Skip to Content

Colonial Cases

Japanese Government v. Pacific Mail Steamship Co [1874]

[shipping, charter]

Japanese Government v. Pacific Mail Steamship Company

United States Consular Court, Yokohama

Source: Sacramento Daily Union, 19 August 1874


We copy the following from an Eastern paper.  It is news to us, as it probably is to most of our Californian contemporaries:

A curious international suit has been made up in the case of the Japanese Government against the Pacific Mail Steamship Company.  When the expedition against Formosa was fitted out at Yokohama the Japanese Government chartered as a transport the steamship New York of the above named company.  Subsequently, the American Minister resident gave public notice that the proposed expedition  was reported to be designed for warlike demonstrations against a dependency of the Chinese Empire, with the Government of which we are at peace, and that American citizens engaging therein would put themselves outside of the protection  of their own Government.  The New York was accordingly withdrawn from the charter.

The Japanese brought suit in the Consular Court at Yokohama for breach of contract, laying the damages at $10,250.  The decision was in favor of the company, and the plaintiff has appealed to the United States Circuit Court, Justice Field sitting, at San Francisco.  The equities of the case appear to be with the steamship company.

It is, however, a singular sign of the much-talked-of progress of Japan that the Emperor should be a suitor in the United States Court.

Source: Daily Alta California, 31 January 1875


The Japanese Government vs. The Pacific Mail Steamship Company -

[Details of the original cause.]

Source: Sacramento Daily Union, 5 April 1881

The case between the Misu Mail Japanese Steamship Company and the Pacific Mail Company, in the United States Consular Court has been decided in favor of plaintiff.

Published by Centre for Comparative Law, History and Governance at Macquarie Law School