CHINA AND JAPAN
Passage to Panama -- Transfer of the Embassy to the Roanoke -- Arrival at Sandy Hook -- Sail for Hampton Roads -- The Embassadors Welcomed by Committee of Reception from Washington -- Visit Fortress Monroe -- Leave for the Capital -- Arrival at the Navy Yard -- Great enthusiasm excited among all classes -- Official Reception by the President -- Ball at the Secretary of State's -- Conference with Medical Men -- Visit the Capitol -- Navy Yard -- Leave for Baltimore -- Philadelphia -- Visit the Mint -- Firemen's Parade -- Leave for New York -- Princely Hospitalities -- Magnificent Ball -- Sail for Japan.
The passage to Panama was accomplished in smooth, calm weather, and the Embassadors embraced the opportunity afforded by their respite from the horrors of sea-sickness, to make more frequent visits to the officers of the ward-room mess than they had hitherto been able to do. They evinced a strong desire to cultivate the most friendly social relations with the officers; and expressed sincere regret that the time was so near at hand when the agreeable associations they had formed on board the Powhatan were to be severed, perhaps never to be renewed. It was but natural that they should have become warmly attached to those with whom they had been thrown as strangers, and from whom they had received the most respectful attentions and unremitting kindness, without the occurrence of a single untoward or disagreeable incident to mar their contentment, during their confinement of seventy-six days within the narrow limits of a ship. With the true instinct of native gentility, they seemed to apprehend that their presence on board had exposed the officers to personal inconveniences, at which they expressed the greatest regret, and were assured in return that the attentions shown them were due not only to their elevated positions in their own country, and as the guests in ours, but also to their personal claims upon our friendly regard.
When the ship reached the warm latitudes near Panama, the Japanese appeared to suffer much more with the heat than any others on board, owing, probably, to the fact that they had never been exposed in their highly favored country, to the vicissitudes of climate which form the common experience of the inhabitants of ours, and especially of sea-faring men. Their fans were in constant requisition, and they were charmed with a punka which had been hung over the ward-room table in an early part of the cruise; frequently sitting in the ward-room for hours, to enjoy the refreshing drafts created by its agitation; and always preserving the mild equanimity of temper and gentleness of manner for which they were so eminently distinguished. The punka afforded a most interesting sketch to the ever watchful artists, who expressed a determination to have this cooling "institution" introduced into their own houses on their return to Japan.
The Powhatan reached the anchorage off Panama on the 23d of April, and the U.S. Ship Lancaster, the flagship of the Pacific squadron, being at anchor in the bay, immediately fired the usual salute in honor of the arrival of the Embassadors, who were welcomed by Flag-officer Montgomery, and the officers generally attached to the men-of-war present.
Captain Gardner, of the steam-frigate Roanoke, and Captain Taylor, of the Marine corps, went over from Aspinwall to pay their respects to the Embassadors, and to make arrangements for their immediate transportation across the Isthmus, in the special train which had already been provided for them, and on the following day the Embassy left the ship under a salute of 21 guns from the Powhatan, Lancaster, and Saranac, embarking in the small steam tender of the P.M. Steamship Company, for the railroad station. On their arrival at that point, they were greeted by the authorities of the city of Panama, with all the honors due to their rank, and escorted to the cars, in which they left immediately for Aspinwall. The train was stopped for a short time at "the summit," to enable the Embassy to partake of a handsome collation prepared by the Railroad Company, after which their journey was resumed, and the passage to the Isthmus accomplished in shorter time than on any previous occasion.
On reaching Aspinwall, the boats of the Roanoke and of the frigate Sabine were found in waiting to convey the Embassy to their new home, and the whole party were speedily and safely embarked, and proceeded at once to the Flag-ship. Commodore McCluney's barge took the lead, conveying the six principal officials, Captain Gardner, of the Roanoke, and Captain Taylor. The Embassadors were received on board the Roanoke with the most distinguished honors -- the officers of the ship were all present in full uniform -- the drums rolled out a noisy welcome, the marines presented arms, and the "pomp and circumstance" of the ceremonial reception, was sufficiently imposing to have impressed favorably even a less imaginative people than the Japanese. Flag-officer McCluney received them at the gangway, and upon being introduced by the Chief Interpreter, cordially welcomed them in the name of the Government and people of the United States. An embassadorial salute of 17 guns was then fired from the Flag-ship, with the Imperial ensign of Japan flying at the fore; and after an acknowledgement of the courtesy to their Emperor, and an expression of thanks for their own distinguished and cordial reception, the chief officials of the party were introduced to the officers assembled on the quarter-deck, and afterward invited into the cabin.
The English frigate Emerald, bering the flag of Rear-Admiral Milne, arrived at Aspinwall on the same day with the Embassy; and the Admiral and his officers were invited to be present at the reception of the Japanese on board the Roanoke, but the invitation was not accepted by the Admiral, nor did he have the courtesy to fire a salute in honor of the Embassadors, which, under the circumstances, ought certainly to have been done.
