Bluejackets with Perry in Japan
Cover of Individual Paper Wrap Bulletins
Cover of Bound Volume
Lewis, John R. C.
Allen, William B.
Graff, Henry F. (Introduction & Editor):
Bluejackets with Perry in Japan, A day-by-day account kept by Master's Mate John R.C. Lewis and Cabin Boy William B. Allen, edited and introduced by Henry F. Graff. From the Bulletin of the New York Public Library, Astor, Lenox and Tilden Foundations, Volumes 54, Nos. 8-10 and Volumes 55, Nos. 1-7. This is a 10 part series published consecutively in the bulletin from August of 1950 through July of 1951. There are a total of 179 pages. The issued format was 8vo, soft cover. In the first three parts, Graff sets the historical and political background leading up to the Expedition to Japan by Perry. This is an comprehensive and well documented discussion and provides detailed notes, with references, for those interested in further research. Graff also introduces the two individuals (John R.C. Lewis and William B. Allen) that kept the logs, journals and memorandum that form the basis for the remaining 7 parts. Graff then merges the accounts from these two men in chronological order. Further, through notes he amplifies and explores matters raised by the accounts. The accounts of Lewis and Allen provide a perspective into the expedition you will not find in the official narrative. While the accounts are more restrained that other unofficial accounts, they do provide the perspective of the expedition from the sailor's point of view where there is no political agenda being pursued.
Bound Volume. The book was issued as a bound volume in 1952. The bound volume is blue cloth with gilt lettering on spine and contains 181 pages. To see the title page and a contents page, click here. In the bound volume there are two black and white plates. There is a frontisplate (a sketch by John B. Lewis) and a reproduction of a watercolor of the ship Manhattan (after page 64) by a Japanese artist. The bound volume contains the following three appendices (pages 176-81):
A -- "Chronology of the Perry Expedition" (1 1/2 pages)
B -- "Vessels of the Perry Expedition" (1/2 page)
C -- "Enlisted Men of the Perry Expedition Mentioned in These Pages" (4 pages)
Summary of Contents
Volume 54, Number 8, August, 1950, pages 367-383, Part I (17 pages). Introduction. The two bluejackets who kept the accounts of there trip with the expedition, Lewis and Allen are introduced and background concerning the expedition to Japan is provided.
OUR FIRST SOURCE OF INFORMATION ABOUT JAPAN
AMERICAN MERCHANTMEN IN JAPANESE WATERS
TWO EUROPEANS TELL AMERICANS MORE ABOUT JAPAN
JAPAN IN AMERICAN SCHOOL BOOKS
Volume 54, Number 9, September, 1950, pages 429-454, Part II (26 pages). Exploring the Pacific. In this part, Graff relates the American efforts (private not government) in the early 1800s to explore the Pacific with a focus on contact with Japan. The chapter also develops the underlying expedition members who would play key roles in the Perry Expedition to Japan. These include Samuel Wells Williams (interpreter), Matthew Fontaine Maury (oceanographer), Karl Gützlaff (missionary/trader/writer).
EXPLORING THE PACIFIC
WHALERS AND TRADERS RETURN TO JAPAN
POPULARIZING THE KNOWLEDGE OF THE PACIFIC
FIRST NOTABLE AMERICAN STUDENT OF JAPAN
Volume 54, Number 10, October, 1950, pages 486-504, Part III (19 pages). The Navy Takes Over. Graff traces the "Manifest Destiny" role of the United States and the need to establish ports in Japan for our commercial interests (trade and whaling) and to supply or coal burning Navy and merchant marine. He outlines the first ill fated visit by Commodore Biddle to open Japan to American ships. He then traces the political background leading to the establishing the Expedition to Japan as well as the popular views expressed about the undertaking. Perry's background and his selection to lead the expedition are developed. Finally, Lewis and Allen are brought into the picture. Both joined the Navy just to accompany the Expedition These men were not just sailors. They were primarily on the trip to experience history in the making. Two Lewises actually went on the trip. It is the journal and log kept by John Lewis that is contained in this series. It is Allen's memorandum of the trip that is in the series.
THE NAVY TAKES OVER
THE PERRY EXPEDITION
THE LEWISES AND ALLEN: UNOFFICIAL EYE-WITNESSES.
Volume 55, Number 1, January 1951, pages 3-22, Part IV (20 pages). This part covers the period from February 14 through July 30, 1853. In this part the account(s) of the expedition begin. Lewis kept a journal and a log. He was aboard the Macedonian. Allen was aboard the Vandalia and he kept what is called a "Memorandum." These records covered the period from February, 1853 through May 1855. The editor has merged the entries by both men to form a single chronological account. Most of the entries come from the Lewis records. The day-by-day account begins on February 14, 1853 with an entry by Allen. This section traces the outbound journey and ends with an entry of July 30, 1853 noting the Vandalia departure from Macao for the Loo Choo islands (via Hong Kong and Whampoa). This part has one black and white full page plate which shows a drawing made by John Lewis. The drawing shows alignment of ships at the March 8, 1854 landing by Perry in Japan. It shows 8 ships. The Supply is not in the drawing.
