Proceedings of the American Antiquarian Society, New Series, Volume XIV, October 1900-October 1901, Worcester, Massachusetts, published by the Society, 1902, 520 pp.

As reported in the semi-annual meeting of April 24, 1901, pages 176-180.

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Page 176

Forty-eight years ago, on the 8th of July in the 6th
year of Kayei, an American envoy arrived in Japan, on a
mission which was destined to become an epoch-making
event in the history of Japan. This envoy was none other
than Commodore Perry, U.S.N., who, by order of the
President of the North American Republic, came to this
country for the purpose of concluding a treaty of commerce
and friendly intercourse between the two nations.
On the 14th of the month above mentioned, the envoy
landed at Kurihama, Miura-gori, in the province of Sagami, 
and there held conferences repeatedly with the officials
of the Tokugawa Regency. The object of his mission


1.  It was evidently desirable that the several papers forming 
the subject of Mr. Davis's paper should be published in connection 
with this paper, but they were manifestly too voluminous for our 
Proceedings. It has been concluded therefore, after consultation, 
that it would be better that the  communications, the papers
on our Court nies, and the manuscripts sent by Mr. Stevens should 
be separately published, in book form, and this we understand 
Mr. Davis purposes to do. --COM. 

Page 177

successfully accomplished, the Commodore sailed home
shortly after.

This visit of Commodore Perry was in a word the turning
of the key which opened the doors of the Japanese
Empire to friendly intercourse with the United States, and
subsequently to the rest of the nations of Europe on
similar terms, and may in truth be regarded as the most
memorable event in our annals, an event which paved the
way for and accelerated the introduction of a new order of
things, an event that enabled the country to enter upon the
unprecedented era of national ascendency in which we are
now living.  There is a reason then -- a strong reason --
that this visit of Commodore Perry, no less than the spot
where those memorable conferences took place, should be
perpetuated in the memory of the Japanese people.
True Japan has not forgotten -- nor will she ever forget --
that next to her reigning and most beloved Sovereign,
whose high virtues and great wisdom are above all praise,
she owes, in no small degree, her present prosperity to the
United States of America, in that the latter rendered her
the great and lasting service already referred to. After
the lapse of these 48 years her people have, however,
come to entertain but an uncertain memory of Kurihama,
and yet it was there that Commodore Perry first trod on
the soil of Japan and for the first time awoke the country
from a slumberous seclusion of three centuries -- there it
was where first gleamed the light that has ever since illumined
Japan's way in her new career of progress. Even
writers seldom mention the place now, and the spot where
the American envoy landed and which should forever be
remembered in our history threatens to be forgotten

Last fall we had the pleasure of meeting Rear-Admiral
Beardslee, U.S.N., who, as a naval cadet and a member of
the crew under Commodore Perry, landed at Kurihama on
the historical occasion, and who after these 48 years once
more came back to pay a visit to this country. Beckoned
by the memories of the past the Admiral went to Kurihama
immediately after his arrival in Japan, but he was
only able to ascertain the spot where the envoy and his
party had landed half a century ago by the help of an old
survivor of those by-gone days. We were greatly moved

Page 178

by his account of his second visit to Kurihama, and we
immediately set on foot a movement to erect a fitting
monument which may perpetuate the place in question in
the memory of our posterity. We have since made such
progress with this movement that a site for the monument
has already been selected. It is our determination to
accomplish the end in view with all possible promptitude
and to hold the ceremony of unveiling the monument on
the coming anniversary of the landing of the American
envoy at Kurihama, the 14th of July this year. We hope
that those who are interested in the matter will favour us
by endorsing our undertaking in a substantial manner.
President, Bei-yu Kyo-kai,
(American Association of Japan).
Tokyo, January, 1901. P.S. -- Subscriptions should be sent to 
the office of Bei-yu Kyo-kai, 12 Yamashiro-cho, Kyobashi-ku, 
Tokyo. Subscription list will be closed on the 30th May, 1901

After reading the circular, Senator HOAR continued: --
"This is a movement for a memorial to not only one of
the greatest events in the history of Japan, but one of the
greatest events in the history of the United States, where
in her power and prosperity she took by the hand this
infant nation and led her into civilization without a thought
of her own advantage, of extending her own empire, or
of setting her own flag over the territory of an unwilling

In connection with the same subject, THOMAS C. MENDENHALL, 
LL.D., said: --
"I can certainly add nothing to the impressiveness with
which Senator Hoar has presented this interesting document,
representing an important epoch in the history not
only of Japan but of the United States. I might add a
word which would be of interest. I had the pleasure of
knowing very well the signer of that paper, and being his
travelling companion for more than a month, and know his

Page 179

great interest in and the great indebtedness which he
always acknowledged to the United States. While in
Japan I had a very interesting personal experience in
relation to Commodore Perry's visit, that came to me quite
unexpectedly, and might he worthy of mention at this
tune. During the progress of the treaty with Japan many
presents of value and beauty were made by Commodore
Perry in the name of the President of the United States.
When the Shogun was for a time exiled, perhaps before
that, a great many of these were turned over to the University,
such as globes, charts, etc. On one occasion I
wanted to find something which I had heard was a part of
that gift of the President of the United States, -- a certain
globe which I wanted to use in one of my lectures, -- and I
learned on inquiry that all those things of an educational
nature or character were stored away in a certain place.
I spent several hours in exploring, but instead of finding
what I wanted, I found something more interesting and
valuable. I found a large oaken box about three or four
feet long, covered with dust, and on removing the cover
found a brass plate indicating that this was a present from
the President of the United States to the Emperor of
Japan. When we got it out and opened it, -- a thing
which had not occurred before for perhaps twenty-five
years, I was greatly delighted to find a very beautifully
finished and completely equipped set of telegraph instruments
that the President had sent to the Emperor. The
natives were impressed with the wonderful working of this
telegraph, by which messages were transmitted from one
point to another, and perhaps this present had as much to
do with accomplishing the treaty as anything connected
with it. It happened at that time that I was engaged in
giving a course of public lectures to government officers,
in which was engaged also my friend and our associate,
Professor Edward S. Morse. My own course happened
to be on the subject of electricity and its application. So

Page 180

I had very great pleasure in taking that set of instruments
as presented twenty-five years before by the President,
and setting them up again in this course of lectures and
using them as an illustration and example of the method
by which messages were transmitted by telegraph. The
instruments were also useful, of course, as illustrating the
type of instrument in use twenty-five years before, shortly
after the application of electricity to telegraph purposes."

Professor EDWARD S. MORSE, being called upon, said: 
"It occurs to me as being rather curious, that Commodore
Perry's visit to Japan resulted in a change in my life. As
a young man I was interested in shells, and my first visit
to Washington in 1865 was for the purpose of examining
a collection of shells, and I was very much interested in
the difference in shells between the east and west. During
that visit I saw a beautiful screen that had been presented
to Commodore Perry by some high official of Japan. I
had never seen Japanese art before, and was so impressed
with it that out of six days that I spent there, I spent
three in copying that screen. I then read of Commodore
Perry's trip, and resolved to go to Japan, and in ten or
fifteen years I was enabled to do so. That brought about
an entire change in my work, and the catalogue recently
published by the Museum of Fine Arts is a result of Commodore
Perry's visit to Japan."

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