Everything being in readiness, the Roanoke weighed anchor on the day following, (April 26th), and proceeded to Porto Bello for a supply of water, which could not be procured at Aspinwall; having obtained which, she sailed again on the 27th, for New York. During the stay of the Roanoke at the watering-place, the officers and servants attached to the Embassy were permitted to go on shore; and they were all greatly pleased by the fruits, birds, and animals which came under their observation, taking accurate sketches of everything which they regarded as rare and curious.
On the 9th of May, the Roanoke arrived at Sandy Hook, in thirteen days from Aspinwall, but here orders were delivered to Flag-officer McCluney, from the Navy Department, directing him not to enter the port of New York, but to proceed at once to Hampton Roads, where a steamer would be in readiness to convey the Embassy directly to Washington. It is needless to say that this order was productive of feelings of profound disgust and disappointment among the officers and crew of the ship, who had been long absent from home, and were naturally anxious to return to their friends with as little delay as possible. The arrangement, however, met the full approval of the Japanese, whose wishes it was most important to consult in the premises, as in accordance with their ideas of official etiquette it was proper to present their credentials to the Government before receiving any civilities, or making any acquaintances in the country. The steamer Philadelphia had been chartered by the Navy Department, and despatched to Hampton Roads to meet the Roanoke, and transport the Embassy direct to Washington, via the Potomac river; and a very select party, not exceeding eight in number, went down in her as a committee of reception, to welcome the illustrious strangers to the model republic. They arrived in the Roads on the evening of the 13th of May, and the following morning the chartered steamer proceeded thither, and anchored at a distance of about eighty paces from her big sister.
The scene was bright and animated in the extreme; the sea was smooth, the sky unclouded, and all nature seemed to smile auspiciously on the friendly meeting of east and west. The deck of the Roanoke was lined with glittering uniforms, while every available spot was filled by curious and pleased spectators. The committee of reception were soon on board, and after some preliminary arrangements, the ceremony of presentation took place in the cabin. The members of the Embassy being arranged according to rank, Captain Taylor advanced, and introduced the committee of reception. Captain Dupont made a brief address, saying: "Embassadors! I welcome you in the name of the President of the United States, who has anxiously expected your arrival, and will be pleased to learn that you are well. I bid you welcome." Captain Dupont then presented Mr. Ledyard, who said: "I come to inquire after your health, and bid you welcome." Here the Interpreter explained that the Secretary of State was Premier and second officer to the President. The Embassadors replied to Captain Dupont and Mr. Ledyard, by saying they were much pleased to make their acquaintance, and grateful for the attentions shown them; they were, also, obliged to Mr. Ledyard, and the officers personally, for the trouble they had taken in coming so far to meet them.
Captain Dupont then requested the Embassadors to name the hour when it would be convenient to accompany him on board the Philadelphia, to which they replied, that three o'clock would suit them; and, accordingly, at that hour they left Roanoke, taking an affectionate leave of the officers.
The members of the Japanese commission were divided into two parties, one in favor of, and the other adverse to foreign intercourse. The Chief Embassador represented the former class, while the assistants leaned to the non-intercourse side. Each party was required to make a report to the Tycoon for the benefit of the nation; upon these reports, and the national verdict thereon, will depend greatly the result as to our success or failure in Japan.
The Princes were much surprised to learn that their expenses were to be defrayed by the United States; they came prepared with ample funds to meet all demands upon them, and appeared to regard the national hospitality as the handsomest compliment they had received, and the most marked evidence of their being welcome and highly honored guests.
The Embassadors having accepted the invitation of the commanding officer, at Fortress Monroe, to pay a brief visit to the fortifications, the original intention of landing them first at the Capital was waived, and the steamer conveyed them to Old Point. Preparations for their reception were hastily made, and the troops of the garrison drawn up in a hollow square to receive them; after walking around the fort, and inspecting the guns, etc., with much curiosity and interest, they returned to the steamer, which got under way immediately for Washington, reaching that place on the 15th of May, where they were received at the Navy Yard wharf, by the officers of the yard and the Mayor and Council of the city, with due form and ceremony.
