No. 378.
Mr. Bingham to Mr. Frelinghuysen.

No. 1716.]

Sir: It is with deep regret that I acquaint you of the death, on the 20th instant, of his excellency Iwakura Tomomi, junior prime minister of His Imperial Majesty the Emperor of Japan. Mr. Iwakura was one [Page 608]of the ablest of His Majesty’s ministers, and was also one of thefore most intellectually and morally of his countrymen. No minister of the Empire enjoyed more of the Emperor’s confidence or exercised a larger influence in shaping the policy of His Majesty’s Government. On the 19th instant Mr. Iwakura addressed to His Majesty a petition asking to be relieved from the duties of his office.

On the same day His Majesty issued his imperial decree, as follows:

Iwakura Tomomi, Mdaijen, has, in accordance with his request been permitted to retire from office. He will be officially styled the ex-Mdaijin, and will retain his ‘rank as heretofore.

On the following morning, the Emperor being advised that the end was near, called for the second time in person at the house of Mr. Iwakura, and took leave of his dying counselor.

Directly after the death of Mr. Iwakura, His Majesty conferred upon him the posthumous title of Daijo Daijin (first minister of state), and issued the following rescript:

The ex third minister of state (Iwakura Tomomi) aided me (the Emperor) with, unflagging fidelity and loyalty in the accomplishment of the great work, the work which is destined for eternity. He was the pillar of the nation and a model for my subjects. I ascended the throne in my youth. Dependent upon the ministers, I listened to their counsels. The deceased was my teacher. Heaven has deprived me of his aid! How grieved am I! In honor to his memory I confer on him the posthumous title of first minister of state.

On the 25th instant, the remains of Mr. Iwakura were buried beside the remains of his honored father, within the limits of this capital.

Having been honored during all my service here with the friendship of Mr. Iwakura I repeatedly called and inquired for him in the time of his last illness, and during his obsequies, as a mark of respect, I placed our flag at half mast.

I have, &c.,