No. 362.
Mr. Bingham to Mr. Fish.

No. 127.]

Sir: I have the honor to report the arrival, in health, of Professor Davidson and his associates, sent hither by order of our Government, to make observation of the transit of Venus on the 9th of December next. On the 7th instant, in anticipation of their coming, I addressed a communication to the minister for foreign affairs acquainting him that they were commissioned under the laws of my country to make observations of the transit of Venus from some point in Japan, and, to that end, requested for the professor and his associates the freedom of the empire. It gives me pleasure to say that on the 25th instant I received from the minister for foreign affairs, in reply to my communication, a pass for the professor and his party to visit, without limitation, any portion of Japan; and, also, a proffer of Japanese officials to attend the party to contribute, as far as possible, to their personal comfort, and to witness the methods of taking the observations. I have the honor to transmit herewith a fall copy of the text of the minister’s communication to me, (inclosure 1,) and of my reply thereto, (inclosure 2.)

I am, &c.,

[Inclosure 1 in No. 127.]

Mr. Terashima to Mr. Bingham.

Your Excellency: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your excellency’s note of the 7th instant, asking me, on behalf of Professor Davidson and eight other astronomers sent hither by your Government to observe the transit of Venus in December next, for a pass to visit, without limitation of locality, any portion of Japan, and to select and temporarily occupy a place suitable for their purpose.

In reply I beg herewith to inclose the pass for these gentlemen. Availing of this favorable opportunity my government will appoint some officers to accompany these gentlemen for the purpose of obtaining astronomical information, and I sincerely request that these gentlemen take the trouble of explaining such matters, as our officers [Page 768] so appointed will travel in company with the gentlemen, and make everything as convenient for them in their journey as possible.

Hoping your excellency will be pleased to convey what is said above to Professor Davidson and the other gentlemen,

With respect and consideration,

His Imperial Japanese Majesty’s Minister for Foreign Affairs.

His Excellency J. A. Bingham,
Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary of the United States.

[Inclosure 2 in No. 127.]

Mr. Bingham to Mr. Terashima.

No. 85.]

Your Excellency: I have the honor to acknowledge your dispatch of the 25th instant, in which your excellency informs me that your government has, in accordance with my request, kindly granted a pass to Professor Davidson and his associates to visit any part of Japan for the purpose of observing, under the instructions of ray Government, the transit of Venus. I have made known to Professor Davidson, as your excellency requested me to do, the purpose of your excellency’s government to appoint officers to attend him and to obtain information of him as to his methods in this interesting work. I beg leave, in behalf of Professor Davidson, to thank your excellency’s government for its proffered courtesy, and have the honor to inform your excellency that he will be pleased to have the Japanese officials attend him as proposed, and to impart to them the information desired. I beg leave, in behalf of my Government, to request that your excellency’s government will telegraph the Japanese customs officials at Nagasaki to permit Mr. Edwards, the second assistant astronomer commissioned to this work, to receive from the Golden Age, upon its arrival in port, free of duty and without examination or delay, the instruments and outfit of the astronomical expedition, the property of my Government, and, when the work is completed, to reship the same without detention or payment of duties. I am authorized by Professor Davidson to say that there is nothing in this outfit but what especially appertains to the astronomical work assigned to him and his associates.

The professor also requests me to ask the further favor that your excellency’s government will authorize the telegraph officials at Nagasaki to furnish him material and labor to aid him in constructing whatever short telegraph line he may have occasion to construct for the connection of his astronomical station with the cable and government lines at that port, the reasonable expenses of which the professor will pay. He also desires that your excellency’s government will detail a government telegraph operator to assist him in the use of the telegraph lines, especially at night, for the determination of the difference of longitude, for which service also the professor will make payment.

Mr. Edwards has already gone forward on the Golden Age, and Professor Davidson leaves for Nagasaki on Thursday next, the 1st proximo. Your excellency will greatly oblige by sending the telegraph instructions to Nagasaki promptly, and by informing me of your action in the premises.

I have the honor to be your excellency’s obedient servant,


His Excellency Terashima Munenori,
&c., &c., &c.