The utmost enthusiasm pervaded all classes; had the visitors been a deputation from the moon, greater excitement could not have attended their advent; dignified senators, supercilious dandies, and delicate ladies, having for the moment a common topic of interest with the democratic masses which thronged the streets. Curious crowds occupied every position whence they could hope to obtain a glimpse of the mysterious strangers, who, meanwhile, remained perfectly calm and unmoved by the bustle and turmoil which raged around them; regarding the thousands of eager and excited faces, and restless forms which hemmed them in on all sides, with the same mild expression which a thoughtful student sometimes cast on the tumultuous population of an ant hill. On their arrival at Willard's hotel, they were immediately conducted to the apartments prepared for them, and, at last, mercifully permitted to seek the repose which must have been so much needed after the fatigue they had undergone, and the constraint necessarily imposed by the presence of strangers, whose language they could not understand, save through the medium of an Interpreter. I had the doubtful pleasure, under the circumstances, of accompanying two of the principal officials in their carriage; and as frequent interruptions to our progress were occasioned by the slow progress of the military companies in front, I was accosted by numerous inquisitive females, desiring to be informed whether my companions were "men or women;" to which I replied, that to the best of my knowledge and belief, they belonged to the class usually styled "lords of the creation," and that they might rely upon the correctness of my statement, inasmuch as I should certainly have discovered them in any disguise they might have assumed as members of the gentle sex, during the sixty days we had passed together on board ship.
The hotel arrangements for the accommodation of the nation's guests were on the most liberal scale. Sixty rooms were set apart for them, comprising the most spacious and elegant apartments in the house, many of which were refurnished for the occasion, and ornamented in a style to please the known taste of the Japanese for articles of artistic workmanship, and tasteful design. Bronzes and paintings in profusion decorated the mantles and the walls, and everything looked bright and showy, in the manner which Eastern people are presumed to admire. There was an almost uninterrupted line of communication between the rooms, in order to secure the privacy which they might think desirable, and ample facilities for extensive ablutions were provided, the Japanese, like most Oriental nations, indulging almost to excess in the luxury of the bath.
The manners of the Japanese possess in a very high degree the requisites of true politeness; they are never presuming, officious, nor arrogant; and if they are sometimes bored or impatient in their social intercourse, they possess strong powers of concealment, as no feelings of the kind are ever permitted to become visible. They are apparently always in a good humor, and this inward light reflects cheerfully from their mild and amiable faces, forming a marked contrast to the care-worn and irritable expression, which we see constantly in the most refined civilized society; and it would certainly appear, that with all our intellectual supremacy, and spiritual enlightenment, we might yet learn from the unchristianized Japanese the secret of inward happiness and contentment; they "having no law, are yet a law to themselves," and they appear to carry out its highest spirit in their general intercourse with each other. They are particularly observant of official etiquette, and never allow their own engagements, or pleasure, to interfere with what they consider the paramount claims of the "ruling powers."
A deputation from Congress waited on them shortly after their arrival, to extend an invitation to visit the Capitol; but they declined naming the day for the purpose until after their reception by the President, nor would they reply to the municipal invitations from New York, Philadelphia, and elsewhere, until this important ceremonial visit had been paid.
The 17th of May was the day appointed for the momentous interview, and at the appointed hour, the Embassadors, attended by their officers and the members of the Naval Commission, proceeded with much pomp and ceremony to the President's House. They were conveyed in open carriages, having a number of mounted policemen in front and rear, while the marines and ordnance men marched on each side of the vehicles. The streets were crowded with spectators, many of whom followed the procession to the President's. Meanwhile, a brilliant company had assembled within the mansion, and the famous East-room was crowded to its utmost capacity; there were a large number of ladies present, with members of Congress, and others holding prominent public positions.
The officers of the Navy formed a line on one side of the room, and prominent among them appeared Commodore Tattnall, late Flag-officer of the East India squadron, under whose auspices the Embassy came to the United States. Opposite, another line was formed by the Army officers, General Scott's tall form towering above the rest. Between these was an open space about five feet wide, where the scene of the grand presentation, anticipated with much intense interest by all present, was about to be performed.
At noon the folding-doors were thrown open to admit the President of the United States, attended by the Cabinet officers. These dignitaries having arranged themselves in an imposing attitude, and assumed the most gracious air, and seductive sweetness of expression, which their respective features could be induced to wear, Secretary Cass retired to the anteroom, and soon returned ushering in the Embassadors and their suite, who made repeated and profound bows as they advanced toward the galaxy of bright stars at present illuminating our political horizon, keeping their eyes persistently bent on the ground, as if dazzled by the splendor of the concentrated rays. One of the Embassadors then opened a series of boxes enclosed one within another, and produced several letters, which were handed to the President, and by him transferred to the Secretary of State. The Chief Envoy then addressed the President in the following language:
"His Majesty, the Tycoon, has commanded us respectfully to express to His Majesty, the President of the United States, as follows:
"Desiring to establish a firm and lasting basis the relations of peace and commerce so happily existing between the two countries -- that lately the Plenipotentiaries of both nations have negotiated and concluded a Treaty, now he has ordered us to exchange the ratification of the treaty in your principal city of Washington. Henceforth, he hopes that the friendly relations shall be held, more and more lasting, and be very happy to have your friendly feelings. That you have brought us to the United States and will send us back in your man-of-war."
