No. 383.
Mr. Bingham to Mr. Fish.

No. 228.]

Sir: I have the honor, in compliance with your instruction No. 115, of 7th January last, to inclose herewith a copy of my dispatch to Consul [Page 799] General Van Buren, on the subject of my inquiry, made in obedience to your instruction, (inclosure 1,) and also copies of the several answers thereto transmitted by him to me, as per inclosures 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, and 12, respectively. With the exception of the consuls of Germany and the Netherlands, it does not seem that the consuls in Japan have any authority to make local regulations having the force of law or to issue licenses in the open ports.

You will observe the convention, so called, (inclosure 11,) is a clear recognition, by the foreign representatives who signed it, that the power to make municipal regulations for the foreign settlements in Japan is within the authority of the Japanese government; hence they petition that government to adopt the municipal regulations for Yokohama by them recommended.

The Nagasaki regulations (inclosure 8) seem to me to have been agreed upon without the authority of law.

I submit the several inclosures as the fullest replies to the several inquiries made in your instruction which I have been able to obtain.

It seems to me that the local municipal and police regulations in the several open ports should be made by the authority of the Japanese government, and the violations thereof by the subjects or citizens of the treaty-powers should be punished by the consuls severally of those powers, in accordance with the laws of their respective governments. To confer the legislative power upon the several consuls for such local government might lead to some conflict of opinion among them. It is not, to my mind, clear that Congress could delegate legislative power either to our consuls or diplomatic representatives, while it is not to be doubted that Congress has the power to pass all necessary and proper laws to carry into effect our treaty with Japan, and, to that end, to authorize the trial of our citizens before American consular courts in Japan for every infraction by them, in Japan, of the treaty, of our statutes, or of the laws of Japan not inconsistent with our laws or with the rights guaranteed by treaty.

I am, &c.,

[Inclosure 1 in No. 228.]

Mr. Bingham to Mr. Van Buren.

No. 153.]

Sir: Referring to your dispatch No. 598, of date the 3d instant, in which you inquire Whether you possess the power, as consul-general of the United States, so far as our countrymen resident in Yokohama are concerned, to prohibit the use of other material than tiles or metal in the roofs of houses, and whether I have authority to confer such power upon you, I have to say that it is my opinion that you do not possess any such power, and that I have no authority to confer it.

It seems to me that your inquiry is covered by my communication to you, No. 121, of the 30th November last, to the effect that no authority is conferred either upon the United States minister or the United States consuls in Japan to enact laws for the government of American citizens in this empire, by which they will be subjected to new obligations or new liabilities of any kind. As I desire to communicate to the Department upon this general subject, I will thank you to make inquiry and inform me to what extent any of the consuls in Yokohama have imposed new obligations by laws of their own enactment upon their countrymen resident in Japan, and what power they claim to be possessed of in that behalf.

Under the instructions of the Department, I inquire especially what powers, if any, are claimed by the respective consular boards in Japan, and especially by the consular [Page 800] board at Kanagawa, to make laws, or regulations having the force of law, in reference to licenses, and whether this power is claimed by the consuls separately to have been conferred by their respective governments, and what is the form of their authority. I am also instructed to inquire upon what authority the general police and municipal regulations of Yokohama and the other open ports in Japan are adopted and made binding, and what difference, if any, obtains in the municipal regulations of the several open ports.

I will also thank you to furnish me with full information upon this subject as to Yokohama, and to request full information from our several consuls, and to communicate the same to me. All the information is desired at as early a day as possible.

I am, &c.,


General Thomas B. Van Buren,
United States Consul-General, Kanagawa.

[Inclosure 2 in No. 228.]

Mr. Van Buren to Mr. Bingham.

No. 812.]

Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge receipt of your dispatch No. 153, under date 27th March last, requesting to be informed to what extent consuls in Yokohama have imposed new regulations by laws of their own enactment upon their countrymen in Japan, and especially by the consular board at Yokohama, to make laws, or regulations having the force of law, in reference to licenses, and whether this power is claimed by the consuls severally to have been conferred by their respective governments, and what is the form of their authority.

Immediately upon its receipt, I addressed communications upon the subject to the different consuls at Yokohama and the United States consuls at the other treaty-ports, and I inclose you herewith copies of such replies as have been received.

