Mr. Bingham to Mr. Frelinghuysen.
Tokio, Japan, December 22, 1884. (Received Jan. 14, 1885.)
Sir: I regret to have to record another violent outbreak of the mob in Corea. Information has been communicated to me verbally, both by Count Inouye, his Imperial Japanese Majesty’s minister for foreign affairs, and by his excellency Li-shu-chang, his Imperial Chinese Majesty’s minister at this court, that on the 4th or on the 5th instant there was an assault made by a Corean mob in Seoul upon the ministers of His Majesty the King of Corea, and also upon the Japanese soldiers some two hundred in number, who were invited by the King, in a personal note addressed by His Majesty to Mr. Takezoye, the Japanese envoy to Corea, to give protection to the King in his palace. It is painful to be constrained further to remark that a number of persons were killed in this conflict, and also that the Japanese legation buildings in Seoul were burned by the mob. This Government has sent to Corea a commissioner to ascertain all the facts connected with this uprising.
That there should be such a manifestation of ill will towards this government by any portion of the Corean people is the more surprising in view of the fact that only a month before this unhappy affair the Imperial Government of Japan generously released the Government of Corea from its obligation of $450,000, incurred and agreed to be paid as indemnity to this Government for the murder of Japanese soldiers and officials and the burning of the Japanese legation buildings at Seoul in 1882.
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On the 13th instant his excellency Mr. Li, the Chinese envoy, called on me and expressed his regret that the violence in Corea should have occurred, and asked my good offices to “smooth over,” as he expressed it, the matter with the Imperial Government of Japan. I promised to use my good offices (I have done so) to bring about, if possible, an amicable settlement of the difficulty, should any difficulty arise between China and Japan out of the recent conflict in Corea between the Chinese and Japanese soldiers. It gives me much pleasure to say that Count Inouye assures me that his Government will endeavor to settle all questions with China in an amicable and friendly spirit. It is also highly satisfactory to me to be assured, as I have been, that our legation in Corea has escaped unhurt, and that Mr. and Mrs. Foote have safely reached Gensau (Chemulpo), where the U. S. S. Trenton is at present, as is also a Japanese man-of-war. I have written a personal note to Mr. Foote suggesting the importance of the Trenton’s remaining at Gensau (Chemulpo) until all trouble is over, and that it would be well also that he and Mrs. Foote should remain there for the present.
I have, &c.,