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William Maury Logbook from the USS Saratoga, one of the “Black Ships” in Commodore Perry’s East India Squadron famous for the Opening of Japan, and early trips to Macau, China and Hong Kong
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at 6 PM U.S.S.S. ‘Mississippi’ bearing Broad Pendt of Commo M. C. Perry arrived and anchored. saluted him with 13 guns, which was returned with 7.”—April 7, 1853

This logbook, mostly written by Lieutenant William L. Maury, covers the first two-thirds of the sloop-of-war Saratoga’s historic voyage, sailing from Norfolk, Virginia, to China and then on duty in the western Pacific. The Saratoga was part of the East India Squadron. This logbook includes Commodore Matthew C. Perry’s April 1853 arrival in Hong Kong on his mission to open Japan to American trade.

[WILLIAM L. MAURY]. [JAPAN]. Autograph and Manuscript Logbook for the USS Saratoga, Pacific voyage, July 20, 1850 (to November 12, 1852 in Maury’s hand) to April 26, 1853. Original half-sheep ledger book. 145 pp., 8 x 10 in.

Inventory #23424       Price: $5,500

The USS Saratoga was one of the four famous “black ships” or kurofune to enter Edo bay, Japan, on July 8, 1853, under Commodore Perry’s overall command, but Lt. Maury was then in command of another American ship in China. Maury was later part of Perry’s second visit to Japan in early 1854. This deals with the Capture of Chinese “pirates” (actually mutineers on their way to forced labor), British ship’s salute in honor of George Washington’s birthday, survival from a hurricane/typhoon despite some damage, and stops in Macau, Hong Kong, and Chinese and Japanese ports.

Historical Background

From the middle of the 17th to the middle of the 19th century, the empire of Japan was closed to trade with Europe but for single Dutch ship a 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 April 1853 in Hong Kong, where he rendezvoused with the rest of the East India Squadron.

The East India Squadron of the United States Navy was established in 1835 to protect American interests in the Far East and operated from the port of Canton (Guangzhou). After the Treaty of Nanking ended the First Opium War between the United Kingdom and China in 1842, the United States sought similar advantages. The treaty ceded Hong Kong Island to the British and opened five treaty ports to foreign trade, including Shanghai and Canton. In addition, Portugal had occupied Macau since the sixteenth century as a trading post. In 1844, the United States signed the Treaty of Wanghia with the Chinese Qing-dynasty that established American trading rights in the five treaty ports. For the next several decades, the East India Squadron asserted American naval power in the eastern Pacific Ocean from Macau, Hong Kong, and the five Chinese treaty ports. Perry commanded the East India Squadron from November 1852 to September 1854.

In July 1853, 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 of shōgun Tokugawa Iesada, the de facto ruler of Japan, rather than Emperor Kōmei, 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.

Perry immediately sent the Saratoga with the treaty home, while the rest of the fleet surveyed Shimoda and Hakodate. The Saratoga arrived at Honolulu in the Sandwich Islands (Hawaii) on April 29, 1854. From there, it sailed to San Francisco, and then south around South America, reaching Boston on September 1, nearly four years after leaving Norfolk.

William L. Maury (1813-1878) was born in Virginia and became a midshipman in 1829. He served on Charles Wilkes’ United States Exploring Expedition (1838-1842), including a visit to Antarctica on a scientific and mapping voyage around the world. From 1850 to 1853, he served as a lieutenant on the USS Saratoga on its voyage to and service in the East India Squadron stationed in China. In 1853, Maury briefly commanded the hired barque Caprice before transferring to the USS Plymouth and then to the USS Mississippi. During Commodore Matthew C. Perry’s first visit to Japan in July 1853, Maury was commanding the Caprice in Shanghai. Maury did accompany Perry on his second visit to Japan from February to April, 1854, mapping and developing sailing directions for Edo Bay and the harbors of Hakodate and Shimoda, the two ports Japan agreed to open to American ships. Maury returned to the United States with the USS Mississippi in 1855. From 1857 to 1860, he served at the Navy Yard in Washington, D.C., where he compiled the reports and observations of the Japan Expedition. In 1861, Maury resigned from the U.S. Navy to join the Confederate Navy. He served in coastal defenses in Virginia and North Carolina, before commanding the CSS Georgia, a commerce raider that captured nine ships in the Atlantic Ocean in 1863 and 1864.

USS Saratoga (1842-1907), built in the Portsmouth Navy Yard, was commissioned on January 4, 1843. Under commander Josiah Tattnall, she served as Commodore Matthew Perry’s flagship in the Africa Squadron, which protected American commerce and suppressed the slave trade. The Saratoga was one of the ships that visited Tokyo Bay with Commodore Matthew C. Perry in 1853 and again in 1854, then sailed for the Sandwich Islands (Hawaii) with the American copy of the Treaty of Kanagawa that opened two Japanese ports to American ships. The Saratoga saw some service in the Civil War from 1863 to 1865 off Delaware Bay and as part of the South Atlantic Blockading Squadron.