You will perceive that there is no system or code recognized by the consuls, even of the same nation, at the different ports, each apparently acting upon his own interpretation of his powers.

At Kanagawa (Yokohama) the diversity of views and claims among the consuls is so great as to make it utterly impracticable to agree upon anything like a common platform.

I inclose you a printed paper headed “convention,” and dated at Yedo, October 28, 1867, which appears to consist of seven different articles, recommended by the ministers of France, Great Britain, the United States, Germany, and the Netherlands, whose names are signed thereto, to the Japanese government, “as essential to insure the maintenance of order and health within the foreign settlement of Yokohama.”

These articles, I am informed, were ratified by the Japanese government, and Mr. E. S. Benson, an American citizen, was afterwards duly elected by the ballots of the foreigners in Yokohama “municipal director,” and has since continued in the position, exercising the powers conferred by the said convention.

By common consent the consuls issued licenses to certain of their countrymen to sell liquors at retail in the settlement, charging and collecting from each person so licensed the sum of $12 per month, which sum was paid over to the municipal director, to be used to defray the expenses of the foreign members of the police-force.

For a while this proceeding appeared to work well; but upon certain parties refusing to pay the license-fees, the consuls declined to enforce their collection, admitting their want of power in the premises, and the scheme fell to the ground. At present no licenses are issued. I have proposed to the board of consuls to recommend to the Japanese authorities the enactment of a law or ordinance regulating the licensing of dram-shops, leaving to the different consuls the enforcement of its provisions in their own way; but the proposition has met with no support, the consuls claiming that their countrymen cannot be compelled to submit to Japanese laws.

In the absence of any law upon the subject, I think that I should feel justified, as a police and sanitary measure, in regulating the sale of intoxicating liquors in this settlement, and would not hesitate to do so as regards our countrymen here, until otherwise ordered by my Government, if the other consuls would do likewise with their people.

As it is, we are living here in all respects in an anomalous condition, without definite laws or powers, and apparently without any legal relative duties or obligations.

Upon my application, a few months since, to the British consul, for the arrest of a British subject charged with having assisted in the escape of two notorious criminals [Page 801] from the jail of this consulate, I was informed, among other things, that English law provided no punishment in such case, because the jail was not British; and on a later occasion 1 was refused a subpoena for a British subject to appear as a witness in a legal proceeding pending in my court.

The police-force in Yokohama is composed of natives and a few foreigners. The inspector is a Japanese, and all are under the control of the governor of this ken, and are paid by the Japanese government. Arrests are made as by the police of the cities of Europe and America, but the arrested party, if a foreigner, is brought before the consul of his country for trial and sentence.

I have had occasion of late to protest against the arrest of citizens of the United States by members of the police, in cases where I considered it proper that a complaint should have been tiled at this consulate, and the accused arrested by warrant under my hand and official seal; and I have claimed that their right to arrest an United States citizen without such warrant was confined to an offense committed in their presence, or for a felony or breach of the peace, when the pursuit or capture occurred immediately after its commission.

I am, sir, your obedient servant,

United States Consul-General.

Hon. John A. Bingham,
United States Minister, &c.

[Inclosure 3 in No. 223.]

Mr. Van Oordt to Mr. Van Buren.

Sir: In reply to your circular requesting to inform you what course is pursued in this consulate in regard to several points, I beg to say the following:

Concerning new obligations to be imposed upon my countrymen in Japan, these I would not make unless with the concurrence of my other colleagues, and provided the are not at variance with Dutch law.

I have no authority to grant licenses for the sale of liquors, as, according to Dutch law, the sale of these articles is free from taxation.

With regard to the last paragraph in your letter, I must give the same answer as I have given to the first.

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

Acting Consul for the Netherlands.

General T. B. Van Buren, U. S. Consul-General, Yokohama.

[Inclosure 4 in No. 228.]

Mr. Gebauer to Mr. Van Buren.

