Mr. Bingham to Mr Fish.
Tokei , September 26, 1874. (Received October 29.)
Sir: I have the honor to communicate herewith a notification by proclamation, issued on the 25th ultimo by order of this government, abolishing examination by torture of witnesses and of persons accused of crimes. I regret to say that, (“for a short period” to come,) in certain cases where difficulty occurs in the examination, torture may be employed, subject, however, to the restriction that the reasons for the employment thereof shall be reported monthly by the tribunal resorting thereto to the department of justice. Some time since, my attention being called to this inhuman practice in judicial administration in this empire, while I did not feel at liberty to officially intervene in the matter, as the usage was limited exclusively to Japanese subjects, I nevertheless deemed it my duty, unofficially, to bring the matter to the attention of Japanese officials, and to suggest to them in respectful terms, as I did, that the practice was violative, alike of natural justice and of the enlightened judgment of civilized nations. It is a matter of congratulation that the first step has been taken toward the abolition of this inhuman and unjust rule of administration.
I am, &c.,