Having delivered their message they left the room, bowing repeatedly to the President and Cabinet as they retired. They soon, however, re-entered, making the same lowly obeisances as before, when the President made the following reply -- Mr. Portman interpreting to the Japanese Interpreter, and the latter communicating with the principal Envoy.
"I give you a cordial welcome as Representatives of his Imperial Majesty, the Tycoon of Japan, to the American Government. We are all much gratified that the first Embassy, which your great Empire has accredited to any foreign power, has been sent to the United States. I trust that this will be the harbinger of perpetual peace and friendship between the two nations. The treaty of commerce whose ratification you are about to exchange with the Secretary of State, cannot fail to be productive of benefit both to the people of Japan and of the United States. I can say for myself, and promise for my successor, that it shall be carried into execution in a faithful and friendly spirit, so as to secure to both countries all the advantages they may justly expect, from the happy auspices under which it has been negotiated and ratified. I rejoice that you have been pleased with the kind treatment you have received on board of our vessel of war on your passage to this country. You shall return in the same manner to your native land, under the protection of the American flag. Meanwhile, during your residence amongst us, which, I hope, will be sufficiently prolonged to enable you to visit the different portions of our country, we shall be happy to extend to you all the hospitality and kindness justly due to the great and friendly Sovereign whom you so worthily represent."
The President handed them a copy of his address, and then shook hands with each. The subordinate Japanese officials were afterward brought in and introduced.
A few days subsequently to the formal reception by the President, there was an arrangement made for the three Doctors attached to the Embassy, to meet a Committee of gentlemen of the same profession, for the discussion of professional subjects. The interview took place in the Governor's private parlor, and at the appointed hour, the oriental physicians took their seats in the order of their rank, and the Medical Committee shortly after entered the room. After brief salutations were exchanged, the Japanese were seated opposite the Americans, with a table between, at the end of which were Mr. Portman, the English Interpreter, and the second Japanese Interpreter.
Dr. Evans commenced the conversation, by saying that the medical profession were much gratified at the new tie which had been formed with Japan, and hoped that mutual advantages to the cause of science would result from an interchange of knowledge, adding, that any attentions which might be deemed useful or agreeable, would be gladly extended to the Doctors by their brethren in Washington. The Japanese acknowledged and reciprocated the fraternal feeling implied, and after the exchange of these little courtesies, through the medium of the Interpreters, the main object of the meeting was proceeded with. The questions had previously been prepared with much care, and were briefly and clearly worded, bearing on radical points of the healing art. In answer to the inquiry as to the preparation necessary to the practice of medicine in Japan, Dr. Mesaka replied that the training commenced at a very early age; books on the science were studied at school, and when the student was deemed sufficiently advanced and competent to practise, he was placed in one of the public hospitals for the sick poor, which are supported by the Government, and there afforded opportunity for observation and experience. If his course is creditably filled in this position, he finally receives a diploma which gives him a legal claim to the title of Physician, and he is then at liberty to pursue his profession. The English Materia Medica was then concisely and clearly explained to the Japanese, who listened with great apparent interest, one of them taking copious notes. They appeared perfectly willing to give in return all the information they possessed with regard to their own mode of practice. Medical men in Japan are familiar with the circulation of blood through the arteries; leeches were formerly used when depletion was required, but recently an innovation has been made in this respect, and bleeding is now part of the regular practice. Dissection under a system recently introduced is now employed in Japan; amputation is never performed, though one of the party had read a treatise on the subject. Midwifery is a branch of the science with which the Doctors (except those who make it their exclusive business) never interfere, unless in very difficult cases. Their treatment of women during child-birth is very similar to that of our own physicians, rather more simple, perhaps, in a few particulars, but employing the same kind of instruments, and generally proving successful. The question was then asked: "What virtue is ascribed in Japan to spiritual influence or that of the stars in the treatment of diseases?" and answered as follows: "The higher classes of Japanese -- those who possess any degree of cultivation -- to not believe that planetary, or spiritual influence, has any power in the treatment of diseases, but among the lower orders, such a superstition certainly prevails." The Doctors were told that this was also the case in America.
The medicines used in Japan are chiefly of vegetable origin -- mostly barks in a state of decoction. Compound drugs are rarely used -- minerals scarcely ever -- although the Japanese faculty are familiar with quicksilver. Quinine is obtained from the Dutch, and is given in very small quantities: from one to three grains being the average dose, and ten grains being the maximum dose in extraordinary cases of fever. The celebrated Dosia powder, the secret of which is supposed to be known only in Japan, was explained to be a species of sand derived from a mineral, which is blown into the nostrils of the dead, and rubbed over the limbs, producing flexibility in the corpse and apparent revival.
The Japanese Doctors inquired what species of plant produced the worm seed, and if they could see it; and were much gratified by a promise to show them either the plant itself, or plates representing it.
