No. 304.
Mr. Bingham to Mr. Evarts.

No. 941.]

Sir: Referring to my No. 935, in which I inclosed copies of certain correspondence between his excellency Mr. Terashima and his excellency Mr. von Eisendecher, the German minister, in relation to the violation by the latter of the quarantine regulations, I now have the honor to inclose for your information the entire correspondence on the subject of quarantine regulations between his excellency the minister for foreign affairs and their excellencies the British and German ministers.

From this correspondence it is clear that the representatives of Great Britain and Germany in Japan deny the power of His Imperial Japanese Majesty’s Government to declare and enforce a quarantine in Japanese waters over the vessels of their respective countries without their consent and approval. That each of these diplomatic representatives declined to approve, and refused to respect or enforce the Japanese [Page 671] quarantine regulations as heretofore proclaimed (of which I advised you in my Nos. 918 and 925), is apparent in the inclosed correspondence, as published in the Japan Herald of the 22d July last and the 12th instant.

I have, &c.,

[Inclosure 1 in No. 941.—Extract from the Japan Daily Herald, July 22, 1879.]

Correspondence relating to quarantine.

The official correspondence relating to the institution of quarantine by the Japanese Government, which we publish below, will serve to inform the public of what has passed on that subject between the British representative and the Japanese minister for foreign affairs, and tend to remove the false impressions created by an article in the Japan Mail and also one in the Tokei Times, both of them being written by persons whose lack of knowledge of what they were writing about is conspicuous. The intention of the writers is to put forward statements and advance arguments which they hope may be pleasing to the government, with the addition, in the case of the Tokei Times, of being, as usual, virulent against Sir Harry Parkes, who seems to be the bête noir of the editor of that journal. The German Minister, in this instance, however, divides the animadversions with him, and he is accused of ordering the “Hesperia” to break quarantine, and of being guilty of “countenancing a most flagrant rupture of the Japanese regulations,” and he is threatened with “strenuous representations being made to his government.” It seems to us that the servile officiousness of these journals is calculated to be rather a source of embarrassment, than otherwise, to the government they are so solicitous to serve. We expect to be in a position also to print the correspondence relating to the “Hesperia.”


Sir: I beg to inform you that, in consequence of the prevalence of cholera at Kobe and Ozaka, the inclosed provisional regulations have been framed for the purpose of detaining vessels arriving from those places at Nagaura, in Sagami, during a period of ten days, and that they will be put in force as soon as our arrangements are completed.

With respect,

[l. s.]
Minister for Foreign Affairs.

His Excellency Sir Harry S. Parkes, &c., &c., &c.

[The above note was only received by Sir H. Parkes, in consequence of his absence from Yedo, on the morning of the 9th July.]


Sir: In my note of the 3d instant I informed you that in connection with the prevalence of cholera in the localities of Kobe and Ozaka, vessels arriving from those localities would be detained during ten days at Nagauri, in Sagami, and inclosed some provisional regulations; but I have now been informed by the authorities that it has been decided that vessels which, upon being examined by the health officer, are found to have had no cases of cholera during the voyage, will be allowed to enter port after the lapse of seven days, calculated from the day on which they left the diseased port.

I take, &c.,

, [l. s.]
Minister for Foreign Affairs.

His Excellency Sir Harry S. Parkes, &c., &c., &c.


Sir: I beg to state that I have been informed by the authorities that in consequence of the spread of cholera now prevalent in various localities from Kioto and Ozaka to [Page 672] the Shiga, Gifu, and Miye prefectures, orders have been sent that travelers coming to Tokei by land will be detained at points on the main lines of communication in the Yamanashi and Gumba prefectures, and at Mishima, in the Shidzuoka prefecture, during five days from the day of their arrival before being allowed to pass on.

I take, &c.,

, [l. s.]
Minister for Foreign Affairs.

His Excellency Sir Harry S. Parkes, &c., &c., &c.

Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of Your Excellency’s note of the 3rd instant, informing me that in consequence of the prevalence of cholera at Kobe and Ozaka vessels arriving from those places bound for Kanagawa or Shihagawa will be subject to a detention of ten days at Nagaura, and you inclose a set of provisional regulations providing for the inspection and detention of such vessels, which you observe will be put in force as soon as the arrangements of your government are completed.

In a subsequent note of the 9th instant Your Excellency informs me that the above-mentioned period of detention has been changed, and that those vessels which are found to have had no cases of cholera on board during the voyage from Kobe or Ozaka will be allowed to enter port after the lapse of seven days, calculated from the day of departure from the infected port.

In these notes Your Excellency makes no reference to foreign vessels, but I learn from Her Majesty’s Consul at Kanagawa that the course which your government proposes to adopt in their case has been stated in the following terms in a letter addressed by the prefect of that port on the 7th instant to Mr. Bavier as Doyen of the Consular body.