Sir: In reply to your circular of the 1st instant, I have the honor to inform you—

That German subjects, living in Japan, are in the first place amenable to the law of the German Empire, and, furthermore, to the regulations stipulated by the treaties between Germany and Japan.
No municipal law being established at this port, the consul may, at the instance of the Japanese authorities, or by his own judgment, issue new regulations to his countrymen; but he is not allowed to put them into force without previously having applied for and obtained the sanction of the foreign office at Berlin.
No German subject can be prohibited by law from selling liquors or keeping a public house at this port, unless he should prove to protect disorderly demeanor.

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


T. B. Van Buren, Esq., U. S. Consul-General, Kanagawa.

[Page 802]
[Inclosure 5 in No. 228.]

Mr. Turner to Mr. Van Buren.

No. 77.]

Sir: I have to acknowledge the receipt of your dispatch, No. 685, dated the 2d instant, making inquiry, at the request of the American minister, regarding the exercise of certain authority by the different consuls residing at Hiogo and Osaka. In reply, I would respectfully advise you that the British consul informs me that he claims the right “to make regulations having the force of law” in reference to licenses, &c., by the authority conferred upon all British consuls in Japan. (See art. 4 of a notification, dated April 4, 1862, published by Charles A. Winchester, H. B. M.’s chargé d’affaires and acting consul-general, and which reads as follows; “No British subject may establish within an open port in Japan either a boarding-house, eating-house, or other public house of entertainment, or a butcher’s house or slaughtering-house, without the sanction of the consul and under such regulations as he may require.”)

I inclose a copy of a letter from the acting German consul, to which is subjoined a translation of a law which apparently gives him the right to exercise a limited authority of the nature you describe.

The Belgian, Dutch, Hawaiian, Swiss, and American consuls claim no special privileges in this respect. The Portuguese and Danish, consuls are, I regret, absent from Hiogo, and, in consequence, I am unable to give you any information as to the limitation of their privileges.

The consular board claim no especial privileges in this respect over individual consuls.

The general “police and municipal regulations” of Hiogo and Osaka are made by the municipal council of each settlement, and with the consent of the consuls, each of whom occupies a seat in both councils.

I am, sir, your obedient servant,

U. S. Consul.

Thomas B. Van Buren, Esq.,
United States Consul-General, Yokohama, Japan.

[Inclosure 6 in No. 228.]

Mr. Voigt to Mr. Turner.

No. 152.]

Sir: In answer to your favor of to-day’s date, I beg to reply that, according to section 17 of the laws of 29th June, 1865, which treats of the jurisdiction of consular courts for the German Empire, and from which I beg to subjoin an extract in translation for your guidance, every consul has the right to frame police-laws with binding force, and levy a fine in case of non-compliance. Under this head I think that the question of licenses would also stand, although this statute does not especially refer to this point.

There is no license for grog-shops in Hiogo, as far as I can find; an original proclamation, issued by the consular body in the early days of this settlement, levying a fine of $12 per month, having been withdrawn afterward.

I am, your obedient servant,

Acting Consul.

Daniel Turner, Esq.,
United States Consul, Hiogo, Japan.

[Inclosure to inclosure 6 in No. 228.—Translation.]

Extract in regard to the jurisdiction of German consuls.

Section 17.

“Every consul has the right to issue police-rules, with binding power, for those persons who are under his jurisdiction, and to levy a fine not exceeding thalers 10 ($7) in case of non-compliance.

“These rules have to be transmitted to the legation, or to the minister for foreign affairs. The envoy plenipotentiary, as well as the minister for foreign affairs, have the right to annul the police laws of the consular court.”

[Page 803]
[Inclosure 7 in No. 228.]

Mr. Mangum to Mr. Van Buren.

No. 24.]

Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt, on the 12th instant, of your dispatch No. 686, informing me that by instructions of the American minister you were directed to inquire of me “what power, if any, is claimed by the consular board in Nagasaki, or by any of the consuls resident there, to make laws or regulations having the force of law in reference to licenses, or in any other directions, and whether such power is claimed to have been conferred by their respective governments, and what is the force of their authority,” &c.

In reply, I have the honor to inclose herewith a copy of the “land regulations,” which show the authority under which municipal matters are regulated here. The consuls whose ministers have not agreed to these regulations comply with them or not, according to their judgment.

I am, sir, your obedient servant,

United States Consul.

General Thos. B. Van Buren,
United States Consul-General, Yokohama.

[Inclosure 8 in No. 228.]