Volume 55, Number 2, February 1951, pages 66-86, Part V (21 pages). This part covers the period from August 2, 1853 through January 20, 1854. The account notes meeting up with Commodore Perry and his ships the Mississippi and the Susquehanna. Lewis learns of the handing over of the President's letter on July 14, 1853 by Perry. The Vandalia reached Hong Kong on the 15th of August. It then moved on to Whampoa on the 29th of September and subsequently sailed for the Loo Choo islands on October 15, 1853 and arrived in Napha (Naha) harbor on November 6, 1853. Extracts from the Lewis records describe Loo Choo visit with more detail than usual.
Volume 55, Number 3, March 1951, pages 133-147, Part VI (15 pages). This part covers the period from January 25 through March 7, 1854. On January 31st the Macedonia, Vandalia, Southampton and Lexington left Naha for Japan with the first sighting of Japan proper on February 6. On February 13, six ships entered Jeddo Bay. They are listed by both Allen and Lewis as Susquehanna towing the Lexington, Powhattan towing the Vandalia and the Mississippi towing the Macedonian. The accounts notes that the store ship Supply arrived on March 19. This still does not account for the 8th ship which is asserted by some accounts as being present. The entries describe the events while the squadron remained in Japanese waters awaiting the treaty meeting between Commodore Perry and Japanese officials.
Volume 55, Number 4, April 1951, pages 162-180, Part VII (19 pages). This part covers the period from March 8, 1854 through April 10, 1854. The landing by Perry on March 8 and the dispatch of the presents ashore on March 13. The Vandalia departed Yedo Bay on the 22nd bound for Simoda where it met the Southampton it then returned to the squadron in Yedo Bay on March 28. The treaty was signed on March 31 and the Saratoga departed for the United States on April 4.
Volume 55, Number 5, May 1951, pages 225-240, Part VIII (16 pages). This part covers the period from April 10, 1854 through May 11, 1854. On April 10, Perry once again (he actually did that on the first visit to Japan) threatened to sail into Yedo Bay rather than out. Based upon threats of suicide by Japanese officials on board, he dropped this plan. The squadron moved out of the bay. On April 11 the Macedonian departed for Bonian Islands (the Narrative says 14 but this account is believed more accurate). The Vandalia and Lexington sailed for Simoda on April 17 and were joined there by the Mississippi and Powhatan on April 18. It appears that the "greens" purchased for crew meals became a serious threat to crew morale. The accounts relate a series of exchanges over the "greens" between the crew and officers. Extracts from the Lewis records describe the Bonin Island visit with more detail than usual. The Macedonia then rejoined the rest of the ships in Simoda on May 2. Lewis describes Simoda (he called it Samoda). On May 6, the Macedonian, Vandalia and Southampton departed for the island of "Jesso" (Hakodadi) arriving there on May 11.
Volume 55, Number 6, June 1951, pages 276-287, Part XI (12 pages). This part covers the period from May 11, 1854 through June 10, 1854. Lewis describes the island of Jesso and the town he calls "Khackodade." On 31 May the Vandalia departed for Shanghai and the Macedonian for Hong Kong via Loo Choo.
Volume 55, Number 7, July 1951, pages 339-351, Part XX (13 pages). This part covers the period from June 11, 1854 through June 26, 1854.
Volume 54, Number 8, August, 1950, pages 367-383, Part I -- 17 pages
Volume 54, Number 9, September, 1950, pages 429-454, Part II -- 26 pages
Volume 54, Number 10, October, 1950, pages 486-504, Part III -- 19 pages
Volume 55, Number 1, January 1951, pages 3-22, Part IV -- 20 pages + 1 page bw illustration
Volume 55, Number 2, February 1951, pages 66-86, Part V -- 21 pages
Volume 55, Number 3, March 1951, pages 133-147, Part VI -- 15 pages
Volume 55, Number 4, April 1951, pages 162-180, Part VII -- 19 pages
Volume 55, Number 5, May 1951, pages 225-240, Part VIII -- 16 pages
Volume 55, Number 6, June 1951, pages 276-287, Part XI -- 12 pages
Volume 55, Number 7, July 1951, pages 339-351, Part XX -- 13 pages
A total of 178 text pages + 1 page illustration for a total of 179 pages published in 10 parts. Subsequently bound into a one volume book with cloth covers.