No. 391.
Mr. Bingham to Mr. Fish.

No. 257.]

Sir: I have the honor to inform you that on the 14th instant, Hon. William A. Richardson and Commander R. F. R. Lewis, U. S. N., in the absence of the admiral commanding the United States Asiatic squadron, visited Hachoji, in the province of Musashi, about eighteen miles distant from Yokohama, south of the river Logo, and within the limits defined in the seventh article of the treaty of 1858 between the [Page 822] United States and Japan. You will observe by the seventh article of the treaty that it is expressly provided that “in the open harbors of Japan, Americans shall be free to go where they please within the following limits: At Kanagawa, the river Logo (which empties into the bay of Yedo between Kawasaki and Shinagawa) and ten ri in any other direction.” The language of this provision leaves no room to doubt that Americans are free to visit at pleasure any point between Kanagawa and the Logo River, which lies north thereof and is made the northern boundary of the treaty-limit. These gentlemen having visited the place named, in the exercise of their privilege, were on the 14th instant arrested in Hachoji by Japanese police and detained in custody during that night. On the next day they were conducted to Yokohama under guard of the police and handed over to the Japanese officers at the police-station, where they were held in custody until late in the evening of the 15th, when they were finally released upon assurances given by Mr. Elmer, the jailer of the United States consulate-general, that they would appear if required to answer any complaint that might be made against them. There is no pretense that there was any ground of complaint against these gentlemen save that they visited Hachoji, in the exercise of their treaty-privilege, without passes. It cannot be that any pass is needed to enable Americans to go where they please within the treaty-limits. Upon being officially informed on the evening of the 15th by Consul-General Van Buren of the wrongful arrest and detention of these gentlemen, on the 16th I addressed to his excellency the minister for foreign affairs a note stating the facts, and requesting his immediate consideration of the matter, to the end that the offender in the premises might be punished, and that such further action might be taken by his excellency’s government as would assure the United States and the citizens thereof in future the full enjoyment of the privileges guaranteed by treaty, a copy of which communication is herewith. (Inclosure 1.)

On the 22d instant the minister for foreign affairs replied to my note, a copy of which reply is herewith. (Inclosure 2.)

You will observe that the minister clearly states that the two police officials who participated in this transaction at Hachoji and Yokohama ignorantly disobeyed orders, and did violence to the treaty-rights of the two citizens of the United States so wrongfully arrested, and that they, viz, Ito Shigehide and Yoshimura, have been dismissed because they acted without authority and in an unbecoming manner in the premises. The minister also states that he desires that the sincere regret of his government be communicated to Mr. Richardson and Commander Lewis “for the injustice and indignity put upon them,” and adds that, to guard against a recurrence of such usage, the government has taken steps which it is hoped will prove effectual. This morning I addressed a communication to the minister for foreign affairs acknowledging the receipt of his dispatch of the 22d, a copy of which I have the honor to inclose. (Inclosure 3.)

You will observe that I have ventured in this reply to express the hope that the action taken by his excellency’s government, if given to the public by due official notification, will be satisfactory to my Government. I make this suggestion to the minister because all duties enjoined by this government, so far as I am advised, are published in the official organ in the form of a notification or imperial decree. As this was the course pursued last year when the British minister complained of the wrongful arrest of a member of his escort within the British legation, I deemed it proper to call his excellency’s attention to the precedent in that case, and to ask that it be followed in this instance, believing [Page 823] that it was due alike to both governments that such public notification should be given, and that it would go far to prevent like violations of the rights of American citizens in the future.

Since writing the foregoing, I am in receipt of the reply of the minister for foreign affairs to my note of this morning, a copy of which reply I have the honor to inclose herewith. (Inclosure 4.) It seems to me that the action taken, as hereinbefore stated, and the notification to be given, as stated in inclosure 4, are all that could be asked of this government toward the redress of a wrong committed by its inferior officials in violation of instructions and in ignorance of their duties, and which wrong the government condemns and visits upon the officials who committed the same the punishment of dismissal from the public service.