I.—Mode of acquiring land.

Any person desiring to lease land within the location fixed upon for foreign renters must first apply to the consul or consular agent of his nation officially and in writing, or, if there be none appointed, to the consul of any friendly power, specifying, as nearly as can be ascertained, the locality and boundaries of the said land; and the said consul or consular agent will thereupon inquire of the land-officer and the other foreign consuls whether any impediment exists to its settlement by reason of previous negotiation or application by third parties, or otherwise, provided always that if such impediments do exist, then and in such case a reasonable time shall be allowed the first claimant to settle for the said land, and the failing to do so within such reasonable time shall be considered and held a virtual surrender of such prior right of settlement, and the same shall revert to the foreigner next applying on notice to that effect being given to his consul, and no good cause shown why it should not revert as aforesaid.

II.—Allotments of land

Will be made only to bona-fide residents; and renters of land will be required, under penalty of forfeiture of title-deed, to erect, within six months after date of title-deed, and in accordance with these regulations, buildings of a value of not less than—

  • On water lots, $150 for each 100 tzuboo measurement.
  • On rearage lots, $50 for each 100 tzuboo measurement.

III.—Final settlement and title-deeds.

The priority of the individual claimant having been determined as aforesaid, a note under the hand and seal of the consul will be furnished him for delivery to the land-officer, who will, without delay, proceed with him to measure the land in question. The measurement having been ascertained, the money for one year’s rental will be immediately paid to the chief land-officer, who will give a receipt in triplicate, with translation, for the same, stating also the measurement and boundaries of the said land. Two copies of the said receipt will be handed by the renter to his consul, who will transmit one copy to the governor. The governor will forthwith issue a title-deed in triplicate in the form agreed upon and hereunto annexed, one copy to be archived by the governor, one copy by the consul, and one copy to be delivered to the renter. The governor will also notify the other consuls of the issue of such title-deed specifying the measurement and boundaries of the land.

[Page 804]

IV.—Boundary-stones to be placed.

When land is rented, a time shall be appointed, and stones, having the number of the lot distinctly cut thereon, to define the boundaries, will be fixed in the presence of an officer deputed by the consul, of the land-officer or his deputy, and of the renter, in such manner that they may not interfere with the lines of roads, or other boundaries, or in any other way give cause for litigation or dispute hereafter.

V.—Streets, roads, sewers, and jetties.

It is clearly understood and agreed to that land devoted to public use, as streets, roads, &c., is not included in the measurement of the rented lots, and is not to be infringed upon in any way.

In the acquirement of near lots of land, provision shall be made of the requisite extension or creation of streets, roads, and jetties.

The proprietorship of the soil being in the Japanese government, the streets, roads, and jetties will at all times be kept in thorough order, and sewers or drains will be made, when necessary, by the Japanese government, and no tax will be levied on renters in the foreign quarter for this purpose.

VI.—Rent when payable.

The annual rent payable to the Japanese government on all land rented within the foreign quarter will be payable in advance, on the tenth day of the twelfth Japanese month in each year.

The governor will address the several consuls ten days previous to the said date, stating when, where, and to whom the said rent must be paid, and the said consul will give notice to the renters. The officer appointed to receive the rent will give a receipt in triplicate, with translation, for the same, one copy of which shall be archived by the governor, one copy by the consuls, and one be delivered to the renter.

Should the renter neglect to pay the rent on the day fixed, the governor will acquaint the consul under whose jurisdiction the defaulter is, who will enforce immediate payment.

VII.—Transfer of lots.

The interest in a lot shall always be held in law and equity to reside in that person in whose name the title of record appears, and no title shall pass unless the deed is lodged for record within three days from the date of conveyance, but no lot can be transferred within one year after date of title-deed.

Within the said foreign quarter no Japanese shall erect new houses or sheds so near to the residence or place of business of foreigners as to endanger them in case of fire, and if he does, the governor will abate the nuisance.

No Japanese shall open a place of public entertainment within the said location without the unanimous consent of the consular authorities, under the penalties hereinafter provided against maintaining a nuisance.

VIII.—Extent of lot, and usage to which applied.

