Mr. Foster to Mr. Coombs.

No. 44.]

Sir: In connection with the Department’s instruction No. 32, of September 27, 1892, I inclose for your information, and to complete the record of the case, a copy of a letter of the 4th instant, from Messrs. Henry Hastings & Co., of Boston, with its accompaniment, in relation to the wreck of the ship North American, and the high regard in which they hold the acts of the brave and generous Japanese rescuers.

I have explained to Messrs. Hastings & Co. the nature of your dispatch upon the subject and of the action of the Department in placing to your credit the sum of $350, to be handed to the Japanese Government for the benefit of the villagers, and of the further desire of the President to present to those of the villagers most conspicuous in the noble and perilous rescue, when their names shall have been obtained, a silver medal suitably engraved.

I am, etc.,

John W. Foster.
[Inclosure in No. 44.]

Henry Hastings & Co. to Mr. Foster.

Dear Sir: Having bad submitted to us a copy of letter written to your honor by the consul of the United States at Hiogo, under date of August 5, ultimo, we take much pleasure in realizing that the consul at Hiogo should have written to our Government regarding the treatment of the natives towards the crew of our ship North American, which was wrecked on the coast of Japan July 23 last. The commander of the ship, Capt. Benjamin C. Creelman, has returned home, and says that had it not been for the assistance of the natives not one life would have been saved out of twenty-four, and further states that when on land, and safe from the perils of the sea, all the crew were provided with clothes and food. We take pleasure in inclosing [Page 387]a letter from Capt. Creelman for your perusal, and would urgently suggest that some steps he taken to prove to those natives who gave such timely assistance, by a suitable contribution from our Government, so that [they] may have boats and fish nets replaced to them which they lost during the gales that swept over their part of the country.

Capt. Creelman has been in our employ some thirty years, and he says he never saw such true and manly treatment from any race before, and all done without asking a penny.

Hoping this matter may receive prompt and proper consideration from our Government, ever willing to reward good deeds, we are, etc.,

Henry Hastings & Co.

Capt. Creelman to Mr. Hastings.

Dear Sir: In regard to the loss of your ship, North American, under my command, on the coast of Japan, July 23, 1892, it gives me great pleasure to say that the natives tendered us every assistance in their power in saving our lives, and in fact not a soul would have been saved but for the assistance received from them. After we were all on shore they did everything that it was possible for them to do, to make us comfortable, and assisted us to get back to Kobe. As soon as the government officials of the province got the news of the wreck they sent different kinds of European provisions, which had to be carried for miles on men’s backs, the roads and bridges being all washed away. After the weather moderated they went to work at my request, and saved all the cargo they could, not knowing whether they would be paid for their services or not, as none of them could speak or understand a word of English, and I don’t think that a particle of the cargo was stolen. I think that our Government should reward them liberally, and would respectfully suggest that they don’t want gold watches, medals, nor anything of that kind, but hard cash, to assist them in replacing their boats, nets, etc., that they have lost in the terrible storms they have had on their coast this season. Their treatment of us was so different from that received by the people on the Roumania lately lost in the Bay of Biscay, that they should not only be rewarded, but it should be made known to the whole civilized world.

Very respectfully, yours,

B. C. Creelman,
Master of the late ship North American.