"Commodore Matthew C Perry Monument" Newport Off The Beaten Path Tip by Ewingjr98
Newport Off The Beaten Path: 14 reviews and 29 photos
The Commodore Matthew C Perry Monument stands in Touro Park facing Bellevue Avenue in the heart of Newport, RI. The statue was designed by John Quincy Adams Ward, erected in 1869, and dedicated by Perry's daughter. Commodore Perry is buried in Newport's Island Cemetery.
Commodore Matthew Perry was the younger brother of Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry, and the junior Perry began his career at the young age of 15, under his older brother's command. Perry served in the War of 1812, the Mexican War, and the Barbary War, and he died at the age of 63.
Commodore Perry is most famous for his visits to Japan in 1852-1853 and 1854, where he forcefully negotiated a treaty opening Japan's ports to foreign trade. When the Commodore arrived in Tokyo Bay, the Japanese were stunned to see ships crafted of steel, belching smoke, and bristling with guns of various sizes. The Commodore violated the orders of the local naval force and sent his ships right to Tokyo, where they threatened the city. Perry was sent of behalf of President Millard Fillmore, and he refused to see a single Japanese person unless it was the emperor's highest ranking assistants. It was apparent to the Japanese that they were not in position to refuse to negotiate, given the great strength of the American fleet. The treaty was signed on 31 March 1854, and it opened two ports to American ships where the sailors could purchase provisions.
Of interesting historical note, General Douglas MacArthur was a blood relative of Commodore Perry. When the Japanese surrendered at the end of WWII neared, MacArthur sent for Commodore Perry's flag that was on display at the U.S. Naval Academy, as he wanted it displayed at the signing of the instruments of surrender.
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