The interview closed by the Japanese requesting the cards of their visitors, and saluting them with cordial and impressive farewells.
Shortly after the official interview at the President's, the Embassadors, with the principal members of their suite, attended a handsome entertainment given in their honor by the Secretary of State; and although it is considered highly indecorous for a Japanese of rank to be seen abroad after sunset, yet it was necessary to waive their national points of etiquette on this occasion, and accept the hospitalities extended to them in their official capacity, by one of the chief officers of the Government. All the notabilities of fashion were,of course, present on the occasion. The foreign legations were fully represented, the Members of the Cabinet were all visible, and large deputations from both houses of Congress. The oriental guests were led in by the officers of the Naval Commission, and after walking once around the rooms, were deposited on lounges, and retained their seats during the greater part of the visit. The Embassadors devoted about an hour to the entertainment, and withdrew, after partaking of refreshments.
After the official visits and receptions were over, the members of the Embassy visited the various objects of interest in Washington -- the Capitol -- the Smithsonian Institute -- the Patent Office, and other places of popular attraction. The curiosity of the populace appeared to be satiated during the latter part of their stay in the city, and they were, in consequence, able to circulate about more freely, without being exposed to the annoyance of a gaping, noisy crowd.
They visited both houses of Congress, and displayed great interest with regard to the mode of conducting the legislative proceedings of Government in the United States. The Princes and six of their officers were received on the floor of the Senate-chamber, where seats were provided for them; they were afterward conducted by the Congressional committee to the position in the House appropriated to the diplomatic corps. Mr. Portman, for the committee, explained to them the nature of the proceedings.
A few days subsequently, they visited the Navy Yard, in company with two of the Naval Commission, and were received by Captain Buchanan, and welcomed in a brief and appropriate speech, which was feelingly responded to by the Chief Envoy. They were taken around the yard, and manifested much interest in the works going on in the various departments. The forging of a large anchor excited great astonishment, as did, also, the boiler destined for the new steamer Pensacola, which they examined very closely. They next visited the machine department, where the immense engine, intended for the Pensacola, drew forth their wondering comments. In the ordnance department, they found much to interest them; the manufacture, and mode of filling, percussion caps; the making of Minie rifle balls, and the casting of a brass howitzer, with the manner of finishing it off, elicited very flattering remarks on American skill and enterprise. The Chief Commissioner himself was greatly interested in this establishment, and gave unmistakable evidence of his gratification and surprise at our Yankee resources. After this, the Embassadors sat for their photographs in the open air, the officers of the Yard, with those of the Embassy, and the Reporters, being arranged in a group behind. The exercise of the celebrated Dahlgren gun and howitzer appeared highly satisfactory to them, causing their eyes to dilate with pleased surprise, as they watched the balls skimming along over the surface of the river.
On the 15th of June, the Embassadors had a final interview with the President, in which they expressed their appreciation of his friendly feelings toward them, and their thanks for the very kind treatment they had received in Washington; adding, that on their return to Japan, a full account of their visit would be submitted to the Tycoon, who would be greatly pleased with it, and would endeavor to strengthen and increase the friendly relations so happily established between the two countries.
The President expressed pleasure that the Embassadors had been gratified by their visit to the United States, and said, he congratulated himself that an historical event of so much importance as the advent of the first Japanese Embassy, should have transpired during his administration, and hoped that the interesting visit would be the means of cementing more strongly the amicable relations between the two countries; closing his address with personal good wishes, for a safe return of the Embassadors to their native shores. The address was received with profound acknowledgement, and the President then presented three models in gold for the Embassadors, twenty in silver for the officers of their suite, and fifty in bronze for the attendants, which had been struck in commemoration of the first Japanese Embassy.
The farewell official interview being over, there was nothing to detain the Embassadors in Washington; and they accordingly left shortly afterward for Baltimore, in compliance with the invitation to visit that city, which had been extended to them by the authorities. There was no public demonstration attending their departure from the capital; but they were conveyed quietly to the railroad depot, without the show and parade which marked their arrival.
A salute of 17 guns announced the appearance of the special train at the Baltimore station; there the Embassadors and suite were transferred to carriages, and under the escort of the military, of the city and State authorities, were taken to the Maryland Institute, where the formal reception by the Mayor was arranged to take place. After this ceremony was over, the procession was re-formed, and passed through some of the principal streets to the Gilmore House, where quarters had been provided thronged the streets through which the procession passed, and the windows of every house were filled with ladies; every demonstration of curiosity and interest was displayed, but there was no violence or disorder. Each Embassador had a separate carriage, and was attended by a member of the Naval Commission; they showed great indifference or reserve of manner, as if their thoughts were completely abstracted from the scene around them, and appearing to ignore entirely the existence of the excited and curious crowd. The subordinates, however, manifested great interest in all that was passing around them, returning salutations, and by their affable expression and courteous gestures, exciting much enthusiasm among the "great unwashed," by whom they were surrounded. In the evening, the visitors were entertained with a very beautiful display of fireworks, with which they appeared greatly pleased.
