Mr. Bingham to Mr. Evarts.
Tokei, Japan, November 13, 1877. (Received December 13.)
Sir: Referring to my No. 571, of date the 23d of May last, in relation to the Satsuma rebellion, and to my informal and unofficial suggestion to this government that mercy should be extended to the insurgents in the event of the assured triumph of His Majesty’s forces, I have the honor now to report that since the suppression of the rebellion, to wit, on the 10th instant, there appeared in the Japan Daily Herald a statement from the Osaka Nippo, a Japanese journal, of the action of His Majesty’s court, which sat at Nagasaki under special orders to try rebel prisoners, and which court was closed and terminated its labors on the 30th ultimo.
From this statement it appears that 38,514 persons were tried by the court for complicity in the rebellion, of whom 295 were acquitted, 35,918 were pardoned, 20 were fined, 107 were deprived of rank as shisoku (samurai, or sword-bearer), 1,793 were condemned to imprisonment with hard labor for terms ranging from thirty days to ten years, and 20 were adjudged to decapitation.
The editor of the Herald, in reproducing this report, remarks that “the Emperor was pleased to notify to the judges his approbation,” and adds that “it is not to be gainsaid that the imperial government, while it was resolute, as in duty bound, in putting down the rebellion, has displayed that discretion which knows how to use a victory with mercy to the vanquished. In an Asiatic government such forbearance as has here been shown to rebels succumbing to the force of arms may be regarded as unique.”
It is a pleasure to note that the Herald, which so often questions the essential rights of this government and writes in disparagement of its administrative ability, finds something to approve and commend in this instance.
I have, &c.,