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Matthew Perry’s report on expedition to open Japan to American trade
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A one-volume contemporary abridgment of the three-volume narrative written by Commodore Mathew C. Perry and his officers describing their 1852-1854 expedition to China and Japan.

MATTHEW C. PERRY. Book. Narrative of the Expedition of an American Squadron to the China Seas and Japan, Performed in the Years 1852, 1853, and 1854, under the Command of Commodore M.C. Perry, United States Navy, by Order of the Government of the United States. Compiled by Francis L. Hawks. New York: D. Appleton and Company, 1857. Profusely illustrated, including 68 woodcuts and 11 folding maps. Thick 4to, contemporary calf, rubbed, some foxing, soiling, etc. (Sabin 30958) 624 pp.

Inventory #22342       Price: $650

Historic Background

From the middle of the 17th to the middle of the 19th century, the empire of Japan remained closed to trade with European nations but for single Dutch ship per year allowed in Nagasaki. In 1852, President Millard Fillmore sent Commodore Matthew C. Perry to Japan to accomplish three objects: protection of American ships and sailors wrecked on or driven by weather to the Japanese islands, permission for American vessels to enter Japanese ports to obtain supplies and make repairs, and permission for American vessels to enter one or more Japanese ports to trade.

Perry sailed from Norfolk, Virginia, aboard the USS Mississippi in November 1852 and arrived in Hong Kong in April 1853, when he rendezvoused with the rest of the East India Squadron. In July, Perry took the USS Susquehanna, USS Mississippi, USS Saratoga, and USS Plymouth into Edo (Tokyo) Bay. He delivered a letter from the President and left after spending more than a week in the Bay. In February, 1854, Perry returned to Edo Bay with ten ships and 1,600 men. On March 8, he landed at the village of Yokohama, twenty miles south of the imperial city. After three weeks of negotiation, Perry and the Japanese representatives signed the Convention of Kanagawa on March 31, 1854. That treaty opened the ports of Shimoda (eighty miles southwest of Tokyo) and Hakodate (on the northern island of Hokkaido) to American ships, promised care for shipwrecked sailors, and established an American consulate in Shimoda.

Matthew C. Perry (1794-1858) of Rhode Island became a midshipman in 1809, initially commanded by his older brother Oliver Hazard Perry (1785-1819). He served during the War of 1812 and Second Barbary War, helped to establish the curriculum at the US Naval Academy, and oversaw the construction of the steam frigate USS Fulton, which he then commanded. Perry organized the first corps of naval engineers, conducted the first naval gunnery school, and was promoted to commodore in 1840, serving as commandant of the New York Navy Yard. After leading the African Squadron in 1843-1844, he commanded the USS Mississippi during the Mexican War. In 1852, he was sent to open trade with Japan. Leading a fleet of four steamships into Edo Bay in July 1853, Perry presented a letter from the President of the United States. He returned to Edo Bay from February to April 1854, where he signed the Convention of Kanagawa, ending four centuries of Japan’s isolation. Perry returned to the United States in 1855 and prepared a report on the expedition in three volumes. He also received promotion to rear-admiral.


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