Straw sheds, bamboo or wooden houses, or buildings of inflammable kinds, shall not be erected in the settlement, nor shall any trade or profession be carried on within its limits dangerous to the safety of life or property, or obnoxious to the general health, under a penalty of $25 for every twenty-four hours such nuisance shall remain unabated. Nor shall contraband goods or merchandise likely to endanger life or property, such as gunpowder, saltpeter, sulphur, large quantities of spirit, and such like, be stored in the premises of any individual, under a penalty of $25, and $25 for each twenty-four hours the nuisance shall remain. The place where such trades or professions may be carried on, or where such merchandise may be stored, must be sufficiently distant from other dwellings or warehouses to prevent all risk of damage or inconvenience, and be fixed upon by the authorities after consultation together.

The public roads must not be encroached upon or obstructed, as by scaffolding, for the purpose of building, or by building materials of any kind, beyond the time essential for the completion of the work, or in any such manner as shall at any time block up or materially interfere with the thoroughfares, or by projecting eaves of houses, or fences, or gates, or door-steps, or entrances, by the heaping up of goods for any length of time, and such like, under a penalty of $10 for each twenty-four hours they remain after a notification by the Japanese or consular authorities to remove them. The public or individuals must not be inconvenienced by the accumulation of [Page 805] filth in gutters or upon the roads, firing of guns, carelessly creating noise or disturbance, furious riding or driving or leading horses up and down the chief thoroughfares for exercise, or by any act coming legitimately within the meaning of the term nuisance, under a penalty of $10 on commission of either of said offenses.

All fines shall be recovered before the consul of the nation to which the Offending party belongs, or if there be none in the port, then they may be recovered before the Japanese authorities, and shall be paid over to the committee appointed under clause 9 of these regulations, to be used for the purpose therein stated, and for which said committee is appointed.

IX.—Street lamps and police.

It being expedient and necessary that some provision should be made for the lighting and cleansing of streets, and for a watch or police force, the foreign consuls, as aforesaid, shall, at the beginning of each year, convene a meeting of the renters, of land within the foreign quarter, to devise means of raising the requisite funds for these purposes; and at such meeting it shall be competent to the said renters to declare an assessment in the form of a rate to be made on the said land or buildings, and in the form of wharfage-dues on all goods landed at any place within the said quarter; and to appoint a committee of three or more persons to levy the said rates and dues, and apply the funds so realized to the purposes aforesaid, or in such manner as may be agreed and determined upon at the said meeting, and to that end the said committee shall be empowered to sue all defaulters in the consular courts under whose jurisdiction these may be, (and in case the said defaulters have no consular representative at this port, then the governor of Nagasaki shall, upon application of the committee, through the foreign consuls, recover from such dafaulters the amounts due from them for land-assessment or wharfage-dues, and pay the same to the said committee.) Moreover, at each yearly meeting the accounts of the committee for the past year shall be laid before the assembled renters for their approval and sanction.

It shall also be competent for the foreign consuls, collectively or singly, when it may appear to them needful, or at the requisition of the renters of land, to call a public meeting at any time, giving ten days’ notice of the same, setting forth the business upon which it is convened, for the consideration of any matter or thing connected with the land, provided always such requisition shall be signed by not less than five of the said renters, and that it set forth satisfactory ground for such request.

The resolutions passed by a majority at any such public meetings on all such matters aforesaid shall be valid and binding upon the whole of the renters of land within the said limits, if not less than one-third of them are present. The senior consul present at such meetings shall take the chair, and in the absence of a consul then such renter as the majority of voters present may nominate. If renters of land in public meetings assembled, as herein provided, decide upon any matter of a municipal nature not already enumerated, and affecting the general interest, such decision shall first be reported by the chairman to the consuls for their joint concurrence and approval, without which approval, officially given, such resolution cannot become valid and binding upon the renters as a body.

X.—Sale of spirits or liquors, opening of public houses, &c.

No foreigner or Japanese shall sell spirits or liquors, or open a house of entertainment within the foreign quarters, without a license to do so from the said consuls, or the majority of them, and, if a Japanese, also from the governor, and upon good and sufficient security given for the maintenance of order in their establishments.

XI. Breach of regulations.

Should one of the consuls at any time discover a breach of the regulations, or should information thereof be lodged with him, or should the local authorities address him thereon, he shall, in every case within his jurisdiction, summon the offender before him, and, if convicted, punish him summarily.

