might speedily recover. As yet I can learn of no motive for this assault save a desire to overturn the present ministry, manifested by many dissatisfied persons.

I am, &c.,