No. 87.
Mr. Holcombe to Mr. Evarts .

No. 7.]

Sir: I have the honor to hand to you herewith a copy of an interesting dispatch recently received from the vice-consul at New Chwang. It is not yet known what steps, if any, the French Government propose to take in the premises.

Rumors are current here of coming difficulty between Corea and Japan, but they can be traced to no reliable source.

Any further information which I may obtain will be promptly communicated.

I have the honor, &c.,

[Inclosure in No. 7.]

Mr. Bandinel to Mr. Seward.

No. 17/497]

Sir: I have the honor to give you the following information:

Monseigneur Ridel, the French bishop in Corea, has been imprisoned, and the four French priests have fled to the mountains.

One theory is that the Coreans apprehend a war with Japan, and intend to hold the bishop as a hostage.

[Page 132]

Another theory is, that the act is due to religious enmity, and that his life has thus far been spared at the intercession of the young Queen, herself said to be a Christian.

The French missionaries here tell me that war with Japan is expected by the Coreans, and would be popular among the lower classes, but that the country is quite unprepared.

I have, &c.,