The next morning they left Philadelphia in a special train; the engine was gaily decorated with flags and flowers, and the cars were also appropriately ornamented, the national colors of Japan and the United States festooned the sides, and hung in graceful folds from the top. At Havre de Grace, the party was met by a deputation from the City Councils of Philadelphia, who were cordially welcomed by Captain Dupont as they entered the cars, and by him introduced to the Embassadors. A short address was made by the committee, tendering the hospitalities of the city they represented to the illustrious strangers, and briefly responded to by the Chief Embassador.
At different points on the road, large crowds of people from the surrounding country were assembled, to catch a fleeting glimpse of the orientals; and as they passed through such places, the speed of the train was slackened for the purpose of gratifying the curiosity of the expectant throng. The stately Embassadors rarely condescended to glance toward the enthusiastic Americans; the subordinates alone returned the popular greeting; the windows in the servants' car were opened, and the inmates returned the shouts of the people by clapping of hands, bows, and exclamations of "Good! Hurrah!" and other words which they had contrived to pick up since leaving Japan. At Wilmington, several thousand people were assembled in the streets through which the cars passed; and as the train slowly advanced, it was greeted by the multitudes with loud cheers; a number of fire companies were also present, whose bells rang out a vociferous welcome to the stranger guests; but whether or not the effect was agreeable to the nerves of the quiet and undemonstrative orientals, will probably never be known until the Japanese historian favors the world with his> impressions on the subject. The train was stopped at some distance from Elkton, by order of Captain Dupont, to give the Embassadors an opportunity of examining the locomotive, and of taking a ride on the iron horse, should they think proper to do so; but their courage only sufficed to enable them to mount, when, finding the position by no means luxurious, they quickly descended from the "bad eminence" they had attained, and returned to their more comfortable seats in the cars; Tommy being the only one courageous enough to continue his journey in such infernal style, for the fiery sparks, the noisy din, and lightning speed of the engine must have suggested the idea of a ride through Pluto's dominions. The excitable Tommy held on his way without shrinking, however, beguiling the time by spasmodic discourse with the engineer and firemen, and occasionally ringing the bell by way of giving variety to the scene. At half past three, the train arrived at the Philadelphia depot, where they were received by the Mayor and City Council, and welcomed in brief address by the former. The Chief Embassador returned thanks, through the Interpreter, in a few words, and said they all anticipated much pleasure from their visit to Philadelphia. Immediately after this, the Embassadors were led to their carriages, each attended by a member of the Naval Commission; as soon as the chief dignitaries were seated, the other carriages were rapidly filled, and passed on to take their places in the line of procession, which soon began to move forward. Upon emerging from the depot, the Embassadors were saluted by the assembled troops, and greeted with prolonged cheers by an immense throng of people. The military were out in full force, and made a fine appearance; most of the companies were attended by bands of music, which sent forth enlivening strains as the procession slowly passed through the densely crowded streets; every available place throughout the line of route was filled, and the eye dwelt only on a sea of human heads, which swayed to and fro under irrepressible excitement, like the restless waves of ocean. The excitement of the scene awakened no corresponding emotion, apparently, in the bosoms of the princely guests; but the lower officials were more sympathetic, and during the progress of the procession, were constantly bowing to, and exchanging smiles with the crowd. At one point of the journey, Tommy is said to have created much amusement, by imprinting a loving kiss on the cheek of a young lady who held out her hand to him in friendly greeting; this he laid hold of, and so drew her near enough to accomplish the salute. The lower officials seemed disposed to enjoy themselves, and many of them sought comfort in the soothing refreshment of their pipes, while they calmly surveyed the excited multitude, which they favored with an occasional nod, or a courteous and condescending wave of the hand. As the procession neared the hotel, the crowd became extremely dense and unmanageable; an immense police force was on duty near this point, and they were assisted in their efforts to clear a passage and preserve order by U.S. marines, and two of the mounted volunteer companies, which formed into line on the north side of the street; but it was with extreme difficulty they succeeded in keeping back the throng sufficiently to admit of the carriages being driven up to the hotel, where their occupants alighted at the private entrance, and were immediately conducted to the apartments prepared for their reception. After they had rested for a few moments, they were taken out on the balcony to see the military file pass; and this being over, they retired to their rooms, and remained invisible during the rest of the evening, and the following day, which was Sunday. They were very anxious, during their stay in the United States, to improve themselves in the English language; and many of them had vocabularies of the English, Dutch, French and Japanese lying about in their rooms.