The prefect observes, “I have received instructions from His Excellency the minister for foreign affairs to inform you that when I receive from Ozaka or Kobe a telegram announcing the departure of a foreign vessel bound for this port, I am to report it to the consul under whose jurisdiction she is, and he will be requested to accompany the health officers on board, examine her, and, after consultation as to the sanitary measures to be taken with her, she will be put in quarantine in Nagaura Bay. In the event even of no telegram arriving in time from Ozaka or Kobe, the Japanese man-of-war stationed on guard off Yokosuka will, on perceiving a vessel coming in, proceed to stop her, and report at once to me. I will then let the consul know and proceed as above stated.”

At the interview which I had the honor to hold with Your Excellency on the 9th instant you informed me that you had authorized the prefect to make this communication to the senior Consul.

It affords me pleasure to assure Your Excellency of my readiness to authorize Her Majesty’s Consul at Kanagawa to co-operate with the prefect in applying to British vessels coming from Ozaka and Kobe, so long as those ports remain in an infected state, a system of quarantine in the sense of the general terms above stated, and I am now engaged in making the arrangements necessary for this purpose, which I shall speedily communicate to Your Excellency. I may mention, at once, however, that it is not the Consul, but the medical officer whom he may depute, who should visit British ships on their arrival off Kanagawa, and that it will be requisite that the same medical officer should have free access to any British vessel, her passengers or crew, during the performance of quarantine.

In respect to the regulations inclosed in Your Excellency’s note of the 3d instant, I feel that, if these are to be regarded as the rules which the Japanese Government intend to apply to their own ships, it would be out of place for me to offer an opinion as to the suitableness of their provisions. But presuming that Your Excellency’s government would naturally desire to observe towards foreign vessels, as closely as circumstances will permit, the quarantine system which they adopt in the case of Japanese vessels, I feel that I should draw Your Excellency’s attention to the incompleteness of these regulations as they at present stand.

The deficiencies to which I allude will at once be observable on comparing these regulations with those which Your Excellency communicated to the foreign representatives at the close of last August.

In those regulations Your Excellency’s government defined with much care and minuteness the rules of quarantine which they then desired to institute, and made provision for various important points and contingencies which are left unnoticed in these new regulations.

Thus the regulations of last August provided that “upon the establishment of a quarantine, a local board of quarantine shall be organized” (under the direction of the central board of health at the capital) “at each of the open ports, and shall consist [Page 673] of properly educated and qualified Japanese or foreign medical men, government officers, and a suitable staff of assistants. The number of members shall be regulated in each instance by the amount of shipping at the port, but in all cases shall be sufficient to insure the speedy disposal of all matters of the quarantine.”

But by the new regulations all authority in regard to the enforcement of quarantine is given to a single individual called “the medical inspector,” and nothing is stated as to his nationality or qualifications, as to the superior medical authority under which he should act and by which he should be directed, or as to the organization of the staff of health officers which is indispensable to the institution of efficient quarantine.

Again, no distinction is made in the new regulations between the treatment of a ship in which cholera has not appeared and one on board of which the disease has already broken out. By the regulations of last August the quarantine board were given power to reduce the detention to less than seven days in the case of non-infected vessels, if the board considered it safe to do so, but this judicious provision is not mentioned in the new regulations. The latter contain no special provision for limiting or regulating the visitation of a ship in quarantine by persons from the shore. No provision is made for cases of doubtful disease, and to remove non-choleraic patients to the cholera hospital would not only be a very grave error, but also a flagrant wrong, as their lives would thereby be placed in peril. No special clause is introduced for the convenience of vessels in transit; no mention is made of any modification of the term of detention of a ship in the event of cholera breaking out during quarantine; and no arrangement is made for the separation of suspected from infected ships at the quarantine station.

All these points, however, are provided for in the regulations of last August, and Your Excellency will therefore excuse me for observing that I fail to understand the object of your government in substituting these new and incomplete regulations for the much fuller and clearer rules which were drawn up by the able medical officers composing the quarantine commission which sat last summer.

Your Excellency I trust will perceive that it would be impossible to establish an efficient system of quarantine without giving due attention to the above-mentioned points and other details, with which I will not burden this note, and also that I should be unable to authorize Her Majesty’s Consuls to enforce the observation by British subjects of quarantine rules which were manifestly inefficacious or impracticable. In this case, however, I feel that it will not be difficult for me to furnish such instructions to Her Majesty’s Consul at Kanagawa as will enable him to co-operate effectively and cordially with the Japanese health officers and to meet, as far as British subjects are concerned, every prorjer requirement which quarancine entails.

