Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Pacific Commercial Advertiser Reports: Japanese Embassy in Washington, Part Two

Six months after the Japanese ambassadorial delegation arrived in Honolulu the Pacific Commercial Advertiser featured further news of their travels in the United States. ‘The Japanese at Washington: Incidents of Their Visit’ was featured in the August 2, 1860 edition of the paper.

The following is a partial transcript of the news story. No author is listed, so I am at this point assuming that the text was taken from various newspaper sources that managed through the mails to reach Honolulu. This is the second part of the article.


RECEPTION BY THE PRESIDENT. –On Thursday, 17th inst., at noon, the Embassy, properly attended by their officers and the naval commission, left Willard’s Hotel for the President’s House. They rode in open carriages. The chief Prince was arrayed in a rich brocade, purple silk sack, with ample overhanging sleeves, and flowing trousers of the same color. The other two dignitaries were in green of a similar texture and fashion. They wore caps like ladies inverted cabas, fastened on the crown of the head by strings passed under the chin. They carried pikes, halberds, and emblems of their rank. The inferior officers wore small hats with a round band, and triangular gowns.

The procession, flanked by United States Marines and ordnance-men, was quite an imposing affair, although some of the banner bearers and halberdiers who attended each Kami found it a hard matter to march over the rough pavements in their sandals, and they staggered terribly under their loads.

The procession having arrived at the President’s House, the Embassy was formally received by President Buchanan and his Cabinet, in precence of a splendid array of members of Congress, the diplomatic corps, the army and navy offiers in uniform, a large concourse of ladies, &c.

The President of the United States entered the East Room, accompanied by his Cabinet officers, and they took a position on the east facing west.

Secretary Cass returned to the ante-room, and returned with the Japanese Commissioners and their attendants, who made several profound bows as they approached the President and his Cabinet. Then one of the Japanese opened a series of paper boxes, one within another, and produced several letters which were handed to the President, and by him to Mr. Cass. The letter accrediting the Japanese Commissioners to the Government of the United States was unrolled from a large and magnificent scarlet envelope.

The Embassy then retired from the East Room for the purpose of bringing with them the imperial or principal Ambassador, who, according to their etiquette, could not be present at the delivery of the letter accrediting them. The principal Ambassador of the Japanese then addressed the President as follows:

(Next: The Japanese Address)

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