Matthew Perry

Matthew Perry was born the son of a navy captain named Christopher R. Perry. Perry later commanded the USS Shark a schooner with 12 guns from 1821-1825. In June 1840 Perry received the title of commodore from the secretary of the navy. Before that of his voyage to the Far East, Commodore Perry read widely amongst available books about Tokugawa, Japan. His research even included consultation with the increasingly well-known Japanologist Philipp Franz von Siebold, who had lived on the Dutch island of Dejima for eight years before retiring to Leiden in the Netherlands. In 1853 Perry offered a treaty with Japan which they denied. So Matthew Perry said if they did not sign they would burn down some of the most important buildings of Japan. How did it end? They signed in 1854.

When Perry returned to the United States congress voted to give him a $20,000 in appreciation of his work in Japan.

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