Should any foreigner who has no consular authority at this port commit a breach of the regulations, then and in such case the Japanese chief authority may be appealed to by any one or more of the consuls, to uphold the regulations in their integrity and punish the party so infringing them.

XII.—Provisional clause.

Hereafter, should any correction be requisite in these regulations, or should it be necessary to determine on further regulations, or should doubt arise as to the construction [Page 806] of, or powers conferred thereby, the same must be consulted upon and settled by the consuls and governor, in communication together, who shall equitably decide thereon, the consuls submitting the same for confirmation to the representatives of their respective countries in Japan.

XIII.—Supplementary clause.

Portions of Articles VIII, IX, and XI, foregoing, requiring the exercise of jurisdiction by the governor over the subjects of other nations, appearing to his excellency to comprise not only a local question but one of an international nature, which it is beyond his authority to accept: It is agreed that such jurisdiction on the part of the governor shall be held in abeyance for a period of sixty days from the date of signature, that the subject may be submitted for the instructions of the respective authorities at Yeddo, and in the event of such instructions, under the signatures of the Japanese and foreign ministers, being received, to the effect that the said portions of Articles VIII, IX, and XI are to be expunged, then and in such case the foregoing laud-regulations shall be held complete without them, and a note shall be subjoined to the effect that they have been so annulled.

The consuls referred to in these regulations are consuls (or persons duly acting as such) of powers having treaties with Japan.

    Her British Majesty’s Consul..
  • INO. G. WALSH,
    United States Consul.
  • J. H. EVANS,
    His Majesty’s Foreign Minister Consul.
    Consul de France.

amendment to the land-regulations.

The foregoing land-regulations having been referred for the sanction of the Japanese and foreign ministers at Yeddo, in accordance with supplementary article XIII, the said land-regulations have been approved and sanctioned with the exception of such portions of Articles I, VIII, IX, XI, which provide under certain cases for the exercise of jurisdiction by Japanese authorities over the subjects of foreign nations having treaties with Japan, and said portions of said articles (together with Article XIII, relating exclusively thereto) have been and are hereby expunged.

    Her British Majesty’s Consul.
  • INO. G. WAESH,
    United States Consul.
    Consul for Portugal, and Consular Agent for France.


The following fees will be charged at this consulate for transaction of business relating to land:

Issue of title-deed, $20. Transfer of title-deed, $10. Issue of any license under the land-regulations, $10. Renewal, $5. Any other matter, $1.

[Inclosure 9 in No. 228.]

Mr. Hawes to Mr. Van Buren.

Sir: I am in receipt of your letter No. 684, dated April 2, inquiring, by direction of the American minister, what powers, if any; are exercised or claimed by the consular [Page 807] board, or any of the consuls resident in Hakodadi, to make laws or regulations having the force of law at this port, and how such power, if exercised, is conferred. Also, upon what authority the general police and municipal regulations are adopted and made binding.

In reply, I have to state that no rules nor regulations in regard to licenses or any other subject have been made at Hakodadi by the consuls, either collectively or separately, except some harbor regulations which were at one time drawn up and adopted in a somewhat irregular manner, but which have since been formally annulled by the consuls conjointly.

Exclusive jurisdiction in all civil and criminal proceedings against or between citizens or subjects of foreign countries at this port, is conceded by the local authorities to, and is exercised by, the consul representing the nationality of the party or parties immediately concerned, the action of the consul being governed by the laws of his own country. The same is true substantially of the local municipal and police regulations. So far as foreigners are concerned they are only arrested, tried, and punished by or through their respective consuls, acting independently of each other. We have no organized foreign police. The municipal and police regulations of Hakodadi relate, principally, to Japanese, and, of course, are made and enforced by Japanese authority. Lest this paragraph lead to a misapprehension, I will state that, speaking for myself only, I should deem it proper to enforce the observance by American citizens of any reasonable regulation of the local authorities, if occasion should require; but no case has ever occurred which called for my action in this direction.

Trusting that my answer to your inquiries is sufficiently explicit to meet your wishes, I have the honor to be very respectfully, your obedient servant,

United States Consul.

