Friday, July 30, 2010

The Emperor Signs the Treaty, and the Embassy is Announced: January 1859

From the January 1859 edition of The Friend, Honolulu, published by Rev. Samuel C. Damon:

A correspondent of the Boston Herald, writing from the steam frigate Mississippi, at Hakodadi, says:

I presume that before this reaches you, you will have received the intelligence that our consul, Mr. Harris, has succeeded in completing his new treaty with the Japan Government, and that it has been signed by the Emperor and sent to our Government by Commodore Tatnall. Mr. Harris has labored hard to bring about this grand result, and is deserving the congratulations of the whole American people.

By this new treaty the port of Simoda, of no account to us, will be closed, and the beautiful harbor of Lanagua, only twelve miles from the city of Jeddo, is to be opened to us for commerce, &c. After the treaty is ratified, that portion will be the residence of Mr. Harris. It is a beautiful harbor, easy of access at all times of the year, well protected from all storms, and not like that of Simoda, surrounded at its extremes by sunken rocks. It is also capable of containing a large number of ships, while that of Simoda is not large enough to allow more than three or four ships to ride at anchor at the same time. Its proximity to the Court of Jeddo will also make it convenient for Mr. Harris.

The Japanese Government has decided to send an Ambassador to Washington in March next, on the condition that our Government will convey him and his suite to Panama in a government ship en route for the United States. I learn that Mr. Harris and Commodore Tatnall assured the authorities of Jeddo that it would be gratifying to the United States Government and its people to comply with this request, and that the return mail would no doubt bring orders to that effect.

Sunday, August 1st, was an interesting one at Simoda. At 10 o’clock, A.M., all the boats of the Powhatan and of this ship were seen pulling to the landing near the Consul’s residence, one mile from Simoda proper, filled with officers and men, among whom were Commodore Tatnall, Capt. Nicholson, and the Rev. Mr. Wood, Chaplain of the Powhatan. This large party, numbering four hundred, proceeded to the consul’s residence for the purpose of attending divine worship of Almighty God on Japanese soil. Here, on the very soil from which the decree has gone forth for centuries to the world, that if the Almighty God himself, or man, or the devil should dare step foot on Japanese soil to preach the religion of the Most high, they should pay the forfeit of their lives; here it was that, on the 1st day of August, 1858, four hundred American officers and seamen worshipped the true God without being molested. Rev. Wood gave his text from 1st Thessalonians, chapter 1, verses 9 and 10, and hymns 107 and 118 from the Episcopal Common Prayer-book were sung with much effect by the choir of the Powhatan. The discourse was listened to for an hour with the utmost silence by the American hearers, while a vast crowd of Japanese gathered around the building to watch our movements.

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