Mr. Foster to Mr. Coombs.
Washington, September, 27, 1892.
Sir: I have to acknowledge the receipt of your dispatch, No. 34, of August 25, 1892. It gives the particulars of the wreck of the merchant vessel North American on the 23d of July last off the coast of [Page 386]Japan and of the heroic and humane conduct of certain villagers under the jurisdiction of the Governor of Tokushima Ken. I have perused your dispatch with care, and, by the President’s direction, you are authorized to draw upon the Secretary of State for the sum of $350 as a gift to those people in recognition of their noble and praiseworthy conduct. In this connection I note your recommendation that it would be well should the testimonial be in the substantial form of money. It might be expended to enable those villagers to purchase fishing boats, nets, and other fishing gear, and such things as will assist them in the pursuit of an occupation which, to them, is life and sustenance.
I have no desire to indicate how the money shall be distributed or used, but in sending it to the Japanese Government you may say that the Government of the United States would be glad to know that it had been applied, provided no better course suggests itself to the Japanese Government, in the manner indicated. You may also ask of the Japanese Government the names of the villagers most conspicuous in this noble and perilous rescue to the end that a silver medal, suitably engraved, may be presented to each.
Cordially approving your note of thanks upon this subject, I am, etc.,