Trusting that my action and the action of this government in relation to the wrongful arrest and detention of Mr. Richardson and Commander Lewis may meet your approval,

I am, &c.,

JNO. A. BINGHAM.
[Inclosure 1 in No. 257.]

Mr. Bingham to Mr. Terashima.

No. 208.]

Sir: The consul-general of the United States at Kanagawa reports to me officially that the Hon. William A. Richardson, a citizen and judge of the United States, and Commander R. F. R. Lewis, of the United States Navy, and a citizen of the United States, visited, on Saturday last, the 14th instant, the town of Hachoji, in the province of Musashi, within the treaty-limits of Kanagawa, and were there arrested by two policemen and taken to the police-station, thence to a hotel, and detained; that they were detained overnight at the hotel under restraint, and ordered to proceed, on the 15th, to Yokohama in charge of a policeman. This order was executed by delivering these gentlemen over to the police at the police-station in Yokohama, where they were rudely held in custody, and detained until their release was demanded by Mr. Elmer, an American in the service of the United States consulate-general; which demand was at first refused, but tin ally graciously granted, upon condition Mr. Elmer would stand surety for the appearance of these parties upon the requirement of the police-officials. I am informed by the consul-general that no complaint was made against these gentlemen, save that they were traveling within treaty-limits without passes. I am also informed by the consul-general that Hachoji is within the treaty-limits as prescribed by the seventh article of the treaty made by Japan with the United States of America on the 29th of July, 1856, and ratified in 1860. If this be so, the proceeding is a flagrant breach of treaty, a wrong not only to two eminent and honorable citizens of my country, who bear high commissions in the public service, but also a wrong done to the United States.

I have the honor to request the immediate consideration of this grave matter of complaint, to the end that the offenders, if guilty, may be punished, and such further action may be had as will satisfy justice and assure to the United States and the citizens thereof all rights guaranteed by the subsisting treaty between the two countries.

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

JNO. A. BINGHAM.

His Excellency Terashima Munenari,
His Imperial Japanese Majesty’s Minister for Foreign Affairs.

[Inclosure 2 in No. 257.—Translation.]

Mr. Terashima to Mr. Bingham .

Sir: I had the honor of receiving, on the 18th instant, your excellency’s note of the 16th ditto, wherein you detail to me the facts in the matter of the stoppage, at the [Page 824] village of Hachoji, in the province of Musashi, of two eminent American citizens, and of the further improper treatment to which they have been subjected.

Previous to the receipt of your note, I had heard of the occurrences through another source, and was very greatly surprised and annoyed at them, and directed Mr. Mori to call upon your excellency and ascertain the facts, at the same time that I issued instructions that strict inquiry into the matter should be made by the governor of Kanagawa, under whose jurisdiction the village of Hachoji is situated.

I have now the honor of making known to you the results of the inquiries that have been made.

It seems that the chief of police at the village of Hachoji, Ito Shigehide, who ordered the arrest of Captain Lewis and Mr. Richardson, was sadly mistaken in supposing Hachoji to be without the treaty-limits, his error being based on the fact that, as indicated by the posts along the road, Hachoji is eleven and one-half ri (28¾ miles) from the Kanagawa Keucho, whereas the distance should have been calculated in a straight line.

Ito Shigehide had been recently appointed to the position he occupied at Hachoji, and pleads that he was unaware that foreigners were within their treaty-rights when sojourning in the village, and consequently deemed it his duty to ask the two gentlemen to produce their passes, and when they failed to do this, he summoned them to the police-court, and sent them the following day to Yokohama under escort of a policeman, still thinking he was merely performing his duty. And here, allow me to remark to your excellency, these two gentlemen were not detained at Hachoji; they requested to remain the night in the village and to proceed to Yokohama the next day. But this is only a trifling circumstance of the case.

