to Mr. Frelinghuysen.
Séoul , July 13, 1883. (Received August 29.)
Sir: The question of sending an embassy to the United States has been under consideration since my arrival here. In an audience with the King on the 5th instant, I took occasion to say that my Government [Page 245] would be pleased to receive an envoy from His Majesty. On the following day, in state council, it was determined to send two plenipotentiaries with full powers on a special mission to the United States. The persons designated for this purpose are Mr. Min-Yong-Ik, a nephew of the King and brother-in-law of the heir apparent, and Mr. Hong-Yeng-Sik, a son of the prime minister. They are young men of intelligence, and somewhat versed in the ways of the world, having been in China and Japan. Being persons of the highest rank, their selection by His Majesty for this mission is undoubtedly intended as a special consideration for our Govern merit.
I have reason to think that they will be instructed to confer with His Excellency the President concerning the relations existing between Corea and the other Oriental powers. In order to do this freely they hope to be furnished with an American interpreter who speaks the Chinese language. In their suite they have two Corean interpreters, the one speaking Chinese, the other Japanese. They desire particularly to learn something of our customs and postal service, our public-school system, and to examine our fortifications, arsenals, &c.
As other Oriental countries have done, Corea will undoubtedly require a large corps of foreign assistants. Our part in this work will depend very much upon the impressions and reports of these envoys. At present they have the highest opinions of our country and its institutions.
The United States steamer Monocacy being about to proceed to Nagasaki, Japan, for coal and provisions, upon consultation with Commander Cotton I have invited these envoys, with their suite, seven in all, to take passage by her, at the same time framing a telegram to Rear-Admiral Crosby, asking that the Monocacy be ordered to proceed with the embassy to Yokohama; otherwise they might be under the necessity of asking the same courtesy from a Japanese man-of-war, which would hardly be fitting. I have also written to Mr. Bingham, asking him to receive the envoys, and to telegraph the fact of their coming to you.
They propose to remain from four to six weeks in the United States, and then to return directly to their own country.
I have, &c.,