No. 424.
Mr. Bingham to Mr. Blaine.

No. 1268.]

Sir: On the 4th instant His Majesty the King of Hawaii reached Yokohama en route for Eastern Asia, Europe and the United States of America. Having been consulted by Mr. Wooyeno, assistant Japanese minister for foreign affairs, in anticipation of the arrival of the King, as to what action, if any, should be taken by His Imperial Japanese Majesty’s Government touching the King’s reception, I suggested that His Majesty should be received by this government and entertained in a manner befitting his rank, which, it gives me pleasure to say, was done, the Emperor having directed his ministers to receive the King and tender to His Majesty lodging and hospitality in the private palace Enrioknan in Tokei. The King having been conducted thither, on the same day was received in audience by the Emperor and every courtesy was extended to him during His Majesty’s stay, which terminated on the 16th instant, when His Majesty sailed for China.

Soon after his arrival I called on His Majesty, who received me cordially and thanked me for my good offices in communicating with this government on behalf of the Hawaiian Government, and especially for my letter to his excellency Mr. Inonye (a copy of which I have the honor to inclose), in which I transmitted a copy of the letter from His Hawaiian Majesty’s minister for foreign affairs to Mr. Irwin, the acting consul-general of Hawaii in Japan.

His Majesty did me the honor to call upon me in person with his suite, and also to invite me to dine with him at the palace, which invitation was accepted by me.

The Union Christian Church of Yokohama invited His Majesty to meet them on the 10th instant, which was the ninth anniversary of the organization of the native church of Christ in Japan. The church building was erected in 1875, and paid for largely by foreign contributions; among others, $1,000 contributed in 1853 by the Christian people of Hawaii. This money having been intrusted to the Reformed Church [Page 725]in America for its use, was, with, the increase thereof, applied to the erection of the edifice in Yokohama above named. The King upon entering the building found it filled with Japanese Christians and their friends, its walls adorned with the Japanese and Hawaiian flags, above which was the word in His Majesty’s own tongue “Aloha,” the Hawaiian expression for “Love to thee.” Upon the entrance of His Majesty the Japanese pastor of the church, the Reverend Okuno Masatsuna, made an address to His Majesty, in which, after saying “I extend to Your Majesty a most cordial welcome,” he added, “this house of God in which we meet owes its erection to the generous donation of a large sum of money from the Hawaiian Christians to build the first native church in Japan.”

Herewith I inclose the address of the reverend gentleman to His Majesty and the text of His Majesty’s reply, as published in the Japan Weekly Mail of the 12th instant.

His Majesty’s visit to this Empire cannot fail, in my opinion, of good results. Those who conversed with His Majesty, were, I have no doubt, impressed, as I was, with his large intelligence. It was apparent that His Majesty, to use his own words, seeks “to promote the health of his people.”

I have, &c.,

[Inclosure 1 in No. 1268.]

Mr. Bingham to His Excellency Inonye Kaoru.

Sir: I beg leave to acquaint your excellency that I have been favored by Mr. R. W. Irwin, His Hawaiian Majesty’s acting consul-general at Yokohama, with a communication addressed to him by His Hawaiian Majesty’s minister for foreign affairs, a copy of which communication I have the honor to inclose herewith for your information.

Mr. Irwin is notified among other things that His Majesty on the 18th ultimo, left his kingdom for San Francisco, whence he proposed to proceed to Yokohama en route for the East, accompanied by his chamberlain, Mr. Judd, and also by Mr. Armstrong, His Majesty’s commissioner of emigration.

Your excellency will please observe that the Hawaiian minister for foreign affairs calls attention to the fact that His Majesty travels strictly incognito as Alu Kalu kawa.

Referring to a conversation which I had recently on this subject with his excellency, Mr. Wooyeno, I beg leave to say that I then suggested, in reply, that I thought it would be highly proper for His Imperial Japanese Majesty’s Government on the arrival of His Majesty the King of Hawaii at Yokohama, to extend to His Majesty the courtesies befitting his rank, and this I have no doubt it will be the pleasure of your excellency’s government to do.

It is probable that His Majesty the King will arrive at Yokohama by the “Oceanic” about the 28th instant.

I have, &c.,

[Inclosure 2 in No. 1268.—Extract from Japan Weekly Mail, March 12, 1881.]

The Rev. Okuno Masatsuna then read the following address in Japanese, and presented a copy of the Japanese New Testament to His Majesty:

Your Majesty the King of Hawaii: On behalf of the members of the first church of Christ in Japan, whose ninth anniversary we celebrate to-day, I extend to Your Majesty a most cordial welcome. We feel greatly honored by Your Majesty’s [Page 726]presence on such an occasion, and consider it as a mark of the liberal principles that characterize Your Majesty’s government and people. History records that Columbus in setting out on his famed voyage of discovery had Cipango and the East Indies in view. He knew not that a great continent of America and Your Majesty’s beautiful island empire needed first to feel the life-giving touch of Christian civilization before they in turn could extend it to our country. We rejoice in the integrity and independence of your empire, your liberal constitutional government, and in your great progress in educational matters. May the thrones of Kamehameha and of Jimmu never be held by others than their lawful descendants, A special duty which rests upon us to-day is this: this house of God in which we meet owes its erection to the generous donation of a large sum of money from the Hawaiian Christians to build the first native church in Japan. This money was intrusted to the mission of the Reformed Church in America for our use. By the generous gifts of others which were added to this, and the exertions of our first teachers, this church was erected and was dedicated to the worship of God July 10, 1875, from which time it has been freely used by us. We well know the source of that love which was seen in this gift on the part of Your Majesty’s people. It is no other than the love of God which led him to send his only begotten Son that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. And we are glad to avail ourselves of the opportunity afforded by Your Majesty’s visit to this empire to offer, through the august person of Your Majesty, to the Christians of Hawaii our sincere thanks. We have heard of the great success which has attended the preaching of the gospel in your dominion, but the cause of Christianity as yet with us is in its infancy. Yet are we happy to tell Your Majesty of more than seventy churches and 4,000 Christian believers. We hope also the day is not far distant when we in turn shall send our missionaries to other islands and countries to proclaim the glorious gospel of the blessed God. As a trifling token of our high respect for Your Majesty we humbly present Your Majesty a copy of the New Testament in our language, and pray that the high degree of liberty and advanced national prosperity which has been the blessing of those nations where this book has had its widest influence be more and more fully enjoyed both by Your Majesty’s people and ours.”

His Majesty, speaking in excellent English, said in reply:

“It is a source of great pleasure to me, on this occasion, to thank you for the very valuable gift that you have made me this afternoon. I feel very much gratified for this exchange of love, not only between Hawaii and Japan as nations, but also as between the Christians of our country and yours. I shall consider this estimable gift of the church of Japan—of the Christians of Japan—a pleasing memento of my visit, and I have no doubt it will be very gratifying to the Christians of my kingdom on my return for me to be able to show them the valuable present you have made me to-day. The Christian religion is the prevailing religion of my kingdom, and I hope that the liberal spirit of the Imperial sovereign of Japan and your labors—the labors of the mission as well as those of the communicants—will conduce to the progress of your work. With these few remarks let me thank the Christians of Japan for their kindness. I only regret that my stay in Japan is not long enough to visit the church more often.”

Hymn No. 727 was next sung, in English, and the service terminated with the benediction pronounced by the Rev. Uemura Masahisa.

His Majesty then adjourned to an ante-room where many presentations to him were made, some of those presented being old Hawaiians. His Majesty left shortly after five, and visited the Yokohama Chapter later in the evening, returning to the capital by the 10 p.m. train.