For my own part I may observe that, though I do not share the opinion of Your Excellency’s government, that a system of quarantine is preferable to that of medical inspection, because quarantine, as Your Excellency is aware, was-condemned by a large majority of the most eminent medical men of all nations who formed the International Sanitary Congress at Vienna in 1874, I am nevertheless entirely willing, in deference to the wishes of your government, to co-operate with you earnestly in giving such a system a trial in the present instance. The experience which will be thus obtained will furnish evidence as to the degree of benefit that may be derived from it. But I beg leave to mention that if the quarantine which Your Excellency seeks to establish is to be carried out in the manner which appears to have been followed in the case of the Japanese passenger steamer “Genkai Maru,” it must prove entirely useless,

In that case, it appears that, some of the Japanese passengers were allowed to leave the ship, while many Japanese, and also several foreign visitors, some from Yokohama, were allowed to come off to her from the shore, to mix freely with the passengers, to take meals on board, and then to return to their houses. No doctor was appointed to remain on board the ship in order to attend to the passengers, although they were treated as infected persons, and as such should have been placed under constant medical care, while the cattle on board were allowed to die for want of food, and to create a degree of foulness in the ship, which alone might have caused sickness to break out onboard. For some particulars of the allegations made in this case I beg to refer Your Excellency to the inclosed copies of letters addressed to Her Majesty’s Consul by two passengers, Mr. Singleton and Mr. Mitchell, British subjects, who were detained on board the “Genkai Maru,” and of a letter addressed by the United States Consul-General at Kanagawa to his colleagues. Your Excellency will perceive that these letters contain grave complaints of the manner in which quarantine was conducted on board that vessel.

I refrain from offering any obervations on the great difficulty which your government will encounter in their efforts to institute the land quarantine of which you informed me in another note of the 9th instant, but it is obvious that unless that be efficient, maritime quarantine must prove ineffective also. Allow me, however, to again assure Your Excellency that I shall do all that lies in my power to promote the objects of your government in this matter, as the spread of disease concerns in equal degree [Page 674] the health and welfare of the Japanese people and the foreign residents of this country.

I take advantage of this opportunity to renew to Your Excellency the assurance of my high consideration.


To His Excellency Terashima Munenori.

Sir: With reference to my note of the 12th instant, on the subject of the quarantine regulations issued by your government on the 3d instant, I have now the honor to communicate to Your Excellency a regulation which I have this day made and promulgated for the purpose of vesting Her Majesty’s Consul at Kanagawa with such legal powers as will enable him to co-operate effectually with the Japanese authorities for preventing the introduction of cholera into Kanagawa, by detaining British ships entering the Bay of Yedo from Hiogo or Ozaka, and by causing them to submit to medical examination and other precautions.

I take, &c.,


To His Excellency Terashima Munenori, &c., &c., &c.

[Inclosure 2 in No. 941.—Extract from the Japan Daily Herald, August 12, 1879.]

Correspondence relating to quarantine and the “Hesperia.”

Nomura Yasushi, Esq.,
Kanagawa Ken Rei:

Sir: The Doyen of the Consular body has communicated to me the letter which you again this year have written to him concerning quarantine measures against foreign vessels arriving in Yokohama from infected ports.

I must again this year express my regret that you, in such an important matter, which affects the rights of German vessels, did not confer with me beforehand. I should willingly, jointly with you, have arranged such measures as would not only have secured the desired object—the prevention of cholera being imported—but would also have obviated your communicating to me a measure taken by your government, the application of which to German vessels I, under the existing circumstances, cannot permit.

The standpoint which I again this year am obliged to occupy in the quarantine question, is exactly the same as in the previous year.

I perfectly agree with you that precautionary measures ought to be taken, without delay, in order to prevent cholera from being imported, and I intend to meet your wishers in this respect by means of the circular to German shipmasters arriving in Yokohama, which I inclose for your perusal.

This circular enjoins on German shipmasters, as in the previous year, to comply with such quarantine as the Kencho authorities may consider necessary, until the provisional medical inspection to be ordered by the imperial Consulate has been made.

I should again this year point out that it is of the greatest importance that communications from the Japanese health-officers to me are made with the least possible delay, and I therefore recommend that incoming ships should be boarded and examined by them outside the harbor.



As cholera has appeared in Southern Japan, the Japanese Government, with a view to prevent importation of the disease, has ordered that vessels arriving from infected ports shall be inspected, and it has asked the foreign Consuls to assist it in the carrying” out of such measures as may prevent the spread of the disease; measures the necessity of which is admitted by the undersigned, who therefore willingly has accorded the Japanese Government his co-operation in their enforcement as far as German ships are concerned. You are, therefore, hereby requested to answer the inclosed questions with regard to the state of health on board your ship, to write, your answers on the [Page 675] space left open, and hand the same to the Japanese health officer who presents this circular. If the latter, in consequence of your statements, or of examination of patients on hoard, should inform you that it is necessary that you go into quarantine then you shall anchor in an isolated place, and there await the medical inspection which I shall immediately cause to be made, and, in the mean time, with quarantine flag hoisted, abstain from all communication with the land.

