Mr. Portman to Mr. Seward
Sir: I have the honor to transmit herewith, No. 1, copy of a memorandum, signed this day, setting forth the course of action unanimously adopted, in accordance with instructions received from their respective governments, by the representatives of Great Britain, France, and the Netherlands.
Similar instructions have, no doubt, been sent to this legation. I would have preferred to await their arrival, but I knew that a golden opportunity to place our political and commercial relations with this country on an improved basis had presented itself, and felt no hesitation, therefore, in cordially uniting with above-mentioned representatives in carrying out the instructions that had been received.
This action is unquestionably in continuation of the policy that was inaugurated with the successful expedition to Simonoseki, of which the President was pleased to approve, and which has been productive of so much benefit. It was, moreover, in harmony with Mr. Pruyn’s views, as expressed in his several despatches with reference to the Simonoseki indemnity, and it was, also, well understood, though not frankly admitted, that the temporary transfer of the foreign legations to Osacca, at this juncture, could not but be highly acceptable to the Tycoon and his government, and, in all probability, would be the means of averting civil war, into which the hitherto existing civil commotion appeared likely to culminate at an early day.
The Tycoon, and four of the five members of which the Gorogio is composed, are now at Osacca.
I greatly regret that, on an occasion like the present, there is no national vessel in Japan. Very acceptable arrangements, however, have been made by the vice-admiral commanding her Britannic Majesty’s naval forces on this station for my accommodation on board her Britannic Majesty’s frigate Pelorus, the largest ship in his squadron next to the Princess Royal line-of-battle ship, in which the British minister and staff have taken passage.
The French minister will take passage in the frigate Guerriere, and the Netherlands consul general and political agent in the Dutch sloop Tontinan, and at 10 o’clock to-morrow morning the squadron will sail for Hiogo and Osacca.
The mail closes this afternoon, and only a few hours are left me to complete all my preparations for this trip; I trust, therefore, that you will excuse me from sending a translation of accompanying memorandum by this mail.
I also transmit, No. 2, copy of my letter to the Gorogio, and No. 3, copy of my letter to the consular officers in this country, announcing the temporary transfer of the legation to Osacca.
I have the honor to be, sir, very respectfully, your most obedient servant,
Hon. William H. Seward, Secretary of State, Washington.