Mr. Portman to Mr. Seward.
Sir: On the 3d instant the people of Yedo were publicly notified by the government that war had been reported to exist between the Mikado and the Tycoon; that this was not true, but southern Daimios, claiming to act in the name of the Mikado, had declared war against Tokugawa, and that Tokugawa (of which family the Tycoon is the chief) was firmly resolved to maintain his rights.
With reference to this notice, another one was issued to the army and navy, and to two-sworded men generally, ordering them to appear at certain places named to testify their devotion to the Tokugawa cause, and intimating that “those who might be inconvenienced by scruples to appear for the purpose indicated, were permitted to commit hara-kiri, (suicide,) and would receive the assistance of the government to that effect.”
Similar notices were issued in the provinces.
I was informed that the attendance at Yedo was universal and most enthusiastic.
An embassy sent by the Tycoon to the Prince of K’shü, offering to abdicate in his favor, has not yet returned. It is considered doubtful whether this prince will accept, as those who claim to act in the name of the Mikado have abolished the Tycoonate. By accepting the high office of Tycoon, the Prince of K’shü would’ deviate from his policy of armed neutrality, and invite the hostility of the Mikado’s party, which appears to be gaining strength.
If K’shü, therefore, assumes those rights, he may soon have to fight for them, and Stotsbasi (Yokugawa) probably calculates in that case to [Page 697] step in with his well organized forces, and decide the contest on his own chosen ground.
Intelligence has been received here, yesterday, that the powerful Daimio Tye Kamonnokami, whose father, while regent, was murdered in Yedo by the Mito party, in March, 1860, had sent in his adhesion to the Mikado’s party, and agreed to furnish an escort of three thousand men to the Mikado’s envoys now on their way to Yedo. Instead of furnishing the three thousand men that were promised, only five hundred men, indifferently armed, had been sent, and the Mikado’s envoys are reported to have been somewhat delayed in consequence.
The Swiss and Portuguese consular officers, claiming to have no authority, have not yet issued any notices of neutrality.
I have reported this omission to Mr. Van Valkenburgh for the information of himself and colleagues.
I have the honor to be, sir, very respectfully, your most obedient servant,
Hon. William H. Seward, Secretary of State, Washington, D. C.