Gen. Thos. B. Van Buren,
United States Consul-General, Yokohama.

[Inclosure 10 in No. 228.]

Mr. Kraetzer to Mr. Van Buren.

M. le Consul-General: I did not deem it possible that the circular which you have done me the honor of addressing me, the 1st of April, could be addressed me, because in the consular union, where we occupy ourselves with these regulations, I have had the honor to make known the fact, verbally, that France has no special laws for the consulates; that I have no special rule to promulgate; but that it is my business to cause to be respected the French laws in general, (in the usual French code.) That all the French laws are regulated for Frenchmen in countries of jurisdiction, (where bodies of magistrates preside,) these Frenchmen being considered in the same light as inhabitants of France, (or of a French country.) The only differences that exist are in the procedure, which is regulated by the edict royal of June, 1778, and the laws of July 8, 1852, and of March 9, 1882.

Receive, Monsieur le Consul-General, the assurance of my most distinguished consideration.


Consulate of France.

[Inclosure 11 in No. 228.]


The undersigned, having met to consider the memorial of the land-renters at Yokohama to the foreign representatives, dated July 15, 1867, requesting that the Japanese government may be called on to resume the control and management of the municipal affairs of the foreign settlement at Yokohama, have agreed to recommend to the Japanese government the adoption of the following measures, as being essential, under present circumstances, to insure the maintenance of order and health within the said foreign settlement:

That an office to be called the land and police office be formed under the Japanese government-at Yokohama, and placed in charge of a foreign director, who will be subordinate to the governor of Kanagawa.
The said director, acting under the authority of the governor of Kanagawa, shall see to the repair, cleanliness, and efficiency of all the streets and drains in the foreign settlement at Yokohama. He shall be authorized to receive such complaints relative [Page 808] to police or the state of drains and thoroughfares as may properly be ad dressed by foreigners to the local government direct, and in the name of the governor of Kanagawa will prosecute foreigners before their own authorities for nuisances or any infringement of public order.
The said director, acting under the authority of the governor of Kanagawa, will have the charge and the direction of all foreigners who may be employed as police for the maintenance of security and order within the foreign settlement of Yokohama, or for the repression of disorderly conduct on the part of foreigners within the port of Kanagawa. Whenever a subject or citizen of a treaty-power is arrested in the commission of an offense by the said director, or any foreigner or Japanese acting under his orders, or the orders of the governor of Kanagawa, the person so arrested must be conveyed at once to the consul of his nation, who will take steps for the detention of the offender until he can be prosecuted.
The governor of Kanagawa, acting with the advice and assistance of the said director, and with such advice as he may obtain from foreign consuls, will exercise jurisdiction—both criminal and civil—over the subjects of China, and the subjects and citizens of other non-treaty powers residing within the said settlement, or within the port of Kanagawa.
The land-rents payable by foreigners will be collected by the said director as soon as they become due, for and on account of the governor of Kanagawa and the said director, acting in the name of the governor of Kanagawa, will be empowered, to sue foreigners for default of payment before their own authorities.
The undersigned undertake to instruct their respective consuls to confine within the narrowest limits compatible with public convenience the number of licenses issued by them to their respective subjects or citizens as sellers of foreign spirits or liquors, or as keepers of houses of entertainment within the foreign settlement, or within the port of Kanagawa. A copy of every license will be furnished by the consul, as soon as it is issued, to the governor of Kanagawa, and the said director will inform against any person who sells liquors or keeps a, house of entertainment without the license of his authorities.
The Japanese government will make arrangements for the safe storage, at reasonable rates, of gunpowder or other explosive substances imported into the port of Kanagawa, and the undersigned will take the necessary steps to prevent their respective subjects or citizens from using any other place for the storage of these dangerous substances.

  • L. ROCHES.
[Inclosure 12 in No. 228.]

Mr. Robertson to Mr. Van Buren.

