No. 370.
Mr. Bingham to Mr. Fish.

No. 165.]

Sir: On the 14th ultimo, I was called upon by F. Diaz Covorrubias, esq., president of the astronomical expedition sent hither by the government of Mexico to observe the transit of Venus.

Mr. Covorrubias handed me a letter addressed to me by Mr. Foster, our minister to Mexico, commending him and his associates to my good offices, and requested me, inasmuch as Mexico had no representative in Japan, to acquaint the minister for foreign affairs of their presence and mission, and of their desire to obtain permission of this government to establish stations of observation, &c. I deemed it my duty, under my general instructions, to show this act of courtesy to the representatives of our sister republic, and accordingly addressed to Mr. Terashima an unofficial note, of date November 14, 1874, a copy of which is herewith. (Inclosure 1.) It gives me pleasure to say that Mr. Terashima was pleased to grant the request of the Mexican commissioners, as he informed me by a note dated the 19th of November. (Inclosure 2.)

[Page 781]

I am gratified to say that every facility was afforded to the Mexican commissioners to make the observations with which they were charged. They were greatly favored oh the day of the transit, it being clear and cloudless at Yokohama, where they had established their stations, and it is reported that they were very successful in taking observations of the transit.

Trusting that my action in the premises may meet your approval,

I am, &c.,

[Inclosure 1 to No. 165.]

Mr. Bingham to Mr. Terashima.


Your Excellency: I have the honor to inform you that I am in receipt of a communication from Hon. John W. Foster, United States minister to Mexico, in which he acquaints me that the government of Mexico has appointed commissioners to observe the transit of Venus, viz, F. Diaz Covorrubias, chief of the expedition, and as assistants, F. Junarez, D. M. Fernandez, D. A. Brevoso, and D. F. Bulues.

These gentlemen, having arrived in Japan, and preferring not to proceed to China, as they have been authorized to do, ask my good offices, in the absence of a Mexican minister in this Empire, to make known their presence in Japan and the duties assigned them, to the end, if it please your excellency’s government, that a permit may be given to them to locate in Japan, at such place as may be deemed advisable, a station for making the observations, and also the privilege of erecting a telegraph line to connect their station of observation with the nearest telegraph office of the Empire.

It gives me pleasure to commend these gentlemen as of high character and attainments, and to say that they have expressed the wish, if it be agreeable to your excellency’s government to grant their request, that your excellency’s government will designate some Japanese officials to join them and to witness their methods in taking the observations, and to aid them in the use of the telegraph.

May I ask the favor of an early reply to this communication?

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


His Excellency Terashima Munenori,
H. I. J. M.’s Minister for Foreign Affairs.

[Inclosure 2 in No. 165.—Translation.]

Mr. Terashima to Mr. Bingham.

Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your letter dated the 14th instant, informing me of the arrival of Mexican commissioners to observe the transit of Venus and of their wishes to locate a station at a favorable place for the observation, and to erect a telegraphic line, and to connect it with the nearest telegraphic office.

The present observation being very important to the advancement of the science of astronomy, I have the honor, in reply, to comply with your request, of which I will notify the proper authorities.

I beg leave to request you to inform me of the locality where the station is to be erected.

With great respect,

H. I. J. MSs Minister for Foreign Affairs.

To His Excellency John A. Bingham, &c.