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Matthew Calbraith Perry Quotes


Matthew Calbraith Perry
  • Mini Bio
  • Name: Matthew Calbraith Perry
  • Born: 10th April 1794, Newport, Rhode Island, U.S.
  • Died: 4th March 1858, New York City, New York, U.S.
  • Resting place: Island Cemetery, Newport, Rhode Island, U.S.
  • Occupation: Naval officer and Commodore of the United States Navy
  • Commands held: USS Shark, USS Fulton, USS Mississippi
  • Theatres of action: War of 1812, Second Barbary War, Battle of Little Bereby, Mexican-American war, Battle of Frontera, the Battles of Tabasco, the Battles of Tuxpan
  • Trivia: He was nicknamed The Father of the Steam Navy for his penchant for steam boats, one of which he captained (USS Fulton) in 1837
  • Scroll down for full bio and many great quotes

"Early in the afternoon the whole squadron was safely anchored at the position selected by me as the appointed rendezvous"

Matthew C. Perry

"I understood it to have been the intention of your predecessor to relieve the vessels of the African squadron at periods not exceeding 2 years .. A stay of this squadron upon the coast beyond the winter of 1844-45 would result in great sacrifice of life"

Matthew C. Perry

"The American settlers were still in fear of the treachery of these people, and thought that nothing but the occasional visit of a ship of war would prevent them from committing more violence"

Matthew C. Perry

"During a period of four months, almost every known trade or slave mart from Cape Verde to the Equator will have been visited at least once by an American vessel of war"

Matthew C. Perry

"The destruction of the Mary Carver, and the atrocious torturing and massacre of Captain Farewell and his crew, is a melancholy example of their perfidious cruelty"

Matthew C. Perry

"There seems to be but one opinion, that the constitution of the white man cannot withstand, for any length of time the wasting effects of this climate" [about Equatorial Africa]

Matthew C. Perry

"With all my observations and inquiry, I have not seen or heard of a single instance of an American citizen being engaged in the slave trade"

Matthew C. Perry

"Should you make any capture of slaves under your instructions, you will have them taken to Monrovia, and then delivered to the U.S. agent"

Matthew C. Perry

"In order to save our salt provision, the men have used nothing but fresh beef since our arrival"

Matthew C. Perry

"I have heretofore, directed a number of bullocks to be taken on board for consumption at sea"

Matthew C. Perry

"I have never known vessels of war kept in more constant motion"

Matthew C. Perry

"As orders had been given similar to those issued by me in July last, no communication was allowed with anyone from shore"

Matthew C. Perry

"The 22nd being the anniversary of the birth of Washington, all of the ships of the squadron fired the usual salute"

Matthew C. Perry

"The most intelligent among them had heard of the name of Washington, though they had very vague notions of his history and character"

Matthew C. Perry

"I objected, remarking that undisturbed resting places for the dead were granted by all nations"

Matthew C. Perry

"The Japanese are remarkable for their inordinate curiosity"

Matthew C. Perry

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Matthew Calbraith Perry Biography

Matthew Calbraith Perry was born into a Rhode Island naval family and his first naval posting was under the close eye of his elder brother Oliver Hazard Perry who was captain of USS Revenge.

Matthew Perry served on many U.S. naval vessels and was a battle hardened veteran of numerous wars and conflicts. His first command was on the USS Shark where he literally had to claim Key West (now part of Florida) and he himself was the first to plant the American flag on its soil.

Perry spent two years patrolling the coast of Equatorial Africa which was suffering at the hands of pirates and he was tasked with halting illegal slave runners into Africa

During the Mexican-American War in 1846 Perry led successful raids on Tabasco and Laguna and was instrumental in the capture of the strategic port city of Tuxpan



In between battles Perry was trusted by the president to embark on gunboat diplomatic missions included one to Japan where he proceeded to intimidate the Japanese to open trade with the U.S. He was not only remarkable for his escapades on the high seas but also his campaigning to modernise the U.S. navy including promoting the virtues of the steamboat.

He led an colourful naval life which made it interesting researching and compiling my list of 16 of the best Matthew Calbraith Perry quotes.

Quotes About Matthew Calbraith Perry

U.S. President Millard Fillmore wrote in a letter to the Emperor Of Japan: "I send you this public letter by Commodore Matthew C. Perry, an officer of the highest rank in the navy of the United States, and commander of the squadron now visiting Your imperial majesty's dominions. I have directed Commodore Perry to assure your imperial majesty that I entertain the kindest feelings toward your majesty's person and government, and that I have no other object in sending him to Japan but to propose to your imperial majesty that the United States and Japan should live in friendship and have commercial intercourse with each other"


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