During the stay of the Japanese in Philadelphia, they were shown most of the principal objects of interest in the city, and visited many of the machine-shops and manufacturing establishments, in which they appeared to take great interest; evidently considered the acquirement of useful, practical information the first object to be considered. One of the members of the Naval Commission took several of them to one of the type foundries in this city, where the operations of the stereotype department were explained to their evident satisfaction. They were especially interested in the type casting rooms; and as, one by one, they saw the type drop in rapid succession from the machines, one of them called out, with the enthusiasm of a discoverer: "Bullets -- shot all the same; all the same at Washington Navy Yard." They had seen the process of making shot there, and they now observed that type sere cast in a somewhat similar manner. The Japanese evidently have the organ of comparison very largely developed. The engraving and electrotyping department at once revived their recollections of similar operations which had been explained to them at the Coast Survey office in Washington. Many of the principal stores were visited and purchases made of such articles as pleased their fancy; their taste in the selection of books differed somewhat from the usual run, though it doubtless exhibited much practical good sense; they seemed to prefer dictionaries, travellers' guide-books, views of American cities and scenery, etc. Classic works, and the most popular novels, were alike regarded with supreme indifference, not even a passing glance being vouch-safed to them. The Embassadors received numerous presents during their stay in the city, of the various articles manufactured there, and they will certainly take back to Japan a favorable impression of the mechanical skill and manufacturing resources of Philadelphia. The offerings were of the most varied character, from playing-cards to a sewing-machine, which latter they learned to use with great facility.
During their stay in Philadelphia, they visited the Mint, and examined with great interest the coin of our country in its various stages of preparation. Their first visit was paid to the room where the original packages of the precious metals are melted; a small bar of California gold was exhibited to them, which they appeared to appreciate at once, and a note of it was immediately made in the memorandum books of the Secretaries. Leaving the melting-rooms, they next examined the process of rolling, and expressed great admiration at the machinery by which it was accomplished; the way in which the coins are cut from the metal was also explained. The Japanese were admitted behind the railings which enclose the wonder-working machines, and through interpreters each movement was made known to them. The polishing and whitening department was next entered; then the milling-room; and the delicate balance for weighing gold was then closely inspected, and appeared to afford the utmost satisfaction to all present. After sufficient examination of this instrument, which in its operation seems to be almost endued with reason, the weighing of coins separately was noted; and the party, taking a brief look into the refinery, returned to the Assay office (all other visitors being excluded), for the purpose of learning by what process the fineness and value of coins are ascertained at the Mint, and also to see a test of their own coins in comparison with those of the United States. One great object of their visit, it appears, is to establish a clear understanding on the currency question, so as to regulate the exchange of coin between the two countries. According to the usual routine, pieces were first cut from some of their coin, and from ours; the slips were then rolled out and taken to the delicate assay balance. But here the Censor interposed an objection; he said it would give no satisfaction to their Government to test only a small cutting -- a trial must be had upon the whole coin at least, and more if practicable. In fact, they appeared quite unable to comprehend our idea of an assay, or, at least, had no faith in it. The gold of a certain number of pieces must all be taken out and weighed by itself, and then, in comparison with the original weight of the coins, a calculation would show the value. Of course their idea is correct, but it is a much neater and simpler operation, and more reliable, to take only a small part, usually a half gram, or 7 grains. All the apparatus for assaying at the Mint is adjusted to this mode, and will not admit of taking whole pieces, or several pieces together, which is more properly the business of a refiner than of an assayer. No reasoning, however, had the least effect in changing their views; and were polite, but adhered to their original opinion. In fact, their visit was not for the purpose of learning our mode of assaying, but to satisfy themselves with regard to the relative fineness of their coin and ours, and of course to see if we knew how to demonstrate the matter. The officers of the Mint then yielded to their wishes, and agreed to melt down several of the gold pieces together, and to put the melt through a refining process; but as the morning had by this time nearly passed, it was found necessary to make another appointment for the purpose. Subsequently, the officers of the Mint called on the Embassadors, by request, at the hotel, when a very interesting discussion took place, which lasted for some time. The mode of ascertaining by analysis the amount of gold, silver, and copper, contained in certain coins of the United States and of the Empire of Japan, and their comparisons respectively, was finally decided on to their satisfaction.
The firemen's parade, on the evening previous to the departure of the Embassy for New York, was the culminating point of the entertainment prepared for them, and appeared to afford great pleasure. Some of them, at first, seemed alarmed at the fiery showers which were hurled from hundreds of Roman candles, and drew back into the shelter of their rooms, others covered their heads to protect them from the blazing ruins, but they soon discovered the fire to be harmless, and gave themselves up to the full enjoyment of the brilliant and exciting scene. As the last company defiled past the hotel, the Japanese bowed their adieux, and in less than a minute afterward not a shaven head remained visible; they evidently regarded the procession as a ceremonial which it was proper for them to see, but as soon as it was over, felt at liberty to consult their own comfort by seeking repose without delay. The parade being over, and the orientals asleep, it was obviously necessary for the spectators also to retire, which they accordingly did, and before midnight silence and darkness reigned supreme.