September 18, 1850, Norfolk, Virginia: “At 8.30 AM got underway...and proceeded to sea in company with a number of coasters & other vessels

November 16, 1850, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil: “During our stay in Rio the weather was cool & unsettled. We had quite strong winds from Sd Edy & Wd with a good deal of rain.... Several American merchant vessels arrived & sailed ruing our stay. Six men deserted from boats all of which we apprehended again through the police. The steamers N. York & Columbia Lt Geo M Totten[1] from the US bound to California arrived.

December 17, 1850, Saldanha Bay, South Africa: “Two Brigs loading with guano from Malagassen Id were anchored in Barran or North Bay this is said to be a secure anchorage at all seasons.... We were disappointed in finding water here being led astray by Purdys Memoir.[2] Strict search was made upon Schaapen Id for the Spring there described by no signs of it found. At the residency there is a spring of brackish water… No vegetables to be had. Bullocks can be had from a farm five or six miles off at £5 sterling, we also got a few fowls.... Not a tree to be seen. Soldanha is a deep Bay in a bold high promontory some 60 or 70 miles to the Nd of Cape Town....

December 23, 1850, Cape Town, South Africa: “A large English ship attempted to work up to the anchorage against the abovementioned gale but had to give it up & stand out. A Bark however after a hard tug succeeded in getting to anchor a long way out. We procured here good beef … A number of vessels were in the harbour most of them transient bound to & from India & China merely stopping for supplies.... We also procured apricots, peaches pears & oranges tho’ they were not very good.

January 13, 1851, Indian Ocean: “A partial eclipse of the moon.

January 30, 1851, Island of Amsterdam:[3]also the few seals though the latter I believe are scarce & shy.... we purchased some fish for which we paid tobacco. Passed to the Sd of Amsterdam within 3 or 4 miles. It appears to be some 8 or 10 miles in circumference, high & bleak? the NW side precipitous but sloping off towards the SE side… The fishermen say there is plenty of water upon it though the landing I expect is generally difficult.

February 26, 1851, Timor: “In consequence of the cloudy weather we did not get good observations, so cant say whether our log corresponded with their position though I am disposed to think they are not correctly laid down. They are high on the straight side broken with high peaks sharp ridges valleys & ravines & covered with a luxuriant growth. In the morning discovered another whaler. Her master came on board in the evening. the Bark Gentleman Capt Cartright, 9 months out & only one whale.[4] Stood along during the night under easy sail.

February 28, 1851, Alor Island, Indonesia: “Exchanged colours in the straits with an English merchantman standing with us & a whaler of the same nation working to the Wd.... Washington [American whaler] in company. Gentleman & two English ships a long way astern.

March 6, 1851, Borneo: “We got excellent water from a stream that ran through the town. The casks had to be rolled up or floated some distance as the water is shoal off the stream & it is necessary to get up above high water mark. We got very good beef $20.00 a bullock fowls at a reasonable price & a few pumpkins & bannanas… we also got a few of the delicious mangosteen. Whalers sometimes come here for supplies but they are not to be had at this season.... The village contains about 1400 inhabitants Malays with some half dozzen Chinese. It is under the rule of the Dutch East India Company. The governor is a very civil gentleman a mixture of Russian Portuguese & Malay blood.... The natives are generally Mahomedans though I saw a church & understood that there are about 190 Christians.... They also have a school. Mai mosques are very plain buildings with wooden spires. I saw several including the old Rajah at their devotions about noon.... The commandant informed us that he had just received orders from ? to have the place in a good state of defense as there was a fleet of piratical ?s from Sooloo hovering about in the neighborhood. During our stay here a man fell from the main topsail yard of the Washington & was killed.

March 26, 1851: “Passed within a few miles of St Andrews & Lion Islands small coral Ids… We saw a village on the NW side composed of huts apparently. A number of canoes came off & one or two came alongside but as we did not heave to they had to leave & all hands were no doubt much disappointed. From the number of men who came in the canoes probably 200 or more I should judge the Ids contain a population of 12 or 1500. The Ids appeared to be 2 or 3 miles in circumference thickly wooded with many cocoanut trees in sight. By our chronometers they are down 4 or 5 miles too far to the Wd on the French chart, but it is probable that our chronometers are a little out, as they have not been corrected since leaving Cape Town

April 8, 1851, Macau: “Passed in through the Lima channel passed hundreds of small Chinese vessels & boats.... Hired a Fast boat to attend the ship at $45.00 pr month. Distance sailed from Norfolk 20,650 miles

December 31, 1851, Manila: “entered the bay of Manila passing to the Nd of Corregidor. The authorities are about putting a light house on the Island  Mt Mariveles on the north side of the entrance & another mount to the Nd of that are good distant land marks  they may be recognized from their gradual descent to the valley which separates them.

