Rev. Samuel C. Damon reported in the May 6, 1854 edition of The Friend of the arrival on April 30th of the U.S.S. Saratoga. This was one of the famous Black Ships under Commodore Matthew Perry. Damon's article quotes one of the same published in the Polynesian.
The significance of the arrival of the Saratoga was that it brought Captain H.A. Adams, U.S.N., who brought with him dispatches from Commodore Perry to the U.S. Government. Among those dispatches was the actual signed Treaty of Amity and Friendship with the Empire of Japan.
This, in turn, would lead to the 1860 arrival of the Japanese Embassy delegation in Honolulu on its way to the United States.
Below is a transcript of the story from The Friend:
The American Sloop-of-war SARATOGA, Capt. Walker, arrived at this port on the 29th ult., in 25 days from Japan, which is the shortest passage ever made.
The S. brings Capt. H.A. Adams, U.S.N., as bearer of despatches to the Government in Washington.
The point of interest in this intelligence is the fact that Com. Perry concluded a TREATY OF AMITY AND FRIENDSHIP WITH THE EMPIRE OF JAPAN, at Kennegawa, near the city of Yedo, on the 28th of March, 1854. The long doubtful attempt has been entirely successful, and to the United States belongs the honor of making the first international treaty with Japan!
It will be recollected that in July last year, Com. Perry with two ocean frigates and two sloops of war, paid a visit to Japan, as bearer of a letter to the Emperor from the President of the United States, asking them to relax the restrictive policy which has so long closed that empire to foreign intercourse. Having overcome the reluctance of the Japanese to hold intercourse with them, and by a firm but altogether peaceful course of proceedings, induced them to receive some presents and the letter from the President of the United States, Commodore Perry took his departure, with the assurance to the Japanese officials that he should return in the spring for an answer.
Having visited Loo Choo and China in the Autumn and winter of 1853, the squadron, as spring approached, made their rendezvous at the Loo Choo group in February, and thence sailed for Japan. The fleet consisted of the Steam Frigates Susquehanna, Mississippi and Powhatan, the Sloops of war Saratoga, Macedonian and Vandalia, and the store-ships Supply, Lexington and Southhampton.
On arriving at Yedo Bay, Commodore Perry was informed by the Japanese authorities that they were disposed to give the President’s letter a most favorable consideration. They seemed remarkably conversant with the affairs of the United States, - understood the peculiarity of associated sovereignties under one federal head, -knew all about the Mexican war, its object, occasions and results, -and expressed much admiration for the nation altogether. With such feelings it required but little preliminary arrangement to fix upon Yocohama, (beach,) in the district of Kennegawa, as a suitable place for negotiation. This places is situated some 40 or 50 miles from the mouth of Yedo Bay, and a convenient locality for the purpose.
The various articles brought from the United States, and designed as presents to the Japanese authorities, were landed, and at an appointed time were exhibited. These consisted of a rail-road, steam engine, cars, magnetic telegraph, improved implements of husbandry, boxes of books, maps, charts, &c., &c., which were received by the Japanese, and elicited much interest and admiration.
After frequent meetings between Com. Perry on the part of the United States, and the High Commissioners deputed by the Emperor on the part of the Japanese, the terms were agreed upon, and the Treay finally concluded on the 28th of March.
We have not, of course, seen the document now in transit for the United States, but we understand that it opens to American citizens and American trade, the port of Samodi, (the Odowari, perhaps of the maps,) on the island of Niphon, some 40 or 50 miles west of the entrance of Yedo Bay, and the port of CHICKADADA, on the island of Yesso, in the district of Matsmay, on the Straits of Sanga. The former was selected as the most convenient place for a depot, and arrangements were made with the Japanese for a supply of coal at that point. This is a place of considerable commercial importance, having a good harbor and a population of fifteen or twenty thousand. Its proximity to the manufacturing districts, which are not otherwise approachable by the sea, renders it an important position, as a port for foreign trade. The vicinity of the latter place has been frequently visited by American whaleships, where they have had great difficulty in procuring supplies, on account of the restrictive policy of the Japanese.
We understand the treaty arranges for intercourse at both of these places, -for the residence of American citizens there, and for the residence of Consuls, if, in future, either party should desire it. It also stipulates, that Americans residing in or visiting these ports, shall be free to visit the interior to the distance of ten or twelve miles without molestation.
It is said that the Japanese did not hesitate to enter into the unqualified stipulations for the protection of seamen or others thrown on their shores; indeed, they affirmed that it was already a part of the law of the Empire, by special edict. They even insisted that the respective governments should pay the expenses of providing for the necessities of the citizens of the other, who might, by their misfortunes, need aid and comfort.
This disposition of the Japanese to treat with care and attention shipwrecked men, is quite contrary to the generally received opinion of the world in this respect, and in justice to the Japanese, it is but fair to state, that the restraints hitherto imposed upon American seamen, about which so much has been said and written, were rendered necessary by their overbearing lawlessness and vicious conduct.
So much for the treaty concluded between the United States and Japan. Its details can only be known after it is promulgated by the government at Washington. It is not a commercial treaty, but one of Amity and Friendship, concluded in amity and friendship, and not an imposition of the strong upon the weak, whether they were willing or not.
It is said that no supplies can be had for ships, except wood and water. There is no beef, stock or poultry, and ships, at present, can depend upon nothing in the way of recruits.
It is the first international treaty ever made by the empire of Japan, although repeated attempts have formerly been made to enter into relations with them of this character. The privileges enjoyed by the Dutch, were a mere grant to a private Company, having its principal foreign seat at Batavia.
The Russian fleet, consisting of a steamer, frigate, sloop-of-war and store-ship, has been at Nangasaki all winter importuning Japan for a treaty, but left in the month of February, unable to effect their object. It remained for the United States, by her skill in peaceful diplomacy, to over come obstacles hitherto considered insurmountable, the attempt to accomplish which, has excited the sneers, the ridicule and the contempt of a portion of the public press, as well in the United States as in Europe.
A Treaty has been made with Japan! The wedge has been entered, which will not fail to open that empire to the ultimate free residence, egress and ingress of Americans, and probably of all other commercial nations; -Com. Perry has proved himself a skilful diplomatist, additional distinction has been earned for the American name and nation.
Had we time or space, we might enlarge upon the probable effects of this important measure; -its influence upon the commerce of the Pacific; upon the Atlantic and Pacific railroad; upon a line of trans-Pacific steamers, touching at these Islands, &c., &c. But we must close, for the present moment, merely with the expression of the belief, that in all these particulars, the opening of Japan by Com. Perry will exert a most important influence, and may possibly prove the only additional spur that was needed to put them all in motion.
Officers of the U.S.S. Saratoga.
Commander – W.S. Walker.
Lieutenant- John R. Goldsborough.
Surgeon- T.S. Smith.
Purser- J. Geo. Harris.
Acting Master- John Madigan.
Ass’t. Surgeon- T. Steele.
Passed Midshipmen – J.G. Clark, A. Allmand, C. Gray, R.W. Scott.
Midshipman- O.F. Stanton.
Captain’s Clerk- J.S. Sewall.
Acting Boatswain- James Cline.
Gunner- W.H. Hamilton.
Carpenter- Leonard Moses.
Sailmaker- H.F. Stocker.
PASSENGERS. – Commander H.A. Adams, U.S.N., bearer of Despatches from Commodore Perry to the U.S. Government.
W.L. Wayne, Lieut. U.S.N.; J.B. Randolph, Lieut., U.S.N.; Jacob Zeilin, Bvt. Major, U.S.M. Corps; C.W. Addott, Clerk to Bearer of Despatches.