The next morning the members of the Embassy were up early, making arrangements for their departure from the city. There was much packing to be done at the last moment, and many farewell words to be said. Soon after nine o'clock the exodus from the hotel commenced, and in half an hour the last of the Japanese had taken his departure. The persons in the streets waved their hats and handkerchiefs at the departing guests, who courteously returned the greeting, and they arrived at the wharf, which was kept clear by a strong police force, without being subjected to any annoyance. A special train was chartered, at the expense of the United States, to convey the Embassy to Amboy, where the Philadelphia Committee formally transferred the National guests to the Municipal deputation sent on from New York to meet them. Some time was occupied in transferring the passengers and their baggage from the cars to the boat waiting to receive them; as soon as this was accomplished, the latter got under way for New York to meet them. Some time was occupied in transferring the passengers and their baggage from the cars to the boat waiting to receive them; as soon as this was accomplished, the latter got under way for New York, having the flags of America and Japan flying in friendly union side by side, while the inspiring notes of the band were nearly drowned in the enthusiastic cheers of the people. The arrival of the Embassy was announced by a salute from the Battery, from Governor's Island, and from the shipping in the harbor -- most of which were gaily dressed with flags. The Embassadors were received at the landing by the Governor of the State and the Municipal authorities. The military display was very imposing, nearly seven thousand men being under arms as a guard of honor. The Embassy were seated in open barouches, each drawn by white horses, and conveyed by a somewhat circuitous route to the quarters prepared for them at the Metropolitan Hotel. Passing into the building by the front entrance, which was canopied with Japanese and American flags, the guests were conducted up a wide stair-case, also draped with flags, and entwined with myrtles and evergreens, to the balcony over the main entrance, from whence they beheld the military and civic display which had formed their escort, and also enjoyed a fine and extended view of Broadway. In the evening the hotel was splendidly illuminated, and numerous transparencies were suspended from the windows, each displaying the American and Japanese Colors; at a later hour the orientals were serenaded by Dodworth's celebrated band, but it is very doubtful whether this latter compliment was properly appreciated, the music most admired by the Japanese, at home, being a combination very unlike our "concord of sweet sounds."
The hotel arrangements were on a most magnificent scale, each of the Embassadors having a spacious suite of rooms fitted up in splendid style; their meals were furnished in their own apartments. The lower officials and attendants were also handsomely lodged; the meals of the servants were provided in a room on the basement floor, and arrangements were also made for them to cook their own provisions, should they prefer doing so. Of course, all places of interest were visited during the stay of the Embassy in New York, but neither time nor space will permit a detailed account of the various sources of amusement provided by the city authorities for the distinguished guests; the princely hospitalities were closed by a magnificent ball, and a few days afterward, the Japanese took a final leave of the country where they met with so cordial a welcome; and, on the 30th of June, embarked on board the steam-frigate Niagara, to return via Cape of Good Hope, to their native land, bearing with them the kindest wishes of the Government and people of the United States.
Their return to Japan with the impressions produced on their minds by the uniform kindness and courtesy extended to them throughout their journey, will, doubtless, inaugurate a new era in the foreign policy of their Government; and it may reasonably be expected that the social and commercial intercourse existing between the two countries will hereafter be of the most friendly and advantageous character.
The Powhatan sailed from Panama for Valparaiso on the 16th of May; in obedience to an order from the Navy Department, to proceed from that point around Cape Horn to Philadelphia. From Valparaiso she steamed to St. Catharine's, Brazil, in the remarkably short space of seventeen and a half days, and touching afterward for a few days at Rio de Janeiro for provisions, continued her voyage thence to Philadelphia, where she arrived on the 14th of August. She had been in commission two years and eight months, during which she steamed 57,637 miles, was actually at sea 312 days, showed the flag of the United States in twenty-five different ports, many of which were visited several times, and accomplished the voyage around the world. No serious accident ever occurred to the machinery, nor to any of the crew, with the exception of the loss of an arm and an eye by one of the Quarter-Gunners, occasioned by the premature explosion while firing a salute. The arm was so much injured as to necessitate amputation at the shoulder; and the operation was performed in so skilful a manner by Dr. Philip S. Wales, of the Mississippi, that the man could not realize for some days that his arm was gone. Only eleven deaths occurred during the cruise, out of more than three hundred persons forming the compliment of the ship.
The crew were discharged four or five days after her arrival at the Philadelphia Navy Yard, and within three weeks from that date she was again under way for the Gulf of Mexico, under the command of Captain Mercer, with another complement of officers and men -- a very decided evidence of the efficient condition in which she had been kept during her long and active cruise in the waters of China and Japan.
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