February 9, 1852, Hong Kong: “Anchored off Victoria near the Marion & Susquehanna… 22 whaleship (American) in harbour about 30 during the season, amongst them our old consort the Washington

May 14, 1852, Xiamen: “English & American vice consuls visited…saluted them with 9 guns

May 22, 1852, Miyako Island: “Sent the Interpreter on shore, who ascertained that there were almost 300 of the Chinese on the Id who cut off the ship Robt Bowne.[5] They live in Junks on Lilly pt. & ran off when we hove in sight.

May 23, 1852, Miyako Island: “Landed at night the Marines & about      men under Lts. Goldsborough ? Howell & P? Lowry to apprehend the Chinese.

May 24, 1852, Miyako Island: “The parties returned from the shore having captured 51 prisoners which were left on shore under a guard. Two of our men wounded as no resistance was made  One Chinaman killed

May 28, 1852, Miyako Island: “Landed about 9 PM… with about 70 men & some of the warrant officers divided into four parties & searched for the pirates only two captured. They are so far off & so much on the alert that it will be very difficult to take anymore. It rained during the night in torrents  we visited and searched early in the morning of the 29th a good sized village on point Providence where we were told by one of the prisoners a number of the Pirates were put we found none  the poor natives were a good dealt astonished & alarmed by our rushing in upon them & rousing them from their quiet slumbers. The houses were thatched with grass strands ? up & the houses generally enclosed with a coral wall. The natives appeared to be the most peaceful inoffensive people I have ever seen. They are subject to Loo Chou. The Island is a mass of coral upheaved by some tremendous convulsion.

June 8, 1852, Hong Kong: “An examination of the Chinese prisoners was held & 14 Selected as prominent actors in the Robt Bowne tragedy

June 19, 1852, Hong Kong: “sent to the Susquehanna the 14 persons selected … of those brought by her from Amoy part of those carried there by the Robt Bowne. got ready for sea

June 24, 1852, Xiamen: “Landed the Chinese prisoners on the beach

July 2, 1852, off Chinese coast: “passed thru a number of tide rips saw a water spout to the Nd & Wd of us in the afternoon the sea was very much agitated the spray seemed to be thrown up to a considerable height. the spout was considerably inclined from a perpendicular

July 5, 1852, Hong Kong: “HM Ships Cleopatra, Salamander & a number of other vessels dressed in honour of the 4th. Susquehanna & Cleopatra fired at noon a salute of 31 guns[6]  we did not fire in consequence of the illness of one of our men

September 23, 1852, Shangchuan Island: “This Island like all others along the Southern coast of China is high & broken with black rocks shewing their fold land in all directions. It is exceedingly uninviting in appearance  no sign of arable land from our anchorage. The celebrated Jesuit Xavier[7] was buried on it.

October 9, 1852, off Hainan Island: “Called all hands sent down Top G. Yards & Masts… Bar going down & every appearance of a Typhoon approaching us... wind increased to a Hurricane at 6.45 clewed up the Main Top Sails & attempted to furl it but it was impossible. Had to let it blow away. At 7.40 attempted to brail up the main topsail but couldn’t succeed in securing it it blew away.... Tremendous sea running. Water highly phosphorescent, particles of luminous matter flying about like Sparks of fire.... At 9 finding the wind so much to the Wd that we couldn’t run South & as we were drifting down upon the Paracels[8] attempted to wear but a portion of the main Topsail having blown into the main rigging the ship would not go off. At this time the force of the wind was terrific. The ship was pushed bodily down in the water & at one time the sea was waist deep in the lee gangway very little water coming in to windward but poured in over the lee ruttings in a perfect cataract.... At 11 discovered that both steam boats were gone.... I think this Typhoon was travelling about WSW… had we kept off to the S about 4 or 5 PM I think we would have avoided the fury of the storm.... Through a kind Providence we have met with no very serious accident & to our Heavenly father every heart should pour out thanks for his kind protection through the awful scene

January 17, 1853, Hong Kong: “Hon. H. Marshall[9] U.S. Commr to China visited the ship. saluted him with 15 guns

February 22, 1853, Hong Kong: “at 9 hoisted an American Ensign at each mast head in celebration of the Birth day of Washington. at 12 salutes were fired by the ‘Susquehanna’ and this ship also by H.B.M. ships ‘Cleopatria’ & ‘Hermes’

March 11, 1853, Hong Kong: “Commo Aulick[10] gave up his command of the Squadron, gave him 3 cheers, & saluted the Broad Pendt with 13 guns. At 2 PM the mail Steamer ‘Singapore’ left, Commo Aulick going in her as passenger

March 21, 1853, Macao: “at 8 AM the ‘Susquehanna’ got underway. Hon H Marshall left Macao & was saluted by the Fort.