Ito Shigehide has been found guilty in that he had failed to inform himself accurately of the treaty-limits, and that he had failed to show proper respect and consideration to Captain Lewis and to Mr. Richardson when these gentlemen had informed him of their names and positions, and in that he had ordered them to be conducted back to Yokohama by a petty police-officer, when they had expressed their readiness and willingness to quietly return at once. Ito Shigehide’s conduct has been unwarrantable and rude. The policeman in Yokohama, Yoshimura, on the arrival at the police-station of these two gentlemen and of the letter from the chief of police at Hachoji, detained them unnecessarily long at the station-house, interrogated them as to their names and positions in a disrespectful and unbecoming manner, and appealed to the constable of the United States consulate for confirmation of their assertions, thereby subjecting them to fresh humiliation.

Your excellency will please observe that Mr. Elmer, the official in the United States consulate, was not called upon to stand surety for the appearance of these two gentlemen; he was merely called upon to corroborate their statements of themselves.

These two Japanese officials, Ito Shigehide and Yoshimura, have been dismissed from the service of the Japanese government; for, though they maintain they thought they were merely doing their duty, they have exceeded the power conferred upon them, and have acted unbecomingly toward two American gentlemen, even after they were made aware of their names and positions.

I hope your excellency will favor me by communicating to Captain Lewis and to Mr Richardson the very sincere regret which is felt by our government for the injustice and indignity put upon them, and to beg them to believe that their treatment arose out of no desire to offend or embarrass, but out of ignorance, however unfortunate have been the consequences.

To guard against a recurrence of such usage as befell your two distinguished countrymen, the government has taken steps which it is hoped and deemed will prove effectual.

I hope the explanation I have here given you of the misconduct of the police officials will prove satisfactory and sufficient to both your excellency and the two gentlemen interested, to whom I request you to communicate the above.

With respect and consideration,

TEEASHIMA MUNENORI,
His Imperial Japanese Majesty’s Minister for Foreign Affairs.

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

[Inclosure 3 in No. 257.]

Mr. Bingham to Mr. Terashima.

No. 213.]

Sir: It gives me pleasure to acknowledge the receipt of your excellency’s communication of date 22d instant, in relation to the wrongful arrest and detention by [Page 825] Japanese officials of Hon. William A. Richardson and Commander R. F. R. Lewis, when in the exercise of their guaranteed rights of travel and sojourn within the treaty-limits of Kanagawa. The action taken by your excellency’s government in the premises, if given to the public by due official notification, will, I presume, satisfy my Government and the citizens of the United States that the rights guaranteed to them by treaty will hereafter be respected by all officials in His Imperial Japanese Majesty’s service.

Although no mention is made in your excellency’s note of the purpose of a public notification, I cannot doubt that your excellency will see in this instance quite as much occasion for such notification as was present for the public official notification which was given by your excellency’s government on the 25th July, 1874, in the matter of the unlawful arrest within the British legation of a member of the legation-escort.

In that case it was deemed that the dignity and good faith of the empire required the notification, to the end that a like violation of public law might not be committed by officials of your excellency’s government. In this case the notification seems to be required, to the end that the treaty-obligations to which the good faith of the empire is pledged to the United States and the citizens thereof may be respected hereafter by His Imperial Japanese Majesty’s officials.

As I desire to communicate to my Government by the outgoing mail the action taken, by your excellency’s government in this matter, I will esteem it a favor if your excellency will inform me if the public notification will be given.

While it is apparent that such public official notification will be productive of much good, and will be a new assurance of the care your excellency’s government takes to fulfill its treaty-obligations, it can give no offense and work no hurt to any one.

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

JNO. A. BINGHAM.

His Excellency Terashima Munenori,
His Imperial Japanese Majesty’s Ministsr for Foreign Affairs.

[Inclosure 4 in No. 257.—Translation.]

Mr. Terashima to Mr. Bingham.

Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your excellency’s letter under this date in reference to the stoppage, in the village of Hachoji, of Hon. William A. Richardson and Commander Lewis, United States Navy.

In reply, I have to state that the due official notification to the officials of all the provinces is soon to be issued by the government, to prevent a recurrence of such an unfortunate affair as befell your two distinguished countrymen; which steps, it is hoped and deemed, as mentioned in my letter of yesterday, will prove effectual, and satisfy your excellency’s Government in the premises.

With respect and consideration,

TERASHIMA MUNENORI,
His Imperial Japanese Majesty’s Minister for Foreign Affairs.

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