My Dear Colleague: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 1st April, requesting me to inform you, first, “what enactments, if any, had been made by this consulate, imposing new obligations upon my countrymen in Japan, and by what authority such enactments had been made.” I scarcely understand what is meant to be conveyed by the words “new obligations,” and so am somewhat at a loss to reply to this query. But, at the outset, I may state that British consuls in Japan have no power at present to make enactments of any kind. Such would always issue from the legation, though it may not infrequently happen that it is by the suggestion of a consul that Her Majesty’s minister is moved to issue a regulation. Before the order in council, Her Majesty’s minister, or the consul, with the approval of the minister, either under the powers conferred by prior orders in council or under Article XX of the treaty between Great Britain and Japan, issued regulations from time to time with the object of carrying into effect the treaty and the trade regulations attached thereto, and for the good order and governance of Her Majesty’s subjects in Japan, but section 85 of the order in council, above quoted, is more comprehensive, and it is under this that Her Majesty’s minister issues from time to time such regulations as seem to him necessary.

I give the section at length: “Her Majesty’s minister in Japan or China may, from time to time, make such regulations as seem fit for the peace, order, and good government of British subjects resident in, or resorting to, Japan or China, and for the observance of the stipulations of treaties between Her Majesty, her heirs or successors, and the Emperor of Japan or China, and for the maintenance of friendly relations between British [Page 809] subjects and Japanese or Chinese subjects and authorities, and may make any such, regulations apply either throughout Japan or China or to some one or more of the consular districts in Japan or China, and may by any such regulations repeal or alter any regulations made for any such purposes as aforesaid before the commencement of this order. Any such regulations shall not have effect unless and until they are approved by Her Majesty, such approval being signified through one of Her Majesty’s principal secretaries of state, save that in case of urgency, declared in any such regulations, the same shall have effect unless and until they are disapproved by Her Majesty, such disapproval being signified through one of Her Majesty’s principal secretaries of state, and notification of such disapproval is received and published by Her Majesty’s minister in Japan or China.”

Your second inquiry is, “What authority, if any, do I possess to grant licenses for the sale of liquors within my consular jurisdiction and to impose penalties in connection therewith?”

The query is rather an embarrassing one, but I will do my best to answer it. In the early days of this settlement certain regulations were issued by Mr. Charles Winchester, Her Britannic Majesty’s chargé d’affaires, one of which ran as follows:

“No British subject may establish either a boarding-house, eating-house, or other public house of entertainment, or a butcher-shop or slaughtering-house, without the sanction of the consul and under such conditions as he may require.”

I fail, however, to find in my records whether the British consul singly, or acting jointly with his colleagues, ever drew up the conditions which were contemplated in this regulation. When I succeeded to the charge of this consulate, I found that it was the practice to charge publicans or victuallers a license-fee of $12 a month, but it did not occur to me to go into the origin of this fee until the licensed victuallers made a stand last year and declined to continue the payment. I then went into the question with my colleagues, but after much research we could only ascertain, with anything like certainty, that in 1862 the French minister, M. de Bellecours, had issued a very complete set of regulations in respect to licensed victuallers (French) in Yokohama, the fees payable, and the penalties for any breach of the regulation. In our order in council of 1865, above referred to, certain previous orders in council were repealed, and among them an important one dated February 4, 1861. It was under this last-mentioned order in council that Mr. Winchester issued the series of regulations from which I have extracted regulation 8, above mentioned. Even, therefore, if this regulation had been given effect to, it is a question whether it would now have any force, viewing the fact that the very order in council to which it owes its birth is itself repealed.

It does not seem to have occurred to any one, however, to bring about the issue of new regulations under the order in council of 1865 for the governance of licensed victuallers, so that the due sequence of things might be carried on, following article 8 of the regulations issued under the prior order in council, and hence the deplorable situation into which the matter has fallen, so far as British subjects are concerned. I have, as you are aware, addressed Her Majesty’s minister on the subject, and a proposed draught of regulations has been submitted to the diplomatic body, but I am disposed to think that Her Majesty’s minister is disinclined to legislate solely for British subjects, unless the other foreign representatives are disposed to adopt a like course with regard to their respective nationals.

In reply to your third query, Mr. Benson can, I think, furnish you with a printed copy of the convention under which the municipal directorate was established, but municipal regulations in the full sense of the term have never existed, nor do they exist in Yokohama at the present moment, with the exception, perhaps, of the land regulations under which the title-deeds are issued.

I am, my dear colleague, faithfully yours,


General T. Van Buren,
United States Consul-General.