April 7, 1853, Hong Kong: “at 6 PM U.S.S.S. ‘Mississippi’ bearing Broad Pendt of Commo M. C. Perry arrived and anchored. saluted him with 13 guns, which was returned with 7.

April 8, 1853, Hong Kong: “at 9 ‘Mississippi’ saluted English & French commanding naval officers with 13 guns each, letting fall Fore Top sail at each salute. Commo Perry then visited French Frigate ‘Capricus’ & H.B.M. Frigate ‘Spartan’ and on leaving each was saluted with 13 guns, which returned by this ship gun for gun… At meridian Commo Perry visited the shore when he was saluted with 13 guns, which this ship returned with a like number. Captain Sir W. Hoste[11] visited the ‘Mississippi’ and was saluted with 13 guns, which was returned by H.B.M. Frigate ‘Spartan’ with like number

April 26, 1853, Macao: “at 12 15 got underway & commenced beating down for Macao roads. At 2 30 clewed up & came to in Macao roads near the ‘Mississippi’


Spine and corners scuffed, contents fine.

[1] From March 1851 to January 1853, Lt. George M. Totten (1816-1857) was captain of Pacific Mail Co. SS Tennessee and transported mail, passengers, and gold to and from Panama and San Francisco.

[2] John Purdy, Memoir, Descriptive and Explanatory, to Accompany the New Chart of the Ethiopic or Southern Atlantic Ocean (London: R. H. Laurie, 1822), 121-22.

[3] Île Amsterdam and Île Saint-Paul are in the southern Indian Ocean. Despite a few abortive attempts to settle them, they remain uninhabited, except for a few non-permanent scientists at a research station. Claimed by France in 1892, they form part of the French Southern and Antarctic Lands. Seals breed on the tiny islands.

Île Bourbon is in the Indian Ocean east of Madagascar and 100 miles southwest of Mauritius. It was renamed “Île de la Réunion” in 1793 during the French Revolution, but reverted to Île Bourbon from 1815 to 1848 with the restored monarchy. Again called “Île de la Réunion” in 1848, the old name remained among mariners for some time.

[4] The 227 ton whaler Gentleman sailed from New Suffolk, New York, in June 1850, under Captain David Cartwright (1804-1856) and returned in May 1852.

[5] On March 21, 1852, the American ship Robert Bowne left Amoy (Xiamen) with 410 Chinese workers (“coolies”) ostensibly bound for California but really for the Chincha Islands off Peru. On March 20, the Chinese took control of the ship. In the mutiny, they killed the Captain, first and second officers, and four crewmen. The ship drove into a hidden rock off Miyako Island in the Ryukyu Islands, east of Taiwan. Several hundred Chinese and some members of the crew went ashore. Remaining crew members overpowered their captors and regained control of the ship. They set sail back to Amoy, leaving hundreds stranded on the island. Two weeks later, the USS Saratoga, the HMS Riley, and the HMS Contest arrived, and British and American troops captured 70 of the Chinese, though others fled to the interior of the island. A year later, on June 1, 1853, two ships carrying 280 escaped Chinese departed the island.

[6] This salute in celebration of Independence Day was likely based on the number of states in the US at the time.

[7] Francis Xavier (1506-1552) was born in Spain and became a cofounder of the Jesuits. He was a missionary to Asia in the Portuguese Empire. He was the first Christian missionary to visit Japan, Borneo, and the Maluku Islands.

[8] The Paracels are a group of very small coral islands and reefs in the South China Sea between Vietnam and the Philippines, seasonably occupied by Chinese fishermen in the nineteenth century.

[9] Humphrey Marshall (1812-1872), a U.S. Military Academy graduate, Mexican War veteran, and Congressman, was appointed by President Fillmore as commissioner to China. He later served as a Confederate brigadier general.

[10] John Henry Aulick (c. 1789-1873) commanded the East India Squadron from 1851 to 1853. He was recalled on the complaint of the U.S. minister to Brazil over the expenses of a voyage. Commodore Matthew C. Perry succeeded him to command of the Squadron and of the critical voyage to Japan.

[11] Captain Sir William Hoste (1818-1868) of the HMS Spartan was the senior British officer in China and the son of Napoleonic Wars naval hero Captain Sir William Hoste (1780-1828).

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