To all masters of German merchant-vessels arriving from Southern Japan.

The Imperial German consul,


Nomura Yasushi, Esq.,
Kanagawa Ken Rei:

Sir: On the 4th instant I had the honor to inform you in how far I would be able to assist you in enforcing the proposed quarantine measures with regard to German ships.

At the same time I sent you a circular that authorizes the Japanese health officers to board German vessels and take provisional measures, which remain in force until this Consulate has been able to give definitive orders.

This morning I received, through His Danish Majesty’s consul-general, another letter from you, in which you so far modify the contents of your letter, dated the 1st July, to the Doyen of the consular body, that incoming vessels are not to be put under quarantine until the consul and the Japanese health officers have agreed thereupon.

But I cannot consider my letter of the 4th instant answered by that communication, and I therefore request you kindly to inform me, as soon as convenient, whether you feel inclined to accept the way in which I proposed to carry out quarantine measures against German vessels.

I consider it necessary that we should arrive at an understanding in this respect before German ships arrive in this port from Hiogo.


To E. Zappe, Esq.,
His Imperial German Majesty’s Consul:

Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your dispatch dated the 8th instant. The various points with regard to the examination of German vessels, as mentioned in your dispatch of the 4th instant, have not by any means been cast aside.

I have received information by telegram that the German steamer “Hesperia” weighed anchor from the port of Kobe at 10 p.m. yesterday; and I shall accordingly cause the inspecting officers to carry with them the document sent by you, and measures shall be taken in the sea off Yokoska, according to the regulations mentioned in your letter. I beg you, therefore, to take note of the above.

I have, &c.,

, [l. s.]
Ken Rei of Kanagawa.

Nomura Yasushi, Esq.,
Kanagawa Ken Rei:

Sir: Referring to the communication which you caused to be made to me last night through Mr. Kono Michitomo, namely that the German steamer “Hesperia,” coming from Kobe, had been sent to the quarantine ground, and, in the opinion of the Japanese health officers, would have to undergo a quarantine of seven days from her departure from Hiogo, I have to inform you that chief staff-surgeon, Dr. Gutschow, will this morning, under instructions from the Consul, proceed on board the “Hesperia” and make an inspection, the results of which he will afterwards report to me.

I have the honor to request you to inform the superior officer on the quarantine station of this, in order that Dr. Gutschow may have such facilities as are requisite for him to attain his object in view.


To the same:

Sir: In continuation of my letter of this morning, I hereby inform you that I, accompanied by chief staff-surgeon, Dr. Gutschow, went to-day in His Majesty’s gunboat, “Wolf,” to the quarantine ground at Nagaura, from whence I have just returned.

The result of the inspection of the “Hesperia,” which I, from want of time, am unable [Page 676] to forward this evening in extenso, is briefly this, that the state of health and other conditions on board are so favorable that the immediate release of the ship from quarantine cannot apparently, or even probably, expose Yokohama to any danger of cholera being imported.

This caused me to ask Mr. Kojima, the superior officer on the quarantine station, to release the Hesperia at once, and as he declared that he had no authority to do so, then I requested him to telegraph for orders to that effect.

No answer having arrived in Nagaura by 7 o’clock p.m., I returned to Yokohama, and I now have the honor directly to address to you the request that you will, without further delay, order the quarantine of the Hesperia to cease, as the same, in view of the state of health on board, no longer appears necessary.

Finally. I urgently ask you to let me kindly know your decision by letter this very night, or, at the very latest, before 10 a.m. to-morrow.


His Excellency Terashima Munenori,
Minister of Foreign Affairs:

Sir: I have the honor respectfully to inform Your Excellency that I have requested chief staff-surgeon, Dr. Gutschow, of Yokohama, to proceed to-morrow on board the German steamer Hesperia, which is now provisionally detained at the quarantine grounds, there to make a medical inspection, and report the result to me.

Your Excellency will have the goodness to make this known to the quarantine authorities, in order that no difficulties shall arise at the place.

I request your excellency to accept, &c.,


His Excellency von Eisendecher,
Imperial German Minister Resident:

Sir: I have had the honor to receive Your Excellency’s favor of yesterday, in which you inform me that you have instructed the German chief staff-surgeon, Dr. Gutschow, to proceed on board the German steamer Hesperia, which is now, according to the quarantine regulations, detained at Soshu Nagaura, there to make a medical inspection, and in which Your Excellency requests me to take the necessary measures, in order that no difficulties shall arise at the place. I have immediately notified the authorities concerned, but, at the same time, I must respectfully inform Your Excellency that the inspection by the said medical officer can have no influence on the duration of the prescribed term of quarantine.

With the highest consideration,

Minister of Foreign Affairs.